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Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips

Wrath0fb0b Re:That wasn't the question (406 comments)

Dude with 30lbs of marijuana in an uncovered truck bed.

I hate the War on Drugs as much as the next /.er, but seriously, if you have that much weed you can probably afford a hard-top or a van or something.


Ubuntu Phone Isn't Important Enough To Demand an Open Source Baseband

Wrath0fb0b Re:What an open source baseband can be. (137 comments)

Maybe not, depending on the license.

In fact, protecting the integrity of the software by using a digital signature is expressly the use case that GPLv3 is trying to forbid.

about a month ago

Drone-Assisted Hunting To Be Illegal In Alaska

Wrath0fb0b Re:Whats the poing of hunting as a sport? (397 comments)

How is shooting something from hundreds of feet away with a high powered rifle any kind of sport? And now drones? FFS , why not just nuke the whole fucking forest then Billy Bob Smalldick can claim he's killed everything and act the hero to all the toothless hags that inhabit the trailers in the area!

Well we killed off all the damned wolves so now we have to control the herbivore population or they will boom/bust and starve to death -- a fate much worse than being shot.

Anyway, it's an enjoyable activity and actually rather zen given that you often spend hours perched away with nothing but your thoughts ...

about a month ago

How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

Wrath0fb0b Re:Do something about your hoarding problem (983 comments)

You don't have to cull it down, you just need to organize it into logically distinct groups and assign them priorities. Hoarding isn't the problem, the problem is assigning too high a priority to the hoarded pr0n as compared to the really important stuff.

  • Group #0:

Contents: Documents, source control repositories, user preferences, email archives
Maximum Size: 10GB
Protection: 3-way Mirror + Snapshots + Offsite
Total Space Required (way upper bound): 150GB
Total Cost: $3 a month for Crashplan

  • Group #1:

Contents: Personal photos, music collection, other people's #0 backups, /home
Maximum Size: 1TB
Protection: 2-way Mirror + Offsite
Total Space Required: 2TB
Total cost $3 a month for Crashplan

  • Group #2

Contents: Everything else, media, pr0n,
Maximum Size: âz
Protection: Diskpool, maybe integrity if you like zfs/btrfs

about a month and a half ago

Author Says It's Time To Stop Glorifying Hackers

Wrath0fb0b Re:You keep using that word (479 comments)

(1) Password managers. One strong password, infinite storage. Maybe one for work and one for home.

(2) DropBox. One file, infinite number of distributed copies. Also available to sync on your mobile device of choice :-)

(3) Discipline. Every password is in the vault, no exceptions. Every change is updated and synced to DB.

Problem Solved.

about a month and a half ago

Firefox OS Will Become the Mobile OS To Beat

Wrath0fb0b Re:Cramming a data plan onto a voice SIM (205 comments)

Again, that sentence is unparseable by people in the real world.

Maybe tech workers have spent too much time in the tech world and forgot that terms like "SIP" and "POTS" are not really part of the language. Moreover, the mental model of understanding used to conceptualize the various bits of the phone system and how they interact is itself part of a specialized skill set. You can't get very far when you are, quite literally, thinking about it wrong.

And it's not just the idiots (although they certainly qualify), I've met tons of research academics, medical professionals, authors, historians whose make fundamental errors in how information systems work and are organized. They ask questions that I just have to answer with, "the fact that you ask this question means you have the wrong picture in your head already".

As an example, I once had a surgeon explain to me that his computer was not likely to be hacked because he always put it to sleep when he wasn't using it. I asked him what about the times it was awake, and he said that "well it can't be hacked because I'm using it at the time and only one person can be on the computer at once". Suffice it to say, I had to go down a few levels to explain things.

Or think of it this way -- he knows as much about computers and information systems as you know about orthopaedic surgery and the organization of the connective tissue in the body. :-)

about a month and a half ago

Firefox OS Will Become the Mobile OS To Beat

Wrath0fb0b Re:Cramming a data plan onto a voice SIM (205 comments)

If you're doing wifi-only, get yourself a static IP, run asterisk, use any old cellphone with SIP support and wifi and skip AT&T, as they are fuckers of the highest degree. Their prices are beyond fucking ridiculous. They want $50/mo for a land line. I got SIP for about ten bucks a month. My Xperia Play is now our cordless phone, and it's also a neato clock. My server is a $20 pogoplug, but in fairness I bought two of them so I could do HA.

