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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

mhkohne Re:On the other hand... (700 comments)

CDC works fine on windows. I've implemented several devices that use it to pretend to be serial ports.

about 3 months ago

Chrome OS Can Now Run Android Apps With No Porting Required

mhkohne Re:Why not all apps at once? (133 comments)

The first big issue will be screen sizes - Android has provisions for apps supporting multiple screen sizes, but it's kind of weird in how it works, and not every app works well (or at all) if you hand it a screen size markedly different than what it was designed for.

about 5 months ago

Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

mhkohne Predictions vs. reality (753 comments)

"Lots of people think it will happen" means about nothing. People are HORRIBLY bad at predicting future trends. More so en-mass.

What people say they want and what they really want (and demonstrate by doing) are pretty much unrelated. So even if people SAY they want cashless, I doubt they'll actually vote that way when the rubber hits the road.

about 6 months ago

Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

mhkohne Re:Useless coins (753 comments)

Don't get me started on pennies. The reason we still have them is mostly sentimental. If it were my choice I'd drop the penny AND the nickle, AND the quarter, introduce a 20 cent piece, and be done.

Dollar coin never took off because they kept making bills. Other countries that have dollar coins stopped making the bills, so the coin took over as the bills left circulation. The actual economics of the bill vs. coin in the US are quite interesting due to how well made our bills are and how long they last in circulation, but then you add in the fact the people tend to drop change in a jar at home and the question of which is better for the government gets really interesting (there's a GAO report on the subject somewhere).

Two dollar bill just doesn't really serve much of a purpose - $5 is small enough for normal use, the $2 doesn't really add much functionality to the system.

about 6 months ago

Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide

mhkohne Centralized Control... (564 comments)

The problem with centralized control is that the center can give any commands it wants...

about 8 months ago

Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

mhkohne Newbies... (467 comments)

I'm thinking the respondents were all fresh out of school, and haven't had their absurd expectations ground down by the real world yet...

about 9 months ago

A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them

mhkohne What to compare them to? (180 comments)

I'm not sure that comparing a FitBit to other wearables (like a smartwatch) is fair. I think learn more by comparing it to other exercise equipment - you know, like that treadmill you use for a coat rack in the spare room.

about 10 months ago

Kickstarted Veronica Mars Promised Digital Download; Pirate Bay Delivers

mhkohne How stupid do you have to be, Hollywood? (243 comments)

The Kickstarter used the phrase 'Digital Version' in some places and 'Digital Download' in others. I see no mention of DRM-free, so all they have to do is hand out Amazon credit to those who complain about the streaming solution. But no, they'd rather pay out a bunch of money than give people something that matches what they paid for. I'm thinking everyone who has a piece of this (the production company, any stars that get a piece of the action) ought to probably demand an accounting to make sure Hollywood didn't charge them for the returned cash...

about 10 months ago

Federal Smartphone Kill-Switch Legislation Proposed

mhkohne I assume it's a typo... (173 comments)

But if it really is called the 'Smartphone Prevention Act', that would pretty much say everything needed about this government, wouldn't it?

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Life After N900?

mhkohne To get a keyboard (303 comments)

is itself a major problem these days. I'm using a Droid 4 because it's one of the few with any kind of keyboard available. You may or may not like Android, but you can always put CyanogenMod on it, if you want to move further away from the carrier's grasping tentacles.

1 year,1 day

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Good Reasons For DRM?

mhkohne Look around you (684 comments)

Look at how artists get paid today. The baseline assumption in your statement is that DRM prevents piracy, for which there is exactly zero evidence. So any way that an artist gets paid today is a way they get paid in a world without DRM.

about 2 years ago

Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

mhkohne Ask them what they actually mean... (467 comments)

Some places (and I've worked at one) had policies that could be read as them owning anything I did while employed, but could also be read as just applying to things in their area of interest (video test equipment, as it happened). I talked to my boss about it when I came on and he assured me that in fact it was only intended to read as applying to things that were related in some way to their business - stuff that was totally unrelated they didn't care about.

