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Comment: No, this is just as bad as spam. (Score 1) 204

by abolitiontheory (#34673376) Attached to: Spammers Finally Under the Legal Gun?
This story just emphasizes that litigation doesn't solve anything. How is this 'crusade' actually helping reduce the kind of really atrocious spam that consumes untold CPU cycles, internet bandwidth, and user time? I can't believe that these companies, "large and small," that are actually reachable, are the really troublesome spammers, and not just some more or less well-meaning people who didn't perfectly adhere to CAN-SPAM regulations. So, he's essentially extorting from legitimate companies and groups, rather than doing anything that reduces truly destructive and troublesome spam.

This guy seems like a lawyer's lawyer. He's getting paid by the law without having to actually represent anyone but himself.

Comment: Re:160 seconds? Windows? Bad example (Score 1) 343

by abolitiontheory (#34573590) Attached to: The Case For Lousy Passwords

Why on earth are they mentioning how fast rainbow tables can break an old windows hash? That has nothing to do with most pages running apache on linux. The example password would last for quite a while against a brute force attack. Anyone worth their salt wouldn't allow that many auth attempts from one IP. Get it worth their salt? Lololol. Anyhow why is the windows example being used in this article at all?

Right, but the issue is, they weren't cracking over an IP. They made off with a hash file. This is why system-level security is more important than user-level security. The problem isn't that the users had weak passwords, it's that Gawker's servers were compromised. Now the hackers don't have to worry about IP auth denial.

A hacker making off with a hash file is like a thief making off with your portable safe. Sure, it's fire proof and has a padlock, but he has all the time in the world now, in a safe environment, to gain access to your personal documents.

The bigger question is, why was your doors unlocked?

Weak passwords and fake information for meaningless sites, stronger passwords for financial and personal sites. Differentiation is the key, not complexity.

Microsoft

Child Abuse Verdict Held Back By MS Word Glitch 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the messy-verdict dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week several defendants including one high-profile TV presenter were sentenced in Portugal in what has been known as the Casa Pia scandal. The judges delivered on September 3 a summary of the 2000-page verdict, which would be disclosed in full only three days later. The disclosure of the full verdict has been postponed from September 8 to a yet-to-be-announced date, allegedly because the full document was written in several MS Word files which, when merged together, retained 'computer related annotations which should not be present in any legal document.' (Google translated article.) Microsoft specialists were called in to help the judges sort out the 'text formatting glitch,' while the defendants and their lawyers eagerly wait to access the full text of the verdict."

Comment: No, what needs to happen is: (Score 3, Funny) 464

by abolitiontheory (#31793544) Attached to: Why Mozilla Needs To Go Into Survival Mode
Survivor 10: Internet Edition. Web-browsers battle it our in the toughest of surfing environments: hundreds of tabs, incompatible add-ons, swamps of malware, installs on wristwatches! (Spoiler: In the finale, FireFox and IE team up (gasp!) in a last ditch effort to defeat young upstarts Safari and Chrome!)

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 322

by abolitiontheory (#31791960) Attached to: All the Best Games May Be NP-Hard

All of which are fundamentally governed by the laws of physics. Math.

I think you're equivocating here. Governed by physics, yes, but not by math. Math is the language of description, not the laws themselves. So the equivocation here is between description and causation. Mathematics describes in a human/machine cipherable language the seemingly immutable physical principles of the universe. This type of sensual observation falls prey to Hume's complete skepticism, that we cannot say something is fundamental just because our experience of it has never been controverted. That's an impossible jump of logic, no matter how high the mound of evidence piles.

The response to Hume's skepticism is Kant's transcendentalism, a notion which de facto attempts to escape Turing completeness. Even if our divine spark doesn't come from an actual deity, Kant's claim is that we are in some way divine, he sets the plane of divinity within us. While Kant's claims need not be accurate, successive thinkers continue to ground 'humanness' (what makes us self-aware and makes our life meaningful) in something beyond chemeo-physical determinism/reactionism. Heidegger's 'being-towards death,' Levinas' 'Otherness,' and Derrida's 'differance' all point to this, arguing in the very structure of cognition (i.e. the very reasons why science is interesting to us and why we carry it out) extends beyond Turing complete determinism.

For me this questions bends back the fundamental possibility/intelligibility of AI. Can a thorough (i.e. Turing complete) description of the physical laws ever be reverse-compiled into that seemingly 'divine' spark of human awareness and intentionality. Description, codification, transition of sensation into intelligibility is the first step, but I'm doubtful that it can ever be translated 100% back.

Comment: Re:Slashdot (Score 4, Insightful) 319

by abolitiontheory (#27715891) Attached to: The Circus Widens In Aftermath of Pirate Bay Verdict

Exactly. This judge is essentially speeding in order to change the speed limit. Instead of judging by the current laws and waiting for the legislature to change the laws which he can enforce, he is taking matters into his own hands and changing the law himself by stretching the law to cover the situation in the way he feels it should.

The question is: is this or isn't this simply what judges do they administer verdicts? Isn't just always inherently interpretive? Is judgment a referential or creative act?

