105 posts • joined 7 Feb 2011
Better detection, eh?
Does that mean we wouldn't have noticed Sandy if the high-tech monitoring hadn't told us about it? :-)
(Joke Alert because I suspect a smiley it too subtle for some of the participants in climate-change discussion.)
No backside licking necessary
Not to be too picky, but the U.S. has been printing only pre-sticky stamps for years. You peel 'em off a slick backing. I suppose you could lick it, but make sure it doesn't stick to your tongue.
I suspect you're thinking of the standard of proof
If the defendant's looking to lose her freedom (as in jail time) the jury must unanimously find the prosecution proved its case ``beyond a reasonable doubt''. But if it's only money at stake, the jury is instructed to come in for the side which proved its case by ``the preponderance of the evidence''---i.e. whoever's case is stronger, no matter by how thin a margin. In this case they're obviously required to be unanimous, too.
``antiquated time-division multiplexing''?
My dictionary's first entry for `antiquated' is ``obsolete or obsolescent''.
What's obsolete about a mechanism that guarantees adequate, non-jittery, low-latency, non-dropping bandwidth by reserving said BW before putting the call through? It's really amazing---5x5 voice that's available for whatever period of time you're willing to pay for.
Not sure what moral is to be taken away from this...``The cheap is the enemy of the good''? ``Gee-whiz technology blinds people to its inadequacies''?
Oh, and ``analog'' isn't true except for the local loop---everything else is just as digital as IP. If I put a codec in my handset, can I please keep my switched-circuit service?
Re: The human condition
You do know what the first profitable application for the Daguerreotype was, don't you?
To put it bluntly: companies that use [petroleum] would rather put the same capital to use inventing new ways to not have to use [petroleum] than invest in new and better ways to get at [oil] that will only ever have a [limited] number of sources.
Somebody else is digging a hole---not sure to what effect
In the last few years, a U.S. outfit called Molycorp has re-opened a mine in California, claiming at the time that RE prices and new processing methods would make it profitable again. I bought a few shares for a pet rock...
I just look in on them occasionally, but they're not burning up the markets. In fact, the stock has lost about 90% of its value in 5 years, whatever that portends.
Why aren't they common carriers?
Does anyone know what it takes to declare an industry a common carrier? (The classification covers many facets of commerce, and in fact originated in the (physical) transport industries. For instance, interstate trucking is regulated as a common carrier by the Interstate Commerce Commission.)
Can the FCC simply re-evaluate their status and classify them as common carriers? Does it take legislation?
(Black helicopter, because such regulation is one more step toward One World. :-)
Re: It's New Year's again,
Oh, very well. Let that be ``It's the New Year, which...'', just for you.
The BBC's priorities
Not to be too obvious, but ISTM that Mr East is of greater import to the world at large (just look where ARM processors have got to, and how many lives they're touching), while Mr Smith's achievements are much more widely known and understandable to the public.
Thus, the honors compiler got it right, and the press did their usual job.
(Hint: the beer's not for the BBC.)
Maybe we'll finally get some privacy
``Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.''
'Twould be nice if Congress decided that wasn't enough, and wrote some decent privacy laws. With our luck, though, they'll only apply to Congresspersons.
Ah, yesss... you remind me of a chap I once had a conversation with, who claimed the (U.S.) FAA should be abolished. You'd instantly see ratings agencies (like Consumer Reports, or Which?) spring up to tell fliers which airlines killed the fewest passengers. He was either serious or had the best deadpan I've ever seen.
Of course, those agencies would only have access to the gross numbers, with no way to force inspection of pilots' logs or installation of safety gear, much less require reasonable maintenance levels. But not to worry, Capitalism is our savior.
There are a number of public goods that are much more efficiently supplied by us all joining together to ensure their delivery (roadways, food inspections anyone?) than by leaving it up to individuals. Think of it as economy of scale.
Seriously. The only computer our daughter had access to at home was a desktop in the living room, with the screen placed so anyone walking by could see it. She didn't get her own until she was seventeen, by which time we were pretty happy with her surfing habits. But then, I'm a crusty old fart who doesn't mind child abuse of this nature, as opposed to those who think a laptop in the bedroom is just the thing for a fifth birthday.
