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Comment Re:Many a young engineer.... (Score 2) 72

... every schematic drawn by every semiconductor engineer got the arrow backwards.

As I heard it, The arrow is "backward" because Benjamin Franklin, when doing his work unifying "vitreous" and "resinous" electricity as surplus and deficit of a single charge carrier (and identifying the "electrical pressure" later named "voltage"), took a guess at which corresponded to a surplus of a movable charge carrier. He had a 50% chance to assign "positive" to the TYPICAL moving charge carrier in the situations being experimented with (charge transfer by friction between different substances, currents in metallic conductors, and high voltage discharges in air and water-in-air aerosols) and happened to guess "wrong".

Thus we say electrons have a negative charge, "classical current" corresponds to the sum of the flow of moving positive charge minus the flow of negative charge (i.e. the negative of the electron current, which is all there is in normal-matter metallic conductors), the arrowhead on diodes (and junction transistors) points in the direction of classical current across a junction, and so on.

But though it's the charge carrier in metallic conduction and (hard) vacuum tubes, the electron ISN'T the only charge carrier. Even in the above list of phenomena, positive ion flow is a substantial part of electrical discharge currents in air - static sparks and lightning. Positive moving charge carriers are substantial contributors to current as you get to other plasma phenomena and technologies - gas-filled "vacuum" tubes (such as thyratons), gas an LIQUID filled "vacuum" tubes (ignatrons), gas discharge lighting, arc lighting, arc welding, prototype nuclear fusion reactors, ...

Move on to electrochemistry and ALL the charge carriers are ions - atoms or molecular groups with an unequal electron and proton count, and thus a net charge - which may be either positive or negative (and you're usually working wit a mix of both).

And then there's semiconductors, where you have both electrons and "holes" participating in metallic conduction. Yes, you can argue that hole propagation is actually electron movement. But holes act like a coherent physical entity in SO many ways that it's easier to treat them as charge carriers in their own right, with their own properties, than to drill down to the electron hops that underlie them. For starters, they're the only entity in "hole current" that maintains a long-term association with the movement of a bit of charge - any given electron is only involved in a single hop, while the hole exists from its creation (by an electron being ejected from a place in the semiconductor that an electron should be, by doping or excitation, leaving a hole) to their destruction (by a free electron falling into them and releasing the energy of electron-hole-pair separation). They move around - like a charge carrier with a very short (like usually just to the next atom of the solid material) mean free path.

For me the big tell is that they participate in the Hall Effect just as if they were a positive charge carrier being deflected by a magnetic field. The hall voltage tells you the difference between the fraction of the current carried by electrons excited into a conduction band and that carried by holes - whether you think of them as actual moving positive charge carriers or a coordinated hopping phenomenon among electrons that are still in a lower energy state. Further, much of interesting semiconductor behavior is mediated by whether electrons or holes are the "majority carrier" in a given region - exactly what the hall effect tells you about it.

So, as with many engineering phenomena, the sign for charge and current is arbitrary, and there are both real and virtual current carriers with positive charge. Saying "they got it wrong" when classical current is the reverse of electron current is just metallic/thermionic conduction chauvinism. B

Comment Re:Vacuum tubes handle EMP's better (Score 1) 72

"No point progressing since the bombs are gonna fall any day now. Then where will your fancy silicon highways and databases be?"

Given that the Internet Protocol and much of the rest of the networking technology that still underpins the Internet were developed as part of a cold-war program to create a communication system that could survive a nuclear attack that destroyed most of it, and still reorganize itself to pass messages quickly, efficiently, and automatically among any nodes that still had SOME path between them, your post seems to come from some alternate universe to the one I inhabit.

Comment Re:Yes! (Score 2) 338

I switched to a Mac in 2012 for my personal shit and about 6 months ago went to a Mac for work too. With the release of Office 2016 for the Mac, I honestly cannot find a single thing I cannot do comfortably on my Mac anymore.

If you have a serious problem with it, Parallels has been running Windows apps for me better than any native PC installation since version 7 back in 2012.

I mean, I know you're probably trolling or trying to be funny, but it's a dead joke in 2015.

Comment Re:Wait, they shipped the private key? (Score 1) 65

for example Lenovo did it so they could inject ads into web pages that were supposedly cryptographically protected from tampering

This makes no sense. Why do you need your private key to be located on the users' computer for that?

Why because you can't defeat the certificate checking logic of the local SSL stack. You need 'a' private key there for a trusted root CA so you can generate certificates on the fly other parts of the system will see as valid.

Browser tries goolge.com -> You intercept it -> You go fetch the cert from the original destination ip -> you validate it or don't -> you generate a new cert based on the content of the one you got and sign it with the private key -> send the response to the browser ( which then validates the cert checking it against the local trusted root you installed).

That is it in a nutshell. There are some other details but basically that is how its done and that is why you need the local private key because without you could not generate signed certs.

Comment Not the first full recovery from space (Score 1) 117

SpaceShip One touched space and all elements were recovered and flew to space again.

BO's demonstration is more publicity than practical rocketry. It doesn't look like the aerodynamic elements of BO's current rocket are suitable for recovery after orbital injection, just after a straight up-down space tourism flight with no potential for orbit, just like SpaceShip One (and Two). They can't put an object in space and have it stay in orbit. They can just take dudes up for a short and expensive view and a little time in zero gee.

