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NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

nine-times Re:Compelling, but a mix still better... (385 comments)

That's no good as an answer. If you can't narrow the possibilities at all, then there's no point in planning at all. Maybe there will be a weird set of circumstances that require we send a donkey along on the mission. I mean, the possibilities are indefinite, so who knows what we could run into. Maybe the best solution is to send a crew made entirely of 5 year olds.

You've got to narrow it down. How can you make things as robust and redundant as possible, covering all the most likely possibilities, and as many of the unlikely possibilities as you can, without being wasteful? That's why NASA needs smart people to try to figure things out, rather than throwing up their hands and saying, "Oh well, we can't figure it out!"

I don't know that it would mean an all-female crew. I'm just saying it's not as simple as saying, "Well it's possible that you'll need strength, because anything is possible."

yesterday
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NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

nine-times Re:Diversity is best (385 comments)

companionship from the opposite sex will likely be important for long term mental health.

Or it could cause problems. Imagine having to break off a relationship while stuck in a tiny spaceship with that person for months. Imagine if one of the women became pregnant. Lots of things could go wrong.

yesterday
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NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

nine-times Re:Compelling, but a mix still better... (385 comments)

However I'd argue in a truly remote environment where no external help is to be had, that the raw strength a few very fit males could provide could be useful in an emergency.

I don't know... I think it'd make sense to try to evaluate the likelihood of needing that raw strength. What are possible situations that a manned mission to Mars would need strength? Now eliminate all of those situations where a group of women would be strong enough to accomplish the task. Now that that set, and eliminate the situations in which men would not be strong enough. Now you have the set of situations/tasks where men's strength would be of benefit to the mission.

Now you do a sort of risk analysis. Take each of the remaining tasks, and start looking at what the probability that the crew will be in a position to do that task. If the probability is low enough eliminate that task from your list. Look at what the consequences are for failing to perform that task. If the consequences are below a certain level of importance, eliminate them from your list. Look at what the alternatives are for performing each task.

Now take the remaining tasks, and weight the cost of the additional weight (and any other complications from including men) and weigh it against the consequences of not being able to complete those remaining tasks. How does that comparison work out?

I have no idea, frankly, but that's roughly how the decision should be made. I really don't know how often raw strength becomes an issue for space travel.

yesterday
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

nine-times Re:Bad statistics (186 comments)

Career-wise, it would be useful to tell us the likelihood of making each earning bracket *by career*.

Of course, depending on how you break it down, that might not tell you what you think it will. Like "Most likely to make millions of dollars per year" might give you top careers like:

* Heir to grandfather's fortune
* NFL Quarterback
* Billionaire philanthropist
* Lottery winner

Sure, with those careers, you're pretty much guaranteed to be rich. But what are the chances that you'll get one of those careers? If you wanted to try to plot your career path, it'd probably be better to look at the most common jobs that are most likely to pay well. So there are a lot of physicians making a lot of money. If you set out to become a physician, your chances of getting rich are better than if you set out to be a lottery winner.

Of course, there's another problem. These are the top earners right now, but we don't know what things will look like in 10 years. If you're 18 and trying to figure out what to do with your life, then being a physician would seem to be a great choice. Hypothetically, if there were medical breakthroughs in the next 10 years that completely cure all diseases and health problems, then you might find you get out of medical school without much of a career lined up.

yesterday
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

nine-times Re:How many really make $140k ? (186 comments)

It's not below the "poverty level", but $100k isn't exactly "rolling in it" if you're living in NYC. It's enough for a single person to live in a good apartment in a pretty good neighborhood, but you're not talking about a second sports car for a "sweet downtown loft". $100k is still in the range where you're probably just hoping your tiny Brooklyn apartment's rent doesn't go up, because if it does, you don't know where you're going to be able to move to.

yesterday
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

nine-times Re:Hold on a minute (186 comments)

I'm just lucky I am easily able to ignore evidence that I don't like, or else this article would be troubling.

