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Comment Re:I guess... (Score 1) 145

We watched it with our 7yo daughter, who has played the game once or twice when I showed it to her, but is nowhere near an addict. She's been waiting for this moving for months, purely based on the trailers and implied entertainment value, and not at all because of the game itself.

I suspect the 9 month marketing onslaught was to ensure that the movie would be watched by people who haven't played the game, and it clearly worked, having opened at #1. While Angry Birds has been a very popular game across all mobile platforms for a few years now, there's no way they could rely purely on their gamers to support the movie and allow it to be a huge success.

In fact, after watching the movie, I introduced the game to my daughter again, and she still hasn't really taken to it. While I'm sure they got a huge number of new installs after people watched the movie, I'd be surprised if their long-term player base increases in line with the movies success. Just because the movie is based on a game doesn't mean it's aimed only at the gamers.

Comment Re:Useless (Score 1) 166

It adds nothing of value over the browser based solution because that's exactly what it is. This "desktop client" is a wrapper around an embedded browser that launches WhatsApp Web by default. From the looks of it, it's Chrome Embedded Framework that's been used. I'm guessing they chose that route to make it easier to support both Windows and OSX without much difficulty, but it does raise the question of how they plan to handle updates and patches to the Chrome core... while they might not need any new features that get added, they would definitely need to keep up to date with security patches, even if it's a single-purpose browser.

Comment Re:Does the User Control the Keys? (Score 1) 76

It should be trivially easy to do the key exchange without WhatsApp being able to intercept the keys, even though they are relaying them between the two parties.*

Assume Alice and Bob both use WhatsApp. Each generates a certificate with a private and public key. They publish their public keys via some directory service. Alice wants to chat to Bob securely. They currently don't have a relationship set up between them. So Alice looks up Bob's public key, and generates a random encryption key to be used for chatting with Bob. She encrypts this key with Bob's public key and sends this encrypted key to Bob over WhatsApp. Only Bob can decrypt this because only Bob has the private key - WhatsApp doesn't. Bob can either then use the same key to send messages to Alice, or he can repeat the process, so that even if one key is exposed somehow, only one half of the conversation can be decrypted.

Yes, WhatsApp's app must ultimately be trusted to be storing the private keys securely and not leaking them back to WhatsApp somehow, but if they're going to the trouble of implementing end-to-end encryption, then entire point is that they want to be able to simply auto-respond to any law enforcement requests with 'We simply cannot decrypt the messages even if we want to." Given that WhatsApp already has been encrypting messages between client and server for some time now before this, it doesn't make sense for them to implement such an elaborate encryption scheme and then leave a backdoor in it, which will inevitably be discovered, either by a security researcher or when they give in to a law enforcement request.

* I haven't actually read up on how WhatsApp is doing their key exchange, so they may be doing exactly this.

Comment Re:White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 5, Interesting) 420

This morning, I saw it on my phone in my darkened bedroom, and it was clearly blue and brown. Just now, I opened the Washington Post link on my 24" screen in a sunlit room, and it was clearly white and gold. I then found the link that I had seen on my phone this morning (not Washington Post, so I wanted to confirm that it just wasn't two different pictures that I was looking at), opened it up, and it was white and gold there too. Went back to my bedroom and closed the curtains, and it remained white and gold for a bit, but after I left the room (after my eyes had adjusted a bit to the darkness), it was blue and brown again. The picture on the Washington Post was also now blue and brown. Now that my eyes have adjusted to the sunlit room again (and the white Slashdot background), I switch back to the Washington Post tab, and it's white and gold again. My wife (who's now gotten fed up with following me around to look at this picture under different lighting conditions) has had pretty much the same experience as me.

So it appears to be linked to the lighting conditions that your eyes are adjusted to when seeing the image initially... even after they've adjusted to the ambient light, the brain appears to stick to the image it created initially.

Comment Re:Try living in RSA (Score 1) 516

I am closely related to someone who works at Eskom. His "insider's view" is that the power cuts and load shedding are not due to pressure on the supply, but just to create the impression that there is pressure on the supply, to justify their price increases to pay for the new power stations (and of course sponsoring The New Age breakfasts). He had a good laugh at the 'wet coal' excuse for the problems earlier in the year (conveniently around the time that NERSA was reviewing their tariff increase application) because all the coal arriving at the power plants gets sprayed down with water as soon as it arrives anyways, because coal dust is extremely flammable. We have two new power stations under construction, both coal-fired... when South African engineers are designing safe nuclear power stations that are being used by other countries but not our own. (see

Comment Re:Getting tired of Apple lawsuits (Score 3, Interesting) 738

Except MS has already been held responsible for their actions (from over 10 years ago), and all indications are that the company has changed drastically for the better in the past few years - stability- and security-wise.

