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Comment Re:Well, there have been couple of cases... (Score 1) 231 231

On of the tests I think I did unless my memory fails was just putting in sequences of the whole alphabet in small and capital letters after each other several times and and all the Capital Zs were missing.

It was not just a single place with a missing Z.

Comment Well, there have been couple of cases... (Score 1, Interesting) 231 231

...where it might have helped.

Two come to mind at least from late 1980s when I was working as PC support for a University. Both cases are ones of "That is just not possible, but it is happening.."

Case one: Screen going crazy, but not when I was in the same room.

Got a call that one of the screens was flickering like crazy so I went to look.

To visualize the place: the room was fairly long and narrow, with a small vestibule in front and thus double doors with about 1 meter in between. The inner door had a big glass window, booth doors were wood doors and such.

As I went to the room, the user said that the flickering just stopped, so I tried to look around a bit like checking that all cables were correct and such.. but basically shrugged and said that there was not much I could do and to call me when it happened again.

As I stepped out of the room and closed the inner door the use yelled after me that it started again, so I turned around and stepped back in... and he said "it stopped".. hmm..

Trying a few times(5-6?) just on a whim I stepped back and forth in the doorway and when the inner door was closed with me not in the room he said it flickered, but with the inner door closed and me in the room it did not flicker..

And by looking at the computer screen from the vestibule with the door closed I could actually see the flicker so it was not just the users imagination.

*sigh* So I puttered around a bit more and could not find anything. But as I the end I did not find anything and said that I could not do anything else..

A bit later I got a call that it had not flickered after I left that time.. So what caused it, probably some sort of interference from somewhere totally different and it just happened to match so perfectly those 5-6 times.. but the odds against such are pretty low, so..

Case two: The missing big Z.

Got a call one day to come and check out why they could not get a big Z to print.

I went to the location and true enough, there was a document written in word(the ms dos one) with a Z at some place in a math formula and the corresponding printed document that just had a blank at that location.

I went though the normal basic troubleshooting steps:
-Replace the Z with a Y in the same location in the formula->worked fine. Replace back to Z->nope.
Make a new document with many Zs->none of them came out
-Try a small z->worked fine.
-Do the same from Edit instead of MS word->worked fine!

Ah! I though something with word
-So I reinstalled word->same problem

hmm.. Ok, so lets isolate the problem.
-Move the printer to another computer->Same problem.
-Check another printer of the same type in the original place->everything works.

Hmm.. so the printer cannot print big Z from word but can from edit?

So I started playing around and suddenly the printer could print big Z after some trying around.
When thinking about it I noticed that I had actually switched the centronics cables between the printers.
-Switching back to original: nope no big Z.
-Switching to other cable: works.

Ok.. so how can that cable not print big Z.. so I tried it in in the other computer that had the same type printer and it worked.

Tried switching back and forth a few times and indeed: that combination of cable and printed did not print out big Z, switching the cable between that printer and the other printer of same type and both worked fine..

Comment Re:National security requests received: 0-249 (Score 1) 22 22

Yes, this is a reason why I would not place anything really commercially sensitive information on something like AWS unless it was strongly encrypted at my end with tools and keys at this end.

As all it really takes is one sufficiently bad apple in the police or at a suitable job in Amazon to read it...

Of course the problem is that if it is locally stored the police can just get a warrant and cart way all the computers.. so you cannot really win.

Comment Re:More like a bad design for voting system (Score 1) 57 57

Correct. But given that if someone today threatens to harm your family in a believable way unless you bring a photo of the filled in ballot.. given how hard it is to stop something like bringing in a cell phone with you.

How many people would then have the internal fortitude to fake it?

So yes, there is a degree of difference but not as much as you indicate.

Comment Re:More like a bad design for voting system (Score 2) 57 57

Ok trying to explain again:

I bring with me: My key and my "computer". The computer can be any device with a voting software, where the client end is open specification so the computer can be a cell phone, table, laptop, SDC based thing or whatever. The idea being that there will be many implementations and anyone who cares enough can code their own.

The officials verify who I am and direct me to the voting booth

I connect my computer via some standard cable to the voting machine.

The voting machine sends me a plain text random number "serial number" and the same number along with some other information encrypted with their key(or actually one of really many keys).

My program takes that plain text number and stores it.

My program will then take my vote, encrypt it along with some other data. And then combine my plain text vote, my encrypted vote(+identifying info) and their encrypted serial number(+identifying info) and then calculate check sum on the whole thing, storing the checksum.

It will then transmit my vote to the voting machine.
The voting machine will then show what I voted(the public part), the "serial number" and the checksum they calculated(and likely somewhere on the whole thing if I want to see it) and I should then verify that the vote and the checksum are the same as on my own screen.

After I press of the vote is then sent away.

All such votes are then collected and you can connect to a web server where all such are displayed and you can either get the whole list or just a single vote based on the serial number.

The information there that is thus available for everyone is serial number+vote+encrypted gibberish+checksum

Thus anyone can count the public votes and you can check your own vote by checking the public vote based on the number you have stored and then comparing the gibberish and checksum to your gibberish and checksum and if need be unencrypt your hidden vote and compare.

If there is then later a question of tampering, then I can verify my own vote and if I there is need to show that it was indeed the vote then as example a court appointed panel/person can then with me do the following:
I will give them my key and they will give me the key that corresponds to that serial number.

Thus both can then decrypt first my vote to see that the vote outside was the same as inside and then use the other key to decrypt the other blob inside that should contain the serial number.

And that idea might well still have some holes, but if you do your flip of 50% probability of me being republican as in your example I then have 50% chance of noticing your algorithm and if while a single case of such might become a "he says she says thing" like "there is a bug at your end" or whatever the skin doctors come up with, a pattern like that will be readily apparent even if only a fairly low number of people check their votes(and because of the fanaticism of some people when it comes to politics and the paranoia bout technology quite many non geek people will check I think, some using several programs..)

And yes I know the practical problems of making all that actually work are not trivial because of people...

But my point above is not to suggest that exactly that system has to be used, but a system where both parties keys are used to encrypt the thing and both parties can thus only decrypt one layer and then putting it all in public with the otherwise anonymously but with a reference you have along with the public vote and checksum allows for checking.

Will something like that be implemented? likely not.. as people like the current machines where cheating on the system side is easy it seems...

Comment Re: More like a bad design for voting system (Score 1) 57 57

Hand counting seems have it's own problems including:

  It seem mostly to be a lottery if the vote is close. As in every situation where there are recounts it seems that every recount gives a different result.

All the fun with what votes to disqualify.

You still need to verify the chain where the information from the hand counting is done to where the information is centrally collected and the actual central location processes.

An individual voter will have no way of verifying that their vote was counted correctly and thus is actually not open to inspection.

And likely others..

A properly designed system built along the lines I posted above would actually allow for way more verifiability and openness.

Basically it would require a nerd to actually program verifier, but if all the data and the interfaces for reading them are open, there is nothing preventing a non-nerd from using a program done by others to verify things and I can guarantee that in such a system there would be quite many non-nerds who are both politically interested enough and paranoid enough to run several verifier programs..

Comment Re:More like a bad design for voting system (Score 2) 57 57

Well, they have to invent something silly like that as they cannot tell the truth.

As example:
The current electronic voting systems are basically really bad in security. A lot of it being the lack of encryption and checks making alterations of the data too easy.

A good voting system would include elements like encryption with a verifying element that is encrypted with a private key that only the voter has. Basically when you vote you would get a vote number and you would use your private key to encrypt your vote and your identity and likely some encrypted verifying value from the voting system. then your encrypted thing and the public vote would be checksummed and you would get the total checksum too. Thus the vote would not hold any information that allows anyone else to identify what you voted unless they have your private key. After the election you could then check that the vote is correct by retrieving the vote by the number and verifying that the checksum and the hidden info is correct and is the same a the public vote and if there is a problem you could prove that you actually cast the vote by the hidden information, thus just a single wrongly tallied vote would cause an investigation to what happened if that vote was cast by someone who is interested.

There are many other possible ways to do things too, but that is just an example of a way to have encryption help the voting system too..

