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Comment Blocking JavaScript does not defeat ETAGs (Score 3, Informative) 173

JavaScript is not needed at all: an etag header can be used to track you across different sites by including say a .CSS or .GIF file served by using a shared "tracking url" at a known site.


In the first request, the response header has ETag: "97a-494505e0c46c0"

In the second request, the request header has If-None-Match: "97a-494505e0c46c0" - this acts like a cookie.

If the "tracking" server receives a request with no If-None-Match: header, it replies with the file and sets the ETag to a unique value (exactly equivalent to the "cookie" value). If the server receives a request with the If-None-Match:, the value can be used to track the user... for example the server takes the If-None-Match: value, and returns back the image with the same etag value, and *also* set a cookie with that value in the response header!

Comment Is real science from Dunedin Longitudinal Study (Score 3, Informative) 245

Here is an interview about this in particular (not sure if available outside NZ!): or google for background information.

It is a very rigourous study that has been going for nearly 40 years (now on phase 38), producing 900 papers, and a superb data set because they still have an amazing 96% of the original sample set (now aged about 40) getting regularly tested. They go to extreme lengths to continue keeping the original people coming back - e.g. organising flights for all the people that have elsewhere including a large number that are spread around the world.

Comment Re:That could be very nice for Tomato Firmware (Score 1) 350

Tomato Firmware is still stuck on Linux 2.4 because Broadcom's driver blob

The Beta Tomato firmware uses 2.6 and supports many broadcom devices using the open source b43 driver. e.g. from my Asus520GU:

Tomato Firmware v1.28.9048 MIPSR1-beta18 K26 USB Lite

USB support integration and GUI,
Linux kernel and Broadcom Wireless Driver updates

Comment Re:Days of Garage Inventor long gone(if ever exist (Score 1) 398

But true scientific R&D, where you discover something new, forget about it for the most part.

Bollocks: that might be true for some scientific disciplines, but it is not true for all.

The difficulties with "scientific discoveries" is:

  • Are you just doing it for recognition?
  • Amateurs make discoveries all the time and publish on internet. Join an amateur scientist community. They often don't get much recognition for it though.
  • Do you want to be published? If so barriers depend upon your discipline. Probably unrealistic for hobby to expect to get published in major journals.
  • In highly competitive fields, you need to devote a lot of time to it. All the great scientists did.

Have a look at biology: the smaller you go the less we know - crap-loads of stuff waiting to be discovered. And if you have hard science or software skills, all the better!

  • a large percentage of insect species have not been catalogued (you can even get a species named after you if you become part of the entomological community)
  • bacteria, mycologia, viruses, etc: pick an ecology that is not popular: you *will* find new discoveries. Requires some expense, but acheivable if you are keen.

Sociology/Anthropology: heaps of opportunities here. Ooooodles of free data available if you want to process information from internet. OR watch a group of people and follow your nose on something interesting.

Comment Re:Pretty close... (Score 1) 188

If we do a histogram of that data we get:
Bin . . . Frequency
02.5 . . . 1
05.0 . . . 3
07.5 . . . 3
10.0 . . . 3
12.5 . . . 5
15.0 . . . 7
More . . . 4
If we have trouble finding "dimmer" stars, there could be a lot of them (Bunch of presumptions, including that the "more" category is small because we are having trouble finding dim stars!!!).

Comment Re:Irony (Score 1) 306

Being paid to do nothing is how unemployment works

Actually, when unemployed ones' job is to seek work. This is because seeking work is "useful" to the economy (even though one is not working).

Government economic policy wants enough people actively seeking jobs, such that the wages for those jobs is not increasing (or increase is limited, say to a couple of %). The theory is that keeping wages from increasing is one factor that keeps inflation under control.

Comment Re:Honeypot? (Score 1) 105

> I'm interested in buying access to hosts within OWN_IP_BLOCK, anybody have some?

Can this be mitigated? Is it realistic? Will you know how it was compromised?

A primary means black hats use to measure trust for purchases is repeat sales to the same buyer (for differing needs) and maybe some illegal activity e.g. paid via illegal means (to filter out anyone that is constrained to only legal means). Passing those tests is difficult (although possible by professional white-hat-consultants, however white hats want to remain undetected by the black hats so have constraints).

It is also dependent on the price you are willing to pay. Obviously you need to pay the botnet herder more than the sum of: worth of the machine to them, cost of the risk to them due to transaction, cost of sales, their normal profit margin.

If you offer a little, all you will find is bottom feeders and liars - i.e. information value is low.

If you offer a lot, you are giving an incentive to get your network compromised.

Comment Move to New Zealand (Score 1) 1197

We have a free state health care system, and a private health care system, and they both work (from my own anecdotes, and our health stats mostly rank better than the US).

Private health care (i.e. health care beyond what the state provides) is cheap (unless you are below average income), available and it also works. An 'expensive' all-options private plan for a single 40 year old with an unhealthy lifestyle but no pre-conditions is about USD30 per week - try out the calculator (I hope that it is accessable from a non-NZ IP address). You can get a quote by selecting a plan and answering 4 questions:

  1. Are you a non-smoker? ie. have not smoked at all over the past 12 months.
  2. Do you eat five servings or more of fruit and vegetables per day?
  3. Do you exercise three or more times a week?
  4. Do you drink: Female - two or less glasses of alcohol a day (14 per week)? Male - three or less glasses of alcohol a day (21 per week)?

