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Comment Re:Alternate Headline (Score 1) 56

With HDDs you could access individual sectors and zap em as appropriate. With SSDs that's not the case. Everything is logically mapped by a controller and you have to trust it to do a secure erase properly - either resetting the encryption key or filling every block (even the ones used for over-provisioning) with 0s.

It's been a long, long time since you could do that. All modern HDDs do sector remapping behind the scenes, whatever written to a sector the disk later identifies as wonky and remaps is untouchable. Only secure erase will overwrite every sector, it predates SSDs by many years.

Comment The 90s called and want their cyberspace back (Score 2) 23

Remember when tech pundits were talking like the Internet would transcend to become it's own nation that people would emigrate to and live in? Well shit turns out we still live in meatspace with countries and laws. And surprise, surprise so does our data. The cloud is just the new buzzword for the same concept without the people. I suppose companies will try to go jurisdiction shopping, but I doubt they'll succeed. The governments of the world will set requirements for dealing with their citizen's data and you'll either comply or get in legal trouble, like the EU's "right to be forgotten". Yes, it means data on the Chinese might stay in China but it might also mean data on US citizens stay in the US. Would you really like them to swap? Or do you just want to fulfill the NSAs wet dream that all data on everyone in the whole world go through the US? Seriously, for most of us local data is a good thing.

Comment Re:Apropos of nothing... (Score 1) 46

Apropos of nothing... Just how hard is it to disable one of these $600,000 mobile golf carts? For example, can a high powered rifle pierce any of the antennas, control electronics, or motive hardware? Would an IED be sufficient? And having done so, what dangers might the recovery team face?

The US got massively superior firepower if they can just locate the enemy. And they won't be medics in a hurry because he's bleeding out. Taking out one of these would be announcing to the world here I am, come kill me. And you got them to reveal themselves without putting any soldiers at risk. And if they're plagued with hit and run attacks they can set an ambush of their own like a hidden sniper covering the patrol area or a squad that'll cut them off from behind. And you could probably make dumb decoys for a fraction of the cost for the enemy to waste their time on if they actually start attacking them.

Sure, some of these might be destroyed but what would be the cost of human patrols, with their armored vehicle and high end gear? If the enemy has high powered rifles and IEDs they could do damage to non-drone equipment and injure or kill soldiers too. Ultimately it's a matter of resources, if the US can get them to waste their sniper rifles and IEDs on non-human targets it's pretty much a win no matter what. It's dead soldiers that zaps the will to fight, the military industry and their lobby will make sure money is not a problem.

Comment Re:So make it equally first amendment to block the (Score 2) 131

So make it equally first amendment to block them. My phone line does not have to accept every call made to it.

This. I should be able to set up a "EULA" on my phone, my mailbox, my email account and whatever else communication channel I have indicating what forms/groups/types of contact I will accept. Anyone wishing to contact me would have to self-certify that they belong to a category I'll accept. Then you can make it an offense to lie, just like on immigration forms.

Comment Re:What's with all the cheap video cards? (Score 1) 39

Car analogy time:
Someone who only cares about performance? We call those race drivers. Someone who only wants a solid car to drive often? Taxi driver. Car enthusiasts/nerds will probably have some oddball car polished and styled in top condition and spend an inordinate amount of time keeping it that way. That said, most of them don't want a broken transmission. It's not the sort of thing you casually tinker with, it's very basic functionality that has to work. Fixing it yourself would be very nerdy but it's for a special few. I have the feeling OS/driver issues are the same for computer nerds, most want that part to work so they can be nerds on a different level. It's not exactly like a kernel panic makes me want to be a kernel developer...

Comment Re:Nothing of value was lost (Score 2) 39

You're missing the bigger picture -- whether Usenet itself is dead or not, the fact that we're replacing open protocols with closed, proprietary web interfaces controlled by a single entity is a huge regression. Replacing Usenet with 8 million different web forums that I have to register with individually and use a different interface to read is not an improvement.

Well the nice things about web forums is that they can set their own terms for registration, moderation, user behavior and so on and if people don't like it they can move to a different one. Newsgroups kinda worked so long as bandwidth was a scarce resource and you wouldn't just waste it needlessly. You had moderated groups but that was very rudimentary and not very popular, but the rest was just open season for spam and trolls and bots. Without changing signup captchas to keep mass signups at bay most forums would be nothing but trash. Same thing about email, once the spammers got hold of it you'd see an endless number of trash emails.

Unfortunately applying the same rules uniformly more or less means you have to have one entity controlling it all, it's no good if I have a strict policy and you allow every rabble in. Same thing with who gets moderator privileges or moderator points, any form of assignment or formula needs someone controlling it. I suppose you could have a somewhat decentralized organization like IRC networks, where some servers belong to the same network and some don't all while running the same protocol, but still. To be honest, I don't think the market wants more protocols since most everything now runs over HTTP, almost totally regardless of what it is. At best maybe you could make some kind of HTTP "API" so you could use different messaging software but I doubt it. Most sites actually like being in control of layout and such.

Comment Re:In a country far far away (Score 1) 516

To all windows users: you are always welcome here in the linux world. There is a place free for you!

