Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?
I am closely related to someone who works at Eskom.
His "insider's view" is that the power cuts and load shedding are not due to pressure on the supply, but just to create the impression that there is pressure on the supply, to justify their price increases to pay for the new power stations (and of course sponsoring The New Age breakfasts).
He had a good laugh at the 'wet coal' excuse for the problems earlier in the year (conveniently around the time that NERSA was reviewing their tariff increase application) because all the coal arriving at the power plants gets sprayed down with water as soon as it arrives anyways, because coal dust is extremely flammable.
We have two new power stations under construction, both coal-fired... when South African engineers are designing safe nuclear power stations that are being used by other countries but not our own. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...)
Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft
No, he admitted no such thing. He said that if you had so many issues getting a printer to install, it's because your IT department is incompetent and set up the infrastructure poorly, not that you need to have a competent IT professional just to install a printer on Windows.
Airgap-Jumping Malware May Use Ultrasonic Networking To Communicate
First page is nothing... how about one story between original and dupe?
Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight
Maybe they genuinely believe people shouldn't duplicate their functionality, and that they should try to innovate on their own?
Steve Jobs: We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas
I guess it's fine when they do it, but not when others do it to them.
Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight
Except MS has already been held responsible for their actions (from over 10 years ago), and all indications are that the company has changed drastically for the better in the past few years - stability- and security-wise.
Meanwhile, Apple is trying to drive all their competitors out of business not by putting out better products and competing on merit, but by abusing the legal system due to their vast cash reserves with ridiculous "rounded corner rectangle" design patents.
MS did some bad stuff a long time ago. They have paid for it (literally), and they are no longer the same company they were back then. Apple is doing bad stuff right now, yet all indications are that for the next 20 years we'll still be constantly reminded of Microsoft's already-paid-for behaviour from the 90s, but Apple will still be lauded as a magical untouchable company despite their unpaid-for behaviour from today.
Your analogies are quite ridiculous, and have nothing to do with the topic at hand.
UEFI Secure Boot and Linux: Where Things Stand
That's one of the points of requiring that ARM win8 tablets are not allowed to disable secure boot. If MS subsidizes ARM tablets to drive sales, they don't want people buying cheap tablets in order to install another OS at their (literal) expense.
The implementation allows for the installation of other operating systems but only if they've been signed by a MS key (well, any key, but the only ones that will be installed on a win8 ARM tablet will be MS's). They'll be able to charge for that signing process, and recover their subsidy in that way.
The other point is that since the only way to put new software on an ARM win8 tablet is via the app store, they want to ensure that intercepting the boot sequence to install an exploit that bypasses or interferes with the app store is blocked by requiring that the entire boot chain is trusted.
Whether they get it right is yet to be seen, but those are the reasons.
Microsoft Details Windows 8 for ARM
Except that Metro on WOA will run the exact same binaries that Metro on Win8 x86/x64 will (except for those few that use native code).
Windows, as a platform, probably has a larger base of developers than both iOS and Android, and anyone publishing a Metro app to the new Windows App Store will have it available to WOA users automatically.
So, assuming that developers start making use of the beta that's coming out end of this month and start writing apps to target Win8's new Metro interface, without even knowing or caring about WOA, this will mean that WOA will have a decent enough supply of software at launch.
South Africa Passes Secrecy Bill, Makes Whistleblowing a Dangerous Act
I'm not black, so I can't speak from personal experience there. I don't believe that the average black person today is financially worse-off than he was under apartheid. But as for quality of life, I do think he's not really any better off than he was overall. There are obviously a whole lot of factors at play. Since the 90's, a lot more blacks have been able to work at jobs they wouldn't have been able to in the past, so financially, there is a growing number of blacks who are benefitting. The 'reverse-apartheid' policy of affirmative action, which forces companies over a certain size to follow racial quotas when filling positions, has helped a lot of blacks get employed from the informal sector to the formal sector. However, lots of these guys never had the education or training for these positions, and generally either get stuck at the lower levels due to their qualification levels, or get unfairly promoted purely to raise the company's quota of black management. I've worked with clients who've had black guys promoted to senior management just for the sake of quotas, and their lack of overall understanding of the systems and departments they're managing is quite apparent.
