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Comment Situation may not be as it appears (Score 5, Informative) 242

Looking at the comments in the first link in the original post is useful. One comment says that the only thing the panicked bug reporter knows is that the WLAN password was retrieved in the clear, but it could be that this information actually is encrypted but the retrieval decrypted it. In other words, things may not necessarily be as the original post and the bug reporter suggest. There is a chance that things are exactly as bad as suggested though. At this point only Google can say for sure how it is.

Comment Having a jury decide is not always a good thing (Score 1) 274

I'm guessing that you have never served on a jury in the USA. I have twice and it just left me completely cynical about the entire US justice system and the use of juries in general. Literally anything can happen on a jury. A lot of ugly horse trading goes on like "OK, that guy over there wants a conviction on all counts, that woman over there wants him found innocent on all counts but she admits he may be guilty on one count... can we just agree on a guilty verdict on that one count and call it a day?" As the joke goes, juries are made up of people too stupid to get out of serving. The last time I served, I sat in stunned silence in the jury room before we went into court as 3 male members of the jury got onto a contest and tried to top each other as each insisted in turn that he was far stupider about technology than the other 2 and each provided examples to support his contention. The case we heard was a criminal case involving a black defendant and what I could basically describe as property damage and we had a black guy on the jury who was a reverse racist and was very strongly prejudiced against the defendant simply because he was black. It took some smooth talking and pleading by the white foreman to get this guy to agree to our verdict of guilty on 2 counts, innocent on 1 count, as I think the black guy would literally have voted for the death penalty if he could against the defendant. These are the kinds of people in the USA who serve on juries. Do you honestly think that any sane person would roll the dice on that when maybe facing 10+ years if the jury convicts? Plus, a lot of people in juries are obsessive about punishing "evil doers" as they see them and they want the most severe punishment possible given, sometimes arguing for punishment way beyond what the crime should involve, like 10 years for stealing $5 worth of merchandise. The only thing I took away from my service as a juror is that juries are made up mostly of idiots who aren't fit to judge whether the sun will come up tomorrow or not, let alone someone's life or freedom.

Comment Re:Reward the artist (Score 4, Interesting) 301

Reward the artist by going to see a show and buying some merch. Nothing else really gets back to them in any significant amounts.


I read an interview with Mick Jagger on the BBC website a few years ago and the BBC interviewer asked him about MP3 and digital downloads, figuring that Mick would likely be a stuffy old guy who would rail about how MP3s were killing music and so. Was the interviewer ever mistaken! Mick stated that for the majority of his career the Stones had actually not made all that much money from recordings. He said that there were exceptions in the late 80s into the 90s when labels actually were paying the artists a lot of money, but from his perspective MP3s hadn't changed anything and the Stones made their real money off touring. He said he had no problem with digital downloads. In fact, the Stones long ago got on iTunes and they offer special downloads of selected old concerts on a website they run. Sadly, it's somewhat younger artists like U2 who just do not get it at all and continue to bitch about how things are not what they once were.

Comment Re:What about the clever ships? (Score 3, Interesting) 105

I mean, what about the ships clever enough to *not* take the Panama Canal - and follow the longer path? IOT, how many ships did we miss and How close NK is to having a working nuke?

I'll speculate here. A Hong Kong based company won a 25 year contract (still in force as far as I know) to mange container operations in the canal, so I'm guessing that the boat and its North Korean masters probably assumed basically China (let's be realistic here - Hong Kong does what China wants) was running the show there and a North Korean boat would be given a nod and a wink in terms of its cargo inspection. It could also be that the boat captain took this on himself to shorten the journey making the assumption that I previously mentioned and this was something he did on his own, so he tried to kill himself when it became clear that his cargo was going to be found. Remember that although Cuba seems to have violated the UN agreement that nothing at all will be done to them in punishment.

Comment Re:Just California? (Score 1) 277

I remember telling a friend on 9-11 that we would do way more damage to OURSELVES with our response to 9-11 than 9-11 or any other terrorist attack would ever do directly. That's the whole point of terrorism, really.

That's not the "point of terrorism" at all. All you have to do around here is spout some sort of line about how "what the government has done is far worse than terrorism" and you get modded up by the morons who agree with you. The point of terrorism is most assuredly not to make you do bad things for yourself. The point of terrorism is to gain a political objective you cannot get through the ballot box or through legal and normal means of working within the system by killing so many people that you make the price of maintaining the status quo higher than those who maintain the status quo are willing to pay. The 9/11 attacks were in part to get US infidel troops out of holy Saudi Arabia, in part to punish the US for it's support for "evil" Israel, and in part to unite the Arab world under a caliph who would just happen to be Osama Bin Laden. I can assure you that Osama and his buddies did not sit around the campfire some months before September 2001 and say "You know, if we pull this off it will make air travel within the US extremely inconvenient, which is, of course, our ultimate goal". The IRA killed people to try to force the non-Catholics to leave Northern Ireland so it could be joined with the Irish Republic. The PLO and similar groups wanted to kill so many Jews that they could either get an independent state for Palestinians or drive all the Jews out of Israel. The Chechen terrorists want to make so many non-Muslim Russians die that those who survive will give them complete independence. The Tamil Tigers tried to kill their way into an independent nation. Those are the point of terrorism, to take by force what cannot be gained without it.

