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!



Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

xigxag Re:When did slashdot become a blog for Bennett? (228 comments)

The problem, as calculus has shown us, is that when you are playing with the terms infinite or very large, what may be "obviously" true may not be correct.

Here are some confounding factors (some of which you mention).

* Lifespan of the software is not infinite
* Bugs take not only money to exploit, but time as well. As per Brooks' Law it is incorrect to assume you can reduce that time linearly by throwing more money at it.
* Not all bugs have the same level damage potential. E.g. a bug that requires end user stupidity is somewhat less severe than a bug that requires the end user to do nothing. A bug that requires you to have physical access to the device is much less severe than a bug that can be exploited remotely.
* Not all bugs are equally easy to discover
* There are a limited number of labs, whether white hat or black, capable of finding and implementing high-level exploits.

All that aside, your argument is just dodgy. "It doesn't even matter whether you have a prize program or not; the product is in a permanent state of unfixable vulnerability. " It costs $200 to see a doctor. If I visit the doctor and she discovers nothing, I've wasted $200. If I visit the doctor, and she discovers something, so what? There are an infinite amount of things that could be wrong with me, so no point in ever seeing a doctor, then.

Showing some math, even running a monte carlo simulation, would go a long way in convincing people you were in any way serious about this matter. As it stands, you're just pulling suppositions out of your nether regions.

2 hours ago

A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them

xigxag Re:Sony Walkman (180 comments)

Before that, people had pocket transistor radios, or carried around a larger cassette player (or a even a boom box). There was apparently an unreleased invention called the Stereobelt which predated the Walkman but was unable to secure funding, and something called the Bone Fone which came out around the same time as the Walkman, but which was not successful. But overall, agreed, the Walkman was a revolutionary product.

about two weeks ago

Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

xigxag Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (440 comments)

Food retailers run the risk of product liability with every item they sell. And as was mentioned elsewhere the Emerson Act would likely shield Costco from liability. I think it's more likely that they just don't want the PR nightmare. "Costco deems salmonella-factory peanut butter unsafe for general sale yet gives it away to the poor." Either way, I agree with you that it would be cheaper for them to bury the food. And perhaps just outright donate a generous sum to a couple of food banks to help bury the entire matter.

about three weeks ago

Florida Judge Rules IP Address Can't Identify a BitTorrent Pirate

xigxag Don't get too excited. (158 comments)

You know how this will eventually play out. They'll wind up amending the law to state that whoever the ip address is assigned to is prima facie liable and will have to prove their innocence. Loophole closed.

about three weeks ago

Tech's Gender and Race Gap Starts In High School

xigxag Re:here we go again... (489 comments)

That remark doesn't even begin to make sense as a rebuttal. If we were arguing about this in 1965, "from 1965 to now" would only be 1965's data, and not two generations worth of data proving that women have the capacity to succeed in a mentally demanding profession.

The point is that women have made tremendous strides in the past 50 years a field where it was previously thought they had an innate deficit. Their innate deficit was shown to be a canard, a just-so story to justify keeping them out of professional fields. In the US, the gender ratio in medical fields has made great changes, but not so in tech. Yet in some other countries, both genders are well-represented in tech. How does your "brain structure" argument account for that kind national-level disparity?

about 3 months ago

Tech's Gender and Race Gap Starts In High School

xigxag Re:here we go again... (489 comments)

From 1965 to now, the percentage of women in US medical school, which is a likewise high-training high-commitment-level field as CS, jumped from 10% to about 50%. What changed? Societal attitudes. Not brain chemistry.

about 3 months ago

1.2% of Apps On Google Play Are Repackaged To Deliver Ads, Collect Info

xigxag Avoidance (131 comments)

A couple of simple things can be done to avoid phone malware.

1) Investigate the app before you install it. Click on the developer's web page and see if it looks legit. Read the reviews. Check to see that the permissions it's asking for have a legitimate purpose.

2) As TFA notes, most of these malware apps are free. Stay away from "free" apps from unknown developers. You're better off paying 99c, $1.99, $2.99 to give the developer a legitimate revenue stream than incentivizing them to pimp you out to shady third party advertisers.