Now that was verbal, not written, but I suggest that you start by asking the question, and see what they say.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Deal With Refurbed Drives With Customer Data?

mhkohne Send it back (385 comments)

If it doesn't have the same diag partition, then NewEgg didn't do their usual refurb testing on it. Which means that there's a chance it's not in as good a shape as the others. So send it back and make them give you one that's been properly refurbed. There's no excuse for them not to have wiped the drive in the process of testing it before they resold it.

more than 2 years ago

Distinguishing Encrypted Data From Random Data?

mhkohne Finding patterns in random data (467 comments)

OK, I wanted to try to find out if there were encrypted data at some offset in a chunk of random data, I'd start with Knuth's tests for randomness. I'd break the thing up into decent sized chunks (1 meg or so) and run a bunch of different randomness tests on each chunk and on the whole data set and see if any patterns emerge.

The thing is, even if the encrypted data looks pretty random, it's likely to look DIFFERENT than the surrounding random data.

The worse problem is that if you have someone who's asking you if there is encrypted data, and they find some bogus pattern in the random noise, then you've got a problem because you can't prove that there ISN'T any data there. If you are being prosecuted in a normal US court, you might get away with this (if they can't prove that you've got anything encrypted, it may be hard to hold you in contempt trying to get you to give up the keys), but if you fall under the sway of some intelligence agency that doesn't like the look of you, it's not likely that they'll just let you go because you claim there isn't any data.

more than 4 years ago

Verizon Changing Users Router Passwords

mhkohne Ummm...try changing the password! (545 comments)

If you don't want them to access the router, change the bloody password. Like you should have done 3 years ago!

more than 4 years ago

Sidestepping A-to-D Convertors For Town Government's Cable TV?

mhkohne Call the lawyers for a chat... (539 comments)

If the franchise agreement really says you get expanded basic in exchange for them getting the franchise, then I'd have a word with the township's lawyers. Depending on how the deal is stated, it's probably Comcast's problem to make this work, not yours. I suspect that if the town's lawyers had a word with Comcast's lawyers, then someone in Comcast's engineering department would sort things out right quick.

more than 4 years ago

How Do You Get Users To Read Error Messages?

mhkohne You can't make them read... (951 comments)

Nothing you can do will get the users to read the message. NOTHING. The best you can do is to make sure that the error will live in a log somewhere (with timestamps and perhaps screen shots if possible) so that you can figure out what they are talking about.

There's simply no way to force people to pay attention to error messages on the screen - they are focused on doing something, and the error dialog is in the way, so they dismiss it as fast as possible. Then they complain that it's not working.

There's just no way around it - they won't read, they don't read, and they can't be made to read. Give up trying to make them read, and instead find a way to get information in the absence of user assistance.

more than 4 years ago

Murdoch-Microsoft Deal In the Works

mhkohne People won't know and won't care (468 comments)

No one is going to switch search tools because some particular newspaper is in Bing's index and not Google's. If Bing wants to get the traffic, all they have to do is return better results. Buying exclusive access to index the WSJ isn't going to help, because anyone who actually cares about what the WSJ has to say specifically will just go to the WSJ site, not to Bing.

This would be a waste of MS money, and would hurt the WSJ by having them be found less often (Bing isn't yet as popular as Google, as I understand things), thus getting them less hits and less notice. Unless Murdoch doesn't care about the WSJ's future, this is overall likely a bad move for him.

If Bing wants the traffic, they have to return better results. Eventually, that will translate into users, but it's not a quick thing.

This would be a stupid move on Microsoft's part, and probably a bad plan on Murdoch's part. That doesn't mean they won't go forward, but it's a dumb idea all around.

more than 5 years ago

Is Working For the Gambling Industry a Black Mark?

mhkohne Huh? (467 comments)

I can't conceive of why working in the gambling industry would be a mark against you. It wouldn't make sense. You're either good at writing software or you aren't, it really doesn't matter what industry. The only possible downside is that it's not a large industry, so you probably can't make a lifetime out of working in the same industry. But so what? So far, in the last 17 years, I've worked in the medical equipment field (EEG monitors, blood pressure monitors), industrial non-medical ultrasound (one project in the fish farming industry, one in the lumber industry), the petroleum retail industry (credit card interfaces for gas stations), the cable TV industry (software for video on demand systems), the video test equipment industry (windows device drivers for custom cards) and then back to petroleum retail.

No one who wants to hire good software people is going to care. No one.

more than 5 years ago

Null Character Hack Allows SSL Spoofing

mhkohne So now... (280 comments)

All we have to do is get the CAs to pay attention to the certs they issue, correct?

Uh-oh. We're screwed.

more than 5 years ago


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