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Comments

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Samsung's Position On Tizen May Hurt Developer Recruitment

bluefoxlucid Re:But (81 comments)

II do have one around my neck

Oh yeah?

yesterday
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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

bluefoxlucid Re:Militia, then vs now (1574 comments)

Latin and Greek have wider vocabularies than any conlang. Also, Lojban in practice is highly open to interpretation; there are other formal mathematical languages used to define strict interpretations by using logical operations to build relations.

yesterday
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

So of course you can get out more than you put in.

No, you cannot get out more than WHAT EVERY FUCKING PERSON PUT IN.

You put in $10. Sam puts in $10. You get out $20, Sam gets $0. Market becomes illiquid because there are $0, all stocks become worthless.

yesterday
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

It's cute you think share price controls executive salary, instead of, you know, contracts. I mean come on, we have companies rewriting contracts to get rid of CEOs by paying them a pile of money. There's a contract for X salary, Y bonuses, Z stock options, plus a golden parachute in case of termination.

yesterday
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

Yes but that's my point. The entire stock market is overvalued. People believe that this overvaluation means that money is created in the stock market--that the stocks are worth something, and that if you buy a stock and it goes up in price and you sell it then the stock market just created the $200 you made. In reality, you got that $200 by making other people $200 poorer.

The only time money actually moves into the market is when people put money there, through dividends or buying into the market or whatever. The amount of money in the market is untrackable, as it's basically however much people are willing to spend--it's theoretically the total BUY orders on the books everywhere, but there's more money in the market waiting for something to reach a price where it makes sense to place a BUY order. Ye cannae measure it all.

Point is that the whole market is worth less than the valuation of the market. It's overvalued. Of course stock prices are overvalued or undervalued relative to where you think they're going on a timescale; but I'm talking about the immediate timescale--there is not actually more money in the market, just the prices in the market increase. People buy some fraction of the total market cap, and the spot price goes up; what about the rest of the market cap that wasn't traded? The difference between volume and total shares, you know, all those shares for which there is no demand at this price point? People value the market by multiplying the stock spot price by all issued shares--and that's obviously wrong. You can only get out exactly what was put in.

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

This is something I'd actually like to see. What happens if you buy up 50.1% of the common stock of a company, and it then goes bankrupt?

The moment the company files bankruptcy, common stock is cancelled. So the company you own is ejected from your ownership with no pay-out. Think about that.

It's suddenly an interesting question. Though, now you're just arguing semantics and fantasies; the reality is your "ownership" of a portion of a company means precisely dick, you have no rights to any of their money unless they say so (it's called "embezzlement"...), etc. Money being spent is not "your money"; you own stock, you don't have more than the valuation of stock, and the company doesn't owe you anything for that.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

bluefoxlucid Re:Nonsense (286 comments)

There should be proper operational management and risk management at every level. If you're elevating everything to the same people in full, uh. Yeah, that's broken.

Patching is an operations issue. If the patch process ever changes--if you find a patch that breaks your stuff and you need to take an unprecidented action--that's some kind of project. Decisions are made. Usually it's a very minor project that ends in a decision to exercise a known process (upgrade, contact vendor for fix, etc.), and doesn't require spinning up a whole waterfall methodology and going through all these motions of scheduling and such. Part of project management is knowing when to be more or less formal.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

bluefoxlucid Re:Nonsense (286 comments)

Any remotely well organised IT department will have processes for handling both emergency deployments and retrospective approval. I'm not going to be cheerleader for the concept of CAB but if you're going to make a case against it then at least make a reasonable one because hiding behind obvious nonsense like this will just make you look stupid and change averse to your employer.

At least someone gets it.

OP should probably pick up a book on project management and familiarize himself with change control management concepts, and the need thereof. In large IT shops, change controlling patches is important: I've been in shops where critical patches were held back because the 2 week testing round showed that they caused critical services to fail, which was unacceptable. We worked out workarounds, fixed our own software, or got the vendor on the phone as necessary and suspended those patches for those systems in particular until we could get things straight; but if we'd just fired patches off as they came, we would have been in a WORLD of hurt!

My current employer has no change control management for anything, and every time something breaks there's just arguments and shouting. I have to weed through a whole lot of shit, de-tangle lossy memories, and eventually form a picture of when this was first noticed, how frequently it occurs, what changed around that time, what else could be broke in the same way but is not, etc. Kepner-Tregoe problem analysis. If we had a CCM, I could just pull up the changes at that time and avoid a whole lot of guesses and conjecture, solve problems quicker, and have fewer instances of problems never getting solved because everyone would rather sit around and cry like babies while throwing wooden blocks at each others' heads.

And they wonder why I'm suddenly studying for project management...

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

Liquidity is the ability to turn an asset into something else, I guess. It has to do with spending. If you can spend it, it's liquid. Savings accounts are less liquid than checking accounts because you can only make 3 withdrawals per month from savings (Federal regulations). Concrete is not very liquid because you can't trade directly in concrete; you have to liquidate it to cash first.

