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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

JesseMcDonald Re:Fire(wall) and forget (335 comments)

You can't, from outside of a NAT'd host, easily identify any internal hosts and you certainly can't connect to arbitrary ports on them - that's technically impossible since 65536 isn't going to somehow become 2 or more times it's own number.

None of which will matter unless you have an unwanted local service listening on those ports. On the other hand, if there is a malicious service inside your network which wants to allow incoming connections, there are any number of ways to implement NAT traversal. It's even fairly common for common services to incorporate NAT traversal these days due to the prevalence of NAT and the ways it breaks network routing. If you want to reliably filter traffic—even incoming traffic—you need a proper firewall customized to your traffic requirements, NAT or no NAT.

yesterday
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More Quantum Strangeness: Particles Separated From Their Properties

JesseMcDonald Re:Limits of Measurement (121 comments)

The electrons are being run through the experiment one at a time, so they can't be interfering with each other. There is no "electron build up"; even if you tore the apparatus down and rebuilt it from scratch each time, guaranteeing that there was no leftover state from previous experiments, you'd still get the same results.

You only get one discrete "hit" per electron, but the location varies according to some statistical distribution—and that distribution, measured over a series of single-electron experiments, matches what one would expect for interfering wave patterns.

yesterday
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

JesseMcDonald Re:USB Import (297 comments)

In fact anything digital is lossy because it has a finite (lossy) sampling rate.

Don't forget that analog is lossy too; there is no such thing as a signal with infinite bandwidth in the real world. Per the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem, a discrete (digital) signal with sampling rate f is equivalent to a continuous (analog) signal with bandwidth f/2. In other words, you're not losing anything by sampling a low-pass-filtered signal at 44.1 kHz unless you care about frequencies above 22 kHz. The range of human hearing is generally considered to max out at around 20 kHz; if you want to go higher, you'll probably need to invest in specialized amplifiers and speakers (not to mention a scope to detect the difference).

yesterday
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

JesseMcDonald Re:Radicalization (834 comments)

You may not have used the word "absolute", but you did speak of "Palestinians in Gaza" as if they were a homogeneous group of Hamas supporters:

So it's a bit of a cop out to pretend that civilians in Gaza can't be blamed for Hamas - they can, they voted for them, and they supported the ousting of the far more moderate and reasonable Fatah, those who supported Fatah were killed or fled to the West Bank.

So Palestinians in Gaza share an awful lot of the blame for Hamas is actions - they actively create and support the environment in which Hamas can do what it keeps doing.

yesterday
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

JesseMcDonald Re:Isn't this exempted? (297 comments)

(2) a system that has the same functional characteristics as the Serial Copy Management System and requires that copyright and generation status information be accurately sent, received, and acted upon between devices using the system's method of serial copying regulation and devices using the Serial Copy Management System;

If I understand correctly, this is the "loophole" that MP3 player were able to take advantage of. Since they only receive and store audio data, and don't transmit it for storage anywhere else, they effectively implement a system which is strictly more limited than what the SCMS would permit: they can't make copies regardless of copyright or generation status. The same argument should apply to car entertainment systems, which only store and play back audio from CDs without providing any way to move the audio data off the device.

yesterday
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

JesseMcDonald Re:Radicalization (834 comments)

The fact remains that while support for Hamas in Gaza may be higher than for Palestine as a whole, it's still well short of absolute. There are plenty of Palestinian citizens in Gaza who do not deserve any blame for the actions of Hamas.

2 days ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

JesseMcDonald Re:Radicalization (834 comments)

I wasn't trying to imply that the election was illegitimate; at least, no more so than any other plurality-based democratic election[1]. Possible duress aside, Hamas did end up with the most votes. I only meant that with less than half of the population actually voting in favor of Hamas, the majority are not to blame for putting Hamas in power. The unfair blame and possible duress issues were my only points, so we would appear to be in complete agreement.

[1] I'd personally prefer a system where the winner was the least objectionable candidate, which favors centrist positions with broad support, rather than a mere plurality out of voters' first picks, which favors the extremes.

2 days ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

JesseMcDonald Re:Radicalization (834 comments)

So it's a bit of a cop out to pretend that civilians in Gaza can't be blamed for Hamas - they can, they voted for them, and they supported the ousting of the far more moderate and reasonable Fatah, those who supported Fatah were killed or fled to the West Bank.

