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Comment: Re:Way to piss off customers, Apple. (Score 4, Insightful) 143

by Zocalo (#49370165) Attached to: If You Want To Buy an Apple Watch In-Store, You'll Need a Reservation
It's also only for the initial few weeks after launch. This is aimed at getting rid of those queues of people that just *have* to have the latest Apple iThing on launch day from cluttering up the streets around the store, which I'm sure goes over well with the city administration that needs to police the queue and deal with the aftermath - at least some of which I suspect have probably had words with Apple store managers or VPs about it. Unless it's a complete debacle I suspect we'll be seeing similar management of iPad, iPhone and other major product launches.

Comment: Re:When every citizen is a potential terrorist... (Score 4, Insightful) 146

by Zocalo (#49368747) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption
I suspect that's actually the underlying problem for the security & intelligence services. It's not so much the fact that regular citizens are starting to use encryption that they have a problem with so much as through the use of encryption by default they're losing the ability to find the more interesting chatter by simply looking for people that are even using encryption in the first place. When your entire haystack is made out of needles, finding the few you are actually interested in becomes that many orders of magnitude harder.

Well, screw that. What they are basically saying is "make our jobs easier for us", but what they are failing to point out is that by doing so they are also leaving people exposed to everyone else that might want to eavesdrop on random communications, and in particular all those people/organizations/countries that they are meant to be securing each other against. If *you* have access to it, then so do your opponents - so the real question, and the one that really needs to be addressed, is which is the lesser of the two evils - having your nation secure from outsiders, or making the job of securing your nation against internal threats slightly easier? Given the complete failure of the security & intelligence services to demonstrate they can achieve the latter even before encryption become a big issue I'd say that's a complete no brainer.

Comment: Re:Perhaps it's an aptitude test in disguise (Score 2) 156

by Zocalo (#49360355) Attached to: UK Licensing Site Requires MSIE Emulation, But Won't Work With MSIE
Were it an application for an IT security role, in the style of those challenges Google and GCHQ have used, then you might have a point and they might have a rather lame excuse. Sadly, this is an application for security of the knuckle dragging variety, and to make matters worse the application process has also been shown to be completely unfit for purpose as just about anyone can successfully apply for a license, including those who should absolutely be prevented from doing so.

When you've got a government department that can't even fulfill do the non-IT related role that it's supposed to do, why am I not surprised that it's also completely incompetent at something it's not - viz managing the procurement of what should be a simple web form process and DB backend?

Comment: Re:Ugly Solution (Score 1) 194

by Zocalo (#49347893) Attached to: Japan To Build 250-Mile-Long, Four Storey-High Wall To Stop Tsunamis

I don't buy your claim of "hugely". The problem here is that while it's a substantial pile of concrete and while that concrete will generate a lot of CO2 as it solidifies, there is a vast amount of atmosphere. It's just not significant even if you do buy fully into catastrophic AGW.

It's not just the *use*, it's also the production of the concrete itself which tends to get lumped in with the end product in environmental impact calculations. Production of concrete is responsible for approximately 5% of ALL mankind's CO2 emissions of which about half comes from the chemical process itself and almost as much from the fuel burnt to provide power for process, with the bulk of the contribution coming from the cement use which produces approx 850-900kg of CO2 per 1000kg of cement.

Japan is certainly well aware of that because they've been complaining to China about the massive amounts of pollution coming from the massive levels of concrete production for use in their mega-projects for years, making this all the more surprising. Clearly it's a case of "do as I say, not as I do" and, as others have noted, a pretty good indication that Japan doesn't give a shit about the environment, especially since the prevailing winds will blow *their* pollution out over the Pacific. Still, at least the US west coast will have some even more colourful sunsets to look forwards too...

Comment: Re:Ugly Solution (Score 1) 194

by Zocalo (#49343149) Attached to: Japan To Build 250-Mile-Long, Four Storey-High Wall To Stop Tsunamis
That the proposal is just bare concrete seems completely inexplicable to me; not only is concrete ugly as sin, it's also hugely unfriendly to the environment in terms of CO2 production. Maybe the concrete (and presumably rebar) is needed for structural integrity but a more natural solution based on earthworks, possibly with a re-inforced core of rock/rubble, sounds like it would be less of a blot on the landscape and thus more acceptable to those who have to see it.

Your idea of artificial lakes - perhaps some kind of double berm arrangement with a suitably voluminous (e.g. *big*) and non-residential catchment area that has rapid drainage back to the ocean in between seems like a much better solution to me as well. The berms possibly needn't even be taller than the peaks of the larger tsunami if the height and shape of the outer wall is enough to reduce the force of the wave enough to ensure that the bulk of the water volume ends up in the catchment basin and anything that sloshes over the second berm isn't likely to cause damage, although that possibly a big ask though, given the footage of ocean ships thrown into the middle of cities from the last mega-tsunami. You could still use the space in between the berms for non-residential/industrial applications like agriculture, parkland, etc., and if you designed it well enough there's no reason that repairing the damage from the inevitable flooding couldn't be quick and reasonably cost effective as well - the biggest problem is likely to be desalienating the soil.

Comment: Re:GCHQ has realized they can track Bitcoin, I bet (Score 2) 42

by Zocalo (#49342687) Attached to: UK Setting Itself Up To Be More Friendly To Bitcoin Startups
I suspect they, and similar agencies, realised this a long time ago; the kind of big data meta analysis of blockchains necessary to establish patterns in the flow of digital currency is what GCHQ, NSA and the like should excel at doing and the use of BitCoin etc. by groups they would be interested in is well documented. Once you start identifying which wallets are regularly transferring large amounts of funds to other known wallets, you can then start looking at who else they are dealing with and building a web of interactions. Combine that with any compromised PCs or other intel that lets them tie specific wallets to specific individuals / organisations and some really useful intelligence about who is dealing with who ought to start dropping out. I'd actually be very surprised if they hadn't been doing this for some time, really.

