482 posts • joined Wednesday 9th November 2011 16:41 GMT
Did anybody do the math?
I am not sure I have the figures correct, but it looks like after 10 hours of use this puts out one thousandth of a KwH. Assuming they keep that fired up 10 hours a day 333 days a year, they will put out about 10 cents worth of electricity after three years. Given a thirty year service life this $10 generator would put out a dollar's worth of electricity. That does not include the cost of hiring someone to keep lifting the weight.
Would it not be cheaper and more humane to simply sell them a couple of dollars worth of batteries?
I am sure I must have slipped a decimal point somewhere, but everyone should know that heat energy and electrical energy are equivalent to enormous amounts of stored kinetic energy. Using humans to generate power is a really big step backward.
Re: I miss GrokLaw
@Real Ale is Best:
Me too. Sadly, PJ's reason for shutting it down makes little sense. We are all still under surveillance, we just have less information and contact with people who can help us out.
I visit Groklaw off and on hoping she has had a change of heart. I expect she will, but it has been a long wait.
For me, Java was already dead
I was never a big fan of Java anyway, but as long as it was 'owned' by a company it was always vulnerable to action by that company. I stopped development in Java the day Oracle gained control. When Oracle gets control of anything, it is bad for most of us. I stopped even using Java when it became clear that for practical purposes it could not be secured.
From what I can tell, the reason Java is so popular is because it requires a huge ecosystem to deal with all the buggy code built in it. I think Java got such a foothold because alternatives were not that great. Java's many libraries and existing code are compelling, but not enough for me to risk becoming Oracle's bitch.
Re: Security Theater Only
PFS is a good thing as far as it goes. However, it is tangential to the issue here. The issue is that nefarious entities (NSA, FBI and others) can gain access to private information by forcing Microsoft to hand over the ciphertext and keys.
As long as Microsoft is the sole custodian of keys capable of accessing my information I am as vulnerable to the NSA after PFS as I was before. It is fine that MSFT is going to serve cake to its customers. However, much as I am happy to have a slice of cake, it was not cake that I asked for. Whether I get cake or not has no bearing on whether or not MSFT has the ability and the will to turn over my private communication.
It is out of scope for a comment here to lay out how such a system would work, but essentially, since MSFT cannot be trusted with my information they should have no access to anything at all except on an as needed basis. When it comes to the actual need to deliver software, MSFT requires no personally identifiable information about me at all. Everything they need from me including information for payment, delivery of goods, support, etc can all be done through a trusted intermediary and that intermediary can, using sound cryptography, be an m of n collection of entities who in the aggregate are trustworthy.
The above is a bit complex for people without the necessary background, but it is pretty simple for those who do have it. Microsoft and similar companies all know how they can provide genuine privacy and security to their customers. They choose not to do it because at the end of the day they want to pry into your affairs themselves.
Interesting, but changes little
According to Ashley Montegue, The Theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection is "the most thoroughly authenticated fact in the whole history of science."
The 'Post Darwinian' refinements including the wonderful discoveries of genes and DNA help to explain particulars of mechanisms, but the Theory itself was entirely sound and whole when "On the Origin of Species" was first published around this time of year in 1859.
I cannot say why this simple and elegant Theory is so badly misunderstood, but it is. It seems to me that Darwin's contemporaries, without the aid of genetics, understood evolution better than most people today.
This article is about a refining discovery about a particular genetic history that interests us -- our own. This has no bearing one way or the other on the bedrock paradigm of Biology. There are more things we don't know by far than things we do know about the historical development of life on this planet. We do not have to know how a system of gases evolved in order to validate Thermodynamics. Were someone incorrect about the history of such a system it would say nothing at all about Thermodynamics. If you understand Thermodynamics, then you know that it is a logical imperative. The same is true of Evolution.
It drives me nuts that Biological discoveries are framed in such a way that laymen might think it says something about the correctness of Evolution. At its heart, Evolution is essentially a tautology. It is correct by definition.
Evolution, BTW, despite Darwin's own misgivings, says nothing at all about the existence of God either as a part of the holy trinity or as the deity in the more logically coherent Pastafarianism. Religious matters and Secular matters are orthogonal and incommensurate separate systems. Both are equally valid in their own right. Understanding the rules of the Universe as created by the Noodle in the Sky does not speak one way or the other to whether or not the FSM (or God, if you prefer) created it. The argument that the FSM does not exist from parsimony or "Occam's Razor" is a naive logical positivist point of view that shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the world. For atheists that just cannot let go, consider the sanctity of belief in the Saucy Master as a political necessity to prevent the total domination of the state. The personal relationship between a person and their deity is sacrosanct even in the event that, against all evidence to the contrary, they do not even believe in that deity.
All of us receive security updates constantly. Why? Because yet another attack vector was exploited and our security people deal with security one patch at a time.
By their nature, security breaches happen along pathways that are 'improbable'. The fact that so many commentards cannot see why this is actually important to security makes me wonder.
Do the math. The ones who know what they are talking about have pricked up their ears because this is yet one more pathway that *has not been shut down* that needs to be shut down. The ones saying that this cannot be a problem and therefore we should not research and seal the breach will spend the rest of their days constantly being surprised by the ordinary.
