* Posts by DragonLord

268 posts • joined 5 Nov 2008

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Boffins turns landfill WinPhones into microscopes

DragonLord

They could always up the price and put them on a Lumia 1020 which can save images as dng files at 41mp. But that would be a £400 phone rather than a sub £100 phone.

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Israeli boffins hack air gap, fire missiles on compromised kit

DragonLord

Given that I've seen a couple of methods for transferring data between air gapped computers before this. I would say that at least one of them will probably work. Also I'm guessing that the point of the 2 computers close together is that one of them is connected to the public network and one to the internal network, so as to not inconvenience the user of the 2 computers.

Don't forget that for most people convenience trumps security

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$30 Landfill Android mobes are proof that capitalism ROCKS

DragonLord

Re: A selfish view

Interesting essay. Maybe you should go into some of the things that he mentions at the end so that us non-economists get a better understanding.

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DragonLord

I believe that in some cases there was also less fish caught because they already knew that they wouldn't be able to sell as much as they could catch.

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Noobs can pwn world's most popular BIOSes in two minutes

DragonLord

Re: This wouldn't be (much of) a problem...

How would that work for tablets, phones, and other sealed hardware where you still want to be able to update the bios occasionally?

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Google creeps up on another sector: Adds car insurance to Compare

DragonLord

I'm assuming that given what's going on in the EU this will be a US only offering until the anti trust investigation goes away.

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Apple Pay a haven for 'rampant' credit card fraud, say experts

DragonLord

Re: Yawn...

If the bank sent a snail mail letter to the account holders address with a code attached, then the owner of the card would a) know it was stolen and b) be able to prevent the card been added to apple pay. If the hacker wants to get round this then they need to intercept the letter. At which point it's no longer a remote attack.

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Mummy, what's the point of Evgeny Morozov's tedious columns?

DragonLord

Re: @ DragonLord

Even when renting is cheaper than buying, it's still a sunk cost that you have to pay forever rather than buying where eventually you own the property free and clear. With both properties you still have most of the same bills, however you do need to arrange your own maintenance if you own your own home (which could be buying a ladder, paint, brushes and DIY). Equally though you have no power to redecorate if you don't like the carpets or wallpaper.

Unless you value mobility more than you value stability and you are actually going to move house a lot, renting will almost always come out more expensive once you take into account the costs of moving and time sunk into finding somewhere to relocate to.

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DragonLord

Just to add, that renting is also a form of wealth inequality because you are throwing money into a pit that you're never going to see a return on, while if you own a home at least you have better guarantees that no-one is going to be able to remove you from your home for reasons outside your control. But counter to that, you are now responsible for the upkeep of the building...

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DragonLord

I think that both points are valid. However wealth inequality is more than just being able to afford a house in a nice area, it's also being able to live in an area with the facilities that you need. If you've got children and you live 50 miles away from the nearest school because you can't afford to live closer... Or you're living next to a land fill site because you can't afford anything anywhere else, or even you're living 2 hours away from where you work because the houses that are nearer where you work are more expensive and there's no work near you. These are all examples of how consumption equality do not help wealth equality.

If you're lucky enough to be able to work from home, then the cheaper capital prices on houses aren't offset by the increased costs of commuting (time and fuel). If you can't then these costs can be a massive burden.

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Boffins now one step closer to male birth control pill

DragonLord

Re: Hmm

@AC: "Anyway, back to the subject of a pill for men: Seems a bit of a waste of resources when there's already a contraceptive pill, condoms, caps and coils....... from a purely objective point of view anyway."

See all of these things, with the possible exception of the condom, are things that the woman needs to remember. Having a contraceptive pill for men equalises that slightly by providing something that men need to start remembering, and thus balance out the power dynamics associated with sex in relationships as both people can now be considered to be responsible for ensuring that accidents don't happen.

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California Uber Alles: Google wants to become the World Privacy Court

DragonLord

Re: sui generis?

