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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Advanced Wi-Fi Leech?

Jimmy_B This is an attack, not a leech (884 comments)

First of all, just to be clear: this isn't leaching, this is someone doing something nefarious. If they just wanted free bandwidth, they would never set up an evil twin network. Most of the replies on this thread are bad advice assuming it's a leech. The person responsible might be nearby, but probably not; if you track down the computer that's responsible, you're likely to find that its owner doesn't know what's going on and it's been taken over by an anonymous attacker over the Internet. Or you'll find a PwnPlug.

The first thing you need to do is notify the police that you're being targeted by hacking. This is important; if your computer/network is taken over and used for something illegal, which is likely to happen, this will protect you. Second: you need to notify your employer, as well as anyone whose confidential data you're in possession of. And third: you need to harden your computer security, and figure out why you might have been targeted.

about a year and a half ago

Bomb Blasts Alter Brain Lipid Levels

Jimmy_B They said no such thing! (105 comments)

This lipid could serve as a way to diagnose people who are at risk of developing neurological disorders after a blast, the scientists say.

No, the paper doesn't say that. I checked. It's also not true; this can't be used for diagnosis (except maybe post-mortem), because it's on the wrong side of the skull.

about a year and a half ago

Vast Bulk of BitCoins Are Hoarded, Not Used

Jimmy_B Based on misunderstanding how transactions work (438 comments)

This paper is based on a misunderstanding of how Bitcoin transactions work. If I receive 10BTC, then send 7BTC to someone using the usual software, then 7BTC will go to them and the other 3 will be sent as "change" to a newly-created Bitcoin address that's added to my wallet. It's also common practice for websites that accept Bitcoins as deposits or payment to generate a new address for every customer to send coins to, so that when they send coins they can tell who sent them using the destination address alone. The authors of the study don't seem to know this, so they completely misinterpret the patterns they're finding in the blockchain. If everyone followed the suggested practices of generating a new address for every incoming transaction, then every address would be either empty, or have never had an outgoing transaction.

And speaking of websites that accept Bitcoins as deposits, the recommended security practice is to divide coins into a "hot wallet", kept on the server and used for day-to-day transactions, and a "cold wallet" that's kept off-line for security. A cold wallet should almost never be involved in transactions - but it backs peoples' deposits which are used in transactions, so it's not like it's out of circulation.

about 2 years ago

Seafood Raised on Animal Feces Approved for Consumers

Jimmy_B Not actually approved (386 comments)

From the article:

"Ngoc Sinh has been certified as safe by Geneva-based food auditor SGS SA, says Nguyen Trung Thanh, the company’s general director."
"SGS spokeswoman Jennifer Buckley says her company has no record of auditing Ngoc Sinh."

In other words, the article claims that Ngoc Sinh Seafoods Trading & Processing Export Enterprise is using repulsive and unsafe practices, and lying about having been inspected. Bloomberg is accusing them of a crime. The Slashdot headline, on the other hand, converted this into "Approved for Consumers" - accusing a different group, the regulators, which appear to be innocent.

about 2 years ago

Misconduct, Not Error, Is the Main Cause of Scientific Retractions

Jimmy_B Because ordinary errors don't lead to retractions (123 comments)

You might be tempted to think that this means ordinary errors aren't as common as we thought. Lots of papers - actually most papers, at least in medicine - are wrong for reasons like the author being confused, doing the statistics wrong, or using a type of experiment that can't support the conclusions drawn. But merely publishing a paper that's bullshit? That usually isn't enough to trigger a retraction, because retracting papers looks bad for the journals. Only an accusation of Serious Willful Misconduct can reliably force a retraction.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Should a Geek's Charitable Donations Go?

Jimmy_B Center For Applied Rationality (263 comments)

Consider giving it to the Center For Applied Rationality. Their goal is to make people more rational, by teaching about cognitive biases and scientific decision making, and studying how to do so effectively. They're doing great things, on relatively little resources; your marginal dollars would go a long way.

about 2 years ago

What Does Google Get Out of Voice?

