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Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

Marginal Coward Re:Stephen Elop (382 comments)

"Never ascribe to conspiracy that which can be adequately explained by incompetence." (Or something like that.)

about a week ago

Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

Marginal Coward Nice to know (278 comments)

That's nice. Now, I no longer need to remember "12345" for Slashdot - I can go back to just using "pass".

about a week ago

Even In Digital Photography Age, High Schoolers Still Flock To the Darkroom

Marginal Coward Re:Its the magic (240 comments)

Right! Digital imaging is just technology, but the way a chemical image suddenly "pops" out of nothing is truly magic. It was a thrill for me every time.

That said, each time I spent an evening slaving away in the darkroom, I ended up with just a small stack of not-so-great prints to show for it. Very discouraging.

I learned what little I know about the darkroom from a short community ed course many years ago, but if I had a teacher available who could have taught me how to make a really good print, it might have been a different story. Now, though, it's hard to beat the speed and convenience of digital printing - even if the magic - and artistry - is lost.

about a month ago

The Computer Security Threat From Ultrasonic Networks

Marginal Coward A simple defense (121 comments)

The folks who designed my desktop computer were really thinking ahead on this one: it was built without a speaker. Besides enhancing security, an auxiliary benefit of their clever "no-speaker defense" is that saved the manufacturer cost and space.

about a month and a half ago

Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

Marginal Coward Re:It's the right tool for the job (634 comments)

...but with much of academic programming there's no rear-end.

I guess that explains why Sir Mix-a-Lot left academia to pursue a career in the popular arts.

about 2 months ago

Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks

Marginal Coward Re:Stocks? (404 comments)

OK, I'll bite. Value Investors take the contrary point of view, and many of us have been successful with that approach. But that's another story. Just for fun, I'll take your side on this one, but with a twist.

I've long thought that stocks were a lot like fiat currencies:
- They can be created or destroyed at will by a central authority - a corporation rather than a central bank
- Their (market) value is largely based on supply and demand.
- Supply is controlled by a central authority, the corporation: it can issue or buy back stock at any time, or do forward or reverse splits at will.
- Demand is affected by the overall economy - in this case by the economy of the corporation rather than the economy of a nation.
- The currency (stock) can be exchanged for other currencies at any time in the market. Specifically, you can exchange a corporation's currency for your local national currency via buying and selling in the stock market.
- A variety of instruments are available in the market to protect yourself from and/or exploit unwise actions of the central issuing authority.

As with any fiat currency, the stockholder depends on the central authority (the corporation) to manage the currency wisely. Also, the stockholder only wants to get involved in a currency whose associated economy is stable. In other words, the value of the stock is related to the economics of the corporation as well as how well the corporate managers manage it.

Given the thousands of fiat currencies that exist in the form of corporate stocks, it's not surprising that someone could invent a new fiat currency, the Bitcoin. It will be interesting to see if a fiat currency whose supply is controlled by a formula rather than managed by humans can thrive and prosper in the long term.

about 3 months ago

How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Marginal Coward Re:Not enough eyes (582 comments)

Do you think that the bad guys never thought to read the source before now?

[head slap!] Gosh, maybe you're right - maybe they did think of reading the source code to a library that's widely used to help enforce security. In fact, being bad guys and all, that sounds like exactly the kind of thing they would do. Now, why didn't I think of that?...

Actually, I was just trying to make the point that this kind of issue draws particular attention to the offending library. Sorry if I didn't spell that out clearly enough for the casual reader.

about 3 months ago

How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Marginal Coward Re:Not enough eyes (582 comments)

Good point. But maybe they would have been missed by the bad guys, too. Maybe open source makes it easier for the good guys to find bugs but it also makes it easier for the bad guys to find bugs that the good guys haven't found yet. I don't know if there are bad guys who are scouring open source code for things like this, trying to find it first, but bad guys who enjoy finding exploits like this (or get paid to), might prefer to look at open source than disassembly.

My point isn't that open source is or isn't better than closed in this regard, but that the important factor is who finds an exploit first - whether it's in open source or not. And that probably depends mostly on who's focusing their attention on it.

