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Comments

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Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

gurps_npc Core assumptions are wrong (232 comments)

First, he assumed that given x effort, you could find bu #1. That is a reasonable expectation, given the state of programming today. Bugs, while not infinite, are in fact so numerous so that the amount of time it takes to find them all exceeds the project life of software.

Then he assumed that given y effort you could then find bug #2. Again a reasonable assumption.

Third assumption, that x=y. This is FALSE. For that assumption to be true, then bugs are being found randomly, not by effort. The truth is x is ALWAYS less than y, because it takes skill and effort to find them.

Each successive bug is more and more difficult to find. However, it is an exponential chart. This means when just starting out, it APPEARS that x=y, but the further you go along, then Y starts being significantly greater than x.

This is a common problem, faced by mothers cleaning their house and by cops facing criminals. By the time they clean up one mess, a new one has popped up. But that does not mean you stop cleaning. Your efforts do mean something. The idea is to always be one step AHEAD of the mess, not behind it. That way you always end up with an acceptably dirty situation, rather than a virus infected/crime ridden area.

yesterday
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

gurps_npc That thing looks exactly like my Blackberry. (275 comments)

Sure my blackberry is a LITTLE bit larger. But it has the keyboard. And the tiny floppy disk looks a lot like the sim card we slip into the back.

This picture is in my opinion pretty darn CLOSE to what we really ended up having.

Oh, the styling is bad - the keyboard is unusable. But it looks reasonable, not stupid.

4 days ago
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Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

gurps_npc Re:Like many of us, I am in tech. (286 comments)

I am not saying we don't require intelligence. Just that we don't quite as much need training as say a Doctor, Lawyer, MBA.

My best work is creative, not using things I learned.

4 days ago
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The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

gurps_npc ADVERTISING (163 comments)

There is a huge difference between a company that makes a good product and a company that is good at advertising.

Honestly that's the main reason why tech people need to get MBA's to run their business. It's not that hard to figure out how to manage and do back office stuff passably well. Oh sure, you might pay too much in taxes, but it's not that big a deal.

What is a big deal is the ability to get the word out - to tell people about your product.

5 days ago
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Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

gurps_npc Like many of us, I am in tech. (286 comments)

And I can honestly say that for most tech jobs, we are more akin to a plumber or an electrician, than anything else.

Yes, if your company makes it's money making and selling software or hardware, SOME of the high end jobs are different. Similarly, the guys that make toilets have some high end jobs that are not blue collar workers.

But most of us don't write the big code. Instead we install, maintain and fix stuff that some idiot took a big dump in.

We are plumbers, not Management. Hell, we even hate the 'suits'.

For the majority of jobs, we don't need a BA. Honestly, my BA was in political science, not computer science. Yes, I took post-graduate classes, yes I taught myself. But NOTHING I learned from teachers at my university is essential to my job.

5 days ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

gurps_npc Re:News for Nerds? Or Clickbait for Idiots? (722 comments)

I don't know your particular situation, mainly because you provide NO SPECIFICS. But I am willing to bet the medical care you got before was for MUCH less expensive things then you got now.

As in broken leg before, head injury now.

about a week ago
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NSA Allegedly Exploited Heartbleed

gurps_npc This sounds likely (149 comments)

The basic fact is, if they did not exploit it, then someone working for them is thinking "DAMN, I wish I thought of using that!"

about a week ago
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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

gurps_npc Technology does not destroy jobs.. (578 comments)

Jobs are determined by us wanting to do things. I want a colony on another planet. Venus sounds good to me. It would be incredibly expensive, but we could theoretically do it. As long as man has ridiculous long term goals like this there will ALWAYS be work.

It also requires a stronger government than a low tech world - you don't need an airforce if you don't know how to fly. You don't need a navy if you don't know how to build ocean going ships. Technology is the real reason why government spending has been going up. The new sciences need government spending, not private spending.

As for the idea that coal miners can't learn to code, there is some truth to that. Technology requires people that can THINK, not just move. It requires a certain kind of thought as well. But people retire. And there are lots of people on the edge - that is not all coal miners lift a pick axe. Some of them run huge dump trucks and huge shovels. Some coal miners are safety wardens, looking for methane.

I guarantee you someone that knows how to drive the huge, dangerous mining equipment can also learn how to code. Safety wardens as well.

The best part about technology is that no matter how 'quick' the change appears, it actually takes decades. There are first implementers and holdouts. Combine that with some retirements and a transition can be accomplished smoothly - as long as idiots don't try to hold everything back until it is too late and change hits you like a tidal wave, instead of a slow tide coming in.

about a week ago
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The Graffiti Drone

gurps_npc Re:Great, just what we need (126 comments)

The cities are just as much to blame as the people you insult with your quotes.

Even just restricting it to graffiti, cities do stupid things like declaring chalk is graffiti - even though it washes away with rain - and arresting kids.

The artists don't destroy neighborhoods, the cities let them get destroyed so that they are incredibly ugly, refusing to clean them up. At least until some kid comes along and paints a wall that is falling down. Then finally the city comes in and white washes it. Simultaneously they leave the subway stations full of dirt and garbage, smelling of urine, being unwilling to whitewash them.

about a week ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

gurps_npc Mathematics is a language, not a science (595 comments)

That is, I could just as easily write down:

E=M*(C cubed)

But that doesn't mean it is 'right'. The correct formula is E= M*(C squared) and it doesn't matter how many times I write any other formula.

As such, math can describe ANY internally consistent theory. (and even some internally inconsistent ones). It is only through practical testing that we can determine if the math is right.

about a week ago
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London's Public Bike Data Can Tell Everyone Where You've Been

gurps_npc Re:Seems ridiculously easy (41 comments)

Well, I can't argue with you there.

But then again, they need all those cameras to protect themselves from CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN

(reference to sci-fi/horror novel)

about two weeks ago
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London's Public Bike Data Can Tell Everyone Where You've Been

gurps_npc Re:Seems ridiculously easy (41 comments)

It is only difficult to do it the other way around. That is, if you have a user ID it is hard to figure out which person it applies to.

But finding out the user ID of a person whose travel schedule you know is ridiculously easy. If you know four facts - 1) the person uses the bike program, 2) where they work, 3) where they live, and 4) what time they have to be in work, then you can easily figure out their userID

about two weeks ago
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London's Public Bike Data Can Tell Everyone Where You've Been

gurps_npc Seems ridiculously easy (41 comments)

Apparently England is fine letting everyone know where you have been.

Look at it from the perspective of a stalker.

Note, that stalker may be a wife, ex-wife, husband, ex-husband, etc.

The stalker can pretty easily find out where you live and work, if they don't already know. Then easily use this website to get all of your other visits.

Your ex-husband, who you left because he hit you one time, can now track you down. Oh, and he now knows the rough location of where you new boyfriend lives.

Clear violation of privacy to me.

about two weeks ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

gurps_npc Thank god for Obamacare. (722 comments)

Oh. That I can explain, it is quite obvious why it would help the situation. There are three possible situations:

Situation 1) No law requiring people to buy healthcare, no law blocking insurance companies from denying you healthcare for pre-existing situations. They can even deny you healthcare for brain cancer because you have diabetes. (or worse, accept you, then deny coverage because you failed to disclose you had diabetes). People that get screwed: a) anyone that is not 100% healthy and also b) anyone that risks going without insurance but ends up needing it.

Situations 2) Law requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions, but no law requiring people to buy insurance. People that get screwed: Insurance companies, as people wait till after they get sick to buy insurance. Then after insurance companies all go bankrupt, everyone gets screwed.

Situation 3) Law requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions and also a law requiring people to buy insurance. People that get screwed: Anyone that wanted to risk going without good insurance and would have been lucky enough not to need it.

The first situation was what we used to have. The second situation is what we tried to avoid. The third situation is what we have now. Please note it only screw up assholes that tried to take ridiculous gambles and happened to be lucky enough to win the gamble.

We had a choice - screw over the sick, screw over insurance companies (which would have eventually led to a truly government controlled healthcare), or require everyone to buy insurance. We wisely made the best possible decision.

P.S.I am employed and have good healthcare - which I desperately need because I got sick (nasty virus) in college and my kidneys have slowly been dying over the past 20 years, despite the fact that I don't drink, etc. I have maybe 5 more years till I need a transplant and am clearly one of the people that will very much benefit from Obamacare.

about two weeks ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

gurps_npc Re:What all is included? (722 comments)

Those numbers are also limited - it doesn't show how many people: 1) Bought off the exchange - but bought policies enhanced by the AHCA law. 2) Got Medicaid now but could not have gotten it before (of course, that only applies to GOP states that did not decided to screw over their poor... to save a tiny amount of money - less than 10% of the cost) 3) Were put on/stayed on their parents plans because of the AHCA law that let them stay on.

about two weeks ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

gurps_npc Re:ACA was supposed to insure 42 million (722 comments)

1) Because Health insurance is not there to pay for things like health checkups, it is there to pay for things like breaking every bone in your body, cancer, heart bypass, etc.

