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Comment Re:The gov is just trying to level the field (Score 1) 248

That's what they say, but it's misguided..you can block data from Google or Facebook. You can't from your ISP.

You're close, but your wording is slightly off in a subtle but critical way. It really has nothing to do with blocking Facebook. You choose what information to share with Google and Facebook. All of your Internet communication is routed through your ISP, so apart from using things like VPNs to explicitly block their access, they basically own access to all of your traffic.

You can choose to use a different search engine if you don't like Google's privacy policies (*). You are not in any way obligated to post every little detail of your medical history on Facebook for everyone to see. But your ISP sees all unless you explicitly prevent it. That makes it much, much more important to have privacy protection that prevents abuse by an ISP than it is to have similar protections that apply to any arbitrary website.

Now obviously to the extent that Google and Facebook run ad networks, they are more capable of monitoring you than most websites, but still way less than ISPs (*).

(*) Unless, of course, Google is your ISP.

The biggest irony, of course, is that staunch advocates of government surveillance just passed a law that pretty much guarantees everybody who hasn't moved to HTTPS will do so, and even had my aging parents asking about personal VPNs. Talk about the government shooting itself in the foot... but I digress.

Comment Re:It has a security hole every week (Score 1) 191

There has never been any version of Flash available for iOS, bundled or otherwise, because Apple doesn't allow any third-party interpreters on the iOS platform. (Maybe you're thinking of when they stopped shipping it preinstalled with Safari in OS X?)

SJ's refusal to allow it on the iOS platform was the final nail, though you're correct that Adobe's mismanagement caused a low-quality product that mostly built its own coffin.

Comment Re:Flash killed flash. (Score 1) 191

They literally did everything they could do to avoid improving the product. Little surprise that it eventually failed. They frequently spent more time and effort explaining why they couldn't fix something than it would have taken to fix it. Gross mismanagement doesn't even begin to cover it. I'm amazed Adobe is still in business. Then again, IBM....

Comment Re:HUGE number of vulnerabilities in Flash (Score 1) 191

This. At the time that the decision to not support Flash was made, one of the major driving factors behind that decision was its terrible reliability. Flash was responsible for... IIRC, the #1, #2, and #3 most common crashes on Safari on the Mac. Now bear in mind that for all intents and purposes, every single crash of the Flash plugin was a security hole. The terrible quality of Flash led to stricter and stricter sandboxing of the plugins, shifting it into its own process so it couldn't gain root, etc.

On iOS, at the time, Safari ran in a completely unrestricted user account with the equivalent of superuser privileges. The sandbox model was basically either "full access" or "access to the app's data", with nothing in between. It would have required a herculean effort to make Flash behave in a usable manner without it turning the entire operating system into a giant data leak.

And it seems very clear to me, at least from an outside perspective, that the problem is Adobe's management. Adobe has never taken security, stability, reliability, etc. seriously. If they did, their products would be much better than they are. Just take a look at the average Adobe app on OS X, which starts having serious reliability problems within one OS release after the last supported OS version, i.e. Adobe's code is so skanky that as soon as they stop patching it, it breaks. Now I'll grant that their code is considerably more complex than your average app, but the parts that break aren't typically the complex parts. They're menial things like file open dialogs—the sorts of things that should be written once and never touched again.

IMO, the problems with Flash can be readily explained by taking a look at a single bug I filed about Adobe's high-end apps not working on case-sensitive volumes because they linked to frameworks with incorrectly cased pathnames. They hemmed and hawed for years, repeatedly blaming Apple's tools for something that very obviously was caused by a typo in their Xcode project (or whatever build script they used instead of an Xcode project). They looked for every possible excuse to avoid fixing a problem that should have taken no more than a minute to fix (I've fixed the same mistake in my own projects, so I know it really is that simple). And you just know that every single one of those crashes was an equally silly bug that could have been fixed in a minute by an intern. But instead of spending the time to fix them, they kicked the can down the road and focused on adding features and bloat, all of which added even more security holes, ad infinitum. And they continued to do so for a decade until the situation got so bad that they were publicly shamed for it. I'm not entirely convinced they've learned their lesson even now.

Comment Re: Jayavel Murugan...Syed Nawaz (Score 1) 242

Not at all necessary or useful. There are a number of ways to streamline regulations without compromising quality (hint, it involves removing corruption, ossified bureaucracy, and sweetheart IP restrictions). The U.K. spends 1/4 what the U.S. does per capita and gets better outcomes than we do. It has been done, therefore it can be done.

One means would be single payer. There's a lot of bargaining power to be had when you represent 300 million people.

Submission + - Massachusetts Prepares to Vacate Nearly 24,000 Tainted Drug Convictions (reason.com)

schwit1 writes: Massachusetts prosecutors will move in mid-April to vacate nearly all of the roughly 24,000 drug convictions tainted by a single corrupt forensic lab chemist, The Boston Globe reported Saturday, marking the denouement of one of the largest drug lab scandals in U.S. history.

A Massachusetts prosecutor told the state's Supreme Judicial Court last week that D.A.'s would seek to keep fewer than 1,000 of the 24,000 convictions tainted by drug lab chemist Annie Dookahn, who pled guilty in 2012 to falsifying test results in favor of law enforcement and tampering with evidence over a nine-year period starting in 2003.

Comment Re:It is in the nature of the business! (Score 5, Insightful) 165

Yes, they stand on that mountain, but they are still building it! As for your comparison with nuclear, health, etc...sorry, the tolerances there are much greater than for space. Certification for use in the medical or nuclear fields is much easier than getting something space rated!

And most times when a "think tank" comes out with "proof" that some agency has too much bureaucracy, it is a prelude to justify budget cuts. It's just another piece of the propaganda war. :-(

Comment It is in the nature of the business! (Score 4, Insightful) 165

Going into space is an incredibly front loaded type enterprise. They aren't opening a a dollar store, they are sending people in to one of the most hostile environments known to man. They say "Measure twice, cut once", but when you have the lives of people in your hands, you measure tens of thousands of times to make sure the final cutting won't accidentally kill them! And before you go and say Blue Origin and SpaceX are doing it so much cheaper, yes, but that is because they are standing on a mountain of research & technology courtesy NASA. R&D done by NASA has given us billions and billions of dollars in spin-off technologies over the years, and I am sure if you charted it out, your return on investment is pretty good.

Comment Re:Phishing is good (Score 1) 250

If by succeeding, you mean completely failing to have any significant role in online commerce, and not being a significant source of information beyond currently trending events, then sure. Call me when there's something equivalent to Wikipedia that's built into Facebook without linking out into the Internet as a whole, or something equivalent to Amazon, or something equivalent to airline and hotel reservation websites, or....

So no, Facebook is not succeeding as a replacement for the Internetâ"only for the very narrow slice of the Internet that was previously dominated by MySpace.

Comment Re:Phishing is good (Score 1) 250

If by succeeding, you mean completely failing to have any significant role in online commerce, and not being a significant source of information beyond currently trending events, then sure. Call me when there's something equivalent to Wikipedia that's built into Facebook without linking out into the Internet as a whole, or something equivalent to Amazon, or something equivalent to airline and hotel reservation websites, or....

So no, Facebook is not succeeding as a replacement for the Internet—only for the very narrow slice of the Internet that was previously dominated by MySpace.

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