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Ask Slashdot: Best Biometric Authentication System?

John.Banister Re:RFID/card scanner (126 comments)

If there was concern about people using someone else's card, a hybrid system could be used. On coming in to work, a person could pick up a random RFID bracelet, put it on, and "clock in" at a station that does a biometric check and assigns that bracelet to that identity for the day. Design the bracelets so that removing one causes it to signify that it has "clocked out," and needs a visit to a clock-in station to become valid again.

yesterday
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

John.Banister Re:"Should we go back to paper ballots?" (123 comments)

Hoppers shouldn't be necessary for optically acquired data these days. There's plenty of digital camera sensors that can image a ballot at good resolution. Just place the camera above a platform and have the voter put the ballot on the platform, hit a button and watch for the green light. Then, the voter can personally put the paper ballot in the ballot box.

Another thing I think would be a good idea is to use two machines, one for printing the piece of paper and another for scanning. It should be easy for the first machine to print a piece of paper that is readable both by the person and the second machine.

yesterday
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Firefox Signs Five-Year Deal With Yahoo, Drops Google as Default Search Engine

John.Banister Re:The saddest part for Yahoo! (397 comments)

The $37 billion from Yahoo's investment in AliBaba is more significant. It's what's funding this, after all.

about a week ago
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Comcast Kisses-Up To Obama, Publicly Agrees On Net Neutrality

John.Banister Re:Window Dressing. (258 comments)

This is an olive branch he's extending to the Republicans. Think how much more money they'll get from the cable lobby because he said that.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Kisses-Up To Obama, Publicly Agrees On Net Neutrality

John.Banister Re:Window Dressing. (258 comments)

Are you sure that's "they were weak and allowed the minority republicans to bully them" and not "they were politicians in DC and took money from the insurance lobby?" I feel pretty confident that "their own principles" are about equally for sale.

about two weeks ago
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How To End Online Harassment

John.Banister Just filter it. (834 comments)

Harassing speech looks all the same, so it should be easy to model fairly accurately. Just automatically filter it and have a switch that turns the filter off so that people can check the filter and see if anything they like has been filtered out.

Once people are happy with the filter, they'll want to filter out more stuff, and instead of just having a switch, comment systems all over might get some sort of sliding scale where one doesn't have to look at comments below a certain level of quality.

about two weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo Chamber

John.Banister Re:Right (112 comments)

I could write words on this topic, but these words are better than mine would be:

http://www.eugenewei.com/blog/2012/11/28/amazon-and-margins

http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2014/9/4/why-amazon-has-no-profits-and-why-it-works

For investors, understand that not getting dividends from profits is not the same thing as not getting ROI. When you own stock in Amazon, and Amazon builds more of itself, then you own stock in more Amazon, and so your stock becomes more valuable. Also, that increase in value of the stock is considered to be capital gains, whereas money that would come from dividends is considered to be income, which is taxed at a higher rate than capital gains. These words may serve to illustrate this better than mine:

http://www.stocksplithistory.com/amazon-com/

about three weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo Chamber

John.Banister Re:Right (112 comments)

I wouldn't feel scared now of stock sales that were commented on in December 2013. If they were indicative of a problem, that problem would have already happened. That graph shows a trend of steady improvement over 10 years with a nice steep slope for the last four. It makes a stronger impression on me.

about three weeks ago
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Dealer-Installed GPS Tracker Leads To Kidnapper's Arrest in Maryland

John.Banister Re:FTFY (271 comments)

I typed this long argument against that, but I'll spare you. Take care.

about three weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo Chamber

John.Banister Re:Right (112 comments)

I visited that second link. When I look at the slope of the graph showing revenue growth, I can see why investors don't care.

about three weeks ago
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Dealer-Installed GPS Tracker Leads To Kidnapper's Arrest in Maryland

John.Banister Re:FTFY (271 comments)

There is to another way to distinguish "shitty driver guy" from non-shitty driver guy. Shitty driver guy gets traffic citations and has accidents. Privacy guy might well get shitty driver prices if he's 19 and has no driving record to speak of, but if he's got 10 or more years without citations or accidents, insurance companies tend to respect that.

about three weeks ago
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Dealer-Installed GPS Tracker Leads To Kidnapper's Arrest in Maryland

John.Banister Re:FTFY (271 comments)

Often, new cars are a luxury purchase under any circumstances. They lose too much value being driven off the lot. If in some future you're poor and you want privacy, the solution might well be a used car.

about three weeks ago
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Dealer-Installed GPS Tracker Leads To Kidnapper's Arrest in Maryland

John.Banister Re:Typical!! (271 comments)

Are you describing a situation where the car isn't paid for yet, or are you trying to tell me that if I pay in full for a new car, I still don't actually own it?

about three weeks ago
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Elon Musk's Next Mission: Internet Satellites

John.Banister Re:I wish them every success (74 comments)

I wonder what the NSA would pay. If they plan for this in advance, it might provide for significant savings.

about three weeks ago
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Elon Musk's Next Mission: Internet Satellites

John.Banister I wish them every success (74 comments)

I hope this works well for them, and I can buy access to the service several years from now. If the satellites pass messages directly to each other and could relay messages between two customers on the ground with the only centralized communications occurring in orbit, then it seems to me that it could be more challenging for organizations like the NSA to get in the middle of large numbers of those user communications simultaneously.

about three weeks ago
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British Spies Are Free To Target Lawyers and Journalists

John.Banister Re: There can be no defense AGAINST this. (184 comments)

Personally, I think the poor voter turn out in the US happened because gridlock worked for the Republicans. The Republican voters counted stopping the Democrats as accomplishing something, but the Democrat voters felt that they derived no benefit from having voted for the Democrats the last time, so they stayed home.

