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* Posts by Mike Kamermans

131 posts • joined 13 May 2006

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Hyperspeed travel looks wrong: Leicester students

Mike Kamermans
Happy

They don't travel at near light speed. It's faster.

Yes, at realativistic speeds (the students use 0.9999995c as their benchmark), light from stars is no longer visible at all. At superluminal speed, physics get really predictable again, and things'll seem to go back in time. The real problem is that the stars pass the ship by. At superluminal speed (>1.0*c, which is entirely possible, as long as you can somehow bypass hitting "c" itself. Which is not possible in classical physics) the stars should look like the ship's reversing =)

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Mozilla to Adobe: PDFs don't need no more steenking plugins

Mike Kamermans
Go

I hope not

which encryption? password protected content? I hope it goes "I'm sorry, this is not open data, whoever put this file online is a complete idiot". But it's also just an open source project that anyone can use, which the article forgot to mention. Hit up https://github.com/mozilla/pdf.js and find out whether it does what you want.

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Mike Kamermans
FAIL

Re: Chrome

Umm... no? https://github.com/mozilla/pdf.js, it's literally a javascript library that anyone can use, it just comes with Firefox. Want to use it on a website? It's right there, just include the pdf.js script...

2
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Stallman: Ubuntu spyware makes it JUST AS BAD as Windows

Mike Kamermans
Meh

Re: Bearded man has informed opinion

And this is where critical thinking comes in: the problem is that even if you opt in, you don't know *what* you're opting in to.

You don't just opt in to "Canonical gathering information", because Canonical won't gather information just to gather information and have it sit somewhere doing nothing. That data will be used for something, if it isn't already. In effect, you will be opting in to "Canonical gathering information on what programs you use, at what time, and anything they can think of that will generate them monetary profit or user base increases to effect monetary profit by either using or selling that data".

Without knowing what those products are (and even Canonical might not know that yet, they could come up with a terrible, but legal use of the data sometime in the future) you CANNOT know what you're opting in to, and offering the choice to opt in should come with a warning that's as explicitly scary as can be: "opting in to this program means you are okay with Canonical roughly knowing what you do throughout the day (sometimes knowing exactly what you do, depending on your use of this program) and gives them full permission to exploit that knowledge for any form of company gains. Once opted in, opting out will not remove the data already collected about you, your daily routines, and your behavioural preferences."

Unless someone reads you a nice long explanation of the ramifications of handing over personal day to day behavioural data in general, and relating to the technology industry specifically, your decision to opt in is based on incomplete information and a poor understanding of the ramifications of your actions. Should an OS maker be taking advantage of the fact that virtually no one understands the impact of the action when optin in? There's the crucial question: how you answer this determines, in a broad sense, whether you want to be free (in the *n*x philosophical sense) or not, and Ubuntu is currently breaking the rule that *n*x operating systems are free.

(Applications running on *n*x are, ideally, free too. However, there are plenty that aren't, and that's fine. Canonical can even make such a product themselves and then offer it as a download or even an install option, with warnings on the ramifications of installing. They don't do that. They pulled a Microsoft)

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Microsoft: TypeScript isn't a JavaScript killer

Mike Kamermans
Unhappy

Let's see.. normal javascript with optional typing and ECMA6 classes?

I kind of fail to see why this is a problem. Will we use it in the browser? Yes, if the typing is an annotation or is stripped upon "compile" (and typekit won't compile, since javascript doesn't get compiled) for deployment. Is it like [insert failed MS technology here]? If you think so, you might consider that you don't realise how silly that sounds.

They started with JavaScript, and then added some features that you really, as a dev, want while developing your code.

You don't want them in the final code, and you don't NEED them in the final code. Things like typing, visibility, etc. are merely code promises. You can enforce them even in the final compiled version, like Java does, but that's missing the point: If your code passes your tests with those promises enforced during development, then those same tests will pass with those promises removed). So for a JavaScript program, as long as your development environment at least supports them while you're working on the code, stripping those promises for deployment is a no-brainer. Of course you're going to. And lo, a JavaScript program be here.

Seriously, do nay-sayers on this one even use JavaScript? O_o

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Head over Heels

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

and if you want to relive it in color, hit up http://retrospec.sgn.net/games/hoh which is a remake for PC, BeOS, Mac OSX and Linux Because you weren't wasting your time on games enough yet!

