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An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Aaden42 Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (341 comments)

One supermarket chain around Albany, NY tried implementing the single line system about a year ago. It only lasted a few months before they reverted.

At least at the grocery store, people disliked feeling corralled like cattle more than they dislike waiting slightly longer in a less efficient line. Might have been the way it was implemented, honestly. It had a rather frenetic feel to it, with the line “leader” guiding people to one of the actual registers with quite a bit of urgency and insistence. I’d guess there was probably some misguided, management-imposed, career-limiting metric system associated with the process such that the employee ultimately paid the price if customers dawdled and brought the throughput numbers down. That translated to a rather jarring mood to the whole thing.

5 days ago
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BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer

Aaden42 Re:Traffic Shaper? (429 comments)

I handle waiting rooms with crappy coffee & crappy wifi the same way: I bring the former in my own cup and the latter on my own phone w/ tethering enabled if I need it.

Sometimes you have to spend a little more money to have nice things, but it’s often worth it.

Oh? Any crappy wifi AND poor cell service in the same place? I’ve literally changed doctors for that before.

about two weeks ago
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BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer

Aaden42 Re:It's okay when I do it... (429 comments)

It’s not arbitrary if whatever terms of service your customers “agreed” to forbid them from doing what you’re cutting off. The grey area with Bittorrent is pretty much every residential broadband “agreement” forbids copyright infringement, but for all you know, I might be downloading the latest ISO of Ubuntu and not infringing anything.

Note: “Agreement” because there’s not exactly a meeting of the minds when they’re the only game in town and your choices are accept their terms unilaterally or invest in carrier pidgins...

about two weeks ago
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BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer

Aaden42 Re:It's okay when I do it... (429 comments)

The name of the game is, “Monopoly.” It changes many things, regulatorily speaking.

about two weeks ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Aaden42 Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (547 comments)

Honestly, a lot of what you complained about actually turns out to be strengths of whitespace dependent syntax. You don’t have “every line’s a diff” problems since there’s no reformatting. Tools don’t touch the whitespace, so everyone needs to get along. Whitespace within a single file is consistent because if it’s not, it doesn’t work.

But that’s about it for the advantages... I’ll expand on the main disadvantage you mentioned because it deserves repeating:

When mixing tabs and spaces, most traditional editors will render two semantically different pieces of Python code with a pixel-identical display that programmers can stare at all day and not realize what’s going on. Short of enabling “control codes” mode or similar, there’s no visual indication of what’s wrong. I hurts my head to think about how many person-years of developer hair pulling and teeth gnashing must have been burned by this.

Granted most Python-specific editors tend to draw in left-gutters or color highlight the levels of hierarchy to represent the blocks which helps with this. But if I wanted to use an IDE-bound language, I’d pick up PowerBuilder or something... The greatest strength of plain-old-text based source code gets lost when you NEED to use a language-aware editor to be able to see functional differences in a piece of code.

I know one thing: If I had the misfortune to have to work in Python, our revision control server would have a pre-commit hook to reject any *.py which contained any ASCII 0x09 characters. No tabs at this establishment, buddy!

about two weeks ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Aaden42 Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (547 comments)

That’s completely not what duck typing is.

interface Duck {
    String quack();
}

class Mallard implements Duck {
    String quack() {
        return “no”;
    }
}

class Mythbuster {
    String quack() {
        return “Damn you”;
    }
}

In a duck-typed language, any method which worked when passed an instance of Mallard would also work when passed an instance of Mythbuster. I’m not aware of any language which has an interface structure like the above where that would compile successfully without an explicit cast. And at that point, you’re punching the duck, so all bets are off.

about two weeks ago
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Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

Aaden42 Re:So what you're telling me (146 comments)

Most schemes that encipher data with multiple keys make it obvious upon examining the output ciphertext or encrypted session key blocks that the data has been enciphered with more than one key.

With symmetric key algorithms like AES, it’s not possible to encrypt the data with two keys and have it decryptable by only one of them. The exact same key must be used on both ends, and leaking that key would be obvious.

