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Comment original eyeballs meant the FIX to a known bug (Score 3, Informative) 303

On a side note, regarding advantage of there being "thousands of eyeballs" verifying its correctness" -
ESR's famous quote is "with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow - the fix will be obvious to someone."

The quote doesn't say anything about correctness. It says that when strange behavior is noticed, someone will see a clear fix. A shallow bug is one that's right there on the surface, where you can see the source of the problem. That's in contrast to one where you have to spend hours searching for what's causing the problem. It makes no claim of how quickly or easily a bug will be discovered - just how it can be fixed once it's discovered.

Comment PS Also, highly motivated people need the truth (Score 1) 162

Another thing that came my mind when reading that the people who are most motivated are the ones who most need to hear the truth. Optimizing for the majority, who is unmotivated, i optimizing for those who are lowest priority.

An example that came to mind is alcoholism, hardcore, chronic alcoholism. There is a process by which a hopeless alcoholic can recover, but it's extremely hard. 95% of people who are "interested in cutting down on their drinking" won't do it. The other 5% have had their lives so utterly destroyed by alcoholism that they'll do ANYTHING to stop.

Those few who are at the end of their rope, who have been hospitalized repeatedly, probably thrown in jail a couple of times, their families have been torn apart, these are a small majority - if the study is small, these people are not even statistically significant. They are also the people whose very lives depend on hearing the unvarnished truth - if they don't take some very difficult advice to heart, the disease will kill them. We should tell these people the truth - the fact that the message will be lost on moderate drinkers doesn't matter.

Comment True. Best = only best results or also correctnes? (Score 1) 162

That's true, you did point out you can put two pieces of advice together, as we did in the "if security is a high priority" scenario.
I guess I'm taking it a little further. WABR, measuring _effectiveness_, is certainly a valid and important way of measuring how "good" a suggestion is. I'm thinking also that correctness, accuracy, is also an important measure of goodness, separate from it's part in effectiveness.

Some correct, accurate advice could be nearly impossible to follow, so it might have no effect on WABR or even a negative effect.
However, especially in the realm of technology, what's almost impossible today may simple to do next week.
Similarly, what's very difficult in the given scenario maybe easy to do in a similar scenario. Therefore giving someone an accurate mental picture has goodness that's not measured with WABR.

In the weight-loss scenario, a diet book written in 1983* wouldn't mention the dangers of sacharrin if they were following WABR. However, in 1985, Nutrasweet showed up. The "ineffective" advice to limit one's consumption of sacharrin would suddenly become effective two years _after_ it was given.

* I don't know what year Nutrasweet hit the mass market, but you get the point.

Comment Do you think we have ISP competition in the US? (Score 1) 223

> If you were correct in your analogy we would not have our current stagnation. At present, Compete.net decides

At present, Compete.net does not exist. ISPs have government granted monopolies. That's true of both telephone company providers and cable providers.

> We still need ... regulation to keep the playing field open

Regulation is why it's closed. You don't solve a problem by doubling up on what caused the problem.
It's illegal, in most areas, to compete. Just remove that regulation against competition- so simple. In some places it's less obvious that competition is illegal. In New York, for example, the city government grants monopolies on a NEIGHBORHOOD basis, there is a map of where each company is allowed to provide service. So you see two companies providing service a few blocks from each other, but neither is allowed to cross the street into the other's territory.

Comment Would send themselves out of business (Solyndra) (Score 1) 223

A company that gives it's money away, goes away, if it doesn't have a special position protected by the government.
Of course, even with special government protection, if you give half a billion dollars to your executives and their friends, the company may eventually run out government favors.

Comment I read TFA and no, not really (Score 3, Insightful) 162

I actually read the whole thing because I'm killing time waiting for something. I think the conclusion is mistaken, though it does have a kernel of a good idea in it. Taken strictly, his sugggestion is dangerous.

It may be that more people will follow the advice of "wear your seatbelt while you text and drive" than "don't text and drive" . Still, the former is bad advice.

Both measures are actually important - what gets the best results (best practice) AND what's most likely to be followed. In the example of avoiding viruses, it would be false to teach that running Avast is the best security from viruses. Running FreeBSD is several orders of magnitude more secure from viruses. The best advice, therefore, acknowledges that fact:

For security-sensitive systems, consider a secure OS such as FreeBSD or Linux. (The national security agency uses Linux for their top-secret systems). If you decide security isn't important enough to leave Windows, then AT LEAST run up-to-date antivirus. For Windows users, we recommend the following anti-virus.

That, I think, is the best advice. In security, I regularly encounter people who have been confused, been taught the "at a minimum, do this" in a way that lead them to believe that minimum is the best that can be done.

To address the weight loss analogy, the best advice would consider both, as follows:
Try to exercise 1-10 hours per week. A morning jog EVERY morning is great. At minimum, park in the back of the parking lot at work and walk two minutes to the door.