That said, if I were a bad guy, the rest of the OpenSSL library's open source would seem like a pretty juicy read right now. Then again, it probably sounds like fun to the good guys too.

about 3 months ago

Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

Marginal Coward Jumping the gun (311 comments)

Darn. That method came up with 3.13, but I've already had 3.14 tattooed to the bottom of my foot...just in case...

about 3 months ago

The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

Marginal Coward Re:Good for devs. (270 comments)

Wouldn't it be VBX controls? IIRC, that was the Hot New Thing they wanted everybody to use at one time...until they replaced VBX with ActiveX. That's about the time I lost all interest in all of Microsoft's binary component technologies.

I did manage to get myself roped into MFC, though, many years ago. I'm still stuck using that due to having a large code base that's written for it (and isn't economical to convert to something like WxWidgets). Fortunately, Microsoft has supported MFC faithfully...for now.

about 3 months ago

Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

Marginal Coward Re:Did They Really? (612 comments)

After reading the article, it sounds like they have a good theory about what happened during the Big Bang, but I didn't see anything in the article that offered proof that something came from nothing.

Proof likely will appear from nowhere sometime in the next few billion years.

about 3 months ago

Theo De Raadt's Small Rant On OpenSSL

Marginal Coward Re:How about ... (301 comments)

Size matters?

about 3 months ago

Cheaper Fuel From Self-Destructing Trees

Marginal Coward Re:Termites (112 comments)

I've tried termites at home. They did more harm than good.

about 4 months ago

Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

Marginal Coward Re:Linus is getting old and cranky (641 comments)

His problem is that he believes he is right in all things and has a huge ego.

Sounds like necessary qualifications for the job to me.

about 4 months ago

Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

Marginal Coward Re:hold on (641 comments)

Linus just talks like a sailor.

Arrh, I dun think so me shiverin' matey!

When I read that, I heard it in Mr. Krabbs voice. But Mr. Krabbs is a lot easier to work for than Linus, me boy. Linus is more like the Flying Dutchman, without the loveable part.

about 4 months ago

Study: Exposure To Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight

Marginal Coward Re:Benjamin Franklin (137 comments)

The early bird catches the worm. The early worm gets eaten.

about 4 months ago

Square Market Now Accepts Bitcoin

Marginal Coward Re:Well... not really (94 comments)

The dog will return it to you soon with additional encryption applied.

about 4 months ago

Square Market Now Accepts Bitcoin

Marginal Coward Re:That'll be, uh, can you just pay in USD? (94 comments)

Given the current volatility, it seems like anything that's priced in terms of a fixed Bitcoin amount involves an element of speculation on the part of the seller. That went against you in this case, but it might have worked out in your favor on some other day - which is the nature of speculation.

In conventional currencies and commodities, derivatives are available to hedge risk in the instrument itself for those who want that. A quick Internet search indicates that derivate markets for Bitcoin currently are in the formative stage, but if Bitcoin really takes hold, they'll become part of its landscape.

about 4 months ago

Square Market Now Accepts Bitcoin

Marginal Coward Re:Missing the point of bitcoin (94 comments)

A quick read of TFA indicates that the Square folks are providing a service in terms of accepting Bitcoin from buyers and providing dollars to sellers. The seller gets to set the price in dollars and then receives that number of dollars for the sale, less commission. Charging a commission for providing the service of a currency exchange (or a commodity exchange, if you prefer) sounds like a Square deal to me, depending on the commission.

about 4 months ago

Gunshot Victims To Be Part of "Suspended Animation" Trials

Marginal Coward Re:April Fool's day : new date in march ? (357 comments)

Facebook Purchases Minecraft for $3 Billion

AP - Social networking giant Facebook announced plans Thursday to buy the popular multiplayer game Minecraft from its creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, for $3 Billion, its latest in a series of high-profile acquisitions. Persson will receive compensation in the form of cash, stock, and an undisclosed number of Oculus Rift headsets.

Asked why he is selling Minecraft to Facebook following his statements that he would cease development of Minecraft for Oculus Rift when Facebook's purchase of Oculus recently was announced, Persson said, "Look, they offered me a lot of headsets in this deal. I simply couldn't turn that down. I also get a seat on the board. Although that doesn't give me any actual input into Facebook's future, the seat itself is extremely comfortable - and the boardroom has some really nice paneling."

When asked about the deal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented, "Minecraft is yet another in a series of strategic acquisitions as we evolve Facebook from a social gaming platform into a social gaming platform. Also, Markus will make a fine addition to Facebook's board; I know we'll receive some top-notch input from him as the board continues to consider future options for the seating and paneling in our boardroom."

about 4 months ago


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