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* Posts by Charles 9

3634 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Steelie Neelie: EU biz can use YOUR private data WITHOUT PERMISSION

Charles 9
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Because the tool that can hide you from the government can also be used to subvert and destroy it. That's always been the dilemma of governments that give some sort of liberties: those very liberties can be turned against the government, so the government is basically underpinned on trust. Which becomes more complicated in a country like the United States which was founded on DIStrust of government.

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Charles 9
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So someone needs to tell as many people as possible that, due to the business models involved (where just ONE trace is all it takes), anonymity has become black-and-white. Either data is untraceably anonymous or it's not anonymous at all: nothing in between.

Makes me think to the general polarization of society in general, to the point that I can't help but think the ultimate outcome will either be NO anonymity (resulting in a police state) or TOTAL anonymity (resulting in anarchy).

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French gov used fake Google certificate to read its workers' traffic

Charles 9
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Re: Techie question.... @Jamie

Even so, if your client has been pwned without your knowledge (due to a drive-by, for example), they could disguise the fact they stole your key by replacing any DISPLAYS of their key with your original one (false facades are common in malware now). In that event, how would you be able to tell that the key you see is the key you're actually using?

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Charles 9
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Re: Techie question....

No, because if they pwn YOUR end, they can STEAL your public key (what allows you to contact the server), replace it with THEIRS, and use your key to create a secure MITM.

As for the NSA being able to do it, considering that SSL proxy is a known technique in the workplace, I wouldn't put it beyond them, throwing a spanner into the whole trust issue. Since the NSA is a state authority, and since no outside state can really be trusted, it poses the problem of trying to establish a new trust system that's capable of resisting the resources of something as powerful as a state while still being useable for the average Joe. The closest approach to date has been a kind of peer-based reputation system, but even that can be gamed by the state. Any attempt to control this would almost have to require attribution which would defeat the idea of anonymity on the Internet.

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No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

Charles 9
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Re: if the sites which host the workarounds are blocked...

That would just be considered a site hosting a workaround that gets blocked, too. Put it this way. A workaround for a workaround is still a workaround.

Frankly, I think all the tail-chasing is just an exercise to build evidence for whitelisting, which can deny by default.

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Charles 9
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Re: this will end in disaster

What about a whitelist? Then it's deny-by-default.

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Charles 9
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Re: Change the DNS server...

So even if you poll DNS directly from your PC, it'll still change the DNS request to BT? What about an obfuscated or off-default DNS request?

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Charles 9
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Re: Who cares!!!

"all am going to say is look at chinas firewall and your see why filters will not work"

IIRC China's system doesn't outlaw all encrypted traffic and doesn't work on a whitelist system (meaning you can ONLY go to those sites they've vetted, meaning new sites are blocked by default). Without this "deny by default, deny when in doubt" attitude, things will still be able to slip through.

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Charles 9
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Re: First they came for the DNS

If that were true, it wouldn't be able to block an encrypted connection because encrypted data, by definition, can't be sniffed. Has anyone been hit with a "Site Blocked" message while using HTTPS that's either direct to the IP or using a third-party DNS? If so, then IP checking must be in place at the least (how else would they catch a connection for which the only thing they know is the IP).

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Bjork, 500+ novelist pals ask UN for 1 bill of digital rights to RULE 'EM ALL

Charles 9
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Re: Why anonymous in concept for democracy is important

In other words, because the average person lacks the desire or capability to think in terms other than black and white, the inevitable outcome of society (ANY society) is polarization into either totalitarianism or anarchy: most likely the former as the latter will likely devolve into the former given time.

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FreeBSD abandoning hardware randomness

Charles 9
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Re: AVEGED

"Yes, but HAVEGE originates from a French institute (http://www.irisa.fr/caps/projects/hipsor/index.php) and so is likely to fart in your general direction, you son of silly persons."

