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Comment: Re:SSL/TLS may not help if you use Cloudflare (Score 1) 105

by Animats (#48223939) Attached to: Researcher Finds Tor Exit Node Adding Malware To Downloads

This attack on binaries requires a MITM attack. The attacker must be in a position to intercept and modify the data. SSL only prevents that if it's end to end SSL. Using SSL over Cloudflare doesn't eliminate the possibility of an attack on binaries, because Cloudflare is a MITM itself. The exit from Cloudflare is vulnerable in exactly the way the exit from Tor is.

Comment: SSL/TLS may not help if you use Cloudflare (Score 4, Interesting) 105

by Animats (#48223745) Attached to: Researcher Finds Tor Exit Node Adding Malware To Downloads

Cloudflare offers a fake SSL service called "Flexible SSL". Cloudfront gets a cert generated with a long list of domains. Users connect to Cloudfront, Cloudflare sets up a secure connection from the user's browser to Cloudflare, acts as a man-in-the-middle, and makes an unencrypted connection to the destination host.

And, of course, there's an exploit for this.

Even if you buy Cloudflare'ss "most secure" option, and have SSL to your own server using your own certificate, you have to give Clouldflare your SSL cert's private keys. Does Clouldflare take responsiblity for the security of your private keys? No.

So do not use Cloudflare for sites which handle any valuable data, such as credit card numbers.

Comment: Distributed is hard because of the asshole problem (Score 5, Interesting) 253

by Animats (#48214995) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

Diaspora failed partly because it presents itself in such a confusing way. See Join Diaspora.: " Registrations are closed But don't worry! There are lots of other pods you can register at. You can also choose to set up your own pod if you'd like. There's no "Join" button, but two "Donate" buttons. Take a look at a few "pods". You can't see anything without signing up, and many sound like they're run by wierdos.

The latter is the real problem. A system where anyone can join anonymously and can have as many identities as they want will be overrun by spammers and jerks. Facebook has some pushback in that area, which helps. Facebook also started by getting people from big-name schools, so they didn't start with a loser-heavy population.

A social network needs some cost to creating an identity. The cost can be money, or reputation, or even a proof of work, like Bitcoin. Otherwise, the network is overrun with fake accounts. A distributed social network needs good anti-forgery mechanisms, to prevent one node from spoofing another. That's hard without central control.

Comment: Re:Wonder if their time hasn't already passed... (Score 1) 164

by jfengel (#48214835) Attached to: Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

In the case of a general social networking tool, there kinda can be only one. People won't check every site every day, and the one they check most often will be the one with most of their friends. If you have "Ello friends" and "Facebook friends", odds are you'll visit one site much less, and your friends there will drift further away.

There's room for various niche sites, but they need a differentiator. I can imagine Ello wanting to be the social networking site for those who want privacy, but strikes me as being kind of counter to the point of social networking. People go to Facebook *because* it violates their privacy. It does so a bit more than most realize, perhaps, but really they only seem to notice the monetization of their lack of privacy, rather than the lack of privacy itself.

Comment: Why not just use cameras? (Score 1) 165

by Animats (#48214609) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

There are probably security cameras watching the line already. Use them to count the people. Software for this is available from several suppliers.

Cameras at intersections already do this, as part of traffic signal control. The best systems report things like "3 cars waiting at signal, then a big gap, then more approaching cars". The controller can then let three cars through, then turn the light for that intersection face red and let the other direction go.

Comment: Re: Nah, this is just stage 1 (Score 1) 324

by jfengel (#48205185) Attached to: Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

Other factors have kept inflation low for quite some time. The Treasury and Fed have been pumping money in at a rather alarming rate, and the inflation rate remains in the target range. Occasional spikes in oil prices notwithstanding, it's been under 2% for most of the last few years. (The September figure was 1.7%; the average for 2013 was 1.5%.)

I don't understand how we're currently having falling unemployment, low inflation, a record GDP, and a booming stock market. Some of that, of course, is dubious statistical measures, but they're the same measures we've always used (more or less). All that fiat currency should be producing huge amounts of consumption and inflation, and it isn't.

I've got a sneaking suspicion that we're looking at another crunch over the next few years as the Baby Boomers start to collect Social Security in earnest, though the first wave of it is already 67 years old. That has already caused us to to briefly deplete the Trust Fund a few years ago, and its growth has leveled off. That's gonna be bumpy.

Comment: Re:Actually... (Score 1) 58

by jfengel (#48203831) Attached to: First Evidence of Extrasolar Planets Discovered In 1917

He was the one who kicked off European colonization and exploitation of the place. Other Europeans who came made only a tenuous foothold. Columbus was the one who said, "There's a place over there, and it's worth living in and taking stuff." He's the reason Europeans in general came to know about it.

It's not entirely out of keeping with other uses of "discover". The OED's first definition is "To disclose, reveal, etc., to others". The fact that it's first is historical, rather than a matter of present usage; the present use "to find out" is also very old. But it also includes notions of "finding out for oneself", i.e. not necessarily being the very first.

All told the OED gives over a dozen different shades of meaning for "discover", and I don't think this one is entirely wrong. It can be misleading, since as you say there were already people there and other Europeans had lived there, but he was an important "first" whatever word one applies.

Comment: Re: Nah, this is just stage 1 (Score 1) 324

by jfengel (#48203687) Attached to: Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

Still, the Trust Fund seems like a rather odd concept. It's a government promise to pay for... something it had already promised to pay, namely Social Security benefits. If the Trust Fund runs out, it's still on the hook to pay those benefits.

