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Comment Re:This is complete crap!!! (Score 4, Interesting) 112

What's probably happening is that some "IT" company whose only client is the government/AEC probably makes a fairly decent earn out of licensing out the software and supporting it during elections.

We know actually that the software is developed in-house. The AEC does earn some money from licensing the software to other electoral commissions and from using it in union ballots etc.

However, I argue [pdf] that the code used for counting the Senate could be released, because no other election operates that way. What's more I don't think the AEC's competitive edge in the world of elections comes from their great software.

Comment Re:Can somebody explain NoSQLers to me? (Score 1) 194

Relational databases do not work well for storing hierarchical data like a file system or an object-oriented data store. They do not work well for large blobs like movie files or for unstructured documents like medical records.

Emphasis added.

This is part of the problem I have with NoSQL. It is a great solution to certain types of problem, but a lot of data is structured. Medical records are extraordinarily structured and should be stored as such. Structured medical records means portability, easy epidemiological research, better use by consumers, finer control of authorities...

Structuring medical data is hard, no doubt. But that doesn't make it unstructured data. The benefits of structure are significant. Use NoSQL for things it's good at - like storing Facebook messages - but please don't restructure your problems to fit it. Structure is good!

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is steganography dead?

Mjec writes: "Out of personal interest I was looking around for modern steganography tools. I remember having used steghide years ago and outguess seems popular, but neither has seen any development since 2003-2004 and they're both broken. Are there any worthwhile steganography tools out there? Is there even a maintained project?"

Comment Re:I still found it amusing; harmless and humorous (Score 1) 387

My passwords are PBKDF2'd with SHA512, unique salts and unique random iteration counts (5000 - 15000) per password. Because I'm not a chump. So you go right ahead. This technology isn't new. PBKDF2 was published in 2000.

Iterations: 14823
Salt: 8ee4c41a6dc73b1d 8f555cecd2139110 569204e61d18fd65 fe408c793707cdc9 ffe09a277924212a 14b0cb81e5e672e2 9049cb7832f801db 6230355718ae2b14
Hash: 4070b74d2d419b5d aee4457c6bb154f7 e5596191e3729031 227789d03e861013 d37297b846e56ae1 3eebac6b786e3813 9b3635d66482efd1 3af10d03a25478cf

Comment Re:Put another liberty on the barbie... (Score 1) 105

I am not a lawyer, but I am just about to finish law school, so should be in the next eighteen months at the outside, in Australia no less. But you still shouldn't trust me ;).

If the police are questioning you with the intent of using the information as evidence in court, they do warn you along the same lines as the Miranda rights. (in any case, Miranda was more about the fact of police having to inform about rights than the rights themselves.) You get two calls - one to family or a friend, and another to a lawyer. I don't know where you get the no-right-to-our-homes, and there's certainly a concept of illegal search, seizure and inadmissable illegally obtained evidence.

All true. The problem is none of these rights are constitutional. Whereas the government can never take away these rights in the US, thanks to the 4th amendment, they can be removed in Australia. All that's needed is for Parliament to pass a law. As we know, when it comes to law-and-order stuff, that's stupidly easy. All that's protecting us from tyranny is the goodwill of our leaders. That's why we need to complain about reform like this.

We might not have a Bill of Rights enshrined in the constitution, but we have 800 years of common law to draw on, given the courts recognise British court decisions as being relevant to Australian laws. Many of the rights you cry poor over have been ruled on in past legal cases.

Also true. But the rulings are always on the basis of interpreting legislation to be consistent with those rights where possible. We have supremacy of Parliament: if they pass a law changing the rules of evidence, the courts can't stop them. The big exception to this is political speech (and voting); these rights are guaranteed by the constitution. Limits on these can (and have been!) struck down by the courts: the Communist Party Case and just last year in Rowe v Electoral Commission. Search and seizure though are absolutely at the discretion of Parliament.

This supremacy of Parliament is why it's so important to be careful about who we elect, and to stop them from pulling shit like this.

Comment Re:Strange (Score 2) 395

He must have lived in a parallel universe. In the 90s it was IRC.

It probably depends what country and what age you were. In the 90s for teenagers in Britain, it was ICQ, then MSN Messenger (released 1999), with the latter being much more popular. "What's your email?" meant "What's your MSN messenger ID?". I visited some distant teenage relatives in the USA several times around this time, and remember being as surprised that they didn't know what MSN Messenger was as they were that I didn't have AIM.

Identical flow in Australia. IRC - ICQ - MSN - Facebook.

Open Source

Desktop Linux Is Dead 1348

digitaldc writes with this quote from PCWorld: "It kills me to say this: The dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is now pretty much dead. Despite phenomenal security and stability — and amazing strides in usability, performance, and compatibility — Linux simply isn't catching on with desktop users. And if there ever was a chance for desktop Linux to succeed, that ship has long since sunk. ... Ultimately, Linux is doomed on the desktop because of a critical lack of content. And that lack of content owes its existence to two key factors: the fragmentation of the Linux platform, and the fierce ideology of the open-source community at large."

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada