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Comment Secure browsing? (Score 1) 126

Obviously they mean secure, not private. Really, no one cares what I do online - I'm rather boring - so I don't care (much) about tracking. But there are times when I'd like to be even more anonymous. And that's easy enough - it's called a VPN.

Given that I'm only aware of two browsers with a built-in VPN, I have to ask - are they working for that Tor browser (based on Firefox) or for Opera (based on Chromium) ... or have they been in a cave somewhere and never heard of either?

Comment Multiverse: Does it matter? (Score 1) 387

If a theory produces no verifiable predictions then it is philosophy, not science. If parallel universes have no effect on this universe, then it doesn't matter whether they exist or not.

And as a mathematician - mathematics is not "real", and never has been. Numbers do not physically exist, no one claims they do. But as abstractions mathematics can be a very useful tool in describing reality. As long as you understand the limits of your model. If for instance you were to say "Space has to be infinite because a plane is infinite" you need to prove that a plane is a good model for space - you can't just assume it.

Comment Hexcode (Score 1) 515

Way back in 1977 or '78, my dad worked for RCA. When they decided to offer a hobby computer (as a kit), he picked one up. At that time, hobby computers came with a hex keypad and you entered two digits (one byte) directly into memory. The manual included a very simple language for writing games along with half a dozen examples such as a clone of Pong..

The processor was something called an 1802, also called a COSMAC, while the computer as a whole was called a VIP. It had a very simple instruction set, so I sat down with some graph paper and figured out what each instruction was doing.

Of course, that's a lot simpler when you only have 2K of RAM (and that was expanded from the original 512 bytes) as opposed to today's multi gigabytes, no way to do that now.

Comment What is "large"? (Score 1) 152

The files I've used a checksum on were CD or DVD ISOs (specifically, Linux install disks) and there I used MD5 as it was the one provided. I don't checksum typical files downloads ... if it fails I download again. As I only download from known sources, I'm only checking the integrity and not if the file has been modified. (I'm not worried about hash collisions with integrity checks.)

Comment Good ads (Score 1) 707

Good ads do exist ... but yes, 99%+ would not fit the term,

Back when Opera web browser had for pay licenses (which is to say, before 9.50) you could use the browser for free if you didn't mind an ad banner in the top-right corner. And in the later of the pre-9.50 versions you could choose whether to see the standard random ads or contextual ads - the latter were provided by Google based on the page you were looking ad and were text only. (Only for non-secure pages, they weren't going to tell Google what secure pages you visited.) We had a number of users who would pay for the license but then not enter the code so they could continue to see the contextual ads, and of course since the ads were consistently placed and unobtrusive if you weren't interested they were easy to ignore as well.

Mind you, we had reports of some websites specifically blocking Opera because in their minds Opera's ads were reducing the value of their own ads ... but this discussion isn't about ancient web browsers.

A good ad is one that is interesting to the people who see it (as much as possible anyway), that is unobtrusive to those who aren't interested, and advertises something they are likely to be interested in. (The ad I'm seeing below this box for a local financial institution is not particularly good as financial institutions are not something you're looking for that often, and it isn't really unobtrusive either.) These websites where half the page is ads - forget it. Video ads? Only embedded in other video content, and even then not usually. Ads that jump up when you move your mouse over something? Never. Click on perhaps, as the user indicated interest, but not move over.

And if you're Google (or any other ad network), the ads should be governed by interest to the user rather than how much the advertiser is paying (well, as much as feasible anyway). People won't click on it - and are more likely to block it - if it isn't something they want, so it doesn't matter how much they are paying. Doesn't matter that they bought some keyword if it isn't appropriate.

Is that really so hard to understand?

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