* Posts by JohnFen

3421 posts • joined 20 Feb 2015

Blockchain is bullsh!t, prove me wrong meets 'chain gang fans at tech confab

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Might be?

Point well taken!

"That said, I don't believe the poster you are replying to was being entirely serious."

That would explain why his comment doesn't actually address the point I was making. :)

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Nor a good solution

Not to take away from your point (which is valid, although an edge case), but...

if the payee is willing to cooperate (and payees always have to cooperate for any payment method, anonymous or not) then there are several mostly anonymous options including the use of prepaid debit cards, using masked virtual credit cards, or even using PayPal, if you're careful (there are a few considerations to take into account to do this, but the most important are to make a PayPal account that is only used for this, access it only through a VPN that hides your real IP, and to link your account to a prepaid debit card so that it is not associated with a bank account that can be traced to you.)

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Nor a good solution

"It can't be robbed from you: Without the encryption code for the device, the robber has only gotten your phone/computer."

It only solves the problem if you restrict the problem space to burglary. It doesn't solve the problem of getting mugged. The mugger would just do what muggers do with ATM cards: force you to do the transaction yourself.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Might be?

"that's a huge boost to fact checking."

How so?

I don't understand how knowing the full provenance of a given story helps with fact-checking. Whether you know path the story has traveled or not, the fact-checking process is exactly the same: you read the story, and every time it asserts a fact, you check to see if that fact can be substantiated.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Nor a good solution

I'm not a criminal, but I absolutely want an anonymous way of paying for things, if only to evade more spying.

That said, I already have such a way: paying with cash. Receipts give me an anonymous audit trail.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Nor a good solution

"You can't send cash remotely other than by courier or mail service."

Sure you can. I've done it. There are several methods available, but prepaid debit cards are the easiest (you can load the card from anywhere, without having to physically possess the card).

That's not entirely anonymous, as the card company knows when and where you withdraw the money, but you can, at least, load the card anonymously.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Nor a good solution

I don't think that blockchain is actually a good solution for that.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: @Politicians: Blockchain = public audit trail

But that isn't some sort of differentiator that explains what problem blockchain solves in this space. Public audit trails have been possible and used from long before computers existed, after all. How, taking into account all of the benefits and drawbacks of each, is using blockchain better than the existing methods?

JohnFen Silver badge

Might be?

""Big tech is now in a phase where it might be becoming bad tech," said Ian Dowson"

There's no "might be" about it. It already has made that transformation.

That said, I still have yet to hear a convincing argument for how blockchain is some sort of antidote to that.

Oh Snapd! Gimme-root-now security bug lets miscreants sock it to your Ubuntu boxes

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Popularity an important point?

"it is that this is both a symptom and a cause of Linux's problems"

What problems are you talking about, though?

"Because Linux is not popular, common mainstream name brand apps don't get ported / developed for it. "

I don't see that as a problem. You do, and that's fair, but not everyone agrees with you.

"stop trying to push it towards that desktop usage in order to only see it fail due to its under-addressed desktop deficiencies."

This is where I get confused -- Linux is perfectly fine for the desktop right now, for a huge number of people. I don't see any serious deficiency there at all.

"Do or Do Not, there is no Try."

And it already does, quite successfully.

Perhaps what you're talking about is trying to make Linux the most popular desktop OS? Personally, I'm not on board with that, because the way to do that is to make it a clone of what most people already know well: Windows. And if we're going there, then we may as well just use Windows.

Linux already has (and has had for years) what it needs in order to be a successful and useful desktop OS -- enough users to make serious development worthwhile. It doesn't need the majority of computer users.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: NO

"I'm sick of getting downvotes from Linux fans who can't admit an UNDENIABLE truth"

I haven't downvoted you, but could it be you're not getting downvotes because people can't admit that Linux isn't the most popular desktop OS (that's not exactly a controversial assertion, after all), but because that's not an important point?

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Who the hell uses Linux

"For desktops and laptops use Windows unless you're a Mac fan"

Why in the world would I want to use operating systems that spy on me, get in my way, and/or make me mad? I'd rather use one that just works right.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Am I Sam Beckett?

"Name and shame one site that still needs it"

I don't know that commenter's situation, but you seem to be assuming that he needs it for web browsing. There are lots of reasons why you might need it that aren't related to the web at all.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: This talk, on youtube, is worth a watch.

