* Posts by Charles 9

4394 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Microsoft discontinues Media Center with Windows 10

Charles 9
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Re: take up was also poor due to...

Things like CableCARD receivers are the reason for the .wtv format. It allowed for the CableCARD to encrypt the recordings, enforcing DRM. If you use a FTA antenna (meaning no DRM), then the recordings are not significantly encrypted and can be converted (say to .dvr-ms) or used with a video editor like avidemux with only moderate effort.

I personally like the layout of Windows Media Center, but after the cable companies encrypted all the FTA channels (on the basis that satellite companies do it to enforce locality restriction), it just wasn't really fun anymore. I now record with a USB-based Happauge box that can accept HD component inputs that allow me to record HDTV footage. It's a bit clunky to use, but I can't knock the results.

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Australia cracks tech giants' tax dodge code

Charles 9
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Re: Seems simple

And if a cartel exists such that no objective third party is at hand? Suppose the actual cost to manufacture varies wildly between regions due to resource costs, transportation, and so on, and they can't be objectively determined due to sovereign secrecy?

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Charles 9
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Re: What the call "Overs" are extra costs added

True, but that requires the cooperation of other sovereign nations. And if the tax haven has sovereign power as well and doesn't want to play? Short of complete isolation (unlikely due to natural competing interests between nations), companies WILL find a way to funnel through the tax haven.

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Charles 9
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Re: Use the initial pricing

And if Apple lies and the building country swears by it and protects its secrets with sovereignty?

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Charles 9
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Re: The TAX Domino Theory

"Governments CAN BRICK GREY IMPORT PHONES if they chose so Electronically"

The gray phones can be made indistinguishable from white phones, meaning trying to brick them will risk collateral damage. Remember, besiegers always have an advantage over the besieged.

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Charles 9
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Re: The TAX Domino Theory

But if it's a company like Apple who produces products your citizens crave (nay, DEMAND), then you're in a bind. If you don't let them in, they'll probably start engaging in economic tourism to get it outside your borders (and your tax rolls).

So as the saying goes, what do you take: 10% of something or 100% of nothing?

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Charles 9
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Re: Alternative Minimum Tax

The corporations have found ways to skirt even that. Furthermore, taxing corporations has always been a problem because they're middlemen in the grand chain of things. Any hikes in taxes you make, they just necessarily pass on to their customers.

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Windows 10 bombshell: Microsoft to KILL OFF Patch Tuesday

Charles 9
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Re: Just like Windows Phone

But now with Android the dominant phone platform, you'd think Google would have the muscle to push back and INSIST on them being able to update Android themselves, regardless of manufacturer, as a matter of security. Make it a condition of carrying the Play Store and all of Google's special Android sauce. What manufacturer (apart from those like Amazon who have their own infrastructure) would refuse to carry that and hamstring their phones? Why wasn't this forced with Lollipop?

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Mozilla to whack HTTP sites with feature-ban stick

Charles 9
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Re: When I can self sign and provide the public key by DNSSEC...

Dynamically-served data by nature can't be cached anyway. As for static data, perhaps a new convention will be to request a page's hash first (which can be done by a server as a page is uploaded--only needs to be done once per update) to compare against the local copy. If the hashes match, you don't need to get the whole page. If no match or no hash, you just proceed as you normally would.

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Charles 9
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Re: Backing the wrong horse

Got any better ideas, then? Guaranteed any other method you can think up can be subverted just as easily by a resourceful adversary. That includes the Web of Trust.

Anyway, we're not thinking in terms of state adversaries but protecting against alteration mid-transmission, as Verizon and the Chinese Cannon have demonstrated.

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Charles 9
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Re: why, why, why... what is the point?

"Too bad you could only give reasons why a website that you're handing over sensitive data should possibly use HTTPS. Too bad you didn't give any compelling reason why ALL websites should be forced to use HTTPS."

I thought we pointed out that ANY unencrypted communications can be MITM'd and altered to whatever ends (like Verizon's customer tags or the Chinese Cannon). At least with an encrypted channel like SSL/TLS (which HTTPS uses) it's a lot harder to achieve this.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bye, bye, Mozilla

WHAT vice? It's not like "There ain't room enough in this computer for the two of us," is it?

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Charles 9
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Re: why, why, why... what is the point?

"Why the hell does any of that need to be secure?"

It's WAY TOO EASY for someone in the chain to perform a Man-In-The-Middle attack on you, and before you say the information you serve isn't important, that wouldn't matter if it's the CONNECTION they want to hijack (which they would for something like a malware injection).

