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Comment Re:How to live in denial. (Score 5, Informative) 419

What's most interesting about your experience was that Amazon had "about a dozen reviews" for a product that hadn't even gotten into the hands of American consumers. If anyone is spamming Amazon, it sounds like the marketing company selling the product astroturfed Amazon with fake pre-release reviews.

I hope these kooks come to "SSXW" in Spring of 2012 as promised.

Seth

Comment try walking around with $10,000 in cash (Score 5, Informative) 448

If you are pulled over by the cops on your way to purchase a car from a guy on Craigslist, the cops can outright confiscate your money if you're holding more than $10k in cash.

Since most people on Craigslist require cash transactions, that jeopardizes a great many peoples' right to presumption of innocence. After the money is confiscated, they are put into the position of proving they are innocent.

Seth

Comment Re:Well, so much for... (Score 4, Interesting) 658

The problem with getting rid of the security theater is that true security will be impractical for air travel to continue. What has been implemented now is an expensive, ineffective compromise between 'protection' and enabling air travel. The main result is the inconvenience of millions of people and the wasting of billions of dollars.

Example: According to the TSA site, rules prohibit a passenger from carrying more than 100ml of liquid through a security checkpoint. I have no idea how much explosive liquid it would take to cause a serious problem aboard a plane, but I would assume a liter of something would achieve a terrorist's goal. This could easily be accomplished under current rules by having ten terrorists each bring a 100ml bottle of explosive fluid through the security checkpoint, then combining the volume once inside the plane. Even easier would be for one terrorist to simply make ten trips through security, each time bringing in another 100ml bottle of explosive fluid and stashing them somewhere within the gates area to then be combined into a 1-liter explosive bomb.

Comment ABSOLUTELY Go Hosted (Score 1) 382

I used to host my own server for a small user community. I found myself burning up dozens of hours at a go dealing with annoying and basic administration responsiblities when I really wanted to work on higher-level stuff like performance-tuning and content management. Hackers were an ongoing threat to my free time.

You can rationalize away all of this and intend to just do things right from the start.You're going to eventually get hacked in some way. This isn't your primary job, so eventually a vulnerability will arise in one of your web apps and it's going to get exploited on your server. What's your backup strategy? Are you going to want to reformat the hard drive, reinstall the OS, and roll the database back to a recent snapshot prior to the break-in?

Let the administration be the hosting provider's headache. With a company like Dreamhost, if your web app becomes compromised, you can roll back the database and filesystem to backups taken hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly. Your site will be up within minutes and then you can work on patching.

Seth

Comment lack of real-world experience (Score 3, Informative) 112

If this grad school student were to spend a summer working with concrete, he would learn that it's not a medium suited for 3-D printing.

Civil engineers would reject any concrete structure design proposed with 3-D printing. They despise cold joints, and if a vertical support consisted of dozens of cold joints, that's a no-go from the beginning. That's just one dimension of this flawed concept. Comparing a flexible material like a palm tree to an absolutely rigid material like concrete is pure folly. Concrete structures don't bend under load. They crack and break.

Seth

Comment difference between Google and Yahoo (Score 1) 200

Sure, Google's offerings are diverse and far from consistently successful. But the distinction is that most of them are home-grown efforts. Sure, there were huge acquisitions like YouTube, Picassa, and SketchUp. But all of these pale in comparison to the gargantuan squandering of resources Yahoo is guilty of in a single purchase: Broadcast.com.

What can $2 billion dollars accomplish? As was demonstrated by an idiot savant, $2 billion will buy you an NBA championship ring. Management of the $2 billion Yahoo spent acquiring Broadcast.com was handled by Marc Cuban, who used the money to buy one of the shittiest teams in the NBA, then slowly stock it with talent until the Mavericks won a title. Meanwhile, Yahoo figured out that Broadcast.com was little more than a clever pitch that played well in the boardroom, but failed to ever turn any kind of profit. Now it doesn't much exist as even a URL.

And who was the mental giant that hoodwinked yahoo? The same guy who:

Don't measure Yahoo by the wisdom of its own ideas. Measure it by the ideas of those who have successfully tricked Yahoo in the past. To clarify, Yahoo bought Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion, of which Cuban ran off with about $2 billion. As far as Yahoo is concerned, it literally vaporized $5.7 billion in wealth through this transaction.

Seth

Comment Quad Core is not just for handhelds (Score 3, Insightful) 123

Apple has been twisting Intel's arm (that IS a pun) about power consumption and threatening to dump their chips in favor of ARM. Another way Intel limits Apple is that their product cycles are tied to Intel's product cycles, which constrains Apple to a parity with other laptop vendors. By moving to a homebrewed CPU, it would give Apple even more architectural control / freedom which would assist in differentiating Apple products from their competition.

Funny how it all comes full circle. Apple suffered from having its unique RISC architecture for many years. Then Apple conformed to X86 for just a few years and leveraged that to get enough marketshare that they can move back to an independent architecture again.

Seth

Comment Re:It's worse than you think (Score 1) 119

I would agree with a lot of what you say. The main weakness with these security systems is the true quality of the images.

In 2008, a man set fire to the Texas Governor's Mansion with a molotov cocktail. The structure essentially burned to the ground. He had to jump a fence and walk across the mansion grounds to lob the bottle. It's all on video. Three years later, no one has been charged with the crime.

Video camera footage is pretty hit-and-miss, while hard data like IP addresses, license plate photos, etc. are hard to evade. In the case of this collar bomber, the police likely had an easy path to follow. Google turned over the IP address that created the Gmail account. That pointed them at the Chicago airport. From that, they could have possibly collected a log of MAC addresses from the free wifi provider. Since the suspect had driven his car to the airport, they had photos of his license plate. That easily cross-references with the plane tickets to Australia to perform the attack. The MAC addresses also would cross-reference against the logs of paid wifi service providers.

--seth

Comment Re:No bandwidth limiting yet (Score 1) 207

However, times have changed, games have been tailored to higher resolutions

Not trying to initiate a debate here, but are recent games really tailored to higher resolutions? Seems like most consumers are only running 1080p displays. Since so many games are developed with consoles in mind, I'd think the resolutions would be bound to what the consoles are connecting to, which is also 1080p.

I miss the days of high resolution gaming....

Seth

Comment Re:The R&D does continue (Score 2) 674

I'm probably one of those people.

My ideal setup:
  • 15" Cerwin Vega! speakers
  • Marantz receiver

Done.

And when your friends come over checking the system out, they might ask, "Why does the speaker manufacturer's name have an exclamation point at the end of it?" You tell them, "Because when you're throwing a party and someone asks, 'What kind of speakers are those?' you're going to have to yell, 'CERWIN VEGA!'"

Seth

Comment Re:Looking at the /. poll... (Score 1) 339

No doubt you are correct.

Even so, I was re-watching Pulp Fiction a couple of months ago and looking at Uma in her scene with Travolta at the 50s diner. As she kept exhaling cigarette smoke I couldn't help but look at her face and notice things I didn't remember from back in the nineties. She's got really buggy eyes, and that Betty Page haircut really hasn't aged well. She was definitely 'IT' when Pulp Fiction came out, but her attractiveness isn't timeless.

Seth

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