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Comments

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Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

Antique Geekmeister Re:Laziness (143 comments)

> They can get simple things done without understanding the whole system. That deliver something that sort of works. This makes them Java developers.

Fixed That for You.

[ Note grammatically correct but confusing capitalization, another of my pet Java peeves. ]

2 days ago
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Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

Antique Geekmeister Re:OCR (149 comments)

> I like the part where they are magically going to make OCR work

I'm afraid you could have left it right there, with no mention of cell phones or their cameras. OCR, much like speech-to-text software, has plateaued and not noticeably improved in the last 10 years. It's became more available as software has become more powerful. But the underlying technologies have been quite stable. Despite flurries of new patents with every update to such software, the fundamental algorithms remain unchanged and have been stable for roughly 20 years.

2 days ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

Antique Geekmeister Re:Transparency (139 comments)

> there's never been a more secretive administration in the US.

Oh, my. I don't know if you're young, or if the easy access of the modern Internet has confused you about just how _little_ information was available to the general population about government programs 30 years ago or more. Do, please, look up the history of the Pentagon Papers.

4 days ago
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"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

Antique Geekmeister Re:Israeli defense company (184 comments)

> Can you imagine the uproar if 80% of those killed in Afghanistan by US forces were civilians?

They mostly are civilian casualties. Much of what's happening now in Afghanistan is guerrilla warfare, not military forces.

5 days ago
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"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

Antique Geekmeister Re:Cost (184 comments)

> This is especially bad if they turn out to be seriously vulnerable to any missile system developed that isn't ruinously expensive per shot or a closely held secret used only by somebody's elite guard

Or if, say, the very large and expensive amount of fuel used b supersonic aircraft can be cut off by the opposing force bombing the oil lines from their own country that we relied on to get cheap fuel. It's a bit of a conundrum when the country you're invading is a major source of your fuel. Or if what you need to "win" the conflict is troops and engineers and nurses on the ground to re-establish water, food, and medical supplies after a decade of civil strife.

$500,000 missiles that can hit another supersonic craft at speed is a complete waste of resources in most modern conflicts. The more sophisticated US craft, and their pilots, very effectively cleared the air and the ground of Iraqi and Afghanistani armor and military vehicles in the last few wars. But I'm afraid the lessons of Vietnam and Korea were ignored. Successful air campaigns lead to wars of occupation, and both countries have _centuries_ of experience of outlasting foreign invaders.

5 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

Antique Geekmeister Re: name and location tweeted... (878 comments)

Please, please. Don't compare a restaurant to a plane, or bus, or a public street, or a simply invent legal anaglogies. It gets very confusing very fast.

A plane is not a "public place". People need purchased tickets to board, and that ticket can be _revoked_ by the other party. It may be enormously inconvenient, or expensive, or a contract violation, But that has little if nothing to do with law about "public spaces". It doesn't make this situation reasonable.

5 days ago
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The Psychology of Phishing

Antique Geekmeister Re:well (128 comments)

> How did you know that others didn't click on it and then not mention it to anyone?

Of course they did. Why would anyone normal report this kind of incident to a security department that is bombarding them with warnings, and will fire you if you can't prove you've read their warnings?

about a week ago
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The Department of Homeland Security Needs Its Own Edward Snowden

Antique Geekmeister Re:Are you fucking kidding? (190 comments)

Especially when bragging gets you sent to a concentration camp, any of the illegal prison camps in Afghanistan right now, or political asylum in Russia.

about a week ago
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The Department of Homeland Security Needs Its Own Edward Snowden

Antique Geekmeister Re:Or, and just hear me out... (190 comments)

> You think Snowden 2.0 is more likely than a judge forcing them to respond to FOIA requests?

Yes, I do. The NSA has been ignoring FOIA for decades, what would possibly make the top-heavy bureaucracy at the TSA more responsive?

about a week ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Antique Geekmeister Re:This is news? (217 comments)

> So you prefer the risk of massive law infringement, including invasive species smuggling, drug running, and terrorism, to a 5% risk that somebody who shouldn't know about Natalie Portman's meal choices finds out whether she's keeping Kosher? No operation on the scale of COINTELPRO could come from the TSA, because the TSA doesn't have the resources to pull it off.

I'm afraid that's a straw man argument. It's not been shown that the massive metadata gathering on USA citizens has been effective against any of those. Where are the convictions? NSA data gathering, in fact, is not supposed to be applied to domestic communications. It's far more useful, and demonstrably so, for internal political abuse. Look at the history of the Stasi for examples of how decades of broad information gathering can be used against moral, law abiding citizens.

