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Comment: No exemptions for zero-knowledge services? (Score 1) 82

by gurnec (#47702611) Attached to: Delaware Enacts Law Allowing Heirs To Access Digital Assets of Deceased

A "zero-knowledge" service provider (allegedly) has no access to most of the digital assets stored by their service (e.g. LastPass, SpiderOak, etc.). They store encrypted blobs of data on your behalf, and send you these encrypted blobs at your request. Your PC (and not their servers) then decrypts this data using your password (of which the service provider has no knowledge).

I scanned through the bill, and it doesn't seem to acknowledge that such services exist. It doesn't even acknowledge that passwords themselves may not be retrievable, and instead groups passwords into the same category as other "digital assets."

Now IANAL, and it's entirely possible that some other bit of language in the bill or in a service provider's ToS could help to alleviate this, but if I ran such a service, I'd be a bit concerned....

Comment: Re:They used to call me paranoid... (Score 1) 427

by gurnec (#47634389) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

When a provider needs to decide on it's next 100,000 "free" routers to provide to new customers, it shouldn't come to anyone's surprise when "cost-effectiveness" turns out to be its first priority. So I'm all for removing as much functionality as possible from any ISP-provider CPE; no wireless, just simple bridging.

But I really must respectfully disagree when it comes to separating out the wireless from the NAT box.

From a security point of view, having two manufacturers and two devices where one would suffice increases the attack surface -- it increases the likelihood that you have a security-related bug somewhere.

It increases the management burden -- now you have twice the number of devices whose firmware you have to keep up to date (if you're security conscience).

It doesn't scale well if you want more than one extra guest SSID or VLAN - sure you could attach a USB hub and half a dozen usb nics, or buy a VLAN-capable smart switch, but do you really want 3 Wi-Fi boxes, 3 unmanaged switches, and one router when just one Wi-Fi router would have worked fine?

There are definitely some advantages to separate wireless boxes. You can run guest SSIDs on different frequencies than your trusted SSID for example for better spectral efficiency. There are also cases where it's more convenient to have a NAT box near the CPE, and a separate Wi-Fi box centrally located. However in the average home setting, a single Wi-Fi/NAT box from a manufacturer with a decent track record is more practical.

Comment: Re:I've moved to Mikrotik (Score 1) 427

by gurnec (#47634123) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

I own an RB2011 at home too, and I've used both it and other RouterOS-based products professionally, and although they're not perfect, I can certainly recommend them for many cases. Here are a couple of random thoughts off the top of my head:

  • New major firmware versions (once every couple of years) are always buggy, avoid. That said, they're pretty good about releasing regular bug fixes, and they continue to support older routers for quite a while (the 500 series, released in 2006ish, is still supported on their latest firmware for example).
  • They can't seem to get a good OpenVPN implementation, which is a common complaint (but they have a lot of other styles of VPN which generally work well).
  • They use some open source software (e.g. it's Linux kernel based), but they only release the bare minimum required source code. This is definitely not an open tinker-and-recompile OS.
  • It does support virtualization, so you can run e.g. OpenWRT as a guest of RouterOS (yup, your router can have a router). You can also replace RouterOS with OpenWRT without worry of brickage. I haven't done either in a while, so I'm making no claims of either being easy or stable, but it can be done, and reverting back is easy.
  • It's really more business-oriented than consumer-oriented. That means its configuration is very flexible, but also rather complex unless you're used to configuring non-web-based routers.
  • Despite being complex, I find the configuration quite logical. It has no fewer than 4 different configuration interfaces (Web, CLI, Windows-based client app, and an API for automation). All present pretty much the same set of options in similar hierarchical arangements.
  • The documentation is much better than it once was, for most uses it's quite good.
  • The support community (via forum) is pretty good. Occasionally one of the Mikrotik staff will be a bit rude/condescending, but for the most part they're friendly (as are other posters).

