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Comment Re: Gamers still have interest in desktops (Score 1) 122

I am a developer also... except I use Linux and multiple workspaces.

Yeah, Windows 10 has them too. Its a pretty good implementation, and I use it.

(I've also used them in Linux and OSX too but obviously not with Visual Studio dev work.)

It's like having as many monitors as I like, but without the neck pain.

No its really not. It's a really nice feature, but its a poor substitute for having actual monitors side by side.

(And there's no reason you can't use both; you can have multiple workspaces with multiple monitors -- I have yet to see a perfect implementation that does exactly what I want; although most are quite usable)

Comment Re:Science (Score 1) 77

... and "one cycle per second of error".

I.e. if your clocks are good for one part per million you have a tiny fraction of a millisecond before your pattern comes apart.

Their trick is to resynchronize at the start of every packet, to a reference transmitted by one of the transmitters, so they can get the packet squirted out (or received) while the pattern still holds together, rather than trying to keep the radios in sync constantly despite not being able to wire them together.

Comment Re:Science (Score 1) 77

They already did this. It is called MIMO.

We all understand that.

What you're missing is that:
  - MIMO works better, over longer distances, when the antennas are more separated. The more the separation, the greater the distance, for a given accuracy of phase.
  - But it also requires the radios to be synchronized to within a tiny fraction of a single cycle, so the patterns add up correctly. At 2.5 GHz an entire cycle is one quarter part per BILLION and MIMO reqires more than an order of magnitude better accuracy than that.

When the radios are all in one box, that's easy: You drive them from the same oscillators, and watch your wiring and components.

When they're in different boxes, separated by hundreds of feet or by miles, it's a whole different can of worms. VERY fancy equipment to generate VERY stable signals, extra stuff to estimate their drift (which varies from moment to moment), and it's still a massive pain. You don't get that kind of synchronization between boxes, even in a house, when they're connected by inexpensive commodity cabling.

What these guys did is tweak the protocol to add a tiny synchronizing burst from the designated master transmitter just before each packet. Combined with estimates of the moment-by-moment ongoing drift (computed from reception of the synchronizing bursts from previous packets) they were able to get current commodity-quality hardware to stay adequately synchronized to hold the pattern together for at least the duration of the packet. (I'm betting they can do the same sort of thing with the receivers, too, working off the sync burst from the master transmitter.)

The result is being able to do MIMO with radio/antenna assemblies in different, disconnected, well-separated, boxes, using only packet-quality interconnects and doing synchronization via a small bit of air bandwidth.

That got MIMO over a major hump, in equipment cost, antenna separation, and utility.

Comment Re:Solution: Buy legislators. All of them. (Score 1) 186

You cherry pick the bad ones.

Well, I cherry picked the high end devices, yes -- because they were sold claiming the feature sets that were compelling. Now, the fact that those feature sets were incomplete, and/or buggy, and/or mischaracterized... that's something I didn't pick. But it's been very consistent, and the higher end the device, the more consistent it's been.

It just sounds like you do business with shitty companies.

Well, Canon for the camera. Marantz for the pre-pro. Kenwood for the radio. I totally agree they are shitty companies. And they won't be getting any more of my money. It's not like I can't learn.

The bottom line is, these devices have, and were sold trumpeting, the mechanisms that would allow them to be fixed and/or improved. They aren't fixed, and they surely aren't improved in any significant way. I'm just reporting it, and drawing a general (and accurate) conclusion about considering "network upgradable" to be anything more than marketing hype.

You don't like what I'm saying, okay, more power to you. I'm still saying it, though. And I'm still right, so there's that. :)

Comment Re:Standard protocol (Score 1) 76

Considering that the entire selling point behind Signal is that it's supposed to be resistant to "an adversary like the NSA," I would think their ability to trivially associate a key with a real person would kind of turn that on its head.

Any global passive adversary can do traffic analysis on any communication network. Signal's message encryption should stand up against the NSA unless there are any vulnerabilities in the implementation that the NSA has found and not told anyone about or unless they have some magical decryption power that we don't know about (unlikely). Protection of metadata is much harder. If you connect to the Signal server and they can watch your network traffic and that of other Signal users, then they can infer who you are talking to. If they can send men with lawyers, guns, or money around to OWS then they can coerce them into recording when your client connects and from what IP, even without this.

