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Comments

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Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Midnight Thunder Re:The web is shrinking (389 comments)

The problem is when Google decides something is good for everyone they don't give us ways to switch back to the old behaviour, even if that change feels like a middle finger. You can have a thousand people open bug reports and Google devs will politely tell you that they know better than everyone else. Sometimes it makes me want to grab a bunch of eager developers and fork Chrome. In the meantime there is still Firefox and Opera to move to.

2 days ago
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Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Midnight Thunder Re:Stupid (389 comments)

For the session tokens, their values can be encrypted and they can be tied to an IP address. If the client does not need to do anything special with the cookie values, then the server can do whatever it wants. The session ID cookie may not even need to be encrypted and instead the server side holds which IP address the session is locked to, so it can't be reused.

2 days ago
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Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Midnight Thunder Re:503 (389 comments)

I am just fed up with Google dumbing down the web browser and turning Chrome into our way or the highway. Cases in point:
    - refusal to support APNG
    - hiding protocol in address field URL

I am hesitating whether to go back to Firefox.

2 days ago
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Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

Midnight Thunder one way streets and other inconveniences. (593 comments)

Don't live next to the freeway if you don't like traffic

Sometimes that is the only place to live. Gating a community is not a better option either.

The solutions I have seen in other places include:
    - narrowing the intersections to reduce speed of traffic
    - making one way streets that locals know how to use, but end up diverting traffic back onto the main arteries.
    - introducing speed bumps to slow traffic
    - lowering speed limit on these secondary roads
    - blocking part of the street with a park, to force traffic to have make more detours
    - adding public transport lanes, while sacrificing car traffic lanes.

The solution will depend on the exact location and will probably end up being a hybrid

3 days ago
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Google News To Shut Down In Spain On December 16th

Midnight Thunder Re:Censorship (183 comments)

The problem I see here is a symptom of Europe run by people who are from another era, at least in terms of thinking. The reaction by the papers is a natural one, but it is more of a knee jerk reaction that trying to understand the technology and how it works. What we need are younger people getting into politics, at least in terms of technology advisors, such that decisions aren't being made based on a reality that is 40 years past.

For the journalists, often the best way to be able to write open their own country is actually to be based outside of it. The irony is that sometimes a true patriot needs to be outside of their own borders to raise the issues that that would rather be swept under the carpet.

about a week ago
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Starbucks Testing Mobile Order and Pay In Portland On iOS

Midnight Thunder Wi-fi? (40 comments)

They could have probably achieved the same thing by just having people use their wifi service? No GPS needed. The bonus is devices such as tablets could be used too. Sure it would mean needing to sign into wifi, but maybe giving people choice between wifi and GPS?

Maybe as an extension, they could even have someone walk the line, in busy locations, taking orders on a tablet, equipped with a card reader?

about two weeks ago
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Midnight Thunder Re:open-source voting machines. (127 comments)

Paper ballots are pretty damn open-source.

Just because a voting machine is supposedly running open-source software doesn't preclude tampering - hardware or software.

I can remember one wise lecturer in my computer science course gave a challenge to come up with a system to solve a customer's problem. Being CS students we designed everything requiring the use of a computer. At the end he asked us if we had considered whether a non-computer based system would have actually have done a better job. While in the particular case the answer was no, it did show us that sometimes we use technology for technology's sake and not to solve the problem in the best possible way. Voting machines should be approached in the same way and the opti-scan mention by another poster certainly seems to strike the right balance between solving the problem and not throwing the wrong technology into the mix.

about three weeks ago
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Cameron Says People Radicalized By Free Speech; UK ISPs Agree To Censor Button

Midnight Thunder Cameron 1984 meme? (316 comments)

Is it time to have a Cameron meme with 1984 on it?

about a month ago
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Tor Project Mulls How Feds Took Down Hidden Websites

Midnight Thunder IPv6 as a help? (135 comments)

Would changing Tor to use exclusively IPv6 help at any level? Does IPv6 provide any benefits here, other than being 128-bit addresses?

about a month ago
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Eben Upton Explains the Raspberry Pi Model A+'s Redesign

Midnight Thunder Re:Watch out Pi (107 comments)

This seems like it is much more for embedded style applications. In this regards, it does just fine.

