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Comment These are gateways to hack wealthy people (Score 1) 88

Just as only wealthy ancient Romans could afford lead pipes, only wealthy individuals now can afford these silly expensive "connected/smart" appliances, so we're in an odd situation where being well off affords you much more risk of being hacked. Everyone else will be just fine with their hardwired home controls.

Comment Re: Two different requirements (Score 1) 456

That's true, and why Blackberries continue to hang on in work environments. They are productive little tools. However, things changed for Blackberry (RIM) when people's friends started pulling out iPhones at dinner and laughing at their friend's clunky Blackberry. Suddenly executives wanted iPhones even though you can't type quite as fast on them, the integration to Exchange wasn't as good (at the time) and security was arguably better with a Blackberry (though they may have been wrong about that). The fact is, people tell me dumb things about their phones all the time, and none of it's about usefulness, it's all about whiz-bang and flashy "cool" stuff. Oh, and how many gigs of data they have and how much they're paying for it. That's fine, but it's not why I want a phone. I mainly just need calendar/reminders and the ability to make a phone call in an emergency. GPS app is useful. People disappear into the bathroom for 30 to 60 minutes with their phone. It's just entertainment and distraction, not productivity.

Comment Two different requirements (Score 1) 456

Windows will continue to sell on the desktop as long as they remember to keep it productive. I need Windows so I can get work done. On the other hand, phone interfaces sell the majority of their devices by appealing to the part of the consumer's brain that wants to pull one out at dinner and have their acquaintances ooh and ahh over it. Windows is for getting work done, and smartphones are for getting laid. Two very different requirements.

Comment Boring... (Score 4, Insightful) 91

This is spoken like someone who's never been to a race. The cars (while mostly old technology) are being pushed to the edge and the drivers are in the car so if something goes wrong, they could, and have, been killed. The engines are powerful enough that the ground shakes. Look, I'm not a huge fan of NASCAR, but even I can see what the draw is, and I just don't see it with drone racing. I'm not saying drone racing won't have an audience, but looking at NASCAR for inspiration doesn't make much sense.

Comment Re:Peak CGI (Score 1) 232

All you have to do is compare Transformers 1 to Transformers 4. The first one is actually an enjoyable movie. The fourth starts out OK, but 2/3 of the way through it doesn't even have any plot consistency left (why is that girl in that car again?) and it's simply big CGI with thing that I don't care about being blown up. Same with the newer Superman movie... invincible people fighting each other is boring, no matter how many buildings they throw each other through.

Comment Re:Well, that was surprisingly boring. (Score 1) 62

It was a loop. Scary shit. At least it wasn't recursive wooOOOooOOoooooo

Recursion in original BASIC is complicated by the fact that all variables are global. You can GOSUB to your same subroutine, but I don't think the stack was very large either, so you could easily have a stack overflow.

Comment Really? (Score 1) 143

From what I'd heard (from people who were there last year), China was installing new coal fired power plants at the rate of about 1 per day through 2015. While I agree that's anecdotal, it's not like the Chinese government numbers are reliable. This article boils down to: "I can draw unreliable conclusions from unreliable data."

Comment Another benefit... (Score 1) 94

In the workplace, procrastination can be useful on a project because the requirements can, and often do, change. If the amount of actual work is a small fraction of the time allotted, then putting it off to the end of the timeframe can prevent having to re-do your work when things change. I've met a co-worker who used this reasoning explicitly, and she was very good at getting lots of work done (and on time too).

Comment Not that new (Score 1) 258

This isn't that new. People in unions can typically calculate what anyone else makes based on their position and seniority. People in the military know just by rank plus a couple other factors like danger pay. In Ontario, Canada if you work for the public sector and make over $100,000 your name and salary are published in a list every year (colloquially called the "sunshine list"). This is usually done for the same reasons stated above, and usually benefits the employees overall (which is why unions request it). Just because some companies do it, it's news?

Comment Re:So basically.. (Score 5, Insightful) 179

What I'm taking away from this is that anything David ever has made or will make in the future should not be trusted.

While I'll grant that the you're partially justified by the ridiculously bad summary, your takeaway is dead wrong.

First, having just skimmed through the article and the (very interesting!) paper, let me point out why the summary is ridiculously bad. Chaum's protocol does not include a backdoor, and certainly not "just to please governments".

What Chaum did was to describe a really cool anonymous routing and communications protocol, with a number of highly desirable properties. The biggest one is that his protocol is designed to be secure against nation state access, unlike Tor. It should also be quite a bit faster than Tor because communications require no public key cryptographic operations; everything is done with very-fast symmetric crypto, building on top of a precomputed homomorphic encryption. Making this scheme work, though, depends on the existence of a trusted third party (TTP).

In general, relying on a TTP is problematic in contexts where there isn't any obvious person or organization who could be trusted. And for a global communications network that will be used by lots of people and which many governments might like to penetrate, and which in fact is specifically focused on trying to prevent penetration by nation states, there clearly exists NO such single party.

Chaum's solution to the problem of how to trust when no one is trustworthy (a common problem in security design, actually) is to distribute the trust (a common solution, though Chaum's implementation is particularly clever). By arranging things so that the TTP role is spread across many different nations, each of which is fairly trustworthy except in particular areas, and selecting those nations so the areas in which they're untrustworthy are different, and designing the cryptography so that any abuse of the TTP role requires willing participation of 100% of said nations, it may be possible to construct a TTP which is trustworthy in the aggregate, even though no individual member is fully trustworthy.

This is a very clever solution to what I would have said is a completely intractable problem.

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