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Comment: Re:Why? Nobody uses NFC payments (Score 2) 118

by IamTheRealMike (#47799265) Attached to: Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

NFC payment cards in Australia/Europe cryptographically sign a challenge from the terminal, using basically standard crypto. It's EMV all the way. In-person magstripe payments are carefully controlled and risk analysed to ensure they only occur if, for example, the card is broken - or outright banned.

NFC payments in the USA involve the phone sending regular magstripe data to the terminal, with only the CVC code being some kind of cryptographic derivative - a three digit number (less than 1000). The reason for this crazy setup is so merchants don't have to update their backend/PoS systems that still expect magstripe data. There is no plan to perform a complete upgrade thus old style transactions cannot be phased out. It's a dramatically less secure system.

Comment: Re: As much as I hate Apple (Score 4, Interesting) 118

by IamTheRealMike (#47799247) Attached to: Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

More importantly, the underlying technology is totally different. VISA Europe is not at all the same as VISA USA. VISA in Europe is a coalition of banks, VISA USA is a private company. America has never rolled out EMV, making its banking industry a ridiculous joke compared to, well, everywhere else. You don't get reports of major European supermarket chains getting their PoS systems hacked and magstripes skimmed like you do in the US, because EMV is a much more secure system.

The NFC payment cards that are rolling out around the world (outside USA) now are basically a variant of EMV/Chip and PIN. The underlying crypto is the same. The card signs a challenge from the terminal. They're upgrading to elliptic curve crypto at the moment actually, not sure if all NFC cards do that or not but it would not surprise me. NFC as tried by Google in America is actually a very minor variant on just sending your magstripe data via radio. I believe the CVC code rotates (three digits of entropy lol) and the tech is based on a Secure Element hard-wired to the NFC radio. But the phone has minimal control over the actual payment transaction, thus doesn't add much value beyond being a big battery, and that's why the tech largely stalled. Also they screwed up the compatibility testing and the terminals were full of bugs that meant transactions just sort of randomly failed.

So don't be fooled. The "NFC payments" that we know outside of North America is totally different to what they call "NFC payments", which is an unfortunate piece of linguistic confusion.

Comment: Re:Not quite old but... (Score 1) 603

by Wolfrider (#47798071) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

--You should try switching to the palemoon browser. Nice replacement for firefox, based on the same code base, and WITHOUT all the stupid new UX crappiness (i.e. Australis.) Mostly trivial to copy your settings over but you have to know where the cache dir/files live, they don't have an Import coded yet(?) for FF.

Comment: Microsoft Messenger = Spim (Score 1) 120

by AnalogDiehard (#47797061) Attached to: Microsoft Shutting Down MSN Messenger After 15 Years of Service
Microsoft Messenger got a bad reputation as a target for spim (IM spam). It was enabled up to WINXP SP2 which finally disabled it by default, but by then it was an abandoned protocol because almost all users turned it off in earlier Windows OS to block the spim. It became a ghost town haunted by spammers like most Yahoo groups.

Comment: Re:How I know that Russian troops are not in Ukrai (Score 2) 177

by IamTheRealMike (#47796801) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

Here's a tip, my Russian friend: if you want to pretend to be a neutral observer on the Ukrainian conflict in an internet forum, then you'd do better to proofread your post again and again until you manage to remove the little telltale signs that your native language is Russian. No informed reader of your post above is going to be convinced you don't have a significant dog in this fight.

You know, maybe some of us should complain to Slashdot about the Obama/Poroshenko-bots that reliably and consistently troll every single story about this conflict? You know, the ones who imply that anyone who even slightly skeptical about the propaganda we're all being fed, must be Russian or a paid Kremlin propagandist?

Suck on this. I'm a native English speaker from the UK, I have never been to Russia, I have been reading Slashdot for about 14-15 years, posting for most of that time too. And the Anonymous Coward tells it like it is. Poroshenko has claimed Ukraine was invaded like ten times already. He claimed he was being "invaded" by a fucking aid convoy, including after Putin's honesty about it's contents had been verified by international journalists and the Red Cross. In fact he asserted he'd shell said convoy, so the Red Cross chickened out, but the crazy Russians just drove right in there and delivered that aid anyway.

