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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

Jaime2 Not Surprising (422 comments)

I once read that a third of all tax credit dollars earmarked for the poor go to H&R Block. This must be where another third goes. This is no different from the record companies fighting tooth and nail to prevent their old business model from dying. It's no surprise that it's happening - it's sad that it's working.

about two weeks ago

The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

Jaime2 Marketplace Is Broken (163 comments)

Almost all marketplaces are broken. Getting eyes on your website, users to download your app, people to watch your commercial, etc. are all not meritocracies. That's why there are whole categories of professions to handle them (advertising, SEO, etc.). Everyone that makes products knows that if you want to make a ton of money, don't put your money into making a better product, put your money into advertising your currently crappy product.

I got ripped apart a few days ago for making the comment that programming is currently at the equivalent maturity to medicine back in the blood-letting days. This is more proof that we haven't created adequate solutions for common problems like search yet. Sure Google was better than everyone before them and there has been a lot of advancement, but we have a very long way to go yet.

about two weeks ago

GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

Jaime2 Re:Why not? (236 comments)

That's why software developers shouldn't insist on using the title Engineer. This kind of accountability is expected of an engineer, it's not an anomaly. When programming matures to the point where bugs are rare, then we will deserve the title.

I write software for a living and I'm well aware that if we were to compare computer science to medical science, the current era is roughly equivalent to the blood letting and leeches era. I can't wait for our penicillin to come around.

about two weeks ago

The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

Jaime2 Re:Good for devs. (270 comments)

I don't see devs being hurt by this at all. Sure, Microsoft has changed what it is pushing, but their support of deprecated technology is still excellent. Not only is WCF still supported, but their SOAP stuff still continues to work just fine (and to be fully supported by Visual Studio), even though it hasn't been pushed for over ten years.

As for Silverlight - anyone that thought that was going to work wasn't paying attention. The fact is, there are still two markets for Windows apps; corporate stuff that has no reason to adopt Metro, so will continue to be WinForms and WPF for a long time; and consumer stuff, which is served well by apps delivered through app stores. In order to execute the current app store model without creating a virus epidemic, some protections need to be in place. That was always going to be based on the protections already in place with existing web technologies. Anyone who's surprised that app store apps adopted HTML5 and Javascript wasn't paying attention.

Also, the other technology supported for app store apps is XAML with a limited subset of the API. That's essentially what Silverlight was without the stupid browser plugin concept. So, Silverlight developers weren't left in the cold - 95% of their skillset is still useful for app store development.

about two weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

Jaime2 Re:Equal amounts? (393 comments)

The matter came from somewhere. The antimatter also.

Matter and antimatter both spontaneously come from energy. We've seen it happen in supercollider experiments. Current big bang physics posits that all matter spontaneously formed from nothing but energy in processes known as leptogenesis and baryogenesis. The big mystery is that according to the physics we've observed, the matter and antimatter should have mostly turned back into energy. However, none of our experiments come close to the energy levels of leptogenesis and baryogenesis, so nothing has been disproven yet.

On the other hand, the universe coming into being with matter already in it, or matter somehow being moved into it, both would be huge deviations from the current scientific thinking. More importantly, we have a pretty good explanation for how things are without resorting to external forces, there are just a few gaps to fill (like the one that is the topic of this thread). There's no good reason to open the Pandora's Box of outside interference, as it makes meaningful discussion almost impossible.

If we stick to the current research path of assuming the universe is a closed system - we'll eventually find out if it's true or not. But, if we start with an assumption that the universe isn't a closed system, then it becomes impossible to get answers to the hard questions. Any question where there isn't an answer readily available (like "Why is there matter and not antimatter")" will simply be dismissed with "It was there all along" and no one will really learn anything.

about three weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

Jaime2 Re:Equal amounts? (393 comments)

Theorizing the state of things before the big bang is for philosophers. Besides, if there was matter in the space our universe occupies before the big bang, it wouldn't have survived intact through the first few milliseconds due to the incredibly high energy density, not to mention surviving whatever process caused the big bang in the first place.

about three weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

Jaime2 Re:Equal amounts? (393 comments)

If it didn't, then we would simply change the question to "why did it start with unequal amounts". Since that question would involve forces outside our universe or before the big-bang, it would be much harder to answer. So, scientists try to answer the this question first. If they disprove all of the theories that come up, they will start to consider that there may not be an in-universe explanation. But, it's much better to not jump to the unanswerable question prematurely, or science will become religion.

about three weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

Jaime2 Re:Matter-Antimatter Explosions (393 comments)

Read the article. It explains that if there were anti-matter regions, we should be able to detect gamma rays from the explosions. The number of gamma rays we detect are far too few for there to be large regions of antimatter.

about three weeks ago

Malaysian Flight Disappearance 'Deliberate'

Jaime2 Re:Watch out (436 comments)

That went right over your head. His point was that although most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. We obviously have a history of not attacking the country where the bombers are from.

about a month ago

Cameras On Cops: Coming To a Town Near You

Jaime2 Incidents dropped by 50%, I wonder why? (264 comments)

So, when cops have cameras, reported incidents of police using force dropped by half. I believe that means that 50% of uses of force were unwarranted or unnecessary, otherwise why would they have stopped?

This sound like pretty clear evidence that police think they can get away with bending the law as long as no one (except the victim) sees them.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Reviewing 3rd Party Libraries?

