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UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

Kjella Re: Completely infeasible (232 comments)

Not unfeasible at all, unless they need actual identites. For example here in Norway all phone numbers must have an owner identified with our version of an SSN, even unlisted and prepaid numbers. So an easy way to have an "id" is to send a one time code to the cell during registration. That account is now linked to my phone number which links to my id. If they're hacked, all they have is phone numbers. Many discussion boards already do that to reduce spam and make bans more effective


How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

Kjella Re:Update cycles (214 comments)

I'd call a motherboard replacement for all essential purposes a new build. You need to fasten it to the case and all those annoying little case cables (power/reset/LEDs etc.), add CPU, RAM, power cables, all extension cards, hard drives cables and so on again so you're pretty much doing all the work just in the same case with the same parts. The rest I'd call upgrades.


UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

Kjella Re:Have they solved liability? (185 comments)

Once we're stepping out of the realm of advanced cruise control and into active driving, it will clash even if they don't want to take responsibility. "I didn't expect my car to make the turn and fail to yield, you can't expect me to undo every mistake" "I saw it coming and could brake down, but my car didn't realize and speeded up and caused the accident" "I tried to hit the ditch and avoid those school kids but my car refused to go off the road, running them over."

And once you've seen the computer do a maneuver 99 times you'll assume it will the 100th too, even if it's got some kind of sensor glitch meaning that no it won't. It's one thing to see a situation in front of you and slam the brakes in a duel with the computer, but then you'd have to co-drive all the time. It's another thing entirely to see a situation in front of you, wait a few moments, realize oh shit the computer isn't going to do anything then hit the brakes.

And one thing that's important to remember is that accidents are generally not legally punishable, the driving must be negligent or reckless for that and being surprised and acting panicked is legal for a human driver. If the car is going the posted limit, obeying traffic regulations and hits the brakes it may meet the legal minimum even if there will be an accident and the result might be sub-optimal, unless we hold autonomous cars to a higher standard.

As the backup driver I'm certainly only human, my reaction could certainly be surprised and panicked. To roll that liability past the car and onto me there must have been some rather damn obvious reason why I had to intervene. It would have to be reckless or negligent of me to think the car can handle it better than me. If it ever got to court I'd argue that's just not true, in perfect hindsight maybe it was a poor split-second judgement but that's not a crime.

Or the TL;DR version: I doubt you'll ever be held legally liable for not taking over control, that you might or possibly should have yes but not that it was reckless or negligent not to. So in practice I think distracted driving will be legal, if not in theory.


The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

Kjella Re:Such a Waste (155 comments)

Gandalf knows that Sauron is back. This directly contradicts LotR. In fact, there's no reason Gandalf would let Bilbo keep the ring once he knew Sauron existed.

Actually this is exactly like in the books.

The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond", p. 261

'Some here will remember that many years ago I myself dared to pass the doors of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur, and secretly explored his ways, and found thus that our fears were true: he was none other than Sauron, our Enemy of old, at length taking shape and power again. Some, too, will remember also that Saruman dissuaded us from open deeds against him, and for long we watched him only. Yet at last, as his shadow grew, Saruman yielded, and the Council put forth its strength and drove the evil out of Mirkwood and that was in the very year of the finding of this Ring: a strange chance, if chance it was.

As for the ring, Gandalf did not know it was the One Ring.

Then for the last time the Council met; for now we learned that he was seeking ever more eagerly for the One. We feared then that he had some news of it that we knew nothing of. But Saruman said nay, and repeated what he had said to us before: that the One would never again be found in Middle-earth. (...) [Gandalf] sighed. `There I was at fault,' he said. `I was lulled by the words of Saruman the Wise; but I should have sought for the truth sooner, and our peril would now be less.'

He finally found an ancient scroll to test if it is the One Ring, because on the surface it looks like any other minor magical ring.

And then in my despair I thought again of a test that might make the finding of Gollum unneeded. The ring itself might tell if it were the One. The memory of words at the Council came back to me: words of Saruman, half-heeded at the time. I heard them now clearly in my heart.
` "The Nine, the Seven, and the Three," he said, "had each their proper gem. Not so the One. It was round and unadorned, as it were one of the lesser rings; but its maker set marks upon it that the skilled, maybe, could still see and read."

This is where it all starts in Fellowship of the Ring.

