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* Posts by Steve Knox

1378 posts • joined 16 Jul 2011

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Experts gathered round corpse of PC market: It's ALIVE! Alive, we tell you

Steve Knox
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Joke

No, they mean THE average organisation.

The Average Organisation -- Mediocrity since 1834.

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Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax

Steve Knox
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Trollface

Simple Solution

Devalue the pound.

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THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Re: Storage cost

Moore's law says that will fall back to about $50,000 by 2034.

No, it doesn't. Moore's law is about transistor density on silicon chips. It says nothing about storage prices.

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EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: Never mind that

@Tom 35

Re:"You want Google or Microsoft deciding what is in the public interest?"

No. They are the perps. We are the victims.

Well, the current ruling requires Google and Microsoft to decide what is in the public interest. So if the data protection authorities don't meet with them and hammer our a coherent standard, then G & M will have to continue to decide it.

That's why they have to meet -- not for "blessing" or impact statements or because of some made-up criminal court-corporate conspiracy.

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Elon Musk GIVES UP ON SEX: He'll make do with a 'cheap' Tesla III instead

Steve Knox
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Happy

Re: SF (San Jose) to LA (Pasadena) nonstop??

Or you could use a Prius C, still one tank or less, but its tank is just 9.5 gallons, saving you roughly $44. (11.5 gallons @ $3.83/gallon [Costco Gilroy's current price])

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Steve Knox
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F for Ford, E for Edsel?

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ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

Steve Knox
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Headmaster

Point of Order

Every rock found on Mars is extraterrestrial.

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Microsoft's new 'Adam' AI trounces Google ... and beats HUMANS

Steve Knox
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Paris Hilton

Wait...

If humans only get the categorization right about 20% of the time, how do we know what the right category for the other 80% is...?

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Another 'NSA-proof' webmail biz popped by JavaScript injection bug

Steve Knox
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Re: Sigh...

PGP, or, for that matter, GPG's interface sucks more than even Microsoft could dream up, it is a usability nightmare. In the hands of someone who is technically literate it's fine, but it is miles from end user compatible.

In general, writing a new UI for an existing relatively-well-proven encryption system is simpler than writing a new encryption system. The question is, why has this not happened w/r/t PGP/GPG?

In addition, as soon as you start talking about key management to the average Joe you've lost them before you have even started.

The average Joe doesn't have a house or flat key, or a car or bike key, or a locker key, or keys for their workplace? The principles of management for digital keys are no different from those for physical keys. If the digital system doesn't express those principles in a reasonable analogue to the physical, the solution is the same: fix the UI.

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Qualcomm fires DMCA shotgun at alleged code thieves on GitHub – including itself

Steve Knox
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Re: These are getting too much

Filing a false DMCA takedown is perjury, and false filers can be held responsible for damages. See, for example, https://www.eff.org/press/archives/2004/10/15

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You CAN'T bust into our login app's password vault, insists Roboform

Steve Knox
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FAIL

Low Standards

While it's feasibly possible, it's very unlikely that the average person finding a phone with RoboForm installed could execute the precise steps needed to do what Mr. Moore is doing with the emulator.

Well, if that's the standard, then RoboForm's app is completely uselsss.

If defeating "the average person" is all you want to do, just put a suitably complex unlock code on your phone and store your other passwords in a text file; no need to download an app.

If you want to secure your passwords from more than "the average person", I'd recommend anything but RoboForm, as their spokesman has just confirmed their standards don't extend that far.

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Oh SNAP! Old-school '80s Unix hack to smack OSX, iOS, Red Hat?

Steve Knox
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Re: Very unclear

The problem is parsing of filenames by traditional unix utilities, since "everybody" knows that if a filename starts with dash (i.e. - ) then programs will parse it as if it was an option.

No, the problem is method of expansion of wildcards by the shell, combined with the tradition of Unix of allowing essentially any printable character in a filename.

The shell expands the wildcards by interpreting them and placing the resulting filenames UNQUOTED into the argument string of the utility.

