top 'Anonymized' Credit Card Data Not So Anonymous, MIT Study Shows
The article is misleading. It talks about how it can be used to "identify someone." And with all the talk about privacy, it implies the identification of an individual.
But, reading through it closely, they aren't talking about identifying a specific someone; the information isn't enough to say Not_Wiggins made these purchases.
Instead, it focuses on identifying characteristics of purchasers and then extending it to see what other behavior purchasers in those groups would make.
In the article example, they talked about someone making a purchase at both a bakery and a restaurant within a short time period. Finding that they had one such instance, named him Scott, then looked to see what other behaviors "Scott" had. By extending that logic, they are saying "look at the group of people who typically shop at a bakery and a restaurant... then you know those people are typically also interested in shoes."
The example is a bit silly, but that's what they're saying.
They're talking about documenting patterns of behavior on purchasing decisions.
This article really isn't about loss of anonymity. It is about using anonymized credit card transactions to develop definitions of "user groups" and predicting their shared behavior pattern.
To me, it seems more like the equivalent of last.fm... tell us what music you like, we'll compare it against what others who also have the same "likes" have said, and give you options for things that might fit your tastes.
In this instance, it is: tell us what purchases you've made, we'll compare it against similar purchases that others have made, and we can predict what other purchases you might want/like that you haven't made yet.
top Don't Panic, But We've Passed Peak Apple (and Google, and Facebook)
And to extend your point...
Before Nokia, it was Motorola that made the best phones on the market. But, they stagnated and Nokia took it over with their innovation. After building their market, Nokia stagnated and others started taking over from them (Samsung comes to mind).
One can't always be the market leader because of the load of work on the company.
Being the biggest/best producer of something requires a company to supply a lot of product to meet that demand. So, a lot of resource is spent just on maintaining supply required by being in 1st place. That doesn't leave as much resource or insight into "what to develop next." The leader in a market doesn't have someone else to look at to see what they need to develop... they can only look to themselves.
Competitors behind/outside of the market leader have the opportunity to see what directions that leader is trying out and to follow in step... focusing on how to take those concepts that seem to work and build upon them.
Innovate or replicate... two main strategies of product growth and success for a business.
If you're the leader, you have to innovate to keep your lead. Replicating a competitors innovation means "you're falling behind" and appear to be "failing" (whether that is true or not... it tends to be the perspective of the market).
As a competitor, you can innovate and/or replicate (and improve) to capture some of that market away from the leader. Constant correct innovation is impossible to maintain forever for a single business. about a year and a half ago
top AT&T Kills $10 Texting Plan, Pushes $20 Plan
And to add to your answer: in GSM systems, SMS piggy-backs on existing required signaling that is needed for identifying when a cell phone comes into a cell tower's signal reach.
So, how much does it cost a GSM provider to provide SMS service on top of cellular? $0.
They expand the radio capability as they get new subscribers, sure... but that's to handle additional phone calls.
There is no such thing as a separate cost to expand SMS capability.
Messaging is darn near *pure profit* for a telecom company.
Whether I send 0 messages, 10 messages, or 1000 messages... it is opportunistic sending (meaning, if all the channels capable of transmitting that data are currently occupied, then my phone waits until the next round of signaling.) This is why messaging isn't guaranteed to be instantaneous.
Most users assume the other person is a little slower to respond, but that isn't always the case.
My personal hope is that, with this type of revenue/cost disparity, these companies are at least using the extra money to subsidize other services (eg, making phone minutes cheaper because, frankly, those *are* tied directly to equipment/operational costs).
Guess that's part of the "secret formula" for how to be a profitable telecom company. ;)
top How To Steal ATM PINs With a Thermal Camera
It looks likely you were mostly joking (so, that makes me feel equally bad about admitting this).
But, when putting in my PIN, I typically rest several fingers on different numbers, move my hand around, and punch my PIN in that way, obscuring what I'm doing (not the typical one finger, one press approach).
For me, it was about making it tough for someone with a video camera set up to watch the ATM to figure out what my PIN is based on finger movement alone.
I suppose to that end, would getting the heat signature really be that superior to having a video camera set up with a telephoto lens?
And if we were ever worried about heat signature, wouldn't simply wearing gloves defeat this "potential attack?"
Seems someone has figured out a complex way of collecting PINs.
Why not set up a loop of wire and, based on the different lengths of connection between electricity that flows from pressed keys to the processor, infer which key is pressed?
Right... it would cost more in time, money, and effort than one could make simply waiting for someone to walk up and rob with a gun.
top How Do You Get Your Geek Nostalgia Fix?