It's going to be real history when SpaceX recovers the first stage after an orbital injection, in that it will completely change the economics of getting to space and staying there.

Comment Re:Using Firefox Meantime (Score 1) 65

The latter, certutil works fine, but you have to build some custom fix packages to use it. Which can get complex if you have cases where those installations are not in the default locations.

ie. non local admin users can't install FF to its usual places so they install it to a directory inside their profile. Now you are playing find the Firefox / SeaMonkey install.

Comment Re:Using Firefox Meantime (Score 5, Informative) 65

You need to wait for the holiday to delete a certificate out of your trusted roots on your personal machine? Wow.

Secondly Firefox did not protect you from anything, the fact they don't share the system cert store did. Yeah it worked out this time to your favor but I honestly don't think Mozilla's failure to integrate with system certificate stores is a win in general. Its actually one of the biggest reasons I think about leaving my beloved SeaMonkey for something else.

For one thing you now have not one but 2 certificate stores you need to audit. That sucks! If a CA says they have been compromised I have to remember to fix it in 2 place instead of one. That isn't a security win. Many users don't probably even realize they don't use the system trusts, so if they get instructions to fix an issue by removing a CA they will likely fail to fix the Mozilla based browser.

Second in managed environments revoking a trust in Mozilla isn't easy to script out, that means Firefox and SeaMonkey installs likely just don't get fixed, again not a security win.

Frankly I think its rather a shame Mozilla does not provide at least the option to use the system trusteded roots.

Comment Re:Exactly (Score 2) 552

This is a very good point. Much of the mess that is the Middle East is because these despots manged to enrich themselves playing NATO against the USSR for decades. They knew perfectly well any attempt to sort them out would have been seen as an act of aggression by the other world power. That provided them with cover to run their little shit stands, and get all sorts of cool toys (fancy high tech weapons systems).

If we could get past or conflict narrative with Russia we could re-draw the boarders agree on some buffer / DMZ regions and go in and occupy these places. If we did it long enough we could wipeout the stain on human culture that exists there.

Comment Re:I have an idea (Score 0) 552

I would argue its time we roll back our policy of NATO expansion, and even consider ending NATO. When we faced an existential threat from another single nation state actor it made sense. NATO is now just a 'dangerous entanglement.' We would be wise to encourage the core members to eject some of the newly added peripheral members under threat of our own withdraw if they don't. These fights are not worth it and the expands NATO just threatens to draw us in.

The middle east is of rapidly decreasing value to us. EU only alliances would be better positioned to defend Western Europe geographically than we are. We don't need anyone else's help to defend our own territory if we simple concentrated or efforts on that.

Comment Re: Micropayments? (Score 2) 210

Well, part of it is that even a small payment can still incur a psychologically large cost. If each user post here on /. cost one cent to read, would you want to have them load automatically? Probably not, many of them are not worth that much, and you could quickly run up a bill of a few hundred dollars a year on that sort of thing from this site alone. So instead you'd have to take more time to think about what was worth spending even a little on, because it adds up and the price doesn't really match the value to you of the thing you'd be paying for.

Something similar happens when people have metered or capped Internet usage compared to at least nominally unlimited usage.

You really can't avoid this problem unless the micropayment is so small that it is likely not worth the cost to implement. I suppose if I knew that a year's worth of micro payments for me, for everything I use, was no more than about a dollar a year in total, it wouldn't be so much that it would feel like I was wasting money on the Internet. But because the average user doesn't want to spend a noticeable amount ever, and there really aren't that many users in comparison to sites, the resulting pie of money wouldn't be much to split up. (Especially once you reduce the amount to account for lower average incomes elsewhere in the world)

Comment Re:Nothing to hide (Score 1) 75

They're threatening to release SSN and related information that is being used as verification for credit applications

Irritating yes but troubling not really. The fact is you SSN is out there for anyone who wants it.

Its in all the major subscription database PI's and LEOs can subscribe to, almost for certain. Some of my licensed co-workers have access to that information and they shown me they can pull the SSN for just about anyone I could name. It would be naive to think the identity thieves don't have straw accounts and leaked creds for many of these sources.

I an not suggesting anyone go posting their SSN all over the internet, but I don't think its nearly as big a deal as many people thing. Certainly anyone who targets you specifically can obtain it. Having it come out in one of these mass document dumps only means someone trying to open a large number of fraudulent accounts might hit you opportunistically.

As far as I am concerned to the hackers I say bring it. I don't care if the world knows I pay Ali Spangnola a dollar every time she makes one of her cover-band videos. Actually I think you can already read my name on her thank you page so whatever.

Comment The IRS keeps its hooks in US citizens who leave. (Score 2) 358

I'd also move my operation to Ireland if I could.

What's stopping you?

The US tax code. The US keeps its hooks in its citizens and companies, for decades, if they try to leave, even if they move out and renounce their citizenship.

The US does this to a far greater extent than other countries who generally don't tax their citizens if they're out of the country for more than half a year. (This is where "The Jet Set" came from: Citizens of various non-US countries who had found a way to earn a living that let them split their time among three or more countries every year and avoid enough income tax to live high-on-the-hog, even on an income that otherwise might be middle-class.)

Only really big companies, with armies of lawyers, can find loopholes that let them effectively move out of the US to a lower-taxing alternative. You'll note that TFA is a lament about how one managed to escape, and how the US might "close THIS loophole" to prevent others from using it.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.