* Posts by Charles 9

4467 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'

Charles 9
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Perhaps an alternative would be to separate days and portions of days into two separate 32-bit values, perhaps not as a realtime clock value but perhaps for storage within a filesystem. Say use the absolute Lilian Day as the day variable (its epoch is the day the Gregorian Calendar went into effect: 15 Oct 1582). That gives it four billion days to work with and room to add one or two placeholder values for invalid, unknown, or indeterminate dates. With a signed 32-bit value for time of day, you can still be precise to within 1/10,000 of a second which should be sufficient for most purposes (unless one can point out a general-purpose reason for nanosecond filesystem precision) AND still have room for the odd leap second (by separating day from daypart, leap seconds become easy to insert without trashing the rest of the calendar) while holding the negatives for specialized or placeholder time values.

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Charles 9
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Change may be a constant in IT, but change is discouraged in many other industries, especially heavy industry and embedded systems where the operative phrase is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Indeed, when IT mixes with other industries like manufacturing, there tends to be culture clashes: for example, software meant to last years controlling hardware meant to last decades.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem is in applications

I don't think consoles kept a real-time clock until around the 5th Generation (the PSX generation) excepting the Neo-Geo, which was based on arcade boards (some arcade boards kept a clock for recordkeeping purposes).

As for FAT, it's luckier than ext2/3 because of its datestamp format (time is not an issue, it uses two bytes for time-in-day, which is enough to cover an entire day; its only catch is that it's only precise to within two seconds). It dedicates 7 bits to the year and uses 1980 as the epoch. Meaning it won't run afoul of calendar overflow until the end of the year 2107. Beyond that, it will probably be easier to have any VM still emulating an old DOS like this to pretend it's an earlier year.

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Windows 10 to give passwords the finger and dangle dongles

Charles 9
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Re: eventually...

Even if it's true for more people than you think? If people are constantly looking for alternatives to passwords, there must be a reason behind it. The most likely one: information overload, as in we have to memorize so many passwords that not even the xkcd method can save us from the limits of our brains. Let's face it. Some people just have bad memories, so how can they go about a society like ours where one needs to be able to recall a complicated (something more than a single dictionary word is too complicated for them) password at will without access to any other device or mnemonic?

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HTTP/2 spec gets green light: Faster web or needless complexity?

Charles 9
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"Of course, they can mix up the adverts with legitimate images, but at that point why are you even visiting that website?"

Because it's a niche website that serves exclusive content like old/obscure device drivers from companies that no longer exist or specific genres of media that are off the mainstream. This happens a lot more often than you think. Either that or the Ad-Blocker-Blockers that detect ABP and deny you access until you turn it off, TIOLI.

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Charles 9
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But like I said the proxy offers the big advantage (especially these days) in that it's practically unblockable (block the ad, block the content). I mean, how many of us keep doubleclick on a NoScript Untrusted List or the like. I would think Doubleclick would take a delay if it meant actually getting through. I'm surprised there hasn't been this kind of proxy arranged already on a "must-provide" basis if the webmaster expects any kind of compensation.

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

Charles 9
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Re: >Scylla and Charybdis

"Keep Javascript where it belongs - heavily sandboxed and untrusted."

Recall that one of Java's selling points was the sandbox memory model. Until someone developed the sandbox escape exploit...

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'Net neutrality will turn the internet communist – and make Iran's day'

Charles 9
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Re: The Internet turning Communist?

What if Congress attaches the bill to something that must pass, like a debt ceiling increase? Now if Obama vetoes it, he risks shutting down the government (which the Tea Party would croon about) because Congress could keep making it part and parcel.

"What the monopoly ISP's really, really want is Metered Billing, or Usage Based Billing."

They don't need Congress to do that, but the trouble is that flat fees are too much of a temptation for customers. Look at what happened in the mobile sphere. AT&T and Verizon stubbornly meter their data lines. Then Sprint and T-Mobile start offering unrestricted (I suspect within reason) data lines and they attract defectors (it's one reason I'm still with T-Mobile: that and they use SIMs unlike Sprint).

The primary reason Comcast and the others don't meter yet is because they're afraid some upstart will come along, get around their exclusivity agreements (or convince the municipalities to break them) and attract defectors. It may not sound plausible until you realize one of those potential disruptors is Google, who are courting cities one by one to open up in the name of delicious fiber optics. Not even Comcast would be willing to go 12 rounds with them; it'd be Pyrrhic victory at best case. What they're hoping the FCC will do is block Google; the FCC is the only entity with the power to block the likes of Google. Thing is, last I heard, the FCC is taking a pass on this specific matter.

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Data retention: It seems BORING ... until your TV SPIES ON YOU

Charles 9
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Re: There's a simple rule of thumb

"This issue has to be resolved outside the technical domain, it's a legal issue, what companies are authorized to collect, and how to ensure your able to opt-out, or, far better - to opt-in."

And unfortunately, the legal side is against us. The government want to do the Big Brother thing, and anyone who's against it never gets an honest chance to rise to power. Worse comes to worse, they could decide if they lose everyone loses...

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Charles 9
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Re: "Or is it a very devious arrangement"

"So what?!? What's preventing anyone setting up another wireless router that connects to the "official" one and creates its own, second wireless network applying a firewall to it - then you just connect everything to the second network and ignore the first?!?"

Knowing the countries in question, probably availability of third-party routers. If your ONLY source of Internet equipment is the cableco cartel...

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Critical 0-days in open source? The problem isn't code, it's CASH

Charles 9
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Re: Failure of the value proposition

It had always been my experience that the terms "price" and "cost" are reversed compared to how you use them. As in the true cost, the "opportunity cost" of something is more than just the buying price of the item. You mentioned the support and everything else involved, not to mention the fact you're using this versus an alternative system.

I will agree on the essence of the article, though, that no matter how much you slice it, you need someone to read your code to find those bugs, and since these people need to put bread on the table, cost/benefit analysis is against FOSS unless FOSS can sweeten the deal. Perhaps one of the big stumbling blocks is that very word "Free": as noted frequently here, so ambiguous as to perhaps evoke the wrong image in potential consumers (too much beer, you could say). Perhaps the FOSS movement would be wise to try to change their name to reflect a more precise term behind their cause.

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Your hard drives were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS

Charles 9
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Re: Let us not forget....

Then what are the Russians and Chinese? Chop suey?

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Charles 9
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Re: Wait

If it's not decrypted on the HDD, then it's being done somewhere on the motherboard, and the snoops have ways in there, too. And if you try to avoid them, you just get nailed by another snoop.

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Charles 9
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Re: but the '...w.dll'

It's the Don't Trust Anything Closed-Source attitude. The thought is that any apparent security aid is really a super secret secret backdoor.

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DARPA's 'Cortical Modem' will plug straight into your BRAIN

Charles 9
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Re: What It Would Be Most Good For

They're actually working on that but from a different angle IIRC. I recall such an approach is better suited to the blindED than to those BORN blind as the latter may lack the nerves to stimulate.

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BBC: SOD the scientific consensus! Look OUT! MEGA TSUNAMI is coming

Charles 9
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Re: So a meteor didn't wipe out the dinosaurs

The several that spring to mind were all land impacts. And the one that did in the dinosaurs, last I checked, ended up near the Gulf of Mexico, closer to the Pacific than the Atlantic but not actually in either body.

That said, I'm surprised the discussion did not mention mega-tsunamis induced by a large meteor impact in the ocean. It's definitely plausible if extremely unlikely. There's also the possibility of hypercanes with an oceanic impact.

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

Charles 9
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Re: Obvious

Same here. A $20 premium per month when the phone I was getting at the time was $500. Basically a wash. Plus, since I was on a postpaid plan, I got to enjoy features you won't see in a prepaid plan such as WiFi Calling and Visual Voicemail.

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Elon Musk's Tesla set to unveil home storage battery

Charles 9
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Re: Stupid

"No one can make batteries that cost less than the mains electricity they can charge and discharge in their lifetime so you can't even break even when the electricity to charge them is free."

No one can make them YET...unless you can pull an Alan Turing and demonstrate a formal proof that no battery can beat the grid, even if running off environmental power.

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Charles 9
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Color me sceptical...

