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California Man Sues Sony Because Killzone: Shadowfall Isn't Really 1080p

smellotron Re:They deserve it (286 comments)

I still rock a 720P panasonic plasma TV which I find to be better than my sisters 1080 LCD sharp

Well duh! Rock on.

about two weeks ago
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NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

smellotron Re:Fine ... (245 comments)

Nobody programs fast enough to fill data-centers with 'new programs'.

I don't read that as "new program text" i.e. the storage for newly-released executables. I read it as "storage for [data generated by] new programs," where the new programs are "programs" from a TLA organization's perspective and not individual executables. From that perspective, it is quite believable that the NSA would be capable of filling new datacenters with new programs.

about 2 months ago
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NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

smellotron Re:Too Big to Be Indicted... (245 comments)

try to explain the intricacies of Java garbage-collection to an equity-options trader...

If that is a problem in your organization, this would probably be a good start: "The equity-options traders that understand the role of technology in their trades will inevitably be eating your lunch."

about 2 months ago
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Lego To Produce Three Box Sets Featuring Female Scientists

smellotron Re:How do you make a lego character female? (208 comments)

You just plainly CANNOT build anything out of the pieces but exactly what you are sold.

Several years ago, I would have agreed with you. Now it just sounds like you aren't looking hard enough, or haven't looked recently—check out the Creator series. Almost all of my newer lego collection is from those box sets, and they are very good about providing reusable pieces.

about 2 months ago
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High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race To Irrelevance

smellotron Re:and front-running? (382 comments)

By continually extracting money from the exchange without injecting value, they reduce the overall value of the stocks... the best solution would be for legitimate companies to not allow their stocks to be traded on exchanges that permit HFTs. It would keep their stock values higher...

This is a weird analysis. HFTs are market-neutral, meaning they are trying to avoid taking any big directional bets. Because they are buying and selling symmetrically, they tend to have very little impact on long-term market prices. Instead, their profit comes from buying low and selling high on average, meaning that they are profiting at the expense of their trading counterparties. At the end of the day, the value of the stock should be unchanged by HFTs. Except when their systems go bonkers, a la Knight Capital.

about 2 months ago
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High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race To Irrelevance

smellotron Re: Arbitrage (382 comments)

Per transaction fixed cost is the way to go if the goal is to discourage frequent trades.

Most transaction taxes discussed are a percentage of the notional value of the transaction (price * quantity, e.g. 100 shares of a $4 stock is $400 notionally). So Sweden's 1% tax could have easily been 1% of the value of the transaction, which is not at all stupid. In general, a transaction tax can be a function of the notional value of the transaction, quantity of the transaction (shares or contracts), or fixed per transaction; and in any case it will discourage frequent trading.

about 2 months ago
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HP Makes More Money, Cuts 16,000 Jobs

smellotron Re:one device to rule them all (288 comments)

You are definitely moving the goalposts, but I will play along. Wikipedia names several products which use Infiniband, mostly for storage (not a surprise that NAS systems want high-bandwidth interconnects). On the HPC side, Los Alamos National Lab has IBM's Roadrunner cluster, which uses Infiniband. Finally, your underlying objection sounds a lot like "640k ought to be enough for anybody." Why wouldn't we want networks to get better? IB may eventually go the way of Betamax (there are other competing low-lateny/high-bandwidth interconnects out there), but even so it is currently providing value and pushing engineering boundaries.

Getting back to the original topic, I don't think HP deserves much credit for pushing IB. The customers whose needs are met by it are probably already working directly with all of the vendors in the chain: IBM or Intel for chips, HP or Dell for the base systems and BIOS, Mellanox and Cisco for networking, etc.

about 3 months ago
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HP Makes More Money, Cuts 16,000 Jobs

smellotron Re:one device to rule them all (288 comments)

please name 2 environments that actually benefited from using Infiniband

HPC clusters and cloud providers. Several financial exchanges (CME, NASDAQ) appear to be in the process of adopting Infiniband, but every reference I see sounds like a press releases from Mellanox and not yet a demonstrable application.

about 3 months ago
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London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

smellotron Re:Who the F gets to live without competition? (417 comments)

Nurses do a considerable amount of the work

Nurses are likewise professionally regulated. In their particular sub-field, they are much closer to doctors than they are to laypersons. A better analogy for Uber drivers would be a CNA.

about 3 months ago
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Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

smellotron Re:Lets call it what it is..... (246 comments)

What you describe is not arbitrage. Arbitrage would be buying stock on one exchange and selling it on another without knowing jack about the order book.

What I am describing is exactly arbitrage. There is not one order book, there are fourteen order books (one per exchange). When one order book gets cleared out, the arbitrageurs make a bet that the other order books will get cleared out as well, so they take on the position with the hope of now being long at the new bid, or short at the new ask. They do not know that the other books will get cleared out, because they don't know if you wanted e.g. all 22,000 Intel shares, or just 2,000 (which just so happened to clear out 3 exchanges, but not the others).

This is definitely a problem for large executions: you move the price before you are done with your whole "trade". This has always been a problem for executing orders larger than the current top-of-book. It is made worse because there are so many exchanges, but also because some of them are so darned fast that HFT systems can beat brokers' order routers. You could argue that there should be a delay in publishing market data to ensure that routers can compete. You could also argue that it doesn't make sense for fourteen exchanges to exist, with regulation that merely attempts to paper-over fundamental natural laws (simultaneity). But you can't argue that it is not arbitrage.

about 5 months ago
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Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

smellotron Re:Lets call it what it is..... (246 comments)

Obviously what they are doing is not illegal as they are still doing it. They are very good at gaming the system.

There exist regulations to establish a "National Market", but the reality is that right now there are 14 different exchanges*, and therefore 14 independent order books to participate in. The HFT that you object to in particular is the style that performs arbitrage among the order books. If you think that arbitrage is front-running, you should start complaining to the SEC about the massive fragmentation in the US stock market which creates this situation in the first place.

* NYSE, NYSE ARCA, NYSE MKT (formerly the American Stock Exchange), NASDAQ, NASDAQ PSX (formerly the Philadelphia Stock Exchange), NASDAQ BX (formerly the Boston Stock Exchange), NSX (formerly the Cincinnati Stock Exchange), CBOE, Chicago Stock Exchange, BATS, BATS-Y, EDGX, EDGA, and now LavaFlow. Notice that's 14 exchanges with three owned by NYSE, three owned by NASDAQ, two owned by BATS, two owned by DirectEdge. Clearly market fragmentation benefits the exchanges.

about 5 months ago
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Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

smellotron Re:Limit order? (246 comments)

Front running may be illegal but you don't see many prosecutions for it.

For firms paying for retail order flow, I expect front-running is not worth the risk of getting caught. Why bother front-running when they can just pick which retail orders to be the counterparty against? And if they route the "toxic" retail orders to the open market, they could conceivably generate their own orders and send them after the retail order to a different exchange, and potentially still trade before the retail order trades (violating the spirit—but not the letter—of the regulations). I think it would be hard to build a case against a "well-done job".

about 5 months ago
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Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

smellotron Re:Forbit all HFT (246 comments)

Better yet, how about a tiny tiny tax on each trade?

Such a thing exists, but under a different name: SEC Section 31 Assessments amount to a tax on sales to fund the SEC's activities. As market volume is constantly changing, the rate is periodically updated; the current rate is $17.40 per $1 million sold (notional value, so price × quantity). This assessment is applied to all sales, so it behaves as a tax on HFT (half of whose volume is sales on a given day, so they can go home without a position). Right now the rate is only adjusted for budgeting and volume predictions, but it could conceivably be used as a punative measure against excessive trading. If it was adjusted by a large amount, you can expect that market spreads would widen accordingly and total trading volume would drop. I think the rate could probably go higher than the current value without much impact, but there's definitely a tipping point where the "friction" from the assessments would cause major liquidity problems. For scale, consider that a 1% tax on the notional value of all trades would be one thousand times larger than the current Section 31 rate.

about 5 months ago
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Tim Cook: If You Don't Like Our Energy Policies, Don't Buy Apple Stock

smellotron Re:It IS about profit. (348 comments)

For example I've heard that the Canadian tar sands oil production requires a minimum price of around $85/barrel to be viable. If we start digging up oil shale it's got to be a lot more than that.