The fix is to rewrite the shell wildcard expansion routine to quote every filename. For example, in a directory with the following files:

Important File.ows

shellscript.sh

My "Expenses".ods

-rf

the shell command rm * is being passed to the utility as

rm Important\ File.ows shellscript.sh My\ \"Expenses\".ods -rf

(Note that the shell is smart enough to escape characters which are used for argument separation or quotation, but it doesn't escape the parameter character "-". This actually makes sense, because whether an argument is a parameter or not should be up to the application.)

when it should be

rm "Important File.ows" "shellscript.sh" "My \"Expenses\".ods" "-rf"

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Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

Steve Knox
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Re: Is this really possible?

Most of the decrease in Windows 8 as a percentage is due to uptake in Windows 8.1 (1.72% to 6.61%).

Win 8.x combined has gone from a 9.25% to 12.54% share, a gain of 3.29 percentage points. This is certainly not stellar, but Windows 7 only gained 4.13 percentage points over the same period, and despite the sensationalistic statistical selectivity employed in the article, XP and Vista both dropped over the last nine months, XP significantly.

Separating out Windows 8 and 8.1 is a little disingenuous: XP, Vista, and Windows 7 aren't separated into their respective service pack levels, and whatever Microsoft might want you to think, Windows 8.1 is really no more than a service pack for Windows 8 with a few UI tweaks.

This is not to say that Windows 8 is performing well at all; by this time it ought to be on par with Windows 7 in market share.

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New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Steve Knox
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Re: Top boffinry by the sound of it

Thumb drive!? I could replace my SAN with a gross of those chips...

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Steve Knox
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Re: Holy Carp!

Hmmm. Something fishy about your post...

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And now for someone completely brilliant: Stephen Hawking to join Monty Python on stage

Steve Knox
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Holmes

I'm pretty sure....

they meant that they're fatal to Cybermen.

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Google kills its successful social network. Yes, we mean Orkut

Steve Knox
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Trollface

C'mon, it's not that bad...

But nothing else will be transferred, which will undoubtedly frustrate the hell out of folk who have painstakingly built up a social following on Orkut only to discover they have to start again. From scratch. On Google+.

They could always start again from scratch on Facebook instead...

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New MH370 search zone picked using just seven satellite 'handshakes'

Steve Knox
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Pint

Re: err... the phone call

This mystery has got all the conspiracy nuts out in force, the more I read the more I feel they may be justified.

That's how conspiracy nuts reproduce: they flood discussion of a topic with cleverly crafted wild theories.

At first, you read these theories with a mind to debunking them, and often you can do so easily, or someone else already has. But that's beside the point: The words are now in your brain.

As you read more conspiracy theories, the echoing insanity convinces you to work harder to debunk what you're reading.

This debunking instinct spills over to the rational explanations, which, while most likely correct, are usually not expressed quite precisely enough to be immune to debunking.

So now your brain is actively debunking the rational explanations, based on nothing more than a poor choice of words or misplaced punctuation.

Eventually, your brain realizes that if everything sane is false, than the insane must be true, and a new conspiracy nut is born.

Since this is all a side effect of the natural evolution of our brains, the only preventative is to kill enough brain cells to prevent that critical mass of critical cynicism to develop.

So have another one!

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REVEALED: Reg trails claw along Apple's 'austerity' 21.5-inch iMac

Steve Knox
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Peripherals

Bluetooth peripherals: you can opt for wired a numeric keyboard and a mouse too at no extra cost

Based on what I know of market prices, opting for wired peripherals should net you a savings of about $50, rather than being neutral.

But based on my experience with Bluetooth mice and keyboards, they're not worth the premium anyway, so I'll call this a wash.

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Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

Steve Knox
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Willing to Pay the Price?

The one-time NSA sysadmin added that he was "willing to pay the price" for leaking that information even if it did damage national security interests.

Good. All you need to do is head to your nearest US embassy, Mr. Snowden.

Forgive me if I don't hold my breath in anticipation of your return, but your statement rings exceedingly hollow when all of your actions to date have been designed to avoid paying that price.

You may aspire to the moral high ground when you hold others to the rule of law, but you cede that high ground when you yourself avoid that same rule of law.