Makes perfect sense
Re:"the price demanded was sufficiently low that Dell and Silver Lake make money either way"
Regardless of what they are planning on doing or what reason they think they had to take the company private, the low price is what was driving this.
Michael Dell has a good track record. He knows about making money. The company itself may crater, but I expect Mikey will do just fine with this deal.
Now that the company is private there are all kinds of things that they can do. Being fleet of foot for a company with this kind of critical mass is a very good thing. This should also be a lot of fun. There are lots of really cool things you can do when you control billions of dollars and tens of thousands of people.
Security Theater Only
This is just smoke and mirrors. Any of these companies serious about real security would not speak only in terms of trusting them with data they can see.
I will trust them when they can prove that data access is through multiple custody of entities other than the big companies and government.
The current PKI, with companies like Verisign, Microsoft and a host of other unknowns is only as strong as its weakest link. When it comes to the government, the weakest link is too weak to be of any use at all.
I don't want to go off here, but suffice it to say that Microsoft's protests that they are getting secure is 100% hot air. There is no effective increase in security here. What we were worried about remains exactly as it was.
You do not have to know that much to know that Microsoft's plan here cannot be effective as security. Certainly Microsoft knows it. If they are lying about this one transparent fact, how can you trust them at all?
Re: @btrower -- ...Boring?
Sorry for the necro-post. I just wanted to respond to what you posted.
I like the fact that you don't mince words as to your displeasure with Microsoft. Although I would be inclined to be a bit less harsh (when able), I agree with much of what you say. MS has created a huge mess with their constant changes in the pursuit of mammon.
Although I agree with what you say, I think it is tangential to the point I was trying to make. If there are going to be more than 100 million XP holdouts then that represents an enormous marketing opportunity for anyone able to do a replacement. Maybe they might not go for a $100 upgrade, but they surely would go for a $9 upgrade. That would still mean there is something in the neighborhood of $1 billion dollars there. A billion here or there might not be that compelling to Microsoft, but even for them it is worth looking at. More to the point, this represents a competitive threat. In the event that someone does get in there and swaps XP out for their own product, MS will not just have lost $1B, they will have allowed a competitor to gain $1B for a net difference of $2B. Worse, even marginal success of the XP substitute would threaten the entirety of the Windows franchise and since MS products only run on Windows for the most part it threatens the entire ecosystem and strikes at the very heart of the beast.
Either XP users move upwards along a pathway provided by Microsoft or they will end up jumping ship.
Other things could happen, of course. Rather than staying on a PC platform users could just upgrade sideways to mobile devices or something. However, at least for a lot of individuals like me there is going to be a need for a local machine.
For clients that need stability over decades, XP may well stay in place on dedicated devices separated from the network by an air gap. Nobody in their right mind would take an XP system actually doing a job and replace it for no reason. That is true not just of XP, though, and these cases are not under consideration.
They want too much
Whatever as a Service *should* be cheaper by virtue of spreading usage across idle or underutilized resources. Vendors should be able to provide the same function for less than half the cost and still take a profit from the savings. Instead, they take all the savings for themselves and resources end up costing as much as or more than traditional deployments.
It looks pretty bleak right now, but I am confident that competition will eventually bring down prices to something sane.
Re: IMO, all of *aas ...
Re: "anything out of gartner can be safely ignored"
Half of what comes out of Gartner is *only* safe if it is ignored. Gartner is 50% Motherhood statements and 50% Dangerous Bullshit.
Put them all on a diet!
I beg of you, if you have any influence on this, trim the fat.
Once upon a time you could get a whole server operating system in the amount of RAM we now have in a CPU cache. I have seen the code and it is bloat upon bloat upon bloat.
My 6502 machines (Apple and Atari) with only kilobytes of RAM and with CPUs much less than one thousandth the speed of a single modern CPU core would boot instantly. You turned it on and by the time you got your fingers on the keyboard it was good to go.
With more than 20GHz of CPU, 8GB of RAM, my current machine takes about a minute to boot from an SSD when the stars are aligned and ten minutes or more if Windows is choking on its updates.
I don't care what is happening under the covers, it should not take more than a trillion machine instructions to boot a supercomputer let alone a modest workstation.
The insane bloat has consequences. For instance, it means you need a whole bunch of different codebases for what should be essentially the same thing.
In fairness to Microsoft, they *do* have to deal with byzantine machine architecture and standards that are not entirely baked. However, they are a big player in this game and responsible for much of the mayhem.
Wrong people in charge
The people making such a decision are technically illiterate. Why would they have any say in this? Thank goodness they don't have control over the phone system... wait a minute...
Houston, we have a problem
Once we start sending people, what if they get there and some alleged patent holder gets an injunction? Are they allowed to come back first or do they have to hope their oxygen can last through trials and appeals?
You just *know* there is something in the Chinese space program eligible for patent harassment.
Final push for IPv6
My ISP cannot provide IPv6 connectivity here in Canada, a former leader in communications. Why? They don't think we have a problem with the IPv4 address space. WTF? I will name and shame:ISP is Cogeco
IPv6 sucks barnacles and that is why after more than ten years we still do not have an IPv6 network.
The billions of smartphones online or coming online need their own IP address to get on to the network. NAT does not cut it, especially if it basically confines you to point to point communications within your ISP.