And, yes, her Internet access was unfiltered on the same principle that if she played outside with a bunch of friends, she'd be immune to pretty much everything in short order.
Is appearing as their own work the only problem?
If so, the just need to change to a Free Software license that requires changing the name, à la Firefox.
_If_, on the other hand, that is insufficient, and simply having someone insert objectionable material into your Free Software program is enough to get you into trouble, proprietary wins. (At least in Germany. How long will it take the RIAA to put that one into law in the U.S.?)
Not surveillance-free (see article, para. 7)
It only allows people to slip through the firewall. Big Brother can still watch what's going on.
Is it possible that China's citizens are less spied-upon than the US's?
Another misleading title
(see also ``evolution [in] doubt'': http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/05/ancient_human_dna/)
While quantum RNGs are very interesting, and it will be a Good Thing for them to be cheap enough to buy a USB dongle containing one (no more PRNGs?), this is not quantum crypto.
Quantum crypto involves quantum-entangled pairs of particles (``spooky action at a distance'') which require no RNG, and cannot even be intercepted without alerting the endpoints.
If you'd like a fact-checking editor for headlines, you've got my address.
Introduce some damping
From an engineer's perspective, this looks a lot like an undamped system, in which a multitude of small inputs can amplify resonances, resulting in large swings which can ultimately destroy the device. (Have you checked your car's shock absorbers lately? :-) From what I read above, comparing bids and asks every second sounds perfectly reasonable.
Any attempt at millisecond trades would be pointless. If one person entered a multitude of bids and asks at sub-second intervals, the result would be worked out only on the tick, matching offers in first-come, first-served order. Sales (and price changes) would occur only once a second, preventing the out-of-control swings requiring shutting down a market. Of course, you'd have to introduce some jitter in the timing (say, make the tick a value between 0.8s to 1.2s, varying randomly) to prevent people from trying to game the tick. And each instrument would have its own clock---you don't want to update every issue on the market at the same instant.
As is probably evident, I'm no trader. If there's a better way to add damping, go for it, but the cost of missed opportunity at the millisecond would be more than repaid by avoiding the cost of a market crash. (At least to society at large. I feel no pain at the traders' making a fraction less than the current system offers.)
I can hear the screams now: ``But..., but..., you're introducing, *gasp*, _inefficiency_ into the market!'' No fecal material, Sherlock. Your shock absorbers dissipate some of the engine's power, introducing inefficiency, too. But where's the efficiency in hitting a tree because your wheels were bouncing wildly?
Re: NSA-proof Euro cloud
Giving me a chance to mention one of my favorite quotations:
``There is no fortress so strong that money cannot take it.''
---attrib. Marcus Tullius Cicero (I can't find a reference to any work containing it, at least on the Internet.)
Yet again---shiny new tech is a step backward
The bottom line is circuit vs. packet switching. In a circuit, you have exclusive (modulo the NSA)-: access to the full bandwidth so long as you're connected. Result: 5x5 reception on both ends. Packet switching makes your access to bandwith a stochastic function. Result: jitter, dropouts, &c. Telephony was making clear progress from the 1880s to maybe the 1980s, and it's been steadily downhill since.
And don't get me started on cell phones---like radiotelephony in the forties. All I want is a way to hear and be heard clearly.
I'm obviously well into old farthood, hence the icon.
It's been too long since I took advanced statistics, so if someone with more recent knowledge could enlighten me I'd be appreciative.
How is 4.9 ± 2.6 meaningful? Offering a value to the nearest tenth when uncertainty is ~30 times higher is warped. Shouldn't it be 5 ± 3?
Turn off spell check before generating a PNG
Or at least add Xantrex to your personal dictionary
With all this knife knowledge coming out of the woodwork, could someone speak to sharpening serrated knives? I have a really nice bread knife that needs some attention. Do I just sharpen it as I would any other knife, figuring I'll hit the high points, and the valleys don't matter? Must I buy a new one?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Re: Ceramic knives?
A friend uses ceramic knives, and curiosity led me to check the edge with a jeweler's loupe. The wear process was chipping, with still-sharp bits between the chips. Looked to me as if it was turning itself into a serrated knive with a sharp, intermittent edge. I suspect it'll stay super sharp until most of the original edge is gone.
Can anyone who actually knows what they're talking about expand on this?
Note to webmaster: We really need an icon of someone talking through a hat.
Back in undergrad days, a friend of Swedish ancestry took a course titled Reading Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian*, the idea being that the written (not spoken) languages were close enough as to make it possible (in one semester). Seems he's grasping at straws to claim he doesn't understand the warrant.
Can anyone with real knowledge confirm or deny that this is the case?
* Extra credit: Why isn't Finnish on this list?
Schneier got there over a decade ago
This little exploint rang a bell, so I searched Bruce Schneier's website. And, sure enough, on July 15, 2000, he observed ``Unicode is just too complex to ever be secure. '' See https://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0007.html#9. Doesn't exactly warm the cockles of the paranoid's heart.
And in a similar vein: Fairphone.com
I've been watching with interest the development of Fairphone (http://www.fairphone.com/). They're actually manufacturing the hardware to put Android onto. They advertise that they're using fairly-sourced (reasonable wages for peons, no profits going to underwrite wars, ...) materials, the phone will be rootable, have two SIMs, and so forth. Only €325---cheap!
Disclaimer: I have no business or other interest in this device, other than that I lust for one, but don't live in the EU, which is their initial distribution area.
... a firm based in the United States.
Which means, of course, that Oz is inviting the NSA into their networks.
You do realize we're all in trouble now, no?
I expect at least a quarter of your readers immediately tried to surf to qwe54fggty.dyndns.biz, creating an extremely suspicious spike in activity.
Subhead: Central Monitoring System lacks algorithms, database and data
I suspect the NSA will be able to help out with that last.
Fairphone goes on sale to all---for sufficiently restrictive values of ``all''
They're only taking order from Europe. Here in the U.S., I'm SOL.
If it's simply a matter of shipping, I'll gladly pay the extra. (Would the VAT refund cover that?) On the other hand, if it's about meeting additional regulations, it may be a while.
In either case, I'd _really_ hate for them to miss the 5k goal because we outlanders can't buy one.
Two calls at once?
I presume just as you do with a multi-line desk phone: put one of them on hold. What would be really neat would be connecting the two so you get a 3-way conference call.
Not quite that bad
But how much less I haven't dug into. The description at the FedRAMP site says there's actually a third-party assessment of the service. Unfortunately, it's not a Federal third party, so watch out for winks and nudges.
They also claim there's an ongoing reassessment process, but unless failing to have a retest carries the same consequences as failing one, the budget for continuing oversight will be right up there with the budget for highway maintenance.
Robotic flying cars considered unlikely
``Highly reliable robotic takeoff, landing, cruise flight and traffic control certainly isn't a dream - the problems are actually easier than robotic ground cars, and they have pretty much been solved already.''
Sure, for objects separated by miles horizontally and thousands of feet vertically.
But that's not the situation for a genuine flying car. Take the road populace of New York City, elevate it all to a variety of altitudes, and watch your autopilots have nervous breakdowns. A population of flying cars in numbers comparable to what we have on the ground is such a difference in degree as to become a difference in kind. Ask any programmer scaling up a program from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of instances.
No. No. n/a. No.
Someone speaks with forkéd tongue
Examining the eminent Mr Dabbs's 2010 interview with Features Exec, we find the exchange:
Q: Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
A: They are always useful.
@Mrs B J Smegma: In the same location, we find him noting he was the first non-U.S. journo to test the original iMac, so 'twas not always thus.
Send it to Coventry
That is, partition your disk and set up experimental all by its lonesome. I run stable and unstable that way, and I'm about to install wheezy in a third partition.
Of course, this takes a reboot to change. Extra points if you install them on virtual machines. :-)
[For this one, Mr. Holmes is saying ``Elementary, my dear Watson''.]
Would that it were so.
