* Posts by Orv

941 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

Orv
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Re: Merkle Tree

Short answer: It depends on the hash function.

Longer answer: In Bitcoin reversing a difficult hash is used as a form of proof-of-effort for distributing new coins. That's only one way to do it, although it's the easiest one to conceptualize because it involves real-world inputs with value (power and time.) If the goal is not to create digital items that are supposed to be a store of value, there doesn't necessarily have to be a high level of effort involved.

That said, yeah, a lot of stuff currently has "blockchain" tacked on it that either isn't using blockchain at all, or is using it as an inferior substitute for MySQL or MongoDB.

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Re: Of all places to start

Email has, if anything, become more centralized. There are a couple reasons for this:

1. Spam. ISPs have found it necessary to block direct SMTP from their users to limit spam, so everything has to go through a central smarthost anyway. Filtering *incoming* spam is also a difficult and time-consuming job and one of the reasons I stopped running my own private mail server.

2. Convenience. People want to be able to access their mail from their desktop, their laptop, and their phone. That requires some kind of central repository. No one particularly wants to go back to the old days when you POP'd your mail down to your desktop machine, and that was it, it was trapped there.

There are already decentralized file-sharing services, but uptake has been slow. Not a lot of people are eager to share their disk space with others, especially when you never know if someone's going to upload kiddie porn and get you arrested.

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Rub some bacon blockchain on it.

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AAAAAAAAAA! You'll scream when you see how easy it is to pwn unpatched HPE servers

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I've seen a few machines that defaulted to failover mode, although they weren't Microservers.

Best to check the channel config and make sure the iLO doesn't have an IP address. Under Linux you can do this on the machine with ipmitool.

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Re: Hope at least your management interfaces are on a separated, segregated VLAN...

The usual trick is to use a "bastion host" to access the management network. This moves the problem to having to keep the bastion host secure, of course, but even desktop OS's usually have higher security than iLOs. The machine need not run any services other than SSH.

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Xen 4.11 debuts new ‘PVH’ guest type, for the sake of security

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I've mostly switched to KVM, not because I had any problems with Xen, but because KVM became CentOS's preferred VM.

I had to run a VMware machine for a while once, in order to use a prefab VM appliance, and I can't say I enjoyed the experience. Although the console TUI did make me slightly nostalgic for Novell Netware.

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BGP hijacker booted off the Internet's backbone

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Re: Good news all round

I think the main reason it takes so long is there's no central authority for these things. Each individual peering provider has to be independently convinced to cut them off. I think we should be glad that cutting a business off from the Internet is not something that people do lightly.

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Google offers to leave robocallers hanging on the telephone

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Where I live "reverse 911" systems are often used to call everyone in a particular area to inform them about emergency evacuations. (In California during fire season, it's pretty much guaranteed that this will happen *somewhere*.) I worry about systems like this blocking those calls. They also use SMS, but SMS is not a reliable service.

EAS (Emergency Alert System) is the obvious solution, but after last years' experience they've cut back on using it because it's far too blunt an instrument; EAS alerts generally cover a whole county, which here means people 30 miles away from the threat were getting woken up in the middle of the night. This was resulting in a lot of people turning alerts off entirely.

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EmDrive? More like BS drive: Physics-defying space engine flunks out

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Re: N-Waves Again

Almost certainly self-delusion, combined with a misunderstanding of how the eye reacts to dim light at off-center angles. At the time there was no scientific instrument as sensitive as the human eye, so it's somewhat understandable that people were sucked in.

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Cops suspect Detroit fuel station was hacked before 10 drivers made off with 2.3k 'free' litres

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It's theft. You took the fuel, you didn't pay for it. It's pretty simple.

Moreover, it's almost certainly "Theft of motor vehicle fuel" (750.367c):

"The secretary of state shall suspend the operator's or chauffeur's license of a person convicted of an offense or attempted offense under this chapter involving the theft of motor vehicle fuel that occurred by pumping the fuel into a motor vehicle..."

In the case I mentioned the police essentially gave people a choice -- pay for the fuel they took, or be charged with theft and have their license suspended.

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This was in Ann Arbor, IIRC.

The systems weren't *new* new exactly, but they were new enough that a lot of them were installed without thinking through possible exploits.

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When I lived in Michigan back in the early 2000s, pay-at-the-pump systems were still relatively new in many places and all the kinks weren't worked out. Someone discovered that a local station's system would unlock the pump for any card, not just a credit card, because it wasn't checking preauthorization properly. Unfortunately for the thieves, many of them chose to use their driver's licenses, and the system captured their license numbers from the mag stripe on the card, making it rather easy to track them down.

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You're indestructible, always believe in 'cause you are Go! Microsoft reinvents netbook with US$399 ‘Surface Go’

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Re: New Surface3 - Better Ports, Worse Screen?

I hear you about the display resolution, but realistically unless you're an eagle you're not likely to notice downscaling at this screen size.

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Re: US$399 “Surface Go” has a ten-inch screen

I'm pretty sure the pen is $99 because the Apple Pen is $99.

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Re: Inventory

Buried with the ET cartridges.

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I know a moderator on a very large and well known forum, he told me that there is a core of weirdos that downvote everything. In fact some just log on and start downvoting and do nothing else.

That always happens to me on YouTube. I start reading the comments and go into IDIOTS, IDIOTS EVERYWHERE mode and downvote everything.

It's really my fault for reading the comments, of course.

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Re: They're clearly copying Apple.

And unlike iOS, Windows 10 also lets you see exactly what telemetry is being sent, and remove things you're unhappy with...

Although, unless you have the Enterprise edition, they still won't let you turn it off completely.

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Re: Bargain ?

Same here.

The main thing that would keep me from getting this device is the kickstand + detachable keyboard form factor. I often stretch out on the couch with my netbook in my lap, and I don't think a setup like this would be stable in that situation.

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GitHub given Windows 9x's awesome and so very modern look

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Re: UI elements that make it obvious what they do?

Am I the only one who gets a sore finger using the scroll wheel too much?

I'm convinced it aggravates my carpel tunnel issues. The Apple 'magic mouse', where the scroll wheel is basically a miniature touchpad, is marginally better but that's undermined by the entire mouse being too thin to rest my palm on.

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Re: Web 3.0 look

The current 'fad' for oodles of vertical white space is really frustrating especially when most of us are using letter box shaped screens

Yes, but mobile screens are usually portrait. Remember, "mobile first" is the current development fad. Mobile first, desktop worst.

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Re: Now, if only Git could work under Windows...

Confession: I can do basic stuff in GIT, but I admit I still don't understand all the graph-theory stuff needed to wrap my head around what's going on with branches and merges, or to untangle it when it all goes sideways.

I've had more luck with Mercurial, although I'm not really sure why. I've stuck with it in spite of fewer and fewer repositories supporting it. (I think it's down to just BitBucket now, and they've switched to using GIT by default.)

The last VCS I felt like I thoroughly understood was Subversion.

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Re: UI elements that make it obvious what they do?

I really dislike the now-you-see-it, now-you-don't scrollbars on modern browsers, too. In many cases they seem to only be triggered by scroll wheel movement. Flicking the scroll wheel repeatedly to get to the top or bottom of a page isn't really my idea of good UX. Not to mention that the lack of a visible scrollbar robs me of any sense of how far down the page I am.

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Chrome, Firefox pull very unstylish Stylish invasive browser plugin

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Re: Don't Firefox and Chrome check the extensions behaviour?

They do some checks, but they're mostly automated. A common way to slip past them is to either include the malware in a later update (which often isn't checked as stringently), or include a mechanism that downloads it after the app is installed. That last one is a big no-no in the Chrome store, though -- you're not supposed to download and run code from outside the extension package.

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Re: Developers becoming jerks.

TBH I'm not sure you can call what these companies do "development." How much does it really take to take an existing, completed app and load it up with crapware?

