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Comments

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"Going Up" At 45 Mph: Hitachi To Deliver World's Fastest Elevator

bill_mcgonigle Re:Express elevators (77 comments)

Some of these towers have an upper lobby. So you take the express from 1 to 75, then a 'local' from 76 to 100.

Usually the 'important people' are on the top floors so the elevator ratio is better and there's little waiting in the upper lobby. Unless you stop at the bar.

Once in a blue moon there's an express to the penthouse, but to pay for an entire express elevator entirely in the rent of the penthouse apartment isn't feasible for all but the ultra-ultra rich.

8 hours ago
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OpenSSL: the New Face of Technology Monoculture

bill_mcgonigle Re:Specious Argument (100 comments)

It was the lack of altruistic eyes scrutinizing it.

That was a secondary effect. People who might want to analyze code want to do a good job, and there's a lot of code worth analyzing.

To do that job there are tools that help with that analysis. OpenSSL's use of non-standard internal memory management routines makes it resistant to use of such analysis tools.

Is it impossible for a code auditor to keep everything in his head? No, but it's tough and error-prone. Some people have found OpenSSL bugs before, of course, but there are ways to make it easier for auditors to stand a fighting chance.

That's largely what the OpenBSD team is doing - ripping out all of that unneeded memory management crap, killing OS/2, VMS, and MacOS7 support code, etc. The payoff should be more people looking at it, but it sure wouldn't hurt for some companies that save millions by using OpenSSL to throw the team a few bones once in a while to make it more regular. Or hire their own internal folks to do the same, if that would work out better.

12 hours ago
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OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

bill_mcgonigle Re:Too good to be true? (171 comments)

$300 for the 16 GB model and $350 for a 64 GB model? Knowing what Samsung charges for comparable devices

Yes, but the recent build estimate based on tear-down for the S5 was $255 or so.
    That gives these guys in China almost a hundred bucks, which is a good margin for any business. Samsung is just making money hand-over-fist, but there's plenty of long-tail to profit in.

yesterday
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Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips

bill_mcgonigle Re:Scalia Never Met An Unreasonable Search (410 comments)

Scalia never met a search he considers unreasonable ...

Except for this one? Did you miss that Scalia wrote the dissent while Thomas wrote the majority opinion?

yesterday
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Lytro Illum Light-Field Camera Lets You Refocus Pictures Later

bill_mcgonigle Re:2D resolution (124 comments)

Too bad they didn't make it to 8Mp. That would give video producers a bunch of creative options while working in 4K. Next rev!

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

bill_mcgonigle Re:How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior? (167 comments)

Or more succinctly: incentives matter. What incentive does an employee have to keep data secret? Will he be demoted in rank and lose pay if he does something stupid?

What incentives do companies have to maintain a secure infrastructure? Will their insurance policy hold them liable if they do not?

I'm just in the middle of polishing up a puppet module to deploy a bunch of new certs on my infrastructure. My incentive is that my reputation looks pretty bad if I advise clients to be secure but my own infrastructure is not up to snuff. That's really an incentive to avoid lost opportunities, I suppose.

Google is talking about scoring up pages that are secure. Another very wise incentive.

Let's keep this ball rolling: what other incentives can we offer or explain?

2 days ago
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Experts Say Hitching a Ride In an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea

bill_mcgonigle Re:What I want to know is ... (232 comments)

Seriously, airplane security is clearly full of holes and the sham of passenger security checks is just that, a sham meant to make us 'feel' safe while wasting our time and shoveling tons of dollars to the TSA.

Well, any good government repression solves multiple problems, but the point of TSA is behavioral conditioning - giving away tons of money to political cronies is just a bonus.

2 days ago
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Our Education System Is Failing IT

bill_mcgonigle Re:Heck yes... (292 comments)

If you're willing to pay you can hire good people. It's just that the big publicly-owned Silicon Valley companies can use their funny money to pay more than you can.

If you go to places where people are living for quality-of-life and not just money, you'll find more of the competent folks. The competent folks in sucky-places-to-live have all moved to the aforementioned corporations or nicer places to live.

2 days ago
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Joss Whedon Releases New Film On Demand

bill_mcgonigle Re:Please justify $5 for one rental (137 comments)

Please justify the $5 cost to rent your film. I can rent your latest superhero blockbuster over the weekend for $2 from Redbox. I can own Louis CK's latest show forever for $5. Why is your content so much more expensive?

Because people are willing to pay $5 to watch it now. If Whedon's company is smart, the price will go down over time to pick up the folks who won't pay $5 to watch it out of the gate.

If it goes down to $2 in a year, then to me that's better than 100% RoI in 1 year, so it's a great deal to me to watch it next year. But some people value being able to be the first to blog about it, chat about it over the water cooler, etc. I watch TV on Netflix 2-3 years after it's been on a network (because cable & satellite are way too much money), but I realize I'm very atypical in that view.