That is lucky. Apparently, you're also very good at accepting straw man arguments, or else your own post would be troubling.

yesterday
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OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

nine-times Re:First taste of Mac OS X (303 comments)

I'm not trying to convince you to like OSX, but just to attempt to give an explanation:

Compared to Dolphin, I find Finder far too limited, especially the inability to show hidden files. I've got no idea why there is no such menu toggle built into it. What are Apple afraid of? This is especially annoying when I have to look for .m2 and .git files. Sure, I can use the command line, but it's not as intuitive.

As someone who provides support for general users, I think Apple has handled this reasonably well. There are a lot of hidden files that a lot of people would find confusing. There are .DS_Store files and .Trash folders, along with the /etc directory in the root. If they had a little button on the Finder to "show hidden files", I have no doubt that there would be a lot of users who would hit it, see all the "Junk" in places they didn't like, and try to delete it.

Apple provides a option to show all files that can easily be changed from the command line. If you have trouble making this change, then you're not someone who should see those files. Seems reasonable to me.

The mouse scrolling was odd; the whole concept of "accelerating" while operating the wheel doesn't feel as natural as moving 2-3 lines with each movement. I had to download an app to get it the way I wanted (or, the same as it works in Windows and KDE).

Seems like a preference issue. To each his own, I guess. I thought you were going to complain about the "natural scrolling", which is something I'd have a lot more sympathy for, but which is also an option that can easily be changed.

It took me ages to realise that Command-Tab cycles through open applications, but not the windows. I found several windows all hidden behind one another that had been there for days, because OS X's window manager didn't present them to me. Apparently, I have to use Expose or something like that to see all of them.

Again, seems like a bit of an issue of preference. Ultimately, Apple's logical breakdown of running processes is much more aimed at whole applications rather than windows. Notice that each application has one button on the dock, regardless of how many windows you have open. Notice that you can often close all the windows of an application without closing the application. Notice that you can (depending on some thing) close the application without actually closing the windows, i.e. the application closes and the windows disappear, but when you reopen the application, the windows are all there where you left them.

Their approach is sensible, and it doesn't seem to be obviously wrong, but I can understand why you'd want it the other way.

Oddly, most things on Mac are Command+. However, on the command line, Ctrl+C is still used to break a program.

In my opinion, it's actually fairly nice that way. You can use Command+C to paste text into a terminal window, and Ctrl+C to break the current program. Less confusing than windows, where the short-cut's effect will change depending on context. In fact, Microsoft has been advertising the ability to use Ctrl-V to paste into a command line in Windows 10. Apparently, it's one of Windows 10's biggest features.

My Mac has been set up to be case insensitive. LS, GrEp, cAT, TAIl all behave as if they had been typed lowercase.

Yeah, this is... well... it's a bit unfortunate because it can cause some confusion. It's an issue with their file system (HFS+), which has been made semi-case-sensitive. For example, you can do "mkdir tEsT\ dIrEcToRy" and you'll get a directory called "tEsT dIrEcToRy", maintaining the case that you types in. However, if you then type "rmdir 'Test Directory'" then it will delete it. Essentially, it's case-sensitive when writing but not case-sensitive when reading.

The reason for this, to a large extent, is lazy/bad developers. You can set the filesystem to be completely case-sensitive, and OSX will run fine. Apple's applications will run fine. Last time I did it, though, Adobe applications would crash constantly if they ran at all. Apparently Adobe had developed their applications without paying attention to the case of their library files. It's worth noting, also, that Windows seems to have the same problem. Also, this doesn't really keep things from working.

Pressing home and end take me to the top and bottom of the document, rather than the line I'm edit, making me have to do some finger gymnastics when I want to highlight an entire line I'm working on. That's probably just personal preference, though.

I think this was actually how things were done first (even on old Unix systems), and the Home/End buttons got re-purposed later to be the beginning/end of the line instead of the beginning/end of the document. Again, I'm not sure this is a matter of right and wrong, so much as a matter of what you're used to and what you prefer. Also, it's worth pointing out that Command+Right-Arrow will bring you to the end of a line, and Command+Left-Arrow will bring you to the beginning of the line. So you can still do that.