Comment: Re:Seems like the Swedish know what to do. (Score 5, Insightful) 319

by abolitiontheory (#27715861) Attached to: The Circus Widens In Aftermath of Pirate Bay Verdict
The name Pirate Party especially intrigues me. The reason is this: movements in history often end up very far from where they start. Imagine in 100 years, when history has stripped the original reason for the naming of the 'Pirate Party' from social memory, as a father explains to his son why the majority party of their country is named after ancient sea-robbers. Already the term pirate has been shifted and reassigned once. What if some day the just majority of a society is known as pirates? Shifts in ideology produce interesting etymological histories.

Comment: Re:Seems like the Swedish know what to do. (Score 4, Interesting) 319

by abolitiontheory (#27715809) Attached to: The Circus Widens In Aftermath of Pirate Bay Verdict

...at the end of the day, they're all good ole boys and socialize and play together in their elite circles.

But also not. While the idea of America's two parties functionally being one big family is novel and intriguing, there are true separations. In the south they really drink sweet tea and own guns and have less (or different) money and go to church a lot. In the north they live in high rises and go to the opera and drive luxury cars and complain about global warming.

My point is this: I have had dinner with both liberals and republicals so blinded by ideology that had they met a (one-sided) gun fight would have surely insued. The only thing which makes this situation hilarious and tragic is how little significant space actually separates their views, thereby making their ardor hallow and frightening.

Your comment does raise an interesting point for me, however, having lived near Washington D.C. almost my entire life. I wonder if the artificiality of that town, removed from the country and from the areas where which the elected officials supposedly 'represent' is sufficiently homogenous to truly turn the majority of politics into friends behind the guise of opposition. Maybe them, like us, are just happy to have jobs and to get paid for doing relatively little... essentially for looking busy.

We all appreciate the ability to get up in arms over nothing. Ardently defending your favorite linux distro or computing platform is a cathartic experience of fervor without something actually crucial to survival being on the line. Perhaps America, so instantiated in its history of wealth and domination, has no reason for actual party creation, affiliation, or division, because nothing has sufficiently rocked the boat so as to leave us concerned to the point of change.

We're all pretty confident things will recover, one way or another, under the blundering of either blue or red. In this sense, we all believe in one party, the green party, and its simply a matter of whichever other color seems to be most affiliated with that one at the moment that we vote for.

Comment: Re:I read something about this (Score 4, Insightful) 168

by abolitiontheory (#27710595) Attached to: A Vision For a World Free of CAPTCHAs

In addition to this, what about those humans who just happen to fall into the seemingly 'mechanical pattern' that a computer registrant would? I know some parents of friends who very meticulously and methodically fill out forms, reading every box and explanation to ensure that they're inputting the right data.

Any computer judgment of what is authentically human is in a way a reverse Turing test. It's a computer judging if humans are behaving enough like humans. The problem here is too many degrees of separation: a very specific type of human [engineer] designs a computer to assess the 'humanness' of other humans actions. Any such assessment would be based on certain assumptions and biases about how humans act. It sounds like putting a document through Google translator into another language and then back again, before turning it in for a final grade.

Comment: Re:Similar to Windows hate? (Score 1) 503

by abolitiontheory (#27629449) Attached to: Comic Sans, Font of Ill Will

It's like when people use ketchup to make spaghetti sauce. It sort of works, but it's just wrong.

This is a good analogy, but I think there's a deeper issue here.

Comic Sans accomplishes a brute, banal affect of familiarity and informality: a shotgun approach akin to the atrocity that is OVEREMPHASIZED, over-exclaimed(!!!) writing. The problem lies less with the typeface itself (except perhaps for lending itself particularly well to this type of exploitation) than it does with the lack of true choice available to the average computer user/document creator the world over. It's popularity is no different than the abhorrent proliferation of lens flares and single filter image edits among amateur graphics editors.

It's not a misapplication as much as an over-application. Its widespread use is like someone who puts ketchup on everything, even ice cream and fillet mignon. Its widespread use is a symptom of a culture uneducated in nuance and therefore lacking in choice.

Comment: Re:Similar to Windows hate? (Score 5, Interesting) 503

by abolitiontheory (#27629149) Attached to: Comic Sans, Font of Ill Will

Also, in addition to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_caps

From the article: "However, the shapes of words set in lowercase provide a valuable cue to readers that helps speed the process of reading; type in all caps forms a rectangular shape for every word, which makes distinguishing words harder."

I once read on a forum that it is on average %10 slower to read anything written in all capital then in mixed or lower case. This may not seem significant until one considers the ramifications for reading significantly long documents or the build up of lost productivity over years of reading terminal messages.

Data Storage

+ - iTunes / Picasa type program for documents? 1

Submitted by
abolitiontheory
abolitiontheory writes "On a crusade to regain control of my sprawling file structure recently, I consistently hit one dead end: document management. In the era of front end programs like Picasa and iTunes for images and music, is there no equivalent program for documents and/or PDFs? Key features I'm looking for are: thumbnail previews, visual interface, tagging and search capabilities, timeline view of some sort (date modified/created, etc.), and the ability to group documents into "albums" irrespective of their folder locations on the computer. Help me, Slashgods!"

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