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Comment C is slowly being replaced by C++ (Score 4, Insightful) 285

C isn't dying, but I think that it is being slowly replaced more and more by C++. Not all of a sudden, but when new code gets added, it is just more convenient to use std::string, RAII, the whole C++ Standard Library. Especially since C++11, C++ and its library have matured a lot to actually become useful and have you write beautiful and fast/efficient code, thanks to move semantics. So no, C isn't dying, it is morphing into C++11 and later. Even for embedded and kernel-level programming: check out recent projects: many use C++, carefully avoiding features like virtual functions that would slow down running time. It is as good as C can get, only better.

Comment What's the most security-hardened Linux distro? (Score 1) 224

Still relying on OpenBSD, and sometimes also on a trimmed-down FreeBSD with Capsicum for security-related work; but I'm wondering what the most hardened (minimalist) Linux distro you guys are recommending? I understand that the less software, the smaller the attack surface, but I'm also thinking along the lines of SELinux-by-default, settable access policies (not just discretionary access policies but also rules-based access policies), etc...

Comment Re: The Character, Princess Leia, Is Iconic (Score 1) 456

The jury has deliberated and we have decided that on balance of the evidence and the stipulations made here on slashdot, that Tomb Raider was indeed iconic.

Have to disagree, at least not in the context of Star Wars in which we're speaking about. Perhaps people don't know her name as much as Angelina but I guarantee they know her character better. If you asked 100 random people "What movie has the character Princess Leia?" and "What movie has the character Lara Croft?" more will remember Star Wars than Tomb Raider. And isn't that what "iconic" means, being widely recognized and well-established?

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.

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