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Comment: Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (Score 3, Interesting) 281

by Aaden42 (#48187595) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

One supermarket chain around Albany, NY tried implementing the single line system about a year ago. It only lasted a few months before they reverted.

At least at the grocery store, people disliked feeling corralled like cattle more than they dislike waiting slightly longer in a less efficient line. Might have been the way it was implemented, honestly. It had a rather frenetic feel to it, with the line “leader” guiding people to one of the actual registers with quite a bit of urgency and insistence. I’d guess there was probably some misguided, management-imposed, career-limiting metric system associated with the process such that the employee ultimately paid the price if customers dawdled and brought the throughput numbers down. That translated to a rather jarring mood to the whole thing.

Comment: Re:Traffic Shaper? (Score 1) 429

by Aaden42 (#48113669) Attached to: BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer

I handle waiting rooms with crappy coffee & crappy wifi the same way: I bring the former in my own cup and the latter on my own phone w/ tethering enabled if I need it.

Sometimes you have to spend a little more money to have nice things, but it’s often worth it.

Oh? Any crappy wifi AND poor cell service in the same place? I’ve literally changed doctors for that before.

Comment: Re:It's okay when I do it... (Score 1) 429

by Aaden42 (#48113525) Attached to: BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer

It’s not arbitrary if whatever terms of service your customers “agreed” to forbid them from doing what you’re cutting off. The grey area with Bittorrent is pretty much every residential broadband “agreement” forbids copyright infringement, but for all you know, I might be downloading the latest ISO of Ubuntu and not infringing anything.

Note: “Agreement” because there’s not exactly a meeting of the minds when they’re the only game in town and your choices are accept their terms unilaterally or invest in carrier pidgins...

Comment: Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (Score 1) 546

by Aaden42 (#48106031) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Honestly, a lot of what you complained about actually turns out to be strengths of whitespace dependent syntax. You don’t have “every line’s a diff” problems since there’s no reformatting. Tools don’t touch the whitespace, so everyone needs to get along. Whitespace within a single file is consistent because if it’s not, it doesn’t work.

But that’s about it for the advantages... I’ll expand on the main disadvantage you mentioned because it deserves repeating:

When mixing tabs and spaces, most traditional editors will render two semantically different pieces of Python code with a pixel-identical display that programmers can stare at all day and not realize what’s going on. Short of enabling “control codes” mode or similar, there’s no visual indication of what’s wrong. I hurts my head to think about how many person-years of developer hair pulling and teeth gnashing must have been burned by this.

Granted most Python-specific editors tend to draw in left-gutters or color highlight the levels of hierarchy to represent the blocks which helps with this. But if I wanted to use an IDE-bound language, I’d pick up PowerBuilder or something... The greatest strength of plain-old-text based source code gets lost when you NEED to use a language-aware editor to be able to see functional differences in a piece of code.

I know one thing: If I had the misfortune to have to work in Python, our revision control server would have a pre-commit hook to reject any *.py which contained any ASCII 0x09 characters. No tabs at this establishment, buddy!

Comment: Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (Score 1) 546

by Aaden42 (#48105855) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

That’s completely not what duck typing is.

interface Duck {
    String quack();

class Mallard implements Duck {
    String quack() {
        return “no”;

class Mythbuster {
    String quack() {
        return “Damn you”;

In a duck-typed language, any method which worked when passed an instance of Mallard would also work when passed an instance of Mythbuster. I’m not aware of any language which has an interface structure like the above where that would compile successfully without an explicit cast. And at that point, you’re punching the duck, so all bets are off.

Comment: Re:So what you're telling me (Score 1) 146

by Aaden42 (#48082753) Attached to: Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

Most schemes that encipher data with multiple keys make it obvious upon examining the output ciphertext or encrypted session key blocks that the data has been enciphered with more than one key.

With symmetric key algorithms like AES, it’s not possible to encrypt the data with two keys and have it decryptable by only one of them. The exact same key must be used on both ends, and leaking that key would be obvious.

Symmetric ciphers are often used with a session key that’s wrapped by an asymmetric cipher allowing Alice to encrypt something that only Bob can read. The encrypted session key is transmitted along the ciphertext that’s encrypted with the session key. To decrypt, Bob decrypts the key block with his private key to retrieve the session key, then decrypts the symmetric cipher text with the session key. If a message is encrypted to multiple keys, each key creates a separate encrypted session key block. If a message is encrypted to a back door key, the key block is bigger by the length of a key. It’s trivial to examine the output and determine what’s going on.

Comment: Re:Why isn't this auto-update? (Score 1) 174

by Aaden42 (#48029909) Attached to: Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

It’s really not a gamble for the majority of their customers. Default install ships with neither SSH, nor Apache, nor anything else that could possibly route network input to a copy of Bash enabled by default (both OpenSSH & Apache are included, just turned off). To be expoitable would require manually enabling Apache, then manually editing httpd.conf to enable some kind of CGI binding (none enabled in default shipped config file).

The number of their customers who were actually vulnerable to this is probably single digit percentages. I’m glad to have the patch available, but none of the dozen or so Apple machines I’m responsible for at home or work were actually configured such that they were vulnerable to this.

Comment: Re:Beyond the law? (Score 1) 354

by Aaden42 (#48003003) Attached to: FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

You misread that. The comma is important. “nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” is the relevant part to encryption. “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” is separate from that. The second clause has to do with warrants, but the first clause is not qualified by the second. IE not even a warrant can compel you to be witness against yourself. Nothing (legally) can compel you to do so.

The source of argument with regard to encryption keys is whether revealing the key is being a witness against yourself or if it’s the same as turning over the key to a physical lock. US courts were conflicted on that, but especially after the recent SCOTUS decision that warrantless searches of cell phones aren’t acceptable, it seems the tide is turning and compelled disclosure of an encryption key is going to be considered compelled testimony. The basis of the cell phone decision was that as use of cell phones and other personal technology has evolved, people have begun to store data on them of a far more personal and private nature than what would be stored in a safe or a lock box. The expectation of privacy that the common person has for those devices is quite high, and thus it’s proper to require LEO to seek a warrant when they feel it necessary to invade that privacy. Similarly, revealing an encryption key is seen to be a much more profound invasion of an individual’s privacy than simply handing over the key to a lock or combination to a physical safe. The analogy to a private code written in notebooks is also on point. You could never be compelled to translate your private papers to aid the police, and I see no reason that providing an encryption key to “translate” the encrypted data should be any difference just because there’s a machine involved in the process.

Assuming that continues to be the case, then no warrant can legally compel you to aid in your own prosecution. The warrant can take the phone away from you for searching in the first place, but nothing can force you to aid in conducting the search. If they can break in, they get it. If not, oh well.

Comment: Re:Maybe if they didn't abuse (Score 2) 354

by Aaden42 (#48002839) Attached to: FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous


Obama has had ample opportunity where bad policies of the previous administration have been brought to light and rather than fix them, he’s repeatedly reaffirmed the bad acts by his predecessors. The buck stops at this desk, ultimately. He gets a tiny little bit of a pass if he could claim he didn’t know about abuses of privacy, but as soon as they’re front page news and he lets them keep going, I don’t care who started it. Obama owns it.

Your code should be more efficient!