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Comments

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Fed Gave Banks Eye-Popping Emergency Loans, Without Telling Congress

benwiggy Is that all? (629 comments)

$13 billion? Meh. Drop in the ocean. When we're all short of trillions, what's a few billion between friends?

more than 2 years ago
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The Myth of Renewable Energy

benwiggy Wind power future shock (835 comments)

I have always wondered about what might happen if large quantities of energy were taken out of the wind/climate system and used to generate power. Might this cause some even greater climatic change? Not trolling, just genuinely scared of everything.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Science Sights To See?

benwiggy World's Largest Ball of String (363 comments)

Don't forget the world's largest ball of string in Darwin, Minnesota. Although there may be others.

more than 2 years ago
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Regarding timezones: I would rather live ...

benwiggy I live at Greenwich (359 comments)

Well, I live a mile north of Greenwich. The rest of you sort out your zones. We'll dish out time.

more than 3 years ago
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Evangelical Scientists Debate Creation Story

benwiggy Re:Fruit (1014 comments)

The notion that the fruit was an apple comes about because of the pun in Latin between "Malus" (apple) and "Malum" (evil).

more than 3 years ago
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NASA Shoots Down Comet Elenin Doomsday Predictions

benwiggy Official denial? (144 comments)

"Never believe anything until it's been officially denied."

Sir Humphrey Appleby, "Yes Minister".

more than 3 years ago
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The Death of Booting Up

benwiggy Surely the rebirth of booting? (557 comments)

If boot times are getting, quicker, then surely this means booting is easier and more likely to be done? This seems like the opposite of "the death of booting".

Frankly, the new technologies that allow me to boot up my computer and resume my work where I left off in a matter of seconds make it much more likely that I will turn my computer off when I'm not using it.

I've never understood the machismo behind "345 days without rebooting". Unless you're a mission-critical server.

I pay the electric bill, so if I'm not using it, it gets switched off.

more than 3 years ago
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World Internet Traffic To Top 966 Exabytes In 2015

benwiggy Re:Break down (100 comments)

No one knows what the missing 9% is for....

more than 3 years ago
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World Internet Traffic To Top 966 Exabytes In 2015

benwiggy Break down (100 comments)

50% Porn
23% Lol Cats
10% Facebook
5% Teen sensation
2% Conspiracy theories, petitions, "Do this to stop Facebook checking up on you", etc.
0.5% Email
0.4% Business
0.1% Literature, Science, Art, other stuff that is beneficial to mankind

more than 3 years ago
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Apple's iOS 4 Hardware Encryption Cracked

benwiggy Why does encryption never work? (208 comments)

Can someone explain the incongruity between these two statements:

"Don't worry, your data is encrypted with 256-bit RSA."
"Computer experts have cracked the encryption."

So why doesn't the fantastic mathematically complex encyption ever work? Why should I trust https? Or any other encrypted transmission?

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Acknowledges MacDefender

benwiggy Re:Kudos to Apple (314 comments)

Apple needs to modify what is included in the term "safe files". Text files, images, PDFs, yes (particularly if you're opening them in Preview, not Adobe Reader. But disk images and installer packages should not be included in the definition.

more than 3 years ago
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Gliese 581d Confirmed as 'Habitable' Exoplanet

benwiggy Let the Exploitation continue! (451 comments)

So I say this world is knackered. Let's get as much out of it as we can, take off and nuke the site from orbit.

Then start Earth 2 on Gliese 581d.

It's the only way to be sure.

(We'd put all the telephone sanitizers on the 3rd ship, right?)

more than 3 years ago
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The Rules of Thumb For Tech Purchasing

benwiggy CPU, not RAM (401 comments)

I disagree: always go for the faster CPU, and don't worry about RAM.

I usually find that a faster CPU equates to a computer that is useful for a longer period of time before becoming unable to cope with up-to-date apps and OSes.

You can buy more RAM at any point in the machine's life and install it yourself, but that isn't always possible with a CPU.

The golden rule is: don't get a machine that is "just good enough for now": buy some "future" too. Also, don't be an early adopter.

more than 3 years ago
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Canadian Music Industry Seeks Copy Tax On Memory Cards

benwiggy Two advantages of this: (265 comments)

First:
So, presumably, by paying the tax, I can pirate as much music as I like! Excellent.

Second:
I've written and recorded a song. Where do I sign to get my share of the cash?

more than 3 years ago
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OS X Crimeware Kit Emerges

benwiggy Market share (202 comments)

For years, everyone has been saying that only the small market share of OS X stops criminals from targeting it.

This must mean that OS X has now reached a significant milestone in market share! Hurrah!

more than 3 years ago
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California Healthcare Provider Wants Illness-Predicting Algorithm

benwiggy Re:Cant do it. Not allowed. (341 comments)

That's IBM.

They have patents on automatic masturbators and technodildonic devices.

more than 3 years ago
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Best-Selling Author Refuses $500k; Self-Publishes Instead

benwiggy Re:big diff: editors are actually important (290 comments)

Actually, I've worked in publishing for over fifteen years. But you're right, I probably didn't learn anything in all that time. Are you suggesting that publishers don't market and sell the books they've invested in these days....?

more than 2 years ago
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Best-Selling Author Refuses $500k; Self-Publishes Instead

benwiggy Re:big diff: editors are actually important (290 comments)

Not to mention the fact (brought in to evidence here) that they take a bloody substantial cut of the sales.

50% of the retail price goes to the bookseller.
If you want your book in the window or on the table in a large chain store, then the publisher pays extra for that.

The publisher must take all his costs, including the author's royalty out of the remainder. That includes production costs, warehousing, distribution; as well as all your staff who do the editing, marketing, and sales. Most publishers have a team of salesmen who schlep around book stores/chain asking if sellers will take their books.