PS: We have a simple tax system too:

Disclaimer: I am from NZ and I do want US immigrants because those that move tend to be smart and motivated and that helps our economy!. Don't take my word for it - ask other US citizens that have moved here.

Comment Re:Was it a cause of his legal trouble? (Score 2, Interesting) 691

Have a tax code that's short enough for a single person to read completely through in less than 2000 hours of reading (leaving two weeks for actual work)

Become a New Zealand citizen... seriously.

Our tax code is 3408 (PDF) pages long: . Most of that is irrelevant and can be skimmed (contents: You would need to revoke your US citizenship: "If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad." as per,,id=97324,00.html

Other reasons:

  • I am now a part owner of a business, and I find tax simpler now I am not a normal tax payer.
  • If you are a normal tax earner, the process is simple (and extremely simple if you get a tax consultant to do it - although most people don't bother).
  • It is a great place to live. Most stats confirm that.
  • The New Zealand IRD (IRS equivalent) has a very good online system where you can review your personal or business IRD account and details i.e. tax payments, tax due, etc etc.
  • A downside is that you will have to learn parts of three other languages: Maori, Credulous and Monty.
  • Our IRD usually just want to sort out problems, with the minimum of hassle. I personally have sorted out some complex back-dated issues.
  • New Zealanders generally like Americans (your government hasn't done anything obviously nasty to us).
  • The IRD have a call centre, and when I used it I have always been treated well, and I have talked to competent staff that answered questions (or that passed me to relevant managers, or otherwise they got information correct). I have also emailed the IRD (on their web system) and they gave back correct and helpful information. The call centre has a toll-free number, and if it is busy, the phone system tells you how long the wait is, and asks you if you want a call back.
  • New Zealand is not a police state.

Fundamentally, it seems like the New Zealand IRD is really interested in not wasting your time. I cringe at the stories about the IRS, and the dealing personal friends have had with it.

PS: Our state and private health care systems work too (from experience. Also our health stats mostly rank better than the US). If you want to pay for private health care (i.e. health care beyond what your taxes pay for) it is cheap, available and it also works.An expensive all-options private plan for an unhealthy 40 year old is about USD30 per week. (I hope accessable from a non-NZ IP address). Get a quote by selecting a plan and answering 4 questions: (Q1) Are you a non-smoker? ie. have not smoked at all over the past 12 months, (Q2) Do you eat five servings or more of fruit and vegetables per day? (Q3) Do you exercise three or more times a week? (Q4) Do you drink: Female - two or less glasses of alcohol a day (14 per week)? Male - three or less glasses of alcohol a day (21 per week)?

Comment Re:Saving Yourself A World Of Pain (Score 1) 766

You mention advantages of RAID. I didn't discover some of the disadvantages of software RAID until I had converted over (Disclaimer: I am not a power Linux user, but I do have IT skills beyond the average user).

  • There was no clear warning if a drive had failed (Ubuntu 8.04). There needs to be a UI that shouts at the user to replace a drive, preferably before logging in (I set up a repeating beep script with a unique tone, but no average user could do that).
  • Difficult to convert over from an existing install.
  • In the time I had, I couldn't get it to boot from the RAID drive I had set up (I ended up using a separate partition for /boot.. For me it that was just more complexity.)
  • Your average "I can change a hard drive" user will still have trouble knowing which drive has failed. Rack mount RAID drives or server PC RAID drives usually have a lovely user interface with a nice red flashing X dead-drive-icon on the failed drive.
  • gparted doesn't know about software RAID drives (Ubuntu 8.04). I presume that is fixed now, but there are still plenty of tools that don't understand RAIDed drives. Hardware RAID will work better with tools.
  • Can a "non-techie windows user" do multi-boot with Windows and a software RAIDed drive? Some Live CDs would also be problematic.
  • I need to resize my RAIDed partitions, and it is going to require extra work and risk.

My difficulties showed me that I could recommend software RAID only to a very particular subset of Linux users. I can't imagine using it for a "non-techie windows user" or an average user. I personally will continue to use RAID, but I have already sunk time into learning how to, and I have abnormal reasons which mean that I am happy to continue to waste time working around the downsides and managing my RAIDed system.

Comment Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (Score 1) 165

I far prefer speaking with foreigners that have a something different from a US accent or BBC accent. Irish, Ozzie, Jordie, whatever.

It is usually a good sign that they have learnt the language by immersion, rather than by reading.

I find that when I speak with people that have learnt english by using books, they never recover from the errors that occur (many errors are grossly obvious that they are due to thinking, rather than listening).

I agree with other posters that singing, watching vids, watching movies, internet chat or anying so long as it is learning by ear is preferable than by mind. Be like a child, learn like a child, and speak a language properly.

I suspect geeks are especially susceptible to trying to learn via other unnatural cerebral routes and stuffing it up!

Comment Re:Needed: DIY education software (Score 1) 159

The problem is, without literacy there is generally very, very, very little aptitude for learning

So if you can't read you are a thick hopeless lost cause? Condescending you are.

Of the illiterate people I know (I admit I am in the first world so not heaps), the best technique for getting them to read and write has been the computer. It doesn't judge and it is patient. And they are motivated to learn because there is *something* of interest to them. Trying to read the rules about a game. Surfing pron. Racing the typing tutor. Whatever. Try it with any illiterate friends or their children and find something that interests them that needs them to read some simple words.

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