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Comment Re:Seems to Be Some Confusion (Score 1) 563

The problem is that by the time a password has passed the threshold for "popularity" it is likely already too late. Any password that is likely to be "popular" is likely to be in a dictionary somewhere (I am talking about cracking dictionaries, not Webster's or OED).

From the article:

"Since no passwords are allowed to become too common, attackers are deprived of the popular passwords they require to compromise a significant faction of accounts using online guessing.

emphasis mine

What comprises a "significant faction?" Is it 10%? 5%? 1%? How about .01%? For a site with "millions of users" (like Hotmail), .01% is tens of thousands of accounts. .001% is still thousands of accounts. For sites like Facebook (as a f'rinstance) even one compromised account can put hundreds more at risk - and with a simple link to malware posted as a status update on one owned account it can spread quickly to infect thousands.

Maybe it is time to start thinking in terms of keys (like SSH) that are stored in a USB key and fingerprint protected. Or is that too paranoid for mass consumption? I can see it becoming popular given the right push (in the media, especially), though.

Comment Re:Slight Misfire above.... (Score 1) 476

I happen to be far-sighted. I wear glasses when reading or working on the computer, but not usually when I am using my phone. I can guarantee you that at 8 inches I cannot make out the pixels on my 3GS, much less so for a display with even smaller pixels. Hell, at 8 inches I can't make out the text.

So I guess for me the claim holds up.

Comment Re:Homeowner? His responsibility (Score 1) 574

My neighbor has a tree in her yard. Its branches reach to my house. At point, they touched the house and windy day knocked some of the siding off. I paid to fix it, and paid to have the tree cut back... but my point here is this: should I have to pay yearly to keep her tree from poking my house again? Its her tree, why should I have the expense of making sure it doesn't cross onto my property?

Actually, in that case, you should have recourse to have your neighbor pay for the damages if you have already spoken to her about the encroachment and asked her to rectify it. We have neighbors with plants that over-arch and encroach and we just clear it with the neighbors that when we are working on our yard we will lop off the offending bits. But if we wanted to be whiny about it we could make them do it.

And, not to you, but to all those who are coming up with flawed analogies of broken glass and poisonous gas, and so on: As far as the EM from legal devices she uses legally in her house - that is not encroachment in that the devices are legal and cleared for use in residential properties, the energies that are put out are low (especially by the time you get all the way into the neighbor's house), and the energies are also within the norm for any built-up residential area. This is not like piping poisonous gas onto or blowing a foghorn at the neighbor, this is like planting a non-indigenous tree whose pollen blows around in the wind. (Although where I am the cherry trees are indigenous and the pollen is wreaking havoc with my allergies even now).

Comment Homeowner? His responsibility (Score 5, Insightful) 574

If he is a homeowner, how he protects himself from his surrounding environment is his responsibility. If he really believes he is being made sick by electro-magnetic energies around him maybe he needs to wrap his house in a Faraday cage and shut the hell up.

You can't sue your neighbor when their cherry tree blooms and sets off your allergies. Same thing.

Comment Re:First AGW, Now Homeopathy (Score 1) 507

I find it interesting that chiropractors are all automatically dumped into the bin with the quacks. Sure there are some (too many) quacks out there who say that aligning your spine will cure [insert malady here] but there are also those who are honest about what they do. Those are the ones who will tell you that what they do will only relieve pressure on the spine caused by misalignment and may help to stop the muscle spasms that accompany it. Nothing more, nothing less. Having had good results from a good chiropractor after minor back injuries in the past I am not so quick to dismiss them. Then again, when I saw one of the "quacks and frauds" type (who kept trying to convince me that beyond making my back feel better I would miraculously lose weight and no longer suffer hay-fever - what?) he did nothing to help the current state I was in and ended up making it worse (in 3 visits no less). Following that up with one trip to a good chiropractor had me back on my feet and ready to work again. Chiropractors (the good ones, not the quacks) are also not afraid to recognize more serious issues for what they are and recommend the proper course of action ("No, I can't fix a herniated disc - you need surgery. I'll send the x-rays on to the surgeon." or "You have scoliosis and nothing I do is going to straighten your spine out"). Of course, lumping all chiropractors in with the quacks and frauds is easier. While we're at it let's include physical therapists (much of what they do is similar in scope and aim). It's like saying all car dealers are scam artists because we can point out a few who are without too much trouble.

Comment Re:Define "Conventional" (Score 1) 357

Probably true, but I am in my 40s and have held 15 "regular" jobs (a few were held concurrently, 2 at a time) and have worked as a contractor and ran my own (unsuccessful) business. Considering that this covers a little over 25 years, and several "second" jobs, I would say that admitting to 15 jobs does not make me feel in any way unstable. In fact, the majority of the primary jobs have been steps up, to better positions or better pay.

Comment Welcome to Idiocracy (Score 5, Insightful) 407

FTA: 'So while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.'

Yes, the law says you can make and keep a backup copy of your DVD. But since the law also says that making or delivering a tool to do that is illegal, what are consumers expected to do?* Not everyone can afford to hire Superman to come over for the evening to burn backup DVDs with his laser vision. (Not to mention, he gets bored and starts flipping bits for the hell of it.)

*BTW: consumers are expected to buy the same DVDs multiple times as they get scratched up, left on a windowsill to warp by your nephew or chewed up by your dog, That's what consumers are expected to do.
Operating Systems

Submission + - The Agony of FOSS 'Branding' (earthweb.com)

jammag writes: "The very idea of marketing makes most Free and Open Source software advocates recoil in horror — which really helps marketing-happy Apple and Microsoft. Linux pundit Bruce Byfield examines the agonized state of how FOSS presents itself — its many microbrands and its many flame wars — and asks the community to grow beyond its view of marketing as corporate evil — to better take on corporate software in the process."
Robotics

Submission + - Man Builds 18ft High Robotic Exoskeleton (popsci.com) 1

Hacx writes: Carlos Owens had handled all kinds of machines as an army mechanic, but he always dreamed of using those skills for one project: his own "mecha," a giant metal robot that could mirror the movements of its human pilot.
Owens, 31, began building an 18-foot-tall, one-ton prototype at his home in Wasilla, Alaska, in 2004. Working without blueprints, he first built a full-scale model out of wood. Moving on to steel, he had to devise a hydraulics system that would provide precisely the right leverage and range of movement. He settled on a complex network of cables and hydraulic cylinders that can make the mecha raise its arms, bend its knees, and even do a sit-up.

Owens is working on two more prototypes, modifying the design to make it lighter and more maneuverable. He foresees mechas having uses in the military and the construction industry but acknowledges that right now they're best suited to entertainment. The first application he has in mind: mecha-vs.-mecha battles, demolition-derby style.

www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-05/man-machine

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