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Comment: Re:What's your suggestion for intelligence work? (Score 1) 491

by daveschroeder (#47938235) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

An oversimplification. The US, UK, and allies variously broke many cipher systems throughout WWII. Still the US benefitted from this.

What if the Germans were using, say, Windows, Android phones, SSL, Gmail, Yahoo, and Skype, instead of Enigma machines?

Comment: What's your suggestion for intelligence work? (Score 1) 491

by daveschroeder (#47938053) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

I presume you wouldn't say it was "wrong" of the United States to crack the German and Japanese codes in WWII...

...so when US adversaries (and lets just caveat this by saying people YOU, personally, agree are legitimate US adversaries) don't use their own "codes", but instead share the same systems, networks, services, devices, cloud providers, operating systems, encryption schemes, and so on, that Americans and much of the rest of the world uses, would you suggest that they should be off limits?

This isn't so much a law enforcement question as a question of how to do SIGINT in the modern digital world, but given the above, and given that intelligence requires secrecy in order to be effective, how would you suggest the United States go after legitimate targets? Or should we not be able to, because that power "might" be able to be abused -- as can any/all government powers, by definition?

This simplistic view that the only purpose of the government in a free and democratic society must be to somehow subjugate, spy on, and violate the rights of its citizens is insane, while actual totalitarian and non-free states, to say nothing of myriad terrorist and other groups, press their advantage. And why wouldn't they? The US and its ever-imperfect system of law is not the great villain in the world.

Take a step back and get some perspective. And this is not a rhetorical question: if someone can tell me their solution for how we should be able to target technologies that are fundamentally shared with innocent Americans and foreigners everywhere while still keeping such sources, methods, capabilities, and techniques secret, I'm all ears. And if you believe the second a technology is shared it should become magically off-limits because power might be abused, you are insane -- or, more to the point, you believe you have some moral high ground which, ironically, would actually result in severe disadvantages for the system of free society you would claim to support.

+ - Mozilla Labs Closed And Nobody Noticed->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "When Google Labs closed there was an outcry. How could an organization just pull the rug from under so many projects?
At least Google announced what it was doing. Mozilla, it seems since there is no official record, just quietly tiptoes away — leaving the lights on since the Mozilla Labs Website is still accessible. It is accessible but when you start to explore the website you notice it is moribund with the last blog post being December 2013 with the penultimate one being September 2013.
The fact that it is gone is confirmed by recent blog posts and by the redeployment of the people who used to run it. The projects that survived have been moved to their own websites. It isn't clear what has happened to the Hatchery -the incubator that invited new ideas from all and sundry.
One of the big advantages of open source is the ease with which a project can be started. One of the big disadvantages of open source is the ease with which projects can be allowed to die — often without any clear cut time of death. It seems Mozilla applies this to groups and initiatives as much as projects. This isn't good."

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+ - Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The Interecept reports that contrary to lurid claims made by U.S. officials, a new independent analysis of Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA surveillance that examined the frequency of releases and updates of encryption software by jihadi groups has found no correlation in either measure to Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s surveillance techniques. According to the report "well prior to Edward Snowden, online jihadists were already aware that law enforcement and intelligence agencies were attempting to monitor them (PDF).” In fact, concerns about terrorists' use of sophisticated encryption technology predates even 9/11.

Earlier this month former NSA head Michael Hayden stated, “The changed communications practices and patterns of terrorist groups following the Snowden revelations have impacted our ability to track and monitor these groups”, while Matthew Olsen of the National Counterterrorism Centre would add “Following the disclosure of the stolen NSA documents, terrorists are changing how they communicate to avoid surveillance.” Snowden’s critics have previously accused his actions of contributing from everything from the rise of ISIS to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. "This most recent study is the most comprehensive repudiation of these charges to date," says Murtaza Hussain. "Contrary to lurid claims to the contrary, the facts demonstrate that terrorist organizations have not benefited from the NSA revelations, nor have they substantially altered their behavior in response to them.""

+ - Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Submitted by onproton
onproton (3434437) writes "The journal Nature released a study today that reveals a link between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and the development of glucose intolerance, a leading risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, citing a critical alteration of intestinal bacteria. Paradoxically, these non-caloric sweeteners, which can be up to 20,000 times sweeter than natural sugars, are often recommended to diabetes patients to control blood glucose levels. Sugar substitutes have come under additional fire lately from studies showing that eating artificially sweetened foods can lead to greater overall calorie consumption and even weight gain. While some, especially food industry officials, remain highly skeptical of such studies, more research still needs to be done to determine the actual risks these substances may pose to health."

Comment: Re:it is all going to go horribly wrong (Score 1) 488

by dominux (#47931535) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

It is for Scotland to decide! They can apply for membership any time, just like Turkey, for instance.

sure, they can apply the day they become independent.

Errr... Ever heard of the Czech and the Slovaks?

Czechoslovakia split in two (peacefully) and both halves joined the EU right away, and were welcome with open arms, if memory serves well.

memory doesn't serve that well, they finalised the split in 1993 after the velvet revolution and then in 2004 both the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined the European Union.

I don't see why Scotland would be rejected, especially since the UK has been a pain in the arse ever since it joined the EU. As a matter of fact, many countries in the EU would welcome Scotland just to piss off the Brits. And even more so since the UK is set to vote on leaving the EU in a couple of years!

this is a reasonable point.

The Euro is not the EU, and vice-versa. There is a ton of countries that are EU members, but still have their national currencies. But don't take my word for it, click here instead

yeah, I know, but it is now the case that a commitment to joining the currency is a condition of joining the union.

You are not making any sense - again, the currency you use is totally independent from EU membership itself.

well we will find out in due course if there is a yes vote. I just can't see the rest of Europe being particularly excited about a region wanting to split out and join but not wanting to have the euro, pay it's debt or have it's own central bank. Right now Scotland is just looking like a smaller and more annoying version of the UK.

Comment: Re:it is all going to go horribly wrong (Score 1) 488

by dominux (#47930707) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

you have to be an EU member to join the Euro, but to be an EU member you have to commit in advance to joining the Euro when you meet the criteria. You can't join and say you don't have a committed intention to join the currency. The UK has an opt-out negotiated some time ago. The yes campaign seems to think they can go independent and have the Bank of England as their central bank and have their share of the national debt underwritten by the UK treasury.
This is kinda like a teenager who lives at home and has free use of the family car pretty much whenever they want. Teenager decides they are leaving home, getting their own place and taking the car. That isn't the deal.

Comment: What is really happening here? (Score 1) 947

by Bruce Perens (#47930483) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
We are in a War on Faith, because Faith justifies anything and ISIS takes it to extremes. But in the end they are just a bigger version of Christian-dominated school boards that mess with the teaching of Evolution, or Mormon sponsors of anti-gay-marriage measures, or my Hebrew school teacher, an adult who slapped me as a 12-year-old for some unremembered offense against his faith.

Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 947

by Bruce Perens (#47930331) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Hm. The covenant of Noah is about two paragraphs before this part (King James Version) which is used for various justifications of slavery and discrimination against all sorts of people because they are said to bear the Curse of Ham. If folks wanted to use the Bible to justify anything ISIS says is justified by God's words in the Koran, they could easily do so.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Comment: it is all going to go horribly wrong (Score 4, Interesting) 488

by dominux (#47926075) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

The yes campaign is telling people they can keep the pound and join Europe. Not gonna happen, it isn't for Scotland to decide. 28 countries have to decide they are totally cool with a bit of the UK splitting off and joining Europe. That means 28 countries have to want to set a precident for bits of themselves splitting off, declaring independence and joining Europe. They have to also decide that they are totally cool on Scotland having an opt out on the Euro that nobody else apart from the UK has and nobody else likes.
The rest of the UK doesn't particularly want a currency union with Scotland, and it wouldn't be popular with the Eurozone countries to have a more formal sterling zone (they don't care about the small overseas territories, but a second full size country in a currency union would be a big deal).
The No campaign says independence would be bad for Scotland and bad for the rest of the UK and everyone else.
The Yes campaign says independence would be good for Scotland and bad for the rest of the UK and everyone else.
They both agree that independence would be a massive pain in the arse for everyone outside of Scotland, and they are 50:50 on how much of a complete and utter pointless pain in the arse it will be within Scotland.