At the same time, the quality of education has been steadily dropping from the 90s, and it's really quite terrible now. The ANC government has tried a number of things with the education system, and one has to wonder if the result is just due to their complete lack of competence, or if it's done on purpose to ensure that the masses of the country remain uneducated. We had a very decent schooling system for quite a while. Once apartheid fell, and public schooling was equal for everyone, people began realising that a lot of the black kids moving into schools that they previously weren't allowed to were failing miserably, mainly due to the lower standard of education they had received until then. So government lowers the standard of education across the board. Rather than maintaining the standards already set for maths, sciences, etc, the entire schooling system was shifted to a policy of 'outcomes based education', where more 'practical' skills were focused on. If the majority of the population isn't ever going to use trignometry in their lives, why teach that to them at a high school level, when you could rather be teaching them how to count change from a till instead? If the majority isn't going to be creating technical drawing designs, why show them how to use a T-square when they can focus on how to manually weld metal instead? A lot of people, myself included, believe that the reduction in the standards of education has happened on purpose, so that the large numbers of poor, uneducated people (who are pretty much all ANC supporters because they still associate the ANC with Mandela and liberation) will remain poor and uneducated, and continue believing that the ANC is their liberator and saviour.
Every ANC government, both provincial and national, as well as most municipalities, have been plagued with lazy, greedy, corrupt people. The politically connected get awarded over-inflated tenders, and get richer. The officials who grant the tenders get kickbacks, and get richer. The poor, who are supposed to benefit from these projects, end up with half-complete, poorly designed, badly implemented projects. The ANC government blames the legacy of apartheid for the poor delivery, and covers up for their ineptitude, and this is why they are pushing so hard for this secrecy bill to be passed.
I don't know of anywhere else in the world where a government official can be caught red-handed with corruption, and the majority party says 'we will deal with this internally as a party matter', instead of having that corrupt official go through the actual legal system. The ANC goes to great lengths to protect its members. A shockingly large percentage of politicians have criminal records, and not for apartheid-related activity either. Zuma's personal financial advisor was in jail for fraud, corruption and soliciting bribes. Zuma was implicated at the same time. Instead of completing the investigations into him, the special investigative unit that was created to handle these high-profile cases was disbanded.
Billions of rands that should go to servicing and uplifting and educating the poor instead goes into already-rich ANC officials pockets. Those same thiefs then go and look their own people in the eye and blame the white government of 20 years ago for their misfortunes. I suppose in a way they're right - if they weren't oppressed for so long, they probably wouldn't have the mentality that they need to become as rich as possible however they can now. But the sad reality is that the ANC fought for the liberation of their people, and now that they have it, they keep working to keep their own people back. The ANC works quite hard to maintain racial division in the country. Every time a black official doesn't deliver, he blames it on the legacy of apartheid. I'm pretty sure that in 50 years time, a number of blacks are still going to be blaming the legacy of apartheid for their lazy asses not doing the work they're supposed to be doing.
So yeah, while financially, blacks are a bit better off now than they were under apartheid, the reason for me saying that the ANC government is worse than the apartheid one, is because the ANC is keeping their own people down, rather than actually improving their lives. I know every government in every country has to deal with corruption and inept officials, but in South Africa, it seems that corruption is government policy with no shame attached. There are too many people who are literally untouchable purely due to their political connections. And the people who suffer are the ones that have always suffered - the poor blacks living in the townships.
South Africa Passes Secrecy Bill, Makes Whistleblowing a Dangerous Act
Zuma was already not looking good a week ago, when his official spokesman, Mac Maharaj, laid charges against the Mail & Guardian, compelling them to redact about 70% of an article they were going to publish outlining how Maharaj lied during an in-camera hearing into corruption surrounding the infamous arms deal. Rather than defend himself, Maharaj's viewpoint is simply that the publication of in-camera evidence is against the law, so the M&G is breaking the law. Hasn't provided any sort of defence against the allegations of corruption against him.
And this is exactly what the protesting against the POIB is about. The ANC has viciously resisted even the thought of adding a 'public interest' clause to the bill, meaning that evidence of corruption and lies, like in Zuma's spokesman's case, can be classified, and then rather than the corrupt person being held accountable, the journalists go to jail, for exposing corruption that the government is helping to hide.
Zuma and his cronies haven't looked good for a while. If they were serious about their claims to want to fight corruption, they wouldn't be so hell-bent on passing a law that hides the evidence of that corruption. The minister of Intelligence was implicated in fraud involving travel allowances a few years back. None of the ANC MP's have been charged or even fined. He's the one that drafted the initial bill.
My personal opinion, as a non-white who grew up in the last two decades of apartheid, is that the ANC government is worse for the people of this country than the apartheid one. At least with the Nats, you knew that if you were black, you were gonna be held back - it was government policy and they were open about it. With the ANC, they're keeping their own people back for their own selfish gains, blaming the 'legacy of apartheid' for their peoples misfortunes, when their people remain poor and uneducated purely due to the corrupt, selfish ANC government in power.
It's a tragedy.