The program was intended to be pay-as-you-go. The SSTF was supposed to be a way to save against the Baby Bust being unable to pay for its parents, but where can you really save that kind of money? No bank can handle it; it would badly skew any stock market you tried to invest with. Effectively, they just dumped it into the general Treasury coffers, where it was all spent. The Boomers are starting to demand it back, and the burden falls right in the place the SSTF was supposed to avoid, their children.

The net effect was just to establish a highly regressive tax (since Social Security money is capped) that Reagan used to pay for a massive expansion of the US Government, doubling spending during his time in office. I used to think the SSTF was just a bad idea, but I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that it was a deliberate attempt to screw over the poor and the Gen Xers.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 196

by shaitand (#48189619) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries
"Pedagogy is not a simple subject, and just because you know the material does not, in any way, mean that you can be an effective teacher"

The vast majority of teachers do nothing more than follow along with a textbook. Some paraphrase the material, some simply assign it as reading. Then they'll assign the questions at the end of the chapter as homework. Perhaps they'll have some handout assignments from the teacher version of the text. ANYONE can do that provided they themselves understand the material.

"To be a really good teacher you need to have mastery of the entire discipline so that you understand where every class fits into the overall tableau."

Who said anything about good teachers? But understanding where each class fits in is simply a matter of having worked through the material a few times. Teach the same text book two or three times and you'll have it all memorized and know where every class fits in. You might change it up a bit, skip things, alter things. At that point you are an expert. None of that has anything to do with advanced degrees. The fact that you are "qualified" to teach literally any course with any masters degree regardless of the relevance of your major is proof of that.

"Also, if you think passing the course, or even excelling at the course, gives you the necessary content knowledge to effectively teach it, you are terribly mistaken."

Who said anything about teaching effectively? That has little to do with most of the schools in the US. It means you had the ability to read and comprehend the material. Which means you could do so again and regurgitate that material for students.

"Not to mention the simple case of a student asking you a question that's not in the textbook (which is most of them)."

Read above where I indicated understanding the material, which an A student has done.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 196

by shaitand (#48188895) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries
"If the highly paid programmers are skewed towards certain high cost of living markets, then it's fairer to compare salaries against other professions in those same markets, and not nationwide averages."

This is what everybody repeated when I lived in a more rural and lower paying market. It's not really as true as I was led to believe. It's even less true as time goes on. Things cost about the same in Home Depot, Walmart, and when buying from Amazon. Cars cost about the same, gas costs about the same, education costs the same, most everything costs about the same with the exception of housing and that isn't nearly so big a hit if you work in the city then live in suburbs like most people.

In rural Illinois you'd pay $500/month mortgage on a reasonable 3 bedroom home in a safe middle class neighborhood, in Dallas you'd pay maybe $700, in Albuquerque you'd pay $800, in Miami you'd pay $1200. So, the biggest gap there is $700/mo. That's $8,400 a year. You might pay up to $200/mo more on utilities (and that would be a massive and unlikely swing) so that is another $2400. $10,800 difference. If you are getting paid $50,000 a year in Omaha for a job I get $100,000 a year for in Dallas you most definitely are NOT making equivalent money after factoring cost of living. Not even close. You will have dramatically less disposable income.

On the flip side, you don't have to be nearly as good at what you do to stay employed in Omaha. There isn't nearly as much skilled competition.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 196

by shaitand (#48188713) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries
"I didn't say that were that important, just that being a teacher requires an advanced degree and they are paid a lot less than programmers."

The type of degree required for the job really isn't relevant. It's true, IT generally doesn't actually require a degree. But there are plenty of people working in IT with degrees, bachelors and masters degrees abound. The people who have them aren't generally any better at the job. If anything they generally have however much time they wasted on slow university learning subtracted from their years of experience. Things that universities dedicate entire courses to are material IT professionals are expected to pick up during the process of using that material to single handedly deploy a project due in 4-6 weeks. Or even figure out on the fly to resolve a problem with a 30 minute SLA. Rinse, repeat, over and over again.

The amount of money you wasted to be taught largely irrelevant material really really slowly and usually in such a manner that you are unable to actually apply it in unique ways to solve real problems shouldn't be a factor in what you make. IT is the oil that keeps a profit making machine running, so they get a piece of the profit left after the leeches (aka sales, senior management, stockholders, etc) take off their chunk.

Teachers generate zero profits. Everything they make is a charitable donation except at for profit institutions. Below university level they serve two functions, one is to be a babysitter, the other is to teach more or less the exact same material from a textbook over and over again, year after year. In a grade school or high school those might be the same textbooks for 10 years. Yes what they do is important but to be a highschool teacher you need to be able to read and comprehend the material in one subject at the grade level of the class being taught. There is no reason they SHOULD need an advanced degree. Anyone who got an A in the course in question is qualified to teach it.

Even some university courses aren't much different. Learn the latest textbook, comprehend it, regurgitate. The books just tend to cycle out more often but they only have to learn the differences.

Comment: Re:So what qualifies? (Score 1) 487

by jfengel (#48187871) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

In Germany, it's written all the way into the Constitution. The very first article reads (in official translation), "Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority." The second article, about personal development, specifically limits it to development that doesn't contradict the previous part.

That doesn't make the definitions any more concrete, but it does suggest that it's a country which takes it seriously, and the requirement pervades the rest of the national law. I don't know if that can be adopted into a country like the US, where a great many people want their First Amendment rights to trump everything else. I can even see the case for it. It's just that I hear it defended most vocally by people who aren't in a position to be harassed and don't see the way it can interfere with the rest of their lives.

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