I'm not affiliated with the project, but someone was motivated enough to take that classic memory and update it (somewhat) for the modern world.
No, you won't mistake it for a recent game release, but it is a great way to experience the classic again without as much of the dated graphics. Highly recommend Duke Nukem 3D HRP (High-Resolution Pack)! http://hrp.duke4.net/
top Ask Slashdot: How To Monitor Your Own Bandwidth Usage?
Interesting experience for me with Comcast.
I had considered going the Business Class route because, frankly, it would be "the right thing to do" since I host a mail server. Here was the rub: while I was able to get a Business account, they assign a dynamic IP. Well, first problem I ran into was related to email; Comcast Business dynamic IPs are in a ton of RBL's, hence email delivery is stopped. Called Comcast to ask them about it. Oh, for $15 more a month a could get a static IP, and THEN they'd help with blacklisting. What about the residential solution where one just uses the Comcast email relay as a smarthost? Nope... not available for Business Class users. So, it was either $75/month just to accommodate the email portion of service, or being a $45/month (with other services) and "abuse" them.
If you do email and are tempted to go the business class route, be aware of these "limitations" before making the jump. Or, expect to pay for external email relay (such as is offered through no-ip.com).
Of the irony... the home user version is much more "business friendly" than the business version!
top A Decade of Agile Programming — Has It Delivered?
It isn't that requirements shouldn't be re-evaluated or should never change... this principle of accepting change in Agile makes perfect sense in the context of "providing a solution that meets the actual need."
The challenge comes in with education of the non-implementers who have been sold on their development teams utilizing this methodology.
My experience with "Agile" (can't say the intended way, just the way it has been bastardized) can be summarized with this anecdote: Business guy comes in and wants to fundamentally change what is being delivered for a project. And, no... the "deadline" for when the project is needed isn't changing. But, that should be ok, right? Because Agile allows for changing requirements even late in development.
Don't get me wrong. Agile vs Waterfall (for some project types) is vastly superior. Delivering incremental, meaningful software frequently can help the business evaluate if what was asked for is on the right track or not. But, in my experience, rarely does the whole team understand the use/application of this methodology. People understand in Waterfall "if I don't get the requirements right, it is my fault" because it has been around for a long time and is widely implemented across many industries.
Even with 10 years, Agile methodology hasn't seeped into enough minds cross-discipline to reach this same tipping point. Until that happens, I see Agile representing both/either "we can change it whenever with no consequences" (which ISN'T what Agile is about) and "we can do complete development without the pain of any sort of documentation" (the mis-perception that it completely eliminates culpability for the business for not defining what is needed).
Just my $.02.
top 75% Use Same Password For Social Media & Email
I believe the US is the same.
Interestingly, I just had to take my cat into the vet for surgery. They actually asked for SSN on the form (but mentioned it was optional). I mean... FOR THE VET?!? The abuse of SSN in the US is quite rampant despite there being a fairly clear rule about what SSN is meant to be used for *only*. 8/
top 75% Use Same Password For Social Media & Email
For many years now, when someone asks me for information, my first thought is not to give the information, but to consider why I don't want to give it to that person. And I don't consider myself particularly paranoid with respect to what I share. Can totally relate to this. Probably the most "abused" personally identifying information in the U.S. is Social Security Number. I was under the impression that it was meant only as a means of identifying you for taxes and (of course) social security benefits. It was not meant to be used for any other purpose. And yet, for school loans, bank accounts (that don't have any interest), and even my dentist want it because, to them, it is a unique identifier. I had debated if I should refuse to give them that information or just comply. To my shame, I have simply complied. I tried, at first, to argue it. But there were only so many times I could tolerate the "but, the system requires it... I don't know what to do about your objection" situations that I eventually gave up knowing that, someday, it would likely come back to haunt me. But then I figured, it would haunt everybody, so perhaps I could shift the responsibility to a future "savior." This isn't anything to be proud of, but "giving in" has certainly made life easier.
top Drunk Driver Mugshots Featured On Facebook
There have been a lot of posts trying to make a distinction between "it is fine to shame someone, even if they aren't convicted" to "this only makes sense once someone is convicted."
In any/all cases, there is absolutely no positive value that comes out of this practice, as it relates to DUI. Child molesters... yeah, but drunk drivers?
What does one get out of this?
Let's say that instead of posting a picture, one placed a permanent mark on the person's forehead such that the public can now identify that person as having been involved with potential DUI or flat out convicted of it.
Would it make the person stop drinking and driving if he had to permanently carry the stigma of it?