You forgot to account for the time of a competent admin that can set up asterisk and is around to troubleshoot it.

$50/mo for a landline is stupid, but make a fair comparison -- you can't rate a system that requires a /.er to design and set up against one that a person with an IQ of room temperature can use.

about a month and a half ago

Intel's New Desktop SSD Is an Overclocked Server Drive

Wrath0fb0b Performance consistency versus peaks (111 comments)

For many (but certainly not all) applications, especially when it comes to UI, what matters is 95% worst performance, not peak throughput. From the Anandtech review, that's where this drive really shines.

Different tradeoffs have to be made for different workloads -- it can't be boiled down to a single (or even a set of) number(s). Some applications are far more tolerant of worst-case performance than others.

about 2 months ago

Mt. Gox Shuts Down: Collapse Should Come As No Surprise

Wrath0fb0b Re:Risk? (232 comments)

You are right to be sarcastic but you are dead wrong in conflating volatility risk with counterparty risk. The two are actually completely orthogonal -- you can have very little risk of volatility but high counterparty risk, or high/low (and high/high low/low for that matter).

The key is to distinguish from the risk inherent in the fulfillment of the contract and the risk that the contract will not be carried out.

about 2 months ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Wrath0fb0b Re:Programming is not about rote memorization (627 comments)

Look, it's nice when you are well versed enough in a language to not have to lookup method/function names, nor their arguments. But let's face it, it's hardly the mark of an amazing programmer to have a photographic memory.

On the other hand, a guy that says "oh yeah, I should use one of those STL things that let's you look up values by keys" and has to go fishing for std::map doesn't inspire one with confidence. Repeated exposure to (and use) of a language (and/or framework API) naturally causes considerable memorization to happen even without trying to memorize everything. It's an indicia of experience.

Of course, experience isn't skill and so forth. But having a decent working recall of how to get around seems to me a necessary but not sufficient condition of being an "amazing programmer".

[ Full disclosure: I do, in fact, use an IDE for most C/C++ development. ]

about 2 months ago

Google Launches Cordova Powered Chrome Apps For Android and iOS

Wrath0fb0b "Native" mobile apps using HTML, CSS, and J... (47 comments)


Until the boffins at Intel or ARM create a processor whose machine code is JavaScript, you need bullshit quotes around that 'native' claim.

If you want to make the argument that you don't need native code, that's your prerogative. Depending on the use case and requirements, you will no doubt be correct in a large number of cases -- I don't need a native slashdot app, the HTML version is quite sufficient.

But why in God's name do you need to make a preposterous claim like that? What does that buy you?

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Life After N900?

Wrath0fb0b Re:Need that keyboard. (303 comments)

Bluetooth keyboard? Almost all platforms support it.

Also, I have this vague terror about any sort of important scripting being done from a device with a sub-5" screen. No offense, but I kind of hope that I don't rely on those services ...

about 3 months ago

Regulations Could Delay or Prevent Space Tourism

Wrath0fb0b Because the Titanic really wrecked ocean travel .. (186 comments)

"They don't want to endanger the space-farers or the public, and they can't let the industry get started and then have a Titanic-like scenario that puts an end to it all in the eyes of the public."

Puts and end to all of what? Did we stop ocean-faring after Titanic sunk? What is this guy talking about?

about 3 months ago

TrueCrypt Master Key Extraction and Volume Identification

Wrath0fb0b Re:Reminds me of TRESOR (222 comments)

Won't help -- the time it takes to try even thousands or millions of decoy keys is trivial (10^6) complexity.

Security through obscurity of the key storage is papering over the fundamental new assumption that RAM Is accessible to a hostile attacker.

about 3 months ago

TrueCrypt Master Key Extraction and Volume Identification

Wrath0fb0b Reminds me of TRESOR (222 comments)

No affiliation, but this sounds like a good reason to move to TRESOR-like implementation in which the AES key is kept in hardware registers that are cleared when you go to S3 and on each reset. It's still vulnerable to anyone that gets root access to your OS, but a cold-reboot attack or a DMA attack on the RAM are not going to work -- so that's some forward progress.