Check out some stuff from Menger if you want a more academic treatment.

2 days ago
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Joss Whedon Releases New Film On Demand

bill_mcgonigle Re:Careful! (137 comments)

I get breakups all the time from home (DSL) on Vimeo but Youtube's Flash Player works, even in hi-def.

Just tried this trailer from work with a 40meg fiber (same telco) and it worked fine. Maybe it's just time of day, maybe Google has better peering, I dunno.

2 days ago
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Experiment Suggests Monkeys Can Do Basic Math

bill_mcgonigle Dogs (86 comments)

Show your dog three biscuits. Give him two. See if he goes and lays down or if he calculates the number of biscuits in your hand to be larger than zero.

2 days ago
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The Ethical Dilemmas Today's Programmers Face

bill_mcgonigle Re:I've grappled with the ethics of CS for 20 year (177 comments)

Right, ethics classes won't help. I left a good career at a major medical center when I was told that we were going with the technology that would likely create medication errors because the correct software was too expensive and it would be cheaper to settle the lawsuits.

Nobody needs an ethics class to know that that's wrong behavior, and taking an ethics class would not have changed that behavior. And it certainly wasn't the programming staff that needed ethical correction.

2 days ago
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404-No-More Project Seeks To Rid the Web of '404 Not Found' Pages

bill_mcgonigle Re:what a terrible idea (72 comments)

I use ErrorZilla Mod. It lets me 'wayback' with one click, and then I get to choose which dates make sense.

2 days ago
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L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects

bill_mcgonigle Re:First they get rid of shop (250 comments)

Lets burn the lawyers offices down.

The lawyers are powerless without the courts. It's the Court orders, backed by ... wait for it ... men with guns that make this environment possible.

Do you know why everybody is so jumpy and the cops are doing summary executions now? Because everybody is a criminal, everybody is a suspect, and the cops and the courts enforce these absurd laws rather than than defend the Constitution as a co-equal branch.

Hell, the Constitution didn't even make it past 1803 intact in design, and FDR accepted the Supreme Court's final surrender in 1937 from Chief Justice Hughes as a settlement to his plan to expand the Court with its cronies. Overnight, SCOTUS began finding all of Roosevelt's programs suddenly Constitutional even concluding that growing wheat for your family farm is part of "Interstate Commerce" and suddenly of Federal providence.

The problem now is that it's impossible for the People to know what the Constitution says because (supposedly) it doesn't mean anything until SCOTUS tells us what it means, which might well be the opposite of what we "think" it means (that is, the plain English meaning). The catch is that the Constitution is what authorizes the government in the first place. If the People aren't competent to understand their agreement with that government, then they weren't competent to create it in the first place and the grant of power is void.

3 days ago
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L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects

bill_mcgonigle Re:Sick Society (250 comments)

This is not about science, it is about tje progressive anti-gun stance.

Seriously - stop spreading their propaganda. They explicitly want those in power to have all the guns they need. They just want the People to be disarmed and figure their friends will be in power.

This is not at all an anti-gun stance, it's a central-control stance. This gives them a sense of security, like those living under Mao or Pol Pot.

3 days ago
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SpaceX Successfully Delivers Supplies To ISS

bill_mcgonigle Re:yayy!!! Cheer our corporate fascist state! (87 comments)

Somebody tell the Georgists that there's lots of land on Mars to not own and let's see them beat Musk to the stars. The more the merrier!

3 days ago
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OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

bill_mcgonigle Re:it's a good effort (374 comments)

yep. This may be a case of "medicine that tastes awful".

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

bill_mcgonigle Re:Grad school is voluntary... (389 comments)

Seriously, wtf is up with people thinking that they should get everything they want all the time?

That's what we call 'entitlement'. It's the confusion of cause and effect when applied to societal systems.

4 days ago
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Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

bill_mcgonigle Re:"subject" (126 comments)

Can boken be overdone? Sure. A 1mm think depth of field is overdoing it, but so is shooting at f/16 everywhere. But even a thin DoF and the right can result in some magical results

Just because you know what you're talking about, and we're among friends:

It's bokeh, with an 'h'. And it refers to the character of the blur, not the blur itself. If you've got an image, say f/3.4, a hipster might say "nice bokeh" to you, but he means that you have a good lens, not that you've selected a good aperture. And then he might also suggest you make a "glisse" print. ;)

And, of course, shallow depth of field is a huge fad, and there's an entire generation of kids who won't ever be able to tell where they were in any of their childhood pictures. *That* will seem very "early 21st century" in a couple decades.

