Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

JesseMcDonald Re:Job Offer (493 comments)

Public liabilities are private assets.

They're one kind of private asset. There are others. Eliminating all public liabilities would not eliminate all private assets. Also note that the effects are not as evenly distributed as this simplistic balance-sheet view would suggest; "public liability" refers to the majority of future taxpayers who will be made to service the interest on the debt, while the interest-generating "private assets" end up in the hands of those select few with the ready capital (both financial and political) to purchase them. Not the sort of thing to promote if you favor a more equitable distribution of wealth.

3 days ago
top

US Marshals Auctioning $20M Worth of Silk Road's Bitcoins

JesseMcDonald Re:But the case hasn't even started! (119 comments)

State and local law may vary and require acceptance of Federal Reserve Notes in satisfaction of a debt. LEGAL tender does not in and of itself mean MANDATORY tender.

When it comes to debts, that's pretty much exactly what it means:

Legal tender is variously defined in different jurisdictions. Formally, it is anything which when offered in payment extinguishes the debt.
Legal Tender

If someone who owes you a debt offers to pay the full value in legal tender (regardless of the original form of the debt), you can either take what they're offering or give up on collecting. In general the offer must be exact; if someone who owes you $5 hands you a $100 bill, that legally satisfies the debt but you are under no obligation to provide change.

This doesn't mean that all transaction must involve legal tender, or that you can be compelled to trade goods or services for legal tender. It only applies to debts. If you insist on payment up front, rather than extending credit, then no debt is created and you can make the transaction conditional on whatever payment method you prefer. (Barring laws in the more restrictive jurisdictions outlawing alternate forms of payment, which is a separate issue.)

4 days ago
top

Fish Tagged For Research Become Lunch For Gray Seals

JesseMcDonald Re:So you use Radio instead, eh? (48 comments)

... there's no distortion mechanism present that should allow frequencies lower than 69KHz to be created. There's no modulation done on the 69KHz carrier, the carrier is on/off keyed ...

No signal which carries information can be perfectly distortion-free. Just switching the carrier on and off is a form of modulation (akin to a continuous wave RF transmitter), with a bandwidth dependent on just how quickly the amplitude is switched, which is related in turn to the maximum rate of data transmission. This can easily result in signal components below the carrier frequency.

However, a quick search suggests that harbor seals respond to frequencies as high as 180 kHz in water (with a peak sensitivity around 32 kHz), so they may well be able to hear the tags' carrier frequency directly.

4 days ago
top

After Silk Road 2.0 Shutdown, Rival Dark Net Markets Grow Quickly

JesseMcDonald Re: Hire the Russians hackers to prevent police ac (86 comments)

so no single point can link you to your destination

In this case there are (potentially) many points. No one node can connect the source and destination of a given connection, but if the attacker monitors or controls enough of the internal routing nodes then it's not that difficult to analyse the timing and build up a statistical model linking the endpoints over time. For that matter, a busy .onion site would tend to stand out no matter how obfuscated the routing, simply because of the increased traffic.

about two weeks ago
top

GNOME Project Seeks Donations For Trademark Battle With Groupon

JesseMcDonald Re:Let lawyers do it free, in exchange for % damag (268 comments)

Groupon's tablet is not software. No overlap.

That isn't true. They're calling the tablet's software "Gnome(TM)" as well:

Groupon (www.groupon.com) today announced Gnome, a new tablet-based platform...

"When it's complete, Gnome will serve as an operating system..."

Groupon Launches Gnome(TM) — A Tablet Solution that Helps Merchants Run Their Business and Connect with Customers

Even if they were carefully using the name to refer to just the table rather than a "platform" (which would also describe GNOME(TM)), just imagine the hilarity which would ensue if some random company decided to market a "Windows(TM) tablet" without first clearing it with Microsoft(TM). Also note that there are existing Point-of-Sale terminals running the GNOME(TM) desktop environment.

about two weeks ago
top

Amazon's Luxembourg Tax Deals

JesseMcDonald Re:What was quote about Internet and censorship? (200 comments)

The phrase "turn about is fair play" comes to mind. You always have the option of responding to another's actions in kind. You can't claim a right which you don't extend to others. The thief has no legitimate claim to property rights; the murderer cannot claim a right not to be killed.

Is it evil if I use violence to force you to give up the property that promised to give to me?

If it was a mere promise, then yes. A promise of future action is not binding in the way that an actual transfer of ownership would be. (This is a consequence of inalienable self-ownership; the property rights themselves are transferable, but there is no right to make someone else act in a certain way.) On the other hand, if we had an established contract transferring the ownership to you, then by refusing to turn the property over after you became the owner I have stolen it from you. Withholding property from its rightful owner is an act of theft however it came to be in one's possession. At that point you would be free to respond in kind.

If you want assurance that a promised action will be carried out you can stipulate a performance bond, which is a conditional future transfer of ownership—not "I will perform the service" or even "I will give you the property if the service is not performed", but "the property is yours as of this future date if the service is not performed". You still can't compel the person to perform, but in the event that they don't, they already gave you the rights to the designated property when they agreed to the contract.

about two weeks ago
top

Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again

JesseMcDonald Re:Have they fixed the permissions system yet? (214 comments)

Do you know what you're asking for, in essence? The Apple store.