Then think about ISPs like Verizon that (whether you want them to or not) inject unique session cookies into all your web traffic that ad agencies can use to identify you. You'd have to think the practice will eventually become universal, leaving the only alternative to bail out of the 'Net altogether.

Put it this way. Do you leave your doors unlocked? That's what the HTTPS Everywhere approach represents.

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'Just follow the damn Constitution!' FBI, DoJ skewered over demands for crypto backdoors

Charles 9
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"Despite what you may have been led to believe by the nearly unending presidential election cycle, there won't be any major US elections for another year and a half."

Doesn't matter. ANY politician sees 18 months as the beginning of the campaign season. They don't consider the next election "far enough" off until around 24 months or so. And that's why Representatives NEVER stop campaigning.

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WHY can't Silicon Valley create breakable non-breakable encryption, cry US politicians

Charles 9
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Re: Imagine a world without the Interthingy

One-time pads are impractical, even today, and especially in areas where computers are unavailable. There's just too much upkeep involved, and that upkeep raises the possibility of the pad being intercepted.

As for how they found bin Laden, I recall the method was sleuthing and a bit of luck (they got a lead on a trusted lieutenant and carefully tracked him).

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Charles 9
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Re: Remember when the DVD encryption key got leaked?

"Given the undeniable skills available to agencies like the NSA and in the private sector, it is quite likely that they could produce a system that would be secure far longer than the lifetime of any device that exists or is contemplated."

I don't think you can. This becomes similar to the Siege Problem. Basically, ANY system you come up with becomes a moving target much like a castle is. In a siege situation, time dictates that the besiegers will win out over the besieged because the besiegers are more flexible. And given that many of the NSA's adversaries are states themselves who would be even more motivated than the NSA to break through, and given that in most security, the intruder only has to be lucky ONCE...

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Charles 9
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Re: But what about...

"So your system can only possibly work in a mechanism whereby a symmetric session key is negotiated between the endpoints."

Look, it's basically how PGP-encrypted messages work. The message itself is encrypted using a one-time symmetric session key. This is done for reasons of speed (symmetric encryption is much quicker than asymmetric) and to allow for multiple recipient, which I'll elaborate. This session key is then encrypted using the PUBLIC keys of all the recipients: one copy per recipient. In such a scheme, all the plods need is to always be on the recipient list; a copy of the key is encrypted for them. Anyone who's a targeted recipient can then decrypt the message by using their private key to decrypt the session key from one of the key blocks.

Not saying it's infallible (who's going to have the plods' private keys is the key mistrust here), but it's a tried-and-tested system.

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Charles 9
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Re: What about current crypto?

"And even if they do find this Holey Grail (misspelling intentional), what are they going to do about all the current crypto systems that they can't crack? Make them illegal?"

No, most of them are susceptible to Shor's algorithm. And while we know about public progress with quantum computing, that says nothing about black projects (like perhaps one in Utah being covered up by the big data dump project) where they're already breaking early crypto. Meanwhile, most post-quantum crypto systems have problems of their own (very slow, easier to break, etc.).

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Why OH WHY is economics so bleedin' awful, then?

Charles 9
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Re: A good question

Probably because of psychology. No one likes a party pooped, and politicians face the risk of raining on their constituents' parade. How do you think they'll react? There's a reason representative government ducks when it comes to necessary evils outside of a crisis.

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Your new car will dob you in to the cops if you crash, decrees EU

Charles 9
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Re: A 'dormant' GPS and telephone device in every car

The government would fire back that you would than have no business driving on roads THEY operate. Their roads, their rules. Take it or leave it.

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Charles 9
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Just because of edge cases like yours doesn't mean the idea doesn't have merit in general: especially when time and especially lives are of the essence (otherwise people complain and ministers get voted out).

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Charles 9
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Re: Sound bites bite back

Well, a collision hard enough to trip airbags is probably one likely to at least seriously damage if not disable the car, prompting the presence of police at the least.

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FLASH! Aaa-aaah. 3D NAND will save every one of us

Charles 9
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Re: More storage, faster storage where the hell is Reliable longterm storage?!?!!

"20 years? I already have 20 year old data that has survived the test of time by being always online."

How can you be SURE your online storage solution will remain viable 20 years down the road? Not just against an accident at the storage site but also a situation where the storage firm may no longer be in business?

That's one thing about local storage. At least you KNOW where to look to find the stuff, and if something starts happening you can take steps because you know where it located.

