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Comment: Re:I feel for them... (Score 4, Insightful) 273 273

They're trapped between three fires...

They need to keep the Americans happy to get American diplomatic support to keep China from eating them.

They need to keep the Russians happy to get access to cheap arms and possibly whatever diplomatic pressure the Russians have these days.

And then they need to keep the chinese from salivating every time they look at them.

Given that the US and Russia are at odds again, it is a very difficult position to be in these days.

They can't give the Russians or the Americans everything they want because much of what they want is the Vietnamese to choose sides.

And if they don't keep their allies happy they look more vulnerable to the chinese.

Poor vietnam.

So in other words they can choose between China paying them a visit to bring them corrupt free market communism, Russia dropping in to bestow upon them the blessings of cleptocracy or the USA taking another crack at bringing them plutocracy when all they really want to do is practice their own home gown brand of nepotism and corruption?

Comment: There is no such thing... (Score 1, Insightful) 247 247

"I had to slow the deployment of this system (which) makes conventional warfare much more lethal and nuclear war winnable in the eyes of some,"

There is no such thing as a winnable war, nuclear or otherwise, and anybody who thinks there is such a thing has either never experienced war or that person is dumber than a palette of bricks.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 3, Informative) 671 671

I don't know if Russia is a good place for someone like Snowden who likes to expose government corruption. Then again, maybe he'll have better luck than Boris Nemstov.

Luckily, if the Russians ever decide to jail him for exposing government corruption, he's likely to get that "fair and impartial" trial that he evidently thinks he needs a guarantee for in the US.

As long as it is only the US government's corruption, abuse of power and their ongoing rape of the US constitution that Snowden is exposing then I'm pretty sure the Russians are perfectly happy to allow him to continue and if Snowden has half a brain he will allow the Russians opposition to handle exposing the similar shenanigans of the Russian government.

Comment: Cross platform development. (Score 2) 407 407

I've been trying to pick up a classic, object-oriented, compiled language since the early 90s, but have never gotten around to it. C++ was always on my radar, but I'm a little torn to-and-fro with Objective-C. Objective-C is the obvious choice if you also want to make money developing for Mac OS X, but for the stuff I want to do, both languages would suffice on all platforms. I do want to start out on x86 Linux, though, and also use it as my main development platform. Yes, I know quite a few other languages, but I want to get into a widespread compiled language that has good ties into FOSS. Both Objective-C and C++ fit that bill. What do you recommend? How do these two programming languages compare with each other, and how easy is cross-platform development in either? (Primarily GUI-free, "headless" applications.)

I would only bother with Objective-C if I was anticipating having to develop a lot of code for OS X or iOS which might be worth your time since there is money to be made there and IMHO it is a fun language to code in. There is a FOSS Cocoa implementation for Linux, GNUstep but I don't know how current it is or how much cross platform development it allows. Integrating C++ code in Objective C programs (aka. Objective-C++) is as easy as integrating C code into a C++ program so for cross platform purposes you'd be best advised to write as much of your business logic in C++ or even C and use more platform specific languages like Objective-C for view and controller logic. Basically write as much in C++ or C as you can since both can be used in Objective-C apps. That way, if you also want to, say... have an Android version you could write Java wrappers for your C/C++ code. Finally be very careful about what system calls and libraries you use. Just because something is available on Linux does not mean it is available on OS X, the other *NIX'es or Windows. I have all to often seen people end up with egg on their faces after spending significant amounts of time developing something on Linux and using everything Linux offer with wild abandon only to find out hat several key functions or even entire libraries are not available on other target platforms like, say Sun OS or AIX or that even if these are available they behave in a totally different way (example: Lex/Yacc). When doing CP development, even if it is just across multiple Linux/Unix platforms, it pays to write unit tests and regularly compile your software and run the entire test battery on target platforms other than the one you do most of your development work on (which is likely to be Linux).

Comment: Re:Needs several people to wear them (Score 3, Interesting) 150 150

Assuming your identity isn't given away by the fact that you're the only person wearing infrared emitting glasses. Anyway, for the full effect, you should walk around naked so you can't be identified by the clothes you're wearing.

That depends on your use-case. If you are Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi you might be better off just shaving your beard off and avoiding cameras. If you are a private citizen who is not trying to hide, not wanted by the police and is just plain old creeped out by being under constant surveillance then this might be a product you want even if it makes you stick out like a sore thumb. It also depends on how commonly accepted this technology becomes. If the public at large eventually gets so creeped out by being under constant surveillance that half of them wear a device like this there is very little the security services in most western democracies could do about it without looking like the Gestapo or NKVD.

Comment: Re:Smart people are jerks? (Score 5, Interesting) 194 194

I find it ironic that the movie chooses to portray Turing in an inaccurately negative light,

when so many times, the film industry polishes up a flawed human hero in a Hollywood retelling.

