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Comment Re:Some important missing details (Score 1) 233

ArenaNet has now taught people, if you see something that is too good to be true, it probably is and should be reported.

The players have been taught to fear ArenaNet. They should put that on the box. I've never seen a game with "fear us" as a unique selling point.

The basic idea of buy low, sell high has been a staple of gaming for as long as I can remember. In fact, there are many games where the primary mechanic is to buy and sell items for a profit from NPC vendors (as early as Taipei and, most recently, Port Royale 3).

So the people that did this knew that something was possibly wrong (or greatly in their favor) and abused to get ahead in the game.

I'll try to remember to never do anything that is greatly in my favor when I play an ArenaNet game.

I really don't care what I do in a game. It's a game. I've murdered people that never did anything to me (pretty much every CRPG ever made). I've razed entire villages just to loot their bent copper pieces and loaves of bread (Morrowind). Every MMO game I have ever played (with the exception of ATITD) has treated me as a hired killer, "no questions asked", and I've never had a problem with that. Buying items on the cheap from an NPC vendor isn't even on my morality meter. Hell, in multiple games I have slaughted every NPC vendor in town and took everything they had as soon as their corpses hit the ground (Ultima I, II and III and nethack).

Comment Re:I keep laughing at my friends... (Score 1) 223

Spreads of 1/2 twenty years ago actually sounds pretty small. I did a lot of daytrading in 1997 and lots of stocks had spreads of a point or more. Large stocks typically had a spread of 1/8, expanding to a 1/2 during high volume. Today, HFT has driven spreads down to one cent. I agree with your facts, but I don't agree with the picture you paint.

In my opinion, the two major events that shaped the US daily markets are: the introduction of SOES trading in 1988 and the introduction of 1 cent increments in 2001.

SOES basically created daytraders. Daytrading reduced spreads from 1 to 2 points down to 1/8 or a 1/16. It wasn't feasible to get below 1/16 because the markets didn't allow arbitrary increments (you could get 1/32 but everyone hated that). By the time I quit, markets were toying with introducing 1 cent increments.

One cent increments created HFT. Now we have tons of liquidity and spreads are typically a few cents. However, this hasn't done squat for investors. Daytrading produced plenty of liquidity for any reasonable investor. If you're worried over a 1/16 spread then you're not making an informed investment decision.

As I was writing this post I just closed out a short-term trade (not even an investment). I put in my sell order at 67.90 and got filled at 67.91. 1 cent on a point trade. I don't give a shit. That kind of liquidity serves no purpose. Paying $5 less commission or saving a few cents on the spread is nice for me, but these piddling items are not going to affect anybody's investment decisions.

SOES gave us small spreads; HFT is giving us market instability.

Comment stop spreading misinformation (Score 1) 105

"a free, Stanford-caliber online course".

Who is making this claim? Normally when you attach a link to a statement it is because the link provides some supporting evidence for the statement. That is not the case here.

As far as I am aware, neither Thrun nor anyone associated with Udacity has made a claim that the online classes are Stanford-level. I have taken two of his online classes. Thrun is brilliant and I enjoyed his lectures a lot. However, the homework and exams are not at a top 20 University level.

Please have some consideration for the more credulous of the online students. Based on my perusals of the class forums, some of them really believe that they are getting a Stanford-level education. I think this is largely due to the copy-and-paste media monkeys that continue to promote the fallacy that these classes are Stanford-level.

Comment Re:Any 8 character password? (Score 1) 212

Looks like it's time to change my password to "password1".

I know this is just a joke, but we really need to stop propagating the idea that memorable passwords are weak.

The brute force search space of "password1" is 486 times larger than "password" (36^9 versus 26^8). Increasing the length of a password is one of the best ways to strengthen it. Intuitively, a randomized string is better than a structured one. This is correct, but only when the strings have equal length. Humans cannot remember long randomized strings. A lengthy, structured password is stronger against computerized attacks since the search space is significantly larger.

According to Princeton's WordNet there are at least 117,000 English nouns. A memorable four-noun phrase has a search space 2600 times larger than a randomized 7-bit ASCII eight-character password (117000^4 versus 128^8).

An obligatory XKCD with discussion can be found here.

Comment Re:Mr. Wall, please sit down... (Score 1) 577

Actually, I think this is very scary.

Imagine if somebody came into your house and wrote their name on all of your belongings with a permanent marker. You laugh at them at say "Go away, silly man.". But, then they return a week later with a policeman and arrest you for theft. That is what is happening on a global scale.

The US is building a system which allows US corporations to grab everything and claim it is theirs forever. If you complain, they will flash a legal document saying it belongs to them and then throw you in jail (or threaten to do bad things to your country).

This is basically a return to the Dark Ages of "might makes right". The US has the largest military, so they can enforce their ridiculous claims. The filing of copyrights and patents are merely a flimsy veneer of civility over outright bullying.

Comment what if he wins (Score 1) 326

*sarcasm on*

Well, everything looks to be in order. I say he wins. The only question now is how much to award him. Zuckerberg is getting $5 billion for creating a single company (that creates nothing). So, for creating the entire multimedia Internet ... I guess $5 trillion should be about right.

