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Comment: A Good Thing but for bad reasons (Score 1) 98

by danheskett (#49198035) Attached to: Apple, Google, Bringing Low-Pay Support Employees In-House

This is probably a good thing, but the most likely reason to do this is to juice their diversity numbers. Both companies have problems with diversity and by bringing in lower skilled, lower paid workers to the corporate fold, they will immediately increase the number of minorities on staff.

Next reporting period, when they disclose their racial and ethnic diversity numbers, look for a big jump in the number of minorities on staff.

Comment: Re:What it really reveals (Score 1) 112

by danheskett (#49134623) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit Back On Track After Silence and Uncertainty

True, you didn't built everything from source, but you were happy enough that everything traced back to "the" sources to make you feel secure. That's a lot more protection than anything from a commercial vendor, who probably just sold you formulaic encryption without any extra work to make you feel secure. Your data would have been more secure, if not actually secure, but you'd have felt it less, because really you have no way of knowing. So without somebody taking the extra time to make you feel secure, you naturally wouldn't feel it very much, if at all.

The problem is that there is no conceivable way to do what you are saying. It involves compromising or proxying disparate traffic, expertly.

And then, after all that, it would involve rooting an otherwise secure installation that is barely network connected, and using that to inject what, defects into the right sources so that the resulting binaries are weak or exploitable?

I agree that the NSA, CIA, and FBI have extraordinary capabilities, but the attack vectors that have thus far been revealed are the same attack vectors that security researchers have known and published for a long time - firmware, obscure libraries that are often used but seldom examined, zero-day exploits of popular software, mathematical flaws in encryption implementations, and physical security and chain of custody.

All of which is to say, the basic landscape of the threat has not changed much in 20 years. It is sophisticated, but as always, a strong layered defense and strong procedures and policies will minimize the possible impacts, exploits, and severity of breaches (if they occur in the first place). There are few things more secure than a well maintained GNU/Linux or OpenBSD box running in the wild.

Comment: Re:Actually, ADM Rogers doesn't "want" that at all (Score 5, Insightful) 406

by danheskett (#49121185) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data

If, on the other hand, you live in a world where simply crying "Encryption!" is some kind of barrier that magically sanctifies the underlying data, and that it then cannot and should not ever be accessed by anyone other than the data owner...well, then I would ask what you think about the German and Japanese codes in WWII?

I think it's deeply sick that our government or anyone would equate our foreign, Congressionally declared, military enemies locked in nearly unrestrained warfare with the private effects and papers and their electronic equiavlents of it's peaceful citizens.

The law and Constitution (as interpreted and implemented by our system of government) are the constraints -- not specific technological capability.
Disagree. The Constitution recognizes an inherent right - that of a person to be secure in his person and papers from unreasonable search and seizure of his person and those effects. That natural right, along with the natural right to be held personally inviolate (i.e. not tortured) are the dual foundations for the presumption that encryption keys, like secrets ensconced in your memory, are immune for the government's attempts to ascertain them.

What he "wants", when US-based companies hold data that still can technically be accessed for legitimate foreign intelligence purposes supported by our system of law, is that a legal framework should allow for it. When it can't be, it's up to NSA to determine other mechanisms to access that data.

It is impossible to know hat the NSA, or any government agency, actually wants. There is no legal nor oversight mechanism that will force them to disclose that information to you, or me, or even to their Congressional overseers, or even to other members of the Executive branch. They have demonstrated lawlessness at the highest levels and vast dishonesty, using every legal, regulatory, judicial, and yes extra-legal mechanism possible to avoid operating transparently. Whatever the intention, whatever the reason, it is beyond question that civic minded citizens should believe any pronouncement, no matter how clearly worded it appears to be, from the Executive branch. When the Director of National Intelligence says point blank they are not collecting records of millions of Americans, it is not simply a matter of redefining away the words. It's lying. Without punishing those who deceive American citizens and especially Congressional oversight, we must only be left to assume that the NSA operates outside of the realm of the rule of law, and because of that, we must act accordingly.

Even if it means a massive terrorist attack on US soil, even if means the collapse of the government, or invasion, or a mushroom cloud over a major US city, we have to resist the presumption that any agent of the executive acts without oversight and accountability.

Comment: Re:What it really reveals (Score 1) 112

by danheskett (#49096941) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit Back On Track After Silence and Uncertainty

I don't know how true this.

