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Comment Re:Uhm... (Score 1) 408

Documents 6 bankruptcies, and 13 businesses that closed up shop - at the very least suggests he doesn't know what he's doing.

Business has something in common with war and engineering:
  1 You try a bunch of stuff that looks like it might work.
  2 Some of it works, some of it doesn't.
  3a. You stop doing (and wasting resources on) what doesn't work
  3b, and continue doing more of what does (transferring any remaining resources from the abandoned paths.)
  4. PROFIT!

In business, step 3a is called "a large business environment, major projects are done in separate subsidiary corporations. This uses the "corporate veil" as a firewall, to keep the failed attempts from reaching back and sucking up more resources from what's succeeding. Dropping a failed experiment in step 3a (when it's failed so badly that there's nothing left to salvage in a different attempt's 3b) is called "bankruptcy". It lets you stop throwing good money after bad and move on.

So bankruptcy is NOT necessarily a sign of weakness, stupidity, or lack of business acumen. On the contrary: It shows the decision-maker was smart enough to spend a bit extra to erect the firewall between the bulk of his holdings and the iffy project.

So a successful large-business-empire-operator who is also innovative will usually have a number of bankruptcies in his history. It's no big deal, anyone in business at or near that level knows it, and took it into account if they risked some of their resources in someone else's experiment that failed in the hope of profit if it succeeded.

Also: Someone starting out may have to few resources to run many experiments simultaneously. (Or even a big guy may be reduced to a little guy by too many failures - not necessarily his fault.) So he has to try serially, doing only one or a few at a time. This may mean total bankruptcy, even multiple times, before coming up with something that does work. Lots of successful businessmen went through total bankruptcy, sometimes several times, before hitting it big.

Comment Re:but you arent a traditional CA (Score 1) 62

... phishing sites needed to pay money to play in the https realm or hire someone smart enough to exploit an https protected site.

Nope. StartSSL had been issuing free low-validation certs since at least 2009, some six years before Let's Encrypt issued its first cert. The only substantive differences between Let's Encrypt and StartSSL, as far as I can tell, are:

  • Let's Encrypt didn't get bought out by a Chinese registrar who abused their signing certs in ways that caused them to become untrusted by most browser vendors.
  • Let's Encrypt forces you to use automated certificate updating by limiting the certificate duration to a ridiculously short period for no actual security benefit (and worse, in its default configuration, generates a new RSA key every time it renews the cert, which significantly weakens the security model by making key pinning impossible).
  • Let's Encrypt merely requires you to prove that you have control over the web server, rather than that you have control over the domain, which also weakens security somewhat if your server gets compromised.

But in terms of being able to get free certs for a domain that you control, there's no real difference.

Comment Re:Good grief (Score 1) 247

>The thesis of this "scientific paper" is basically like a couple of tokers sitting around in their parents' basement saying "DUUUUDE... what if the money in our savings account DOUBLED EVERY YEAR?!???

Again this is not a critique of the paper, it is a critique of tokers sitting around in their parent's basement. There is no substance in your criticism to address, it really is just an expression of your feelings toward the paper's author. Aside from the fact that you're just name-calling, the numerical basis you've used for comparison is just wrong.

Now it so happens I have you at a disadvantage: I've actually read the paper. It's closer the tokers sitting around saying, "How can we achieve a 7% annual compound interest rate sustained over ten years with our portfolio," which is roughly what doubling your money in ten years takes. The authors are talking about what it would take to half carbon emissions which would be a 6.6% reduction each year, and they discuss methods for reducing them, which they break down into near term no-brainer, near-term difficult, and long term speculative. As is usual the further out you go the less concrete and certain you can be. This is normal in economic projections that go twenty or more years out.

Now you may disagree with the specific means proposed, some of which are quite drastic (e.g. attempting to recover external costs through inheritance taxes). But there is nothing inherently irrational about starting with a goal -- zero carbon emissions by 2050 -- then asking what it would take to achieve that. Nor is there anything inherently ridiculous with coming up with the answer that it'll take a mix of things, some of which looking twenty or more years into the future we can't predict yet.

Comment Re:Phishing is good (Score 2) 62

Or AutoFill. You enable AutoFill for PayPal.com, and then when your password doesn't automatically show up, you look at the URL more carefully and immediately see why.

The real threats to security are not the CAs that issue certs for sites containing PayPal in the name. The real threats are clueless sysadmins at (mostly banking) websites that insist on not allowing AutoFill and/or break their websites in ways that make AutoFill stop working when it worked before. Besides playing right into the hands of keyloggers, such actions force people to remain willing to type passwords when in reality, users should never, ever, ever type a password into a website. Ever. Seriously.

... that and browser makers, who haven't bothered to come up with a global standard for changing passwords so that users whose computers become compromised can easily reset all their passwords automatically with a single click, and also haven't bothered to come up with completely automatic plug-in update systems, thus making it easy to trick people into believing that their Flash Player or Silverlight plug-in is out of date, thus causing them to download and run a trojan horse installer that steals their password database, etc.

Comment Re:Incoming (Score 1) 159

None of this is significant in terms of being any kind of a showstopper, in my estimation as an engineer. Yes, there are lots of things to cover in such an undertaking. No, none of the ones you mention are expected to pose significant problems.

Adequate power systems (power to weight, and charge issues) and the highest level management software are the only two hurdles really still a distance away. The former looks like it's going to fall within a year or two, the latter I give ten years, max.

Comment Re:Incoming (Score 1) 159

I didn't say a word about drones, if by drones, you mean quadcopters and the like.