IIRC the court didn't say that privacy trumped freedom of speech, rather the opposite actually as they said that they couldn't force the publication to take down the article. However they did say that privacy trumped googles ability to index everything and display the results for every search term. Specifically names, or other personal information, once the information was now out of date.

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Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!

DragonLord

Expanding on Zogs comment. I think the problem isn't that google, facebook, et al being able to use the information that we've explicitly given them. It's that they have ways of harvesting information that we haven't explicitly given them. Such as the like buttons that pop up everywhere tell them what articles you've been reading even if you don't explicitly like that article. Every time your mobile app checks it, it gives them your location. Or the chrome browsers habit of sending everything you type into the url bar to google even if you aren't using google as your search engine.

And then there's the class of information that people don't think about - such as email verification e-mails telling google that you've signed up to that racy porn site.

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Chipotle insider trading: Disproving the efficient markets hypothesis

DragonLord

Re: May I remind you...

I believe that the point was that the market encapsulates all public information. So if, as was the case of the employees written in the article, you trade using information that isn't public, then the market can't have already encapsulated that information, therefore you can capitalise on the knowledge by buying when your private information says that the stock price is going to go up, and selling when it's going to go down. This probably won't affect the market in the slightest if there are only a few people doing it for a relatively small number of shares. However if it wasn't illegal, then it would cause massive problems due to trust issues. This is because it would become impossible for anyone that wasn't trading on private information to compete. For example, if a CEO knows their company is going to go bust next month and they start unloading their shares, that's insider trading, and they are shunting their loss onto someone else. However if someone else analysed that companies public sales report and worked out that they were going to go bust next month and decided to unload, that would be fine. The difference being that their competition has the ability to respond by analysing the same information.

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DragonLord

Low wages is a symptom of the balance of power between unions and corporations swinging too far in favour of the corporations. The other end of this balance is companies going bankrupt due to not being able make necessary changes in order to stay competitive. Both are swings too far to the detriment of the worker.

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DragonLord

Re: non sequitur

@AC - But it's also $350 for 100 hammers and $450 for 500 hammers, $1000 for 10,000 hammers. Basically it's the fixed overhead of the procurement process in any large organisation with a fixed procurement process. You also see this in some large companies.

It's also much cheaper for the government to run things like rubbish collection, laying roads, funding police, etc. than it would be for individuals to do the same because they can drive down costs by effectively buying in bulk.

And the prices of bulk vs individual purchases are based off of guaranteed revenue vs fixed costs. If you've got $100,000 fixed costs and $10 unit costs then when you're selling single units with a 10% mark-up you need to make 100,000 units to cover your costs, however if someone comes along and says that they want to buy in 30 * 10,000 units suddenly you've made 3 times more money than your fixed costs so you can afford to only make 3.33% mark-up to make up your fixed costs. The government is in a position to do this on behalf of the population for certain things. However most things aren't known in advance about what's needed which is why central planning is generally considered a bad thing for things like bread and milk, but a good thing for things like rubbish collection and paving roads.

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YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them

DragonLord

Content id is not dmca, rather it is a voluntary system that Google has put together to avoid being completely snowed over by diva requests. This also has the side effect of not giving those affected by it the protections that are in the dmca. Though if content id fails the content provider is supposed to issue a dmca request.

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Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

DragonLord

Re: I reckon that I have something...

How about Hercules in new york starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Want a cheap Office-er-riffic tablet? Microsoft Windows takes on Android

DragonLord

Re: Commercial use forbidden?

This was for Microsoft office personal edition - i.e. you've not paid them enough to make money from their software.

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Insert 'Skeleton Key', unlock Microsoft Active Directory. Simples – hackers

DragonLord

I would imagine that it's to try to keep your stolen credential access hidden for as long as possible. There's probably some other exploits that enable you to mimic being a domain admin to run a single bit of code or something like that.

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SpaceX six days from historic rocket landing attempt

DragonLord

Re: Centripetal?

