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Comment Re:Precisely how... (Score 2) 147

ACPI WMI specs from the HW makers would be nice. It's frustrating how many laptops have broken hotkeys under Linux.

If we are currently at the point where you can't even get the details of what the Windows Management Instrumentation blobs embedded in the motherboard firmware mean, that might be another reason why somebody running a Linux company might dislike ACPI...

As long as (through some mixture of overt standard-setting to that effect, and basic 'you actually think that we are going to keep testing our BIOS once it boots Windows? That means that it's ready to ship!' OEM engineering) proprietary firmware is basically the lowest level of Windows drivers, writing other OSes on top of it just isn't going to be a pleasant experience.

Comment Re:I don't blame him (Score 2) 102

If I was the maker of Bitcoin, I'd want privacy too. I am sure interested parties (Read: NSA/CIA/FBI/DEA/etc.) would love to question (Read: Guantanamo Bay) the makers of this almost anonymous currency.

In all seriousness, what questions would you want to ask? If somebody thinks that he's still sitting on a huge pile of bitcoins, they'd probably want those transferred to a new owner; but there aren't a lot of other secrets to be had, aside from tedious and largely pointless questions about 'So, what inspired you to create a cryptocurrency?' How it works is a matter of public knowledge, and if there are any undocumented lemmae your best bet is probably to ask your own in-house team of world class cryptographers to read the paper and drink some coffee while thinking about it.

Maybe some enraged central bank chairman wants to take a rasp to his teeth just for spite; but there isn't much interrogative value.

Comment Re:Evidence? (Score 5, Insightful) 102

Even aside from the shoddy standards of evidence (Newsweek, shoddy reporting? Knock me over with a feather...), how well can something possibly go when a 'news' organization decides that what their readers really need is a human interest angle on this 'bit-coin' thing that the geeks are talking about. And not just any squishy 'human interest' bullshit; but squishy 'human interest' bullshit about somebody who (even if he were the creator) now has essentially no known or suspected activity (unlike, say, the large stable of colorful characters operating exchanges and controversial ASIC operations and so on).

It's like a newspaper deciding that, in order to help readers understand the operations of the American government, they are going to entirely ignore all contemporary politicians and political happenings in order to write: "The Mysterious Writer Behind 'Common Sense' Unmasked!".

The fact that they appear to be harassing a sick, troubled, old man for cheap pageviews is just ghoulish; but the very premise they started from is shitty journalism: "Well, we don't know anything about cryptography, and our readers wouldn't know a prime number from a subprime number, so we'll ignore that, and the (moderately high stakes, at times) contemporary wheeling and dealing in the exchange and mining arenas is all complex and stuff, so let's just unmask the mysterious mystery man, and maybe do some tepid armchair psychology about what made him act... Everybody loves that shit, and it requires no special skills, knowledge, or attention span, so it should move eyeballs."

Comment Re:not that simple... (Score 1) 48

I should have phrased that a bit more clearly: it's perfectly possible for different people(or even the same people, with different bitcoins) to have 'eh, you'll just have to trust us on that; but it sure is fast!' and mathemagic-crypto-money at the same time, it's not as though the presence of one activity irrevocably taints the entire pool of bitcoins for the other; but any specific bitcoin (or subdivision of one) can only have one or the other:

Someone always has to be the one holding the private keys, and they are the only ones for which the elegant math and its assurances apply(and even for them, it only applies to the BTC side of a transaction, not to whatever the other party promised to deliver in exchange for that irreversible payment).

You can layer all sorts of arrangements on top of that, as the exchanges do(where the exchange, not its users, is the one holding the keys; but near-instant clearance, escrow, transaction reversals, etc. are all possible because all 'transactions' are just the exchange shuffling bits internally), or a transaction broker/insurer type model, as you propose, or a conventional escrow service, or any number of other possible contractual arrangements.

Nothing about bitcoins magically prevents the use of any of the zillions of arrangements we've applied to commodities and mediums of exchange throughout history, my point is just that, if you are a participant in those things, the properties attributed to bitcoins are largely irrelevant to you(basically the only one that matters is double-spending prevention, without which inflation would render all of them worthless within a few hundreds of milliseconds), and if you do want to enjoy all the properties of bitcoins, the list of things you can do with them gets a great deal shorter.

That's not some scathing condemnation, every medium of exchange in history has only functioned because some semblance of law, custom, or a mixture of the two kept the surrounding institutions vaguely in check, fraud within sufferable limits, and so on; but bitcoin brings nothing new to the table here, except in the very narrowest range of uses, where its mathematical properties do hold, and if you wander outside of that, it's open season.

Comment Re:The point of an exchange (Score 2) 48

It would be interesting, if somehow the exchange functionality were built into the protocol and entirely P2P. Getting rid of these centralized exchanges seems like it would really stabilize the currency. I don't know how remotely feasible that would be, it is far too early in the morning without coffee.

