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Comment Re:Make PII Go Away (Score 1) 161

The key pair is embedded on a chip in your ID. The circuitry does the decryption, so the private key is never exposed to any computer that it is used with. This is also the point of the passphrase/PIN. The chip won't decrypt without it. This is how the smart cards used by DoD function and they double as a military ID (which is supposed to be kept on the owner at all times practical). They really are Idiot Resistant.

The drawback is that most computers these days do not have a smart card reader. USB would be better but doesn't not fit nicely into something as thick as a credit card.

Comment Re:Translation ... (Score 1) 145

It's a good option for small companies who don't want the administrative overhead of maintaining source code repositories. Yes, it's not hard but it's one more thing when IT is a limited resource. A previous employer of mine (for whom I still do some contract work) moved all their source code to the cloud after I left. I think they should value their product more than that but I understand their logic. Unfortunately, they are not using GitHub but rather a competitor (that also offers SVN as they weren't using git at the time).

All my personal projects, public or private, are self hosted.

Comment Re:Translation ... (Score 1) 145

If you're bringing up CVS in a conversation about Git, you still have a lot to learn.

Given your mention of Canvas, my guess is you probably work IT in higher ed. I do (as of more recent years) and my general impression is that everyone is stuck on decades old technology that wasn't even that great when it was new (i.e.: COBOL reports, SQR, Pro*C, etc). I don't even know what half the crap is, to be honest. However, I'm doing my damndest to drag us somewhere close to state of the art and I'm the only one who uses revision control at all. The heel dragging and resistance to change is incredibile. In fact, at this university the amount of paper still involved in IT of all things is just stupid.

Comment No (Score 1) 1163

Actually, we highly prefer them to be mature, educated, and capable of independent and reasoned thought. Why? Because it's not a Good Thing when PVT Joe Snuffy misplaces an encrypted radio set, rolls a million dollar armored vehicle full of troops, or discharges his weapon at the wrong time. Naturally we still get a lot of knuckleheads and young or not, they are probably the most difficult to "mold" and most in need of doing exactly what they are told and nothing more.

Of course, you and those that modded you up are in no danger of finding yourselves anywhere close to a battlefield (or a multitude of infinitely less exciting places), so you wouldn't know that.

Comment Re: Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1163

I reckon an active shooter standing in a crowd becomes a clear target very quickly as the people around him either 1) get shot and fall down, or 2) run away. There's a lot more than "zero chance".

Though not quite the same situation, my personal anecdote is of an incident a few years back at my local grocery store where a man went on a knifing spree at the exit. He only managed to stab two people before being stopped by a shopper carrying a concealed pistol. Although in this case, the assailant was not shot and surrendered instead. I would say there were many people grateful for the armed shopper that day.

How about we not have a war on inanimate objects and instead focus on preventing mentally disturbed people from committing random acts of violence?

Comment Make PII Go Away (Score 4, Insightful) 161

It is high time the abuse of the Social Security Number ended. SSNs should be used for one thing: Social Security. Using a single "secret number" is an archaic system that for increasing numbers of people is no longer secret. Let's not forget all your other details which are used to identify you but aren't really that secret (your full name, your birthday, etc).

This information is used for identifying a person or proving identity so it's an authentication problem. We can do better! We have public key encryption. The government issues you a key pair (say, embedded into a photo ID, which we all have already) and now you can prove your identity without giving someone an irrevocable secret.

Authentication is also two factor: You have an ID and you know a PIN (or passphrase). If you lose your card, then your identity is not immediately compromised because it is protected by your PIN. This gives you time to have the gov't revoke your old key pair and issue you a new one.

In the case of the credit bureaus (I think we can all safely assume credit isn't going away any time soon), they associate your credit history with your public key and nothing else. If the key is revoked (by the gov't), then they move your file to the new key. No one can take out credit using the old key. In fact, any attempt could be reported to law enforcement.

The entire US Department of Defense has been using a system like this for years now and has by and large done away with things like passwords and hand signatures, especially for the things that matter most.

Is this completely foolproof to prevent someone impersonating you? No, but it is much better than having your SSN and other PII out on some forum where just anyone can use it for nefarious purposes and would be well worth its cost and complexity. The greatest obstacle is the credit bureaus having nothing to gain in actually protecting their "customers'" data because then to whom will they sell credit monitoring?

Comment Re:Vikings has ruined GoT for me and a big part of (Score 1) 90

I think Shakespeare would have found your argument very nice. Shakespeare wrote in (Early) Modern English and thus is not terribly hard to understand, but still the language has changed since his time and in some subtle ways too. I think you also overestimate the grasp of more archaic forms of English by the average English speaker. Erroneous usage from a cursory search:

"Here thou haveth two tokens .. Enjoy thine stay!" source

"Aye, I knowst 'bout the History .. I wast intrested to know .. Thank thou, Madam Camorea." source

Like nails on a frickin' chalkboard. And sadly not at all hard to find.

Comment Re:Vikings has ruined GoT for me and a big part of (Score 1) 90

The book cites several other sources that are in agreement with its thesis (but claims they are not comprehensive enough). Care to cite the "mainstream linguistic opinion" that they were not mutually intelligible? The link I provided was from a cursory search. I read another book arguing for mutual intelligibility but I have forgotten what it was (this was some 10 years ago). I found it very informative at the time as I wouldn't have guessed at the premise that Anglo-Saxons and "vikings" (not just raiders but also traders) were communicating with each other using their own respective language.

There is more to language names than the content and structure of language. Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian are still mutually intelligible, yet I think the speakers of those languages would take strong issue with someone wanting to lump each language under one name simply because they are mutually intelligible. Political boundaries, culture, even religion can call for a different name for a language.

Furthermore, it is well known that people alter their register to facilitate communication, especially when speaking two differing varieties. If an American and a Scotsman are speaking, they each tend to avoid terms and sayings that are specific to their own variety that the other is unlikely to understand. The same goes for the Scandinavians: Word choice and grammar are carefully chosen so that the listener will understand.

The same concept applies to Old English versus Old Norse. It is quite possible to pick vocabulary and sentence structure using what we know of each language to produce phrases that are extremely similar to eachother. I don't think anyone is claiming that any valid Old Norse sentence would be understood by Old English speakers and vice versa

Comment Re:Vikings has ruined GoT for me and a big part of (Score 1) 90

There is significant evidence that Old English and Old Norse were to a certain extent mutually intelligible. Unfortunately, a number of scenes in Vikings fall flat on their face if you are aware of this.

Also the pronunciation of Old English in the show is rather poor. You would think they would have consulted someone on it but it is obvious that they did not considering the repeated mispronounciation of the vowel 'æ' and 'g' before front vowels. I give them some credit for trying though.

Comment Re:Worthless (Score 1) 163

Mod parent up. I had no clue what the author of the linked article was trying to say and stopped reading it as soon as I got to the link to the above article. It was like a breath of fresh air. Why people have to layer on a bullshit summary "article" when the original source is perfectly readable, I find baffling.

Uncertain fortune is thoroughly mastered by the equity of the calculation. - Blaise Pascal