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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

cyberfunkr Re:X-Files vs. Bab-5 - ouch! (476 comments)

Which would have been useful if her[Troi's] powers were used or well defined enough. Instead each writer for the show went his or her on way. Does telepathy work through a video screen? Depends on which episode of TNG you watch. At least the writers realized they were being idiots by the later seasons and stopped doing that stuff.

I agree, Troi's powers seemed to morph every episode. She can sense emotion, unless she can't. She knows when people are lying, except when they are good at it. She can read minds, unless the plot would be cut short. She can talk to people telepathically, but only if they can talk back.

The biggest blunder of her was probably during the best show of the series, "Darmok and Jalad". They encounter an alien race that essentially talks in metaphor. The only people who should be confused would be people that don't know the back story and just hear words. The whole point of the language is to invoke imagery. So unless her only skill is to see the words that someone says printed in their brain, as if reading a book, then any one of her previous skills would have helped defuse the whole thing.

3 days ago

Mathematical Model of Zombie Epidemics Reveals Two Types of Living-Dead Strains

cyberfunkr They forgot the "The Last of Us" method (163 comments)

They list only two method of virus spread, but seem to leave out a third; zombification/infection by both blood AND by latent, airborne contact.

**This will be kinda spoilery, but mostly open knowledge.**

In this model, "zombies" are created not just by blood contact, but by an airborne pathogen. So the initial wave of zombies were created due to a spore/fungus. One that was based on a real fungus so I would think that would rank even higher than say, "Shuan of the Dead".

So the ways to contract this "disease" are many:
1) The typical bite, scratch, splatter, etc due to blood contact
2) The fungus/spore that started the whole thing existing in the wild
3) Those infected, once they reach a specific point, either by the host being used up by the fungus, or by some external death, create a landmine for an airborne version

That third point is very important. Generally, once you "kill" a zombie, the threat is neutralized. Just kick 'em to the curb and burn when you get a chance. However in this model the corpse is still a carrier and must be handled and disposed of carefully to prevent new contamination. Once the fungus reaches a point where the host body no longer sustains it, it starts releasing spores which can infect any passer-by. So even though you stopped the horde today, tomorrow the battlefield can become one giant infectious cloud.

Which means that while the population takes up arms to stop the physically attacking bodies, you need to dedicate a large percentage of the population for waste disposal. You're not going to be an effective fighter wearing a hazmat suit so the two groups should not mix. This depletes the number of people "fighting the disease" which may allow for greater rates of infection.

about a year ago

1.2% of Apps On Google Play Are Repackaged To Deliver Ads, Collect Info

cyberfunkr Re:All or nothing approach is silly (131 comments)

The main problem of this is the developer now has the onus of describing to the user exactly WHY they really need that functionality within the app, and put in warnings and error screens if the user decides to turn off/disallow access. This adds a huge amount of bulk/overhead to even the simplest of apps.

What happens if a photo editing software is denied access to your camera and/or saved photos? It appears broken so the developer gets negative reviews. This is an obvious example, but there could be more hidden rationals in other apps.

- Your ToDo app wants to use the GPS so it can remind you when you are at a location to fulfill a task.
- Your calendar needs your contact list to send out invitations.
- Your game needs to access your camera to use VR or adjust the lighting.

You end up with every app giving a series of popups asking for permissions that may or may not make sense. And if there is one thing we've learned, it's that when constantly bogged down with warning popups, people start ignoring them and just click "Yes" for everything making the whole security aspect moot.

I'd rather see on the app store product page a listing of, "Here are the permissions this app requires, and here is the explanation for why it needs it." Then I can choose BEFORE I EVEN DOWNLOAD the app if I feel safe. Now, they could still be lying through their virtual teeth, but at least I have the foreknowledge to ponder why this app that is supposed to teach me about the stars needs my contact list and access to Facebook.

about a year ago

Withhold Passwords From Your Employer, Go To Jail?

cyberfunkr Businesses need to learn how to kill employees (599 comments)

Not actually kill them, but get in the mind set of a will; What would I do if Employee X died tonight?

I have a will, so if I die, there are instructions so that life can continue without me; how money is to be handled, where important documents are stored, and the top-level password to the password manager program. The same needs to be always thought of in regards to employees. How would the business carry on if someone was no longer an employee tomorrow; both long term AND short term. (Death, disability, family emergency, quit, kidnapping, blow-to-the-head induced amnesia, etc)

- What duties do they perform and who can we use as a backup?
- What information do they have that we'd need to keep things running?
- If a parasite crawled in their ear and they went rogue, who and how could we isolate them to prevent further damage?

You get the idea.

about a year ago

Obama's Privacy Reform Panel Will Report To ... the NSA

cyberfunkr Re:Arguably lied? (569 comments)

In other words, change the line of questioning from binary to quantifiable.

