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Comment: Re:As an ex. Commodore Service tech (Score 1) 179

by TWX (#47498507) Attached to: The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000
Never saw Titanic (I think I'm one of three people on the planet over the age of eighteen that can claim this) but I liked how that New York police chase scene in The Fifth Element turned out. I've heard it argued that it's how that Stallone version of Judge Dredd should have looked, had they actually put the urban density in to Mega City 1 that it should have gotten.

Alas, I never got past using 3d Studio R4 in a very rudimentary way. Probably didn't help that my computer at the time lacked the horsepower to render anything meaningful quickly enough to be usable for any other function, so it just wasn't feasible to get into it. Oh well.

Comment: Re:As an ex. Commodore Service tech (Score 2) 179

by TWX (#47498343) Attached to: The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

Unfortunately cool stuff like the Video Toaster...never made it to Europe (AFAIK, I never saw one except in promos on American TV)

Yeah, you had a thing for Kiki Stockhammer didn't you?

Last I saw her was in 2004 or 2005, she was the female lead for Warp 11, a Star Trek themed punk band out of San Francisco. The band was headlining at Enigma Con at UCLA, which greatly expanded after the Boxing Day Tsunami as probably 60 actors came out to support the con for its charity fundraiser for the relief efforts.

It's kind if amazing to think that Babylon 5 was created in large part on this era of Amiga and that while a little dated, has held up pretty well compared to some of its contemporaries. Foundation Imaging went on to work on Star Trek DS9 and Voyager, likely using Amigas at least for some of DS9 at least.

Obviously at this point the computer is probably worth more as a teaching tool and curio than as a production machine, but it definitely paved the way.

Comment: Re:I'm Shocked!!! (Score 1) 201

Yeah, I remember a movement several years ago to try to swamp them with too much information. The problem with this approach is that it doesn't account for ever-increasing storage density combined with a need to replace end-of-life equipment periodically, essentially guaranteeing that they'll never run out of space.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 261

by demachina (#47478059) Attached to: UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

I should point out native americans are still largely unemployed, stuck in reservations on land white American's didn't want. One of their few rays of hope being the ubiquitous Indian Casino where they are exacting their revenge. Still they are second class citizens.

Blacks were still being massively discriminated against until the Civil Rights act which was around 180 years later. They are still second class citizens.

The poor, they are still second class citizens.

Women are the one group doing pretty well for themselves though they are still underrepresnted in government.

Look around the room at a State of the Union address. The room is still overwhelming full of affluent white men.

As for the founding fathers brilliant ideas on governence, it exploded in a bloody civil war in 80 years.

You need look no further than where the U.S. congress, courts and presidency are today. They are a smoldering ruin. They have never been the great institutions Americans are brainwashed in to thinking they are. Are they better than totalitarian dictatorships, sure. Are they models the rest of the world can aspire too, no, not really.

American governement is the best government money can buy.

Comment: Re:No (Score 3, Interesting) 261

by demachina (#47477977) Attached to: UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

Try reading Zinn's A People's History of the United States. It will disillusion you of the comic book U.S. History taught in U.S. school where the founding fathers are all saints and geniuses.

They were mostly self serving and profiteering. Its fitting Andrew Jackson is on the $20 dollar bill because he was infamous for profiteering off the battles he won, mostly by seizing the lands he took and splitting it up between himself and his friends.

Comment: Re:No (Score 3, Interesting) 261

by demachina (#47475983) Attached to: UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

The founding fathers weren't exactly the pillars of individual freedom you seem to think they were. They were an American centric elite and plutocracy trying to displace a Britsh centric elite and plutocracy, mostly so they could have a bigger cut of America's growing wealth.

You can tell because most of those constitutional protections and the Bill of Rights didn't apply to people who weren't affluent(i.e. who didn't own land), women, native American's, blacks/slaves and indentured whites. They applied mostly to white men who had wealth (at least enough to own land).

They actively prevented people who were not white, male and affluent from voting or holding office. They were mostly slave owners themselves, and they were for the most part very affluent and owners of very large real estate holdings. They were all 1%'ers.

The Declaration of Independence and Constitution were carefully designed to inspire support from enough people in the colonies for their Revolution to succeed, and to create the illusion of freedom, but they had no intention of relinquishing their power and control over the levers of government when it their Revolution did succeed. That plutocracy has never relinquished that control in the more than 200 years since.

The NSA along with the DHS, FBI, ATF and IRS are means for maintaining that control.

The Internet let a genie out of a bottle and created dangerous potentential for the rest of us to organize and try to win some of that power and control back.

When faced with the twin crises, and excuses, that were 9/11 and the 2008 crash it was nearly inevitable that The Powers That Be in the U.S. and U.K. would exploit every tool at their disposal, mainly computers and networks, to try to put a lid back on their control of their increasingly restless and networked homelands and to try to maintain their domination of the world as a whole in the face of increasing challenges.

