* Posts by Henry Wertz 1

1818 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Whew, US cellcos... Better find a new revenue stream, QUICK

Henry Wertz 1
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"I have seen the opinion that that's not really classical monopoly behavior, which would consist of keeping prices low in order to discourage competitors from entering the market, so making it a source of low but steady and reliable profits for the incumbent. Duopoly has different dynamics."

Monopolies only keep prices low to drive competitors out of the market, then jack prices up high to the profit maximization point (i.e. the point where $ per customer x number of customers yields maximum dollars.). There can be two of these points, one lower $ per customer but more customers, and the other higher $ per customer but fewer customers, with both being higher than a free market would have.

That said, the US market is no monopoly. Don't get me wrong, I'd like a more competitive market, but it simply is a very very high barrier of entry to be able to run enough cell sites to even cover a region, let alone the country. (MVNOs are another matter but they are run at the pleasure of the big 4...) The original buildouts (1980s), if the coverage started out spotty... well, tough, there was probably nobody else to go to, they could build out over time and get plenty of customers to fund it. Now, if you started even a regional carrier, you'll have trouble getting enough customers with a lesser buildout, to fund completing the buildout. You could need $1 billion or more to build out a regional network, let alone national, and very few investors would invest in this. After all, VZW has been spending like $4-5 billion a year at least since 2000 ($75 billion), AT&T something like that, and even if T-Mo and Sprint have been spending $1 billion a year (I think it's somewhat more than that) that's $15 billion since 2000. And these carriers are older than that actually.

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Henry Wertz 1
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Coupe points

"Apart from mergers, carriers may also choose to preserve profit margins by sacrificing market share, losing the lower value consumers and keeping those who choose an operator not on price but for network quality, added value services or choice of devices, for example."

Well, the problem is (as you really did cover in the same page of the article), AT&T and Verizon Wireless already do this. Damn are they expensive! But, network-wise they absolutely clean Sprint's and T-Mobile's clocks, VZW has the most coverage but both VZW and AT&T have enormously more coverage than Sprint or T-Mobile.

T-Mobile, they have very fast network in a very limited area and way the hell too much EDGE* everywhere else (which they are in the process of upgrading directly to LTE, since 3G is already obsolete.) *This is a bigger deal than you might think, EDGE in the US isn't getting that 100-200kbps data speed you might see on European EDGE, it's usually like 0-5kbps (1/10th dialup speed, so even GMail etc. will simply time out.)

Sprint... well, they do have loads of spectrum, but the execution? Heh. Typically, they'll 1) Release grandiose 3 or 4 year upgrade plan that'd result in a good to excellent network (depending on the market.) 2) When the first year's up, it seems they've gotten through like 2 months of planned upgrades. 3) Delay delay delay... 4) After 4 or 5 years, they'll be through the originally first year or so of upgrades, and the rest is scrapped since they are on the *next* round of upgrades by then. I do hope they do their upgrades this time, and with Softbank's cash maybe they will.

Two other points:

First, LTE. MetroPCS *did* acutally roll out LTE and the world's first VoLTE deployment, in order to provide 1-2mbps data and voice at lower costs than their existing CDMA network, then passed some of those savings on through lower monthly bills. However, the other carriers viewed LTE as this magic cash cow and thought (at least at first) that they'd be able to charge all this extra money for the service, whereas (most) customers see it as the carriers problem to maintain a reasonably fast service and don't care if it's 3G or 4G as long as they do so. I must agree, if there were a "4G surcharge", I'd happily accept ~1mbps or so EVDO service and pocket the surcharge. (There are the other customers, as seen on howardforums, who love to see just how high a speedtest they can get, whether they "need" the speed or not.)

Second, AT&T *loves* to conflate wireless, wireline, and cable figures. (Well, now that I Google it appears Verizon now also does this.) Last figure I saw for Verizon Wireless alone was (a few years ago) like $5 billion, and AT&T Mobility was like $4 billion (with both planning to bump it up as high as maybe $8 billion a year in the fastest -- i.e. most expensive -- portion of the LTE upgrades.)

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Microsoft tells big biz: No free Windows 10 for you, crack wallets open

Henry Wertz 1
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Uh, sounds like fun?

"We're trying to figure out how consumers get a one-size-fits-all OS and features as fast as possible at a quality bar that businesses wouldn't tolerate."

I'm I the only one that is made a bit nervous by this statement? Well, not for me but for those poor Windows users. The concept is sound, and in fact in the early Windows NT days (if I recall correctly) there was the option of installing "update only" updates or installing the updates that added features.

But the way it's phrased -- I expect my updates to always be at a "business" quality bar, and to not have my updates install dodgy new software. Ubuntu doesn't disappoint (at least for LTS releases) -- the updates are stable, and the updates don't decide to tack on some dodgy software. Of course, with 10,000s of packages, I'm sure a few of the not-officially-supported available packages are real buggy, but they aren't automatically installed by an update.

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Quantum of Suspicion: Despite another $29m, D-Wave doubts remain

Henry Wertz 1
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"I'm also mildly puzzled as to why there's confusion as to whether it's a quantum box or not."

