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Comment: Re:Security is a tricky thing (Score 0) 381

by Serious Callers Only (#45535363) Attached to: Intelligence Officials Fear Snowden's 'Doomsday' Cache

"Threatening visits" would indeed cause problems. By detain; I meant detain, as in "make quietly disappear", at least for a while.

You'd do really well in the Stasi or a similar police state. Perhaps you'd also like the people you disagree with tortured as well? If you're going to start disappearing people, why don't you just advocate killing them instead.

Tell me, just where would you draw the line when defending your country, what barbarity would you not stoop to, or is there no line?

Comment: Re:Let's see (Score 4, Insightful) 381

by Serious Callers Only (#45535333) Attached to: Intelligence Officials Fear Snowden's 'Doomsday' Cache

The NSA subverted American communications deliberately, and have introduced vulnerabilities into encryption via NIST. AES may or may not have been broken or subverted, but yes they are that stupid:

https://www.net-security.org/secworld.php?id=15531

Given that one of their other mandates is not to lie to congress, to abide by the rulings of the FISA court, and not to spy on Americans (all of which they have breached), I think you can assume that they don't care what their legal restrictions are and do not respect them.

Comment: Re:Puppet Vs. Chef Vs. Ansible Vs. Salt (Score 2) 141

by Serious Callers Only (#45489883) Attached to: Review: Puppet Vs. Chef Vs. Ansible Vs. Salt

unfamiliar with all so i did some quick research. Ansible least transparent Chef not bad, it comes down to Puppet Vs. Salt.

You're seriously presenting your quick google search and no actual knowledge of these products as something we should pay attention to? And your criteria for a deployment system is that they have online support??!?!? Are you even in the market for these products, have you ever used one, and do you know what they do?

I've used Ansible and it's pretty good, really straightforward, plenty of examples and docs and there is a freeware version as well as the commercially supported version. It doesn't require you to run a separate server as puppet does either, you can deploy with recipes from your local machine. To those thinking about using them, I'd say it's the simplest, the most effective and overall the best, though I haven't tried Salt so can't really comment on that.

Comment: Re:comparisons (Score 1) 634

by Serious Callers Only (#45161627) Attached to: British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care

Yeah, I'll just take the first order of treatment from my doctor and not ask for a second opinion, even if it means lifetime impairment or a high risk of death. Yeah...no.

1. You can have a second opinion in the NHS or change doctor quite easily.
2. Your doctors will lay out the choices for you (depending on your condition), and let you choose from whatever is available, but at the end of the day you have to trust healthcare professionals, because they know an awful lot more about treatments than you do.

Comment: Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (Score 2, Informative) 634

by Serious Callers Only (#45161567) Attached to: British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care

It's still way cheaper that *public* healthcare in the US alone (medicare and medicaid), let alone the full costs of US healthcare, which are astronomical in comparison, but funding has been massively cut the last few years in real terms.

The conservatives have strangled funding for the NHS deliberately for ideological reasons, while funding several expensive wars abroad, because they want to undermine it and then get rid of it piecemeal, as they did with dentistry in the 80s. This sort of story is the precursor to farming out care contracts to private companies, not because it's cheaper, but because of their belief in the free market and connections between the Conservative ministers and private industry, here are some of our recent health secretaries:

Andrew Lansley - bankrolled by a private healthcare company.
Jeremy Hunt - in his previous role had deep connections with the Murdoch companies he regulated.

Comment: Re:Tohoku Earthquake Casualty Report (Score 1) 214

There's a long term cost here which isn't just measured in lives (though hundreds will die eventually of related cancers from the clean up crews due to incompetence, coverups and negligence in exposing them over accepted limits). While the tsunami is over, the costs of the nuclear plant problems are still climbing, with no end in site, and 20km of land is now unusable, including several towns.

The Fukushima cleanup costs are 5 trillion yen and climbing (50 billion USD), likely to hit hundreds of billions of dollars long-term.

Comment: Re:So we've learned... (Score 5, Insightful) 126

by Serious Callers Only (#44902617) Attached to: Snowden Docs: Brits Hacked Accounts of Belgian IT Admins

1. This is not a government spying on another government.
2. Economic espionage is illegal
3. Breaching trust like this will lead to all sorts of blowback when partners find out, it's hardly a good idea.

GCHQ has strayed well over the line from protecting British interests against our enemies to economic and political espionage. This op was probably ordered at the behest of some American service anyway (to whom GCHQ are in hoc to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars), who knows why or who it benefits, but it certainly isn't the people of the UK.

Comment: confusion of ideas that could provoke such a q (Score 4, Interesting) 332

by Serious Callers Only (#44839267) Attached to: Verizon's Plan To Turn the Web Into Pay-Per-View

No. They're trying to charge content producers for using their network and end up with control over access, which will let them choke off that control, bundle the web, and charge on both sides of the equation - for the ability to push content, and for the ability to pull content.

