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Comment Flaws? That's one way of putting it... (Score 3, Interesting) 38

"The team reverse-engineered the proprietary wireless signalling systems used by the implants which revealed flaws in the way data was broadcast."

From this sentence alone, it is entirely obvious: The signals are not encrypted; there is no security to hack. These aren't flaws at all - they are design decisions. The manufacturers have some command protocol that they developed and use; while this may not be publicly documented, it is hardly secret: monitor the signals used, and you can figure it out. This doesn't take a "security researcher", all it takes is a kid with the right radio kit.

People then rush to ask: Why do these devices not secure their signals? It may be that they never thought about it. However, the answer may also be that they want an open interface. Consider: you have a pacemaker and suddenly have a heart problem, and you are taken to the nearest hospital. With a secure interface, how does that hospital get the private key required to talk to your pacemaker? Which is the lesser risk to the patient's health: leaving the interface open, or securing it?

Comment Insane... (Score 1) 250

Requiring ISPs to maintain the records for a year: That allows "retroactive" warrants, plus it imposes substantial costs on ISPs with zero recompense. That's a nasty law.

Allowing access without any sort of judicial oversight? That's full-on, true evil.

You know what's stranger? We just hosted a visitor from the UK. I asked him what he thought of the Snooper's Charter. He had never heard of it. Apparently, there has been relatively little discussion of this outside of the technical press.

Comment Two issues: methodologies and technology (Score 1) 332

There are two issues here, that need to be separated: Hype about development methodologies and hype about technologies.

If you have a good team, it doesn't matter what development methodology you use. It doesn't matter whether you have a scrum meeting every morning, or if you coordinate on a napkin over lunch - it's the team quality that matters. The rest is just formality, and provides a useful framework.

Technologies are more critical. Taking No SQL as an example: there are some very limited use cases where NoSQL makes sense, but there is a reason why 99% of the databases are still relational. Technical folks enjoy learning new technologies, but it doesn't take long to realize that there is no magic cure-all. It's the non-technical managers who get snowed by the marketing crap, and then try to dictate technology to their developers.

I worked at one mid-sized company that had put invested around 10 person-years in a new SOA application. Everything was looking good, and pretty much on schedule, but we had spent most of those first two years building foundation services that weren't terribly visible; the first GUI components were just emerging. Then the big boss got a visit from some Microsoft marketing weenie: "Wow, look at our new SharePoint - you can do anything with SharePoint". Next day comes a directive from the boss: Throw it all out, we're going with Microsoft. I dunno what planet he was living on, or what the marketing weenie offered him, but it took resignation letters on his desk to make him see sense.

Comment And it begins... (Score 1) 725

Now that "fake news" has become a well-known term, it is already being used by people in an attempt to discredit opinions they disagree with.

Here's one of the articles criticizing Musk, Tesla and Solar City. Where it quotes facts, the facts are true. However, it also includes a great deal of opinion, mainly that the government subsidies Musk's companies receive are excessive, and a prime example of cronyism.

The facts are quite clear: Tesla and Solar City only exist because of the massive subsidies they have received. Are those subsidies justified? Should they continue? Some people apparently do not want to have this discussion.

Comment Unimpressed (Score 1) 74

Color me unimpressed. It tells me I moved my mouse on its page. It tells me when I click on its page. I would surely hope a web page gets those events. It does not seem to tell the user about all the fingerprinting information it can get, or much about cookies, beyond the fact that it sets one.

Embarrassing: it actually gets some things wrong, like the saying that I moved the mouse to the upper left (when I did not).

The idea is good, but the implementation seems to be pretty limited...

Comment Solution to stop acquisitions? (Score 4, Interesting) 117

I wish there were some solution to stop acquisitions like this: a small company with a decent product is consumed by some multinational giant. The product may live on for a few years, but ultimately it gets transmogrified into something unrecognizable and - as often as not - useless. But the multinational now has the patents needed to prevent competition.

Look at what Oracle is trying to do with Java: suing Google for using the fricking APIs. Microsoft is renowned for this as well: "extend, embrace, extinguish".

While I'm no fan of government regulation, I have the feeling that this is part-and-parcel of "too big to fail", and requires government intervention. Companies should not be allowed to grow beyond a certain size. If a company reaches that size, it must divest or split itself into smaller, independent entities.

Comment The great hope! (Score 1) 477

The explanations are plausible (exploitation of more of those weird quantum mechanical effects). If it works out, we get to cheat Newton, basically stealing momentum from the universe's underlying framework. Or the simulation engine, if that's what it is.

