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Comment genre fiction & "influential" (Score 1) 116

Timothy Zahn, one of the most influential Star Wars Expanded Universe authors (creator of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade)

If he's "one of the most influential Star Wars Expanded Universe authors", how many others are there? On whom did he have influence?

Personally, I'm known as one of the most influential three-toed green bunny with superpowers short-novel authors (creator of Pukey the Mighty Bunny and Horrible Emperor Zfnjor) . Not THE most influential of course, but one of the top 500 for sure. However among the four-toed green bunny with superpowers short-novel authors, I'm considered little more than a hack.

You can get my books on Amazon for $2.99. I tried to put them up for $1.99, but I guess people expect be paid more than $1.99 to read a short novel about a three-toed green bunny with superpowers. For some reason, the four-toed green bunny with superpowers short novels sell like hotcakes.

Comment Re:Same old song and dance (Score 1) 332

Verizon Wireless is jointly owned by Verizon Communications and Vodaphone. Vodaphone owns 45% of this joint venture. Verizon Communications is buying the part of Verizon Wireless that is currently owned by Vodaphone.

Clear now?

Clear as mud.

No matter how you spin it, there is one less entity with interest in the wireless space. Like it or not, Vodaphone and Verizon Communications are not the same company. If you own stock in Vodaphone (at $212/share) it is not the same thing as owning stock in Verizon ($47/share). They each have their own board of directors, they each have their own CEO, which means, they are not the same company.

When Verizon purchases Vodaphone's 45% share in Verizon Wireless, pay attention, there is a further concentration of the wireless market. Verizon no longer has to make Vodaphone happy because Vodaphone will no longer have an interest in Verizon.

The good thing about public corporate governance is that there are greater checks and balances. Corporations have to make shareholders happy. By taking their biggest shareholder off the board, it's one less very large, powerful interest that they have to make happy. Since they've already made the decision that making their customers happy, this probably is not a good thing for the wireless market generally. Whether you are competing for customers or shareholders, competition is a good thing. Less competition is a bad thing.

Comment Re:64-bit BS (Score 1) 512

Apple did not write the speculation in TFA.

So, you believe that this is something other than an Apple marketing press release. I don't.

Anything you read in the tech press immediately after an Apple product announcement is suspect, to me, since there is absolutely no original reporting in any of it. The only information that a journalist has at this point is what Apple is putting out, complete with Apple spin. That's the whole purpose of the secrecy surrounding these things.

Nothing about making the Mac more like the iPhone.

See above. Except for the fact that the story is about iPhones becoming more like Macs, except spun to make it sound like this was somehow going to make iOS apps run on Macs, which have had 64-bit address space for years now.

Remember, the only information that anyone, including the press, has at the moment is what Apple has spoon-fed them.

Comment Re:64-bit BS (Score 2) 512

Right, because there are no algorithms, none whatsoever, not mmapped in-memory databases, not modern runtimes, which benefit from having a large address space that will not be exhausted by fragmentation. Yep, none at all.

So you would think that this new large address space will allow more complex and productive apps brought to the iPhone.

But, if you read the article, you'll see this:

'The ultimate prize, of course, would be to bring the million-plus iOS apps to Macs.

But it's the iPhone that's being brought up to the same address space as the Mac, not the other way around. Interesting that Apple puts this in terms of making the Mac more like the iPhone instead.

Macs are already technically capable of running iOS apps.

Plus, and this is not a small concern, I think there are plenty of Mac users (like me) who see the notion of OSX becoming more like iOS as something of a big step in the wrong direction. Maybe Apple's purpose is not the same as the purpose of people who use Macs.

Comment Atlantic and the Kaplan Test Prep (Score 2) 169

Atlantic's article has some big flaws. The issue with what you want out of a classroom depends on the criteria. If your goal is to charge as much as possible for students who will fail to obtain degrees, while increasing the size and salaries of administrations, then yes, having minimum wage adjuncts teaching everything and reducing tenured teachers is great.

If your goal is to have the maximum percentage of your students actually finish their degrees, then it's a very bad plan. And The Atlantic is hardly an objective party in this discussion. They have a vested interest in online, for-profit education replacing the model of universities as centers of academic excellence and research. It's basically the "school reform" argument transferred to higher education.

Think about the professors that had the greatest impact on you as a person and professionally. How many of them were tenured and how many were harried adjuncts teaching 8 courses per semester just to be able to afford to live?

The enormous growth in the cost of higher education has not been because professors are making too much money or because they've got too much job security.

Comment Re:Same old song and dance (Score 1) 332

Verizon is buying the part of Verizon Wireless that Vodaphone currently owns.

So, you're saying that Verizon is paying $130billion for something it already owns? And if it's "part of Verizon" then why does Verizon have to pay $130billion for it? If I was a Verizon shareholder, I'd be pretty pissed that my company is spending so much money on something that's already theirs.

As you say, "hah, hah, that's a good one."

Comment Re:How can anyone trust (Score 1) 138

Before you try cheap jokes on UIDs, come out of hiding and show your own.

