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Comment: Re:Red Cross (Score 1) 39

How many people would think to first check the Red Cross website first

To be honest, I would have expected the Red Cross to have more important things to do and I wouldn't want to bother them.

Then again, I would have thought people in a disaster would have more important things to do than to go on Facebook.

The Red Cross is a big organisation. They probably have their own IT department, which is located somewhere in Europe or the US, or maybe even in India, but not on the location of the disaster. IT is essential to an organization like the RC, for themselves, but also for victims.

One essential part of recovery from a disaster is stress release. If you know what happened to your family, that saves you from a lot of stress, the stress of uncertainty, even in the case that they are dead. If they are alive, you can contact them, and that helps them recover more easily. Social contact is essential.

Facebook and Google could put a link to the RC website on top of their page for all people who login from Nepal, but better they should use their own site and create an API to the RC database, and sync data.

Comment: Re:Trus but verify... not (Score 1) 67

by rvw (#49518035) Attached to: Tor Is Building the Next Generation Dark Net With Funding From DARPA

"The government" isn't one big entity. There are a lot of agencies in it and some have very conflicting goals. Even in the NSA itself some will be working on securing everything more so that their government is safe from spying while others will be working on breaking everything more, so that other governments can be spied on.

And isn't this just really a grant? Its not like darpa controls the implementation, they just point out what they want to be worked on, no?

I suppose the code is open source, and I guess that code will be closely monitored. If they really want secure code, to secure agents abroad or even locally to make sure they cannot be tracked down, this is a good thing for everybody.

Comment: Re:Your government at work (Score 0) 336

you don't have to like the USA, but if you look at the leadership of the USA, and you look at the leadership of ISIS, and you see the same kind of people, you aren't announcing an understanding of the world, you are merely announcing that you have a horribly stunted social defect, and no grasp on moral reasoning

the usa has done horrible horrible things in the world. but to examine their motivations, actions, targets, etc., and see the same as ISIS on those measures, you're a moron on this topic. there's no other nicer way to say it. and it's not a baseless insult to call you that. it's an objective appraisal of the quality of the words you have written and the topic at hand. you're a socially stunted individual who should stop talking about a topic you lack the social abilities to understand

The USA just has a better track record at covering up. Look at who supported and designed the terror in Chili and Argentina in the 60s and 70s: CIA, with the helping hand of Ford Motor Company and Chicago University. Of course, the CIA didn't do any torture or killing, they just advised and gave support. Ford supplied cars and "students". Look at how Iraq is destroyed by US presence.

Now the CIA blame Iran for destroying Iraq - how ironic! Wasn't it the CIA who helped the Shah take power in a country that was on its way to a very reasonable democracy? If the US had kept out of Iran and Iraq, and hadn't helped Israel abuse its power in Palestine, I doubt if ISIS would have existed.

What ISIS does is horrific, but it's completely comparable to all terror done in South America by Pinochet and by the military in Brasil and Argentina.

Comment: Re:Commercially makes sense ... maybe (Score 1) 148

by rvw (#49291137) Attached to: Apple May Start Accepting Android Phones As Trade-Ins

we're back to the days of cherry picking the most expensive not apple vendors and using those to justify apple's prices. There's more to the android market than samsung and HTC, and they're losing marketshare to other smaller players that are allowed to exist in the android model unlike apple's ecosystem.

My next phone will absolutely not be one of these overpriced locked down messes.

Well at least he named examples, you just made claims so who are those smaller vendors who offer smartphones that have the same performance and are qualitatively comparable to the HCT and Samsung flagship smartphones, but at significantly lower prices?

He didn't make the claim that those cheaper devices were comparable in performance. I'm with him. My Sony Z1 is good enough for me, and for half the price. Paying $900 for a phone that will last for two years - not for me!

Comment: Re:Blah blah blah. (Score 0, Troll) 82

by rvw (#49232195) Attached to: South African Government Issues Plans To Censor Internet

The budget deficit in the US is also unsustainable in the long run. You guys must enjoy being able to "print" the reserve currency while it lasts.

Keeping the budget deficit high and preferably making it bigger is key to neoliberal politics. The higher the deficit, the less money is available for all those leftist / socialist / communist hobbies like healthcare plans, unemployment benefits etc. Obama has done his fair deal to repair things, like his healthcare plan, but the problems that Bush has created in eight years cannot be undone in eight years. That will take much longer.

Comment: Re:gpg (Score 2) 309

by rvw (#49125809) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

I've used GPG since... I don't even know, for a very long time. However, since I communicate a lot internationally, and I don't know (and I don't want to know) about every country's regulations regarding encryption, I gave up sending encrypted e-mails at the very beginning, but I still always sign my mails. I never even thought about how many people use or don't use GPG, it's just been there, ever so useful - and I think that's good so. I think "run its course" is harsh though. Why? Because one Moxie Marlinspike says so? Bollocks. If it's useful - and it is -, it's good to have it.

