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Canada Upholds Net Neutrality Rules In Wireless TV Case

Altrag Re:Wow (98 comments)

charging everyone less

bwahahaha best joke all day!


Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

Altrag Re:The solution is obvious (579 comments)

Yep. Exactly how Windows and Linux work, just with a much shorter cycle time. Try to get an official patch for Windows 98 or Redhat 6 and see how far you get.

It would be nice if the Android support phase were lengthened.. 12 or 18 isn't really long enough when the average phone replacement cycle is two years, and a quick Googling suggests that its even longer in other parts of the world. That means there's a hell of a lot of vulnerable devices in the world.

And I realize that Google doesn't have much say over what HTC/Samsung/whoever do. But there's things they could do to promote a better global atmosphere:
- Add a licensing requirement that derivatives must always be capable of being imaged back to the base OS install (well on a rooted phone at least.. this wouldn't be the place to restrict software lock-ins even if Google wanted to.) Losing the functionality of non-core features would be allowed as long as the base system runs (ie: if HTC adds a blood sugar monitor for example that isn't supported in the core OS, then it would be fine for that to just not work when the core OS image is installed -- as long as it doesn't prevent the core features from working.)
- Develop an extremely strict driver structure that can, with a high degree, guarantee that old devices will continue to work with new OS versions. Similar to how modern versions of Windows and Linux can still be made to run on absolutely ancient hardware (albeit slowly.)

The first point means a user could always (with rooting) revert to the core OS, and the second point means that they could always update that core OS to the latest version. They may lose functionality and it may run like a snail but they COULD do it whereas right now its a shot in the dark at best and an insta-brick at worst.

But it will likely take the kind of customer pushback that MS faced after XP to push Google into a more structured distribution model. And that in turn will likely require a high-profile, user-visible virus to come as a wake up call to the masses. Viruses that just take up a couple of cpu cycles but otherwise remain invisible tend to not be noticed by anyone outside of the tech community.

In the meantime, Cyanogenmod is the only real savior for older devices.

4 days ago

Omand Warns of "Ethically Worse" Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

Altrag Sweet (392 comments)

So.. if we don't let them spy on our digital communications all willy-nilly their threat is that they will.. have to do things the old fashioned way?

Unless warrantless home/business invasions become a thing, I would consider this to be exactly what we want (which after reading TFA is what they suggest as well.)

Of course, it wouldn't overly surprise me if he's suggesting warrantless home invasions.. but I suspect that would be a significantly harder political fight than warrantless wiretapping (and that's already pretty hard thanks to Snowden and others.)

Then again, even warranted home invasions could be troublesome if the whole "encryption=presumption of guilt" bullshit that's been bandied around (by the same people of course) actually takes hold.

4 days ago

European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Altrag Re:Why are they punishing the law abiding citizens (219 comments)

the same governments that provide universal health care

No. It may strike you as odd, but governments change over time. I have serious suspicions that universal health care was founded based on the kind of fear we're seeing dictate our laws these days. It seems that every law that comes out these days in every country amounts to "give police and/or governments as much power as we can squeeze in on the vague chance that it will be useful, and to hell with any sense of privacy."

And honestly, a lot of those laws would make great sense -- under one condition: That they're not going to be abused. Unfortunately that condition is 100% impossible to fulfill. And in fact its worse than that -- any law with the potential to be abused has a near-100% chance of being abused, and often sooner rather than later. And to really seal the deal, there's usually little to no oversight applied (not that oversight would completely stop abuse -- its still near-100% chance.. just hopefully a lot fewer individual incidents over the same time period.)

essential liberty

I consider presumption of innocence to be a fairly essential liberty in our world, and most of these privacy-invading measures tend to require presumption of guilt (particularly the dragnet-style warrantless data collection measures.)