What I find ironic is how they manage to mention the people who actually cracked Enigma twice and only in passing. First one of those British intelligence types blurts out something about Enigma being "stolen by Polish intelligence" and a second time when Turing claims his machine is based on "an old Polish decryption device" (or something to that effect). At the time this movie is supposed to have happened the bomba kryptologiczna, which is probably what they are referring, to was about 3 years old. That may be dated technology today but by the standard of the 1930s three years was not 'old technology'. Turing achieved great things but he and his team didn't crack Enigma all on their own with British ingenuity. They stood on the shoulders of people like Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski and many others who cracked Enigma with Polish ingenuity. They were the ones who originally had the audacity to think that they could crack the world's most sophisticated cypher technology with the meagre resources the Polish cypher bureau had.

Comment: Re:heh heh (Score 1) 99 99

That's a lot of system problems from a reputable vendor that has total control over the quality of the product.

Over 20 years of buying Macs for my family? I don't think so. My employer hands outs Samsung brand Android phones to employees who want a company bought phone. You'd be surprised at how many of those get trashed every year. A couple of dozen of them got sent to the recycler with a broken display from the wear an tear suffered by people pocketing them. According to the Samsung agent the ribbon connecting the display to the motherboard came loose (and people whine about 'bend-gate'). The same goes for their sizeable fleet of Lenovo and Dell laptops, workstations and monitors. The Lenovo laptops for example suffered from ethernet cards that just died after a few months of operation and we had to issue large numbers of users with USB ethernet adapters. Some of the Dells started to suffer bulging battery syndrome and we also had a brief flirtation with using Windows laptops from HP who suffered kernel panics every 3rd or 4th time you plugged them into a (HP brand) dock. I have a lot more examples but I'll let this suffice. I can't honestly say that these other 'reputable vendors' have a noticeably lower fault rate than Apple. I'm just sick and tired by these opinionated wing nuts who come here writing an angry post condemning some companies entire product line based on their experience with one or two their devices that they bought. If you are in the IT business get used to the idea of suffering equipment failures or get out o the IT business.

Comment: Re:heh heh (Score -1, Flamebait) 99 99

If you want another example, I've complained about problems with Windows and my Samsung laptop on Twitter before. In both cases Microsoft and Samsung contacted me through Twitter and managed to solve my issues.

Issues with Apple products, on the other hand?

Forget it, they don't exist. They have no Twitter presence, their online tech support consists entirely of "find an Apple Store." Their online support is completely useless because their "knowledge base" doesn't include many incredibly common issues, even when you can find forums with threads that go back years and many, many pages of people with the same issue.

Apple's stance is "it just works" and if for any reason it doesn't work, fuck you, it just works, clearly you're holding it wrong. If something goes wrong in Windows you can probably fix it. It may not be easy, it may take some time, it may involve registry tweaking, but it can be fixed. If something goes wrong with Apple, well, you'd better go buy a new shiny because it won't be fixable! (If anyone wants specific examples, iCloud loves to randomly flake out and refuse to sync anything, and I've literally never seen AirDrop work.)

OMG!! Apple doesn't have a Twitter presence! .... Get a grip will you?!? Sure there are some problems/bugs Apple doesn't fix and that I had to research and solve myself but then again I have had the same sort of hardware and software related problems with Windows and (Sacrilege!!) Linux. I have been a Mac user for coming up on two decades and I cannot say that I have ever had a major problem with their service. Some of the things that I have had issues with are:

  1. A Macbook that refused to boot out of the box. Exchanged without a world of protest for a functioning unit.
  2. A Macbook that had a defective display. The display was swapped out three times, because of two defective Sony LCD panels. The first time they replaced the LCD when I bought the laptop in for a RAM upgrade without me even having to ask them to do it.
  3. An Apple cinema display that I traded in because of dead pixels. Exchanged for a new unit without a word of protest.
  4. Several charging devices whose connector cables wore out. All were exchanged for a new unit without a word of protest.
  5. More software problems than I care to remember, many solved via the Apple support forum. I have also initiated several support issues with Apple online and so far they have never refused to help me.

Let me dispel a few myths for you (and apologies in advance for robbing you of reasons to feed your irrational hatred of Apple) Apple products do not always 'just work' out of the box, whatever Apples marketing dweebs may say Apple does not deny the existence of problems with their products because they do not flip you a bird when you ask them for support, Apple is no worse than any number of computer software and hardware vendors that I deal with on a regular basis and in my experience Apple is quite a bit better than many of them.

Comment: Re:Sigh. (Score 1) 234 234

One small point, it you really do all of this you will stick out like a sore thumb because you will be relatively easy to find in a sea of unencrypted data. Police have actually caught offnders like that. Better yet, the NSA, unlike the cops has compromised most VPN and SHTTP service providers so you will be one of a rather small number of people whose signals traffic they can't decrypt which narrows things down even more. You can usen couriers but you had better be damn smart about how and whewe from they do their transmitting because pattern analysis can still narrow down your location. If one of them uses the same internet cafe too often the next thing you know a van is permanantly parked outside your house to be followed by Virginia farmboys in ninja commando outfits smashing through your doors and windows.

Comment: Re:Is there any protection against SMB worm ? (Score 1) 177 177

Hacking activities are happening around us, from companies managing parking garages to Sony to Staples to whatnots ...

