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Intelligence Officials Fear Snowden's 'Doomsday' Cache

Serious Callers Only Re:Security is a tricky thing (381 comments)

"Threatening visits" would indeed cause problems. By detain; I meant detain, as in "make quietly disappear", at least for a while.

You'd do really well in the Stasi or a similar police state. Perhaps you'd also like the people you disagree with tortured as well? If you're going to start disappearing people, why don't you just advocate killing them instead.

Tell me, just where would you draw the line when defending your country, what barbarity would you not stoop to, or is there no line?

about 5 months ago

Intelligence Officials Fear Snowden's 'Doomsday' Cache

Serious Callers Only Re:Let's see (381 comments)

The NSA subverted American communications deliberately, and have introduced vulnerabilities into encryption via NIST. AES may or may not have been broken or subverted, but yes they are that stupid:


Given that one of their other mandates is not to lie to congress, to abide by the rulings of the FISA court, and not to spy on Americans (all of which they have breached), I think you can assume that they don't care what their legal restrictions are and do not respect them.

about 5 months ago

Review: Puppet Vs. Chef Vs. Ansible Vs. Salt

Serious Callers Only Re:Puppet Vs. Chef Vs. Ansible Vs. Salt (141 comments)

unfamiliar with all so i did some quick research. Ansible least transparent Chef not bad, it comes down to Puppet Vs. Salt.

You're seriously presenting your quick google search and no actual knowledge of these products as something we should pay attention to? And your criteria for a deployment system is that they have online support??!?!? Are you even in the market for these products, have you ever used one, and do you know what they do?

I've used Ansible and it's pretty good, really straightforward, plenty of examples and docs and there is a freeware version as well as the commercially supported version. It doesn't require you to run a separate server as puppet does either, you can deploy with recipes from your local machine. To those thinking about using them, I'd say it's the simplest, the most effective and overall the best, though I haven't tried Salt so can't really comment on that.

about 5 months ago

British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care

Serious Callers Only Re:comparisons (634 comments)

Yeah, I'll just take the first order of treatment from my doctor and not ask for a second opinion, even if it means lifetime impairment or a high risk of death. Yeah...no.

1. You can have a second opinion in the NHS or change doctor quite easily.
2. Your doctors will lay out the choices for you (depending on your condition), and let you choose from whatever is available, but at the end of the day you have to trust healthcare professionals, because they know an awful lot more about treatments than you do.

about 6 months ago

British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care

Serious Callers Only Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (634 comments)

It's still way cheaper that *public* healthcare in the US alone (medicare and medicaid), let alone the full costs of US healthcare, which are astronomical in comparison, but funding has been massively cut the last few years in real terms.

The conservatives have strangled funding for the NHS deliberately for ideological reasons, while funding several expensive wars abroad, because they want to undermine it and then get rid of it piecemeal, as they did with dentistry in the 80s. This sort of story is the precursor to farming out care contracts to private companies, not because it's cheaper, but because of their belief in the free market and connections between the Conservative ministers and private industry, here are some of our recent health secretaries:

Andrew Lansley - bankrolled by a private healthcare company.
Jeremy Hunt - in his previous role had deep connections with the Murdoch companies he regulated.

about 6 months ago

TEPCO Workers Remove Wrong Pipe Get Splashed With Radioactive Water

Serious Callers Only Re:Tohoku Earthquake Casualty Report (214 comments)

There's a long term cost here which isn't just measured in lives (though hundreds will die eventually of related cancers from the clean up crews due to incompetence, coverups and negligence in exposing them over accepted limits). While the tsunami is over, the costs of the nuclear plant problems are still climbing, with no end in site, and 20km of land is now unusable, including several towns.

The Fukushima cleanup costs are 5 trillion yen and climbing (50 billion USD), likely to hit hundreds of billions of dollars long-term.

about 6 months ago

Snowden Docs: Brits Hacked Accounts of Belgian IT Admins

Serious Callers Only Re:So we've learned... (126 comments)

1. This is not a government spying on another government.
2. Economic espionage is illegal
3. Breaching trust like this will lead to all sorts of blowback when partners find out, it's hardly a good idea.

