* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Man charged in nude celebrity hacking case

Tom 13

I think if MJ's doctor had killed 50 celebrities

he'd probably be up for more than 121 years.


Of course, there might be a contingent that would like to pin a medal on his chest too.

Tom 13

While I do agree with you

you also have to keep in mind that Hollywood types seem to be the sort who complain about the average person busting the curve on their IQ tests.

Tom 13

You have to remember that's 121 years under the American penal code time system.

So until the case gets fully appealed, possibly all the way to SCOTUS, time off for good behavior, and time served before the final sentence is handed down, it might work out to 3 years of real time.

Planetary exploration under threat, says space pioneer

Tom 13

It's sad but true,

NASA is only a government jobs program these days. And one that is managed by at best marginally competent paper-pushers.

That's why I'm all in favor of killing it in it's current form, setting up the necessary regulatory bits as a new agency, and cutting loose the actual projects for private development. Time to set space exploration free.

One in 10 Brits leaves web passwords in their will

Tom 13

No need to update the will.

The will specifies an addendum which you can update as necessary without all the costs of updating the will.

Sony network ransacked in huge brute-force attack

Tom 13

Your first paragraph is rubbish.

and your second debatable. I know Europeans don't get American gun culture, but the fact is, it actually works except where idiots here think Europeans have a better idea and we should emulate it.

Your third statement while probably true has no proof and is therefore moot.

But I'll let you off because your final paragraph correctly sums up the article. Next time skip the dreck at the front and you'll get a thumbs up.

Tom 13

If Sony let them get away with that

they'd still be due some blame. Most password systems let you force that a password cannot be re-used for x number of times. But I concur MOST of the blame still belongs with the wetware at the far end (from Sony) of internet connection.

Tom 13

For as much as I dislike Sony, I gotta agree with Barry on this one.

If I'm dumb enough to use the same username and password on two websites, there's not a damn thing the second site can do to protect my account if the first one gets hacked.

And it seems that Sony have learned from their previous mistake: the accounts were immediately locked, owners notified, mediation of damages were offered, and the incident was publicized.

Crims prefer old exploits: Microsoft

Tom 13

I'll settle for it being disabled

by default coupled with the ability to sue the beejezus out of any vendor whose software changes my settings. In a court in southeast Texas of course.

High-frequency traders attract regulator’s interest

Tom 13

Forgot to finish about structuring.

Where I am most dubious about the solution is in believing that politicians would leave it properly structured even if they managed to start it out that way. Therefore I would opposite in practice.

Tom 13

I guess you didn't hear B of A is now charging their customers

cause the politicians on this side of the pond decided to moot your debit card statement.

Tom 13

If structured properly it wouldn't interfere

with non HFT - say 0.1% of the transaction as a fee. That wouldn't inhibit actual investors, but it would put the bite on HFTs.

Related but separate rant:

The extent of program trading in markets concerns me. Once upon a time markets were useful predictors about the futures of companies because successful people studied companies on the market and invested accordingly. These days people (me included) dump money in retirement plans that are managed by nominally smart people who tell programers who in turn do the actual buying and selling of the stocks. I worry that the algorithms have become more important than the company evaluations, and therefore the stock markets are now useless as economic indicators.

Netflix cans Qwikster

Tom 13

I dunno.

I think if they had been sneaking peeks, they wouldn't have done nearly as badly as they have.

Tom 13

I expect that before the end of the month

we'll see an announcement about a pricing change. A 60% price hike is a bit much in any field, even medicine. They would have been much better off planning to increase prices 10% each year for the next 6 years.

Quote of the Week: 'I shave my balls for this?'

Tom 13

No, one of those is the reverse

and therefore a man bites dog story.

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs is dead at 56

Tom 13


and condolences for your family and friends.

Judge cracks down on Bayesian stats dodginess in court

Tom 13

No, even at that point you still have a chance of being alive,

although I believe the odds are significantly more than a million to 1 against.

Check your machines for malware, Linux developers told

Tom 13

No, MS have won the PR war like usual.

I know I'm an amatur when it comes to security stuff. But I use to be able to read the security alerts on the av sites and at MS and make something out of it. These days they are all regurgitated from the same cut and paste recipe book.

