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Comments

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TCP/IP Might Have Been Secure From the Start If Not For the NSA

PuckSR Re:Flamebait (149 comments)

Bad analogy.

The NSA didn't tell Cerf not to use this cryptography scheme. Cerf didn't even ask. He was working on a classified research project(NSA cryptography) and working on a unclassified academic experiment(TCP/IP).

I keep fish as a hobby. I have a friend who researches new antibiotics. Do you think my friend's employer is "standing in the way" when he doesn't give me the latest and most potent antibiotics which aren't even publicly available to treat my fish?

about 4 months ago
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Star Trek Economics

PuckSR Re:Wow (888 comments)

A limited resource in this solar system that stops us at 384.6 yottawatts. I think we can just go ahead and assume it is NOT a limited resource for all practical purposes.

about 5 months ago
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Star Trek Economics

PuckSR Re:Wow (888 comments)

Not bollocks.

You are looking at short-term trends. I am discussing long-term trends. Energy production will continue to increase or we face a Malthusian collapse. I don't think that will happen. I think we will develop technologies that circumvent the Malthusian collapse. I wasn't discussing "alternative energies". I was discussing ANY energies.

We have already developed heat engines that would have blown the minds of engineers 100 years ago(they achieve better than 50% efficiency). You are thinking of "wind vs coal". I am thinking of Dyson spheres. Why mention a Dyson sphere? It isn't an actual goal, it is a commentary on the upper limits of power production. Stop getting bogged down in "current technologies". We will have future technologies which are unimaginable. You know why? If you could imagine them now they would be a reality in the present. 100 years ago we were running small combustion engines at efficiency that bordered on 10% and that was a NEW technology that was wildly efficient. Give use another hundred years, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

about 5 months ago
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Psychologists: Internet Trolls Are Narcissistic, Psychopathic, and Sadistic

PuckSR Serious question (293 comments)

Since when did Machiavellianism come to be defined as a "willingness to manipulate others"? The traditional attribute of "The Prince" is that he manipulated other people for a purpose. Doing it simply for entertainment seems to be a far different thing. If I lied to you to get you to take your medicine, that could be Machiavellianism. If I lied to you because I was a huge dick and wanted to fuck with you, that would seem to be "Assholishianism".

about 5 months ago
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Star Trek Economics

PuckSR Re:Wow (888 comments)

I think you are misunderstanding or misconstruing the argument. Post-scarcity doesn't mean that "limited resources" cease to exist. The primary driver of our modern economy(and any new economy) is energy. Energy is becoming rapidly less expensive because of modern technologies. He is arguing that at a certain point we will have to acknowledge that we have enough energy to meet everyone's basic needs. At that point, excess energy can be used to meet everyone's luxury desires. We tend to think of everyone's luxury desires as limitless, but that isn't exactly true. Our appetite for luxury goods is highly pliable. A great example of this would be video games. In the late 80s, you probably would have wanted a lot of Nintendo games. Those were a desirable luxury good. Now, you can acquire all of those games(through illegal and quasi-legal channels) and play them on a machine that costs as much as 2 beers. Yet, you don't play all of those old games. Why not? Your appetite has changed and now you are more than happy to play one new game rather than dozens of old ones. Consider it the "Brewster's Millions" problem.
As far as "limited resources", they will continue to exist. However, we might find that their value and how we assess that value has changed dramatically. Gold will probably be the clearest example. Gold has very little intrinsic value. It is a rare metal, but materials of similar rarity do not approach anywhere near the value of gold in the current market. Tellurium, an element found with gold which is actually rarer, has similarly valuable commercial applications. However, tellurium does not trade for 1/100th the price of gold. In a world where you can have all of your needs met, what use will we have for gold? We only wear it now as a symbol of wealth. If everyone has quasi-limitless wealth, then what point is signaling your wealth? Yes, in the Star Trek economy, gold is still rare. However, since there are few commercial applications for gold, you would see the price drop precipitously.

about 6 months ago
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L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

PuckSR Re: including imprisonment? (158 comments)

What are you talking about? Imprisoning executives? Do you understand how FCC regulations work?

Very simple. The FCC is the "radiowaves police". If you get pulled over in a brand new car that has a faulty speedometer which is showing your speed as 20 mph slower than reality, the cop is still going to write you a speeding ticket ticket. Sure, it is the manufacturer's fault. The traffic cop's job is to make sure everyone is driving at the correct speed. The traffic cop isn't going to drive back the manufacturer and write them a citation.

