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Comments

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Wozniak To Apple: Consider Building an Android Phone

dido Re:Alleged Apple patents on Android (249 comments)

In what way was BlackBerryOS superior to Android? Perhaps it is superior in many technical ways, but we all know that isn't what makes or breaks a platform. BBOS is, however, woefully deficient in the one thing that truly matters: DEVELOPER MINDSHARE. We all remember Steve Ballmer famously dancing around like a monkey shouting "Developers, Developers, Developers" but for all how ridiculous he looked, he was absolutely right. Without developers making applications for a platform, a platform has no users, and without users, a platform dies. Microsoft is seeing that right now with Windows Phone, and Blackberry never managed to attract much of a developer base. Like it or not, iOS and Android were the platforms that attracted a lot of mindshare, and even Microsoft with all its resources is having a hard time muscling themselves in.

Well, I've been on Slashdot since 1996 or thereabouts, and soon enough it would have been twenty years since I first registered. I'd hate to leave, but if the beta is shoved down my throat with no way to go back to something reasonably approximating classic, well, I'm outta here too. From what I've seen of it, it totally destroys the comments section, and that's really what I've found most valuable about Slashdot which has kept me coming back nearly every day for the past eighteen years!

about 6 months ago
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Is the West Building Its Own Iron Curtain?

dido Re:For everyone who said "what do you have to hide (337 comments)

Very well put. What I like to say to people who say that they have nothing to hide is a quote from Cardinal Richelieu: "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." This massive trove of surveillance data can and will be used against anyone whom the powers that be don't like, and it is very easy to twist casual remarks and jokes out of proportion, to destroy the credibility of someone who may rock the boat. God forbid you are actually be doing something perfectly legal that isn't socially acceptable. If you stay one of the proles, sure you have nothing to fear, but if you try to do something useful like, oh, try to run for public office with a mind to changing how the government does things, those six million lines and counting describing everything you've ever said and done will be examined, and they will definitely find something in them which will hang you.

about 6 months ago
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Yep, People Are Still Using '123456' and 'Password' As Passwords In 2014

dido Re:XKCD nailed this ages ago (276 comments)

Wrong. Four words, out of 20,000 or so words that a typical literate person would know, gives 20,000^4 combinations, or a total of 1.6e17 possible combinations. That's about 57 bits of randomness right there, harder to crack than a DES key, and that's only if you *know* for certain that they're using an XKCD 936-style password. Yeah, I know that's in range of a massive distributed cluster: a DES cracker can be built for US$10,000, that can recover a key in six days, but it's still a fair sight better than the rubbish we have today. If you really care, use more words. Nine words is all you need to get to 128 bits of entropy.

about 6 months ago
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Is Earth Weighed Down By Dark Matter?

dido Re:Impressive (247 comments)

It's not direct detection of gravitational radiation, but observations of PSR B1913+16 have been considered convincing enough proof of the existence of gravitational waves as predicted by general relativity. It's a binary pulsar: a neutron star and another object that might be another neutron star or possibly a black hole, orbiting each other. They're spiraling in together, which could only happen if their orbits were losing energy due to gravitational radiation, and calculations based on their observations conform exactly with the predictions of general relativity for gravity waves. This was convincing enough to have won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for the scientists involved in the discovery and analysis of the pulsar, Russell Alan Hulse and Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr.

about 7 months ago
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Counterpoint: Why Edward Snowden May Not Deserve Clemency

dido Re:Technically correct (573 comments)

And then anyone who tries to seriously get into politics in that way will understand just why the NSA's data collection is so dangerous and gives them so much power. I've seen many people around here make the ridiculous argument that NSA domestic data collection doesn't affect them because they're nobody. Right... But if you want to try to effect real change you stop being a nobody, and all that "dead data" they collected on you suddenly takes on life like so many zombies. Cardinal Richelieu once famously said that if he was given six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men he would find something in them by which would hang him. The NSA has far, far more than that. On all of us. I can only hope that you Americans still have the same courage your founding fathers had when they created your nation. You will need it in these dark days.

about 7 months ago
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RSA Flatly Denies That It Weakened Crypto For NSA Money

dido Non-denial denial (291 comments)

As usual with these things, it's a non-denial denial. "RSA, as a security company, never divulges details of customer engagements, but we also categorically state that we have never entered into any contract or engaged in any project with the intention of weakening RSA's products, or introducing potential 'backdoors' into our products for anyone's use." Emphasis added. The first part says that they can't say whether they've taken any money from the NSA, so the story of them receiveing $10 million from the NSA could still be true. The second part leaves a lot of wiggle room. The word "intention" is the weasel. The statement leaves open the possibility that they could have taken the money from the NSA in good faith, in the same way that Mozilla takes Google's money in exchange for making Google the default search engine in Firefox. They didn't know then what the NSA's true intentions were in pushing use of Dual_EC_DRBG (never that mind it's several orders of magnitude slower than any other CPRNG algorithm described in NIST SP 800-90A). They were already using it in BSAFE as early as 2004, and the algorithm became a NIST recommendation in 2006. The possibility of a backdoor in the algorithm was floated publicly in 2007, a few months after it was published. I for one don't buy that they did all this in good faith, but there's no way to prove it unless some cryptographer who was employed by RSA at the times in question blows the whistle and says they had suspicions with the algorithm and the NSA's intentions for it.

