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Comment Re:Poor response. (Score 1) 387

Amazon doesn't normally do that -- they just rent the (virtual) servers, the dashboard and other software including the OS would have been installed by the customer, at most they might reboot or shutdown and restart a machine . . . but they provide a self-serve API to do that, so probably not even that.

Unless the access involved the attackers getting the AWS account credentials, I don't think there's much Amazon could do.

Comment Re:Cue NSA infilatration in 3...2.... (Score 4, Funny) 171

We, the open source and freedom-loving community, may need an organized task force to keep track of these programmers, track their incomes, and store their communications -- just for future reference in case something comes up and a mole is suspected, not an actual search as the Constitution defines it, of course. Similar to the Apache Foundation and other Foundations for Open Source causes, but tasked with keeping our communications secure, and breaking the other side's communications where feasiable. We'll have to keep the existence of the Association secret as much as possible of course, and thus also hide it's budget in small items spread accross the other Foundations. They'll archive all the repos and mailing lists and IRC channels and any other communication medium, but advances in technology make the storage on that scale cheaper. We might have to rent a large building out somewhere that has cheap land and few pesky curious tresspassers, Utah or something. We'll just refer to it as No Such Association for now. A small and expedient measure given the threats of our times.

Comment Re:Long live TeX and LaTeX (Score 2) 479 and and several desktop latex editors seems to work OK despite your logic.

The main appleal of LaTeX is precisely that you aren't supposed to continuously re-render it, you are supposed to write things. Then you twiddle how it looks a bit at the end.

Optimizing web pages for speed of rendering the output seems reasonable, but I'm not sure that should be a big consideration in a document format.

Comment Re:The dilema ... (Score 2) 427

According to the UN Charter itself, spying would not be an act of war, definitely not a reason to start one. See:

As a practical matter, we cannot allow spying to be considered a reason to go to war, because by it's nature it is hard to prove and easy to fake; it would basically be giving states the right to start a war whenever they want. At times in history we've tried that, such when most of the states of Europe were basically the persons of kings, and it didn't work out so we came up with rules.

This issue is a distraction, as is Private Manning's sexual identification. It just doesn't matter. It is actually the job of the NSA to spy on those communications, and as institutional, political communications they don't have the same moral scanticy and protection as private, individual humans' communications. Prior to Terror being the primary justification, the NSA used to justify some of their actions by saying that they discovered when large foreign contracts had been decided by bribe, and saved American companies the cost of bidding on them; that is also exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

The fact that the NSA got caught, or perhaps even worse yet chose to leak this activity to distract from the fact they got caught in their other activities, is more evidence the agency is out of control and needs to be brought to heel.

In my opinion, the NSA was basically killed by giving it an unlimited budget. Under such circumstances an organization tends to seek out the most expensive, least innovative, least risky things to do and firehose money into them. Take your favorite causes -- defense and law and order if you are right wing, education and health care if you left wing, or your perfered church if you are religious -- and the quickest way to thoroughly destroy that cause is to give it's institutions an unquestioning loyalty and unlimited budget.

In spite of the fact that I think some things the NSA does are good, and perhaps necessary in the long term, I think the best action currently would be to close the whole agency for a number of years. We'd run some risks in doing so, but leaving them on their current path is also running some risks. You can't wave the bogey man of an Islamic Caliphate or whatever and then pooh-pooh the bogey man of a internal Cheka or Stasi. I think if we cut the place down cold, and let the giant glass buildings and huge datacenters collect dust and mold for about 4 to 6 years, we'd be in a better position to restart something smaller and more disciplined around 2020. I think you need to close it for that long, so that all the careerists in there know they have to switch careers and get into other areas. You might end up hiring a large chunk of them back, of course, but half a decade in a different industry shakes up the bureaucratic allegences and gives people a different point of view.

Comment Re:You can do this with more features! (Score 1) 56

I like your site and your portfolio and products.

If you want to get the free slashvertisement of a /. story, you need to use the platform to do something that slashbots would like to talk about, like maybe explore a walled-off section under the stairway of some historical building, or something.

Also, your store sends people to which then in turn sends people over to Have it take people directly where they need to go.

Comment Re:Why the anxiety? (Score 1) 807

I don't think they are bullshit, as a user of the latest firefox that ships with Ubuntu I see this all the time:

23974 rgr 20 0 2656m 1.8g 40m S 55 23.3 164:03.18 firefox

It's a great laptop with 8 GB of RAM, 4 cores, etc. Still, I often restart firefox just to get work done.

The state of the browser world is pretty shabby right now. Basically, the browser is replacing the desktop window manager as a key piece of software - between webmail (gmail), web-based time tracking (harvest), keeping notes in an internal wiki, etc, much of my work is done in a browser. The state of that browser world is basically like the desktop world about 1995: the easiest solutions to use are filled with other people's programs running on my resources to their ends (usually advertising), the most private and ethical solutions lack the capability to do many things (in 1995 it was run specific programs, now it is use specific websites).

I don't see much hope from the web development and browser communities. When you talk to anyone in those communities and ask an open ended question such as "what's the biggest problem we're facing" or "what most excites you about the industry today" the response is usually about web standards, java script, and bastardizing page description into a bad programming language, making websites less ugly on mobile devices.

That your computer does what you want it to, instead of merely generating heat, or even worse yet computing flashy ads you don't want to see and collecting information for your enemies, isn't on their radar except as a knee-jerk platitude or afterthought. "Oh yeah, and privacy. We only write websites that don't track you if you put your name on a list."

I think it is in one of Artur Bergman's coffee-laced-with-hate fueled rants he points out that the browser / javascript infrastructure that is being built up is the largest attempt at distributed computing ever, and it is being built by people who have educations and backgrounds in graphic design and advertising, and learned programming along the way. All the issues of distributed computing such as latency and consistency are still there of course. I think it is not necessarily bad that the people building this don't have a formal background - those with a formal background haven't done so well sometimes - but it is bad that they all culturally come from advertising. They think in terms of slogans even when they think about ethical problems - "Don't be evil" - and their standards for what is acceptable ethical behavior are low.

So it is not a surprise that the browser they produce barely runs on the kinds of computers the top few percent of the world can afford, and that it collects information for the top 0.01 percent.

Perhaps if much of the world starts using tiny computers based on the new cheap system-on-a-chip ARM stuff, like the Raspberry PI and Beagleboard Bone and etc, there will be a brief opening where there is no good browser available for those machines and a new one could make headway. But I think we'd end up back in the same place on that platform for the same reasons unless we do something differently.

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