Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

gorzek Why the 35%? (570 comments)

I skimmed a lot of comments and didn't see one directly addressing the question posed in the summary.

Basically, 35% of Americans have debts in collection status because it's easy to have an account go to collections and then linger there forever. You can imagine people's "debt responsiveness" as being exponentially bound to the time since the last payment. A debt that recently had a payment made is almost certain to have its next payment made. A debt that's a few months late has a decent chance of getting a payment made soon. A debt that is 6 months (or more) late has a very low chance of ever being paid again. This is why debt collectors buy/pursue old debts. The original creditor will likely accept pennies on the dollar just to get something out of it, while the collector wants to obtain the whole amount. If they can even get half, they come out way ahead. It's a profitable business.

I used to work in this industry (wrote software) so I could tell you some things about it.

about 3 months ago
top

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

gorzek Re:Dropping the Xbox? (300 comments)

You throw it away because it's a sunk cost. You don't keep throwing good money after bad.

about 3 months ago
top

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

gorzek Re:Chain effect (300 comments)

I have seen precisely that happen, too. A company cuts the dead weight--and maybe some not-so-dead weight--and the people with marketable skills head for the hills because they don't want to be next. So the company may have meant to cut 10% but instead loses 15%, with much of that last 5% being their top performers. Pretty bad deal for the company, to be sure.

about 3 months ago
top

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

gorzek Re:Dropping the Xbox? (300 comments)

We're not talking about a product that needs time to find its feet, we're talking about what should be a mature product line that nevertheless struggles to turn a profit. We're not in year two of MS' Xbox experiment, but going on year 13 of a popular consumer brand. There is certainly something to be said for selling a product that loses money in order to stimulate ancillary revenues, but that's not what is happening here. The whole division is, at best, a wash for MS. How long should they keep this up before writing it off?

about 3 months ago
top

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

gorzek Re:Dropping the Xbox? (300 comments)

Unless MS can turn marketshare into money, it's worthless. So, MS has put Xboxes into millions of homes, and they have... oh, wait, no profit to show for it.

The Xbox division isn't some new thing. MS has been at this for over a decade, and what they have to show for it are incredibly tepid returns. This, after sinking gobs of money into it.

Might be a different story if MS hadn't completely bungled the Xbox One push, but they did, and it's unlikely to recover. Sony's got this gen locked up, so why should MS keep throwing money at a market loser?

about 3 months ago
top

Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

gorzek Re:Not creepy (106 comments)

It's not your "every move," just your actions on public roads. You know, the kind you have to be licensed to drive on, in a vehicle registered with the government.

We are talking about high-speed rolling death machines here. Tens of thousands of people a year are killed in car accidents--most of which are preventable as they result from human error and negligence.

I would not at all object to a prohibition on transmitting any of the data of this fatigue-monitoring system to authorities or insurers. It may follow the same trend as other safety technologies: you get an insurance discount for having it, but the insurer is in no way monitoring how you use it. I'm also not aware of police using remote knowledge of vehicles except in emergencies, e.g. kidnappings, high-speed chases, etc.

Frankly, if someone is about to fall asleep at the wheel and they're ignoring the car's warnings to pull over, I very much would want nearby police notified to get that person off the road. A sleepy driver is a menace to everyone around him.

about 3 months ago
top

Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

gorzek Re:Not creepy (106 comments)

So you're saying you don't want people held accountable for their irresponsible behaviors?

about 3 months ago
top

Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks

gorzek Re:Occupy was anarchists not libertarians (404 comments)

I won't discount that there may have been some libertarians at Occupy rallies. Takes all kinds. Occupy was/is a very diverse movement. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there were some libertarians here and there.

But you know where I guarantee you could find a lot more libertarians? Tea Party rallies.

about 6 months ago
top

Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks

gorzek Re:History (404 comments)

Anyone can be "principled." Whether those principles make sense or are sane in any way is the tricky part.

about 6 months ago
top

Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks

gorzek Re:Personally, (404 comments)

The banana-heavy portfolio pays dividends to the hungry investor!

about 6 months ago
top

How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

gorzek Re:Economic reasons (384 comments)

Computers aren't regulated nearly as much as cars are, which cuts down the price a lot. That is not to say cars aren't regulated for good reason, though. Apart from emissions control (which is a significant expense), the numerous safety features required in modern cars add considerable costs. Research and design also aren't free--it costs a lot of money to design a car, certainly much more than it used to, and those costs have to be defrayed in the sales of new cars.

Of course, one could also blame unionized workers, whose pay has fared better against inflation and wage levels as a whole when held up against non-unionized workers (the vast majority of those who will be buying cars.) By that token, cars seem more expensive because, in real terms, most people's pay has stagnated or fallen.

In short, I don't think the current price of a new car is generally unjustified, considering what you get for it. Even "base" model cars have a lot of features that absolutely weren't standard 20 or 30 years ago: airbags, air conditioning, power windows and locks, CD/MP3 player, anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control, etc.

about 6 months ago
top

GitHub Founder Resigns Following Harassment Investigation

gorzek Re:Maybe this will wake some people up (182 comments)

This is not really an issue across the entire software industry, but rather a particular subset: the Silicon Valley (and sometimes New York City) startup run by people in their 20s who think they are going to reshape the software industry (if not the entire world.) Bad attitudes also persist into video game development studios, though the environments are perhaps not as bad. I'm sure it varies a lot from place to place.

