* Posts by Charles 9

5034 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

THIS TIME we really are ALL DOOMED, famous doomsayer prof says

Charles 9
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Re: The "We're all going to die" hand-waving aside

"I think this is the thing that jars - there's no 'going' involved; a species that becomes extinct hasn't gone anywhere, at least not anywhere it is possible to come back from."

But your very statement gives the justification: they're going away...forever.

"This might lead to a reduction in human population, probably in a rather unpleasant way for large numbers of us, but I don't think it's likely to do us in as a species, nor impact life in general on the planet in the long term."

You should look up "thermogeddon". There's a very real concern that certain parts of the world, if allowed to warm significantly, will become literally uninhabitable: not because it's underwater but because it'll become too warm for our bodies to cope without outside assistance. Thing is, if things get warmer, habitable land will start becoming compressed into fewer countries which can have a significant political effect.

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Charles 9
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Re: The "We're all going to die" hand-waving aside

"FWIW, I take unreasonable exception to the phrase 'go extinct'..."

I suppose you also take exception to the phrase "go spare" (or as we Americans put it, "go bananas").

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Cisco posts kit to empty houses to dodge NSA chop shops

Charles 9
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Trollface

Re: Grammar pet peeve - it's boxii not boxen, as in virii not viruses

Then why do we live in houses and not hice?

House => Houses

but

Mouse => Mice

Louse => Lice

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Charles 9
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Re: Hmm

Because they'll just hide the stuff in another chip using mask concealments and other stuff to hide even from decapping and x-rays. And this stuff will just override anything you flash AND return false flags to anything you try to use to authenticate it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Wouldn't it be simpler...

Courier services can be infiltrated or subverted, too.

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Incoming! Linux 4.1 kernel lands

Charles 9
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"Support for what exactly? Most common PC hardware works out of the box."

Talk to performance gamers. High-end graphics support tends to lag in the Linux front, which kind of puts a crimp on Valve's effort to push Linux gaming with Steam Machines. Flaky graphics support is one reason I had to abandon Xubuntu (spontaneous resets), and my Radeon 6850 should've been near the top of the support list.

"IMHO hardware support under Linux is far superior than any other OS."

Oh? I tried Ubuntu on a old Dell Inspiron. Fell flat because no nVidia driver worked on it. Noveaux was too slow and the nVidia blob wouldn't support the chipset. Dead end. And this isn't the first time.

"Linux is a kernel. It's not really the kernel's fault that the current desktop market share is mostly Windows so that's what commercial developers target. There's nothing particular about the Linux kernel that means the type of applications that run on Windows couldn't run on Linux."

But the Linux community, which includes the kernel community, should be pushing for most mainstream support, but they're not, so they're in the rut they are now.

"So you're not talking about Linux. You're talking about common types of applications that desktop users need whether they are running Linux, OSX,... Anyhow this is going to be less and less of a problem now that everyone wants to use more portable development tools etc so they can get their stuff running on the desktop, web, mobile etc."

Except the desktop will continue to exist for performance applications like gaming. See the above common beef PC gamers have concerning their video cards.

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Charles 9
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Perhaps, but it's still far from the preferred choice in terms of overall adoption. If Linux wants to be THE OS for the desktop, it will need several boosts here and there.

Support has improved considerably, yes, but it can still have teething issues, particularly where vendors aren't exactly forthcoming with hardware support for various reasons such as protection of trade secrets. The closer to mainstream, off-the-bleeding-edge you get, the more likely you'll have a smooth time. And then there's the software selection, particularly for the consumer end where people just want to put it in and work. There are native applications that can do a lot such as GIMP and LibreOffice if they're to your taste (I've spent time on it so can speak from experience), and thanks to the WINE project, Windows compatibility continues to improve, but it will always trail the bleeding edge (and that's what killed it for me since I like to game).

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Wake up, sheeple! If you ask Siri about 9/11 it will rat you out to the police!

Charles 9
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Re: Which is why

"We're very militaristic over here. Which is strange given we don't have anything like as many weapons or do as much invading. My systray clock says "Wednesday 24 June 16:43:58". Which, too, is strange as I thought it was Thursday!"

We SEPARATE our conventions in America. If you go to a military installation, then 24-hour time is drilled into you (And you say it, "Twelve hundred hours," mister!). Outside these establishments, clocks still have 12 hours on their faces, and that's the way we like it, just as we like our feet and inches just the way they are.