The NSA wasn't always thought of as so evil. They modified the DES s-boxes so as to strengthen it against a cryptanalytic technique (differential cryptanalysis) that was known only to them and IBM since at least 1974, and kept classified until it was independently discovered by the academic cryptographic community in the late 1980s, so there may be some reason to give RSA the benefit of the doubt.

about 7 months ago
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Tech Leaders Push Back Against Obama's Efforts To Divert Discussion From NSA

dido Re:These companies don't care, it is all pretense. (312 comments)

The only thing corporations care about (insofar as organisations are capable of caring about anything), most especially publicly traded corporations, is money. It would open a corporation to shareholder lawsuits if it were not trying to maximise their profits using whatever means available at its disposal. That is the nature of these monsters that have been created by legal instruments. If you want them to care about anything, you have to show them how much it will cost them not to care about it. In the absence of laws against pollution, it saves money for corporations to pollute, so to get them to stop polluting, laws are written that make them liable for fines when they do. A properly-written anti-pollution law will make it cheaper for a company to buy equipment to clean up or minimise pollution than to pay the fines the government exacts for violating the law. In the same way, it saved money for corporations to be compliant with the NSA, so now other countries are making it impossible for them to operate in their countries (which costs them a market and hence money) using systems that make it easy for the NSA to do its spying. It remains to be seen whether this potential loss of business or increased operating expenses will be enough to make them rebel against the NSA. To corporations, money talks and bullshit walks every time.

about 7 months ago
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NSA Says It Foiled Plot To Destroy US Economy Through Malware

dido What a load of bollocks (698 comments)

If these attackers the NSA supposedly thwarted (the Chinese it is speculated), managed to gain control over large numbers of computers with access enough to damage their firmware, it would make far better sense to keep those machines alive and working for them instead. You could cause far more damage to the US economy by keeping those machines alive and pwn3d than if you simply bricked them. A bricked machine will cost a few hundred dollars to fix. A pwn3d machine is a gift that keeps on giving!

about 7 months ago
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North Korea Erases Executed Official From the Internet

dido Re:History repeating itself? (276 comments)

Stalin did exactly the same thing to Commisar Nikolai Yezhov after his fall from grace. They purged him from all official records and even went as far as photoshopping (much harder before digital photography) pictures of Stalin and Yezhov so that the latter disappeared.

about 7 months ago
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Google Cuts Android Privacy Feature, Says Release Was Unintentional

dido Re:Eagerly awaited (324 comments)

If you're rooted, you can install the XPosed Framework and the XPrivacy module for it, which will allow you to lie to an app about the permissions it requests. CyanogenMod 10.1 also has such a feature, although the UI is rather clumsy if you ask me.

about 7 months ago
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Google Glass Making Its Way Into Operating Rooms

dido Re:How can doctors secure it? (120 comments)

Nothing really stops you from changing the firmware on Google Glass to a custom one, with all of Google's spyware ripped out.

Not to bring anybody down... but seriously... we intentionally left the device unlocked so you guys could hack it and do crazy fun shit with it. --- Stephen Lau, Google X Lab

There's source code available for the kernel as required by the GPL as well as for other essential components, so custom firmware is definitely possible for it. Someone out there will probably eventually wind up selling medical editions of Google Glass with custom firmware with HIPAA compliance baked in and apps to interface with common medical information systems, although such a thing will likely be far more expensive than the consumer edition. Someone further down commented that it would cost $19,000, and well, I imagine they're not far off the mark, and perhaps even underestimating it. Certification is an expensive business.

I frankly don't get why there is so much hate on Google Glass. Indeed, the use that is being pushed for it as a consumer device is very creepy from a privacy standpoint, but you don't have to use it as Google intended. As William Gibson famously said, the street finds its own uses for things, and Google hasn't done anything to hinder that, in fact they are actively encouraging it.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Protect Your Privacy These Days? Or Do You?

dido Re:Government doesn't bother me (319 comments)

The government snooping around doesn't bother me all that much, as while it might be a waste of money, it really doesn't affect me. It's just dead data sitting around on some NSA server.

