Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:gpg (Score 2) 300

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) 300

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) 165

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?

Comment: Can they tell us what did work out good? (Score 1) 223

by rvw (#48988461) Attached to: US Health Insurer Anthem Suffers Massive Data Breach

Swedish said the breach is extensive: the vulnerable data included "names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data," though "no credit card or medical information, such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes were targeted or compromised."

Security was breached, personal information was stolen, but no CC or medical information. Can they tell us what prevented the theft of medical information? How can that information be used to prevent the future theft of data with other companies? Using the same methods, could it protect things like employment info and income data? Can systems be designed to be more bullet proof?

My first guess is that the medical information was on different servers, maybe at different locations, and access to those systems was not that easy. Given the fact that systems will be broken into, how can you design these big information systems in such a way that only a limited amount of data can be stolen?

Comment: Re: Science... Yah! (Score 1) 958

by rvw (#48987603) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

No, the other function of eating is NOT stress release. Some people (even cultures) use food this way but it is no a function of eating.

Great! So tell me then, what is the other function according to you? Btw, I don't say that nature intended eating to result in stress release, but it does function that way. It's just one of those things that evolve as a side effect of other functions.

Comment: Re: Science... Yah! (Score 1) 958

by rvw (#48977613) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

Changing your daily habits permanently is the way to go. I always overhear conversations saying someone lost weight and it came back right away. Well sure, they fell back into their old habits!

Isn't a habit permanent? But anyways, temporary changes won't help and probably will harm you more than do good. Think of the yoyo effect.

Comment: Re: Science... Yah! (Score 5, Insightful) 958

by rvw (#48967087) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

Science actually figured it out about 100 years ago: it doesn't matter much what you eat because unless you embark on a weird diet you will get all the nutrients you need; and the way to maintain weight is to eat the right _amount_ of food. People worry about third order effects and ignore the first order principles. It's not "science's" fault that people don't want to bother learning what's already known about how things work.

The problem is that eating has one major other function besides nutricion: stress release. And then another power kicks in: positive reinforcement. Eating makes us feel less bad (less stress) and thus makes us feel good or at least better. There are some very tricky mechanisms that work to keep us in this trap. Once you start to eat more to feel better, it will be very difficult to undo that habit. And it's all about habits. If you start running daily, and you feel good about it, it's positive reinforcement once again, and it may compensate. Changing your daily habits is the way to go.

Comment: Re:If that's what you want (Score 1) 648

by rvw (#48856601) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Then switch from Java or Python to Groovy. It's got a REPL tool like Python and Ruby, compiles to Java bytecode with tight Java interop and usually looks more like Ruby or Python than most people's Java code. That and it's a substantially more marketable language than any dialect of BASIC.

Better learn them the basics in a programming language that will be around for the next 10-20 years. Python will, but Groovy? Never heard of it, or heard of it and forgot about it. I wouldn't recommend it. It will learn some people skills that are useful for simple tasks, on any platform. Some of them will move on to other languages, and for those people it doesn't matter if it's groovy or python. But for those who learn only one language - this one - it will matter.

Comment: Re:Stands to reason (Score 1) 181

by rvw (#48848869) Attached to: NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

So by their own standards, the US had used an act of war against a foreign nation. Will they be attacking themselves, seeing as they're the world's police?

Who cares. They can't convict them for those A-bomb tests thanks to Putin, with Guantanamo they can't complain about Camp 14 or 18, and the link to Saddam Hussein is a dead end. Now they can bring in the corporate lawyers - much more effective!

Kiss your keyboard goodbye!