I can see if I were to switch to a Mac, I'd spend a lot of time downloading hacks and scripts to bring back the features I like to work with, and other scripts to do away with those that I don't.

My honest opinion is that doing so would be a bad idea, and largely a waste of time. Apple would release an update, and all your hacks and customizations would be broken. You'll be better off just getting used to the way things work instead of trying to tweak every last thing to work like KDE. It's largely not doing things wrong, but just doing things not the way you're used to.

4 days ago
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OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

nine-times Re:Wait, what? (303 comments)

including things like their version of Androids Intents (that they call "extensions")....notifications pane from iOS (stolen from Android, natch)...

Right, so you're upset that Apple is using plugins, extensions, and notifications because all of those things were invented by Android developers. Sure.

They're making it possible to make and receive phone calls on the desktop.

So they've added functionality. I don't' think anyone is complaining about Windows 8 for added functionality.

They're changing a bunch of apps to more closely mimic the cellphone UI. According to the review itself, this is resulting in UIs with excessive whitespace...

You might need to point that out in the review. I don't doubt what you're saying, I just need context, and skimming the review for a second, I didn't see anything specific about that.

Having used Yosemite for a while, I don't see there being a lot of extra unused space due to "mimicking the cellphone UI". It actually seems like, in a lot of cases (e.g. Safari), they've cut down on "wasted space" in a way that may have been inspired by the cellphone UI, but not in a way that sacrifices functionality. I definitely haven't had the experience of noticing that things are spaced out strangely as though it were optimizing OSX for touch interaction.

Mostly it seems like they just re-skinned it. The textures and colors are different, with almost the same spacing.

4 days ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

nine-times Re:Baby steps (348 comments)

We'll never reach a stage of certainty that nothing will go wrong. To paraphrase, it's difficult to make things foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.

Yes, I agree with you. There's always risk. However, when it comes to going into space, the whole process is dangerous and expensive enough when we've done everything we can to control the risks. Like you said, I think we mostly agree. I'm just arguing that we should work on the problem of sustainability first, keeping in mind the eventual aim of using that knowledge and technology for space travel and colonization. We shouldn't try to employ those techniques in space before we have good reason to think that we can be successful.

So, for example, the whole bio-dome thing failed the two times that we've tried it, but as you point out, we learned things. Let's try it some more! Let's continue to learn from that until we have a solid grasp on the requirements for building a sustainable biosphere.

4 days ago
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OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

nine-times Re:Wait, what? (303 comments)

From what I can see of Yosemite, Apple is doing the same thing with Mac OS X.

Can you be more specific as to what you're referring to? The biggest difference in the UI is that they reskinned things and change the icons and whatnot. You might not like the changes, but it's hardly the same thing as Windows 8's problems. The only things I can think of that make it more like their mobile OS-- at least this is all I can think of off the top of my head:

1) They added "Launchpad", which was done a couple of versions ago and is completely optional. Remove it from the dock and you never have to see it again.
2) They expanded the functionality of the notification area, and I don't really see there being a lot of grounds for complaints
3) They have a controlled "App Store", which again, was added a few versions ago and is optional.
4) They added an application for Maps...? I guess this makes it more like a mobile device. Again, optional.
5) Their chat/messaging application has increased support for SMS messages, which is additional functionality, and at least sort of optional.

I'm not seeing the problem.

4 days ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

nine-times Re:Baby steps (348 comments)

I do generally agree with you, but, I don't think we should get too hung up on the idea of an enclosed system, as that's not actually what we live in

Yeah, that's fair, but it's a system without a lot of input or output, and the input is mostly sunlight. For example, I'd have no problem with the idea of an artificial biosphere having solar power. Still, my point is that we can't seem to make a successful almost-closed system here on earth, so why would we attempt doing it on the moon first, where the stakes will be so much higher?

My memory of the sorts of problems they faced were-- yes, some kind of insect infestation. Also, they made parts of the building out of concrete that they only later realized was either absorbing oxygen or putting out CO2. Part of my point here is, you wouldn't want to drag a bunch of people to the moon and then have that problem there. Let's get our shit together first.

And people tend to focus on things like, "can we renew the oxygen and food sources?" But then there are problems like, "What do we do when all the solar panels break or degrade? Do we have the facilities to recycle them? Can we gather the materials needed to build more?" Shipping more to the moon might not be too bad. But if we want to talk about having a sustainable colony on Mars or eventually interstellar travel, we would need to consider that kind of thing.

4 days ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

nine-times Re:Baby steps (348 comments)

Step 2: build a new station to experiment on establishing a small biosphere

I think this is a problem that we need to confront first: Figuring out how to live in a sustainable closed system.

Were people ever successful in those bio-dome experiments? Are we now able to build an enclosed biosphere that can function sustainably, indefinitely, without bringing in materials or resources from the outside once you get started? There's not much point in trying to build something like that in space until we know how to build a sustainable closed system, reliably, without fail, here on Earth. Doing it in space will be more expensive, and failures will be less forgiving. It seems to me that we don't even know how to live sustainably within the biosphere we inherited, already running, the size of the Earth.

The key word here is "sustainability". Can we live in an enclosed system, indefinitely, without using up all of our resources or making it unlivable with our waste and pollution? It's the key to being able to conduct long-term space travel. It's the key to being able to build an off-planet colony. It's the key to continuing to live right here on this planet.

5 days ago
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Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies

nine-times Re:I don't get it... (186 comments)

You list Tolkien as though those properties haven't had their share of movies. In fact, I'd say that the second Captain America movie is, all told, a better movie than any of the Hobbit movies.

5 days ago
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Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies

nine-times Re:I don't get it... (186 comments)

I think your best point is "They have a built in market." It's true that, if you release a big-budget movie about a popular character, there are some people who will watch it pretty much no matter what. That's why so many new movies are some kind of adaptation or remake-- so that they can count on a pre-existing audience who will see it, even if it's bad, if only out of curiousity or loyalty to the original work.

The rest of your points aren't quite fair, though. You could argue that the writing isn't amazing and that there's a lot of action, but the movie industry has been putting out dumb action movies for an awfully long time now, and it didn't start with comic-book movies. And really... the writing isn't necessarily bad.

I don't think they're easy. You have a few decades of really bad comic-book movies to demonstrate how easy it is to make a bad one. And I don't think "people are rarely disappointed". There's a bit of a consensus that the third X-Men was bad, the first Wolverine movie was terrible, and the Fantastic Four movies were pretty awful. A lot of people weren't particularly happy with "Man of Steel", either. Go back to the Joel Schumacher Batman movies, and I don't think you could sum up people's feelings about them with a word better than "disappointed".

I think the real explanation is that Sam Raimi showed everyone that you could make a good superhero movie that took the source material seriously, and then Christopher Nolan showed that you could make one that is also simply a good movie. Those were still one-offs and flukes, though, until Marvel showed that you could take a systematic approach toward leveraging these kinds of properties into a series of movies, and DC/Warner (as well as Fox) are looking to emulate that.

And though they might not be to your taste, a lot of these things aren't bad movies. Especially not if you compare them to other summer blockbuster action movies.

5 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

nine-times Re:The Middle Class is the Bedrock of Society (832 comments)

as our economy has become less capitalist

What is this "capitalism" you speak of?

Seems like a dumb question, but it really becomes pretty unclear what people mean by the word, when you start listening to what people say. Is "capitalism" an economic system that promotes private ownership of the means of production, with minimal (or no) governmental/public oversight? Is "capitalism" a moral system that holds tenets such as "Greed is a healthy and beneficial impulse that promotes economic growth, which benefits us all," and "the goodness of action can be measured by its ability to generate profit," and "rich people are inherently better than poor people, or how else would they have become more successful?" Is "capitalism" a political system, some kind of subset of "plutocracy" where the public world is governed by the wealthy in proportion to their ability to leverage their economic power to influence political campaigns?

