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Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure

Casandro X11 has lots of things to be improved... (370 comments)

...but you _can_ make secure screen lockers on it, you just need to use it raw and not use bloated frameworks. It's been done for years.

There is nothing wrong about considering to replace X11, however the current crowd of desktop developers probably won't make it much better. Instead of learning from modern operating systems like Plan 9 and using language neutral file system based interfaces, systems like Wayland still are stuck in the past requiring dynamically linked libraries as API interfaces.

2 days ago
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The American App Economy Is Now "Bigger Than Hollywood"

Casandro Yeah, even the cat-litter industry is (135 comments)

Hollywood isn't particularly big when it comes to industries. Hollywood is, when you look at it globally, not even the biggest player in the movie industry. It's largely insignificant to the economy.

2 days ago
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Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

Casandro When something is "new" it doesn't imply... (209 comments)

...that other things are automatically obsolete.

"new" in this case means "additional". And no, this is not about generating "code monkeys", this is about giving people an insight into what computers are, and equipping them with enough knowledge so they can form their own ethical framework around it.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Casandro Lazarus (488 comments)

Unfortunately the state of desktop applications is now to bad, that Lazarus is now pretty much the only alternative left, particularly if you want to distribute your software in binary. .net requires the user to install a huge and fragile framework. Java does the same and even adds an insecure browser plugin. In both cases your code will need an installation routine. And even then, Lazarus will be able to compile for more platforms than Java and .net support.

On Lazarus you get a statically linked binary you can just plop onto your system and execute it. So up- and down-grading your application is trivial.

Plus you get things like bounds checking simply with a compiler option. In my tests it didn't hurt the speed, probably because the compiler can easily find out when they are needed and when not. However as far as I know you can enable and disable it per line.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux Database GUI Application Development?

Casandro Webservice or Lazarus (264 comments)

Of course today you would do such things via webservice, but if you prefer actual desktop applications you can use Lazarus, which is a Delphi clone. The database connectivity concept of Delphi is geared towards creating fancy GUI applications with database connectivity easily. It's more or less point and click.

Plus unlike .net or Java you can run this on multiple platforms just by recompiling. And on every platform you get a (mostly) statically linked binary file.

about two weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

Casandro It's more like slithering along the ground (598 comments)

I mean MacOS, for example, didn't have any kind of memory separation. Applications had statically assigned memory, but they were free to write to the memory of others freely. That's one of the reasons why MacOS was nearly unusable for any webbrowsing around Version 6 and 7. In fact back then it emulated 68k code on the Power platform.

Then came MacOSX, taking an ancient version of some BSD and removing all the good bits replacing them with proprietary stuff. Even MacOSX 10.3 was hardly usable. It did work for a while, but after a week of uptime it became increasingly sluggish.

Software quality never was particularly good at Apple. They always just competed with Microsoft, not with any meaningful quality standards.

Same goes for hardware. Logic board failures were common during "evil Steve's" reign. Macs just became much more fragile than the industry standard. Batteries were glued in. Harddisks were really hard to replace. Even things like the Apple Airport had design flaws leading to mass breakdowns.

I guess the point why this now looks like a sudden decrease in quality is that the "reality distortion field" is gone. Apple is no longer the underdog which invests significant amounts of its money into engineering. Apple is, particularly since "evil Steve" a marketing driven company.

about three weeks ago
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The Missing Piece of the Smart Home Revolution: The Operating System

Casandro He's not quite found the problem yet (252 comments)

It seems like he's still in the "I'm not satisfied" phase of solving a problem, unfortunately it's unsure if he'll ever reach the "I've understood why I'm not satisfied" phase.

Simply put, in order to derive any meaning full use out of those systems you need to be able to program them. And to be able to program them, they need to have as simple as possible interfaces. If I'll have to read into some complex programming language like Java I'm not going to bother.

It needs to be something simple like sending "show status" over a socket to the device and it'll return with it's current status in a simple non-XML or JSON format. And devices should be able to emulate multiple protocols. So people can choose the simplest one with the functionality they need or the one they are most familiar with.

about three weeks ago
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US Army Could Waive Combat Training For Hackers

Casandro Good news in a way (223 comments)

That means they cannot get the people they want, which is good news. After all those jobs are about making the world a worse place.