I am expecting that adoption of IPv6 will happen rapidly in the next five years or so and it will be driven by devices like this. The phones are a first-wave, but it will be followed by all sorts of other devices as the IoT emerges.
I'm on it
That cabinet is a thing of beauty! I am seriously going to copy that idea. I will avoid putting the 220W AMD parts in there, but otherwise, it's a go!
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
Amazon is doing what we would all like to do. We should look into that. I am a Canadian socialist, but I think federal level taxation has become completely insane.
Re: I Confess
I could live with the tortured code if it was stable. Unfortunately, Microsoft breaks compatibility and orphans stuff faster than you can develop and deploy a large system into production.
This is not going to be boring if the first part of your prediction pans out and there are literally hundreds of millions of XP Users out there.
If we find ourselves this time next year with more than 100 million XP users then either Microsoft will swoop in with a $99 Windows 9 lite or somebody else will. There is at least 10 billion dollars on the table and that *will* get someone moving eventually.
We will reach a point where XP just is not viable anymore. It will stop running and it will have to be replaced. Some of that hardware simply cannot run the resource hostile Win 7 or Win 8.
Latency and bandwidth?
None of these guys, including oddly enough network people, spend much time addressing latency and bandwidth. This is a shame because the reason we have all of these shenanigans is that latency and bandwidth are hopelessly inadequate all around.
By the 21st century I would have hoped that a good portion of the resources we all used would be de-localized and distributed to the point where nobody even cared anymore.
You should never attribute to malice what you can attribute to incompetence. In this case, I am all for incompetence because the issues are pervasive throughout computing. The same issues they have in supercomputer fabrics affect us as well. Only the supercomputer guys seem to care and not even all them it seems at times.
One of the things driving this is, I think, a conflation of levels whereby things that should be exclusively implementation details end up bleeding over into the architecture standards.
Were a reasonable standard in place for communications most of the software written would neither know nor care where things were or what their characteristics were. Drivers should be taking file designations and credentials and figuring out how to contact the next step in the chain.
One thing that may be perverting this is that a secure location service and secure distributed data is not what some people (*cough* NSA) want to see us use.
As long as latency is low enough, bandwidth high enough and security sound, nobody would either know or care what back-end infrastructure looked like except the small percentage of people actively building the stuff.
Vision: Should just have bought spectacles
That's it in a nutshell
How insane does the patent situation have to get? This destruction of productive capacity cannot possibly serve thee and me.
What's next? Death sentences?
You should be suspicious that this odious cash grab requires that all major jurisdictions be convinced to sign on. If, for instance, Canada said 'nope', we would see within a few years that abolishing patents is highly beneficial for most of us. In fact, Canada *has* said this with respect to some generic drugs and there is no question at all that it is highly beneficial for Canadians.
Survivalist avec Aluminum Chapeau?
That thing looks seriously overbuilt. Do they have a locker and freezers with food and water for more than a year? Does the facility have its own generator? Guns and ammo? Magazines with articles about going off-grid?
As for the nausea inducing silence, the Ontario Science Center used to have an eerie soundproof passageway and I can vouch for the fact that real silence is compellingly strange. It would not surprise me if what he says about this is correct. It would not surprise me, though, if 'alien anal probe' found its way into his explanation.
Nobody is expected to read it
Nobody posting here and nobody on the judges or plaintiff's side has any realistic hope of even assembling all the contracts that allegedly bind them, let alone both read them and fully understand their ramifications.
This whole discussion is bullshit. It is not unreasonable to expect a custodian of your data to protect it. It does not matter what a contract says if the provision is fundamentally unreasonable.
I am skeptical that this is really a good decision under law. By any reasonable interpretation of common law you can't be bound by all the fine print in a contract like this because it is not really a proper contract. If this actually is a good legal decision that stands up on appeal then the law should be changed.
The establishment has done one hell of a fine job steering debate to the stupidest of places because they have convinced *almost* everyone that they have no rights and are entitled to nothing. The PATRIOT Act, DHS and the TSA are eloquent testimony to that fact. All three are outrageous insults to the body politic and might well have sparked another revolution a couple of centuries ago.
This is a good example for both sides of the debate.
I can appreciate why an artist would express the wish to keep their art out of the clutches of business. However, at the end of the day this is about one party attempting to force their will on another party and whether the motive is good or bad the end result is bad and it is the result that we wish our laws to address.
In a kinder gentler world without copyright something like this would become a non-issue because everybody would be used to being able to express themselves as they wish and reciprocity would demand they allow others to do the same. In our current lop-sided system people can gain control of an expression either by being the first to get there or by wresting control from another. Our mistake was giving them a sense of entitlement to control in the first place.
In matters like this, control of another cannot be a legitimate right and therefore regardless of how you feel about the other person's behavior you have no right to interfere.
This is the answer for them, not for us
Backup *is* decidedly broken and has been for a long time. Some of what they are saying makes sense, but their take on the solution serves their interests at the expense of the customers.
What we need are smart systems that use something akin to Git's distributed architecture. The real answer is to have common things shared such that their integrity is proportional to their value.
They are correct about copy management and versioning but their notion of the backing store partly just moves the problem to a different location.
I am not promoting Git. I am not a fan of the implementation (no offense Linus). However, I am promoting the architectural design point that has full copies of integral data sets stored all over the place in proportion to their value (expressed as interest in open source code).