Comment Who defines "rogue"? (Score 1) 56

Probably every constitution in the world should be amended to guarantee people the right to private, secure communication. This is probably more important than the right to bear arms when defending people's rights against rogue governments.

Who gets to define "rogue governments"? When George W. Bush was president, the lunatic left was insistent that he "stole" the 2000 election for sure, he probably stole the 2004 Ohio election (yet oddly the Republican candidates were unable to steal the state in 2008 and 2012) and thus the general election, he had no respect for individual rights, wasn't going to leave office willingly, and on and on. Fast forward to today and some of the same people who blew off such talk are now saying that Barack Obama wasn't even born in the USA, is not a citizen, and is thus ineligible to be president, has trampled on everybody's rights, is trying to take your guns away from you, and on and on.

Comment Re:For a field that is compartmentalized... (Score 4, Interesting) 491

When Chinese hackers stole a load of information about the F-35 it wasn't because they pulled off some righteous hack that required skill, perseverance and a high degree of technical knowledge, but precisely because protection of such sensitive data is sloppier than the good practice guidelines claim it should be.

I worked for the US military many years ago as a civilian programmer and I'd agree with this based on what I saw. I don't want to embarrass the particular branch of the service by naming them, but I used to say that their motto ought to be "Using yesterday's technology today" based on how many antiquated computer systems we had to work on and support. We actually had a system that still used punch cards and when I was in college the course books were already beginning to mock punch cards as being ancient technology. I can say that the government really doesn't want to be incompetent and have bad security, but the powers that be have too much blind faith in civilian contractors and Snowden burned them very badly as a result. The lesson that should be learned from this is exactly what Congress has been saying for years - "We need fewer non-government employees with access to these sensitive programs and their data" - but you'll be able to knock me over with a feather if there's a decrease in contractors as much as 10% as a result of this.

Comment What this really is (Score 2) 161

In reality this is a just a case of the following:
Researcher finds that Joe Blow has gone out of town and left the door to his house unlocked and open. Researcher publishes this information in a blog along with the address to the house. House gets robbed. Police hold Researcher responsible. Researcher insists it's not his fault that the house got robbed.

Yes it really is that simple.

Comment Russia is getting something based on what they do (Score 5, Interesting) 380

I've come to the conclusion that Putin and Obama have reached some kind of deal. Putin is getting something he wants in exchange for agreeing to neither overtly help Snowden to get to another country nor requiring that Russia hand him over directly to US authorities. I have believed for years that George W. Bush botched the relationship between the US and Russia by being unable to understand the concept of quid pro quo. See, Bush believed that people should just do the right thing because it was right, not because they were going to get anything in return. This is a big part of why Poland, Bulgaria and Ukraine quickly jumped in to provide troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They thought they were going to get visa free US travel in exchange. They pulled out when they realized that Bush was literally incapable of understanding that he owed them something in return. Putin somehow got burned by this too, although I have no idea what he wanted, and he has not forgotten it. Russia isn't going to provide any travel docs to Snowden, offer him asylum in Russia or hand him over to the USA. Venezuela won't send a ship because it fears that the US would just board it or maybe even sink it in international waters. My guess is that Venezuela will offer him a travel document that the Russians will accept, at which point they'll casually mention to their American friends "Oh by the way, Snowden is on flight XXX bound for Venezuela. Here's the flight path." and the US may plan an interception over international waters once it leaves European airspace. The Russians will then claim publicly that they are shocked, yes shocked, at this violation of international air space, which provides the plausible deniability they need.

Comment Yea! Another thread for the luddites (Score 4, Insightful) 120

As expected, here's the general themes of the posts so far:

1) I hate 3D. Therefore this thrills me.
2) 3D has always failed. No surprise here.

Well, here's reality. 3D movies are here to stay. But despite the usual hysterical ramblings that insist that "everything" is in 3D, reality begs to differ. Major Hollywood big budget action flicks (ie. superhero moves, "stuff blows up" movies) will be in 3D. Comedies and dramas likely will not be. All animated films from any major studio will be in 3D from now on. Roughly 20% of the films released will be in 3D. The market has shown a willingness to support 3D under these conditions. However, 3D TV penetration is low. TV providers aren't carrying 3D feeds. I actually do have a 3D TV, which I love, but my TV provider chose to not carry any 3D channels. So although I have the equipment necessary to watch TV shows in 3D, I cannot do so. So it's no surprised that 3D TV channels are dying. But in terms of movies, sorry folks, but it's staying.