Google Pulls the Plug On BlackBerry Gmail App
Yes, and while moving certain things to web apps makes sense, and while providing a web mail interface is pretty much essential, having Google tell BlackBerry users that they can just use the web browser for their gmail is both retarded and arrogant for one simple reason: The web browser cannot notify me about new mail.
The web browser cannot update my new mail icon on my home screen, nor can it make the LED blink to notify me of new mail.
Smartphone users, and I would go as far as to say especially BlackBerry users, expect mail notifications to be automatic. If this was a case of Google getting a clue and deciding to not duplicate efforts on mobile apps when they already have a mobile gmail page, then why haven't they also killed off their iPhone app as well? This has got nothing to do with 'we already have an app for that so why duplicate effort'. This is a deliberate move against RIM on Google's part.
I'd think that rather than being an elimination of duplicated work, the real source of this decision is the fact that Google happens to produce Android, and that by providing a crippled experience on BlackBerries, they'd hope to ride on the recent negativity surrounding BB and RIM and get BB users to move over to Android. They probably figure that the iPhone user base is more loyal to Apple and iPhone than to gmail, but that they have a shot targetting BB users instead.
Apple's Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) Now Open Source
Even if you have expensive, high quality car sound equipment, can you honestly tell the difference between 256kbps MP3 vs CD/FLAC when driving down a freeway or in traffic?
Outlining a World Where Software Makers Are Liable For Flaws
Secure boot protects the entire operating system, not just the boot sector. Even if you can't write to the boot sector, you can still compromise system files which will compromise your entire OS. These could be windows dlls or linux kernel modules. Secure boot will protect you from that scenario.
The logical solution to the whole MS fuss would be to mandate that any motherboard manufacturer that includes secureboot as a feature must also provide an option to disable it, rather than petitioning for the feature to be removed completely. That's a "solution" raised by technophobes, not technology experts.
What happens when I buy software from RedHat? I get the source, but I also paid for it. Since I'm paying for it, why can't I sue RedHat for any vulnerabilities in the software they sold to me? And don't try to weasel around by saying I didn't buy software, I bought support, or anything else. The fact is I'm paying RedHat, they are providing me with software, they should be liable for it. But now they're untouchable. Completely absurd.
Outlining a World Where Software Makers Are Liable For Flaws
Ironic how just a couple of days ago, slashdot was readying the pitchforks against Microsoft for wanting to implement a secure boot process.
So, people don't want technology that will improve their security, but they also want to be able to sue when they get infected. And conveniently, this proposal by a key open source figure absolves any open source products from liability as well.
So Microsoft, who wants to put the effort into secure boot, gets told by Linux advocates that they can't do it, and then they get to be sued when systems get compromised. Yet those same Linux advocates refuse to be sued themselves if a Linux system gets compromised.
Clause 1, which indemnifies open source projects, is a complete joke. So you're providing the source code. So what? Do you require every computer user to have the ability to inspect that code and modify it? Why should a Windows user get to sue Microsoft if they get compromised, but a computer-illiterate Ubuntu-netbook-running guy is denied that ability, because the source is available and he could have disabled the exploit pathways himself if he wanted.
Besides, how do you implement this ridiculous policy? Say a flaw is discovered. It's patched in the svn repository. Can you absolve yourself of liability from that point? From the point that your distro implements it? You can't force people to patch their systems. Say Microsoft fixes a vulnerability and issues a patch via Windows Update, and you decide to continue running an unpatched system. Do you get to sue? Why should you?
This entire proposal is ridiculous. It's purely meant to push the open source agenda and punish those who release closed source software. If it was really meant to improve software quality across the board, it wouldn't have that blanket exemption for open source software.
Living under this liability law, why should Debian not be liable for their SSL flaw from a couple of years back? It went undetected by experienced software developers for ages. How is having the source code and the ability to modify it supposed to help in this case? Yet they have a get-out-of-jail-free card purely because they're open source, regardless of the fact that that bug had actual financial implications for thousands of people - at the very least having to invalidate a whole bunch of keys and regenerate them.
Remove the open source exemption and it might make sense. But by having that in there, it's just some other open-source advocate ranting against the establishment and wanting everyone else to do things their way.
As long as the developers are the only ones with the ability to patch those bugs, they're going to have to shoulder some responsibility for the vulnerabilities that exist in the software
That assumes that every OSS user has the ability to patch bugs as well. Every Linux user is also a C, Python, C++, Ruby, BASH, CGI, Perl, etc programmer as well. Because if they're not, then they don't have the ability to patch those bugs. So why should the OSS developer get away with bugs if his users don't have the expertise to fix them anyways?
SUA Deprecated In Windows 8?
Are you beginning to realise how ridiculous these claims of C# being kicked to the curb actually are yet?