Jaime2 Many Eyes (88 comments)

Good security comes from a lot of people's testing and input. If you look investigate a product, you will only be able to categorize it into two categories: "utterly craptastic" and "probably utterly craptastic". The only way to be assured of good quality is to use libraries that a lot of people use and have had success with. Don't bother looking at the binary, look at the reputation.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?

Jaime2 Re:Evil? (572 comments)

Well, no it's not an outdated attitude -- corporate security is about mitigating risk, not eliminating risk, and part of that mitigation is preventing unmanaged devices from connecting to the corporate "trusted" network through NAC policies -- if your device doesn't pass the NAC check, it's not getting on the network, either let IT manage your device, or you can connect to the guest network.

Corporate security may be about mitigating risk, but IT is about providing services. It shouldn't be security's call to remove a service from the portfolio because they don't want the risk. Your job is to provide the service with as little risk as possible and to provide guidance to the rest of IT. Not allowing BYOD because in the name of security is like wiping everyone's hard drive in the name of security. Sure, you have reduced risk, but also crippled the system.

Most companies already treat insiders as threats, so BYOD on the corporate network isn't any additional risk. If you don't, then that's the outdated attitude I was referring to.

I know an AUP isn't security. I brought it up to say that they only require an AUP, meaning that no additional security precautions are taken.

The "hold you responsible" comment wasn't very clear, sorry about that. What I really meant was that if you are denying functionality then there better be an associated benefit. So, the eventual end of that logic is that if you take an extreme position of "all devices on the network must be controlled by me", then you should be held to an equally extreme consequence of "well, then everything is your fault - not professionally - personally". If you want to only bear professional responsibility then you should have stopped at "here is what it would cost to secure a BYOD environment" and not progressed to "No BYOD here.".

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?

Jaime2 Re:Evil? (572 comments)

That's a bit of an outdated attitude. Any "secure corporate network" has dozens or even hundreds of compromised client devices on it at any moment (and possibly a compromised employee or two). Not allowing personal devices doesn't increase security all that much. On the other hand, the benefits of BYOD are accepted by most companies that employ knowledge workers. Most places I've worked (some were really big corporations) simply require an employee to sign an acceptable use policy before connecting.

Let me turn that attitude around: are you willing to be held personally responsible when a client is compromised by a zero-day? Control is an illusion in the twenty-first century, it's way past time to start building networks that are able to function properly even with untrusted devices on them.

about a month and a half ago

Cops Say NDA Kept Them from Notifying Courts About Cell Phone Tracking Gadget

Jaime2 Re:Lousy argument (235 comments)

It would seem like the victim can consent to the location tracking of her stolen cell phone. No warrant necessary or certainly an easily obtained one.

Which is why it is so ridiculous that they didn't get one. Illegal actions committed in secret by authorities continues until they eventually screw up. Unfortunately, the climate has changed so that there is almost no down side to getting caught. In the past, agencies treaded very lightly near the edge of what's legal because when you got caught, you were gone. Today, getting caught means very little.

I would love to see 200 convictions overturned and a big billboard put up with a group photo of fifty murderers and rapists with the caption "These people are all free because of the choices of {{insert name of responsible idiot here}}."

about 2 months ago

HealthCare.gov Can't Handle Appeals of Errors

Jaime2 Re:in the private sector (208 comments)

When I worked for a Fortune 50 company, we once had corporate IT charge us $1.7 million to tell us that it would cost $4.5 million to make a simple e-commerce web site for a division that had a catalog of 2000 products and did about 250 orders per day. Everyone on that team was praised and the local GM that refused to go forward with the project was eventually pushed out. The project eventually happened.

They now have a maintenance team of five people dedicated full time to that web site.

about 3 months ago

Windows 8.1 Passes Windows Vista In Market Share

Jaime2 Re:Windows 8 woes (249 comments)

(you have to dig somewhere in windows 8 to "unlock the bios", reformat the drive for a different file type, etc)

That's not Microsoft's doing, the hardware vendor shipped the computer with Secure Boot enabled, which Windows 8 supports, but 7 does not. You can't blame them for enabling a new feature. If it's hard to go back, the hardware vendor wrote the user interface, not Microsoft, so put the blame where it belongs.

... only to find out that I couldn't get all the windows 7 drivers. Even basic stuff like the ethernet did not work. I had not experienced to what extent a new PC was non functional after installing the OS. I had to restore it back to windows 8, and buy a different laptop with windows 7 installed.

Once again, the hardware vendor was the one that decided not to distribute Windows 7 drivers. I've found many cases where the driver actually works with Windows 7, but the installer is specifically coded to refuse to run on 7. It's more of the hardware vendor trying to reduce its expenses by not training tech support staff on more than one operating system than an actual flaw with Windows.

about 3 months ago

A Protocol For Home Automation

Jaime2 It's Intentional (116 comments)

Home automation gadgets are incompatible because the vendors want it that way. Selling you a $50 light bulb is the "gateway drug" to selling you a $20 a month service to manage it from your smart phone. If the protocol is proprietary, there is no competition. A/V components have been this way for so long that the world has just accepted that IR is the only way to talk to them.

It will change when a system gets so much market share that the component vendors see more value in staying a component vendor than they see in establishing themselves as a system vendor. At that point the problem is that the system vendor will want to protect their market by locking up their protocol.

about 6 months ago

Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights

Jaime2 Re:Finally! (1440 comments)

Yes... because the first priority of the police should be to make sure you don't get annoyed.

about 7 months ago


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