However their problem might solve itself.
We are on the brink of another "Tech"-Bubble. Nobody knows if Facebook or Uber will still exist in 5 years and no matter when the bubble will burst it will leave a lot of people with various degrees of skills on the market.
The other problem is that the remaining companies will probably enter their "fattening"-stage. They will, for example, get the "dead sea" effect, where the skilled people just leave for more interesting jobs while the less skilled ones stay where they are. In software engineering, less skilled people mean worse and bigger code which lowers the amount of productivity, meaning you need more people. Again the good ones will "evaporate" and gradually the skill level sinks more and more and you get more and more unskilled people until eventually you are left with a company of a million idiots. Obviously to counteract this you need strict procedures which will drive out the remaining skilled people.

When the currently attractive "tech"-companies have reached that point, it'll be comparatively easy for the military to pick people.

about a month ago
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South Korean Activist To Drop "The Interview" In North Korea Using Balloons

Casandro What are they trying to achieve? (146 comments)

I mean seriously, that's just a bad movie. Apparently even so bad it mostly discredits its makers.

If you want do spend thousands of Euros to drop DVDs, drop something more intelligent. Something that actually makes people think, not something the government can easily discredit as the product of some deranged individuals.

about a month ago
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App Gives You Free Ebooks of Your Paperbacks When You Take a "Shelfie"

Casandro Reminds me of the late 1990s (131 comments)

Back then "Online Advertisements" were all the rage. Those were animated GIF images designed to influence the behaviour of the users. There were some companies having "pay for surf" business models where you installed a piece of malware onto your computer which would display you banners. You would then get paid money for that. Of course all of those companies went bankrupt as most people simply cheated the software. The disappearance of "Online Advertisements" essentially meant that nobody tried again. Today people probably don't even know that a "banner ad" was.

It's probably the same way with personal data. There is a hype about selling it even though nobody quite knows how to generate money from it. So essentialy a whole generation of companies now collects huge masses of data for the secret services of the world to collect.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job?

Casandro No, and that has little to do with open source (421 comments)

Simply put, .net is _far_ to complex for the job. The .net framework binary is already much bigger than a typical Windows 2000 installation. You users are expected to install and maintain a huge framework. On the other side you don't really have much benefits. You have a mostly single vendor solution. Your software won't run on even on all 32 bit Windows machines.

If you want to do client applications look around you, there's plenty of alternatives. One example is Lazarus/Freepascal which compiles you statically linked binaries for most common operating systems. I have been starting and maintaining a software project for Linux, Win32 and MacOSX, and the difference in code is just a few lines. It simply works and on all platforms you get a binary you can just drag and drop. No installation required. Should there be a bug in a new version, the user can simply switch back to the old one.

If .net was any good, why doesn't Microsoft, the company most interested in it, offer Office for .net? They already do have Office for MacOSX.

about a month ago
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Hackers Used Nasty "SMB Worm" Attack Toolkit Against Sony

Casandro Re:Wait, People still allow SMB on large scale net (177 comments)

Just because apparently several companies are stupid and use unsuitable security practices doesn't mean it's not really bad security. I mean we all refuse to do support for people who put their malware ridden gaming rig into their main LAN, why do companies get away with that?

about a month ago
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Hackers Used Nasty "SMB Worm" Attack Toolkit Against Sony

Casandro Wait, People still allow SMB on large scale nets? (177 comments)

I mean OK, you cannot run a Windows system without SMB in a useful way. However how could this spread. SMB is not a protocol that was designed to work outside of broadcast domains. It does, but you loose some of the features people take for granted.

I seriously wonder how this could spread, after all you don't just have a large Ethernet domain in your international company. You have smaller domains routed together, and in between you can trivially filter. SMB is one of the first things to go. Since it's hard and inefficient to run large filers on Windows, the few remaining machines with SMB enabled probably would be running on Linux, which means that they will not have the same security problems the Windows machines have.

So ideally this should have been easily contained within a fraction of the company network.

about a month ago
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In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

Casandro Solving simple problems in a difficult way (153 comments)

In IT there rarely are any hard problems. Few people operate Google scale data centres, few people do automatic voice recognition or video codecs.

This somehow seems to cause a desire for solving simple problems in difficult ways. You suddenly have complex frameworks to do more or less trivial things because you are trying to abuse something that's never meant to be used in a certain way. More and more non essential features get crammed into projects.

If you want to stay ahead in IT, avoid complexity. Simple ideas seem to persist in the long run. A typical example is the Unix philosophy. It's an attempt to make everything as simple as possible, so simple that a single person can write a cut down implementation in just a few months. Another example is the Internet. IP is a wonderful simple protocol. You just throw in a packet and it may or may not arrive on the other end. Compare that to ATM or ISDN and you will see how much simpler it is.

As a rule of thumb, if someone tells you about a new technology or trend, ask them to explain it to you in 1-2 sentences, no more than 20 words. Either they will fail, in this case you'll know that it's either just a buzzword or far to complex, or they will actually say what it is.

about a month and a half ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

Casandro It's not about sound quality (433 comments)

It's about the whole experience. While with CDs you play a file you previously ripped off it, for records you actually pull out a large disk carefully onto the turntable.
It's almost like you offer it to the turntable gods, it's a ritual and there is reason why records are so popular. It adds a whole new level of experience to music.

about a month and a half ago
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Orion Capsule Safely Recovered, Complete With 12-Year-Old Computer Guts

Casandro The word "powerfull" is rather missleading (197 comments)

I mean seriously, every "smart"phone is now much faster than anything scientists had till the 1980s... yet since you are unable to write programs for it without the need of other computers, you cannot do anything they did.

On the other hand, if you had a "digital television set" in the 1980s, yes those existed, you had a device with much more processing power than the computer you could have on your desk. The problem was that your TV-set had it in hard wired circuits while your PC didn't even have the IO capacity to get the video signal in. (Digital TVs in the 1980s used digital chips to process the analogue signal, so they would digitize your PAL signal, typically with 7 Bits, and then decode PAL in the digital domain, which can bring you much better pictures at improved reliability and eventually decreased cost)

The power of a computer lies in it's capability to be programmed. If you cannot reprogram a computer, it's no more useful than any single function device.

about 2 months ago
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We Are Running Out of Sand

Casandro There used to be a joke (264 comments)

What happens if the Sahara changes to communism? Nothing for the first years, then they start running out of sand.

about 3 months ago
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Tech Recruiters Defend 'Blacklists,' Lack of Feedback, Screening Techniques

Casandro At least in Germany, most are useless (253 comments)

So far, what I've seen most recruiters do is to read off random lists of jobs broadly in the area you are interested in. Even the ones who claim they have experience in a certain area are completely clueless.

I have seen one instance of a recruiter not being completely useless. She did an automated "objective suitability test" which was similar to an intelligence test, testing certain aspects of decision making. That was interesting at least.

So far my experience shows that companies who outsource their recruiting don't actually care about what people they get. Eventually this will lead to the "Dead Sea"-effect in those companies making them unable to hold more qualified people.

about 3 months ago
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Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

Casandro I wonder what the iCar would be then? (287 comments)

Comparing the Apple Newton and the iPhone... I'd say that the iCar would be a car that's well connected and essentially controlled by Apple. It would not work on roads not approved by Apple. It would probably be controlled by a touch screen or voice. However it would not drive by itself, as that feature has been proven to be complicated. Of course it won't have a driving wheel, instead it'll have a software driving wheel on a large touch screen in front of you.

Functionality wise, the iPhone was a _huge_ step back from what the Newton could do.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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3rd anual Desert Bus for Hope

Casandro Casandro writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Casandro (751346) writes "The guys from LoadingReadyRun are doing a fundraiser for Child's Play. They are doing so by playing the most boring unreleased game of all time, Desert Bus. You can watch them via a UStream stream and chat with them via the UStream IRC-Server. (they have a web frontend for that) More information about the game, the fundraiser and Child's Play can be found on http://www.desertbus.org/"
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