As for robots, your thinking is too constrained. There are lots of design options that will handle snow just fine (and every other kind of terrain) that don't involve tires. Spider legs, for instance.

Vandalism: easily vandalized robots are counter indicated, obviously. Likewise robots that don't record what's happening to them. These are trivial engineering issues in the sense that solutions are readily available. They're no significant impediment to robot deliveries.

Fraud: One obvious solution is payment before delivery. Another, for payment on-site, is the same tech, or related tech, to that which lets a soda machine know you actually fed it dollar bills, before allowing access to the cargo. This isn't even a problem requiring solution before proceeding -- otherwise there would be no delivery now, and that's obviously not the case.

The only tech that really needs to happen that we don't quite have yet is the smarts to run the robot, and we're a little short on power systems, too. But we're very, very close. Solve those, get the cost down to where it needs to be, integrate available tech, and done.

Comment Tracking (Score 2) 159

I have a statement every month that tells me what and where I've spent my money. I can also use those purchases to show where I was at at the time if need be.

Mmm-hmm. Well, if you can't keep track of your spending, I suppose that'd be a reason to want to have others do it for you. I don't have that problem, personally, so it's difficult for me to emphasize with your use case. As for needing to show where you were... who do you need to show this to? The very fact that you think you need to show it to someone is worrisome, and speaks more to the problem than any solution.

Why would you worry about your purchases being tracked?

Because the government thinks it's perfectly okay to directly violate the constitution that authorizes its existence, that's why. Because the government is trying to look at the people's persons, houses, papers and effects without warrants, that's why. Because the government will, if given a chance, interfere with personal and consensual choices it has absolutely no ethical reason to concern itself with, that's why. Because the government runs a system of unjust gulags, driven by a manifestly corrupt legal system, which one should avoid with great care, that's why.

Comment Servicability (Score 1) 159

Sooner or later we'll give homes easily serviceable plumbing under raised flooring

That's exactly how I designed the plumbing in my home. You can get at every inch of plumbing, and where it transits a wall or floor, you can unhook it and pull it right through if you need to. The only in-wall plumbing in the entire home is for the shower, and the shower was emplaced on the back face of the wall the refrigerator is pulled up to; pull the refrigerator out, and you're looking directly at an open wall face containing the shower plumbing, just stick a wrench on it and do what you need to do. All sink plumbing and toilet plumbing is direct to the basement through the floors, and presents zero access challenge for service.

I did the electricity in a similar manner; it was even easier to design, due to the physical flexibility of the wiring and its relatively lower demands on space.

Houses don't have to be designed to have difficult to access utilities. Likewise a lot of other conventional approaches can be improved, such as insulation, wall thickness, concrete grades, mutability of internal space. If you ever get a chance to put a home together, it's entirely worth your time to think about things like these before agreeing to anyone's plans.

Comment Incoming (Score 1) 159

f you use drones/robots/self-driving cars or some combination of them they will have to get a lot more advanced to get to that level.

If you use drones/robots/self-driving cars or some combination of them they will have to get just a tiny bit more advanced to get to that level.

FTFY

Look around you / do a little search engine work. We have walking robots, ramp-ascending robots, stair-climbing robots, door-opening robots, button-pushing robots, robots with internal cargo storage, robots that can navigate offices and homes. Right now.

That stuff doesn't even have to be developed at this point, it just has to be aggregated. As the financial case has now been made to do it, it's going to happen very quickly. Within ten years, max.

Comment Singularity (Score 1) 159

AGI is not going to give us an infinite supply of workers. It'll give us an even larger supply of free-willed individuals. They're not going to be any more willing to do drudge work than humans are. Probably less.

LDNLS constructs, non-intelligent but highly capable, are the incoming infinite worker force. They're already present, and getting more sophisticated by the day. Rapidly.

The singularity has been relatively soft-edged; people don't realize they're in it yet. But they are.

Comment Re:But remember, basic income is an unfair handout (Score 0) 159

unless we want the government to take all our land

The government already owns your land. You certainly don't. Stop paying the government the rent ("tax") on it and you'll find yourself out on the street with the property locked to you and being immediately offered to others. Citizen land ownership is an illusion in the USA.

If you're always in possession of enough capital such that you can always afford the rent ("tax"), you can be reasonably certain that you may be able to stay where you are. Otherwise, no. And even if you do always have the rent ("tax") available, you still can't be sure that the government won't take it for some other reason -- for instance, they took my home for a supposed dam project (Tock's Island Dam), giving them the excuse that they "needed" to. Which dam they never built, and changed into a "park."

Once you've experienced the process at work, all the illusions about citizen's owning land go away. I speak with absolute authority on this matter. You don't own the land.

Comment Re:Percentage doesn't matter (Score 1) 121

Oh, I think the percentage bit is significant. It shouldn't be news that they've acknowledged reality; but it's remarkable that their responses is so meaningless.

It makes me wonder whether this is just marketing BS or whether they're really that incoherent about strategy.

Many proprietary software companies have prospered in an era of open source acceptance -- even when very good free software alternatives for their products exists (Microsoft, Oracle). But although we don't tend to think of them that way, they tend to be value-priced. You get a lot of (not necessarily great) software engineering for your $199 Windows license fee.

But the play this game you need scale to amortize development costs over many users. If you have more of a niche product competing against a solid open source competitor is going to be really, really hard. As in SAS charges almost $9000 for a single seat license, and that's good for only a year; thereafter you'll have to fork over thousands of dollars every year. That kind of cash pays for a lot of R training.

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