2) If your doctor charges you $40, but you have a $50 copay if you use insurance, it is because your doctor is illegally charging you less money than the insurance company. He may be stealing from them, or giving you a break, but he is breaking the law.

3) If you get in a car accident your car insurance will NOT pay for your medical - it pays the guy you hit medical, not yours. (Unless you paid extra for worthless insurance).

4)If you get injured at work, the company may pay - or it may screw you over. Been known to happen.

5) If you get injured at a home, most people do NOT have the kind of insurance that pays for medical bills. I personally have insurance that will pay you $10,000, that's it. Anything else, you have to go to court to sue me, and I would have to sell my home to pay you off. Good luck with that lawsuit by the way, your lawyer would get 1/3 of whatever I could pay.

The only point I see is someone that radically overestimates how much insurance everyone ELSE has while complaining about how much he personally is being told to buy.

about two weeks ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

gurps_npc Re:News for Nerds? Or Clickbait for Idiots? (722 comments)

If you are unemployed then you can get Medicaid - unless the State congress has decided to refuse to grant it to you.

But don't go blaming the Affordable Health Care Act for the problems you have getting Medicaid.

If you are employed, the AHCA simply prevented a bunch of liars from selling you expensive wallpaper and pretending it was healthcare.

about two weeks ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

gurps_npc Re:Plan not grandfathered and minimum standard. (722 comments)

Your plan was cancelled not because the rates went up, but because the Blue Cross plan in Alabama was NOT the equivalent of a gold plan.

Whoever told you that it was the equivlenet of 'gold' lied to you outright.

Specifically, the old Blue Cross plan did not meet the minimum requirements for a Bronze plan. Your plan sucked. The only reason they tricked you into buying it was because you were not an insurance agent and did not know the many things it did not cover

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Untrackable cellphone?

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  about a month ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "We all know how easy it is for the NSA to bug and track your cellphone.

Does anyone sell a cellphone with:

1) Hard wired bright light that always comes on when the cellphone has power.

2) With a physical power on/off that connects and disconnects the battery?"
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US miltiary base in Ukraine?

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  about a month ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "There is a petition to ask the Ukraine to lease land near Crimea to the US as a naval/air base.
Assuming it gets created, If this happens, it would be an ideal location for electronic espionage. No longer would the US have to send submarines secretly off the coast of Russia, we could have them openly sitting within yards of Russian controlled waters."

Link to Original Source
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Best Idea for a Universal Translator (FreeSpeech tm)

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  about a month ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "An Indian company developed an all picture based software to help speech impaired (autistic, mute, etc.) children communicate fully formed ideas. Then he developed translator engines to convert the all picture based system into English — and other verbal languages. The interesting part is that his system consists of 2-dimensional pictures, not 1-dimensional sound. This makes it much simpler and intuitive grammatically and therefore be much simpler to translate into any language. It is just as easy to convert his pictures into English as it is to convert it into Chinese, Arabic, Swahili, whatever. It gets rid of most of the problems that plague Google and similar computer based translation programs. Note the solution is one way, from his pictures to all other languages, because other languages do not have the exactness offered by the 2-dimensional advantage of his software (FreeSpeech)

In effect, he has created a far superior core translation engine for a Universal Translator. Their web site includes a link to his TED talk."

Link to Original Source
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Looking for a good holster.

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  about 8 months ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "I have seen several technology holsters. There are a lot of good ones for cell phones, but I am looking for something larger — for a tablet (Nook/Kindle/Nexus/Ipad).

There is however a direct trade off between discrete and carrying capacity. Anyone found an ideal balance?

I would love to hear from people with direct experience. Do you look like the worst kind of geek hipster wearing it? Any feature I should look for?

I found one from a company called techslinger, but it looks a bit too geeky for me, (double sided makes it really stand out)."

Link to Original Source
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Cancer Ray terrorist plot foiled

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  about 10 months ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "Two radical pro-Israel terrorists were caught in upstate NY when they tried to solicit money from various honorable Jewish organizations to build a truck based x-ray machine. They intended to drive the truck around and then turn on the x-ray machine, focusing on enemies of Israel.