So as a native speaker, please heed my call - let's all stop abusing the English language shall we? We know what an invasion looks like. It looks like what the USA did to Iraq. It looks like Russian flags flying above Kiev and Russian tanks rolling down the streets to the parliament building. It does not look like journalists scrabbling around presenting the testimony of a milkmaid in a farcical attempt to find an army, as the Guardian did only a few days ago. Now condemn Putin for militarily supporting the rebels if you like (though the proof of this is wafer thin as well), just be aware that this is something many countries do, including the ones that are currently being most shrill about Ukraine. So such an argument doesn't have much impact, unfortunately, though I wish we lived in a world where it did.

Comment: Old Shite (Score 2) 603

by fyngyrz (#47791649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

I really, *really* liked my late 1970's-era 6809 system. 64k of RAM, custom graphics and sound cards of my design, timers, serial port, multiple floppies. I thought it was getting old in the tooth (it wasn't, it still works, should have had more faith I suppose), so I wrote an emulator for it -- the entire system, hardware, software, a front panel (which the original didn't even have) everything. Still works great, but due to the increase in CPU power over the years, the emulator is one heck of a lot faster than the original hardware. You can use it too, if you're so inclined and you're running some version of Windows, XP or later (might still work under Windows 95 and/or 98 for that matter.) Includes various compilers (Dugger's c compiler, for instance), forth, assembler, cross-assemblers, linkers, basics, some arcade video games that used the graphics hardware, and probably the vast majority of the commands that were available for the DOS, which was FLEX09. Percom PSYMON monitor. If you ever wanted to play in a nice, safe assembler sandbox, it doesn't get any better than the 6809. It just gets faster and wider.

For linux, the answer is Midnight Commander. Between the very nice editor and the dual-pane do-lots-of-things text mode interface, it's still my go-to under linux, I even use it on the Mac. Thankfully, they've kept it reasonably up to date, although making a native mac version without inflicting a much broader *nix ports package on the system is a real pain in the butt.

For the Mac, I use both of the above, MC natively and my emulator under a VM running a network-isolated XP, and I still run a PPC version of my HP-48G, which, I'm afraid, has made any other calculator use not only pointless, but nearly impossible. I also have two of these calculators in hardware, both of which still work fine. Because Apple dropped PPC support at OSX 10.7, my daily driver machine still runs OSX 10.6 and is likely to continue to do so unless I can find a native version of the HP emulator for Mavericks. When I decided to move past OSX 10.6 (Mavericks is actually quite nice, finally), I bought a new machine and plopped it down in my ham shack.

Ham radio: Easy. My Palomar loop antenna. This tiny (about a cubic foot) antenna system has pluggable loops for 150-500 khz, 500-1700 khz, 1700-4000 khz, and 4000-15000 khz. I like to drag it out into the unimproved areas a few tens of miles from here where there are zero power lines, telephone cables carrying data, neon and other signage, plasma TVs, buildings and so on, and enjoy amazingly good, noise-free SW and amateur radio reception on the radio in my truck without having to set up a physically large and cumbersome antenna. I also have a Panasonic RF-2200 portable analog radio that I take on trips. Both of these are pretty old, tech-wise, but both remain in regular use and have stood the test of time very well indeed.

Music: A Marantz 2325 stereo receiver and a pair of Marantz HD-880 speakers. Not only does this setup sound nothing less than awesome, it eliminates the tedious menu surfing that more modern gear forces upon us. Everything's on a front panel knob. Everything. I have (very) modern gear in the home theater, but in my office, the old Marantz blue face remains king.

Lastly, I still have, and continue to play, a 1950's Fender Stratocaster guitar. I have a fair collection of more modern guitars, but the strat's neck is still the best of all of them. Luckily, for most of my life I've been a casual enough musician, and have spent enough time on other guitars, that I've not had to have the thing re-fretted. I don't look forward to that. I can't imagine it'll be the same. Of all the old stuff I have, this is the thing that has not only kept its value, but appreciated far beyond any dollar figure I could ever have anticipated. Not selling it, though. Ever. :)

Comment: Image processing (Score 4, Interesting) 171

by fyngyrz (#47787737) Attached to: Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

I use -- and write -- image processing software. Correct use of multiple cores results in *significant* increases in performance, far more than single digits. I have a dual 4-core, 3 GHz mac pro, and I can control the threading of my algorithms on a per-core basis, and every core adds more speed when the algorithms are designed such that a region stays with one core and so remains in-cache for the duration of the hard work.

The key there is to keep main memory from becoming the bottleneck, which it immediately will do if you just sweep along through your data top to bottom (presuming your data is bigger than the cache, which is typoically the case with DSLRs today.) Now, if they ever get main memory to us that runs as fast as the actual CPU, that'll be a different matter, but we're not even close at this point in time.

So it really depends on what you're doing, and how *well* you're doing it. Understanding the limitations of memory and cache is critical to effective use of multicore resources. You're not going to find a lot of code that does that sort of thing outside of very large data processing, and many individuals don't do that kind of data processing at all, or only do it so rarely that speed is not the key issue, only results matter. But there are certainly common use cases where keeping a machine for ten years would use up valuable time in an unacceptable manner. As a user, I am constantly editing my own images with global effects, and so multiple fast cores make a real difference for me. A single core machine is crippled by comparison.

Comment: Sources of water (Score 1) 520

by fyngyrz (#47787677) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

The moisture source for lakes and rivers is -- inevitably -- precipitation over lands upstream. Either as direct runoff, or as recurring eruptions from underground aquifers. If the prevailing winds don't bring the more humid air over the cooler, higher landscape, sure, you'll see drought. But you'd see it anyway, more heat or not. When the prevailing winds are bringing more moisture over those same types of terrain, you're going to see more precipitation, not less.

The historical record bears this out. When the earth is warmer, we get (a lot) more plant growth. That's simply not going to happen if the precipitation is reduced for any reason. And, at least as far as I am aware at this time, there is no mechanism that would cause reduction in precipitation. Warmer air holds more moisture, yes, and that effect is in full view in the tropics -- with deluge level rainfall when that moist air hits colder atmosphere and the moisture inevitably precipitates as rain. 400 inches / year as opposed to about 100 inches / year in otherwise similar temperate regions.

I would certainly agree that if the wind patterns change, then the rainfall will too. In both directions. But it seems a little farfetched to say that such changes will result in a consistent decrease in winds traveling onshore. What would such a claim be based upon?

Comment: Re: Impacts (Score 1) 520

by fyngyrz (#47787631) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Is this year actually a warmer year? Didn't I just read that we're in a 20-year hiatus in the warming trend?

Yes, warmer air holds more moisture -- anyone who has worked the steam tables to convert between relative and absolute humidity knows that (and I have done so for my auroral photo opportunity prediction freeware), but it's also susceptible to precipitating more moisture when convection brings that moist air up into the colder altitudes. That's why tropical rainfall tends to be in deluges as compared to, for instance, the typical rain shower in Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that the tropics are warmer and wetter in terms of rainfall amounts per year -- and that since they are warmer, their air can hold more moisture. But that's not stopped them from having much more rainfall than anywhere else. While there certainly may be outlier statistics, the general case seems clearly to be: warmer = wetter = more rainfall.

Temperate rainforests get as much 100 inches / year. Tropical rainforests get up to 400 inches / year. If it's not the heat that's doing it, what do you propose is the mechanism?

If it *is* the heat that's doing it, then what is the mechanism where more heat, heat that corresponds with previous tropical climates in the earth's past, won't repeat the same effect here? Looking at the past CO2 level graphs as correlated with plant growth and temperature, there's a very strong correlation with CO2 and plant growth, and with temperature. Plants love CO2, but they still need moisture to survive, and where there's more plant growth, it's pretty much a certainty that there's a significant water supply.

So far, anyway, the idea of warming in the tropics -- or anywhere there's basically unlimited water and related prevailing winds -- leading to drought seems to be a non-starter.

It's not that I can't accept it, it's just that to accept it, I need a sound scientific reason to do so. Just saying that one expects drought in the tropics seems like hand-waving at this point. There are plenty of legitimate concerns - a slight, very, very slow rise in sea level, movement of crop-appropriate bands in cultivated areas, that sort of thing, but tropical drought doesn't appear to be one of them.

Also, recent news shows increased plant growth worldwide... something to think about in a situation where CO2 is known to be increasing at an accelerated rate.

Comment: Re:Cut the Russians Off (Score 2) 823

by IamTheRealMike (#47777231) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

That's a rather one-sided view of what happened. Yes, the Soviet Union did invade Afghanistan as part of pushing its global ideology, much like the USA invaded Vietnam. But the stone age state of Afghanistan at the time of the US invasion in 2001 was a direct result of America supporting religious fanatics in a proxy war, the mujahideen, who after the war ended and the Soviet's were defeated went on to become the Taliban. That's why bin Laden is so famously a former ally of the US.