Not, "Is Linux open source?", but "What percentage of Linux do you consider open source?"

Not, "Did you have sexual relations with that woman?", but "What parts of your body have been in physical contact with that woman?"

Not, "Do you kick puppies?", but "Over the last two year, are you kicking more, less, or about the same amount of puppies?"

about a year and a half ago

Stop Fixing All Security Vulnerabilities, Say B-Sides Security Presenters

cyberfunkr As my old boss used to say.... (88 comments)

"First you go through all the bugs we know--then you work on the bugs we don't know."

about a year and a half ago

Automated Plate Readers Let Police Collect Millions of Records On Drivers

cyberfunkr Re:public? (276 comments)

Because the DMV doesn't know where you've been, or where you're heading.

Park a plate-recorder van near the entrance/exit of the local gun show. One in the parking structure near a rally. A couple at select places of worship around town. You get the idea.

Now cross reference that data with border checkpoints, HOV lanes, and other public traffic cameras.

Instant, no-effort, and of course infallible watch-list.

about a year and a half ago

Hacker Releases 1.7TB Treasure Trove of Gaming Info

cyberfunkr Re:Encrypted blob (293 comments)

Remember, this is encrypted, not compressed.

I run a small-sized website. Not including graphics, I have almost 40MB of data.
Heavily commented source
Archives of old, or out-dated source
Upgrade scripts
API information
DOC files
UI examples

It doesn't take that long to build up data now a days.

about a year and a half ago

PayPal Denies Teen Reward For Finding Bug

cyberfunkr Re:Where's the story? (318 comments)

Dammit! You're spoiling all the wild conjecture, conspiracy theories, and bandwagon-jumpers fun by adding facts and basic reading comprehension skills.

What's next? Emailing Reddit users links to Strunk and White's Elements of Style?

about a year and a half ago

Lenovo To Drop Iomega Brand On Joint EMC Products

cyberfunkr Re:Seems reasonable (58 comments)

I don't know why they ever bought into the name in the first place. I never had any of the drives that exhibited the dreaded "click of death", but once I was foolish enough to buy a CD-RW drive made by someone else but in an Iomega box. It had problems from day 1. I later learned that the manufacturer had firmware updates for their version that fixed the problems, but even years later there were never firmware fixes offered for the Iomega version of the drive. First and last thing with the Iomega name on it that I'll ever buy.

Um... so... wait, I got lost somewhere in there. Are you saying you didn't ever use a Zip Drive and are talking out of your ass in the first bolded part, or that you're using overconfident and demonstrably false terms to try to impress us with your disdain for Iomega, meaning you're still talking out of your ass in the second bolded part?

I say the whole thing is BS. Let's break this down...

I never had any of the drives that exhibited the dreaded "click of death" - implies that he's owned more than one zip/jaz drive.
but once I was foolish enough to buy a CD-RW drive made by someone else but in an Iomega box - so he got a Mitsubishi or other OEM drive that happened to have an Iomega face plate? In that case he should be bitching about the OEM manufacturer. Or does he really mean just the "box", as in, it's a TEAC drive, but the cardboard box said Iomega and you said, "Seems legit"? In which case, you should really be bitching about TEAC.
I later learned that the manufacturer had firmware updates for their version - So there was a fix for the hardware
but even years later there were never firmware fixes offered for the Iomega version - But since the "box" said Iomega, he waited until Iomega said go. Unknown if he tried the drivers of "someone else".
First and last thing with the Iomega name on it that I'll ever buy. - Because the box it comes in is all that matters.

Nope... doesn't add up.

Personally, I've owned and used the parallel version of zip and it worked great on both Mac and PC. Installed a few IDE versions of the zip and they worked like a charm too. Recently had to fire up a system with the internal zip, and out of 10 disks I tried reading, only one failed to be read. And it's possible that that disk was a left over Mac format.

I miss the old zip disks but they didn't scale, weren't as portable, and cost more than the up-and-coming USB flash disks.

about a year and a half ago

No Such Thing As a Tax-Free Lunch At Google?

cyberfunkr Re:slow news day? (631 comments)

So anything that benefits me is 'income' and therefore taxable? What kind of strawman thinking is that?

I get Vitamin D benefit from the sun - not income
I get oxygen benefit from the trees - not income
I get psychological benefit from people smiling at me - not income
I get the benefit of time and enhanced productivity when people hold open the door for me - not income
I get nutritional benefit when I buy lunch - not only not income, but an expense!
I listen to a CD a friend let me borrow to help me relax - not only not income, but a possible fine of up to $22,000 and jail time!

Just because you get something out of it, doesn't make it an income.

about 2 years ago

Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns

cyberfunkr Re:Better answer (572 comments)

"Hi, this is the Microsoft Vacuum Inspection Division. I see you're trying to turn on your vacuum. Let me just double check to make sure everything is in order."