I got something jumbled up above though, yeah. Solvency is access to funds equivalent or greater than funds required. Ugh.

Point still stands: The stock market has as much money available as it has coming in and out. It does not, however, have the capability to liquidate its assets. It is insolvent: those $72 billion worth of AAPL are not worth $72 billion, because if you liquidated the whole fucking market cap you would find FAR more than $72 billion, but enough of it would be spent buying off other stocks that there wouldn't be $72 billion left for AAPL and the price would come down.

Or something. Look, the mechanism is too complex in the real world to explain in any sensible terms.

It's like the young universe: There's more matter (stock value) than antimatter (cash value), and if we ever tried to annihilate it all we'd wind up running out of antimatter and have just piles of matter sitting around that can't find any antimatter to react with. The stock market is valued at more than the actual cash value of the stock market in practice; there is not more money in the market simply because we turned up some of the numbers.

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

So running a store is also a zero sum game. Because for some reason we're also including money "from the outside" in the sum.

Running a store is different. When you run a store, you are buying product and selling it for a profit margin. Tangible goods and services. You staff people for a certain wage and provide services for a higher hourly surcharge.

The stock market is like running a store where you sell iPads, but nobody opens and uses the iPads. Instead, you sell iPads to other stores, and then use that money to buy iPads back when you think they're undervalued and can be sold again later next week for more money. Someone in this might get their hands on more money by other operations (i.e. actually selling iPads to customers) and buy more iPads from the supplier (new stock) or from other stores.

Trade provides a comparative advantage, where one party can provide one economic service cheaper than another party, and vice versa. For example: consumers can't build iPads cheaply, and manufacturers can't open direct retail outlets cheaply. Thus manufacturers use ecommerce and shipping, as well as third-party retailers. Because of the comparative advantage each participant has over others, the total wealth of this system is greater than the wealth of only individuals accomplishing the same: less labor and capital and energy and other resources are expended to get the same result.

The common argument for the stock market NOT being a zero-sum game is that share prices can be bid up without introducing new money. Unfortunately, this ignores the fact that you allegedly have $5000 of stuff to sell, but everyone together has only $500, and thus if you actually tired to sell all of that stuff you would eventually end up selling it all off for $500, in the process some of it likely becoming worthless.

This argument, thus, ignores the whole of the market. It's the same argument as "I am rich because I buy lots and lots of shit I can't afford on my credit card": you're making the payments, but you're perpetually in debt you can't pay off and thus you are poor. That you just got another car loan for a $60,000 Jaguar is immaterial, since you still only have $1000/mo and you have a 40 year mortgage letting you pay $150/mo on that jag by some fantastic manipulation of the banks.

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

That's just a little under a 7% return on my investment. Not exciting, but also quite low risk.

You own $3300 of stock and get $225 per year dividend, so in about 14 years 9 months you'll break even in the event of a sudden bankruptcy, assuming their dividend doesn't decrease for any reason (i.e. more dividends to preferred, more stock issued from executive stock options exercise or otherwise, competitors, a change in government policy in the US to not buy 500,000 tons of sugar every year as a way to keep the prices artificially high...). We haven't even considered income tax on dividends, but some investment plans in the US have no taxes.

Your risks are that the stock could go up, and you'd make more money; that the stock could go down, and you'd lose money (your break-even point approaches, but cannot exceed, 15 years); that you could save more than $225 per year by paying off debt instead of holding a stock; that profitability drops for any reason; that company policy leans toward more bonuses or more stock options; etc.

The dividends come from profitability; the stock price is a spot price on the exchange, which is based on public sentiment. You could hold a worthless company taking heavy losses and the stock price is soaring. I did that for a while, made a lot from securities like IVAN and schizophrenic symbols like GMCR. But don't tell me you've found a magical risk-free investment.

I got the advice years back that dividend stocks are more stable from The Motley Fool. It has been proven true. But that doesn't mean they're no-risk investments; they're lower-risk investments with more steady return. If Domino Sugar starts flooding the Canadian market with cheap sugar, your little nest egg will suddenly shrink, and you might take a loss or just break even.

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

Liquidity is not an all or none thing. Stocks, over a long time, have proven to be very liquid. And the core of their valuation - the ability of a company to create value - is more stable than most other asset classes.

That's not money coming from somewhere; it's the ability to access money. The correct term for this is "solvency", and if you yank out the full actual dollars on hand then the bank (or stock market) becomes "insolvent". It's when you have less money being demanded than is actually there, even if there's much more money on paper than in reality.

There's plenty of other ways money effectively enters the market. Companies pay dividends to investors. They buy back shares. Public companies are bought or liquidated. The reason stocks are worth money is because companies create value; they did that, and were worth money, before there were stock markets. Owning part of a company isn't just trading baseball cards for companies you like, it's owning a productive asset - and that's why companies are largely evaluated by their price/earnings.

Nobody who has any understanding of economics thinks it's a zero sum game.

Except dividends are money from outside being put into the market, increasing the money in the market. Buybacks are money being put into the market from outside the market, to remove stocks from existence. In any of these cases, there is money flowing into the market.