Comment Re:I call bullshit (Score 1) 546 546

They are just saying that they are bad at everything as they cannot crack even simple encryption or make difficult encryption so that others will have hard time cracking it.

So in short they should likely just fire everyone there and hire competent people instead of the apparent keystone cops they have there.

In short I expect the reason why they hate encryption is:
GCHQ Analyst 1: "oh this file is encrypted"
GCHQ Analyst 2: "try the girlfriend first name as password"
GCHQ Analyst 1: "but we do not know whose girlfriend"
GCHQ Analyst 2: "we cannot crack this, encryption must be forbidden!!"

And the reason why Russians cracked their encryption is:
Russian analyst 1: "oh this file is encrypted"
Russian analyst 2: "try the girlfriend first name as password"
Russian analyst 1: "but we do not know whose girlfriend"
Russian analyst 2: "use the list of common english first names"
Russian analyst 1: "oh." (few minutes later) "ok got it"
Russian analyst 2: "see.. who needs NSA backdoors?"

Comment Funny that you should ask.. (Score 1) 558 558

But really I have no direct clue as to what I have without checking.

And that considering the fact that I used to upgrade computers every couple of years and sometimes even upgrade some component in between and that I have built dozens of computers over the years, advised what to buy for hundreds of computer purchases and so on.

But the only reason that I bought this computer was that the motherboard on my previous one "let out the magic smoke" after it had been serving about four years and that is three years ago. I have no current plans to upgrade or switch computers as there is no need, so it will likely serve until it gives up. By now I may have done something to the previous one if it had survived, something like install a SSD and reinstall windows on it.. though it is far from certain.

How times change.

Comment Re:Oh mozilla (Score 5, Insightful) 351 351

Unfortunately Mozilla has been doing this for quite a while.

It used to be that firefox was the most userfriendly and at the same time most extendable browser with fairly good stability and fairly high resource use.

Now it is a lot less userfriendly, though still as extendable with better stability than before and while the resource use has not really changed the other browsers have started using more and more resources so by relative position it is very good in resource use.

What makes me gringe with each major update of firefox is how it gets more and more annoying to use, that is you need to tweak, install extensions and disable more and more to get it closer to a usable browser.

Comment Re:Great backup phones. (Score 2) 66 66

In some other countries there are cheap plans.

In Finland I pay 69 cents/month for my basic phone plan that does not include anything. Any time I call or text It costs me 6.9 cents/minute or text message.
(Incoming texts/calls are free as in our system the caller pays more to call to mobiles from landlines).

Such a plan is great for a backup phone.

Comment Re: Cheap Nokia have great reputation (Score 1) 66 66

Did you buy a Nokia or some other brand? As in general I have found Nokia cheap phones to have a much better voice quality than most of the expensive smart phones and the battery life to be good

I have a 3-4 year old Nokia 101 as backup phone that I got via an Indian acquaintance and even with the original old battery it lasts "forever" as in 2+ weeks of standby, it used to last closer to a month as new. And the voice quality is better than my nexus 5..

Comment Small school advantage (Score 1) 234 234

Back in the days I went two years(5th and 6th grade) to a small school on a island with a total of about 20 kids in grades 1-6.

There were further about 20 in 9-12 as kids from neighboring island came to the same school. (They had their own 1-6 grade school)

The school was organized so that the kids in grade 1-2 where in one classroom and 3-6 in other.

Some of the subjects were taught together regardless of what grade you were in, some others were more self study with teacher moving around to help as needed.

At that high teacher to student density and every student knowing everyone else so well, it was by far the best educational environment in my school times. We moved a lot so I went to a total of six schools through upper secondary (1-12)

So my view is really that for good schooling effect you need small groups and having overall small school size helps.

Comment Re:Not Interested (Score 1) 119 119

I have been looking for 4k TV, but have only found smart TVs for sale, so I am still waiting for reasonable priced stupid TV with 4k, as I really do not want the so called smart TV.

Currently the only way to get a non smart 4k TV seems to be a computer monitor, but the prices for the larger such are at least double the smart TV prices.

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