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Comment Re:You CAN'T have ads without tracking. (Score 1) 346

It could very easily happen, by enforcing blocking rules that restrict or eliminate third party content.

That won't work. Even if you don't communicate directly with the third party, you don't have any way to prevent the content provider (who is also the ad provider from your point of view) from passing the information along.

We seem to have latched onto this "third party content" as The Problem, where it's really just a hack du jour for easily spotting a problem. But the only reason a content provider is putting <script src="somewhere else"> into their pages is because it still gets them paid by the "somewhere else." If you hit their own server instead of the third party, they can still forward any requests behind the scenes to anyone, and you won't even know it's happening, but all the same information will be there.

If you eliminate "third party content" you're just going to turn second parties into proxies. And they'll really do it, too. Why wouldn't they?

Comment You CAN'T have ads without tracking. (Score 2) 346

That's never going to happen, so people who think that a compromise might some day be reached, need to let go of that.

Some of the things on the list are extremely easy because the browser itself is ultimately in control. If you don't want animation, for example, then your browser can elect to not animate things. Same for playing sound, executing Javascript, 10kb limit, etc. You're going to get your wish on all of that stuff, assuming you haven't already gotten it already.

But tracking isn't going to go away. Your computer is initiating a conversation with someone else's computer, and there's only one thing you can do to prevent someone else's computer from remembering that it happened: have there be nothing to remember, because nothing happened. i.e. don't request the ad.

If you get the ad, then you get tracking, period. There is no possible compromise between the two sides on this, and everyone who thinks they can have ads but no tracking, is kidding themselves.

Either the ad industry is going to persuade us that tracking isn't all that bad, or the users are going to persuade the media that ads aren't all that necessary. No middle ground exists on this.

Comment Re: Will you stop approving submissions by this gu (Score 3, Insightful) 220

IMHO you're wrong. Battery failure is the biggest reason to "upgrade." Availability of software updates is a close second. CPU, screen res etc are already overkill even on a 4 year old phone. Many phone lives have been extended by replacing the battery, though the industry is "on" that "problem" now.

Comment Re:Corrupt politicians (Score 1) 251

Common criminals have much more to gain from this idea than the NSA does.

It's embarrassing that people are only now beginning to pretend to care about communication security, thanks to NSA getting caught. (Have to say "pretend" because it's not like most people are really doing anything different. But at least they're talking about it. I guess that's something.)

But if we want to take all the threats that plaintext communications exposes us to (our own government, other governments, organized crime, insurance companies, nosey neighbors, political witchhunters, ad profilers, and yes: even the greatest enemy (our own fears, since even when you're not being watched, if you think you might be watched then you're still not free)) and put all that under the blanket label "NSA," that's fine. Just fucking fine.

It's bullshit, but it's ok. Whatever it takes to start going things right. If you wanna pretend the NSA is the threat that's ok because at least, they really are a threat. (Not sure they make the top-ten list, but hey, whatever.) Wear the label, NSA. Big Brother, be the proxy for all the little brothers. You'll do just fine, NSA.

Comment Re:New laptop (Score 1) 167

While I am not 100% sure, most likely the license is embedded in your firmware. They started doing that with Windows 8.
You can find it out using Linux:

sudo hexdump -s 56 -e '"MSDM key: " /29 "%s\n"' /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM

(Source)

Now, it is true that there are pre-activated keys for OEMs disks like HP, Dell, etc.. At least for Windows 7 it was like that. They have so called SLP Keys (System Locked Pre-Installation Key) and they are not the same as the one printed on your Windows 7 machine. SLP keys only work on a certain range of machines, but also have the advantage as working like generic OEM DVDs. I've had this case where a Windows Vista machine (Vista Key sticker) from Dell and I used the a Windows 7 Dell OEM disk, and ... it activated itself. Technically it didn't have the rights to do so and I was totally surprised it did. Use the same OEM disk on an Acer and it will install but not be activated, at which point you use the sticker on the machine. When I started to mess around with these things, I realized that in the Windows 7 era, all machines shipped with two keys: the SLP license and the (recovery) sticker license.

Given that from Windows 8 on the licenses are embedded in the firmware, this is over.

Personally, I think reinstalling from scratch is always the right option. With decrapifying you might miss something, and if you're routined, you have a reinstallation done rather quickly. If you stick with big brand machines, getting drivers is no Herculean task any more. Back in the day, oh, yes, I remember... Hard to find, need to use shady places, take drivers from different machines and try to see whether they work. Today, it's "go to manufacturer website", download what is *missing* and use what Windows gives you as default drivers for all the rest, with the notable exception of the graphics card.

Comment Re:New laptop (Score 1) 167

It's not that I don't believe you and I'm the first to discourage the use of Windows... BUT, Microsoft has done one thing right since the release of Windows 10, namely allow the OS to be downloaded for free (gratis) from their site. Windows 10 Pro and Home can be downloaed as an ISO or with a tool to create a Bootable USB stick. From what I understand any valid Windows 10 key, will be accepted by these installation media.

As a matter of fact, this can be done with Win 8(.1) too these days, even though I only did once: The laptop I am typing this on. Came with OEM Win 8, but I didn't want to use it, so I installed Ubuntu without making a backup of anything. Now, in order to secure the 10 license, I did a dd of the disk, installed Win 8 from the installation media I got from Microsoft and then upgraded to 10. After that, I did a dd in order to restore it to the original configuration. This way, should I want to give it away or sell it in a few years, I can give the future owner what they might want: Windows 10.

To get back to my point: Windows now provides usable installation media. No need for restore media, or hoping you find a OEM disk that works with your machine and key... There is now an official way, and that is the only positive thing that Windows 10 brought us.

Your Envy can be reinstalled from scratch if you are inclined to do so. Get the ISO here. Now, my personal opinion is that you're better off with staying with Linux, but don't kid yourself. You *can* have a clean Windows installation these days.

Comment Not as much a boon as you would expect?! (Score 1) 51

The new IRS guidance could be a boon to providers of identity protection services such as Experian and Lifelock, though maybe not as much as one would expect. .. Fewer than 10% of those potentially affected by a breach opt for free identity protection services when they are offered.

That is the boon to those services. The whole point of asking Congress to subsidize a particular industry's customers, is to increase the number of customers.

If widget purchases are tax-deductible, then people will buy more widgets (and fewer gadgets). What's weird is that we still think of income tax as being merely a tax on income, rather than a system for encouraging certain spending and discouraging others. What I want to see, is Hollywood making entertainment tax-deductible. I can't believe they haven't bought that one yet.

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