I don't know what law the grandparent poster (AC) is referring to, but you only have to look at ACTA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACTA) to see an example of the U.S. using its economic weight to force other countries to do the bidding of American corporations. For rampant privacy invasion, check the PNR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_Name_Record) history, in which the U.S. pressured the EU into sending passenger info to the TSA before the flight leaves. They ``promised'' it would be used only for anti-terrorist purposes, but they've reneged on that, and roughly the entire federal government now has access to the data.
So long as the U.S. packs sufficient clout to present a credible economic threat to its subject nations, we're all screwed. The way things are going, though, maybe the U.S. economy will weaken so much that no one cares anymore.
[Beer because that's what I'm drinking now. Maybe it'll help me feel better about all this.]
Why are they so damn' noisy?
It's all electronics and radio waves, but neither my computer nor my radio make that sort of a racket. Are the magnetic fields so strong that we're hearing the structure being warped out of shape? If so, I hope they have the framework inspected at least as often as an airliners. If not, what's going on?
Name that weapon
Don't look now, but David used a sling---in the picture you see him on the backswing, about to loose his secret weapon. A slingshot is a forked stick and elastic. I doubt even the Wrist Rocket* models are more powerful than a skillfully-wielded sling. (Of course, that's the down side: a sling takes a lot of practice to get good at.) Think of a slingshot as a very small bow, and a sling as an atlatl for rocks.
It's frighteningly easy to extract identities from supposedly-anonymous data sets. Some Univ. of Texas researchers showed it's fairly easy to take Netflix's anonymized preferences list, cross-index it with the IMDB, and identify a number of the subscribers (http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/12/anonymity_and_t_2.html). Given a 5-digit ZIP code, gender, and date of birth, you can identify over 85% of Americans (ibid). If you know where an American works and lives _to the census block_, you can establish identity almost 100% of the time (http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/05/on_the_anonymit.html).
Be _very_ suspicious of claims of anonymization. Schneier notes ``[A]nonymity systems shouldn't be fielded before being subjected to adversarial attacks.''
The ultimate evidence of prior usage
Guido should just drop a note to Tim O'Reilly, asking for an O'Reilly catalog from about 1995. Wouldn't having a book published about it strongly suggest Python's for real and antedates Veber?
LOL! That one's gone into my commonplace file.
Pay per byte
As mentioned above, bandwidth is (or should be) like water or electricity: I don't buy 100 kWh/mo for a fixed price, and have my fridge stop running on the 27th because I had my Xmas display up for the last couple of weeks.
I'm now using a web host that goes against the flow: I pay a certain amount per Mbyte of date transfer, and a certain amount per GB-month of storage, and guess what? It costs less than I can get anywhere else. It would be interesting if some gutsy telco would offer a similar deal for BW---I bet they'd clean up, especially once they started building out based on where they feel the pinch. They could even offer pay-per-byte and fixed chunk at the same time, and let the customers try it both ways.
Unfortunately, there's nothing resembling real competition in any telco/cable/bandwidth provider market I'm aware of, so I'm not holding my breath.
Re: I'm confused...
The deal is that since the galaxy is 212e6 ly away, what we're seeing is something that happened 212e6 years ago---at which time the galaxy was reasonably young. If we could wormhole over there now (whatever that means under general relativity) we'd be seeing an older galaxy, but until then we're stuck with what comes down from the sky.
In general, the further away a galaxy is, the younger it was at the time the light we're seeing now left it. That's why the boffins keep buying stronger telescopes to investigate the beginning of the universe. We see the far away stuff in a state closer to the Big Bang.
What do you do with it afterward?
How well does graphene degrade? What are its effects when it starts leaching out of landfills into the atmosphere / oceans / my backyard? Is this the Ice IX of the 21st century?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Let me get this straight...
The complaint that ``app store'' is generic is coming from the company that claims it has a trademark on ``windows''?
- Does Apple's iOS 7 make you physically SICK? Try swallowing version 7.1
- Pics Indestructible Death Stars blow up planets with glowing KILL RAY
- Hands on Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update
- Video Snowden: You can't trust SPOOKS with your DATA
- 166 days later: Space Station astronauts return to Earth