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Charles 9
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There is NO unambigious number-only date format as long as the date is within the first 12 days of a given month. SOMEONE is going to get it wrong, guaranteed.

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So why the hell do we bail banks out?

Charles 9
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Re: Houses are consumer goods.

"Eventually the US is going to go for the straight default or some way of printing itself out of the whole, soaking the holders of US securities."

The government is forbidden from doing that, as the Fourteenth Amendment specifically states. "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not nationalise all the banks?

So how do you live with two competing utilities without having two competing sets of infrastructure (since the utility will also own the infrastructure as a matter of control)? Note that most industries with high upfront but low marginal costs trend naturally toward monopolies simply because this structure always favors the incumbent who's already gotten past the high barrier of entry.

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Ecobee3: If you're crazy enough to want a smart thermostat – but not too crazy – this is for you

Charles 9
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Re: Your thermostat needs to be a datacentre!?

"For an upgrade, there are a handful that don't need 'clouds' to work (Heat Genius is my current favourite). Nest, Hive and these lot don't need to be told your every move to have weather-reacting temperature control. Indeed, a house that needs that probably just needs some extra insulation."

But if the thermostat has to be more human-reacting than weather-reacting? What if you're in a house with central heat (or a heat pump which can work both ways) and no radiators? What if you have a mobile household where people can come and go at just about any hour (including overnight—night owls)? IOW, what if you have an unpredictable house that can't be efficiently handled with fixed timers AND have BOTH heating and cooling needs which means individual radiators won't work for you?

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Disk is dead, screeches Violin – and here's how it might happen

Charles 9
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"Yes; but then, Flash has even more aggressive physical limitations due to the minimum practical die size."

But at least Flash can still go 3D and has plenty of room in that regard. Magnetics are already 3D (both in terms of platters and in terms of perpendicular recording) so are running out of ways to cram more data.

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Charles 9
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"Currently, yeah. I do recall reading something about crystal-based storage technologies being worked on at one university or another a few years back; they were claiming a practically infinite life expectancy (measured in Thorium half-lives or some such equally preposterous unit of time), exobyte-scale capacities and very, very low costs, but glacial read/write speeds. But traditionally, new offline archive techniques haven't really been commercially viable."

That tech has been "around the corner" for nearly 20 years. Australians and Americans may have seen the tech once or twice on an episode of Beyond 2000. From what I can tell, the big problems with the tech has been (a) getting the writing and reading to work together in a precise and reliable manner and (b) media longevity issues that aren't immediately apparent, such as destructive reading and thermodynamic stability (as in most crystals aren't as stable over geologic time as they appear; even diamond isn't that stable).

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/jul/17/5d-superman-memory-crystal-heralds-unlimited-lifetime-data-storage

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Charles 9
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"I was also going to point out that both formats pretty much lost out to CD in the end anyway, followed by DVD."

No, both formats lost to the VTR because VTR had a killer feature; it could RECORD shows. When DVD came along around the turn, VCRs hung in there because they could still record. It finally pretty much saw the light when consumer DVD recorders hit the market.

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Charles 9
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Re: What about flash foundry capacity?

"At which point, who knows what other technologies will be around?"

Thing is, post-Flash at this point is rather like nuclear fusion: it's been "just around the bend" for well over a decade. It's becoming rather a "I'll believe when I see it" thing. When one or two of them hit mass-market release in competitive capacities, THEN we'll pay attention.

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Charles 9
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Re: This will kill X blah blah blah!

"1. Ability to recover data after the drive dies or write cycles have expired (Tests have shown that few if any SSD's allow you to easily recover the data. They should theoretically go into read only mode. But an endurance test done on several brands shows that they pretty much just die and not allow you to access the partitions at all!)."

Because it's not usually the media that breaks on those but the controller. Once that goes, the drive's toast no matter what the tech (even spinning rust is too expensive to reconstruct all but the absolute must-have-to-survive data).

"2. The ability of the device to erase data beyond recovery. Privacy concerns seem to indicate that although it is more difficult to recover data from Flash devices (especially after it has died). The data is actually harder to destroy completely than a simple 'erase' cycle over a hard disk byte value due to over provisioning/garbage collections etc."

