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How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

pla Re:Meh (68 comments)

Or if you're into math, you invoke the pigeonhole principle

Though technically true, in fairness we need to differentiate between meaningful data and noise. Yes, a universal compressor doesn't care. Human users of compression algorithms, for the most part, do care.

So the limit of useful compression (Shannon aside) comes down to how well we can model the data. As a simple example, I can give you two 64 bit floats as parameters to a quadratic iterator, and you can fill your latest 6TB HDD with conventionally "incompressible" data as the output. If, however, you know the right model, you can recreate that data with a mere 16 bytes of input. Now extend that to more complex functions - Our entire understanding of "random" means nothing more than "more complex than we know how to model". As another example, the delay between decays in a sample of radioactive material - We currently consider that "random", but someday may discover that god doesn't play dice with the universe, and an entirely deterministic process underlies every blip on the ol' Geiger counter.

So while I agree with you technically, for the purposes of a TV show? Lighten up. :)

6 hours ago

Enraged Verizon FiOS Customer Seemingly Demonstrates Netflix Throttling

pla Re:Could be a different route involved for the VPN (217 comments)

It is also possible the the VPN packets are transiting a different upstream peer from Verizon and bypassing the peering bottleneck at issue. Assuming that Verizon is performing inspection of packets and throttling only Netflix packets is quite a leap.

Failing to have peerage agreements in place to honor your downstream sales commitments is a form of throttling - Or, I would daresay, a form of outright fraud.

If I offer to sell you "unlimited" beers from my fridge for $50 a month, but I only resupply it at a rate of one six-pack per week, I have intentionally cheated you. That basic relationship doesn't magically change because of some hand-waving technobabble about peerage agreements and network congestion.

(Yes, I know those don't strictly count as technobabble, and what they really mean - But they effectively reduce to Verizon having zero interest in upgrading its infrastructure to support its commitments to their customers as long as the FCC and FTC will allow them to outright lie)

6 hours ago

Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

pla Re:I don't see what good unlocking does (74 comments)

Or a month's unlimited data [] for $25. And interestingly (for this topic) a 3UK SIM can be used in a handful of countries without roaming charges - including the USA [] (but data's limited to 25 gigabytes per month and you're not allowed to tether.)

Holy crap... Can I sign up with them AS an American? Tethering aside, that beats my current plan by 5GB and $50.

No, the US doesn't need to regulate the greedy-four in charge of our cell networks - We clearly have the best products and services available at the best prices thanks to free market pressures.

7 hours ago

VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

pla 2+2=? (222 comments)

Biden said he also learned from his talks with tech's top CEOs that 200,000 of the jobs that companies provide each year to highly-skilled H-1B visa holders could in fact be done by Americans with no more than a two-year community college degree

So perhaps he can reconcile those two concepts and explain why we allow H1Bs when we have MILLIONS of unemployed college grads?

Mr. Biden, I have a word of advice for you - CEOs lie. And not just a little, but as their primary (and sometimes only) qualification. You might not want to go around repeating the crap they spew to try to sway you to do their bidding. It just, y'know, make you look like a little like a Special Olympics winner, if you get my meaning.

2 days ago

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

pla Re:Question for someone with Legal? (275 comments)

And that said, I'm still fucking pissed that my state labor regulator basically told me I wasn't a contractor and had no right to negotiate a contract like that, and basically scared me into not being able to help them in the future.

When the state steps in on contractor-vs-employee issues, they have no authority to do anything to you-the-contractor. They can only punish the company by making them retroactively pay your portion of payroll taxes. "Labor regulator" doesn't actually mean they regulate the laborers, it means they regulate employers. You can negotiate any contract you damned well want - Whether the employer can get away with it? Not your problem, so sleep well, friend! Worst case, you end up owing 10k less in taxes. How awful, right?

If you really want to worry about it, you can either work through a contracting agency (aka "give them a cut"), or just make sure you having more than one client at a time, and the whole issue becomes moot. This only comes up when you contract directly with a single client for long stretches. FWIW, my employer actually has a standing agreement with a local outsourcing agency for exactly this purpose - If we need someone back for a few weeks, they sign up with the token shell-temp-agency and get "placed" with us. I honestly don't know how well that arrangement would hold up in court, but again, who cares - not the contractors who have the potential to get screwed here.