It's not like it's being used directly. In Linux, it's used like most other HW generators are: shoveled into the kernel entropy pool where the kernel then does the scrubbing. In that context it's at worst harmless and at best quite useful.

And failing that I can go back to the webcam generator, since I've been monkeying with the code personally, I know what's going on. The original code did plenty of whitening, but in my tests using a cheap webcam with the lens taped over (and just to be sure, it's face-down) it couldn't pass FIPS 180-2 tests until after I gave it a further parity scrub. Beats waiting on an Entropy Key.

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Charles 9
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Re: Linux wasn't using RDRAND directly

Question 1: How would the processor know it is dealing with RDRAND output if the data becomes one degree removed (ex: MOV'd into a general register before XORing)?

Question 2: How would the Linux RNG, which IINM relies more on various CSPRNG techniques that are well-removed from RDRAND, be compromised so as to correlate to RDRAND without it appearing in the source in some way?

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Charles 9
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Re: "You could make a random number generator"

I've personally grown fond of a webcam entropy generator and have actually been fiddling with it to make it more suitable as an RNG (mostly in finding better ways to scrub). Not that I've actually needed it as a source of entropy, as it seems HAVEGED can do the job pretty well, be it on your computer or your Android phone.

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eBay head honcho: Amazon drone delivery plan is 'FANTASY'

Charles 9
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Re: Collection points..

The whole business is a classic tradeoff between consolidation and turnaround time. Consolidated delivery centers provide the benefit of lower logistics costs, but now Amazon is seeing the other side of the coin: the fact that people will pay for instant gratification (thus why big boxers like Walmart still work; for some, there's nothing like walking out, goodies in hand, and they feel the added taxes and so on are worth it to get right blanking now), meaning having warehouses closer to the customer costs money but saves time.

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Charles 9
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Actually, plenty of hospitals ALREADY use pneumatic delivery for transporting small things from department to department.

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Bring it on, stream biz Aereo tells TV barons – see you in Supreme Court

Charles 9
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Re: Stream Your Own TV

To do that, you need a device with DLNA capability. And believe me, I check the specs carefully on those things. Trouble is, many of them have (a) spotty codec support, (b) lousy UIs, or (c) both. The closest thing I've found to a repurposed PC is the WD TV Live, but its video quality leaves plenty to be desired. And no, the Raspberry solution tends to be laggy at high resolutions.

Many "network-enabled" players don't really support DLNA but rather support the "usual suspects" like Pandora and YouTube.

Plus your TV capture cars only supports OTA programming. My programming tends to come through digital cable, requiring a box, so it's more complicated.

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Charles 9
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Re: "...a tiny TV antenna each in a nearby data centre..."

IINM, though, the transition to DTV reduces the need for aerials. It's not like you need a very strong signal to get a very good picture. All the data is now focused on a pretty tight frequency range and is digital, meaning a different kind of antenna can do the job (which is why you don't see rabbit ears in stores anymore--only those flat antenna plates).

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Google tells EFF: Android 4.3's privacy tool was a MISTAKE, we've yanked it

Charles 9
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But I like to use ART, and Xposed and ART don't mix. Anyway, I have a build that includes a working Privacy Guard built-in. I've set it to default to blocking new apps that I install. That way it's hard to be caught off guard.

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Charles 9
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Re: I'll side with the Against but Sympathetic crowd

But you do. Controlling the acts that give your privacy away is HARD...because SO MANY things give hints as to your identity. It's like the skill needed to do some actual work on your car like changing the oil or swapping wheels: many people don't care about it and let the experts do it, but if you want to do it yourself, it's considered wise to read the manual first lest you break something.

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Charles 9
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Re: Broken model?

"The current model where the app declares what it needs, in a take it or leave it manner, and apparently is free to lie (my impression at the moment is that the only recourse to actually enforce a restriction is to cancel the install - or uninstall if you manage to catch the app red-handed) looks completely backwards to me."

