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76  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 26, 2013, 12:51:32 PM
^^^ Wraith's post above is one to put into your scrapbook.
77  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 26, 2013, 09:50:51 AM
Two mind-numbing articles by Paul Craig Roberts:

I'm afraid you're crossing the line into partisan politics.

I agree with the overall conclusion you're presenting here. But, bad as the situation that they describe is, these articles do contain untruths and exaggerations (I won't enumerate them, because I don't want to dig deeper into the political quagmire). Presenting things in this manner undermines the effort in the long run: it gives the bad guys the opportunity to rebut trivial details while ignoring the big picture, and it robs us of (some of) the moral high ground.
78  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: June 25, 2013, 11:33:55 AM
If Snowden is caught and brought to trial, here's what I think the next move ought to be:

Snowden should claim that everything he said previously was a lie. And there's no law against telling lies to our enemies, right?

To make its case, the government would need to prove that the stuff Snowden said really was true, thus forcing the government to admit, at the very least, the truth of Snowden's claims.
79  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 21, 2013, 08:17:36 PM
Or we could do what Aerosmith was/is still singing about....'Eat the rich'.

Lightweights. Do it the right way, with Motörhead:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwtaIT-HR1c" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwtaIT-HR1c</a>
80  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 21, 2013, 08:50:56 AM
More worth reading:

http://antiprism.eu/
Quote
We are appalled to learn of the unprecedented surveillance of Internet users worldwide through PRISM and similar programmes. Blanket surveillance capabilities such as these, especially when implemented without citizens' scrutiny, seriously threaten the human rights to free speech and privacy and with them the foundations of our democracies.

...

Maybe Europe can help us out. If their business won't work with us because of objections to spying, maybe our business will put enough pressure on the government to dump the spying.
81  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 20, 2013, 06:42:14 PM
But here's the rub...when voting someone out...who steps in to fill the void?

That is the question, is it not?

I think a possible answer is: anybody else.

If we just keep throwing out any bum that won't follow the rules, I hope they'd learn that *we* are the masters, and get their acts together. After just a few cycles, things would get better.

I'm not sure that's true, but I think it's worth trying.
82  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 20, 2013, 01:55:45 PM
This isn't about party.  It's about the whole government.  And unless we can/are willing to throw them all away and start over

wraith, I don't know your party affiliation, and it's none of my business. But whatever it is (assuming you have one), are you willing to vote entirely against that party to ensure that the jerks who perpetrated these things are kicked out?

And will you be willing to vote in that other guy even if his platform is anti-[your favorite sacred cow]?

And will you be willing to do so one year, or even three years from now, when you've cooled down a little (and maybe even forgotten)?
83  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 20, 2013, 11:51:47 AM
I think it's reached the point where the only way to get the message across is to seriously consider impeachment proceedings and removal from office 

(trying to walk a thin line separating this from partisan politics...)

The only way that would work is if a really large portion of the electorate were willing to put their foot down and say "No. You've done something bad. You can't be in office anymore.".

But we've been through crises before. What always happens is that once they get into the voting booth, they actually decide that even though the guy from their party did a bad thing, they still must support him, because the alternative is to let the guy from the other party get into office. And there's no doubt that the other party is outright evil, and must not be allowed into office at all costs.

What's not actually admitted here is that this sort of logic in voting is giving your own party a license to just one unit of evil better than the other party.

If you're not willing to stand up for right versus wrong, then you are what's enabling the problem! Put partisanship behind you, and start voting for demonstrated ideals and against actually observed wrong-doing.
84  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 19, 2013, 01:26:38 PM
it's not a party thing.  Even if Romney had gotten elected, the same would be going on.

No doubt. I didn't mean to make it partisan, the GOP would no doubt have similar measures, although I think the way they'd try to frame the discussion would differ. But they'd sure as heck be doing it -- after all, it was GWB that got this round kicked off.

