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Comment Re:Terrible Selection (Score 1) 64

Something that I've learned about Pandora is that you can't have multiple genres in the same station (use a mix for that) and you can't thumb up certain songs or you'll skew your playlist towards a certain genre or a small subset of songs even if the rest of the music on the station doesn't match that song.

It's like certain songs or dimensions are weighted more heavily than others and adding songs with those dimensions skews the entire playlist dataset in a direction that you don't necessarily want. When you have a small group of songs that do that, you can actually make Pandora tell you that you need to add more variety to the station to keep playing music.

Comment Re:The irony is... (Score 2) 280

But in terms of selecting and engaging targets on its own without a communications link, that technology is not there yet

Actually, not true. We are there now. MIT already has fully automatic and autonomous flying helicoptors that can perform stunts in mid-air, and there are many, many videos of targeting systems using machine vision to target and "attack" specified targets. Most of them use nerf guns and lasers, but the point remains. We know the technology to do fully automated drones that engage and eliminate targets.

The only reason that we're not doing fully automated drone strikes is exactly because it is controversial and nobody wants to take the responsibility in case a fully automated drone mistakes a preschool for a terrorist compound.

Comment Re:Classic memory leak. (Score 3, Interesting) 153

Extremely common, actually. It's one of the major pitfalls and difficulties of doing multi-threaded programming and one of the hardest things for programmers new to multi-threaded design to learn how to solve. It can also be extremely difficult to debug, even for experienced programmers.

Improper garbage collection is another extremely common bug that becomes harder to find and debug with multi-threaded programming, and that can also lead to memory leaks.

There are time tested techniques to mitigate these issues and strategies to find and squash the bugs, but as you said, they can be extremely hard to reproduce while testing.

Comment Re:What is the point of the Windows Store? (Score 4, Insightful) 209

Windows Store has more mobile games that have been ported to Windows 10 than Steam or GoG. I've also seen a lot of "free" games that have huge advertising banners covering most of the screen. They're the same type of cheap and easy to make clones filled with advertisements and pay-to-win crapware that you'll find on any other mobile platform.

These aren't AAA titles, nor are they decent, older games with great gameplay like you'd find at Steam or GoG.

Submission + - DoD Announces "Hack the Pentagon" Bug Bounty Program (

Quince alPillan writes: Announcing what it calls "the first cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government," the Department of Defense says it's inviting vetted hackers to test the security of its web pages and networks. Vetted hackers will need to pass a background check and will be attacking a predetermined system that's not a part of critical operations. This program is being put together by the Digital Defense Service, launched last fall.

Comment Re:Mask this by violating TCP rules? (Score 4, Interesting) 81

What you're talking about is a forward proxy. Forward proxy servers do this (and will even proxy SSL traffic).

In the whitepaper, they're actually talking about making a new protocol that measures the one way distance time and compares it to their database of network speeds and distances to determine your location. Their solution is an application-level solution, which depends upon a Forward Proxy to know about the protocol and spoof it correctly.

The problem with their solution is that network speeds are fluid and a computer with a problem (e.g. a local neighborhood node or a legitimately slow client that is delaying all traffic 20-30ms) can make their estimates wildly inaccurate. Even today, Cogent to Level 3 has a 197ms ping in LA. In the paper, they used average speeds for various known networks. This can be mitigated somewhat by measuring client traffic and only counting outliers (e.g. all traffic from a certain area being delayed the same, except for our rogue client) but it still doesn't mitigate the local computer problem.

A second problem with their solution is that it only measures distance - a server in Miami, Florida accepting data from a client in Seattle, Washington is 2732 mi and the same distance (roughly) as Lima, Peru. This means that a client in Lima should pretend to be from Seattle when they connect to their combo VPN/Forward Proxy in Miami. Satellite customers are will almost always have extremely high latency because of the round trip between Earth and the Satellite, even if they're legitimately in the correct area.

In addition, they were only able to make this accurate to about 400km, which means if you have a nearby beneficial country within that range, you can use a VPN in that country and they still won't know.

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 581

That's why the states have the ability to raise the minimum wage in their state above the federal minimum wage to better reflect costs of living, but they are unable to make it lower. For example, California is $10/hour and New York is $9/hour while the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour.

Comment Re:Does not compute (Score 1) 313

In this case, a more accurate example would be you doing a search for transaction data using the bank's own search feature and finding transactions from your neighbor mixed in with your own data. The guy wasn't hacking. It was openly displayed and mixed with their own data. The first time it happened, they reported it immediately and the vendor said they would fix the issue. This time, he did some searches to find out what was going on and got locked out and accused of looking at his neighbor's transaction data.

Comment Re:FTFA a big laugh (Score 1) 153

The sad part is that the X1 boxes are an upgrade from the old boxes that didn't even work properly on 1080p televisions.

Good luck getting on demand programming to work properly on those. Most of the time they would crap out with some unknown error that Comcast couldn't fix over the phone.

Comment Re:Does it matter? (Score 2) 668

Have you gone to the grocery store or local quick stop to pick up some over the counter medicine? That homeopathic crap is sitting next to the real drugs in the same exact section, both of which cost the same (or the homeopathic crap costs more!) and both of which declare in big letters that they cure similar symptoms.

You have to read the box to find out which one has real drugs in it that have been scientifically proven to have actual effectiveness at the proper dosages for the symptoms that you have or you'll very easily pick up the homeopathic crap by mistake.

Comment Re:cordless phone charger (Score 1) 75

Yeah, my mouse had similar tech. You dropped it into a cradle and it would charge...

Unfortunately, it had the nasty problem of the contacts corroding or wearing off, preventing it from charging. Given that it was corroding in a mostly temperature and humidity controlled environment, I won't give good odds to these things lasting in a hot and muggy car.

Comment Re:Higher, at first ... (Score 1) 142

As an ancillary comment to this, you'll sometimes run into this issue with cheap or older hardware as the components begin to heat up. Turning it off after a little while would allow it to cool down or putting the modem in a location where there's more airflow would keep it cooler.

In particular with Centurylink, their cable boxes will freeze and reset if they get too hot, and their power tolerance is really low - to the point where we had to plug it directly into the wall because the voltage / resistance difference from a normal power strip would cause it to lock up.

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