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Comment Pretty obvious ways of doing this (Score 1) 75

For un-encrypted communication just flash the lights or display an image using any common one-way protocol.

For encrypted communication, have a camera on the terminal and have the user put his phone up to the terminal and display a picture or pictures that represent an encryption algorithm and a key, then aim the phone's camera at the terminal to receive the encrypted message using any common one-way protocol.

Comment If I can see everything, I win, if not, maybe not (Score 1) 245

If the goal is to make it impractical for someone WITHOUT the ability to monitor the computer including the CPU "from the inside" they may be on to something.

If I can monitor the system at a level of detail where I understand what each "step" does, then I can just put the pieces together and I'll know what's going on. If I'm a debugger that can monitor the CPU and the rest of the system in a way that isn't visible to the code I'm trying to snoop on, it's pretty much game over, I win.

Here's where it gets interesting:

If two computers are collaborating on a task and I have debugger-access to one but I see the other as a "black box" you could design a system in which the fact that I have perfect knowledge of what is going on in computer A doesn't give me a huge amount of insight into what task the two computers are collaborating on and how they are doing it.

Comment Re:A prime example (Score 4, Insightful) 506

Yet another prime example of why alien civilizations won't contact us openly:

Well, that and the fact that you couldn't get here from pretty much anywhere in any reasonable amount of time. Personally, I tend to think that's a bigger reason than any particular human behavior, but hey, whatever works for you.

Comment Re:Dispute - not often at all (Score 3, Insightful) 510

I don't know where you live, but at least in the U.S., pretty much all building codes say that if an engineer has designed it, so it will be. No problems with non-traditional houses, as long as you've got someone competent to design it.

Says the man who has never met a county building inspector. It doesn't matter if code explicitly states that something is permissible--if they don't personally understand it, it doesn't meet code. If they don't like the practice, it doesn't meet code. If they had a fight with their wife that morning, their kid hates them, and the dog just bit them, it doesn't meet code.

Comment Free is no longer free (Score 1) 228

Free (open) is no longer free (as in beer) if compliance costs are high.

This alone will drive companies to import only closed-source or BSD-style licenses where they are not obligated to provide the source and as such are less likely to be sued by someone who stumbles upon a violation that they themselves overlooked.

Comment Re:Zimmerman? (Score 1) 421

The finding was "Not Guilty" which is very different from "Innocent". The jury decided that there was not enough evidence provided to determine beyond a reasonable doubt whether George Zimmerman committed 2nd degree murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter.

In a system designed such that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, how is there any difference between "innocent" and "not guilty?" It's not like juries have a box on their form that says "innocent," so even if it exists, exactly how is this special status you speak of supposed to attach?

Comment Re:Good, now all of Stargate SG1 on one platter (Score 1) 289

They'll still only put three episodes on each disc, so you have to buy the big box set for $99.99, and then go change the disk every couple of hours during a marathon.

Then I'll still not buy it.

If they want my business, they'll have to give me what I want at a price I'm looking for.

The only reason to "still put three episodes on each disk" is if it is re-mastered in such a way that it really does fill up the disk after less than 4 episodes AND that the benefits of re-mastering (higher definition, etc.) are valuable enough FOR ME to go with the newer format rather than the older, more-devices-can-read-the-disk, format.

Here's an example:

Suppose some 4-part movie series was filmed in 70mm in the 1970s but when the DVDs came out they just made it "DVD quality." That's 4 disks. Then they put it on Blue-Ray.

If they put it on just 2 platters, that adds value to me.

If they remaster it in 1080p and it takes 4 disks, that adds value to me.

If they put it on 3 or 4 platters but add lots of extra stuff, that MIGHT be valuable to me, but if it isn't I will stick with the DVD version because it plays on more devices.

If they just put the same files on Blue-Ray along with maybe some ads, I'm going to say WTF??? and get the DVD version instead.

Comment Non-working Blu-Ray disks (Score 1) 289

If your older disks won't work in newer players, you MAY have a consumer-fraud action against the seller of the disk, depending on what country you live.

That's in theory.

In practice, either the company will be nice and let you swap for a newer "compatible" disk so they'll look nice, or if they don't care about looking nice, they'll dare you to sue and their lawyers will squash you and your lawyers like a bug.

Comment They do (Score 1) 289

1) but it's a big box and

2) it's only $40 or so if that's the price the rights-holders sell it for. If they think they can make more money by pricing it higher, they will. If they want to price it higher for any other reason - say, to protect another offering that's already priced higher - they will.

It's not 20 years old yet but Stargate SG-1 is available in a large box, for well north of $100.

What I want is smaller boxes. For stuff that was originally recorded in a way that makes "DVD-quality" as good as you are going to get, I'd rather buy "collections" on Blue-Ray disks in a smaller box than DVDs in a box 2-3 times as big. Give me a 100GB or 300GB disk and I can fit more stuff on my bookshelf. Yes, I am one of those luddites that doesn't want to rely ONLY on spinning metal or silicon to hold my stuff.

Comment Just make all reservations "pending approval" ... (Score 1) 214

... and give anyone who requests a slot within TIMEPERIOD of it becoming available a shot at it.

Whether you give everyone an equal shot lottery-style or give preference to select customers, to new customers, or whatever is up to you.

Bonus points if you make it easier by incorporating the waiting list into the system, or simply not advertising the vacancy if there is someone on the waiting list who is available to take the canceled reservation. After all, that's what waiting lists are for, right?

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