Anyone want to take a stab at porting it to TrueCrypt?

about 3 months ago

France Broadens Surveillance Powers; Wider Scope Than NSA

Wrath0fb0b Re:Islam (169 comments)

Yeah, why should we trust judges when they explain the law? And what's with these pesky biologists trying to explain biology. And don't get me started on mathematicians telling me that I'm doing matrix multiplication wrong! And historians! Talking about history!

Anti-intellectualism at its finest.

about 4 months ago

France Broadens Surveillance Powers; Wider Scope Than NSA

Wrath0fb0b Re:Islam (169 comments)

You should really start referring to them as "my opinions of how the 4th amendment works". As far as I can tell, not a single practicing or academic legal authority has ever endorsed this construction.

Now, of course, it's a free country -- you can represent your views however you want. But you don't get to pick your facts and you definitely don't get to reinterpret the law just because you don't like it (hellooo segregationists).

about 4 months ago

US Light Bulb Phase-Out's Next Step Begins Next Month

Wrath0fb0b Re:Regulations a bit premature (1146 comments)

The problem is that many of us rent or otherwise occupy a dwelling for a much shorter period of time than the lifetime of these bulbs. So either you've got to convince my landlord (or the next tenant) to pay me for the remaining lifetime on the LED bulb (how can they measure that, we don't know) or else I've got to swallow it when I move somewhere else.

The time horizon of these things is just way too long to make sense except for those already fairly stable in where they are.

about 4 months ago

Oregon Signs Up Just 44 People For Obamacare Despite Spending $300 Million

Wrath0fb0b Re:News for Nerds? (586 comments)

You seem to have misunderstood the point of insurance. The way it works is that you pay more than you need to most of the time on the off chance that something goes horribly wrong.

The issue is that the vast majority of spending doesn't go to "the off chance something goes horribly wrong", it goes to treating a very small fraction of people with multiple chronic conditions. That's not catastrophe insurance, it's continued expense.

Since you made the analogy to homeowners insurance, it's the difference between having your house burn down once by accident and living right in the middle of a dry forest that periodically burns down. Insurance will cover the first case without issue, but in the latter case you simply won't be able to get homeowner's insurance because the company figures out that they aren't so much insuring you against a random chance of disaster but signing up for continued upkeep of a house that's nearly certain to burn down again.

about 4 months ago

After FDA Objections, 23andMe Won't Offer Health Information

Wrath0fb0b Re:good riddance (146 comments)

What 23andMe does is market a product that you use to extract unique information about your own body, which is then presented to you in the form of suggestions about what health measures you should take -- in other words, medical advice. Very different.

So does the local palm-reader.

The point appears to be that you can provide medical advice if you are completely unscientific about it, but as soon as you try to offer even a little bit (even of experimental or tenuous) fact, then you have to go whole hog.

about 5 months ago



Revelations on the French Big Brother

Wrath0fb0b Wrath0fb0b writes  |  about 10 months ago

Wrath0fb0b (302444) writes "Days after President François Hollande sternly told the United States to stop spying on its allies, the newspaper Le Monde disclosed on Thursday that France has its own large program of data collection, which sweeps up nearly all the data transmissions, including telephone calls, e-mails and social media activity, that come in and out of France. The report notes that "our email messages, SMS messages, itemised phone bills and connections to FaceBook and Twitter are then stored for years."

For those /.ers that grok Français, you can read the original at Le Monde or the translated version from LM. The NYT also has a writeup on the story."

