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Comment Re:impossible (Score 1) 258

True... but the few years later may well have been 10 or 100 or 1000 or 10,000. We don't know enough about earthquakes yet to know which of those options is likely.

If you put it to a vote, I would bet that most of the population would go for a doubling of intensity if they knew it wouldn't happen for another 100 years.

Comment Re:I see a lot of weak people here in the story... (Score 1) 643

The bit you missed out in your quote is important. "We may disclose personal information if we or one of our affiliated companies is required by law to disclose personal information, or if we believe in good faith that such action is necessary to comply with a law or some legal process, to protect or defend our rights and property, to protect against misuse or unauthorized use of our web sites or to protect the personal safety or property of our users or the public." This was not required by law. What Kurt did is still in violation of the policy of the website. The EU decided that IP addresses were personally identifiable information. I don't know if I agree but this guy was certainly personally identified by his.

Comment Meh (Score 1) 475

This is another one of those annoying blog posts where some uninformed non-scientist copy-pastes an article from a reputable scientific reporting organisation. At least in this case he linked to the original: http://www.physorg.com/news176483573.html which appears to be a duplicate of an even older article: http://www.physorg.com/news170927623.html

The main advantage appears to be not that people don't have to peel the sticker off before eating their apples but rather that the label cannot be tampered with. (Or at least, not easily.)

Comment Re:High Speed Rail (Score 1) 152

Not quite. The length of the stations is pretty much fixed. Adding another carriage is easy but if no one can get on or off at that carriage then you still have the same problem.

I catch a train to work every day and the last two of the stations on this line only support 4 of the 8 carriages on the train. Looking at the stations, they can't be expended to accommodate the train because there are existing buildings where the platform would need to be. Luckily, most people seem to get on at one particular station about a third of the way through the journey and get off at another particular station about two-thirds of the way through. Between these two stops, there are as many standing passengers as seated. At the start and end of the line, I can have a booth of six seats to myself.

I caught a long distance train a few weeks ago that was oversold. I ended up spending the entire four hour journey standing up along with about 15 other people at my end of the carriage. The entire train looked the same.

On the other hand, getting from London to Paris is best done by train. You can leave from Waterloo, arrive 20 minutes before the train is due to depart, be there in 2.5 hours, get to see some of the French countryside along the way and arrive right in the centre of Paris at Gare du Nord. It takes an hour just to get to Heathrow or Gatwick or Luton from London, you have to be there two hours before the plane is due to depart, you don't get to see anything other than clouds along the way and you arrive in Charles de Gaulle airport which is 45 minutes outside Paris. If we left at the same time, you would still be in the departure lounge when I'm having lunch in a Parisian cafe.

Planes do scale the same way that adding another carriage to a train works. A four-seater plane requires the same infrastructure and staff that a ten-seater plane requires. A twenty-seater is the same as a fifty-seater. A 747 is the same as an A380... except that it requires a longer runway. But the number of staff required to run it is the same and the price per passenger goes down.

In general you're right, and trains are definitely a superior way of getting around, but problems with trains are not trivial to solve.

Comment Technical details ? (Score 1) 103

Does anybody have any technical details about this worm ?

Some people can't upgrade immediately and it would be nice to be able to block the request strings (or user-agent, IP address, whetever) that the worm uses.

I have looked around the various blogs reporting this and on full-disclosure lists but I can't find any better advice than "Upgrade. Now."

Comment Re:Can they run Linux? (Score 1) 109

I used ring up my mate and tell him to start loading a game into his C64 before walking over to his place. We'd usually have time for a snack before the tape had fully loaded. So no... somewhat slower than Vista.

On the other hand, I had an Apple ][e at the same time and even including the time it took to find the correct 5 1/4 inch floppy disk in one of the many boxes of disks we had, boot the computer and load the entire game, it was still faster than Vista is these days. The downside, of course, was that it only had 16 shades of green available to it and high resolution mode meant 192 x 280 pixels.

Comment Re:facebook killed TV? (Score 1) 576

He compared MP3s to CDs in the last sentence of his post. I'm pretty sure he was referring to DVDRips as being "digital" distribution and DVDs as being "physical" distribution, MP3s as "digital" and CDs as "physical".

He didn't refer to VHS or Vinyl at all. Of course, judging by the Slashdot ID, it may just be that he wasn't around when CDs were invented.

Comment Re:facebook killed TV? (Score 1) 576

The summary is flawed. (Well... that's new.)

To reproduce the full quote from the article: "Facebook killed TV. That is wildly oversimplified, of course, but probably as close to the truth as you can get in three words." ...and that's not even taking the context of the three previous paragraphs into account.

What Paul is saying is that some of us have had computers for years but thanks to social applications like Facebook (and although he doesn't say it I think this actually started with ICQ and MSN Messenger and their ilk.) computers can now be found in every home. The chances of finding a computer and an appropriate internet connection in a randomly picked home are the same as finding a TV in a randomly picked home these days.

Facebook (and all the other social applications) is not the reason people stop watching TV. It's the reason the few people who don't already have a computer get a computer in the first place.

As long as there was a market that computers couldn't reach, TV still had a chance and a point in existing. Now, it doesn't.

I do still think he is being a little preemptive in using the past-tense "killed" in his article but in a year or two he will probably be 100% correct.

I'm sure Paul wrote those three words knowing full well that they would be quoted out of context but I suspect he was hoping that would drive people to come and read the full article, not simply complain about the three words somewhere else.

Comment Re:Rather interesting line at end of article... (Score 1) 313

What matters is not the keyspace size but where in your adversary's brute-force method your particular key is located.

For instance, if they try "aaa" then "aab" then "aac" then this 36 character pass-phrase will not be found for a VERY long time. If they start with words separated by spaces then this pass-phrase will be found much more quickly. Probably even more quickly than the pure punctuation pass-phrase.

But why would they ever use such a method ?

Normal brute-force methods focus on "normal" passwords. Passwords are usually 6 to 10 characters - often a dictionary word with a number at the end. The brute forcer would have no reason to suspect that the key was actually 6 dictionary words, each with the first letter capitalised, separated by spaces and with an exclamation mark at the end.

This is not just "only dictionary words" because it contains capitals, spaces and one punctuation mark and is clearly much more resistant to brute force attacks than a short password, even if the short password contains capitals, numbers and punctuation. As a bonus, it's also resistant to keyboard wear analysis.

The only thing that makes this a bad pass-phrase is that it is now cached on your hard drive and hence will show up if they run "strings" across the volume.

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