Money flows from an outside source into the market. When an investor puts capital into the market to buy stocks, money comes into the market. When an investor sells those stocks, he has money that he can re-invest. If he decides to not re-invest some of the money, then that money leaves the securities market. If he decides to bring in more capital, he injects more money into the securities market.

The securities market has exactly as much money as has been injected into it minus exactly as much money as has been removed from it; you cannot put $100 in to buy 100 shares of a stock, hit $2/share, sell that for $200, and actually get $200 unless another $100 is brought to the table from outside the stock market.

This is called a zero-sum game. Every stock that's brought in is put there from the outside. Every dollar that's brought in is put there from the outside. The amount of money in the market minus the amount of money that has come from outside the market is zero, and when we all go home we have exactly the same number of dollars that we started with--just divided up differently. That somebody can bring more monopoly money in at any point in the game doesn't change this: money comes from outside, not from within. The market doesn't create money and it doesn't destroy money; it transfers it.

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:So Much Fail (456 comments)

1) A typical well-diversified index fund delivers returns over the long-term well over the interest charged on mortgages or car loans if you took out those loans when you have decent credit.

Buy and hold! If you buy-and-hold, you are nearly guaranteed not to loose--and if you do, it'll probably be less than a 3% loss over 20 years. Sure, you might gain 14% in 20 years (not the much touted 10% per year), but importantly you won't lose so much. Of course trying to time your investments to the market can make you 56% gains per year, or lose you 48%--and that's a lot more loss than a buy-and-hold strategy might expose you to, and a lot more likely to happen!

Yeah, the market is hard. The easy version of the market is slow.

(Yeah, credit cards do suck and you should pay those off ASAP after you get your max 401(k) match, if offered.)

My credit cards cost me less than my house. Consider $150/mo per payment, versus a one-time $80 payment and a year and some months with no interest. I do some monkey business with the cards to get that kind of thing going on (BAC has 14 month no-interest balance transfers all the time), and I frequently have exceedingly high credit card debt which costs me all of $200/year in fees and interest the worst of times. If I ever bought a $6000 motorcycle, I'd finance it with my credit cards in part, due to 6% motorcycle loans. For the most part, my cards stay high because I target other debt or stack up cash before paying them--it's a strategy that has saved me thousands of dollars.

My employer's 401(k) match is a lower immediate return than paying extra into my mortgage, which is nearly a 70% return. To make this more physical: If I put $225 in my 401(k), I get a match of $112.50. If I put $225 in my mortgage payment, I skip about $150 of interest at the moment. $150 > $112.50, even though they both end in 50.

You have not done full-scale investment. I can tell. I can tell because you obviously have not spent several 8-12 hours per day analyzing the indexes against each other (it's just division), analyzing technical metrics, analyzing news (yay Marketwatch), waking up at 4am to read the news and check the foreign markets, making trends predictions, drawing arcs and channels and other funny things on graphs, squinting hard when you see multiple indicators in conflict, trying to resolve the conflicts to work out a good guess at what the market will do, and then just gave up and cashed out on Friday so that you don't have to worry about 2 non-trading days and what might happen while you can't do anything about it, come back Monday to start again.

Have you ever seen someone who was completely sober, had gotten 2-3 hours of sleep per night for weeks, and talked reallyreallyfastliketheywereonmeth? That was me for a few weeks.

This is not a leisure job. You don't lay back, masturbate some while checking out Playboy Asia, idly click on a few things, buy, sell, mmhmm... It's not World of Warcraft. It is a vicious game of absolute timing, of completely predictable behavior that requires mountains of knowledge to actually predict, of a complete lack of those mountains of knowledge, of strife and fear and reflexes and reaction and bounds and calculations. It's chaos theory: the random element is what you don't know. Insider traders get to look at all the cards, high-level traders look at some of the cards and do card counting, and the fish are there just throwing down chips and hoping they can get a full house.

I don't care to work that hard. I got an honest job instead, and worked on minimizing my mandatory expenses and enhancing the stability of my financial position. My relative income to expenses is huge now, so very huge that I see people making oblivious statements like "yeah, you should save money, but the problem is today if you make $60k-$70k that's basically impossible", and I'm like, "Are you kidding? I was making $60k and spending $2000/mo on junk. I paid off a $3000 credit card in a month and a half on a $3500 salary, and had cash left over, then went back to buying old video games on eBay."

When you're actually better off than me, you can come back and tell me about finances. I've already heard this advice--I've given this advice and later figured out I was wrong. Been there, done that, yeah lol no.

2 days ago
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OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

bluefoxlucid Re:de Raadt (289 comments)

How would it lead to OpenSSL crashing over and over again?