Honestly, me too. The basic argument against it using quantum computing seems to be "we haven't figured out how to make it commercially viable yet so it must not be possible." There was serious doubt, but quantum computing tests indicated it was the real deal; that ~2011 Nature paper statistically analyzed some results to some class of programs to discriminate between 4 solving methods and the best fit indicated quantum computing.

I have had little doubt about this system being quantum. Of course, given the apparently significant algorithm speedups the last few years, it's possible the quantum annealing box will be a dead end until significantly faster read/write speeds for the "qubits" are developed. Personally, I'm somewhat "bullish" on D-Wave's prospects and think they may well be able to get nice speedups.

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Privacy alert: Outlook for iOS does security STUPIDLY, says dev

Henry Wertz 1
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I'm just amused

I'm just amused that, as much as Microsoft wants EVERYONE ELSE to use their cloud, that they are using AWS (Amazon Web Services) for their own product.

The poor security handling? That is just par for the course among some of these local/"cloud" hybrid services. Not that I condone it; far from it, I recommend not using "cloud" at all unless you know what it's doing with your information and especially security credentials. (To those who say this is OK and necessary -- no, it's obviously NOT necessary to keep your credentials when you've removed the app, or told it to delete your account.)

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'People ACTUALLY CONFUSE Facebook and the internet in some places'

Henry Wertz 1
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Maybe not confused?

"People will walk into phone stores and say 'I want Facebook'. People actually confuse Facebook and the internet in some places."

Or they are obsessed with Facebook, and actually only care if the phone can use Facebook, not any other web site (or the rest of the internet for that matter.)

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'One day, YOU won't be able to SENSE the INTERNET,' vows Schmidt

Henry Wertz 1
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ANNET?

So, like ANNET? Go ahead and see Romantically Apocalyptic to see how that ends up 8-)

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Welcome to Spartan, Microsoft's persuasive argument for... Chrome

Henry Wertz 1
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How about standards?

Why would there be this worry about IE versus Spartan and worrying about having to make two different pages?

For "normal" web pages, there's simply no reason to use every HTML5 feature in existence just because it's there, these pages will probably then load even on a 10 or 15 year old browser.

For "fancy" pages... IE is probably the worst at following industry standards on the market, but is SO much better than a few years ago that probably the easiest thing to do is just avoid those features IE doesn't properly implement. Once that's done, you're done, your page will load on IE, Spartan, and all modern browsers.

Of course, if you have some cruft-tastic app with ActiveX plugins and junk, well, that's legacy, you were supposed to ditch that stuff like 10 years ago you're going to just have to deal with it. It's nice that Microsoft gives SOME clean(ish) solution to do it. And "I told you so", some of us (probably dismissed as Linux fanbois) said from the start that these ActiveX "web pages" were big problems (I hesitate to call it a web page when it's a frame with an ActiveX control stuck in it).

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NSA gunning for Google, wants cop-spotting dropped from Waze app

Henry Wertz 1
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However...

However, in my state, the location of speed traps (which, lets face it, is why the police are marked in Waze) is considered public information, and in fact the public access channel lists the speed trap locations (or at least it used to.) It would be considered illegal here to have anyone tell anyone else "no, you cannot post this information." (edit: Well, freedom of speech, you as a citizen can SAY whatever you'd like, but wouldn't be able to enforce in any way having someone not post the info.)

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Penguin porn? NO! Linux folk in #LCA2015 standoff

Henry Wertz 1
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To me

To me, it would actually make more sense (especially once they realized there's a has collision) to use #LCAu2015 for the Linux Conference Au, particularly since there's a Linux Conference North America (which people might refer to as Linux Conference America and abbreviate to LCA.... this'd then be #LCNA2015.)

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'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?

Henry Wertz 1
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"At least with professional software you (usually) get updates at a predictable cadence and can plan the patches. Seems Mr Torvalds would rather have us firehose the damned things and that just won't happen."

Umm, sitting on patches to release them once a month is actually a DISavantage, blackhats then know they can start heavily exploiting a flaw (the day after "Patch Tuesday" in Microsoft's case) and have about 4 weeks where NOBODY has patched the flaw (since the patch is not even available.) You can slow down your patch deployment schedule as much as you want (really, I won't tell!), just because Linux distros get patches immediately does not prevent you from rolling them once a month or even less frequently if you really want to.

As for Linus being unfit for the workplace -- this is nonsense. Have you heard the stories of Steve Jobs berating people, and Balmer even throwing chairs? Not that I endorse this behavior, but not everyone is required to be a bland yes-man. Some people have a passion for the job they are in, and a view of what "The One True Way" should be for their work. Imagine the mess Linux would be in if Torvalds just meekly said "Yes" to every idea, good and bad, that people wanted to put into the kernel?

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Boffins: It's EASY to make you GRASS YOURSELF UP for crimes you never did

Henry Wertz 1
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Texas-style

"'By empirically demonstrating the harm 'bad' interview techniques – those which are known to cause false memories – can cause, we can more readily convince interviewers to avoid them and to use 'good' techniques instead,' Shaw said."