It's the same as centripetal force, just from the frame of reference inside the object been spun. So what's probably happening is that the centrifugal forces inside the fuel tanks is keeping the fuel against the wrong part of the tank for the pumps to work (considering that this stage is designed to work with the acceleration forces to resolve towards the thrusters rather than the walls)

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DragonLord

Re: Fingers crossed!

Evidently it's not sufficiently different from standard, and supersonic aerodynamics that you could say it wasn't

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DragonLord

Re: Why land at sea?

I would imagine it's to do with trajectory, time and speed. As Russia is absolutely massive in the right direction. Also consider that they are launching from Florida and going east to gain an acceleration boost from the rotation of the earth. Unless they reach Europe or africa, there isn't much land to land on.

Finally, as this is still in prototype stage, if something goes wrong they can just ditch the stage and try next time. Over land you need to worry about what it's going to hit if it doesn't work.

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DragonLord

Re: Fingers crossed!

Simple answer to why we weren't doing this in the 80's/90's is computing power vs computing mass, image recognition, and CAD - every prototype would have needed to be built and tested rather than all the obvious failures been found in the computer simulations before building them. All of the above change the time to develop this sort of thing and increase the cost massively.

It is interesting to note that we were able to use a well developed technology to build the shuttle, namely aerodynamics.

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Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

DragonLord

That's until you find out why that's their policy. The reason is that a fire drill happened in one of their buildings and everyone left except the man in a wheelchair that was there for his assessment, who was left by all of the staff except a security guard, who stayed with him. No one tried to carry him downstairs, or waited until the rush had gone past to do so, he was just sacrificed to the fire. The fire safety officer wasn't best pleased, and they changed their policies so that no one that needs a wheelchair is allowed to go to a facility that not on the ground floor. However their document just says that if you need additional assistance getting up and down stairs, call this number. Which as I was going with her, we didn't feel we needed additional assistance. You can google to verify this story :)

Also to note that the questionnaire that they use has been ruled illegal in the USA because it is discriminatory against disabled people.

So I say again, get your wife to appeal if it's not too late or reapply, and she should be back on benefits soon

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DragonLord

They cancelled her first appointment because we turned up with her in a wheel chair, and their health and safety policies wouldn't allow them to see someone in a wheelchair at that location unless they could guarantee being able to get down the stairs in the event of a fire alarm.

Her second appointment was cancelled because they didn't have recording facilities at the site at the time they gave us, and we had requested the appointment be recorded. We're still waiting for the next appointment.

Also everything that I've read says that the mistake your partner made is in answering as if good days exist. All the advice I've read says to answer the questions as if a bad day is your normal day. So if you can't walk 100 yards on a bad day (or normal depending on how frequent your bad days are) then you say no, not sometimes.

Edit: while I remember, atos has lost the contract for all new appointments

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DragonLord

I'm assuming that this was an atos special, if so then I would recommend appealing or re-applying as something like 80% of appeals succeed.

Source lots of reading because my wife is also on benefits and has her atos appointment coming up soon.

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Quantum computing is so powerful it takes two years to understand what happened

DragonLord

They can simulate the factorisation problem with a classical computer running a virtual quantum computer. However the classical computer can only model so many qbits before it becomes infeasibly slow (kinda like trying to model an ipad using an 08086). This means that they can verify the results that a machine is providing by running it through their simulations to see if it comes up with the same answer.

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Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

DragonLord

Re: Prehaps we need to understand the core problem

You're missing one very important fact about the past which is what this ruling is actually about. That fact is that news papers didn't get re-printed every day, and neither did the associated indexes. Therefore the only people that had access to the embarrassing information were those that had saved it at the time it was printed or those that trawled through the news paper archives looking for it and then had it printed out.

Enter the digital age and search engines. Suddenly every news article on the internet is available as if it were printed today.

So no, this isn't about censorship. This clarification of the law does not in any way require a news paper, library, or other sort of archive to delete or destroy information. This is wholly about allowing someones indiscretions of the past to remain in the past - unless they are of public interest (such as an unspent criminal conviction, or the news article has been referenced recently in another news article)

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DragonLord

Unless it's been in the news recently. Don't forget that this only applies to searches for your name, not for searches for the name of an organisation, an event, place + date, etc. So if something that's no longer relevant happened to John Smith of plastow in 1976, you should be able to find it if it would come up with a search of plastow 1976 but not if you search John Smith 1976

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Bitcoin laid bare: Boffins beat anonymity

DragonLord

Re: "Up To 60%"

Timestamped Mobile phone IP's are very revealing if you're in law enforcement ;)

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Pity the poor Windows developer: The tools for desktop development are in disarray

DragonLord

The biggest problem I had with switching to wpf was that in order to use databinding properly requires a massive shift in the way that you think about problems. I gave myself many many headaches while learning in order to Grok it. I'd imagine that you'd have the same sort of headaches learning functional programming if you're used to procedural. (never tried functional)

The main piece of advice I can give about WPF is that the UI designer is really there for modifing properties that are a pain in the arse to type in manually. Everything else should be done in the xaml text editor (with the visual bit still showing).

Also lean about mc:ignorable and d:datacontext as they will make your life so much easier.

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DragonLord

Re: I've given up writing applications for Windows full stop.

Have a look at the new Visual Studio community edition - it's free and is identical to the professional edition if you're a lone developer. (no msdn subscription included)

Also the problem that you're having with your installers is probably that they're not signed with a certificate from a known authority.

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DragonLord

I migrated to wpf about 4 years ago now, and once I got over the learning curve of how wpf windows fit together and learnt how to work with wpf rather than trying to shoehorn wpf into winforms (Things like using hierarchical data templates and providing a pre-built tree rather than trying to walk the visual stack to find out what's selected). Over the last year we've been learning MVVM, and now the value of WPF really shines. As by divorcing the screen from the code means that we can implement customisable screens (load xaml from a file or database on startup) without it breaking the window. What we've also found is that the extra time spent setting up an MVVM application pays itself back in spades later during maintenance.

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BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity

DragonLord

Right and Wrong, and why I think you are

I think that you are both right and wrong at the same time, but that's because there are two different things that need to be taken into account. One is that someone that partakes of risky behaviour is more likely to die off sooner, and thus in the long haul, cost the NHS less - This is where you're right. Where you're wrong however is in making the implied assumption that front loaded costs that are smaller overall is better than a more even spread of costs overall but cost more over a longer period of time.

If I offered you a loan and the pay back on the loan was either £200/month over 10 years or £100/month over 25 years which one would be cheaper? If you were looking at your monthly bills you might say the £100/month even though it will cost you £6000 more however you're saving £100/month. If you could afford the £200/month you'd probably say that that was the cheaper option as you'd be saving £6000 over all.

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US taxmen won't say WHY they're probing Microsoft. So Redmond is suing the IRS

DragonLord

Re: More hmm...

with a TV crew camped on your doorstep

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DragonLord

So you want to dissolve Google then?

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'Cleantech' a dirty word for VCs? RUBBISH!

DragonLord

Re: a couple of misconceptions

Yes there is, as if the carbon tax does everything it's supposed to do there will be no tax income from that particular tax. Then who pays for the rubbish collection, or the health service?

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DragonLord

Re: How to set the tax?

But how do you account for things like smelting, power production, red diesel, etc. Where they all directly produce carbon emissions if they use fossil fuels, but not if they don't. However the price the end consumer pays doesn't directly have any bearing on whether the source company used fossil fuels or not.

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DragonLord

Re: How to set the tax?

Wouldn't we need to be applying that tax at source rather than at the pump for it to really work? As, as things stand I believe that there are different tax rates on your carbon emissions depending on who you are. So at the refinery or as in import tax on coal/gas?