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Elon Musk: Just watch me – I'll put HUMAN BOOTS on Mars by 2026

Steve Knox
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Re: Float? More like Sink!

Actually, Kharkov, you explained exactly why SpaceX will suffer as a public company.

First off, there's the concept that R&D will at some point be "done." R&D is by its very nature never complete. The concept of R&D being done is a misconception on the part of management once it reaches a stage where some results can be profitably exploited. But one exploitable result is not the point of R&D, nor is two. The purpose of R&D is a continuous stream of exploitable results. This is also known as "progress."

You then go on to describe the results which will be profitably exploited, and the environment which will allow them to be profitably exploited.

Then the decisions come in. What to do with the profits? Risk them on more long-term R&D? Invest in marketing and production efficiencies? Return to shareholders?

A board elected by public shareholders will almost always favor the latter two options, as they are much less risky.

So a public SpaceX will sit on it achievements, and milk them for what it can, until another private startup develops a better solution. That will take longer than it would if SpaceX continued to invest in R&D, as some elements will have to be relearned/redesigned by the new startup to avoid infringing on SpaceX's IP.

Yes, SpaceX may succeed financially as a public company, for a short term, but its original vision will suffer and so will progress.

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Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

Steve Knox
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Coat

Re: There is very little doubt

That this "Internet of Things" is a totally unnecessary solution in search of an as-yet-non-existing problem - at least as far as the consumers are concerned. That does not mean though that the industry will not go ahead and try to impose it on everyone anyway.

What!? When has the industry ever pushed unnecessary crap on consumers?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go use my voice-activated tablet to remotely control my 4k 120hz 3d TV with 7.1 surround sound...

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'Cortana-gate' ruins Satya Nadella's Microsoft honeymoon

Steve Knox
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Re: Folks forget...

I think the problem is, Microsoft's not sure what it is now.

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Missiles-on-rooftops Brit spy Farr: UK gov can slurp your Facebook, Twitter ... What of it?

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

No, "internal" and "external" in this context refer to final storage or transmission of the communications either within or without the political boundaries of the UK.

However, in the US, a hidden microphone recording conversations in a public street is fine for anyone because US law applies the reasonable expectation of privacy standard. In this case, a reasonable person chatting on a public street would expect that their conversation might be overheard (because they're in public.)

Not sure about UK law, but regardless of whether you're being recorded or not, talking about private matters in public is probably not a good idea.

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Steve Knox
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Re: I'd be more concerned

Facebook can't take you away to a black site without criminal charge for an indeterminate period of time based on 'intelligence gathering'

Says who?

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Tesla, Nissan, BMW mull all-for-plug, plug-for-all electrocar charger plan

Steve Knox
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Re: Industry not thinking things through - whatever next?

Let's say a medium-sized petrol filling station handles 1,000 cars a day - 80% of them between 0700-1900. Recharging all these 40kWh batteries in a day requires a 2MW supply. If it takes an hour to recharge each battery (as it does on a Tesla 120kW super-charger) you're going to fall behind the flow of cars with the aim of catching up overnight (when electricity's cheaper), so you'll need a good few hundred batteries in reserve to last the peak period. You can reduce the problem by charging faster (though I'm not sure how practical that is), but then your power supply requirements increase, and you can't make use of off-peak electricity. And this is assuming the very best (most expensive) technology available - most cars take much longer than a Tesla to recharge.

Thanks for those figures. Those are something which cab be verified and discussed.

It's not rocket science, is it?

No, it's escrow analysis, which is, indeed much simpler.

A simple escrow analysis of these numbers can tell us exactly how many batteries a station will

need in order to meet demand. Since you've given no more detailed picture of the demand curve, we'll assume for this discussion that it is uniform between 0700 and 1900 (high demand ~= 66.67 cars per hour), and between 1900 and 0700 (low demand ~=16.67 cars per hour). Further if you can recharge 1000 per day, you can recharge ~41.67 batteries per hour. Finally, let's assume you want a reserve of 10% (100 fully charged batteries) to deal with a sudden rush (in the case of such a rush, those reserve batteries will be replaced/recharged by an external service provider.) This is all we need for the escrow analysis.

