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SourceForge Appeals To Readers For Help Nixing Bad Ad Actors

Alphanos "Advertising policies"? Try borderline malware. (198 comments)

The bottom line is that GIMP didn't want to be associated with tricking its users into installing borderline malware. If a program's installer is filled with traps that you have to carefully watch for to avoid - that sets off huge blaring alarms in the heads of most experienced users.

This is especially a problem for the open-source community, which still struggles to get a fair comparison with commercial software in the corporate IT world. If even major software gets saddled with nonsense like SourceForge is trying to pull, it could set back progress by years.

SourceForge had better smarten up before it becomes a ghost town. GIMP is certainly not going to be the last high-profile departure if things don't change.

While we're at it, the summary of this story was blatantly whitewashed. Mentioning the parent company link should be a bare minimum, not an excuse to abandon all pretense of impartiality.

about a year ago

White House Confirms Chinese Cyberattack

Alphanos Wait, what? (212 comments)

How can the attack include military systems used for nuclear commands, yet not include any secure classified systems?

When they made a list of which government systems should be secured, they decided to leave the nukes off that list?!

more than 2 years ago

Verizon Announces Pay-Per-Use 'Turbo Boost' For Smartphones

Alphanos Car Analogy! (129 comments)

Time for a car analogy! Cellular bandwidth is like the traffic on your morning commute. Recently there have been complaints of traffic jams, delays, and generally slow transit speeds. However, adding more lanes to the roads is expensive, so instead the road operator has come up with a fantastic solution. They will sell Turbo Boost buttons for drivers to install in their cars. If wielders of a turbo button feel that their commute is too slow, then by pressing the button they can technomagically force all other drivers to exit the lane the button user is driving in, thus clearing a fast path for them. Of course the lane changes aren't forced on other button wielders.

This amazing innovation is sure to solve the traffic problems in no time.

more than 3 years ago

Facebook Cookies Track Users Even After Logging Out

Alphanos Fix This With Add-Ons (352 comments)

This and many other privacy issues can and should be fixed by use of proper Firefox add-ons. Sure we can decry the practice and wish that in an ideal world corporations would not do such things, but that's a waste of time. Use things like Adblock Plus, Ghostery, Beef Taco, NoScript, and Better Privacy.

I don't even see those Facebook buttons. Since in practice nobody will manually mess with their cookies each time they log out of a site, and may even want to visit other sites while still logged in, this is the only realistic solution.

more than 3 years ago

Reaction To Diablo 3's Always-Online Requirement

Alphanos Re:Single Player Cheating (591 comments)

Who cares if you cheat in a single player game? Blizzard does. They care because they want to sell you those cheats for real money in their new auction house, and if you can cheat for free then you're not paying them to do it.

more than 3 years ago

Saving Gas Via Underpowered Death Traps

Alphanos Re:This can be fixed. (585 comments)

By this math, city buses cause in excess of 30,000 times the road wear of a small car, and should pay the road wear taxes of 30,000+ people. I think the thing to learn from this is that road wear and fuel efficiency are separate issues.

more than 3 years ago

NATO Report Threatens To 'Persecute' Anonymous

Alphanos Acts of War (388 comments)

Oh. When we saw the story the other day that the US had declared that hacking and similar online attacks could be considered acts of war, I didn't understand the purpose of such a statement. Now I understand.

I think we might be seeing the start of America's next war on a general concept.

Any bets as to what the target will be stated as? Anonymity? The Internet in general?

more than 3 years ago

Japan Reluctant To Disclose Drone Footage of Fukushima Plant

Alphanos High-Res Nuclear Plant Footage? (335 comments)

I imagine most countries have general policies not to release high resolution footage of their nuclear plants, under any circumstances. This might have little to do with the meltdown status, or lack thereof, of the plants.

more than 3 years ago

AMD's Fusion APU Pitted Against 21 Desktop CPUs

Alphanos Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (93 comments)

The article makes clear that the comparison to desktop CPUs is being done to clear up corporate PR hyperbole. Although it's obvious to techies that a chip in this electrical/thermal segment can't compete with desktop processors that have many times the resources to work from, it's important for average users to have that cleared up.

However the article also makes clear that in the market segment this chip was actually designed for, it's a big success. This is of particular note since the Atom line had been dominating the segment for so long.

The summary makes it sound like this is some kind of failed desktop chip - definitely not the case.

more than 3 years ago

AMD's Fusion APU Pitted Against 21 Desktop CPUs

Alphanos Wow, Biased Summary Much? (93 comments)

Ok wait, so AMD's next-gen "atom-killer" successfully trumps Intel's next-gen Atom, but "the results aren't particularly encouraging" because it doesn't also beat full-fledged desktop processors? Seriously, talk about misleading.

In other news, iPods aren't the best at 3D graphics rendering, and cars are not the best choice for transatlantic shipping.

This is a test of CPU/GPU integration at the low end to start with - and a successful test at that.

more than 3 years ago

First Ceiling Light Internet Systems Installed

Alphanos Way too expensive (179 comments)

It's easy to see that any system requiring special light fixtures and modems for each PC will be far more expensive than simply setting up a wireless access point or two for each floor of a building. This wouldn't even just be a one-time cost, but would apply as part of regular maintenance - which is easier, to swap out a router, or to bring in contractors to replace all of a company's light fixtures?