Meanwhile, Apple is trying to drive all their competitors out of business not by putting out better products and competing on merit, but by abusing the legal system due to their vast cash reserves with ridiculous "rounded corner rectangle" design patents.

MS did some bad stuff a long time ago. They have paid for it (literally), and they are no longer the same company they were back then. Apple is doing bad stuff right now, yet all indications are that for the next 20 years we'll still be constantly reminded of Microsoft's already-paid-for behaviour from the 90s, but Apple will still be lauded as a magical untouchable company despite their unpaid-for behaviour from today.

Your analogies are quite ridiculous, and have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Comment Re:Approach #4 (Score 1) 521

That's one of the points of requiring that ARM win8 tablets are not allowed to disable secure boot. If MS subsidizes ARM tablets to drive sales, they don't want people buying cheap tablets in order to install another OS at their (literal) expense.
The implementation allows for the installation of other operating systems but only if they've been signed by a MS key (well, any key, but the only ones that will be installed on a win8 ARM tablet will be MS's). They'll be able to charge for that signing process, and recover their subsidy in that way.
The other point is that since the only way to put new software on an ARM win8 tablet is via the app store, they want to ensure that intercepting the boot sequence to install an exploit that bypasses or interferes with the app store is blocked by requiring that the entire boot chain is trusted.
Whether they get it right is yet to be seen, but those are the reasons.

Comment Re:Well (Score 1) 372

Except that Metro on WOA will run the exact same binaries that Metro on Win8 x86/x64 will (except for those few that use native code).

Windows, as a platform, probably has a larger base of developers than both iOS and Android, and anyone publishing a Metro app to the new Windows App Store will have it available to WOA users automatically.

So, assuming that developers start making use of the beta that's coming out end of this month and start writing apps to target Win8's new Metro interface, without even knowing or caring about WOA, this will mean that WOA will have a decent enough supply of software at launch.

Comment Re:Nukes (Score 2) 118

I'm not black, so I can't speak from personal experience there. I don't believe that the average black person today is financially worse-off than he was under apartheid. But as for quality of life, I do think he's not really any better off than he was overall. There are obviously a whole lot of factors at play. Since the 90's, a lot more blacks have been able to work at jobs they wouldn't have been able to in the past, so financially, there is a growing number of blacks who are benefitting. The 'reverse-apartheid' policy of affirmative action, which forces companies over a certain size to follow racial quotas when filling positions, has helped a lot of blacks get employed from the informal sector to the formal sector. However, lots of these guys never had the education or training for these positions, and generally either get stuck at the lower levels due to their qualification levels, or get unfairly promoted purely to raise the company's quota of black management. I've worked with clients who've had black guys promoted to senior management just for the sake of quotas, and their lack of overall understanding of the systems and departments they're managing is quite apparent.

At the same time, the quality of education has been steadily dropping from the 90s, and it's really quite terrible now. The ANC government has tried a number of things with the education system, and one has to wonder if the result is just due to their complete lack of competence, or if it's done on purpose to ensure that the masses of the country remain uneducated. We had a very decent schooling system for quite a while. Once apartheid fell, and public schooling was equal for everyone, people began realising that a lot of the black kids moving into schools that they previously weren't allowed to were failing miserably, mainly due to the lower standard of education they had received until then. So government lowers the standard of education across the board. Rather than maintaining the standards already set for maths, sciences, etc, the entire schooling system was shifted to a policy of 'outcomes based education', where more 'practical' skills were focused on. If the majority of the population isn't ever going to use trignometry in their lives, why teach that to them at a high school level, when you could rather be teaching them how to count change from a till instead? If the majority isn't going to be creating technical drawing designs, why show them how to use a T-square when they can focus on how to manually weld metal instead? A lot of people, myself included, believe that the reduction in the standards of education has happened on purpose, so that the large numbers of poor, uneducated people (who are pretty much all ANC supporters because they still associate the ANC with Mandela and liberation) will remain poor and uneducated, and continue believing that the ANC is their liberator and saviour.

Every ANC government, both provincial and national, as well as most municipalities, have been plagued with lazy, greedy, corrupt people. The politically connected get awarded over-inflated tenders, and get richer. The officials who grant the tenders get kickbacks, and get richer. The poor, who are supposed to benefit from these projects, end up with half-complete, poorly designed, badly implemented projects. The ANC government blames the legacy of apartheid for the poor delivery, and covers up for their ineptitude, and this is why they are pushing so hard for this secrecy bill to be passed.