By my calculation, the charging station only needs to store 442 batteries to supply the needs of the 1000 cars they service daily.

If the batteries took two hours to charge, the station would need to have 1171 batteries on-hand.

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Steve Knox
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Re: Industry not thinking things through - whatever next?

Doing a back of the envelope calculation about recharge times and the number of 'customers' seeking charged batteries every day, you end up with a need for (being highly optimistic) 50-100% more batteries than you have electric vehicles. Being pessimistic (or perhaps realistic) you'd need 3-4x as many. Given that the battery pack is a substantial part of the cost of any electric vehicle, someone's going to have to invest massive amounts to make this possible. (The recharging unit would also need a power supply equivalent to the output from a small power station, but that's almost a secondary consideration.)

Care to share those calculations (especially assumptions)? Your conclusion has no merit without the benefit of those numbers.

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Blame WWI, not Bin Laden, for NSA's post-9/11 intel suck

Steve Knox
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Headmaster

Re: Actually it goes back much further than that. Alien and sedation act.

You mean "Alien and Sedition Act", of course. The "Alien and Sedation Act" was, I believe, an attempt to regulate close encounters of the fourth kind.

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LEAKED: Redmond not allowed to sell 'Nokia' smartphones after 2015

Steve Knox
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"finished ... but would be even more finished once it received an update. "

Or as it's know in the industry, "a Microsoft product."

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Yes. Facebook will KNOW you've been browsing for smut

Steve Knox
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Big Brother

Smart Targeting

Exactly. Ice cream is delicious. No sane person would buy it less often than once a month, so clearly you needed to be reminded.

The fact that you didn't cotton on to their devious logic shows just how well it's working.

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So, what exactly defines a 'boffin'? Speak your brains...

Steve Knox
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Re: The Boffing Test

<i- Anyone in a room answering from the top of their head questions like "Anyone remembers the rest energy of a W-Boson?" or "D4 and db2 wavelets are the same right?" is most likely a boffin (or could be a case of stephen fry trying to sound smart)</i>

To distinguish between a boffin and Stephen Fry at this point, check to see if their answer is actually correct.

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HP starts a memristor-based space program to launch ... THE MACHINE

Steve Knox
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Holmes

HP would be well advised to recall how committing themselves to a non-standard processor architecture has worked out for them.

Yeah, over 20 years of highly lucrative sales and support contracts is a real -- oh, you don't mean PA-RISC?

Remember, not everything happened within the last fifteen years, and every processor architecture is non-standard at the beginning...

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The Force of tax breaks brings Star Wars filming to Blighty

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Origin Story

Not much has been admitted about the plots of the standalone stories, although rumours are rife that the first will be an origin story for a beloved character, with Boba Fett, Yoda or Han Solo at the top of most lists.

Some of those rumourmongers haven't seen episode 2, then*. They've already done Boba Fett's origin story.

* Those lucky, lucky bastards.

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Pictures of elite 'Chinese military hacker' published

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

There is not one crime here.

"The United States cannot pretend that it is the victim. They are a hacker empire. I think everyone in the world knows this," spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Nor is there one victim. The US is a victim; so is China; both are also perpetrators.

"Georgie did it first!" "Xi did it worst!" is banter that shouldn't come out of the mouths of anyone over ten years old, yet this is where our governments are in their moral development.

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Stephen Fry MADNESS: 'New domain names GENERATE NEW IP NUMBERS'

Steve Knox
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Re: He's an actor

He is a very clever man, but he's not a IT specialists.

Yes, if for no other reason than there's only one of him.

The problem is, the general populace know that he's a very clever man and know that he likes technology. This makes him, in their minds, an IT specialist. This makes us waste entire mornings explaining to some knob why the most recent bollocks to come out of his mouth w/r/t IT is, in fact, bollocks.

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Chrome OS leaks data to Google before switching on a VPN, says GCHQ

Steve Knox
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They've issued more than that.

Fresh guidance is also available for iOS7, Windows 7 and 8.1.

