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EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

roca Re:SIP Replacement? (282 comments)

WebRTC:
* Proper open, royalty-free standard (IETF)
* Encryption (DTLS)
* Opus CBR mode for high resistance to traffic analysis
* Standardized NAT traversal (ICE, STUN, TURN)
* Supported in Chrome and Firefox, plus other products
* Coordinate WebRTC sessions with any Web site

3 days ago
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In-Flight Service Gogo Uses Fake SSL Certificates To Throttle Streaming

roca This sabotages user education (163 comments)

One big problem here is that when "legitimate" services present invalid certificates, it teaches users to accept browser-provided "broken SSL" UI as a normal thing that they should just ignore. This is very harmful to Internet security in general.

about three weeks ago
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WSJ Refused To Publish Lawrence Krauss' Response To "Science Proves Religion"

roca The response isn't all that good (556 comments)

Just because it's from a reputable scientist doesn't make the response brilliant.

The argument that in a universe with different values for constants, life could exist --- just not as we know it --- is weak. Evolution requires heritable traits subject to selection pressure. A serious argument for "life, but not as we know it" needs some thought experiments suggesting how evolution could work in alternative universes, e.g. universes where hydrogen is the only element that can exist. I've read widely in this area but not found such thought experiments. In their absence, it would have been better to leave this argument out.

IMHO by far the biggest problem for the claim that life must be abundant in the universe is Fermi's paradox. Such claim must be accompanied by an explanation for the absence of evidence (not unlike many religious claims!). There are various possible explanations for Fermi's paradox, but the credibility of the life-everywhere hypothesis depends on them so they have to be made. That wouldn't fit into a short letter-to-the-editor rebuttal, which means a short-letter-to-the-editor rebuttal is not a good format for addressing this issue.

about three weeks ago
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Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

roca Massively patent-encumbered (377 comments)

The problem here is that H.265 and by extension BPG are heavily patent-encumbered. These are not just latent patents but patents that the H.265 contributors are using for a revenue stream.

Bellard suggests "just use the licensed hardware decoder you probably already have" but a) that doesn't make technical sense in lots of cases and b) most people don't, in fact, have such a thing currently and c) the encoding situation is even worse.

about a month and a half ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

roca Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (981 comments)

Christians throughout history have understood that the laws God prescribed for Israel in the Old Testament are not mandatory outside that context, and in particular are not to be applied wholesale to gentiles (i.e. almost everybody). This isn't some modern opportunistic innovation, it's explicit in the New Testament (e.g. Acts 10-11,15).

about 4 months ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

roca Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (981 comments)

The Protestant reformers would have objected violently to your characterization. To them, rejecting the human authority of the Pope in favour of 'sola scriptura' was a move *away* from secularism. You're right that ironically it provided room for true secularism to grow.

But the grandparent post is right nevertheless. The Christianity of the New Testament is fundamentally compatible with secularism and pluralism because it grew up as a minority faith in the Roman Empire and took hold through mostly-peaceful implementation of the teachings of Jesus. There have been a lot of deviations from that course but those deviations can be corrected/stripped away without doing violence to the core, and in the modern era have been.

about 4 months ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

roca Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (981 comments)

The 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, mostly well-educated and from relatively wealthy families.

Meanwhile there's desperate poverty all over Africa and Asia and not a whole lot of terrorism (except where Islam is introducing it).

about 4 months ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

roca Re:they will defeat themselves (981 comments)

Unfortunately the area's an ethnic patchwork, not just of Sunni and Shia but other groups like Yazidi. So just "redrawing along religious lines" isn't practical unless you also carry out mass deportations. And good luck trying to keep the minority groups viable.

about 4 months ago
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Tor Browser Security Under Scrutiny

roca The report doesn't say "use Chrome" (80 comments)

Maybe I'm missing something, but I've read the whole report and I can't find anything that says "don't favor Firefox as a baseline for Tor, rather Google Chrome".