It seems really important to know what "capitalism" is if we want to determine whether we're becoming more or less "capitalist". Once we know what "capitalism" is, we would also have to analyze our political/legal/trade/economic policies to determine whether we're becoming more or less "capitalist", whatever we determine that to be.

Also, if we really wanted to try to determine causation, we'd probably have to determine how long it might take for policies to have an effect, and then compare that to the history of various economic trends. For example, it probably wouldn't make sense to blame an ongoing economic problem that started 10 years ago on an economic policy that was instituted yesterday.

5 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

nine-times Problems with taxing consumption (832 comments)

I'm not claiming to be an economist, but I'd imagine there are some big problems with taxing consumption as well. As people will point out, taxing something often has the effect of discouraging it. Depending on how you structure the tax, it could encourage a pack-rat mentality, where people just stuff their money away. That's not all bad, since it serves a purpose of encouraging savings, but when you cut consumption, you have the potential of also cutting economic growth. In addition, a tax on consumption might hit poorer people, since everyone has a minimum amount that they must consume. For example, poor people and rich people both need to spend a minimum of $[X]/year on food just to survive. As the amount of income increases, that $[X] becomes a vanishingly small percentage of income for rich people, while it remains a substantial amount of money for the very poor.

Taxing consumption could also (again, depending on how it's structured) simply drive money out of the US. In its simplest form, it would become much cheaper to make money in the US (since income and capital gains wouldn't be taxed) while making it much more expensive to spend money here. The "smart thing to do" would be to make your fortune here and spend it elsewhere, where the tax is not on consumption.

And that also doesn't begin to confront the source of a lot of the problem: wealth and power represent a self-reinforcing cycle. To oversimplify a bit: Poor people have no power to promote their own interests, while rich people can use their economic power to develop other forms of power, which they can, in turn, use to reinforce their economic power. The obvious example of this is that they can contribute money to politicians, supporting politicians who will support their economic interests. Those politicians can change trade policy to benefit the wealthy person's business, or rewrite the tax code to allow the wealthy person to avoid paying taxes.

If we started taxing based on consumption, how long do you think it would take for an exception to be written into the tax code for private yachts?

And this immediately raises the question in my mind, how to we anticipate tracking "consumption" and deciding what should and should not be counted as "consumption"?

Now, I'm not ruling out the possibility of someone developing a plan that deals with these issues appropriately. But I've heard the suggestion of taxing consumption before, and I've never heard an adequate explanation of how all of these things would be addressed. It seems a bit... I don't know the right word-- silly? creepy? Well, it seems noteworthy to me that Bill Gates starts and finishes his argument by talking about how rich people should be treated differently based on how charitable they are. It suggests that his main motivation is to argue, "I'm one of the good ones. You should leave me alone and let me keep more of my money. Yes, yes, by all means, tax rich people more to deal with this income inequality issue, just so long as you don't tax me."

5 days ago
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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

nine-times Re:Rotating passwords (546 comments)

But in those cases the strength of the password doesn't matter...

Correct.

...and periodic rotation might not be enough to prevent damage.

Also correct. It might not be enough to completely prevent any damage, or it might. If it doesn't completely prevent any damage, it might limit the amount of damage that's done. Often, security is not about the removal of risk, but about the mitigation of risk.

5 days ago
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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

nine-times Re:I disagree (546 comments)

OpenID is more complicated for the end user to manage, AND it puts additional technical burden on them to understand.

This is a dramatic shift in your argument. I don't want to start a whole new argument at this point, but in short, I would admit that OpenID as it stands is not a good/complete solution. I would only argue that the industry should be working together to develop a better solution, either by improving OpenID dramatically or developing a replacement that works better. I've argued in the past that such a solution should not merely provide SSO, but also include a more complete form of "identity management".

