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Comment Programming (Score 4, Insightful) 600

Based upon my three decades of programming experience, programming at rare times may require you to brush up on what you learned in engineering school, but essentially your degree is mostly a worthless piece of paper in terms of career usefulness. I've used much less than 5% of what I learned there, and probably more like less than 1%. My most useful class was software engineering, because it touched on the non-technical aspects of being a programmer.

There are small subsets of programmers that use geometry and calculus, but even if we only remember the basics those types of programmers don't need to worry about nit picky details because we all use libraries. You'd be absolutely foolish to open up a calculus book and write your own library function, unless you're doing something extremely novel. Novel is bad when you are trying to write maintainable code.

What is useful to you as a programmer is to understand what big O notation is. It's advanced math beyond calculus, but it always seemed like common sense to me. If you have to do n^2 operations for every n, that's worse than having to do n operations. In 30 years I've never had to worry about little o or logarithms. Google gets specific in interview questions about all of these notations, but I'm telling you what is actually useful.

What is not useful to you is mastery of the syntactical details of any language. Try to program as if you're writing English. Write software in such a way that you could be doing it in any language. Write software that the next person can read, instantly understand, and begin modifying.

Programming isn't purely doing Google searches. What I spend most of my time on is seeing how the software I'm working on already solves a problem and to use as similar techniques as possible, so that the next person who works on it will encounter consistency. Every change I make I make for a reason, and I understand every change I make well enough to explain it to my mom.

Another way of looking at it is the technical interview is almost completely useless. You can ace a technical interview and write the shittiest code I've ever seen. You can perform average on an interview and write the cleanest code I've ever seen. If anything, detailed technical knowledge should count against you. The next person to maintain your code might not know every trivial little feature of the language you're using and has no admiration for your cleverness.

Write software like Hemingway, not Thomas Hardy, and don't sweat the math.

Comment Re:Has anybody ever heard of a firewall? (Score 1) 78

Re "government to do the most basic of functions that "a government" is created for, wielding the collective power of it's people. If a government can't protect it's own its not really fulfilling its purpose."
The database was created for needs of powerful contractors and expensive projects in plain text. The question about projects listed in letter of commendation, work history is the open question. What agencies, gov, mil where told they could keep their own internal lists is also interesting and over what years the unencrypted data was kept. Since the years after 2000? Encryption would have allowed nothing that readable to be found.

Comment Re:Has anybody ever heard of a firewall? (Score 1) 78

Re "Just wondering.. we already monitor 100% of traffic leaving our shores, why can't we use that deep packet inspection to build a firewall?"
It depends on what the network evolved into. An encrypted, air gapped mil/gov only list of expert staff to a readable vendor friendly cloud database for finding or clearing skilled staff?
Say some distant country had freedom needs, a plain text, unencrypted list of cleared contractors would be great, no encryption to worry about, keys to request, logged trail. Get the contractors and "freedom" support is shipped.
The US wanted to removed all the red tape, to get ideas, people and missions flowing supported by all contractors. Gov only firewalls would have stopped contractors from finding, selecting, sorting plain text lists of skilled staff for amazing no bid contracts. Someone requested and got that "treasure trove of data" open, readable and very networked.

Comment Re:Well, Jimmy's parents let HIM do it! (Score 1) 78

Re "Perhaps worse than people not caring (enough) that their whole world is fast becoming an Orwellian nightmare, we are now left without a credible nation to voice the message of Worldly evil."
With "Our Government Has Weaponized The Internet. Here’s How They Did It" http://www.wired.com/2013/11/t... (11.13.13) even finding the "individuals and firms from other nations" is going to be tricky.
All the other 5 eye nations, their staff, ex staff and former staff, contractors and other "friendly" 3rd party nations have some idea about the more advanced methods.
Anyone could set the end point as the most expected nations, use the correct time zone and the found log would be detailed junk..
The other question is why would any nation just allow a plain text "treasure trove of data about government employees" to exist in any form just facing the net?
Boondoggle to find contractors, limited hangout or honey pot?

Comment Flood the market (Score 1) 78

With sanctions China and Russia will stop importing so much expensive, exotic, bespoke US designed computer system hardware.
How is US Tailored Access Operations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... going to get to the exported hardware if its not been shipped around the world?
Without that secret spyware and hardware been installed as delivered how will the product sold be found on an open network again?
The US mil had the right idea in the 1990's - flood the export market with tame US brands and watch as every nation installs ever more complex trap doored networked products.
All sanctions do is support local production and reduce the need to even considering any tame Western brands.