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NASA launches new climate model at SC14

DragonLord

Re: Interesting

From my understanding of historical temperature records, the problems have been that when they were made we didn't understand that things like urban heat islands even existed let along the ramifications it would have on temperature records. They also weren't as rigorous about how the readings were taken, so the time of day, and whether it was in shade wasn't necessarily followed as precisely as needed.

Based on that once we did find out about those things we needed to go back and make adjustments to the old temperature records based on where the temperature was taken from at the time. This being a judgement call by the interpreter means that individual historical models could be very different. Thus the NASA adjustments.

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DragonLord

Re: Interesting

I don't believe that this is supposed to be a predictive model, rather it's supposed to tell us how stuff moves from a to b. When we understand that we can then start to discover other things that are useful such as where's the best place to plant forests to absorb CO2, where's most of the CO2 coming from, what paths does it take, how does it correlate to weather conditions.

Understanding the why of the past is often key to being able to affect the future in the way you want.

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Why did men evolve map-reading skills? They were PAID BY BONK - study

DragonLord

Re: Additional explanation?

So far as I know the only non genital/giving birth related thing that's different between men and women and can be proven to be down to sex is the relative strength at the upper end of the spectrum (i.e. men tend to be stronger and can be much stronger than women). everything else could be social/cultural - i.e. nurture

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DragonLord

Re: Additional explanation?

I suspect that a lot of the hunter gatherer differences are down to the fact that men get more practice at the spacial awareness stuff because they're more expendable to the tribe (how many men does it take to re-populate the tribe in one generation vs how many women) thus are freer/compelled to take on the more dangerous tasks of ranging and locating new resources. While the women get to learn the area that they live in more, and are thus better at gathering the resources than the men.

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

DragonLord

Re: So how secure are 'biometrics'?

Why does everyone automatically jump to fingerprints as soon as anyone mentions biometrics. Of the entire set of things that you could use on the human body (non-invasively) for biometric checks, the fingerprint is just a fairly small subset.

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DragonLord

Re: Biometrics

The most recent one that I've seen going into general use eschews fingerprints for scanning the pattern of the blood vessels in your finger.

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Has Switzerland cracked the net neutrality riddle?

DragonLord

Re: argh -- have to go anon for this one.

What we did in the UK is forced BT (the incumbent operator) to logically separate it's operations into 2 or more internal companies - BT Wholesale and BT Retail are the one's we're concerned with here. The next thing they did was they said that BT Wholesale is not allowed to sell access to the cables for more than it's charging BT Retail. It's also not allowed to sell access to the wires directly. Lastly, any ISP can buy access from BT Wholesale, and also put equipment in the exchanges.

This means that the natural monopoly of the infrastructure to individual houses is owned and managed by a company that has a vested interest in maintaining the service and providing a fault free experience. While the back haul from the exchange is now open to competition.

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DragonLord

For things like gas, water, and sewage I disagree as it's not so much an issue of want as it is practicality (Sewage and water esp. can use very large pipes) and scarcity of space. I would imagine that there are plenty of large houses that have more than 1 of a type of pipe going into the property, but they all come from the same mains pipe.

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DragonLord

Re: But American utilities such as water and electricity are privatised monopolies

Erm, how would a second set of gas, even work in a house as you can't exactly switch the supply of gas to appliances? Same with water and sewage. They're on a grid system because of the practicalities rather than desires, as to have 2 pipes of anything coming into the house would mean duplicating everything that used that resource.

Electricity already has this available in the way of multiphase wiring, so you can actually have multiple electricity supplies, but the electricity company only generally lets you do this if you need more voltage than the standard 1 phase input allows.

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DragonLord

I believe that a natural monopoly does exist, but only in relation to the wires in the road. Basically it doesn't make sense to put down more than one set of gas pipes, electricity cables, water pipes, sewage pipes, telephone cables, roads, train tracks, etc. Thus these are all natural monopolies. But beyond the management of the last mile infrastructure, I don't believe there are natural monopolies and the government should recognise that by forcing a separation in law.

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