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Comment: Re:bork bork bork (Score 0) 156

by isaac (#45965903) Attached to: Phil Zimmerman Launching Secure "Blackphone"

This is going to end up a complete mess. Either no one will use them in which case they won't make much difference, only evil people will use them, in which case the US government will shut them down, or a lot of people will use them, in which case the US government will subvert them.

Governments (plural) will subvert them, that's what they do. No legal restriction will prevent them back from doing so. Forget about hiding from governments, that game was lost the minute you picked up a mobile phone.

The only real potential privacy benefit here is in limiting the opportunities for commercial (Google, Apple) or malicious (malware authors) entities to track and/or exploit mobile users. The problem is, of course, that all private commercial entities are inherently untrustworthy when it comes to privacy protection - companies change management or change hands (Nest anyone?) or are careless.

Really, who's the target market for this? Because it just sounds like a honeypot (like Tor) to me.

Comment: Re:Here's the real problem he has (Score 4, Insightful) 479

by isaac (#45110851) Attached to: Charlie Stross: Why Microsoft Word Must Die

I have no idea what lawyer work demands from a word processor, though.

Once upon a time, it demanded WordPerfect because docs had to be just that. Aggro clerks of court would shitcan anything that deviated from the expected (monospace) fonts, spacings, margins. I'm sure that's still true, though I know standards have slipped a bit - proportionally-spaced fonts are allowed now (Times New Roman seems to have become the standard.)

I took a summer job helping a white-shoe law firm convert from WP51 to Word over one summer almost 20 years ago. It *was* madness back then but their IT department was all over that windows 95 shiny shit.

Word sucks, but like Excel, it's a highly-evolved (or at least accreted) multi-tool. There's no single replacement for it.

-Isaac

Comment: Collard Greens and Hoppin' John (Score 1) 256

by isaac (#42439673) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is Your New Years Eve Tradition?

I take new year's eve easy. What I'm doing for new year's day:

1 large onion
1 bell pepper
6 cloves of garlic
3 stalks celery
(a good-sized smoked ham hock) and/or (4 strips of bacon and a fist-sized chunk of tasso ham)
4 bunches of collard greens, torn off the stems between the veins
1 lb of dried black-eyed peas
quart of chicken stock or broth - homemade is best, low-sodium if you're buying the canned stuff.
a couple stems of thyme and a bay leaf
salt and pepper
tabasco sauce
rice
green onions

Soak the black-eyed peas overnight (12 hours, preferably) then rinse and drain when you're ready to cook

Dice the onion, pepper, and celery, split between 2 bowls

If you've got a ham hock, heat a little oil in a dutch oven and sear it in a dutch oven for the peas. If you have bacon or tasso, cube it and render out some fat in the dutch oven or stock pot. You want 2 pots going with a little rendered pork fat, preferably with some meat (either hock or bacon.)

Pour a bowl of trinity (the onion/celery/pepper mixture) into each pot and sweat for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring every so often. Press 3 cloves of garlic into each pot and give a quick stir after 30 seconds.

Add beans, thyme, bay, and stock to one pot and give a stir; wait for it to come to a boil then lower heat and cover. While waiting for first pot to boil, gradually add torn-up collards to the other pot, stirring often to let the greens wilt. When all greens are in the pot, cover it and lower the heat to a simmer. Season before serving.

While peas and greans are cooking (cook beans for about 45 minutes, greens for a little less), make a cup or 2 of long-grain white rice (basmati is great.)

Put peas and greans over rice with some chopped scallions and a good dash of tabasco.

Comment: Re:Imagine that... (Score 5, Informative) 79

by isaac (#42114061) Attached to: Amazon and Google Barred From UK Government Cloud

And um, regarding comments on off-shoring data/services, Amazon certainly does have cloud services that run on hosts in the UK... Dublin mostly. (There may be open questions about the parent company being US-based, but those wouldn't have to do with the geographic location of the services and data, which surely would be hosted from the Dublin data centers.)

I feel compelled to point out that Dublin, Republic of Ireland (where Amazon does indeed have datacenters) is most definitely not in the UK.

Comment: Re:Where are the S3 tools now? (Score 1) 187

More curious is the fact that Dropbox, SugarSync, the MS solution, Google's new solution etc seem to be thriving and providing exactly the kind of services that you'd expect third party S3 clients to provide.

Dropbix IS a consumer interface to S3.

https://www.dropbox.com/help/7/en

"Once a file is added to your Dropbox, the file is then synced to Dropbox's secure online servers. All files stored online by Dropbox are encrypted and kept securely on Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) in multiple data centers located across the United States."

-Isaac

Comment: I don't want thrills... (Score 4, Insightful) 382

by isaac (#41052231) Attached to: When Flying Was a Thrill

I want safe, quick transportation from point A to point B at a reasonable price. Modern air travel mostly delivers this. It didn't use to.

Air travel was of dubious safety and blinding expense in the '30s, '40s, '50s - and wasn't particularly comfortable either. I don't wish to return to that era, one bit.

-Isaac

Comment: Cookies not the only way to do this... (Score 4, Informative) 108

by isaac (#39701903) Attached to: Research To "Reveal the Unseen World of Cookies"

Cookies are not the only evidence of tracking. Even Flash LSO, HTML5 local storage, etc.

There's a surprising amount of identifying information in request headers and what's available to javascript. (see http://panopticlick.eff.org/ for a demonstration.) That means, one often needn't accept or store a cookie to be tracked.

A really comprehensive pro-privacy browser extension would munge request headers and enumeration of fonts, plugins, screen resolutions, etc. to match one of, say, the top 5 most common desktop browser fingerprints - and to change every so often (Changing per request would itself be a trivially detectable signature.)

-Isaac

Comment: Re:Honey Pot (Score 2) 184

by isaac (#39651165) Attached to: Super-Privacy-Protecting ISP In the Planning

The only way this makes sense is as a honeypot, intentional or not.

First, government surveillance of the internet is a solved problem - it's already comprehensive and embedded in the infrastructure of every major carrier and exchange. What good is a theoretically surveillance-free ISP if you can only talk to other customers of the same ISP? The ISP would not be surveillance-free much longer if it ever build any kind of user base.

Second, essentially everyone on the internet leaves - even if they take pains to avoid doing so - a rich data trail with private companies. Facebook, Google, Omniture, CDNs, etc. etc. Data aggregated by these entities render wiretapping at your ISP unnecessary in a lot of cases, and as a bonus may be used against you by private entities for non-criminal matters.

(It's also reasonable to assume that small, mostly-disconnected graphs - i.e. users that successfully manage to communicate only with each other - are inherently of interest from an intelligence or law enforcement perspective. Think of a set of pre-paid phones that only ever call other pre-paid phones, or IPs that only ever communicate peer-to-peer or only visit a single third-party site. Who would ever use the network that way?)

I mean, it's a neat idea and all, but the horse is already out of the barn as far as gov't surveillance goes, and does nothing to address the private data aggregators that are the more real threat to people's lives and livelihoods.

-Isaac

HP

+ - HP WebOS Open Sourced->

Submitted by
Tufriast
Tufriast writes "In a surprising turn of events, HP is now open sourcing WebOS totally. This could be a boon for the platform as developers and consumers can freely tinker with the OS without fear of reprisal. In addition perhaps 3rd party companies will be more inclined to make hardware supporting it. HP will openly and actively contribute to the operating system as well."
Link to Original Source
HP

+ - WebOS goes Open Source->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "After dropping billions into Palm and WebOS, HP contributes it to the open source community. Company officials told ZDNet that open sourcing WebOS was the best move after the company reviewed the various possibilities for the mobile operating system. There are two reads on the WebOS news: HP couldn’t find a reasonable buyer or the company is betting it can take off on its own."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Portland-Seattle-Vancouver would make more sens (Score 1) 709

by isaac (#38180734) Attached to: California Going Ahead With Bullet Train

Yes, but if Washington and Oregon were to submit a proposal such as you describe, wouldn't it have gotten those same stimulus money?

Probably, but it would never go down that way.

This is the Pacific Northwest you're talking about - the plan they submitted and got federal money for (to the tune of about $780 million) is to marginally increase the speeds on the existing line, shaving 45 minutes to an hour off a 3.5 hour trip by 2023. (Not kidding, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Northwest_Corridor)

Way to shoot for the moon, guys.

-Isaac

Building translators is good clean fun. -- T. Cheatham

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