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Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

JesseMcDonald Re:There aren't infinite bugs (231 comments)

Then it doesn't matter whether most people would find the effective hourly rate "insulting"; all that matters is that anybody who does find an exploit will turn it in to the company rather than selling it on the black market or exploiting it themselves.

You're assuming they can only choose one. What is there to prevent someone from exploiting the bug themselves for a while, selling it on the black market (to a discrete buyer), and still eventually turning it in to collect the bounty?


San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

JesseMcDonald Re:Isn't prop 13 irrelevant to buyers? (356 comments)

How is it not so good for buyers? It seems buyers would be paying taxes based on a current assessment with or without prop 13? In other words prop 13 seems irrelevant to that initial assessment and tax rate, that it only affects increases not the initial rate.

It's bad if you consider that the tax burden is distributed unevenly. New buyers pay a larger fraction of the tax, yet receive the same share of city services as long-time owners of similar properties. The rate has to be set higher to make up for the shortfall from the undervalued properties. Let's say the city needs 5% of the current market value of all the properties to meet its budget. If half those properties are undervalued by 50% for tax purposes, the tax rate has to be set at 6.7% instead of 5%, which means new buyers are paying a third more than they would if all the property taxes were based on current market value.

2 days ago

Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

JesseMcDonald Re:Recording laws (790 comments)

Recording a conversation without the consent of the other party even for the purpose of providing evidence requires a warrant, under the first amendment and the laws governing free speech. While I understand the intentions and agree that attempting to resolve it by providing clear evidence is reasonable, the simple truth is that under US law recording conversations is prohibited without the oversight of a judge who can determine whether or not it is an appropriate exception to the right of free speech.

You're making it sound like all-party consent laws exist throughout the entire US. Only twelve states require all-party consent: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington. In the other 38 it's perfectly legal to record the conversation as long as you are a party to it. This isn't anywhere close to a first amendment or free speech issue. Your right to speak freely does not imply a right to make others forget what you said or prevent them from testifying about it—and the only relevant difference between a recording made in person and one's own memory is that the recording is a more reliable form of evidence, which is all to the good.

It's the all-party consent states, like this one, which are being unreasonable here. So long as the person speaking is aware that you can hear them, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy from you and you ought to be perfectly free to record what they say.

3 days ago

Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

JesseMcDonald Re:Lol... (1111 comments)

You lose that ability the moment you incorporate. You want protections of incorporation, then you also get regulated.

You shouldn't have to forfeit your rights and submit to arbitrary restrictions imposed by a third-party just to exercise your natural freedom of association and act as a group.

The protections of incorporation are really fairly limited. It's not an absolute defense; if you cause harm which can't be made whole out of corporate funds, incorporation won't help—you can still be made personally liable for the damage. The benefits of incorporation mostly come down to simplified tax accounting and clarifying the scope of each party's responsibilities when entering into contracts. The first part is a solution to a problem created by government in the first place, and the second doesn't need government at all, just a mutually-agreeable arbiter to settle disputes.

about two weeks ago

SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

JesseMcDonald Re:benevolent dictator. (319 comments)

If you're renting it from your landlord, it's not "private property".

It's still private property. It's just not your private property—it belongs to the landlord. You've just contracted to use it for a time.

about two weeks ago

NYU Group Says Its Scheme Makes Cracking Individual Passwords Impossible

JesseMcDonald Re:Any Excuse? Yes. (277 comments)

Most security in this world is about prosecution.

Sure. But that assumes that you can prosecute. For a crime like breaking & entering, that may work often enough to serve as a deterrent. Online, not so much. You'll probably never find out who orchestrated the attack, and even if you do, they're like to be in a different jurisdiction (or even have state backing). As a result, your security measures have to be strong enough to prevent the attack from succeeding in the first place.

That's not to say that you always need absolute security. There's still a cost/benefit analysis involved. You just can't count on making up your losses by prosecuting the offender when the security fails, which increases the net benefit of having proper security in place.

about two weeks ago

Scientists Solve the Mystery of Why Zebras Have Stripes

JesseMcDonald Re:Terrible summary (190 comments)

very unconvincing... wouldnt it be easier to grow your hair a few mm longer?

What's to say that didn't happen? We just don't call the ones with longer hair instead of stripes "zebras".