The web currently doesn't allow a monopoly on content and on bandwidth, it's completely open, it's not a fucking bundle, and I can't rightly understand the confusion of ideas which could lead you to ask this question. You pay for access to the network, not for any specific bundles of information, how is that anything like cable, and how the hell do you think this has anything to do with offering the web a la carte.

Providers like Verizon should remain a dumb pipe, no matter how much they try to control the network. If they want control, it's certainly not so that they can offer you the web 'a la carte', it's so that they can impose control.

Comment: The home of the NSA (Score 1) 275

repressive governments around the world

This rhetoric doesn't sound very convincing any more now that we know what GCHQ and the NSA have been up to and what their ambitions are. The US government clearly can't be trusted with stewardship over the Internet, they're as untrustworthy and malign as Russia.

Comment: Re:It's started... (Score 1) 302

by Serious Callers Only (#43731975) Attached to: DHS Shuts Down Dwolla Payments To and From Mt. Gox

It's a good conductor of electricity and heat

As is copper.

It's easy to work with

As is lead, zinc, copper, etc.

It's non-toxic.

To the extent that most metals are (silver, copper etc), and in small doses, yes.

It plays nice with other elements.

Gold, the friendly element.

Its very "non-reactive" only certian acids will dissolve it.

True, though others are close.

It's used in industry, electronics, food and medicine.

So are silver, copper, iron, silicon, etc...

Depending on what you are doing, Gold might have some advantages against other metals or elements, but it is not essential to our civilisation - most uses could easily be replaced by another metal or alloy (like silver for example); it is widely used but not essential to most processes. So the use-value of Gold is pretty low - definitely worth something, but definitely not the most precious metal to industry compared to say silicon or iron, and useful in decorative arts but again not essential.

The spot price of gold is almost entirely defined by speculation based on its status as a 'precious' metal, valued for jewellery and as a store of value, and that is based on nothing more tangible than a belief that it is a good store of value. A belief belied by the wildly fluctuating price of gold over the last 100 years.

Comment: Re:Crap, the sky is falling (Score 1) 334

by Serious Callers Only (#43725931) Attached to: Last Forking Warning For Bitcoin

If it is traceable, how have all the recent thefts gone without any arrests? Perhaps it's not as hard as you think to remain anonymous while using bitcoin or even stealing it? For my money and transations I expect a ledger of all transactions with verified identities - very much like the current system run by banks, and bitcoin is a long way from that. It is popular for illegal transactions and targeted by thieves for that reason. Apparently the bitcoin developers, and tries to allow anonymity - this is a huge mistake in a digital currency. If somethng is anonymous it is not traceable in my opinion, because tracing transactions to anonymous wallets is completely useless in the real world. Comparisons with paper cash simpyl don't interest me, because I rarely use it nowadays, and it's already been replaced with a reliable electronic system, which lets me transfer money within hours and with a record of all transactions which is actually useful to me and shows verified participants.

A gov could shut down bitcoin tomorrow by banning it - this takes very little effort on their part and no money - for example the us has just shut down one of the biggest exchanges (mtgox) for money laundering. As to cornering the market, one person owns

Re rules, my point was precisely that the default set of rules are beyond your control as a single user. The rules of the game can change at any time, changed by the developers or someone putting pressure on them, and there's nothing you can do except try to set up your own competitor.

Comment: Re:Crap, the sky is falling (Score 4, Insightful) 334

by Serious Callers Only (#43708407) Attached to: Last Forking Warning For Bitcoin

Total disaster, never happens in real world, not virtual one. Except for all the times when 'real world' currencies undergo devaluations, revaluations, forced exchanges, just plain old inflation, all the things that lead to currencies collapsing. I mean name me a paper currency that lasted longer than 80 years on this planet without a major restructuring, without collapsing?

I agree that the dangers of bitcoin forking have been overstated, and are something of a manufactured drama - technical problems like this are not very difficult to surmount. The real problem with Bitcoin for me is that the system is not transparent, and nothing backs the currency (unlike those fiat ones you mention above).

A currency is a token of trust (trust that others will value it the same amount), and that's a fragile thing.

Bitcoin is currently a small curiosity, it's only just becoming big enough to attract the interest of the real sharks, and I'm not convinced the creators have the resources, motivation or interest to keep the currency fair and secure once serious money becomes involved. Many of the exchanges are still pitifully insecure (run on VPSs !), the infrastructure is not well managed (witness problem above), and the creators probably never expected it to take off or really thought through the implications. Once there is serious money involved, lots of people are going to want to change the rules. If Bitcoin becomes popular it will be easy to coopt, devalue, and tax until it is just another currency, probably tied to a particular corporation or government. There's absolutely nothing you can do about that as a user of bitcoin. If the developers decided to change the direction of the currency you have your life savings in, devalue it, create a new block chain, you don't even have a vote on the matter.