+ - Dad and daughter recreated 'Jurassic Park' with $100,000 in Lego pieces->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "ego pieces and dino-DNA — both considered "building blocks of life" and very useful for creating dinosaurs from scratch.

Animator Paul Hollingsworth and his daughter Hailee, along with some help from a few "master builders" — decided to recreate iconic scenes from Jurassic Park using only Lego pieces. More than $100,000 in Lego were used, according to the video's description.

The result is a surprisingly stunning and hilarious version of the 1993 dino-thriller. The team behind the film also released an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the production."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 269

by Zocalo (#49335431) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple
Not at all, the parallels are pretty obvious if you think about it and as a business model it's working very well for Apple just as it has for many religions. They're not the only organization doing this, far from it, but Apple is just so much better at it than anyone else around at present. Steve Jobs wasn't some real-world parallel of Tywin Lannister who shat high-value dollar bills; those tens of billions in cash Apple is sitting on came from people who paid into the cult by buying Apple's hardware, and in many cases bought essentially the same hardware all over again just because the version number changed and a few things got slightly better... then did so again... and again. They didn't *really* need to, but they were obviously convinced that they had to, so just like a cult in other words.

I'm not faulting it; it's clearly working very well for Apple and their shareholders, but acting shocked and surprised that breaking ranks with such a setup puts you on the receiving end of a fatwa or jihad (to stick with religious parallels) from those still on the inside? Those are the people that are off their meds.

Comment: Seriously? (Score -1, Troll) 269

by Zocalo (#49334951) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple
The whole Apple ecosystem is built, designed and operated like a cult. People on both sides of debate frequently refer to it as a "Church". It funnels more and more money from the fanatical congregation into the pockets of the leadership through convincing them that they absolutely, positively *need* to upgrade to the next Operating Thetan, erm, I mean "version". Seriously, Scientology could take lessons from them. WTF did you expect?

+ - Wikipedia admin's manipulation "messed up perhaps 15,000 students' lives" 5

Submitted by Andreas Kolbe
Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Recently, "ArbCom", Wikipedia's highest court, banned an administrator account that for years had been manipulating the Wikipedia article of a bogus Indian business school – deleting criticism, adding puffery, and enabling the article to become a significant part of the school's PR strategy. Believing the school's promises and advertisements, families went to great expense to send sons and daughters on courses there – only for their children to find that the degrees they had gained were worthless. "In my opinion, by letting this go on for so long, Wikipedia has messed up perhaps 15,000 students’ lives," an Indian journalist quoted in the story says. India is one of the countries where tens of millions of Internet users have free access to Wikipedia Zero, but cannot afford the data charges to access the rest of the Internet, making Wikipedia a potential gatekeeper."

+ - Scientists built new nanolaser using a single atomic sheet 1

Submitted by rtoz
rtoz (2530056) writes "The Scientists at University of Washington and Stanford University built a new nanometer-sized laser which uses a tungsten-based semiconductor only three atoms thick as the “gain material” that emits light.

The UW nanolaser is energy efficient, easy to build and compatible with existing electronics. This technology is described in a paper published in the March 16 online edition of Nature.
Compared to other nanolaser designs, that makes them difficult to build and integrate with modern electrical circuits and computing technologies.
But this UW’s nanolaser can be easily fabricated to work with silicon components common in modern electronics."

+ - Short circuit in LHC could delay restart by weeks->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "On March 21 CERN detected an intermittent short circuit to ground in one of the LHC's magnet circuits that could delay the restart by anywhere between a few days to several weeks. CERN revealed that the short circuit has affected one of LHC's powerful electromagnets thereby delaying preparations in sector 4-5 of the machine. The European research organisation confirmed that seven of the machine’s eight sectors have successfully been commissioned to 6.5 TeV per beam, but it won't be circulating beam in the LHC this week. Though the short circuit issue is a well understood one, engineers will take time to resolve it since it is in a cold section of the machine and repair may therefore require warming up and re-cooling after repair."
Link to Original Source

+ - Flash-Based Vulnerability Lingers On Many Websites Three Years Later->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "The vulnerability, known as CVE-2011-2461, was unusual because fixing it didn’t just require the Adobe Flex Software Development Kit (SDK) to be updated, but also patching all the individual Flash applications (SWF files) that had been created with vulnerable versions of the SDK. The company released a tool that allowed developers to easily fix existing SWF files, but many of them didn’t. Last year, Web application security engineers Luca Carettoni from LinkedIn and Mauro Gentile from Minded Security came across the old flaw while investigating Flash-based techniques for bypassing the Same-Origin Policy (SOP) mechanism found in browsers. They found SWF files that were still vulnerable on Google, Yahoo, Salesforce, Adobe, Yandex, Qiwi and many other sites. After notifying the affected websites, they presented their findings last week at the Troopers 2015 security conference in Germany."
Link to Original Source

+ - We know where you've been: Ars gets 4.6M license plate scans from the Oakland PD-> 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "One citizen demands: "Do you know why Oakland is spying on me and my wife?"

If you have driven in Oakland any time in the last few years, chances are good that the cops know where you’ve been, thanks to their 33 automated license plate readers (LPRs).

In response to a public records request, Ars obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely the largest publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

After analyzing this data with a custom-built visualization tool, Ars can definitively demonstrate the data's revelatory potential. Anyone in possession of enough data can often—but not always—make educated guesses about a target’s home or workplace, particularly when someone’s movements are consistent (as with a regular commute)."

Link to Original Source

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