As for degredation, you take that into consideration with a planned level of redundancy as well as a rigorous rotation and inspection cycle to make sure your data stays fresh and to make any corrections should corruption be detected.

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High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

Charles 9
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Re: The time has come, the Walrus said ...

Not to mention the average plugs take the better part of a decade to start wearing down and they're designed to not be that difficult to replace if you need to. I replaced all the sockets in the house I moved into (some 25 sockets, including three bathroom ones that required GFCIs) in a day and a half (would've been a day but some rooms couldn't be done right away due to being in use).

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Charles 9
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Re: The Devil's Own

"I was in a rented flat for a few years with a landlord who would not allow me to put in any network cables or even put picture hooks up etc and with the amount of wifi networks in the area (counted 12 networks one day) i literally had zero signal in half the flat even with a buffalo airstation g54 high power."

No network cables at all, not even run along the floors and ceilings (which can be held in place with nondestructive hooks)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Wired ethernet still rules

So you run along the floor and ceiling corners, snake under doors, and so on. When you move, you can just pull it all up to please the landlord. Find this to be a useful technique not because the house I was in was rented but because all the walls (including the interior ones) were cinder block.

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US Congress promises death to patent trolls in bipartisan law scribbling

Charles 9
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No, it would bring political pressure to prevent it ever happening. Recall that most politicians ARE lawyers. The LAST thing any high-paying private business will want is takeover by the state. You'll be hearing "SOCIALISM!" for years if you tried.

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Charles 9
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Re: Punative legal costs

State and federal case law is against you. In both cases, reasonable is assessed by average per head, and these cases have been upheld on appeal.

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Charles 9
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Re: USPTO revamping

"With the America Invents Act, they were provided authority to adjust fees as necessary to reflect the aggregate costs associated with their mission, with the added authority to adjust the fee schedule based on the size of the patent submitter. With those changes, the USPTO has been able to hire more examiners and reduce backlog."

I suspect that bureaucracy is making things a bit slow over there. It was only signed in late '11, and it's only now starting to kick in much. There have been I recall more than a few rejections of not-so-novel patents, so perhaps this is a sign the pace is picking up. Plus there's the matter of extreme legalese that tries to submarine a patent. That said, my point still stands that the USPTO has to set the fee schedules accordingly to avoid a "barrier to entry" backlash from one or another group of filers.

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Charles 9
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Re: Does nothing...

No need to ban them altogether. Just note they're in rapid-turnover industries and make them appropriately short in length. The original term of 20-some years came about when designs and such had lifecycles in the decades: a length out of place in fast-moving industries. If a software patent was only good for, say, three years, software innovation still gets a fair bite of the apple. Not only that, remember that any patent that expires becomes public domain and open to everyone. That can effectively stifle rampant software patenting in itself if trade secrets are involved (due to the risk of giving information to the competition too soon).

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Charles 9
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Re: Great day for crony capitalism !

I see where this is going. Don't think of this in terms of the big boys suing you (in which case the onus falls on them) but rather them unilaterally usurping a patent and leaving the original inventor in the lurch. These firms can hire legal terms in the tens if not hundreds of lawyers, each of which can pick apart certain aspects of state and federal law to get what the firm wants. And they're not cheap. California and US Circuit cases both upheld judgments where the rates were both estimated and generous, which in the case of a defendant with a large team of lawyers all paid at least $150 an hour, let's just say the numbers add up: the bigger the firm, the bigger the bill (which also raises the chance of the defense winning the case AND having it upheld on appeal--both the aforementioned were upheld on appeal, too).

So if Google's defense team is some 50 seasoned lawyers all demanding $200 an hour, that's $10,000 an hour in legal fees throughout the trial, and if the trial goes on for a long time, the plaintiff runs a very real risk of being bankrupted if he/she loses (a risk a 10 or 11-figure defendant would not face even with a huge judgment against it).

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Charles 9
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Re: peer review?

"The correct solution is for the USPTO to do its work properly in the first place, although I have seen arguments by academics that patents are intrinsically bad (and not limited to those on software)."

But how can the USPTO do its job right on a shoestring budget? And no, it can't raise fees because inventors (especially small ones) will complain of a barrier to entry.

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Charles 9
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Re: USPTO revamping

But to do that takes money. Guess who's responsible for the USPTO's budget...

In any event, I also note the absence on any kind of reform IRT patent lengths relative to the industry, which can solve the patent issue in fast-moving industries like software without having to necessarily outlaw them (IOW, you need to make patents short for fast-moving industries to reflect their more rapid turnover. That way you still encourage novel thinking while recognizing they only need so much).

