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Comment Re:And nothing of value was lost (Score 1) 183

It's the same here in the Denver area -- no coverage at the airport or in certain key corridors (like the Boulder Turnpike). Although speeds seem quite good the few times when I can get a strong signal. The WiMAX signal just happens to be excellent here at my home, the one place where I don't need it. ;)

Comment Re:files (Score 1) 106

I looked into this recently. It seems there are plenty of methods in XMPP for sending files in our modern mess of NATs. However, IM clients haven't necessarily kept up with the XMPP standards. The libpurple based clients (Pidgin, Adium, etc.) in particular seem to be stuck with the XMPP of several years ago. I've had better luck sending files with Psi, but that client is kind of clunky. Anyway, I suspect that file transfer is considered to be a solved problem from the point of view of the XMPP standard itself.

Comment Re:PGP? (Score 1) 445

This is an excellent question. I'd love to see this happen, but I think the obstacles boil down to the following:

  • People don't care.
  • People aren't going to do extra work or incur any additional inconvenience for extra security. (Unless they get burned, at which point they become true believers...)
  • Mail User Agent (MUA) vendors target the 98% of people who don't need security, don't want security, are oblivious to risks and think their mail is already secure, or think that governments and criminals will always magically be able to hack the encryption (thanks to Hollywood).
  • Effective use of encrypted mail for day-to-day use requires a network of enabled participants. Getting all your recipients to agree to use encrypted mail would be just as challenging as trying to get all your friends to switch to your preferred instant messaging service.
  • Providing real security is hard, and encouraging the use of encrypted mail without considering the considerable challenges of securing endpoints may provide a false sense of security. Until common operating systems become sufficiently secure, it's a hassle to find a safe place to store your keys, or a safe terminal from which to enter your passphrase.

These are not insurmountable challenges. I think over time we could could make this happen. It won't be easy or happen quickly, though.

Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 1) 211

Yeah, from what I can tell, this is a completely benign move to make a public-private partnership operate more effectively, and doesn't affect anyone except the volunteers. I'm as suspicious of the government as any of us, and I can see how the wording leads some people to think "Oh noes! Nightwatch!". If the FBI started asking InfraGard members to inform on their co-workers or used InfraGard to establish some sort of hiring favoritism, then we'd have reason to be worried. People working together to achieve a common goal is nothing to worry about, though. Let's save our energy for when the government is actually screwing us.

The problem is, with all the bureaucracy and legal requirements for proposing such information collection, it's hard for these government types to not come across as sounding vaguely sinister.

Comment Re:Everyone "counts" cards, or not? (Score 1) 597

I agree.

I'm actually offended by the notion that a mental process could be considered cheating in a game that is supposed to have at least some element of skill. It seems that most of the engineer-centric Slashdot crowd agrees. However, I have had people try to tell me that counting cards in your head is indeed cheating. I suspect that to much of the world outside of Slashdot, such mental exercises seem like mystical voodoo.

Comment Re:I live in Alabama (Score 1) 360

I lived in Birmingham back in '96. It always seemed to me that there were some forms of nature that were actually *more* dense in the big city than in the smaller rural towns -- like roaches. At least, in the corner of Southside that I lived in. It's sad to hear that downtown still becomes a ghost town after 5pm.

I got a kick out of your colorful description of nature constantly encroaching on man. I felt the same way when I was growing up in the South. Feel free to visit Colorado sometime; I've found it to be radically different. Being outside is actually enjoyable here.

Comment Re:What I learned from my TRS-80 MC-10 (Score 1) 159

My first computer was also an MC-10! (You, me, and maybe ten others, heh...) My realization came when I was typing in a text adventure game from the back of a book, and got the dreaded "out of memory" error. :)

I hear you about needing a new computer... the 5GB of memory in this Mac Pro starts feeling tight after running a few Firefox, Eclipse, and VMWare processes...

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"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer