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Comment Dear Slashdot... (Score 1, Funny) 118

(..) the DNC is one big corporate bride.

Okay, we already knew that correct spelling isn't a job requirement for /. editors.
But FAILing to do a simple copy & paste of an article's title? Hell, even some 6y olds can handle that...

Can't /. editors take themselves out of the process, or something? Just write up a couple of scripts to automate the 'editing' and be done with it?

Comment Re:does he even know anything about DNA ? (Score 1) 203

A 100000 year-old piece of code is not "outdated" if the original software is 4 billion years old. In fact, it is actually brand new.

Yeah... Debian experimental-style new. But a lot depends on your definition of "original"; quite a few patches have been made over time so perhaps little (if any) of the original code is left.

As for 100,000 year-old code: pfff... I keep a some local repositories around that see regular updates. Daily *and* nightly builds, a full suite of regression tests on real hardware, automated backups... the works.

On a side note: the hell with versioning or changelogs. Just kick out a stable release every couple of years, stick a funny name on it, and call it a day.

Comment Jobs vs. purchasing power (Score 3, Insightful) 141

Who is going to buy all this stuff if they don't have jobs?

And there lies the heart of the problem: purchasing power is coupled to having a job.

As technology marches forward, that coupling has to be let go. Or at least loosened. The majority of the population needs to have some purchasing power even if there's no job for them. Think basic income.

The alternative: (almost) everything automated, production equipment (including robots) in the hands of a few corporations & the billionaires at their top, with the rest of the population jobless / out of money (and in the extreme case: out of housing or food). Great recipe for say, a nice little civil war. As it has been several times in history.

The automation itself isn't a bad thing, it increases productivity so we can have more nice things or do fun stuff more of the time. But the fruits of that increased productivity should be divided somewhat evenly over people. If it ends up in the hands of a few you have a recipe for disaster.

Comment Re: unpasteurised milk is way better (Score 3, Insightful) 258

It is even illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in most of EU.

Depends on how & where. For example: I'm pretty sure most dairy farmers in my area will be happy to have a meet & greet with one of their end users, tap a few litres into a bottle, and take ~3x the wholesale price they are getting from factory.

That's unpasteurized milk, full fat, straight from cow -> cooling tank -> end user's fridge (leave it there overnight to skim off the fat). As has been done for ages regardless what EU rules say about it. Thankfully EU bureaucrats haven't rotted everyone's brain.. yet...

Comment Re:Click2Run should be standard... (Score 1) 156

As a user experience feature, yes. As a security feature, no.

  • 1st: click-to-run moves the decision whether something is safe to run from system to the user. Which time and time again, in many different contexts, has been proven to... NOT WORK. "Do you want to run this random piece of crap from unknown / untrusted source?". "Yes, please!". In the vast majority of cases, users don't have enough info / can't be trusted / aren't knowledgeable enough to make that decision.
  • 2nd: either you can guarantee that all content thrown at a plugin is safe to run, or you can't. If you can, then click-to-run is not needed (at least not for security reasons). If you can't, then click-to-run just opens up a security hole that shouldn't exist in the first place.

So if it's done to let users decide what obnoxious ads they want to see, or what web game to bog down their machine: fine.

As a way to enhance security, that's just security by obscurity. Not saying it doesn't help... but the choice presented to the user should be "do you want to play this?". NOT "do you think this content is safe?"

Comment Free-for-all spectrum? (Score 3, Insightful) 64

I'd be inclined to agree with you - for thinly populated areas.

You do realize that (for a wide frequency band) the EM spectrum is a shared resource? Like the air we breathe: if I start a fire, that removes oxygen from the air around it. And puts smoke in the air. Smoke that will be visible from a distance, and the combustion products may affect people in a wide area. Therefore (in most populated areas) people are not free to burn stuff out in the open as they please. Such activities may be regulated, and rightfully so.

Above certain EM frequencies (say, IR and up), the physical properties of signals make it pointless to try and regulate things. Below certain frequencies, lack of practical applications make regulation not-needed / pointless. But in between, we're talking about a shared (and limited!) resource. So some government regulation is quite appropriate.

Comment Re:Cool (Score 5, Informative) 62

Care to explain that? Open source can (and usually is) copyrighted. It has nothing to do with competition.

It does: you may regard the code itself as documentation. Describing a process, some method of calculation, a file format processed, etc. Which in turns makes it easy to write a competing implementation that does the same job.

For closed source software that is much more difficult. It doesn't even matter whether the code is open in the "libre" sense: as long as you can inspect the code, you can figure out what it does. Same with copyrights: that serves to give author(s) some control over copy & paste style use of the code. But it doesn't prevent others from writing a competing implementation.

Having code that's actually "libre" open source is still nice though for other reasons.

Comment Re:They aren't already? (Score 1) 73

If the data has been accessed by unauthorised persons, there is no way to be 100% certain that it hasn't made it off premise (..)

There is: if the system(s) in question are air-gapped, or on a LAN that has no external network connections. Malware (ransomware included) could still make its way onto such systems. Let's say through an infected USB stick.

For real-world scenarios that's mostly a hypothetical case I suspect. While in theory that USB stick could compromise an air-gapped system, retrieve sensitive data, and then upload that data when it (later) gets plugged into another machine that does have internet access, that's more along the line of a highly targeted phishing attack.

In such a breach the amount of leaked data would be limited by the capacity of said USB stick (and perhaps also its write speed). For an air-gapped system or isolated LAN, if a breach occurs obviously it's worth investigating how that happened. Let's say that's done, a specific 'bad' USB stick is found and its whereabouts are known, then yes it may be possible to say with confidence: breach / infection occurred, but no data leaked out.

