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Comment The killer bees are already out of the jar (Score 3, Insightful) 109

Phil Zimmermann's PGP already put crypto in the hands of the masses. It was a little cumbersome to use, even back in the '90s, but it's there. Anybody who wants good crypto, even on their phone, can probably find it and set it up. That group especially includes what I will call dedicated professional terrorists. FBI tapping into vanilla off-the-shelf iPhones will not catch them. This bill is about the common tech carried by the common man.

Comment I've been writing a lot of 6502 assembler lately (Score 1) 306

... for the Commodore PET. http://pettil.tumblr.com/ But now my code is better than it was in 1979, and by now I have used dozens of other languages and operating systems. Am I "expert"? No. I take the approach of learning the minimum I need to accomplish the mission (usually delivering maintainable code) plus whatever else I become curious about along the way. What usually works best is to combine a new project with a new set of tools, so I'm learning the new tool while trying to finish the project. I describe the approach as "You are here and you want to get there." or "Lewis and Clark" approach. If you started with Perl, learning Ruby. Consider learning something old school, like Forth. Install Linux on your desktop. Force yourself to live in it by deleting Windows first. In short, become uncomfortable. The best learning occurs in that space.

Comment Kids these days (Score 5, Interesting) 195

I had a similar thing happen with Apple's iTunes a few years ago. One of my kids downloaded a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff using my debit card. Since I didn't (still don't) own an iPod and run Linux on the desktop (no iTunes client) there was no way it was me. I was pretty sure it was an inside job, but there was no phone number to contact Apple. The child vehemently denied any involvement. After going back and forth a few times with iTunes' web support people, they told me it was fraud and I should involve the local police department, ending the matter where they were concerned. I went back on their site, but instead of reporting it as a fraud issue, I took the "I forgot my username and password" route. I entered my credit card info and they gave up the goods, handing over the kid's email account. The iTunes were also discovered on the kid's iPod, as well as receipts in the yahoo mail folder. Busted.

The Real 'Stuff White People Like' 286

Here's an interesting and funny look at 526,000 OkCupid users, divided into groups by race and gender and all the the things each groups says it likes or is interested in. While it is far from being definitive, the groupings give a glimpse of what makes each culture unique. According to the results, white men like nothing better than Tom Clancy, Van Halen, and golfing.

Comment crufty calculator? (Score 3, Interesting) 426

from the link: "using 30-year-old or older machines."
from the fine article: "First released in 1981; discontinued in 1994 using 30-year-old or older machines."

I recently (three weekends ago) fired up my Commodore PET 2001 (a *genuine* pre-1980 computer) and have been writing a Forth for it. It's really a lot of fun, and I'm finding that 30 years experience in various high-level languages has improved my "6502 assembler golf" game a lot. It's very incomplete, but the inner interpreter mostly works. Feel free to throw down on it here



'Retro Programming' Teaches Using 1980s Machines 426

Death Metal Maniac writes "A few lucky British students are taking a computing class at the National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park using 30-year-old or older machines. From the article: '"The computing A-level is about how computers work and if you ask anyone how it works they will not be able to tell you," said Doug Abrams, an ICT teacher from Ousedale School in Newport Pagnell, who was one of the first to use the machines in lessons. For Mr Abrams the old machines have two cardinal virtues; their sluggishness and the direct connection they have with the user. "Modern computers go too fast," said Mr Abrams. "You can see the instructions happening for real with these machines. They need to have that understanding for the A-level."'"

Half of US Patents Issued Out of US For Second Year 90

netbuzz writes "According to a new report from IFI Patent Intelligence, 51% of patents issued by the United States in 2009 went to companies located overseas. While this marks the second consecutive year that a majority of US patents have landed abroad, an author of the report says: 'It's foolhardy to use this statistic to infer that American firms are losing ground to foreign competitors because with patents, it's important to consider quality, as well as quantity.' IBM was once again granted the most patents of any company, 4,914, followed by Samsung and Microsoft."

Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.

Google CEO Says Privacy Worries Are For Wrongdoers 671

bonch writes "In a surprising statement to CNBC, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporter Maria Bartiromo, 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.' This will only fuel concerns about Google's behavior as it becomes an ever more powerful gatekeeper of information; though Google says it is aware of these concerns and has taken steps to be transparent to users about the information that is stored."

Licensed C64 Emulator Rejected From App Store 277

Miasik.Net writes "A fully licensed Commodore 64 iPhone emulator has been rejected from the App Store. The excuse Apple used is a clause in the SDK agreement which doesn't allow for applications that run executable code. It seems Sega is exempt from that clause, because some of its games on the iPhone are emulators running original ROM code."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Perhaps the most diturbing use for human remains (scriptkiddie.info)

tecknoh writes: Ok, so a friend of mine sent me a link he thought may give me a chuckle. Perhaps the most disturbing use ever created for human and animal remains. The jist is this:

A website called http://www.InkAfterLife.Com is offering one of the most disturbing services I have ever seen. You can send in cremated remains of a loved one or pet. They will then create a "custom ink formulation" and create a "beautiful memorial photo using that blended ink." So, good ole Dad could hang around on your living room wall keeping an eye on you, literally!

I am not sure what is worse. The fact that someone thought to do this for a living, or the thought that there is enough of a demand for this service that someone was able to create the business. Whats next, Tattoos after life?

Hardware Hacking

Submission + - ICE cracks down on mod chips (ice.gov) 1

rifter writes: Today US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) led a massive raid over 16 states in order to arrest people who were allegedly engaged in the importation, installation, sale, and distribution of mod chips and swap discs for Sony's Playstation 2, Microsoft's XBOX and XBOX 360, and Nintendo's Wii.

I did not find a link to the CNN story but the talking heads there were claiming that just having or installing a mod chip was a felony punishable by 5 years in jail and a $500,000 fine, presumably due to the claim that these activities violate the DMCA, as stated on ICE's site. The best news of all is that there is more to come. ICE says this is part of an expanding program of IP enforcement. As they say:

"Illicit devices like the ones targeted today are created with one purpose in mind, subverting copyright protections," said Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "These crimes cost legitimate businesses billions of dollars annually and facilitate multiple other layers of criminality, such as smuggling, software piracy and money laundering."

Obviously the many legitimate reasons for using the MOD chips (backups, foreign titles, etc.) are ignored here. So remember, kids, when you mod your Xbox the terrorists win! I guess it's a good thing for the US arm of Hezbollah they focus on fake Viagra and cigarettes. Dealing in modchips might get them caught more often.

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