Until the day that Grumbel decides to run for Congress, on a platform of returning the protections guaranteed by the Constitution against the encroachments of the NSA. All sorts of "dead data" suddenly comes to life out of context like so many zombies.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Reproducible Is Arithmetic In the Cloud?

dido Hamming's Motto (226 comments)

You would do well to remember a quotation attributed to Richard W. Hamming: "The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers."

about 8 months ago
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Monthly net electricity use in my household:

dido Re:173 kWh (327 comments)

Got a two-bedroom house here, married with one child. My power usage has never gone up more than 200 kWh per month, and is almost always below 125 kWh. Well, I do have a nice, efficient one-door refrigerator which I measured to require only a paltry 25 kWh per month on average, and my Raspberry Pi home server/HTPC set up along with external storage, Wi-Fi router and DSL modem consumes roughly 17 kWh per month in total as this is the only other thing that I never turn off if I can help it. Air conditioning gets used mostly in the evenings for eight hours or so at a time (unless it gets really hot during the day), and I gather that's the bulk of the rest of our energy consumption. We have a gas stove for cooking (though I'm considering buying an induction cooker as backup), a washing machine that gets used maybe twice a week most weeks, and our laundry is air dried; we don't even have a dryer. We've got a microwave oven, toaster, and a drip coffee maker that is used just about every day, some fans, and all our lights are either CFLs or LEDs. There's a vacuum cleaner that sees only occasional use. My TV is a 40" LCD, and it actually uses only a relatively modest 60 W. All this and I still have energy usage in the 120-130 kWh per month range, and I haven't even begun my efforts at energy conservation in earnest. The wall plug wattmeter I got last month is only the beginning...

about 8 months ago
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Microsoft Kills Stack Ranking

dido Re:"Microsoft abandoning it just as Yahoo is adopt (204 comments)

Cash cows are forever? Hardly. Tell that to buggy whip manufacturers at the advent of the automobile, or more to the point, tell that to IBM's Mainframe Division in 1978. All cash cows will eventually die as they fall out of relevance, and cash cows in the computer industry have a far shorter lifetime than they do in other industries as the computer industry moves far more swiftly.

True, MS's cash cows probably still have a few more decades of life in them yet, but Microsoft is at least smart enough not to rest on their laurels and make an effort at getting into the mobile sector, however pathetic their current attempts at doing so are.

By the way, I looked up United Technologies, and well, I don't know why you bring them up. They're a technology company all right, but they don't look a computer company to me. They look more like Boeing than Microsoft or IBM, and well, the aerospace industry is rather different from the computer industry, and doesn't have anywhere near the same rate of change that the computer industry does.

about 8 months ago
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Microsoft Kills Stack Ranking

dido Re:"Microsoft abandoning it just as Yahoo is adopt (204 comments)

True, Microsoft's revenue keeps going up, but that doesn't mean anything. They are no longer supreme dictator of the tech world, able to control the industry at their whim, as they were in the glory days of the nineties and early 2000s. I remember a time when the industry jumped at every word Microsoft said, when the mere thought that they were getting into something was enough to make the faint of heart pull out to avoid competing with them head-on. No more. They're about as relevant and dangerous to the leading edge of computer technology as IBM or SAP. Microsoft is turning into a boring old company just like them.

The other thing is that a vast portion of Microsoft's revenue comes from only two cash cows: Windows and Office, and those two are beginning their slide into irrelevance with the rise of mobile computing. Hence their rather pathetic efforts so far to try to get into that market. It's something that they must succeed in somehow, and they need someone with true vision to edge into the market dominated by Apple and Google. Ballmer wasn't it.

about 8 months ago
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GCHQ Created Spoofed LinkedIn and Slashdot Sites To Serve Malware

dido SSL (335 comments)

I suppose using HTTPS would have helped even a little, if Slashdot ever bothered to do so. The victims might have noticed that the certificates changed, even if they did check out, most especially if they used HTTPS Everywhere. They couldn't just foist off an SSL cert for Slashdot signed by some other CA (or even the same CA) then: the SSL Observatory would have noticed the change in the certificate the way SSH notices that public keys to servers you connect to change. Unless of course Slashdot gave its (non-existent) private keys to GCHQ, in which case all bets are now off. Why browser SSL doesn't automatically cache certs the way SSH does and warn if there's a change that doesn't involve certificate expiry or revocation is something that isn't quite clear to me.

about 8 months ago
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Researchers Dare AI Experts To Crack New GOTCHA Password Scheme

dido Re:You've gotta be kidding me (169 comments)

