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Comments

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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Warbothong Re:it's not the ads it's the surveillance. (609 comments)

If I could be sure I could be surveillance free I'd pay $230. But I don't see how that is possible. How would I know?

Simple; every site you visit can use cookies, Flash supercookies, third-party Javascript, user-agent sniffing and mouse-movement tracking to identify and monitor everything you do, in order to make sure it's not being surveilled.

Of course, there's always the chance that such power will be abused. To prevent this, we can have an alliance of government spy agencies keep a look out by tapping undersea cables, collating the data in vast stores for data mining, purchase known security vulnerabilities, employ legions of crackers to find more, deliberately weaken security standards, disseminate malware and intercept datacentre traffic.

Of course, there's always the chance that such power will be abused. To prevent this, we can have secret courts hold secret sessions to make secret rulings based on secret interpretations of the law.

Of course, there's always the chance that such power will be abused. To prevent this, we can have oversight committees which publically state that none of this is going on, then when the details emerge they have the choice of either admitting that they completely failed in their job, or that they were lying.

Of course, there's always the chance that such power will be abused. To prevent this, we can hold democratic elections to choose which one of the two available crooks should get that power.

about a week ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Warbothong Re:Ready in 30 years (305 comments)

Nope. Plasma physics was very young, and nobody had truly studied plasma turbulence.

Likely because their importance was underestimated. There are plenty of fields that are very young or unresearched right now, which might turn out to play an important role.

about two weeks ago
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Why Hasn't This Asteroid Disintegrated?

Warbothong Dark Matter (74 comments)

'Nuff said.

about two weeks ago
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The Quiet Before the Next IT Revolution

Warbothong Re:A rather simplistic hardware-centric view (145 comments)

A lot of the commodity software reached the point of 'good enough' years ago - look how long it's taken to get away from XP, and still many organisations continue to use it.

I find it hard to believe that operating systems became "good enough" with Windows XP. Rather, Vista took so long to come out that it disrupted the established upgrade cycle. If the previous 2-to-3-year cycle had continued, Vista would have come out in 2003 (without as many changes, obviously), Windows 7 in 2005 and Windows 8 in 2007. We'd be on something like Windows 12 by now.

It's good that consumers are more aware and critical of forced obsolecence, but I don't agree with the "XP is good enough" crowd. It makes sense to want the latest (eg. Windows 8); it makes sense to use something until it's no longer supported (eg. Vista); it makes sense to use something that's "good enough" (eg. Windows 95 for features, or 2000 for compatibility). XP is none of those: it's out of date, unsupported and a bloated resource hog.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

Warbothong Re:Systemd? Not on my system... (226 comments)

I use systemd on GobiLinux to launch Gnome3 in Wayland so I can tab-indent, via my Dvorak keyboard, the UTF-16-encoded, dynamically-typed code of my GPLed program in Emacs. While playing Oggs in Amarok2 through PulseAudio on OSS4. /nerd-troll

about a month and a half ago
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Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

Warbothong Why tell people what they need to hear? (109 comments)

Why can’t we tell them what they want to hear?

Anchorman 3: The Legend Goes Webscale

about a month and a half ago
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UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

Warbothong Re:"Emergency" laws. (147 comments)

"The government says if there had been no new powers there would have been no obligation on phone and internet companies to keep records if there was a UK court challenge to the retention of data."

So? That's a good thing. It's the reason why the ECJ ruled as it did. Grrrr....

about a month and a half ago
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New Zealand ISP's Anti-Geoblocking Service Makes Waves

Warbothong Re:Needed to stop anyway (153 comments)

Most publishers sold games on Steam's Russian store for far cheaper than they did on the US or UK stores - a friend of mine bought a 4-pack of copies of Dead Island (back when that was a new-ish game and the 4-pack was going for upwards of $60 on the US store) from Russia for like $20.