I don't know of anywhere else in the world where a government official can be caught red-handed with corruption, and the majority party says 'we will deal with this internally as a party matter', instead of having that corrupt official go through the actual legal system. The ANC goes to great lengths to protect its members. A shockingly large percentage of politicians have criminal records, and not for apartheid-related activity either. Zuma's personal financial advisor was in jail for fraud, corruption and soliciting bribes. Zuma was implicated at the same time. Instead of completing the investigations into him, the special investigative unit that was created to handle these high-profile cases was disbanded.

Billions of rands that should go to servicing and uplifting and educating the poor instead goes into already-rich ANC officials pockets. Those same thiefs then go and look their own people in the eye and blame the white government of 20 years ago for their misfortunes. I suppose in a way they're right - if they weren't oppressed for so long, they probably wouldn't have the mentality that they need to become as rich as possible however they can now. But the sad reality is that the ANC fought for the liberation of their people, and now that they have it, they keep working to keep their own people back. The ANC works quite hard to maintain racial division in the country. Every time a black official doesn't deliver, he blames it on the legacy of apartheid. I'm pretty sure that in 50 years time, a number of blacks are still going to be blaming the legacy of apartheid for their lazy asses not doing the work they're supposed to be doing.

So yeah, while financially, blacks are a bit better off now than they were under apartheid, the reason for me saying that the ANC government is worse than the apartheid one, is because the ANC is keeping their own people down, rather than actually improving their lives. I know every government in every country has to deal with corruption and inept officials, but in South Africa, it seems that corruption is government policy with no shame attached. There are too many people who are literally untouchable purely due to their political connections. And the people who suffer are the ones that have always suffered - the poor blacks living in the townships.

Comment Re:Nukes (Score 5, Interesting) 118

Zuma was already not looking good a week ago, when his official spokesman, Mac Maharaj, laid charges against the Mail & Guardian, compelling them to redact about 70% of an article they were going to publish outlining how Maharaj lied during an in-camera hearing into corruption surrounding the infamous arms deal. Rather than defend himself, Maharaj's viewpoint is simply that the publication of in-camera evidence is against the law, so the M&G is breaking the law. Hasn't provided any sort of defence against the allegations of corruption against him.

And this is exactly what the protesting against the POIB is about. The ANC has viciously resisted even the thought of adding a 'public interest' clause to the bill, meaning that evidence of corruption and lies, like in Zuma's spokesman's case, can be classified, and then rather than the corrupt person being held accountable, the journalists go to jail, for exposing corruption that the government is helping to hide.

Zuma and his cronies haven't looked good for a while. If they were serious about their claims to want to fight corruption, they wouldn't be so hell-bent on passing a law that hides the evidence of that corruption. The minister of Intelligence was implicated in fraud involving travel allowances a few years back. None of the ANC MP's have been charged or even fined. He's the one that drafted the initial bill.

My personal opinion, as a non-white who grew up in the last two decades of apartheid, is that the ANC government is worse for the people of this country than the apartheid one. At least with the Nats, you knew that if you were black, you were gonna be held back - it was government policy and they were open about it. With the ANC, they're keeping their own people back for their own selfish gains, blaming the 'legacy of apartheid' for their peoples misfortunes, when their people remain poor and uneducated purely due to the corrupt, selfish ANC government in power.

It's a tragedy.

Comment Re:This is untrue (Score 1) 122

Yes, and while moving certain things to web apps makes sense, and while providing a web mail interface is pretty much essential, having Google tell BlackBerry users that they can just use the web browser for their gmail is both retarded and arrogant for one simple reason: The web browser cannot notify me about new mail.

The web browser cannot update my new mail icon on my home screen, nor can it make the LED blink to notify me of new mail.

Smartphone users, and I would go as far as to say especially BlackBerry users, expect mail notifications to be automatic. If this was a case of Google getting a clue and deciding to not duplicate efforts on mobile apps when they already have a mobile gmail page, then why haven't they also killed off their iPhone app as well? This has got nothing to do with 'we already have an app for that so why duplicate effort'. This is a deliberate move against RIM on Google's part.

I'd think that rather than being an elimination of duplicated work, the real source of this decision is the fact that Google happens to produce Android, and that by providing a crippled experience on BlackBerries, they'd hope to ride on the recent negativity surrounding BB and RIM and get BB users to move over to Android. They probably figure that the iPhone user base is more loyal to Apple and iPhone than to gmail, but that they have a shot targetting BB users instead.

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