It's funny we're not seeing actual specs about these batteries. Nothing about storage capacity, power output, and especially (in terms of payoff factor) working life. If such an announcement doesn't give the details right off the bat, I suspect they're hiding something (because if it really isn't too good to be true, they could tout it as a selling point).

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Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

Charles 9
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"In a small way it's already happened. I worked on a large corporate document project in 1990 and 1991. The documents were written in Microsoft Word 1.0. Graphics were created in MicroGraphx Designer. Some graphics were create in tools (names unremembered) running on DOS. None of this material is usable today. The latest version of MS Word doesn't recognise these old DOC files. There is no support anywhere for MicroGraphx Designer files. The DOS software is long gone. I still have printed copies."

Are you SURE none of that is useable today? Are you sure you can't fire up a DOS emulator like DOSBox, locate disk images of the software you used (OK, maybe some of it was custom work) or a utility from the time capable of interpreting it? Sure, formats come and go, but there are even now digital preservationists striving to at least keep records of the past available: diskettes imaged and formats described. The hard part is gathering the resources needed to read your old format. After that, you can usually migrate it to a newer format. Plus there are certain formats (like simple text files) that lend themselves better to preservation (as long as the character set is still known, you're OK).

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Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

Charles 9
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Re: History Repeats

Simple. They quickly learned it was a non-starter. Too close to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Not to mention the electricity implications.

What I'm curious about is if TV/Monitor makers will take the next step and make compulsory ads on every viewing screen they make, such that they appear no matter what you watch or do, live or prerecorded, video or not, so that about the only way to avoid them is to basically stop watching anything: even your work. Scary thought, and it makes me wonder how one would escape such a regime if made compulsory and built directly into the device's display circuitry.

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Now not even muggers want your iPhone

Charles 9
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Re: urrr... they will still steal your device

So what happened to Faraday bags? How can a kill code kill what it cannot detect. And by the time it's exposed again, it'll probably be modified to not accept it.

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Charles 9
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Joke

Re: WTF

But remember, we're talking audiophiles. These are people who can supposedly detect a single low-order bit flip in a 74-minute CD recording on a jet plane and be able to use that to identify exactly when the disc was pressed.

Much like with drink aficionados. I swear there are people that can tell the different between five minute old coffee and six minute old coffee...

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Charles 9
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Re: One born every minute

"Not much. Silver, copper and aluminium have Fermi velocities of 1.39, 1.57 and 2.03 million metres per second, respectively."

Took me a minute to wrap my head around what you were saying (lower Fermi v = less resistance; also found the website where you found this statistic, word for word). Just for the record, I looked up gold's Fermi velocity, and it's actually slightly higher than silver at 1.4e6, but it has the benefit of not being nearly as prone to tarnishing. Still, I see the point. There is a difference, just not as great as it would have to be to be very noticeable.

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Charles 9
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Re: One born every minute

That's the thing. I know some cables can be so messed up that signals get flip-flopped (1's become 0's and vice versa) or just plain cut off, resulting in signal loss. Just how crappy do the cables have to be to reach that point?

Another point I'm wondering. I recall electrons can move at different speeds through different solids. How much an effect would silver have on the speed of electrons vs. copper? And how would that translate into a lag savings?

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WATCH IT: It's watching you as you WATCH IT (Your Samsung telly is)

Charles 9
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Re: Facts please commentards

"What's wrong with a good old fashioned remote control?"

Never enough buttons! Apparently it never occurred to any of them that if I want to jump to HDMI3 where my box is hooked up, I'd like to be able to do it in one press for the sake of my technically-illiterate mother who gets lost after two presses.

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Charles 9
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Re: 1948 - 1984 - 2015

"This is why we should stop this kind of thing in its tracks before spying on one another becomes the 'norm'. Once the public start doing their job for them they have solved the labour problem and we will no longer even be able to resist."

Wasn't spying on the neighbors the norm back in the old days when villages were small and everyone knew each other? In which case, we'd be going BACK to it.

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Charles 9
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Re: So far, so unsettling

"Next time someone says that to you ask them to let you look through their phone for photo's, texts and contacts etc. If they're happy with that then ask them if they would wear transparent clothing."

And if they respond with, "I'll go you one better. I used to be a nudist."?

