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Comment Re:Amended quote (Score 5, Interesting) 743

Yeah, well, that's because they want to portrait him as a brilliant evil genuis who should be incarcerated for the rest of his life (as he's obviously so dangerous) rather than just a guy who downloaded stuff on his thumbdrive because their internal security was shit.

This. A thousand times this.

Read the two articles linked in the summary. They're both on NBC news and published within three days of each other, and both are essentially the same story. The difference in the articles?

The older one (byline "Richard Esposito and Matthew Cole") says, "Duh. He's a sysadmin. He's capable of creating accounts with arbitrary permissions, and of violating the air gap between the secure and insecure sides. Of course he can do that, it's in his job description!"

The newer one (byline "Richard Esposito, Matthew Cole and Robert Windrem") says, "Whoa! This guy knows how to impersonate people on a computer! No one but a brilliant uber-hacker could do that! This guy is a menace! An evil genius of a degree seen only in Bond villains!"

I don't read or watch NBC news, and I've never even heard of any of these reporters before. But my guess is that Esposito and Cole are the tech beat guys, and Windrem is managerial. If we assume stupidity, Windrem simply said "This story is dull. I'd better punch it up a bit." If we assume malice, Windrem said "This makes the NSA sound dumb. Let's play it for the brilliant hacker angle instead." If we assume conspiracy, some nice men in dark sunglasses approached Windrem and said "This story doesn't fit with our narrative of Snowden being a dirty rotten traitor. Fix it."

Comment Re:Income Tax (Score 3, Insightful) 301

I posed this question to my wife, who actually worked as the bookkeeper for a non-profit for a number of years. Her answer was, "There are laws against that." So yeah, I don't blame the OSS projects for not taking the money. Besides, it just sounds dodgy. Even if I was convinced it's not a scam, at best it's dishonest. At worst it's criminal fraud that will end up costing a lot more than $20k in lawyer fees.

Comment Re: What does the job entail? (Score 4, Insightful) 189

Tru dat. I've worked at two large game companies. Developing games is sweatshop work. But a guy's gotta follow his dreams! If he's already been offered a job he'll be able to find another one if a gaming gig doesn't work out. Now's the time, when he's young and relatively responsibility-free.

Comment I can see one way (Score 2) 165

I can see one way in which this might be both true and proper. If each account was individually encrypted with keys that only the users had, what they're saying would be completely true. And I think it would be completely proper and even laudatory to run an email system that way. They could search individual accounts by having the users decrypt them, but they couldn't do a wholesale search of the entire email system. This is the way email should be!

A somewhat more likely approach would be that by policy, users are not allowed to keep email on the server. All email must be downloaded or deleted. No online folders, ridiculously small INBOX quotas, maybe a read-once policy where as soon as the mail is retrieved the server auto-deletes it. I can actually understand this being done; I've worked with corporate lawyers who would love to have the email system set up this way for the express purpose of defeating global searches. Anything can be twisted and used against you, so save nothing, leave no evidence. I certainly don't agree with that mindset, but I've worked with people who are like that.

Not that I think it actually is done either of those ways. I think it's far more likely that they're simply lying and refusing to comply. It's probably simply policy to refuse such blanket FOIA requests, and there's undoubtedly a clause buried in the FOIA itself that allows them to require that requests be specific and narrow. You know, in the way that searches of private individuals are supposed to be.

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 5, Interesting) 566

Binary vs. text doesn't make any real difference for debugging. Ethernet frames are binary, IP is binary, TCP is binary. We cope just fine. It may be more difficult to do a quick-and-dirty "echo 'GET / HTTP/2.0' | nc localhost 80", but so what? You can still use HTTP/1.1 or even HTTP/1.0 for that, and you're going to haul out the packet analyzer for any serious debugging anyway.

What I really don't like is that they're multiplexing data over a single TCP connection. I understand why they're doing it, but it seems like re-inventing the wheel. Congestion control is tricky to get right so I see HTTP/2.1 and HTTP/2.2 coming out hot on the heels of HTTP/2.0 as they iron out problems that have already been solved elsewhere.

Comment Re:Sounds like my kid (Score 1) 770

Damn, that sounds like a perfect description of *my* 20 year-old son! I know exactly what you're talking about. We think he's capable of living on his own, but we're afraid to just plain give him the boot because there's that niggling little doubt that maybe he's really not...

We're trying a halfway situation right now. We got him an apartment and we're paying for basic necessities: rent, utilities, and enough money to avoid starvation but not enough (as he found out last month!) to eat take-out. He has to get a job if he wants anything more, like TV or internet. The apartment is 500 miles from home so there's no way we can just pop in to take care of problems for him. The location (Houghton, MI) was chosen for a bunch of reasons, but primarily because it's a small town, we know it well, and we have friends there he can call on if something does go seriously pear-shaped.

He's been there three months, and we're going to give it a full year before deciding what to do next. Houghton has really tough winters, so I'm hoping that if nothing else he'll decide that he wants to live anywhere *but* there and will be willing to find a job back down here (or wherever) in order to escape.

Anyway, good luck with your son!

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 133

Those are all reasons that the free market can take care of. Getting crappy taxi service? Cars are dirty, drivers are late and reckless? Switch companies. The good ones flourish, the bad ones die out.

So why should taxis be a regulated service? What issues can't the free market solve? The number of taxis allowed can be limited by the city to aid with congestion and traffic planning. Special "taxi only" lanes or parking areas can be designated without worry that every driver will simply declare themselves a "freelance taxi" and use taxi areas. Cities can require that taxi companies send a certain percentage of their cars to service undesirable neighborhoods, rather than letting every driver camp out at the plum positions.

I do believe that for the most part taxi unions are about protectionism, but there are some legitimate (that is, for the greater good of the population as a whole) reasons why cities would want a heavily regulated taxi industry rather than a more laissez-faire solution.

Comment Re:Plex on Roku (Score 1) 128

It seems to work well enough for the purposes, and avoids the XBMC issue of needing a general purpose computing device in the living room.

And what's wrong with having a general-purpose computing device in the living room? I run XBMC on a little Atom-based PC dedicated to that purpose. It's about the size of a hard-back book, draws very little power, and is silent. It uses a little wireless keyboard that's about the size of a game controller, so it's not like I have keyboard and mouse cables stretching across the room. For me it's the ideal set-top box.

Comment Re:If you need it you are doing it wrong. (Score 2) 211

Example: which way do you iterate through an array to apply an operation to each element? Well, _if_ you happen to have iterated through it recently, doing it backwards might be lot faster then doing it forwards due to cache locality. I'd love to see a compiler managing to take advantage of that.

I'd trust the compiler to do it a whole lot more than I'd trust the programmer. Things like cache locality are going to be very dependent on machine architecture. You should not be optimizing for machine architecture on anything that's intended to be the least bit portable. Yeah, you made it faster on your machine, but what about your user's? Will it have the same cache size? The same line size? Hell, will it even have the same word size and endedness? To the extent that any of this should be optimized, it's the compiler's job to do it.

Be sure to pick your algorithms carefully. Know the complexity, and don't choose an O(n^2) algorithm when there's an equivalent one that's O(n). But optimizing hardware-level stuff? Unless you get to pick the hardware, don't do it. Every optimization you make on your machine is likely to be a pessimization on someone else's. The compiler knows the architecture it's compiling for (well, usually...) and is in a much better position to make such performance decisions.

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