4 days ago
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Heartbleed Sparks 'Responsible' Disclosure Debate

bill_mcgonigle Re:WTF? (188 comments)

There's no one-size fits all solution. I've made the argument for informed disclosure here in the past, but in this case it probably wouldn't work. The DTLS code is so small and self-contained and the code so obvious to an auditor that just saying that there's an exploit in DTLS or to compile without heartbeat is probably enough to give the blackhats a running start. But there are other situations where informed disclosure is better than responsible disclosure.

Did Google do the right thing here? I'm not sure, but it's not completely clear that they didn't. There are several factors that bridge the gap between theoretical ideal and what can work in every situation in the real world.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Snowden NSA Claims Partially Confirmed

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about 10 months ago

bill_mcgonigle (4333) writes "Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D NY) disclosed that NSA analysts eavesdrop on Americans' domestic telephone calls without court orders during a House Judiciary hearing. After clearing with FBI director Robert Mueller that the information was not classified, Nadler revealed that during a closed-door briefing to Congress, the Legislature was informed that the spying organization had implemented and uses this capability. This appears to confirm Edward Snowden's claim that he could, in his position at the NSA, "wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president." Declan McCullagh writes, "Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler's disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval." The executive branch has defended its general warrants, claiming that "the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants", while Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney at EFF claims such government activity "epitomizes the problem of secret laws.""
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World's First Bitcoin ATM

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about a year ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "I just bought bitcoins from the World's first Bitcoin ATM at Liberty Forum. I created an account using an Android Bitcoin client, held up its QR code to the Raspberry Pi-based device's optical scanner, fed in a $20 Federal Reserve Note, and got back a confirmation QR code on its display (which I then scanned and checked the third-party confirmation URL). The machine can function on any wireless network and will soon be available for purchase by merchants, who can make a commission on customers' Bitcoin purchases."
Link to Original Source
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Intel to Attempt A-la-carte Television over Internet

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about a year ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "Updating the previous story, Forbes and Gigaom are now reporting that Intel is running an internal startup aimed at offering a Internet-connected set top box with a-la-carte 'cable' channel subscriptions. They also apparently plan to record everything and offer all content on-demand. While some are skeptical that content providers will give up their cable cash cow, perhaps the economic effects of cord-cutters are finally making this business model viable."
Link to Original Source
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Amazon Data Center Outage Takes Out Netflix & Others

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about a year ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "Many families sat down this evening to watch a Christmas Eve tale on their favorite streaming service to find a Grinch in their cloud computing service as both Netflix and Amazon Video services were unavailable (with error messages saying that their Internet connection was bad). It turns out that Amazon's East Coast data center is having yet another outage, causing a loss of service on several platforms. Other AWS-based sites are affected as well."
Link to Original Source
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Capitalists Who Fear Change

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "In his essay, Capitalists Who Fear Change, author Jeffrey Tucker takes on "wimps who don’t want to improve." From DMCA take-downs on 3D printing files to the constant refrain that every new form of music recording will "kill music", Mr. Tucker observes: "Through our long history of improvement, every upgrade and every shift from old to new inspired panic. The biggest panic typically comes from the producers themselves who resent the way the market process destabilizes their business model" and analyzes how the markets move the march of technology ever forward. He takes on patents, copyrights, tariffs, and protectionism of entrenched interests in general, with guarded optimism: "The promise of the future is nothing short of spectacular — provided that those who lack the imagination to see the potential here don’t get their way.""
Link to Original Source
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NASA Laptop Stolen With Space Station Command Codes

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "A year ago, NASA had an unencrypted laptop stolen, containing "algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station," according to NASA’s inspector general, Paul K. Martin. Also stolen were devices with "Social Security numbers and sensitive data on NASA’s Constellation and Orion programs." Since then, NASA has encrypted 1% of its mobile devices. Martin tells Congress, "Until NASA fully implements an Agency-wide data encryption solution, sensitive data on its mobile computing and portable data storage devices will remain at high risk for loss or theft.""
Link to Original Source
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Deterministic Multithreading Solves Race Condition

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "Researchers at Columbia Engineering School have developed PEREGRINE, a system that promises to improve the reliability and security of multi-threaded programs by addressing what they claim is the root cause of data race conditions in multi-threaded programs: non-determinism. Peregrine works with existing languages and "can make threads deterministic in an efficient and stable way. Peregrine can compute a plan for allowing when and where a thread can 'change lanes' and can then place barriers between the lanes, allowing threads to change lanes only at fixed locations, following a fixed order. This prevents the random collisions that can occur in a nondeterministic system.""
Link to Original Source
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Cause of Redbox Price Increase? - Congress

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "Following up on the previous story story about the Redbox price increases, Redbox's third-quarter earnings announcement ends the speculation. Redbox explains, "The change is primarily due to the increase in operating expenses, including the recent increase in debit card interchange fees as a result of the Durbin Amendment." The Durbin Amendment creates a 'debit interchange fee floor', which increases costs on small transactions made with debit cards — estimated to be an additional ten cents per Redbox transaction."
Link to Original Source
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Netflix dumps Qwikster, keeps DVD service on netfl

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "In a sudden fit of sanity, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has announced that Netflix will not be splitting its DVD service into a separate website.

