* Posts by kdd

14 posts • joined 23 Feb 2011

Q. What's today's top language? A. Python... no, wait, Java... no, C


APL was my first language. I still have a soft spot for it, having written my own interpreter years ago that I still use as a desk calculator from time to time. But it has two serious flaws-- one, it's truly write-only, as even your own code becomes incomprehensible in record time given it's tendency to inspire complex one-liners. And two, it's optimized for the 2741 selectric printing terminal with an APL typeball and keyboard, which no one has anymore. The only language I know of however, that uses real mathematical multiply and divide symbols for the math operations rather than repurposing asterisk and slash. A lovely language, if you ask me, but I'd never advise anyone learn it.

That CIA exploit list in full: The good, the bad, and the very ugly


"Engineered to help the President"? Oh puhleez...

Anyone who wasn't aware that attribution is extremely difficult and is intentionally being misrepresented by hackers, or uncritically accepts what the CIA said about it as true, is either a moron or has an axe to grind in distracting us from blaming the Democrats for a general rout of their party's candidates rather than the Russians. It doesn't take another Wikileaks treasure trove exposing massive government abuse of power to realize any of that.

Containers rated more secure than conventional apps


The only problem with containers is they don't store data very well-- they're designed to be read-only, which is what gives them their better security, so you have to store stuff elsewhere, and that's where the weak link is.

UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption


Re: A suggestion

Well, it's good to know what they'd *like* to do, keeps the issue on everyone's mind that you can't trust them with your communications. Otherwise, people will get lazy and not bother to protect their data, forgetting that it's all being archived somewhere for the convenience of such despots.

PGP Zimmermann: 'You want privacy? Well privacy costs MONEY'


I won't even pay for a smart phone

Phil may prefer phone security to email, but I wasn't using my phone that much so I dumped the smart phone for a $5/mo pay-as-you-go phone, and even that I barely use. And I can't use encrypted email without all my friends using it too, and I work in IT and still can't figure out how to use PGP. The few times I tried encryption I promptly forgot my password and bricked my data. None of my friends are tech savvy or want to have to worry about it. Yes, encryption should be ubiquitous, but it must also be 100% transparent. If you think that's difficult or impossible, sorry but that's reality.

ACLU wants to end NSA mass spying forever – good luck with that


Just make it more expensive.

What the ACLU needs to do is make sure we still have the right to communicate in coded messages-– including encryption. We MUST have the right to control our own personal security by using un-backdoored (un-broken) encryption. And that will make it even less economically viable to "collect it all and sort it out later." Eventually they'll have to stop putting their feet on their desk and letting the computer do their work for them like shiftless bums, and have to go out and actually do the work they are being paid to do and that might actually provide real security.

Adam Smith was right about that invisible hand, you know


More on Hayek

Re: mfckr's comment on Hayek and his similarly (to Adam Smith) famous remark, "Many of the greatest things man has achieved are not the result of consciously directed thought, and still less the product of a deliberately coordinated effort of many individuals, but of a process in which the individual plays a part which he can never fully understand."

Hayek's most important observation about markets is the impossibility of predicting them. However, both Hayek and his followers have then attempted to extrapolate this fact into additional areas where factual support is significantly lacking.

For example, Hayek and his adherents attempt to use this "never fully understand" idea as one to justify the laissez-faire approach to markets. In effect, markets are too complex for anyone to fully understand so they should be left alone, essentially arguing that any consequences will always be better than any alternatives. But I'd say this is like arguing that because weather is too complex to fully accurately predict, that we have no need for umbrellas. In any event, the claim is an interpolation of Hayek's original observation about complexity, concluding implications of it without any factual support.

Hayek also likes to talk about "spontaneous order" as if that is the saving grace of free markets, based on his repurposing of Darwinian evolution's ability to adapt and "produce order." On the other hand, it seems to contradict his "never fully understand" concept, because he pretends to understand Darwinian solutions as sufficient to produce a market that is optimal. Unfortunately, Hayek's understanding of evolution is lacking in that evolutionary solutions can often be seen to be sub-optimal, haphazard and makeshift, producing dead ends and at times, essentially, dog-eat-dog survival of the fittest, spontaneous "disorder". I've seen Hayek fanboys try to wave this away by arguing that human awareness of evolutionary market forces would inherently correct these problems, ironic in that they too seem to contradict the "never fully understand" observation that Hayek himself had made in claiming they understand these supposed correctional effects of an added sentience to the process.

Even Hayek seemed to have accepted the need for a social safety net, having admitted as much at one point. But I keep returning to the weather/umbrella metaphor, which I think accurately suggests the difference between trying to "control" the weather (or the markets) vs mitigate their adverse effects, which is something different. Even the most strident Keynesian economist, generally is not suggesting we attempt to "control" markets, but to mitigate their adverse effects. But the died-in-the-wool free market faithful prefer to conflate this into some kind of all-or-nothing control or do-nothing dichotomy that pretty much no one but them is suggesting. In addition, there are common enemies, some government regulations or proposals for them ARE attempts to "control" markets, often to reap unwarranted profits for powerful forces. But to then to consider that as argument to eliminate any environmental or workplace protections, or any protections for the well-being of workers as unwarranted attempts to "control the market", is a misinterpretation of the facts and even of what Hayek himself claimed.