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Biologists create synthetic DNA capable of EVOLUTION

Mike Kamermans
Happy

There, fixed.

It looks like you were trying to write something about science. Let me help you with that:

"The mystery of the creation of the Universe is clearly unsolved but being tackled by astrophysics. It's a tough one, but thankfully not related to this research. Whew. Also, the mystery of how DNA life came about is hard, and has nothing to do with 'evolution' as it applies to DNA life on the biological level. The mystery we're talking about now is one of chemistry, and it's also pretty hard to work on (but not as hard as the whole creation of the universe thing). That's OK, though, because 'hard' is not 'impossible'; just hard. There's questions left to be answered and some of us want to find those answers, because whether or not other people use single words as explanation, we won't accept anything as definitive unless it literally shuts us up and we can no longer ask 'but then how did that come about'."

There, much better. Now it reflects reality. Keep asking questions until everything's explained. Which, most likely, will never happen. But in our quest, we'll learn a lot of things that will give us a better insight into how things work than we had before.

Now we're thinking in science.

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Why new iPad renders your pile of slab mags as garbage

Mike Kamermans
Happy

Re: it's only a matter of time before this kind of pixel density becomes standard

you answered your own question. Because now people have it, and consequently want it everywhere, whereas before you could get away with "no one else is doing it, why would we risk risk financial ruin".

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Bone-bothering boffins build GIANT penguin from fossils

Mike Kamermans
FAIL

Re: What?

I think you mean "today's emperor penguins reach 4 feet once full grown, how does an extra 2" make them giants compared to modern penguins?"

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Boy burned in Nintendo sensor substitution

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

So the real wtf is...

How do you get a dangerous situation with tea candles. Everyone who actually uses them for tea knows to teach their child they go in the little candle holder, and then you can literally walk away from them forever, they are pretty much designed for unattended burning. I would completely trust an 8 year old with tea candles, provided their parents taught them the little "put them in the holder, dear" rule. I'm willing to call parental fail, not for letting a kid play unattended with a wii, or using the internet at age 8, or even following advice found on the internet (because a 5 penny candle-sensor-"bar" is a cool and perfectly safe temporary solution), but for forgetting to teach their kid what in later life will be called common sense. Candles? Do not light unless in holders. Job done, glance at 8 year old wobbling about with some candles on the mantle. Smile at kid antics.

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PayPal dispute ends in 'violin destruction'

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

Good thing it's not illegal to destroy evidence in a criminal offense case, either, and not demand the authorities get involved.

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Chrome is the most secured browser - new study

Mike Kamermans
FAIL

Just because it's a browser, doesn't mean you need the exact same plugin to get the exact same functionality?

Chrome, like any webkit browser, comes with dev tools: hit ctrl-shift-I and there it is, doing everything for you in Chrome that dragonfly does in Opera, and firebug does in Firefox. Except you don't have to install it yourself, it doesn't slow down the browser (the current complaint by people working on firefox on the mozilla side), and doesn't require you to constantly phone home to your browser's maker (like dragonfly, which sends the page data to opera.com for analysis, unless you install it locally, at which point it becomes really slow).

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Mike Kamermans
FAIL

That would be taking prejudice to the other extreme. It's not about who funds it, it's about whether the report stands up to scrutiny. Someone paid to have the research done. Can you refute the claims derived from the data gathered? Good. Tried, but can't? Also good. Not bothered to? A failing party are you. It's easy to wave away research because a party that may benefit from the result, should it turn out in their favour, shoved some money at some people to do the research for them, but that's also demonstrating exceptionally poor critical thinking skills.

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Carrier IQ VP: App on millions of phones not a privacy risk

Mike Kamermans
Happy

Just because the monitor is unethical, doesn't mean the product is a security or privacy risk, let's be very clear about that.

If I slap a signal analyser on your keyboard cord, lo and behold I can see exactly what you're typing. That doesn't make the keyboard a privacy threat. Even if I hook it up to a device that looks at data going by in real time, it's not a privacy threat because it doesn't log.

If it logs, THEN it's a privacy threat, and punitive measure are probably in order. If it doesn't, this is an analytics tool, and any "keylogging" argument is nonsense. I for one look forward to the definitive call based on their source code. If it logs, they will be in a ridiculous amount of trouble. If it doesn't, this was a storm in a teacup.

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US Navy in new electromagnetic railgun milestone

Mike Kamermans
Meh

free up space?