The end-user IS ALWAYS responsible for using equipment that interferes. It doesn't matter if he bought it legally. It doesn't matter why the interference is being caused. If you have a transmitter that is causing illegal interference, you are responsible. This just makes sense. Even if they went back to the reseller or manufacturer; that doesn't fix the problem in the "here and now". The only way to fix the immediate problem is to compel the end-user to STOP TRANSMITTING.

about 6 months ago
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Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'

PuckSR Re:Very little "game theory" here (412 comments)

Actually, that is the problem with game theory. So much of game theory just sounds like "common sense" when it is explained.
In a way, game theory is just the formalization of "common sense".

How many times has the "prisoner's dilemma" been part of the plot in a police procedural? (Hint: It is almost ALWAYS involved when two or more suspects are being charged)

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

PuckSR Re:Umm no. (248 comments)

And if these professional burglars have decided to target your house, then you might as well just give up. It isn't worth your time or money to attempt to deter such criminals. If the gang from Ocean's 11(Clooney, not Sinatra) decide to take down your house you are royally fucked.

People seem to have this idea that there are packs of professional thieves roaming the streets just waiting to rob them, their cars, or their homes. There are not. 90% of people would never commit a crime. Most of the remaining 10% might steal if they justify it to themselves and if they think they can get away with it. Then there is a tiny minority that performs a complex risk/benefit analysis and determines that the odds of getting caught are low and that the rewards are great. They become your professional thieves and it would take a great deal of effort and energy to stop them. Don't waste your time.

about 7 months ago
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MenuetOS, an OS Written Entirely In Assembly Language, Inches Towards 1.0

PuckSR Re:Why do it? (372 comments)

Well, technically we all "touch" systems at this level, we just don't realize we are doing it. Learning/Using Assembly is like learning/using arithmetic instead of using a calculator. It is very handy and gives you a core appreciation for what is happening in complex problems, however most professionals just plug it into a computer rather than do it because it becomes too cumbersome at a certain level.

about 9 months ago
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Electrical Engineering Labor Pool Shrinking

PuckSR Mechanical + Electrical (401 comments)

This is a pretty common thing. They aren't always looking for someone who is both, but someone who understands both.
There are a lot of EEs who can't figure out how a combustion engine even functions. There are a lot of MEs who can't understand basic circuit theory.
Considering how many times we use dynamos(generators) and electric motors, a complete lack of knowledge of one field or the other is a disaster.

This wasn't an odd requirement. I know several EEs who are self-taught MEs. Typically they are greasemonkeys who like to work on cars. They do very well because of their knowledge. I would bet that the company who had the dual requirement was an Industrial of some type.

1 year,19 days
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Electrical Engineering Labor Pool Shrinking

PuckSR Re:Electrical Engineer / Computer Engineer (401 comments)

In my experience, they do differentiate. An RF engineer might be able to figure out power systems relatively quickly. Sure, waveguide is not a cable, but their knowledge of how to calculate power just requires some quick adjustment of which formulas they are applying in which situations. Most power guys know some RF(because they have RF problems) and most RF guys know some power(they have to power their signal somehow).

A Computer Engineer(CE) typically just knows chip design or similar. How do you apply that to anything else in Electrical Engineering? They don't use circuit theory on a regular basis. They don't do much in the way of complex power calculations.

Quick example: Ask any EE to define "Vp"(Velocity of propagation) and they will will quickly respond. This typically falls across all disciplines and is important to know for a myriad of different reasons. It doesn't come up so frequently for computer engineers.

1 year,19 days
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Birthday Song's Copyright Leads To a Lawsuit For the Ages

PuckSR It shouldn't even be copyrighted (442 comments)

This is the sad fact. The "Happy Birthday" song shouldn't even be copyrighted.
It is a derivative work on an older song in the public domain(Good Morning To You) and is far too short to receive a copyright.

In other words, imagine if you changed the ending to the alphabet song and then tried to get it copyrighted. That would be laughable, even in our modern pro-IP courts.Yet someone did exactly that decades ago, and then some company has maintained the copyright on the "Happy Birthday" song for all of these years? It is a joke. Fixing this shouldn't even be the first blow for fixing our IP problems. It should just have been challenged in court by someone by now, but the company who "owns" the song only brings it up when they know that it is a large media company who would rather just license the song than try to challenge in court.

about a year ago
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Napster: the Day the Music Was Set Free

PuckSR Re:Napster put music in a cage. (243 comments)

Sony didn't try to ban the VCR. Sony invented the VCR.

