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Submission + - Jacob Applebaum apparently exonerated

MrNaz writes: In the past few days we have heard the accusations against key Tor developer and advocate Jacob Applebaum made by Emerson Tan, Meredith Patterson, and Andrea Shepard, that they witnessed Jacob engaged in sexual misconduct. Following these accusations, the Tor mailing list quickly split into two, with those supporting Jacob accusing the other side of being a lynch mob, and those supporting Jake's accusers labeling his supporters apologists of rape.

It turns out that the girl that was witnessed with Jacob is a long time friend of his, and has released a statement which apparently exonerates Jacob. From the article:

I recall Tan approaching me, asking me if Jacob was harassing me. I said he wasn’t. Nevertheless, Tan dragged me away and immediately started talking intensely to Jake. At that point I decided to leave, since my friend was waiting for me. I walked him to his hotel, which was only a couple of blocks away.

So where does the Slashdot community stand on this? Is this a sign that the community is developing a healthy disdain for sexual misconduct, or a reflection of the fact that we need to reign in uninformed kneejerk reactions and vigilantism?

Submission + - The sorry state of Android backup

MrNaz writes: Android has been around for 8 years, and is now in a fairly mature state. Yet, there is still no official or even unofficial simple backup method that The Average User can be pointed to. Contact lists, calendar data and other items that are deeply ingrained in the Google platform are easy as they sync seamlessly, however that's about where it stops. SMS/MMS content is difficult and flaky to backup and restore as the plethora of apps each have their own gotchas relating to things like multi-part SMSes, non-Latin characters, or message limits. The most commonly cited simple backup tool, Helium, which claims to be "the missing app sync and backup solution for Android", does not back up MMSes nor apps where the developer has flagged they don't want to allow backups. Absurdly, it also does not back up app data which is almost the entire point of backups. I can re-download all my apps from the Play Store anyway. Google has built an app data backup mechanism into the platform, but it is up to the developers of individual apps to use it. Or not, if they can't be bothered. Some apps have their own mechanism, such as WhatsApp, which backs up to Google Drive. However, when restoring, it's hit or miss whether it will detect the presence of a backup, and if it does not, there is no way to force it to recheck after the first startup. Titanium Backup has a UI that is so imposing that I don't recommend it to any but the most confident of technical experts. I'm no Apple fan, but backing up or cloning an iDevice is a joy. So what's the deal? Why is this seemingly core feature still missing from the Android ecosystem?

Submission + - What is the future of desktop applications?

MrNaz writes: Over the last fifteen years or so, we have seen the dynamic web mature rapidly. The functionality of dynamic web sites has expanded from the mere display of dynamic information to fully fledged applications rivaling the functionality and aesthetics of desktop applications. Google Docs, MS Office 365, and Pixlr Express provide in-browser functionality that, in bygone years, was the preserve of desktop applications.

The rapid deployment of high speed internet access, fiber to the home, cable and other last-mile technologies, even in developing nations, means that the problem of needing offline access to functionality is becoming more and more a moot point. It is also rapidly doing away with the problem of lengthy load times for bulky web code.

My question is this: Is this trend a progression to the ultimate conclusion where the browser becomes the operating system and our physical hardware becomes little more than a web appliance? Or is it the case that this trend has an upper limit, and that there will always remain a place where desktop applications are more appropriate than applications delivered in a browser? If so, where does this limit lie? What factors should software vendors take into consideration when deciding whether to build new functionality on the web or into desktop applications?

Submission + - How to educate government agencies about security?

MrNaz writes: Here in Australia we are supposed to have one of the most IT heavy health care systems in the world. Yet, over the years, the general lack of IT savvy has been a problem I have butted up against repeatedly. For example, I was recently involved in a government program which required sending a list of certain patients to a government department for processing. The list had patient names, addresses, Medicare numbers and a few other details. In the instructions that I received from the department, I was instructed to generate the list as a MS Excel file, and then password protect it before burning it to a CD and mailing it. Now, we all know the folly of relying on Excel passwords to protect lost CDs from becoming an ID thief's wet dream, but how to educate the government about this? Anyway, how does this even happen? When deciding on a procedure, whichever suited bureaucrat came up with the idea could have and should have at least consulted the IT guy down the hall. How can we instill a practice whereby decision makers at least bring it up with someone in the know before making an on-the-spot decision that could result in disaster?

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