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China's Radical New Space Drive

ghostdoc Re:Primitive and woefully inadequate (419 comments)

I'm fascinated by your theory, but you provide no reasoning apart from simple assertion for any of the claims you make, and your explanation suddenly cuts off before you finish it 'for reasons that you're not prepared to explain'

Can you provide a single reason why anyone should take anything you say seriously?

Otherwise... good troll, that's 10 minutes of my life I'm never getting back

about a year and a half ago

Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?

ghostdoc Re:Prototyping (432 comments)

I'm trying the other approach... I've been coding for >30 years and now I've almost finished my MBA.

And yes, agile done properly is good. Agile as an excuse to not spec or plan the project is bad.

Any analogy that compares writing code with building houses is plain misguided unless it points out how one is creative and non-deterministic and the other is very deterministic. The reason you can write good quality code with no spec is automated testing: you can come back to a piece of quality code ten years later and change it easily if it has a comprehensive test suite. If not, then you'll need a spec.

about a year and a half ago

Automation Is Making Unions Irrelevant

ghostdoc Re:Title is misleading (510 comments)

If we are compassionate, we can give the displaced workers opportunities to learn new skills.

As we move towards a post scarcity society some questions are raised that can only be answered by something closely resembling central wealth redistribution. Not full blown communism but the guarantee of a reasonable standard of living for everyone, with the opportunity to get more if you want to. Much of Europe is basically operating on this principle at the moment, and as time passes I feel we'll see a higher standard emerge.

No, and I mean NO! because central wealth distribution has been shown time and again to disincentivise people from actually doing something useful with their lives. If you earn enough from benefits, and your benefits reduce if you work/produce value, then why do anything useful? And Benefit Dependency is a really nasty pernicious place to be in.

As such, it's pretty much essential that we focus on figuring out how best to help people learn and reach their potential.

Yes! Education has to change. We have to stop emphasising rote learning, obedience, testing, conformity, all that shit that creates good little worker drones, and reinvent true education. Luckily there are huge leaps being made in online education at the moment, so being able to provide everyone with a better education is going to be easier and cheaper. Hopefully we'll move away from the school system too, and integrate child education back into our work life and home life.

about 2 years ago

US House Votes 397-0 To Oppose UN Control of the Internet

ghostdoc Re:Republicans hate the UN (297 comments)

Russia and china would both agree to such a thing and the majority would overall anyone else.

Wow, what a deep and hilarious fount of ignorance you've discovered there....

Russia has a major problem with Islam, because it is neighbours with a bunch of increasingly militant muslim-majority "stan" countries and has a very sizeable muslim minority.

So no, Russia won't support that measure.

Likewise, China is not a fan of religion in government, which Islam really thinks is a good thing, so China is not going to be too happy about muslim Sharia lawyers arresting their citizens either.

about 2 years ago

New 25-GPU Monster Devours Strong Passwords In Minutes

ghostdoc Re:crap system is proven to be crap (330 comments)

It's an interesting problem, and one that's been with us for a very long time. How do I prove to you that I am who I say I am and not an imposter?

It can't be something that I know, because as computing power increases the cost of attempting all possible known things reduces to the point of futility

It can't be something that I possess, because then you're just confirming that I possess something, not that I am someone.

If it's biometric then it had better be capable of detecting when the thing it's measuring has been detached from the owner or we're all in a lot of trouble (and how do you measure fingerprints on someone born with no hands? or the retina prints of someone who's lost their eyes? And DNA is apparently not unique as currently analysed)

Maybe we can do brain scans soon and produce a simple USB hat that measures responses to a displayed image... but that seems like an awful lot of bandwidth for a simple login request.

Maybe we accept that we can't be uniquely identified, and live in a world where we accept a certain amount of fraud as the cost of that. It seems to be the solution so far... so I can go back to having three pretty weak passwords for all my logins and accept the consequence will be that I'll get impersonated sooner or later. I think I can live with that.

about 2 years ago

New 25-GPU Monster Devours Strong Passwords In Minutes

ghostdoc Re:crap system is proven to be crap (330 comments)

I don't know about you, but I cannot remember a unique 14-character fully-random password for each site and service I have an account at.