Then, Valve started cracking down on cross-region purchases, making it so that you could still add games from other regions but could not actually play them until your IP was detected as being in one of those regions. The problem was that it was applied so that more expensive regions had fewer restrictions - US-bought games can be played anywhere, as can AUS/NZ ones, but games purchased from Russia or a few other regions can't be played outside of those specific regions. This means that if you're from the US and go on vacation in Russia, you can play Counter-Strike GO while in Russia, but if you're Russian and go on vacation to the US you can't play CS:GO while in the US.

It's a ridiculous double-standard, and a counter to geo-blocking would remove a lot of it.

It makes perfect sense, since the market for these games is massively skewed. Many customers are only interested in particular titles; they want GTA V and don't regard "Gangster Sim III" as a viable alternative. Since the publishers have a monopoly over their titles, they can set the prices to whatever the market will bear, regardless of how much it costs them to produce each unit (which, FYI, is $0 since the game's already finished and released).

If the market were allowed to decide, ie. if it was legal for anyone to sell copies of already-finished games, rather than just the publishers, then the prices would crash right down to near-zero.

Keep that in mind next time some copyright troll is denouncing "pirates" for being "anti-capitalist", when in fact it's copyright which is responsible for this anti-competitive crap.

about 2 months ago
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Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

Warbothong Re:Faith in God (299 comments)

A few will skip the doctor part and either heal spontaneously (praise the lord!) or die

Thus reinforcing the selection bias.

about 2 months ago
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Bug In Fire TV Screensaver Tears Through 250 GB Data Cap

Warbothong Re:Why can't (349 comments)

Or just provide a usage-over-time graph, so customers can see there's a large base-line usage when they're not even at home.

I'm with Andrews & Arnold and I can see this usage data by logging into their Web site.

about 2 months ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

Warbothong Re:Administrators (538 comments)

Notice that anon used the phrase "shouldn't be", not "isn't".

about 2 months ago
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Mozilla Working On a New Website Comment System

Warbothong Re:Core competency (142 comments)

Mozilla wants an 'open Web'. Making an open source browser is a big part of that.

Protecting users from mass surveillance is another. Crippling third-party systems by default is a big part of that.

Unfortunately that kills some existing services, like unified commenting systems, which users want. Someone *could* come along with a unified commenting system which doesn't conduct mass surveillance, but that's an unlikely business model at the moment. Hence Mozilla's solving the chicken-and-egg problem themselves, by making a unified commenting system which (presumably) doesn't do mass surveillance.

If this works, it will go a long way towards making the third-party-crippling an effective default. Hence the Web becomes more 'open'.

about 2 months ago
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German Intel Agency Helped NSA Tap Fiber Optic Cables In Germany

Warbothong Re:Merkel is a hypocrite (103 comments)

Serves her right.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

about 2 months ago
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German Intel Agency Helped NSA Tap Fiber Optic Cables In Germany

Warbothong Re:Just like the DDR or the 3rd Reich never happen (103 comments)

These people are doing the same things that were the very basis of oppression of any and all freedoms on German soil in these two regimes. It is like these cretins _want_ that state of affairs back.

They want that level of power, but since it's *them* this time, they'll only use it for "good" (ie. what *they* want).

Of course, they neglect to realise that's exactly what the Nazi's thought.

about 2 months ago
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German Intel Agency Helped NSA Tap Fiber Optic Cables In Germany

Warbothong Re:End-run around everyone's rights (103 comments)

The reality that since the beginning of times governing people requires spying that same people.

The government needs spies as it needs assassins and torturers and all kinds of evil agents. If the people keep pushing to reveal the truth, the result won't be the disappearance of evil agents but the removal of the pink veil.

At some point, if the kid insists enough, the parent's patience ends and he replies "because I say so, now shut up."

At "the beginning of times" governments used targetted spying. They couldn't tap intercontinental fibreoptic communication cables, run the output through face recognition algorithms and automatically build huge databases of everyone's correspondance.

As an analogy, I accept that police and handcuffs are necessary evils. What I don't accept is that we may as well have everyone wear electromagnetic bracelets, which police can remotely switch into a pair of handcuffs.

about 2 months ago
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Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

Warbothong Re:Science Fiction (275 comments)

Of course it would be pretty awesome to be able to colonize Mars, but we're not there yet and putting a human being there unless there is a real reason to do so is wasteful and a safety risk.