Hamas won the election with only 44.45% of the popular vote, with about 25% of the eligible population abstaining (Palestinian legislative election, 2006). You're blaming all Palestinians for a choice made by less than half of the voters, which is hardly fair. Those who voted against Hamas aren't to blame for the actions of Hamas just because they were unfortunate enough to be on the losing side of the election. On top of that, the way Hamas has dealt with Fatah supporters means that even some of the 44.45% who voted for Hamas could reasonably be considered to be under duress.

2 days ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

JesseMcDonald Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (353 comments)

Ahh so there are no scarce resources that go into digital creations ? Nobody puts time, money, consumable resources to make entertainment ?

I didn't say that at all, and you know it. It's the "digital creations" themselves which are not scarce. Producing new ones requires labor and other scarce resources. However, artificial copyright monopolies are hardly the only way to fund the production of new media. In the absence of copyright you still have options like patronage and crowd-funding, not to mention volunteer efforts (which already make up a significant fraction of copyrighted works).

Really, while I certainly think that the media companies have been shooting themselves in the foot with machineguns by not maximizing the digital presence of their works, .... But that's their right.

No, punishing those who distribute copies of digital media without their authorization isn't a right. It's just a privilege invented as part of a scheme to incentivize the creation of new works. And like any legal privilege, it can only exist by infringing on the natural rights of others. There are other, better options.

about a week ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

JesseMcDonald Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (353 comments)

Seriously why don't you just try justifying why you limit access to your property or person for your own material interests.

That's easy. If someone else is using my property or person, I can't use it myself. Use of scare resources is inherently competitive and zero-sum. The same is not true for non-scarce resources like digital media.

about a week ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

JesseMcDonald Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (353 comments)

I also wouldn't use a service that does not provide a library at least on par with The Pirate Bay.

That's a pretty ridiculous bar to set.

I think it's a very reasonable bar to set. TPB proves that there is no technical reason why we can't provide everyone with near-instant, free access to basically every last bit of media on Earth. It's up to the pro-copyright faction to justify withholding that access to suit their own material interests.

about two weeks ago
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Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

JesseMcDonald Re:why? (394 comments)

If it's opt-in, or you can very easily opt out without giving up anything else, then it's a subscription. Otherwise, it's a tax.

about two weeks ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

JesseMcDonald Re:Crazy (778 comments)

That doesn't make any sense, businesses don't hire people on a whim, they hire people because they have roles that need doing, minimum wage doesn't change that.

Businesses hire people when they have a job that needs doing, provided that it's worth the cost. Not every potential job is worth its cost, and minimum wage artificially raises that cost, with the obvious result that some jobs simply go undone.

There is also the matter of competition which is not subject to the minimum wage—not just under-the-table employment and offshoring, but also automation. With the increased minimum wage, businesses may find that it's now cheaper to employ a machine, where before they would have given the job to a human. Or perhaps they simply increase their existing employees' workloads rather than hiring someone else to handle the "unskilled" jobs.

Even if every business did act like it was insensitive to wages, as you seem to think, that would just mean that the marginal ones are no longer profitable and thus go out of business, further reducing both the supply of goods and the demand for labor.

about two weeks ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

JesseMcDonald Re:Crazy (778 comments)

The worker is not consenting to work, he is figuratively forced at gunpoint.

Emphasis very much on the "figuratively"—and it's not the employer holding the gun. If the worker does not consent then he is merely left in his original state, and is no worse off than he would be in the absence of the employer. Regardless of any external pressures, whether from nature or the government or other sources, the employer-employee relationship itself is completely consensual. A free market is one where people's natural rights are respected, not one where everyone is guaranteed an equal bargaining position. The fact that the job means more to the worker than it does to the employer does not prevent this from being a free market.

about two weeks ago
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

JesseMcDonald Re:But /why/? (152 comments)

I don't think anyone can claim that bitcoin cannot have inflation. It has hyperinflation and hyperdeflation in pretty frequent intervals.

Bitcoin has an extremely predictable rate of supply inflation (the kind meant here) which follows an exponential decay curve and will be under 1%/yr. by 2020 or so. There could be some very minor supply deflation after that point due to people losing their keys, but it should never become a major factor.