Effectively, what you describe is the protocol(which is p2p as well), except that the protocol does not address the issue of matching prospective buyers and prospective sellers (a protocol that does this, without a central market-operator, would be neat; but bodging one into a protocol for transferring virtual coins without double-spending would probably be unwieldy, though clients that implement both would be logical).

Perhaps the more fundamental issue (aside from any empirically hairy and/or provably intractable issues with an authority-less market protocol and select classes of DoS attacks or something) is that the blockchain arrangement that bitcoin uses(while secure, even without an authority, exactly as intended) isn't particularly fast, and obviously is of no value whatsoever for cashing in or out between BTC and another currency.

The 'exchanges', since they (from bitcoin's point of view) are just one entity making internal, irrelevant, decisions about how many of its coins go in box #1 and how many in box #2 and so on can 'transfer' coins at near-arbitrary speed (since the 'transfer' is just an internal number-shuffling, not an actual bitcoin transfer in the architectural sense) and, if suitably set up, can also perform transfers between holders of currency and holders of bitcoins.

Really, I'm inclined to view 'exchanges' (and their generally atrocious track record on getting hacked, being outright scams, etc.) as one of the major symptoms of Bitcoin's fascinating, and slightly tragic, clarification of the virtues and limits of its concept: you can have a currency-like instrument, perfect in its crystalline mathematical security or you can have the features people expect from money; but getting both? That isn't obviously a problem that is in-scope for mathematics, much less solvable...

Comment Re:Living in 1925 kinda sucked (Score 1) 516

Also, why in God's Green Earth are we talking about regressing to the 1920s? When did we give up on progress?

Well, the Great Depression hadn't happened yet, and none of that commie 'New Deal' nonsense, so if you would really prefer to keep partying like the Gilded Age hasn't quite ended, you might see a trip back to the '20s as progress...

Comment Re:Greenspan's right (Score 1) 516

How does marketing and advertising impact this?

To the degree that it doesn't merely shove people from Company A's product to Company B's product(which would probably be roughly a wash hedonically, though possibly slightly negative if a company were to discover that the marginal value of a dollar spent on advertising is higher than a dollar spent on improving products...), I'd have to assume that the news is more or less 100% bad.

When the punchline is that possessing Product and/or Service X will make you better off; and the target demographic is 'people who currently don't have one; but might be willing to believe that', it's pretty much best-case that the ad will fail, and increasing levels of added dissatisfaction with lack of Product X for the other cases.

Comment Re:Greenspan's right (Score 3, Informative) 516

Here's a better idea Mr. Greenspam. How about we make your pay equal to everybody elses? (My insulting consulting invoice is issued by the way)

You'd pay him that much?

Even after his tragicomic “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief"; but, not to worry, “Whatever regulatory changes are made, they will pale in comparison to the change already evident in today’s markets...Those markets for an indefinite future will be far more restrained than would any currently contemplated new regulatory regime.” performance?

(I guess, horribly enough, the fact that the events of the day did move him to concede that the 'free markets just full of rational actors!' model...might have a few weak spots... actually makes him a better empiricist than more than a few other economists in that camp.)

Comment Re:Fourth Amendment (Score 1) 186

Unfortunately, what you avoid in union management you gain in contracting company executives and shareholders...

Even if you derive so much pleasure from stepping on workers that it's illegal in 14 southern states, that's an expensive way to get rid of some unions...(and that's the best-case scenario, the cost-benefit looks worse if you don't.)

Comment Re:If you want to hoard bits... (Score 1) 983

There's also the matter of your expected retrieval case: tapes almost certainly beat HDDs in the archival timeframe, so suck it up and pay up; and they (if reasonably modern) can be alarmingly fast at the linear reads and writes associated with doing full restores or fast backups of data that have been suitably lined up to be shoved onto tape.

On the other hand, they are almost perversely non-random-access(doubly so if you are talking about a multi-tape set with library swapping, more than doubly so if you are talking about a multi-tape set larger than your library can handle with junior-admin swapping), so the 'somebody fucked up, they need File X to be like it was three months ago' scenario sucks.

Nearline or consumer SATA on undistinguished controllers aren't quite as zippy; but they might as well be a RAMdisk compared to tape if you are doing small-scale restores, though probably not as fast if de-icing a much larger dataset for wholesale restoration of multiple systems.

Comment Re:Workaround? (Score 1) 126

On phones that use Samsung's RIL; but either custom firmware or substantially-modifiable rooted firmware, the SELinux capabilities that they (fairly recently, was it 4.2?) could presumably be used to nuke most of the risk. Assuming it uses the filesystem commands at all, the legitimate day-to-day uses are presumably a few specific 'we were too cheap for NVRAM' locations that (if not documented, should at least be empirically determinable) you could then restrict it to.

Now, if you just need a few megs of cheap storage and don't want to bump the BoM, building an arbitrary filesystem access mechanism seems so sloppy and unconcerned with actual security as to make me wonder what else they fucked up; but SELinux is pretty powerful, if a pain, at granular lockdown of lousy or dangerous software.

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