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Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 381

You have a reason, it's just not a good one.

In 1994 "Concrete Mathematics" came out by Knuth, to assist mathematically-challenged readers of TAOCP. You've had 22 years to read and understand that book, in order to read and understand TAOCP

Put another way: if you haven't decomposed your problem with tackling TAOCP into manageable tasks, programming may not be for you.


Comment Re:Roll back surveillance (Score 1) 215

Let me put this file I encrypted with PGP on an anonymous FTP site / dropbox. You can then download it and tell me what's in the file. No wait, you can't, because it's encrypted with an OS-agnostic algorithm and you don't have the key.

I'm not sure you get the point. Are the (private) keys located on the Android device? Do you enter the passphrase to unlock the private keys directly on the Android device? If so, your beloved App's security is toast, because key material is hitting the OS before it even reaches the App.

Comment Re:Roll back surveillance (Score 1) 215

Encryption is out there, and a reality. If the phone manufacturer compromises their full-disk encryption, then app makers start writing un-compromised encryption into their apps.

If it were only so simple! If the underlying OS is compromised and can't be trusted, what's the value of any encryption on top of that?

Let's say Gov't passes an anti-encryption law for smartphones. First thing Apple and Google will (have to) do, is to purge their App Stores from all apps that implement un-snoopable encryption. That's the first step. So no un-compromised encryption in apps for the plebs.

Then, next step, Apple and Google will (have to) remove all encryption libraries and support in the OS (libraries etc.), or cripple them with backdoors, so the Government(s) and other evil-doers can snoop right back in, even if Apps are still allowed to call encryption APIs.

Finally, every I/O in and out of an App has to go through some layer of the OS; and if the OS can't be trusted, what good is solid encryption? You as a user can't listen to encrypted voice, you can't read encrypted messages, you can't watch encrypted photos and videos: you're the analog counterpart that requires decryption, and this is the point where device makers will be compelled by the Gov't to let the snooping start.

Of course, there's still the option of alternative ROMs that you compile yourself out of reliable source code (CyanogenMod et al. come to mind); but here, there are still some binary blobs that are required to drive the modems etc.: same problem as with a regular Linux: do you trust these, if Government were to mandate snooping on a hardware low-level from manufacturers?

Comment Re:Should have stayed with Russia (Score 1) 12

Your politicians took the bribes from the US to part ways with Russia, now you get to enjoy the wonderful world of American IP law.

That's exactly the point. On the other hand, Russia is also cracking down on file sharing sites: remember AllofMP3.{com,ru} folding under US pressure/blackmail, or, more recently, their draconian laws on personal identification for users of Russian-based Internet services?

Comment Slow(er) learning of new application domains (Score 1) 435

As an older programmer (say, 50+), learning new programming paradigms is easy. Hell, absorbing new frameworks, programming languages etc. in a week or two is still a piece of cake. Why? Because that's not too far from the domain you know. BUT, diving into totally new application domains requires a lot more efforts than when you were younger. As an example: if you've never been exposed to an EE education and you suddenly have a project about, say, writing an antennae simulator, you'll have to absorb Maxwell's Equations, and related maths. Even if you've had CS training with maths background in your prime, you'll definitively need a lot more time to wrap your head around this with 50, 60 than if you were in your 30ies. That's not impossible, of course, but the additional time to understand this new domain, and apply it to programming, will slow you down so much that companies will often refrain from hiring you, despite your immense wealth of additional side-knowledge that could be very useful.

Comment Re:What data? (Score 1) 25

You can't be sure if they don't provide the source code. But even if they did... basically, they claim to implement Signal Private Messenger's protocol, which is strong end-to-end encryption. However, even this protocol doesn't hide metadata from WhatsApp's servers. For example, every WhatsApp user needs to keep WhatsApp directory server(s) updated about his/her current IP so she can be found by others WhatsApp users. This alone is already up to a couple of hours pretty accurate meta data that can be invaluable to Facebook... which can target you with better ads, based on your current (network) location.

Submission + - Throw A Paper Plane Around The World (

mikejuk writes: It all starts with a simple thought, "What if you could throw a paper plane from one screen to another?"
From this idea we have Paper Planes, an Android experiment which lets you "throw" a paper plane using your phone to launch it. The plane zooms off the phone screen and appears on the screen of a desktop viewing a website. What you see is your plane join all the planes thrown by other users. You can catch a plane and see where it came from by viewing the passport included when it was built. And you can add your own to show where it has been.
It is fun and it is a new sort of social interaction mediated by computer technology. Watch the world throw paper airplanes and discover geography, at least the geography of the most technologically advanced parts of the world.
Perhaps the most important idea here is the use of all the screens as one big display. Why not a paper airplane that flies across all the screens in a house or school or whatever?
Not only can you get the app free from Play, you can also get the code from Github.

Comment Re:Too secure for insecure? (Score 3, Insightful) 569

Destruction of evidence is itself a crime. The difficulty is always in proving that's what happened - by definition you're missing a key piece of evidence.

I'm less concerned about the destruction of evidence and more concerned that even though we know she's committing criminal acts, people are still supporting her for President. What does that say about them? We see criminals get away with things all the time, but usually they don't have a cheering section, and even if they do they're not trying to vote for them as President of the United States. Trump may be all the things they say about him, but Hillary is a criminal NOW, so what is she going to be like as President? If something does happen, it would be a giant SHE TOLD YOU SO.

Submission + - Driver Signing To Be Enforced In Next Windows 10 ( 1

mikejuk writes: The control of what software users can run on their machines is becoming ever tighter. Now Microsoft has announced that only signed drivers will work in the next release of Windows 10.
Before you start to panic about backward compatibility with existing drivers the lockdown is only going to be enforced on new installations of Windows 10. If you simply upgrade an existing system then the OS will take over the drivers that are already installed. Only new installations, i.e. installing all drivers from scratch, will enforce the new rules from Windows 10 version 1607.
Be warned, if you need to do a fresh install of Windows 10 in the future you might find that your existing drivers are rejected.
There's an xkcd for that:

Comment Explicitly destroying objects (Score 1) 239

I'm working in Unix and Network programming and also Systems programming, and I made an early habit of explicitly destroying / releasing / closing resources that are not needed anymore, even when they are reclaimed by the OS when the program exits. This includes in particular open files, and all kinds of network descriptors. Why? Because most of my code usually ends up repackaged into libraries and reused inside longer running programs (i.e. inside loops); and not being disciplined about releasing resources would result in all kinds of leaks. This is particularly bad when that code gets reused inside device drivers.

Of course, things got a lot easier once I switched from C to C++ and the STL and RAII idiom, but trying to release resources is still ingrained in my muscle memory; it takes a conscious effort in C++ NOT to explicitly release a resource acquired through initialization.

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