2 days ago

Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record

Kjella Re:It's only gone 25 miles? (46 comments)

They had their own goals and all that, but my first goal, if I was sending something millions of miles away (I don't know how far it traveled when it went to Mars, but the closest approach between earth and mars has been 34.8 million miles), I'd certainly want the ability to move it more than XXX feet per day.

And a free pony, but the problem is the power budget. Going faster -> more power required -> bigger solar panels -> more weight -> going slower. If you got a solution for that, I'm sure NASA would like to have a talk with you. Also consider that it might be very hard to travel a significant distance, it's easier to drop two rovers on opposite sides of the planet than design a rover that can drive 5000+ km.

Mars has areas with really sharp rocks and Curiosity has already taken more wheel damage than expected. Soft soil is almost just as bad, potentially trapping the rover as it happened with Opportunity. And there's no tow truck coming, so if you screw it up the mission is over. Personally I imagine it's the scientific equipment that mostly limits the rover, if we haven't got the tools or sensors getting there faster won't do us any good.

2 days ago

The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

Kjella Re:Such a Waste (155 comments)

While far from perfect, I felt that Peter Jackson at least made an attempt to stay true to the original story in Lord of the Rings. For the Hobbit he didn't hold anything back as sold out to the suits at Warner Brothers. Both he and the Tolkien family should be ashamed they agreed to this abortion screenplay.

LotR is a story worth telling, it's a grand epic. The Hobbit is... well, a children's tale about a dragon's treasure. In LotR it's obvious why Frodo must be the reluctant ringbearer, while in the Hobbit you have Bilbo making this insane leap to join a crazy bunch of dwarfs and a wizard to go steal treasure from a dragon. Totally credible. And being caught by big dumb trolls who want to eat them is totally cliche. All the characters are either good guys or bad guys, there's no conflicted characters like Gollum. There's no sacrifice like Boromir. And not a single female character to bring up the wife acceptance factor, it's all about the bling. Trying to use the Hobbit as follow-up to LotR is total folly, I know because I read them in that order and it's weaker in every respect for everyone above the age of ten.

Yes, they're totally molesting the story of the Hobbit but mainly by ret-conning in as many things related to LotR as possible to cover over its own pathetic plot. Like the whole story with Dol Guldur, in the book Gandalf is simply away but in other bits and pieces Tolkien does describe that and as a LotR prequel it's just as important as the main story line. I mean Bilbo already has the ring, at the end of the story he has the ring - the rest of the tale doesn't really affect the LotR story line in any significant way. The book had to stand on its own legs. The end of the Hobbit will just be a waypoint to the first LotR movie. I mean this book ends with a hobbit returning home to the Shire with two small chests of gold, a mithril chain mail and a ring, it's not exactly a grand finish like destroying the One Ring and it never will be.

2 days ago

35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Kjella Re:So! The game is rigged! (559 comments)

Credit scores are okay but involving credit history is a strange fetish of US banks, never understood why. I remember reading a story about a European that found a US girl and they were looking to buy a place for both of them in the US. He was like I got this much equity, this much income, we should be able to manage a mortgage of this size. The bank said: No credit history (that we can find anyway) whatsoever? No loan. So they went out and got him a credit card, maxed it and paid it off on time. Big credit, perfect payment history and though short he now was eligible for a loan. WTF.

To me, having a credit card history - not home and car loans - means you've not had the money to pay your bills. If you didn't have to take up credit, you've always had the money to pay your bills. Why on earth wouldn't I then be able to pay my bills now? Before I rented an apartment and paid rent. Now I own an apartment and pay on my mortgage. They look stunningly similar in that each month I need to pay up to keep on living where I live. You balance your income and expenses, if you do it with $1000 left on the bank account or $1000 in credit card debt at the end of the month is exactly the same.

2 days ago

Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

Kjella Re:Who cares? (230 comments)

There is no right to a game designed the way you would want to design it. Your right is to vote with your wallets.

Until we decide that there is because we vote with our votes. For example the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act regulates how you can provide consumer warranties. If we wanted to ban certain DRM behaviors or even ban it entirely, we could do that. There's a difference between free market capitalism (equal opportunity for companies to provide competing products) and laissez-faire capitalism (companies can do anything and consumers will weed out bad behavior).