Link to Original Source

US Supreme Court upholds First Sale doctrine for works manufactured abroad

Wrath0fb0b Wrath0fb0b writes  |  about a year ago

Wrath0fb0b (302444) writes "The US Supreme Court reversed the $600,000 fine for a student who imported cheaper textbooks from Thailand and resold them for a profit in the US. The ruling affirms that the exclusive right of importation is subject to the same limitations (first sale, archival, fair use) as the restriction on reproduction and that a book bought abroad by a lawful assignee of the copyright is "lawfully obtained" for the purposes of the First Sale doctrine. The dissent focused more closely on the intent of Congress in passing the Copyright Act, and called the Court's decision a "bold departure from Congress’ design" and said it was at odd's with the US treaty position on copyright exhaustion. The opinion is also notable for the odd lineup, with three of the Court's liberal wing joining three of the more conservatives Justices in the 6-3 majority in favor of the appellant (the Court is current split 4-1-4)."
Link to Original Source

Facebook iOS App Ditching HTML5 for ObjectiveC

Wrath0fb0b Wrath0fb0b writes  |  about 2 years ago

Wrath0fb0b (302444) writes "The New York Times reports that Facebook is overhauling their iOS App to ditch their HTML5 based UI for a native ObjectiveC one. This is an about face from their position a few months ago in which FB wonks said HTML5 would allows them to write once run anyhwere. While WORA certainly has a lot of appeal for both programmers (due to desire not to duplicate effort) and management alike (due to desire not to pay programmers to duplicate effort), the large number of negative reviews that FB for iOS has illustrate that this approach is not without drawbacks. No matter how the new app is received, this is more fuel on the native vs. web-app fire."
Link to Original Source

CA Governor Vetoes Bill Protecting Arrestees' Cell

Wrath0fb0b Wrath0fb0b writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Wrath0fb0b (302444) writes "The U.S. Supreme Court let stand Diaz v. California, a Fourth Amendment case from California's Supreme Court which held that a cell phone can be searched incident to a lawful arrest. Meanwhile, over the summer, California state legislators passed SB 914, a bill limiting searches incident to arrest in California. Just today, however, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill stating that the courts are better suited to resolve complex and case specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizures protections.

Noted Fourth Amendment scholar Orin Kerr opines that Governor Brown has it exactly backwards and lays out the advantages of the legislature in rapidly-evolving fields such as new technology and their ability to better assess facts, amend the law to reflect the latest technology and disregard precedents that they feel no longer ought to apply. He argues that legislatures are much better equipped than courts to strike the balance between security and privacy when technology is in flux."

Link to Original Source

US Supreme Court: Video games qualify for First A

Wrath0fb0b Wrath0fb0b writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Wrath0fb0b (302444) writes "The United States Supreme Court threw out a California law prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors (signed by a man who would never pander violence to children). Notable in the opinion is a historical review of the condemnation of "unworthy" material that would tend to corrupt children, starting with penny-novels and up through comic books and music lyrics. The opinion is also notable for the odd lineup of Justices that defies normal ideological lines, with one conservative and one liberal jurist dissenting on entirely different grounds. In the process, they continue the broad rule that the First Amendment does not vary with the technological means used:

Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And the basic principles of freedom of speech . . . do not vary with a new and different communication medium.


Link to Original Source

Study on Endowment Effects in IP Transactions

Wrath0fb0b Wrath0fb0b writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Wrath0fb0b (302444) writes "[Disclosure: I'm not involved in any way in this research or Cornell, nor do I know any of the researchers or papers cited. ]

The endowment effect is a long-studied cognitive bias in which owners of property consistently assign it a higher value for sale (WTA, willing to accept) than non-owners for purchase (WTP, willing to pay). This effect is occurs even if the property is assigned randomly, meaning it is independent of the fact that we acquire things we consider valuable or have experienced as valuable. A brief overview of the evidence for the effect, and a number of possible psychological bases for this bias, are discussed in the paper.

This studyis the first to test the extent and manner in which this effect applies to transactions involving IP — that is, non-rivalrous goods. Subjects (undergrads) were divided into three groups based on their order of scheduling: the first third became Authors; the middle third became Bidders; and the final third became Owners. The authors were told to write a poem for entry into a contest, in which the winner would be awarded $50. They were then asked at what price they would be willing to sell their chance of winning — their WTA for the work. Each bidder was assigned a single poem and asked at what price they would be willing to buy that poems chance of winning. Finally, each owner was assigned a single poem, told that they already "owned it", and asked for a WTA for that work's chance of winning.