Symmetric ciphers are often used with a session key that’s wrapped by an asymmetric cipher allowing Alice to encrypt something that only Bob can read. The encrypted session key is transmitted along the ciphertext that’s encrypted with the session key. To decrypt, Bob decrypts the key block with his private key to retrieve the session key, then decrypts the symmetric cipher text with the session key. If a message is encrypted to multiple keys, each key creates a separate encrypted session key block. If a message is encrypted to a back door key, the key block is bigger by the length of a key. It’s trivial to examine the output and determine what’s going on.

about three weeks ago
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Marriott Fined $600,000 For Jamming Guest Hotspots

Aaden42 Re:$600,000 is peanuts (278 comments)

Okay, but if $600k is a rounding error to Marriott, then it’s not even a phantom bit flip on the LSB of a double to the US Federal government. This wasn’t a profit making exercise.

about three weeks ago
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User Error Is the Primary Weak Point In Tor

Aaden42 Not just Tor (70 comments)

s/Tor/Security Technology/g

Tor, encryption, any kind of tunneling... Basically any kind of security or privacy enhancing technology is one wrong move away from breaking. Check your Facebook on the Tor connection? Oops... Type your disk encryption key into the wrong window? Oops... Etc.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

Aaden42 Re: Why isn't this auto-update? (174 comments)

Dirty little secret: OS X is held together with something that smells disturbingly like systemd...

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

Aaden42 Re:Why isn't this auto-update? (174 comments)

It’s really not a gamble for the majority of their customers. Default install ships with neither SSH, nor Apache, nor anything else that could possibly route network input to a copy of Bash enabled by default (both OpenSSH & Apache are included, just turned off). To be expoitable would require manually enabling Apache, then manually editing httpd.conf to enable some kind of CGI binding (none enabled in default shipped config file).

The number of their customers who were actually vulnerable to this is probably single digit percentages. I’m glad to have the patch available, but none of the dozen or so Apple machines I’m responsible for at home or work were actually configured such that they were vulnerable to this.

about three weeks ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Aaden42 Re:Beyond the law? (354 comments)

You misread that. The comma is important. “nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” is the relevant part to encryption. “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” is separate from that. The second clause has to do with warrants, but the first clause is not qualified by the second. IE not even a warrant can compel you to be witness against yourself. Nothing (legally) can compel you to do so.

The source of argument with regard to encryption keys is whether revealing the key is being a witness against yourself or if it’s the same as turning over the key to a physical lock. US courts were conflicted on that, but especially after the recent SCOTUS decision that warrantless searches of cell phones aren’t acceptable, it seems the tide is turning and compelled disclosure of an encryption key is going to be considered compelled testimony. The basis of the cell phone decision was that as use of cell phones and other personal technology has evolved, people have begun to store data on them of a far more personal and private nature than what would be stored in a safe or a lock box. The expectation of privacy that the common person has for those devices is quite high, and thus it’s proper to require LEO to seek a warrant when they feel it necessary to invade that privacy. Similarly, revealing an encryption key is seen to be a much more profound invasion of an individual’s privacy than simply handing over the key to a lock or combination to a physical safe. The analogy to a private code written in notebooks is also on point. You could never be compelled to translate your private papers to aid the police, and I see no reason that providing an encryption key to “translate” the encrypted data should be any difference just because there’s a machine involved in the process.

Assuming that continues to be the case, then no warrant can legally compel you to aid in your own prosecution. The warrant can take the phone away from you for searching in the first place, but nothing can force you to aid in conducting the search. If they can break in, they get it. If not, oh well.

about a month ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Aaden42 Re:Maybe if they didn't abuse (354 comments)

Amen!

Obama has had ample opportunity where bad policies of the previous administration have been brought to light and rather than fix them, he’s repeatedly reaffirmed the bad acts by his predecessors. The buck stops at this desk, ultimately. He gets a tiny little bit of a pass if he could claim he didn’t know about abuses of privacy, but as soon as they’re front page news and he lets them keep going, I don’t care who started it. Obama owns it.

about a month ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Aaden42 Re:Rich like the Twinkie Filling (354 comments)

After all, if you’ve managed to go through your whole life without doing something suspicious enough to get on the watch lists, that’s pretty suspicious all by itself...