Bank of America website disrupted for 4th day in a row

Tom 13

So apparently they do right by some people. I on the other hand am not one of those people.

Ellison: 'There'll be nothing left of IBM once I'm done'

Tom 13

what do you mean "a bit"?

I think others have already covered the "sometimes" part.

Microsoft takes the Android profit, the Wonkas take the pain

Tom 13

I'd go a step further

and make a company liable for slander/libel if they claimed a patent was infringed without providing the referenced and publicly published patent.

Pandemonium as Microsoft AV nukes Chrome browser

Tom 13

I would find it very, very, very odd if one of my friends was

one of the "lucky" 3,000 MS hosed. Something tells me they dropped a 0 or two, or maybe even three.

Tom 13

Same as it ever was, though MS keep changing its name:


Stars say relativity still works

Tom 13

No, John was correct.

One of the few things I can trust Wiki for:


Tom 13

The parallax calculations depend on the baseline,

so it depends on how you take your baseline. The use of photographic plates and keeping precise records on time, location, and orientation of the telescope has allowed us to extend the baseline a fair piece. Not only can we get the AU as a baseline, but because we can approximate the sun's orbit around the center of the galaxy, we can extend the baseline beyond an AU.

That does still limit to relatively close stars, but from there you can start to work with relative/absolute magnitude to determine the distance to the star. The initial work there was done with binary pairs where you have an independent means of determining mass. But once that is established you work more with red-shifting. It all keeps feeding back on itself, but you get further and further away and become more and more comfortable that you assumptions and calculations are correct.

Tom 13

Except that all spectra are red-shifted.

This is one of the observations which leads to the hyper-exapnding universe hypothesis. So you first have to get the average red shift, and then look at the relative red shifts to find what is blue-shifted compared to the average.

Tom 13

In astro, 50% is damn good.

For most things, you're happy just to get in the right order of magnitude. One of the reasons they work so hard to add more digits on the end of an AU is so they can trim the error margins when you have to multiply it by the billion billions that is your baseline to the next star.

Bank emails punters asking for their, er, email address

Tom 13

Yes, but even the fleshy organic parts are significantly stronger links

than the marketing and PR links.

Computer sim explains why hippies became extinct

Tom 13

What has gone wrong is everyone keeps thinking

the hippies/progressives/liberals/marxists had the right idea, when the truth is they are the ones effing it up. Stop having to pay half or more of your pay check to support the leeches and pretty soon you'll have more money. You may even get enough so you decide you only have to work 32 hours/week instead of 40, plus commutes, plus meals and still have enough time to go do other things.

Boffins invent miracle pill that counteracts effects of booze

Tom 13

Potential downside?

I don't know the chain of events for alcohol poisoning, but could this increase the risk? Subject get drunk, takes a pill, feels sober, gets drunk again?

Human 'alarm clock' enzyme discovered

Tom 13

Good! That means maybe sometime in the next 5 years

they'll come up with a way for me to get a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep again. I hate waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall asleep until it is time to go to work again.

Mighty trash-bag balloon cluster soars above Nevada

Tom 13

So Mad Dog Murdock wasn't as completely

of his rocker as BA thought when he did the trash bag thing. Still, the tv episode would probably make a great Mythbusters episode.

Diebold e-voting hack allows remote tampering

Tom 13

but the most important component is still grass-roots citizen involvement at the local precinct level.

Tom 13

In the US vote casting and vote counting are as public as the public wants to make them.

I say this as the a Republican precinct leader in the People's Republic of Maryland. I got to be leader because I was the first person to walk in and volunteer for the job in a while. The other volunteers would love to have more people involved so they could take a break at some point of the day instead of working a 16 hour shift for pittance gratuity. So quite your whining and get involved if you think the process is corrupt. I will say that I have not observed any irregularities, and I expect that just because it IS the People's Republic of Maryland, they are Democrats, not Republicans.

Google cries foul, Feds dump Microsoft cloud monopoly

Tom 13

Ordinarily I'd agree with your rant,

but this article is specifically referring to government contracts, and the only way to get them to change policy is to sue.

What surprises me in this instance is that the judge didn't immediately issue a restraining order against the DoI - their policy was flatly anti-competitive and absent a compelling reason for the sole source, in violation of US law. Can't say I'm surprised with the final decision. One of the truisms of the tech world is that the technology advances faster than the law can keep up with.