Currently, if the government of your country or anyone else with the power to control the flow of bitcoins decide it should become valueless for you, or illegal, that can easily happen, if someone corners a significant supply of coins, they can manipulate the market (this is probably already happening as there are ZERO controls in place to stop it), if the public panics due to misinformation or rumour in such an illiquid market there is nothing to stop huge swings in value, and if a government decides to coopt the currency, shut down exchanges and change the rules by fiat, no-one is going to be able to trade in it and interest will evaporate. I see that as the largest problem with bitcoin by far - there are no backers putting up their own goods, no-one to trust, and no way to ensure that others continue to play by the same rules as they used to. It's certainly very appealing to utopian crypto-anarchists, but of limited interest to anyone who wants to store value or exchange it, given that it has the disadvantages of cash (anonymous, fungible) with none of the upsides (backed by a sovereign government, relatively stable, regulated to a greater or lesser extent, insurable etc), and a few downsides of its own (massively fluctuating value, built-in deflation, early-adopters privileged).

Because it is untraceable, and not guaranteed by law, it's of no interest to the majority of people who use currencies to store and transfer value and receive payment. I *want* my transactions to be traceable, so that I can prove to gov. and counter-parties that I have fulfilled my part of a bargain, made a payment, and should receive goods or services in return. If I don't want a transaction to be traceable (very rare, but conceivable), I'd use barter or some kind, but a currency outwith the control of government holds little interest for me, *precisely because* it is outwith the control of all the rules of society I value. Those who've had their valuable bits stolen from some VPS have no come-back using bitcoin, and no way to find a thief or enforce punishment - I'd demand far better than that for any currency I put trust in.

Comment: Re:I love it... (Score 5, Interesting) 658

by Serious Callers Only (#43647341) Attached to: Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only

You have no choice. What are you going to do, stop using Photoshop? I don't think so.

There are plenty of choices - some only perform a subset of the work that photoshop does, but for many professionals that will be enough. Some examples:

For many professional photographers, Lightroom (available separately) provides better tools for photo manipulation and cataloging.
For many image manipulators, other software like Pixelmator or Seashore/GIMP would provide enough control at a fraction of the price. It's missing some features like layer styles, but it has the basics, and comparing 'cloud' pricing to buying and owning software would make many people consider living with the lost features.
For many designers, they don't need the many features of photoshop and would be happy with more basic tools for image adjustments.
For many illustrators, a tool like Inkscape might be a better fit

Adobe could very easily lose this market within a few years - they've already lost the trust of most of their professional customers, and for many this move will be the last straw. It's a gift for their competitors, this is the perfect time for them to step up a gear and poach a lot of the userbase of Adobe software. I know I'll be looking at competitors with renewed vigour and am not in any way interested in subsidising Adobe's middle-managers with a monthly subscription. The CS suite in general as become more bloated, and less user-friendly with every release, and Creative Cloud is a joke - as a customer I have *zero* interest in automatic updates from Adobe, and I want to be in control of when I give them money - as do many huge institutional buyers/customers - many skip versions for example if the features are not compelling enough. This quote from the OP sums up my attitude to them (as a current customer) too:

They aren't trustworthy, their pricing model is predatory, and their track record of improvements/bug fixes -- or rather the unspectacular lack thereof -- doesn't speak well of how much value any of us are going to get out of renting our software.

The lack of backwards/forwards compatability in their file formats is also an issue which illustrates the contempt they hold their customers in - it's a blatant attempt to force upgrades (as is Creative Cloud) - there is nothing in it for customers, so why should they play along?

I remember a little over a decade ago Adobe came from nowhere to own the desktop publishing market with InDesign, against an entrenched challenger which had a virtual monopoly at the time (Quark) - nowadays Quark software is the legacy software which everyone loves to hate and hardly anyone uses, and InDesign is the incumbent, that happened very quickly over the space of 5-10 years. They won because their software was better, they listened to customers, and they built a great product which had features (like transparency) that customers had been crying out for. The contrast to the Adobe of today could not be more marked.

The near monopoly they have on image manipulation can easily change, and I suspect it will, as Adobe have already lost touch with their customers, and are adding all sorts of crap to their products and switching the UI round every year (as a professional user, I wish they'd take half the features out, and focus on making them rock solid and performant). They've started to see their customers as a cash-cow too stupid to look at competition, and that's very dangerous for them - sure they'll coast for the next decade on old customers too lazy to upgrade and repeating revenue fro upgrades, but they've started the downhill slide of spending more effort on wringing money out of customers than on making good products.

Comment: Re:Exactly, put a gambling tax on it (Score 1) 314

Don't ban it, tax it as gambling.

So, basically, what your saying is "I don't understand most of how the market works, so please ban everything I don't understand."

No, since you didn't read the comment you replied to, I've repeated it here. They are *not* suggesting banning the activity, but restricting it with taxation to make it less attractive to profit from short-term fluctuations in prices - this would dampen volatility. Some volatility is a good thing, too much of it can be terrible for a market which relies on confidence to function.

A transaction tax sounds like a good idea to me, do you have any concrete objections to it?

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