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Comment Re:Missed an option. (Score 1) 193

Look what happened to the one major telco that refused "voluntary" compliance with the previous administration's warrantless wiretap "requests": relentless investigation, indictment, and conviction of the CEO for the kind of subtle and complicated financial irregularities that no doubt every rich person engages in at some point. The message is clear: Comply "voluntarily" and get a free pass to do business as usual; otherwise we will bring down the full weight of the federal government and crush you.

Comment Re:Enough with the cloud crap already!! (Score 1) 445

With regards to security: Either you trust the input device or you don't. Assuming you trust it, ...

Why would you trust a public terminal, with unknown hardware behind the screen, running unknown firmware with unknown custom mods? Just because it says "Security Certified by ${TRUSTED_VENDOR}" doesn't mean that's actually true.

Even if everything behind the screen is legit, there could still be a recording filter in front of the touch screen. This isn't some implausibly far-fetched theoretical concept -- it's a well-known attack commonly used on ATMs.

Comment Re:Enough with the cloud crap already!! (Score 1) 445

I believe the channel between the public terminal and the user is expected to be unencrypted. TLS only works between trusted endpoints, and public terminals are inherently untrustworthy. So unless you're running TLS in your wetware it won't provide any real security. Or I suppose you could access the public terminal through your own private trusted device -- then the terminal is more like an open wifi AP than a tablet, and we're back to everyone carrying their own computer.

Never type anything into a public terminal that you wouldn't feel comfortable broadcasting to the world.

Comment Re:hmmm (Score 1) 658

What about paying high ranking members of companies in stock options to avoid taxes?

Stock options do not avoid taxes. When you exercise them you pay income tax on their value (sell price minus strike price). It's exactly the same as if the company paid a cash bonus.

Of course, huge stock option grants do give perverse incentives to transient CEOs, but that's a whole other story.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 436

the 1.21 GW of power that each person will eventually need.

You think (or don't) that global is a problem now? Imagine dumping an extra 16 suns worth of power into the atmosphere. Total insolation of Earth's atmosphere is about 500 quadrillion watts. 1.21 GW per person is over 8 quintillion watts at the current population level.

Comment Re:Yes but it's to prevent terrorism. (Score 1) 327

We all know that airport security and border security failed before 9/11.

What failed on 9/11 was the traditional policy of airline crew and passengers meekly submitting to the demands of hijackers. By 9/12 that policy was corrected, with no government intervention necessary.

Letting multiple armed men most of whom had passport and visa violations into airplanes was a colossal intelligence failure.

Letting "armed" men (with small knives) onto airplanes was not a failure of anything. There is no reasonable way to discriminate at boarding time between homicidal maniacs (an infinitesimal minority) and ordinary people. Trying to make that determination is unreasonable, as is preventing everybody from carrying anything that could possibly be used as a weapon.

Having a passport or visa violation does not make one a deadly threat. Plenty of harmless people with visa irregularities have managed to squeak past the TSA with no repeat of 9/11. A giant state security apparatus to ensure that everybody has all their papers and documents in order before they can travel ... that hurts far more than it helps.

Comment 128K MP3 is good enough for me. (Score 1) 749

When I was much younger and had better hearing and MP3 was a new thing, I ripped my CD collection and encoded everything with whatever the state of the art was back then (bladeenc? mp3enc? this was pre-lame). After a while I started hearing artifacts in MP3-encoded music so I did some A/B testing against the original CD the music was encoded from. Turned out those same artifacts were in the CD.

MP3 encoding has matured and improved since then, so whatever degradation there may have been, it's less now. I've only ever used 128Kbps stereo encoding, and I've never been able to detect any difference from the CD in any kind of music. This is with fairly high-quality sound cards, amps, and speakers.

Of course, my high-frequency hearing is pretty much gone now so I sometimes worry that my music collection might sound horrible to anyone with fully functional ears.

Comment Re:correction (Score 2) 222

99.9% of the time those are (1) someone goofing around, not a real threat, or (2) drive-by from a botnet, never going to hit from that address again. So you're adding complexity and extra points of potential failure to your router with no real benefit.

Obviously I pulled that "99.9%" figure out of my ass, but seriously, whom do you think you're protecting yourself from with this script?

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