A system like this could really only be practical where conventional wireless can't be used for some reason. Perhaps in offices where security is the foremost consideration (CIA?), or a building right next to a high-powered radio broadcast tower.

about 4 years ago

New Zealand Government Opens UFO Files

Alphanos Why these types of reports get kept secret (100 comments)

These types of reports are typically kept secret because in addition to stories that are totally made up, they could be a source of intelligence on military aircraft. When testing new yet easily observable capabilities (i.e. VTOL), you don't want foreign powers reading your citizens' UFO sighting reports to judge how far along you are, or for that matter even to track down which airfields are being used to test prototype craft. In some cases depending on local geography and political relations, the reports might even contain information on craft of neighbouring nations.

more than 4 years ago

The A-Team of IT — and How To Assemble One

Alphanos IT A-Team personnel No. 5: Coding genius (246 comments)

"But the most important thing is they don't challenge you. You don't even have to explain what you want or provide a document."

Wow, I think this is just about the worst advice I can imagine.

Apparently, so long as the programmers "don't challenge you" by asking you to "explain what you want", all your IT projects will be wild successes!

more than 4 years ago

Google Patches 10 Chrome Bugs, Pays Out $10K

Alphanos Re:a couple grand? (95 comments)

It has to be a careful balance to set bounties like this at the right amount. The information and fixes are valuable, yes. However, If they set the payout too high, it could actually encourage their employees to write buggy software in the hopes of cashing in (i.e. through a friend or family member).

more than 4 years ago

Spinal-Fluid Test Confirmed To Predict Alzheimer's

Alphanos 100% Accurate, Nearly All of the Time! (138 comments)

So, just to clarify, this test "can be 100% accurate", while at the same time "Nearly every person with Alzheimer's had the characteristic spinal fluid protein levels."

That's a pretty neat trick.

more than 4 years ago

WSJ's Mossberg Calls For a Tougher Broadband Plan

Alphanos DSL Is Not That Simple (332 comments)

While this is a common view of how DSL technology works, it's really only true in dense urban areas with relatively new wiring. The truth is that it's actually quite complex to transmit broadband signals over telephone lines, and any number of things can interfere.

For starters, in most cases the DSLAM has to be within about 3 miles of the customer, and this is not measured as a bird flies. Sometimes the wires may twist around in all sorts of bizarre ways depending on historical construction. This makes it extremely costly for telecoms to provide broadband outside of densely populated areas, since you're looking at installing a DSLAM and the facilities to protect, support, and maintain it for a handful of houses in some rural areas. There's no way for those costs to ever be recovered. Now there are some ways to cut these costs using remote terminals rather than full DSLAMs, but this still costs vastly more than the customers can repay.

Although plain old distance-based attenuation is the biggest limiting factor, there are all kinds of other problems as well. Things like the gauge of the telephone wiring can make a big difference, and many areas historically had signal-boosting equipment installed on phone lines which produces acceptable voice quality on a flaky line, but makes broadband signal transmission all but impossible. At that point telecoms are looking at major engineering work to remove that equipment without degrading voice quality for the affected customers, all before they can even think about providing broadband service.

Without addressing these major engineering issues first, the most common results of offering broadband to customers in these areas is that they get 1/10th of the intended speed and the service cuts out every 10 minutes due to attenuation and poor signal to noise ratio. This predictably results in furious customers and repair techs trying to patch things together on an individual customer basis, and usually failing since these tend to be major jobs that can't just be fixed with duct tape. So generally the telecoms simply don't offer the service in these areas because they don't want the hassle.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm no shill for the telecoms. I know all about federal funding they've received which has gone to questionable use, and there are various things I think should be done differently. However, looking purely at the technology involved, it is not in any way a simple task to roll out rural broadband. Pretending it's easy won't help anyone; it can be done, but it will take a long time and cost a lot of money. Even assuming unlimited funding I doubt it could be finished by 2012, simply because there aren't enough field techs/engineers to complete the vast amount of requisite infrastructure work in that timeframe.

more than 4 years ago

Chicago Mayor Calls For "Brainiac High"

Alphanos Re:Missed the mark (419 comments)

Oh, so kids are only discouraged from being brainy for the first 14 years of their education then? Got it, no problem.

more than 4 years ago

NASA Unveils Sweeping New Programs For Next 5 Years

Alphanos Re:stop sending bags of meat into space (278 comments)

The primary benefit we get out of NASA and similar agencies is not the science done in orbit around Jupiter or Saturn. Sure we can learn some interesting stuff that way, but ultimately the exact composition of Titan will have almost zero beneficial effect on human life.

The primary benefit is that in solving very difficult engineering problems, NASA produces interesting solutions which may also be applicable to related terrestrial issues. These resulting spinoffs are much more valuable.

Eliminating human spaceflight would make things a lot easier. That's the problem. You learn less from something that's easy.

more than 4 years ago

XKCD Deploys Command Line Interface

Alphanos Re:undocumented commands I've seen: (288 comments)

Try entering "next" when viewing the most recent comic. Then try "enable time travel".

more than 4 years ago


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