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:I will be a millionaire. (456 comments)

Yes that's the result of giving women rights. You don't think anyone really cared about that whole "Women's Suffrage" thing, do you? It went like this: heyyyyyy... maybe we can convince women they're equals.... yeah, and heyyyyyyyyy then they can get jobs! And then... they'll have MONEY! And then, when couples want to buy a house, settle down, have kids like, ya know? Then, we'll milk them for all they're worth! Yeahhh! /zephod

If women had just stopped at "right to vote" and not gone on to "right to be men and have careers as steel workers and go to college and all get jobs", we'd have been better off. Women already had jobs. Have you ever been a bachelor? Have you ever worked a 40 hour work week, then came home and had to do your own house work so you don't live in an unkempt shithole? THAT SHIT IS HARD. Women were cooking and cleaning and doing mildly complex manual labor (look, I don't know about you, but my biggest problem with cleaning house is WHERE THE HELL DO I PUT SHIT THAT ISN'T TRASH?!), and then we told them, oh, you should get actual jobs.

Are. You. SERIOUS?!

A married woman has a job. If you bang her the right way, she'll have three jobs. If I ever had kids, I'd do the housework and tell the woman to deal with the babies. Fuck that. I can handle dishes and vacuuming and ironing, she can get up at 2 in the morning to change diapers.

So yeah. If you want to buy a small house, you need two people working at least three jobs.

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:I will be a millionaire. (456 comments)

Home prices are artificially high right now. Like when furbies were $400.

2 days ago
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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

bluefoxlucid Re:Militia, then vs now (1574 comments)

Why? It actually condenses a large amount of risk management and situational considerations. Maybe not well, but it's fundamentally sound analysis.

What's your take? Just run in guns ablazing with everything, firearms are the best at all things?

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

The amount of tax deferred income you can contribute to an IRA is not dependent on your salary,

See IRS.

if you made smarter choices, like using a home equity line of credit instead of credit card financing to do your insulation work you'd save even more.

My credit card costs me $80.

I'm serious. I don't pay interest. And no, I'm not on any introductory rate. I simply don't pay interest; I have two credit cards, and I constantly get promos to pay 1%-4% for a balance transfer, so I run one card up like hell when I need a few grand and then pay it off with a balance transfer. $3000? $120. If I have some cash on hand, I just pay down the first card partly before doing the balance transfer. Then it's like... oh you transferred $2500 in March 2014? You have until November 2015 to pay it off. Yeah uh, it's going to be paid off in 2014 (but I stack cash in a separate bank account and pay it off all at once when it won't totally drain my liquid funds, in case I suddenly need CASH).

Trust me, there's nothing obvious that's going to save me money. I'm not aggressively leveraging debt; I'm just aggressively looking for ways to minimize the impact of debt when leveraging cash is either not possible or actively bad (i.e. would I rather have $0 or would I rather pay $80 to have $3000 still on hand, but be $3000 in debt for the moment? Uhh... I'll take a little debt).

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bluefoxlucid Re:401k (456 comments)

It's not really much like poker, because it's not a zero sum game. Stock value has gone up fairly steadily over a century.

Oh my god are you KIDDING ME?! This again?!

Let's say you have 100 stock WORTH A DOLLAR. $100 = 100 x EAX. You go on the market and sell 100 stock, get $100 from the only other person in the market.

Now the market has $100 and 100 stock. Jake has $100, and Tim has 100 x EAX he bought.

Valuation of EAX goes to $2. Jake spends $50 and buys 25 x EAX. Jake now has $50 + 25 EAX, Tim has $50 + 75 EAX.

Tim tries to sell Jake more EAX. Jake has $50, Tim has 75 EAX. Tim sells Jake 50 EAX for $45, taking a loss. Tim: $95 + 25 EAX, Jake $5 + 75 EAX.

Now Tim tries to sell Jake 25 EAX.

Jake has $5.

How many EAX can you sell when there are $5 in the market?

The answer is simple: Jake's $5 start to become much more valuable than EAX, because dollars are scarce. Eventually the price comes down to 20 cents per EAX, Jake gives Tim $5, Jake has 100 EAX and Tim has $100.

We can change this dynamic by bringing more dollars into the game: Jake or Tim pony up more money in the bidding war, or Alex shows up wanting in on the action and brings us money. But here's my point: If you have $100 and 100 x EAX @ $10/share, you aren't going to sell 100 EAX and get $1000. The price of EAX is going to come down as there's less money in the market, thus less trading, thus the market crashes.

Yes, it's a zero sum game. Exactly as much CASH DOLLAR CURRENCY as you put in comes out. Exactly as much of each individual security as you put in come out. There's a lot more money on paper than there is actual, accessible money; and for you to get your money on paper, somebody has to give you their actual, real, physical dollars.

But eventually, you'll almost certainly want money in the stock market if you're ever going to retire.

Except when the big correction comes and you lose 90% of it, and 10 years later still have not recovered. I know quite a few people who have taken to working in old age because their 401(k) funds became worthless. That's a black swan event, but it happens. The market was simply overbought.

If I had $500,000 right now, in cash, I could simply retire. I'd make it until age 85, although I have luxury models that make me a pauper at 72 and frugal models that take me to 90-ish.