But at the same time, unless one is willing to physically go and manually inspect every single chip on the thing (a task not unlike electromagnetic restoration of a platter--see above), there's no way to know what's in what. Furthermore, enterprise-grade SSDs can come with internal full-disk encryption to defeat this technique. If the controller goes (or you order a key change), so does the means to recover the data, making the whole "secure erase" business moot.

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Charles 9
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"But in this post cataclysm world, what do we do about long term archiving? Stuff we actually want off-line? Or are we supposed to change our way of thinking and eliminate the concept of off-line storage altogether? (Please no...)"

In terms of archival-class storage, tape still wins. Its physical properties are better suited for the job than any other medium on the market to date. Thing is, it's become so niche that it's basically an enterprise-only solution now. In contrast to the late 90's when it least had a prosumer solution which I miss terribly; I would LOVE to have something that can keep terabytes of data safe in cold storage for about 5 years plus (basically long enough that it maintains its integrity until it's replaced with the next evolution). Hard drives are rather iffy at that length of time, and everything else is too small, not reliable enough, or both.

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Charles 9
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I think it's a little more than this. LaserDisc may have had the wow factor thanks to its relation to compact discs, but it had genuine technological advantages. For one, since it was an optical medium, LaserDiscs would be left open compared to the caddys of CEDs. It also helped that LaserDisc could keep up with CED (using CLV mode--not as many bells and whistles, but it worked). But neither one took off in the home market because the VTR had one key advantage consumer optical media could not allow until around the time of DVD; It couldn't RECORD. LaserDisc's bacon got saved by the specialty market that could use the disc's more exotic features (like image storage and frame-accurate seeking, exclusive to LD CAV mode) to display interactive video.

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Chrome, Debian Linux, and the secret binary blob download riddle

Charles 9
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Re: We need another rule for free software

"complex system of interdependent modules"

Isn't SysVInit a complex system of interdependent modules, too, only built by a hodgepodge of developers who don't talk to each other, meaning the modules don't know how to talk to each other, leaving real-life issues like waiting for network interfaces to go up only to have the whole works go wrong when they go up in the wrong order?

"There are whole unixoid systems which have far less lines than that."

And as I recall, far less versatile. If you're going to build something that can accommodate all sorts of hardware and where just about everything is dynamic and can go up and down anytime, including things like the video and networks, you better be prepared to do some juggling. SysVInit wasn't built to juggle.

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Charles 9
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Re: Ban Hammer

Iceweasel is due to trademark issues. Mozilla will NOT allow the use of the official Mozilla names like Firefox unless the browsers are put into the system vanilla: unaltered. You're free to alter the code to your tastes, and some distros do this (so does the Tor Bundle). But you must also alter the name and graphic as well. They give you free use of the blank Mozilla globe to use as a base, but beyond that must come from YOU.

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Charles 9
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Re: If youre serious about security

"alternatives to graphical captchas are trivial (what is ten minus four ?)"

Most alternatives that use text can be interpreted by a natural language processor. As in run that CAPTCHA through Google and you're likely to get an answer.

"tabular formats are often *easier* in monospace font"

Not for DYNAMIC content. When HTML was first developed, it was designed for STATIC content. Indeed, how does Lynx handle modern CSS styles where things can be revealed and hidden dynamically, which DOES have practical uses regarding context? Put it this way. I once had to do certain transactions by telephone. And that was my only option as I was away for a an extended period, my nearest branch two hours away and I didn't have a car. Compared to that, I consider online banking heaven-sent in terms of practicality.

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Charles 9
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Re: We need another rule for free software

Except we're hitting minimum limits on NECESSARY complexity. For example, how can a system effectively manage itself when its vital resources can come from any number of sources, including network-based? And since these things can interrelate, it's harder to just "do one thing and do it well" when that one thing is dependent on other things: things that may not be done so well.

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Charles 9
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Re: How can you trust...

"The compiler? Dennis Richie demonstrated decades ago how to propagate viruses through the compiler by making the compiler recognise when it is recompiling itself and then inserting the virus. You can then remove this hack from the compiler source code and it will continue to propagate through every subsequent version of the compiler built by itself or it's descendants."

Except someone found a solution. All it requires is one known-safe compiler and then you can cross-compile the source code several times with differing compilers to see if the compiler's tainted.

As for the hardware, microscopy perhaps?

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Using leather in 'leccy cars is 'unTesla', rages vegan shareholder

Charles 9
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Re: @James Cane - and the electricity?

OK, so EV stinks in polar latitudes. But what about tropical latitudes and arid areas where the heat from the IC engine works AGAINST the air conditioner, which has to route air intakes from outside the HOT engine (thus reducing airflow efficiencies)?

Here's another thought. If IC engines were so bad in terms of efficiency, why haven't more cars gone the IC/electric route, using the engine as an electric generator and powering electric motors and so on like that (removing the transmission losses and enabling you to use the IC as a heat engine to improve efficiency)?

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How much info did hackers steal on US spies? Try all of it

Charles 9
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Re: One-stop shopping for ID thieves; but necessary

So what do you do about it? The very NATURE of the form and need to access it readily for security reasons MAKES it a damn juicy target. IOW, easy for you, easy for them, no way around it.

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Sprint: Net neutrality means we can't stamp out download hogs

Charles 9
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Well, the carriers COULD be FORCED to be blunt and put all their natural limitations in black and white. That way, the download hogs can see they'll be limited no matter where they turn and either pay up or pack up.

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Charles 9
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Unfortunately, over-selling is the ONLY way to get customers' attention. They're too jaded to be attracted to any honest advertising.

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Charles 9
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But the reason they have to use the Unlimited term is because it's about the only way to attract jaded data-hungry customers. Flat-rate pricing is practically the only way to steal these kinds of customers. Well, that and raw metered rates in the past tended to be highway robbery.

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Charles 9
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Re: Pure BS

But that means it's NOT "unlimited" (a rather clear and concise definition). IOW, NO data plan in America should be allowed to EVER use the word "Unlimited," as it AUTOMATICALLY amounts to False Advertising, in violation of federal law. Throttling of any kind, after all, is—by definition—a limit.

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Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht to spend LIFE in PRISON without parole

Charles 9
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Re: Not a Victim, He's a Volunteer

"The present prison system is a very poor substitute."

But it may be the only option for true psychopaths. Attempting to "keep them under observation in regulated communities and allow them to apply their talents legally" will inevitably result in one of them gaming the system. That's how psychopaths work and why they're beyond treatment: they simply can't see beyond themselves and see everyone else as enemies: either opposition or prey. You basically can't reform someone locked into full Don't Trust Anyone mode.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Real Scary Thing...

Trouble is, none to date have faced an empire in a genuine position to take everyone else with them. That's why wars turned cold or proxy in the last few decades. This is the main reason Vietnam ran the way it did; since the Soviet Union was involved, they couldn't cross certain lines for fear of making the Soviets retaliate with full force. ANY large scale conflict risks antagonizing a nuclear power (US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, etc.)...with nightmarish consequences.

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Webmail password reset scam lays groundwork for serious aggro

Charles 9
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Re: Insane

"Ask me for my ZIP code when I'm purchasing something at a shop, you're getting my work ZIP (or a random one)."

Then your transaction gets declined because the ZIP doesn't match your home address, which is the one already on file with the credit card company. That's why they ask for the ZIP at gas stations and decline at-the-pump purchases if your ZIP doesn't match (or if you don't have one because it's a foreign card).

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Charles 9
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Re: solution is not to avoid registering mobile phone number with webmail providers

So what alternative is there to out-of-band authentication if you can't trust your mobile as the second factor?

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Charles 9
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Re: How stupid do you have to be?

"How stupid do you have to be to not be even the slightest bit suspicious?"

They could make it more indirect and less suspect by instead saying enter the code at a given site they provide which could be well-disguised and pretty plausible. If they know the mark's e-mail address, they can post the same information that way and make it look even more plausible than the real deal.

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Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies

Charles 9
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Re: vSphere Console

"The console works in Chrome without adding any extra plugins."

Chrome contains an internal Flash unit (Google does this to maintain a fixed frame of security reference). The free fork Chromium doesn't, so you have to install it manually (if at all possible).

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AT&T fined about 3 days of profit ($100m) for limiting 'unlimited' plans

Charles 9
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Thing is, other carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile then steal customers by using the word themselves. The only solution is to level the playing field and declare that any "unlimited" plan is automatically False Advertising since there is no way to achieve this within the confines of physics.

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Charles 9
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This is why I keep looking to push for an Act that demands that ALL ads of any nature tell nothing but the complete, unvarnished truth, with all claims required to be conservatives and all testimonials to be of typical results. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you $DEITY.