+ - Stephen Hawking Was Wrong, So Ignore Whatever Scientists 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Following Stephen Hawking's latest work on black holes (, Republican Michele Bachmann has brilliantly deduced that this proves "the danger inherent in listening to scientists" ( Expanding on her thesis, she said, "If black holes don’t exist, then other things you scientists have been trying to foist on us probably don’t either, like climate change and evolution." Her recommendation? All students who were "forced to learn" about black holes should now sue Dr. Hawking for a full refund. But not Bachmann — "Fortunately for me, I did not take any science classes in college,""

+ - Sherlock Holmes finally in the public domain in the US 1

Submitted by (1935296) writes "As reported on the Australian ABC news website, film-makers in the US are finally free to work on Sherlock Holmes stories without paying a licencing free to the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle after a ruling by Judge Ruben Castillo.

A quirk of US copyright law kept 10 stories out of the public domain, on the basis that these stories where continuously developed. In his ruling Judge Castillo opined that only the "story elements" in the short stories published after 1923 were protected and that everything else in the Holmes canon was "free for public use" — including the characters of Holmes and Watson.

Holmes scholar Leslie Klinger, who challenged the estate, celebrated the ruling.

"Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world," Mr Klinger said in a statement posted on his Free Sherlock website.

IANAL, but the ruling of Judge Castillo that "adopting Conan Doyle's position would be to extend impermissibly the copyright of certain character elements of Holmes and Watson beyond their statutory period," is surely going to have implications across US copyright law. Mark Twain must be twisting and writhing in his grave."

+ - New Telescopes Might See Alien City Lights-> 2

Submitted by RedEaredSlider
RedEaredSlider (1855926) writes "Forget radio signals. Two scientists, Abraham Loeb, of Harvard University and Edwin Turner, from Princeton University, have said it may be possible with the next generation of telescopes to pick up the lights from cities on alien planets. On Earth, city lights are so bright they can be seen from space — and their spectral signature differs from that of the gases in the atmosphere and the sun. If one were looking at an alien civilization, one would expect to see the same thing.

The reason they proposed this is that aliens may not generate as much radio energy as their technology improves, given that on Earth we bleed less radio energy into space as we have moved to fiber optics."

Link to Original Source

+ - Activists destroy scientific GMO experiment->

Submitted by
Freggy writes "In Belgium, a group of activists calling themselves the Field Liberation Movement has destroyed a field which was being used for a scientific experiment with genetically modified potatoes. In spite of the presence of 60 police officers protecting the field, activists succeeded pulling out the plants and sprayed insecticides over them, ruining the experiment. The goal of the experiment was to test potato plants which are genetically modified to be resistant to potato blight. It's a sad day for the freedom of scientific research."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Simply SUPERB (Score 1) 134

by gurnec (#35024544) Attached to: The Rise and Fall of Graphic Adventure Games

Everyone who has a favorite adventure game is sure to point out that theirs isn't mentioned (for me, it was: Full Throttle (barely mentioned), Dreamfall, and more recently, Machinarium).

However, overall, this is simply a superb article. It touches on all the bases, is exceptionally well written, and really makes me yearn to play a new adventure game (come on Ragnar... you know you want to work on that sequel....)

I hope that anyone who has (or has ever had) even the most flighting interest in adventure games reads this article.

Comment: Card Counters cannot be denied their winnings (Score 5, Informative) 611

by gurnec (#34784822) Attached to: Man Arrested For Exploiting Error In Slot Machines
This is a common misconception which the likes of Vegas and Atlantic City would love everyone to continue to believe. There are no jurisdictions in the United States in which card counting (without the use of any devices) is illegal. Additionally, a casino has no right to take back any winnings which were legally obtained. In Nevada, casinos *are* permitted to deny you entrance or ask you to leave if they suspect you may be a card counter. AFAIK, they are also free to share ban lists with other casinos as they see fit. In New Jersey, casinos are not even allowed to go this far. Players may not be denied entrance simply because they are too skilled (see Uston v. Resorts International Hotel, Inc.).

Comment: Re:Not So Bad (Score 2, Interesting) 277

by Hurricane78 (#29491203) Attached to: COBOL Celebrates 50 Years

I disagree with the assumption that it's "just as easy". In some languages, it's definitely easier to write bad code. PHP is such an example. C/C++ is another one. In PHP it comes with the retardedness of the language. In C/C++ it comes with the freedom.

A good example for a language that has certain things in place to prevent bad coding, is Haskell. Type problems in running code are (except for the external input reader) simply impossible.

Programmers do it bit by bit.