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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

gnoshi 99.99%, eh? (600 comments)

Depending on the ratio of illegal/inappropriate discharges of firearms vs valid defensive discharges of firearms, it may be that the one-in-ten-thousand failure to fire actually *reduces* murder and assault rates.

about a month ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

gnoshi Re:Reliability is key. (600 comments)

That's not really relevant in this context. In order to bypass the iPhone fingerprint lock, they need a clean print, a good photograph of that print, and a bit of time. It is easier to just go and buy a gun than to go through that process, if you've got the time to mess around doing such things.

In contrast, this is useful when someone else has just picked up your gun and you *really* don't want them to be able to fire it.

about a month ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

gnoshi Re: Anthropometrics (819 comments)

I'm looking forward to the next change when speakers start piping in the wailing of the dying into the economy section, and if you don't want to listen to the wailing then you should be paying for the 'economy plus', which has mysteriously increased to include half the seats from the old 'economy' section. Maybe just remove the cushions and have 'economy' sitting on planks of wood, with a full inch of open-cell foam in the 'economy plus' section and perhaps an extra $5 for each additional inch of foam.

about a month and a half ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

gnoshi Re:Just proves the point (1262 comments)

Yes. You substituted a sex-specific characteristic for a non-sex-specific characteristic. Bravo.

about 2 months ago
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Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code

gnoshi Re:Breaking things is how we learn (116 comments)

Indeed. Detection of 'struggling' (or should we call it 'cognitive challenge' in this context) provides an excellent opportunity to have another developer head over and for them both to work on the problem, reducing the likelihood of bugs and design errors and potentially providing skills improvement for both people which the company then benefits from.

If someone is consistently struggling when working on basic tasks, it may be that the person isn't suitable for the role (and some people really aren't) but if you never provide challenges you'll explode the first time a really big challenge arises.

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code

gnoshi Re:This is offensive (89 comments)

They are saying developers are the source of bugs (mistakes?), but not in the way you are suggesting. Developers are the source of bugs in that they write the code which includes the bug, and so it is not particularly surprising that you can read biometrics that indicate when developers are likely to produce code with bugs.
For example, if the developer hasn't slept in two days and so has saggy eyes and wildly drifting eye movement then that's a pretty good indicator that there will be some bugs, and indeed the developer is the source of the bugs because they are the source of the code.
Of course, the manager standing over their shoulder with an unreasonable product release deadline and the threat of job loss is probably responsible for the bugs in any reasonable sense.

Analogy time:
If someone is driving a car wearing a blindfold and crashes, they crashed the car. The person who put the blindfold on, held the gun to their head, and said 'drive' is probably responsible for the crash by any reasonable definition.

In summary: I don't necessarily think it is offensive to say that bugs are coded by developers, because they are. However, it is offensive to say that they are responsible for the bugs without taking into account the broader context in which they are working (and indeed, saying they are responsible for the bugs still doesn't necessarily mean that they are in some way wrong or deficient for entering a bug. People - even brilliant people - can and do make mistakes, and that is why review processes do (or should) exist.

about 3 months ago
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New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

gnoshi Re:Broken permissions (249 comments)

"I don't recommend taking any money" said the man as he walked away from the pile of cash he had left on the street.

about 4 months ago
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New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

gnoshi Re: How is this a good idea? (249 comments)

Actually, I think the best way is to do it like both. List the permissions (in groups, sure, that's fine) so that users can decide not to install the torch app which requests permission to their contact list and text messages at all (because you can bet if it is doing that then when an exploit appears one day that developer will pounce) and then on-demand so users can choose whether an app should have permission to XYZ in context. Using Facebook: at one point its app grabbed your phone number and sent it to Facebook before you'd even logged in for the first time.
(For updates, I think it is insane not to require approval for permission changes within groups. 'Why yes, twitter, I know you only wanted to read my contacts and SMS but sure you can delete all my message, contacts, and calendar entries').

Ideally, I think having a default set of options (e.g. Allow or Ask) for permissions, and then at install time when the groups are being shown having the ability to choose to change them (for the more unusual users who want to do it at that point), and finally doing the iOS ask-in-context so that you can see that XYZ app only wants to look at your contacts when you click 'find friends using the service', not 8 seconds after installation and before you even have an account.

There are other issues too: e.g. how do you force an app to only be allowed to record audio or take images from the camera when in the foreground. It would be good to at least get the broad brush strokes right first, though.

about 4 months ago
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New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

gnoshi Re:Clarification (249 comments)

My understanding is that there is no separate 'group' permissions. If an app is granted a permission which falls within a group (e.g. read SMS) then an auto-update can add any other permission within that group without user notification (e.g. change all your text messages to read 'if you ever want to see your text messages again, sent 0.2BTC to xyz).

about 4 months ago
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Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down

gnoshi Re:Enough warning? (255 comments)

April 25th, from an article in a major newspaper..