GCHQ has strayed well over the line from protecting British interests against our enemies to economic and political espionage. This op was probably ordered at the behest of some American service anyway (to whom GCHQ are in hoc to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars), who knows why or who it benefits, but it certainly isn't the people of the UK.

about 7 months ago

Verizon's Plan To Turn the Web Into Pay-Per-View

Serious Callers Only confusion of ideas that could provoke such a q (332 comments)

No. They're trying to charge content producers for using their network and end up with control over access, which will let them choke off that control, bundle the web, and charge on both sides of the equation - for the ability to push content, and for the ability to pull content.

The web currently doesn't allow a monopoly on content and on bandwidth, it's completely open, it's not a fucking bundle, and I can't rightly understand the confusion of ideas which could lead you to ask this question. You pay for access to the network, not for any specific bundles of information, how is that anything like cable, and how the hell do you think this has anything to do with offering the web a la carte.

Providers like Verizon should remain a dumb pipe, no matter how much they try to control the network. If they want control, it's certainly not so that they can offer you the web 'a la carte', it's so that they can impose control.

about 7 months ago

Citing Snowden Leaks, Russia Again Demands UN Takeover of Internet

Serious Callers Only The home of the NSA (275 comments)

repressive governments around the world

This rhetoric doesn't sound very convincing any more now that we know what GCHQ and the NSA have been up to and what their ambitions are. The US government clearly can't be trusted with stewardship over the Internet, they're as untrustworthy and malign as Russia.

about 9 months ago

DHS Shuts Down Dwolla Payments To and From Mt. Gox

Serious Callers Only Re:It's started... (302 comments)

It's a good conductor of electricity and heat

As is copper.

It's easy to work with

As is lead, zinc, copper, etc.

It's non-toxic.

To the extent that most metals are (silver, copper etc), and in small doses, yes.

It plays nice with other elements.

Gold, the friendly element.

Its very "non-reactive" only certian acids will dissolve it.

True, though others are close.

It's used in industry, electronics, food and medicine.

So are silver, copper, iron, silicon, etc...

Depending on what you are doing, Gold might have some advantages against other metals or elements, but it is not essential to our civilisation - most uses could easily be replaced by another metal or alloy (like silver for example); it is widely used but not essential to most processes. So the use-value of Gold is pretty low - definitely worth something, but definitely not the most precious metal to industry compared to say silicon or iron, and useful in decorative arts but again not essential.

The spot price of gold is almost entirely defined by speculation based on its status as a 'precious' metal, valued for jewellery and as a store of value, and that is based on nothing more tangible than a belief that it is a good store of value. A belief belied by the wildly fluctuating price of gold over the last 100 years.

about a year ago

Last Forking Warning For Bitcoin

Serious Callers Only Re:Crap, the sky is falling (334 comments)

If it is traceable, how have all the recent thefts gone without any arrests? Perhaps it's not as hard as you think to remain anonymous while using bitcoin or even stealing it? For my money and transations I expect a ledger of all transactions with verified identities - very much like the current system run by banks, and bitcoin is a long way from that. It is popular for illegal transactions and targeted by thieves for that reason. Apparently the bitcoin developers, and tries to allow anonymity - this is a huge mistake in a digital currency. If somethng is anonymous it is not traceable in my opinion, because tracing transactions to anonymous wallets is completely useless in the real world. Comparisons with paper cash simpyl don't interest me, because I rarely use it nowadays, and it's already been replaced with a reliable electronic system, which lets me transfer money within hours and with a record of all transactions which is actually useful to me and shows verified participants.

A gov could shut down bitcoin tomorrow by banning it - this takes very little effort on their part and no money - for example the us has just shut down one of the biggest exchanges (mtgox) for money laundering. As to cornering the market, one person owns

Re rules, my point was precisely that the default set of rules are beyond your control as a single user. The rules of the game can change at any time, changed by the developers or someone putting pressure on them, and there's nothing you can do except try to set up your own competitor.

about a year ago

Last Forking Warning For Bitcoin

Serious Callers Only Re:Crap, the sky is falling (334 comments)

Total disaster, never happens in real world, not virtual one. Except for all the times when 'real world' currencies undergo devaluations, revaluations, forced exchanges, just plain old inflation, all the things that lead to currencies collapsing. I mean name me a paper currency that lasted longer than 80 years on this planet without a major restructuring, without collapsing?