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World's mega-rich tax dodge exposed: Meet the HSBC IT bloke at the heart of damning leak

Charles 9
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Re: Appropriate

"And as for Switzerland, can't we just build a bloody great wall around the place and not take it down till they stop facilitating this sort of crap right under our noses?"

Given how skilled they are at tunnels, I doubt they could be contained by a wall.

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This optical disc will keep your gumble safe for 2,000 YEARS

Charles 9
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Re: Verbatim? Shudder...

"I have 30 year old audio CDs that still play, and some CD-R disks that I recorded before the millennium that still can be read."

The CD-R's recovery reliability depends mainly on the quality of the material used in the medium, usually some kind of dye. Cheapo ones, based on my personal experience, start to fade over time even if you keep them under wraps. I once did a migration from CD-Rs and DVD-Rs that resulted in more than a few gaps in the recovery. That's one reason I'm interested in the M-Disc since that sets a nice, high bar for medium reliability. Combined with a little parity data per disc, one should be able to store it someplace safe and still count on it to be readable a decade or two later if necessary.

I just wish there was something bigger on the consumer level. 100GB is still a bit small for today's packrat level of data accumulation.

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Charles 9
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Re: Yes, but in 10 years or 20

"What data is required to be kept a millennium?"

How long ago did Sun Tzu live?

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Charles 9
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However, I get the feeling the markup (at least at this point) isn't going to be very comfortable. Doing a little price hunting, I find the standard BD-R M-Disc commands over a double markup vs. a traditional BD-R (ex. a spindle of 15 25GB M-Discs costs more than a spindle of 30 standard BD-Rs). Given that a single BDXL 100GB discs run anywhere from $15-40 a piece depending on where you look, I'm willing to bet the initial MSRP for a 100GB M-Disc is about $60. Any bets? Higher, lower, or spot on?

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Charles 9
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Re: Reminds me

"They were trying to think of monuments they could build that would last and would clearly indicate, regardless of language, 'danger'."

They must've realized that, no matter what you do, human curiosity will get the better of any concept of danger sign you or anyone else could imagine. Why? Because Forbidden Fruit is the ultimate temptation. As Terry Pratchett once put it, “Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.” And he's right. I bet when the archaeologists raided King Tut's tomb, they were thinking, "I ain't afraid of no curse."

IOW, put a massive pile of death somewhere, anywhere, and sooner or later, someone else will stumble upon and start a cycle of death. Guaranteed.

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Charles 9
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I don't care about 2,000 years at this point. If it can keep the archives for the better part of ten years and not break the bank in so doing, perhaps we can (at least for the medium term) use something that doesn't have to rely on spinning rust for consumer backup.

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Ex-squeeze me? Baking soda? Boffins claim it safely sucks CO2 out of the air

Charles 9
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But Venus TRAPS more of what it absorbs. Plus since its atmosphere is so dense, it can retain more of it.

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Charles 9
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Then explain Mars, which also has a CO2-dominant atmosphere yet is beastly cold even in the summer.

Proximity and atmospheric density may be factors, though.

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Charles 9
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Re: Carbonates are how the Earth deals with excess CO2

Depends. I hear the stuff is reusable, meaning it captures the CO2, then you process it back into sodium bicarbonate, releasing the CO2 in a controlled setting where it can be collected, and so on.

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Charles 9
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Re: Carbonates are how the Earth deals with excess CO2

The biggest issue with that aspect of carbon sequestration is ensuring these mines are gas-tight. Otherwise, the gas will just seep back out and you're back to square one.

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Charles 9
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Re: Carbonates are how the Earth deals with excess CO2

And reason #1 will be, "OK, you've captured all this CO2. Where do you plan to put it all?" And trees aren't a wholesale option since they can only absorb so much at a time, so most of any you release in a forest stays in the air where it can affect fauna (in our terms, 2% concentration starts to affects us and gets worse from there).

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Free Windows 10 could mean the END for Microsoft and the PC biz

Charles 9
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"Kernels can use RAM too...the limit is 16EiB."

If kernels use motherboard RAM, they call the bottom half of the space: the lower 8EiB. The top half is reserved for, like I said, memory mapping and such. Apart from internal device memory (like GPU RAM), the bulk of the top half is intended to be "virtual" memory and not actually RAM sitting somewhere.

