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Comment: Re:This is not how you inspire confidence (Score 2) 151

by Jonathan C. Patschke (#47470777) Attached to: LibreSSL PRNG Vulnerability Patched

In this particular case, yes. There will always be non-exploitable bugs.

The problem is that when you begin to dismiss bugs as non-exploitable (whether you've fixed them or not) and their reports as "overblown," you put yourself in the unfortunate position of only needing to be wrong once. Specifically, dismissing bug reports with the notion that the bug would never be exploitable—not because the bug is "beyond the airtight hatchway," but because no one would be dumb enough to write an application in a particularly boneheaded way discounts decades of examples of people writing software in amazingly boneheaded ways.

Whether it's true or not (and, in this case, it seems true), this is not a way to inspire confidence, and an SSL implementation needs every bit as much community confidence as it does technical correctness.

Robotics

Texas Declares War On Robots 387

Posted by Soulskill
from the robots-suffer-texas's-shenanigans...-for-now dept.
Mr_Blank writes "Organizations like the EFF and ACLU have been raising the alarm over increased government surveillance of U.S. citizens. Legislators haven't been quick to respond to concerns of government spying on citizens. But Texas legislators are apparently quite concerned that private citizens operating hobby drones might spot environmental violations by businesses. Representative Lance Gooden has introduced HB912 which proposes: 'A person commits an offense if the person uses or authorizes the use of an unmanned vehicle or aircraft to capture an image without the express consent of the person who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image. ('Image' is defined as including any type of recorded telemetry from sensors that measure sound waves, thermal, infrared, ultraviolet, visible light, or other electromagnetic waves, odor, or other conditions.)' Can you foresee any unintended consequences if this proposal becomes law?" Another reader notes that New Hampshire has introduced a similar bill: "Neal Kurk, a Republican member of New Hampshire's House of Representatives knows that those drones present a growing privacy concern, and in response has introduced a bill that would ban all aerial photography in the state. That is, unless you're working for the government. The bill, HB 619-FN (PDF), is blessedly short, and I suggest reading the whole thing for yourself." Here's part of the bill: "A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly creates or assists in creating an image of the exterior of any residential dwelling in this state where such image is created by or with the assistance of a satellite, drone, or any device that is not supported by the ground."
Transportation

Hyundai Overstated MPG On Over 1 Million Cars 238

Posted by timothy
from the or-maybe-600-thousand-whatever dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Reuters reports that Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors conceded that they overstated the fuel economy on more than 1 million recently sold vehicles, and agreed to compensate owners for the additional fuel costs after the EPA found the errors in 13 Kia and Hyundai models from the 2011 to 2013 model years. The findings were a blow to the two carmakers, which have centered their marketing campaigns on superior fuel economy. The mileage on most labels will be reduced by 1 to 2 miles per gallon, with the largest adjustment being a 6-mpg highway reduction for one version of the Kia Soul, the EPA said. Hyundai previously touted the fact that many of its models get 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Now three Hyundai models, the Elantra, Accent and Veloster, as well as the Kia Rio fall short of that mark, as will the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima hybrids."

Comment: Re:That's strangely sane and oddly normal. (Score 1) 229

by Jonathan C. Patschke (#41329977) Attached to: French Court Levies First Fine Under 3-Strikes Piracy Law

The person penalized did, or allowed to be done, something illegal but not especially malicious or very damaging. They face a penalty which will certainly be unwelcome and which will probably encourage them to act within the law. No huge court case, no lives wrecked, no lawyers riding the gravy train. *This is how a legal system is supposed to be.*

Granted, that's a far sight better than how things are here in the US, but to say that's how things are "supposed to be" is aiming pretty low. That's still a legal system that spends taxpayer money to defend the "property" of copyright holders from nebulous threats, and punishes people for activities that have no provable harm to anyone. Wouldn't it be far more preferable to have a system that spends its time restituting actual victims instead of collecting arbitrary fines from people who aren't hurting anyone, perhaps a system that considered impact instead of looking at who's coloring outside the lines drawn by politicians?

I will furthermore submit that "The Rule of Law" will always be "The Rule of Lawyers" so long as the lawyers are the ones constructing laws prohibiting whatever behavior the well-connected consider inappropriate.

Comment: Re:It depends - Sticktion Y2K Repair (Score 1) 504

by Jonathan C. Patschke (#40812057) Attached to: Can a Regular Person Repair a Damaged Hard Drive?

"Back in the day" (mid-90s) when that was more common, the term for it was "stiction." I don't know if it's less common these days because disk mechanisms are more reliable, the lubricants are better, or machines have much shorter average service lifetimes.

SGI field-service engineers actually had a rubber mallet specifically dedicated to coaxing stictioned drives to run for long enough to get the data off them. The Micropolis disks they shipped in their workstations back then were notorious for that (among many other problems). The company I worked for at the time had such a service call, and the technician told me that the hard part wasn't getting the disk running again, but convincing the disk that whanging the disk with a hammer was a sane thing to do!