Of course you can argue when exactly the presumption of guilt takes effect -- most of us consider the moment our data is gathered without our knowledge to be the moment that guilt is presumed.. but you could claim that presumption of guilt is only applied at the moment the data is reviewed, otherwise its just unknown bits that could be anything. That gets back to the potential for abuse though -- if its available, it WILL be abused.

about two weeks ago

Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

Altrag New encryption scheme (562 comments)

Step 1: Encrypt as usual.
Step 2: Bytes in the encrypted stream are used to index a known edition of a specific English dictionary.
Step 3: Replace I's and A's with 1's and 4's.

Your message is now indistinguishable from pen1s enl4rgement spam.

about two weeks ago

Canadian Anti-Piracy Firm Caught Infringing Copyright

Altrag Re:Same ole, same ole ... (61 comments)

I'm going to take some from column A.

It might be hard to prove a copyright infringement to the level needed for prosecution based only on an IP address and a file name, but copyright infringement is boneheaded easy to "detect" if you're sitting there watching when it happens (and doubly so when you're causing it to happen.) You don't even need to be a lawyer to realize that "derp copying something without permission is infringing the copyright."

The only times it would be even remotely questionable is if the work you're copy is close enough to expiring into the public domain and you're not sure exactly what date it will release on (given the perpetual retroactive extensions, differing laws in different countries, etc) or if you've got an agreement but its too vague (lots of "free for X type use" software has this problem for mid-sized companies -- for example does a 5 user license mean 5 installs? 5 simultaneous connections? A lot of licenses aren't always 100% clear on the boundary conditions. If you've only got one or two users its obvious that you're below 5. If you have 20 users its obvious you're above it. If you've got 6 users and its not something they use 100% of the time, then you may find yourself infringing for a few hours a week but not the rest of the time and probably don't even realize if/when its happening.)

But flat out copying articles from webpages without explicit permission or even attribution is almost certainly not a grey area, no matter how basic your understanding of the law.

about three weeks ago

Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

Altrag Re:Cat and mouse... (437 comments)

Well for this Netflix "piracy" (talk about stretching the definition.. These people are still paying for it just not in their home region,) you're probably right.

For more general piracy, its almost certainly the local stuff that gets pirated most since that's the stuff that will be known/popular locally. (That may well include huge international shows like Game of Thrones of course.. I'm referring more to being aired locally more than necessarily being produced locally.)

The great thing about this new "piracy" of course is that by cutting off the Netflix supply, which is being paid for in some fashion at least, people are just going to go back to torrents and such, which they're not paying for at all.

This isn't so much cat and mouse as the dog trying to chase two rabbits and ending up with neither of them.

about a month ago

Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

Altrag Re:Cat and mouse... (437 comments)

I'm sure that would produce absolutely no privacy issues or anything..

Not to mention -- how do you verify it? You can verify the IP address because that's the place you send packets back to (of course only one bounce worth, hence the VPN issue.)

But a physical address.. unless they want to start physically mailing shit to me to confirm the verification (at a significantly higher cost than a geo/ip check,) I can just punch in any old address I find (or hell make up, depending on how well they check things.. there are plenty of one-off accounts out there I've made claiming to be in 90210.)

about a month ago

New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Altrag Re:No you can't (249 comments)

Well, no, because they are now just in B reference frame.

Yes. You defined B as the universal reference time.

One hour later still, C would see the sign and think A is wrong, as it is clearly not 4 p.m. plus 2 hours, in C's local time.

Except presumably C would be smart enough to know that A is not in C's local time and would be able to say to themselves "Yep, it was 4pm in A's local time when A said it was 4pm."

Remember, you wouldn't have a "simple" transformation like saying C = B+1 as we do with timezones on Earth. Your transformation would be more along the lines of "C = L*B" for some Lorentz transformation L (or whatever appropriate equivalent if we need to involve full on GR.) And in that case, "C = L*L*A" would be the appropriate double transformation, not "C = 2*L*A".

about 3 months ago

Mathematical Proof That the Universe Could Come From Nothing

Altrag Re:Nothing? (429 comments)

It's one thing to say "it's too hard to find both position and velocity"

You can go ahead and stop right there. Its not just "too hard," its mathematically impossible with our current understanding of quantum mechanics.

That literally is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Which is not just some off-the-cuff remark about our inability to try. Its an actual formal theory with mathematics to back it up. And as far as anyone's been able to determine experimentally, the mathematics bear out in the real world (though our experiments -- even the LHC -- are still orders of magnitude too weak to fully confirm the HUP at the smallest scales we assume it operates. And we don't even have any generally accepted theories for what might be going on below that scale yet.)

about 3 months ago

Mathematical Proof That the Universe Could Come From Nothing

Altrag Re:Nothing? (429 comments)

Your first one is easy to answer intuitively -- A and B are moving at nearly the speed of light not at the speed of light. Enormously different, mathematically speaking.

If B is moving toward P at say, 0.99c and A is moving away from P at 0.99c, B would see P "approaching" at 0.99c but it would say A approaching at say 0.995c (for example.. I can't be bothered working out the real number.. but it would be something 0.99c<v<1.0c -- that is, faster than P's approach but still less than c.)

As for the second, I'm not particularly sure that either SR or GR actually imply any means to rotate the universe needs to exist -- they just say that *IF* you rotate it, the laws of physics wouldn't change.

Consider a simple flat object on a turntable. Assume you can rotate it 90 degrees using X units of energy. If you rotate it clockwise by 90 degrees, you will have used X units of energy. If you rotate it 270 degrees counterclockwise, it will be in the same final state but you will have used 3X units of energy to get there.

about 3 months ago

Ford Develops a Way To Monitor Police Driving

Altrag Re:I just got a message from the future! (151 comments)

I'm sorry, I don't know how that follows?

It was already presumed in the parent (which this was a reply to, if that wasn't obvious) that this surveillance exists.

So given that its there either way, do you really prefer that it only be used against you rather than for your benefit?

about 3 months ago

New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Altrag Re:But... (249 comments)

Where in the universe is it the "correct" time?

Wherever you decide it should be. The universe doesn't have any special reference frame so you just make one up. Similar to how somebody just arbitrarily picked a line of longitude to be GMT+0 back when they were figuring out time zones.

about 3 months ago

New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Altrag Re: Old saying (249 comments)

Yes but you can perform a transformation to translate from one reference frame to another, and while the universe may not give special meaning to any particular reference frame, there's nothing stopping us from doing so. So in theory you can define a "universal" time if you want.

Similar to choosing where to place the origin on a sheet of graph paper. It doesn't really matter where you put it (mathematically at least) but once its there you have a perfectly meaningful "universal" point of reference to use when describing the positions of other objects.

The trouble of course is computing the transformation parameters with enough accuracy to matter, which I'm assuming is implausible on our not-mathematically-perfect planet.

about 3 months ago

Ford Develops a Way To Monitor Police Driving

Altrag Re:I just got a message from the future! (151 comments)

Hopefully prior to that, you would have gotten a weekly (if not daily) warning on your cell phone that your taillight is out. That would remove ignorance of the issue as an excuse, and it would help people like me who legitimately don't notice shit like that 90% of the time. The only time I'd notice a taillight out is if I was reversing in near-darkness for some reason.

about 3 months ago

Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

Altrag Re:left/right apocalypse (495 comments)

I don't know why not.. I mean there should be lots of geologic-timescale events in the past few decades to compare.

And that's ignoring the fact that while the earth has certainly been hotter in the past, the speed of increase over the past 100-150 years is, as far as we know, entirely unprecedented.

So yeah. Should be simple to find examples of similar occurrences.

about 3 months ago

Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

Altrag Re:oooh GMO is to oscary u guys! (432 comments)

Tell that to the more than 50,000 veterans who are still suffering from Agent Orange exposure.

Yeah I realized I should have explicitly stated "in this context" after I hit the Submit button. Pretty much a guarantee that somebody on Slashdot will fill in between the lines when there's nothing there to be read. Obviously it matters to those directly affected by it.

My point was that in the greater context, the world has decided that its nasty shit that shouldn't be sprayed anymore and put the issue to rest. Which isn't to say we shouldn't be vigilant for the next horrific action that somebody pulls off, but using events that old for anything other than teaching us to try not to repeat them is just grudge-holding.