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Why the US government reckons it should keep phone network kill-switches a secret

Charles 9
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Re: Cats already out of the bag

Blanket jamming means you can't use a radio signal to set your package off, and you'll be too far away to do line of sight. If you have no suicidal people, no one will be there to set it off locally at the right time, and your fuse is just an analogue of the timer, which like I said is useless if the vehicle you place your package lacks any sort of time consistency (meaning your package is likely to explode off target). And note that blanket jamming can hide radio towers and geolocation satellites so location matching is out, too.

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Charles 9
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Re: Do we really need to tell the enemy what our plans are?

"What happens if someone like Snowden leaks the SOP? Does it negate the SOP? Will the have to ditch it? How does anyone follow it if they don't know what it is?"

They probably would have to change it for fear of the procedure being USURPED and turned against us. If it takes three keys to open the door, what choice do you have left when the locations of those keys have been leaked, meaning someone can obtain them all and circumvent the multiple agreement that's normally associated with three keys?

"What happens when the journalists show up with satellite links and free wifi? What happens when houses around the area decide to have open wifi? Can they shut down all the cable & telco fixed lines too? If information warfare comes to the streets, how long do you think it will be before people start bringing police radio jammers to demonstrations?"

Like you said, the Army has jammers of its own and more power than civilians could likely bring to bear, meaning they can probably outjam any femtocell or wifi setup you can think of. And that by default rules out satellite which is sensitive enough as is. Last I checked, police also carry extra power in their radios so are already somewhat jam-resistant. Plus, since such jammers are illegal, they'll likely triangulate the positions of these jammers and quickly move to neutralize them. And the cable and telephone companies have hubs and central points of control; ergo, easy to control.

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DARPA's made a SELF-STEERING 50-cal bullet – with video proof

Charles 9
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Re: EXACTO?

Trademarks can be separated by industry. Take the name "Cracker Barrel". There are at least TWO trademarks in active use for the name: one for a line of Kraft cheeses (honest cheeses, albeit very common varieties), another for an "old country" style restaurant/shop chain. As long as it's understood the two different trademarks don't compete in the same markets and are distinct enough so as not to be confused, the USPTO will allow the trademarks to stand.

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Charles 9
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"Actually the trained scout will do SFA for extreme range or wind. His training helps him compensate for it with unguided bullets but with a guided bullet, software takes over the moment it's fired. For starters the rifles are now smooth bore because you don't need it to fly true when it can change course."

But you need to at least get it close enough for the steering to compensate. The more extreme the range, the narrower the window before it becomes too much for the steering to correct and it misses. A trained sniper can help keep this from happening by removing the need for some of that correction, giving the round a better chance to stay on target.

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Charles 9
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Re: "imagine what a trained Scout Sniper can do"

Thing is, a trained sniper can correct at least some for wind and motion, allowing EXACTO more leeway and allowing for hitting targets outside the sniper's unassisted skills due to range or wind.

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Charles 9
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"The EXACTO round isn't intended for general use, but as a tool for long-range snipers that provide support for ground troops in the field. No details have been released on the cost of each unit – or the ammunition – but it's unlikely to be cheap."

True, but then again, if a novice can nail the target using this round, imagine what a trained Scout Sniper can do with such a round even under extreme range or wind conditions. The US has historically held value in the savings of one well-placed shot. When one is all you need, they may consider the cost worth it if it saves time, other ammo, and especially lives.

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Rand Paul is trying to murder net neutrality. Is there a US presidential election, or something?

Charles 9
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Re: @AC

A closer analogy that actually happened in the past was railroads also buying raw good sources like timber plots and mines. They now carry a fiduciary interest to prefer their own materials vs. those of the competition. It's an example of vertical integration: own both the goods and the means to transport it. Similarly with media giants like Comcast, who own both an ISP and a media source (NBC Universal). Why should Comcast care about CBS and the like when they have their own content to push out?

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Welcome, stranger: Inside Microsoft's command line shell

Charles 9
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Re: piping

But that's what I'm saying. I've had cases of the pipe not working, probably because the second program tried to load after the first, couldn't, and DOS returned an error to that effect. Like trying to stuff a huge text file (~1MB I think) through more.

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Charles 9
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Re: piping

Are you SURE it went to a temp file and not RAM? I know at least once I overloaded a pipe which you wouldn't expect to happen with a temp file given enough free space.

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Finally, Mozilla looks at moving away from 'insecure' HTTP. Maybe

Charles 9
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Re: Dumbest idea ever

"Forcing everything to use HTTPS is like setting up security checkpoints at public roads. They cost a lot, and not only do they not serve any purpose, but they're actually counterproductive, and only slow things down."