So the limit of motherboard RAM is 8 EiB.

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Obama's budget packs HUGE tax breaks for poor widdle tech giants

Charles 9
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Re: @codejunky @ Preston Munchensonton - "The argument will be that...

NOTE: I'm not criticizing here but corroborating.

"Hmm: Number of workers on minimum wage has DOUBLED to 1 in 20 and that doesn't include all those on benefits, nor all those who are self-employed who are on low incomes, but aren't included in these figures."

How about one more metric just to be sure. What's the distribution of job wages vs. the total population? This way factors such as absolute population shifts can be accounted for and show that the proportion of low- to high-wage jobs is shifting more towards the former even on a per capita scale.

""Confiscated"? Oh dear! Yes, they can afford more workers but they will probably only be paid the minimum wage. And what's the betting the R&D will be devoted to "how can I make more money with fewer people and less expenditure so I can make more profit"."

I've noticed an increasing amount of R&D going into two things: robotics and expert systems. Technologies that can render human workers expendable. And worse yet, this creep of automation is starting to hit areas where we thought humans were safe like the arts. And to top that off, there doesn't seem to be much of an outlet for the displaced masses unlike in previous technology shifts. Most of what's left will be highly-technical and/or specialized positions that pretty much call for a life decision just to pursue, let alone secure a position. They'll also be of a nature that not many of them will be needed to handle the population. I'm reminded of that Robots Are... poster you see in Portal 2...

"But there's a *limit* to the amount that people will spend as I've already pointed out, so more of that money will not be passing into general circulation, but squirreled away into investments which will then be used by banks and other institutions to make *themselves* more money in the financial markets..."

And not all of these investments need to result in greater economic activity. Investing in real estate without developing it or stockpiling in precious commodities (which have value by merely existing) results in stagnant value: no real money flow. Also, the flow can be restricted: money circulated mostly within the elite doesn't become accessible to the hoi poloi.

"Oh ye gods, codejunky, you don't get it do you? The argument is for a more *compentent* government, not one with idiots like Osborne at the helm who has borrowed *more* money than anyone else before and *still* failed to clear the deficit *despite* taking lots of money off the little people who can least afford to lose it!"

Only problem is that we're running into the "power corrupts" problem. Even if just for one term, the natural tendency for people in power (like politicians) is to leverage that power as much as possible so as to have a comfortable endgame. Selflessness and ambition appear to be conflicting traits in your average human, and the end result is that politics appears to naturally attract the kinds of people we least want in power. And I bet none of the safeguards we could conceive would be enough to reduce this tendency to any significant degree.

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Charles 9
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Re: @codejunky @ Preston Munchensonton - "The argument will be that...

"If that is what you think of then it shows how cold you are. If it is your gut reaction because you think not stealing all the money off people who earn it is the ridiculous view you just stated then that is between you and your therapist. Either way it has nothing to do with discussion and shows an irrational fear which prevent you from thinking about the subject. Simply if a gov tries to steal money from people who earn it, those people will do all they can to keep the money away from the gov. That includes not bringing money home for investment."

Which means the government must do EVEN MORE than they can to keep the money from disappearing since the natural gravity of their wealth means it will draw more wealth away, and since wealth is material (and thus finite), it has to come from somewhere: if not them, then everyone else. Eventually, it will LITERALLY be a case of haves vs. have-nots (or rather, have-everythings vs. have-nothings). Get to that point and things are going to get ugly. So unless the government intervenes to even the playing field and reduce the discontent, they run the risk of overthrow.

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Password manager LastPass goes titsup: Users LOCKED OUT

Charles 9
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Re: Opensource, not single point more like user chooseable

But JavaScript can be subverted: switched out behind your back. That's why you can't trust it for encryption tasks.

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Charles 9
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Re: Password Safe and the 'Paris Angle'

I combine KeePass with Dropbox (KeePass is GPL and Dropbox is free up to 2GB). Since the database is encrypted by your master key (password, file, or both), it can sit on the Dropbox safely (stealing or snooping it is useless without the master key) enabling you to retrieve it as needed. Dropbox automatically syncs the key with whatever other locations I choose. And KeePass is easy to get for just about any platform you'll need it.