The problem inherent in the correct solution is that it gives control and money-making opportunities back to the us where it belongs. Everyone in charge from businesses and their vendors to government does not want us to have control of our information because it is equivalent to relinquishing control of us.
Money is the mechanism, but control is what the game is all about.
Missed the Mark
Re:"Meanwhile, youngsters are saying that it's boring and no longer a cool place to chat to mates as everybody's mums and dads are also signed up to Facebook"
Zuck made a prescient choice when he chose to make people unable to protect their privacy. At the time, growth was a matter of life or death. Growth and critical mass has been accomplished and they have been slowly making it more possible to protect privacy. However, they need to go to a much more sophisticated and easy to use permission system that gives back users they type of control they would need to, for instance, allow their parents to be 'friends', but not that kind of friend, if you know what I mean.
I am surprised that facebook has not moved quickly to capitalize on consolidating network effects. They should, by now, be able to target ads so well that they practically only ever serve an ad that is both unobtrusive and effective.
Microsoft has provided a template for 'embrace and extend' and facebook should be all over that. Twitter functionality can easily be put into facebook as can blogging, forums, snapchat, etc. They should offer outrageous stock deals to lure away the very best talent for two reasons:
1) It strengthens them and their product
2) It weakens their competitors and their product.
Now that they have the numbers, facebook should be looking toward the endgame where they truly partner with and empower users such that users have entire control over their facebook presence and associated data and so that users can start to develop anonymous identities and communities. Doing this will make it impossible for governments or other competitors to step into the breach because no breach will exist.
Facebook has the audience to put up a catalog of products people are buying anyway. They have the funds and the reach to cut a deal with UPS similar to Amazon. Because any revenue from such an activity is just 'gravy', they can afford to buy for the maximum price breaks and only offer things at margins so small that even companies like Amazon have no way to compete.
Facebook right now has the very hardest thing to acquire: a relationship with an audience of engaged users. As they are discovering themselves, even with this enormous advantage, it is hard to even keep the audience. Relationship is everything and they have an insuperable advantage right now, but it will melt away like myspace did if they do not fight to keep it. They appear to have been coasting and that is the very worst thing they can do.
Re: I Confess
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Excellent post by you as well.
Neil Young said the following:
"I like to play with people who can play simple and are not threatened by other musicians thinking they can't play. So that eliminates 99 percent of all musicians."
Substituting for thee and me:
"I like to program with people who can program simply and are not threatened by other programmers thinking they can't program. So that eliminates 99 percent of all programmers."
We all have some fine programming ideals in theory and some bad habits in practice. I find that people who have been at it longer tend toward simpler and less rigid ideals and better more practical habits in practice.
Lots of stuff like this is actually beyond the grasp of many people, perhaps the majority. All fiat currency is destined to be worthless. Originally $20 USD bought an ounce of gold. It now buys about 0.016 oz. Long term, that number is not going up. At less than 2% of its original value, the USD is already essentially worthless relative to its original value.
Any 'store of value' qua 'store of value' will have an artificial price based on supply and demand. Paper fiat currency can be inflated almost indefinitely:
Eventually you run out of meaningful numbers to print and/or the dupes convinced to trade real things for worthless paper promises come to realize: When something becomes worth less than a trillionth of its original value, that value has essentially been taken away.
Ultimately, Zimbabwean hyper-inflation and USD or Euro or GBP inflation are only different in amount (velocity/acceleration), not in kind. Both types end up making the unit of value worthless in the end.
Crypto-currency like BitCoins cannot be inflated. The trend is always toward deflation because the supply cannot, over the long haul, ever meet even a constant demand.
The vast majority of the population are either numerically or logically challenged and usually both. To some extent this is by design, but to some extent we have to accept the fact that over the long haul most people just simply are not going to be able to ever construct a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem.
I have a theory that people whose capabilities are a couple of standard deviations removed from one another have incommensurate views of those capabilities. They are sufficiently removed to find communication and mutual assessment difficult or impossible. Most of the Commentardia are more numerate and more logical than average and I would expect that the 'fat' part of the curve would be more closely spaced than the general population. However, my time here convinces me that there are plenty of inter-commentard gaps large enough to make given pairs mutually distal enough that they cannot understand one another.
For people who found the above hard to follow: Bitches be Crazy
I hate to say it, but
This is not unusual. Wacky security holes exist all over the place. Part of it is lack of understanding but part of it is just optimistic laziness. I confess that despite my knowledge in this area, I am still often an offender myself.
You can get an indication of the extent of the problem by looking at how often security warnings and updates happen in even old and well audited systems. You can also get an indication from subtle cues such as wide-spread misunderstandings of things like password strength.
We can never tighten this up without wide dissemination of understanding, agreement and ongoing audits to make sure that systems are actually secure against attack. We might not be able to defend against attacks from powerful adversaries like the NSA, but we can and should deflect trivial attacks on obviously deficient security.
The state of data security is woefully inadequate and may even be getting worse.
Re: What is with all the luddites
Re: "You sound like one of those la-la fairies who said the internet would change the world and be nothing be goodness and freedom."
Well I definitely am on record that the Internet would change the world. I said this before the WWW existed. I am confident I have been proven correct. Ironically, this very conversation is taking place over the Internet whose utility you seem to be disparaging. Are you seriously suggesting it hasn't changed the world?