The problem was that the model was demanded by the developers. Basically, it was either Google conceding to them or they would never have strayed from Apple's system, crippling Android in a vulnerable moment. And even now, they can't change it too radically for fear of devs walking away. And it's the devs that help make the real money for Google by making people use Android phones.

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Charles 9
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Re: Obeying aircraft mode

Last I checked, Airplane mode is a separate setting that overrules all the data settings (WiFi, Mobile Data, Bluetooth, etc.), like an outer lid covering the multiple inner lids. An app cannot turn WiFi on while in Airplane Mode. Now I know some apps are capable of switching Airplane Mode on and off, but I have to recall whether or not they can only do it under root permissions, because I don't recall Airplane Mode being a listed app permission.

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Charles 9
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Re: I'll side with the Against but Sympathetic crowd

So hide it behind an Expert toggle. There's a develop options menu that's normally hidden, but if you know the access key (tap the Build in About Phone a bunch of times), you can get access to them. Similarly, keep expert options covered unless a specific setting is turned on (with appropriate warnings given like for External Apps permission).

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Charles 9
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Re: Outrageous permissions

What about if lets you take pictures to integrate with the program?

It's been something I've been thinking about. Perhaps in future, Google should demand that app makers provide not just an access list but also an EXPLANATION for each and every permission. For example, if an app needs to take a picture, there must be an explanation (written by the developer) such as "We use the camera so you can take pictures for your avatar." (for some communication program) or "We take pictures to process in the cloud for product recognition." (for something like Goggles).

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Charles 9
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Re: Some creepy apps out there

The trouble was that Android had to appease the developers, who pretty much insisted on permission control or they wouldn't develop alongside Apple (which at the time was their comfort zone).

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US military's RAY-GUN truck BLASTS DRONES, mortars OUT OF THE SKY

Charles 9
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Re: Ask The Physicist

"When polished metals reflect more than 95% of visible and longer wavelength light the only colour which can avoid almost trivial countermeasures is ultra violet."

I think the need to get it to at least 99%. Otherwise, the 5% that DOES get absorbed would deform and defeat the polish, allowing the other 95% back in again to finish it off.

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'Disruptive, irritating' in-flight cellphone call ban mulled by US Senate

Charles 9
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Re: Easy fix

"[*] There's a chance that if it's satellite-based, there's already a significant latency, about 230ms out to a geostationary satellite and back plus whatever other processing time is required."

People can be patient enough to wait on the lag of a voice conversation. Sat phones are sometimes used in the news for video transmissions in remote locations where better equipment isn't available, so people are getting used to the idea of a laggy conversation.

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Why America is no longer slurping electricity from Russian nuke warheads

Charles 9
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Re: Plutonium?

So noted. You can see this attitude in the Manhattan Project. Fat Man (the Plutonium bomb) required a very precise arrangement of explosives to set off the implosion chain reaction properly (this was why the Trinity test--Trinity was a plutonium bomb similar to Fat Man), and even then Trinity was estimated to have only managed to achieve about 20% fission of its payload. OTOH, Little Boy seemed simple enough to pull off: fire off one U-235 slug at high speed into another (although IIRC the main reason for not testing the Uranium Gun design was lack of materials--still proved to be valid).

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Charles 9
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Re: FIVE HUNDRED TONS of highly-enriched uranium

That said, in the greater scheme of things, I'd call this not a bad deal at all. No force of arms, and we take a good number of potential civilisation-wrecking weapons out of service and put their good bits to use in less-belligerent ways. It would depend on the final price tag, but I consider it money well spent.

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Mexican Cobalt-60 robbers are DEAD MEN, say authorities

Charles 9
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Re: What a laugh and interesting read the comments in this article are.

A lot of the fear of nuclear incidents comes from the fear of long-term (meaning decades or more) of no-man's lands. Bhopal was tragic, yes. But after the disaster's passed, the mess can still be cleaned up. Even Times Beach (dioxin contamination) was wiped clean and is habitable again after a determined effort. Can't say the same about Pripyat, where a fair chunk is still too deadly to even approach.