I not only read the article but also the associated paper, and it seems that the proposed scheme involves precisely that. They generate some random inkblots and you have to give them some imaginative descriptions. Nevertheless I remain unconvinced that this is a good idea from a usability standpoint. I haven't even been able to find a link to a working mock-up of the system in action, so I could try it out.

about 9 months ago
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Robots Can Learn To Hold Knives — and Not Stab Humans

dido Bishop's Knife Trick (104 comments)

On seeing the headline I suddenly remembered this scene.

about 9 months ago
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Project Seeks To Build Inexpensive 9-inch Monitor For Raspberry Pi

dido Re:Gee, they're going to build an ARM-based comput (176 comments)

Nonsense. For the other stuff you need to buy, a case is the only one that has to be custom made, but I bought mine for only about $8 from RS as I recall. Most modern mobile phones have MicroUSB chargers that can readily be used with the RPi. The official power supply from RS was $15 when I bought it, and now I wish I hadn't, because mobile phone chargers that can produce 5V/2A DC can be had for less than $5. And who the hell doesn't have tons of old SD cards lying around? I have dozens of old 2GB-4GB cards lying around, gathering dust, left over from old digital cameras and such. In any case I can buy a new 4GB card for approximately $5 (or an 8GB for $8), and that's more than enough space to install Raspbian. Total bill thus comes up to $35 + $8 + $5 + $5 = $53.

Now, I see that you can probably buy a refurbished 300 MHz Pentium II-based PC (which is how powerful the Raspberry Pi's processor is said to be on their FAQ) for $60-$70 or so, but it would have only 64-128 megs RAM (good luck finding more RAM compatible with it), and probably an old IDE hard drive that is smaller than the $5 SD card (sorry, SATA didn't exist when that machine was manufactured), and no or very primitive 2D/3D acceleration (no luck doing H.264 decoding on such hardware, so it can't even run XBMC), and it consumes ten times more power. So you just spent $20 more for a machine inferior in almost every way to the Raspberry Pi. Good call.

about 9 months ago

Submissions

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DNA of Cocoa Bean Tree Sequenced

dido dido writes  |  more than 3 years ago

" rel="nofollow">dido writes "Scientists backed by chocolate makers Mars and Hershey have announced that they have completed sequencing the genome of the cocoa bean plant. “This will help guarantee a sustainable future for cocoa for the farmers, the consumers and Mars Inc.,” Howard-Yana Shapiro, the head of plant research at Mars, said in an interview. Another goal of the project is to ensure the genetic data was available for all to use without intellectual property restrictions. Those gaining access to the data on the group’s web site have to agree not to patent anything, like specific genes, from their findings."
Link to Original Source
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dido dido writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dido writes "In his most recent column, Robert X. Cringely observes that network neutrality as it is now understood may have never really existed at all. It appears that some, perhaps all, the major broadband ISPs have already been implementing tiered service levels for a long time. From the article: 'What turns out to be the case is that some ISPs have all along given priorities to different packet types. What AT&T, Comcast and the others were trying to do was to find a way to be PAID for priority access — priority access that had long existed but hadn't yet been converted into a revenue stream.'"
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dido dido writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dido writes "The Mainichi Daily News reports that Takafumi Horie, the founder and former president of Japan's most famed Internet company Livedoor.com has been convicted for violating Japan's Securities and Exchange law, and has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. From the article: 'The Tokyo District Court convicted Horie, 34, the founder of the Internet company, of spreading false information on the stock market about his company in a bid to manipulate share prices and of making false entries in its securities report in violation of the law.'"
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dido dido writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dido writes "The Mainichi Daily News reports that the incidence of cybercrime in Japan has increased 40% in 2006 from the previous year, including incidences of online fraud, phishing, and Internet-assisted child prostitution. From the article: 'Police departments across the country cracked down on a record 4425 cybercrimes in 2006. A total of 1597 cases involved online fraud, accounting for 36.1% of the total and was up 13.4% from the previous year. In 703 cases, the suspects illegally accessed websites using other people's ID and passwords, up a hefty 153.8 percent from 2005.'"
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dido dido writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dido writes "The Mainichi Daily News reports that a college student has been arrested for withdrawing money from the bank account of a man found murdered last January 28. The suspect, 21-year-old Hiroshi Shimura, has further admitted to killing the man and his mother, telling investigators: "I spent the money at video game arcades. I murdered them so I could steal some money.""
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dido dido writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dido writes "The BBC reports that the Hubble Space Telescope has been used to make a map of the dark matter distribution of the universe, providing the best evidence of the role dark matter plays in the structure and evolution of the universe. From the article: 'According to one researcher, the findings provide "beautiful confirmation" of standard theories to explain how structures in the Universe evolved over billions of years.'"

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