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Justen Robertson
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Justen Robertson

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More shameless disinformation and doublespeak from the alphabet soup

“This is a Silicon Valley delusion that the government wants to outlaw encryption,” Stewart A. Baker, a former National Security Agency general counsel, said in an interview. “I grant that there is a radicalized subculture of engineers that is very prone to that delusion, but it is a delusion.”

Nonsense. This is a terrible strawman bundled up with an ad hominem. Engineers and system administrators are not paranoid or delusional, and they're not "radicalized" (calling to mind images of terrorists, which is no accident and a disgusting rhetorical tactic). We just understand the implications of what the NSA, FBI and others are asking for. Because we know what we're talking about, while Mr. Baker is hoping you do not.

To reiterate, the problem is that encryption with a government backdoor is not real encryption because it's not possible to create an encryption algorithm that has a master key that you can guarantee only one group of people will ever be able to use. They don't want to outlaw encryption; they just want to make backdoors mandatory, which has the effect of outlawing real, effective encryption by omission.

Which isn't going to work, of course - they can't stop private persons, including bad guys, from using it, the genie is out of the bottle - but they can make it illegal to offer it as part of a commercial service to US customers.
 
“They believe there’s this window of opportunity that if we build strong encryption now, we can make it a fait accompli. But if we let five years pass, it may never happen,” Andreessen said.
We're beginning to see the long-term impact of Apple vs. FBI
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Justen Robertson's profile photoJeffrey Hamby's profile photo
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Backdoors are famous for being exploited and leaked, and not at all famous for keeping things secure.

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At the Behest of Confused, Scientifically Illiterate Anti-Nicotine Zealots, FDA Hands the Vape Industry Over to Big Tobacco

The new regulations will require per-SKU approval of e-liquid flavors, at a cost of around $1 million per product, a price that the vast majority of the industry won't be able to afford.

This is the end of an entire industry, and the end of a product that has been radically effective at harm reduction and cessation of tobacco use (and at carving a big hole in the profits of another industry that has chronically lied to, manipulated, and killed its customers), unlike every other cessation product and propaganda campaign aimed at the same goal.

It's a worst-of-all-worlds outcome that puts nicotine alternatives back in the hands of the very people who can be trusted the least, and whose only demonstrable intent is to get people back on tobacco. Their inferior products, mostly disposable e-cigs, fail to satisfy, produce enormous amounts of pollution and waste, and reinforce rather than mitigate cigarette use.

The fox is now guarding the henhouse. Congratulations fuckers, you just guaranteed another generation will line the pockets of one of the most dangerous groups of amoral profiteers known to man outside the defense and prison industries.

I suspect that vapers in the US will now start mixing their own liquid to get around the ban, a process that can be dangerous without proper equipment and precautions due to the use of pure nicotine.

Feeling super protected right now.

Big question remaining is how many will be grandfathered in, how many need feds' approval
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Yes it does. And I don't trust them to leave off the "flavorings" they put in their cigarettes, like formaldehyde :/

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Code support for most of the upcoming features is done. There are still a few special level conditions I haven't written yet, but they won't show up for quite a while so there's no pressing need to get them done.

I've created quite a few new levels, the last of which take advantage of one of the aforementioned features. There's probably somewhere around 35 to 40 accessible levels now. I'd do some more, but it's time for Game of Thrones Season 6!
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Couple new levels for Ops. Mostly did a bunch of refactoring today to make the code cleaner and easier to work with.

Oh and I put in OpenGraph tags so it has a pretty picture down below.
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Ok, updated my side project from yesterday. It works in Firefox now, has a couple more levels, a couple new features, and a couple design updates.

Thinking about adding sound effects. Not sure if I'll do that today or work on levels.

http://justen.us/ops
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Binge-watched The Magicians this weekend. It was good, not great. Then binge-read the books. Great, but not classic.

Superficially it's a self-aware dark n' gritty re-imagining of boy magician genre tropes. The setting feels like somebody's homebrew Harry Potter-meets-Narnia-meets-American Gods Mage: The Ascension campaign.

Except the characters are consistently well-imagined, three-dimensional, actual people rather than the cardboard cutouts you get in most mashups (in which the characters are poorly realized Mary Sues who mainly serve as plot devices in your tour of the author's dubious world-building skills). The books are about them, and the intentionally derivative setting fades into the background - clearly not the important part of the story.

Hell, the plot is clearly not important; my biggest complaint is that the books manage to retcon themselves every couple of pages, as if the author was either rushing to release or overconfident to the extent that he didn't hire a good editor to point out inconsistencies. This grated on my nerdy nerves a lot.

Back to the world-building, the pseudo-Narnia of the setting (Fillory) is the weakest aspect. It is Narnia, with only the faintest veneer of originality, and only where it serves the story to be slightly different. But I guess that's the point - I think he would have just made it Narnia if that would have satisfied all the story's needs. Brakebills surpasses Hogwarts in some ways, and falls short in others, but at least feels like its own space. The author's world-building ability really shines in his magic system, though! Magic is difficult, painful, costly, and of questionable value, such that you don't have to try to hard to suspend disbelief in regard to how it can exist without many people knowing or caring about it. It also manages to justify its intellectual challenge in a way that few fantasy settings do: you can see why only the most brilliant of people can do anything useful with it.

So this is getting long: in sum, the well-developed characters and the magic system justify the read and make up for some otherwise flawed storytelling. I tentatively recommend it.

The show I could take or leave. It's better than Lost Girl or Dresden, and as such is a good urban fantasy fix, but it's not going to blow anyone's mind. It's different enough from the books that they can be enjoyed independently, so there's that.
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Don't send me pointless crap that can be sufficiently answered with a smart reply (and only in lieu of no reply at all) and you have a deal.

"Here's a desperate plea for attention!" is not a conversation opener, it's a parasitic attack on someone else's time to feed your ego. Want conversation, say something worth thinking about. :/
Be present in your conversations.
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Ops now has rudimentary mobile support! It's still a little wonky on some devices, but playable (use portrait mode on phones).

Thanks to a few helpful playtesters, I've made:
* visual improvements (including better contrast, improved visual feedback, and some general layout cleanup)
* a splash screen
* auto fullscreen and mouse capture

No new levels, but a bunch of tweaks to existing ones (especially on training and pacing), also based on playtests.

There are still some display issues to work on, but nothing that affects existing gameplay at the moment.

New screenie too. Fucking G+ has cached the one from 2 versions ago so no idea whether you'll see it or not. Oh, and a favicon. Might have already mentioned that.
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Last post for the night. More levels, better screenshot.

Sorry if this is getting spammy; I don't use the twatter where short, frequent posts are more appropriate <.<
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Ok, last update on Ops for the night. Now that the UI is "good enough" I added a bunch of new levels. There's at least 25 in there total :>

http://justen.us/ops
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Ops now has horrible sound effects, yay! I sorta spent all evening on that so there aren't any new levels yet.

http://justen.us/ops
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Uche Eke's profile photoJusten Robertson's profile photo
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Thanks! I have a list of features to add that should keep it challenging for a while. Hoping I can wrap it up fairly quickly; would like it to be a couple-week project.
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