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Comment Re:Monopolies are bad (Score 1) 67

Brick & Mortar businesses' response has been to cut back selection. Just TRY to find good precision screwdrivers locally, for example. Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, smaller hardware chains, etc - no dice. Frys has some decent sets but they're not here in the northeast so they aren't an option.

That's because retail space is expensive. So the stores have to basically sell through volume in order to compete with the likes of Amazon. So they'll only stock the most common items people buy in large quantity. Chances are most shoppers are online-savvy so more niche items like precision screwdrivers will be online only rather than occupy a bit of the shelf that they could use to sell something that moves quicker.

The savings from not having a B&M location mean cheaper prices (sure there's a warehouse, but a warehouse can be located in a cheaper area, often where shipping infrastructure is good versus easy accessibility for customers). Sure there's shipping but if you ship enough and have a warehouse near the shipping center, your costs are very low

Back in the day when the only way to get stuff is your local store, carrying a lot of stuff made life convenient. Now that everyone is shopping online anyways, as s store your best bet is to optimize for stuff that moves and that people need to buy repeatedly (like consumables).

Comment Re:Stateful Encryption Solutions (Score 1) 78

Instead of waiting 10-20 years and then suddenly finding out, oh crap, some government has finally has built a quantum computer powerful enough to crack RSA/ECC? /blockquote

While vulnerable to a quantum computer, practical quantum computers aren't even close. To break RSA-2048 for example would require a 2048-bit quantum computer. We're currently around... 5.

The real issue is everything around the quantum computation - the set up and readouts limit number of bits because as we increase bits, the amount of time before they decohere falls dramatically. And once they decohere, your result is meaningless.

So even if you managed to set up all 2048 qubits to the starting state (superposition), the system falls apart before the algorithm starts as the system is just too unstable.

D-Wave may have hundreds of bits, but that's for quantum annealing, which is a tiny subset of quantum computing problems available, of which factoring is not one of them.

And that's RSA-2048. Which I believe is obsolete, and everyone is recommended to go with RSA-4096. And this is because advances in traditional computing have made the time to crack from lifetime of universe to something still absurdly large.

Comment Re:Useless for any occasion (Score 1) 384

Seems like it would be useful in an environment like a gun range where you aren't relying on it for safety.

A) as another poster noted, the whole reason you go to a gun range is to get more better at shooting the guns you have, so that if you need to (or want to) use them for real later - either quickly like self defense, or more methodically like hunting - you know how well you can aim with them, what realistic distances are, how much kick to absorb or correct for...

B) Which leads us to a fingerprint scanner being a disaster in a crisis situation like a home invasion, you don't have the time for that nor want to rely that a gun you might have not touched for a while still has power enough to enable the fingerprint scanner. Similarily if you go hunting, it would REALLY REALLY SUCK to travel for hours to find out your fingerprint friend has no power or just decides that environmental conditions mean your fingers are now invalid.

So said fingerprint scanner gun would never be a gun you would use in real life, making it pointless to shoot at the range,

You mention hunting - is it really a quick draw sport where if the reader takes an extra few seconds to recognize you, it's a critical failure? Sure maybe you might have to pick a new target, but I wouldn't call it critical.

And what about shooting for FUN? You know, recreation? I never plan on having a gun at home, or using it for self-defense (the stats are against me anyhow - as in guns at home typically end up killing the owners more often than the intruders).

This is what's wrong with gun culture in America. Everyone seems to assume the only purpose of a gun is self-defense. True, you can use guns in this manner, and guns are often used in this manner (see: military). But I'm willing to bet they're used far more for both recreation and hunting. Everyone seems to believe that a gun is purely to kill someone, and no one can seem to wrap their heads around the idea that there are plenty of people who don't want to do that at all, or who are smart enough to realize that self-defense is probably the worst possible use for most people.

Hell, even arming the populace makes it a more dangerous world - wasn't there a sniper at the University of Texas Austin campus back in the 60s? Everyone raced home and got their rifles, and the end result is there were more deaths from friendly fire than deaths caused by the sniper. In fact, a police officer who took down the sniper was nearly taken down himself from one such equipped student.

And why do you want to go to a gun range and fire off a gun? Why not? Why do people run for fun (they're not planning on doing a marathon)? Why do people race cars on tracks (they're not going to join the F1 or other race league)? Or play instruments, or do dozens of other activities, by the end of which they can be better than a professional.

Maybe it's time to drop the self-delusion and just admit they're fun to use and mastering anything doesn't have to be for any end goal, other than the challenge of mastering it.

Comment Re:Reason (Score 2) 105

The number is to make account recovery possible in the event you've forgotten your password. The assumption is that attackers won't have access to your phone. That assumption is violated if your telco will transfer your number to the attacker's phone, of course.

And the good folks at NIST have already commented that phone numbers are a bad authentication method and should never be used for the second factor.

Because of exactly this - a phone number is not necessarily under control of the phone you think it is. There are many reasons why a phone number might not lead to the phone you expect, so you should never just trust a phone number.