Jimmy_B It's a sunk cost (119 comments)

If Google had won a wireless spectrum auction (they didn't), then Google Voice could've been the core of Google's competition with the telco network. Pieces of it are probably still useful for Android, and it could give them negotiating leverage with carriers. So it could've been really important, but didn't turn out that way. The thing with software products, though, is that almost all of the cost is in the initial creation; once created, they cost very little to keep around. So Google keeps Voice running, because it costs them little and turning it off would be very disruptive.

more than 2 years ago

SmartCap Reads Brain Waves to Monitor Workers' Fatigue Levels

Jimmy_B Re:Solution to wrong problem (58 comments)

The problem has never been knowing whether a worker is tired or the degree. Workers are well aware of how tired they are. The problem is jobs that pretty much require them to keep working anyway.

Workers may know that they're tired, but they can't easily prove it, and they can hide it if they don't want to lose pay. If someone goes to their boss and says they're too tired to work safely, they're likely to be ignored, and told to keep working. But if there's an impartially generated number that says they're too tired to work safely, that can't be ignored - because if a supervisor ignored that, and there was an accident, it would be easy to prove they were at fault.

more than 2 years ago

Google's Driverless Car and the Logic of Safety

Jimmy_B Re:More tolerent of human error (510 comments)

Also who is liable in a fatal accident caused by a machine?

The insurance company that owns the policy for the vehicle, same as if it were being driven by a human. And while the general public may have a hard time reconciling statistics that say driverless cars are safer with a few stories about them getting into fatal accidents, insurance companies do not have that problem and will support whichever costs them less money in claims.

more than 3 years ago

Amazon, Not Developers, Will Set New App Store's Prices

Jimmy_B This is to prevent selling on multiple stores (294 comments)

Lots of comments here that're completely missing the point. This is to prevent you from selling at multiple stores at once. You see, in addition to setting whatever price they want, Amazon also has a rule which says that you're not allowed to set a "list price" that's higher than what you sell it for on other app stores. This means that if you put the same app in both Google Market and Amazon's store, then Amazon's store will always be cheaper - and you can't raise the price to counteract Amazon's discounting without ruining your sales on Google Market.

This is just one of several showstopping issues that ensure that I, as an app developer, will not put anything to Amazon's app store.

more than 2 years ago

Amazon To Launch 'Amazon Appstore For Android'

Jimmy_B I'm a developer, and I won't support this (222 comments)

I'm an Android app developer, and under the terms Amazon's currently offering, there's no way in hell I'll put my app there. There are three very serious problems with it. First, Amazon controls the pricing, not the developer - they can use your app as a loss leader. Second, they require that you give them your app and each update 14 days before you publish it anywhere else (such as on the Android Market) for their review process. That means no emergency fixes, and delayed releases, even if you're mainly publishing on the Android Market and want to put it on Amazon too. And third, it's competing with Android Market, which is preinstalled everywhere, with no users. It would be one thing if they offered more than Android Market's 70% take, but there're simply no advantages to it whatsoever.

Maybe they'll change their terms, and I'll reconsider. But the terms they're offering now are simply a bad deal for developers, and I doubt many will bite.

more than 3 years ago

Hands On With Notion Ink's Pixel-Qi Equipped Adam Tablet

Jimmy_B Re:Nice, but Android? (109 comments)

You aren't forced to write in Java, you're forced to write for the JVM. There are other languages that target the JVM, including versions of Ruby, Python, LISP, and my personal favorite, Scala. Using the JVM means that Android isn't locked in to using any one particular CPU instruction set (which was what destroyed the original PalmOS), and that all Android programs and libraries are API-compatible with each other without the need for setting up special bindings.

more than 3 years ago

Google Mystery Domain Reroutes 3% of Net Surfers

Jimmy_B (140 comments)

XeY means X*10^Y, not X^Y.

more than 4 years ago

Providing a Closed Source License Upon Request?