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ICANN't get no respect: Europe throws Whois privacy plan in the trash

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Re: California Law

I was going to say.

California may not be much help to them for much longer. Maybe they can relocate to Delaware or somewhere else with a pliable legislature.

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The Notch contagion is spreading slower than phone experts thought

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Re: Charge by wire

It also means having to try to find a mobile dash mount that's compatible with whatever random charging standard the phone uses, and then hoping it can transfer enough power to operate the screen, GPS, and streaming music app simultaneously. (This is over 1.5A on some phones I've had.)

I had wireless charging on my Nexus 4 and I can't say I was impressed. It never worked reliably. It would just kick in and out of charging mode.

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Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

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Re: What pumps need is an

The flaps that used to be found inside the filler necks of most cars that took unleaded gas had a similar purpose -- they were to keep you from squirting fuel down the filler neck without inserting the nozzle, which would have let people defeat the restrictor and pump in leaded fuel. Up through the mid-80s leaded fuel was often cheaper than unleaded in the US so the temptation was always there, but lead would destroy catalytic converters.

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Re: What pumps need is an

Early American import diesel cars are a hoot because at the time the only reliable place to find diesel was at truck stops. My diesel Vanagon had an enormous filler neck meant for high-volume truck pumps. I never got the chance to try but I imagine the tank (around 20 gallons, IIRC) would have been full VERY quickly.

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Re: Similar experience in the USA

These are things meant to stop the gas vapors from killing us all...

Specifically they're meant to reduce photochemical smog, which created the thick brown haze LA used to be famous for. Vapor recovery systems on cars probably made the largest difference; I have to think the amount lost while pumping is probably relatively small.

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Californian, can confirm that the area around LAX is inexplicably free of gas stations. You'd think some enterprising person would have put one near the car return, with a substantial markup of course.

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Google weeps as its home state of California passes its own GDPR

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Re: Never mind, Silly Valley

California is 12% of the US population and probably a significantly higher percentage of its internet users.

They probably can do what you suggest, but the question becomes, is it worth the effort to try to sort users by location (and pay fines when you get it wrong)? It may be that it's more economically feasible to just put up with the regulation than to try to maintain two parallel systems.

It's different with the GDPR because a lot of US businesses have separate portals for EU countries, or just don't do much business with the EU. Losing those customers wouldn't hurt as much as losing all of CA.

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Re: Sensational!

Pass laws fast with this One Weird Trick!

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Re: Tears

I don't see a First Amendment case here. The First Amendment says the government can't restrict what you say, not that they can't stop you from collecting information. Also, long-established court doctrine holds that commercial speech is not as heavily protected -- this is why truth-in-advertising laws can exist, for example.

Now, with the upcoming rightward leap of the Supreme Court, it's possible that'll change and we'll see a ruling wiping out all those regulations. But I don't expect that any time soon. It would happen incrementally, if at all. It's not a case that would provide a big political boost for the Court's current patrons, like Citizens United did.

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Re: Good

California often leads the way on such things. It has about 10% of the country's population, making it a big enough market that it tends to make more sense to just apply the stricter rules everywhere, rather than make an exception. For similar reasons, automakers have largely stopped making a distinction between cars with "California emissions" and ones with "Federal emissions" equipment. Technology and market size have made it easier to just standardize on what CA is doing.

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Re: 49 to go

On the one hand, it makes it possible for the citizenry to address issues and problems that for one reason or another (ahem*money*ahem) the legislators don't want to address or don't want to fix. That's unambiguously good.

My favorite recent example is Ohio, which passed an initiative to reform their process for drawing congressional districts. There's no way a legislative majority created by gerrymandering would ever vote to end the practice.

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Re: Legitimate business interests

The phrase "legitimate business" mostly just makes me think of old mobster movies, where their associates were always "legitimate businessmen."

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Re: No 'Meaningful change' in user numbers

You can be anonymous on FB until someone reports you. Which has become a pretty common form of revenge.