I had a high-security/high-trust scenario, and I ended up bootstrapping a machine from source-built binaries, and then building a compile system. I used the compile system to verify that binaries I was using from the official Debian distribution checked out from the various original sources. True, I did not built everything - literally everything - from source, but I was happy enough that everything was traced back the sources enough to make me feel secure. That's a lot more protection than anything from a commercial vendor.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 2, Insightful) 154

by danheskett (#48915433) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Why is this rated 5? Yes, paying drivers more *might* slightly increase supply but my guess is that the number of drivers is somewhat

You guess? Well lets just throw out the Iron Clad Law of Supply & Demand, on which almost all of the worlds productive economy is based, because you guess.

fixed so without also charging passengers more you do nothing on the demand side. The point of demand pricing is to reduce demand
so that you don't overwhelm the relatively fixed supply. If your goal is to always have cars available, then increasing the price while
paying the drivers the same would actually be a better solution than increasing the pay while charging the same but that would also be
idiotic.

You cannot look at one side of the equation.

When demand is up, there are only two options. Option number one is shortages (of supply). Option number two is that supply must increase.
When supply is down, there are only two options. Option number one is shortages (of demand). Option number two is that supply must decrease.

In either case, the solution is price elasticity. When the price drops, because supply is too high or demand is too low, drivers will drop out of the market. When the price raises, because supply is too low or demand is too high, drivers will enter the market.

Uber has a flexible work force, and it is no way fixed. They also posses 100% more information about the market and their drivers than you do, or the AG does.

This is the case of government using consumer protection laws in a way that will hurt consumers. Economics and the market are not friendly, but they do produce desirable outcomes. If the desirable outcome is fairness, than what the government and AG are doing will produce a fair outcome - everyone regardless of ability to pay will have an equal chance of getting or not getting a car, based on random luck, your skin color, or whatever else motivates you.

If the outcome is to provide as many rides possible, this requires a market with supply and demand efficiency. By curbing supply efficiency by limiting price elasticity, you provide fewer rides than the market will optimally support. If you are frequent driver, you know that by going to where the demand is, to when the demand is, will produce more and more profitable rides. If you are a rider, you know that by relying on Uber during exceptionally busy times, you will only be able to get a ride by paying far more than you would otherwise.

This is really a great case of the nanny government stepping into a situation which is drastically over it's head, in the name of "fairness". Fairness is not an economic goal, it's a social goal, and it's stupid to try to enforce a social goal like this on the very tail end of the policy stack.

Comment: Re:Not about code (Score 1) 307

by danheskett (#48878609) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

When Apple's prices change (actually, has that happened in the last few years? I think the price has been steady for a while) the market doesn't reconfigure around that price.

Apple has effectively raised prices. The Iphone 5 and 6 lines both have less stuff (namely, storage) for the same amount of money. This is a price increase in everything but optics. While prices should be declining, they are actually stagnant (while adding higher price points).

Apple's control extends only to their own product

No, I don't think this is true. Cell phone sales slow and crawl for all carriers and brands before a new Apple product announcement or release. Additionally, what's unusual, is that typically if there is a constrained supply of a product, some of the unfilled demand bleeds off into other competing products. Like, around Xmas, you go to the store, Toy X is gone off the shelf. Do you give no present? Nope. You substitute a competing product. There is surprisingly little of this in cell phones. One good theory why is because of platform lock-in. In this way, Apple is able to constrain the ability to switch to a competing product effectively. It produces a magnifying effect to their market share. This is very similar to the tying claims that Microsoft go in trouble with in the 90's.

If Apple disappeared tomorrow, the world would still have smartphone manufacturers.

This is true, but not that relevant. There's always another dog.

The only way this monopoly argument could hold water is if we decide that Android and the handsets it runs on should be considered a completely different category of product.

I don't think this is true. Android is not a thing you buy, just like iOS is not something you buy. You buy the phone, with the OS. So for comparison purposes, you can't say it's "Android v. iOS". It has to be handsets for the iPhone. Until you can reasonably buy phone OS's, really, there is no such thing as a market for Android the platform. Since the platform is so fragmented, switching between Android platforms is non-trivial.

In this regard iPhone is a huge market leader and has a greater share than competing products. And that gulf is wide enough that in other industries, combined with the market power, there is a reasonable case to be made that Apple has monopoly control of the smartphone market in the US.

Comment: Re:Not about code (Score 1) 307

by danheskett (#48876779) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

As people are always delighted to point out, Apple's market share is by no means the majority. Apple isn't a utility.

I agree, but only for now. In the future, if they are running a communication service over a public utility (i.e. regulated internet access), it certainly seems iMessage is exactly like other communication services over regulated infrastructure, namely phone service. Carriers can't lock out each other from similiar over the air services, like SMS, for the same reason.