2 days ago

SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget

Kjella Re:What is the business case of SpaceX? (114 comments)

They don't do space tourism yet, but once they got the Dragon man-rated I don't see why not. The seven people who've been space tourists so far have in total paid $170 million, while SpaceX has quoted $140 million for a crewed Falcon 9 launch so they're at a price at least some is willing to pay. If they can make the rockets reusable it could significantly increase their launch volume even if only a few hundred super rich want to go. It would be real space flight in LEO and make you a genuine astronaut, not just "pop your head in" suborbital flight. Maybe they could even use the cargo room of the Dragon to hold some kind of deployable/inflatable mini-hotel for the stay. 100 mile high club anyone? ;)

4 days ago

SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget

Kjella Re:When I was born... (114 comments)

When I was born Mankind had not set foot on the moon. By the time I was five, we had been there, done that and decided to never go back again. If aliens do exist, they are sitting back saying "What the f?ck man, you want to meet us but don't have the energy to get off the couch and answer the door?" Mankind does not deserve space travel. We had our chance and refused to take it.

By the time you were five, we had been (384 400 kilometers) / (4.2421 light years) = 9.57827017 x 10^-9 = ~0.000001% of the way to the closest star. Eight years later they launched the Voyager 1 which is now about (127.98 Astronomical Units) / (4.2421 light years) = ~0.05% of the way. And it's probably uninhabited. What chance did we miss to go visit aliens? Do you think if we just put enough money in it we'd invent the warp drive? Chemical rockets can't do it, it'd be like trying to ride a horse to the moon. The ban on nukes in space kills fission, we still haven't got a working fusion reactor here on earth and antimatter only exists in extreme lab experiments.

True, we don't care much about developing the propulsion technology but we sure as hell would like the energy generation technology so to pretend we're not working on it is false. It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to try building the applied technology before we got the basics working, if we can make a fusion reactor here on earth then maybe we can turn it into a fusion drive. Trying to skip that step earns us nothing, it doesn't bypass any of the problems we already have and creates a whole set of new ones which makes it that much less likely to succeed. The only tech that's pretty much ready to go is fission, but good luck selling a rocket that'll nuke its way through space.

4 days ago

Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Kjella Re:Great... (571 comments)

The side that apparently blew a 300-civilian passenger jet out of the sky because they're too dumb to know what a Boeing looks like is getting direct military support from a major regional power which just happens to have nuclear weapons. And I thought my hometown of Detroit was fucked.

Well, if you want to put it that way the plane would never have been shot down if Russia had supplied a professional crew instead of teaching the separatists how to aim and pull the trigger. At least with the Russian military firing they probably know what they're aiming at.

4 days ago

Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

Kjella Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (728 comments)

Except in this case there's no signs that anyone was being particularly reckless, lazy or disregarding the rules, it was a fairly complex interaction between debug settings, ASM optimizations and dependency management. This is more like when the Space Shuttle blew up and nobody cares about the 9999 parts that didn't fail because the O-ring did and as a result it's now small chunks of scrap metal with dead astronauts. You don't get points for effort, style or the parts that work it's the end result that counts and in this case GCC poops on the floor because the final output is shit.

I think it's a good attitude for a kernel manager, because when he gets shit code from driver or subsystem maintainers that goes into a release kernel and starts corrupting data and throwing panics the shit is going to land on him. You can't just shuffle that responsibility downwards and say no, the kernel is 99% fine but that driver is crap because as far as the end users are concerned the kernel is crap and the internal bickering about whose fault that is doesn't matter one bit to them. It's your project and your job to get it fixed. And that might require some harsh words about the O-ring and the people who made it, because it's making them all look bad which is totally unfair to everybody else.

4 days ago

Nasty Business: How To Drain Competitors' Google AdWords Budgets

Kjella Re:That's why I dropped AdWords (97 comments)

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, if your AdWord campaigns are being sabotaged it's extremely hard to say what your conversion rate should have been without the sabotage unless you've got really good historic data to show we used to get good leads but now we get crap. For example if my botnet all likes to visit Google and click your ad links, but never buy anything. Yes, you know the conversation rate is very low - as a few real customers are in the mix - but it doesn't tell you anything about who or why, it just looks like random IPs visiting and not buying. Nor do you have any obvious reason to sue, it''s not illegal to visit and leave without buying. To use a real world analogy, it's like you have an organized band to clog up your stores, circulating and acting like customers but ending up just browsing. I've done that in real life, exiting the store without never buying so individually it's not unheard of. But if hundreds or thousands did that in an organized fashion, there'd be trouble as legitimate customers would pass on your store because it's too crowded, even though they have no intention of buying..