Decentralizing the databases, spreading them out, is actually a good goal. Broad, flexible databases with large amounts of data are much easier to steal, and much easier to abuse, than smaller, isolated systems. That's a harsh lesson from decades of security work. And "random searches" are much safer than having it all stored in a central database where it can, and it _will_ be used for political and personal abuse.

about a week ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Antique Geekmeister Re:This is news? (217 comments)

The Nisei were a wholesale incarceration, and was quite public. I was referring more to illegal acts in living memory. The other acts involved the abuse of private information, held in federal hands. It doesn't have to be in a database. The extent of the data and its ease of access _expand_ the risk, not reduce it.

> So we have a database, that will be useful in numerous perfectly legitimate law enforcement operations, and a small risk of it leading to bad things

The "risk" is real. I'm afraid that its abuse is inevitable with so much data concentrated behind closed doors, without any judicial review or enforceable consequences for its misuse.

about two weeks ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Antique Geekmeister Re:Not effective (217 comments)

> This kind of mass data collection on everyone is a huge waste of resources.

Compared to the cost of intelligently filtering it down to unpredictably "relevant" information, and only storing that? Picking out only the "relevant" or even "legal to hold" information would be, in espionage terms, a complete waste of time, prone to error and reducing the effectiveness of exactly the sort of personal, detailed information which this helps gather.

I sincerely doubt that the NSA cares about the fine grained accuracy of such bulk data. That's what analysis is for, not filtering. And by collecting bulk information on US citizens, they've gathered an enormous currency in private data that can be provided to the US government without a warrant, or that can be traded with foreign intelligence to gather the information they _are_ chartered to obtain.

about two weeks ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Antique Geekmeister Re:This is news? (217 comments)

> And we can actually be quite sure it was not widely shared at the TSA, because if it had been some asshole would have stolen his Credit Card number.

Except that they're available, in bulk, to whoever administers that database. And a theft or loss of a backup of that database is hideously unlikely to ever be reported, for "national security reasons" but also to reduce bureaucratic business. And given the history of federal agency personal and political fraud against private citizens, especially politically active citizens, it verifies that they have far too much data, far too easily accessed, available at whim for whatever purpose is desired.

Just because "it's boring text" does not mean it's not incredibly useful for political espionage or frame-ups. Please, do not try to claim that it "wouldn't happen here" The abuse of confidential federal information to harass political opponents certainly _has_ happened here, in the McCarthy hunt for Communits, with the Committee to Re-Elect the President in Nixon's presidential reign whose failures cost Richard Nixon his presidency, and with the Valerie Plame affair during George W. Bush's presidency.

The collection and aggregation of "uninteresting" private information or "metadata" represent risks to political careers and private liberty that will not cease simply because "who would care" or "it's dull". It's hardly dull to be able to use someone's personal information and credit card data to track the nature, times, and location of _every purchase_, and have warrant free monitoring of travels and personal business. And there is, effectively, no oversight of such access because it's the NSA: they operate under a tremendous shroud of national security that prevents rational oversight of such sensitive information.

about two weeks ago
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White House Approves Sonic Cannons For Atlantic Energy Exploration

Antique Geekmeister Re:Hoping this is not as bad as it sounds (272 comments)

The _turf_ of bottom dwelling creatures can be quite small, especially of mollusks. Injuring them, or driving away their predators, is likely to have quite large ecological consequences. Even driving away vegetarian creatures from their feeding grounds is likely to interfere with stable ecologies.

about two weeks ago
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New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

Antique Geekmeister Re:Paper tracked barter (100 comments)

Thank you for pointing out those examples. I'll be quite curious to see if they manage to survive even a single generation.

It can take time for the factors I mentioned to destroy a private currency. The "Miracle of Worgl", for example was shut down by the Austrian National Bank. (Avoiding federal taxes and control of the economy is always grounds to shut down private or semi-public experiments.) The Egyptian example had actual backing for the currency, and seems to have been government controlled. I'll acknowledge that "government" and "private" currencies might not have meant the same thing in ancient Egypt.

I'm afraid that I'm not clear on what you mean by the "cathedral economy". The manufacture of cathedrals seems to have been a government sponsored "public work" in the modern sense. Can you point to a better description of what you mean?