Not-so-fresh guidance is available for other platforms.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/end-user-devices-security-guidance

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Evidence of ancient WORLD SMASHER planet Theia - FOUND ON MOON

Steve Knox
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Re: Simple question

Okay, I get that. But it doesn't resolve my question as to why there are useful differences in composition between the Moon and the Earth that they can attribute to a third body. If the Moon and Earth form from "the resultant mixture" as you say, what is the source of them being able to find evidence of Theia on the Moon, if you can only tell it is evidence due to its differences to rocks on Earth.

I haven't studied the simulations, but I'd guess that the collision would result in a higher ratio of Theia-matter to Earth-matter in the ejecta than in the bits that coalesced back to Earth, and so the moon would have a slightly different composition.

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Fed-up bloke takes email spammers to court – and WINS PILE of CASH

Steve Knox
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Trollface

Whenever a website asks for my email...

and I have no need to receive emails from them, I use privacy@{websitedomain}

Works 99% of the time.

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Google: OK world, make our 'End-to-End' crypto tool SPOOK PROOF

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: Google, privacy

the assertion that Google is indeed not able to read the messages is unproven

Erm, yeah.

That's the whole reason they've released the source code: so that cryptoboffins can test the general form of that assertion (i.e, that any third party cannot read the message.)

In future, it might be a good idea to ensure you understand the premise of the article before you comment on it.

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YOSEMITE GLAM: Apple unveils gussied up OS X

Steve Knox
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Terminator

RotM?

"When you are working on your Mac, your de[v]ices around you in proximity are aware of each other and aware what you are up to."

So is Apple taking development cues from Google now?

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Quantum teleportation gets reliable at Delft

Steve Knox
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Re: Your missing the point.

Could you step off the teleport pad please, sir?

Do you realize how fast you were beaming back there?

Would you mind blowing into this, please?...

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Snowden shoots back: 'So you DO have my emails, after all'

Steve Knox
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Re: It is inconceivable they don't have his emails

No, it's not.

Many organizations in the US have retention schedules which require them to delete all but specific classes of emails after a short period of time (often less than a year). This is because in the US, if you have such a retention policy, you will not likely be required by a court to search back before that period in the case of litigation. If, on the other hand, you don't have such a retention schedule, or the other party to the litigation can show that you haven't been following it, you can be required to search all storage, and can even be found liable for things you did delete.

And that's for non-spy-type organizations. I would expect the NSA to have a very short retention schedule for their emails.

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Steve Knox
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Re: Edward Snowden isn't very good at logic (and neither is the NSA)

My reading of what was said is different.

NSA previously said that they had no record of Snowdon raising concerns to them. Now they release an email that contradicts this assertion.

No, the email they released has nothing to do with the concerns he claims to have raised. They released the email as the sole piece of email from him that they claim to still have.

This is not unheard of.

Many organizations in the US permanently delete any email older than some certain term. This is because (at least in the US) unless you can show that you have and follow such a retention policy, you can be required to search all of your storage for emails relevant to litigation.

That there is a single email does not mean that there are necessarily any others. However, it does put into doubt the NSAs assertion that such emails don't exist.

Why? The email presented wasn't relevant to the conversation Snowden purported to have. If the content of the email that was released even touched on Snowden's concerns, you'd have a point. But instead, "[t]hat email contained a seemingly innocuous question about a legal matter and did not raise any specific objections to any NSA programs."

It's not really anything to do with logic.

Well, then, purple unicorns: I win!

It is a question of one man's assertion against a contrary assertion by the NSA. The question is one of trust. Do we take the word of Snowdon against the word of the NSA?

There's a third option you're missing here, and that is that they're both trying to manipulate us. This is where logic is useful. We can analyze their statements (as I did) and determine if they are reasonable. In this case, both parties' statements are not rational, but as I showed, are clearly skewed to presume their side's version of events.

Given the choice of trusting Snowden or the NSA, I choose neither, because that's the logical choice.

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Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Edward Snowden isn't very good at logic (and neither is the NSA)

Edward Snowden says the US National Security Administration is lying when it says it has no record of his emails to supervisors raising concerns about NSA surveillance programs, and that the release of one of his emails on Thursday proves it.

Assertion [ES]: Edward Snowden did raise concerns about NSA surveillance via email, and the NSA has a record of it.

Assertion [NSA]: Edward Snowden did not raise concerns about NSA surveillance via email.

Evidence [ES]: -0-

Evidence [NSA]: A single email from Edward Snowden that is irrelevant to the discussion.

The existence of that single email has no bearing on the existence or non-existence of other emails.

In order to believe that the release of that one email proves that the NSA has the other emails, you must first believe that the other emails exist, which is assuming ES's premise to be true without evidence. This is begging the question, and is a logical fallacy.

In order to believe that the release of that one email proves that the NSA has no other Snowden emails, you must first believe that the NSA is a disinterested party. Since this is clearly false, this conclusion is also a logical fallacy.

Since logic skills are a requirement for Information Security, the one conclusion which can logically be drawn from this evidence is that both the NSA and Edward Snowden are incompetent.

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TrueCrypt turmoil latest: Bruce Schneier reveals what he'll use instead

Steve Knox
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Re: Whoa there

Erm.

Noone's arguing that XP is still around in lots of places. But since it is not being officially supported anymore, XP cannot be considered safe to use. There may be (read: probably are) already exploits against it in the wild.

And if your OS is pwned, it doesn't matter what encryption software you use.

Fair point about the lack of Bitlocker in some editions (read: almost every pre-installed consumer edition) of Windows 7 (and 8), though.

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MH370 'pings' dismissed as false positives

Steve Knox
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Re: unlikely

Yes. The whole thing is massively so unlikely as to almost guarantee that it was planned.

Actually, when people plan things out, they tend to fall into common lines of thought. When something happens that is not within those lines, it is more likely that it is an unplanned event than a planned event.

In other words, this whole thing is so massively unlikely as to almost guarantee that it was unplanned.

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Still watching DVDs? You're a PLANET-KILLING CARBON HOG!

Steve Knox
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Mushroom

Lovely graphic

Pity it's been shrunk and compressed so as to be absolutely unreadable. You have the capability to include a higher resolution, "click-to-enlarge" version: I've seen you do it with graphics which don't need enlarging.

So why, whenever a graphic obviously needs it, do you steadfastly refuse to do so?

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US DoJ to appeals court: Haha, no, seriously – Apple totally inflated ebook prices

Steve Knox
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Re: It's interesting how everyone automatically trusts the DOJ, they don't have a stellar rep.

Your reference is:

1. An opinion piece

2. From 2012

3. From the Wall Street Journal

4. Behind a Paywall

So forgive me if I lend less credence to it than, say, an article from America's Finest News Source.

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DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? New leccy BMWs have flimsy password security – researcher

Steve Knox
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Boffin

Re: Ahem!

Actually, what he's advocating is security bolstered by obscurity. Security through obscurity relies on obscurity as the primary defense (e.g, a proprietary encryption algorithm, or even a hidden private key).

He's not saying that they should use obscure usernames and that's all, he's saying if they can use obscure usernames on top of a good password/encryption scheme, that adds an increased level of security. He's not saying rely on obscure usernames, but take advantage of the opportunity.

Furthermore, one's e-mail address need not have anything to do with one's login name, even within the e-mail system itself, beyond an association in some database.

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Bing's the thing in Microsoft's push for cheap Windows devices

Steve Knox
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Re: So where are the Whiteknighting MicroSoft Shister-Team

If you actually want to know the difference between this and OEM complaints about Android, tell me how one can manufacture an Android phone with Play Store and gMaps, but using alternative search engine... even if I, as am OEM, are willing to compensate/pay Google for the privilege...

So your position is that Google Play Store and Google Maps are right as rain, but Google Search is somehow the devil? Play Store and Google Maps are not part of Android, they're part of Google Services. They are in no way required in order to have a functioning Android-based system. Tying them to your OEM Android requirement would be like tying MS Office to the OEM Windows requirement.

Dropping this specious condition, look no further than Amazon for a non-Google OEM implementation of Android. For phones, look no further than Nokia. For non-OEM, look at CyanogenMod.

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