This is what I mean by 'crap system'. It all works fine if you assume that people are capable of things that they aren't capable of. From a cryptographic point of view I fully and completely understand that passwords are not broken, because you can always extend the password length to increase the required time to break them.

However, from a computer system point of view this ability to break weak passwords quickly and cheaply means that the password system is broken, because an essential component of the password system is the human brain required to store the passwords, which is incapable of storing passwords of sufficient entropy to remain secure.

So, crap system is proven to be crap, can we please move on to something that takes the human brain into account?

about 2 years ago

New 25-GPU Monster Devours Strong Passwords In Minutes

ghostdoc crap system is proven to be crap (330 comments)

So now that passwords as a system is officially broken, can we please move on to something better? Something that wasn't invented to allow soldiers standing watch in the middle of the night to tell their mates from their enemies, but is actually designed for computers?

And no, of course I don't have any better ideas... this is /. and I'm here to pointlessly criticise!

about 2 years ago

ITU Approves Deep Packet Inspection

ghostdoc Re:fucking politicians... (152 comments)

Except this is not politicians making these deals. It's unelected bureaucrats, effectively outside the control of the politicians because a senior bureaucrat can do a lot more damage to a politician's career than the other way around.

You don't vote for these people, so they don't care about your opinion.

The treaty they come up with will need to be ratified by each country's politicians, but it'll either go through unannounced and unremarked, or there'll be a convincing 'If you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear' campaign to lull the moron majority into complacence.

I hate to sound defeatist on this, but we are going to have to start building darknets if we want truly free communication in the future.

about 2 years ago

GOG: How an Indie Game Store Took On the Pirates and Won

ghostdoc Re:Dropping DRM is a step in the right direction (397 comments)

hmmm, I think you're jumping to conclusions here. The AC didn't say 'steal', they said 'find other ways to get it'.

Let's say you produce an action game. It's based on the principles of lots of other action games. You decide that ten years of your life is worth $1000 per copy, so sell it at that.
A lot of people really like your game, but $1000 per game is too expensive for them to buy it. So a few of them get together and make a copy of your game. It's got the same gameplay elements that they liked in your game, but uses different art and a new engine. They sell this version of the game for $10.
People will probably buy their version rather than your version. The price for the product you spent all that time building is now $10, not $1000.

My point is that markets set prices, not producers. And markets need competition in order to function. If you're in a monopolistic position by being the only producer of something, then the market will find a way to introduce competition. Piracy is the way the games market is introducing competition.
Eliminating piracy is a matter of providing multiple methods of obtaining your product at multiple price points, not attempting to break the market by creating a monopoly through DRM.

So while a pirate may be a thief, that may be the more moral position than being a monopolist.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant?

ghostdoc Re:Hey Guys (547 comments)

Same for physical DVD rental. Target those who don't just want to watch a film, but those who want to have a real life experience around it. Hold the equivalent of a book club, promote one DVD a week that all your members can rent for, say, 1 penny, then hold a weekly get-together to discuss the film. Promote the art-house side of things, quirky foreign films, all the things that are tucked away on the NetFlix submenus. Hell, why not, hold a singles evening once a month, there's plenty of single film nerds out there.


Any business model based around filling physical media with information and selling it is borked (so DVD/BluRay, books, CDs, newspapers, magazines, encylopedias, etc).

Your friend has somehow got to provide a physical/real-world experience that makes it worth coming to the store, and then work out how to monetise that (to avoid being the place where people go to talk about the films they streamed from Netflix this week). Retail is going through the same struggle, how to avoid becoming "Amazon's Showroom" so there are lots of people thinking about this at the moment.

But a good start would be to ask the existing customer base why they still use the store. Using that feedback it should be possible to work out what they have in common and thus identify the target market for the store.

The mistake would be to think that the business model is about renting movies. If the business is going to survive it has to become about providing a service that people will rent a movie to experience.

about 2 years ago

Indian School Textbook Says Meat-Eaters Lie and Commit Sex Crimes

ghostdoc Re:PETA agrees! (409 comments)

There's effectively no difference. They're all 3 based on the same central (and false) premise, and differ only in the window dressing.

