Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 24 min 10 sec ago
Let's talk about elections! Except not the American ones, but the Dutch elections, coming up in March.
Concerned about the role hackers and false news might have played in the United States election, the Dutch government announced on Wednesday that all ballots in next month's elections would be counted by hand.
We haven't been using electronic voting ever since it was demonstrated the machines were quite easily hackable, but everything higher up in the stack was still electronic - such as counting the paper ballot and tallying up the results from the individual voting districts. The upcoming election will now be entirely done by hand - voting, counting, and tallying, making it that much harder for foreign powers to meddle in our elections.
This switch to full manual voting is taken two days after Sijmen Ruwhof posted a detailed article explaining just how easy it would be to hack our voting process.
Journalists from Dutch TV station RTL contacted me last week and wanted to know whether the Dutch elections could be hacked. They had been tipped off that the current Dutch electoral software used weak cryptography in certain parts of its system (SHA1).
I was stunned and couldn't believe what I had just heard. Are we still relying on computers for our voting process?
Turns out the "security" of the counting machines and software, as well as the practices of everything around it, is absolutely terrible. The article is an endless stream of facepalms - and really shines a light on just how lacklustre the whole electronic part of the process was, and hence provides an interesting look behind the scenes of an election.
In the days after Donald Trump won November's presidential election, immigration and civil liberties advocates began assessing how the new president might carry out his promises to create a registry of Muslims and deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Almost immediately, it became clear the Trump administration would need data, and a lot of it, in order to not only peg people's religious affiliation and immigration status but also allow federal agents to verify their identities and track their whereabouts. Information that could be used for such purposes is collected and stored by a variety of state agencies that issue driver's licenses, dispense public assistance, and enforce laws.
In Washington state, The Verge has learned, Democratic governor Jay Inslee has directed members of his policy and legal staff to work with a handful of state agencies to identify data that could be utilized by Trumpâs deportation officials, and how, if possible, to shield any such information from federal authorities engaging in mass deportation. In California and New York, Democratic lawmakers have proposed legislation to block state data from federal immigration authorities. Democratic legislators have also proposed bills in Washington state, California, New York, and Massachusetts that would prevent state data from being used by federal authorities to build a registry of people belonging to a certain religion.
The Republican party, Trump, and its supporters are avid advocates of states' rights, so I'm sure the Republican Trump regime will welcome these moves with open arms.
So you've installed Haiku from a recently nightly (or sometime soon, the R1 beta) and youâre launching applications from the Deskbar menu (the blue âleafâ menu). Perfect, but there are a few more options to investigate if you want to quickly launch your favourite programs.
Neat little overview. For a second there I thought they were replacing Deskbar, and I nearly had a heart attack.
Apple Inc. is designing a new chip for future Mac laptops that would take on more of the functionality currently handled by Intel Corp. processors, according to people familiar with the matter.
The chip, which went into development last year, is similar to one already used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard's Touch Bar feature, the people said. The updated part, internally codenamed T310, would handle some of the computer's low-power mode functionality, they said. The people asked not to be identified talking about private product development. It's built using ARM Holdings Plc. technology and will work alongside an Intel processor.
And before you know it, you have a MacBook ARM.
Earlier today, The Irish Times ran an "article" titled "Brussels broke the rules in its pursuit of Apple's â¬13bn". That sounds serious, and would definitely have you click. Once you do, you read an article written by "Liza Lovdahl-Gormsen" without any sources, which is basically an almost word-for-word rehash of letters and answers from Tim Cook about the tax deal. The lack of sources and Tim Cook-ery tone of the piece should set off thousands of huge and loud alarm bells in anyone's mind, but it isn't until the very last paragraph of the "article" that the reader stumbles upon this:
Liza Lovdahl-Gormsen is director of the Competition Law Forum and senior research fellow in competition law. This article was commissioned from her by Apple and supplied to The Irish Times
Pathetic and disingenuous at best, intentionally misleading and ethically reprehensible at worst. The fact that the biggest, richest, and most powerful company in the world has to resort to this kind of unethical behaviour should tell you all you need to know about how certain Apple is of its own claims about the tax deal.
Ever launch an app on your iPhone and then get a pop-up warning that says the app may slow down your iPhone? (I have old versions of certain apps, so it shows up for me every once in a while.) That warning usually appears when you're using a 32-bit app. You can still run the app, and you probably donât even notice the slowdown you've been warned about (at least in my personal experience).
Your ability to run that 32-bit app is coming to an end. As several other Mac sites have reported, Apple has updated the pop-up warning in the iOS 10.3 beta to say that the 32-bit app you're running "will not work with future versions of iOS." The warning goes on to say that the "developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility."
It'd be interesting to know if this actually affects all that many people.
Historically, the code for Chrome for iOS was kept separate from the rest of the Chromium project due to the additional complexity required for the platform. After years of careful refactoring, all of this code is rejoining Chromium and being moved into the open-source repository.
Due to constraints of the iOS platform, all browsers must be built on top of the WebKit rendering engine. For Chromium, this means supporting both WebKit as well as Blink, Chrome's rendering engine for other platforms. That created some extra complexities which we wanted to avoid placing in the Chromium code base.
There is no Chrome for iOS. It doesn't exist. Just because it has a Chrome-like UI doesn't mean it's Chrome. Chrome is the whole package - UI and engine. Without the engine, it's not Chrome. I understand Google wants to leverage the brand recognition, and I know I'm splitting hairs, but until Apple allows competing browser engines, iOS only has one browser, with a bunch of skins.
Though we now have thousands of examples of these symbols, we have very little idea what they mean. Over a century after Cunningham's discovery, the seals remain undeciphered, their messages lost to us. Are they the letters of an ancient language? Or are they just religious, familial, or political symbols? Those hotly contested questions have sparked infighting among scholars and exacerbated cultural rivalries over who can claim the script as their heritage. But new work from researchers using sophisticated algorithms, machine learning, and even cognitive science are finally helping push us to the edge of cracking the Indus script.
The Indus Valley Civilization and the mysteries that surround it are deeply fascinating. It was contemporary to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, yet we know relatively little about it. It honestly blows my mind that computers can now be used to decipher its ancient script, which may give us a lot of insight into this civilisation.
Like in programming, language is key.