I agree that the dangers of bitcoin forking have been overstated, and are something of a manufactured drama - technical problems like this are not very difficult to surmount. The real problem with Bitcoin for me is that the system is not transparent, and nothing backs the currency (unlike those fiat ones you mention above).

A currency is a token of trust (trust that others will value it the same amount), and that's a fragile thing.

Bitcoin is currently a small curiosity, it's only just becoming big enough to attract the interest of the real sharks, and I'm not convinced the creators have the resources, motivation or interest to keep the currency fair and secure once serious money becomes involved. Many of the exchanges are still pitifully insecure (run on VPSs !), the infrastructure is not well managed (witness problem above), and the creators probably never expected it to take off or really thought through the implications. Once there is serious money involved, lots of people are going to want to change the rules. If Bitcoin becomes popular it will be easy to coopt, devalue, and tax until it is just another currency, probably tied to a particular corporation or government. There's absolutely nothing you can do about that as a user of bitcoin. If the developers decided to change the direction of the currency you have your life savings in, devalue it, create a new block chain, you don't even have a vote on the matter.

Currently, if the government of your country or anyone else with the power to control the flow of bitcoins decide it should become valueless for you, or illegal, that can easily happen, if someone corners a significant supply of coins, they can manipulate the market (this is probably already happening as there are ZERO controls in place to stop it), if the public panics due to misinformation or rumour in such an illiquid market there is nothing to stop huge swings in value, and if a government decides to coopt the currency, shut down exchanges and change the rules by fiat, no-one is going to be able to trade in it and interest will evaporate. I see that as the largest problem with bitcoin by far - there are no backers putting up their own goods, no-one to trust, and no way to ensure that others continue to play by the same rules as they used to. It's certainly very appealing to utopian crypto-anarchists, but of limited interest to anyone who wants to store value or exchange it, given that it has the disadvantages of cash (anonymous, fungible) with none of the upsides (backed by a sovereign government, relatively stable, regulated to a greater or lesser extent, insurable etc), and a few downsides of its own (massively fluctuating value, built-in deflation, early-adopters privileged).

Because it is untraceable, and not guaranteed by law, it's of no interest to the majority of people who use currencies to store and transfer value and receive payment. I *want* my transactions to be traceable, so that I can prove to gov. and counter-parties that I have fulfilled my part of a bargain, made a payment, and should receive goods or services in return. If I don't want a transaction to be traceable (very rare, but conceivable), I'd use barter or some kind, but a currency outwith the control of government holds little interest for me, *precisely because* it is outwith the control of all the rules of society I value. Those who've had their valuable bits stolen from some VPS have no come-back using bitcoin, and no way to find a thief or enforce punishment - I'd demand far better than that for any currency I put trust in.

about a year ago

Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only

Serious Callers Only Re:I love it... (658 comments)

You have no choice. What are you going to do, stop using Photoshop? I don't think so.

There are plenty of choices - some only perform a subset of the work that photoshop does, but for many professionals that will be enough. Some examples:

For many professional photographers, Lightroom (available separately) provides better tools for photo manipulation and cataloging.
For many image manipulators, other software like Pixelmator or Seashore/GIMP would provide enough control at a fraction of the price. It's missing some features like layer styles, but it has the basics, and comparing 'cloud' pricing to buying and owning software would make many people consider living with the lost features.
For many designers, they don't need the many features of photoshop and would be happy with more basic tools for image adjustments.
For many illustrators, a tool like Inkscape might be a better fit

Adobe could very easily lose this market within a few years - they've already lost the trust of most of their professional customers, and for many this move will be the last straw. It's a gift for their competitors, this is the perfect time for them to step up a gear and poach a lot of the userbase of Adobe software. I know I'll be looking at competitors with renewed vigour and am not in any way interested in subsidising Adobe's middle-managers with a monthly subscription. The CS suite in general as become more bloated, and less user-friendly with every release, and Creative Cloud is a joke - as a customer I have *zero* interest in automatic updates from Adobe, and I want to be in control of when I give them money - as do many huge institutional buyers/customers - many skip versions for example if the features are not compelling enough. This quote from the OP sums up my attitude to them (as a current customer) too:

They aren't trustworthy, their pricing model is predatory, and their track record of improvements/bug fixes -- or rather the unspectacular lack thereof -- doesn't speak well of how much value any of us are going to get out of renting our software.