Or, do it Texas style -- the deep south in general, and Texas in particular, they generally have the attitude that if someone was picked up by the police to begin with, they did it (whatever "it" may be). I'm quite sure they'll be interested in these techniques -- in order to "ensure a conviction."

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BMW: ADMEN have asked us for YOUR connected car DATA

Henry Wertz 1
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So how much will I get paid?

First off, I will never buy a "connected" car if there is any way for it to phone back my present location (without me hitting some emergency button first). I don't trust GM (or Toyota, or BMW, Audi, Hyundai, etc.), don't trust advertisers (the US basically has no privacy laws the way most EU countries do) and don't trust the Feds to not override both of the above to slurp data (not to target me, just to pull an NSA and decide it'd be "neat" to collect the data just because they can.)

Second though... in Japan, there's the option to have your car display... well, ads... I think to make it sound useful they refer to it as sponsored personalized information on available nearby services. ***BUT***, if you elect to do this Toyota actually CHARGES LOWER MONTHLY PAYMENTS in return for this, you effectively are paid for giving up your information. They found that people there were not willing to give up information without compensation, and they have functional privacy laws so they'd be (probably) be sued into oblivion if they decided they would just do it and not tell anyone.

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What an ACE-HOLE! This super-software will whip you at poker, hands down

Henry Wertz 1
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Two comments..

First, I was reading the text as meaning the 4000-CPU cluster was running 6 billion hands/second, as opposed to each CPU running that. (The numbers still don't work, that'd come out to like 31 million billion in two months...)

Second, I must say, online poker of any sort is pretty different than in person; online, it's largely a game of mathematics (the mathematics being determining your odds and so on) and strategy ("strategy" being mainly detecting the foibles of other players.) In person, you can get reads from other players, they may detect tells from you, and there's the psychological aspects of being there in person interacting with other human beings in addition to the usual aspects of online play.

I saw a round once on TV (a few years back when World Poker Tournament had some popularity on TV)... the one guy (who had gotten into the tournament via online play) had a straight flush -- STRAIGHT FLUSH! -- and had a 98% chance of winning. The other guy (who looked somewhat like Tom Petty, and got in via live play at casinos) had dick, like a pair of 6's or something, but was bluffing hard... he raised, the guy with the straight flush looked real nervous and sat there. The guy with the 6's just kept sitting there stairing at him with the crazy eyes... after like a minute, he's like "Are you going to call or what!!" and kept stairing. The guy with the straight flush hadn't played much in person, he couldn't deal with the crazy eyes, they psyched him out and he folded!

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Microsoft patch batch pre-alerts now for paying customers ONLY

Henry Wertz 1
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Clutter? What a lame excuse

Title says it all. I think "clutter" is the lamest excuse I've *EVER* heard for some company restricting information to people under a support contract. Obviously, if admins didn't want to deal with the "clutter" they were not being forced to read various blog posts with the patch lists.

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One Sync to rule them all: How Microsoft plans to fix OneDrive

Henry Wertz 1
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How did they make this so complicated?

Dropbox is so simple and trouble free; carbonite usually backs up a whole system (well the user directories) but can be pointed at a single location, also simple and trouble-free. Several other products also give you the "Here's a drive letter (or directory) that syncs online between your PC(s) and tablet(s)" without bugs and drama.

I simply do not understand how Microsoft made this so complicated and managed to make it buggy? And what is there deal with giving unrelated products the same name? They did this back in the day with Outlook versus Outlook Express, and now renaming "Microsoft Groove" (or I guess Microsoft Office Groove) to Onedrive for Business? I'm not a fan of getting a different "edition" of a product just to find out it's a totally unrelated product with seperate features, behavior, and bugs.

I wouldn't want to get a "pro" version of rsync and find out that it's robocopy (no insult to robocopy, just saying I'd expect a theoretical "rsync pro" to be rsync-based.)

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No, the Linux leap second bug WON'T crash the web

Henry Wertz 1
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Thanks Paul Crawford!

Thanks for the info! I was going to ask, if there's a crash related to the clock jumping, why doesn't my system crash then whenever I power up a system, the clock's a bit off, and ntp resets the clock (or indeed any time one rolls the clock forward or back)? But, the info you give makes it clear -- this in-kernel leap second handler that NTP calls was presumably buggy in in 2.2.whatever to 3.3.

I have a MythTV system running 2.6.38-gentoo-r3 so presuambly June 30 it'll be reboot time! 8-)

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Sony boss: Nork megahack won't hurt our bottom line

Henry Wertz 1
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Doubtful

So, having your office PCs compromised, wifi compromised, servers wrecked, effectively having the offices closed for a month, has no harm on your bottom line? O RLY? I do seriously doubt this, and if it's true, it makes me wonder just what exactly all these people at Sony are actually doing?

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Police radios will be KILLED soon – yet no one dares say 'Huawei'

Henry Wertz 1
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Two points...

I have two points to make:

1) Do the walky talkies have any use for data? Does the *replacement* system have any use for data? Does it matter that the data available is only 7.5kbps? That's pretty slow but if the most you get is nothing, or a line or two of text, then it's more than adequate.

2) Phones now have heaps of RAM. Why can't the system start "recording" the moment you push the push-to-talk? I would certainly object to a system where you have to push a button then wait around for 1/2 second or a second or two while it does whatever before talking; on the other hand, I might not even notice if the audio's just being "buffered" a second or two.

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Get your special 'sound-optimising' storage here, hipsters

Henry Wertz 1
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Holy hell...

Holy hell... I clicked the link. I assumed MAYBE their stereo had been picking up noise from the various NAS systems. Nope! Just as bad as TFA suggests, they discern slight audio differences where there must be none.

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Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Henry Wertz 1
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"Even Test Driven Development, where developers write unit tests to verify the behaviour of their code, comes in for a beating. “This is so ridiculous. Do you think you can model the real failures that happen in production? No,” says Meijer."

I have to agree. Having sanity checks in your code? Good. Running a setter to set a=5, then running a unit test to verify a is in fact 5? Assinine. I'm sure there might be useful unit tests, but the majority of unit tests I've seen do just this.

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Microsoft forks .NET and WHOMP! Here comes .NET Core app dev stack

Henry Wertz 1
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Ahh static libraries

What a solution -- they're going back from dynamic libraries to effectively having static libraries. (Well, "effectively" because I'm not sure if it's all linked in or if the .exe and libs are just shipped in a directory together.)

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Stuck on a coding problem – should you Bing it?

Henry Wertz 1
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Good idea... but...

"Maybe if they made decent and accurate documentation you wouldn't need to use a search engine all the time?"

This... first, I do want to say I actually like the idea of what they are doing here. When you do have to look for some sample code, it would indeed be nicer to have it in the IDE than having to switch between IDE and browser.

That said.... Switching back and forth between Linux, Windows, and Android programming...

The typical libraries on a Linux system (GTK, SDL, C library, X, XML lib if you're doing that, and so on) have reasonably good documentation, and usually code snippets that actually follow recommended programming practices. There's generally one particular library (with a fairly stable API over the course of a decade or more) to get any particular job done (although other libs may exist, they won't be installed by default, and it'll be pretty clear looking online which lib to use if your goal is to program for a "stock" system.) There still *is* Google pulling up snippets on stackoverflow etc. if you need it, but you may actually not need it.

Android, the whole API is there; not good code samples but honestly most of the API is quite straightforward -- including what API version a given call was introduced, if it was deprecated and if so what API version it was deprecated (and there's a table mapping API version to version of Android.) There's a chance that you may not have to google anything. I wrote one app without googling a thing, and a second app I only had to look up something (undocumented) on handling the status bar.

Windows? There's certainly extensive docs, but the APIs (for most functions) seem overcomplicated, no indication of what the recommended way is to use these APIs, and usually mutliple APIs with no indication on even *which* API to use (sometimes Microsoft deprecates one, but programmers find the replacement inadequate and say "don't use the replacement, use the deprecated one"). Sometimes, Microsoft has just left docs online, no header or footer to indicate "this is no longer up to date", I'll be reading up on something just to realize "Hey, this is from 2008, and this API has already been replaced twice since then." And, there'll be a high-level API that covers like 90% of functionality, then you've got to dig down to a lower-level API to do the rest -- not for unusual actions but for actions that every user of the APi wants to perform. In a few cases, I find they reimplemented some functionality (usually fixing bugs and speeding it up) but, despite the same functionality (or a superset of the old functionality), same inputs, and same outputs, the API calls will all be different (I think because they just had someone write the new API from scratch and it simply didn't occur to them to make it compatible with the old one.) It's honestly confusing as all hell. And, unfortunately, I've found plenty of code on stackoverflow, etc., that although it may have worked, appeared even at a glance to be quite fragile (for example, a snippet to print a temporary PDF file that would pause 1 second and just *assume* the print job had finished (deleting the temp file), instead of actually CHECKING if the print job had finished first.)

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The Wi-Fi Alliance wants to get you off Wi-Fi

Henry Wertz 1
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So what is it?

802.11 has supported ad-hoc mode since the start, and is supported by every chip AFAIK. And there's 802.11s mesh networking (which is supported directly by a few chipsets, and by many more under Linux's mac80211 layer if the chip can be told to send and receive raw frames without firmware stepping on it's toes.)

Is this going to be a third standard to do this kind of thing? Or, is it some bit of software standards that sit on top of one of these existing standards so useful work can actually be done? There's some use for this I suppose, because as it stands both Linux and Windows (and Mac, and most systems) by default assume they'll connect to wifi, then be given an IP address by a DHCP server, then usually ignore everything on the LAN and just access the internet. This would have you NOT be given an IP (maybe it'd self-assign a 169.x.x.x address? Or maybe not even use IP at all? I don't know), and primarily toss packets at other machines on the "LAN" (LAN in this case being whatever's "Wi-fi Aware" kit is in range I guess.)

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Snooker WPA secrets with this Wi-Fi tool

Henry Wertz 1
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Wouldn't work here!

"I don't know about that - the tool didn't exist until he created it and published it, thereby providing a new means for attacks to be launched."

Yes it did exist. Deauth attacks have been around for a long time, software to run rogue access points has been around for a long time, and of course software to sniff or mangle the traffic on said AP has also been around a long time. To me, the fact that you didn't know this even existed and now know it does indicates this has done it's job, making people aware of the potential problem.

I don't think it'd work on my parents! If they got that page asking for the WPA password, my mom'd be like "Oh, hell, I put that password in like a year ago. I wrote it down on a note in the drawer somewhere, where'd that go.... oh, never mind, I'll just go do something else." 8-)

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Cops think Mt Gox meltdown was an 'INSIDE JOB' – report

Henry Wertz 1
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Splitting hairs, or...?

First off... the central banks of many nations are behaving quite dangerously and irresponsibly, there's truly no reason to say dollars (or pounds) are a solid way to store your wealth but BitCoins are not.

That out of the way... if an "unknown party" was "fraudulently" operating Mt. Gox, couldn't that be a hack (or as they call it now a "cyber attack"?) (Clearly it's not the SAME attack as the 1% of bitcoins but still) .Or are they pretty sure iy's fraud by someone at Mt. Gox and just not sure who specifically?

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Google unveils Windows 8.1 zero-day vuln – complete with exploit code

Henry Wertz 1
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"In this case, just publicly reveal that "NtApphelpCacheControl()" has a bug, then after 15 days release that is doesn't properly check permissions, then 15 days after that release info about the security tokens, and so on"

That'd be useless I think.

1) Microsoft already had a full *90 days* to fix this bug. This isn't like a few holes where the fix might break other behavior or is complex, or where the fix has to be patched into many products (like a few JPEG or SSL flaws where -- on Windows -- the flawed JPEG or SSL code was usually "built in" to each software instead of them all using a single shared library with the code in it.) I simply have no sympathy, there have been FAR too many cases where commercial companies (not just Microsoft...) will string some security company on for months, 6 months, 9 months, a year, "Oh be responsbile, don't release that exploit yet!". Eventually either blackhats or a second security company (who will not wait to release) re-discovers the flaw (and get the credit) and lo and behold! They manage to put out a patch (that they claimed they needed months or more to do) within a week or two.

2) Once someone says "NtApphelpCacheControl() has a bug", it'll probably take some blackhat (if it hasn't been found already) less than a day to poke around, find the flaw, and have full exploit code ready. And again, they already had 90 days to fix it, another 15 or 30 is just keeps the hole exploitable for longer.

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Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Henry Wertz 1
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How much was used before?

How much was used before? If ios8 like doubled in size, I could see there being room for complaint (losing like 2GB on a 8GB storage system is a big deal). If it's like 100MB bigger they're just bitching IMHO. Keep in mind that Apple senselessly disallows SD card use with their phones so once your out of space your f**ked buddy (not only not building an SD card slot in, but they produced *one* SD Card reader for IPads, artificially disabling support for it on iphones.)

Keep in mind, Microsoft got sued for the same thing -- they managed to come out with a WinPhone8 that was, what, like 20GB? So people sued, they bought a "32GB" phone and found they had like 12GB available.

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Really, govt tech profit cash grab is a PRIZE-WINNING idea?

Henry Wertz 1
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Ran out of time to edit my last post..

I just wanted to add, there ARE plenty of wealthy to very wealthy investors who either got lucky or were flat-out shrewd investors. Warren Buffet I'm looking at you! That said, Buffet's flat-out said that he thinks he should be taxed much higher than he is now. He's also pointed out these wealthy really SHOULD worry about the middle and lower class. He figures (and it sounds logical to me) they are the backbone of the economy, if they only have enough income to pay their rent and cheap food and have no discretionary income left over, then sales of these discretionary items will drop off (games and game systems, movies both in theater on DVD/Bluray and online, nicer clothes, nice places to go out to eat, all vacation-related items like hotel rooms, airline tickets, to name a few...) and the diminshed market for these items would lead to the economy continuing to shrink in a sort of downward spiral.

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Henry Wertz 1
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It's a matter of who to tax...

People who got their money honestly -- I was never a big Steve Jobs fan but he did -- are not the problem here. People who actually came up with new ideas, or (in the case of Apple) took existing ideas and implemented them so they sold well (Apple fanbois do like to pretend they invented the portable music player among other things... they did not) deserve to profit from this.

But, at least here in the US, though, you had people who are basically stock investing plutocrats whining about being "job creators" and "wealth creators" who did not create any jobs, and "created" wealth for themselves only, by abusing credit default swaps and so on then whining they *had* to be bailed out when they lost. (Yes, as they like to point out, these were generally loans that they repayed... but so what? It's still not fair to everyone else... a trained ape could make money hand-over-fist if they are allowed to make unlimtedly risk investments, whine until they get a loan when they are wiped out, then use those loans to buy (very!) low and sell high.)

The other problematic investors use high-frequency trading to game the stock system; their trading systems will actually see what trades are going into the trading queue and use EXPLOITS to shove their trades AHEAD of yours, taking your profits as their own. For example, if you had a stock you wanted at least $1.50 a share for, and found a buyer offering $1.52, great you've made 2 cents a share profit, right? Oh, no! The HFT will shove it's trade in between, buy your stock at $1.51 (if not $1.50) and then sell it to that other guy for $1.52, taking your profits while contributing absolutely nothing of value (they claim they "provide liquidity" but this has been thoroughly debunked). Again, creating wealth for themselves, nobody else.

Oh, and to top it of, these types of investors don't seem to actually want to SPEND their money, just to sit on it and make more; they are not trickling down money to anybody. I could be wrong, but I would think THESE are the type of people that the gov't might be wanted to heavily tax. And honestly, they should.

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30 years ago today, the first commercial UK 'mobile' phone call was made

Henry Wertz 1
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"It's possible that this was not a commercial offering, but I sat in a car in Milton Keynes in 1981 and made a mobile phone call to the USA, so this 1986 date seems all wrong to me. From memory the phone I used was a true cellular car phone with a numeric keypad, single line numeric led display, and a diplexer and tx gear in the boot."

At least here in the US, (this is all per Wikipedia...) the MTS (mobile telephone system) relied on operators; but IMTS (*Improved* Mobile Telephone System) was automated.

It would send out a tone to mark a channel idle (the phone would scan for and lock onto the idle channel). If a call was coming in, it'd use a different tone to say a call's coming in, then pulse dialing (using two tones) to pulse out which phone the call's going to (the other phones would realize the channel's no longer idle and scan for the idle channel). The phone would send out a "seize" tone to be able to signal you've heard the phone ringing and picked up the handset. If you make an outgoing call on this system, the phone did the "seize" tone to signal it wants to make an outgoing call, then pulsed it's phone number to the base station. You'd get a dialtone, then rotary dial the number you wanted to call.

But -- it wasn't cellular. They'd use a ~250 watt base station and ~20 watt mobile, with *one* site covering the entire coverage area. There was a HF, VHF, and UHF band but all 3 put together only had like 32 channels.

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Survey: Tech has FREED modern workers – to work longer hours

Henry Wertz 1
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You should see a place without it...

There's plenty of tech on the floor, but no phones. During breaks and lunch the hardest core phone addicts will (usually!) beat the cigarette smokers to the door and are texting or messaging (judging from the frantic tapping, beeps and dings) the whole time.

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If BT gets EE, it will trigger EU treasure hunt for fixed lines

Henry Wertz 1
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Wireless backhaul?

Maybe they don't use this in Britain? But, here in the US, as Verizon Wireless (among others) found areas where the wireline providers were unable to provide adequate backhaul (rurally, if there's no fiber nearby, the phone lines will be too long for fast DSL and ther'l be no cable.) Or unwilling (either they want too much money, or keep dragging their feet getting faster service installed.)

Solution? VZW (among others, I've heard T-Mobile US specifically) have been aggressively installing wireless backhaul (point-to-point microwave dishes) on every site -- sites that could not get good enough backhaul use it as their primary backhaul (and use the 1.5mbps or whatever wireline conection they already have hooked up as a backup), other sites can have good backhaul but use the wireless backhaul as a backup too (so ideally, a cut fiber will not disable service.) I've heard where I live, the main delay getting 3G (EVDO) service up was the (wireline) phone company being very slow in increasing backhaul speeds to the sites; so for 4G LTE, they got a big speed boost on the fiber optic line to like one site downtown (which does not use the phone company, it has fiber optics from another vendor), told the phone company to sit and spin on it and ran wireless backhaul from that site to the other sites in town.

The standard backhaul hardware now can hit 1gbps, it exists up to 10gbps, and less expensive 100mbps hardware also exists if the demand is less demanding (this also probably supports higher range.) These tend to list at least 25km range, with some claiming over 100km.

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HP breaks for Xmas week - aka 'staff hols' - source

Henry Wertz 1
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Man that's shitty...

Closing down around holidays? Makes sense. Demanding people use their paid time off to do it? Umm, no.

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Dotcom 'saved' Xmas for Xbox – but no one can save Sony's titsup PlayStation Network

Henry Wertz 1
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So greasy...

A) Who takes down a game network over Christmas, for any reason? Bah humbug.

B) Who decides they will bribe said greasy DDOSers? (This is not nearly as bad as the actual DDOS'ing though.)

C) Finally, it makes Lizard Squad double-greasy that they would accept this payment, then just start DDOS'ing again like 1 or 2 days later!

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Norks blame U.S. for TITSUP internet, unleash racist rant against Obama

Henry Wertz 1
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Re: North Korean ISPs

Firstly, I agree, this comment was obviously meant as an insult, but I don't think it's racial, I think they would have called Bush a "monkey in a tropical forest" too.

Second... I've heard some news-drones seeming to think it'd be very difficult to knock an *entire country's* internet offline. Normally it is... but what does North Korea have, like 1 leased line running in? I mean, last I heard even most "north korean" web sites were actually being served out of datacenters in China or Japan.

I wonder if this is a false flag operation? Some analysts suggest that the attack on Sony does not have the characteristics of a typical North Korean cyber-attack. And, a number of groups could DDOS service on the relatively small scale that North Korea has. But who would even benefit from souring relations with North Korea? The Russians? South Korea? Someone's just doing it for the lulz?

