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Comment: Allow me to use it from a browser (Score 1) 249

by gregmac (#47674149) Attached to: Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

I absolutely love that I can use Google Play from my PC: I read an article about or otherwise find a link to an app that sounds interesting, and I can click "Install" from there, it asks me which device (I have an android tablet and phone) and then .. that's it, it's installed within a few seconds.

With Apple, all I see is a button "Open in iTunes". I barely use my iPod touch anymore, but last I tried you basically had to re-find the app on the store ON THE DEVICE to install it, or plug it in with a USB cable. Is that still the only way to install things?

Comment: Programming evolves. News at 11. (Score 2) 294

by gregmac (#47650985) Attached to: The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

I'm struggling to understand the point of this article. May as well have titled it "You won't believe these 15 new tricks for programmers. The shocking truth the devops guys don't want you to know"

Some quotes:

* "Back to work, slave, the continuous build machine has new tasks for you."
* "You're not a craftsman -- you're a framework-tweaker."
* "It's so much easier, but these IaaS administration Web pages won't buy you a drink after work."

Comment: Re:Mischief in Relation to Data (Score 2) 104

by gregmac (#46779515) Attached to: RCMP Arrest Canadian Teen For Heartbleed Exploit

That's an interesting wording. It does seem like a pretty flimsy charge for what actually happened. A copy of the data (SIN numbers) was read from memory. CRA could continue to use that data to process tax returns (or whatever other purpose) regardless of if the data was read or not. The language is around "denied access to a person entitled" as opposed to "granted access to a person NOT entitled" (which is really what happened).

Analogy.. Going into your house and stealing your TV interrupts your ability to watch TV, and alters the state of your house. On the other hand, peeking through your window and taking a picture of your TV does not prevent you from watching TV, and does not change the state of your house. In fact, if you didn't catch me in the act, you'd never even know it happened (just like Heartbleed), and if you didn't know cameras could take pictures through windows you wouldn't even think about this happening (just like before Heartbleed was disclosed). It does not make it right at all, but it also doesn't even remotely seem to align with the definition of "Mischief in Relation to Data".

Comment: Re:here's how stupid this is (Score 1) 146

by gregmac (#46697803) Attached to: AMD Unveils the Liquid-Cooled, Dual-GPU Radeon R9 295X2 At $1,500

My last CPU upgrade in my desktop came with a fan that about doubled the noise from my system, and more when the CPU got cranked up. At suggestion of a friend, I installed a closed-loop water cooler on it (which cost me ~$70 IIRC). Night and day.

It actually runs cooler all the time (I was monitoring the temp before/after because I was curious) and the whole computer now makes less noise than before. When the furnace comes on, the sound of the air coming from the vent is actually louder, to put it in perspective.

Also, my computer has no 'window' in the case, extra lights, or any of that 'enthusiast' crap that you'd probably associate with liquid cooling and people that brag about it. In fact, aside from recommending it to another friend once, this is the most I've ever said/typed on the subject.

TL;DR: liquid cooling makes your computer nearly silent, is very effective at cooling, and you don't have to be a fanatic to use it.

+ - Utah cable companies want to prevent broadband growth by law also->

Submitted by symbolset
symbolset (646467) writes "On the heels of the smackdown received by cable lobbyists in Kansas, Ars reports out of Utah that the cable companies aren't giving up hopes of preventing competition through legislation. The bill called Interlocal Entity Service Prohibition would prevent a regional fiber consortium from building infrastructure outside the boundaries of its member cities and towns — a direct attack on Google's work in Provo and the UTOPIA network. Utah is the third state to be involved in the Google Fiber rollout of gigabit fiber to the home."
Link to Original Source

+ - Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Speeding is against the law, and yes, even going 5 mph over the speed limit is breaking the law. But everyone does it, right? You do it, your friends do it, heck, your grandmother does it. But what about when you see a cop? Some cops are ticketing people for notifying fellow motorists about speed traps. In Florida, Ryan Kintner simply flashed his high-beams to warning oncoming cars that there was a cop ahead. He was given a ticket for doing so. He went to court to fight the ticket, and a judge ruled that flashing lights are the equivalent of free speech, thus he had every right to flash his lights to warn oncoming cars. So what have we learned here? Basically, if you are a good Samaritan, flash your lights and warn oncoming traffic of speed traps, because this is America ,and we are allowed freedom of speech."

Comment: Re:Z-Wave (Score 1) 336

by gregmac (#45948127) Attached to: New Home Automation?

make sure you include a neutral to all of your wall switch boxes

This is actually required by electrical code now (NEC 2011, 404.2(C)), specifically because of these smarter switches, and even many of the non-communicating switches/dimmers/timers on the market that have LED indicators and such.

Comment: Bruce Schneier in 2007 (Score 1) 291

by gregmac (#45767819) Attached to: RSA Flatly Denies That It Weakened Crypto For NSA Money

Bruce Schneier had a good write-up on this in 2007:

Problems with Dual_EC_DRBG were first described in early 2006. The math is complicated, but the general point is that the random numbers it produces have a small bias.

[...]

