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Comment: Re:Hi I'm Patrick (Score 2) 124

allows anybody to inject unsigned code into internet downloads. Then, even if the user has set Gatekeeper to only allow code from the Mac App Store, the unsigned code is allowed to run

Wrong. Anyone can inject code into any data stream trivially. It's getting it to run that's the tricky part. How exactly are you going to do that? If the code that's performing the download is in on the plot, then fine, but a) you would have to get that code past the App Store review, and b) you would have to expect Apple to revoke your signature with maximum prejudice the moment you were caught, and c) you would still have to work around the sandboxing all App Store apps require to do anything truly nasty. Getting an innocent app to run the injected code is another option, but that's back to requiring some other known exploit, such as a buffer overrun.

The short answer is: injecting the code isn't the problem, getting it to run undetected is.

Comment: Tablets not as useful as expected (Score 2) 393

by GrahamCox (#49541843) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says
Anecdotally, I'm hearing a lot of people lately wishing they'd bought a small laptop instead of a tablet. It's the typing that's the main problem it would seem. Sure, you can use a bluetooth keyboard with most tablets, but having it right there built-in is a lot more convenient. Combined with the drop off in sales of tablets, it might suggest that the tablet "era" ends up short-lived and will turn into a resurgence for full-fledged laptops.

Apple seem to be aware of this as well, with their latest Macbook Air being only slightly larger and heavier than an iPad but with a usable keyboard.

People are now used to devices with few to no ports, and connecting to everything wirelessly. The days of chunky laptops that have CD burners, ports galore and are nearly an inch-thick are long gone, but lightweight laptops that are really like super tablets seem to be the future.

Comment: Re:~1500 App Developers wasted their time (Score 4, Insightful) 73

by GrahamCox (#49525705) Attached to: Networking Library Bug Breaks HTTPS In ~1,500 iOS Apps
iOS 2.0 added NSURLConnection. iOS 7 added NSURLSession. Downloading chunks of data and saving them to a file is trivial with the latter, still pretty easy with the former. I'm not sure what you needed to do prior to iOS 2, but that's ancient history - I doubt anyone is still supporting back that far. Point is, using a 3rd party library today when there are straightforward classes to do it in Foundation that have been debugged already by Apple (and will continue to be so) is the only really sensible option. Even if you're writing cross-platform it's easy enough to create equivalent objects you can interface to that wrap other networking solutions on non-iOS devices.

Comment: ~1500 App Developers wasted their time (Score 3, Informative) 73

by GrahamCox (#49525549) Attached to: Networking Library Bug Breaks HTTPS In ~1,500 iOS Apps
iOS has perfectly functional networking libraries and simple objects that provide an API to them. Why anyone would bother linking in a 3rd party library to replicate that functionality I can't understand. If a vulnerability were found in the iOS libraries, Apple could roll out an update and fix it overnight. As it is, that's ~1500 apps need to be revved.

Comment: Re:Just what we need... (Score 1) 142

by GrahamCox (#49426245) Attached to: Stanford Develops Fast-Charging, Stable Aluminum Battery
run a single number to back up your prejudices

How ironic that you decide to take me to task on this - a person who is actually a builder of EVs and a great believer in the benefits of an electric power-train. My point was merely that the OP's claim that petroleum-powered vehicles is the biggest source of carbon pollution is a pile of crap, as your own quoted figures demonstrate. If every car on the planet were replaced overnight by an EV, carbon pollution would not change significantly, and in any case that could never happen.

Of course EVs are the way forward for cars, and I'd love to see it - the sooner the better. But in the real world things change slowly for all sorts of reasons - technology being only one small component of that. You even make the point yourself about the "greening of the electrical supply" - which was exactly a point I was trying to make as well! By the time we're all driving EVs, other factors will be in play that complicate the picture - probably for the better. Hell, the fusion problem could be cracked by then making the whole fossil fuel vs. "alternative" argument go away.

Comment: Re:Just what we need... (Score 1) 142

by GrahamCox (#49420529) Attached to: Stanford Develops Fast-Charging, Stable Aluminum Battery
gasoline-powered cars, which is easily the biggest source of our carbon pollution

Nope, not even close. If you want to make an argument, don't just pull crap out of your arse - it just makes you look dumb.