4 days ago

Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

Kjella Re:Nudity (175 comments)

If there's a distinct non-human advantage to them, yes. Most sports are extremely tightly regulated, mainly I've looked at the Nordic sports and for example the jump suit used in ski jumping is highly regulated. Likewise in ice skating, they proved some years ago a "Donald Duck" like suit would improve skate times. It was banned. The support biathlon athletes can get while shooting is likewise regulated. The rules themselves are arbitrary, as long as they're equal for everyone. Why it is "three strikes, you're out" in baseball? Couldn't it be one strike? Five strikes? Sure it could, but the game says three. And then you compete under the rules of the game. Everything else is the other way around, they're allowed to wear baseball caps because everyone can wear one and it doesn't favor anyone in particular. You can't call ut unaided because bicyclists obviously outpace runners, pole vaulters outjump high jumpers and so on but the aid is considered neutral. Anything that isn't you ban.

4 days ago

Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

Kjella Re:As soon as greenpeace touches it (288 comments)

John Stewart Mill made the point that you should consider every argument, even if only one person in the entire world is making it against the consensus of everyone else, on its merits. The person speaking does not matter, only the merits of the argument.

Knowing that someone has a very warped perception of reality - at least from your point of view - pretty much destroys all their credibility to make arguments about the real world. If the argument had any merit then "normal people" would use it too, it's not worth the effort to track every argument back to the underlying root causes. Very often it boils down to "that's not the way real people act or the real world works" because so many get caught up in an ideology and forget to ground their beliefs in reality. They're immune to normal feedback mechanisms, it's like watching people cut themselves and if it hurts the solution is to cut more. I suppose if you cut yourself enough the pain may stop permanently, but it still seems a rather bad idea.

5 days ago

Day One With the Brand New Oculus Rift DK2: the Good, the Ugly and the Games

Kjella Re:Attention Editors (48 comments)

The reason to use [sic] is to indicate that you didn't introduce a typo, it made sense for scribes, typewriters and citing dead tree sources but when you're copy-pasting another electronic source perfect reproduction is the norm and pointing out spelling mistakes is typically mocking, like you're making a point that the one you're quoting can't even spell properly. So I wouldn't use it and if people complain, well then they don't understand the concept of quoting. You don't change someone else's words and it's obvious from context who made the typo so the [sic] is completely redundant.

5 days ago

Switching From Microsoft Office To LibreOffice Saves Toulouse 1 Million Euros

Kjella Re:And... (293 comments)

Thats cute, you think Outlook is an email client. (...) Hint: Email is about 1/10th of what Outlook is and does.

He did say small company. which makes it fairly plausible. Many pay a lot for Outlook/Office and use it only for email, meeting scheduling and simple documents/spreadsheets because it's the de facto corporate standard.

about a week ago

'Just Let Me Code!'

Kjella Re:The price you pay (368 comments)

The agile way, quick and dirty. Find the code for whatever task you're supposed to do and change it. You do not try to place it on some grand master blueprint like in waterfall. Nor do you, according to agile, need that blueprint to add a new feature. If your code change breaks anything then tests will fail. Now you've got regressions, that's a task if you need one. Don't build any extra abstractions. Don't make your code overly generic. Go back and add those only as they become clearly needed and necessary. The general sentiment is that we don't know what tomorrow will bring, so fix it for today and if we need to redo it later we'll do just that.

You ask for the big picture, agile's answer is that there is none. The whole code base is alive and trying to keep on top of everything else that's happening is too much wasted time. You just keep the bits and pieces you work on working as you make changes. If the architecture becomes a problem then we'll make that a refactoring task to solve that particular issue, but it's never a full review. If agile was to create driving directions they'd go something like "Take the road going closest to the direction you want to go. If it becomes rough, carry on as it's probably better to get through that go back. If you really hit a dead end, make the smallest possible backtrack that lets you get around it."

about a week ago

Linux Needs Resource Management For Complex Workloads

Kjella Re:Is this real or fantasy? (161 comments)

These resources are all being managed today, there already are priorities for CPU, QoS for network bandwidth, ionice and quotas for storage and so on with a lot of specialization in each. He wants to build some kind of comprehensive resource management framework where everything from CPU time, memory, storage, network bandwidth etc. is being prioritized. It sounds extremely academic to me, particularly when I read the line:

I will make the assumption that everything at every level is monitored and tracked (...)