You're right that there needs to be a 'real reason', but we can say the same thing about, say, Australia. Why do we make so many wasteful and potentially dangerous trips there every day? Because there is a thriving colony of humans there.

It's a bootstrapping problem. Visiting/emmigrating to a martian colony would be a 'real reason' to go to Mars; so that's what we need to build.

about 2 months ago
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The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net

Warbothong Re:Optical illusuions? (230 comments)

I'm saying "why would be assume a similar flaw in a biological system because computer simulations have a flaw".

Nobody's assuming; scientists are asking a question.

I think jumping to the possibility that biological systems share the same weaknesses as computer programs is a bit of a stretch.

I've not come across the phrase "jumping to the possibility" before. If I 'jump' to giving this a possibility of 2%, is that a 'stretch'?

about 3 months ago
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The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net

Warbothong Re:Optical illusuions? (230 comments)

If a deep neural network is biologically inspired we can ask the question, does the same result apply to biological networks? Put more bluntly, 'Does the human brain have similar built-in errors?

And, my second question, just because deep neural networks are biologically inspired, can we infer from this kind of issue in computer programs that there is likely to be a biological equivalent? Or has everyone made the same mistake and/or we're seeing a limitation in the technology?

Maybe the problem isn't with the biology, but the technology?

Or are we so confident in neural networks that we deem them infallible? (Which, obviously, they aren't.)

You're just repeating the question asked in the summary.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Eff: A pure language with side-effects

Warbothong Warbothong writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Warbothong (905464) writes "The debate between pragmatism and purity in programming languages has been going on for decades. Pure languages forbid side-effects in their computations (eg. changing a variable), since they make formal analysis hard; whilst pragmatists embrace them to allow quick production of 'good enough' code. A new experimental language called Eff, created by Andrej Bauer and Matija Pretnar, is blurring this distinction. Eff is based on a Mathematical model of side-effects, allowing it to harness mutable state, exceptions, IO, random choice and more in a pure way from within a Python-like syntax. The product of on-going research, Eff is still in its infancy and, as its authors state, "...is an academic experiment. It is not meant to take over the world. Yet.""
Link to Original Source
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Tiny generator runs off vibrations

Warbothong Warbothong writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Warbothong (905464) writes "Researchers at Southampton University in the UK have developed a tiny (less than 1 cubic centimetre) generator which uses local vibrations to output microwatts of power, making it an alternative to batteries, which need replacing regularly. The devices are currently being used in industry where "there is the potential for embedding sensors in previously inaccessible locations", but its creators imagine it could be used in devices such as pacemakers, where the beating of the heart would produce ample movement for the magnetic mechanism inside to work."
Link to Original Source
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Warbothong Warbothong writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Warbothong (905464) writes "I am going off to University this month, so I have been chasing up payments and deposits, etc. online. The other day I received an email confirming that I am all payed up, which is great. The not-so-great part was the email's header, since after "To:" it had a list of 1343 email addresses, including mine. It is pretty clear that all of these addresses are for students paying their deposits online, and it is also clear that this list has been sent to 1343 people. In our world of datamining and spamming I am pretty concerned that sooner or later this list will get into the hands of someone who might want to make a bit of money from a list of 1343 valid email addresses, all in active use, all owned by soon-to-be students at a particular University in the UK who all have the capability for making online payments, so I am wondering what Slashdot readers make of this? Should I be worried? I have already sent an email of concern to the Reply-To: address, and got a swift response that this matter will be dealt with "immediately", but I am not sure there is much that can be done at this point. I would also like to point out though, that my email address is with Yahoo! and I have apparently already been added to at least two user's Buddy Lists. With that in mind, is this just a subversive way of getting fellow students together before we all leave for the campus, and to hell with the University's privacy policy and the fact that this was my spam-free email account?"

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