Evolution doesn't involve a species voting on how it would prefer to evolve. If there are multiple possible adaptations then it's entirely possible that different subgroups will evolve in different directions in response to the same environmental factors. This is one path to speciation, if the change are significant enough.

about two weeks ago

Subversion Project Migrates To Git

JesseMcDonald Re:One big way in which Git is not SVN-compatible (162 comments)

git does support hierarchical branches. You can have a branch named maria/new-crypto, and even pattern-match on the branch path in refspecs. The problem, as you alluded to, is that SVN doesn't have native branches at all, just copies. How is git-svn supposed to know that /branches/maria/new-crypto refers to a branch of /trunk and not to a directory within the "maria" branch? They look the same. For that matter, you could get that path by creating a branch named "maria" (copied from some version of /trunk) and then coping /trunk into it as a subdirectory—a branch within a branch.

You can work around odd SVN layouts somewhat by manually configuring custom branch paths in .git/config:

[svn-remote "origin"]
url = http://server.org/svn
fetch = trunk:refs/remotes/origin/trunk
branches = branches/maria/*:refs/remotes/origin/maria/*
branches = branches/fred/*:refs/remotes/origin/fred/*
tags = tags/*:refs/remotes/origin/tags/*

about two weeks ago

Subversion Project Migrates To Git

JesseMcDonald Re:April Fools! (162 comments)

You then stash apply. You get the conflicts, say "I give up for now". Now all you have to do is figure out what the SHA1 of the copy that was in the stash is. Might have to do some reflog digging, but it is not only possible but actually pretty easy if you know about the reflog.

You don't even need to bother finding the SHA1 or searching the reflog. stash apply doesn't get rid of the stash, so it's still right there as stash@{0}. You can also find it with stash list. stash pop would normally get rid of the stash after applying it, but even there the original stash is preserved if there were any merge conflicts.

about two weeks ago

If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

JesseMcDonald Re:Free market (353 comments)

I was pointing out that this is a 'free market', with the government being another variable that companies must take into account...

This should go without saying, but if you have to take third-party interference with the peaceful exercise of your property rights into account, then it isn't a free market. (The absence of such interference is exactly what the "free" part refers to.)

about three weeks ago

New Australian Privacy Laws Could Have Ramifications On Google Glass

JesseMcDonald Re:Information is not for you (128 comments)

Sabriel wasn't talking about mobile phones. He was alluding to the organic recording device located inside your skull.

about three weeks ago

Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

JesseMcDonald Re:Wi-Fi in the store (455 comments)

Bitcoin takes an average of 10-30 minutes before the transfer is effectively irreversible by the customer. With a credit card, due to chargebacks, it takes months to reach that point. Checks are faster than credit cards, but easier to fake, and still much slower to finalize than Bitcoin.

Even before you get your 1-3 confirmations, unless the customer controls a large fraction of the mining network or is colluding with someone who does they have very little change of implementing a double-spend once the transaction has been broadcast through the network, a process which takes only a few seconds. In the meantime you probably have them on camera, and they can't get very far before the transaction is confirmed or invalidated. If you're concerned about a particularly large transaction you can always ask for a photo ID in case you need to track them down later.

about three weeks ago

North Korea: Male University Students Required To Get Kim Jong-un Haircuts

JesseMcDonald Re:Haircuts are cheap (110 comments)

You're buying insurance for both yourself and your wife, so your case isn't relevant to the discussion. Obviously any policy covering both a male and a female will include coverage for male-specific procedures for the male and female-specific procedures for the female. That doesn't imply that anyone should be forced to buy insurance for a procedure he or she is guaranteed to never need. Gender should be taken into account when calculating risk factors and premiums.

about three weeks ago

North Korea: Male University Students Required To Get Kim Jong-un Haircuts

JesseMcDonald Re:Haircuts are cheap (110 comments)

This is how insurance works. We pool everyone. You're not buying specific health procedures. You're buying decreased risk.

No, that's not how insurance works. That's how charity works (or wealth transfer, a.k.a. theft, when it's forced). True, you're not paying for specific procedures. However, you should be paying according to the probability and cost of the procedures you're covered for. A procedure you'll never need has zero probability, and thus shouldn't affect your premiums.

