Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stuff I'm reading, nation's birthday edition

Happy 4th, if that's your thing wherever you are...

  • What Turing Himself Said About the Imitation Game
    Turing’s fundamental message about thinking in his 1952 radio broadcast was that we shouldn’t set the bar any higher, or any differently, for computers than we do for people. We don’t decide that our fellow human beings think by putting their brains under a microscope—ordinary everyday interaction is enough. That was Turing’s astute observation. If you want to tell whether a machine thinks, try communicating with it.
  • Preview the new JDBC 4.2 for SQL Server Driver
    The JDBC Driver for SQL Server is a Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) type 4 driver that implements full compliance with the JDBC specifications 4.1 and 4.2 and supports Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.8. There are several additional enhancements available with the driver. The updated XA Transaction feature includes new timeout options for automatic rollback of unprepared transactions. And, the new SQLServerBulkCopy class enables developers to quickly copy large amounts of data into tables or views in SQL Server and Azure SQL Database databases from other databases.
  • s2n : an implementation of the TLS/SSL protocols
    Ignoring tests, blank lines and comments, s2n is about 6,000 lines of code. s2n's code is also structured and written with a focus on reviewability. All s2n code is subject to code review, and we plan to complete security evaluations of s2n on an annual basis.

    To date there have been two external code-level reviews of s2n, including one by a commercial security vendor. s2n has also been shared with some trusted members of the broader cryptography, security, and Open Source communities. Any issues discovered are always recorded in the s2n issue tracker.

  • Let's Encrypt Releases Transparency Report -- All Zeroes Across The Board
    This is actually pretty important for a variety of reasons. First, it clearly acts as something of a warrant canary. And by posting this now, before launch and before there's even been a chance for the government to request information, Let's Encrypt is actually able to say "0." That may seem like a strange thing to say but, with other companies, the government has told them that they're not allowed to claim "0," but can only give ranges -- such as 0 to 999 if they separate out the specific government requests, or 0 to 249 if they lump together different kinds of government orders. Twitter has been fighting back against these kinds of rules, and others have argued that revealing an accurate number should be protected speech under the First Amendment.
  • Blaming the Victim
    The compromises at OPM and at Sony Pictures have revealed some truly pathetic security practices at both organizations, which certainly made the bad guy's job very easy. Better security practices would undoubtedly have made their job harder. But it is important to understand that in a world where Kaspersky and Cisco cannot keep their systems secure, better security practices would not have made the bad guy's job impossible.
  • The Harmful Consequences of Postel's Maxim
    Jon Postel's famous statement in RFC 1122 of "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send" - is a principle that has long guided the design of Internet protocols and implementations of those protocols. The posture this statement advocates might promote interoperability in the short term, but that short term advantage is outweighed by negative consequences that affect the long term maintenance of a protocol and its ecosystem.
  • ISDN: The Untravelled Path of Mobile Computing
    The reason for this is that Japan's national phone carrier, NTT, had a vision for the future in which people who were out on the road with their mobile computing devices would stop off at a payphone and plug in to make "data" calls. ISDN was an international standard for a natively digital phone system, which offered 64 kbps line speeds.
  • Running Effective Retrospectives
    let’s take a look at how an average team can apply scientific retrospectives to the process of team improvement, by sitting down with Scrum Mistress Alice and her team of Rockstar Ninja Samurai Cowboy developers at Poogle (a search service that helps desperate travelers locate the nearest lavatory).
  • Lost Highways
    Vermont is unusual in that, if a road has been officially surveyed and, thus, added to town record books—even if that road was never physically constructed—it will remain legally recognized unless it has been explicitly discontinued.

    This means that roads surveyed as far back as the 1790s remain present in the landscape as legal rights of way—with the effect that, even if you cannot see this ancient road cutting across your property, it nonetheless persists

  • Google Street View - Allure of the Seas | Royal Caribbean
    At Royal Caribbean we like to push the boundaries of technology & innovation, so we are excited to reveal the world's first, exclusive "access all areas" tour onboard Allure of the Seas, using Google Street View technology.

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