In light of recent news, such as “FreeBSD washing Intel-chip randomness” and “alleged NSA-RSA scheming,” what advice should we give engineers who want to use randomness in their designs?
My advice for software engineers building things used to be to rely on the OS to get it right. That defers the problem to a small number of smart people. Is that still the right advice, despite recent news? The right advice is pretty clearly not that a normal software engineer building in Ruby on Rails or asp.net should go and roll their own. It also cannot be that they spend days wading through debates. Experts ought to be providing guidance on what to do.
Is the right thing to hash together the OS and something else? If so, precisely what something else?
The Gavle Goat has burned again, according to The Local.Se, and of course, it’s Twitter account (yet one more way in which real name policies inhibit natural behavior).
Two quick comments. First, the goat survived longer this year than usual. Second, I think it illustrates something. I’m not sure what. But my yule would be incomplete without a giant straw goat set ablaze.
There’s a new study on what people would pay for privacy in apps. As reported by Techflash:
A study by two University of Colorado Boulder economists, Scott Savage and Donald Waldman, found the average user would pay varying amounts for different kinds of privacy: $4.05 to conceal contact lists, $2.28 to keep their browser history private, $2.12 to eliminate advertising on apps, $1.19 to conceal personal locations, $1.75 to conceal the phone’s ID number and $3.58 to conceal the contents of text messages.
Those numbers seem small, but they’re in the context of app pricing, which is generally a few bucks. If those numbers combine linearly, people being willing to pay up to $10 more for a private version is a very high valuation. (Of course, the numbers will combine in ways that are not strictly rational. Consumers satisfice.
A quick skim of the article leads me to think that they didn’t estimate app maker benefit from these privacy changes. How much does a consumer contact list go for? (And how does that compare to the fines for improperly revealing it?) How much does an app maker make per person whose eyeballs they sell to show ads?