The results were in line with what one might expect from Endowment Effect literature — Authors and Owners both valued the poems at nearly twice as high as bidders, which is even more interesting because what was being "sold" here was only partial alienation of the property — the author would continue to have the poem for personal use but sold only the winnings from the contest. Even more interestingly, the results do not change much if you allow all the subjects to read all the poems entered into the contest before writing their bids/sells. Nor do they change if you inform the subjects that the winning poem will be selected by lottery instead of by subjective judgment. The conclusions for the rational structuring of IP law are broad and generally point towards a "liability rules" (what we would call compulsory-licensing) over the extant "property rules" (what we would call the current system in which the owner retains the unlimited power to refuse to sell). As the authors put it more verbosely:

Our findings suggest that private transactions in creative goods may face significant transaction costs arising from cognitive biases. These biases in turn drive the price that creators and owners of IP are likely to demand considerably higher than buyers will, on average, be willing to pay. This discovery does not mean, of course, that transactions in IP will not take place — we see such transactions happening every day. Our research suggests, however, both that IP transactions may occur at a frequency that is significantly suboptimal and that the baleful effect of cognitive and affective biases is likely to be more serious for transactions in works of relatively low commercial value or for which no well-established custom or pattern helps to inform valuation. These results have considerable implications for the structuring of IP rights, IP formalities, IP licensing, and fair use.

Most broadly, we believe that our results should inform the ongoing debate over whether IP law is best structured around property rules or liability rules. Additionally, we argue that our results point toward the advisability of copyright re-formalization, which is best achieved via reformulation of copyright as remedies provisions to limit owners of works that are unregistered (and therefore presumptively of low commercial value) to the effective equivalent of a liability rule. Finally, our findings should inform copyright'(TM)s fair use doctrine. Many courts considering the fair use defense already base their analysis, in part, on the presence of significant transaction costs that lower the likelihood that the parties would have negotiated a license and therefore make fair use more appropriate. In light of our findings, courts should consider whether a license for the use at issue in a particular case would likely be subject to significant endowment effects. If so, it is less likely that the parties would have struck a deal as an alternative to the defendant'(TM)s unauthorized use, therefore making a finding of fair use more appropriate.


Link to Original Source

OSU Pres Cans Anthrax Vaccine Research on Primates

Wrath0fb0b Wrath0fb0b writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Wrath0fb0b (302444) writes "OSU President Burns Hargis has abruptly canceled an NIH-funded study on an anthrax vaccine on primates, who would then have to be euthanized. Suspicion that the decision was meant to appease large donor Madeleine Pickens, the wife of noted huntsman T. Boone Pickens, who had previously pressured the school over animal-rights issues. Scientists counter that the study was approved by the NIH peer-review process, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and subject to the Federal Animal Welfare Act (by virtue of using NIH money) and that the decision by the President is short-circuited months of planning and deliberation on the matter.

Hargis has denied being influenced by Pickens and cited "confidential factors" that he couldn't discuss, telling the faculty council that "to go through every lurid detail is simply not prudent". A post on Pickens' blog, on the other hand, obliquely takes credit for the "great decision", noting the a faculty hunch that ""generous benefactor to OSU and her ties to the Humane Society of the United States may have played a role in the termination of the project". Meanwhile, the NIH expressed displeasure at the decision, releasing a statement that stated "NIH fully expects institutions to honor these assurances and commitment to complete NIH supported projects as requested, approved and funded". Some OSU scientists speculated that the fiasco would make it harder for them to receive NIH funding in the future.

Read more: http://www.newsok.com/anthrax-study-rejected-by-osu/article/3421451#ixzz0aIt7Qy5y
Angry reaction: http://speakingofresearch.com/2009/12/16/standing-together-widespread-support-for-osu-and-its-research/
More angry reaction: http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2009/12/oklahoma_legislator_displeased.php
School responds: http://newsok.com/osu-chief-discusses-research-decision/article/3423662?custom_click=headlines_widget
Pickens' blog post: http://www.madeleinepickens.com/news/osu-president-cancels-antrax-study-proposal-requiring-primate-euthanasia/"

Link to Original Source


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