If you really want a powerful Raspberry Pi, then the Banana Pi or Beagle Bone Black are some alternatives to look at.

about a month ago
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Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

Midnight Thunder There are many paths (594 comments)

There are many paths to the future and not taking isn't really one of them.

While Virgin Galactic may be about rich space tourists, these people should be seen as early adopters, helping bring down the price for the rest of us. The research and development here also provides a different technology approach than the bigger space companies, which are still focusing on traditional launch vehicles.

The challenge in the space industry is getting new investments from beyond the government and communication satellite operators. Space tourism provides an alternative private form of funding, helping develop new technogies and techniques. These billionaires probably have no way of spending all their money and this provides a nice way of providing funding for space and a way for them to do something they might enjoy with their money.

As for the test pilots, well I would prefer to see an automated flight as the first test flight, followed by a manned mission, but it may be too hard to provide a good system to deal with the unknowns. Test pilots fly with a passion and accept that never returning is part of the risk. It doesn't mean they should be treated as expendible, since we are talking about lives and highly skilled people, but we should accept that there is a risk which we must accept.

For the engineers and business owners knowing that a life is at stake should be incentive to double checking everything, even the assumption that it couldn't possibly fail. Everything fails, so it is more about asking in what conditions could it fail.

about a month and a half ago
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World War II Tech eLoran Deployed As GPS Backup In the UK

Midnight Thunder The US may still get eLoran (139 comments)

If the following blog post is worth anything, then maybe the USA will still go with eLoran as a backup:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/...

The next question is how cheap is the most affordable eLoran receiver, and where can one be bought?

about a month and a half ago
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It's Time To Revive Hypercard

Midnight Thunder Recreating Hypercard? (299 comments)

I have seen some attempts to r creating HyperCard, but nothing really seems to have come of them. If there are any successful or fully functioning open source equivalents I would be interested in knowing about them.

I used HyperCard a bit and in certain ways the closest equivalent is something like PowerPoint or Keynote, though even with them there I a huge gap with HyperCard did. I wonder whether Apple could recreate a 21st century HyperCard, but using Keynote as a basis?

about a month and a half ago
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Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'

Midnight Thunder Re:And so therefor it follows and I quote (353 comments)

Well, given that Apple doesn't charge for OS upgrades anymore, it can be argued that the cost of the OS is $0, when bundled with a Mac. You can get your refund, but I am not sure that $0 is worth the effort.

The real cost is having to buy a new Mac every few years because the latest upgrade was an upgrade too far. Well, at least it easier to roll back, compared to an iPhone.

about 2 months ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Midnight Thunder Re:The code has no legitimate use, does nothing on (572 comments)

Reading the article now (shame on me for not doing so), I suspect there is malice or 'good intentions' resulted in failed risk analysis and fallout prediction.

about 2 months ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Midnight Thunder Why suspect malice? (572 comments)

Two wrongs don't make a right, was hopefully something that your parents taught you when you where quite small.

The issue is that the FTDI driver is deliberately reprogramming a chip that is not theirs and for which they have no authorisation to do so. This is an unauthorised modification and illegal.

You cannot stick something in a license agreement that allows you to break the law, because the courts will hold that part of the license agreement null and void.

As many many people have said the right and legal thing was to simply stop working and post a message to the user that the chip is a counterfeit/clone.

Why put this down to malice and not down to a programming/QA issue?

If I am developing something, then my general approach is to test it against know factors and some edge cases I can think about. Counterfeit stuff screws with the whole programming and QA cycle, since they say they are the same as something I developed, act as something I developed, but fail in subtle ways I wouldn't have considered or tested for.