You apparently don't understand anything about the official mission of the NSA nor its history. And if you think I'm a shill, you should know that I live in the european country that's #1 on their target list. The only reason I'm not raging is that it really wasn't much of a surprise, the only thing that's changed compared to last year is that we now know what we only suspected.

But all that doesn't change the facts. In all the rage and being upset and all that, you should try to keep your head and see the truth. And the truth is that the NSA does have a good track record when it comes to this stuff. An example from history: They made changes to DES back when it was in the standardization process. Nobody outside NSA understood why they made these changes at that time. About a decade later, cryptographers discovered an attack on DES that was interesting, but not devastating. They also discovered that it would have been devastating if those changes hadn't been made.

As I said in a different answer: Do trust the NSA with your crypto, they know a whole lot about it. Do not trust them with implementation. Anyone with half a brain will put a backdoor into the implementation, not the algorithm. Because when the russian or the chinese find it, you can fix the implementation easily. Fixing an algorithm is a lot more difficult. But even more importantly: You can use a non-backdoored implementation internally, and exchange encrypted data with external parties without them knowing that you're not using the same implementation.

Comment Re:Same old song and dance (Score 1) 332

A good start in the US would be to separate the infrastructure and content provider aspects of the business.

That's the key. Our laws do provide for that separation, and except for the fact that we've had extremely weak regulatory enforcement over the past 30 years, it would have been done already.

There is no way that one company providing infrastructure and content complies with anti-trust laws. But we've had such weak Attorney Generals who don't want to upset the corporate sector that nothing's been done. That's why telecommunications in the US is in such shoddy shape compared to other developed countries. My European or East Asian friends can't believe how bad it is when they come here.

Comment Re:Same old song and dance (Score 1) 332

Not just dialup. I was able to get T1 service locally for less than I'm now paying for DSL. Plus, the provider was staffed with nice people who went beyond the call to help. The service was fast and I could host from home if I wanted to. No bandwidth limits or warnings.

Try to find local access like that any more.

Comment Re:a much better question (Score 1) 138

If you search you will find the official list of software that is certified as FIPS 140-2.

Correct. That list is here:
http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/STM/cmvp/documents/140-1/140val-all.htm#1051

you will not find any open source encryption certified by the government as FIPS 140-2

Incorrect. OpenSSL has been on that list since 2008, here's the certificate:
http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/STM/cmvp/documents/140-1/140crt/140crt1051.pdf

Comment Re:How can anyone trust (Score 1) 138

How could anyone trust an encryption algorithm provided by an organization whose purpose is decryption and interception? That will always be the craziest part.

It's not crazy, you are just badly informed.

The NSA also has the job to make sure nobody does to the US what the US does to everyone else. They've been developing crypto and security technology for decades, some of which (like SELinux) has passed even the most paranoid double-checking.

You would want to trust them for the same reason an ex-burglar is the best guy to hire for checking out your home security system, or hackers make up some of the best security consultants: They know what they're talking about.

Comment yes (Score 1) 138

As close as you can come to trusting something like the NSA, but yes.

Most people see the NSA as a pure spy agency, but that's not true. It has two jobs. One, to spy on everything else and two, to make sure nobody spies on the US.

They employ enough smart people to understand that if they can break it, so can someone else.

If you are really concerned, you should check the implementation. Past experiences show us clearly that it is a lot easier to put backdoors there. And it has the advantage that if the enemy finds them, you can fix them.

Or, more likely, you use a different, backdoor-free implementation internally.

Comment Re:Yup (Score 1) 147

That's my point. And yet, every time a new iPhone comes out, inventories are depleted within a few weeks.

How do they "sell-out"? By turning you, the consumer, into the consumed. You're not buying their product, you're what they're selling. Their real customers are AT&T and advertisers and the strategic deals they have with their content providers.

Hell, they could give away their products and still make money.

Comment Re:Same old song and dance (Score 5, Insightful) 332

You think for one minute that Verizon and Comcast want a "free market"?

Is it a free market when there are only a very few players? Are you old enough to remember when there were hundreds of ISPs in every city? When there was actual competition?

The problem is, we're not really Verizon or Comcast's customers. None of us choose them because we like those companies or the services they offer. We choose them because there are no other choices. So now Verizon pays $130billion (with a "B") for Vodaphone, and the only reason they do is because interest rates are near zero (look at the bond prices, not the prime rate). Forget for a moment that if we actually had any enforcement of the law, that merger would get laughed out of court. For that to be worthwhile, interest rates would have to stay near zero for 20 years. But Verizon sees the writing on the wall. They figure they can take out another competitor and then just soak the people who pay them for service (not customers mind. the customers are their "strategic partners", production divisions, advertisers, and the people who they sell your information to).

You're not a consumer, you're the commodity. You're what they selling. You're trapped. Go ahead, move to Comcast and Comcast can say, Go ahead, move to Verizon. They don't give a fuck because they're gonna get paid either way. 'Cause where you gonna go?

Welcome to Corporatism 2013: End-stage Capitalism.

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