But now I've sacrificed my control over my users.

So again, you want a walled garden. Walled gardens are all well and good until you want to do something that falls outside the wall, or if you disagree with the gardener.

You say the failure of OpenID is malicious intent on the part of the big corporate players to create locked-in ecosystems.

Not malicious. More like "not benevolent". They aren't working toward a better solution that would be beneficial to us all, improving the way the Internet works. They aren't working on a superior technical solution that can work as a model for the future. They're working toward their own business interests, which includes corralling people into their walled gardens and locking them in. The shepherd isn't malicious towards the health of his sheep, but his intention is to slaughter them for meat.

about a week ago
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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

nine-times Re:Rotating passwords (546 comments)

A password's crackability is not measured in time units, but in number of failed attempts. So it would be useful to collect them.

A big part of what I was saying is, a password may become cracked with 0 failed attempts. There are other ways that an attacker can acquire a password.

about a week ago
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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

nine-times Re:I disagree (546 comments)

No, you misunderstand me.

No, you misunderstand. Authentication and authorization are fundamentally two different steps.

* First step, authentication: Some guy is claiming to be "Dynedain". I've checked the [certificate or password or whatever] against the [certificate authority or password has or whatever] and it checks out. Therefore, yes, I believe that this is "Dynedain".
* Second step, authorization: Now, let me look at my records to see what "Dynedain" is supposed to have access to. Is he allowed to have an account yet? Nope. He hasn't been authorized. Close the connection.

So in this case, you were authenticated, but not authorized. So Google could "trust" other servers in terms of authentication (This guy says he's "Dynedain@Slashdot.org" and "Slashdot.org" says that's true, so I'm going to believe that he is "Dynedain@Slashdot.org") without automatically trusting the user to the point of authorizing them to do anything.

If I trust Google IDs, and allow people to signup to my site with Google IDs, that is a fairly good way of limiting malicious bots from signing up on my site. But I've now accepted Google's signup policies as my own.

Yeah, see, right here, you're looking to Google to create a walled garden. You're saying, "I don't just want to trust Google's authentication, but I also want to trust that anyone who is using Google's authentication is *also* automatically authorized to have full access to my services." That's pretty much exactly what it means to have a walled garden-- creating a closed ecosystem with defined limits and restricted access to the outside world, in the hopes of creating a "safe area".

You're saying that you don't want Google to trust authentication from anywhere else because you want to trust that any authentication coming from Google is equivalent to valid authorization, which helps you prevent spambots from signing up for your service. It's not fundamentally different from saying that Google should only allow Gmail users to receive email from other Gmail users, which would prevent spam from reaching your inbox. You're not entirely wrong, but the reason it helps crack down on misuse is that walled gardens are easier to control. The higher level of control is both a good thing and a bad thing.

In the case of email and in the case of authorization, the negatives of walled gardens far outweigh the benefits. And Google knows this. They have smart people working for them. But then, they also want to push people toward using Gmail and Google+, and having a walled garden helps them accomplish that.

about a week ago

Submissions

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What's holding back encryption?

nine-times nine-times writes  |  more than 4 years ago

nine-times writes "After many years in IT, I've been surprised to notice how much of my traffic is still unencrypted. A lot of businesses that I interact with (both business and personal) are still using unencrypted FTP, and very few people use any kind of encryption for email. Most websites are still using unencrypted HTTP. DNSSEC seems to be picking up some steam, but still doesn't seem to be widely used. I would have thought there would be a concerted effort to move toward encryption for the sake of security, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

I wanted to ask the Slashdot community, what do you think the hold up is? Are the existing protocols somehow not good enough? Are the protocols fine, but not supported well enough in software? Is it too complicated to manage the various encryption protocols and keys? Is it ignorance or apathy on the part of the IT community, and that we've failed to demand it from our vendors?

What challenges have you faced in trying to increase your use of encryption, and what do you think we can do about it?"

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