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Comment Re:I want every ballot to have a "none of the abov (Score 1) 171

There's a similar sort of thing in Australian elections, known as an informal vote. Voting is compulsory, but as it's a secret ballot, there's no enforcement of lodging a valid ballot. As such, if you want to do a "none of the above" vote, you show up at the polling station, get your ballot papers and get your name checked off, then put the blank ballot papers into the ballot box.

Comment Re:One word (Score 4, Insightful) 171

If you want to really reform the system, we should get rid of voting based on geography. Of all the issues I care about, almost none of them are specifically tied to the state I live in. Rather than a senator representing the people of California, it would be better to have one senator representing all the nerds, another representing all the construction workers, and yet another representing all the medicare recipients, etc. Each voter can then pick whomever best represents their views and interests, regardless of where they live.

I agree that representation based on geography is very flawed, but I'm not sure that form of interest-based representation is much better. There's no easy answers to how to get this, but what's actually needed is a system that encourages politicians to legislate and act based on the balanced interests of all the people, rather than the current system of pandering to whoever's politically convenient at the time at the cost of people who actually need the help more.

Comment Re:Year of the Linux desktop! (Score 1) 200

Not going to happen. Microsoft won't do an Apple and break backwards compatibility with previous versions of Windows all for the sake of switching what is currently a well maintained and stable kernel for something else.

In Apple's case, they provided a compatibility layer to allow programs compiled for classic Mac OS to run on Mac OS X unmodified. They did phase the compatibility layer out, but after ample opportunity was given for developers to produce actual OS X versions of their software. In Windows' case, there is the massive amount of unmaintained legacy software that many businesses rely on to take into account, but the answer there is to keep maintaining the compatibility layer. As it is, Microsoft put some effort into maintaining compatibility with old software anyway.

Their only flirt with the idea (Windows RT) was a colossal flop. I don't see them repeating that, and I definitely don't see them doing so without providing an alternative in the process.

That's more because Windows RT is essentially Windows for ARM CPUs, and basically no Windows software is compiled for ARM CPUs. There are ways of dealing with that, such as what Apple did when they changed CPU architecture from PowerPC to Intel - a compatibility layer that's essentially PowerPC emulation. That's not such a realistic option for running x86 software on ARM - not if you want reasonable speeds, anyway.

Comment Re:Snitching devices (Score 2) 423

On the other hand, what good is absolute freedom if we can easily be injured or killed by someone else - be it via negligence or malice - and they suffer no consequences? There's a reasonable compromise somewhere between the two, and I don't think your vehicle automatically calling the authorities is unreasonable. The only circumstance in which that works against you is if you want to deliberately flee the scene of the accident, which is A) criminal, and B) a shitty thing to do anyway. In which case, to hell with you.

As an aside, I have been hit by a car. Twice. In neither incident was I the driver of or passenger in a car. "Don't drive" as advice to avoid being hit by a car is pretty useless.

Comment Re: In other news, SANITIZE YOUR DAMN INPUT. (Score 1) 79

Well, that assumes a supermarket self-checkout. (Which, admittedly, is the most likely possible use for this kind of attack.) But there are other places where barcode readers are there for the general public to use.

As an aside, the barcode readers I've encountered at work do not need to be put into a programming mode. But on the other hand, my employer tends to go for inexpensive equipment...

Comment Re: In other news, SANITIZE YOUR DAMN INPUT. (Score 1) 79

There thing is that these scanners can be programmed to accept only a number of characters but nobody bothers to do so.

It probably wouldn't make that much difference anyway. Typically the only way to program barcode readers is by using special barcodes from the manual or printed out from the manufacturer's software. An attack would just need to start with the special barcode for 'enable these characters'.

Comment Re:In other news, SANITIZE YOUR DAMN INPUT. (Score 1) 79

Well, maybe. Evidently there is some case to be made for it being possible to use control characters in a barcode, else the standards wouldn't include them. It must be useful to someone, somewhere. So it shouldn't really be up to the scanner hardware to say "yeah nah, not passing that on, ever".

And as others point out, it's not really within the scope of applications to decide whether or not certain keypresses go through to the OS. So what does that leave us? Really just the device driver for the barcode reader. If it were possible to set as an option in the device driver "ignore control characters from this 'keyboard'", that'd do it.

Comment Re:Its laugh track is a crime against humanity (Score 1) 406

I don't doubt that many do it that way, but my own (admittedly limited) experience is a similar, but less dishonest/manipulative method.

Some years ago, I was at the recording of a comedy panel show (Good News Week back when it was on the ABC, in case there are any Australians of the right age reading). The show gets recorded, various bits get trimmed out for various reasons - so it'll fit in the time slot, because they messed something up, excessive swearing, etc. Before the show starts, they played clips from previous shows, including things that were funny but had to be left out for time, things that were hilarious but too sweary, etc. Same ultimate effect; warming the audience up, but it's all still from the show's own merits.

Comment Re:Yeah, nah. (Score 3, Informative) 576

It took this? Not our general policy of running around the world tampering with governments, murdering people, and blowing up cities for profit?

Those did kill it most of the way, and the "somewhat interested" is conditional on some pretty unlikely things, such as someone else footing the bill for the trip.

Comment Telnet (Score 1) 620

The oldest technology currently in use at my workplace is telnet. The clients for the system we use are glorified telnet clients with a couple of things bolted on, but for compatibility with the handhelds we sometimes use, it has a mode for working with straight telnet. I sometimes use that from PuTTY or a Unix command line.

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