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'Legitimized' Cyberwar Opens Pandora's Box of Dirty Tricks 134

DillyTonto writes "U.S. officials have acknowledged playing a role in the development and deployment of Stuxnet, Duqu and other cyberweapons against Iran. The acknowledgement makes cyberattacks more legitimate as a tool of not-quite-lethal international diplomacy. It also legitimizes them as more-combative tools for political conflict over social issues, in the same way Tasers gave police less-than-lethal alternatives to shooting suspects and gave those who abuse their power something other than a club to hit a suspect with. Political parties and single-issue political organizations already use 'opposition research' to name-and-shame their opponents with real or exaggerated revelations from a checkered past, jerrymander districts to ensure their candidates a victory and vote-suppression or get-out-the-vote efforts to skew vote tallies. Imagine what they'll do with custom malware, the ability to DDOS an opponent's web site or redirect donations from an opponent's site to their own. Cyberweapons may give nations a way to attack enemies without killing anyone. They'll definitely give domestic political groups a whole new world of dirty tricks to play."

Comment Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 72

When a gui editor can create easily read code that loads faster than something I can do in the same amount of time with notepad

Notepad? Seriously? I mean, I can understand not wanting to use a GUI editor since they all suck, but you're only hurting yourself if you insist on using the second most primitive tool available. (Why not go the whole hog and use EDLIN?)

There are a whole load of things in between that provide conveniences like indentation, tag/attribute completion, on-the-fly validation, etc while still letting you write the HTML yourself the way you want it. You should be using one. It will make you more productive and increase the quality of the web pages you produce; and if you are really refusing to do so, then you, sir/madam, are no more a professional than a "carpenter" would be who insisted on planing wood with a sharpened screwdriver.

Comment Re:Not smart Enough? (Score 1) 1276

What's the problem with that?

It is 2012, not 1962. Am I seriously reading someone asking what the problem would be with disenfranchising "impoverished and minority voters"?

A few of the poor might be civically involved and responsible, such as yourself.

"I say, boy! You are not like those other poors who are all lazy and stupid! Well done. Have a pat on the head."

But on the average, poor people have been shown to have bad decision-making skills.

By whom? Citations please, preferably to studies that show that middle- and upper-income people are significantly better at making decisions. (Because it sure looks like a lot of rich folk have made some pretty shitty decisions recently. It wasn't poor people who invented subprime mortgages!)

Or do you mean that it's self-evident from the fact that they're poor? Because that would be your privilege talking, not your brain. It is not, in general, straightforward to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps. Being able to make good decisions doesn't help if none of the available options is good.

Also, "minority"? Are you serious?

I don't know about hir, but I am. Yes, of the people receiving state support in the USA today, proportionally more are from minority backgrounds, and skewing the voter pool in favor of the majority ethnic group would be a problem.

You're playing the structural racism card, and that's not a healthy way to play.

Why not? Structural racism is a thing. Pointing out that the policy you are advocating would be a terrible idea because it would disproportionately disenfranchise people who already suffer from the racism endemic in this nation is hardly unhealthy. It's ignoring the problem that would be unhealthy.

Oh no, we can't increase our standards, or else a group that is disproportionately represented in the lower score will be disadvantaged.

Come back and try this argument again when you have a shred of evidence that shows that letting poor people vote is bad for democracy.

Oh, and you're a racist, because the only logical conclusion of your argument is that white people are smarter than any other race. Burned any good crosses lately?

Played one way, why can't they be like Asians, who suffered prejudice and came out ahead?

"Gee whillikers them yellers sure are smart, ain't they? Damn good at math I tell you! And they work real hard, not like those lazy nigfood stamp recipients! Nosiree I am not racist what made you think that."

Played another way, why don't we extend the franchise to undocumented Hispanics, who may have just as much stake in our country as we do?

Good idea. Why not?

Comment Re:get over it (Score 1) 582

ultimately these restrictions serve no real purpose and just waste a lot of money in the form of time lost by both IT, administrative and research staff.

I'd be interested to see what evidence you have to support this claim. Dealing with e.g. the malware infestations and DMCA threats inevitably caused by people taking advantage of a network not blocking sketchy websites would probably also waste a lot of money and time.

Are you really claiming that there are more researchers legitimately investigating porn websites than there are horny frat boys who just want to jerk off in their dorm rooms and then steal a movie for later? More software companies who have not figured out a better way to deliver their product than emailing it to random employees than random employees who would install every "screensaver" emailed to them by a criminal? Really? Because that sure sounds pretty implausible to me.

Comment Re:There is no Microsoft Tax (Score 1) 475

Random Online Comp Shop Inc. isn't going to get the volume license discount that Dell/Lenovo get for shipping millions of licenses

See my post below. HP considers the additional cost of an OEM Windows license to be US$75 (Home Premium) or $100 (Professional).

Last I checked, HP was the single biggest PC manufacturer in the world. If there's a good volume discount going, I'm guessing they get it.

Now, maybe HP don't add as much crapware as more consumer-focused OEMs. But, well, I don't know how much the shovelware authors pay for each installation, but I really doubt it's more than a few dollars at most per program, and even Dell doesn't ship that many programs. They won't be offsetting a full $100 by any means. That, my friend is why the Microsoft tax is a real thing that costs real people real money if they don't want to use Windows. And that's terrible.

Comment Re:There is no Microsoft Tax (Score 5, Informative) 475

Does anyone honestly think that retailers would charge you $50 less (or whatever the cost of the Windows License is, probably closer to $15) if Windows wasn't installed?

Well, how about we ask the retailers?

I am looking right now at HP's "configure your laptop" screen in their online store.

The OS selection options they are offering me are:

  • Genuine Windows 7 Professional 32 [add $0.00]
  • Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64
  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 [subtract $25.00]
  • FreeDOS [subtract $100.00]

So, if you are right - if the cost of a Windows license is just $15 or so, there is no Microsoft tax, and computers are subsidized by Windows-only crapware - why is HP willing to refund me $100 on the spot if I choose not to have Windows?

I await your explanation with interest.

Comment Re:Not a language problem (Score 1) 145

That's the precise problem. 1. the language was never designed, it accreted, and is mathematlcally impossible to describe fully in most sensible formats. 2. we can't throw it away because there's billions of words of text in it accumulated over ten years. 3. we can't throw it away because the existing editor base demand it stay because they're used to it.

Wait, are you talking about MediaWiki templating or PHP?


Microsoft Releases Kinect For Windows 130

nk497 writes "Microsoft has released Kinect for Windows, featuring a new "near mode" that lets the gesture control tech be used as close as 40cm. The Kinect for Windows hardware will retail at $249 — well above the price of the version for Xbox 360 consoles. Microsoft defended the price difference, saying sales of games and Xbox Live subscriptions help subsidize the console version. The new version will support Windows 7 and the Windows 8 developer preview, as well as Windows Embedded 7 devices."

Comment Re:You're being silly (Score 1) 765

The ruling class of Japan is freaking the fuck out because they can't get their people to have kids.

That would be because the ruling class of Japan is a bunch of racists obsessed with the purity of Japanese blood.

So is a good chunk of Europe.

See above, but substitute "European culture".

Stop giving them fodder for their factories and machines.

And watch in amazement as they simply loosen immigration restrictions instead, and millions of Mexicans gladly rush northwards to a better life!

Seriously, the only reason Japan is hurting is because they make it so damn difficult for anyone else to settle there (even Chinese and Koreans, let alone anyone with a different eye shape or skin color), and the only reason western Europe is hurting is because so many of the immigrants offering cheap labor have the unfortunate habit of wearing a turban or headscarf. But it's the poor people in America who are virulently racist against Latin@s, not the rich ...


Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace To Google: Don't Be Evil 208

An anonymous reader writes "Over the weekend, Blake Ross, Facebook's product director and co-founder of Firefox, worked with Facebook engineers Tom Occhino and Marshall Roch to demonstrate how evil they think Google's newly launched Search plus Your World (SPYW) feature really is, and created a 'proof of concept' showing how it should really work. His team got some help from Twitter engineers and Myspace engineers, and consulted other social networks as well to really make sure the message hits home: SPYW should surface results from all social networks, not just Google+. By leveraging Google's own algorithms, the group built a bookmarklet called 'don't be evil' (a jab at Google's informal motto) and released it on a new website named Focus on the User."

Comment Who can guess? (Score 3, Insightful) 201

If I were to die today, most of my recent stuff would die with me, but my older offline backups are still unencrypted. And goodness knows what Google and Facebook would do with the stuff they have.

But supposing I live a normal lifespan, who has a clue? My data storage and privacy habits have changed unrecognizably in the last decade, just as they changed unrecognizably in the decade before that and the decade before that. Who knows what the next decade will bring, let alone the next 50-70 years, assuming that no medical breakthroughs in that time extend my life even further?

Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?