Medicine

How Doctors Die 646

Posted by timothy
from the self-healing-fail dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Dr. Ken Murray, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at USC, writes that doctors don't die like the rest of us. What's unusual about doctors is not how much treatment they get when faced with death themselves, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves because they know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. 'Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call "futile care" being performed on people,' writes Murray. 'What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist. I cannot count the number of times fellow physicians have told me, in words that vary only slightly, "Promise me if you find me like this that you'll kill me."' Feeding into the problem are unrealistic expectations of what doctors can accomplish. Many people think of CPR as a reliable lifesaver when, in fact, the results are usually poor. If a patient suffers from severe illness, old age, or a terminal disease, the odds of a good outcome from CPR are infinitesimal, while the odds of suffering are overwhelming."

Comment: Re:Actually sounds interesting... (Score 3, Informative) 83

by Jonathan C. Patschke (#38376764) Attached to: Book Review: The Economics of Software Quality
Have you heard of the Software Engineering Radio podcast? I've been listening to it for a few years, and I really enjoy it—even if I don't share Markus' enthusiasm for model-driven software. The web site is at http://www.se-radio.net/, and even the back issues are worth listening to (processes don't get dated nearly as rapidly as tools).
Censorship

Iran Shuts Down US Virtual Embassy 451

Posted by samzenpus
from the close-it-down dept.
bonch writes "Less than 12 hours after the U.S. launched a virtual embassy for Iran, the Iranian government blocked access to the website, directing visitors to a government page proclaiming the site illegal. The White House condemned the move, calling Iran's internet policies 'an electronic curtain of surveillance and censorship around its people.'"
Censorship

15 Years In Jail For Clicking 'Like' 449

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-is-not-the-way dept.
patiwat writes "Thailand has warned Facebook users that they could face 3 to 15 years in jail if they press 'share' or 'like' on images or articles considered unflattering to the Thai monarchy. And it doesn't just apply to Thai subjects: a U.S. citizen was arrested and convicted while visiting Thailand for posting a link to an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol on his blog. Convictions for virtual lese majeste have sky-rocketed in recent years as efforts to defend the widely revered royal family from criticism have ramped up."
Firefox

Firefox 8.0 Beta Available 305

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-day-another-version dept.
An anonymous reader tips news that Mozilla has released the beta version of Firefox 8, only a few days after going live with the final version of Firefox 7. According to the announcement, the big changes this time around include the ability to use Twitter as a default search engine, more versatility in restoring tabs on startup, and improved user control over add-ons. "Users will receive a one-time notification to review and confirm third party add-ons they want to keep, disable or delete. When Firefox starts and finds that a third-party program has installed an add-on, Firefox will disable the add-on until the user has explicitly opted in, giving users better control over their Web experience."

Comment: They're ALL Betas (Score 5, Informative) 237

by Jonathan C. Patschke (#37145166) Attached to: Firefox 7.0 Beta Released

From the big Bugzilla thread about version numbers earlier this week:

Users cannot sit on Firefox 4.x They will be updated to the latest version when they open the About dialog (or sooner) because all* but the current Firefox release are unsupported versions in the new rapid release cycle. Those not current versions do not not get critical security updates except via the current version. Firefox users will not be spread across Firefox 4, 5, 6, etc. They will be on the latest version or they will be about to be on the latest version.

Effective expiration, lack of bugfixes, and rapidly replaced by newer versions with bugfixes? By any practical definition, there is no stable version. They're all betas from here onwards. The whole notion of a release isn't that it's bug-free, but that it's supported for a reasonably-long period of time.

Crime

First PS3 Jailbreaker Arrested In South Africa 119

Posted by timothy
from the how-quaintly-soviet-of-them dept.
GusGous writes "South African newspaper Beeld reports that the first person known to be arrested for jailbreaking the Playstation 3 was arrested in Parktown, Johannesburg today. This raid was conducted by the South African Police Service's Commercial Crime Unit, after receiving criminal complaints from the South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT). Members of the police were assisted by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Computer Forensics Lab. The police confiscated goods of around R100 000 (14000 USD)." See also this story in Afrikaans; Google translation.

Comment: Re:St. Reagan (Score 1) 788

by Jonathan C. Patschke (#36943832) Attached to: Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...

One of the few constants in government is the "It's not <bad-thing> when we do it" trope.

Asset forfeiture? It's not stealing when we do it. Beating an unarmed man because he was videotaping police misconduct? It's not battery when we do it. Shooting a deaf whittler in the back? It's not murder when we do it.

The opposition party always does thoughtless, foolhardy, destructive, tyrannical things. However, they're not bad when we do them. "Small government" Republicans got the country further into debt in the last ten years than it'd been in fifty, and "peace prize" Democrats still wage war overseas. Thugs, the whole lot of them.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler

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