3) In other words, remember that your phone is a computer. Don't take careless risks with your phone or tablet that you would never take with your desktop or laptop.

about 4 months ago

Autonomous Cars Will Save Money and Lives

xigxag Re: So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (389 comments)

If the car is sufficiently self-driving, it will be able to drop you off at your destination, then find a nearby parking spot and wait there until you are ready to retrieve it.

about 6 months ago

Scribd Launches a Global 'Spotify For eBooks'

xigxag Re:An Alternative (53 comments)

blib.us is your site. How about mentioning that and not hiding behind an AC sockpuppet to pimp yourself? It speaks poorly as to the integrity of your business.

about 7 months ago

Apple Unveils iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S

xigxag Re:What is it with plastic? (773 comments)

In terms of the iPhone, the actual manufacturing cost of plastic is irrelevant. Apple are trying to have their cake and eat it. They want to continue to be known as a premium brand, but they also want to move into the downscale market with a desirable contemporary product. So they introduce a "cheap" phone made of plastic which still has a classy feel, and that way low-income people can experience a bit of the premium cachet. Meanwhile the "expensive" metal/glass phone is clearly differentiated and doesn't get tainted with the whiff of their cheaper plastic product. An iPhone owner can walk around with the full-price 5s and still feel superior to the plebs stuck with their cheap 5c devices. In fact, having that cheaper product available could allow them to raise the premium pricing on their luxury device: some people will willingly pay extra for the "privilege" of owning the luxury model, and will prefer that the device stay expensive. For this strategy to work, it's not necessary that the cheaper product be literally cheaper to make or be cheaper quality, just that it be perceived as inferior.

about 7 months ago

Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Private Business Will Not Open the Space Frontier

xigxag Re:Not, it is NOT impossible ... (580 comments)

Not quite sure whether to laugh or cry at the amount of irony coming from this when referring to a country that is trillions in debt. Seems "for too long" has been redefined.

I'm more flabbergasted by the irony of your posting that comment in a topic that is expressly about why your equating "country" with "business" is wrong. Dr. Tyson's entire point is that a country is NOT necessarily a for-profit business and doesn't need to balance its ledger ever. A nation's ability to incur debt is tempered only by the will of the people or the leadership to continue, and the ability that it has to secure loans from creditors. Even there, loans from creditors are only required because there are external debts -- payments to domestic bondholders and to other nations. A hypothetical SFnal future world-spanning empire would not have external debt payments and could engage in any venture that its leadership had the ability to bring to fruition.

Having said that, I still suspect that Dr. Tyson is incorrect. First of all, we have reached the point where private individuals are as wealthy as some governments, and I don't see that trend abating. Mars One estimates they can put four people there for US$6 billion. That's an amount that could come out of a hyperwealthy individual's back pocket totally without regard to profit. They would be able to enlarge the frontier, so to speak, and determine whether it is even viable for humans to establish a permanent colony there. They would be able to report back to the accountants and from there, if profit was viable, industry would gladly take over, which Dr. Tyson acknowledges and encourages.

Secondly, Dr. Tyson is referring to the undetermined costs of establishing a frontier as being something that governments have traditionally undertaken. But those costs are only going to get cheaper over time. Robots continue to develop greater autonomy and data-gathering ability, so at some point in the not-too distant future, it will be possible for a robotic probe to do all of the necessary frontiering. And at some point after that, it will be possible for the robots to do all of the colonizing and profit-extraction as well.

Also, the uncharted waters parallel that Dr. Tyson used doesn't really work. In the case of the New World, the Spanish Government literally had no idea whatsoever of the dangers Columbus faced. Were there monsters or other impassible dangers? Nobody actually knew. The only way to gather the data was to do the mission. That's totally unlike, say, a mission to Mars, where we already know a considerable amount about the planet. Many of the risks are already known and will be better known long before colonization begins in earnest.