Mr. Orwell, please come to the view screen.

about a month ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

Aaden42 Re:It's the bank's car (907 comments)

I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that $389 payment was on an 8+ year old car. “No credit / bad credit” used car stealerships tend to inflate the prices of the crap they’re selling by a significant margin. They depend on customers too ignorant and/or financially desperate to realize they’re paying double or more the fair market price or who have no other options that they can “afford”. Add a nice high “bad credit” interest rate on top of that, and it’s a pretty lucrative business to be in, assuming you have no remorse for taking advantage of people.

about 1 month ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

Aaden42 Re:Compared to Azure (94 comments)

Be sure to thank Microsoft for teaching you the value of robust error checking. Assume any other host you need to talk to was nuked from orbit five seconds ago. Write your code to bounce back from that to the degree possible.

At the very least, DB *connections* should be assumed to have evaporated since the last time you accessed them. Use some sort of pooling library that can deal with that transparently if you like, or just catch & retry if necessary.

Seriously though, sounds like the environments you’ve worked in have been simple enough with low enough transaction volume that you got lucky & everything just worked. DB & app server on the same box maybe? Dealing with temporarily unavailable external hosts is just part of writing multi-tier code.

about 1 month ago
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Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Aaden42 Re:complete sensationalist bullshit (294 comments)

Unless you’ve counted every single calorie & macronutrient in and compared them to times you’ve been balanced versus imbalanced, I frankly don’t believe you that you’ve seen large swings in weight while eating the same number and makeup of calories.

I definitely agree with the imbalance aspect. There are days when I’m low on protein or for whatever reason really craving some carbs at the time or needing potassium or something. I’ll eat everything in sight and still not be satisfied until I find the one thing that I needed, then I’m good. I’ve been getting better at consciously recognizing that “EAT ALL THE THINGS!” mode and either recognizing that a particular “off” feeling equates to a particular nutritional need or else just nibbling a little of the common triggers to see what makes me start to feel better.

Bottom line though is that when you’re not eating the nutrients your body needs, you just feel starved and eat waaaay more calories until you satisfy whatever the nutrient need was. It’s really easy to not notice that you’re eating way more calories since they tend to be snacks rather than meals, but it adds up in a hurry.

I’d be willing to bet that’s what caused you to gain weight when doing the veg thing. You were eating more calories than you realized trying to meet (or is that meat?...) whatever deficiency your body was feeling. And ESPECIALLY going veg, you’re inevitably going to fill up on sugars and starches. Compared to eating more of your same-number of calories from proteins and fats, just about everyone would gain weight eating the same number of calories in mostly carbs.

about a month ago
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The Minecraft Parent

Aaden42 Re:Is minecraft really 'creative'? (174 comments)

the game doesn’t have much going on it unless you make something happen

But... But...... Then children might learn that they can make their own entertainment without needing to pay Hollywood to imagine it for them! You monsters! What are you doing to our children???!!!!

=)

Of all the things my 14 year old could have gotten hooked on, Minecraft doesn’t even register in the “lesser of evils” category. A little moderation is a good thing, but compared to having his brain rot in front of the TV, I’ll take Minecraft any day. He’s imagining & implementing the things he imagines, and he’s communicating and cooperating with his peers. Most of them are even in our geographical area and/or in his school which puts his online social interactions a good bit better than my own at his age where my closet emotional connections were to people I’ve never seen who lived on the other side of the country.

And as far as TFS’ assertion that, “Setting a child free on the Internet is a failure to cordon off the world and its dangers,” may I just say, “Fuck you!” I’ve never once felt the need to shield my son from reality. We’ve talked to him throughout his life about the fact that there are bad people and that there are things you should never do online because they could put you at risk in the real world (sharing personal information, arranging to meet people, etc.). I think my son is a much better adjusted young human being for the trust and faith that we’ve shown that we have in him. Teaching, guidance, and trust are much better tools than surveillance and censorship. It’s the same approach that my parents took with me (admittedly more out of ignorance of what the Internet was at the time on their part). It worked out alright for me, and my son has never done anything to make me regret taking the same approach with him.

about a month ago

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