Your "free place for you" comes with a LOT of hidden costs for most people and 99.9999% of the time

You do know what he said means there's room for more? You're the one who twisted it into being about being free - particularly as in cost, but not time. Nor did he make any grand claims about it being so easy your grandma could use it, so I don't see the basis of your rant. But if you're the kind of guy that cares about this - because honestly, we know most people don't - then maybe you care enough to actually deal with all the crap you need to as a Linux user. It's a matter of priorities, either you make Microsoft change their tune (unlikely), suck it up (probably) or switch (unlikely).

Personally I'm absolutely considering demoting my Windows to a Wintendo when 7 runs out of support and just let Microsoft 0wn my gaming box and deal with Linux for anything important. I did it once before when I thought the alternative was Vista and it sucked, stuck with it a few years but Win7 roped be back in. Maybe now it'll suck less but last time I tried a year ago, sigh... Either your needs need to be very simple or you better have tech skills, get caught in between and Linux will be a frustrating experience for most.

Comment Re:Let's be certain first,.. (Score 1) 396

The woman, whose name has not been disclosed, said that when the allegations became public she received threats and found it impossible to work. She said that she was judged in a "gigantic court of public opinion with anonymous judges and witnesses who guessed wildly".

This tends to happen in almost every case regardless if it goes to trial because the standard there is "beyond a reasonable doubt". There's a wide berth between being convicted of false accusations and guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt where people speculate in the probable and improbable. And even when people do get convicted they speculate in everything from misjudgments to false testimony to conspiracies. As long as we don't have absolute knowledge and we never have and never will some people will take the accuser's side and some will take the accused's side and they'll be very angry with each other.

I'd be absolutely furious if someone accused me of a rape I didn't commit and nobody believed me. I'd be absolutely furious if I'd been raped and nobody believed me. Like it or not there will be a battle in the public opinion and there will be a battle in the private sphere as to who your friends and family and coworkers believe. And that's all it'll be, a battle of credibility because most of the time there is no evidence of any substance. And sadly enough most of the actual criminals knows who has the upper hand in advance, they'll rape victims that are so drunk their testimony will be a mess. Or that "no smoke without fire" will win this custody case. Short of saying all sex is rape without signed consent forms I don't see a solution though.

Comment Re:Hatchet jobs aside (Score 3, Interesting) 396

Tor is secure. Where people have been located, it was due to bugs on the bundled browser and not following best security practices like disabling Javascript and not using a maximized browser window (to thwart canvas based fingerprinting). But the underlying network itself is secure.

That or share too much information about yourself or your other online activity or download malicious content. It doesn't even have to be malware as such but say an MP3 where your media player tries to download cover art, any kind of functionality that could lead to non-TOR traffic. Or socially engineer you to visit a popular YouTube video in your ordinary browser using a special URL. It could be they have a exploit on core TOR, but in that case I'm guessing it's in the NSA vaults along with the AES backdoor.

People don't understand the power of profiling and combinatorics. For example say you look at my posting history, I've probably casually mentioned my age a few times - let's say you have my birthday pinned down to a month even though I never said when it was. My sex too in some context, I presume. And I've at one point mentioned my country, my hometown (>150k) and that I used to live in the capital (>600k). If you have a post saying "I'm moving back home soon" that's enough to pinpoint me, if you have access to the right registry.

How does that work? Well you have ~145k registered domestic moves. Only ~49k are between different parts of the country. In total there's about ~9k for my hometown, those are all public statistics. So about (49/145)*9k = 3k long-distance moves to my town, for argument we'll assume all are from the capital. If average lifespan is 80, my month is roughly 1/(80*12) of the total population so ~3 moves of people my age and ~1.5 if you add sex. If soon means the coming month you're down to 1.5/12 = ~1/8. Even with some non-uniformity and whatnot it'll probably be one, at most two.

People don't stop to think about these things, particularly when it appears to happen in "private", but services get compromised. Or are honeypots to begin with. And even if you use PGP or some other secure channel, what used to be a buddy today can be compromised tomorrow. And this gets more and more important as we leave more and more "real world" electronic traces, like that concert you were at - were you also tagged on Facebook? In the past it would have been almost useless information, today a few such tidbits of information can easily lead to just having a handful of suspects to investigate closer.

Comment Pointer "safety." (Score 1) 307


There's nothing "unsafe" about pointers. Compromises of safety occur as a result of using pointers *wrong*.

There's plenty unsafe about programmers who don't understand what they're doing, and/or are careless, and/or assume that libraries that are black boxes beyond the API level to them are inherently safe.

Unfortunately, the typical metric for hiring programmers is "do you have a degree" rather than "do you know what you're doing."

Comment Re:As a UNIX head and former MS-hater . . . (Score 1) 353

Y'know, Microsoft has never made any bones about their OS being a proprietary system.

Windows made money selling copies. Apple makes money taking a cut of every sale in their walled garden. Google makes money data mining the shit out of everything. The new Microsoft seems to want to be the old Microsoft + Apple + Google. It used to be pick your poison, now it's all of the above. I hope they choke on it.

Comment Re:5.38 hours per day (Score 1) 174

And from what I've seen of college kids now, while they're not watching television per se - they do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time watching stuff like YouTube and swapping SnapChat videos (they don't seem to actually chat much on SnapChat, which seems weird but them I'm old). It wouldn't surprise me if the total amount of time they spend on new media rivals what their parents and grandparents spend in front of the boob tube.

Meet the new boob tube, same as the old boob tube. Except more boobs.

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