Larger and more mature software organizations are by nature far more risk-averse, so they tend to take reports of harassment far more seriously. I have a friend who got fired outright because he pulled a silly prank that could have reasonably been construed as sexual harassment. He didn't really mean anything by it, but it was 100% his bad and a justified termination.

When people talk about "professionalism" in software development, I think the common assumption is that it refers mainly to things like writing good code and putting in enough work on a daily/weekly basis, rather than crossing over into one's general conduct and particularly attitudes toward women and minorities in the workplace. The sorts of environments that have problems with harassment tend to be overwhelmingly white, male, and young. This is a bad combination if you want to attempt to have a professional working environment, and especially if you want to branch out to have a more diverse workforce.

Being a professional is about much more than mere competence at one's job duties. It also has to do with how you resolve interpersonal conflict, how you interact with people who may not share your worldview or experience, and whether you can do your job without being a huge asshole about it.

about 6 months ago
top

Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

gorzek Re:Grabs popcorn (518 comments)

Technically, it is neither legal nor illegal in California. It's just tolerated and there is no relevant law.

In other states it is explicitly illegal.

about 7 months ago
top

Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

gorzek Re:Grabs popcorn (518 comments)

Exactly.

Think of the rear monitor as just another mirror. You're supposed to check all the mirrors. Well, the rear monitor is just one more to check. Big deal.

about 7 months ago
top

Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

gorzek Re:Grabs popcorn (518 comments)

Did you know lane splitting is illegal almost everywhere? Most motorcyclists apparently don't, or don't care, because they do it anyway.

Love it when motorcyclists complain about how boneheaded cagers are while they themselves don't follow the rules of the road.

about 7 months ago
top

If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

gorzek Re:Free market (353 comments)

Yeah, looks like it basically only worked until a functioning black market was in place. When you have a black market capable of meeting 60-70% of the demand that was present when it was legal, I think your ban is a total failure.

about 7 months ago
top

Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal

gorzek Re:A new law in not what is needed (519 comments)

So much victim-blaming language going around here. "Hey, nobody would take pictures of her if she'd just stop wearing skirts!" Gee, maybe it's the douchebag taking the pictures that's the problem, huh?

Upskirt photos don't just "happen," they're taken intentionally by people who are willfully invading the personal space of another. There are numerous contexts in which one has an expectation of privacy. What is beneath one's skirt is one such context.

I suppose if someone uses a public bathroom and someone takes photos/videos of them from the adjacent stall, that'd be fine, too? After all, if you didn't want to be photographed, you wouldn't use a public restroom where there are gaps between the stall walls and the floor/ceiling.

People who are doing nothing wrong shouldn't have to adjust their behavior in order to thwart miscreants. The law should side against the miscreants.

about 8 months ago
top

Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

gorzek Re:"It's been turned over to other people" ? (390 comments)

I think the issue is that storing all of those potential solutions "just in case" is space-prohibitive. To store every single possible SHA256 hash, you would need ~3.2*10^60 exabytes. Totally outrageous amount of space, right? And that's not even counting the proof of work, which also needs to be stored. The issue isn't knowing the hashes themselves, it's having the proof of work to demonstrate how you found them, and that's the part that takes enormous amounts of computation to produce (but is extremely easy to verify by the network once it's done.)

It's possible some people do store the very low results in order to solve high-difficulty (low-target) blocks on down the line, but I'm under the impression that producing such a hash occurs so rarely that no one would be able to effectively hoard them. Maybe you produce one and keep it and you can use it 3 blocks from now, but then you don't have another for 100 more blocks. (Numbers pulled out of my ass, you get the idea.) Generally, you always want to solve the block you can now, because even if the solution you found may be usable on a future block, you just gave up the current block to someone else, and the blocks that have 20 BTC payouts have a finite supply.

I should point out that the network automatically adjusts the difficulty every 2016 blocks (roughly every two weeks) based on average block solve time, so if somebody hoarded a bunch of low-value hashes and proofs and then dumped them all at once, it would very likely make the next round much harder because the network would deliberately make it more difficult.

about 8 months ago
top

Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

gorzek Re:"It's been turned over to other people" ? (390 comments)

I assume you're asking how the "mining" works, and that's actually pretty easy to explain.

Each bitcoin block is generated with a SHA256 hash of the block's header. Presumably, the header information is not guessable, otherwise it would be pointless.

The SHA256 hash becomes the "target." In order to successfully mine the block, you must produce a hash with a value lower than the target. The lower the target, the harder it is to mine the block. Since SHA256 hashes (as far as I know) do not leak any information about the plaintext, the hashes are attempted essentially at random. Successfully mining a block is essentially like winning the lottery because there is no known way to make educated guesses about what text might produce a hash below the target's value.

Once an acceptable hash has been generated by a miner, it is submitted to the network with a proof of work that permits the rest of the network to essentially check the solution. At that point, the block is considered completed, the transactions are processed, and the successful miner is awarded the transaction fees plus 20 new BTC.

I don't think the rainbow table comparison is apt because you're not attempting to produce hash collisions, only find hashes below a set value. Finding a collision is exponentially more difficult, by design.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

gorzek hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

top

I just want to say...

gorzek gorzek writes  |  more than 8 years ago I feel sorry for people who don't know why some things are science, and why other things aren't. Is the next debate going to be, "Why isn't voodoo taught instead of math? They're both equally valid!"?

top

My first journal entry?

gorzek gorzek writes  |  more than 8 years ago Well, here is my first journal. I don't have a topic, but maybe someone would like to come discuss something. I'm game for just about anything right now.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?