As for 'goodness and freedom', I was a big promoter of the upside potential and I think time has proven me correct in that. There is an incredible upside potential and the vast majority of it is yet to be realized. However, I also gave a very early warning that security and privacy were going to present difficult challenges and I think I have been proven correct with respect to that as well. More than ten years ago I wrote and put up a GUI personal encryption tool prototype on the web and was dismayed to find that people in China were downloading it when encryption was still classified as 'munitions' and limited to 40 bits for export. Even then, the tool defaulted to 1024 bit keys and supported 16k keys. I built the tool based on work I was already doing in anticipation of the need for 'data packaging' technology. I voted with an investment of my own time and money that security would be an important issue and it is.
WRT going 'off-grid' I admit I have looked into it from time to time. I moved from Toronto to a small city of 20,000 to retreat from the urban jungle. However, I have a family that is used to some modicum of civilization. I am not ready to go 'unibomber' myself, but good luck with that.
Meantime, you could quite literally move to Mars and still not entirely escape the influence of the rapidly developing IoT. Rather than pretending you can escape the inescapable you may better advance your own cause by staying to make sure that sanity prevails and we don't end up with Big Brother prosecuting thought-crime before the fact.
In the next fifty years we could be living in heaven or living in hell. Our leaders are currently voting for hell. Unless we counter with a very strong vote for heaven, we will be leaving a disastrous legacy to our grandchildren. You can't vote if you leave the system.
I am personally attracted to the notion of being self-sufficient WRT food, water, power, etc. However, I have been wired deeply into the net since the early 1980s and I already feel my 30Mbit connection to the Internet is cutting off my oxygen. Being stuck with nothing or some flaky satellite link would drive me completely over the edge. Someone as close to the edge as I am already has to steer very carefully.
I am not sure that privacy as we know it is a viable notion going forward. I am personally concerned that this may present social issues for which mankind is constitutionally unable to cope. What happens when people can view images of you, as they please, in every activity? What happens when it is possible to partially read your thoughts? What happens when machine predictions of your future behavior are better than your own?
Are we capable of living in a future where privacy is entirely lost? I fear we are about to find out.
We cannot, as current events demonstrate, prevent eavesdropping from a technical or practical point of view. I have been involved professionally with this stuff for decades. I am a software developer with source code for nearly everything and am theoretically capable of developing secure systems from the silicon up. I am honestly not at all sure that I can prevent back-doors from creeping into library code, even when I have the sources for the code, the compilers, the OS and the BIOS. We already know that crafted weaknesses in algorithms can and do hide in plain sight even after careful review by people whose expertise is well in advance of mine. I could not guarantee that I would be able to detect tampering with the silicon even if I design it myself from the ground up.
The more you know about this the more difficult it seems. I have some confidence that with the funding I could come reasonably close to a system with some probability of security. I cannot guarantee that I can provide a system that can withstand attack from an adversary with the resources of a state. There are unknowns there that would require profound analysis and measures such as security conditioning of power, EMR shielding, sound shielding, etc. I am sure of this:
Nobody with less resources than myself has any real hope of security against the state and not even much long term security against even ordinary criminals.
The only viable response to privacy concerns long term has to be political and social as well as technological. To respond as a part of the body politic you have to remain a part of the body politic. Dropping out just to protect yourself is pointless.
It is easy to lose stuff like this. I only had 0.05 BitCoin given to me years ago and it should be recoverable somehow with a *ton of digging through terabytes of disk space, but even though it is nominally $50 bucks it is not worth the recovery effort given the risk of coming up empty.
I expect that a large part of the BitCoins that existed are not actually in existence any more.
I honestly do not believe that BitCoin will be the crypto-currency we end up with, but I am strongly of the opinion that the world's financial power will be shifting to crypto-currency of one sort or another. Arguably most of it is already, just in a very shaky fiat currency backed form.
Crypto-currency is much more fragile than its adherents think it is. However, it is also much more robust than some of its detractors believe. Its great power is its theoretical ability to be an incorruptible store of value. Properly constructed a crypto-currency would be infinitely divisible and since productivity keeps improving what we can do with given resources and some loss of tokens is inevitable, simply holding ownership of the currency would provide a rate of return for savers.
Fractional reserve banking is not much more than just a complex ponzi scheme. I am on the fence as to whether or not it can have legitimate public utility but in its current form it is hard to see it as much more than a confidence trick that ultimately always fails and leaves someone other than banks holding the bag. I am not dismissing it. Given that it holds the entire world in thrall, It is a hell of a confidence trick.
Re: How do you spend the darn things...
Yes. You can spend a fraction of a BitCoin. It is an intended part of the design.
Operationally, Snowden is a hero
Snowden was bound by two promises. One was made to his employer, but the other was made to his country. The one to his country trumps the one to his employer.
Frankly, I am not entirely comfortable with the fact that he broke faith, but he chose the best of two difficult paths. He took a really big bullet for all of us. He did the right thing.
As a Canadian, I take a dim view of the notion that somehow my right to privacy is less than that of a U.S. citizen. To the extent that Snowden's activities acted against the U.S. state, they acted in the higher interests of the world at large. We established at Nuremberg that an individual state cannot command obedience to something fundamentally wrong.