BlackBerry missed the boat about a dozen times at this point and that's their fault, not Apple's.
Yeah, BB is totally irrelevant to the meat of the discussion. They are screwed.

As far as Apple and monopoly power, it's an interest case. A company does not need to have X% of a market to have a monopoly. Companies have monopoly power with much smaller shares. In some industries, a company can have monopoly power with even 20% of the market. In terms of Smartphones, it's often seen as "Google v. Apple". But really, Google is just a small player. Just because Android runs on many smartphones, does not mean that Google is a direct actor in the market. Apple competes with partnerships of Google/Handset maker. If you were to look at share in this light, I think Apple is by far the largest player. (But I can't find any numbers. Last I found was in mid-2014, with Apple around 40% and Google around 45% and everyone else doing the rest).

The key elements of Apple's monopoly power are there though: they can effectively set prices in the market, they have the ability to raise or lower production to affect prices and availability of the good, they can suppress or increase the market by withholding or releasing products. This last one is important.

This is an interesting time to see what happens with Apple. The practices and behavior of Apple right now are not far off from where MS got itself into trouble in the 1990's. Especially with regards to bundling, tying, and price controls.

Comment: Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (Score 1) 307

by danheskett (#48876647) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

Yeah, it's close to those examples.

The phone analogy almost fits, in that after the phone monopoly was ended, they really did have to open up the service to any phone. The difference being a phone has no operating system (at the time), it was just an electro-mechnical device operating to common standard.

The wording is just really bizarre. Downloading a service.

Comment: Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (Score 1) 307

by danheskett (#48875645) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

"Net Neutrality means mandating that developers and services must create something that works on your dying platform? Does that mean that NetFlix will have to make sure it works with Symbian too? How about PocketPC 2003?"

I am not sure that's what he is saying.

Partly because he uses phrases like "downloading the service".

Comment: Not about code (Score 0, Troll) 307

by danheskett (#48875639) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

"Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system."

The application layer doesn't necessarily mean code, it means making the application layer, as well as the content layer, available to outside developers, to facilitate a non-discriminatory policy of open content access.

I think there was a big leap made here from "open access" to "force app developers to write code for Blackberry".

Chen has a strong point Apple's iMessage service, which is proprietary and closed. It is odd to imagine iMessage running over regulated, public utility internet access while at the same time using patents and copyright and trademark law to prevent interoperability. If Apple is going to run a communications service over a public utility, and use monopoly tactics like lock-in and tying, why should that be permitted?

Comment: Re:No we shouldnt (Score 1) 287

by danheskett (#48747633) Attached to: Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

There's an awful lot of economic activity in Silicon Valley. That economic activity feeds everyone from Google employees to coffee shop barristas and grocery store clerks. The taxes paid by Google, their employees, and the supporting economic activity support city, state, and federal government functions that benefit you. Vibrant economic activity provides social stability that benefits you.

But there is also a cost. A great example is Google. Google & craigslist has almost single handledly destroyed the ad revenue base for most small newspapers in the country. Thereby depleting the pool of local newsources, and depleting a critical civic resource. More consolidation, more centralization of the economic benefits.

It is not clear that Google provides a net benefit to anyone. It very well could be a net extractor of wealth. Whereas before you had tens of thousands of newspaper employees, all over the country, from lower to middle cloass to executives, you now have a smaller number of employees, centralized in one area, competing viciously and competitively for scarce resources, with the profits being scrapped off for pet projects and immsense wealth.

There really is very little evidence that anyone outside of Silicon Valley and the government that scrapes off some taxes, gets anything of benefit from Silicon Valley. When you factor in the distortion of local real estate markets, increase cost of living for everyone else, and distortion of many different industries.

Comment: Re:Did You Even Read What You Wrote? (Score 1) 169

by danheskett (#48734433) Attached to: Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

The dirty little secret is that we're wasting too much money trying to educate kids that don't give a damn about education and would rather be doing something other than learning.'

Yes, bring back tracking. Your parents don't care, you don't care, you want to be doing something else? Fine, you are done at Grade 6, you can come back to adult ed and the remaining 6 years of education when you want it.

It is highly controversial, but the system worked well. The concept of "no child left behind" is a monstrous lie. All children cannot attain to the same levels. It is cruel to try to force children who do not posses the correct attributes to meet a standard that is designed above their level. It is as mean as asking a 5'1" basket player to dunk against Yao Ming.

"Be *excellent* to each other." -- Bill, or Ted, in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

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