Not to mention, a great deal of Christopher Columbus's funding was indeed private. He just ran out of potential investors and had to turn to the crown for the rest of the funding, but that was not necessarily a foregone chain of events. Plus, Isabella wasn't looking to advance the cause of science and exploration - the Spanish government was in it for the money as well.

Finally, back to your comment, "the amount of irony coming from this when referring to a country that is trillions in debt." Presumably you mean the USA here, but Dr.Tyson didn't refer to any specific country. He just said a government would do so. Could just as easily be China, which is not trillions in debt. In timeless words of our Usenet forefathers, "Nice strawman."

about 8 months ago

Sprint May Have Unlimited Data Plans, But Not Unlimited Customers

xigxag Re:Hey submitter, try reading your own submission. (207 comments)

Hmmm, true. :) But the word "red" means "net" in Spanish so maybe we can charitably assume that the author of the CNET piece made a mental transposition error, "remained in the red (net), adding a net ," in translating between his native Spanish and English.

The author, Roger Cheng.

about 9 months ago

Sprint May Have Unlimited Data Plans, But Not Unlimited Customers

xigxag Hey submitter, try reading your own submission. (207 comments)

From TFA: "Its [defection of] customers largely came from the Nextel side, where it lost 1.3 million customers. But Sprint's own prepaid and wholesale businesses also suffered losses. Only Sprint's core service remained in the red, adding a net 194,000 customers in the period. "

IOW lack of upgrades and degraded service may have been problems, but they weren't the problems that led to the mass customer loss. It was Sprint shutting down PTT and former Nextel customers having no reason to stick around.

about 9 months ago

Door-To-Door Mail Delivery To End Under New Plan

xigxag Re:Already happening (867 comments)

Back in the day when the government pretended to actually govern, the way it worked was that you would vote for some things you didn't like so that you could get a coalition to pass some things you did like. And so yes, the dems agreed to vote for stupid riders like this so that they could get support for their own little pet projects, in this case, keeping the country from shutting down.

Of course, recently one party has pointedly announced that it doesn't actually need any bills to pass at all, so it has no incentive to compromise whatsoever. Deliberately sabotaging the smooth working of the government absolutely is a partisan issue and the republican leadership proudly admits it.

about 9 months ago

How Intellectual Property Reinforces Inequality

xigxag Re:Commies occypied /. ? (272 comments)

Did you even read the article? There's nothing "commie" about it.

"Inequality" in itself isn't good or bad. Otherwise, please allow me to abscond with your savings and reduce you to pauperdom...I'll be doing you a favor, right?

Some inequality is good. When you expand the sum total of wealth available to humanity, and benefit from that, it's good. Inequality that is based upon rent-seeking is bad. As when someone patents an existing gene located in the human body and tries to charge you fees to access your own genome.

about 9 months ago

PCWorld Magazine Is No More

xigxag Re:B'bye (164 comments)

A car with 5 tires also has four tires.

about 9 months ago

How DRM Won

xigxag Re:Popularity of streaming content? (221 comments)

Have you ever actually seen a 4K image? You absolutely can tell the difference between it and Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray is a 2 megapixel image, 4K is 8 megapixels. While generally speaking, megapixels are overrated, the two orders of magnitude between 1080p and 4K is enough to notice. Is it enough of a difference to justify spending an additional US$1000-$5000 for a TV set? Maybe not. But an extra few hundred dollars for 4K on a desk monitor is definitely a difference in terms of usability.

about 9 months ago

How Copyright Makes Books and Music Disappear

xigxag Re:Maintaining the author's brand (128 comments)

Again, it's not that I don't agree with you in principle, it's that the Supreme Court has closed the door on the "Limited Times" argument, not only in the infamous Eldred v. Ashcroft decision, but also in denying certiorari to the follow-up Kahle v. Gonzales 9th circuit decision. That's not to say that Congress can't pass an orphan works bill, hopefully it can and will one day, but trying to achieve that outcome through a Constitutional challenge is a non-starter.

about 9 months ago


xigxag hasn't submitted any stories.


xigxag has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account