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Comment: Credit Google for Being Open (Score 3, Insightful) 265

by steve_thatguy (#33240466) Attached to: Google Responds To Net Neutrality Reviews

I'll give credit to Google for at least responding directly to their detractors and explaining their position in what seems like an honest and open way (you'd think if they were trying to sell us on swampland that they wouldn't use the word "compromise"). In spite of everyone's criticisms I still think Google adheres to the "don't be evil" mantra as well as they possibly can.

That said they should've stuck to their guns. Their new Net Neutrality position sucks.

Comment: Me Too Post (Score 1) 460

by steve_thatguy (#30940442) Attached to: 2 Displays and 2 Workspaces With Linux and X?

I've wanted this for as long as I've had dual-monitors. I wound up settling for an nVidia TwinView setup, but if I could find a way for each of these to be their own separate workspace that would really be terrific. I'm surprised this is so hard to set up--it seems like it shouldn't be that difficult with X.

Biotech

One Variety of Sea Slugs Cuts Out the Energy Middleman 232

Posted by timothy
from the would-never-leave-the-house dept.
dragonturtle69 writes with this story, short on details but interesting: "These sea slugs, Elysia chlorotica, have evolved the ability to gain energy via photosynthesis. Forget about genetic modifications for sports enhancements. I want to be able to never need to eat again — or do I?"

Comment: Maybe Not Ridiculous (Score 1) 541

by steve_thatguy (#30172832) Attached to: Linus Torvalds For Nobel Peace Prize?

I know it seems a little far-fetched, but the globalization possible due to technology has caused a lot of conflict and strife in terms of politics, business practices, etc. The open source movement, which became prominent mostly through projects like Apache, Firefox, and especially Linux, is one of the best examples we have so far for the potential good of globalization--where people are coming together across the world irrespective of race, religion, or nationality and working toward a common goal for the greater good of the entire world (or at least the part of the world who benefits from their software). It's a model for the potential of global peace and cooperation.

Not saying Linus is by any means a shoe-in for it, but I don't think it's an absurd idea.

Comment: The Important Thing is Existence (Score 4, Interesting) 207

by steve_thatguy (#29284559) Attached to: Serious Design Failure At USAspending.gov?

In terms of government it is considerably harder to make bring these things into existence and to remove them once they're already there. Changing it after it already exists is trivial. And that's what's important and significant about this: it exists. The general population has facilitated access to something that was obscure and hidden behind a wall of government before. This may not seem like much but I think the successful creation of this type of transparency throughout the government, and if possible embedding it systemically into government processes, that we will see a great improvement in terms of freedom, success, and efficiency of our government.

It's similar to the way open source applications always get bugs patched faster than commercial implementations--crowdsourcing is a good way to catch errors. That will undoubtedly apply to government as well, especially when many politicians make their living relying on their practices being obscured from the public.

Earth

+ - Earth's Period of Habitability Nearly Over

Submitted by steve_thatguy
steve_thatguy (690298) writes "In yet another way life on Earth is doomed to extinction, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) were presented with research suggesting that Earth is nearing the end of the time it will be capable of sustaining life as we know it. How near? Very on a cosmological timescale, or one half to one billion years people-time. Around that time, the Sun will become too hot for liquid water to exist on Earth. This is not really a new doomsday scenario, however now we know we fall on the trailing end of the life-sustainability timeline."
Medicine

+ - Scientists Create Artificial Bones from Wood

Submitted by steve_thatguy
steve_thatguy (690298) writes "According to Discovery News, Italian scientists have made artificial bone from wood. Created by blasting wood blocks with heat until they are nearly pure carbon then coating them with calcium, the scientists say the material allows bones to heal faster and more securely. Unlike titanium, the wood-based artificial bones flex slightly much like real bone, and the porous nature of the wood allows for better bio-activity with surrounding tissue. Though human testing is still likely years away, the material is currently being used successfully in sheep and may have other industrial applications."

Comment: Entirely Net-Based? (Score 5, Informative) 817

by steve_thatguy (#29011181) Attached to: Chrome OS Designed To Start Microsoft Death Spiral
I don't know the tech details of ChromeOS yet, but I get the impression it's mostly if not entirely net-based. I think that's going to leave Microsoft with a fairly comfortable marketshare even if it takes off because, to some extent, many people want *their* files and *their* processing to be solely under *their* control. There's something to be said for having your own house with your own yard and fence versus living in an apartment building with millions of other people. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Comment: Finally!!! (Score 1) 281

by steve_thatguy (#28097141) Attached to: IBM Wants Patent For Regex SSN Validation

IBM deserves an Oscar and a Nobel Prize for this!!! This problem has persistently plagued me for ages! I'm glad someone finally came up with a solution to this. My only recourse up to this point has been to avoid SSN fields on any web form. If my boss wants something that requires a unique personal identifier I tell him it can't be done--not unless he wants to hire a team of interns to parse whatever voodoo people put into that SSN field!

Thank you so much for this new knowledge IBM! Now if we can do something about phone number fields I'll be in web developer heaven!

Security

Subverting PIN Encryption For Bank Cards 182

Posted by Soulskill
from the pin-number-atm-machine dept.
An anonymous reader sends in a story at Wired about the increasingly popular methods criminals are using to bypass PIN encryption and rack up millions of dollars in fraudulent withdrawals. Quoting: "According to the payment-card industry ... standards for credit card transaction security, [PINs] are supposed to be encrypted in transit, which should theoretically protect them if someone intercepts the data. The problem, however, is that a PIN must pass through multiple HSMs across multiple bank networks en route to the customer's bank. These HSMs are configured and managed differently, some by contractors not directly related to the bank. At every switching point, the PIN must be decrypted, then re-encrypted with the proper key for the next leg in its journey, which is itself encrypted under a master key that is generally stored in the module or in the module's application programming interface, or API. 'Essentially, the thief tricks the HSM into providing the encryption key,' says Sartin. 'This is possible due to poor configuration of the HSM or vulnerabilities created from having bloated functions on the device.'"

The major difference between bonds and bond traders is that the bonds will eventually mature.

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