Why stop if you're going to be vilified for the rest of time anyway?
If one does stop, is it fair to keep punishing that person for correcting his mistake?
And with the Internet these days, it _is_ forever. Sure, it might not be at the fore of your community's thinking, but a quick search and bang... get to relive being outed as irresponsible and dangerous.
This doesn't prevent it from happening again.
This doesn't shame someone into stopping.
It is purely vengeance, with no value what-so-ever OTHER THAN to scare the populace into compliance (the efficacy of which is suspect).
So, if your police practice such things, you may want to call up and ask why they're spending time and money on something that has no redeeming value.
top NewEgg Confirms Shipping Fake Core i7s
There's an alternative way of looking at this situation (ala Hanlon's razor): "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
I wouldn't be surprised if it was simply a mistake due to lack of adequate inventory management/controls; a theft of this nature will absolutely be detected immediately which makes for a very ineffective theft.
That isn't to say it can't be intentional theft and deception; I just think it is also feasible to be simple human error.
top Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open
I have both an iPhone and a MacBook and I use and love both everyday. However, I've never thought to myself, "how great would it be to have a 10-inch iPhone?"
Don't know if you know it, but you have an EXCELLENT idea! IPhone screen too small for Grandma's failing eye site? FINALLY an IPhone for an older generation! Imagine... a bus full of elderly dialing out on their IPad phones! It would harken back to the early days of cellphones... you know, for the nostalgic missing their brick/bag phones. You can even explain that since it is bigger, she'd be able to hear the conversations better, too! ;)
top A Possible Cause of AT&T's Wireless Clog — Configuration Errors
I presume you have an iPhone.
A friend of mine that has jailbroken his phone pointed out to me that the bars represent the 3G signal strength, and not necessarily the regular network strength.
I was considering AT&T because the T-Mobile strength in my house is terrible.
He had 3-4 bars on his IPhone, but when he turned off 3G and went to EDGE only, it averaged 1-2 bars.
Point is, I don't think the signal strength always means what we think it means. 8/
top Photoshop Disaster Draws DMCA Notice For Boing Boing
BB has posted that Ralph Loren has admitted a "my bad," and that they promise to be more diligent about it in the future. Scroll to just above the comments.
top Most Mac Owners Also Own a Windows PC, But Not Vice Versa
I'm reasonably certain it's been shown a number of times that if you build a PC with the exact same hardware as a Mac, you'll end up with a PC that costs about the same.
Actually, it has been shown to be cheaper to build your own Mac.
I'm only addressing your Hardware comparison. In reality, there are more things that go into the value of a "computer solution" than just the hardware components: software availability/quality for your own needs, support, design/appeal, etc.
top US Cell Phone Plans Among World's Most Expensive
Europe has a larger population compared to US, yet it has a lesser amount of land to cover with cell sites.
As a result, people/tower ratio is quite good in Europe and partially contributes to better plans.
...yet Finland, the most sparsely populated country in Europe tops the chart. I think you'll need another explanation.
You have your own answer... if it is the most sparsely populated country, then it needs the fewest towers which also means the least infrastructure investment.
As long as the company providing coverage has other markets (to take advantage of the bulk buying of equipment and leveraging of technology staff), then this becomes an "incremental expense" to them.
I suspect it would be different pricing if a cell company was trying to exist only in this market. But, I digress...
top Dell Sues Tiger Direct For Misleading Customers
And another word of warning: with the
Systemax purchase of CompUSA, consumers will be exposed to the same sourced inventory, but not realize that it is the same entity as TigerDirect. So if you're not happy with TigerDirect, don't consider the re-formed CompUSA as an alternative... it isn't.
top Watchmen 50 Days On, Was It Worth the Gamble?
The real sign of failure is that video games now have even bigger opening weekends - Halo 3, followed hotly by GTA 4, really showed Holywood what an opening weekend could be. That's an apples-to-oranges comparison. Games cost $50-$70 each, while your movie ticket is going to be around $10; there's a larger in-rush of cash during an opening weekend of a game because there's a heavier hit. If the average movie-going crowd was 5-7 people, then it could be a better comparison.
top European Police Plan to Remote-Search Hard Drives
But, of course, if your machine is behind a firewall, they'll just outlaw having firewall because it impedes their ability to investigate you for crimes. At which point if you need to be insecure enough to ensure that law enforcement can get in and do this, your machine will be hosed within the hour as the actual bad people break through as well.
No, no, no... you have it all wrong. The police simply have to co-opt the Evil bit to differentiate their traffic from the "bad guys," n00b!