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Comment Re:First claim that iMessage is encrypted end to e (Score 3, Informative) 116

This was the discussion on Slashdot: Here was Schneier's piece, noting concerns: I couldn't find the white paper you refer to on Apple's site, though there are references to it elsewhere. This article (with a dead link to the white paper) makes no mention of iMessage, though it does refer to other aspects of iOS security:

Comment First claim that iMessage is encrypted end to end (Score 1, Interesting) 116

What I find most interesting here is that this is the first time I've seen a claim that iMessage supports end to end encryption. It seems to me that the online consensus was that it probably didn't. Probably time for Apple to provide us a little more detail about how this works, especially if they want us to trust them with password synchronization through the new keychain.

Comment Not just power, heat too (Score 1) 235

A couple of years ago I bought a TV bench with solid front doors. It has adequate provision for cords, but nothing for heat. Similar benches from the 70s tend to have slots top and bottom, I don't know why many don't now. My solution was to install a 160mm case fan and run it with a 12V supply I had kicking around.

Comment Re:It's more complicated than you think (Score 1) 455

I think people tend to underestimate how well engineered cars are, and especially how well made individual parts need to be. As an example, my wife has a 2000 Cavalier. This is hardly the pinnacle of automotive engineering, but it's low milage and was a free hand-me-down from her parents. All the plastics on it are perfect. There's no yellowing, no cracking. Perfect. The door seals are fine. The hoses are fine. The CD player, which hadn't been used in a decade, works. Sure, it's been garaged and hasn't been driven all that much, but it's impressive that after 12 years everything still works as intended. In the garage, waiting to be taken out for recycling, is a monitor a couple of years older than the car. The case is yellowed. The feet have fallen off, leaving patches of adhesive on the bottom of the stand. The capacitors are failing and it's impossible to get it to hold a reasonable screen geometry. It's also relatively "low mileage" in that it hasn't see all that much use in the past ten years, but it's done. Cars are incredibly well engineered, even a POS like an old Cavalier, when compared to consumer electronics. Cost control is ruthless. In the case of the Cavalier, it was engineered to compete on value to make up for being built on the J-body platform that was already archaic in 2000, so cost control in the design was ruthless. As an example, the model with a trunk release on the remote leaves out the manual trunk release. Still, the materials it is made of are well tested and last much longer in much more severe service than do consumer electronics. People expect to drive a car for ten years, while most of us change phones and laptops every three to five years. This costs money and it's hard, so it's natural that car manufactures are conservative when it comes to in-car electronics.

Comment summary is incorrect (Score 4, Informative) 143

The Supreme Court decision requires a wiretap authorization, which is harder to get than a warrant. A warrant was always required and no one was arguing that it wasn't. Telus, for whatever reason, stores its text messages for some time. In this case the cops wanted to access these stored text messages as they were coming in. To work around the more difficult requirements of a wiretap authorization, they used a general warrant on the grounds that this was saved correspondence, not live communication. The majority of the Court didn't buy that argument, saying that this went against the purpose of the wiretap provisions, which is to protect interactive communication. What's interesting is that the majority didn't get tied up in the specifics of how the messages were handled and went with this purposive analysis.

Comment I'm a classroom technology skeptic. (Score 3, Informative) 372

I teach in the social sciences. Early on in my teaching career, ten or fifteen years ago, I was pretty gung ho on some of these systems, but over time I've become increasingly skeptical about them.

The reason is that using technology properly is hard, time consuming, and can detract from classroom teaching. A simple example: put up too many slides, and students concentrate on them and ignore what I'm saying. Put the whole lecture on those slides (and put them online) and students won't attend class. Students rightfully understand that there's no point attending unless there's something to be gained by doing so. Of course, what they miss is that skipping removes the important interactive component to learning that they get in the lecture setting, at least for small to mid-sized classes. Now, you can replicate some of that interactivity online. There are a lot of techniques: online discussion groups, student created wikis, that sort of thing. They work, although not as well as class discussion, in part because students can easily game whatever scheme you put into place to make them participate in a way that can't in class. They are also hugely time consuming to use. If I'm mandating using a discussion group, I or the TAs have to moderate it and keep track of participation quality. Moodle, the courseware package we use, can count participation events, but that tells you little about the quality of a student's participation. I think, for a fairly traditional lecture course or seminar the benefits of using courseware are comparatively small and the costs in my time and in TA time just too great to be worth it. I think there is an important place for it where you do away with the traditional lecture component, but I'm not willing to go that route, at least not yet.

I do use Moodle for online readings, communication with students, posting the syllabus and class slides, receiving assignments, and returning grades and comments. I also usually turn on the student forums, for those that like to use them. All of this is useful stuff, but it just replicates things that we could do using paper and bulletin boards. Heck, my powerpoint slides could just as well be presented using an overhead projector.

Comment Re:IPads for sure... (Score 2) 180

Let me also suggest Goodreader. Goodreader is a lot more than a document reader. It can access Dropbox or network servers and do simple syncing with network drives. I use it to keep my current documents folder synced to my iPhone so I can quickly look up a student's grade or check an old draft of one of my papers. For research files, I use DevonThink, which can sync the desktop version to an iPad client. It also incorporates a workable PDF reader. I can't remember whether it supports annotation, but it can send files to Goodreader if need be. This is such a common use case that I'm sure there are similar applications available for Android tablets, but I'm only familiar with the iOS ones. I'm also hopeful that Windows RT may be useful for this purpose. Since it has a full file manager and can connect to network shares, it could be a great document reader in an office environment. Time will tell there.

Comment Re:Registry Editor (Score 2) 471

I'm an iOS guy, and let me say that the lack of a file manager is the most irritating thing about using iOS. I understand why Apple designed it to keep application data in independent silos, but that's often something you've got to work around. What makes RT interesting by comparison to iOS is that you do have a full file manager, you can access network drives, and you can shuffle stuff around just as if you were on a desktop machine.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 172

I'm on 6/0.8 mbps for $35, which is adequate for streaming from a variety of sources at 720p, with a little headroom for checking your email or browsing. That's adequate for me, and I can get reasonably priced 25/7 service from my provider. The real issue isn't speed, it's bandwidth. I'm in Toronto, and most providers provide a cap of some sort. The caps provided by Bell and Rogers simply don't cut it if you do stream TV at HD resolutions reasonably often. I recently changed from Bell to Teksavvy to get more reasonable bandwidth caps (they also have an unlimited plan, which so far I haven't needed). My point is just that you have to shop for a plan that fits your use pattern, and as CubicleZombie says, for most purposes I and I suspect most of us simply don't need a very fast line. I do, however, expect to actually use the speed I do have.

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