The 2008 crash in particular resulted in widespread global disillusionment with the fact economies and governments are rigged to benefit the ruling elite and screw everyone else. When ruling elites start feeling that heat they trot out their police states, always have, always will.

Comment: Re:Hmmm, (Score 1) 112

Well, I'd argue pen, paper, hand count, not pencil, but your point still holds.

As voting "irregularities" have been reported on over the years, I've wondered about the possibility of generating ballots on-the-fly. It would be really convenient if one could vote at any polling station in the county or state by simply presenting one's ID and having a ballot for one's various districts generated, so if one's local polling places are overwhelmed or if one wants to vote close to one's workplace one could use a different polling station, but given the failure of governments to maintain voting equipment I don't see how that can be possible. I'd also thought about electronic means that generate a paper receipt, but there's still no real guarantee that the machine tabulated the vote correctly or that the voter will have recourse if the receipt shows something other than what the voter intended.

Hence my support for optical scan with the ability to hand-count.

Comment: Re:Hmmm, (Score 1) 112

The second system is entirely separate. It exists to present the voting options, register your choice and add your vote to the tally. To take the example of a polling station, when you arrive and register to vote you are given a key - one key per voting machine. You present this key to the machine, it permits access to the vote casting user interface, and once the vote is cast it interlocks the machine from presenting the voting options again until it is removed from the machine and returned to the polling clerk, who inserts it in a "reset machine" facility at his desk. (This is required to stop you just running the voting programme lots of times and casting many votes.) Note that this system knows nothing about your true identity, just that it has been used to register a vote.

Except that I have no control or even a method to confirm that this second system is truly a second system. In paper ballot voting in a polling station I physically see that my ballot bears no distinguishing marks before I fill it out, I see that it goes into a hopper with hundreds of other ballots, and I see that they don't note the time that I've come in to vote, only that I have.

I have no such observation of the inner workings of an electronic voting system. They cannot prove to me that they aren't tracking my account with even something so innocent as a simple timestamp relative to when my vote is cast.

Comment: Re:Hmmm, (Score 1) 112

I believe that all 'electronic' voting needs to use a human-readable, human-filled-out paper form that is optically scanned.

Where I live, ballots are large pieces of cardstock with the various questions printed on them, and the voter marks a line between two pre-printed lines (one with an arrowhead pointing at the answer it corresponds with) to indicate preference. The ballots go through the scanning machine and are then deposited into a box like a traditional hand-counted system. If elections are especially close or are challenged by a candidate or group on one side of a particular ballot initiative then the paper ballots are re-counted by machine and by hand. Sometimes a voter makes a mistake when filling out the ballot (like putting X or checkmarks instead of connecting the lines) but if the election official can determine the voter's intent (ie, a checkmark next to a particular candidate's name or in place of where the line should be) then the vote can be counted.

I don't believe that any system of e-voting is practical, even if such a system somehow manages to avoid any sort of tampering with voter's selections.. The electronic safeguards that would be necessary to ensure one voter, one vote would make it impossible to anonymously vote, and the anonymous ballot box is one of the cornerstones of democracy as it prevents a sore winner from seeking retribution against those that attempted to unseat him.

Comment: Re:Hmmm, (Score 4, Insightful) 112

But for security through obscurity to work, the level of obscurity required is generally high, bordering on outright-secret, or the payoff needs to be so scant that there's no reason to bother in the first place.

Security through obscurity might work for something like a power plant control system because we don't know the architecture of the hardware that it runs on, the operating system or if there is a third-party OS, the language it's written in, or even its name, and given the importance of the application it probably wouldn't be permanently Internet-connected, and if it needs to send out notifications it might communicate through a unidirectional RS232 link or something along those lines, or through a transmit-only fiber link (so that there's not even receive hardware on the platform). Certainly there would be some people that really want to break in, but it's exceedingly unlikely that they'll ever be in a position to do so.

Security through obscurity can also work when the system is not terribly important. I don't doubt that the Energy Management System controllers that interface the HVAC systems in commercial office buildings to the computer networks are garbage as far as their code is concerned, but there's not much someone can do with those in most cases. So even if there's ability, there's no real payoff, and the systems are so incredibly simple and underpowered that they'd make for poor intermediaries in a greater attack even.

By contrast, voting equipment is usually distributed widely and is not particularly heavily guarded, and as it needs to be inexpensive to produce in mass quantities it's often commodity hardware, off-the-shelf parts if you will, and there have been documented cases of electronic voting hardware have exposed and functional USB ports. As vote tallies are imortant it's not inconceivable that someone could borrow or steal a voting machine to figure out how it works and to find some way to mass-tamper with them, like distributing USB fobs to their fellows to use on them to load a package. In these cases, obscurity simply doesn't work because the system can't remain obscure.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre