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Comment: Re:Is this technically impossible - no. (Score 1) 155

by ceoyoyo (#47922885) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

What you're describing is a random number generator with a key to initialize it. Some of the good ones might be good enough (or might not). Anything you can keep in your head is going to be crap and fairly easily breakable. Either way, you're still better off to just exchange regular secret keys at your meeting, which can be concealed in a variety of ways. Even real one time pads can be fairly easily concealed - a "blank" USB key, for example.

Comment: Re:Is this technically impossible - no. (Score 2) 155

by ceoyoyo (#47922297) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

You didn't say so, but I'm assuming you're encrypting your message using the book page as a one time pad, then obscuring it using steganography. If someone sufficiently motivated were after your criminals, they could break that. Steganography isn't much protection when someone knows there might be hidden messages. And your one time pad, while one time, isn't random. Book pages have quite a bit of structure.

Any structure in a one time pad makes it vulnerable. To the point where people have gone to great lengths to construct them using the best random numbers obtainable, from devices ranging from antennae monitoring the ionosphere to quantum devices.

Comment: Re:Is this technically impossible - no. (Score 1) 155

by ceoyoyo (#47922261) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

One time pads have been, and probably are, used extensively. You send a bunch of random data to someone via some secure method, which is usually very slow (like hopping on an airplane with a DVD full of random numbers on your person). You can then exchange messages securely using a convenient and fast channel, such as e-mail. See the utility there?

Comment: Re:It's not your phone (Score 1) 591

Companies have been paying the post office to shove stuff in my mailbox for years. That actually causes physical annoyance, as I have to shovel it into the recycle bin and then toss it. Then there are those crazy people who hand out free samples on the street. I don't have to take it, but I still have to see them.

Whoever tagged this "first world problems" was dead on.

Comment: Re:It's not your phone (Score 1) 591

Then turn off automatic downloads. You can't hit a switch that says "download everything!" and then call it "jammed down your throat" when your phone does what you told it to and downloads the free song someone gave you.

I saw the fuss on Facebook and went to check. No U2 song. It was listed as something I could download if I wanted to. Whoopty doo.


The Future According To Stanislaw Lem 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the drugs-and-nanotech dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Paris Review has an article about SF author Stanislaw Lem, explaining Lem's outlook on the future and his expectations for technological advancement. Lem tended toward a view that technology would infect and eventually supplant biological evolution. But he also suggested an interesting explanation for why we haven't detected alien civilizations: "Perhaps ... they are so taken up with perfecting their own organisms that they've abandoned space exploration entirely. According to a similar hypothesis, such beings are invisible because technological ease has resulted in a 'Second Stone Age' of 'universal illiteracy and idleness.' When everyone's needs are perfectly met, it 'would be hard, indeed, to find one individual who would choose as his life's work the signaling, on a cosmic scale, of how he was getting along.' Rather than constructing Dyson Spheres, Lem suggests, advanced civilizations are more likely to spend their time getting high.""

Comment: Head for the hills, or the coast, or... (Score 1) 151

by Zocalo (#47883279) Attached to: To prepare for a coronal mass ejection, I ...
CMEs usually lead to an enhanced chance of aurora, so if I'm in a suitable location it's more a case of getting the camera gear out and heading off to somewhere scenic and away from any major source of light pollution. Keep watching the skies, we could be in for something spectacular if it hits us head on.

Comment: Re:No Need (Score 2) 280

by Zocalo (#47856913) Attached to: Is It Time To Split Linux Distros In Two?
I would say the same thing. The user can currently either choose a different "sub-distro" based on their primary flavour of choice, opt for a desktop/server specific spin, or just accept the current one distro to rule them all but just install the necessary packages for what they want approach. There really shouldn't be any need to split a Linux distro (or BSD distro for that matter) in two for this (and why stop there, why not a phone/tablet optimised version, or one for embedded devices...?) - just provide a specific spin for desktop that includes a selection of GUIs and another for servers that includes a broader selection of alternative server daemons and maybe a simple GUI for those that really need it. Apply some task specific optimizations to the default configuration files for bonus points and off we go.

Comment: Re:Er? (Score 2) 314

by Zocalo (#47854073) Attached to: GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD
Where, exactly, do I state that I am putting a GUI on a server? Perhaps you got confused when I mentioned Gnome requiring SystemD as an example of how applications making SystemD a dependency was forcing distros into a Hobson's Choice of either adopting SystemD whether they want to or not, or going through a lot of pain to replace it with an alternative when it breaks major dependencies like Gnome? RHEL, like many distros, includes Gnome - but how many of those distros have adopted SystemD mostly as a result of this, not because it is better or worse than the alternatives?