But the Jewish organizations they tried to solicit money from refused to participate. Instead they called the FBI, who promptly set up a sting.

They caught and arrested the terrorists before the machine was in working order."

Link to Original Source
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Nanocoating finally lives up to it's promise

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  1 year,24 days

gurps_npc writes "A company called UltraTech has created a new nano-coating. They sell you two chemicals, which you spray on (in the right order) practically anything. Once you do this, as the attached vidoe shows, water considers the coated area to be something akin to a rabid lion infected with AIDS. It literally can not get wet — and that includes all water based liquids. Mud? No problem. Water based paint? Flees like a coward. The coating lasts about a year indoors (half that time outdoors). Note, you can buy it from amazonsupply.com — though ti costs about $500 for a gallon of the stuff."
Link to Original Source
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Replace teachers with computers? Or just add them!

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  about a year ago

gurps_npc writes "Recently there was a poorly designed study that claimed computers don't help teaching. Here with the opposite point of view is Sugata Mitra's TED talk. He went to a tiny village in India, put a computer there with software — in English even though they did not speak or read English — about DNA replication. When he came back months later they said "We don't understand anything — except that mistakes in DNA replication cause diseases."

At heart, his argument is that the old style of teaching derives from Victorian England's need for bureaucrats so it creates minimally competent people that know how to read, write, and do math in their head. He wants to update our teaching methods with more creative and technological solutions."

Link to Original Source
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Company planning on mining asteroids, public announcement at 10:30 PDT

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  about 2 years ago

gurps_npc writes "Th Bad Astronomer wrote today about a press conference happening at 10:30 AM Pacific time. He thinks the company Planetary Resources is going to announce at that they will be mining asteroids. They have the money (James Cameron, Google), the science (Ex-NASA people,including engineers and astronauts). The first step would be setting up depots. That is mine the stuff and keep the materials in space for delivery in space. It is far cheaper to go get water from an asteroid and give it to a space station than it is to lift it out of Earth's gravity well."
Link to Original Source
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Florida thinks their students are too stupid to know the right answers.

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  about 2 years ago

gurps_npc writes "Robert Krampf, who runs the web site "The Happy Scientist" recently wrote in his blog about problems with Florida's Science FCAT. The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is an attempt to measure how smart the students are. Where other states have teachers cheating to help students, Florida decided to grade correct answers as wrong.

Mr. Krampf, examined the state's science answers and found several that clearly listed right answers as wrong. One question had 3 out of 4 answers that were scientifically true. So he wrote to Florida's Department of Education' Test Development center.

They admitted he was right about the answers, but said that they don't expect 5th graders to realize they were right. For this reason they marked them wrong. As such, they were not changing the tests.

Note, they wouldn't let him examine real tests, just the practice tests given out. So we have no idea if FCAT is simply to lazy to provide good practice questions, or too stupid to be allowed to test our children."

Link to Original Source
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Flying Car - OK, boat, now available

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "In the Aero 2011 expo in Germany, they unveiled the FlyNano. Basically it looks like a jet ski with wings and a propeller. Hard wings (not para-foil), selling for about $36,000. The creator said that if you can fly a microlight, you can fly the FlyNano."
Link to Original Source
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How to make a living playing scratch lottery ticks

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "A great article from wired about lottery tickets. It's main focus is the fact that many of them can be beaten. That is, you can look at numbers printed on a scratch lottery ticket before removing the scratch off and figure out which ticket will win and which will lose. Yes, this article tells you how to do this. It also touches on organized crime and the psychology of the system."
Link to Original Source
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Google algorithm now punishes bad reviews.

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "The New York Times recently published a story (warning, login needed) accusing an internet retailer of intentionally providing bad service. The theory was that every bad review generated increased their google score, placing them higher in the rankings. While a Google search for the company name resulted in the bad reviews, if you searched for a brand name, that company came up very high because of all the bad reviews. So people would search for brand name products and end up using the company with the worst reputation.

Google apparently took this to heart because as per PCworld article, they recently announced a new algorithm that will punish a store if they get too many bad reviews. Right now, the algorithm just punishes "an extremely poor user experience", but they say they will continue to work on the issue.