Comment Not really, again see the phone companies (Score 4, Insightful) 223

The simplest case is that they aren't required to upgrade. The slightly less simple case is that, like with phone service prior to 1984, regulators set upgrade targets based on information provided by the companies. In the first step, the second case is exactly like the first: a rational actor will blow smoke at regulators trying very hard to avoid significant upgrades (because further investment in upgrades by definition reduces their ROI in a defined-profit model).

When it becomes clear that some upgrade will be needed, the same calculations apply to the marginal cost of different upgrade options. The difference between a $10 million upgrade to the copper vs. a $80 million switch to fiber is $70 million, and far more risk. As above, the extra $70 million and extra risk is a bad thing for the company, so they should fight to only do the $10 million upgrade. In other words, choosing between a $10 million upgrade and a $80 million upgrade is exactly the same as choosing between no upgrade and a $70 million upgrade: a non-stupid company will spend as little as possible, and risk as little as possible, because either way the get the government-mandated profit. Look at the history of (minimal) AT&T service upgrades during the decades they were fully regulated.

Contrast this with removing the government mandated monopoly, in which case a $80 million upgrade will allow the ISP to offer service with 10 times the speed of their competition, resulting profits increasing by $180 million.

Further, consider these two sets of choices:
Compete.net has $80 million to spend on upgrades. They can either spend $80 million on fiber, or $65 million on fresh copper.
If they buy fresh copper, outages will be reduced, increasing profit by 2%. If they buy fiber, service will be WAY better, increasing profit by 50%. Acme should of course spend the money on fiber.

Regulated.net must spend $80 million on upgrades. They can either spend that $80 million buying fresh copper or spend it on fiber.If they buy fresh copper, profits are unaffected. If they buy fiber, profits are unaffected. If they buy $65M worth of copper from the CEO's bother-in-law for $80M, there's an extra $15M profit to the company run by the brother-in-law, to be shared with the family.

Regulated.net doesn't CARE that they've wasted millions of dollars by essentially giving it away to friends and relatives - their profit is the same either way. In Compete.net tried the same thing, shareholders would be in an uproar and their CEO would soon be sharing a jail cell with Bernie.

Comment upgrading network would be stupid, rocking the boa (Score 3, Insightful) 223

There is no need to imagine what might happen, we've had regulated industries and we know how they work. An example you probably remember is long distance phone service. The government set the cost recovery rate at $0.40/minute USD1980 ($2 / minute in 2014 dollars).

If you want to ponder about similarly situated ISPs and their upgrade plans, imagine you are on the board. You have two choices:

a) Issue more stock to raise $80 million and risk your reputation attempting a difficult upgrade, the split get the government-mandated $10 million profit with the new stockholders.

b) do nothing and have the mandated $10 million profit all to yourself.

When your profit is set by law, the only rational course of action is to not rock the boat and spend your days on the golf course.

Comment "not the not step"? (Score 1) 179

"Why are you so sure it's not the not step"

Can you rephrase that, I'm not understanding what you mean. As far as what I'm sure of, I said, "they May have a good idea, we won't know until ..."

I didn't say they don't have an awesome idea (or that they do). I'm saying there is no reason to think it's good or bad, based on the researchers not knowing how to decrypt it. Anyone can string together a series of mathematical operations that they don't know how to undo.

Comment anyone can devise encryption they can't break (Score 4, Insightful) 179

The author's claim that it's very hard to break only means that THEY don't know how to break it. That's meaningless, because anyone and everyone can come up with a puzzle they don't know how to solve. That doesn't mean it's hard, just that they don't know how it's done.

A trivial example would be a kindergartener who might observe that if you encode a message by writing it with letters, they don't kow how to read that message. That's only because the kid doesn't know how to read. It in no way suggests that reading is impossible. For many Slashdot readers, compiling a message into a Windows resource file makes unreadable _to_them. Windows resource files are of course quite easy to read, if you know how. These researchers don't know how to read their own encoding. So what? That doesn't mean _I_ don't know how to read their stuff.

Their scheme does have one attribute that's good - it can generate long keys. So can a random number generator. They MAY have a good idea, but we won't know until alot of other people try to break their encryption and fail.

Comment DMCA: content back up if you respond (Score 1) 306

Under DMCA, the video or other content is supposed to be immediately restored if you respond, saying it's not infringing. The DMCA calls this a counterclaim. It stays up unless the claimant files suit in federal court.

The law should definitely be adjusted to reduce automated takedown notices, perhaps by strengthening the penalty for a reckless claim or requiring that the claimant investigate beyond "good faith belief". Other than that, the procedure defined in DMCA is actually pretty reasonable.

Comment done. disclosure: I get a friggin T shirt (Score 1) 84

I submitted your email address, which I assume triggers their system to send you a link, or a real person from WGU will email you.

Full disclosure :You get the application fee waived , I get $20 credit for the school store, where I could get a WGU T-shirt or something if I wanted one. No thanks, I'll get a Texas Task Force One shirt from work. :)

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