The Ithaca and Berkshires cases are interesting, but only several of the dozens, perhaps hundreds of such currencies in US history. Are you aware of any that have lasted even a single generation? I'm aware of several that have _failed_ in other cities, in my lifetime.

about two weeks ago
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New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

Antique Geekmeister Re:Paper tracked barter (100 comments)

Or the way it _doesn't_ work, I'm afraid.

Inventing new, private currencies seems designed for abuse, and the harvesting of all money in the system by arbitrage traders with no practical regulation or control of the abuse. Such "non-currencies" have been tried before, and are inevitably brought down by one of these factors:

        Governments concerned about taxes not being collected on the barter scrip.
        Arbitrage abuse bleeding all the value out of the relevant currencies and destroying smaller investors.
        Fraud by the central scrip maintainers.

All of these occurred with the "company scrip" that was used by many railroads to pay workers and tie their economy to the "company store" in the US expansion west.

about two weeks ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

Antique Geekmeister Re:Not fungible (529 comments)

From experience, you might be quite surprised at how many are transferable or retrainable to new roles. During the last few economic crashes in the US, quite a few younger or mid-level engineers had to withdraw from the higher tech markets because they needed to _eat_, or to support a family. They're now chronically under employed, and find it very difficult to get their next job to get back on the technology or professional hierarchical employment ladder.

Working with these people, and making sure they get _credit_ for the insights they bring to a workplace, is one of the pleasures of doing technology consultation or partnership. Finding out what they think and re-wrapping it with support and confirmation from an outsider can save tremendous amounts of work, and they're often _shocked_ when we make sure they get credit for it. These are people, in house, who should be taught whatever they were missing and transferred or promoted to the right role to use their skills. They've often been stuck behind various glass ceilings due to age, gender, native language, or cultural differences. If we can help open that glass ceiling for them, it's one of the delights of our work.

about two weeks ago
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New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

Antique Geekmeister Strike that. Reverse it. (253 comments)

[ I speak as an older programmer, with plenty of diabetic acquaintances and family. ]

I'm afraid there are plenty of Type 2 diabetics whose weight gain was _triggered_ or at least ballooned, under the influence of Type 2 diabetes. The insulin resistance can also cause high insulin levels, which triggers hunger. The spiral of high insulin levels and weight gain can get out of hand very quickly. The result is that people believe that the weight gain triggered the Type 2, not the reverse, especially as the early symptoms are quite modest and only show up with regular blood testing or a glucose tolerance test. It also makes treatment quite difficult, since lapses can leave the victims feeling surprisingly hungry and eager to break their treatment regimes.

There are certainly millions of Type 2 diabetics who'd welcome a much simpler treatment approach: the oral medications do have complications. Injections are awkward, but there are certainly millions of Type 1 diabetics who absolutely need frequent insulin injections or insulin pumps who will say "get over it".

about two weeks ago
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Fossils of Cambrian Predator Preserved With Brain Impressions

Antique Geekmeister Re:Body armour? (45 comments)

In order to protect turf and progeny from your own species. One's own species is often the fiercest competition in the local ecology.

about two weeks ago
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Fossils of Cambrian Predator Preserved With Brain Impressions

Antique Geekmeister Re:Ia! Ia! (45 comments)

There are levels of sophistication. Surprisingly, "The Science of Discworld" has an excellent narrative explanation of how evolution creates new types of organism. It's partly by expanding opportunities for current organism by creating sophisticated ecosystems which stabilize the environment, and make energy and resources available that new types of organism attempt to use est and, occasionally, prosper.

It's also entertaining science, with a fine appreciation of how catastrophe has shaped biological history.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Twitter discards client UI community

Antique Geekmeister Antique Geekmeister writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Antique Geekmeister (740220) writes "Twitter has just decided to discard the community of developers who've created interesting, innovative, and exciting to start-up company applications. The announcement at http://groups.google.com/group/twitter-api-announce/browse_thread/thread/c82cd59c7a87216a?hl=en shows that they intend to switch from the "bazaar" model of development to the "cathedral", with much tighter control of user interfaces for "security" and "consistency"."
Link to Original Source
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Oranges with THC Bio-Engineered

Antique Geekmeister Antique Geekmeister writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Antique Geekmeister (740220) writes "A biochemist, Irwin Nanofsky, irritated by the confiscation of his family car when his son was caught with drug paraphernalia in 1984, has wreaked biological revenge on Florida law enforcement 24 years later by developing, and releasing, fertile orange seeds for oranges that contain the major active ingredient of marijuana http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=57839045341&h=3VR1O&u=IDqVi.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, in a tall glass, with a plate of waffles."

Link to Original Source

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