In contrast, Tox uses a DHT, which makes some kinds of interception easier and others harder. There's no central repository mapping between Tox IDs and other identifiable information, but when you push anything to the DHT that's signed with your public key then it identifies your endpoint so a global passive adversary can use this to track you (Tox over Tor, in theory, protects you against this, but in practice there are so few people doing this that it's probably trivial to track).

No system is completely secure, but my personal thread model doesn't include the NSA taking an active interest in me - if they did that then there are probably a few hundred bugs in the operating systems and other programs that I use that they could exploit to compromise the endpoint, without bothering to attack the protocol. I'd like to be relatively secure against bulk data collection though - I don't want any intelligence or law enforcement agency to be able intercept communications unless at least one participant is actively under suspicion, because if you allow that you end up with something like Hoover's FBI or the Stazi..

Comment Re:Luddites, beware! (Score 2) 43

Currently, lorry drivers have to take statutory breaks. In the EU, they can only drive for 4.5 hours before having to take a 45-minute break. They can also only drive 9 hours per day. If you have a self-driving lorry that's only good enough for motorways (predictable traffic, well-marked lanes) and the driver can be out of the driving seat resting (even sleeping) then the vehicle can drive itself for 20 hours a day and the driver can be a passenger except when it approaches built-up areas. That would dramatically reduce the number of drivers that you'd need for a haulage fleet.

Comment Re:Standard protocol (Score 1) 76

Signal is probably secure, but all communication goes via OpenWhisperSystems' servers, as does registration (which ties your identity to your account). They can't be forced to MITM your connections (probably - unless someone finds a vulnerability in the protocol), but they can unilaterally delete your account and they can be coerced into doing so. In contrast, Tox is completely decentralised (no central servers, it's a pure peer-to-peer network). Your identity is just a public key, so the only people who can identify you on the network are people that you have told your public key to through some out-of-band mechanism (or people who can view enough of the network that they can associate a public key with something else - i.e. an adversary like the NSA).

Comment Re: The anti-science sure is odd. (Score 2) 446

It's why we had a change in language from global warming to climate change

We had the change from global warming to climate change because idiots kept ignoring the 'global' part and saying things like 'this summer is rubbish, so much for global warming!'. The weather is a complex chaotic system. Global warming means that the total amount of energy in this system is increasing. This is very simple to understand - more energy is arriving from the Sun than is being radiated into space, by quite a large amount. This is trivially measurable by pointing an infrared camera at the night side of the Earth from space (which NASA does).

The effects of this are more difficult to communicate, because they're not the same everywhere. Adding more energy to the air and water in the middle of the Atlantic, for example, is likely to cause more hurricanes to form, but it may also disrupt the gulf stream and lead to significantly colder weather for a lot of places.

In the 1600s the Thames used to freeze over so that you could safely walk from one side to the other

You mean right at the height of the Little Ice Age?

If that were to happen now climate 'scientists' would be up in arms.

If it were to happen now, then it would not be part of a prolonged cooling trend that had been going on for around 200 years at that point and was just reaching its peak, before starting to warm again. The global temperature then passed the peak of the previous warm period (the Medieval Warm Period) in the last century and kept climbing. But you knew all of that, right?

Comment Re:Surprise? (Score 2) 76

Yes, probably a lot of people. Before it was purchased, WhatsApp had a very strong privacy guarantee and made a marketing point of the fact that their protocol's end-to-end encryption meant that they couldn't spy on you even if they wanted to. When Facebook bought them, they announced that there would be no changes to this guarantee.

Comment Re:"Some" data? (Score 2) 76

It was always a stupid-sounding idea to use Whatsapp (I mean that as a totally independent fact, relative to whether or not Whatsapp was actually any good or not). From the very beginning, it was just someone's proprietary app that used an undocumented protocol. Nobody who is trying to do things right, is going to use anything like that.

Of the proprietary messengers, WhatsApp was the least bad. It was founded by people who grew up in the Soviet Union and left with an abiding hatred of surveillance, had a very strong privacy policy, and did end-to-end encryption. Also, using Erlang on FreeBSD, it had a lot of geek cred. Unfortunately, when Facebook bought it there wasn't much chance of it keeping the philosophy of the founders. On the plus side, they did donate $1m from the sale price to the FreeBSD Foundation.

I used to be a big advocate of XMPP, but it's largely been mismanaged into the ground by a lack of leadership in the standards body and a lack of decent reference implementations for the client side. Tox seems like the best bet at the moment for producing something that is both secure and open, yet with implementations that you can give to normal humans and get them connected.

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