Like I said, this wasn't intended to be a GOP/DEM thing at all, but rather a "look how absurd the guy at the top is, trying to justify this nonsense with obvious double-talk". I would have said the same thing regardless of what party he came from.
85  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 19, 2013, 12:15:45 PM
Thought y'all might appreciate this.
[attach=#]
86  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 17, 2013, 01:16:26 PM
A good Q&A with Snowden

Quote
Edward Snowden Q and A: NSA whistleblower answers your questions

The whistleblower behind the biggest intelligence leak in NSA history answered your questions about the NSA surveillance revelations

http://www.guardian.co.uk...n-nsa-files-whistleblower
87  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ministry of Truth - Washington Post changes wording in its archive about PRISM on: June 17, 2013, 01:09:54 PM
Honestly, I'm not particularly concerned about this. I see post-hoc editing of news stories all the time, as the need for corrections comes to light. I'm a little put out that there's no notation on the page saying that a change occurred -- I see such notes frequently. But I don't get the idea that there's anything unusual going on due to what the article reveals.
88  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 15, 2013, 09:10:35 AM
Uncle Sam can't demand to know where you're spending your cash. And if he does you can always refuse to answer. But your credit card company and bank are very accommodating when Uncle comes calling and asking for information.

Not to disagree, but to show how this operates in the real world:

Quote
Nacchio alleged that the government stopped offering the company lucrative contracts after Qwest refused to cooperate with a National Security Agency surveillance program in February 2001.

That claim gains new relevance these days, amid leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden that allege widespread domestic surveillance by the NSA.

Back in 2006 Leslie Cauley of USA Today, citing multiple people with direct knowledge of the arrangement, reported that shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks America's three largest telecoms signed contracts to provide the NSA with detailed call records from hundreds of millions of people across the country.

Cauley noted that Qwest's refusal to participate "left the NSA with a hole in its database" since the company served local phone service to 14 million customers in 14 states.

From USA Today (emphasis ours):

Quote
The NSA, which needed Qwest's participation to completely cover the country, pushed back hard. ...

... the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government.

Nacchio's legal concerns about the NSA program at the time mirror those of civil liberty groups today.

http://www.businessinside...acchio-and-the-nsa-2013-6

My conclusion from this is that the government accomplishes this not only (or even primarily) through legislative means, but through financial coercion. Our government has grown so large that servicing it alone is major part of many industries. If you want to stay in business, you've got to go along with the government's wishes. And because this isn't a legislative problem, I don't see how legislation can be a cure for it. The only cure I can see is to neuter the beast: take away its strength. And the way to do that is to shrink it, so it's no longer the 800-lb gorilla that can push everyone around.
89  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 14, 2013, 08:41:55 PM
Does your definition of "private sector" also include those companies that are contracted by

No. The fact that they're acting as agents of the government makes them an extension of it. (Fake corporate shields shouldn't allow private companies to hide from view, nor should the government be allowed to hide that way either.)
90  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 14, 2013, 07:52:12 PM
Data mining, for fun, surveillance, and profit...

Two crucial differences are that
  • in the private sector it's pretty much impossible to put together a database as comprehensive as what the government can gather by force
  • if you talk about the data collection of the private sector, you're not in immediate danger of becoming a non-person
91  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Legitimate app breaks popular encryption - EFS, BitLocker, TrueCrypt ... on: June 13, 2013, 11:51:39 AM
that I keep thinking back to that famous XKCD strip that points out how most of what gets suggested to make passwords "more secure" does little other than make them difficult for humans to use and remember.

I'm following this approach now. To generate the pass phrases, see http://passphra.se/

In using this, I've been stunned at how many web sites (a) don't allow spaces in passwords, or (b) enforce silly maximum lengths on passwords.
92  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 13, 2013, 11:05:19 AM
I don't like it any more than you do. But I do understand why people are being more guarded in their speech.

Today, much of our speech is instantly accessible from anywhere on the planet. And the artifacts of the speech are permanent.

Back when we were kids, it was virtually impossible for somebody to say something that could be heard outside his immediate vicinity. Some national newspapers (NYTimes), or regional TV and radio, had broad audiences, but they weren't broadcasting our speech. Today, I have trivial access to a multitude of channels for disbursing my thoughts globally, and indeed, much of my communications are through these channels.

And if I slip up and say something bone-headed, the evidence is there for everyone to see. Back in the day, speech evaporated into the air. But today there's a permanent record.

So it used to be safe to assume that there would be no repercussions. But today, the way we communicate has created ample means for those in opposition to hear what we say, and it's easier for them to find as well.
93  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 13, 2013, 09:12:16 AM
Even in my own peer groups I've noticed a much greater reluctance to engage in certain wordplay and widespread self-censoring of certain words or phrases precisely because there's concern about something said being taken out of context.

Yes, but this isn't usually regarding subversive speech, but misunderstandings about "slurs". For example, a coworker recently told me that one of her first memories of me was when I was discussing something in a meeting and used the word "niggardly".