Perhaps. However, I'm not saying that the device should be locked down like Apple devices are—you should be able to install apps from other sources, at your own risk. Distributors (and particularly the default distributor for broad range of devices) should take responsibility for the behavior of the apps they distribute; users, in turn, should be free to choose where they get their apps from.

about three weeks ago
top

Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again

JesseMcDonald Re:Have they fixed the permissions system yet? (214 comments)

Perhaps for each permission, the developer should be required to fill in a line or two indicating which features of the app rely on that particular permission. I've look at apps before and wondered to myself "why the heck do you need permission for x or y?"

That won't really help. The problem isn't asking for permissions which explaining why they're needed; the problem is what the app can do with those permissions once it has them. Sure, that social media app has a nifty feature for inviting your contacts to join, and for that it needs access to your contact list (whether you want to use the feature or not). But once it has that access it can just as easily grab all your contacts' e-mail addresses for the purpose of sending junk mail.

In most cases it's entirely possible to disable a permission in a way that won't cause the application to crash. Instead of supplying the user's real contact list, just give the app an empty list. When the app asks to connect to the Internet, pretend the device is in airplane mode or out of the service area. Never reveal that a permission was denied, since that would allow the app to refuse to work without it.

As for whether the permission should be enabled in the first place, the system should ask the user the first time the permission is used. And rather than listing what the app claims it will do with the permission, the system should list the most damaging things the app could do with it.

To fight "permission bloat", every additional permission requested by the app should also require a thorough audit by the app store (at the developer's expense) to verify that the permission is used responsibly. Someone needs to follow up on how permissions are used as a basic security precaution, and it isn't reasonable to expect users to take up that task for apps released through the app store. (Sideloading is another matter.)

about three weeks ago
top

The Effect of Programming Language On Software Quality

JesseMcDonald Re:Other factors. (217 comments)

I agree that it would be interesting to see a definition of object-oriented programming which didn't include Smalltalk. However, Lisp has never been all that different from well-known procedural languages except for garbage collection, closures, and the use of lists as syntax—none of which are necessary or sufficient for functional programming. These features (the first two, anyway) make it easier to write functional programs in Lisp compared to, say, C, but they don't automatically make all Lisp programs functional. Programmers being programmers, the end result is procedural programming in a functional-capable language.

The pure functional languages, on the other hand, push programmers to actually use the functional style. Even when they support a familiar procedural syntax (like "do" notation in Haskell) the evaluation model remains referentially transparent. Since the whole program is guaranteed to be referentially transparent, it's much easier to reason about its behavior, both for the programmer and for the compiler.

about three weeks ago
top

The Effect of Programming Language On Software Quality

JesseMcDonald Re:Other factors. (217 comments)

Wikipedia gives a good general-purpose description of functional programming:

In computer science, functional programming is a programming paradigm, a style of building the structure and elements of computer programs, that treats computation as the evaluation of mathematical functions and avoids changing-state and mutable data. It is a declarative programming paradigm, which means programming is done with expressions.

This implies referential transparency. Scheme, Lisp, JavaScript, and other impure "functional" languages are really multi-paradigm, and more often used to write procedural programs than functional ones. While they do have the necessary language support for functional programming, the fact that they are impure means that even when you're following the functional paradigm you can't count on the rest of the program playing by the same rules. Any call to external code may perform I/O or depend on or modify global mutable state.

about three weeks ago
top

American Express Seeks To Swap Card Numbers For Secure Tokens

JesseMcDonald Re:Make it simple (130 comments)

Just give me a card that plugs into the USB port and that I can charge up at the 7-11 with cash...

And then when someone steals it, or it just spontaneously stops working one day... sure you'll still be ok with that?

The TREZOR is close to what the GP requested, or would be if 7-11s sold bitcoins. It requires a PIN to spend the funds, which protects against theft, and if it's lost or stolen or simply stops working you can recover your funds with the backup seed and any of several compatible wallet programs. Aside from the backup, which you keep in a secure place, the key never leaves the device, so you don't have to trust the USB host.

about three weeks ago
top

Verizon Injects Unique IDs Into HTTP Traffic

JesseMcDonald Re:which Verizon services (206 comments)

I just checked with my AT&T mobile phone and found an "x-acr" header which seems to serve much the same purpose, so switching away from Verizon might not help. (The header is not present when accessing the site through a VPN, so it wasn't sent by the browser.)

The content seems to be based on the Anonymous Customer Reference concept promoted by the GSM Alliance.

about a month ago
top

FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

JesseMcDonald Re:Counterfeiters not competitors (572 comments)

The number may have been assigned by the USB WG, but it was the manufacturer who decided to check for it in the drivers. Either way, the use of that number is a necessary part of creating drop-in-compatible hardware.