This is how it works: There are a bunch of constants -- fixed numbers -- in the standard used to define the algorithm's elliptic curve. These constants are listed in Appendix A of the NIST publication, but nowhere is it explained where they came from.

[...]

What Shumow and Ferguson showed is that these numbers have a relationship with a second, secret set of numbers that can act as a kind of skeleton key. If you know the secret numbers, you can predict the output of the random-number generator after collecting just 32 bytes of its output. To put that in real terms, you only need to monitor one TLS internet encryption connection in order to crack the security of that protocol. If you know the secret numbers, you can completely break any instantiation of Dual_EC_DRBG.

The researchers don't know what the secret numbers are. But because of the way the algorithm works, the person who produced the constants might know; he had the mathematical opportunity to produce the constants and the secret numbers in tandem.

Of course, we have no way of knowing whether the NSA knows the secret numbers that break Dual_EC-DRBG. We have no way of knowing whether an NSA employee working on his own came up with the constants -- and has the secret numbers. We don't know if someone from NIST, or someone in the ANSI working group, has them. Maybe nobody does.

We don't know where the constants came from in the first place. We only know that whoever came up with them could have the key to this backdoor. And we know there's no way for NIST -- or anyone else -- to prove otherwise.

This is scary stuff indeed.

Comment: Re:We're stuck on 9 (Score 1) 199

by gregmac (#45359189) Attached to: Google Ends Internet Explorer 9 Support In Google Apps

Why do you have *restrictions* on using IE9? If your sites/app are built correctly (using standards), then your users should be able to freely upgrade and even use other browsers. If the people that build your sites/apps are not supporting the current versions of browsers, or are doing things that are against standards and only work in IE9, then they're idiots. Or the person preventing testing of anything other than IE9 is an idiot.

It's fine for you you have a requirement of IE9+ support, but ignoring current versions is dumb. You're just recreating the mess of IE6-only apps that the world-at-large is only just getting over. Did you not learn the lesson?

It's slightly more expensive to support more versions today, but it's anywhere from much more expensive to complete-rewrite expensive when you have no choice a few years from now.

Comment: If there's such a market.. why the Ask toolbar?? (Score 5, Insightful) 577

by gregmac (#45091727) Attached to: If Java Is Dying, It Sure Looks Awfully Healthy

It definitely doesn't help that the JRE installer tries to also install the Ask toolbar. Seriously? Even Microsoft doesn't try to install Bing with the .NET installers, and that's their own property they're desperately trying to push on everyone.

How am I supposed to take a platform seriously if the fundamental piece that has to be installed by all developers AND users to use it is doing the same sneaky things that half the crappy freeware on the internet is doing?

Just how much revenue does Oracle make from Ask anyway?

Comment: Re:Just proxy it out at the router. (Score 1) 375

by gregmac (#44998041) Attached to: Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week

On this note.. I'd like to thank the administrators from from I was in high school for going through this. Their (ultimately unsuccessful) attempts at blocking everything gave me one heck of an awesome crash course in TCP/IP, DNS, firewalls, VPNs, and reverse proxies, etc .. knowledge which I've used to some extent at every job I've had for the past 15 years.

Comment: Wikis are not magical, but they are not bad (Score 1) 211

by gregmac (#44752091) Attached to: Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

I think the author's tirade against wikis is that many people use a wiki as a magical tool that allows them to forego writing documentation in the hopes it will suddenly appear, written by users that want to write documentation. This obviously isn't what typically happens.

However, I think wikis can be (and often are) a great format for documentation. The author(s) of the software should still be the primary and/or only contributors, but even so good wiki software serves to lower the barrier to writing documentation: creating/editing as simple as clicking edit, and you instantly see the results. You can link between pages, reducing duplication. Some software forces a hierarchy of pages, leading you to create things in a logical, structured way (of course, you can lead a horse to water...).

The key to this of course is that the person/people writing the software must write the bulk of the documentation (eg, like you would without the wiki as well). Don't allow random edits, or at least subject edits to a review process.If your project is big and successful, just as it lowers the barrier for you to write docs it may encourage others to contribute -- but don't rely on this.

Think of the wiki more like a publishing platform or format; not like a way to absolve yourself of the responsibility to write documentation.

Comment: I can see the conversation that happened.. (Score 2) 136

From the code:

// Also, generate a random number, which we append to the URL, to make it appear as if a complex
//key is required. This is a pathetic attempt to discourage someone from downloading the ZIPs
//directly (ie. without having to login), if they deduce the URL pattern.

Translation:

Coder: "Here's the census web application."
PHB: "Great. But wait..I can just type in these other names and download them really easily! People will hack us and we'll be out possibly a COUPLE THOUSAND DOLLARS! "
Coder: "It is Creative Commons data, so of course we added no protection. Changing that now will be a massive rewrite and take months."
PHB: "So let's add some random numbers to the end so it looks really complex and people can't guess how to get in."
Coder: "But they still will eventually see the links because they do actually have to download it, so this is not really doing anything."
PHB: "Psh, no one is smart enough to figure that out. I read about this GUID things and they're really hard to guess. It will work. This is your job today."
Coder "..Ok, fine. I'll do it exactly the way you asked."

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.

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