Besides, resource management isn't something that happens only on this level, for example if I have an SQL server then clearly who gets priority there matters, these are order transactions that should have millisecond latency and here's the consolidated monthly report we need by noon tomorrow. Load balancers, cache servers, read-only slaves, thread pools, TCP congestion logic, it's like you took something that you can write a whole library about and said "we need a framework for it". Good luck writing a framework that can balance anything in any situation, yes I suppose that from a galaxy away it might look like everything is a resource and we have consumers who need prioritization but the specifics of the situation matter a lot. Which is why there are many, many specialized systems that all do their specialized kind of resource management.

about two weeks ago

Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Kjella Re:"the market" = biz managers (192 comments)

people want relevant, accurate news more than ever

No they don't, they gobble down the latest "rushed to the frontpage two minutes before the competition" and after being fed clickbait by clickbait that's wildly misleding they keep coming back for more. You're confusing it with that they want it two seconds after it happened, which is another thing entirely.

people want entertainment that is not formulaic & trite more than ever

The first Transformers movie made $700 million. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" made $830 million, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" grossed over a billion dollars and "Transformers: Age of Extinction" is 75% there after two weeks. Reality disagrees with you.

the only reason is that we, as consumers, have been conditioned by bullshit marketing to have ***REDUCED EXPECTATIONS OF VALUE***

No, most people mainstream because they want to since it involves the least effort. I could certainly find something I like better but a pizza from the popular pizza shop down on the corner will probably be fine. Those clothes I wear might not be a fashion statement but they work well enough. My car is certainly mainstream and it has its conveniences when it comes to service, repair, parts and resale market. Tried and true and not on the bleeding edge of anything. Maybe I could find one better or simpler or lower priced or lower on maintenance but at the risk of ending up with something I eventually won't like.

Like everyone I've got a few things I really care deeply about, like what parts my computer have and the other 95% I don't really care, I just want a product that's decent and will work for me unless I have some sort of special needs. Like what brand of tooth paste I use, I barely remember it well enough to pick up the same tube next time and I certainly don't care - it's not brand loyalty it's brand apathy. There's a few I don't like the taste of so there's "lemons" in the market and I can't really say I know what the improvements would be. It's not like I'm going to start reading toothpaste reviews to pick the best one.

about two weeks ago



Microsoft bans Firefox on Windows ARM

Kjella Kjella writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Kjella (173770) writes "In another case of "if you can't beat them, exclude them" Microsoft has decided to not allow third party browsers on Windows ARM. The reasons cited by Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel David Heiner are: "
  • ARM processors, which power virtually all iOS, Android, and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets today, are different from the x86 chips that power PCs. The chips have new requirements for security and power management, and Microsoft is the only one who can meet those needs.
  • Windows RT — the version of Windows 8 geared for ARM devices — "isn't Windows anymore."

Link to Original Source

Chrome beats IE for first time ever

Kjella Kjella writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Kjella (173770) writes "Sunday 18th of March should go down in browser history. For the first in many years IE is no longer then #1 web browser, with Chrome narrowly beating IE with 32.71% to 32.50% while Firefox on third with 24.81%. As the figures are substantially higher for Chrome and lower for IE on weekends it's only for a day but it's another big milestone. While IE still is in a clear lead in North America and Oceania, it is tied with Firefox in Europe while Chrome now leads in Asia and South America and Firefox leads in Africa."
Link to Original Source

French "three strikes" back thanks to Sark

Kjella Kjella writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Kjella (173770) writes "A little over a week ago, slashdot reported that the EU would forbid disconnecting users from the Internet. But even after having passed with an 88% approval in the European Parliament and passing through the European Commission, it was all undone as the European Council, led by French President Sarkozy removed the amendment before passing the Telecom package. This means that there's now nothing stopping France's controversial "three strikes" law from going into effect. What hope is there for a "parliament" where there is near unison agreement, yet can be completely disregarded so easily?"

Oil fall nets lame duck with free crossover wine

Kjella Kjella writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Kjella (173770) writes "The good people over at CodeWeavers set up a challenge for King George to really make the most of his last days in office. The Lame Duck Presidential Challenges are to reduce the price of gas, reduce the price of food, create more jobs, rejuvenate the housing market and bring Osama bin Laden to justice. Noone realized just how he was going to do that as most of the goals were rather ambitious, but along with the doom and gloom of recession fears one of the criteria has been met. The price of gas is now back to $2.79 per gallon in the Twin Cities so break out your SUVs and party like it's 2006. For those of you instead looking to save every buck, today Crossover is giving away all their products for free, or at least gratis for the FSF fans out there. Already they're down to a light web page due to Digg, surely we can do better than that."


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