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Facebook, Google, Microsoft scolded for tricking people into spilling their private info

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Re: The default should be no slurp whatsoever

I've had several sites (Wired is one, I think) that popped up a page asking me to either disable my ad blocker or pay. Funny thing was, I wasn't using an ad blocker, just Privacy Badger.

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Re: The default should be no slurp whatsoever

We (collectively) chose this anti-pattern when, back in the 1990s, we decided it was unethical for sites to erect paywalls and they should be shamed out of it or subverted whenever possible. (Information wants to be free, man! You can't OWN it!) Now everyone is conditioned not to pay for anything on the Internet, which has led directly to this kind of data slurping as a way to make revenue.

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Registry to ban Cyrillic .eu addresses even if you've paid for them

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I think in any jurisdiction, you don't own a domain name so much as rent it.

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Google Cloud CEO admits: Yeah, we wanted GitHub too. Whatevs

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I'd argue one big difference is the projects GitHub hosts aren't a threat to Google's profit model in quite the same way they are to Microsoft's. But neither really has interests aligned with current GitHub users.

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Google had a GitHub type service. It was called Google Code. They let it die of neglect.

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US Supreme Court blocks internet's escape from state sales taxes

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Re: Get it right!!!

I think I was the only person I know who actually paid use tax. Most people just put in 0, unless they had a large purchase the state already knew about (e.g., a car.) Auditing was nonexistent.

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Re: Not such a great decision for consumers

[citation needed]

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Re: The REAL real pain

The real pain is that if you're registered for sales tax you have to make a monthly return even if you don't owe any, and if you don't send in a return there's a penalty.

I ran into that when I got a temporary seller's permit in Illinois. They didn't seem to understand what "temporary" meant. Eventually I solved it by sending them a thick stack of $0 returns and asking them to cancel the business license.

Furthermore, when I was registered for sales tax they made me post a bond. It wasn't much, it was $500, but it would be a serious problem to have to post one for all 50 states.

As I recall the new rules only apply to companies with over $100,000 in annual sales. It's not like every mom-and-pop will have to post bond. Also, I think only 15 or so states actually require one. (Not every state charges sales tax, and not every state that does requires a bond, and ones that do require bonds often only require them for a specific set of products, like tobacco.) So it's probably not as dire as all that.

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Re: It's still really hard to complain

Mostly they've cracked down on what constitutes a church for tax purposes, and most of the tax breaks are available to the church itself, not the clergy as individuals.

There are still a lot of special tax breaks available to clergy, mind you -- I believe they're the only people allowed to opt out of Social Security payroll taxes, although if they do so they aren't eligible for benefits either.

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If you have to know intent, ask the consumer. If they lie, it's on them.

Here in California, for example, software is taxed if it's delivered in physical form, but not taxed if it's downloaded. When I order downloadable software from our supplier, I check a little box indicating that the purchase contains no physical media.

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Re: Er ....

Well, at least the states could harmonise their own code internally rather than leaving it to be decided at county level.

That's not going to happen for the same reason states won't harmonize their taxes -- local control. People like being able to vote on exactly how they'll be taxed.

Some counties choose to use more property taxes, others more sales taxes, still others user fees and personal property taxes. In some states cities can also charge their own income taxes.

What fits best tends to depend on where the revenue comes from. Soaking tourists with a high sales tax is a popular option for popular destinations. Counties that border states with no sales tax probably won't want to charge a high one, lest everyone just go across the border to shop.

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Re: Er ....

And thus a new industry is born.

Nah, an old industry is expanded.

Online retailers that had physical presence (read: warehouses) in multiple states have been dealing with this for years. It's not a new problem. One of the distorting effects of the old rules were that they actually discouraged local investment, since anywhere you decided to build an office you had to charge sales tax. Now the playing field is leveled somewhat.

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G Suite admins need to RTFM – thousands expose internal emails

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Now try auditing several dozen groups to see if anyone ticked that box. It takes two clicks per group just to see what the permissions are. Hope you didn't have plans for the day.

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