It's worse than that: more exotic sources of crude oil require more energy to extract—potentially more energy than is available in the oil itself! Because energy density is high from crude oil, it may make sense to "waste" energy in extraction because the result is useful as a transportation fuel, and also to stabilize relative prices between energy sources (e.g. spending cheap natural gas to produce expensive crude). But it still means that some energy extraction is a net loss, which is a very bad starting point.

about 6 months ago
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Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

smellotron Re:If Comcast were Exxon (520 comments)

If Walmart wants to buy bread from BreadCo, what are they going to pay for it with? Walmart gift cards? ... This isn't a recipe for a stable economy, it's a mess.

I'm not sure what your point is with all of this. Your argument seems to be "if the US government disappears overnight, things fall apart." But that's not very constructive, because it's based on an extremely thin premise: immediate devaluation of USD to 0; no massive worldwide selloff, just *poof* it's gone. Furthermore, you don't seem to be able to see past the initial messy period. Sure, there will be a large barter economy. But that's not new, people have survived with barter economies in the past! So, something will appear to fill the USD void, and stability will slowly return. Because if it didn't, then we wouldn't be talking about this today. We would be trading goats and ball bearings, and murdering 70-year-old men in suits.

about 6 months ago
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Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

smellotron Re:If Comcast were Exxon (520 comments)

You think some 70-year-old suit is going to be able to maintain control?

If he murders people left and right and scares the fuck out of everyone else, then yeah I would stay off of his lawn.

about 6 months ago
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Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

smellotron Re:Force them to warrenty whole unit.. (526 comments)

Well I do have to admit that when I took my Mac into the shop the guy at the Genius Bar didn't even blink when I told him it was running Linux. So none of this "you are running the wrong software" shenanigans there.

As a counter-example, I had "you are running the wrong wireless access point" problems from the Genius bar. My wife was seeing occasional DNS resolution failures and generally slow web browsing, which turned out to be packet loss between the laptop and the access point. At least two techs immediately argued that the problem must be the access point, and that we should replace it with an AirPort. It took four tries (phone calls and in-person) to find someone who would honor ping statistics from a variety of wireless devices.

about 6 months ago
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The JavaScript Juggernaut Rolls On

smellotron Re:Replusive (505 comments)

I'm not saying Javascript is superior or inferior to C.

I'm not trying to argue that any language is better, either. I originally responded to this:

Name one other language that is as well supported and as broadly implemented as JavaScript?

and your subsequent reply moved the goalposts by arguing about deployment effort. Yes, you're right, C software requires more work to deploy to N platforms, but that is irrelevant to the presence of broad multi-platform support. I'm really not trying to say that C is better than Javascript. But surely it has a larger footprint across platforms!

I think it's safe to say that you prefer C to the exclusion of everything else.

Actually, no. I can read C fine, but I don't code fluently in it. I usually switch between C++, Python, and bash depending on the task.

about 7 months ago
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The JavaScript Juggernaut Rolls On

smellotron Re:Run to the hills! (505 comments)

If you need to sort other things like complex objects in an array

Oh god help us all, complex objects like integers?

about 7 months ago
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The JavaScript Juggernaut Rolls On

smellotron Re:If only Guido hadn't blown it with Python. (505 comments)

It hasn't even been able to replace Perl

Python has definitely replaced Perl where I work. It's also very quickly catching up to R (statistical/quantitative analysis), but from what I hear there is still a network effect keeping R on top for bleeding-edge research.

about 7 months ago

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