Of course, they can't advertise their product with the USB logo if they're not following the USB specifications, including the use of assigned ID numbers, but that's a separate matter. There is no requirement for non-members to adhere to the ID numbers assigned by the USB WG so long as they don't claim to be fully compliant.

about a month ago
top

FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

JesseMcDonald Re:Counterfeiters not competitors (572 comments)

It is a textbook trademark case, but you're referring to the wrong part of the textbook. Consider the case of the game consoles which wouldn't operate without a bit-for-bit copy of the manufacturer's logo in the ROM, a trick intended to shut out unlicensed game developers. The court ruled that third-party developers could include the logo image without a license despite the fact that it was both copyrighted and trademarked, because the manufacturer had chosen to make it necessary for compatibility.

about a month ago
top

FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

JesseMcDonald Re:Alternatives? Same problem.. (572 comments)

They use FTDI's USB VID/PID - this is representing yourself as an FTDI chip.

Only to the computer, which doesn't really count. These IDs could reasonably be considered part of the interface to the hardware; exceptions have been granted for both copyright and trademarks in the past when the infringement was required for the sake of compatibility. The real question is whether the buyer was misled to believe that these chips were manufactured by FTDI. It seems that this was indeed the case, but that's a separate issue from the USB VID/PID.

about a month ago
top

Google Leads $542m Funding Round For Augmented Reality Wearables Company

JesseMcDonald Re:Another dorky one? (38 comments)

The idea that there might be some human tetrachromats has been entirely discredited.

I stand corrected. It appears that while there are plenty of humans with four cones, this has only been identified (in 2012) to lead to enhanced color differentiation in one subject after 20 years of research. The vast majority are "non-functional tetrachromats". So perhaps not entirely discredited, but close enough as makes little difference.

This is separate from the ability for trichromats to distinguish more colors by taking into account both the cones and the rods, which is well-established, though generally limited to the low-light conditions where the rods are more sensitive.

about a month ago
top

Doctor Who To Teach Kids To Code

JesseMcDonald Re:It's not every day you get to... (164 comments)

Daleks aren't machines though... Those are the cybermen.
A Dalek is a living being inside the armor.

The cybermen aren't that different—despite the suppressed emotions, they're not purely mechanical. They have living brains inside their mechanical bodies. The difference is that the cybermen are set on "upgrading" people; they think of it as a service. They consider themselves advanced life-forms and want others to have the same experience. Failure to comprehend the benefits of what they're offering is taken as further evidence that you're in need of an "upgrade". They're constantly looking for ways to incorporate improvements into their design—the ultimate "progressives", in a sense.

The Daleks, on the other hand, are all about "racial purity"; their driving interest is the elimination of any form of life other than their own. They aren't interested in turning anyone into a Dalek. In contrast to the cybermen's drive for constant improvement, the Daleks are striving to restore an idealized version of themselves from their past—the ultimate "conservatives".

And while I'd rather avoid both if possible, if it came to a choice then I'd also prefer to deal with the Daleks. At least they'll acknowledge that they're out to kill you, as opposed to claiming that they're acting for your own good.

about a month ago
top

The Future of Stamps

JesseMcDonald Re:Give it another decade - the problem will solve (131 comments)

I cant FedEx *anything* for a dollar.

Of course not. Thanks to the Private Express Statutes, FedEx can't legally deliver ordinary letters unless USPS postage is paid on top of its own delivery rate. The system is deliberately set up such that no one can compete effectively with the USPS.

about a month ago
top

Google Leads $542m Funding Round For Augmented Reality Wearables Company

JesseMcDonald Re:Another dorky one? (38 comments)

Humans are trichromats. We have three types of cone cells in our retinas...

It's not quite that simple. Putting aside the rare few tetrachromats with four kinds of cone cells, there are also the rods, which can sense a broad spectrum of light overlapping the ranges of the cone cells—some more than others. The color isn't going to look quite right if the overall brightness reported by the rods doesn't match the per-component brightnesses reported by the cones.

That said, three well-chosen primary colors can get us most of the way there, perhaps enough so that these minor differences won't matter—unless you happen to be tetrachromatic.

about a month ago
top

Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

JesseMcDonald Re:its not a claim, its a fact of life. (555 comments)

So, you've tried this? ... by compiling one of the "extras" and running it on a system where systemd isn't installed ...?

That isn't what I said. You can run systemd without running all of the other components. I use systemd for init but networkd or firewalld, for example. The reverse may or may not be possible for any particular component within the systemd "brand", and I don't see any problem with that. These programs are add-ons designed to work with systemd. If they happen to work without it as standalone daemons, that's a nice coincidence, but by no means essential. Anyone using sysvinit already had their own cobbled-together shell scripts for managing these things.

Anyway, why would I want to? Systemd works just fine for me as it is. I have no need nor desire to split up the package. Don't fix what isn't broken. (And yes, sysvinit was well and truly broken. Linux was one of the last Unix-based operating systems to cling to it; everyone else had already moved on.)

about a month ago

Submissions

JesseMcDonald hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

JesseMcDonald has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?