The lack of backwards/forwards compatability in their file formats is also an issue which illustrates the contempt they hold their customers in - it's a blatant attempt to force upgrades (as is Creative Cloud) - there is nothing in it for customers, so why should they play along?

I remember a little over a decade ago Adobe came from nowhere to own the desktop publishing market with InDesign, against an entrenched challenger which had a virtual monopoly at the time (Quark) - nowadays Quark software is the legacy software which everyone loves to hate and hardly anyone uses, and InDesign is the incumbent, that happened very quickly over the space of 5-10 years. They won because their software was better, they listened to customers, and they built a great product which had features (like transparency) that customers had been crying out for. The contrast to the Adobe of today could not be more marked.

The near monopoly they have on image manipulation can easily change, and I suspect it will, as Adobe have already lost touch with their customers, and are adding all sorts of crap to their products and switching the UI round every year (as a professional user, I wish they'd take half the features out, and focus on making them rock solid and performant). They've started to see their customers as a cash-cow too stupid to look at competition, and that's very dangerous for them - sure they'll coast for the next decade on old customers too lazy to upgrade and repeating revenue fro upgrades, but they've started the downhill slide of spending more effort on wringing money out of customers than on making good products.

about a year ago

Tweet From Hacked AP Account Causes High Freq. Traders To Drop DOW 150 Points

Serious Callers Only Re:Exactly, put a gambling tax on it (314 comments)

Don't ban it, tax it as gambling.

So, basically, what your saying is "I don't understand most of how the market works, so please ban everything I don't understand."

No, since you didn't read the comment you replied to, I've repeated it here. They are *not* suggesting banning the activity, but restricting it with taxation to make it less attractive to profit from short-term fluctuations in prices - this would dampen volatility. Some volatility is a good thing, too much of it can be terrible for a market which relies on confidence to function.

A transaction tax sounds like a good idea to me, do you have any concrete objections to it?

about a year ago

Drupal's Creator Aims For World Domination

Serious Callers Only Re:A fractal of bad design (192 comments)

Again, your assumptions and guesswork about me are entirely unfounded (not that it should matter in considering Drupal):

1. I don't recommend or use WP very often, it's good for simple sites, and I've seen a few Drupal sites that could more easily have been done with WP.
2. I've fixed/maintained a few drupal sites and replaced one big underperforming drupal site (bad developer, compounded by bad usage of drupal IMHO) with rails, taking less than half the resources (CPU/RAM), and half the time to do the same job (500k uniques a year, no not willing to link). These direct comparisons have led me to my conclusion that it is not so much better than other frameworks, quite the reverse.
3. Don't let yourself assume I don't know what I'm talking about to avoid cognitive dissonance, I think I've clearly demonstrated I know the framework and am not some hobbyist WP advocate, and plenty of drupal or ex-drupal developers agree with me, see [1]

A content neutral CMS is a *mistake* IMHO (nodes etc) - most CMS systems are tailored to the problem domain and rightly so. Not doing so leads to bad performance, inflexibility, complex db schemas, and ongoing problems with maintenance. Not many other frameworks try to do this the drupal way; instead a CMS should have pages, users, admin etc, and then you should build your own *domain specific* admin. See Django [2], Rails[3], Play[4] etc. Apparently the core developers have recognised serious problems with drupal even if you don't as they're ripping out the internals in v8 and starting again on many core components. I don't have confidence they'll do better then 8th time round, but YMMV. It's quite possible to build good websites with Drupal, but I think they could be built better, easier, and faster with most other frameworks, even ones which out of the box do far less. If you haven't I would honestly recommend trying one of those in my list and giving it a go to build a simple site just to compare (not another PHP one).