Jimmy_B Sell them a support contract (245 comments)

If a company wants to pay you money for software you wrote, then for the love of god, take it, and give them whatever license they want. They don't actually need a different license, but that doesn't matter because what they're really after is support, not licensing. So write up an N-year support contract where you promise to take their calls and promptly fix any bugs they report, and charge appropriately for it.

more than 4 years ago

Lotus Teases With a Fuel-Agnostic Two-Stroke Engine

Jimmy_B Re:What took it all so long?? (269 comments)

Ford built a Fiesta with a two-stroke engine that achieved 1.4l/100km (that’s 168 mpg!) in 1996! Not a drawing. Not a experimental model. No, a real driving prototype car. Looked just like a normal Fiesta.

I don't believe you. If anyone could make a 168 mpg car without some show-stopping problem with it, they'd be making it now. I think someone pulled that claim out of their ass, and it got copied without citation between editorials and blog comments for awhile.

more than 4 years ago

FCC Chairman Warns of Wireless Spectrum Gap

Jimmy_B Not as big a problem as it sounds (300 comments)

This is not nearly as big a problem as it sounds like, because it has a simple engineering solution. A transmission of a certain speed always uses up the same amount of bandwidth, but it uses that bandwidth over a different area depending how far it is from the cell tower or access point. The farther away the access point is, the more power the tower and phone use, and the more area the transmission covers. Placing more access points closer together allows lower-power transmissions, so that the same frequency can be reused more times in different places. So if there isn't enough capacity for all the people using the cell phone network, you just put up more towers. It's expensive, but not so expensive that normal subscriber fees can't cover it.

more than 4 years ago

Crime Expert Backs Call For "License To Compute"

Jimmy_B Incorrect assignment of blame (327 comments)

Identity theft is a misleading term for bank fraud, and fighting it is the banks' responsibility, not the government's or the user's. We know how to do it, it just isn't getting done because of cost. Monetary transactions should be done with dedicated devices so that compromised computers can't be used to steal money. Reducing the number of compromised computers won't help because there are many of them and it only takes a few.

about 5 years ago

LoTR Lawsuit Threatens Hobbit Production

Jimmy_B Re:Thought experiment (427 comments)

You are proposing the death penalty for ordinary fraud. This is totally unreasonable, and the US Constitution prohibits disproportionate punishment, so it can't ever happen.

more than 5 years ago

New RTS Based on DotA Offers Native Linux Client

Jimmy_B Re:DotA - fun game, horrible community (173 comments)

I think the reason is because for most of DotA's history, there was no way to balance the teams after players left. A large portion of games were spoiled by players leaving early and imbalancing the teams, which is very frustrating, and since you can't yell at someone who's already gone, people take out their frustrations on players they expect to leave, ie noobs. The situation was greatly improved by adding the option to switch teams, so that if two players left from the same team someone could volunteer to switch teams and make them even again; but a community of assholes remains a community of assholes forever, because non-assholes are driven away.

more than 5 years ago

Virtualbox 3.0 Announces OpenGL/Direct3D Support

Jimmy_B Not perfect but pretty good (161 comments)

I played around with this a bit in the beta. It's significantly slower than native and has a fair share of graphics glitches, but it was good enough to take my dual-monitor computer, plug in a second keyboard and mouse, and play two games of Warcraft III against eachother simultaneously using only one box.

more than 5 years ago



Textcelerator: A speed reader for the Web

Jimmy_B Jimmy_B writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Jimmy_B writes "Textcelerator extracts the text from web pages, and displays it in a cool way that makes you read it faster. Because it's written in Javascript, Textcelerator can either be embedded in a site, as a "Speed Read This" button, or installed as a browser plugin, which makes it work everywhere. Could this be the solution to information overload?"


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