about 5 months ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

roca Occupy Hollywood! (442 comments)

It doesn't seem fair that businesspeople are vilified for being ludicrously overpaid, but actors (and sportspeople) get away with it.

about 6 months ago
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Internet Census 2012 Data Examined: Authentic, But Chaotic and Unethical

roca Results of the census (32 comments)

I assumed "Authentic, But Chaotic and Unethical" was the description of the Internet resulting from the census.

about 6 months ago
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Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

roca Re:Is anyone left to care? (194 comments)

You have control. As the article says:
> Users will have options to activate or deactivate it

about 6 months ago
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Firefox 31 Released

roca Re:no thanks (172 comments)

> In short, the designers are (willfully?) ignorant of the fact that
> not everyone uses their web browser exactly the same way
> they do.

Aren't you make that mistake yourself? I know our designers collect a lot of data on what many users actually use. More data than individual Slashdot commenters have collected, I expect.

> Any time they change the interface, add an easy-to-find
> checkbox under the options to restore the old functionality.

That leads to an explosion of difficult-to-understand checkboxes in the UI, and an unmaintainable mess under the hood.

about 6 months ago
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Firefox 31 Released

roca Re:Misfeatures (172 comments)

> "Automatic handling of pdf and ogg files" - I have a pdf reader
> already. I dont need another one, and I dont need one
> 'integrated' in my browser, period.

From the release notes: "audio/video .ogg and .pdf files handled by Firefox *if no application specified*" (emphasis added).

> "loaded with new features for developers." Pretty sure that
> means for advertisers.

You just made that up.

about 6 months ago
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Firefox 31 Released

roca Re:Spyware companies will love it (172 comments)

Preventing canvas tracking isn't simply a matter of fixing a bug. A solution would require something like "don't use the GPU" or "don't use platform font rasterization", either of which are completely unacceptable for most users due to degradation of performance or visual quality.

If you've got a simple fix to canvas tracking, let the world know what it is, OK?

about 6 months ago
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Firefox 31 Released

roca Re:Spyware companies will love it (172 comments)

sendBeacon was already possible with JS using XHR, just in a slower and more user-unfriendly manner. And unlike XHR, you can disable sendBeacon without breaking the Web, so it's actually better for privacy.

However, if you want to completely prevent any sendBeacon-like activity, you need to just disable JS on that page.

about 6 months ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

roca Re:Well, uh, yes actually (435 comments)

Considering fission weapons have been around for 70 years, we've done surprisingly well at limiting their proliferation. I think mass-market availability of fission weapons is pretty far down the list of things to worry about. However, terrorists and rogue states having them in small numbers is definitely high on my list.

Mass-market small-scale kill-bots based on rockets and drones are also high on my list.

Unfortunately the most effective method to prevent use of such weapons will be to put a chip in everyone's head. I honestly think that might be worse than mass murder, but you can imagine it looking attractive both to the Powers That Be and the public.

about 6 months ago
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Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

roca Re:Tiny bumps in JPEG performance (129 comments)

We agree that alpha channel and animations are required features for any next-gen image format, but that doesn't change the analysis. It doesn't make sense to try to get WebP support everywhere for those features or for small compression gains, when in a couple of years or less we could introduce a new format with those features and big compression gains.

about 6 months ago
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Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

roca Re:Tiny bumps in JPEG performance (129 comments)

The reason we're not merging WebP in a hurry is because it's not very good. The study results linked to in the article show that WebP isn't much better than mozjpeg. (This is especially clear in the second part of the study where mozjpeg is tuned for SSIM.) On the other hand the study shows HEVC *is* much better than WebP/mozjpeg, so we know a much better format than WebP is technically available *now*. We can't simply adopt HEVC as is due to patent licensing issues, but we should be able to create an unencumbered format with similar or better performance (e.g. using VP9 or Daala as a base). It doesn't seem like a good idea to try to move to WebP when we know a better format is coming fairly soon (probably within a couple of years).

about 6 months ago

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