Maybe FTDI did do something intentionally, but I suspect it was an oversight, especially considering they pulled the update once reports were coming in.

FTDI will probably have to do three things:
    - Test for the known limitations of counterfeit hardware (they can't test for the unknowns).
    - Update the EULA to be clear of risk/
    - Update the installer to warn against cloned chips and impact it may have.

about 2 months ago
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32 Cities Want To Challenge Big Telecom, Build Their Own Gigabit Networks

Midnight Thunder Re:'Bout time (175 comments)

Private companies wouldn't be using it for free. They would need to lease out usage, but that wouldn't be an exclusive lease. When people were still using dial-up modems there was more competition, so this would be an attempt to recreate something that allows for this. Line sharing is really necessary for something healthy and focusing on innovation. BTW always jealous of France's http://free.fr/

What we have now is broken, so it is time to come up with a model that will help foster competition.

about 2 months ago
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32 Cities Want To Challenge Big Telecom, Build Their Own Gigabit Networks

Midnight Thunder Re:'Bout time (175 comments)

These cities should build the infrastructure, focus on the infrastructure and then allow service providers to compete with each other for service. Essentially, government deals with infrastructure since they are generally good with that and private business on the sevice, since they are generally good with that when there is healthy competition.

about 2 months ago
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After Negative User Response, ChromeOS To Re-Introduce Support For Ext{2,3,4}

Midnight Thunder Confused (183 comments)

So a bug is a feature and per Google, a removed feature is a bug? Okay, I think I have it.

about 2 months ago
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Kmart Says Its Payment System Was Hacked

Midnight Thunder Should retailers store credit card details? (101 comments)

Beyond transactions, I wonder whether retailers should even be storing credit card information? Surely debating this problem to the credit card companies would be better? The only thing combines should be keep is maybe some sort of public key value for the credit card, which can only be unlocked with a user provide value. The private key would be in the hands of the credit card company to access your account.

I am thinking on the fly here, but the main gist is the less credit card details stored by non-credit card companies the better. These retailers could secure their systems better, but maybe they shouldn't be holding on to certain critical information either? We need to review what financial data is held in light of these issues.

In Europe you have a one time key for your online payments, that requires a special calculator looking device. Probably not the best solution, but not a terrible one either - it's just inconvenient and not necessarily clear to the non-tech savie.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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How to get out of developer's block?

Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Midnight Thunder (17205) writes "I have spent the past six months working on a software project, and while I can come up with ideas, I just can't seem to sit down in front of the computer to code. I sit there and I just can't concentrate. I don't know whether this is akin to writer's block, but it feels like it. Have any other slashdotters run into this and if so how did you get out of it? It is bothering me since the project has ground to a halt and I really want to get started again. I am the sole developer on the project, if that makes a difference."
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Monitoring your TV viewing habits?

Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Midnight Thunder (17205) writes "Most TV ratings are selected from a small portion of the population, by one monitoring system or another. How accurate the end results are is arguable and in turns affects what is shown on TV. How would you feel if you cable company or your satellite company started anonymously monitoring what their subscribers switch to, on the condition they provide you with an option to opt-out? It could mean better TV."
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Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Midnight Thunder (17205) writes "Today I was contacted by support staff of a company, whoes software solution we use, because we were having issues installing the upgrade software. Their product runs on, amongst others, Solaris. To help them, they establish a conference session to the local computer, so they can see what the user is doing and help them along. The catch is the conferencing solution requires MS-Windows and Internet Explorer to run. Luckily for me I was using an X-Windows server on a Windows based PC, but would have had issues if my workstation was Solaris or any other non-Microsoft system. My question is whether there are any similar solutions that a support site could use in this manner, but which works on multiple platforms?"
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Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Midnight Thunder (17205) writes "In a move that makes everyones fears about the limitations of DRM encumbered media files a reality, Microsoft will not allow you to play files purchased through the MSN store on the Zune. Their answer is for you to buy your files again. Is this another death blow to DRM or just Microsoft shooting itself in the foot?"