"Oh? That's cool. So you're looking for defects, making sure that my device is going to give me a great experience?"

"Ah... yeah... no. That's not what we do."

"Oh. Well then you're going to double check the settings to make sure that I'm not using the wood floor setting on my shag rug, right?"

"Not so much."

"Are you at least going to make sure that the filter is installed correctly and warn me that it needs replacing?"

"No, but we will make sure that you're using official Microsoft Filters. Use of any other brand will void your warranty and cause the vacuum to overheat and burn a red ring into your carpet."

"I see. Well, speaking of carpet, I had to change out the wheels because the default wheels keep getting snagged on my rug. But I figure, I'm only vacuuming my own rug so it's no big deal."

"Oh? Is that so? Guess we're done here."

"Thanks for stopping by! Time to get back to... Hey... How come my vacuum doesn't work any more? I can turn it on, but nothing is getting clean."

"Since you modified the vacuum, that would give an unfair advantage to your abilities, so we had to stop you from using your vacuum."

"Unfair advantage? I'm cleaning my house. My own house! What does that give me an advantage over?"

"I'm sorry but we need to make sure that all customers of the SuckBox 720 have the same experience. Allowing you to use yours would cause problems if you ever vacuumed with your friends."

"Vacuumed with..? You really think I'm going to bring this to a friends house and have a race of who can do suck dirt better?"

"Sorry, but your vacuum is equipped with an Always-On Dirt Regulator Mechanism to prevent tampering so Microsoft can monitor vacuums to make sure no one is cheating or trying to give a bad experience to other owners."

"How do I cheat at vacuuming? And it's just MY OWN F'N CARPET! Who cares how I do it? Fine. I'll put the old wheels back."

"Sorry. But your vacuum has been marked as banned and will never work on our system again. If you wish to purchase a new vacuum, we will allow you get back on-line. However, we also flagged your registration information, and the credit card used to buy the vacuum. You'll have to register under a different name and use a different credit card or your new vacuum will be deactivated also."

"Hello, big name electronics store? I'd like to order a DysonStation 4..."

about 2 years ago

How To Sneak Into the Super Bowl With Social Engineering

cyberfunkr Re:hmmmm (164 comments)

Not necessarily. Sometimes social engineering takes advantage of people's assumptions. If you wear a printer servicing uniform and people assume that you're there to fix a printer, are you lying or deceiving them? I'd posit that their assumptions are incorrect and you're not deceiving them unless you're challenged and you start lying.

Bullshit, of course you're deceiving them. You cannot expect normal human beings to question all their assumptions 24/7. Every time you blinked you'd have to prove to yourself that the whole universe hadn't just been switched off and then instantaneously recreated itself.

True story, I once walked into an Apple store wearing a blue shirt.
As luck would have it - it looked pretty damn close to the blue shirts that all the "Geniuses" were wearing that day.
Once inside the store, I was bombarded by a constant stream of people asking me technical questions - which it just so happens that I'm good at answering! ^_^

I didn't deliberately choose to wear a blue shirt that day - it was just the luck of the draw.
Did I deceive anyone in this case??

Social engineering can take on many forms.

Yes, yes you are deceiving people.

Someone comes in and says, "I need help with this." They are assuming that you are an Apple employee, and since you did not correct them, and you KNEW, or at least had a pretty reasonable certainty that they considered you an employee, you are deceiving them.

Now imagine the advice you gave backfired. The customer comes back and says, "Your genius said I should do this, and now my device is bricked. I demand a new one!" After someone back and forth they discover that you were not an employee, but your attire and your attitude convinced them you were. And since the customer did something that bricked the device, and it was not under the advice of a true Apple employee, the warranty is void. Or at the very least, Apple is off the hook and can choose whether or not to fix the problem.

It would have been simple to say, "Yes, I can try helping you with the problem. But just for the record, I am not an Apple Genius," for the sake of clarity and remove any possibility of deception.

about 2 years ago

When 1 GB Is Really 0.9313 Gigabytes

cyberfunkr Re:Not this again. (618 comments)

There is no big grand conspiracy of evil marketing people versus the grand world of computer people.

1G = 10^9 in every area.

1Gbit/s = 1e9 bits per second (noone complains)
1GHz = 1e9 cycles per second (noone complains)
1GT/s = 1e9 transfers per second (noone complaines)
1GB = 1e9 bytes (oh the horror! the evil marketing oh woe woe woe)

The difference is simple; everything else the consumer takes on faith, but the hard drive is something quantifiable. No one is going to use an oscilloscope to double check the speed of the CPU. Nor can can they exactly check the throughput to be exactly 1GB as the numbers flux enough to cover the difference. Even memory is always abstracted enough that people can never be sure what the exact count is.