They turned into "the bad guys" when they became a movie/music company later. At the time, it was Sony vs. the TV networks.

Hilariously, they were the same company that tried to prevent the rise in the CD-R by refusing to allow any of their DVD/CD players to play burned media until well after it was a common practice. This seriously impacted their audio equipment sales and policies like this probably resulted in the company being so financially screwed today. So, Sony has been on both sides. They succeeded by being on the side of piracy(by fighting the networks copyright) and failed by trying to fight it later(as part of the RIAA/MPAA).

about a year and a half ago
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There Is Plenty To Cut At the Pentagon

PuckSR Problems with cuts (484 comments)

The current sequester will indeed cause a lot of problems, and this is rather useless at point that out. The current sequestration requires ALL PROGRAMS to cut 15%. So, the F-35 will have a 15% cut and the guys who maintain the A10s will have a 15% cut, the janitor will have a 15% cut, and the security will have a 15% cut. This is the problem with the sequestration. This was actually on purpose, to make sure that congress actually took care of everything. The thought was that no one would be stupid enough to let this go through, and at the very least the would modify it so that they could cut a weapons research program before cutting the budget for the furnace at the office.

Even if we get past the stupidity of the sequestration, we are still left with the fact that many of the cuts that managers want to make don't align with what cuts congressmen want to make. A great example is that the military knows that operating so many bases is a huge drain on their resources, and it would be much easier to operate a few large bases like Ft. Hood. Unfortunately, a base closure will raise the ire of the local congressman because it hurts the local economy so he fights to keep it. Government organizations have two customers: the public and the congress. They have to make sure that they operate in a way that pleases the public, but then they also have to operate in a way that pleases as many congressmen as possible.

Finally, the bulk of the programs which are being discussed are not the bulk of our spending. DoD and discretionary spending(FAA, Parks, Dept. of etc) only account for about 35% of total spending. Considering that our deficit is about 35%, the only way that this would even balance out is if we zeroed ALL of it. This would mean that every single department of the federal government ceased to exist. No more Departments.(Except for perhaps the treasury). If we did this, we would have no more deficit. Even the most idealistic conservative would agree that this is insane. We can't get rid of the patent office, for example. This entire debate is somewhat pointless.

The only options that would actually be feasible would be some combination of the following: Reducing benefits for social programs, some tweaking of regular government spending, and higher taxes. This isn't an opinion. The only optional part of that is that you might be able to avoid any government tweaks with much higher taxes, but that seems unlikely to pass. This is why the entire thing is so silly. Everyone in Washington knows the score, they just don't want to be the one who has to be the messenger to their constituents.

The truly sad thing about all of this is that Social Security is probably going to get hurt in the process. It is sad because social security has its own paycheck tax(OASDI), and the program has a massive surplus credit. It is just that Washington raided Social Security to pay for other programs, and now that Social Security cannot pay its own way(despite having generated trillions in surplus), people are suggesting that it is a bankrupt program. I don't mention this to make any argument about the program itself, but rather to use it as an example of how much of the argument is manipulated to take advantage of the short memories and general naivety of the American voter. Only in Washington would someone agree to a plan that paid dividends for 40 years but eventually would require interest and go along with it happily until the first bill showed up.

about a year and a half ago
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Amazon Patents the Milkman

PuckSR Stop oversimplifying (365 comments)

This is honestly patentable. They are patenting the automation of a very complex recurring scheduled order. The milkman is the simplification. This is actually very similar to the types of scheduling systems used at large manufacturers for delivery and shipment of goods.
i.e. They need to receive raw material on a specific schedule without letting it sit for too long and they need to ship it out on a regular basis, all at very specific times and dates.

The difference is that Amazon is doing this for end customers. This is similar to other services(the milkman) with added complexity that honestly requires a great deal of design to execute. They are patenting the entire process so that they don't have a competitor come in and copy their implementation after millions of dollars are spent on design and implementation(which is the EXACT REASON PATENTS EXIST).
I agree that most patents are egregious nowadays, however this is special. The purpose of patents is to encourage innovation by protecting companies that invest in innovation from getting copied, thus destroying any incentive for investment. Apple doesn't deserve patent protection because all of their patents were for things that cost trivial amounts of time and money to implement. This is going to require a large investment(of resources and money), and it could honestly backfire in Amazon's face.

about a year and a half ago
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As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow To a Trickle

PuckSR Re:Demand More (665 comments)

Clearly, because Pandora has had such a booming business model while the record companies have been reporting such record losses?