Disgruntled employee that carries infected USB stick & demands some Bitcoins? Sure, possible, but how likely? How often have you heard of such a case? So mostly hypothetical. 'Random' infection through internet, controlled by persons unknown in a far away country, is a much more common scenario I think. In such a case, "compromised" will imply "data may have leaked". An investigation of the capabilities of the specific malware could yield more clues, but 100% certaintly? Indeed not.

Comment Re:Anyone know what made them (Score 3, Interesting) 141

As far as my limited understanding goes: OSX ports of games involve building against many of the (open source) components included in Linux distro's. So when doing an OSX port, a Linux port is 'low hanging fruit'. Some studios may take advantage of that to do a Linux port as well. Or not... depending on title, game engine, sales, in-house developer expertise, etc etc.

The market for OSX games is small compared to Windows games, but still significant and considerably bigger than Linux gaming. So in a way, you could say Linux gaming is freeriding on the OSX games market. And of course for games that are popular enough, even a 1~2% market is enough to warrant the effort for a port.

Comment Re:NTP (Score 2) 171

NTP is internet based, read: requires an internet connection to retrieve the time.

Yet when I boot my Android phone after its battery runs empty, with Wi-Fi and mobile data disabled, it still retrieves the time just fine. Unlike say, a PC or Raspberry Pi when it relies solely on NTP for timekeeping.

Read: yes, your phone uses 'the network' to retrieve the time (the mobile network, that is). No, not NTP or mobile data services. My PC relies on a CR2032-backed hardware clock (manually adjusted once or twice a year), with the OS handling daylight saving changes. No network access needed to keep the correct time.

Comment File sharing causes absolutely great harm (Score 3, Insightful) 126

Your arguments sound sane but couldn't be further from the truth.

When 'theft' of imaginary property takes place, that causes the loss of imaginary sales. Which causes damage to some rich f**s bank account. As in: imaginary money that does *NOT* appear in said bank account. Whether or not that imaginary money would have appeared otherwise, is irrelevant: it's the not-showing-up-of-something-expected that counts here.

For the 1%er concerned that's a very traumatic, life-changing event, and causes grave imaginary pain. Not to mention long-term mental harm (maybe that's why those rich f**ks are so f**d up in the first place).

Obviously that's much more serious harm than whatever a rapist could do to his victim. And therefore it follows that the punishment for this imaginary crime should be more severe than for rapists, murderers, armed robbers etc. No expense should be spared, no stone left unturned to grab these imaginary thieves off the streets, even if they were in a different country when the imaginary crime took place.

So for members of the general public: don't do it! Where possible, buy the physical media, *and* ask the owners of that imaginary property if there is some way to send money their way on top of that. When a Blu-Ray comes out, that's a chance to re-buy a movie you already bought on DVD. And when some DRM scheme makes your imaginary purchases disappear, seize the opportunity to send more of your hard-earned money that rich f**ks way. Then they'll have more money to pay their (copyright) lawyers, the imaginary property will be better 'protected', imaginary sales go up, and artists will receive a much greater share of the royalties. Which in turn will make those artists produce more and not-as-crappy-s**t as they produce today.

All for the public good, of course. Win-win for everybody!

Comment Re:Crowdfunding couldn't do worse than the governm (Score 1) 189

The U.S. Department of Agriculture once gave researchers at the University of New Hampshire $700,000 to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.

For anyone who thinks that's wasted money:

a) Read up on the causes of climate change.
b) Read up on how many people are affected by climate change. And what the damage in economic terms may be.
c) Read up on how powerful a greenhouse gas methane is. and
d) Read up on how many cows there are in the world, and ballpark figure(s) for how much methane each cow produces.

$700k to know more about that? Perhaps find ways to knock off some % from that methane output? $700k is nothing to achieve such goals. What else would $700k buy a government? A few Hummers? A single Hellfire missile? One month unemployment benefits for a few dozen people? $700k to research what gasses a cow puts out: money well spent imho.

Comment Wondering what AI can do (Score 4, Interesting) 189

I've been wondering whether AI systems may advance science @ some point. I mean: not just as a tool with a human at the control knobs & interpreting results, but by itself as the 'entity' doing the advancing.

Some significant advances have been made not through heaps of grunt work, but when great minds like Einstein did their thing. Seeing patterns in their mind that no-one else saw. Sadly, such great minds are rare. And have a limited lifespan - of which a big part is spent learning the subject matter. And no matter how genius, with hard limits on the # of grey cells that can be thrown at the problem.

Artificial intelligent systems don't have such flesh-and-blood limitations: these can effectively be built at will, any size, optimized for specific problems sets, etc. Lately computerized systems have beat humans at increasingly complex tasks. Sometimes using brute force. Sometimes by looking at a problem from many angles at once. Fed with enough data, 'seeing' connections somehow that even experts in the field might overlook.

Regardless how it works exactly, fact is you might say that for some problems, we've built AI systems that are more capable than a "genius" human at finding solutions. Would it be hard to imagine that @ some point, an AI system might spit out a new formula, discover some as-of-yet-unseen regularity in scientific data, or find a path to unify as-of-yet-non-unified scientific theories?

Exciting times...

Comment Exclusivity (Score 2) 59

A package pickup point? Like mobile phone antennas: more useful the more there are. Preferably nearby.

But one that exclusively caters to one company X? Not good. Sure, a big % of packages may be theirs. But what about the rest? And who's to say where company X will be in a couple of years? If it only does 10% of packages by then, pickup point for company X wouldn't be so useful anymore. A shared pickup point for <any companies' shipments> would be, though.

So summary has it right. Smells a lot like "hook 'em while they're young". Not to mention fair competition considerations...

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