But any one can check the properties of a hard drive and see that what was labeled as 1GB is really 1GiB. As noted in someone else's post, once you start reaching Gigas, Teras, and Petas, the percent difference between the two scales is quite noticeable.

That's why woe--I can "see" the difference in this format.

about 2 years ago

When 1 GB Is Really 0.9313 Gigabytes

cyberfunkr Re:Even worse! (618 comments)

timothy should get fired

You can't fire him. He's a 5-line perl script. All you can do is file bug reports.

Since the article is all about counting and picking nits.. Do you mean 5 lines as in 5 statements/commands, or 5 lines as in a script with 5 carriage returns/line feeds? Or should this be tomorrows article?

about 2 years ago

Three Low-Tech Hacks for Phones and Tablets

cyberfunkr So let's get this straight... (286 comments)

"Hack" #1: So that I'm not tethered to a wall outlet, or go off the grid, I stay up late so I can manually swap out batteries and wear out the plastic clips that holds them in. Assuming I own a phone that has changeable batteries.
Better solution #1: Buy a universal external battery charger which is usually a small box that can easily fit in your pocket with a 9-volt battery and a charging cable.

"Hack" #2: Empty an entire bookcase of books, buy a bulky and expensive holding bracket, and jury-rig the whole thing together just so I can watch a movie that I may or may not even enjoy. But at least I put some of those books to good use as a counter-balance. Although I hope I don't sit up quickly in bed and headbutt my expensive tablet.
Better solution #2a: Read one of the books on my bookcase. When tired, or when I have stopped enjoying it, put it down. Plus now I can get out of bed much easier.
Better solution #2b: If I really need to watch movies at night, but a $20 goose-neck lamp and use some bent coat hangers to suspend the tablet. Or if I don't like the movie, take the coat hanger bracket off, and use the lamp to be a bedside lamp so I can read a book. See #2a.

"Hack" #3: Buy milk crates (hey another place I can put all those books I displaced and don't read), and attach failed device from "Hack" #2.
Better solution #3a: Use a portable music player and listen to music or listen to an audio book.
Better solution #3b: Using a bungee cord and a decorative plate holder, and place the tablet over the console. You don't really need to watch the clock.
Better solution #3c: Buy a sheet music holder (under $40 for even an expensive one) and place it just in from of the elliptical. It collapses down much more compact than 4-5 milk crates.

about 2 years ago

What Are the Unwritten Rules of Deleting Code?

cyberfunkr Comment out for a while then delete, usually (384 comments)

Depending on what is being deleted, I flip-flop back and forth between commenting out chunks for a revision or two and then deleting, and just deleting. For small sections, I tend to just straight delete. In rare circumstances I'll delete but replace the code with a comment like "Used to do X here, but now it's covered by Y" but only until Y becomes the standard and then those tend to drop off.

For larger sections or whole functions I tend to comment out first until I'm sure the new code is working then deleting it. There are a few reasons behind this:
1) There is an advantage to having the old code instantly available (no diffs, no downloading to a separate directory, etc) to make sure that all the functionality that was previous there is still in the new code. It's very nice to go back and look when the new code isn't working right to flow through the old code and see what's missing. "Oh, we used to set this flag, but when I optimized I did away with it. Apparently, someone is using it much later in the code. Guess I need to put it back." *

2) There is a standard of, when creating new database functions (a new table), that there be a set of default functions; Create the table, Load Defaults (if applicable), Insert a record, Update a record, Load a record, and Delete a record. But as time goes by developers may create more specialized versions of these functions (JOINing other key tables, for example). More updates and soon no one is using the regular functions as the specialized ones work for what they need and then some. So if I see a function not being used any more I comment it out saying, "Deprecated; try using FunctionName() instead." If nothing breaks immediately, and no one complains for a few revisions, the extra functions go away.

* The better, but not real-world, solution would be contact whoever maintains the code that used the flag and see if we can they can update/optimize the code to work without the flag.

about 2 years ago

Adobe EULA Demands 7000 Years a Day From Humankind

cyberfunkr But how long is that in.... (224 comments)

But how long is that in parsecs?

Seriously. If it takes me 10 minutes to read and understand it, then it take me 10 minutes to read and understand it. The fact that millions of other people are doing the same thing holds no value other than Adobe is wasting our time.

To watch (and understand?) an episode of Seinfeld takes 22 minutes. There were 180 episodes. With a made up average of 50 million people watched those episodes. That means that I'm creating a really big number but with no actual value other than all of humanity wasted a lot of time watching "nothing" and as I type this you should be reading it in a louder and louder, more excited voice until I finally end the sentence where I'm practically yelling in an effort to make this seem important!

If it takes one woman 9 months to have a baby, it still doesn't take 1 month for 9 women to have a baby. Move along folks... Bad math in the house.

more than 2 years ago


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