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Charles 9
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Re: Goiana incident

"As far as nasty isotopes go, the most dangerous are alpha and beta emitters with long half lives such as 90Sr and suchlike as these irradiate over a long time and bioaccumulate."

I can understand alpha and beta emitters to be murder once they're in you, but what about gamma emitters that are so hard to contain? At least alpha and beta emitters can be contained easily enough while outside, but gamma rays pass through a whole lotta stuff, making them pretty dangerous even when some distance away from the body.

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Charles 9
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Re: education issue.

It's the "Forbidden Fruit" effect: plain and simple. And it's this that makes keeping people out of a place virtually impossible. That's the dilemma. Try to hide it and by the law of averages, someone will stumble upon it by chance. Put a sign of any kind on it, and you polarize people: some will stay away while others will have just the opposite effect and be ATTRACTED to it. And since the effect is based on curiosity (a basic human trait), it's not something you can easily mitigate.

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PC market staging a RECOVERY. (Only joking, it's through the floor)

Charles 9
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Re: My counter prediction

"Yes, PC hardware is more expensive (Due to subsidies on consoles), but over the life of the product will end up cheaper due to the lower cost of games, and not having to shell out a monthly fee to play online. With an expected generation life of 10 years, to play online for that period would cost you about £400 with XBOne for example. Factor that in and suddenly the TCO of a Steam box is way, way lower."

Most of the current-gen consoles AREN'T subsidized. They're actually selling at a small but actual profit because of some vertical integration, bulk deals, and the fact that PC hardware is a lot more commoditized than before. Those hard drives are a bit small compared to the multi-TB jobbers out now, the GPUs aren't exactly cutting-edge. About the only thing close to being subsidized is the AMD CPU, but I suspect some things missing or undercut may explain the lowball. Then there's the matter of brand loyalty and internal development projects. Sony and Microsoft won't be letting their signature enterprises go anytime soon.

As for paying for online, consider the "ten cents" scenario. Sometimes, people just won't see a value in something UNLESS they're paying for it. To them, free stuff is f-d up stuff and they wouldn't touch it with a 39 1/2' pole. As for cheaper prices, that only applies to games that have been out for some time. Steam games are rarely that way at initial release, plus there are those who don't want to waste their download allowances and would sooner give up gaming than give up DISCs. That's something both Microsoft and Sony learned quickly, which is why their consoles STILL have optical drives (IN SPITE of intentions to do otherwise).

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Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware survives hacktivists' takedown

Charles 9
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Re: Hate to say it but

Easy enough if you plug each hole you come across. Hard to phone home when you can't phone, period. And if anyone complains, tell them their machine is full of holes and needs to be fixed and to read the T&Cs again.

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Charles 9
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Re: What goes around...

Unless CL was ALSO the product of organized crime, meaning your scenario would escalate into a mob war.

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SHOCK! US House swats trolls, passes patent 'extortion' bill

Charles 9
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Re: End software patents, everywhere, immediately.

Just because something is intangible doesn't mean it doesn't have power (literally). Energy is intangible, for example. We can't feel radio waves (and many electromagnetic waves pass THROUGH us) yet we can harness them for assorted ends.

Plus, remember the adage "scientia est potentia" ("Knowledge is power.") This applies not just to specific topic but also to knowledge IN BROAD (like the concept of radioactivity, polished in the late 19th century). You're stuck on the concept that concepts are always specific. I'm recognizing that concepts can be broad as well, and copyrights ONLY cover specifics; they're not useful enough for generalities since you can end-run around that with a second implementation (that's why I brought up the Compaq BIOS--it specifically defeated a COPYRIGHT, but what if IBM held a PATENT on the concept of a Basic Input/Output System). All this attitude about patents being a whole "protection" racket a la the mafia is an overreach and smacks of "Gimme! Gimme!" entitlement. That kind of attitude can make conceptualizers think, "Blow this for a lark!" and keep their ideas to themselves, just as they can for inventors. Remember, information wants to be free, but people are greedy; you have to play with that hand or new ideas die in their heads and you can't tell when it'll come again (has anyone given thought to how much knowledge was lost in the Alexandria Library disaster?). You need the incentive to make them come out, BUT at the same time it should be recognized that they can only exploit their idea for so long, which is why I keep saying limit conceptual and software patents to terms like three years. Is that really too much to ask?