What Snowden did cannot be treason. To be that, he would have had to betray his country and he did anything but that. In fact, it would have been treasonous to take the other course. The state and the country are not the same thing. Certainly the employer and the country are not the same thing. He exposed ongoing treasonous activities of people violating the Constitution he pledged to defend against all enemies foreign or domestic. The fact that the enemies can argue they are domestic (I have my doubts about the nationality of the ultimate perpetrators) does not exempt them from exposure.
The traitors are the ones exposed by Snowden and those traitors still hold the reigns of power largely because people like yourself defend them. The increasingly frantic damage control exercise is testament to the fact that at least in some of the corridors of power they realize they have royally fucked up and are on the verge of losing control entirely.
If, as it seems it might, the world returns to sanity and the rule of law, the people exposed by Snowden will be imprisoned and Snowden will be given a hero's welcome for braving the wrath of a powerful, murderous outlaw state.
Regardless of the unfortunate optics or what you think about his motivations, operationally, Snowden is a hero.
Who is really sore here?
Microsoft supplied the air-conditioned pants, but it was us who got rear-ended.
The fact that stuff continues to come out of the Snowden leaks and companies as large and complicit as Microsoft pretend to react shows the gravity of the situation.
The fact they are attempting to apply butt-cream to this situation should have people screaming about both the initial penetration *and* the fact that the NSA still has its zipper down.
At this point, the NSA is figuring that No somehow implies consent.
Lube is an improvement, but in principle we are still being had against our will.
What is with all the luddites
The Internet of Things is an emergent thing that can't be stopped even if we want to. Technical people are in a better position to judge these things than most. I am surprised at the naysayers.
All technology goes through a 'solution looking for a problem' phase. Why that is perceived as a damning criticism says more about human politics than it does about practicality. My observation is that people making such utterances don't understand at all what is under discussion.
The attachment of every state machine to the network is inevitable. From mundane matters such as on/off states for light bulbs to save energy and increase service life to more esoteric things like the co-ordination of data from disparate state machines, network attachment makes even the dumbest stuff incredibly smart.
A heating system attached to the network can provide sense data to a much smarter system that has access to all kinds of other data that can make the heating system not just responsive to its thermostat, but responsive to the state of the household, its surrounding community, the relative costs of energy, spot demands, etc. Statistical data derived from collections of systems can give indications of impending failures (we wrote a system to diagnose impending failure in phone lines in the 1990s and it worked -- this can be done), sub-optimal behavior and other things besides.
Someone was worried that an insurer, knowing you made a mistake, could deny insurance. In fact, insurance could become both cheaper and much more comprehensive. The cost of insurance goes down as the ability to assess risk goes up. The ability to have ongoing assessment of the state of an insurable thing not only makes the risk more predictable, it reduces the risk and hence the cost.
There are extreme privacy and safety issues that need to be addressed, but they are addressable and would need to be addressed anyway. The sooner we have a 'heads up' of what the new world could look like the sooner we can make sure it ends up looking the way we want it to.
Attaching state machines and sensors to the network allows each sensor to provide much richer information by virtue of context and allows each state machine to be controlled by a processor as powerful as it requires to maximize its utility.
Richer information and finer, more effective and near prescient control come for free courtesy of network effects.
Instead of providing state machines like microwaves with their own microprocessors and controls we could spend more money on better sensors or other equipment entirely.
We can embrace the Internet of Things, understand it and maximize its advantage or we can hide our heads in the sand and let people who *do* embrace and understand it decide our future for us. We cannot stop it because it is already upon us. So far, despite our sloppy management, it has been net positive. With luck it will remain net positive as it continues to grow.
Re: It must be prior art
For patent trolls and vicious competitors the patent system is all upside with zero downside. With enough crafty bullshit patents and a convincing claim that you will go to court you can join a patent cartel and use your bully-boy tactics to avoid paying anybody for real patents.
In the absence of abolition, we need a mechanism that penalizes illegitimate patent claims sufficiently to make patent trolling and other patent misuse unprofitable.
It must be prior art
This is bullshit. Anybody promoting this as a patent-able concept is not qualified to make the application.
Patent applications have become a ridiculous game whereby they throw anything and everything at the wall to see if it will stick and of course some does. If such a patent survives a challenge it renders the patent system meaningless (not that it needs much help).
There is no realistic attempt to find prior art and the applications are now written in such obscure language it defeats the ostensible purpose of the patent system anyway. A murky patent for things already a part of prior art cannot be used by anybody but a lawyer.
When the only people served by the patent system are lawyers, the patent system has to be net negative.
At least as far as business processes and software and mathematics are concerned, patents are crying out for abolition.
Did they listen?
My company is a MAPS subscriber and my push-back was intense. If other 'partners' reacted like I did, it is no wonder they backed down. I basically said good-bye.
They have extended some olive branchery, but I am not convinced it is enough.
As for 'the cloud', we are already in the cloud. We have been since the start of the Internet, let alone the world-wide-web. It is an old term used back in the day. X.25 Network attached things were 'in the clould' as opposed to being locally attached. It *is* marketing BS and marketing BS of the most pernicious kind. It adds nothing and obscures a known and useful term.
In its old capacity, the Cloud is an entirely meaningful and useful concept and decoupling of systems is a good idea now as it was then.
Executive summary: The world does not work on VS20xx developed code and is not likely to -- ever. We need better tools.
I confess that I too go to VB6 when I need to hammer out a quick GUI application. The last code I delivered into production for a client was C# developed in Visual Studio, but the clunky tools for building user interfaces and the tortured dependencies are too agonizing for someone used to effortless RAD tools like VB6 or Delphi.
I write lots of little tools to assist me in doing various tasks. I go to scripting if its manipulating OS stuff like copying files, Vanilla ANSI-C when doing simple utilities that don't need a GUI and VB6 when building a GUI application. I use perl, PHP and vanilla HTML when building web back-ends. Web stuff expected to be maintained for clients use packaged stuff like MediaWiki backed by MySQL or SQLite. To the extent possible, I use open source code for everything as a matter of self-defense. Except for venerable tools like VB6 the only things that have survived over the years have been things for which the source was available. When VB6 is finally dead and buried its demise will be entirely attributable to the fact it is not open source.
I am ever hopeful that some genuinely usable open source cross-platform RAD tool will appear, but so far everything has been disappointing. As time goes on, we appear to be moving further away from what I consider to be powerful and expressive tools that produce small, self-contained or minimally dependent software.
I am not now and never was a fan of .NET which to me seems to be an almost sinister extension of DLL hell deeper into the development process.
I was marginally OK with write once debug everywhere Java until it became a vendor dominated dead end. But even before then I had dropped it due to security issues. Beyond that, I don't like Java much. It may be 'C++ without all the guns, knives and clubs', but it seems like they added sticks and stones as replacements and that is not really an improvement. Worse, rather than picking up a stick to do battle with knife-wielding languages, it requires that you instantiate and run a factory-factory to build a factory to create the stick before you have a stick to pick up. It hardly matters how elegant and capable that stick is after you have been stabbed to death waiting for it.
I have done work in just about every language. I constantly review new stuff. That includes programming paradigms. C and BASIC have some serious limitations, especially with respect to OOP, but their limitations are outweighed by the fact that they work when written and long after delivery into production. They are also both very nimble. You can develop and deploy things in less time than Java programmers spend discussing their object hierarchy and which GOF techniques they will use or how pure their pair programming regime is.
Most of the software I actually use started as someone scratching an itch and they had something working, if imperfectly, very quickly. Good designs should call for something that can be built and tested almost immediately.
Like others who work in these aging languages, I am something of a dinosaur, but you know what? Us dinosaurs wrote the world's working code upon which we all depend. Literally tens of millions of people use things running portions of my code every single day and have done so for years. Likely most of the code that actually gets run to do useful stuff in your life goes back decades. I am pretty sure a lot of banks still use COBOL coded systems whose inception date goes back nearly half a century.
C is the most portable language I use and the most ubiquitous of my code has been written in C. This is not a coincidence.
As a developer, I only care about producing working software. It ought to be obvious but that means software that is actually operating in production, not some variant of hello world in a textbook or shaky example code the author warns is unsuitable for real use. Getting there and staying in environments like Communications and embedded systems requires code that simply works, compiles cleanly today and can be expected to compile cleanly in the years to come.
I would never specify current versions of Visual Studio and .NET for an important production system that had to remain in operation for any significant length of time.
It was entirely possible more than 20 years ago to build capable and reasonably light-weight development tools that supported 'rad' RAD. I have no doubt that it is *possible* to deliver something just as good or better today. There are a lot of seasoned professional programmers out there and eventually we will join forces to make it happen. When it does, it is a safe bet that merging ANSI-C will be easy if not effortless. I am not sure how safe a bet it is that merging C# or Java will be, but my hunch is that it will be difficult if not impossible.
The long suffering software developers of the world deserve better than VS 20xx.
Will it stand? I was working with a small company in a competitive situation and although the product we had was hands-down better, the vendor had enough pull to get our presentation cancelled! They have subsequently come under investigation, etc, but it is small compensation.
I hope this does stand, but my instinct is that it will not.
I am mystified by the downvotes. FWIW, I upvoted you.
Re: Solution to the iPad problem (and other unauthorised devices).
Re: "set MAC address range controls on your wireless access points and then exclude any of the Apple ranges"
Credit where credit is due. Good for you.
I just about never agree with you and don't really agree with your mission here. However, I applaud your strategy. I knew that MAC addresses contained an OUI this way, but since they *can* be spoofed (I sometimes do this) and my interest in such things is more security minded it never occurred to me to do what you have done. It is a nice solution whose theoretical weakness is irrelevant in this practical context. Very amusing.
Re: Adobe must be happy
Re:"Why [doesn't] the Great Chancellor of Germany have and use an encrypted phone?"
Maybe she does. At least some of the leaders had to know their official phones were bugged and maybe that suited them fine to use disinformation to foil adversaries. At that level lying comes so naturally they would barely notice.
Re: "RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK".........well, nearly.
Cannot stop myself
Become enlightened, lose weight
I am so contrite
Re: Nosy Human Nature
Re:"were you or I or Congressional oversight committees in charge, the state of affairs would not likely be so very different."