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How to hijack MILLIONS of Samsung mobes with man-in-the-middle diddle

Charles 9
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Re: The Fix

That's how you do it. You remount the /etc directory Read/Write, edit the hosts entry, then remount it Read-Only again. That's how programs like AdAway work.

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Charles 9
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Re: frame the issue

"At least in the UK, I'm pretty sure you can't declare EOL for a device that you are still selling."

They'll just stop selling them, period. No longer a problem. And they'll argue that since they're no longer selling it, they can't be expected to continue defending them against essentially moving targets: caveat emptor.

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Charles 9
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Re: frame the issue

"Just block the domain on your home router?"

Doesn't make sense to block it on the home router. At least YOU have control over it (and if it's pwned, you're screwed anyway since they can poison the DNS lookups).

No, it's best to edit it on the device itself so it doesn't matter where it goes. Since local lookup takes precedence over DNS, editing the hosts file trumps poisoned DNS. Only a direct IP number can beat that, and blocking the update route catch-22's that.

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Charles 9
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Re: Wait a minute

No, because all that crud is part and parcel with actually-useful stuff...like Wi-Fi Calling. Trust me, I'd blow TouchWiz in a heartbeat...except for THAT, which is pretty damn essential when abroad.

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Charles 9
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Re: frame the issue

Except they probably won't update the 4 or 5. They'll just declare those EOL an their users SOL unless they change over to the 6.

In any event, if you're rooted and can edit the hosts file, can you pothole the update domain?

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LastPass got hacked: Change your master password NOW

Charles 9
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Re: Physical security?

And what's to stop a more-sophisticated password cracker looking up books and song lyrics and trying the first-letter approach, complete with leetspeak substitutions? Plus as noted, it gets complicated once you add up the sites. Soon you'll be thinking, "Was it 'correct horse battery staple' or 'staple horse battery correct'? Or was it 'Rosita Chiquita Senorita' or 'Senorita Chiquita Juanita'?" Why do you think "password reset" attacks are becoming more common? The average human brain simply cannot cope, and there's really nothing better on offer that can't be copied or stolen.

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Charles 9
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Re: Physical security?

"I sometimes wonder if an ideal password locker would actually be totally in the open, with all the encrypted password files available for open download and inspection by everyone. Maybe the password locker service could even hold an annual "crack the password" competition."

How would you hold such a competition without getting sued up the wazoo for breach of privacy?

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Charles 9
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Re: Why did anyone think it was a good idea to have all your passwords stored online?

Because you MUST be able to retrieve it ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, AND you have a BAD MEMORY? Tell me how someone like that can get by.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem with passwords

But you DO. If they break into ONE shite site, they can use that to log onto your other shite sites. Which allows them to build a profile on you that lets them run a believable spear phishing attack on you to get to the higher tiers.

Put it this way. Even the most useless bit of detritus you leave on the Net can be used to cobble together an identity theft.

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Charles 9
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Re: OOH OOH!!! I know what the weak point is

"How about using one of the many password keeper programs that can run on all your platforms? Most of them make it very easy to copy your password data between platforms."

Assuming you can actually COPY them, which may not be possible on a platform where local storage is restricted BUT you still need to be able to get the password to the site RIGHT F'N NOW.

As for the paper in the wallet, people have been pickpocketed in the past without their knowledge. AND their memories are bad enough they can't decide if it was "RositaChiquitaSenorita" or "SenoritaPequitaRosita".

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Trans-Pacific Partnership stalled says Australian trade minister

Charles 9
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Re: "The need for secrecy tells us all we need to know about its intent."

"BTW: These same corporations watered down the packaging laws eons ago, so that any product containing under 1% or close to it, didn't even have to register as Trans-Fatty!"

It's HALF a percent, and even that won't be allowed soon since the very presence of trans fats will be illegal without special exemptions (that will only be allowed on a case-by-case basis).

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It's 2015 and Microsoft has figured out anything can break Windows

Charles 9
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Re: Oh, this warms the cockles of my heart

But then you run into that nasty problem of "Who Watches the Watchers?" What protects the anti-malware since its limit on perspective means it can't reliably scan itself (because anything that can subvert the anti-malware can subvert the checks on the anti-malware) AND any external agent repeats the question ad nauseum? In fact, I think you can tie this to Turing's Halting Problem to prove it's impossible.

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