I do agree our addiction to fossil fuels is a huge problem, but moving to EV cars now won't make one jot of difference, because the electricity we use to charge them comes from... fossil fuels. Of course it's easier to replace fixed generating plants with alternative energy, so EV cars will get greener over time as that transition is made. But right now, buying an EV just to claim green credentials is largely an illusion.

Comment: Start Scratch (Score 1) 277

The "app" Start Scratch is a scam, in my opinion. My daughter (9) is quite keen on programming using Hopscotch on the iPad, but it is very limited at the moment. At school, she's been introduced to Scratch which can do a lot more, so I figured that it would be good to get Scratch for the iPad so she can use it at home. So I do a search on the iOS App Store and find Start Scratch, which appeared to be the Scratch environment as an iOS app. So I bought and paid the $1.49 - admittedly not a lot. But after some time trying to use it, it dawned on us that it is merely a welcome mat for the Scratch website, and not an actual programming environment at all. It's not even a good front end for the website! And it turns out that Scratch requires Flash, so it can not actually be used with the iPad or any iOS device at all. Totally and completely useless.

I didn't complain because I felt it was as much my own fault for assuming that the app did something useful, since Scratch is otherwise a trustworthy name. Fool me once...

Comment: Re:What? (Score 3, Informative) 142

by GrahamCox (#49406977) Attached to: Microsoft Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Windows had a colour graphics API; the Macs of the period were still black and white

Nope. Colour Quickdraw was written in 1985 and shipped with the first Mac II in 1986. It had a full colour RGB model, though initially only had 256 colour hardware - 32-bit hardware came in 1987. Even the original "black-and-white" Quickdraw had a simple colour model to support colour printing on Apple's dot-matrix printer.

You could also do colour graphics on a C64, BBC Micro and ZX Spectrum (hint - the name "Spectrum" was for that very reason). Rewrite history all you like - some might even believe it - but there are plenty of us still around that actually remember how it was.

Comment: UI Needs to compete? (Score 5, Insightful) 24

by GrahamCox (#49394709) Attached to: Coding For Cars: The Next Generation of Mobile Apps
the user interface needs to compete

No. A thousand times no. The UI of in-car equipment must not compete in any way for the driver's attention. A good UI would require no sight at all, but would provide a consistent placement, easy to find without taking your eyes off the key task you have as a driver - driving, provide consistent and non-visual feedback, and work 100% reliably every time. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... the "switch".

Comment: Re:As long as it's not windy (Score 1) 140

by GrahamCox (#49388785) Attached to: World's Largest Aircraft Seeks Investors To Begin Operation
Point is though, that an airship (or any aircraft) is only actually useful if it makes some progress OVER THE GROUND. So sure, it doesn't need more power to maintain a particular airspeed, put it does to actually get somewhere in a headwind. And with that huge frontal area, that's a lot of drag to overcome.

Comment: As long as it's not windy (Score 3, Informative) 140

by GrahamCox (#49384051) Attached to: World's Largest Aircraft Seeks Investors To Begin Operation
Most people seem to focus on the safety of airships, in the light of the Hindenburg, R101, etc. Surely a more significant problem is the wind? Any amount of wind is going to make landing and takeoff hazardous, and making much headway against a strong headwind is going to take a lot of power with that much windage. Good luck to them, maybe there are enough fair-weather opportunities to make it pay, but this aspect is seemingly never discussed.

Comment: MRSA != Golden Staph (Score 4, Informative) 124

by GrahamCox (#49382495) Attached to: Thousand-Year-Old Eye Salve Kills MRSA
Staphylococcus Aureus, aka "Golden staph" is not exactly synonymous with MRSA. The MR part means 'Methicillin Resistant', which is a mutated form of SA that can't be killed with Methicillin, a common antibiotic. SA is extremely common - it's everywhere, all over your skin, right now. It's only dangerous if it starts to infect a wound and gets into the bloodstream. Most SA will still respond to antibiotics, only the MRSA strain won't. But this strain is still thankfully fairly rare, though it's a growing problem. One solution would be for everyone to stop taking antibiotics for minor ailments such as the common cold which it does nothing for, but adds a lot of unnecessary antibiotics to the environment, thus prompting common bacteria such as SA to evolve into the MRSA form. If we lose the benefit of antibiotics, it will be a disaster, and we can thank all the stupid people for that.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin