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Comment: Re:Beware the monster you abide (Score 1) 135

Allowing the NSA, DHS and CIA (hell, even the IRS, for that matter) to continue to operate as they are allowed to will swallow up the last vestiges of America and its dream.

Don't forget the Fed, which funds all this.

The dystopia exists now but it's not too late to turn back.

It's actually the collapse of the Fed's product that will be the only thing that can scale it back. It could resolve nicely or turn into a nightmare - here's hoping for the best!

Comment: Re:And no one will go to jail (Score 1) 135

So why is lying to Congress not a punishable offense?

Congress used to keep those in contempt of Congress in jails in the old Guard rooms until they agreed to cooperate (or the session ended). The room that's now the House post office was last used in 1934 to hold a prisoner. Both the Legislature and the Judiciary have almost entirely abdicated their powers to the Executive Branch since then.

These days we have a sitting Attorney General who is convicted of Contempt of Congress (which carries a *minimum* one month jail sentence) and roams about freely and the Legislatures' intelligence committees are employed by the "intelligence community" directly (same as the Fed owns the banking committee). The Legislature really has no actual power to enforce its proceedings at this point.

See, this isn't a crime, it's just the employer checking up on his employees' work. I guess a couple of them thought they were due a raise and made a stink. A low-level employee was blamed and will probably be scapegoated/fired to make this all go away and then business will carry on as usual.

Comment: Re: Really? (Score 1) 94

by DRJlaw (#47576579) Attached to: "ExamSoft" Bar Exam Software Fails Law Grads

[Computer programmers] are not necessary to maintain [computer programs]. They are useful only when [a computer program] is written by and presided over by other [programmers], for [programmers].

That is, they are a solution to a problem they create.

The same critique applies to the the general sort reading this site. You can look back at just about every society for most of human history and find that they're unnecessary... right?

If you want to create complex systems to automate data processing and other tasks, you're going to have specialist programmers. If you want to create complex regulations to prevent pollution, unsafe products, financial fraud, etc. you're going to have specialists enforcing those regulations and specialists advising how to comply with the regulations. In either case, you do not simply have lay persons making it up as they go along, with little or no documentation concerning what is happening so that very few people know what to expect.

The more complicated the scope of human activity, the more complicated the regulations, and the more you need specialists to deal with the. Ad hoc rules and ad hoc exceptions to the rules are the definition of "mob rule," at least so long as you prefer a putative democracy to a putative dictatorship -- if not, simply substitute "strongman rule."

Comment: Re:where's the money?! (Score 1) 184

by TheRaven64 (#47576183) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM
Communications of the ACM has changed a lot over the last few years. They're trying to make it a lot more relevant and also raise the impact. This means that the Practitioners section is now managed by the team behind ACM Queue and contains stuff that people doing exciting things in industry are doing and the rest has a higher standard of peer review. The Research Highlights section often points to papers that I want to read. Most of the top-tier conferences and journals for computer science are ACM-sponsored.

Comment: Do cellphone chargers require USB negotiation? (Score 1) 160

by smellsofbikes (#47575487) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

The most obvious route for disaster is a compromised cellphone charger, at least for my usage patterns. Since it'd take me about ten minutes to make a pez-candy-sized PCB with USB-micro-M and USB-micro-F connectors with only the power lines connected between them, I'm wondering if an android phone will charge when it's getting power, regardless of whether the USB is connected, or it won't charge until it's had a USB chat. I recall older devices being able to charge at lower-power (150mA?) but having to negotiate for 500mA. I'm perfectly happy to settle for 150mA for right now, until I can program a little AVR to fake the negotiation process and make me an air-gap charger. I don't have a usb traffic sniffer at work, and am about to lose my pcb fabrication equipment for a couple of weeks, so if I could find out today if it's worth making the pcb I'd do it this afternoon. Anyone know?

Comment: Re:Who owns the island? (Score 2) 146

by bill_mcgonigle (#47574835) Attached to: Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland

if the concept of private property is now only the province of libertarians

The way it's going, if you "still" believe in private property you're either a libertarian or you've given up on compulsory political systems entirely. All the other factions believe in some degree of community ownership of everything.

Comment: Re:USB 4.x to offer signed USB device signatures?? (Score 1) 160

by bill_mcgonigle (#47574813) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

That makes the whole concept dead on arrival. Anything that requires a connection is no damn good, aside from a remote terminal, I suppose

How else do you plan to distribute a CRL? The firmware can get programmed with the updated certificate store when you have access to the CRL, but it can operate fine offline without it (accepting the enhanced risk).

Comment: Re:From Finland (Score 2) 45

by bill_mcgonigle (#47574667) Attached to: Nokia Buys a Chunk of Panasonic

They are a Finnish company and that fact is well known worldwide.

Most people knew them for their snow tires before their cell phones. He must not live in the snow belt. I'm glad they separated the two businesses - I still buy Nokian snow tires and I sure as hell don't want Microsoft involved in my winter traction!

Comment: Re:They don't even know what they're offering (Score 1) 184

by TheRaven64 (#47574583) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM
The ACM is pretty good about open access. Every author can use their 'author-izer' service to create links that check the referrer but give free access to the papers, so if you can't get free access to an ACM-published paper from the author's web site, then complain to them, not to the ACM.

Comment: Re:It's not a marketplace.. (Score 1) 227

by TheRaven64 (#47574525) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

Yeah, lets compare a 40 year old monopoly company (making money w large contracts) to a bunch of small upstart developers (making money $0.99 at a time) and laugh.

Let's not. Let's compare the mobile app market to one company. The mobile app market has a number of small upstart developers making $0.99 at a time, but it also includes companies like IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and a large number of software houses that are 20-40 years old, several of which have been on the receiving end of antitrust lawsuits.

"One Architecture, One OS" also translates as "One Egg, One Basket".