Note also that I point out that the dependencies work in *both* directions; as antientropic points out Gnome requiring SystemD is absolutely an issue with the Gnome team and nothing to do with SystemD, but it does have implications in that it helps build a mess of inter-dependencies that is making it increasingly hard to strip systems down to the minimum. RHEL's insistance on NetworkManager by default, with all the baggage that brings, doesn't inspire confidence either, as this is apparently one of the next daemon in SystemD's sights - maybe SystemD can improve it, but I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, regardless of that, we've made our choice and moved to BSD; SystemD played a significant part in that, but it definitely wasn't the only factor, as I noted in my OP. ?

Comment: Consensus (Score 2) 765

by ceoyoyo (#47852707) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

A consensus is a bunch of people who share an opinion. You can have a consensus of scientists, but not a scientific consensus. Crichton was right (about that): science is about consistent, reproducible results, not opinions or consensuses. Politics often involves consensus.

Climate science doesn't care how many people, scientists or not, vote for a particular hypothesis. Climate politics do, and that's what's involved when we try to decide what to do. Unfortunately, people confuse the two.

Comment: Re:Context (Score 2) 228

by Zocalo (#47851467) Attached to: DNA sequencing of coffee's best use:
Improving the qualities of robusta or the hardiness of arabica, either works for me. I love the smell and taste of a well prepared coffee, but the increasing use of robusta has started to mess with my digestive system for some reason (I suspect the part that makes robusta taste bitter) making me feel like I've drunk acid. Adding sugar or salt (depending on the chain) helps a bit, but the result has been to pretty much stop me from buying coffee to drink from the usual high-street chains that are all we available here, and my attempts to offer feedback in the form of suggesting a "premium" high-arabica based brew don't seem to be getting very far.

Comment: Re:Er? (Score 4, Insightful) 314

by Zocalo (#47851361) Attached to: GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD
I have three main issues with SystemD that might help you understand where some of us are coming from:

1. It effectively works as a monolithic replacement for several daemons, contra to core UNIX design tenets, and even though some of those sub-daemons can be swapped out with an alternative, often that works by running the second daemon in parallel - you can't actually disable the SystemD equivalent, let alone remove it altogether. This makes troubleshooting much more complicated when something goes wrong, especially if you have booted a system from a recovery disk to troubleshoot after a crash, compromise, or whatever and can no longer directly access several of the key sources of information necessary to do that.

2. Because of the growing number of packages that depend on SystemD, and vice-versa, it's creating a huge mess of package inter-dependencies that mean that it's getting almost impossible to build a stripped down and hardened server. Ballmer might have been right with his "Cancer" comment, he just wasn't specific enough: Gnome requires SystemD, $distro wants to bundle Gnome, therefore $distro adopts SystemD - and forces the default install of all the other package dependencies that go with it, thereby increasing the attack surface of the system. So much for hardening systems by removing all superflous code, huh?

3. All that cruft seems to be bogging the system down. We are currently migrating a large number (much larger than planned after initial results) of systems from RHEL to BSD - a decision taken due to general unhappiness with RHEL6, but SystemD pushed us towards BSD rather than another Linux distro - and in some cases are seeing throughput gains of greater than 10% on what should be equivalent Linux and BSD server builds. The re-learning curve wasn't as steep as we expected, general system stability seems to be better too, and BSD's security reputation goes without saying.

That said assuming that it "just works" a SystemD based desktop with everything from a desktop application down to the kernel talking through the same set of core services does sound like a nice idea. The problem is that most of us are not actually running Linux desktops; we're running servers and would just like the OS to mostly get the hell out of the way so we can get on with running whatever server daemons we are using. If SystemD were better architected - say a core PID1 init replacement, then a bunch of optional packages I don't even need to install if I want to use an alternative or not bother with at all, plus a massive clean up of the dependency hell that it has introduced - then I'd be a lot happier with it, but as it stands I just can't see including it on a hardened Internet facing server as being a remotely sane thing to do.

Comment: Re:Sigh... (Score 4, Interesting) 789

Well, the like-for-like retaliation from Ukraine won't happen. One of the terms of Ukraine's independance was that they give up the nukes they had left over from the break up of the USSR, but their supposed pay back from that would be protection from NATO if Russia were to invade. Now that a full scale invasion of Eastern Ukraine is clearly underway that comment was almost certainly aimed at NATO in an attempt to give them pause while the Russians consolidate their position and get dug-in.

At this point in time, with almost no response by NATO/the West other than some obviously ineffectual sanctions, my money is on Russia successfully annexing enough of Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea (albeit as an "independant" state with its capital in Donetsk or Sevastopol) that it can resupply the Crimea via land from mainland Russia.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. -- Dr. Johnson