You're not buying decreased risk. Risk is the product of probability and cost; if anything, insurance increases your risk by adding the insurance company's overhead and profit margin. It certainly can't decrease risk for everyone no matter how you structure it; there must always be at least as much payed in as the insurance company pays out, on average, or the company goes bankrupt. The purpose of insurance is to reduce the cost of an insured event to something manageable, in the event it does occur, at the expense of increasing the probability of paying that cost (you have to pay the premiums whether the event happens or not).

The idea behind insurance pools is to group together statistically independent policies of about the same level of risk. They don't necessarily have to cover the same things, you just want to avoid holding a bunch of cash in reserve, or else bankrupting the company in the event several large claims have to be paid out at the same time.

about three weeks ago

Operation Wants To Mine 10% of All New Bitcoins

JesseMcDonald Re:I admire their spunk, but... (275 comments)

Wasted electricity has no demand.
Bitcoin is linked to the supply and demand of WHAT exactly?

That electricity isn't "wasted"; it goes to validate blocks of transactions. Achieving world-wide consensus on who has how many bitcoins is a service which provides value, which is the reason for the transaction fees. (The exponentially decreasing block reward is primarily a decentralized way to distribute bitcoins as fairly as possible.)

Of course, it's not the supply and demand of bitcoin mining which is important here, but rather the supply and demand of bitcoins. The supply follows a known formula over time, with an ultimate limit at 21 million bitcoins. The demand, as for any currency, is determined by a combination of direct use, marketability and speculation, with an emphasis on marketability. Relative to the dollar, gold has more demand for direct use and bitcoin has more demand for speculation, but in all three cases the main source of demand is the fact that you can trade them for other goods and services later.

about three weeks ago

XWayland Aiming For Glamor Support, Merge Next X.Org Release

JesseMcDonald Re:Remote display across network? (83 comments)

As for Wayland, the only thing I've seen there is experimental support for running the full blown Wayland server and compositor on the server and it will use RDP if you want to view it remotely.

Well, you will need a Wayland compositor on the server, since Wayland is a local/shared-memory IPC protocol. The compositor will take the place of the xpra server, and communicate with a proxy (Wayland client) on the user's machine. It doesn't have to merge the windows into a single desktop, however. The current RDP backend in Weston is limited to the desktop mode, but if you can forward a complete desktop then there's nothing technically difficult about forwarding an individual window; it's just a matter of proxying the non-video parts of the protocol. I get the impression that they have more urgent tasks on their to-do list, like getting XWayland working so that you can use it with legacy applications.

about three weeks ago

UK Bans Sending Books To Prisoners

JesseMcDonald Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (220 comments)

For example, if a person is in prison for drug possession and is rehabilitated, while should punishment matter.

Why should rehabilitation matter? That person shouldn't be in prison in the first place. They didn't do anything to justify locking them up as a proportional punishment, and they don't pose the imminent threat of irreparable harm necessary to justify a preemptive act of defense. They didn't even cause anyone harm for which they would need to pay restitution.

The thing about punishment is that it isn't so much that the person should be punished as it is that they shouldn't be able to appeal to the State for protection against the victim doing to them exactly what they did to the victim. They did it, therefore they claim that it's all right to do it. No take-backs. (More formally: estoppel.) Whether they actually are punished should be up to the victim, though, and there is something to be said for leniency so long as it doesn't place others at risk.

about three weeks ago

XWayland Aiming For Glamor Support, Merge Next X.Org Release

JesseMcDonald Re:Remote display across network? (83 comments)

In that case what you want is xpra. Each window is rendered off-screen and forwarded individually, as a compressed video stream (x264 if it's available). You can detach from the xpra server and reattach later, from the same client or a different one, with all your applications intact. A lot like how Wayland remoting will work, really, except that in Wayland it will be better integrated due to not needing to support all the legacy parts of X11.

about three weeks ago

Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

JesseMcDonald Re:It's simple, the laws haven't caught up yet. (490 comments)

Then Apple, Google, Netflix etc come along with digital downloads, which are essentially just a stream of 0's and 1's, which are definitely not a tangible thing, and a whole hodge-podge of legal issues comes along. Can you pass 0's and 1's to your next-of-kin? Can to transfer these 0's and 1's to a different device? Can you resell these 0's and 1's to someone else?

You make this sound like something new. The problem is inherent in copyright itself. Whenever you attempt to censor the communication or storage of information you're going to end up with a lot of arbitrary (and often contradictory) rules.

about three weeks ago


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