None of that relates to the present situation, however - Microsoft's layoff memo spells it out pretty clearly: "We expect to focus phone production mainly in Hanoi, with some production to continue in Beijing and Dongguan. We plan to shift other Microsoft manufacturing and repair operations to Manaus and Reynosa respectively, and start a phased exit from Komaron, Hungary". Microsoft has too many highly paid Western workers, and needs more 3rd-world slaves. Simple as that, really.

4 days ago

New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

pla Re:bad design (100 comments)

Wrong. It has not centrally defined value, but it has value. If you give me X for this painting on my wall, then X is its value, regardless of what X is. It could be US$ or pieces of cake or a service.

Yes, I said that poorly, but you chose to ignore my point. The whole reason we use token currencies comes from the convenience of not pricing things in terms of goods or services. We don't need to value a shovel in terms of chickens, or a cow in terms of a number of hours spent weeding your garden. We can agree that X units of currency will pay for a shovel, Y units for a cow, and Z units per hour for weeding the garden.

As for the "value" of DocuCoin, I would repeat (or perhaps clarify) that the coins themselves have no value, in the same way that me scribbling a crappy picture of a cat on an old napkin has no value. Now, if Jim Davis draws a cat on a napkin, you might have something you can sell on ebay for a buck or two - But that has nothing to do with the underlying "coin" of doodling-on-a-napkin. The drawing, and more importantly, who made it, has value; but that puts us back to "how many Garfield sketches does a cow cost?"

5 days ago

New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

pla Re:bad design (100 comments)

FTA: "The value of each coin will be completely subjective, depending on who creates the coin and why."

I don't think this has a problem with double-spending, because it has no actual value.

This has almost no resemblance to "currency" in any meaningful sense, and calling it such amounts to nothing short of deceptive. This looks more like a formalized system of LinkedIn endorsements, except still with the same underlying flaw that your technophobe mother can "endorse" your 133t Perl scripting skills. Or perhaps in the best case, it amounts to a built-in certificate of authenticity for things like celebrity signatures on books or baseball cards.

Bitcoin doesn't need to worry about the competition.

about a week ago

Chicago Red Light Cameras Issue Thousands of Bogus Tickets

pla Re:Looks ok to me (229 comments)

The order of society is far more important than a single insignificant persons life.

You might want to re-think that stance - Not because I particularly value human life, but because it negates your own point.

A rolling-right-on-red doesn't threaten to undermine the order of society. Punishing people who haven't committed any crime, however, does. When people stop believing in at least the theory that our system of crime-and-punishment more-or-less works, the motivation to at least give lip-service to pointless laws completely vanishes.

about a week ago

Chicago Red Light Cameras Issue Thousands of Bogus Tickets

pla Re:Looks ok to me (229 comments)

1,000 out of 4,000,000 tickets makes a 0.025% error rate. That's a perfectly acceptable margin of error.

You need to discriminate between positive and negative error rates in situations like this.

If it failed to ticket 0.025% of red-light runners, we would consider it an amazing success.

If, however, it tickets even one law-abiding driver, then it very much needs an angry mob ripping these damned things down from the poles, throwing them on the front lawn of City Hall, and demanding an end to the outsourcing of "justice" to for-profit companies.

about a week ago

Chicago Red Light Cameras Issue Thousands of Bogus Tickets

pla Re:just follow the rules people (229 comments)

So log the workorder, then repair the system, then close the workorder. Just like in the municipal code manuals.

You, uh, didn't even make it through the summary, did you? :)

But hey, you got 1st p, so, I guess that counts for something.

about a week ago

Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

pla Re:An "unread email address"?? (277 comments)

More to the point, it's the Right Thing to do, because the *privilege* of occupying a chunk of Internet resource comes with the *responsibility* of being contactable if bad things are emanating from it.

Bullshit, straight-up.

The right of all humans to communicate freely with one another - and to avoid communicating with those they don't want to - trumps archaic administrative nonsense about the accuracy of a DNS record as enforced solely through US hegemony over the internet.

Once upon a time, if you had a problem coming from a domain, you would contact the admin as a peer, explain the situation, and he'd put the smack-down on whichever of his users had screwed up. Today? Even at the likes of Sony they admit they don't monitor it, so why bother having it there at all? If you have a problem coming from a domain today, you either report it to the FBI (if a credible attack), or you blacklist them at the router (if a mere nuissance). The days of getting things done on the internet through the mutual respect of admins ended a looong time ago.

about two weeks ago

Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

pla Re: Black hole? (277 comments)

here's the law. you want me to do any of your other homework for you?

Not the GP, but yeah, I do - Can you explain what an anti-domainsquatting law that specifically deals with trademarks and identity theft, and absolutely nothing to do with simply giving fake info to a registrar, has to do with your original claim that giving ACCURATE contact info counts as US law?

Now, ICANN can enforce its policies on the registrars themselves, simply by virtue of the fact that a registrar requires ICANN's continued blessing to operate. But the only recourse they have about (non-identity-stealing) fake registration info comes down to taking the domain away from you. For someone like Sony, that might look like an end-of-the-world scenario. For someone who just wants a named place to stick stuff online for my own personal use? Meh, worst case, I've lost $10-$15 and I have to wait three days for a new domain to propagate (and not always even out the money - Much to my surprise, I actually had GoDaddy refund me when I flatly refused to send them a photocopy of my license, three months into a registration).

about two weeks ago

Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

pla Re:An "unread email address"?? (277 comments)

If the address was unread now, it must have been monitored originally.

Not necessarily - I have a domain. It has a "real" administrative contact email (a throwaway GMail account). I haven't checked it since I had to confirm it as valid (the registration just autorenews - Pssst, SCEA, you live off subscription models, ever thought of using the same damned idea to keep your domains/certs/etc active?).

Administrative contacts for a domain amount to nothing more than a pre-confirmed spam address. Why the hell would anyone use an address where they actually have to suffer through reading the crap that comes in?

about two weeks ago

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

pla Re: Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)

Yes you can. If Microsoft stole an antique and shipped it to China, and then was ordered to produce it they couldn't say "well its in China so we don't have produce it".

If, however, they sold it to someone in China, that Chinese person has zero obligation to give a fuck about what the US courts want.

/ Just don't ever visit the US
// Including simply flying through
/// Including flying through one of our "lapdog" partner-states.

about two weeks ago

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

pla Re: Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)

You are legally obligated to take positive action to comply with a subpoena. So setting up that kind of system is still obstruction of justice.

You miss the point - Let's say I work for WidgetCoUSA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of WidgetCoUK. Normally, I would have access to WidgetCo's global Exchange servers.

Warrant comes in. WidgetCoUK revokes every shred of my access to their servers.

WidgetCoUK has zero obligation to comply with US law. Their IT people who (rightly) removed my access acted legally and in the company's best interests. That unfortunately leaves me holding the pig in a poke, which a US court may or may not respect. But I have zero control of the outcome no matter my level of motivation.

That describes the real scenario we have here. Does Microsoft-USA have to comply with a US warrant? Absolutely. Does Microsoft-Ireland have the same requirement? Absolutely not. And unless can physically force to play ball, it really doesn't matter what Judge Joe "Contempt" Sixpack has to say about the situation. Because name aside, these do not count as the same company, or the same people in charge. They may normally play well together, but don't need to when it doesn't suit their interests.

about two weeks ago

How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

pla Re:Please explain (202 comments)

True - I honestly don't have the background to evaluate whether or not TFA has that part correct, but have to give him the benefit of the doubt. :)

about two weeks ago

How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

pla Re:Please explain (202 comments)

No. Time is a part of this universe. There is no "meta" time, other universes do not necessarily have time. There is no t Minus infinity. We know exactly when time started (ok, to within a few trillionths of a second).