Windows Server 8 Is A Radical Departure From Previous Releases
It's only a nightmare to you because you are familiar with bash etc and you are not familiar with PS.
I still don't understand why you are hating PS for having more functionality that you need. If it didn't do some particular task, then you'd be all over it for being incomplete or lacking or not up to production standards, but now it does everything you need and more and you still find something to complain about?
Your problem is simply that PS is not BASH, not that PS sucks in any way, but because all you know is BASH, PS therefore sucks. You've made about half a dozen comments in this thread moaning about how PS is not BASH, and how Windows should rather include BASH instead of PS, and how PS is pointless and garbage because it's not BASH.
And then you paradoxically say you have no problem with choice, as long as the choice is BASH.
I think the problem is actually with you.
Kernel.org Attackers Didn't Know What They Had
This argument doesn't make sense. From what I've read, a kernel dev with kernel.org access had his machine trojanned, and the attackers got to kernel.org in that way. That's a far cry from script kiddies trying SSH ports on a bunch of random IP addresses. It sounds like quite a lot of effort to specifically get to the kernel.org network. Whether they managed to do some unknown damage, or access some other data whose relevance is as yet unknown, or maybe they just did it for the reputation of having hacked kernel.org doesn't matter - it does seem to be a targetted attack and the attackers would definitely have known what they had.
These types of stories are actually more harmful than anything else - instead of calming people down by downplaying the severity of the incident, they're creating the impression that kernel.org was taken down by a bunch of script kiddies doing random port-scans and dictionary attacks, which in turn makes the kernel.org admins look pretty foolish. Not good PR at all.
Kernel.org Attackers Didn't Know What They Had
From what I read, one of the guys with a kernel.org login (HPA, I believe) had his personal machine infected by a trojan. The attackers were then able to login to kernel.org impersonating him. They then used a local-only exploit to get root.
This is why a local-only exploit is just as bad as a remote exploit. If your machine connects to a network, it has the potential to be compromised by a local-only exploit, by first exploiting a flaw in a completely unrelated program which is accessible remotely. In this case, the "flaw" was the compromised user account. It could have been a buffer overflow in an ftp or web server, which doesn't allow for privilege escalation on its own, but allows arbitrary code to be run as the current user... all the attacker has to do is make that arbitrary code trigger the local-only exploit, and your local-only exploit is now a remote one.
It's sad that so many people on slashdot keep playing local exploits down, or keep saying things like 'well it doesn't matter if my linux mail program has a flaw - the worst that can happen if I open a dodgy attachment is they wipe out my user directory, the rest of the system is safe'. Nothing is further from the truth. It's harder, yes, but not impossible to chain a bunch of vulnerabilities together so that your local-only exploit becomes remotely accessible.
This is why Linus doesn't like to classify bugs as security bugs vs other bugs. All bugs are potentially security bugs.
Google's 'ID Validation' Is a Joke, But Not Funny
Two years ago a co-worker and I drove for a few hours from South Africa to Lesotho to do some work. We reached the border around 7pm and it was dark and mostly deserted. We got our exit stamps on the South African side and drove across the border into Lesotho. We didn't see anyone nor did anyone stop us, and it completely slipped our minds that we had to stop to get our entry stamps on the other side, so we just drove through.
Two days later when we were leaving around midday, obviously everyone's awake now and at their posts. The lady at passport control in Lesotho refused to exit-stamp our passports because we didn't have entry stamps. We asked what we could do and she said to try our luck at the South African side.
So we stopped at the border gate, and my co-worker chatted to the guards there for a couple of minutes about this and that and they waved us through without checking that we had exit stamps from the Lesotho side. We stopped at the South African passport control office, and the official there stamped our passports without even looking at them.
So, according to our passports, we left South Africa on Friday evening, went nowhere for 2 days, and returned on Sunday afternoon.
Office 2010 is Office 14. They skipped 13.
Attachmate Does the Right Thing For Mono
and news from inside Microsoft seems to indicate they are ditching .NET for html 5
Do you have any idea how vast the .net class libraries are? It would literally be impossible to replicate all of that functionality on a platform like html without turning it into .net again. MS may be phasing out Silverlight in favour of html5 now that html5 has matured to the point that it is reasonable to do so, and for the web platform, where it makes sense to do so.
When Silverlight was launched, the only viable alternative was Flash, and that is what Silverlight was aiming to compete against. Unlike Google, MS realises that it's not feasible to put every single app on the web and run it in your browser, so they aren't interested in doing that. I would imagine that since html5 can now support most of the functionality that Silverlight offered, it doesn't make much sense to support two ways of achieving the same thing. However, to say that the whole of .net is being phased out in favour of html5 is laughable at best.