Comment Japan - where tomorrow happens today (Score 4, Insightful) 770

I've traveled some in various parts of Asia and Europe. I'm American, so keep that in mind. I've learned the following a long time ago.

1) A lot of things get invented first or just happen first in Asia, particularly Japan. So it's a great window into what to expect tomorrow in the West before it actually gets there.
2) South Korea and Japan seem to have bee hotspots for years of bizarre, anti-social behavior. When they're not committing suicide.
3) I have the impression as an observer (so I have no facts and could be wrong about this) that citizens in Asia in general get less mental help to deal with problems. Possibly there's a cultural reason for this.
4) The internet and various game systems have made it possible for young people to interact from a distance without ever having to leave their rooms.
5) This is going to be a problem in the USA too soon enough. It's just not happening in great enough numbers yet.

Comment Re:Complete asshat move by the White House (Score 1) 621

He must be something much more dangerous to somebody. I don't understand how everything he revealed can be so trivialized, and yet he be this sought after.

Since we do not fully know what he took and what he revealed and how much the frenemy states of China and Russia know right now or will eventually learn if they have to brute force decrypt it, it's hard for us in the public to judge what he took and shared. When he complained about the actions of the US government against its own citizens, that was one thing. But when he told Hong Kong and thus China that actions were being taken against them, I promise you that he violated the terms of his employment and in this case US law. None of us currently have the knowledge necessary to judge his actions. It could be that it's no more serious than China and Russia now know for sure we are watching them and how and can block it. Worse may be that he may actually have done something to endanger the life of people in the field or made sure that the really bad guys nobody likes (ie. Al Queda) can now avoid detection.

In my opinion, the US government has yet to drive the point home to anybody that you may be executed if you commit treason. There has been an absolutely endless parade of people like Robert Hanson who escape the death penalty by successfully holding out the carrot of "I'll tell you all that I did if you don't kill me". The fact that nobody has been executed for treason in my lifetime means that nobody really fears getting caught. Snowden knows that no matter what, he won't die. In fact, I suspect that he may have a 50% chance of living as a free man for the rest of his in some foreign country. So I think some of this is based on the point that the US government needs to drive home the point that people who tell our secrets to other countries are going to answer for this, at least with something like Supermax. But don't worry, tin foil hat brigade. Despite the general paranoid fears, he's not going to be at the wrong end of a gun "eating a lead sandwich" or find a cruise missle knocking at his door in Bolivia (assuming he goes there).

Snowden is unfortunately very typical of his generation in that everything is so much bigger because it happens to them. This what happens when an entire generation is told that they never make mistakes and they are the greatest kids ever born. When is the last time any of you saw somebody cry at work because they were being trained how to do their job? My best friend is an attorney and he and his wife run a small practice. They hired a mid-20s paralegal. This girl has been exposed in school to the field. He told me that he was showing her how to do some of the work required from her and she started bawling like a baby. She quit that day. This is his generation to a tee. Everything is just bigger because it happens to them. They feel more pain than anyone else does. They are smarter than anyone else ever born. Snowden is the biggest hero in US history. Blah blah blah.

Comment Snowden the Drama Queen (Score 2) 447

Whether you agree with what Snowden did or not (I for one do not), dude is a serious drama queen. This is somewhat typical of his generation. Everything is just so much more bigger and more important because it happens to them . It reminds me of an article I read some months ago about how his generation is convinced because they re-tweeted some messages in 2009 during the Iranian presidential election unrest that "I was there, man, on the ground trying to help Iranian democracy."

He clearly did not think things out very well. If he had, he would have fled to Ecuador first, asked for asylum, then leaked everything. Instead he thought he could hide out in Hong Kong, not realizing that China could suggest to Hong Kong authorities that making Snowden someone else's problem ASAP might be the best idea for everybody. I am amused at how he talks about how "I am convicted of nothing". Yes, of course. The reason he is "convicted of nothing" is because he has so far avoided having to answer for his actions in a US court of law.

Comment Re:network ignorance (Score 0, Troll) 331

Do you still feel that he's a "patriot" because whether willingly or not he told nations that are, ahem, "unfriendly" to the US about efforts to spy on them? How do you feel about the fact that whether he knows it or not, his laptops have almost certainly been copied by Russia and China? That information is a gold mine to them. He is no patriot simply because you get your panties in a wad over the NSA. He'll get his asylum and my gut feeling is that he'll never be held accountable for his treasonous, yes, treasonous actions. I'll just have to be content with the US government reducing the number of contractors who have the potential to do this kind of thing in the future.

Do you at least find it interesting that NOBODY in Russia or China has any secrets that they are willing to give Wikileaks? I hope you don't believe that those societies are so perfect that they have nothing untoward going on at all.

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