Why are all these "pro-Science" people so horrible at basic arithmetic? Agent Orange was used (and manufactured) until at least1971. Is that really "70 years ago" according to your Science?

I'm not sure why you're bothering to equate math and science (though given your capital S I can take a guess..)

But aside from your hyperbole, I admit I was less clear on this one. The 70 years was an (approximate) reference to when AO was created rather than when it was last used. But since I was arguing that Monsanto's people in charge (and probably all of their other employees) have almost assuredly changed since that contract was signed, it seems like the more relevant date.

Everything a company does is "under contract". What do you think that even means?

It means that there's a difference between "here's a giant bunker full of money if you do something evil" and "I'm going do something evil because I feel like it."

And no, not everything a company does is under contract. Most successful companies perform their own R&D to create or improve products and services without waiting around hoping for someone to tell them what they should make next.

Remember this: When the US Government wanted the nastiest, most deadly chemical possible, who did they call? Monsanto exceeded the wildest hopes for deadliness, manufacturing 20,000,000 gallons of the stuff.

I'm sure they called every other company they thought would have the capability of delivering as well. The fact that Monsanto got the contract is a matter of history, not fate. If Monsanto had failed to deliver for whatever reason, we'd just be bitching about the next company on their Rolodex. Unless you can find some evidence that every other company pulled out for ethical reasons or something similar, there's simply no reason to single out Monsanto as anything but the "lucky" winner of the bid.

And do you really think that was the last deadly poison Monsanto made?

No. I'm sure they make thousands of deadly poisons. Most of them are useful for various industrial processes.

I can't begin to guess whether Monsanto knew at the time that their chemical was going to be used for warfare (probably could have at least guessed given the buyer and quantity if they weren't outright told..) I don't know whether Monsanto or anyone in the government expected the human toll of the chemical (it was designed to kill plants after all..) I'm guessing they probably had a pretty good idea of that by 1971 of course, but when they first developed it? Hard to say. Obviously at the very least there was some serious negligence in the safety testing if it wasn't explicitly meant to be toxic to humans, but negligence isn't necessarily evil in itself.

Overall though, my point is that focusing unnecessary rage on one specific company really isn't beneficial to yourself or the world as a whole. There's lots of shitty companies out there, and it was so long ago that Monsanto is effectively a different company today than it was 70 (or even 40) years ago. Should we just trust Monsanto then? Hell no! But neither should we distrust them any more than we distrust any other company of their size. All companies have to potential to be evil when there's enough money involved.

about 3 months ago

Help a Journalist With An NFC Chip Implant Violate His Own Privacy and Security

Altrag Re: Small Government Mandate (142 comments)

Being a hypocrite doesn't invalidate what he was saying.

about 3 months ago

We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

Altrag Re:Cool Idea, Bra (269 comments)

A better model would be random partial replication between servers.

Not sufficient. My on-ramp server could potentially edit my post before passing it on for replication. I'm not sure if this is solved by your later comment about putatively authoritative servers or if that one only applies between the replication servers? I don't know enough about the iApple model to judge this one here.

It also requires a level of cooperation that's unlikely between competing players. I have little doubt that had usenet been created today that it would be a boxed-in system with a few large competing players each running their own newsgroups rather than the flood fill model it currently enjoys.

This interferes with the "I want to be able to unsay stupid stuff"/"I want to be able to use the server while high or drunk and fix it later" feature

No it doesn't. If the protocol includes a "delete message X" command and all of the replicating servers are honest, then the problem is solved (and essentially all of the servers would need to be honest -- at least in terms of the public-facing view of my profile -- or they'd face their own pressure to shape up under threat of being dropped from the replication pool by the other servers.)

But it solves the "domain name hostage" problem for profiles.

Again, its likely a "delete entire profile" command would be built into the protocol. Though in this case the pressure against servers would be to NOT to something evil like pass an unrequested delete around for replication, so you are correct that it should mostly solve the problem over the long term.

about 3 months ago


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