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Comment Re:Could be a good sign... (Score 1) 199

This programming contests have nothing to do with real world programming or the skills need for most CS fields. Certainly, these are fun algorithmic challenges, but the timed nature of these contests encourage quick and dirty solutions that have no place in the real world.

Could be.

I did really well in these competitions during high school. Now I look back in horror at some of the code I came up with.

What slows me down today is all the second guessing I do now that I know what can go wrong.

There's a parallel in entrepreneurship. Many immigrants in the USA start businesses in part because they just don't know just how vulnerable they are to lawsuits and regulations. Many native citizens are much more cautious for fear of what the legal system or government might do to make their business life more difficult and they sit on the sidelines.

It's possible programmers in other countries are still in that exciting stage where they can code without fear.

Comment US programmers too clever to waste time in school? (Score 1, Redundant) 199

College might be considered a waste of time by the best programmers.

Another possibility is that the very clever are washing out of school before they even get to college. I once saw a study that suggested (not proved) that something like 20% of high school dropouts in the USA might be gifted.

In my experience most of the attention in public school goes to those that are ultimately ineducable. Gifted students are just expected to be fine without help. If they dropout, though, they're less likely to be programmers at a university.

Comment Re:no crystal ball required (Score 1) 144

"There's of course the entire DNS issue"

It is not hard to run your own DNS locally, plus you can always use a connection elsewhere to do a DNS lookup from outside the USA via IP address.

Add one more step, high gain directional antenna. I can be 500 meters away from the starbucks and use the wifi there, or pick another open or public wireless source. Easy to fit in a backpack and works even if it's inside the backpack, so nothing is visible and you dont attract attention.

Lastly, Everyone assumes that you have to use a web browser.

Comment Re:QA is not the problem (Score 1) 323

Yes it is. even as simple as using a 3mm screw on one end and a 5mm screw on the other end. attempting to install it wrong will instantly cause a problem because one screw will not go through the hole.

Problem is, most places are hiring lowest wage workers, so you do not get people that have the IQ to understand that if the screw does not fit then something is wrong, they just get more 3mm screws or more likely the even more stupid foreman or manager tells them to.

Same goes if you use a keying hole and peg, easy to make improper installation obvious, until that manager tells them to grind off the peg.

Comment Re:no crystal ball required (Score 1) 144

Yup I'll bet a bunch. It is not hard if you have a clue as to what you are doing to hide in a public net connection.

Professional hackers do it every single day. And yes it takes more knowledge about networking and computers than 80% of the population has to do it, bit it certainly can be done.

Comment Skeptical (Score 1) 144

Any application intended to resist modern government surveillance is going to be extremely difficult to write, because it has to be resistant to bogus secret "court orders". The only way I know to do that is to have many independent developers engage in multi-party signatures of reproducible builds based on audited and reviewed open source code. If they're just going to run a company that develops it in a proprietary manner how will they achieve that?

I am more interested in Pond. It's being written by an actual cryptographer and he already has real, working code (though it's nowhere near releasable). It's up front about its security model and which threats can break it. It's built on top of Tor and even supports using the TPM chip so that when you press delete, the data is really really gone beyond the ability of any forensics tools to recover. It's even designed to resist traffic analysis. Anyone can run a server.

The main differences are that, obviously, Pond is not developed by a company, and it is focussed on asynchronous email style messaging rather than instant messaging. It's also got a very strong threat model that means it compromises on usability - for instance, there are no addresses in Pond, instead you are expected to hand out small files (perhaps on NFC tags?) to people who you want to be able to receive messages from (this is an anti-spam measure).

Despite all that it's a very interesting piece of research.

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