Sure "This would potentially free up space aboard ships, and make them safer and more resistant to combat damage" should read "This would potentially allow ships to pack more bang per buck by using the space currently reserved for ammunition assistives for more ammunition, and more engines for generating the juice required to fire these weapons."

There is space or weight saving in the military. Just opportunities to pack more things where previously impossible.

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Robot resolves Rubik's Cube in record time

Mike Kamermans
FAIL

same as humans then.

Humans don't solve Rubic's cube puzzles without knowing the rules for getting colors from one spot to another spot, either. Credit goes to the robot builders twice - once for understanding the workings of the Rubic's cube to the degree that they could write a program that solves them, and then even more credit for building an awesome (if a bit pointless) robot that solves the physical puzzle! Bragging rights doesn't even begin to describe their amount of win.

But if we're going to talk philosophy, robotics and AI aren't about making robots "intelligent". Shooting something down for not trying to is like claiming a dish made with "vegetarian fish balls" can't be tasty because it's not real fish, even though tastiness is not related to being fish. Time to get the qualifiers right: robotics and AI are about automating things that humans need to be intelligent for, ideally to the point that it's become trivial. Like, say, solving Rubic's cube.

Lots of things that you need to be really smart for as a human turn out to be trivial when have even a modest bit of robot kit available. A good scientific conclusion is that apparently intelligence isn't worth achieving, because it's apparently not necessary for doing useful and even awesome things.

Never mind that on a technical note, intelligence is an a posteriori evaluation, not a guiding quality. The actually useful quality measure is success at a task. Someone or something that has the potential to fail a task but achieves success, is said to be "intelligent", whereas someone or something that fails the task is said to not be intelligent (and someone or something that lacks the ability to fail cannot be rated). So talking about intelligence for robots is nonsense in the first place.

And then of course on a scientific note: "Intelligence" doesn't mean anything. It's not measurable, which means that using it shows you don't actually know what you really want to measure, or implement for that matter. Useful word when talking about people's behaviour, utterly useless word when objectively talking about carrying out some task.

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Police kill mobile phone service to squelch protest

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

When nature calls

you do what comes naturally. If someone collapses, you pull the emergency break, the train stops at the next station, where emergency personell will likely already be waiting, just like when you still had your cell phone available, because you don't call emergency services when you're on the BART, or riding the tube, or in the Paris metro. You push those magical buttons marked "in case of emergency, push this magical button and talk to the voice". Cell phones are a luxury. Also, completely irrelevant when it comes to transit system emergencies. Reality check: 1.

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19,000 papers leaked to protest 'war against knowledge'

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Down

what budgets?

Sorry, "small budgets"? Maybe we're not talking about the same JSTOR. Take a look at http://www.jstor.org/ and tell me that's "small". It's only the largest academic information repository on this planet.

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Apple ups Mac Mini spec, lowers price

Mike Kamermans
Happy

I'll take one.... shell

Someone get me four of those shells, and a casual trip down mini-itx.com will let me build four for the price of one. With optical drives! Very sexy look. Rather silly inside.

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Nintendo lumbered with lawsuit in 3DS patent row

Mike Kamermans
Unhappy

yes, that's how patents work. And always have.

If you have a good idea, a patent protects your idea from being implemented by someone else. While it would be nice to add a restriction that says "oh and you have to build it, too", you kind of need to tie such clauses to a timeline, and that's where it breaks down. It's not really fair to say "And you have to build this within five years or the patent expires" if, for instance, the machines that make the machines that make the machines that make your idea a real thing don't even exist yet. Five years might not be enough, and no patent office worked is qualified enough to determine, for each patent, what the expiry time should be. It would be interesting if patent law was changed so that a patent application must come with an applicant's estimate on how long they'll need to make the real thing, with an upper limit of, say, 10 years because if it's any longer the world will have passed you by already. However, registering a patent and then doing nothing with it has been common practice since the patent office opened. And US law was recently changed so that whoever got their patent first in a patent conflict, wins. Not whoever had the idea first. Whoever had the patent first. (the fact that it's easier for legislative system to alleviate symptoms, rather than solve problems, is a good indicator on how problematically big even a relatively small subfield like "patent law" is).

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Splashtop Remote Desktop

Mike Kamermans

Please also list the apps you already ruled out

If you can update your article to also mention which apps this "beats", it would make the verdict more useful.

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Got a website? Pay attention, Cookie Law will come

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Down

software?