I've read Schneier's article which in essence telling us that there is no foolproof way to prevent hacking attempt

I do reckoned that "foolproof" in the IT field is nothing short of fairy tales, but still, I do think there ought to be ways, online and offline, that we can do, to at least cut down, to minimize, our companies' exposure to the (oft state-sponsored) hacking groups

Any link (or links), suggestion, recommendation, whatever, that you guys (and gals) can share?

Thanks !

Is there any protection against SMB worm ?

I've always considered SMB to be a steaming pile of crap for reasons that have nothing to do with security and this incident just adds another steaming shovel full of manure to that pile. The best protection agains SMB worms is not to use crap like SMB but pick something more secure instead, that is to say if such an animal even exists. In that case you can either try to find a vendor who offers a similar product and does a better job of testing and patching it than Microsoft does or go with an Open Source alternative which gives you the option of hiring a third party to test and patch it to your satisfaction. Mind you even if SMB is a pain to use the problem does not necessarily have to be with Microsoft. The problem could actually be with your systems department being lazy and negligent about patching their SMB software and the problem could also be with lax, amateurish or even non existent security policies or if you do have a proper security policy the problem could be a complete failure to enforce it. In that case you really only have one alternative and that is to light a fire under your people, fire them if they put up a fight and hire some proper sysadmins and a security chief with the same attitude toward instilling professionalism and security awareness in your employees and a marine drill sergeant has toward making proper soldiers out of every batch of teenage drama queens he is handed by the recruitment office.

Comment: Re:About Fucking Time (Score 1) 435 435

Make no mistake, this is about nothing less than money and power, and has nothing to do with the fact that it may be long overdue.

Actually, I'm guessing that this has more to do with the fact that Obama is now a lame duck President who is desparately looking to establish some sort of lasting legacy.

Plus he has nothing to loose by pissing off the Republicans who aren't going to approve a single bill his administration pushes anyway even if they had to do it to save their lives. Hell, half of those people don't even believe he was born in the USA. Of course Obama is going to veto all the most important stuff the Tea party and the Republican want to do so basically everything is exactly like the Tea-baggers and Republicans like it. Congress will be in complete and utter gridlock for at least another two years, four if you get a Democratic president (read: Hilary Clinton, which will have every Republican/Tea-bagger reaching for his vampire killing kit). Every time I despair over the state of politics in my own country I take a look at the US congress and the way your Republicans and Democrats are behaving like a bunch of petulent kindergarteners to remind me that things could be a lot worse. Compared to the lot of morons you guys have managed to vote into office my lot looks like a panel of Nobel prize winners.

Comment: Re:You don't know your Bible or your history (Score 2) 880 880

In the book of Numbers, chapter 31, Moses orders the murder of every man, woman, and child in a city that was promised to his own people. When his army came back with children prisoners of war, he rebuked them, ordered them to slay the male children on the spot, and allowed them to keep the female children for themselves as spoils of war (there are plenty of other stories similar to this about the OT, and involving Moses specifically).

So, yeah, warlord.

And about Constantine founding Christianity...

When the religion was illegal by Roman law, there were many separate Christianities with very different beliefs (and they quarreled with one another, as well as with the Jews that wanted to stay Jewish). Once Constantine decided to make Christianity the official religion of Rome, he also picked the specific set of churches that he agreed with and established their representatives as the proper religious authorities. They promptly declared the other varieties of Christianity to all be heresy, had their books burned (some recently recovered in the Nag Hammadi library revealing just how different these Christianities were).

So, Christianity (or at least Catholicism) as we know it today was very much the work of Constantine.

Let's not forget either that Constantine's personally approved proper religious authorities didn't just clamp down on Christians that didn't agree with them they embarked on a campaign of destroying, pillaging, desecrating, vandalising pagan temples, tombs and monuments as well as raping and murdering adherents of these religions who weren't willing to see the light and accept the state approved flavour of Christianity (i.e. the same basic package heretic Christians were treated to). Examples of Christian intolerance and willingness to subject minority religions and secular groups to extreme persecutions and violence (which is a base insult to everything Christ preached) are legion.

You can find examples of such violence and intolerance beginning at the moment Christianity became dominant enough to be able to afford committing such atrocities and they continue until today with one of the latest, worst and most frequently forgotten being the mass murder of Moslems in Bosnia by Christian Croats and Serbs. It pisses me off every time Christian fanatics in my community try to portray Christianity as the religion of love charity and peace while Islam is the religion of war and hate, yet whenever I bring up the subject of Bosnia and what was done there in the name of Christianity they are unwilling to even discuss the issue. The obvious conclusion is that Christianity is not an inherently violent religion any more than Islam is even if some of it's adherents have found clever ways to user these religions to rationalise acts of violence and downright inhuman criminal acts like blowing yourself up on a bus, sawing peoples heads off on camera, torching places of worship or setting up a concentration camp camp where the local Christian perverts can get their rocks off raping moslem women. I don't really see the difference between the way the Serbs behaved with their rape campaigns in Bosnia and the way ISIS is doing by selling Yazidi women in markets in Syria like cattle at an auction.

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