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Comment Re:25+ years (Score 1) 620

Actually, that's not true. Prior to 1970, I used at least 3 different pieces of
software which maintained detailed change histories on source files which
were (mostly) assembler source files, but in some cases were a higher level
language like FORTRAN. All 3 systems allowed deleting an update (and
thus restoring the lines which that update had deleted), and at least 2 of the
3 let a mod change multiple source files. It was all batch, but the capabilities
were there. Two were provided by a computer manufacturer (Control Data)
and the third was home-brew.

Comment Why, why, why. (Score 2) 45

What possible reason is there for the passport office to need to expose this information outside the agency?

How can it possibly be worth the risk, even if there is some minor function which they outsourced to the

The gummint ought to be forced to do an analysis of the risk and value before the outsource a function
which provides this kind of access to the data of citizens. Private companies might do well also to do it.

Comment Re:Deja vu... (Score 5, Interesting) 180

I was describing something that happened in a machine that was built before the world settled
on 8-bit bytes. The machine had 36-bit words, and each word had an address. The 6-bit
nibbles were not addressable. It was 32,768 (2**15) words of 36 bits. Equivalent
to a little over 100K bytes!

Comment Deja vu... (Score 5, Interesting) 180

This problem is remarkably similar to a problem I encountered in the memory of a 7094 (old
IBM computer) which had a core memory which stored 36-bit words. The memory was supposed
to work by operating on 6 bits at a time at 200 nanosecond intervals. The reason for this was to avoid
creating a magnetic field that was too strong. The problem occurred when the timing was off due
to failure of a component and two of the intervals overlapped. This meant that when one attempted
to store a word with 35 1s, the field created was strong enough to store 36 1s. We wrote a
diagnostic to demo the problem, and with that the engineers were able to isolate and fix the problem
in short order.

Comment Why so many trucks? Why not railroads (Score 4, Insightful) 242

I don't understand how trucks, which require much more fuel, and more driver time per load, have
so thoroughly replaced railroads for long hauls. Making trucks more efficient is a fine idea, but
it's only nibbling at the edges. Why not go back to trains for medium to long distances?

Comment Re:Fixing ECPA is not enough.. (Score 1) 29

One other question: Is it clear what "fixing" ECPA means? Do you have a specific proposal? Or is it
just that a warrant is needed to examine "mail", regardless of how long it's been stored, whether it's
in flight or stored.

Everyone talks about "immigration reform" but I think there's a very wide spectrum of what that

Comment Phone call data is not metadata! (Score 1) 96

It's data. It happens not to be complete - there's more, namely the audio of the call.

Intelligence agencies have been doing traffic analysis on this sort of data -- just who is
communicating with whom - for at least 70 years. For NSA to refer to it as "only metadata"
is the height of hypocrisy.

Time is an illusion perpetrated by the manufacturers of space.