Woman nabbed for 'senseless' stiletto ATM attack

Tom 13

Better make it an armored taxi

Possibly with escort. Just in case all those people who want you to put a sock in it catch up with you.

Tom 13

2000? They've upgraded?

I thought those things were only certified for NT4.*

* with no network connection.

Microsoft delivers fatal blow to yet another botnet

Tom 13

If you have spam issues off Google, it's behavioral, not Google.

I've had my Google account for going on 7 years now. The only spam I get is stuff I signed up for, so it isn't UCE.

Tom 13

Sorry, I'm a tech and don't mindlessly click yes to every pop-up.

I was once building out a machine and made one fatal mistake which caused the system to be compromised when I hooked it to the network to run updates - I forgot to change the default home page from MSN to Google. MSN loaded, BAM! Antivirus 2009 or some variant thereof pwned the computer with no clicks required.

Yes they've improved since then, and I'll give them kudos for this cleanup, but at least half the problem HAS been MS.

Trust me, I'm a computer: Watson takes on health care challenge

Tom 13

My primary concern is that while it may start as an advisory tool,

given humans in management, it may eventually become the compulsory diagnosis. If it could be kept as a solid advisory tool I'm all for it.

World takes notice as SSL-chewing BEAST is unleashed

Tom 13

For all the caveats being added to breaking the SSL encryption,

since it seems there is a relatively simple implementation fix, it seems to me that the fix should be applied now before the theoretical attack mutates into a practical one.

Google unfurls Dead Sea Scrolls

Tom 13

No it doesn't say it was an apple.

It says "the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" but does not specify the fruit. IIRC, the apple is a Renaissance period painting innovation to make it readily identifiable to the typical peasant. Even fundamentalists such as myself do not believe it was an apple. However, given its commonality, it makes a useful reference in everyday conversation.

Neil Armstrong: US space program 'embarrassing'

Tom 13

That might be their motivation, but discounting it

simply because you attribute only to greed invites bad karma. When those 1000s of staff are dispersed to the four winds, it is nearly impossible to reform a team that meets or exceeds the capabilities of those you have dispersed.

Tom 13

You can't put a price tag on the most important benefit of manned space exploration:

It fires the imagination as little else can.

Tom 13

Downvoted for tone and disrespect.

While I concur that Congress is more of the problem than either NASA or the administration, it is difficult to tell of the bean counters when you are asking them for money.

Furthermore, even IF Congress had provided the money, I'm rather convinced that the middle-management-itis that has set in at NASA would have pissed it away. So given that the least dysfunctional part of the problem was still enough to kill it, we have a rather large problem with our space program on this side of the pond.

Tom 13

Here, here!

I'd go a step further. NASA does that until a specified level of development is reached, at which point it becomes a space version of the FAA.

Faster-than-light back with surprising CERN discovery

Tom 13

I think you are on the right track, just not in the way people normally think about it.

Not between a straight line and the curved surface of the earth, between two curves along the surface of the earth: one the line they think they cut, the other along the path they actually took. Also, have they accounted for the gravitational warping of the path due to differing densities of the rock through with the path passes when they measured the distance.

Tom 13

Yes, I realized that about 30 seconds after I hit the POST button,

but couldn't find my post to correct it.


Tom 13

No, it is the speed of light in the medium

because the photons still need to pass through the medium, and the information is passed by the photons. The focus point is keeping causality in tact, and one of the observations which is key on this is being able to detect the orbit of pulsars around other stars. If strict Newtonian physics held you would get a confused signal. The speed of light in a vacuum is taken to be the uberlimit because vacuum has the highest speed for any medium.

Tom 13

The specific part of the equation your looking for is the correction factor

which takes different forms but the easiest expression to work with is 1/sqrt(c*c - v*v) where c is the speed of light and v is the observed speed of the object. If v=c the divisor is 0, iv v>c the divisor is imaginary. What division by 0 and what imaginary might mean is left as an exercise for the student.

Einstein essentially reasoned that is was an inherently continuous process and you could therefore never get an object with mass to the speed of light. Since quanta are very, very small quantities of energy, and increased acceleration requires every increasing amounts of energy, it seems a reasonable assumption.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019