In airports, though, the need to self-censor seems to be quite extreme. When going through the security check in particular, I've been conditioned to believe that I'd better keep my mouth shut, as any possible misinterpretation of my words will be used against me.

However if there truly are no supporters of that side (which I highly suspect - But have been wrong before) of the discussion ... Then A. we have in a microcosmic fashion proved my theory, and B. afforded some breathing room for the threads safety here.

Unfortunately, I have some evidence refuting your theory. It appears that public opinion overall is much less clear than within this community.

Quote
More than half of Americans approve of a former intelligence contractor’s decision to leak classified details of sprawling government surveillance programs, according to the results of a new TIME poll.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said the leaker, Edward Snowden, 29, did a “good thing” in releasing information about the government programs, which collect phone, email, and Internet search records in an effort, officials say, to prevent terrorist attacks. Just 30 percent disagreed.

But an almost identical number of Americans —  53 percent —  still said he should be prosecuted for the leak, compared to 28% who said he should not. Americans aged 18 to 34 break from older generations in showing far more support for Snowden’s actions. Just 41 percent of that cohort say he should face charges, while 43 percent say he should not. Just 19 percent of that age group say the leak was a “bad thing.”

Overall, Americans are sharply divided over the government’s use of surveillance programs to prevent terrorist attacks, according to the results of the poll. Forty-eight percent of Americans approve of the surveillance programs, while 44 percent disapprove, a statistical tie given the poll’s four-point margin of error.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com...rosecution/#ixzz2W6bGw8xe
94  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 13, 2013, 08:20:16 AM
If our government wants to record every phone call ever made, they need to make that case to the population, tell us how much it costs so we can assess the cost/benefits, have some very substantial oversight, and convince us that it's doing more good than harm and not being abused.

I'm vehemently opposed to PRISM-like operations. But I think that what Mouser outlines is really the most crucial aspect of this.

Pres. Obama has outlined a set of checks and balances that are intended to protect the data from misuse, and to be honest, what he outlines sounds pretty reasonable -- as far as it goes. But he's completely glossed over the most important check of all, that of the citizens [1]. Philosophically, we're the ones with the power: we have determined to allow the government to wield some powers that we've granted to it. But then it's quite impossible for the government to claim it has a power that it refuses to tell us about.

We possess an ultimate check on the power of the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government by way of the ballot box. And we possess an ultimate check on the power of the Courts by way of jury nullification. But what the Bush and Obama administrations seem to have set up is a monolith of power that none of us can check at all, most fundamentally because we're not even allowed to know of its existence.

[1] To slip into more controversial territory, I believe that his omission is very telling of his real political philosophy. He doesn't subscribe to the "Common Sense" theory I've outlined before, where the power of gov't derives from the people. He believes (like Mayor Bloomberg and his war against beverages) that in the end, he is the daddy that should be running our lives.
95  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 12, 2013, 10:33:03 AM
... led the new generation to believe the US Constitution, through its government,  grants it's citizens rights - when in fact, the actual wording only serves to restrict the powers given - by the people - to their own government.

This is true, but there's more to it than that.

Virtually everyone I talk to believes that America was a great experiment in democratic rule, showing that the revisionism has successfully erased the single biggest aspect of our nation's founding principle. The idea that America was a bold experiment in a new concept of democracy is false: by the time the Constitution was written, democracy had been around for a couple of millennia. We all know the ancient Greeks did it, but somehow fail to connect those dots.

During the American revolution, John Adams went to the Netherlands seeking loans to support the American war effort. Even at that time, the Netherlands were democratic, with Adams appealing to their parliamentary body. So it can even be said that part of what enabled the independence of America was the pre-existing democratic states.

Democracy is a red herring, it's just a by-product of the real triumph.

What was really revolutionary about the US Constitution and the nation it defined was the idea of government that only possesses limited, explicitly enumerated powers that the people have decided to cede to it (as described in Thomas Paine's Common Sense, which I urge you to read in addition to the text of the Constitution itself).

In this paradigm, no matter how much we believe that some policy is a good idea, the government is only allowed to undertake it if it's one of the powers granted by the Constitution. There is an explicit list of what Congress is allowed to do in the document, under Article I Section 8. Consider the types of things that our federal government does today, and try to find some justification for it in that list. Regulations covering the War on Drugs, universal healthcare, standardized education, federally-defined drinking ages, and countless other things require huge stretches of the imagination to find in that list.