In the (paraphrased) words of Coots and Gillespie:

They are making a list, And checking it twice; gonna find out who's naughty and nice"

Link to Original Source
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Sony using 3D TV for split screen gaming

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "The Kartel has an interesting article about a recent patent Sony filed. Basically they want to hack a 3d tv set up with 2 paris of 3d glasses. They want each seperate glass to display a seperate view (so instead of each pair of glasses having a left eye different from the right eye, one is set to see the "right eye" view to both eyes, while the other is set to show the "left eye view".

This way, two people can watch the same TV and see a different picture — peerfect for head to head racing games. Right now they just split the screen, but that has two problems. First, you can see your opponent's screen, and second, your own view is half the possible width. It is an interesting idea.."

Link to Original Source
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USSC ruled Business patents OK

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "While the court did affirm the lower courts decision that this particular business patent was not valid, it also ruled 5 v 4 that the lower court was wrong and that it IS possible to patent a business process, not just a machine.

Justice Kennedy said that while the "Machine or Transformation" question was important, it could not be th3e exclusive test. Specifically it said that processes and methods not tied to a machine may be patentable."

Link to Original Source
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GOP wants to hear from Americans - not New Yorkers

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "The Republican Party has set up a web site to hear your ideas. But whoops, they got bombarded by a bunch of Liberals, instead of the loyal conservatives they are so desperately hunting for. Worse, a simple review of the comments shows that a majority of the "lunatic" comments are from the few conservatives that signed up (I love the conservative guy that insists that his school teach children that dolphins are fish). So what do they do? They modify the registration process so that New Yorkers can't register. Try it. Log in, and give a NY zip code such as 10128. You will wait forever to get the confirmation email that completes the registration process. But if you give a Texan zip code (77001), you will get the confirmation email right away."
Link to Original Source
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Book Review of "59 Seconds"

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "59 Seconds, by Richard Wiseman, is a different kind of self-help book. Most are full of hype and 'positive' thinking and short on science. His is the other way around, long on science with tons of footnotes, and short on hype. It is written by a psychologist/professor, not a marketer. As such, every single bit of his advice is backed by scientific studies.

Much (but not all) of his advice runs contrary to the typical self help book. Imagine yourself overcoming problems, not as an instant success. To get creative solutions, do it individually and get together after you write them down, no group brainstorming. He is not a total skeptical, as he does sometimes suggest rather strange advice (naming your children with the letter A or B to get them better school grades).

He goes through most of the standard self book types, including dating, career, interviews, relationships, and child raising. The title, "59 Seconds", refers to a comment by a friend of his that asked for advice in less than a minute. Most chapters start out de-bunking the standard self-help fare, and then quickly move on to his advice, backed up by studies. Then, at the end of each chapter he puts a short '59 second' summary, along with some exercises to help you follow up on the book.

While I don't think everything he says is true, he definitely offers a different perspective than most self help books. If you are interested in a skeptical perspective on how to do deal with life's little challenges, then this book is something you might enjoy. I found it to be a very good skeptic's self-help book."

Link to Original Source
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Dell introduces laptop that charges wirelessly

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gurps_npc writes "Dell introduced a new laptop that charges via a wireless charging station. You can read more about it here. As someone that had to replace the connection on two different laptops, I find this to be very well worth it. Better than Apple's 'magnetic connection'. In addition Dell's new pc includes an instant on capability that is basically a second mini-motherboard that does not run windows. It lets you do do email and web surfing at low power — greatly extending the battery life."
Link to Original Source
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Apple rejects Google Voice App

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "According to PCmag, Apple has rejected Google Coice App that lets you combine multiple phone numbers. The reason Apple gave was that it duplicated existing Iphone functionality. Of course, Google let you do it for free while the Iphone charged for it.

I think that Apple may be taking a few too many lessons from Microsoft."
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Software guess your Social Security Number

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "PCworld has a blog about a computer program that can guess your social security number. It is based on a research project from Carnegie Melon. It uses your birth date and birth location, both of which are routinely given out to websites to make the guess. It is not close to 100% accureate, but such a system could easily cause massive problems if applied en-masse. At the very least this could make spam look a lot more official."
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Forensics tools finds headerless encrypted files

gurps_npc gurps_npc writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gurps_npc (621217) writes "Forensics Innovations claims to have for sale a product that detects headerless encrypted files, such as TrueCrypt Dynamic files. It does not decrypt the file, just tells you that it is in fact an encrypted file. It works by detecting hidden patterns that don't exist in a random file. It does not mention stenography, but if their claim is true, it seems that it should be capable of detecting stenographic information as well."

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