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Comment Re:Terrible Selection (Score 1) 64

Something that I've learned about Pandora is that you can't have multiple genres in the same station (use a mix for that) and you can't thumb up certain songs or you'll skew your playlist towards a certain genre or a small subset of songs even if the rest of the music on the station doesn't match that song.

It's like certain songs or dimensions are weighted more heavily than others and adding songs with those dimensions skews the entire playlist dataset in a direction that you don't necessarily want. When you have a small group of songs that do that, you can actually make Pandora tell you that you need to add more variety to the station to keep playing music.

Comment Re:The irony is... (Score 2) 280

But in terms of selecting and engaging targets on its own without a communications link, that technology is not there yet

Actually, not true. We are there now. MIT already has fully automatic and autonomous flying helicoptors that can perform stunts in mid-air, and there are many, many videos of targeting systems using machine vision to target and "attack" specified targets. Most of them use nerf guns and lasers, but the point remains. We know the technology to do fully automated drones that engage and eliminate targets.

The only reason that we're not doing fully automated drone strikes is exactly because it is controversial and nobody wants to take the responsibility in case a fully automated drone mistakes a preschool for a terrorist compound.

Submission + - 31 Ways to Know Your Project is Doomed

Esther Schindler writes: We've all been there: The project went horribly wrong. Nobody was happy with the application or product (if it ever did ship). And you're ashamed to let anyone know you had anything to do with it. Especially since, with hindsight, you realize that the Signs Of Doom were there all along, and you missed them. When THIS happened, you should have known....!

This article shares 31 project danger signs you should recognize, so you can decide if it's possible to fix them or bail. But oh, we can be so certain that there are plenty more to add...!

Submission + - Don't be fooled by Opera browser claim of 150% battery life (

richi writes: The Opera Web browser has a new 'power-saving' feature. Opera claims you can get 'up to' 50% more battery life — but is that likely? Uh, NO!

Yes, the actual software tweaks will make a difference, but the tests Opera's quoting are skewed, unscientific, and compare apples to oranges. But what do you expect from a company that's trying to get bought by a Chinese consortium for more than $1.2 billion?

Comment Re:Classic memory leak. (Score 3, Interesting) 153

Extremely common, actually. It's one of the major pitfalls and difficulties of doing multi-threaded programming and one of the hardest things for programmers new to multi-threaded design to learn how to solve. It can also be extremely difficult to debug, even for experienced programmers.

Improper garbage collection is another extremely common bug that becomes harder to find and debug with multi-threaded programming, and that can also lead to memory leaks.

There are time tested techniques to mitigate these issues and strategies to find and squash the bugs, but as you said, they can be extremely hard to reproduce while testing.

Comment Re:What is the point of the Windows Store? (Score 4, Insightful) 209

Windows Store has more mobile games that have been ported to Windows 10 than Steam or GoG. I've also seen a lot of "free" games that have huge advertising banners covering most of the screen. They're the same type of cheap and easy to make clones filled with advertisements and pay-to-win crapware that you'll find on any other mobile platform.

These aren't AAA titles, nor are they decent, older games with great gameplay like you'd find at Steam or GoG.

Submission + - DoD Announces "Hack the Pentagon" Bug Bounty Program (

Quince alPillan writes: Announcing what it calls "the first cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government," the Department of Defense says it's inviting vetted hackers to test the security of its web pages and networks. Vetted hackers will need to pass a background check and will be attacking a predetermined system that's not a part of critical operations. This program is being put together by the Digital Defense Service, launched last fall.

Comment Re:Mask this by violating TCP rules? (Score 4, Interesting) 81

What you're talking about is a forward proxy. Forward proxy servers do this (and will even proxy SSL traffic).

In the whitepaper, they're actually talking about making a new protocol that measures the one way distance time and compares it to their database of network speeds and distances to determine your location. Their solution is an application-level solution, which depends upon a Forward Proxy to know about the protocol and spoof it correctly.

The problem with their solution is that network speeds are fluid and a computer with a problem (e.g. a local neighborhood node or a legitimately slow client that is delaying all traffic 20-30ms) can make their estimates wildly inaccurate. Even today, Cogent to Level 3 has a 197ms ping in LA. In the paper, they used average speeds for various known networks. This can be mitigated somewhat by measuring client traffic and only counting outliers (e.g. all traffic from a certain area being delayed the same, except for our rogue client) but it still doesn't mitigate the local computer problem.

A second problem with their solution is that it only measures distance - a server in Miami, Florida accepting data from a client in Seattle, Washington is 2732 mi and the same distance (roughly) as Lima, Peru. This means that a client in Lima should pretend to be from Seattle when they connect to their combo VPN/Forward Proxy in Miami. Satellite customers are will almost always have extremely high latency because of the round trip between Earth and the Satellite, even if they're legitimately in the correct area.

In addition, they were only able to make this accurate to about 400km, which means if you have a nearby beneficial country within that range, you can use a VPN in that country and they still won't know.

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 581

That's why the states have the ability to raise the minimum wage in their state above the federal minimum wage to better reflect costs of living, but they are unable to make it lower. For example, California is $10/hour and New York is $9/hour while the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour.

Comment Re:WTH is this? (Score 1) 28

2 30-second preroll ads? Barf. I've always considered 15 seconds -- or "skip ad after 5 seconds" -- the maximum that should be inflicted on readers/viewers. I'll check with our ad and tech people, see what's happening. I know a lot of publishers consider 30 seconds okay, but 2X30 seconds? Not good, but obviously not under the control of anyone who actually works on the site. Sigh.


Video Pet Wearables? But Seriously, Folks... (Video) 28

It sounds like a joke at first, but Risto Lähdesmäki, CEO of user interface design firm Idean (corporate motto: Life is too short for crappy UX), pointed us at DogTelligent and several other companies that are making pet wearables that seem to have real, practical uses. But Risto and his design crew work primarily on wearables and interface design for humans, and since their client list ranges from Sony and Samsung to Volkswagen and Rolls Royce, Risto is in a great position to spot future trends in the (maybe too) hot wearables market.

Video Do the Risks of BYOD Outweigh the Benefits? (Video) 82

Steve Hasselbach is a Senior Solutions Architect (AKA Marketing Guy -- but he's also a serious techie) for Peak 10, a datacenter company. In his work he deals with his clients' security problems, and often shakes his head at how security unconscious so many businesses are, even after endless publicity about corporate IT security holes costing companies millions of dollars.

He says, " doesn’t shock me anymore, but you’d be so shocked and surprised at how noncompliant this country is in terms of businesses around things like healthcare data and all that." In this interview, Steve talks about how (surprise!) the current BYOD trend is making things worse, but isn't necessarily responsible for the worst security holes, and offers benefits that might outweigh the increased security risks it brings.. (Note: The transcript contains material not included in the video.)
Linux Business

Video GNU/Linux Desktops with No User Knowledge Needed (Video) 85

Joey Amanchukwu is co-founder and CEO of Transforia, a company that leases computers pre-loaded with Red Hat Enterprise Linux -- a distro choice that may have been made at least partly because Joey used to sell for Red Hat.

There have been other companies that tried to sell Linux desktops and laptops on a "don't worry about a thing; we'll administer them for you, no problem" basis. Not a lot (maybe none) of those companies have survived, as far as we know. Will Transforia manage to make it big? Or at least become profitable? We'll see.

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