Since when was a cookie "software"? Cookies are just key/value pair data that are stored and retrieved based on specific domains by a browser; and only because that browser implements cookie handling. There is no "software" that gets installed, nothing "helps websites", they're just strings that a website can ask the browser the store when its pages are loaded, so that it can read the values it asked to be stored sometime later when that same browsers opens the same website's pages.

So, "many websites ask your browser to store cookies, bits of text that are stored for a website, which are sent back to it everytime the website is loaded by your browser. Making use of this standardised data storage system in your browser allows websites to easily (although not securely) deal with navigation, page view counts and sometimes even log-in details"...?

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Google slips open source JPEG killer into Gmail, Picasa

Mike Kamermans
Happy

Compare them.

No, really. Save a file in WebM at the highest quality, then try saving the same file as a JPG, matching the file size. The JPEG will be much, much worse. Set JPEG to the same quality, and it'll come out a whopping 66% bigger (yes, that's how percentages work to those who see 66% and are confused by the fact that it's not 40% =)

Essentially, WebM isn't just "different", it really is unequivocally "better".

Grab yourself a copy of of the WebM Photoshop format filter, and a copy of filtermeister - open any random "real" image (let's saw a raw photograph of good old' nature, or a crisp illustrator-exported vector graphic), save it to highest quality JPEG, close the file, reopen the original, save it to highest quality WebM, close the file, and then open all three.

Create two new images, copy the origina image's layer to both, and then copy the jpg layer to one, and the webm layer to the other. Invert the colors on both layers, and set their opacity to 50%. We now have a difference result. Flatten Both images, job's a good'n.

So that's the first thing we really care about: can you see any artifacting? I've had to run this test many times, My puny human eyes can't. Not without first zooming in a lot, anyway. But let's assume that this isn't enough to convince you, because what should be {127,127,127} could be {126,128,129}, right? Maybe you care about that difference. You shouldn't, but maybe you do, so let's see how strong the difference really is.

Fire up fiter meister and write a small color ramper - For all three channels (R,B,G, neither WebM nor JPEG officially support A), set up a color ramper so that if the color is off from the 127 mark, it gets stronly boosted, say fifteen fold, with a cap at 0 and 255. Now you can see the difference in how JPEG and WebM do their magic - WebM actually uses much nicer spells, with less intense differences between the original and the lossy encoded image.

This really is a fantastic image format, and long overdue. The only tarnish on its reputation is that the world hates "new" formats. Thankfully, the company that wants to push it also happens to make one of the more popular browsers. And you can be sure that the code for enabling WebM in Chrome finds its way into webkit, followed by the Mac supporting WebM. Photoshop already supports it with the download of a single file, and suddenly its future looks nice and bright - Superior image format alternative for JPG that makes super tiny files? About bloody time.

Mine's the one with the WebM filter on a USB stick attached to my key ring.

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Kaspersky wants Interpol for the web

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

I'll let interpol explain it themselves.

http://www.interpol.int/public/TechnologyCrime/default.asp

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Eureka! Google breakthrough makes SSL less painful

Mike Kamermans
Happy

In a nutshell

Basically this approach can only be used if: 1) the client and server use a specific type of cipher (symmetric, strong keys - 128bits and up) that has been white listed for false starting. The "smartypants"ness is that rather than waiting for the second round trip to finish before sending application data, some initial data may already be communicated immediately after the first step. The second round trip *still takes place*, but it is possible to already do things while this happens, even if authentication may end up failing. The speedup is only cosmetic in that the user will feel things are a lot faster, simply because now "something happens" a few tens or hundred ms earlier than before, depending on network lag, and that difference is crucial. It's literally like a false start - it gets things up and running, but only in a way that lets the client/server cut things off safely if it turns out that one of the parties should object to the start. Worst case, the user still gets an authentication error, in pretty much the same time he or she gets it now. Better case, it no longer feels like you're constantly waiting for SSL authentication to finish.

And of course, the proposal is pretty clear in pointing out that it only makes sense under rather specific conditions. Both clients and servers must make sure not to send compromising data after the first, but before the second round. Then you might as well not bother with SSL at all.

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Want an untracked Android? Here’s how

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

yeah, except an android firewall is worth mentioning

Unlike an iPhone, which isn't going to allow an app that interferes with the "intended use" of the device, an Android firewall shows that an Android user has more control, that there's some cool tech to write about (oh look, a tech website =), and that there's still anti-fanbois to troll. Go WhisperCore.