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Charles 9
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Re: End software patents, everywhere, immediately.

"You say that as if it were a bad thing. It's not."

Look at it from the perspective of the one writing the code or developing the technique. If you planned to sell you technique on the market, how would you feel if you learned your hard would could just be copycatted and sold for less if not just given away? People rarely work for work's sake, especially when bread needs to get on the table, and if I just happen to develop a new and radically-useful algorithm, perhaps I'd like to SELL my idea. And before you say it's intangible, suppose I put the code on a microchip or circuit board; how's THAT for intangible? Plus you can apply the same principles to medicine, which use programming of a different sort with chemistry.

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Charles 9
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Re: Double edged sword

"The aim behind this is to prevent Patents from being unusable because the holder refuses to hand out licenses - and in some cases that can go on for decades - effectively blocking any forward progress for mankind as a whole."

Isn't that the "ND" part of "FRAND": Non-Discriminatory? It could also apply to the "F" part: Fair.

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Charles 9
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Re: Might work...

I thought America had been first to file for over a century. Isn't that how Bell won the patent for the telephone: by beating a simultaneous inventor to file by about three hours?

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Charles 9
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Re: @Charles 9

"If you think this is worthy of patent protection rather than copyright you are siding with Oracle in their spat with Google regarding the Android Java affair. As a developer my choice is copyright (which doesn't preclude FOSS) and never patents for software."

I'm with NEITHER side. My side is that patents for software and the like should exist BUT that patent terms should be relative to the industry in which they apply. And for the software industry, lifecycles are short, so make the patents short as well (my current throught is three years--long enough to get some value out of it, not long enough to really abuse or troll it). If you don't allow for the truly novel to be worthwhile, especially in this day and age, then nothing truly novel will appear. Patent law is meant to act as both stick AND carrot.

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Charles 9
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Re: It was promising...

"It also doesn't help in situations where a patent troll company with deep pockets takes a small software company to court, for example Uniloc suing every just about Android developer and their grandmothers too."

Thing is, if I'm reading this right, the trolls can't go after these developers if the code in question was not theirs by design. IOW, they'd have to take it to the originator of the offending code, and if it's in the Android base, that's probably Google...a company with some of the deepest pockets in the IT world, a company that was able to hold the dreaded MPEG-LA to a stalemate.

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Charles 9
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Re: End software patents, everywhere, immediately.

Some form of software patent MUST exist somewhere because copyright is not enough to protect a TECHNIQUE which can be defeated with a clean-room copy (remember how Compaq cloned the IBM BIOS). BTW, people can get around a software patent by burning the code into a chip, turning it into HARDware instead. No, the main issue is the short lifecycle length of the computer industry. A more reasonable solution would be that software patents only be granted for very short lengths, say three years.

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Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE

Charles 9
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Re: A curse on the inventor of PS2

"As for being under desks, why not simply rotate the cpu case so you *could* see the sockets?"

Because sometimes, be they on or under desks, PCs are locked down, tied down, or otherwise in a position (think inside a specialized cubby-hole) where they can't be moved, meaning you have to take the cable to the device.

PS. I've seen PS2 connectors get mangled just by manual labor. Since socket orientation doesn't always correspond to the plug, it's STILL difficult to know which way is supposed to be up (consider sockets on PCI (Express) cards where all the connectors are UPSIDE-DOWN). People can twist and turn those plugs to the point that those literally-wire-thin pins get bent, if not snap altogether. A GOOD connector design needs to prevent that point from happening. The current USB A plug design and standard B plug do a good job at this but are too big for today's smaller devices, and the smaller B versions, while honest attempts, have their drawbacks.