[1] http://benbuckman.net/drupal-excessive-complexity
[2] https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/1.5/topics/db/models/
[3] http://guides.rubyonrails.org/getting_started.html#getting-up-and-running-quickly-with-scaffolding
[4] http://www.playframework.com/documentation/1.0/guide7

about a year ago

Drupal's Creator Aims For World Domination

Serious Callers Only Re:A fractal of bad design (192 comments)

I didn't choose uc but that was just an example - all drupal tables have several levels of indirection because of the overabstraction.

about a year ago

Drupal's Creator Aims For World Domination

Serious Callers Only Re:A fractal of bad design (192 comments)

This strongly suggests you have very little experience outside extremely fixed type of websites

I'm sorry to tell you but your assumptions are entirely wrong, about me, and about other frameworks. Try not thinking of people who find drupal distasteful as automatically stupid, it might help. I'm just offering you suggestions re other frameworks, I do think rails, play, grails, django, revel, wp, all compete with drupal, not because I'm ignorant of what drupal can do, but because it tries to do too much, and does it in the wrong way. Also think they make an illuminating comparison with it. It does 80% of most cms tasks then leaves people with a difficult rigid structure they can't extend in a maintainable way. But we've both said our piece on that and this thread is too long!

As to the level of abstraction in Drupal, I don't find it difficult to comprehend at all, I just find it overdone and a messy cargo cult style of OO. Java is also full of awful frameworks which do the same thing and have module loaders, nodes, factories and plugins without getting the basic foundations right. Abstracting all content to a node is a classic AA error IMHO and a source of lots of perf. and usability issues and modules are too interlinked. PS I'm basing this on having to fix drupal sites written by others, so on personal exp with d6, not because of some irrational hatred of abstraction or drupal.

about a year ago

Drupal's Creator Aims For World Domination

Serious Callers Only Re:Drupal rocks (192 comments)

Yes but to add a small date function on from this module you have to pull in the whole thing, along with all its complex dependencies and hooks into other code. This was just an example, and loc on its own doesn't mean much, but 14k for a date module indicates a problem to me (and to many drupal developers). This is the sort of thing newer languages like golang were explicitly created to avoid, and its a serious problem on large projects.

IMHO no plugin should be that big, even some frameworks are smaller than that!

about a year ago

Drupal's Creator Aims For World Domination

Serious Callers Only Re:A fractal of bad design (192 comments)

I don't see any difficulty in working with nodes, it's pretty straight forward.

Usually people pick abstractions based on the domain they're working with (DSL), so they'd have one products table and perhaps some joins to things like customers, orders etc. Instead drupal might have nodes and then lots of joins to them, like say 65 tables (count em!) of uc_products, uc_price_per_role_option_prices, etc etc. just to sell some products. That's because the CMS and modules try to do all things for all people. All those abstractions leak through to the front end and you end up managing nodes etc when you really want to get on selling stuff and managing your things (which are never really nodes). Nodes are used for things as disparate as any posting, such as a page, poll, article, forum topic, or blog entry and god knows what else, it's an abstraction too far IMHO.

It's not difficult if you've never seen anything else and think things have to work this way and that the system should bend you to its will and not vice versa.

Where's the proof for this? If there're no pros working with Drupal, who contributed the thousands of modules for Drupal?

Who indeed.

PS Use blockquote elements

about a year ago



Imran Khan detained by US customs over opposition to drone strikes

Serious Callers Only Serious Callers Only writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Serious Callers Only (1022605) writes "Imran Khan was detained yesterday by US officials for questioning on his views on United States drone strikes in Pakistan. Glenn Greenwald writing for the guardian: "On Saturday, Khan boarded a flight from Canada to New York in order to appear at a fundraising lunch and other events. But before the flight could take off, US immigration officials removed him from the plane and detained him for two hours, causing him to miss the flight. On Twitter, Khan reported that he was "interrogated on [his] views on drones" and then added: "My stance is known. Drone attacks must stop." He then defiantly noted: 'Missed flight and sad to miss the Fundraising lunch in NY but nothing will change my stance.'""
Link to Original Source

Serious Callers Only Serious Callers Only writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Serious Callers Only (1022605) writes "Arstechnica looks at the BBC decision to use Microsoft DRM for their iPlayer software — forcing users to purchase Windows software to access BBC media. The BBC trust have expressed concerns about the plan, but for now have allowed the BBC to go ahead with their scheme. From the article :

"The BBC now has the means and the opportunity to make its vast archives available over the Internet, but it faces a major problem: rights. On the podcast, BBC workers point out that the difficulty in making the BBC's massive archive freely available is not primarily technical, but legal."

Unfortunately the use of DRM means that the primary problems users encounter in using BBC content will not be legal, but technical. The BBC podcast is available from backstage."


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