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Comment Not the first full recovery from space (Score 1) 121

SpaceShip One touched space and all elements were recovered and flew to space again.

BO's demonstration is more publicity than practical rocketry. It doesn't look like the aerodynamic elements of BO's current rocket are suitable for recovery after orbital injection, just after a straight up-down space tourism flight with no potential for orbit, just like SpaceShip One (and Two). They can't put an object in space and have it stay in orbit. They can just take dudes up for a short and expensive view and a little time in zero gee.

It's going to be real history when SpaceX recovers the first stage after an orbital injection, in that it will completely change the economics of getting to space and staying there.

Comment Re:Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 1) 137

You'd need a popular product to pull off obtaining second-clientage from governments, and you'd need not to reveal that your device had legal intercept.

This is just a poorly-directed company continuing to shoot itself in the foot. It's not made its product desirable for government, or for anyone else.

Comment Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 2) 137

There's a truism in marketing that you can only differentiate your product on the parts that the customer sees and uses. Blackberry just can't learn this lesson. They tried differentiating on the OS kernel, which the customer never sees. And now on an insecurity feature that the customer won't be allowed to use. It's been a protracted death spiral, but it's a continuing one.

Comment What's Wrong with the Hobbit? (Score 2) 174

The Hobbit books are to a great extent about race war. The races are alien and fictional, but they are races, and the identification of good or bad is on racial boundaries. This isn't all that unusual in the fantasy genre, or even some sci-fi.

Lots of people love those books. And there's lots of good in them. To me, the race stuff stuck out.

Comment Re:We don't need "backdoors" (Score 1) 259

Put simply, there exist plenty of systems and techniques that don't depend on a third-party who could possibly grant access to secure communications. These systems aren't going to disappear. Why would terrorists or other criminals use a system that could be monitored by authorities when secure alternatives exist? Why would ordinary people?

That's a really easy answer -- terrorists use these simple platforms for the same reason normal people do: because they're easy to use. Obviously a lot of our techniques and capabilities have been laid bare, but people use things like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Telegram because they're easy. It's the same reason that ordinary people -- and terrorists -- don't use Ello instead of Facebook, or ProtonMail instead of Gmail. And when people switch to more complicated, non-turnkey encryption solutions -- no matter how "simple" the more savvy may think them -- they make mistakes that can render their communications security measures vulnerable to defeat.

I'm not saying that the vendors and cloud providers ALWAYS can provide assistance; but sometimes they can, given a particular target (device, email address, etc.), and they can do so in a way that comports with the rule of law in free society, doesn't require creating backdoors in encryption, and doesn't require "weakening" their products. And of course, it would be good if we were able to leverage certain things against legitimate foreign intelligence targets without the entire world knowing exactly what we are doing, so our enemies know exactly how to avoid it. Secrecy is required for the successful conduct of intelligence operations, even in free societies.

Comment Re:We don't need "backdoors" (Score 1) 259

Sure. One hypothetical example:

The communication has to be decrypted somewhere; the endpoint(s) can be exploited in various ways. That can be done now. US vendors could, in theory, be at least a partial aid in that process on a device-by-device basis, within clear and specific legal authorities, without doing anything like key escrow, wholesale weakening of encryption, or similar with regard to software or devices themselves.

The point is that when US adversaries use systems and services physically located in the US, designed and operated by US companies, there are many things that could be discussed depending on the precise system, service, software, or device. Pretending that there is absolutely nothing that can be done, and it's either unbreakable, universal encryption for all, or nothing, is a false choice.

To sit here and pretend that it's some kind of "people's victory" when a technical system renders itself effectively impenetrable to the legitimate legal, judicial, and intelligence processes of even democratic governments operating under the rule of law in free civil society is curious indeed.

Comment We don't need "backdoors" (Score 3, Informative) 259

And the NYT has a new and extensive story that absolutely "mentions" crypto.

We don't need "backdoors". What we need is a clear acknowledgment that what increasingly exists essentially amounts to a virtual fortress impenetrable by the legal mechanisms of free society, that many of those systems are developed and employed by US companies, and that US adversaries use those systems against the US and our allies, and for a discussion to start from that point.

The US has a clear and compelling interest in strong encryption, and especially in protecting US encryption systems used by our government, our citizens, and people around the world from defeat. But the assumption that the only alternatives are either universal strong encryption, or wholesale and deliberate weakening of encryption systems and/or "backdoors", is a false dichotomy.

Comment Re:Reward networks for not upgrading (Score 1) 75

What happens on eBay is just a market. It's fundamental that a properly working market works to determine the optimum price for whatever is being sold. A properly working market would have multiple sellers and multiple buyers, all with somewhat differing circumstances. Improperly working markets are dominated by a single vendor, etc. No market works perfectly, there are always factors that cause markets to be less efficient than they should be.

Demand pricing is something one vendor does deliberately and with calculation. In contrast, the market pricing is arrived at as the aggregate of the behavior of many people. The market's actually broken if the calculation of one person can influence it disproportionately.

Comment Re:Amazon Model (Score 1) 75

First, there's no shortage of interurban data links for these companies to use if they're willing to. A shortage of infrastructure is a myth.

Second, the customers will indeed abscond, but not to conventional telephone companies.

Anyone who is considering how to jack up voice call pricing is moving around deck chairs on the Titanic.

Comment Re:Reward networks for not upgrading (Score 1) 75

No definition of "surge pricing" could include eBay because it's an auction with multiple independent bidders. Uber, on the other hand, is one bidder with multiple operators who work through its pricing structure. Experienced Uber operators actually avoid areas with high dynamic pricing because there's too much traffic around them. It's more profitable to do three less expensive rides than one expensive one.

Uber dynamic pricing fails the riders, and fails the operators. Uber still makes its money, they don't particularly care that they aren't serving either bloc efficiently.

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"