Not only that, but look at the Enigmail interface. Once it's installed and configured, it's only clicking the icons in the status bar and entering a password. I sign all mail as well.

Comment: Re:Same error, repeated (Score 4, Informative) 309

by rvw (#49125801) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

I know quite a few people who have started using GPG via the Enigmail plug-in for Thunderbird lately. The length of the man page is irrelevant and they never publish their keys so are effectively invisible to the statistics. That doesn't mean that it isn't an extremely useful, valuable piece of software though.

I use Thunderbird with Enigmail, mostly to sign my emails to get other people used to seeing signed mails, with an attachment with the signature in it. I've got one question about this, a friend asking what that mysterious attachment was and I explained it. I created an IMAP mail account that I only use to make notes that I can easily share among different computers. All these notes are encrypted using my public key. I can open them on the computer which has my private key.

Your comment about being invisible to statistics does not mean being invisible to NSA and GCHQ. As they and several other agencies scan all mail, they will see these attachments, they will see mail headers and other signs that mail being encrypted, whatever method you use. So they will know that your friends use GPG.

Comment: Re:What it really reveals (Score 3, Insightful) 112

by rvw (#49096709) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit Back On Track After Silence and Uncertainty

This is good, or bad, depending on the tightness of your tin foil, but I think it reveals something far more important about encryption: we, the average users, are powerless to verify or truly trust any encryption solution offered. To realize that an audit of the code for a single-purpose program can only be done by a very small set of people shows that even with open source we're still just trusting others to safeguard our data. The need for encryption and the mathematical and coding complexity required to understand what we are using to safeguard our data is simply beyond our ability to check that it even makes sense at a basic level.

We - even IT power users and programmers - are mostly powerless to verify not only encryption programs, but the underlying OS as well. As Shutterworth said, if you use our OS, you have to trust us, because we have root .

Comment: Re:Helping Castro (Score 1) 166

by rvw (#49065555) Attached to: Cubans Allowed To Export Software and Software Services To the US

I still think they are not as bad as some countries we consider allies

And who would that be? I can only think of North Korea, who are worse than Cuba...

Well how about Iraq, Chili, Iran, Saudi Arabia. I bet all of them have done much more bad stuff in the past, or at least comparable. And North Korea is not an ally!

Comment: Re:What type of Non-Fiction? And fiction? (Score 1) 164

by rvw (#49065455) Attached to: How is your book reading divided between fiction and non-fiction?

Then there is non fiction that's maybe better titled "self help." If you're reading those books, it's a different type of reading. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Awaken the Giant -- all these sorts of books will be a really great help for your career and life. But if I'm sitting down and reading one, it's not because I'm looking to get lost (as the case will be when Patrick Rothfuss releases his next novel), but because I want to improve my life[1]. Same thing when I'm trying to brush up on my skills and stay current with new reference books. And the reading is different. While I might get lost in a novel by Neil Gaiman, for instance, reading of 7 Habits is more methodical, as in "I should read a chapter tonight"

[1] You may laugh at this. I laughed at people who read such books when I was 20. But what I've found in my old age is that they really can help you in your career. For instance, your boss won't promote you to a manager if he doesn't think you're ready. While you might consider trial and error as a learning path, it'll be much longer. And it's a bit foolish, because only a fool would learn from his own mistakes when he can just spend some time and find out from others how to do what he wants.

I'm a big fan of self-help books and all kinds of books that help me learn more about myself and other people. Good reads are Rosenberg about Non violent communication, Alan Pease - Body Language, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Don't shoot the dog by Karen Pryor about positive conditioning, and Why don't zebras get ulcers - about stress. Right now I'm reading The Tibetan book about living and dying. This stress book is quite a mental workout if you're not comfortable with many chemical terminology about neurotransmitters, hormones and all that stuff going on in your body. I keep these books on my e-reader and reread them (partly) if I feel the need.

Normally I'm reading one or two of those books - one new, one old non-fiction and one fiction. It all depends on my mood, and about work. If there is too much stuff going on in my head, I can't focus on difficult or confronting books, and then I'm better of with some fun (science) fiction, or use a book like the Four Agreements to get my stuff straight.

Comment: Re:Not political action (Score 1) 239

by rvw (#49024589) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

FALSE!!! The answer is not encryption because they will simply ban encryption. The TRUE answer is YOU engaging in direct POLITICAL action to bring the laws and candidates YOU want into place. Then you can encrypt all you want forever. You can even outlaw wiretaps.

The answer is not political action with candidates, because the people *don't care*.

The answer is getting people to care.

That means schools and media campaigns, and exposing abuses of the system.

Spot on! But who is going to pay for those campaigns?

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27