In other words, almost everything the federal government does today is illegal, given an objective reading of the Constitution. This is nothing new, it's been going on since the early 20th century, if not longer.

Most all of this crap started from the G.W. Bushy era

This is quite false. The problems with invasions of our private communications began under Clinton, at least (recall, for example, the Clipper chip). The ridiculous War on Drugs was brought to us by President Nixon. The vast reach of the Nanny State began with FDR, with big bumps under LBJ, GWB, and Obama. But the seeds of the preeminent federal government (as opposed to the sovereignty of the States) was planted by Lincoln (of course slavery is evil, but Lincoln's actual goal wasn't to stop slavery, but to cement a strong federal government; Lincoln was personally opposed to slavery, but freeing the slaves didn't happen until the war was well underway, a strategy to weaken the South).

UPDATE: fix spelling
96  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Adobe drops the gauntlet - going forward it's cloud - or nothing. on: May 09, 2013, 11:55:26 AM
What does it really mean for software to be "in the cloud"?

Because I don't see anything interesting in Adobe's change, in terms of software architecture. So far as I can discern, the only things that are changing are:

  • Only available via download, no physical media
  • Auto-update via download
  • Change from a single payment perpetual license to a recurring subscription payment
  • Optional online storage of data (which we already have via tumblr, etc., anyway)

So it's a minor tweak to delivery, and a fundamental change in how you pay for it.

Given that, where are the benefits to the user that are so undeniable? The *only* benefit I can see is the convenience of automatic updates, but to me that's quite minor. It doesn't make the pricing model change undeniably better, and the once actual change is something that I'm not willing to pay any extra for.
97  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Have you ever gone Geocaching or Letterboxing? on: April 24, 2013, 12:08:15 PM
I've been doing geocaching for years. It's a great excuse to get out of the house and get some exercise. And being into photography, it's also a way to introduce me to new areas to photograph.
98  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Glarysoft Giveaway of the Day on: April 19, 2013, 12:04:55 PM
It's just remarkable how many video converters, cutters, etc., are out there. The space is flooded, yet people continue to create more of them, and even try to sell them.
99  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: A Netware server that's been running non-stop for 16+ years on: April 02, 2013, 01:14:05 PM
Don't try some FUD BS. Because it is total BS. And you darn well know it.

Renegade, I resent the implication that I'm lying, and I think you oversell your own perception if you believe that you know what I am (or anybody else is) thinking.

It might be available to major corporations, but none of that kind of durability is available for typical IT use by SMEs.

Actually, it seems to me that it was Google that pioneered the use of disposable computing hardware. Their server farms are based on consumer-grade computers packaged into rack mountings. And you don't get much more "major corporation" than that.

Everything fails. I've seen ASP applications just deteriorate after being thoroughly tested.

If you think that deterioration can be built into software, in a way that's not detectable, I think your tinfoil hat is too tight. And think about it: why would the software publisher want to invest the extra development cost in order to design that "feature" in?

FWIW, RAID does not increase reliability. All it does (and can do) is minimize downtime. Two disks are twice as likely to fail as one disk.

It's true that RAID just has you multiplying the chance of a *single* failure. But you're also multiplying your chances of surviving a failure, at least to the extent that multiple *simultaneous* failures are geometrically less likely. It's not a perfect solution, but generally speaking, this does greatly enhance reliability: even at home, I can pretty much always rely on my RAID-1 NAS to be available.

I'm not sure I can agree with that as a general principle in that the consensus of 300 baboons is no better a decision (IMHO) that the opinion of one baboon. And from my experience, "the wisdom of crowds" is highly overrated at best - and wishful thinking more often than not. Especially when it comes to technology.

However, I do agree that 'choice' should be the exclusive prerogative of the chooser.

I think we're actually agreeing here. I'm not claiming that a committee can come up with a better answer applicable to everyone. Your latter statement is exactly what I'm trying to say: there does not exist any one single answer that's good for everyone, so the fact that each person can optimize it individually is a good thing.

UPDATE: 40hz and I cross-posted. I agree with everything in his later post.
100  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: A Netware server that's been running non-stop for 16+ years on: April 02, 2013, 11:56:17 AM
*cough* planned obsolescence *cough*

How about a concrete example, and an argument about how that situation is worse than it was back X years ago? 'Cause although I acknowledge the phenomenon, I don't see it getting any *worse*.
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