However, I can't even get people who generally agree with me on most voting related stuff to bother using Enigmail, so even with good voter turnout, I think it'll be quite a long time before voters ever force a quorum of politicians in USA to place the interest of the public ahead of the self interest of the government when it comes to online privacy.

After a fashion, we really owe the nudie thieves a debt of gratitude, because if they hadn't made a big stink, the corporate entities might not have done as much as they're doing now. I'm not sure how it came to pass that stealing photos of famous women (when there's plenty of prettier ones available for free) got better results than the rest of the spying, but I reckon I'll take the results and be glad they're available. Who knows, maybe someday a psychohistorian will show that it was inevitable.

about three weeks ago
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Robot Makes People Feel Like a Ghost Is Nearby

John.Banister Re:In spite of this and other similar phenomena... (140 comments)

Imagine you build a robot which is as complex as a human, and has software which can respond to its environment and make social interactions and basically be as sophisticated as a human. I think this is quite possible. But here is the issue: it would not need to be sentient. If it is just a machine running a program, why does it need to be sentient? It could do everything, physically process inputs and create outputs, without any need for an observer, someone experiencing the show all the time.

If I built such a machine and it told me that it's sentient and, being capable of social interaction, made a cogent argument for that, who would I be to argue that it isn't?

Why are you sentient? What possible advantage is there to you having an experience of existing? The machine, your body, doesn't need an "experiencer". Why aren't you just a machine responding to the environment, "in the dark" as it were. My camera does not need to be sentient to recognise faces, why do I need to be sentient?

My body needs food. It's very likely that I'd have a hard time convincing an employer to hire me if I wasn't sentient. Dogs seem to be self aware. Maybe people evolved self awareness because it's necessary in order to be higher than dogs on the food chain. Or, rather, we added extra language, memory, and thumbs to our self awareness, which seems easier than spoken language for biological brains.

about three weeks ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Universe Could Come From Nothing

John.Banister Re:Scary (429 comments)

Do you know of a self consistent math & physics origin theory that's also consistent with what is now known about the origin and structure of the universe, but doesn't include metastable false vacuum?

I think you're right. I should have written 'lack of this universe' instead of 'lack of universe.' I apologize.

about three weeks ago
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Robot Makes People Feel Like a Ghost Is Nearby

John.Banister Re:In spite of this and other similar phenomena... (140 comments)

Or, you could examine its state and learn that it's impossible to design that query in a way that the algorithm will respond 'yes.' Until you have the particular algorithm in front of you, how can you know? Some people can be talked into suicide and others can't.

about three weeks ago
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Robot Makes People Feel Like a Ghost Is Nearby

John.Banister Re:In spite of this and other similar phenomena... (140 comments)

I saw a janitor like that once. After telling me I was full of shit, he jumped up very quickly when I turned a Geiger counter on and then moved it closer to the lead lined safe on which he was sitting.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Goldelico refunds Neo900 money - 86.8%

John.Banister John.Banister writes  |  about 6 months ago

John.Banister (1291556) writes "I received the following email from service@goldelico.com

Dear Neo900 customer,

You may have read on the forums and mailing lists that we need to reorganize the financial side of how the project is managed:

<http://neo900.org/news-0011-progress-update-may>
<http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=93197>

The orders Golden Delicious Computers (GDC) has received have to be "rolled back". Since the "roll back" voids your agreement with GDC, all those who sent 100 EUR or more get a refund. The amount refunded will be your original payment minus about 13% for work done in the project so far (see below for details). If your transfer was in a foreign currency, there can be additional differences due to exchange rate variations.

The refund goes either directly back to your credit card (if you used one to pay) or if you have used SEPA/IBAN bank transfer, please provide your account data where we should send the money to. Please note that we do the refund in EUR, so the resulting amount depends on the exchange rate of your local currency.

Here are the details how we have calculated the refund amount. GDC has spent (incl. VAT) so far for this project:

* 2983.66 EUR — material (e.g. PCBs, components, 1000 display connectors)
* 6924.31 EUR — engineering (R&D)
* 990.80 EUR — other expenses (e.g. shipment, credit card fees, server operation, shop, tax advisor, etc.)

Payments below 100 EUR are not refundable. They make a total of exactly 1000 EUR from 50 persons. This means that the remaining expenses of 9898.77 EUR are to be equitably shared by the customers with payments of 100 EUR or more, who donated 75 045 EUR in total. Therefore, 13.2% of the total amount has been already spent.

This amount (13.2%) will be subtracted from what you have originally paid and is equivalent to your contribution to bring the project to the status it currently has (thanks!). This includes that we make the EAGLE design files open source (under CC BY-SA) so that anyone can continue.

To view the current and complete status of your order, please open your personal order link:
[...]
We recommend to bookmark this link.

With kind regards,
Your team from Golden Delicious Computers.

Sad that they've had this problem."

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