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Comment Re:Of course. (Score 1) 749

The problem is that Snowden actually HAS proof to back up his claim

So far the government tries to weasel out pretending like it isn't true, and, last time I checked, "releasing" fiction doesn't get you in legal hot water. So far we only have Snowden's word that the "proof" (the documents) are true. Further government action will be required for us to have some substantiation as to whether it's fiction or fact. So far everything looks like yes, the documents are true, and Snowden is certainly in hot water, but the government is in orders of magnitude more hot water.

Comment Re:Of course. (Score 1) 749

he broke several laws in releasing this information

The point is: if the information is made up, he broke no laws. Writing fiction is writing fiction, plenty of people do it publicly and get paid for it, even! If the information is true, though, then whatever laws he broke doesn't take the government out of hot water. They are admitting to the accuracy of the information by bringing charges against the guy. That makes the so-far only alleged data collection practices suddenly undeniable. In fact, they must be true for any charges to be with merit, the government has no choice but to admit to the truth of the information in order to bring charges.

Comment Re:Such as when they declared Iceland to be terror (Score 1) 404

The government had no way of covering it up even if they wished to. As I've said, they were in the hole many times their worth. At least in the almost-failed Euro countries, you've had debt on the order of GDP. In Iceland, GDP was a joke compared to what was lost.

Comment Re:The limited revelations so far... (Score 1) 404

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but hey, all we have is their word for those numbers of suspects. For all we know, it might be enough to misdial a number once to be labeled a terror suspect. How can we trust the government when all of this stuff is secret? I'm pretty damn sure that in any clandestine service organization, there's lots of compartmentalization of knowledge and even MI-5 chief is not privy to all of the nitty gritty - he'd be a big liability if it were so. So even if the MI-5 chief will swear by something, there's no way for us to know, because even he truly can't be fully sure of what's going on.

Comment Re:It's a THREAT, he's THREATENING critics (Score 1) 404

Creepy surveillance society with CCTV

As someone who gets to watch CCTV footage every now and then, I'd say that's one of the things you should fear the least. The quality of CCTV footage universally seems to be anywhere between smooth crap and rough manure heap.

Comment Re:Such as when they declared Iceland to be terror (Score 1) 404

And how is that bad? I'm all for staying as far away from totalitarian way of running a country, but man, this was one of the very few sane things that anyone did when faced with Icelandic insanity.

For those who just don't appreciate what has happened in Iceland, let me give a condensed story. Iceland was a tiny nation of farmers and fishermen. Suddenly more and more people see themselves as bankers/investors, and the whole country gets converted to a hedge fund almost overnight. The Icelandic banks were issuing paper worth many times their national GDP (orders of magnitude more!) You have people who have no fucking idea of what they are doing turned investors. And I mean those were people who had no idea. You'd think of people with serious investment banking backgrounds - nope. They literally had no idea. They just found a niche and decided to exploit it, given all the free money available on the markets at the time. I mean, come on, their banks would do stuff like buy 10% interest in a major U.S. airline and refuse to even talk to anyone from the board. While all of this was borne by stupidity, it was all in effect criminal negligence executed on an astounding scale.

Doing anything to prevent the country-turned-hedge-fund a.k.a. Iceland stealing any more money from abroad is a good thing in my book.

Comment Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (Score 1) 1215

I'd have thought that in 2013 nobody cares about SYN floods on open ports any more than they do about receiving just a barrage of random packets in general.

sometimes account's credentials can be simply brute-forced from the other side of the planet

Not if an account is permanently locked out after 20 unsuccessful tries, like it should be. Heck, I'd say that by default ssh should only allow password-less logins anyway.

Comment Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (Score 3, Interesting) 1215

I agree with you about generation of reports and other things for widely considered submittal. I was extremely productive in grad school and was spending my time on the subject at hand, not on technicalities and drudgery, precisely because for every homework problem or lab report I could do "make submit" and it'd end up where it was supposed to. Even graduate engineering students routinely seem to waste insane amounts of time on clicking their way through the most rudimentary of changes that, once you have scripted the process, become so routine you don't even think about them.

Ansys, for example, is a usability 7th circle of hell until you realize it demonstrably wasn't designed to be used normally in point-and-click mode (maybe it was, but the designers were on crack the whole time). You can point-and-click a bit to get a feel for things, but if you want reproducible analyses, you must script them from the start all the way to generation and saving of the plots. I would not trust any FEA done in Ansys unless accompanied by a script that starts with a system in default state and ends up with output files you're after (raw output, tabular data, plots).

Same really goes for, say, generating plots or generally data-dependent drawings in Office. Once you're down to populating the entire document from a template in VBA, it becomes even less hassle to do it on a Unix system using Latex and makefiles. Never mind the basics like version control. Text-based scripts and formats really mesh well with diff tools used with version control. VBA embedded into Office documents is not handled by normal differs; you pretty much have to whip your own to dissect the OLE compound file and feed the extracted text via diff. The work needed to maintain such a tool (I've had it for a while) is simply not worth it when in the text-based Unix approach it simply works quite effortlessly. Good luck to anyone wishing to develop a blame tool for Excel, for example - good luck dealing with figuring out who did what in to an Excel spreadsheet otherwise.

Comment Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (Score 1) 1215

Spreadsheets are very bad at visualizing the errors in their implementation. I even question their use in "exploratory" endeavors that merely guide further development in a real programming language: you may well be misguided due to hidden bugs. There's plenty of frameworks/libraries that make it very easy to format whatever you might want to format in Excel, and at that point the primary benefit of using Excel vanishes. Once you are not using the presentation aspect of Excel, there's really no point to using the cell-centric computing aspect. Eventually what's left of Excel is VBA, and at that point you might as well ship a self-contained .exe file generated from Visual Studio, instead.

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