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Comment Re:Security... anyone heard of it? (Score 1) 187

RTFA: "The photo gets sent to the bank through its mobile application. In most cases, funds are in the customers account immediately."

Soon to come- android and iphone customers are bombarded with spam containing the pictures of check of large amounts, "to be deposited and wired back to us for a 10% check cashing fee". None of which are any good.

Comment Re:The New Printing Press (Score 1) 231

I'm not convinced that the internet has made the signal to noise ratio worse. As Sturgeon reminded us in 1958, "Ninety percent of everything is crud." It's always been that way. Go to the library and blindly grab 10 novels in a genre you like; I'm betting about 9 are crap. Grab a random mainstream newspaper and check the quality; remember the ads are part of the newspaper! Watch ten hours completely randomly selected network television. Watch ten random mainstream movies; your choice of year.

What the internet gives us is volume. If you're considering picking a magazine to read, and there is a selection of 20, of which only maybe 2 are good, it's not that hard to check them all out, or ask friends for opinions on the 20. When you're facing millions of web pages, it's more daunting. Fortunately it turns out that Web 2.0 is a good enough filter. My problem is a surplus of good stuff!

The other danger of the internet is that it lets cranks find each other, reach critical mass, and convince each other that they aren't crazy, leading to insanity like the birthers, the 9-11 conspiracy theorists, the LHC will destroy the world nuts, that the earth is expanding, and more. I want to believe that good speech, in the form of science and reason, will keep them back, but I fear it's not enough. The knots of crazy form a protective shell to protect them from science and reason. Because understanding why the crazy is wrong can take a fair amount of time, they successfully put out "Isn't it odd that..." tendrils that spread like crazy. Fighting back with reason is hard, since "What you learned in high school is basically true" isn't as fun of a fact to share with friends as "Science is all a lie!" A random comic book artist "fighting the power" is a more compelling than a scientist repeating what everyone knows.


Comment Re:SpaceX to the rescue (Score 1) 73

Give space exploration and colonization a true profit motive in a free market and we'll be on Mars in a decade.

It's not happening now. NASA has obstructed space development and exploration in a number of ways, but my view is that if we were this close to profitably landing on Mars, private industry would be well on its way, NASA or no NASA. The truth is that we don't have a "true profit motive" for going to Mars in the near future. That is, we don't have any serious business plans that would expect to make a profit by landing on Mars in ten years. NASA, the legal environment, etc aren't the only obstacles. You also have to make a profit. The capitalism/free market pixie dust is strong stuff, but it isn't that strong.

Comment Re:Let's not leap to conclusions. (Score 1) 1079

Why is getting out of the car being equated with "acting like an asshole" ?

Maybe he didn't know what "the protocol" was? I might of done the same thing in that situation and the idea of doing something aggressive doesn't even enter my mind in situations like that. It could be handled by a simple "Please get back into the car, sir."

I don't know the story yet as I've said elsewhere, but common sense has to say here that there has to be something other than that for justification of a physical beatdown.

Comment Re:Smackdown (Score 1) 446

What's going to make them realize it's not profitable? It clearly is. Not only the lax security practices, but the very act of playing the shell game makes them money. If a few million people make lots of noise and post updates to their status about how indignant they are that their city of residence is now public, woohoo! More hits! More ads! It's like printing money.

How many people are actually going to leave Facebook over this? Seriously.

You've been OK all along with Farmville and Mafia Wars having access to everything any of your friends can see, right? Don't tell me you don't have any friends who don't use at least a couple of apps. Everything they can see, the makers of their apps can see.

I think Facebook just takes a stick every now and then and whacks it on the side of hive, just so people will post updates and get all indignant and generate more traffic and ad views. It's not like significant numbers of them are actually going to leave the site. And if they manage to give the false impression that Facebook cares one whit about user privacy when they finally and shed a few bitter crocodile tears about how sorry they are and close the next security "hole" that doesn't matter, all the better.

Facebook sells the information you put on there for money. In return for the money they make from the information you give them, you get access to a social media site. Assume that everything you put on Facebook either is public today or will become public at some point in the future when they finally go bankrupt and their database becomes an asset in receivership, sold to the highest bidder. If you are comfortable with that, and act accordingly, it's a pretty cool site. If you assume they have your best interests at heart, you are sadly mistaken. You are the product, not the customer.

Comment Re:"Raises security issues"? (Score 1) 311

True enough, however I don't know if I agree that this should be considered illegal.

If you post an unencrypted message on a billboard anyone that has the equipment (eyes, camera, etc) and comes within range of the reflected light waves has access to that information. If you send an unencrypted message over radio waves, anyone that has the equipment has access to the information. I don't see how anyone can say there is a real difference between the two. Saying the pager has a number (or some other identifier) is to me the same thing as saying that the billboard has "To Slashdot user 695572" posted at the top. It doesn't stop anyone from reading it and it certainly shouldn't be considered criminal if someone did.

I do believe that things with dedicated lines should have an expected level of privacy (such as a phone) simply because to intercept them would require an active attempt to do so. Unencrypted communication that can be passively gathered should not have this same expected level of privacy.

Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert in pagers or radio communications, so I want to apologize if I have any misunderstandings about how these items work.

Comment Re:Scientists are not Politicians (Score 1) 822

What a strange point of view to find on Slashdot.

Applying this "argument" to software, no-one who bangs out code would care how it was used, and therefore how it was licensed. It would not be in their domain of interest.

Scientists are not one homogeneous group. There will be differing views on facets of the science and differing willingness to engage with the political debate, media, etc.

Comment Re:Solar power eh? (Score 1) 258

Yeah but geostationary orbit is closer to 26,199 miles. If you drop stuff off there, it's already floating in geosync orbit. If you climb up to 60k anything you unload there is going to drift away from earth at a pretty steady rate. Now there might be an argument for deploying another cable on the far side of the tethering rock to help "climb" to a higher altitude to launch an interplanetary mission, but there's no reason you cant drop your cargo off at any point along the cable, including geosync orbit.

Comment Re:Sucks To Be You (Score 1) 383

So I'll ask you this: how, pray tell, do you explain how properly-installed Linux has its rock-solid stability on such a wide variety of hardware? If indeed the support of a wide variety of commodity PC hardware is the cause of instability

I think the idea is more that Linux is rock-solid because they don't have crappy closed-source drivers from every little hardware vendor. Suddenly Linux's lack of hardware vendor support is a plus, since writing their own drivers increased the stability. So Windows is pretty solid so long as you're using well supported hardware with well written drivers, but you get the BSOD when you install some crappy driver from some random hardware vendor and that driver goes AWOL.

Now I'm not a Windows fan, but I've supported Windows since WfW 3.11, and I believe that there's at least some truth to this idea. If you install Windows XP or anything after (maybe excepting Vista when it was first released) on good hardware with good drivers, the BSOD should be pretty rare.

And the thing with Macs isn't just that they only have to support a smaller selection of hardware, but that they get to control exactly which hardware and then test and approve the drivers. If there's some video chipset from a given manufacturer that isn't going to work well for their OS, they just don't include that chipset in any of their systems. It's true that neither Linux developers nor Microsoft have that luxury, and I believe it's at least partially responsible for Apple's reputation of being solid and that everything "just works". It's much easier to make a solid system where everything works out of the box if you're controlling both the hardware and the software.

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