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Comment Re:Jobs is dead (Score 1) 326

No one objects to the MacBook having a USB-C port. People object to it not having any other ports, which means that you need a dongle for basically anything. Even having two USB-C ports (one for power, one for other stuff) would have been a big improvement. The other annoyance is that no one - not even Apple - yet sells a monitor that connects with a single USB-C cable, provides power to the laptop and exposes USB, GigE and maybe eSATA ports.

Comment Re:Correction (Score 1) 155

It doesn't matter. I'm not sure why this is news, because Facebook has sold a service for quite a few years based on this. They know which constituency each of their users live in (even if you don't provide a real address, the IP that you connect from most frequently and the location of your phone if you install their app give them a good idea). They have a good hit rate for identifying the undecided voters and, importantly, what issues they consider important. They will sell parties the ability to run ads targeted at people in a particular constituency based on the issues that they find important. If you pay more, they will even sell you the names, addresses, and key issues for these voters so that you can send people around to canvas, briefed with exactly the right talking points.

It doesn't matter that Facebook has a few outliers like yourself, they still have enough information to have a disproportionate amount of influence on the political process.

Comment Re:What is it that you say? (Score 4, Interesting) 442

The problem is that you're both right. The taxis are providing the service, the taxi companies are not. Taxi companies have long since adopted similar business models to Uber and Lyft: the drivers either bring (and maintain) their own car or rent it from the taxi company. The only service that the companies provide is a dispatcher, for which they take a hefty cut.

Consumers want to have a single dispatcher service that works anywhere and puts them in touch with a lot of taxi drivers. Uber provides something like this. The taxi companies don't want to, because this kind of thing naturally benefits from economies of scale: it's only slightly more expensive to provide a dispatcher service for the entire USA than for NYC.

If you really want to address the problem with a legislative fix then make every licensed taxi reachable via a single computerised dispatcher service and provide a well documented API for interacting with it. Provide (and fund out of the taxes on taxi fares and licenses) enough infrastructure that anyone can write an app that will hail any taxi in your jurisdiction and pay for it. If Uber wants to operate in your city, then they're free to do so by simply integrating their front end with your municipal back end.

Comment Re: Will Internet Voting Endanger The Secret Ballo (Score 1) 214

Laymen cannot build a modern car or airplane or understand how it works, which means they cannot trust this system...

That's irrelevant. The interests of the people who build the cars are aligned with those of the people who use them, and if that proves not to be the case then there are liability laws that ensure that you can be compensated if your car is not built to spec. In contrast, the interests of small subsets of the population are typically not directly aligned with the rest when choosing a government.

In the UK, our elections run by putting a cross on a piece of paper, which then goes into a box. The boxes are taken to a central location for each constituency and are then counted. If I don't trust the system, then I can watch the box from the time that I cast my vote until it gets to the polling station and can then watch the votes being taken from the box and put into piles and counted. The same is true for almost any member of the electorate. In contrast, with an electronic voting system the number of people who are able to verify it is tiny: I have a PhD in Computer Science and work in computer security and I wouldn't be confident that I could spot hidden manipulation of an electronic election and I doubt that there are more than 100 people in the world who could - if that. Do you trust those 100 people to decide who wins the next election? Remember what Stalin said: it doesn't matter who casts the votes, only who counts them.

Comment Re:$23 (Score 1) 181

No, that those lines are covered by copyright owned by Oracle was admitted by Google. They claimed that their use was covered by Fair Use (which does not invalidate copyright, it is an affirmative defence against copyright infringement), which is what Oracle is now challenging because Fair Use is situation dependent.

Comment Called it (Score 1) 275

From when they announced cumulative updates:

But I don't see Microsoft going back to redo a patching system they've thrown out in Win10 to do us a favor, it seems far more likely they want to bundle it all from security patching to ads to telemetry to nagware.

Still hoping there will be separate KBs that you can install/uninstall for corporate/expert users and that the cumulative update is just what they push on the update site but since they've become plain evil lately it's hard to say.

Comment Re:Wayland bashing (Score 1) 151

But some 10 years ago clients started doing client rendering and just sending bitmaps to the display server. Mostly that meant higher bandwidth and fewer round-trips. Whether that is good or bad depends on the clients and the environment.

Actually they started doing that back in the 90s, the X primitives were already very outdated when KDE/Gnome launched in 1998/1999. And this is really the core issue, if you want a modern looking Linux with gradients, transparency, animations, anti-aliasing and various pretty effects you let a graphics toolkit do the job and hand X a bitmap. And they run roughly as bad under remote X as under VNC, because under those circumstances they do pretty much the same thing.