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Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work

Henry Wertz 1
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Yeah this is amusing

Yeah, this is honestly amusing. I see exactly zero business use for Facebook. (And I don't use it so I'm not going to be one of them rushing in because Facebook is blocked.) As zen1 alludes to, I can't think of a single application Facebook has that would be useful for business. And there are already services like LinkedIn that are FOR business-type use. I suppose I could be wrong, but I think if Facebook thinks they can horn in on this market that they are sorely mistaken.

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Facebook Australia's 'small company' status makes it a small target

Henry Wertz 1
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What's the basis?

Is this based on number of employees hired? Is it possible FB has a nice big data center (and the juicy revenue they pull in from it) but very few actual employees? Honestly, either way, this is more a sign the "small business" criteria in AU should be changed than anything.

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Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

Henry Wertz 1
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Agreed somehwat.

Agreed: re Chromebook. I don't feel like running a notebook that is limited to just running a browser and browser apps (more or less). The older ones were too low spec'ed for me to even want to run Linux on them, it looks like the newer ones are at least better in that regards, but I'd still find the low amount of storage (16GB or so) pretty limiting. I seriously doubt "Word and iTunes" literally means "Word and iTunes" (as opposed to a Word processor and music-handling app that don't look totally different than what one's used to) but still.

Disagree: re tablets. Very cheap tablets (like $40) now have a dual core ARM and 1GB (maybe 2GB) of RAM; ones closer to $80 or $90 still have a quad core ARM. It really doesn't matter if it's a Chinese chip nobody's heard of, nobody seems to be having trouble implementing a trouble-free ARM tablet chipset. (The Chinese MIPS-based tablets of a few years ago seem to be off the market as near as I can tell; THAT thing was a bit of a slug.) I've had no complaints with the performance of these and no longevity problems. Mom's Nexus 7 has a (slightly!) better...well, basically everything... but these $40-100 tablets these days are no slouch.

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Apple and Microsoft backed Rockstar flogs zombie Nortel patents for $900m

Henry Wertz 1
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"So what exactly are you complaining about?"

It's highly likely that the actual inventors got some cash payment or bonus when they filed the patents; but nothing when Nortel went broke, nothing when Nortel sold the patents to Rockstar, nothing from the license fees paid to Rockstar, nothing when Rockstar sold some patents to patent trolls, nothing from the patent trolls license fees, nothing from the sale to RPX and nothing from the license fees paid to RPX. I can see the argument here that firms that hold patents but perform no R&D of their own are just a drain on the economy and invention process.

On the other hand, without companies being able to buy, sell, and resell these patents (so presumably they'd kind of evaporate when the company goes insolvent), it'd be FAR too easy to abuse THAT system by just forcing smaller companies (that perform R&D) into insolvency in order to use their patents for free. (I say "insolvency" rather than "bankruptcy" since a company might pull out of bankruptcy...)

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Shock! Nork-grating flick The Interview WILL be in cinemas – Sony

Henry Wertz 1
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Yeah...

Yeah, I like to occasionally run etherape; you scale it so normal traffic is a fairly thin line, and it becomes pretty apparent when something odd is going on; if a machine starts looking like missile command, it's got a virus or bittorrent running, if it's got some unusually high traffic going it's pretty apparent too.

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Henry Wertz 1
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Pure speculation...

I'm wondering if it wasn't Sony management (as opposed to Sony Pictures) who decided to pull the picture, and Sony Pictures management has convinced Sony to allow it's release.

Regrarding the Sony hacks, I did hear a BBC report where they talked to a software analyst who has analyzed North Korean cyber-attacks on South Korean systems*, and thought the Sony attack was not North Korea's style. But with apparently a healthy black market for exploit code, rootkits, and so on, that may not mean much.

*I'm guessing "cyber-attack" includes everything right down to general web page defacement ("Kim was here. Hax.")

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Revealed: This year's STUDENT RACK WARS winner

Henry Wertz 1
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I think this competition is amazing.

I think this competition is amazing; the amounts of processing power available these days is also amazing. These competitions push the state of the art of software (clustering, GPGPU/CUDA type setups), whatever software configuration tweaks and patches they make will come out and improve things for everyone. It also really pushes the state of the art of the hardware, showing which configurations work best for real workloads (speed and error-free execution).

Good work everyone!

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Hilton, Marriott and co want permission to JAM guests' personal Wi-Fi

Henry Wertz 1
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"As Wi-Fi becomes increasingly popular for connecting to the Internet, it is imperative that the Commission clarify the rules of the road for Wi-Fi network operators,"

It's clear. FCC Part 15 section 5: "(a) Persons operating intentional or unintentional radiators shall not be deemed to have any vested or recognizable right to continued use of any given frequency by virtue of prior registration or certification of equipment, or, for power line carrier systems, on the basis of prior notification of use pursuant to § 90.35(g) of this chapter.

(b) Operation of an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator is subject to the conditions that no harmful interference is caused and that interference must be accepted that may be caused by the operation of an authorized radio station, by another intentional or unintentional radiator, by industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) equipment, or by an incidental radiator.

(c) The operator of a radio frequency device shall be required to cease operating the device upon notification by a Commission representative that the device is causing harmful interference. Operation shall not resume until the condition causing the harmful interference has been corrected."

