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Comment Crazy claims in summary (Score 4, Informative) 104

...it's easy to see why: in these paranoid times, with the NSA allegedly sniffing around the world's collective inbox, and lots of software on the market designed to snoop into people's lives, it's comforting to have an app that'll vaporize your messages within seconds of their opening

So, Snapchat's wild success is from people paranoid of the NSA who use it to send messages, even though multiple stories have appeared about how Snapchat messages can be saved without the sender's knowledge, and Snapchat's own website lists conditions under which messages will be preserved. Riiiiight.

...it doesn't store user information on its servers

Even assuming it doesn't store images (which it does, see above), to use the application, you connect with people as in any other social networking application. This is definitely "user information," and this metadata (some might even call it data) has value.

Comment Re:As a developer I'd like to know ... (Score 1) 243

So, what do people think. Are one time notifications regarding common mistakes acceptable?

Notifications from a calculator app? No, I wouldn't find them acceptable, ever. Why not just pop up a "Did you know?" screen when they start up the app? Limit it to once a day, and be sure to include a "Don't show me these tips anymore" button. They've started the application, therefore they're more likely to pay attention to what you're saying than if you broadside them with a notification.

Comment Re:They don't. (Score 1) 295

There are plenty of software documentation sets, tutorials, etc, like this one (selected at random), that have Step 0, Step 1, etc. I think it's an attempt to be clever, in that offsets start with zero, and this is documentation about computer stuff, being read by developers. But items in a list, intended to be read by humans, shouldn't be represented by offsets, but numbered with counting numbers, that is, starting at 1.

Comment Re:No trust without source (Score 5, Informative) 233

It's not open source.

Not open source? The source is available for download here.

You can't compile it yourself. You have no idea what is in the source.

You certainly can compile it yourself; I built it on my old Linux iBook G4 (PowerPC), since there were no binaries available for that platform. As has been discussed above, it does have a weird license, but it is absolutely open source.

Submission + - Trolling LinkedIn for spooks! (techdirt.com)

pegr writes: Over at TechDirt, we learn that, apparently, the rules of OpSec do not apply to LinkedIn. Using your favorite NSA spying project codename, search LinkedIn for analysts with specific experience with that project! The bonus is that you may very well learn the codenames of more projects. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Oh, and if the person you find didn't share their contact list, LinkedIn will help you find more by showing you "those that viewed this profile also viewed these:" Say what you will regarding the recent NSA revelations, but shouldn't there be a policy with regard to exposing intelligence projects and personnel on public forums? Do we really need to make it this easy for counter-intel of opposing nations?

Comment Summary? (Score 4, Insightful) 53

I don't understand the expression of surprise in the first part of the summary. The "cafes" referred to are set up specifically to skirt the state gambling laws by taking advantage of the "sweepstakes" loophole. They make it appear that you're playing video poker, roulette, etc. but you're really just revealing your sweepstakes winnings, which were predetermined when you bought into the game. Bloomberg Businessweek had an interesting article on these things a few years ago.

... rather than at conventional Internet cafes.

I'm not sure what "conventional Internet cafes" refers to. The idea of the "Internet cafe" as a place where people go to buy time on the Internet died shortly after it was born in the late 90's. You can still go to Starbucks, Panera, etc. and use the Internet there; this bill isn't aimed at that. This is not a big deal.

Comment Re:What the book is about (Score 1) 115

Indeed, judging from the introduction, it appears to be a questioning of the pre-canned "solutionism" that the author perceives to be prevalent in today's Internet environment. Apparently, the "review" presented here is based on a single chapter or section of the actual book, and even then, it appears to be more a exhaustive listing of the reviewer's opinion of various websites than any kind of review or critique of the book.

Comment Re:Nothing new here.. (Score 4, Interesting) 268

On the C-64 version of Ultima IV, you could flip the floppy disc upside down and then move your character until the next portion of the map was loaded. It read data directly off the disc with no validation, because the map squares then had all kinds of random items on them, a good number of which were treasure chests. As soon as you got enough gold, you just flipped the disc back over and played normally.

Comment Re:Journey from Slackware to Kubunto (Score 1) 867

Almost the same: Slackware (floppies) -> RedHat -> Gentoo -> Xubuntu

And my reasons for moving:

  • Slackware -> RedHat: RedHat worked out-of-the-box at the time I needed it; no manual Modeline configurations needed to get X running.
  • RedHat -> Gentoo: I needed the flexibility of Gentoo to run on multiple architectures (SPARC, PowerPC)
  • Gentoo -> Xubuntu: Eventually, I got tired of having to manage every detail of the software configuration, not to mention waiting for compiles to complete. I just wanted to get stuff done.

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