Journals

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Computing's accessibility advantage over Sciences

Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Computing has a great advantage over other sciences. This advantage is defined by its level of accessibility. The level of accessibility is defined by the cost of the tools required to experiment and the minimum amount of knowledge needed before you can even try to be taken seriously. Computers are readily accessible, they can be bought for a relativley low cost at your local electronics store. Once installed you can download, buy or write software fairly easily. Try doing this with any science and the first sticking point is where do you buy the stuff? You also need to get a fair amount of maths under your belt and then you can start learning about the subject. You can't get a job in a science field without at least a Masters degree.

Since you have to learn so much before you can do anything in most science fields, it has the effect of scaring many people off (the attitude of many people in the field doesn't alway help either). I feel that this has the effect of reducing the amount of unorthodox ideas that can enter the field, and thus slowing down the rate of progress. Because IT has the advantage of it accessibility, almost anyone get take their crazy idea and try to make it work. Try doing the same thing in sciences.

Sure you can see knowledge as an upside down pyramid, getting built up one brick at a time. What happens when there are bricks missing at given levels because orthodox thinking makes it difficicult to see what is missing. This is where I like to use my description of a pink elephant in multi-faceted sphere. Conventional thinking will look at the elephant through one of the facets and see just a trunk or just a leg. Without the ability to look at the elephant from other angles, then it is easy to conclude that what you see is a trunk. You could also just see two points of view, a trunk and a leg and not understand how they are related. You can then have people thinking that there is nothing is no link between the two. Of course there will always be the small group that believes that there is more than meets the eye, but they tend to be shuned because no one can see what they are getting at. Like brute force computing where you have many computers trying different combinations, science could have a huge advantage if more people were able to participate. Sure there the possibility of a lot of noise, but like any forum, you find ways to deal with this, for you realise that sometimes it there is an advantage in numbers.

What could be done to make science more accessible I am not sure. Maybe one method is to take advantage of the accesibility of computers and make advanced science applications easy enough for any fools to use and understand.

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The killer application

Midnight Thunder Midnight Thunder writes  |  more than 12 years ago

In the computer industry there is something known as the 'Killer Application'. Basically it is an application as revolutionary as the internet that will change the way we see and do things. Being able to create the killer application is the dream of many, as it is their chance to be able to say they made history.

I believe that anyone wanting to make a killer application shouldn't bother trying. What I mean by this is that it is the wrong way to about things. Such an application will result in someone doing what they are good at and just trying to make something different. The killer application is not defined by the application itself, but what effect it has on people's lifes. For example you could make a program that is wonderful and revolutionary in what it does, but for one reason or another it has zero effect on people's lifes. Maybe there isn't a need, maybe it is too hard to use or maybe you're trying too hard to make money from it, amongst possibilities. The internet succeeded because it was free and there was no cost in adopting it. It was only later, once it was established that businesses hard a market to make money in. Another possibility is that we expect so much these days that we may not recognise an application that has or is making a revolution.

Making a difference is what counts, not trying to make a revolution.

If you can make a tool that can simplify a task, or make it more accessible, then you have already achieved plenty. Imagine what astronomy would be like with out the telescope. In this case the telescope is the tool that provided the means to look beyond our solar system and even our galaxy.

If you are looking for applications that could make a difference, then, IMO, the best place is to look at professional applications and work out how they could be made simple enough for an idiot to use and understand. If an idiot can understand and do something that was once inaccessible to them, then you have already made a big difference. Another place to look at making a difference in, is something that you are interested in and understand, and wish others could share. Yes, in making such a tool you may invalidate your current advantage, but in doing so you open up doors to new opportunities, for you and everyone else.

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