You've never been to a DUI checkpoint, then. They set them up at chokepoints so drunk drivers have no choice but to pass them OR stop driving. Either way, fewer drunk on the road meaning fewer drunk driving incidents meaning fewer innocent fatalities.

Plain HTTP has its place, and there are a lot of web sites and application, where using HTTPS serves no purpose, but only slows things down and increase the costs, with no real benefits.

Some agencies have been able to build profiles using HTTP sniffing. HTTPS reduces the available data to sniff.

"Also, just because a site is using HTTPS, it does not mean that it's secure, by any standards. It can still leak information and even expose user behavior in a myriad of ways, both on purpose and by accident or by negligence."

Put it this way. Would you rather visit a place WITH or WITHOUT a lock on the door?

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Charles 9
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"The vast majority of HTTP use is information retrieval for which the additional confidentiality, integrity, and authentication benefits of HTTPS - which are not particularly generous in the first place - provide users with no benefit."

But people can build profiles based on the sites your frequent and the pages you read. HTTPS at least obscures some of the trail, blunting some of these side channel attacks.

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ESPN sues Verizon: People picking their own TV channels? NOOoo!

Charles 9
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Re: I hate watching sport

You'd be noticeably in the minority.

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Charles 9
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Re: Buffets

"I don't agree with that, the other stuff sure, but a newspaper to me really isn't comparable for 1 reason, reuse."

Three letters: DVR (used to be VTR but you get the drift). This is what threw Nielsen into a hissyfit in the past because it means reuse with no way to measure it. Point is, if people like it enough, they'll record their shows and rewatch them at their leisure. Just as people save news articles they want to re-read. The secondhand viewing argument also applies to DVR or shared households.

"Either way, you did state that Monday Night Football is now on ESPN. I didn't know that, but it's all too fitting of the greedy to take interests away from the masses for corporate gain....it's just extra greedy. Of course, this is what kills sports viewing in the end. The less kids that can see sports on TV, the less they will have a grown interest in watching sports on TV, ultimately killing off sports viewing."

I say this because Disney took a calculated risk. ESPN used to carry their football on Sunday nights (so as not to interfere with ABC's Monday Night), but NBC outbid them for that right in the last round of negotiations (because they wanted back in the football business--smart move), so Disney was in a bit of a bind. They decided that, since ESPN is such a high-demand network that any cable company still standing would have it as part of their standard package and since households using only the over-the-air antenna would be exceedingly rare (due to the low amount of content), and since ABC as a whole at the time was on a bit of a skid, they can drop it from ABC, move it to ESPN, and not really suffer for it. It's been like this for a couple years now, and given there's been no plans to move it, you'd have to think Disney knew what they were thinking.

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Charles 9
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Re: Buffets

Perhaps not so much stupid as "over a barrel". If it's a prerequisite to advertise on ESPN that you also have to advertise on ESPN2 and so on, what choice does the advertiser have to get in on one of the most-watched cable networks in the country?

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Charles 9
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Re: Buffets

"The concept that the networks will lose viewers is pure bullshit, and the concept that they will lose revenue is ever-so-slightly processed bullshit. So back to your marketing department, ESPN; you'll just have to do better than that."

Except ESPN is a high-demand network. Otherwise, ABC would never have lost Monday Night Football. Say what you will about side sports when things get slow, but when the big sports come along, viewership is still high enough to draw ratings. Some channels you just cannot ignore if you're an advertiser.

As for the channel blocks, remember that this system is analogous to the typical newspaper or magazine: most people buy them just for a section or two, yet one has to buy the whole thing to read them (Otherwise, why aren't newspapers partitioned? It wouldn't be worth the money otherwise). The idea is that of the impulse attraction: you pass by it in your flipping, see something interesting, and stick around. Sure it doesn't work all the time, but like TV ads and crime, they only have to be lucky ONCE.

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SpaceX in MONEY RING shot, no spare juice for tail backdown this time

Charles 9
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Re: "Change in plan for vertical-landing Falcon 9 rocket stage"

The change being they won't attempt a controlled landing of this stage because the payload's going into geosynchronous orbit rather than low-earth orbit. The distance involved means the Falcon 9 won't have enough fuel to even try a controlled landing.

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Not so fast on FM switch-off: DAB not so hot say small broadcasters

Charles 9
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But why is DAB such a power hog and why can't anyone find a way to cut the power use on it?

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