What premise is that?

that there is only one God. Only those three religions follow that premise.

about 2 years ago

Wayback Machine Trumps FOI Tribunal

ghostdoc Re:Must be nice (401 comments)

The BBC abandoned impartial coverage of climate change, deliberately and publicly, as a result of this meeting, citing the opinions of the experts present at this meeting as sufficient justification.

I think the public has a right to know what experts were there so that they can judge the weight of their opinions and therefore the BBC's justification for abandoning journalistic impartiality.

The BBC disagreed and spent a significant amount of public money attempting to avoid the FOI request. Considering the almost complete lack of actual climate scientists at the meeting, and the high proportion of green activists and other interested parties, I don't blame them.

about 2 years ago

Wayback Machine Trumps FOI Tribunal

ghostdoc Re:Must be nice (401 comments)

Who enforces the collection?

It's a criminal offence to use a television without a licence in the UK, so it's ultimately enforced by the police if you refuse to pay it.

about 2 years ago

Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

ghostdoc Re:Good time to move on. (417 comments)

I really hope you're trolling...

Windows 8 is going to be a buggy flop because MS OS's alternate between buggy innovative flops and boring stable usable systems. The upgrade path is clearly Win3.1 - > Win98/NT -> XP -> Win7 -> Win9 (which will be released in about a year in two versions: one for tablets with the Interface Formerly Known As Metro, one for desktop/laptop with the standard Windows interface)
This is known...

about 2 years ago

Climate Change Could Drive Coffee To Extinction By 2080

ghostdoc Re:MWP (345 comments)

nope we haven't actually. Get some facts

about 2 years ago

Climate Change Could Drive Coffee To Extinction By 2080

ghostdoc MWP (345 comments)

It was warmer during the Medieval Warm Period. Coffee didn't die out. I call bullshit.

about 2 years ago

New Technology May Cut Risk of Giving Syrian Rebels Stinger Missiles

ghostdoc So the US is choosing sides in a civil war now? (279 comments)

Surely these are terrorists fighting against their legitimate government (as much as they are also freedom fighters attempting to liberate themselves from a dictatorship anyway)?

If this decision was being made purely on political grounds (Syria is currently a Russian ally, so arming rebels = cutting down Russian power) then that's all fine, but the Cold War is apparently over and everyone's friendly now and we're supposed to be making these decisions on moral grounds these days.

How come the US can decide that it would like to arm terrorists and not become a terrorist-sponsoring rogue state?

about 2 years ago

Physicist Explains Cthulhu's "Non-Euclidean Geometry"

ghostdoc Re:Hurricane Sandy is alarmism? (179 comments)

shush now... I was merely attempting to balance a predominantly 'PC' representation of our current worldview with a balanced counter-opinion. I'm actually climate-agnostic these days.

and if that's the one thing you picked up on from the points I raised, then, yes, it's clearly the frontrunner candidate for being something that future generations will dispute and/or laugh at us for.

about 2 years ago

Physicist Explains Cthulhu's "Non-Euclidean Geometry"

ghostdoc Re:So it's a Sci-Fi? (179 comments)

agree completely.

We live in an 'enlightened' age where we realise that racism is a bad thing. But we subscribe to plenty of other virulent irrational hatreds (according to another age's moral viewpoint). How would we feel if the best and brightest of our generation were discarded from future history books for being religious, or disagreeing with homosexual marriage, or eating meat, or supporting climate alarmism, or driving cars, or any one of a hundred other things that we consider normal now?

Our current views are incomprehensible to an educated person of 200 years ago. An educated person of 200 year's time will probably find our current worldview primitive beyond belief.

Hesitate to judge, lest ye be judged in turn. Appreciate the genius of Lovecraft's writing and ignore his irrational prejudices.

about 2 years ago

Valve: Linux Better Than Windows 8 for Gaming

ghostdoc Re:no more donuts for Gabe... (768 comments)

can't use OS X without buying an overpriced piece of crap from Apple.

can't use Windows (from 8 onwards) without buying all my software from Microsoft

so.... yeah... let's use the open operating system with a proprietary DRM system and see that as a step forwards...

about 2 years ago


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