My objection to SystemD is neither the quality of its implementation, nor that Poettering is an ass -- both of those are just aggravating factors. My objection is the fundamental design concept of the thing.It inherently destroys much of what makes Unix great, and brings in much of what makes Windows not great.

Even worse, it doesn't even bring much in terms of benefits unless you are a distro manufacturer or are deploying in container form.

So, for literally every use case I have, SystemD is a net negative.

White House and FCC announce big, broken solutions to America's pitiful broadband

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Uh, yeah, sure....

"Tell me again how 5G is going to revolutionize things?"

In terms of internet service, it's clearly not. In terms of enhancing profit for the telecoms, it may very well.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Oh, great

In my neighborhood, there are literally no other choices (outside of satellite, cellphone, and dialup, which don't count). No DSL, no WiFi, no nothing.

JohnFen Silver badge

Oh, great

What a crock of shit. I'm never going to be able to ditch Comcast, am I?

OK, Google? Probably not! EU settles on wording for copyright reform legislation

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Odd

"Legitimate speech and data sharing is not accomplished by copying wholesale the work of another"

I agree. That's not what I'm talking about.

JohnFen Silver badge

Indeed, if existing copyright law weren't so oppressive (particularly around the issue of the length of copyright), this wouldn't be such a problematic thing.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Odd

I don't know the details of the law, but even the explainer that Sajjad Karim gave in this article certainly makes it sound like this is highly likely to suppress legitimate speech and data sharing. On the surface, this sounds like a terrible idea to me.

But I don't live there and this isn't likely to affect me, so my opinion doesn't actually mean anything.

Use an 8-char Windows NTLM password? Don't. Every single one can be cracked in under 2.5hrs

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: correcthorsebatterystaple

"a memorable long password beats a non-memorable short one"

The XKCD method results in passwords that are no more memorable than random ones for me, so I'll stick with the random ones. Same with using the first initial of each word in a quote.

ACLU: Here's how FBI tried to force Facebook to wiretap its chat app. Judge: Oh no you don't

JohnFen Silver badge

This is why

This is why we need to consider all communications methods where we aren't doing the encryption ourselves to be publicly accessible and insecure.

Uncle Sam to its friends around the world: You can buy technology the easy way, or the Huawei

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Open Source

Two major computer security companies I've worked for have had nations as customers. In both companies, Russia and the US each required examination of our source code as a condition to winning the contracts. This isn't an unusual requirement.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: @Yes Me Let's not beat around the bush

It's not ironic, really -- that's just how naked capitalism is. Remember "capitalism" is a different notion than the "free market". The end goal of all hardcore capitalists is monopoly, with them as the monopolists.

JohnFen Silver badge

What I find amazing

As an American, what I find amazing about the US government's campaign against Huawei is that they have yet to offer any real justification for it. Yes, they've made general accusations, but where are the specifics? Where is the evidence? Are they really thinking that "trust us" is an argument that works anymore?

Take your pick: Linux on Windows 10 hardware, or Windows 10 on Linux hardware

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Ramble warning - Microsoft

"to provide tools that enterprises will be needing."

Speaking generally, this is Microsoft's wheelhouse, and I really wish they'd just stay there. At least then their influence would be limited to the enterprise, where it won't affect me too much.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Neither, please

I'm not saying that ARM-based laptops are worthless or anything, just that they aren't of interest to me, personally. I can understand how they would be interesting to others.

JohnFen Silver badge

Neither, please

I'm not interested in those ARM laptops regardless of what operating system they're running, and I don't see the point in running Win 10 on anything, let alone on something like the Pi.

One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: I would argue...

"That the term word 'terrorist' and its associated forms should be expunged from the legislation"

Yes. Considering that "terrorist" and "terrorism" are words that have been applied to such a wide variety of things that they are essentially meaningless now, I have to agree.

JohnFen Silver badge

Insanely broad?

So looking at stuff "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" is forbidden? I'm sure the law must be more specific than this, but summarized like that, wouldn't just about anything qualify? Information about where tourist destinations are located, information about how to take public transportation or to drive, even just plain reading and writing itself would all be useful in committing or preparing to commit an act of terrorism, for example.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine not a boot stamping on a face, but keystroke logging on govt contractors' PCs

JohnFen Silver badge

Just no.

You literally couldn't pay me enough to put up with that sort of nonsense.

Hold horror stories: Chief, we've got a f*cking idiot on line 1. Oh, you heard all that

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Telewest

Heh, that reminds me of the time when I was sitting in an ice cream parlor with my (then high-school-age) daughter and someone decided to publicly scold me then and there for "robbing the cradle".

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Help desk

I know that's the perception, but I think it's wrong. Support is both a profit center (increasing the likelihood of future purchases by the customer) and a loss-prevention center.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: I've been on the receiving end of this

This. I have to admit that I've fired more than one customer in my day. In my own businesses, not as an employee in someone else's.

Google's stunning plan to avoid apps slurping Gmail inboxes: Charge devs for security audits

JohnFen Silver badge

"in terms of spaffing user data to the four winds of the internet, they currently seem to be the least worst of the bunch."

Just wait. They're only now getting into the wider online advertising business, and have already shown every sign that they'll be no better than Google, Facebook, etc.

JohnFen Silver badge


That's an insane pricetag.

Never mind that naked selfie scandal... Brazil lights the, er, kindling, dot-Amazon saga roars back into life

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: I love these new TLD's

Heh, I do this as well! The new gTLDs are also worthwhile in terms of helping me to avoid dodgy sites -- if it's using one of the new gTLDs, I know to avoid it.

After Amazon's Bezos exposes Pecker, National Enquirer pushes back, promises to probe itself

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: I've respected Bezos for risk-taking

"many men (and I'm one) do tend to think with the smaller of their two heads"

As someone once told me -- men have two heads, but only enough blood to run one of them at a time.

JohnFen Silver badge

Dodging the accusation

“American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr Bezos."

This is an interesting statement, as the accusation is not that AMI acted unlawfully in its news reporting. It's that AMI acted unlawfully by attempting to engage in extortion.

Methinks they're trying to move some goalposts here.

Apple puts bullet through 'Do Not Track', FaceTime snooping bug and iOS vulnerabilities

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: The utter lunacy of Google

"I will consider sharing data with Google, Facebook and all the other grubby e-stalkers (not allow, mind, just think about it) if their executives make all their own personal data available publicly"

Not me. They can all fuck right off. I have no interest in seeing their personal data. I just want them to stop spying on me.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: End of Chrome?

"Adblock plus will stick work"

Sortof. Under the new scheme, even Adblock Plus will be more limited, as the new API seriously restrict the number of rules that can be used.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Google DNT

Here's a reliable source -- Google itself: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/2790761

"Most websites and web services, including Google's, don't change their behavior when they receive a Do Not Track request."

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

JohnFen Silver badge

You say that like it's a bad thing!

Compared to what most "modern" user interfaces have become, having a UI that is "a bit last-decade" is a desirable feature.

National Enquirer's big Pecker tried to shaft me – but I wouldn't give him an inch, says Jeff Bezos after dick pic leak threat

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: The Enquirer..

" makes its living publishing "authentic" photos of bigfoot, UFOs, whatever conspiracy theories can be invented by its 3rd-rate "journalists""

True, but that was back when they had many more scruples than they have now.

JohnFen Silver badge

"I was wondering whether it's even legal to publish a (stolen) picture of someone's penis without their authorization"

If a reasonable argument can be made that publishing the picture is legitimately newsworthy, then I believe that doing so would be legal even without the subject's authorization.

But I am not a lawyer...

JohnFen Silver badge

It depends. Activities with journalistic merit have a much wide leeway than purely for-profit activities. In any case, this isn't that -- they didn't publish this information, so they can't have broken that law no matter what. Instead, they decided to engage in blackmail/extortion, which isn't legal under any circumstances.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: I have some questions

Right, but that defense didn't work so well when the old mob bosses tried it. I don't think it will work so well with these mob bosses, either.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: I have some questions

Perhaps, but it seems that the laws against extortion would unambiguously apply. Extortion is covered under multiple statutes, but here's one that seems on the money:

18 U.S. Code § 875. Interstate communications, paragraph D:

"Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: I have some questions


Assuming they didn't break any laws when obtaining the information, then they'd be on very safe ground if all they did was publish it. However, that's not what they did. They attempted blackmail instead.

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: I have some questions

"Isn't blackmail against the law in the US?"

Yes, it is. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

One complicating factor is the fact that the owner of AMI is also a very close associate of Trump and has used their influence to support and protect him. Trump may have AMI's back on this.

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