The USA is not only building an empire but doing so in plain sight of everyone. To quote Putin directly:

Our partners, especially in the United Sates, always clearly formulate their own geopolitical and state interests and follow them with persistence. Then, using the principle “You’re either with us or against us” they draw the whole world in. And those who do not join in get ‘beaten’ until they do.

This principle is most clearly visible in two acts. One is that the sanctions on Iran are built as a "you're with us or against us" model. Any country that is seen by America to be "undermining" the sanctions i.e. not joining in is itself sanctioned. And the second act is again sanctions based: every financial institution in the world is being taken over by Washington via a system of recursive ("viral" if you like) sanctions that require banks to obey the USA even if that would contradict local laws. The goal is to collect tax from American's abroad. It's called FATCA and it's resulted in many, many nations having to repeal their own privacy laws, in order to allow banks to become agents of the US Government. They were given no choice in the matter.

So the USA has found ways of forcing people in countries all over the world to: (a) engage in economic warfare against America's enemies and (b) pay taxes directly to America, all regardless of what the local government wants or how the local people vote.

Being able to conscript people to their fights and force payment of taxes is the very foundation of empire itself.

Comment: Re:Alternate views (Score 1) 823

by IamTheRealMike (#47777045) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Check back in 6 months, compare what they reported on this conflict to what really happened. Because they were reporting the Ukrainian protests as being a bunch of Fascists who, if they had their way, would be building concentration camps for Russian speakers. Of course, the protesters won, got new elections, and turned out to be what they appeared to be; moderate youths who want increased relations with the EU.

Let's set aside the idea that RT is somehow horrendously biased and we can learn what really happened by, er, reading our totally neutral and trustworthy western newspapers.

Let's instead focus on an indisputable fact. This wonderful new parliament put in place by moderate youths who wanted only increased EU relations, on the very next day after the ex-President fled (the one who did actually win an election), voted overwhelmingly to repeal a law that made Russian an official language. Their first act wasn't to improve relations with the EU, or heal the giant rift between east and west Ukraine, their first order of business was to drive an even bigger wedge right between their own citizens.

Is it any wonder that this glorious democratic government our leaders love so much reacted to an independence movement in their country with massive military force, and has been shelling their own citizens ever since?

By the way, here's how RT reported it at the time. Seems pretty accurate to me.

Comment: Re:Cut the Russians Off (Score 1) 823

by IamTheRealMike (#47776375) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

That's sort of like saying the Soviet's didn't invade anywhere during the cold war. They just supported puppet governments and militias in their place, as did America (hence Osama bin Laden being a former employee of the CIA).

They all still have both political sovereignty, and also control of their legal borders.

You can't claim that America deciding unilaterally to engage in "regime change" to use the delightful term is respecting political sovereignty. What happens is the USA evaluates a government and if it's not one they like, sometimes they remove it by force and replace it with a new one they like better. Said country has "control of their borders" only if you ignore that the US military operates within those borders at will.

Comment: Re:Inevitable (Score 1) 823

by IamTheRealMike (#47776281) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

While people may have been all pissy about Bush, unilateral wars, and Team America World Police, the fact of the matter is that it was better than the alternative.

What alternative is that, exactly? That Iraq invades America? That the Afghans conquer Europe?

I'm trying to figure out how the world would look if Team America had not said "Fuck Yeah" so many times in the past decades. I think it'd probably look much the same as it does now, except quite possibly ISIS would not exist.

Comment: Re:Alternate views (Score 1) 823

by IamTheRealMike (#47776247) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Your comment will be down-voted into oblivion after a few hours.

Try 20 minutes. It went up to +5 Interesting almost immediately. Now it's at zero. What's hilarious is the stream of comments on these stories claiming that Russia is manipulating online forums. All I see is that right now anyone questioning the western party line is immediately zerod out so nobody sees it. I don't think that's because of cunning governmental manipulation though. I think people are just desperate for the old days when they could feel like they were the good guys in a fight of "good vs evil". Whacking Muslims in the desert just doesn't feel as awesome as a good old fashioned America vs Russia showdown.

(null cookie; hope that's ok)

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