2 days ago

Submissions

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US Currency Finally Achieves Universal Suffrage

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about two weeks ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "On April 2, precisely one day later than expected, SCOTUS voted 5-4 to eliminate the cap on individual donors political campaign contributions, finally granting universal suffrage to US currency. "Now, at long last, all U.S. money has a voice in Washington—a strong, loud, clear voice that can no longer be suppressed or silenced by anyone.”"
Link to Original Source
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Retro-Bit's Retro Duo: Is It Worth Game Developers' Time?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about two weeks ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Retro-Bit is serious about conquering the living room: the American technology firm has launched Retro Duo, a gaming console that not only allows 16-bit game play, but also 8-bit. That 8-and-16-bit capability makes Retro-Bit a threat to Nintendo, which rumors suggest is hard at work on a software implementation capable of doing the same things. In addition, Retro Duo puts the screws to other gaming hardware, including Sony and Microsoft's PS3 and XBOne, as well as smaller game consoles such as Ouya (a $99, Android-based device). Much of Retro-Bit's competitive muscle comes from its willingness to sell hardware for cheap (the Retro-Duo retails for $35) on the expectation that owners will use it to enjoy time with and without their friends, ultimately garnering further sales. Those players who've grown a library of NES and SNES games have an advantage when it comes to migrating software to Retro-Bit's new platform. While Retro Duo could represent yet another opportunity for game developers looking to make a buck, it also raises a pressing question: with so many platforms out there (iOS, PC, etc.), how's an indie developer or smaller firm supposed to allocate time and resources to cartridge manufacture?"
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Speed reading apps for ebooks?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about a month ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Speed reading has matured into technological solutions. Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, or RSVP, provides faster reading than the manual finger-following method, with retention on par with standard reading at 250 words per minute. Research shows most people can start at 400WPM, and reach 800WPM in an hour; and further advancements used in products such as Spritz and Sprint Reader claim 1000-1800 words per minute when practiced by offsetting and context pausing.

Thus far I have not found any software to read ebooks with these methods. Are there any open source applications, Nook or Kindle Fire applications, or otherwise to read ePub or Mobi or Kindle books via RSVP?"
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Should we research new kinds of nuclear bombs?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about a year and a half ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "The Orion Drive never got off the ground primarily because, essentially, blowing up a lot of nuclear material in atmosphere is a bad idea. That means a new kind of nuclear bomb--for example, clean-pumped fusion that uses a non-fissile source to initiate chain reaction hydrogen fusion into helium with only neutrino output and no ionizing radiation or fall-out--would provide a great enabler for space flight. Unfortunately, such an awesome bomb would also provide great opportunity for military uses--and associated politics. Infinitely scalable (notably smaller) nukes with no fall-out are just conventional bombs, right? Is the promise of effective launch and space flight worth the bitter in-fighting at the UN table that would occur just for implying new research into new nukes, as well as the moral implications of greater, more deadly warfare?"
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Why are there no open printers?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about a year and a half ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "With Printer Steganography, we can trace any document printed on a modern color laser printer back to its printer. This is because the serial number and time of printing are encoded into the document as a series of small, yellow dots scattered about. With all the concerns about privacy flying about, we must ask the question: why no open printers? These could have multiple, RepRapable adapters for various manufacturers' drums and cartridges, avoiding the need to become an ink or toner supplier. They could also run Linux, BSD, or Minix internally, with a replaceable, open source OS. The implications of adaptability to various toner and ink cartridges is also interesting, especially for inkjets: a color inkjet that could select for Lexmark or hp cartridges with a cheap carriage replacement would foster price competition."
Link to Original Source
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Why no 5.25 inch hard drives?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Back in the day when you kids weren't all up in my lawn, we had "Bigfoot" style hard drives--5.25" form factor hard drives. A 5.25" circular platter would be 2.25 times as big as a 3.25". The actual platters are smaller, making the difference less striking; but then there's a spindle in the middle too, cutting away at the space on a 3.25" but not diminishing the extra space added by widening the total diameter. With Seagate getting 1TB per platter and drives hanging in bays with plenty of space around them in all but the smallest form factors, why aren't we running 5.25" hard drives and doubling the disk size?"
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Account of LAPD protestor's arrest

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "There is now this account of Patrick Meighan's arrest in LA. The LAPD were brutal and abusive. Protestors were held without bail--bail was set, but not accepted, and there was no access given to legal council. Physical violence was used by police to provoke reflexive reactions to pain, which was then reacted to with more violence. I must be missing something here, because the police seem to find peaceful protesters more dangerous than rapists and murderers."
Link to Original Source
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JP Morgan Calls In a Bribe

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Well, it seems that JPMorgan threw $4.6M at the NYPD recently. In other news, the NYPD has arrested 700 people who were annoying JPMorgan. Just for the record, these people were blocking traffic and engaging in other dangerous stupidity on the Brooklyn Bridge; but also for the record, it seems the police guided them out there, then arrested them en masse. Most of these people got citations, so I guess $4.8M isn't a lot of money."
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OnStar to Track You No Matter What

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "From the article:

Navigation-and-emergency-services company OnStar is notifying its six million account holders that it will keep a complete accounting of the speed and location of OnStar-equipped vehicles, even for drivers who discontinue monthly service.

OnStar began e-mailing customers Monday about its update to the privacy policy, which grants OnStar the right to sell that GPS-derived data in an anonymized format.

Enjoy your Chevrolet."
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Incandescents use less energy, CFLs an elaborate c

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "From the article, "BANNING the humble 60-watt light bulb to make way for so-called energy-saving ones and 'help save the planet' was last night exposed as an elaborate EU con." What justification could the have for such accusations? "The carbon footprint of manufacturing, distribution and disposal of a compact fluorescent bulb is far greater than the energy usage of a standard bulb." Imagine that. Complex electronics and mercury tubes are harder to make than an evacuated glass bulb with a wire in it; and reclaiming hazardous waste takes more energy than just chucking a harmless glass bulb in the standard recycling bin."
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Cancer Cured by HIV

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Apparently cancer has been cured, by injecting people with HIV. From the article, "As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal." Nifty. Poorly edited run-on sentence, but nifty."
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Terrorism, Money, and Oil

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "A recent submission about the cost of terrorism to the economy brought a few things to mind. This article looks like a repeat of an article Bruce Schneier linked to on his blog in November, 2010 which, among other things, explains how terrorists spend $1 for every $1,000,000 of economic damage done. The Rolling Stones blames Goldman Sachs primarily for the oil and food price hikes due to speculation on futures, although I also tend to blame Monsanto for raising seed license fees while lobbying heavily for biofuels--and selling even more corn and soy seeds for ethanol and biodiesel. We also can't forget the news media, a modern circus designed to grab attention so the networks can get sponsorship money; they have a huge incentive to create panic, which only over-hypes the low risk posed by the terrorist "threat" (more of a "minor annoyance"), allowing politicians to pull the Politician's Syllogism and strip us of our rights while derailing our economy further. Does anyone work in our favor anymore?"
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Books and Audiobooks in Other Languages?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "I've been learning various languages and I want to get some deep exposure. Sans-$100k employment, multiple 2 week vacations every year to various countries is untenable; therefor I have found an excellent solution: audio books and dead tree books in German, Japanese, Urdu, Russian, and the like. The only problem: I can't find such a thing. Amazon doesn't sell audio books on Amazon.de that I can find; maybe this is because my German is poor and I just can't find it. Any idea where to get audio books in other languages?"
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Why does the new slashdot look like ass?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Is anyone else quickly getting sick of staring at this fuzzy, overly-cartoony iteration of the Slashdot UI? The last one was fine; this one is starting to cause nausea. Overly softened, looks like a kid's site. Digg's aesthetics look much better now."
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US to reduce fluoride in drinking water

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "The US is slated to reduce the amount of fluoride recommended for drinking water. According to WebMD, "The HHS is recommending that water supplies contain 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, replacing the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. [...] The new HHS recommendation, Messina says, makes sense because in recent years the population has gotten more fluoride from other sources, such as toothpaste and mouthwashes. [...] Some data suggest that excess fluoride may also be linked with skeletal bone damage, she says, and possibly hormone disruption. It has also been deemed an emerging neurotoxin." Fluoride supplements are sourced directly from industrial toxic waste, which cannot safely be dumped into the environment and so instead goes into the water supply. Conspiracy theorists and crazy generals obsessed with commie plots to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids are, of course, rejoicing."
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9/11: Time to Forget

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "After almost a decade (it will be so in 9 months and some days), we still all remember 9/11. I can't for the life of me recall (or care about) the date for the Oklahoma City Bombing... in fact I can't recall anyone caring that much when it happened. Somebody blew stuff up, people died, it hit the news, there was a manhunt. It was time to demote 9/11 to this level of care back in 2005... beyond time. So why do we still remember it like a big important thing? Why do people still wave flags on September 11 of each year and claim it as a patriotic American holiday, a day of celebration, a day to applaud the stripping of our rights and the deaths of thousands? Is it time to move on? Must we actively antagonize people who make a big deal out of 9/11 until they feel foolish and give up on the whole thing?"
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UK to vote on Doubling, Tripling Tuition

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "As per Wikinews, "The new policy on tuition fees will allow universities to double the current tuition fees from £3,290 per year to around £6,000 per year, as well as allowing some universities to get special approval from the Office For Fair Access (OFFA) to raise their fees to £9,000 per year." Apparently teachers were encouraging high school students to walk right out of class for this, too; I guess when you can't hope to afford college it doesn't much matter. The economics here are, of course, non-trivial; but this is a huge fee hike all at once. This has got to be the only useful thing I've actually seen televised news cover in the US in a long long int time."
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Game review: Go

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Before Risk, before Axis and Allies, before Pentago and Polarity and Settlers of Catan, before Dungeons and Dragons, even before Chess, there was Weiqi. Weiqi appeared somewhere around 2200BC in China, and soon spread to Korea as Baduk and Japan as Go; over 4000 years later, the game is as well known in Asia as Chess is in the rest of the world. Played by taking turns placing single, non-moving stones on a grid of 19x19 lines, the rules of Go are extremely simple; the playing of Go, however, is uniquely complex and contemplative.