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HTML5 vs native: Harry Coder and the mudblood mobile app princes

Charles 9
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Re: Revenge of the HTML devs

But sometimes, even fluid designs have solid elements, like a logo or some other fixed UI element. Plus computers normally use landscape displays while most mobiles are used portrait, so aspect ratio has to be considered, too. As for viewing the full desktop version, that can be a stretch. Not all "modern" mobiles have the needed resolution. I recently picked up a cheap Android phone that's relatively recent (made late 2013), but because it's cheap, its resolution is only 320x480.

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SPITTLE SPATTER as America weighs into FCC net neut shoutgasm

Charles 9
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"For us poor uneducated Yanks... would someone kindly define wtf net neutrality means in e.g. the UK? And what benefits does it provide?"

There are two basic basic tenet of "Net Neutrality", both of which involve nondiscrimination. First, that data passing through a provider's pipes cannot be prioritized by some arbitrary plan of the providers. IOW, they cannot discriminate data unless absolutely they have to (due to say contention), and even then the plan they use must be fair and reasonable (say, something along the lines of a FIFO scheme). Second, they cannot, the way I put it, play big stack at the poker table. They can't employ their incumbency advantage to block the entry of new players into the game through things like exclusive provider contracts. This is critical for rural areas that are otherwise disadvantaged when it comes to rolling out broadband. This is because geography matters in physical infrastructure like data lines; the longer the cables, the more expensive the infrastructure costs. Wiring up a small and dense country like South Korea is a lot easier than trying to wire up, say, the state of Wyoming, which is full of rugged, untamed wilderness, sparse of people, and some distance from any significant nexus of civilization (say, Denver, Colorado).

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Charles 9
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Re: American internet users will win!!

"More time will pass, with more uncertainity and almost certainly more significant changes in how Americans get their Internet access."

Time plays against the Republicans. Trying to redo the FCC is in the exact same boat as trying to repeal Obamacare (which they've tried an umpteen number of times, including at least one this session, all without success). As long as they Republicans don't (a) hold 2/3 majorities in both houses to override the veto or (b) hold a majority in the House, 60 seats in the Senate (to force Cloture), and have the Presidency, any attempt to force the agenda is dead in the water.

"I'd prefer no net neutrality and regulations to encourage ISP's to provide minimum levels of service (within the limits of current technology) to prevent communities being left behind, provide caps for the cost of services (to prevent communities being priced out of faster services) AND (most importantly) remove any restrictions on regional competition between providers. The caps should be high enough to allow current ISP's to operate as they are but provide an incentive for new players to enter local markets."

Don't Common Carrier provisions include everything you describe, which is why telephone and railroads operate the way they do? Why wouldn't they be included here? As for the rural communities, as I recall, the main problem for them is that they're rural...and therefore so sparse that a rollout is an iffy proposition, thus why most carriers won't propose a rollout without a guarantee. Also, most of these communities lack the local capital to go it alone/ Furthermore, with Republicans in the House (which controls the budget), they can't expect any assistance from Washington, and even state capitals are typically out of reach due to their low populations (cities will tend to pull the strings).

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Zimmermann slams Cameron’s ‘absurd’ plans for crypto ban

Charles 9
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Re: The naughty ones

Nulls? Explain how that would work...

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Tom Wheeler flings off dressing gown, dons gloves for net neutrality RUMBLE

Charles 9
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Re: No Nothing...

Have they ever considered that this level of gouging could convince their customers to do the one thing always available to them...and walk away. If people have been using their connections and recorders to permanently download their favorite shows and then pass the tapes/discs/drives around, they could potentially engage in a prolonged "strike" against the big boys and not get bored. Even sports can be done without local TV; the sports bar industry may find such a walkout in their favor.

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China demands real names online, bans parody accounts and news article comments

Charles 9
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"Will the chinese gov't be giving free credit monitoring to the inevitable victims of identity theft?"

No, because odds are they'll be the thieves. The idea is that the ONLY encryption they'll allow is the type they can backdoor. They don't care too much if the proles get bit by hackers because they'll be part of that group, and any official Chinese business done within the government itself can use the strong stuff as they please.

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