The Victorian transport minister has warned off people from driving others around for a fee in their own car using a new "ride-sharing" feature in the smartphone app Uber.

"The TSC is currently investigating this practice and will take appropriate action if such activity is detected in Victoria," Mr Mulder's spokeswoman said. "All taxi and hire car drivers go through a rigorous accreditation process before they are allowed to drive a taxi or hire car – this is for both the safety of drivers and passengers.

On the face of it, Mr Samuel believed that Uber was not complying with the Victorian public transport legislation.
"If they are not complying with the law we'll prosecute," he said.
To comply, Mr Samuel said Uber would need to obtain a $40,000 private hire car licence for unlimited vehicles and have accredited drivers.

I'd say that was sufficient warning.

about 5 months ago
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Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down

gnoshi Re:Death sentence (255 comments)

People with a criminal record are statistically more likely to engage in criminal activity than people without a criminal record.
Putting background checks on everything would be a terrible idea, and treating all crimes as equivalent when performing background checks would be a pretty poor idea too. However, we can't pretend that having a criminal record doesn't have any predictive power either.

about 5 months ago
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Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down

gnoshi Re:Death sentence (255 comments)

You may have missed that Victoria is currently changing taxi regulation to increase the number of available licenses (so that you don't get price inflation due to rarity) and making it easier for people to provide pre-booked hire cars.
Look at:
Changes to hire cars
Victorian Taxis are changing for the better
These were off the back of the report by (Prof.) Allan Fels, previous head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

about 5 months ago
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London Police To Wear Video Cameras In Pilot Project

gnoshi Re:Can't turn them off? (152 comments)

One possible solution to the 'recording everything' issue is to encrypt things as they are recorded, and to require a representative from the police and a representative from a civil liberties organisation to provide keys in order to decrypt the video. That way, even constantly-recording video couldn't be used for wholesale surveillance (theoretically).

I imagine the intention is that video would only be viewed if a complaint was made or there was some contention about the events between a member of the public and the police so having a bit of an overhead for viewing the videos wouldn't be unreasonable (I don't think).

about 5 months ago
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Open Source Program To Give Voters More Active Role In Government

gnoshi Nice to see experiments in democracy (60 comments)

One of the challenges with any democratic system which has voluntary inclusion (e.g. optional voting) is that the voting constituents can be dominated by special interest groups. For example, a religious organisation with a sufficiently large following who are willing to follow the directions of leadership could sway a vote simply because there isn't an organised structure opposing them (so low voter turnout for an opposing position).
Another challenge is that if you have mandatory inclusion, then you can have people who are essentially uninformed on major issues (or worse yet, misinformed - although defining what is 'misinformed' in a challenge all its own) who are voting to determine an outcome. This can turn the entire process into a popularity contest where votes are won not by accurate information or genuine expert knowledge but rather by the most flashy campaigns or best scare tactics. An alternative outcome is that in the absence of good discussion on a topic, the outcome is 'tyranny of the majority' where widespread racism or other such 'isms' dominate.
Some possible interesting approaches could be things like 'citizen juries' where citizens are randomly selected (much like they would be for jury duty) and then are required to be involved in presentation of information on a particular topic and then vote on it. The challenge then becomes deciding how to choose what expert opinions to include or present, who presents, and so forth. Still, if it means there is a voting group for an issue who are not hugely affected by lobbying groups providing cash and threatening to withdraw support if certain things don't happen, maybe that would still be an improvement
Ultimately, getting people to engage is hard and the less people engage the poorer the outcomes will probably be from democracy, because the more poorly informed the decision making will be when choosing representatives (ignoring the question of who the representatives are actually representing).

All that said, it is great to see experiments with new models for democracy. Representative democracy made good sense when communication was limited, voting on issues was geographically challenging, and so on. Things have changed, and there are new challenges, but experimenting with ideas like these are a good start in the process of fumbling towards to a functional democracy.

about 5 months ago
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"Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

gnoshi Re:Gun nuts (1374 comments)

Oh, and:

As for the people you speak of? As long as they do not commit a felony, so what? The fear of any given law-abiding person owning a firearm is irrational at best.