This would all be easier to swallow if Pandora wasn't barely profitable.

about a year and a half ago
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As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow To a Trickle

PuckSR Re: Demand More (665 comments)

because of technology. Technology has made many careers obsolete or obsolescent. Did you realize that there used to be an entire profession dedicated to producing replications of documents? We still have some people who do this job, but when the local printing press became obsolete the printers moved on and found other work. We don't pay nearly as much per copy today as we did in the past, and we don't pay it to the printer. This applies to so many technological advances.

Technology has outpaced the music industry. It is unfortunate, music enjoyed a golden era. Moving on

about a year and a half ago
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As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow To a Trickle

PuckSR Re:Demand More (665 comments)

It was played 1.5 million times, but that isn't 1.5 million people who wanted to listen to her. That is 1.5 million plays because it matched a station. Consider that she is a cellist and a has a rather eclectic style, I would imagine that anyone who created an "Amanda Palmer" radio station heard her quite a bit.

This is the problem with using her Pandora plays as a "counter". How many of those were skips/ thumbs downs/ etc? Pandora frequently will loop a few select artists if they fit into a narrow bandwidth of music. That doesn't mean that people are demanding her music at that particular level. She may just show up a lot for anyone who creates a classical station and thumbs up more contemporary pieces.

Further, she has been #1 on the Itunes classical charts a number of times. I wonder if all of that Pandora exposure from her 1.5 million plays contributed to that success? Can't be, people were buying her tracks on iTunes for no reason. She is just that fucking popular.

about a year and a half ago
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Jonathan Coulton Offers Some Gleeful Turnabout

PuckSR I would have posted earlier.... (157 comments)

But I spent the weekend trying to figure out why my Xbox suddenly quit communicating with my TV. Turns out that Microsoft pushed a new version of HDCP(a cracked encryption methodology) to encode NETFLIX in some weird attempt to protect all media all the time. Of course, this entire action makes no sense at all. It doesn't protect content from being pirated, and it doesn't make anyone's life any easier(mine, Microsoft's, or Netflix's). It was simply some idiots idea. That idiot worked for a major movie company. He required it in the contract with Netflix/Microsoft. They obliged because it was a minor issue.

Why do I mention that on a comment about Jonathan Coulton getting ripped off by Glee? Media companies are giant corporations who see the law as something to be abused only to protect themselves. It doesn't have to make sense or even be consistent. If the situation was reversed, he would be sued. In this situation, he has no recourse. It will never make sense if you try to think about it from the perspective of a rational and reasonable individual.

This will, unfortunately, always be the way of things. Unless lawmakers suddenly have some reason to drastically restructure the legal system to protect sanity, reason, and the individual over the monetary interests of their most important supporters we will never have a 'fair' system. Considering that no state in the history of the world has been able to avoid the egalitarianism and quid pro quo nature of Mandarin-type social levels, I doubt we will be able to achieve such a drastic technocratic change any time soon.

about a year and a half ago
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FBI Dad's Misadventures With Spyware Exposed School Principal's Child Porn

PuckSR Some Clarification (346 comments)

The "FBI" didn't wipe his computer. He simply asked his co-workers for some help. Apparently neither he nor they were particularly tech-savvy so he took it to a computer shop. He probably asked the shop owner to remove "all of my kid's games and stuff". I imagine that this spyware tries to mask itself so that kids cant just find it and uninstall it. The shop owner probably just uninstalled all of the "games and stuff" and then returned it.

The problem is that a person who was so confused by removing software that he had to go to a "computer shop" is trying to tell you what he did. He didn't get the FBI to clean the machine, he simply asked his co-workers who didn't know either. This also happened in Saipan, not New Jersey. The FBI has a small office, not a high tech lab.

The FBI agent screwed up by not notifying authorities immediately(he tried to solve the case himself), but he was probably concerned that the evidence wouldn't hold up in court. Lucky for everyone, the Judge seems like he was willing to stretch the letter of the law to punish a clearly guilty man.

about a year and a half ago

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