Comment Re:Walmart also uses direct solar (Score 1) 57

This. Commercial PV panels are about 18% efficient at converting solar energy into electricity, and the best fluorescent bulbs are about 15% efficient at converting electricity into light (the rest becomes heat). So if you install PV panels to power your lights, you're only converting about 2.7% of the sunlight hitting your solar panels into interior light.

Fluorescent lights are around 80% efficient (similar to LEDs). Incandescent lights (traditional light bulbs) are around 15% efficient. It's why you can replace a 60W light bulb with a 13W CFL.

Comment Re:Ultrahd? (Score 1) 71

I seem to recall Sony positioning the Playstation as a media machine. First and foremost they advertised it as one of the best and most widely available bluray players when it first came out. The first bluray player to conform to the new specs of the day, and it was cheaper than most off the shelf bluray players too.

That was the PS3. The PS4 Sony realigned it as a games machine. Re-watch the introductions and you'll see Sony demoing games, while Microsoft demoing everything BUT games in the first introduction (the second introduction they showed games).

Remember, PS4 is "winning", so Sony doesn't want to fix what isn't broken.

Comment Re:Ultrahd? (Score 1) 71

How bout he explain why there is no Ultra HD blu ray drive in this thing? And how the $300 xbone s has one?

Because the PlayStation is a games machine. Not a media machine.

The reason why when the PS4 was first introduced, it was shown gaming, while whent he Xbone was introduced, it was the media features being demonstrated.

The Xbone plays games and media and Microsoft positioned it as something you use for everything in the living room. The PS4 is solely a games machine.

And given the PS4 is doing well, why should Sony innovate in that aspect? Don't fix what isn't broken. The Xbone is selling not so well, so Microsoft needs to innovate to increase sales. So far, it appears to work.

Comment Re:Hollywood loves reboots (Score 1) 198

Now bout we re-boot how TV is served up today and go back to not having the words in the corner of the screen, animated things while the show is on, and lighten the commercial load to what it was like in the 60's?

I think you're mistaken. Perhaps you mean the 80s?

Because in the 60s ads were everywhere. Most TV programming was sponsored by some company or other. "Today, Tide laundry detergent brings you ..." followed by lots of product placement ads for Tide. Let's just say they made sure you know who paid for the programming and that you really should be buying Tide and nothing but Tide. So maybe the 30 second ad might not have existed as we know it today, but it's basically programming intermixed with ads... for one company. It's also the era of the jingle which they played to get you thinking of them continuously.

Comment Re:The same government that wants backdoors (Score 2) 90

The NSA... the agency responsible for keeping government secrets actually secret... can't keep its own systems secured. This same government wants unfettered access to all encrypted systems, and already has the ability to tap any phone anywhere in the US from the comfort of their living room sofa. Not scary at all. Nope.

We don't know this.

We don't know how he got access to the files - perhaps he was authorized to? Remember, Snowden's files were everything he had a legal right to access in the course of his employment.

So if he was gathering the data he had access to, well, there's not much anyone could do to restrict him - there are legitimate reasons why he might be doing the things he did.

Plus, he could gather stuff off stolen computers too - despite the well learned nature of most of the NSA employees (it's a geek fest, effectively), they still do really stupid security things including leaving their computers unsecured and all that.

Hell, the NSA IT department must be hell to work for - try to implement any sort of security and you'll have people wanting your badge because they're smarter and more educated than you and know way more about security and to reverse whatever change it was. (You know the folks - they all brag about how much smarter they are than you and will never do anything stupid...).

Comment Re:Who pays for apps? (Score 1) 53

Are you iOS or Android. Android has more free apps available, a larger % of iOS apps require money.

I wonder how much this has to do with China using older apple devices whereas most people in the west have moved on to Android now. Is Apple still big in China?

Too much piracy on Android to make money selling apps on the platform. It's why the vast majority of apps on Android are free and are loaded with ads that rape all your data from your phone.

iOS users generally pay for apps, so developers get compensated directly by selling apps and thus have less need to sell ads. Plus the platform makes it harder to rape the user's data from it, so ads don't make as much money.

And China generally gets the newer iPhones. Androids are a dime a dozen (the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world are in China, like Xiaomi and LeEco). China generally has a larger proportion of users with Androids than the US (US is generally 40-50% iOS, while China is probably closer to 10% or less. Worldwide, iOS is around 20%). The Chinese generally view the iPhone as a luxury device, so yes, Apple is still big.

I suppose the bigger surprise is that someone managed to make a lot of money despite the Chinese typically pirating anything and everything, with pirate Android App Stores a particularly nasty source of Android malware. (Most Android malware spreads heavily amongst Chinese Android devices through sideloading pirated apps as well as the pirate app stores)

Comment Re: mac os now locked down to IOS levels and (Score 4, Informative) 84

True, it's not quite to iOS levels. But you still can't run code that isn't "blessed" by Cupertino and you can't turn that off: macOS removed the ability to disable Gatekeeper. And recent versions of OS X/macOS are "rootless" meaning the user (who clearly is no longer the owner) can't even change "system files" as root. Also no way to turn this off.