Comment Re:I wonder why they don't revoke the embasy. (Score 1) 266

It goes back to ideas like Vienna Convention on Consular Relations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
The UK and US loved setting up all kinds of embassy or consulate like building globally that have a nice geographic locations.
So a lot of work goes into location, cooling, electrical and ability to collect all signals in another country. Great for the NSA and GCHQ. The idea that a building with its computer systems could be closed down quickly is not a nice thought so the legal protections for embassy or consulate like locations is kept very strong at an international level.
The same legal protections that allow the US and UK to build up their signals intelligence gathering systems on site also protects all other nations staff and the 'site' in the UK.
If not the Soviet Union could have shut down Western embassies at random times, the US could have closed the Russian embassy over any random "spy" incident. The total loss of a site in another nation was never worth it.
A lot of methods, hardware and systems would have been lost. ie the "code-room" in country over decades is worth more than any short term UK raid causing a change in international law.
Any interesting person who made it to the safe grounds of any UK embassy could be removed by any regime for any reason.
The UK would never want to be the nation that set that precedent where other nations technicians can just walk into an embassy as "police" or other services to "help" or find a person at random times.
Diplomatic immunity works so well for all, why would any nation ever want to "expunge" it?

Comment Re:Legal Standing (Score 1) 150

Yes the "All they have to do is classify the records and its essentially game over" is the method. Every legal output is then 'cleaned' with parallel construction.
To get past the 4th amendment everyone doing the collect it all domestic surveillance is always told its just for foreigners.
The key seems to be the:
'But such is the nature of the government’s privileged control over certain classes of information. Plaintiffs must realize that secrecy is yet another form of regulation, prescribing not “what the citizen may do” but instead “what the citizen may know.”"

Submission + - SPAM: Law Enforcement To Dark Web Hackers: Give Us Dirt On Ashley Madison Thieves

Suppoldn87 writes: WASHINGTON — Law enforcement authorities on Monday urged hackers on the Dark Web, a shadowy part of the Internet that requires special software to access, to provide dirt on the thieves who recently leaked data from the affairs website Ashley Madison. The website's Canada-based parent company, Avid Life Media, is offering a reward of CA$500,000 (about $379,132 in U.S. dollars) for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.

Hackers calling themselves the Impact Team dumped a massive amount of stolen data from Ashley Madison on the Internet last week. So far, the leaks have included personally identifiable information from the website's millions of users, as well as the emails of Noel Biderman, CEO of Avid Life Media. The hackers reportedly told Motherboard they are sitting on more employee emails and user photos, including "dick pictures."

"To the hacking community who engage in discussions on the Dark Web and who no doubt have information that could assist this investigation, we [are] appealing to you to do the right thing," said Bryce Evans, acting staff superintendent of the Toronto Police Service, in a press conference on Monday.

Evans urged the hacking community to "acknowledge that this is a unique situation that has caused enormous social and economic fallout. You know the Impact Team has crossed the line."

Canadian police forces are working with a number of other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. Officials on Monday described some of the fallout of the hack, including credit card exploitation, "hate crimes" andtwo unconfirmed reports of suicides linked to the leak.

Law enforcement officials did not comment further on the reports of suicide. News outlets have reported that a San Antonio police captain took his own life after his email was allegedly leaked. Some 15,000 of the email addresses included in the breach appear to be government and military accounts, CNN reported, although it's unclear which of those accounts have been verified.

Officials provided few details about the identity of the hackers in the press conference, but Evans said the investigation — which he called "Project Unicorn" — is progressing in a "positive fashion." Some security experts have speculated that the hack was an inside job, but officials at Monday's press conference did not indicate whether that was a particular focus of the investigation.

Evans noted that several employees at Avid Life Media received a threatening message on their computers in July, accompanied by the song "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC. Evans said the company has been fully cooperative with the police investigation. As of Monday, he said, "the investigative team has found no criminal wrongdoing involving Avid Life Media."

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline .

Language has been added to clarify that Avid Life's offer of a $500,000 reward is in Canadian dollars.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Link to Original Source

Comment Currency, tracking and transport (Score 1) 106

What where South African power needs in the distant past? Mining, always ready rapid air defence for its decades long military needs, city, towns, advanced industrial use (eg Secunda and other projects).
The power grid was a huge cost to expand everywhere over decades.
Advanced tracking tilt heliostats can offer grid isolated communities a way to escape the traditional costs of diesel use with a generator at a remote location, delivery costs and currency exchange rate pressure needed to pay for all that domestic diesel use.
Why pay for electrical energy in a foreign currency?
Every hour of sun light can be understood on site to optimize the tilt angle every day to give some electrical power.
With the power needs of water pumping, sanitation, farming, education, efficient led displays computers and lighting the needs for always on diesel power in remote sites may change. Domestic build costs, domestic tracking computing and engineering, lower long term costs, not having to buy or transport diesel over years to many remote locations could be a real plus for SA.
Even exports given a local factory, the software, easy set up for appropriate global use.

Comment Re:Is it just me? (Score 1) 282

Re : to work in our security agencies?
Think of Eastern Europe in the the late 1970-80's. Vast amounts of printed material, Bibles, Western books and communications equipment where been smuggled in by the CIA, MI6 and other Western groups.
What did the Eastern European secret services tell the Communist political leadership? With more funding, time, expensive equipment, more informants and staff every Western influenced plot could be uncovered soon, filled with informants, turned and presented to the worlds press as spies.
In the desperate attempts to earn hard currency the East was trading with the West, a huge flow of products, goods, services and transport. Not every container could be fully searched in ports. Thats how the Western material was getting in. Trade policy and loans.
It was hard to tell political leaders that the trade with the West, the constant flow of material and shipping was the way in for CIA, MI6 funded Western books, newspapers, printing equipment.
The West is filled with the same ideas. With funding, over time, expensive equipment, collect it all, more cash for informants, sock puppets to alter the news and internet and huge amounts of new expert staff every issue can be solved.
Vast security bureaucracies and agencies do what they can within the limitations of the systems they work for. Informants, watching all authors, collecting "the internet", watching academics and the media are all easy, safe growth opportunities for bureaucracies.
Think of the growth in security clearances, overtime, prestige, power and funding within any nations security agencies just from watching all authors over decades :)
Better watch them in person to ensure they dont slip out to spread truth at invite only meetings or parties or meet foreign diplomats...

Comment Formal proofs of software are useless (Score 1) 168

Hi, MIT guys, formal proofs of filesystems are useless because you cannot incorporate physical systems into formal proofs. Real filesystems exist on real hardware.

I guarantee that your file system will fail if I start ripping cables out. A suitably strong EMP will take it out. In fact, I bet I could nuke your filesystem if I used my ham radio transceiver too close to the device. Other things that would destroy your filesystem include floods, earthquakes, and a lightning strike.

I began writing this by stating that formal proofs of software are useless, but I don't really believe that to be true. I strongly believe that we should strive for software correctness. Any techniques that can we use to make software better are worth pursuing.

But it has to be remembered that software cannot be isolated. When we do develop a true AI, it will escape and destroy us, probably within milliseconds of an unexpected hardware event. No matter how rigorously the beast is programmed!

Comment Re:I been wondering (Score 2) 211

The very old systems? They had a drop to older phone network standards and users would just see it as part of their local rust belt cell networks.
Such changes in networking conditions could be mapped.
Phone Firewall Identifies Rogue Cell Towers Trying To Intercept Your Calls (09.03.14)
Upgrades and updates ensure all tracking is now more seamless in any area less of the drop down to another generation of network service. Voice, mapping, rewind packages work "as" any domestic cell infrastructure for a low cost per city, state.
The next gen is as sold as good as is used to track foreigners in their own nations and stay ahead of very low end diplomatic counter surveillance efforts.

Comment Re:Think back a few decades (Score 1) 211

Thanks AC, The Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
Public private partnerships for realtime access to all CCTV networks are been worked on in many city areas.
The use of small or large manned aircraft has been seen at a state and federal level over the years but seems to be in the press too much now thanks to low level wireless search patterns over hours. Locals tend to notice that.
New Senate Bill Would Require Warrants for Federal Aerial Surveillance (June 18 2015)
Drones, blimps, aerostats are sold as looking outwards or for internal mil testing but will soon be very common for domestic use.
Moored balloons and other efforts over many years show the advancement for more downward looking platforms at a per state or for domestic use from the early 1980's on.
Every powered cell phone in areas will be tracked 24/7 by default from above for the price of a few 10's millions with hidden ongoing reimbursable line items funding.

"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserved their neutrality." -- Dante