The hoarder's dilemma: 'Why can't I throw anything away?'



I've stiill got working 8" floppy equipment stashed. If you keep that stuff long enough it can become valuable. I know a guy in his 80's who claims he has an analog computer in his hoard. Now THAT I'd like to see. Some of those do go for $$$ on ebay, but I'd want to get it working and fool around with it if it was mine.

Bloke raises hand in vid, claims: I sparked Apple dev site hack panic


Business as usual...

"Shoot the messenger" is the usual tactic in security these days. We've seen how effective it is. Plus, it's been revealed that the NSA prefers to keep bugs to themselves in case they need to use them to collect all data. Maybe the hackers shuld take a lesson from them and keep mum about the bugs they find...

Ding dong, the Ping is dead! Apple brings in Facebook for iTunes


Re: Can anyone....

Only problem is, the use of cookies or other browser recognition may tie the two together anyhow...

Ex-UK spy boss says WikiLeaks sparked Egyptian revolution

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Why prosecuting Assange would be a huge mistake...

This brings to light why attempting to prosecute Assange in the US would backfire severely. The claim of "aiding and abetting the enemy," becomes absolutely ludicrous when the actual result has been an increase in world democratic action, as opposed to the US usual methodology of aiding and/or placating despotic leaders. Regardless of his intent, Assange could claim he's better at getting their job done than they are (US diplomats), making the US a laughingstock.

From messiah to pariah: The death of open source on mobile


Problem is more GPL than open source

The implication of GPL is that the end user has the right to build and deploy his own copy of the app from source. Building is not so much a problem, but deploying is. With Apple, users do not get to deploy there own, PERIOD, because Apple's ease of use, reliability and stability is based on complete control of all the hardware and software, and they ain't gonna give that up, since it is a significant competitive feature. It is in fact, what makes Apple Apple, and not a Microsoft wannabe. That's pretty incompatible with the spirit of the GPL, if not the letter. I like open as much as the next guy, but I also see the value of consistency and reliability, and the challenge to deliver it in an open environment is real-- just see the recent news about malware infestations on Android...

London man gets 5 years for YouTube terror videos

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Least of their problems...

Seems to me that if watching incindiary vids is enough to inspire much of the populace to violence, they've got bigger problems than this guy

Memo to iPad mimics: No one wants a $799 knockoff

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Most critics really don't know what it can do...

I too was a skeptic. But I recently bought an iPod Touch. I didn't need an mp3 player, and not only is that not why I bought it, I don't even use it for that. I found that it excells at a whole laundry list of things that I had been using other devices for, that weren't anywhere as easy to use or as flexible. I'll not go into them all, if you can't think of what they are I'll wager you just aren't very aware of what these things can do or you just don't have many mobile, automation or remote-control needs (the Touch or iPad makes a really super remote-controller and display device for whole-house audio-video-phone-security systems, for ex).

And one factor that now would be impossible to live without, I don't know if Android machines do as well-- the sensitivity of the touch screen. My phone is an LG Dare, which looks approximately like an iPhone, but the touch screen sensitivity is LIGHT YEARS behind the Apple devices. Scrolling and selecting on the iPod is completely effortless, almost to the point of being too-sensitive, though after using it I'd much prefer too sensitive to not sensitive enough. I can hardly use the Dare anymore, because I've become so accustomed to a light touch on the iPod, trying the same on the Dare produces nothing at all-- I have to really crunch down on the Dare (and it doesn't have a glass front, so it really does tend to 'crunch' probably more than it should), to get it to recognize a touch or a scroll at all. Before I'd even CONSIDER an Android machine I'd have to spend some time with the touch to see if it is anything like the iPod, because if it's not, it's toast.

Not meaning to be an advert for the iPod, but there are so many claims here regarding the uselessness of such devices, when I have recently found that it eliminated a whole series of devices I had or needed with an ease that has turned out to make all the other solutions a complete joke. The iPod Touch is a brilliant device, and if I wanted a bigger screen with it I'd get an iPad without a thought, because the same apps run. It IS about the apps, after all, I didn't buy it because it was Apple (I'm a linux and PC guy, mostly), but because of the various apps that did exactly what I needed. There really are several hundred thousand apps in the Apple store, though a lot are simple-minded (bring up the latest PBS Newshour vid, for ex., is a free app by itself), which is why there are so many, and a lot of crappy ones no doubt, but the available add-ons are legion, and if that isn't enough, I could jailbreak it and get even more (though there's nothing so far I want to do that requires jailbreaking, it is comforting to know it's an option)...

Sure, there's probably stuff it doesn't do that I'd like it to-- but what it does do replaced an array of devices that in total are more expensive, some nonexistent (I'd have to roll-my own with an Arduino or something), and/or don't work as well. Get used to it-- they work, they are useful.

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