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Sony says data for 25 million more customers stolen

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

really?

Are you sure? Being "the man who got Sony to be secure about user data" would probably make one immotal/

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Note to Mozilla: We don't get the Firefox billboards

Mike Kamermans
Happy

Perhaps you misunderstood "good"

There are two versions of good. One of them makes the world a better place. It's the one you were thinking of. The other is actually doing a good job at something, like for instance getting HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. right, instead of either wrong, or not at all. I think perhaps you read too much into the ad, and forgot that browsers are not just categorised in terms of fast and secure, but also in terms of "is it actually any good at being a web browser".

Understandable mistake, certainly worth a livejournal rant, not sure if worth register article =)

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Anonymous DoS attacks thwarted with Aikido hip throw

Mike Kamermans
Happy

show your enemy your defenses, so that his attempts at an attack are channeled

A classic move - reveal a problem with the tool they use means they'll first have to fix that problem, which means you'll know where the next problem will be.

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Steve Jobs bends iPad price reality

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Down

Of course, in the end...

It's still more than $800. Any argument is irrelevant - if you have that much cash to spend on a tablet, what difference does it make that there are cheaper alternatives. you've got money to spare anyway.

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Intel: 'PC makers took the light out of Light Peak'

Mike Kamermans

physics to the rescue

perhaps some kind of photo...electric... effect... joking aside, getting electricity from light is pretty easy, the real question is how much energy's going to be lost to ensure the correct voltage at the correct amperes is delivered.

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Superphones: A security nightmare waiting to happen

Mike Kamermans
Happy

you nailed it

"If you're having to do that, you don't know what you're doing"... so that's 90% of PC users then? The very people that use their phones for logging into facebook and their bank on open wifi connection at starbucks, and the very reason the last sentence in the article is so pertinent?

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Facebook offers 500 million users SSL crypto

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

Of course, say you're actually popular...

Social authentication goes wrong very quickly if you're even moderately popular because of your job (author, singer, what have you) and you have a few hundred "friends" or more. Good luck identifying people you've never met.

Incidentally, this feature has been in use at least since July, which is when I first saw it and went "how is this useful unless you know everyone in your firends list? which isn't how people use facebook?"

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Watson beats humans in Jeopardy! dry run

Mike Kamermans
Happy

The turing test is not actually an intelligence test

The Turing test is only a test on whether or not a computer is able to carry a conversation that, to a human, is indistinguisable from a human conversation. It's not a measure for being a proper AI at all. This is most certainly an example of an excellent implementation of a specific type of A.I. (namely an AI algorithm that reduces an enormous search space to singleton solutions). It's just hard to see - right now - how portable it is for other applications

(yes, I have a degree in A.I.)

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PHP apps plagued by Mark of the Beast bug

Mike Kamermans
FAIL

equivalence vs. identity

It's basic programming time: there's a difference between equivalence, and identity. The first means that two variables both transform to the same thing, the second means the two variables contain the same thing before transformation. And of course there is the one-way implication that identity(a,b) -> equality(a,b).

Some languages solve the difference between these two by mixing operators and functions, like using "==" and "equals()" (java), some languages solve it by not supporting equality out of the box (C/C++), some languages solve it by only using functions (functional programming languages, notably, like prolog and lisp) and some languages solve it using only operators, like PHP, where "==" is used for equality, and "===" for identity.

Why do you need it? Well, some languages only support one function return type in which case checking returns is simple. However, PHP is not one of these. Loose typing means you can stick whatever you like in a variable to get the job done, so it's important to have a way to differentiate between a function returning, say, a number or a failure indictaor like "false" or "null".

A conditional like if(functionvalue(...)!=false) {...} will fire when the function returns false, but also when it returns null or 0, because they are equivalent -- but not identical. For identity verification, to be able to see the difference between a legal function output and a failure (without an elaborate exception framework), if(functionvalue(...)!==false) {...} will make that distinction, only firing if the output isn't false. As long as the function retuns anything that isn't "false", and that means even things that are equivalent to "false", the conditional will be jumped over.

It's not the most elegant solution, but you don't use PHP because it's clean, you use it because it's quickly written and as dirty as C, minus the hell of memory allocation. Any dirt in the code left after you're done writing is dirt you put in there, and didn't bother cleaning up.