Comment: Re:I, Robot from a programmers perspective (Score 1) 164

by lkcl (#47923389) Attached to: Developing the First Law of Robotics

Don't get me started on Asimov's work. He tried to write allot about how robots would function with these laws that he invented, but really just ended up writing about a bunch of horrendously programmed robots who underwent 0 testing and predictably and catastrophically failed at every single edge case. I do not think there is a single robot in any of his stories that would not not self destruct within 5 minutes of entering the real world.

hooray. someone who actually finally understands the point of the asimov stories. many people reading asimov's work do not understand that it was only in the later works commissioned by the asimov foundation (when Caliban - a Zero-Law Robot - is introduced; or it is finally revealed that Daneel - the robot that Giskard psychically impressed with the Zeroth Law to protect *humanity* onto - is over 30,000 years old and is the silent architect of the Foundation) that the failure of the Three Laws of Robotics is finally explicitly spelled out in actual words instead of being illustrated indirectly through many different stories, just as you describe, wisnoskij.

in the asimov series there _are_ actually robots that are successful. the New Law Robots (those that are permitted to *cooperate* with humans; these actually have some spark of creativity). Caliban - who had a Gravitonic brain - was a Zero Law Robot: an experiment to see if a robot would derive its own laws under free will (it did). and Daneel, whose telepathic ability and the Zeroth Law were given to him by Giskard. these robots are the exception. the three law robots are basically intelligent but entirely devoid of creativity.

you have to think: how can anything that has hundreds of millions of copies of the three laws be anything *but* a danger to human development, by preventing and prohibiting any kind of risk-taking?? we already have enough stupid laws on the planet (mostly thanks to america's sue-happy culture and the abusive patent system). we DON'T need idiots trying to implement the failed three laws of robotics.

Comment: COM (MSRPC), Objective-C/J and Software Libre (Score 2) 54

by lkcl (#47917061) Attached to: Industry-Based ToDo Alliance Wants To Guide FOSS Development

in looking at why both apple and microsoft have been overwhelmingly successful i came to the conclusion that it is because both companies are using dynamic object-orientated paradigms that can allow components from disparate programming languages to be accessible at runtime. COM is the reason why, after 20 years, you can find a random Active-X component written two decades ago, plug it into a modern windows computer and it will *work*.

Objective-C is the OO concept taken to the extreme: it's actually built-in to the programming language. COM is a bit more sensible: it's a series of rules (based ultimately on the flattening of data structures into a stream that can be sent over a socket, or via shared memory) which may be implemented in userspace: the c++ implementation has some classes whilst the c implementation has macros, but ultimately you could implement COM in any programming language you cared to.

the first amazing thing about COM (which is based on MSRPC which in turn was originally the OpenGroup's BSD-licensed DCE/RPC source code) is that because it is on top of DCE/RPC (ok MSRPC) you have version-control at the interface layer. the second amazing thing is that they have "co-classes" meaning that an "object" may be "merged" with another (multiple inheritance). when you combine this with the version-control capabilities of DCERPC/MSRPC you get not only binary-interoperability between client and server regardless of how many revisions there are to an API but also you can use co-classes to create "optional parameters" (by combining a function with 3 parameters in one IDL file with another same-named function with 4 parameters in another IDL file, 5 in another and so on).

the thing is that:

a) to create such infrastructure in the first place takes a hell of a lot of vision, committment and guts.

b) to mandate the use of such infrastructure, for the good of the company, the users, and the developers, also takes a lot of committment and guts. when people actually knew what COM was it was *very* unpopular, but unfortunately at the time things like python-comtypes (which makes COM so transparent it has the *opposite* problem - that of being so easy that programmers go "what's all the fuss about???" and don't realise quite how powerful what they are doing really is)

both microsoft and apple were - are - companies where it was possible to make such top-down decisions and say "This Is The Way It's Gonna Go Down".

now let's take a look at the GNU/Linux community.

the GNU/Linux community does have XPIDL and XPCOM, written by the Mozilla Foundation. XPCOM is "based on" COM. XPCOM has a registry. it has the same API, the same macros, and it even has an IDL compiler (XPIDL). however what it *does not* have is co-classes. co-classes are the absolute, absolute bed-rock of COM and because XPCOM does not have co-classes there have been TEN YEARS of complaints from developers - mostly java developers but also c++ developers - attempting to use Mozilla technology (embedding Gecko is the usual one) and being driven UP THE F******G WALL by binary ABI incompatibility on pretty much every single damn release of the mozilla binaries. one single change to an IDL file results, sadly, in a broken system for these third party developers.