Speak for yourself. My moral compass is still operational. Even if it were shown that the world was so very dark beyond our borders that the potential to examine all communications was necessary, I would never, not ever, place the power to do so into a single set of hands. Individual persons or entities cannot be trusted with that kind of power over others.
To the extent that reasonable people have seen what information the government has classified, they have reported that classification serves to protect the classifiers, not the nation they claim to serve. Something similar is almost certainly true of the the surveillance going on. It serves to extend the power of the people doing the snooping. Sometimes they might use that power for good, but the potential for evil outweighs any benefit.
I am well aware that there are very bad things going on in the world, that there are truly evil people out there and that sometimes good men must do very unpleasant things. However, it stretches the imagination that we have to somehow dismantle all domestic rights to maintain ... domestic rights.
Re: interesting enough story but....
Seriously? Zen is at the center of hacker culture.
You should stop reading the Reg entirely until you understand this.
Take away their toys
These people know or should know that the only reason cyber-warfare is even 'a thing' at this level is because they refuse to make the network properly secure.
The problem those agencies have with a secure network is that it protects the network against *them*.
We could have m of n voting to allow access to information so we could deal with pedophiles without compromising legitimate security.
The only reason cyber-warfare like this is even possible is that the warmongers are in charge of the networks and have made an unsafe war zone out of our public networks.
We can and I hope will move to a 'darknet' that makes it impossible to wage DOS attacks, to spy on people, to mount successful MIM attacks and eventually to even interfere with the infrastructure. We can help 'fast-track' this switch by making it illegal to wage war against the citizens of the network, including interfering with standards.
Protect against SPAM and DOS by charging up-front for traffic and possibly refunding when the recipient acknowledges it was legit.
Protect against spying by providing for genuinely effective encryption, encrypting all traffic, making routing distributed so compromised routers cannot compromise the network.
MIM attacks don't work if the network is secure and proper encryption is in place.
Re:"Is it a crime? yes."
It should not be a crime. It is copyright infringement. It is not on a par with the theft of a tangible object. Stealing deprives the original owner of its use. Copyright infringement does not realistically even deprive the copyright holder of income. It just allows the infringing user to use something that might otherwise be denied to them. The notion that the bogus conflated notion of 'IP' is property is a lie promoted by rent-seekers and their lackeys.
The savings and loan and sub-prime mortgage disasters and the illegal wars, detention and torture are real crimes doing vast damage to the entirety of the body politic and grotesque personal injury to many individuals. Some of the injured were innocent children.
The shameful waste of money and illegal invasions of people's privacy done in support of rent-seekers has nothing at all to do with the rule of law. It makes a mockery of the rule of law. That is true especially in light of the fact that it uses resources that could otherwise be used to *stop* atrocities like torture.
I am an outspoken critic of copyrights, but I myself am careful not to infringe copyrights. I do that as a matter of personal ethics even though I think civil disobedience in this case is justified. The public at large, though, seems to have voted with its feet and it does not think of copyright infringement as something criminal per se. It certainly does not equate it with violent crime or theft of tangible property. I have no doubt that a properly informed public would vote overwhelmingly to abolish copyrights. I am not as sure, but it seems to me if the public was fully aware of what has been happening here, they would take a very dim view of the officials involved and might support prosecution of them. I would.
I am torn about retroactive punishment even of scumbag rent-seekers and their hired thugs. However, I would definitely support legislation that held public officials and corporate board members personally accountable for their malfeasance.
Re:"Are we now saying that certain crimes should be ignored? How about shoplifting? A banana stolen"
I am saying that we have a right and arguably an obligation to repudiate the criminalization of activities like reading and making use of art and knowledge.
I am saying that theft of a tangible thing that deprives its owner of the enjoyment of its use is different in kind than reading things one is forbidden to read or making use of knowledge one is forbidden to use.
I am saying that there are priorities to our pursuit of justice and that we should pursue justice reasonably within our means. An informed public would never agree to invasion of their privacy to pursue criminal penalties for trivial trespasses in order to benefit a small number of rent-seekers whose interests are at odds with ours. Certainly no sane and sensible person with a whisper of decency would think that we should be devoting significant resources to this while we ignore people being detained without trial and tortured, ignore the theft of millions of people's life savings, ignore the debasement of our currency, the robbery of our pensions, thoughtless shredding of constitutions, etc.
Whether you think copyrights have any merit or not, until we have properly re-established the proper rule of law, we have much, much bigger fish to fry.
It was ever thus
I was intimately involved with this type of change in a few of the big Canadian Banks and Telcos. The entrenched IS was not responsive to user demands and so they began the PC assault on the glass house. Eventually, after being practically begged and showered with money by the user community, the keepers of the keys finally began to formalize the introduction of PCs and LANs. However, they fought this tooth and nail until it threatened to replace them.
Security has never been much of a selling feature to end users. Transistors are crucial to the operation of modern computing machinery but they are of no interest to consumers. Same thing with security. Corporate consumers have a right to expect that security, manageability, interoperability and economies of scale are handled silently behind the scenes by their IS departments.
The fact that corporate personnel and their departments have taken to buying and deploying this stuff on their own is not a failure on their part. It is a failure on the part of IS to meet their needs.
There is an essential tension between innovation/development and stability/production. Neither developers nor production staff are to blame here. Both are doing their job. Higher management makes this a problem by disrespecting both groups and failing to manage appropriately.
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