The applications that do work well using remote X are the same applications that shy away from the "render bitmaps" strategy and with their primitives they look... primitive. Functional sure, but as a local desktop application they look like a legacy tool that hasn't recieved any love in the last 20 years. And you can't fix that without turning them into bitmap-pushers, which is of course met with the same level of scorn as replacing X.

It seems to me that wayland initially was infested by the type of developers that think that all they need is direct access to video memory, and for remote applications all you need is VNC-style full-desktop remote. Of course people who use remote X think that that is a myopic and arrogant view. It seems that wayland has gained some developers in the past few years who have more common sense

There's actually not a lot of sense in trying to make one system that'll work both for graphics hooked up over a >15GB/s x16 PCIe 3.0 link with nanosecond latency and a system with 1/1000th the bandwidth and 1000x the latency. Applications will tend to work well in just one of those two scenarios no matter what kind of protocol you wrap it in, even if it's theoretically network transparent. If it wasn't being used, it wouldn't be the fastest interlink we have in modern computers.

I'm one of those that hopes remote X dies in a fire so we can have a 21st century Linux desktop. What remote X does today would be better done using web interfaces or dedicated client-server software that would transfer only the data necessary, instead of trying to keep the graphics so simple it's easier to describe them as lines and boxes and text than to actually send the pixels. Because that's what you must do to make the X model "work".

Comment Re:Microsoft broke my scanner once... (Score 2) 216

Because the USB device didn't even get recognized at all? ;)

So you jest but compliant USB Video Class devices (read: webcams) have been supported since 2008. It's actually a standard much like you plug in any USB keyboard, mouse, pendrive etc. and it usually works. It's quite amazing that Microsoft managed to break such a widely adopted standard. I'm guess they're just setting the standard for what "supported lifetime" you'll have before Windows 10 refuses to run.

Comment Re:Translated for Realists (Score 1) 282

9. Better Food through Science: Someone Else's farm.

I'll just pick one to keep the size manageable, who cares? It's already not my farm. I'm more than happy to use my skills to earn money so I can go to the grocery store and buy someone else's product, I don't care one bit for farming and certainly not the small scale "get your hands dirty" kind. The efficient trading of products and services has been the greatest boon to productivity in human history, with automation a close second. Am I supposed to feel it's a downside that I paid somebody for a washing machine, so I didn't have to do my own laundry? Sure I don't want my tools to exploit me, but that's the downside to a huge upside. I'd much rather take an Android or iPhone over no smartphone at all. YMMV, enjoy your hermit cave.

Comment Re:It makes the Raspberry PI (Score 1) 124

The Pi Zero is a limited edition part that exists because Broadcom wants to clear inventory of the crappy old SoC that the original Pi used. It's not really a fair comparison. Nevertheless, a MIPS 24k is something that really should be avoided like the plague. It's MIPS32r2 and all of the current ImagTec-funded development effort (compiler, OS support) is on MIPS{64,32}r6, which is not backwards compatible. The entire MIPS ecosystem is a clusterfuck at the moment.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 4, Interesting) 110

am I correct in understanding that the NSA knew about security holes in important aspects of our cyber infrastructure, and rather than report them so they could be fixed, they sat on them so they could use them "to protect us"?

Yes. This is a big problem with the NSA and GCHQ, which have the dual missions of securing infrastructure and compromising enemy infrastructure. These missions come into direct conflict when the core of your and your enemy's infrastructure rely on the same components. Germany separates the two missions into separate institutions.

The same thing came up when Heartbleed was discovered. There were basically two options:

  • The NSA had not found the vulnerability, in which case they were seriously failing in both missions as they'd either failed to notice that OpenSSL is core infrastructure (for the USA and for other countries) or they had failed to fuzz the protocol properly (part of the embarrassment about Heartbleed was that proper testing would have found it years ago). If this is the case, they are incompetent because there was evidence that the vulnerability had been exploited in the wild before the official disclosure.
  • The NSA had found the vulnerability but had decided that being able to attack SSL connections was worth the cost of leaving all financial and a lot of secure government communications vulnerable to foreign intelligence and criminal organisations. If this is the case, then they are incompetent at risk analysis and should not be permitted to engage in risky behaviour.

There is no interpretation of events that makes them appear competent.

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