Part of the problem is that the person may not have committed a felony until they shot you in the head. Every murder, at some point, wasn't a murderer.

about 6 months ago
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"Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

gnoshi Re:Gun nuts (1374 comments)

Neither parent said anything about restricting guns at all.
One said that 'gun nuts go ape shit at the slightest reason', which depending on your definition of 'gun nuts' can certainly be absolutely true. The main problem here is that people often define gun nuts as those people who go ape shit at something like this so it can become a circular definition. There is no avoiding that there are people who do go ape shit at the vaguest smell of the possibility of maybe adding safety features to guns even voluntarily.
The other said 'Why yes! Those kind of people sound *exactly* like the kind of people that should have guns!' which I don't think is unreasonable either. Of all the people who could have guns, those who would employ these sorts of standover tactics and threatening behaviour toward someone who has developed a safety-related technology for firearms are the kind of people who I am dubious about having guns.

All that aside, there are varying interpretations of the second amendment (mostly hinging around membership of a militia, so far as I can tell) so what you're presenting is an interpretation. It is the one that is generally recognised by law, though, so it seems fair to run wit that.
Also, some of the proposed laws (e.g. mandatory background checks on all gun sales, better auditing of gun sales and the associated background checks) are improved coverage of the 'obvious prohibitions' you don't seem to mind. That doesn't stop 'gun nuts going ape shit' about them.

There is no "reasonable" restriction in the eyes of those who wish to promulgate these laws, save for complete abolition.

This is hyperbolic nonsense. It probably is true of a subset of people who wish to promulgate 'these laws' but it is obviously not true of all of those who would like more restrictive gun laws.

about 6 months ago
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Report: 99 Percent of New Mobile Threats Target Android

gnoshi Re:Market Share (269 comments)

True, but you still need to set your phone to allow installation of apps from untrusted sources to install Android apps purchased as part of bundles, don't you? (Because the Humble Bundle app installs them, not the Play store).

This is an issue of transitivity of trust: Let's imagine that I trust Google Play to only include safe apps, so I install the Humble Bundle app from Google Play. However, in order to install any apps from the Humble Bundle store I have to allow the installation of all other apps. Installing the Humble Bundle app from Google Play doesn't transfer trust to the Humble Bundle app so it can't install apps. Similarly, even if the Amazon store appeared on the Google Play store, it wouldn't be able to install apps without me allowing installation from all unknown app sources.
Generally, I still have the ability to choose what does and doesn't get installed (assuming I don't activate ADB, in which case all bets are off, but I would have to actively choose to do that) so it isn't like I'm allowing any app to install whatever it wants. However, by adding an Android permission to allow an app to install other apps there could be some degree of trust transfer.
Of course, the outcome would probably be that huge numbers of apps would request the permission to install other apps and then have a field day because most people don't read the permissions anyway when they are installing, and this is compounded by the stupid Android security model that doesn't allow any permissions refinement (e.g. no "optional permissions", no "ask on first use", only "accept all the permissions or don't install"). BB has managed to have permission overrides for ages without the world collapsing, and iOS is polite enough to ask when apps want to do certain things (e.g. GPS access).

about 6 months ago
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Report: 99 Percent of New Mobile Threats Target Android

gnoshi Re:secure from what? (269 comments)

the cheap/low-end Android phones can still be found coming out brand new with 2.2/2.3 installed on the damned things

BS

I was surprised, but you're right: when I looked at the pre-paid devices offered by several mobile providers, I didn't find any that were being sold with a pre-4.x OS version. It is no doubt still possible to buy old Android phones with old Android versions, but even cheap devices by Huawei and ZTE are now coming out with Android 4.x

Unfortunately, because manufacturers often provide very poor ongoing support for devices, a large number of devices already in the market will never be updated. In that way, I agree with the parent's parent: Apple can get props (relative to many Android device manufacturers) for providing relatively long term OS/security updates.

about 6 months ago
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DarkMarket, the Decentralized Answer To Silk Road, Is About More Than Just Drugs

gnoshi Re:Like a note in the blockchain: 'dodgy stuff her (251 comments)

Was the goal of the SR bust to get the individual dealers though? Tumbling is an interesting way of obscuring the source, although I don't imagine it will be terribly long before you start seeing tumbler operators going to gaol for money laundering (which is exactly what they are doing). There are also a range of limitations to tumbling: it is only effective if there are BCs from numerous sources, and no individual has a disproportionately large number of BCs in the pool (otherwise he/she will just wind up with a disproportionately large number of their own BCs).
It isn't impossible to track a transaction through a tumbler, although it is difficult (which is how it is possible for people like this to hunt BC thieves, but that needs real-time intervention).

But yeah, tumblers can provide some level of anonymity to those who do use them.

about 6 months ago
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DarkMarket, the Decentralized Answer To Silk Road, Is About More Than Just Drugs

gnoshi Re:Like a note in the blockchain: 'dodgy stuff her (251 comments)

It's an interesting idea, but if you could do that then the transaction information attached by DarkMarket would not be valuable/useful because it would be possible to forge that information. Otherwise a good idea, though.

about 6 months ago

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