Breaking with traditions, an up-front listing of resources for Go would seem appropriate. First off, the absolute best way to learn Go is to find a Go teacher and study with him; this works about as well outside of Japan as ordering Haggis in a Denny's works outside Scotland. In the English speaking world, however, Janice Kim's book series, "Learn to Play Go," is widely considered the best resource for beginning students. Sensei's Library provides an online resource for Go players in the form of a Wiki. Finally, the Internet Go Server allows players to observe or play games against each other online and automatically calculates rank and handicaps.

With that out of the way, Go is a fantastically simple game. The aforementioned book or a YouTube tutorial would introduce the game more clearly than a wall of text; but the rules are brief. Two players elect to play either black or white; black plays first. Players play on a 19x19 grid, or for faster games on 13x13 or 9x9 grids, by placing stones on the intersections. Each open space on the four cardinal directions represents a liberty; if one player surrounds the other player's stone on all 4 sides, that stone is captured. Stones of the same color sitting on adjacent liberties become a connected group, and thus the whole group must be surrounded to be captured.

The final rule, as consequence of the above play, is the Ko rule. The Ko rule simply states that one play cannot put the board into the exact preceding position. The Ko rule results in "Ko Fighting," a phenomena where a player cannot play a stone to recapture a point immediately, and thus instead must play a stone in a position that produces disproportionate gains if not answered immediately. The opponent will either respond to this threat, allowing recapture of the taken point and capture of the attacking stone; or settle the Ko, ignoring the threat and losing something in exchange.

Based on these simple rules, players must move to make territory: controlled area surrounded by the borders of their own stones. Players can reduce each others' territory by taking control of areas inside the opponent's border. For example, if black controls a third of the board mainly around the lower right corner, white can reduce this territory by taking control of a fifth of the board including the lower right corner. White must do this by creating life in that area: a group of stones is alive if there is no possible way to capture it. At the end of the game, the rules of scoring give each player one point for each point of surrounded territory minus one point for each stone the opponent has captured.

Between all this, the simple game of Go gives rise to many, many concepts. The primary concept of Go is that of Life and Death. A group of stones that is impossible to capture by correct play is "Alive," while a group of stones that cannot avoid capture by any means is "Dead." Groups are otherwise "unsettled." Further, there exists the concept of seki or "Dual Life" by which two groups of stones are both alive only because whichever player plays first to kill the other group will instead kill his own group. The study of life and death greatly improves a player's skill at Go: players that recognize shape early and move to prevent life can more easily retain territory; players who recognize shape and move to create shape that leads more easily to life can more easily invade their opponent's territory. As a final consequence of Life and Death, by the way, dead stones are removed from the board and captured automatically during scoring; therefor there is no reason to waste moves capturing unless your opponent forces the issue.

Another concept in Go is Joseki, which indicates a "settled pattern" of moves that produces a balanced outcome. Joseki are usually played in the opening and represent optimal play by both players: the outcome is balanced because neither player has a sufficient advantage to overwhelm the other, and thus deviation from Joseki weakens the player who deviates. Proper joseki helps players avoid entering midgame at a disadvantage when hostilities break out during the opening.

Other studies in Go follow connections and basic moves to play. While groups are only formed with solid connections, players can eliminate the threat of cutting a connection by playing non-solid connections such as diagonals and bamboo joints, or even wider shapes that cannot be effectively cut. Often moves such as the Knight's Move, hane (Turn the Corner), or Monkey Jump represent complex play that turns what appears at a glance to be a somewhat scattered set of stones into a strong, solid shape during combat and capturing races. Thus the playing of Go relies on extremely distant abstract thinking in situations that can rapidly change and have many, many open options for play.

Go does not rely on fate (as in Backgammon and other dice games) or conflict (as with Chess). It can be said that Backgammon is a man versus fate game, where winning depends on pure chance; while Chess is a man versus man game, concentrating on the concrete goal of outmaneuvering your opponent to capture his king. One can consider Go, on the other hand, as a problem of man versus self: the playing of Go is only improved by judgment, balance, and understanding of play, and such conflict and capturing that arises between the players is often brief and only a minor part of play. Go is a matter of playing the position, not playing a calculated military strategy. This makes Go extremely challenging and enlightening, and very rewarding for players who spend a fair amount of time not only playing, but also studying."

