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Comment Re:In time it will be better. (Score 1) 427

Last October, I spent some time in the US again and I noticed the few places that had started using chip readers had a person standing by to help people. They seemed a bit surprised when I just inserted my card and typed my pin code in a few seconds. :D They didn't even finish their line about being sorry about me having to remember the pin code.

That's interesting - the US uses signature instead of PIN, so I don't know why someone would be apologizing for having to remember one.

Comment Re:Ungrandfathering (Score 2) 460

Being 'grandfathered in' to something generally means old rules continue to apply to you after a rule change. In the case of Netflix the price hike actually occurred two years ago. Any new members after July 2014 are already paying $9.99 a month for the regular package. However, they didn't increase the price for existing members (presumably to avoid a lot of people leaving). These people who kept the old price were 'grandfathered in' to their old price planning meaning they continued to pay $7.99 even though new members paid $9.99.

Ungrandfathering isn't a term I've seen before, but essentially it means time's up, grandfathering is ending. People who were grandfathered into the old price because they were existing members will start paying the increased price now.

Comment Use the right tool for the job (Score 1) 331

This is a somewhat silly question. Programming languages are tools and you use the right tool for the job. How often does a carpenter grab a different tool out of his toolbox? As often as he needs it. Your first paragraph gets to the point. If you're programming a particular target, then there's probably one or two tools best suited for it. Use that one!

Using the head of a screw drive to drive a nail might work, but why would someone do that when there's a hammer?

Comment Re:Not making any sense to me (Score 1) 299

Photons don't cancel each other out. A point of destructive interference in the EM field is a place where photons are not physically present, not a place where they met and ceased to exist. Where do the photons go? They go to points of constructive interference.

Interference just causes the photons to be somewhere else: points of constructive interference, not oblivion. I was going to type up the double slit experiment but someone beat me to it. Their explanation is correct.

Simply put the article is nonsense. Photons can't travel in destructively interfering pairs because they never exist at points of destructive interference in the first place.

Comment Re:If this is correct it should be easy to check (Score 5, Informative) 299

That's not how destructive interference works in the EM field. The photons at a point of destructive interference are diverted to area of constructive interference. They don't continue on as an unobservable photon pair. A point of destructive interference in a wave means the photons aren't there. In terms of the wave equation it means the probability of finding a photon at that location is 0. That's not because photons masking each other, it's because physically they are never present at that point.

Comment Re: Must be a first for slashdot RTFA skimmed summ (Score 4, Interesting) 299

The author of that paper clearly does not understand how constructive and destructive interference work in the EM field. He's correct that the photons do not simply disappear when there is destructive interference, however they are diverted to areas of constructive interference and this would not allow them to leave the cavity of the device if they otherwise couldn't.

What they wrote in the paper may sound good to someone who has a passing knowledge of EM fields and constructive/destructive interference in waves, but to someone who understands this more clearly it makes about as much sense as asking a mechanic to change your blinker fluid.

Comment Re: Republicans hate the Internet and want to kill (Score 2) 280

I'm not aware of this particular executive order, but no governing body is capable of enacting something that it can't itself undo. Congress can create a law that undoes any previous law. A president can issue an executive order or policy that undoes any previous one, and the Supreme Court can issue an opinion that reverses any previous decision. The only way to prevent this would be a constitutional amendment that none of them can override. However, another constitutional amendment can just repeal a previous amendment.

So your premise is flawed from the beginning. Even if such an order exists, any future president could just undo it.

Comment Re: Suggestions anyone? (Score 4, Informative) 457

Nope, they've not been compensated. At least according to the court transcripts:

THE COURT: Look, your language doesn't invoke the All Writs Act, I get that, but in terms of the burden, first, you haven't challenged it and you still haven't explained why not. Second, you provided language for reasons I understand about consistency, but you also did not say anything about burdens beyond the immediate expense.
If you are saying we want to craft language that is going to say here's exactly what we have to do, you require, if I'm not mistaken -- I don't have the language in front of me. Do you require compensation?

MR. ZWILLINGER: No, we've never required compensation.

THE COURT: But you can, and you don't do anything about that.
I mean, the point is well taken that Apple is a pretty darn big company, maybe they don't care so much about the costs of these 70 things in the big picture. It just seems to me that there's a dog that didn't bark here.

MR. ZWILLINGER: I think the way to address this, Your Honor, is the following.
Right now, Apple is aware that customer data is under siege from a variety of different directions. Never has the privacy and security of customer data been as important as it is now. And, in fact, Apple built an operating system which is why we're only talking here about IOS 7 systems, operating systems IOS 8 and IOS 9, that puts Apple in a position where it cannot do this, that is, going forward with 390 percent of the devices involved, Apple cannot perform these services. So, Apple has taken itself out of the middle of being in a position where it can be used as an attack vector or in any way to compromise the security and privacy of customer devices.
So, when the court asks Apple today does the All Writs Act provide authority to force it to do this, Apple says no, it does not, because what we are being forced to do is expert forensic services, we're being forced to become an agent of law enforcement and we cannot be forced to do that with our old devices or with our new devices.

The 390 percent thing is weird, but that's what's in the transcript.

Full Transcript:

Comment Re: Suggestions anyone? (Score 5, Informative) 457

The bold face lie by the FBI wouldn't be for no reason. The discussion around this case has largely been around privacy, encryption and what the government should have access to. But there's a much bigger issue in play that hasn't gotten a lot of coverage.

There's no law that says Apple must provide decryption of the phone. And since they're not in possession of the data (it's on the phone), they're not required to hand it over based on a warrant as they would be under the Telecommunications act. So what to do?

Enter the All Writs Act of 1789. Basically it says courts can issue writs (judicial orders) for anything necessary within their jurisdiction. This is what was being used to order Apple to develop a version of iOS that would not erase the phone no matter how many PINs were typed in, effectively allowing the bypassing of the encryption.

Now the All Wits Act hasn't been used that way historically. And there's a huge question as to whether you can order a company or a person to do work like that for free. Normally decrypting a phone would be a service the government would pay a contractor to do or have an in house capability for. Here there trying to compel an unwilling party to work for them for free.

It's a fair bet that's unconstitutional. (4th amendment). The government has used the All Writs Act a couple times this way in the past few years in relation to mobile devices. It's pretty clear they don't want that shaky legal ground tested in the Supreme Court with public opinion against them.

Comment Re: Suggestions anyone? (Score 5, Informative) 457

Public opinion and some big players were lined up against them. The FBI was expecting everyone to turn on Apple as being unpatriotic when the case came to light. That didn't happen. I think they realized that this would likely end up in the Supreme Court and not go the way they want, barring them from future action. If they weren't able to break into the phone, this at least let's them back out cleanly while neither appearing to back off and not going down the road to the Supreme Court.

It's also possible they found a way into the phone that doesn't generalize, but provides the same way to back out without changing their position.

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