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Comment Re:I'd be wary of Musk, too (Score 5, Insightful) 66

He seems really good at using government subsidies to make money for himself.

Well, that's the point isn't it? To jumpstart private industry? You can't do that without the profit motive.

Tesla paid it's 450 million 2009 loan back with interest in four years and went from the brink of bankruptcy to a market cap of 29 billion dollars. Sounds like a success story to me.

Comment Re:Wait, they shipped the private key? (Score 1) 62

But what possible use is publishing your private key?

Perhaps, it is to be able to deny responsibility for bad software later, but that's a little too far-fetched...

Well, we're not talking about publishing THE private key to anything Dell cares about. We're talking about publishing A private key that Dell can use to do things on the client's machine that undermine the security model. Why? Well there's lots of potential ways to create revenue or cut costs that way. For example Lenovo did it so they could inject ads into web pages that were supposedly cryptographically protected from tampering.


Journal Journal: Trump - a warning from the present 1

I don't believe for a second Trump believes a word he's saying.

What I am concerned about is that Trump could, very realistically, be elected because of the views he's espousing. That says something terrible about too many people at the moment, and also makes possible the frightening scenario whereby someone who believes what Trump is currently saying could be elected too.

In the mean time, Trump is also validating the opinions of many extremists.

Comment Re:Wait, they shipped the private key? (Score 1) 62

So, the happy owners of the affected laptops can now issue certificates and/or sign drivers, which will be accepted as genuine by other owners of Dell hardware?

Seriously? If so, that's just too dumb to be malicious...

It's not too dumb to be willful negligence -- defined in legal dictionaries as "Intentional performance of an unreasonable act in disregard of a known risk..."

Having the know-how to do such a thing necessarily entails knowledge of why its a bad idea. So either an engineer acted in breech of professional ethics, or managers rode roughshod over the engineers' objections.

Comment Re:High level? (Score 4, Insightful) 79

Speaking as someone who learned C in 1980, C was originally thought of as a low-level language -- a suitable replacement in most cases for assembly language that, while abstracting underlying details like the CPU instruction set and registers, remained relatively small and "close to the hardware". Then later 80s I was asked to take over a course on C, and when I looked at the course description I was surprised to see it described as a "high level language". I asked the person who wrote the description what he meant by "high level language", and he really had no idea. He said he meant it was "powerful", which of course is just as vague when comparing any two Turing equivalent languages.

Of course "high level" vs. "low level" is relative. C is "high level" in comparison to assembly, or "B", in which the only datatype was a computer word. On the other hand C "low level" in comparison to most other languages that hide away the details of the hardware like instruction set and registers and such. So it depends on what you're comparing to; but in general I think people who describe C as "low level" know more about what they're talking about than those who call it a "high level" language.

The important thing isn't whether C is "high" or "low" level; it is what makes C work, which is largely about what was left out. It didn't have all the bells and whistles of something like PL/1, which made the language easy to implement, even on a tiny 8 bit microcomputer, and easy to learn, in the form of a slim, almost pamphlet-like book (The C Programming Language, 1st edition was 228 paperback-sized pages long).

Even so, C has become very slightly more "higher level" over the years. The original K&R C was more weakly typed than the later ANSI C. Particularly when you were dealing with pointers, the declared type of a pointer in K&R C was more of a mnemonic aid to the programmer than anything else.

Comment Re:This is why ISIS wins (Score 2) 480

Now you won't even support some petty little dictators like Putin/Assad to defeat a religious movement that threatens the entire modern world?

It's a bunch of pathetic terrorists not a threat to the entire modern world. FFS people, stop crapping your pants every time some nut shoots or blows up something. When that happens, terrorists might not win anything, but we definitely lose.

Nobody religious extremist is going to kill you tomorrow. Go live your life. (But change your pants, please.)

Comment Re:Questions... (Score 1) 133

It's not greed, just survival. For some unknown reason antibiotics have a synergistic growth effect on animals that are not sick so antibiotics are feed to healthy animals. In the real world most businesses are barely profitable so any action that can increase profits is used to avoid bankruptcy.

Horses**t. The first farmers who did this did it because of greed, trying to make a bigger profit. Later farmers might have felt that it was the only way to survive, but only because the first farmers did what they did.

If your business isn't making a profit, you raise prices until it does. If you can't do that, it means either that you're doing something inefficiently or that somebody else is cutting corners. If it is the former, you need to fix the inefficiency. If it is the latter, you need to clearly differentiate your products from those others in the marketplace so that your customers know why your products cost more. Either way, cutting the same corners that everybody else does invariably results in a race to the bottom, not just in terms of cost, but also in terms of profit margins and quality. Once your business goes down that path, you might as well close the business and give the money back to the shareholders, because it is a hopeless cause, and your business is no longer contributing anything of value to the world as a whole that could not be contributed just as easily (and more efficiently) by your competitors in your absence.

Comment Re:They aren't really still blaming DPRK, are they (Score 1) 50

Looking at context, I think literally was more appropriate than figuratively. "Figuratively" would have been wrong, he really wasn't able to do anything with his computer. "Literally" is OK but is completely unnecessary and, as a result, because it's generally only used in situations where there may be a doubt, is inappropriate. It's like saying "Look at this awesome phone I just bought and did not steal" unironically.

"Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time." -- a coffee cup