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Mike Kamermans
Happy

I now regret an attempt at funny

I knew I shouldn't have written "exactually"... now I've been sicced. Luckily the article says "A user names Pomax" instead of "named", so I guess it's 1 for 1.

- Pomax

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Mozilla to unload Firefox 4 spit and polish beta

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

start from scratch?

They called it Chrome. Don't worry though, it's going down exactly the same path.

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Popular sites caught sniffing user browser history

Mike Kamermans

NoScript is more fine grained than turning js on or off

Noscript lets you selectively turn on individual scripts. Even if a site relies on javascript and flash for video playback (be that youporn or iplayer) you can still turn on only those scripts that are responsible for making that work, and keep every other script turned off.

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Google open sources Apache server speed mod

Mike Kamermans

it's open source. but binaries are what most people want.

The source is right there on the googlecode page for it. However, what end users care about is that they don't need to compile it for their OS, but just download the mod and drop it somewhere that apache can see it, and immediately get to use it.

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Dutch police behead Bredolab botnet

Mike Kamermans
Thumb Up

nice one

excellent troll!

in all seriousness though, the page as presented actually looks more like a phishing attempt than many phishing attempts I've seen. I'm not sure anyone getting this page would even read it, rather than immediately close the browser or tab.

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How do you copy 60m files?

Mike Kamermans

cygwin?

Curious - what about using cp from within windows context by using the version that comes with cygwin, rather than using a virtual machine?

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You don't have to be crazy to work here

Mike Kamermans
Stop

Taking a step back

When I see a sentence like "but I now know soooo much more than I did before. It'd be a shame to not have had that experience in my opinion.", the subconscious self-justification alarm bells go off: it took me effort to learn how to do X, for which I needed to know about Y and Z, so people who want to do X should also learn Y and Z!

Or, to fill those things in: "it took me effort to learn how to drive, for which I needed to know how a transmission works, and how to work a clutch and shift gears, so people who want to learn how to drive should also learn those things". Progress passes these statements by. You want to learn to drive, you could also opt for buying a car with an automatic transmission, and never bother with a manual. Yeah, during the transitional period one was better than the other, but the idea behing progress, be it about cars or X'es, is that the only thing that counts is doing what needs to be done. The methods in which you get there changes.

Doing system administration used to require the effort to learn lots of different, often mutually inconsistent tools. Mastering them took even more effort. But the reason you learned to use them was not "to use them", it was to get something done.

So what if this metatool makes the need for the old effort go away? entirely? The tool devs keep maintaining them to do what they do, and the people who write the metatools keep making sure that their metatool talks to the tool correctly. Why would anyone not part of those two groups ever have to know how that interfacing works? Just because it's a hard thing to learn, and once you've learned it, you have something "more" in your experience toolkit, doesn't justify someone else going "yeah but.. that experience has become useless, because now, with this thing here, you don't need it ever again."

It's like the engineers of old who have learned how a flipflop works, and are then told that for practical purposes, people who actually need the functionality offered by flipflops have no intention at all in learning how they work. They just need to work. There is outrage, their knowledge is valuable, but it's also completely irrelevant.

Same thing here: you could be a sendmail god, or a httpd.conf black mage, professing how it took you years to learn everything there was to know, and how other people should try to learn half of what you have learned, but you've gone too far: I don't care about learning those individual tools, I just want to know that when I tell my tool-using-metatool to first filter mails and then land them in an inbox, that that's what it'll do. Not how sendmail does that, or how my tool tells sendmail to do it; only that it will work. The rest is not relevant to getting the job done.

Yes, if it fails, you might be stuck. "You see? you needed our help all along!". Actually, no, I really didn't. I only need help now. All those days and weeks of months when everything worked, I was able to invest my time in learning other things. Things that are hopefully going to still be valuable in ten or even twenty years. In the knowledge that just because it takes me a lot of effort to learn, someone else might breeze past me because they got a shiny new tool for the job.

3
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Privacy watchdogs challenge laptop seizures at US borders

Mike Kamermans
Stop

Anywhere within 100 miles of the border, the 4th amendment does NOT apply. To ANYONE.

Unknown to many, the US constitution's fourth amendment (and in fact several other parts of it) does not apply ANYWHERE WITHIN 100 MILES OF THE BORDER.