The price inflation and deflation you allude to is partly due to being a very young high-risk/high-reward venture. If Bitcoin is to reach even a fraction of its potential as a currency, the price per bitcoin must end up several orders of magnitude higher than it is now to match the increased demand, or there simply wouldn't be enough to go around. On the other hand, concerted political opposition could render it useless in most of the major markets. Whether the innovators or the politicians will win in the long run is anyone's guess at this point, thus the risk.

The other part, which is likely to dominate in the long-term if Bitcoin succeeds, is a reflection of normal changes in the demand for money. Central banks usually try to dampen out demand-driven price swings by manipulating the supply of money, but they are in fact an essential part of balancing present and future demand for goods, and suppressing them leads to an economy-wide misallocation of resources.

about two weeks ago
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

JesseMcDonald Re:Untraceable (152 comments)

... the blockchain will forever hold every single transaction it has ever processed. It's the complete opposite of untraceable.

That depends on what you're trying to trace. While it's true that the transactions themselves are public knowledge, they don't include any personally identifiable information. Tracing the movement of bitcoins through a series of single-use addresses on the blockchain is easy; tracing the changes in real-world ownership is an entirely different matter. Unlike money moving through a series of bank accounts, there is no central entity to tell you who controls each address.

about two weeks ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

JesseMcDonald Re:No excuses left (390 comments)

Free market capitalism is like a wild horse. Powerful, fast and strong.

Also not terribly productive until you put reigns on it and channel that strength towards useful goals.

The difference is that, unlike wild horses, a free market is made up of free individuals with individual rights. You're talking about putting reins on people and channeling their efforts toward ends you consider productive. Think about that for a moment. There's a word for harnessing people and putting them to work for you without regard for their rights: slavery.

The unharnessed free market may not be quite as "productive" (from your perspective) as a captive, harnessed, non-free market, but a choice between "productive" slavery and "unproductive" freedom is really no choice at all. Slavery isn't an option.

about two weeks ago
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Court Rejects Fox's Attempt to Use Aereo Ruling Against Dish's Hopper

JesseMcDonald Re:Need a EULA for video (67 comments)

What's true is that if the EULA says "you may do X only if you do Y", then nobody can force you to do Y, but then you also don't have the right to do X.

That's only true if you needed their permission to do X in the first place. The EULA can't unilaterally revoke your existing rights. Generally the enforceability of a EULA rests on copyright; if you're not doing anything that would violate the copyright, you have no need to agree to the EULA. (And—in the US—simply using media you already have a legal copy of is not a copyright violation; the "temporary copy inside the computer's hard disk or RAM" reasoning originally used to justify most EULAs was struck down ages ago, when the copy is essential to the use of the media.)

about two weeks ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

JesseMcDonald Re:Silicon Valley is officially old (533 comments)

They concentrate and consume a disproportionately large percentage of the resources while producing similar amounts of work as everyone else.

You do realize that productivity is measured by economic value, right? Not by energy expended? If you're so sure that others making far more than yourself are doing similar amounts of work, why not apply for their position? You can do the job, right? Why wouldn't they jump at the chance to save a bunch of money paying you 2x instead of paying the current guy 10x? For that matter, why haven't they done this already? There's no shortage of people looking for work.

Perhaps there's more to the job than you realize.

about two weeks ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

JesseMcDonald Re:More Like Subsidized (533 comments)

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary." But men are definitely, definitely not angels. Libertarians think that if everybody else would just "wake up, sheeple!" they would be enlightened like them and of course would adhere to rules of common decency and fair play.

You're thinking of pacifists, or possibly communists. Libertarians are the realists in this scenario; we realize that humans are imperfect, and that, as a direct consequence of this, giving a select group of imperfect humans the practically unlimited power of government is not a recipe for a better world. ("Select" because, for the most part, they are self-selected as the most likely to abuse the position... one doesn't generally set out to become a politician out of the belief that people have the the right to live their lives peaceably without third-party interference.)

Libertarians are opposed to all abuses of power, not just those which originate from government. We oppose the government specifically because it embodies the systematic abuse of power, and, unlike other criminal organizations, maintains the pretense that its abuses are somehow "legitimate". That does not mean that we are OK with non-government entities violating others' rights, or think that in the absence of government everyone would "just get along". There will continue to be bad actors out there; we will still need to defend ourselves against them. But without government they at least won't have a ready-made system available to amplify their offenses and shield them from the consequences.

about two weeks ago

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