Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: But Google can Analyze the data (Score 1) 281

by aberglas (#48604851) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services

People forget that the NSA is now a huge government bureaucracy. Sure they sniff a lot of data, but I'd bet pennies to pounds that the software that they use to analyze it is as broken as most other large government systems.

Google, on the other hand, has yet to become an unworkable bureaucracy (I give it another 5 years). They do have tools and expertise, so your data on Google is not only available to the NSA, it is actually *accessible*, which makes it far more potent.

Comment: Taxi Drivers are NOT Taxi Owners (Score 1) 295

by aberglas (#48596073) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

Unless Paris is very different from elsewhere, the people that drive taxis do not own the licenses. The drivers derive no benefit from the license, the drivers get paid below minimum wage rates on contracts.

But most Taxi drivers seem to believe that they benefit from the licensing, from paying maybe 55% of their income to the license owner. Whereas many of them would be better off just driving for Uber. Or at least no worse off.

Comment: Re:goodbye Eclipse! (Score 0) 115

by aberglas (#48551625) Attached to: Google Releases Android Studio 1.0, the First Stable Version of Its IDE

The best thing about Eclipse is the many features that it copied from IntelliJ (which is the basis for Android Studio, apparently).

I'd like to see the android environment ported to PCs, so that I can use it for thick client development too.

And then there is the question of HTML5. Will Android development continue to be relevant?

Comment: Re:Google engineers... (Score 1) 239

by aberglas (#48526253) Attached to: Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox

Yes and that is what I did. But it is not easy, and 99% of users just used sent mail. And even when done it does not group related messages. So no, not close to the GMail threading.

I actually do not think that there was a single widely used EMail system that supported threading in the way No News did.

What is sad is that labels and threading are the type of features added by smart engineers in small teams, which is what GMail would have been long ago. But it is not the sort of thing that the MBAs that run large teams would do. They do cost benefit analysis, end user surveys, study the in flight magazines and thereby attempt to create a faster horse. Hence all the changes to GMail in the last 10 years are cosmetic rubbish following fashions, often making the actual email harder to read (e.g. picking apart long threads). Products generally have a short initial innovative phase, and then if they are successful they are squashed by management.

I think that whatever Inbox turns out to be it will be the end of GMail for me.

Comment: What actually is Inbox? (Score 3, Interesting) 239

by aberglas (#48520163) Attached to: Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox

The Google page just says that it will be good for me.

It looks generally like a dumbed down phone style app. "lots of whitespace" etc.

There is a *lot* of room for improvement in GMail that does not involve pissing about with the UI. Like being able to add a summary to an email thread. Like being able to break email threads which become muddled. Like being able to add additional meta data do emails and use them for simple applications. People have been asking for these for years, but the MBAs that now seem to run Google do not listen.

But it does not look like Inbox is any of these things,.

Anyone actually tried it?

Comment: TLS/SSL/PKI is just the wrong algorithm. (Score 1) 92

by aberglas (#48453365) Attached to: Book Review: Bulletproof SSL and TLS

For logging into a secure server the correct algoritmm is Secure Remote Password (SRP).

This uses a little crypto magic to produce STRONG security from weak passwords. It is a bit like using a nounce, but it does not give a man in the middle any way to brute force guess the password.

If the user tries to log into a phished website the attempt simply fails. The phisher learns nothing. And there is no need for all the PKI certificate signing trusted third party nonsense.

It is not just dumb end users. What do you do when an SSH session says "new certificate". Check its finger print? Of course not, nobody does. With SRP this would be completely unnecessary.

It does not work for sites upon which you have no account. But for banking etc. it is the obvious way to go. But somehow the PKI mob and their expensive certificates got all the press. And no patents on SRP.

(There are a number of similar algorithms known as PAKE. But SRP is the latest and greatest incarnation.)

Comment: "Watson" is no one thing (Score 2) 67

by aberglas (#48347177) Attached to: Does Watson Have the Answer To Big Blue's Uncertain Future?

In IBM "Watson" appears to just be a vacuous marketing term for anything vaguely related to Artificial Intelligence. Any technical details are very sparse.

Sure there was the very clever program that won Jeopardy!. But then IBM is saying that they want to use "Watson" for medical diagnosis. That is about as different a problem as you can get. And if the term "Cognative Computing" means anything at all it suggests the use of perceptron networks, which are not generally used for either the Jeopardy Watson or medical diagnosis.

So it is a bit like asking "Will software related stuff save IBM?". I don't know whether IBM can be saved, but it is pretty likely that if it can that it will have something to do with software.

UFOs are for real: the Air Force doesn't exist.