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Charles 9
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Re: USB isn't "universal" after all

The point is not the communication standards but the PLUGS. For example, why was it deemed necessary for USB 3.0 to use an additional pair of data lines to transmit its ~5Gb/s mode? If the B-plug was too big for a phone, why not make ALL the peripheral makers (INCLUDING the printer makers) settle on Micro-B and stop the cable shuffling (which I admit to be having an issue with--which B end do I need--standard, mini, or micro, they're all over the map).

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Charles 9
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Re: still crap, try harder

Five. Two for the voltage (remember, the bus can need power irrespective of data), two for the data, and one for the shield.

And it's the shield that's the hard part. In order for the plug to be electrically safe, THAT has to be connected first AND stay connected while the rest of the pins are connected. Oh, and since we have POWERED pins, we might also want to make sure the wrong pins don't touch each other. Got anyway to achieve that besides a parallel insertion?

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Charles 9
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Because trying to plug it in the DARK (with no access to light) is a common enough scenario. So is trying to plug in a confined space where you can't see your hand (think back of a PC that can't be moved). Eyes can help you sod all here. Not to mention it discriminates against the BLIND. So you really need a standard that is capable of being plugged in by touch alone and forgiving enough that one need not know which way is up (because EITHER way can be up).

And before anyone chimes in with round, please direct me to such an orientation-neutral connector that (a) ensures the ground is connected first and stays connected before any data pins connect, (b) is small enough to fit in a device less than 1cm thick), and (c) provides enough pins to transmit data at USB3 speeds.

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Charles 9
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OK. Try it IN THE DARK. Or in confined spaces. Or with cables without enough label embossing for usable tactile feedback. Plus some devices have the SOCKET upside-down (like my GS4), probably because the socket got installed to the UNDERside of the circuit board.

Put it this way. USB is simple, just not simple ENOUGH. It's been determined to have practicality problems in blind or otherwise compromised installations. They need the installation procedure to be even simpler than what they have now.

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Lantern lights the way to web freedom for Great Firewall prisoners

Charles 9
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But don't the two go hand in hand since one of the big concerns with blowing a whistle is being found out by who you're blowing the whistle on? And once they can say you dissed them, rubber hoses follow. Thus the only safe way to blow a whistle is to do it in such a way that no one can prove who said it.

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Must try HARDER, infosec lads: We're RUBBISH at killing ZOMBIES

Charles 9
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No, because the malware writers are savvy enough to keep such a mechanism to an extreme minimum. Usually, the self-destruct is self-triggered upon the malware detecting a honeypot or VM (to prevent analysis) and can't be rigged remotely. The botherders want to make sure as many bots remain intact as long as possible.

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Charles 9
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Re: I'm reminded of a story about the tunnels of Viet Nam...

"That's why you have to establish a tight perimeter first, otherwise it does not work."

But what happens when you discover part of the perimeter is, for one reason or another, UNREACHABLE? Like how the Cong kept some routes into neighboring (and neutral) Laos? Like how many of the malware writers are located in countries with less-than-favorable relations to the West?

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Two million TERRIBLE PASSWORDS stolen by malware attackers

Charles 9
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Re: Random passwords for the masses!

Just because a dictionary attack doesn't do it NOW doesn't mean they won't add it in in the future. Much as dictionary attacks now handle chains of words to deal with "correcthorsebatterystaple", soon they'll be savvy enough to try literary initialisms such as "Iwtbot,iwtwot." Especially with help from an e-book library where the text can be extracted.

Plus it doesn't address the main issue: too many sites, not enough memory. Now you have to know which book you pulled the password from and what line from what page. Plus what if you lose the book or someone else (within your local circle) figures out your mnemonic?

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