So that would be why all those towns full of "retards that can't take care of themselves" such as Detroit and Camden see their population dry out rapidly?
Come on mate, please don't swallow this "welfare queen" propaganda. It is not in your best interest, never mind the best interests of the world at large.
You're kidding about VBScript, right? Short of abusing Scripting.Dictionary in some rather awful ways you can't even define data structures in it, and writing code that spans more than one module involves the use of some obtuse XML crap (.scs files) which most people don't even know about. VBScript has its place but using it for anything other substantially more complex than short straight-line automation scripts is lunacy.
No, if a kid with an internet connection wants to start programming stuff then in some senses the ground has never been more fertile. Even if you're not willing to leave Win32 you can quickly and easily download IDLE or a win32 build of Ruby, and the latter has plenty of really gentle tutorials to ease a novice into the world of programming, to the point where the interested reader could probably stumble oneward from there through Wikipedia well enough for most of the intermediate concepts to stick. The sort of things you can easily accomplish with MinGW and a bit of Googling today would have absolutely blown my ten year old mind back when anything above the level of BASIC was a forbidden art unheard of outside of obscure BBSes (which show up on your parents' phone bill) or a university library.
On the other hand, a modern PC environment is a frightfully complicated beast compared to an Amiga or a Spectrum. That I think is far more of a problem than the availability of simple tools and documentation these days... that and a more comfortable consumption-oriented environment on a modern desktop that doesn't force you to make your own fun.
"but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities."
Which is basically the most direct way of saying "the NSA has a gun to my head" that that is available to him. Honestly, I'm not all that worried about Google in and of itself. They seem to be fairly transparent about what they do and why they collect that information in the first place, and they are staffed by a lot people with similar views to the prevailing opinion on Slashdot (though these views are necessarily going to be much more moderate than a lot of the views expressed here, or they wouldn't be working for Google in the first place).
No, the fact that Google is a treasure trove of personal information for the United States' various three-letter agencies is far more worrying to me than any ill will on the part of Google, particularly given the US' eagerness to conduct national and corporate espionage to secure themselves any economic advantage for the United States. Or to scour the world for all the entities that they might consider to be a threat, real or imagined. Naturally I'm just another unimportant geek and not a visionary engineer or a trade negotiator, so I shouldn't have anything to fear personally from this system (yet, anyway), but nonetheless I still find this unbridled use of dirty tactics to be morally repugnant.
A private consortium tried just that back in 1991 in Texas. Then Southwest Airlines called in a few favours and had the project destroyed (some details on Wikipedia here.). Free market capitalism may or may not have worked here (if it did then one could certainly expect other consortia to follow suit) but the Texas state government never gave us a chance to find out.
It is the year of Linux on the desktop if you count smartphones as desktops
Nexus One has precisely this problem, which is why I didn't buy it. It comes with a Facebook app and an Amazon MP3 Store app, neither of which are removable without rooting the phone. Yes there's an officially sanctioned mechanism for rooting and reflashing the devide, but I shouldn't have to void the warranty to remove unwanted functionality.
For fifty freaking bucks a month, just so you can send text messages AND make calls? are you fucking kidding me?
My experience of America so far is that for every walk of life there's a government-backed corporate monopoly eager to bend you over the barrel, but even by American standards the GSM networks are fucking highway robbery (yes I know Verizon isn't even GSM, but they're no better in any other respect either). I have my own non-smart phone and I want to continue using it instead of switching to your country's third-world technology.
No, fuck T-Mobile and fuck every other carrier over here too. Why should I beg and show gratitude for something that's a basic service in every other part of the world.
Brute-forcing problems are exponential in key size, though. Add a few more bits to your key, and even if you could turn the entire mass of the sun into Tesla blades, cool it, and power it, then that still wouldn't help you. It's true that the last few years have seen the emergence of commodity hardware with some truly terrifying amounts of compute power, but these security standards are engineered against "turn-the-solar-system-into-a-supercomputer" assuptions of adersarial compute power just to account for semi-unexpected revolutions such as these.
Something else is probably afoot here.
Posting to retain a reference...
They're standing up to your government. Why the hell aren't you?
A freelance is one who gets paid by the word -- per piece or perhaps. -- Robert Benchley