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Amazon.com handles passwords really freaking bad

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Got an Amazon.com account? When it asks for your password, you can tack on extra character at the end or mess with the case. If "password" works, then "PASSWORD" works, "PaSsWOrD" works, "password123" works, "PasswordOHMYGODMYEYES" works, and so on. Oops?"
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Is Low-Tech High-Tech?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "I've been wrestling with questions of sustainability of our society for quite some time now. I'm not talking about global warming, or peak oil (or wood), or the imminent outgassing of the gulf when the sea floor cracks and spills doomsday quantities of methane into the atmosphere. I'm talking about actually being able to survive our own technology. In this vein, I've come to consider the merits of pursuing a more low-tech social structure, mainly starting from the education level. This includes everything from teaching students slide-rules, Suhnpan math, and a selection of generalized mental arithmetic strategies to encouraging the adoption of such simple things as home-baking bread and grooming with old-style razors (straight, double-edge, with brush and soap) and toothbrushes (boar bristle). My major worry is that the acceleration of a high-tech society will deteriorate when we completely distance ourselves from a low-tech world that requires--or allows--us to use things we understand, as simple as a toothbrush made of materials not produced in a lab or as complex as the baking of bread and how an egg affects the texture. After that, innovation becomes difficult and the general population atrophies due to inability to deal with the world with more than a caveman's level of understanding of anything we touch--who here knows how electric toothbrushes magically charge? Are there any philosophers or social scientists out there already considering the question of Peak Technology?"

Journals

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What really causes global warming?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 4 years ago In trying to solve the world's energy problems on the back of a napkin (see blog), I think I figured this global warming thing out. Mind you, I don't believe in human-caused global warming; but this one's a little more generalized. Basically, the sun and the earth are the same; the earth's a lot dimmer, but it radiates thermal energy out into the universe, and has struck an equilibrium with input (from the sun) versus output. Plants store thermal energy; bacteria and animals eat plants and release thermal energy. Well, every machine running on electricity also releases thermal energy. Whether we burn biofuels or throw up solar panels, we're absorbing energy from the sun that's normally reflected wholesale back to space and/or releasing it faster into the ambient environment than useful (i.e. burning plants in 30 seconds, rather than letting them decay in 3 months). With all the extra absorbed and wholesale-released heat, the equilibrium point shifts upwards, and the earth maintains a higher temperature-- it gets hotter! It gets hotter with every man, animal, and machine that walks the surface of this damn planet!

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Dynamic story rating?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Having a simple idea, I figured I'd write it into the journal as a first usage; and why not let them post it as a story too if they want? Anyway, the basic idea: users ranking stories, users accepting rankings. Why let armchair security experts and self-described IT experts rate your stories? Why not pick the users your think have a clue and only count their votes? Read on to see how this fleshes out in my mind.

The premise for this idea is that some Slashdot stories are good, some are bad, and some come from armchair experts who know nothing and can hype a good but inaccurate and relatively useless pile of FUD. The editors are not experts on everything either, and have let a few FUDs through in the past under the guise of breaking news. At the same time, we can't rely on armchair warriors to tell us whether or not stories are good.

The solution I've come up with is simple. Stories are rated by any user wishing to cast a rating. Users select other users they believe are knowledgeable, selecting which topics they believe the users are knowledgeable in. Each user then sees a story with a rating computed based on the opinions of users he's decided understand what they're talking about; other users are discarded.

At the simplest level, a user has other users he believes understand a topic. A more robust solution is also possible where users can go a certain depth into a web of trust. In order to accomplish this, the user sets whether or not he trusts those knowledgeable users to also recognize other knowledgeable users, and thus considers those users that the knowledgeable user considers knowledgeable as knowledgeable as well.

This trust model can be set to a specific depth, where this evaluation is followed down 1, 2, 5, or 10 steps deep. A full depth evaluation would also be possible; however it would require caching and triggering on modification of the full depth with loop detection, otherwise it would be very slow. Even with caching, a lack of loop detection will allow the system an easy route to an infinite loop. A mandatory maximum depth will prevent this, but will still bring the system to its knees for a short time.

Loop detection is important to avoid a DoS for anything more than even 1 step deep; 3000 users with all of each other trusted will otherwise cause the second step of evaluation to pass through 6,000,000 nodes, fully evaluating each node 3000 times. Simple loop detection will check if the node has been evaluated yet, and skip it if so.

Caching on changes may be the most CPU effective solution, where when any user changes his settings the changes are applied upwards through those users that depend on that setting, to avoid on-the-fly evaluation. On-the-fly evaluation may reach the 9000-node-evaluation problem at only a few steps, where users may trust 30 users who each trust 30 users, giving 9000 total users; building this list at each page view would be too expensive.

As a final measure, some users may just want to know what "the experts" think is hot. This is a low hanging fruit problem; users can simply allow the top 100 most popular, top 5%, or users accepted directly by over 1000 or 1% of Slashdot users in each topic. These selections would not be counted in these statistics; only users directly accepting individual users as knowledgeable would count. In this way, users can pull in ratings based on the users other users think are smart.

I believe this system would be useful in allowing users to weed out useless headlines and promote useful headlines because it would allow users control over who they are relying on to judge the articles. Those users not thought capable of making useful decisions are ignored in this system, giving every Slashdot user a personalized rating. Most appreciated Slashdot users are publicly known, allowing users to blanket accept the most knowledgeable users per topic. This should allow users to customize their Slashdot experience with high quality ratings of a personal value.

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