After that, it's an engineering problem to make it efficient. You'll still have to get out of the gravity well some other way, but after than, you can flit about anywhere nearly for free.

I'm trying to remain skeptical, but this really is what every sci-fi nerd has been waiting for.

Comment Has been tried; does Amazon really want this? (Score 2) 23

Damn, memory's going: wasn't there a site that tried to do this? Give it your location and the kind of task you had (plumbing, electrical, whatever), and it would match you to one of the people who had registered with the site to offer their services.

Ah, here it is: Thumbtack. It doesn't have the best reviews, from professionals trying to use it to get contracts: some people think it's doing like dating sites, only with virtual customers instead of virtual women.

It's not a bad idea, but you need a lot of professionals to reach critical mass. You also need a good ratings system, because anyone can claim to be a professional, but quality varies...um...widely. Ideally, you'd like to keep the incompetents out in the first place, just like a store should avoid carrying counterfeit products.

This will also open the door to the same kinds of issues that Uber and Lyft have: Are these professionals (if they are individuals) really independent contractors, or are they employees? Who is liable, when the amateur plumber floods your house? Really, it's not an area I would expect Amazon to dabble in - it seems to me that they are just inviting all sorts of unpleasant legal problems.

Comment Why censor? (Score 1) 470

I would have thought that Facebook would avoid censoring viewpoints, however crazy. Once they start editing or restricting content, AFAIK they lose their legal immunity as a neutral platform. Once they take control of content, they become liable for that content. Some people get their news from tabloids. Some Facebook sites are the equivalent. So what?

On top of that: one person's "crazy" is another person's "entertainment" is another person's "truth". Remember the tinfoil conspiracy theories about the government spying on you? After Snowdon, they weren't so crazy anymore.

Finally, why are right-leaning sites disproportionately affected? Couldn't possibly have anything to do with the political leanings of Facebook employees...

Comment Skip TFA, read the BuzzFeed article (Score 2) 436

38 percent of posts shared from three large right-wing politics pages on Facebook included "false or misleading information."

Of course, the posts shared from left-wing pages were completely accurate. /sarc TFA is crap. It implies that the right-wing sites are unreliable, but ignores the negative information about the left-wing sites.

The BuzzFeed article is long, and gives lots of interesting detail. It even appears to be pretty balanced, not pushing any particular political agenda. No surprise, extremist sites on both sides make shit up to support their views. The site with the highest proportion of false content was right-wing, but it was also the site with the least content. The site with the most false content (in absolute numbers, more than all other sites combined) was a leftist site.

With that background,

Comment Re:Someone isn't very tech savvy (Score 2, Insightful) 360

If Russia is behind this, shame on them. However, there is no proof that this is the case. The Hillary campaign declares this, to distract from...

...the actual, important issue: the corruption and criminality exposed by those emails. Interestingly, no one is saying that the information is actually incorrect.

Comment Re: Be careful what you ask for... (Score 1) 230

Um, no? AFAIK, nothing I mentioned would be illegal.

Within the parts of Europe I am familiar with, the UK has the worst protection for workers, because of "temps". I know of companies where - aside from the top managers - everyone is a "temp", i.e., an employee with no benefits whatsoever. It's frankly a stupid way to run a business, since it means that employee turnover is high, and employee loyalty essentially zero.

Subjectively, this seems to tie into the UK class consciousness: the managers don't want employees to be loyal to the business, or to take on much responsibility, because they might turn out to be more competent that the managers find comfortable. You have to keep the lower classes in their place.

Comment Be careful what you ask for... (Score 1) 230

There's the old saying: "Be careful what you ask for, because you might get it". The Uber drivers who want to be classified as employees may think that they are suddenly going to have all the benefits of employees with none of the disadvantages. They may be rather unhappy, when they suddenly discover that they:

- must meet productivity targets

- cannot work for the competition

- must work particular hours

- must service particular areas

- generally are told exactly what/when/how they must do their work

Drivers will be ranked by productivity, with the least productive being fired. In other words, they will be treated like employees - just like they wanted. I rather doubt that this will please most of the people who drive for Uber...

Comment We want to panic! (Score -1, Flamebait) 258

We want to panic. The data isn't bad enough, it must be worse! So they hypothesize - with no proof whatsoever - that sea level is rising faster wherever there are no tide gauges.

There is plenty of evidence that this is nonsense. For example, looking at current sea level trends, we do not see a faster rise in the southern hemisphere, even though this is what they say should be happening.

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