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Comment Re:How it was done (Score 5, Informative) 146

TFA was uninformative. Instead, from http://cynosureprime.blogspot....:

Instead of cracking the slow bcrypt hashes directly, which is the hot topic at the moment, we took a more efficient approach and simply attacked the md5(lc($username).”::”.lc($pass)) and md5(lc($username).”::”.lc($pass).”:”.lc($email).”:73@^bhhs&#@&^@8@*$”) tokens instead. Having cracked the token, we simply then had to case correct it against its bcrypt counterpart.

Or this:

Comment Will this work? (Score 1) 40

I am not sure about the market for smart cards in Sub-Saharan Africa (the intended market for these smartcards). Smartcards need to work with a lot of complementary technology and infrastructure in order to deliver the benefits of convenient and secure payment (readers, communication systems, electricity to power these), and I don't know that this is present to a great extent in many African countries.

In addition, given that running a business in Lagos is a pretty difficult thing (given the chronic power shortages, difficulty in obtaining skilled manpower, poor transport infrastructure), I'm not sure the smartcards will necessarily be cheap enough to compete against imported cards, even with cheaper labour offsetting some of the costs. If Jonathan's idea is to use tariffs to level the playing field, it means that the factory's market is effectively limited to Nigeria, making it even a more dubious enterprise.

Comment Cheap tech (Score 1) 300

"One of the failure modes of extrapolative SF is to assume that just because something is technologically feasible, it will happen. ... Someone has to want it enough to pay for it—and it will be competing with other, possibly more attractive options."

I'm not sure what Stross is saying here. An important part of the process of developing technology is not just to ensure it can be developed, but that it can be developed at a price that most people can afford.

So when I seen advanced technology portrayed in SF being used by fairly ordinary people, I assume that the technology has been made affordable enough that paying for it is not an issue.

Comment Business-minded criminals (Score 1, Interesting) 463

I found it interesting that these criminals made a point of honouring their promise to provide the tools to decrypt the encrypted data.

At first, this didn't make sense to me. They are criminals; why do they have to honour anything?

But thinking about it some more, it works in their favour. Say I am a desperate person looking to get my files back, and I ask around if anyone has had any success with paying the ransom. If get responses saying "yes", then of course I am more likely to pay too, and this works in favour of the criminals' bottom line.

In addition, it dosn't cost the criminals much to provide the decryption tools, unlike if this was a kidnapping of a real person where there is the risk of the kidnapper getting caught during a hostage exchange.

Comment Re:Few you say? (Score 1) 578

When the dominant culture/language becomes decadent, people have no other choice than to push other cultures/languages in order to survive.


What do you mean by 'decadent' here?

Sure, some people bind up their culture in a language, but for others, language is just functional - a way to get someone else to understand your thoughts. Why should the 'decadence' of a language stop you from using it if it helps you pass your message across clearly, and if it does so better than many other languages because of its rich vocabulary?

Comment It's not that important (Score 2) 129

Nationality is really just a legal construct, anyway - it allows a body of people (known as a 'government') to determine what rights and responsibilities you have by virtue of being in a particular physical location.

I think that most people have a stronger affinity to a culture - especially the culture they grew up with - than they do to a nationality, since culture evokes a more emotional response. Of course, for many people, the two are the same - but if you're a naturalized immigrant, they are two very different things.

Nationality will become even less important to people if more countries start trying to attract people to live in them (for economic or social reasons), but I don't see happening for a long while yet.

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Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?