You can run code that isn't blessed by Cupertino. In fact, Gatekeeper defaults to signed and Mac App Store apps. Signed apps are apps that a developer makes that have been signed by a key generated by Apple. Apple doesn't get a chance to review those apps - the developer writes it, signs it, and releases it. Apple has revoked a few keys before, because they were used to spread malware (because even developers can't be bothered to secure their keys, so those keys got stolen).

And it's possible to bypass gatekeeper quite easily. First off, it only affects "unsafe" distribution methods, like software downloads from the Internet. So if you install an app from say, a CD, it works just fine (since these will be older, they will be unsigned). And code that the compiler produces is also trusted, presumably you've verified that yourself. Another way is it relies on extended attributes, so clearing those also bypasses it.

Or you can give an unsigned app permission to run permanantly, requiring little more than a few extra seconds to press the Ctrl key and clicking Open.

For file protection, you can disable it easily enough, though it requires a trip through the recovery mode console Even Wikipedia has the basic command you need to disable it.

Honestly, the options are there to take full control of the machine, if you want to. For the vast, vast majority of users, including power users, leaving it at the defaults is just fine.

Comment Re:Nervous (Score 3, Insightful) 84

Mac mini has been neglected for years, as has the mac pro. Their all-in-one approach is a non-starter for me, and the mini is non-expandable and badly underpowered. If they came out with an acceptable mini-tower not marked up by 3x that I could stick a few drives in and still upgrade the memory and video card in I would be game. Frankly I am done with Windows, and I am not a fan of Linux. Now would be a strategic time for them to take advantage of Windows 10 discontent, but I am sure they won't. I barely ever turn on my home PC anymore anyway. The dream is gone, as are the developers.

They are neglected for a few reasons.

First, the Mini and the Mac Pro are the worst selling machines in the lineup, even when they were brand new. If it wasn't for a hard core group of people who buy practically every model of them, Apple would've dropped both years ago.

Second, both are subject to Intel - because they are the worst selling machines, Apple is not going to invest a lot of design time to accomodate various sockets. The current Mac Mini has a dual core i7 purely because that's the only processor Intel makes that is pin-compatible with the i5s. Apple will not redesign the Mini logic board just for a custom configuration - the ROI is very bad. So Apple is limited to whatever chips Intel has that span the range and share a single socket.

Comment Re:New research perhaps, but not new results (Score 1) 56

I think the real difference is that the audio chain is no longer perfect - it's over VoIP and the audio has been compressed to favor voice over complete fidelity. So the audio of the typing would be distorted since it's not considered important audio. And even with this distortion is it possible to figure out which keys were pressed.

Comment Re:I've come to dread these events... (Score 2) 142

There's always the XPS 13 developer edition

Which is far from a completed product.

The first time we got it, suspend didn't work. You could suspend it, and resuming worked 50% of the time. The other 50% you had issues. A software update later fixed this.

Then there's boot time. Most PCs with 14.04 pretty much get you to the login prompt within seconds. It took a couple of minutes, despite it having a super fast SSD and a fast processor. Again, software update fixed this later.

The next time, the screen is high res. Linux and high res support is iffy, at best. It works, but if you plug in an external monitor, it too would be runing in high-res mode. It takes a bit of voodoo to get independent display scaling to work.

The next one was a software update. Which broke wifi, bluetooth and audio. Turns out Canonical turned on driver signing which broke all those drivers. Yeah, it's an easy fix (turn off secure boot), but still.

Yes, it's great, but damn are there serious usability issues.

We bought these things so we had reasonably powerful Linux certified laptops for developers to use so we internally didn't have to try the hit or miss process with regular Windows laptops.

In the end, we gave up and switched to Lenovo, whose machines seem to run Linux the best and have had fewer issues with breakage.

Comment Re:Still a necessary activity. (Score 2) 42

I'm quite certain there are multiple engineers within Samsung's organization who must have an understanding of Lithium battery technology. They must have been aware of just how hard they were "pushing the envelope" for a consumer-grade device.

I'll wager there were emails requesting that customers at least be exhorted to "use only Samsung manufactured and approved chargers" - and since we've all known certain Android apps to eat battery like candy, I'll wager there were more than a few internal emails warning that certain apps could be dangerous as well.

The Bene Gesserit understand the correct response. The courts need to tell Samsung: "You will pay."

Or, perhaps there are dozens of TIRED and EXHAUSTED engineers at Samsung who were ordered to release the Note 7 months ahead of schedule in order to meet a completely arbitrary deadline for business reasons. As in, a little something called the iPhone forcing a Note 7 release in August.

So they worked hard and worked with what they had to get you the 15 minute quick charge, except instead of being able to test it, they were forced to cut that short, and they probably even wanted to disable it but management said it had to be in.

And the Note 7s that caught fire were using official Samsung chargers, too. Between additional testing, rused development and overextended engineers, well, it's a perfect storm for something like that.

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