A book is only worthwhile for a publisher if they can be fairly certain that it will sell many 10s of 1000s of copies in its lifetime. A book that only sells 5000 across 10 years will not make them any money, even at the "academic" prices that you find abhorrent.

I'm actually all in favour of self-publishing, but it is not a magic bullet. If you think you can market and sell 1000s of copies, then off you go. But for the vast majority, they'll be sitting in the attic for years to come.

And let's not pretend that publishers are evil money-grabbers. There's an old joke in publishing: "If we wanted to make money, we would be paper merchants."

The internet is actually helping publishers to sell their books directly, thus cutting out the booksellers. As for ebooks, they have their place and their use, but there will still be a market a physical book for many years to come.

more than 2 years ago
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Best-Selling Author Refuses $500k; Self-Publishes Instead

benwiggy Re:big diff: editors are actually important (290 comments)

Yes, you could offer your editor a cut when you self-publish. Oh, and you might want to get someone to do marketing and PR for you, and offer them a cut. Oh, and then a salesman to schlep round book chains touting your book, and offer them a cut. And you'll need a print production consultant to oversee the print run. They should get a cut too. And maybe a designer.

I guess warehousing and distribution will probably just come out of your end.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Nokia Developers' Forum Hacked

benwiggy benwiggy writes  |  more than 3 years ago

benwiggy (1262536) writes "Nokia has been sending out emails to users of its developer forum, informing them that it has been compromised by an SQL injection.

[i]"During our ongoing investigation of the incident we have discovered that a database table containing developer forum members' email addresses has been accessed, by exploiting a vulnerability in the bulletin board software that allowed an SQL Injection attack. Initially we believed that only a small number of these forum member records had been accessed, but further investigation has identified that the number is significantly larger.

The database table records includes members’ email addresses and, for fewer than 7% who chose to include them in their public profile, either birth dates, homepage URL or usernames for AIM, ICQ, MSN, Skype or Yahoo. However, they do not contain sensitive information such as passwords or credit card details and so we do not believe the security of forum members’ accounts is at risk."[/i]

The developer forum has been taken offline for the time being. I guess it's lucky no one is developing for Nokia these days!"
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What is wrong with eCommerce 'cart' software?

benwiggy benwiggy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

benwiggy (1262536) writes "I've been trialling loads of open source or zero-cost "shopping cart" packages, for a simple website that has a list of things for sale, and which charges postage by weight and country.

They are all, to a man, terrible. ZenCart, osCommerce, Magento, CubeCart — the list goes on. All of them are enormous, all have terrible UI and poor documentation. They all seem to be "Rube Goldberg" (or Heath Robinson, as we say in the UK).

My requirements are very meagre, but trying to configure these behemoths to do something which you would think is a very common request is a nightmare. On the one hand, they seem incredibly versatile, as they have many configurable options; but on the other hand, if you want them to do seemingly basic things, they often require you to download a third-party extension.

Surely, this is a trivial problem — add up some numbers, read from a table. What is wrong with the state of this software? And are there *any* good ones out there?"
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Commodore 64 set to return, claims OS X as option?

benwiggy benwiggy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

benwiggy (1262536) writes "PC World and others are reporting that the Commodore 64 is being relaunched — with a hardware update, naturally. The product also claims to support OS X using an original installer disk, but with "with extra hardware".

The company's webpage is here: www.commodoreusa.net/products.html

"To conform with the times, the PC also offers up to 500GB of hard drive storage and 4GB of RAM. Also included are a DVD-RW drive, a touchpad, four USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a DVI port.""

Link to Original Source
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20 yeats of Photoshop

benwiggy benwiggy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

benwiggy (1262536) writes "Photoshop turned 20 on 10th February 2010. Here's an excellent history, including how the Knoll family created one of the biggest apps of all time. The article also has screenshots of the workspace through the versions."
Link to Original Source
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Describe your Copyright-free Utopia

benwiggy benwiggy writes  |  more than 5 years ago

benwiggy (1262536) writes "There's a lot of strong opinion on Slashdot that "information wants to be free"; that music will be copied whether the artists or record companies lie it or not; that "there's no such thing as Intellectual Property".
So what's the alternative? What would happen to professional artists, musicians, software engineers, writers, etc. Would anyone go to university to study performance, language, art, Com. Sci., if the opportunities for making money from those fields was reduced?

What would happen to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or other embodiments of excellence in any given field?
Or would the world be a better place, brimming with ideas, awash with millions of new novels, films, music, artworks, which everyone could enjoy whenever they wanted?
What legislation would you put in its place? Describe your perfect vision of a world with no Intellectual Property law."
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Balmer to BBC: We're David to Google's Goliath

benwiggy benwiggy writes  |  about 6 years ago

benwiggy (1262536) writes "In this interview with Steve Balmer (video iootage included), he compares MS to David, fighting Google's "Goliath". He's quite angry when he says the word "Goliath". He also talks about the threat from open source mobile platforms, dismissing them with the words "no one wants to have to do it themselves". He also talks about being in the shadow of Bill Gates."
Link to Original Source
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Corporate IT password policy

benwiggy benwiggy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

benwiggy (1262536) writes "Our company has recently changed its policy about computer passwords. Previously, everyone had the same password, which was obviously ridiculous. But now, we have to change passwords every 30 days, and they must be new each time.
I have suggested that this makes things less secure, as most people are unable to invent and remember a succession of passwords, and so they will inevitably write their password down on a Post-it note and stick it to their computer. Walking around the office, I can see a number of passwords in plain view, and I bet the rest are under their keyboards.
The corporate spiel is that they have been "forced to do this as an auditing requirement", whatever that means. What does Slashdot think?"

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