================================

That is -- They are not permitted to produce harmful interference. (They are trying to claim forged deauth packets are not interference.) For Devil's Advocate purposes, let's pretend this argument is accepted. They still should not be permitted to do this, because the rest of Part 15 states that nobody (including Hilton or Marriott) has exclusive rights to this band, and that their equipment must accept interference from other devices on the band. Both of these alone are plenty good arguments that Hilton and Marriott are not permitted to try to kick everyone else off these bands.

I'd like to furthermore point out my computer is very well equipped with software; if you start deauthing me, I *will* detect this and will deauth you, and (if I can) I will crash your malfunctioning access points. I will also file an FCC complaint.

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Uber apologises for Sydney siege surge pricing SNAFU

Henry Wertz 1
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Starbuck(yes it's off topic)

"It didn't - the coffee is mediocre and overpriced and in Australia we don't really go for all the exotic 'coffee' drinks that Starbucks also provide."

Yeah I don't get it. I consider it polite to call the coffee mediocre -- I found it quite bad. And quite expensive. And the fancy drinks were loaded -- LOADED -- with pile after pile of sugars (plain ol' sugar, caramel, whipped cream, etc.) and VERY expensive. I don't understand how they stay in business personally. Honestly I find McDonalds coffee to be far better (no comment on the rest of the foods but the coffee there is good, cheap coffee.) And for Starbucks-price there is a local coffee shop with even better coffee choices.

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Henry Wertz 1
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I don't see the problem.

I simply don't see the problem. I don't like Uber's "corporate culture" overall... but when demand is low, you're getting somewhat of a discount compared to taking a taxi. When demand outstrips supply, an algorithm automatically raises prices. This wasn't like some tsunami or brush fire where people HAD to flee the area immediately, those who wanted to pay the high price did and those who didn't want to pay could wait for Taxis or public transport.

And, as goldcd says, it's not like Sydney's public transport did anything special to help people leave either; Uber (eventually, once manual intervention took over) actually let people ride out for free while still paying drivers premium rates.

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Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Henry Wertz 1
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I guess I'm not an afficionado?

I guess I'm not an afficionado... but

1) I just can't see having a bottom crust or not as that huge a deal (for savory pies -- I've never seen a fruit pie without a bottom crust.)

2) It seems like it's just as easy to ask "does it have a bottom crust?" if it's a big deal.

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GCHQ: We can't track crims any more thanks to Snowden

Henry Wertz 1
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"Communication suppliers – historically willing facilitators of wiretapping – are “refusing to hand over evidence on the likes of drug smugglers or fraudsters” because they do not pose a “direct threat to life”, Telegraph security editor Tom Whitehead writes."

Yes. And the communications companies are right -- drug smugglers and fraudsters are not a direct threat to life. You want to track drug smugglers and fraudsters? GET A WARRANT.

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Égalité, Fraternité - Oui, peut-etre. Liberté? NON, French speedcam Facebookers told

Henry Wertz 1
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"Swiss, et cetera have it right in matching the penalty to the goal of decreasing dangerous and unwanted behavior.

All that this creates is a situation whereby the rich people are the ones doing the speeding because they can afford it and also because they have very nice, very fast cars."

But at least they do have the "progressive" fines. Here in the US, 140kph in a 100 (well, 90 in a 65, we use MPH here thank you very much) would get a ~$300 fine (depends a lot on the state)... whether you might have $10 a month left over at the end of the month and that $300 is a crlppling fine, or your a multimillionaire and that $300 is a joke.

You guys whining about any and all speeding (and claiming going 1MPH over means your not controlling your car) sound like a bunch of wankers. There's times when traffic or weather conditions make it inappropriate to even approach the speed limit; there's places where the speed limit is simply higher than it should be (where the speed limit is appropriate on part of a road, but some part might have heavy turning traffic, or driveways, or just plain piss-poor rough road without reduced speed limit.) Other roads are set way too low for revenue generation, these speed limits are not set based on the proper legal basis of speed limits so there's really no reason to follow them if you can get away with it.

What you really need (and luckily we have here in the US) are actual police cars on the road. The most dangerous drivers I see are the ones who usually aren't even speeding... but when traffic thickens up and slows down, they are bouncing from lane to lane like speed-racer instead of waiting a minute or two for traffic to clear on it's own. A speed camera will NEVER catch this.

Of course, the worst are left-lane pacers (I guess for you that'd be right-lane pacers.) They really need to get tickets for obstructing traffic (and unfortunately they don't), they sit there and never get past whatever vehicle is in the right lane, just obliviously letting more and more traffic build up behind them for miles on end.

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Linux 'GRINCH' vuln is AWFUL. Except, er, maybe it isn't

Henry Wertz 1
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I agree with Redhat

I agree with Redhat's assessment. The wheel group is meant to be given only to users who are expected to have root access to the system. I.e.you give it to admins, not every user on the system. So, this particular package installer permits wheel-group users, if and only if they are logged into the physical console, to install packages without asking for a password. It's like being surprised that a Windows user who has been added to he Administrator group can perform Administrator activities; not particularly a surprise at all.

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