FTA: "The most amazing thing about it, though, is that this is exactly what the Universe was doing before the Big Bang, only with a much greater energy and at a much faster rate! This was the period known as Cosmic Inflation."

Words like "before" presuppose the existence of time. If, as you postulate, time exists only as a function if this universe, then you have just established the de facto existence of "meta time" (at least if you believe TFA).

about two weeks ago

How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

pla Re:Grammar (202 comments)

"Universe" = everything. "universe" = everything observable.

Fan of Bucky, eh? :)

about two weeks ago



French anti-piracy logo uses pirated fonts

pla pla writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pla (258480) writes "Cory Doctorow reports (and FontFeed confirms, with better fact-checking) that the French governmental agency in charge of enforcing their new "Three Strikes" Law, Hadopi, has made use of not just one, but two unlicensed fonts in their official logo.

One of these, "Bienvenue", exists only as a privately owned font designed exclusively for France Telecom with no licensing terms available whatsoever. Hadopi claims they never intended that version of the logo for release — Despite having registered it (complete with infringing fonts) as a trademark two months ago. For the other font used in their logo (including both the original and the replacement), "Bliss", they didn't purchase a license to use it until the very day they found it necessary to release a non-infringing replacement logo."



Call me paranoid, but...

pla pla writes  |  more than 8 years ago So today I posted a little off-the-cuff comment about parenting and video-games... Nothing major, though undeniably strongly opinionated. Agree or disagree as you will - Not the point of this journal entry.

First mod to it, troll. Okay, I think, I've gotten an awfully lot of those lately to posts I clearly didn't mean as trolling or flamebait, but whatever, perhaps I have an anti-fanboi.

Then later, I got two interestings and an insightful. Okay, not bad, that at least pushes me up to a +2, which with my karma bonus gives a total score of 4. Which it did indeed show.

Now, a few hours later I check back again, and see a total score of two, still with the same breakdown of a troll, an insightful, and two interestings. Biggest difference, my karma bonus has vanished (though my account still shows me as having excellent karma, so not like I magically lost my good karma between 4:30pm and 8:15pm).

So... As the subject line says, "call me paranoid, but" who has the power to change that? Do we have editors seriously abusing their powers, going around making Slashdot's moderation system even less meaningful than its normal, defective, modstorm-prone state?

I'd really like to know... I've written 1858 posts to Slashdot in the past few years, on the presumption that, except for the Gods correcting truly egregious abuses, the moderation system at least works at face value. If every slave-labor underling working at /. can just up and steal karma from posts that hit on one of their peeves, I'd like to know not to waste any more of my life contributing to a lost cause...


Interesting ratings...

pla pla writes  |  more than 11 years ago "Score:-1, Insightful"

I can only say, "WTF"? How does an insightful comment get a -1?

Heh. If I took this seriously, I might feel somewhat concerned by the logic behind that.

Overall, though, I find it more *amusing* that one person's "insightful" equals another's "flamebait" or "troll". I can understand reduntant, or overrated, but flamebait and troll seem mutually exclusive from any positive mods whatsoever.

Strange world we live in. Well... No, just strange people in it. ;-)


Wow, I have fans! (And freaks...)

pla pla writes  |  more than 11 years ago So, my first /. journal entry. Forgive the me-centric nature of it, but I just spent a few minutes wandering around my preferences page, and noticed all sorts of cool things.

Most interestingly, I actually have fans and freaks! Eerie.

I don't quite know *how* I got them, since I did a quick perusal of their posting history, and we don't seem to have any obvious threads in common. Do people just randomly add others to their friends and foes list?

Oh, and I seem to have moderator points once again. In all the years I've used Slashdot, I got my first moderator points only a few months ago. Now, this latest set of points makes my third (fourth?) time.

So, in other news, I managed to get a comment of mine modded out of existance today. So what have I learned from slashdot? One, don't say anything bad about Apple - those fans get *vicious*, even about very guarded criticism. And two, in a forum of mostly geeks, don't attack science (the institution, not the techniques) as little more than a modern religion, complete with priests, acolytes, and inviolable holy doctrine.

Hmm, okay. I guess I'll stop now.

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