the GNU/Linux community does have CORBA, thanks to Olivetti Labs who released their implementation of CORBA some time back in 1997. CORBA was the competitor to COM, and it was nowhere near as good. Gnome adopted it... but nobody else did.

the GNU/Linux community does have an RPC mechanism in KDE. its first implementation is known famously for having been written in 20 minutes. not much more needs to be said.

the GNU/Linux community does have gobject. gobject is, after nearly fifteen years, beginning to get introspection, and this is beginning to bubble up to the dynamic programming languages such as python. gobject does not have interface revision control.

the GNU/Linux community does actually have a (near full) implementation of MSRPC and COM: it's part of the Wine Project. the project named TangramCOM did make an attempt to separate COM from Wine: if it had succeeded it would be maintained as a cut-down fork of the Wine Project. The Wine Project developer's answer - if you ask - to making a GNU/Linux application use COM is that you should convert it to a Wine (i.e. a Win32) application. this is not very satisfactory.

in other words, the GNU/Linux community has a set of individuals who are completely discoordinated, getting on with the very important task - and i mean that absolutely genuinely - the very important task of maintaining the code for which they are responsible.

the problems that they deal with are *not* those of coordinating - at a top level - with *other projects*.

now, whilst this "Alliance" may wish to "guide" the development of the GNU/Linux community, ultimately it comes down to money. do these companies have the guts to say - in a nice way of course - "here's a wad of cash, this is a list of tasks, any takers?"

but, also, does this "Alliance" have the guts to ask "what is actually needed"? would it be nice, for example, rather than them saying "this is what you need to do, now get on with it", which would pretty much guarantee to have no takers at all, would it be nice for them to actually get onto various mailing lists (hundreds if necessary) and actually canvas the developers in the software libre world, to ask them "hey, we have $NNN million available, we'd like to coordinate something that's cross-project that would make a difference, and we'd like *you* to tell *us* what you think is the best way to spend that money".

where the kinds of ideas floated around could be something as big and ambitious as "converting both KDE and Gnome to use the same runtime-capable object-orientated RPC mechanism so that both desktops work nicely together and one set of configuration tools from one desktop environment could actually be used to manage the other... even over a network with severely limited bandwidth [1]".

or, another idea would be: ensure that things like heartbleed never happen again, because the people responsible for the code - on which these and many companies are making MILLIONS - are actually being PAID.

but the primary question that immediately needs answering: is this group of companies acting genuinely altruistically, or are they self-serving? an immediate read of the web site, at face value, it does actually look like they are genuine.

however, time will tell. we'll see when they actually start interacting with software libre developers rather than just being a web site that doesn't even have a public mailing list.

[1] i mention that because the last time i suggested this idea people said "what's wrong with using X11?? problem solved... so what are you talking about?? i'm talking about binary-compatible APIs that stem ultimately from IDL files". *sigh*...

+ - Ask Slashdot: What to do after digitizing VHS tapes? 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Now that I've spent close to a month digitizing a desk drawer's worth of VHS tapes, deinterlacing and postprocessing the originals to minimize years of tape decay, and compressing everything down to H.264, I've found myself with a hard drive full of loosely organized videos. They'll get picked up by my existing monthly backup, but I feel like I haven't gained much in the way of redundancy, as I thought I would. Instead of having tapes slowly degrade, I'm now open to losing entire movies at once, should both of my drives go bad. Does anyone maintain a library, and if so, what would they recommend? Is having them duplicated on two drives (one of which is spun down for all but one day of the month) a good-enough long term strategy? Should I look into additionally backing up to optical discs or flash drives, building out a better (RAIDed) backup machine, or even keeping the original tapes around despite them having been digitized?"

+ - Comcast Tells Customers to Stop Using Tor Browser->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Comcast agents have reportedly contacted customers who use Tor, a web browser that is designed to protect the user’s privacy while online, and said their service can get terminated if they don’t stop using Tor. According to Deep.Dot.Web, one of those calls included a Comcast customer service agent named Jeremy..."
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