The ACLU calls it the "constitution free" zone, http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone, but that's not a 100% accurate term. However, what it does mean is that you cannot argue the 4th amendment to any official anywhere within 100 miles from the border. Even if you've entered the country and drove a good hour into it at maximum speed, a stop and search is still perfectly legal regardless of whether you're a drug trafficker, a tourist, or a US citizen.

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Firefox 4 beta gets hard on Windows

Mike Kamermans
Happy

Actually, this isn't about "directx" but about "accellerated graphics"

Mozilla uses WebGL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebGL), which when you're on windows ends up calling the DirectX hardware accellerated graphics functions.

Which is kind of obvious, because on windows that's the defactor API you talk in for hardware accellerated graphics.

On any other platform, it uses the distinctly non-microsoft non-directx APIs. For instance, WebGL is also properly supported on the Nokia N900, which is about as far away removed from a typical windows installation as can be.

Slight misquoting of the state of affairs in the article.

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Apple TV: Third time unlucky, Mr Jobs

Mike Kamermans
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fine, bluray then

Then compare it to bluray. If you buy a season of your favourite show, you get to watch it as many times as you like. Will you? No, but you can lend it out and make a family member really happy, or give it away after a while. For that $22, you get to watch it. Once. Then you get to buy it again. Give the gift of consumerism?

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Chrome celebrates second b-day with sixth release

Mike Kamermans
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memory what?

It's a desktop OS, who doesn't have 4GB of memory these days? The point of all that mem is that it's being used, not that it's just sitting there unused "just in case you want to run photoshop". The more it loads into RAM using memory mapped file, instead of doing disk I/O, the better.

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Hardware hackers defeat quantum crypto

Mike Kamermans
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uh... lab only?

What do you mean lab only? Had you head of quantum encryption in banking before today? Several of the world's major banks employ quantum crypto for sensitive transactions *right now*. There's good money in being able to supply entangled pairs for the crypto required, and showing that the security offered through them is only worth $50,000 means these institutions now have a problem they need to deal with immediately.

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Bye-bye to bizarro bye-laws, says UK.gov

Mike Kamermans
WTF?

"Scrap" does not mean "introduce"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the article doesn't say that "local government can introduce whatever they want!", it states local governments only get free reign to scrap existing, outdated laws. So... what's the problem? This is good.. Worst case they scrap all of them and you're left with the law you're left with everywhere else in the country...

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Nokia Siemens slammed for supplying snoop tech to Iran

Mike Kamermans
Stop

Clearly some readers require a minor explanation

The problem isn't that Nokia/Siemens didn't supply other governments with identical equipment (what kind of nonsense arguments are we thinking up?). Virtually all other governments that are supplied the exact same machinery do not use it to arrest and torture hundreds to thousands of people for having an opinion that differs from the government's while proudly announcing they caught another dissident. Much as you want to hate [fill in your favourite western chauvinistic nation here], there are laws in place that forbid it, and when it does happen and is found out, all hell breaks loose. In a country such as Iran, you're arrested, beaten, tortured, and no one would dare speak out about the fact that that may possibly actually be unfair. Because they'll also be arrested, beaten and tortured.

In this case, they may have a point if they sue on the basis that the companies knowingly and willingly contributing technology for the purpose of violating the universal rights of man (although the UN committee that regulates that concept is currently chaired by some of the most oppressive nations in the world, and no one seems to care, so maybe not).

They may also have a point if they're sueing Nokia/Siemens because they have violated export laws in a number of countries, for selling high technology to one of the "you may not deal with this country on a military or intelligence level" nations.

Finally, you can sue them -at least in the US, but probably at the international court too- for being willing accessories to various crimes, ranging from harassment and police brutality to manslaughter and murder in the first degree. Even if the crimes themselves were committed in a different country, the fact that Nokia/Siemens knows they would be committed by their contribution (rather than merely enabling them, which is very different, in Iran you know that any device you sell capable of spying on citizens will lead to arrests and torture) makes them accountable for the actions taken by others using their technology.

So good luck to the lawyers. Feigning ignorance when it comes to a nation with a very long history of apprehending dissidents and beating them to within an inch *past* their lives doesn't really work.

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Firefox 4 hits third beta stage, gets touchy-feely with Windows 7

Mike Kamermans

Of course, you sent mozilla your feedback

I assume that you have, naturally, communicated this information to both mozilla and the plugin devs. If not, while you should have done that before telling us about it, there's still time, hit that feedback button today!

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