*sarcasm off*

Sorry, guys. Our global financial system is broken.

Comment Re:Many versus Awesome (Score 1) 600

Interesting post. However, this method relies on units being differentiable. In short, it uses "hit points" to model unit health. Modern warfare doesn't work like that. Disabling an advanced military unit is mostly about getting an effective hit. You don't half disable planes. A single effective hit puts it out of action.

Give me 50 planes/tanks and you can have 100 planes/tanks. I'll command my units to fire the first volley at 50 of your planes/tanks. Feel free to have all of your units concentrate fire on a small subset of my units. I'm confident that I'll make a good showing.

When combat is all about getting an effective hit, then Lanchester's Laws do not apply. He only models offensive firepower and ignores defensive capability. Therefore, the model is only effective for unarmored troops. This is mentioned in the link you provided.

Warhammer's hit/no-hit methodology may be a better game system than Starcraft for studying armored/advanced unit tactics.

Comment Nothing unusual happens (Score 1) 592

What do you do when your cloud fails? The answer is: the same thing that happens when any hosting solution fails.

Clouds are for hosting data, not storing it. Data storage is an old problem that was well solved a long time ago. The current incarnation of cloud computing exists to solve the hosting problem, not the storing problem.

If you're storing data in a cloud, then you're doing it wrong.

Your cloud hosting fail-over procedure is to mirror the files on another host and redirect connections to the new host. That's pretty much the standard procedure for any hosting solution.

Comment PAY your Congressman (Score 1) 1002

Hear, Hear. I am so tired of citizens being ignorant of what they need to do to participate in American politics. It is so easy. All you have to do is,

1. Found a company.
2. Grow that company to be a leader in a billion dollar industry.
3. Get your employee count up to at least 3000.
4. Donate $200,000 to $1,000,000 dollars to your local politician.

That's it. Now, get off your lazy asses and let your voice be heard!


Comment Re:I ask candidates puzzles (Score 1) 672

Asking a candidate questions which are designed to be unanswerable doesn't really work. The problem with focusing on their reaction to a question instead of their answer is that this method tends to hire people that are exactly like yourself. Reactions cannot be judged objectively.

Let's look at your example. You claim that "I don't know", silence or embarrassment are the reactions of a poor candidate. However, one can say that "I don't know" indicates honesty, silence indicates they are deep thinkers and embarrassment indicates they set high expectations for themselves. OTOH, one can say that asking for the answer indicates helplessness and using google indicates an over-reliance on tools instead of self-knowledge. See how that works?

With this method you will end up hiring clones of yourself. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not really a good goal for a hiring process. In my opinion the hiring problem is this: how can I hire somebody better than myself? I think about this a lot. This is a difficult problem. How can a person of a given intelligence level detect someone more intelligent? Clearly, I cannot ask any subjective questions. I'm not qualified to evaluate their answers.

My current strategy is to try to give them enough rope to hang themselves, then try to hang them. If I am unable to hang them, then they must be smarter than me.

Comment Re:Information takes Effort. (Score 2) 528

The copyright argument: if I create something, then I have the right to decide how it is distributed and how much money I should receive for each copy.

This is an argument that may convince somebody, but falls apart as soon as you put any deep thought into it.

Here is the problem: you cannot assign ownership of something to somebody just because they created it. You have to think carefully about that statement before you dismiss it. I'll restate it. The creator of a work does not wholly own it.

At all times, all human beings are building on the work of our ancestors. No matter what you make, it is partly owned by the human race. Saying, "I made it, so I own it." is a huge slap in the face to every colleague, every teacher, every book, every road, every building, every social structure, your parents, your grand-parents and so on. Nothing that you have ever created in your life was created solely by your own efforts.

Copyright should be a mechanism to encourage people to push the boundaries of human knowledge. I don't think our current system does that. Even worse, we have other mechanisms that do the same job and do it better (for example, the NSF). So why do we need copyrights?

Comment Hey Ubisoft! Your games aren't worth it. (Score 1) 424

There are some ethical considerations regarding piracy and intellectual property that are fun and interesting to talk about. However, looking at it pragmatically, Ubisoft games are just poor value for the consumer. They price their games at the same price as their competitors, but package the game with always-on DRM. The consumer is getting less for their money and have taken their business elsewhere.

If Ubisoft really wants to have always-on DRM, when none of their competitors have it, then they will have to either lower the price or create the greatest games in the world. You can't expect to be successful when you're selling an inferior product in a crowded marketplace. Furthermore, at the same time, they are aggravating their customers by starting a public morality debate (that nobody really wanted to have) and taking a hard-line stance that is generally the opposite of how their customers feel (according to their own quotes).

In short, Ubisoft's PC games division has shown poor business-sense and poor customer relations. It was only a matter of time until they failed utterly.

Comment Re:Illegal Search (Score 1) 658

This is so true. And just to give slashdot readers a simple way to exercise this right: never allow yourself to be searched when you exit Fry's. For over 10 years I have always walked straight out without stopping. I have never been hassled. The bag checkers know that they have no right to search anyone. Sadly, I have often gotten surprised looks from the other shoppers.

Our rights are disappearing because people either don't know what they are, or don't care.

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