He writes, "It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password in other words, no Qwikster." He forgot, "one queue, one recommendation engine preference set."

Netflix had previously detailed plans to split its DVD-by-mail business into a separate business, Qwikster."

Link to Original Source
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Wired Releases Full Manning/Lamo Chat Logs

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "After more than a year, Wired has finally released the (nearly) full chat logs between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning. Glen Greenwald provides analysis of what Wired previously left out. Greenwald writes:

Lamo lied to and manipulated Manning by promising him the legal protections of a journalist-source and priest-penitent relationship, and independently assured him that their discussions were "never to be published" and were not "for print." Knowing this, Wired hid from the public this part of their exchange, published the chat in violation of Lamo's clear not-for-publication pledges, allowed Lamo to be quoted repeatedly in the media over the next year as some sort of credible and trustworthy source driving reporting on the Manning case

. Slashdot has previously covered the controversy (here, and here.)"
Link to Original Source

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Controversy over Zappos Advertising with the TSA

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about 3 years ago

bill_mcgonigle writes "A blog post from Amazon's Zappos unit talking about its advertising on TSA collection trays has recently caught the attention of TSA critics and its customers. Zappos writes, "Since the airports that have the sponsored security bins don't have to put the money/time/energy into those efforts anymore, TSA can spend the money hiring/training more agents." Do customers really make a connection between Zappos's advertising and reduced wait times for security screenings, or is this an example of hamfisted marketing to a privacy-conscious online customer base?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Idle Friends Purge

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  about 4 years ago

I'm removing non-fan friends who haven't posted in two years since I'm at my limit and I use friends to game the scoring system to see more interesting posts.

Any of you who have been discontinued - send me a note if you start posting again and I'd be happy to re-friend you.

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iPod Shuffle Clone Shown at CeBit

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 9 years ago

An outfit out of Taiwan, Luxpro, has introduced a digital music player, the Super Shuffle, that's a no-tradedress-barred physical clone of the iPod Shuffle. Available in .5 and 1GB models, it lacks AAC but adds WMA, FM Radio, and Voice Recording. Playlist has the story.

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Atlantic Mega-Tusnami to Hit North America

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 9 years ago Scientists at the Benfield Hazard Research Center have determined that a Mega-tsunami will hit the coast of North America when the Cumbre Vieja Volcano and part of the Island of La Palma in the Canary Islands collapse into the sea. The wave hitting North America will be up to 50 meters (164 feet) high and surge up to 20km (12.4 miles) inland while Brazil will see 40 meter waves with up to 100 meter waves on the West Saharan shore (ILM Rendition). Insurance losses are estimated to be in the multi-trillions, yet the landslide has been completely unmonitored since 1997. The BBC has an FAQ on the Mega-tsunami.

[edit: rejected by Slashdot 2004-12-28 17:22:50]

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Massive Solar Flare Headed Straight For Earth

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 10 years ago

At 1110 UT this morning, the third largest solar flare on record erupted from the Sun, sending a coronal mass ejection directly towards Earth at 5 Million MPH (picture, animation), and starting a solar radiation storm. We may see bright auroral activity tonight. Passengers on high-altitude airplane flights may receive chest-x-ray-level dosages of radiation.

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You're In A Political Party's Database

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 10 years ago

The Democratic and Republican parties have 158 and 165 Million voters in their databases, "DataMart" and "Voter Vault", respectively. They track how you vote, what issues you're concerned about, demographics about your home and family, and who you associate with. From it they mount door-to-door, telemarketing, spam, and junk mail campaigns offering customized versions of the political party to appeal to your passions, while avoiding issues that might offend you.

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W32.Blaster linked to Blackout

bill_mcgonigle bill_mcgonigle writes  |  more than 10 years ago The first of the problems that eventually cascaded into the blackout began at 1 p.m on August 14th. "The inability of critical control data to be exchanged quickly across the grid could have hampered the operators' ability to prevent the cascading effect of the blackout," said Gary Seifert, of DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. "It didn't affect the [control] systems internally, but it most certainly affected the timeliness of the data they were receiving from other networks. A former Bush administration adviser who has consulted with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the power grid issue said the Blaster worm also hampered the ability of utilities in the New York region to restore power in a more timely manner because some of those companies were running Windows-based control systems with Port 135 open. The control systems ... are often based on Windows 2000 or XP operating systems and rely on commercial data links, including the Internet and wireless systems, for exchanging information.

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