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Comment: Re:If Bill Gates likes it (Score 1) 130

by Burz (#48064453) Attached to: Bill Gates: Bitcoin Is 'Better Than Currency'

Then clearly there are problems.

You say that in jest. But Gates did help invent the high-consumption culture we have today, or at least he brought it to computing. For much of his reign at Microsoft, the average lifespan of a PC was 3 years.

Bitcoin appears to have its own 'consumerist innovation' built-in, in that it takes escalating amounts of computing power (and therefore, resources) to 'mine' the currency and validate its transactions (which aren't even anonymous or proof against establishment meddling as many have claimed).

Comment: Re:This idiocy again (Score 1) 602

by Burz (#48012039) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

Indeed. Believing this garbage is a real black mark on /., IMO, alongside their predilection for publishing climate denier "controversy" alongside quality news about global warming.

The incandescent bulb is a balancing act between efficiency (from high temperature) and longevity. By standardizing on one temperature, they ensured not only that their bulbs wouldn't produce odd color casts, but also no surprises on the electric bill, or surprise blown fuses, or surprise house/workshop fires while trying to get enough lumens for good illumination.

'Techies' have a very tenuous grasp of physics these days.

Comment: Re:Why Facebook or Google? (Score 2) 116

by Burz (#47733401) Attached to: NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

Of course, it won't work.

OTOH, Skype and Bittorrent had successful models for scaling up: People were configured by default to add their bandwidth to the pool. In bittorrent's case, your throughput suffered if you were stingy about contributing.

I2P is probably the closest networking layer there is to combining the goals of Tor with the methods of Skype and bittorrent. It is both highly decentralized and onion-like, and has been steadily improving for well over a decade now. If you happen to have a TAILS disc, its included. However, its not designed to access the regular Internet so much as replace it.

Comment: For posterity - (Score 2) 218

by Burz (#47589133) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

Here is a 2006 article about the IGT Taxibus concept. It definitely wasn't conceived in Northern California air, but in the UK (circa 2001 IIRC).

The problem was they approached municipalities with the idea and no large cities climbed on board. So now the cities have to face the likes of Uber and Lyft who, I predict, will not collectively reach the scale needed to apreciably reduce traffic congestion (one of the aims of IGT). Combine that with no regulation and a consumer protection model that amounts to Yelp.com, and I'll guess that Uber and Lyft will in 7 years be less of a joke and more of a way to elict negative reactions from people (assuming you momentarily lack the gas to fart).

Comment: Re:Good Thing (Score 1) 195

by Burz (#47587235) Attached to: Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

That's not even a carbon tax. There has been a debate amoung environmentalists whether to support cap-and-trade or a tax, with those favoring the latter pointing out the same dysfunction you have.

However, another poster pointed out that cap-and-trade can be made to work. Overall, I think it depends on both the magnitude of the proposal, and the level of corruption in the political economy ...and neither of those factors is looking good in the 21st century.

Comment: Re:USB 4.x to offer signed USB device signatures?? (Score 1) 205

by Burz (#47581273) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

Then the criminals will figure out how to falsify the signature with the bad firmware anyway.

Not if the user/admin gets to sign the devices (e.g. when they are initially purchased). Or... why not design the devices to carry multiple signatures (including but not limited to the manufacturer)??

Comment: Re:Do I need to be concerned about this? (Score 1) 205

by Burz (#47581245) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

Thankfully, it is possible to secure USB in a less extreme way. An OS like Qubes that can configure devices for automatic reassignment to an unpriviliged domain (i.e. virtual machine) can protect the hypervisor, BIOS, etc. from incidental attachment of malicious USB devices.

Currently, a Qubes user/admin can do this from the GUI on a per-USB-controller basis, but in future will be able to employ Xen PVUSB functionality to manage USB on a per-device basis.

Comment: Re:If you pay... (Score 1) 15

Are they addressing people's problems, or creating gadgets for elite techies? There is a huge ongoing crisis in personal computing because we have an Internet that (understandably) assumes endpoint security, but those points (PCs and mobile) are collections of black-box proprietary chips.

I have recommended running Qubes OS as a way to mitigate the security shortfall created by run-of-the-mill PCs and software, but that leaves us with the problem of trusting hardware designed and produced by a handful of large corporations who are increasingly willing to shaft their customers. Privacy and security are exchanged for maintaining a close relationship with the military-industrial complex (or police surveillance state, depending from which angle you prefer to view it).

In short, open PC hardware should be a priority for the open source community if not the IT industry as a whole. What are open hardware people doing about it?

Comment: Formal verification (Score 1) 129

by Burz (#47460819) Attached to: Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

Why indeed would Mozilla waste their resources on this when stability and security on web clients ought to be their greater concern?

If it were up to me, I would start with self-contained date formats like JPEG that browsers handle frequently, and put that code through a formal verification process. Eventually, maybe even HTML rendering and the browser could be subject to formal verification. This could strengthen computer security dramatically.

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