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Comment Re:I was recruited for a dev position and felt bia (Score 1) 283

You just printed the recruiter job description, though. He's going to get you in the door, and maybe show you to your table. However, he's not the waiter nor the chef, and will not have much influence on the interview process, so why should he care.

Comment Human travel agent still king (Score 1) 140

Kids these days think just because they have access to the data, it makes them domain experts. Access to stock prices - instant stock broker. Access to booking sites - instant travel expert. The truth is, expertise still takes time to build up, and it will be another eon before AI can understand custom needs and wishes, rather than make clumsy Clippy suggestions.

So, find a local, preferably independent, travel agent. Go there in person, sit down for a coffee. Then let a professional sort out all the hurdles of your honeymoon or complicated multi-leg business trip. He or she will find you the best deals, best hotels according to your budget; take care of rescheduled flights; arrange transport from the airport to your hotel; send you a tourist guide book if he's nice.

Prices vary, but commission around 100 - 150 USD for flight and hotel bookings is normal. On a more complex itinerary, that pays for itself with the better flight combinations from different airlines, which you cannot stitch together yourself. The peace of mind is priceless.

Comment Re:The year of the Linux. . . (Score 2) 138

Stallman cleared up that confusion decades ago, by insisting that the complete OS be called GNU/Linux. More recently, in 2011, he also made the Android naming clear:

"Android is very different from the GNU/Linux operating system because it contains very little of GNU. Indeed, just about the only component in common between Android and GNU/Linux is Linux, the kernel. People who erroneously think "Linux" refers to the entire GNU/Linux combination get tied in knots by these facts, and make paradoxical statements such as "Android contains Linux, but it isn't Linux". If we avoid starting from the confusion, the situation is simple: Android contains Linux, but not GNU; thus, Android and GNU/Linux are mostly different."

Of course, posting on Slashdot, you ought to know all that. So either congrats on your troll, or please hand in your geek card at the door.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a conversation with a colleague (Score 1) 286

I recommend "World Order" (2014) by Henry Kissinger, if you haven't read it yet. He goes into details and the historic background to the points you describe. Importantly, he compares the notion of the Western nation-state against other forms of world order, like the tribal systems in the Middle East, and the single king and empire of China.

Central to the European nation-state is the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, where more than hundred represented empires, states and cities sat down to put an end to decades of war. The outcome was the novel idea and mutual agreement that "I'll let you do what you like in your state - if you give me the same right in mine". This was against the backdrop of the Catholic church spreading their religion by the sword, backed by the Holy Roman Empire. Of course it did not put an end to wars, but at least it established a common framework by which peace could be built around.

Over the next centuries, there have been endless attempts at exporting this idea, and lately "bring democracy", and give people "freedom". However, without the historical background, the concept of a nation-state gets lost in translation. Some see it as blasphemy to their religion, others as a contradiction to their world view. In addition, especially in the 20th century, borders have been re-drawn completely arbitrarily, causing never-ending bickering.

Mix in of poverty; low value of life (lots of people, and a die rather than live forever mentality); plus the points you already mentioned. The situation in the Middle East is starting to look rather predictable. In fact, with a tin-foil hat on, the last US wars and military action in Iraq almost looks purposefully designed to continue the chaos and schisms. We've always been at war with Eurasia?

Comment Re:Mossberg should know better. (Score 2) 74

In the end, it's about the money. Of these five companies, only Facebook is not in the top five of companies with the largest market cap; they're all top 15 though, with a combined market cap of some 2 trillion USD. Much of it is in liquid cash. That's a lot of money and power sitting around to buy up, sue away, push out smaller competitors. Not even IBM controlled that amount of money and power in their heyday.

Comment Re:Greetings from the alternate universe! (Score 2) 44

When Snowden wanted to initiate communication with Greenwald, would it really have been a good idea to use keys which were linked to their real names? And either way, using existing keys or newly minted ones, wouldn't they have to confirm the key fingerprints off-channel anyway? In that scenario, you really want to make sure you got the right one.

For other types of communication, the threat model is different: When I send a message to my family, the content of the message is probably enough to establish that it was genuine. It would still have been nice if all governments and spies along its route would have a harder time reading it, though.

The scenario I could see signed keys being helpful in, is valuable communication between two strangers. E.g. if the two us wanted to make a trade, and you'd send me your Bitcoin address, I'd trust you more if the message was signed with a signed key. However, if you were selling me illegal goods, we're back to square one. Neither of us would communicate with real names.

Comment Re:This is about the previous iteration... (Score 1) 156

They way I understand the EU "Data Retention Directive" is that telecom, ISP and other communication providers _are obliged_ to retain communication meta data of everybody and everything, for a minimum of 6 months. The UK act might go even further, and the devil is in the details. However, I find it a bit ironic that the EU court strikes down on this, when they have a thorn in their own eye.


Comment Re:Twitter as a protocol (Score 5, Insightful) 284

In "The Internet Is Not the Answer" by Andrew Keen *, he points to some of the problems with today's web services: As opposed to the Internet's golden days of public standards and open protocols, today they are mostly centralized proprietary "winner takes all".

And the reason is simple: When Paul Baran, Bob Taylor, Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, et.al. invented their respective contributions, they were often government employees and as such not seeking or able to pursue monetary gains based on their inventions, or vehemently opposed to do so. They also understood that their protocols had to be public and open in order to be widely adopted.

In today's Internet economy, the goal is not universal standards or federated networks (e.g. email, PSTN), but rather reaching critical mass in walled gardens. If you can show you have amassed enough users, your company gets valued billions. IPO, vest, rinse and repeat. So if there was a public social network protocol, you could jump ship, just as you can with a domain and email today. That would not be in th interest of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp . Much better ride the curve till the next bust.

*) Skip the book; it's a long rant, a gets a bit dull, even if Keen is a good writer.

Comment Re:Replacing CMD (Score 1) 129

> running scripts or programs written by potentially malicious people is the only reasonable way to do your job

Maybe I'm reading too much into this part of your post, however, if the only way to do your job is to run scripts you download off the Internet, then may I suggest you're doing it wrong (TM) ?

Typically, scripts are very small programs which you implement yourself for your own convenience. They are typically not distributed beyond your immediate team. If the "scripts" grow into applications for which you cannot (or will not) inspect the code yourself, then they are as much a security threat as any other executable from an unknown untrusted source. Now, that risk might be acceptable in some scenarios, but typically, a no-go on any corporate device.

Comment Re:$250 Per User (Score 1) 55

Agree, but let's try to run some numbers:

If every user is worth $250 in ad revenue, they'll have some work to do. Let's say an ad-click pays Snapchat 10 cent. Then every user would have to make 2500 ad clicks. If each user clicks 2 ads per day, it will take a bit less than four years to reach $250 per user.

However, for each ad a user clicks, he will ignore many. Let's say the click-through-rate is 1%. So to get 2 clicks per day, he'll have to be exposed to 200 ads per day. Assuming a normal person is awake 16 hours per day, he will have to be exposed to a new ad in less than 5 minutes, every 5 minutes throughout the day, only on Snapshat.

So yes, that's where this seems at least a magnitude out of whack. Probably two.

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Where are the calculations that go with a calculated risk?