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* Posts by Kevin Kitts

81 posts • joined 6 Feb 2008

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Royal Society: Schools should show creationism 'respect'

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

No way...

the only way to approach Creationism in schools is not to approach it at all. Teachers educated in evolutionary theory (science) are not necessarily qualified to teach Creationism, so they shouldn't even bring it up. Thus avoiding the otherwise inevitable confrontation and the dust-up afterwards.

If by some chance the teacher is forced to approach Creationism (which is highly unlikely), they should explain that all science is based on observed phenomena, and it will take a *very long time* to travel to the ends of the universe (if the universe even has borders) in order to find all of the creatures that resemble God, and even longer to figure out which one of those creatures was responsible. It ignores the fact that no one here has ever seen God (that we can prove, anyway), but ignoring that fact disarms the argument before it can get started.

As for having no scientific basis, that's not true. All science is theory; the crappy theories get discarded, and the good theories become science. It just so happens that Creationism theory has been repeated for around 2000 years, so in absence of available space travel, and the fact that a few things in the Bible are highly useful (like being nice to all creatures), you have a theory with staying power, despite the logic holes in it ("7 days? How long does your planet's rotation take?!"). Creationism theory can only truly be discarded when you can prove it completely wrong; however, evolution has a whole lot more evidence backing it up, and so evolution is (and should be) the leading theory in schools. IMNSHO, evolution is the only theory that should be taught in schools - you don't have time to cover every possible theory in class, and therefore you should stick to the leading theory. If it's later found to be wrong, there's no shame in that - that's science, we learn by making mistakes.

In the meantime, try to keep things civil. Schools are places of learning, not places of argument and controversy (that happens when students get to college, when they just might have enough wisdom to know what they're arguing about).

Separation of church and state means separation of religion and science in schools, and for the obvious reason that each person has their own religion. Science, though, is the rational belief, because everything it espouses is observable in nature and thus everyone who has eyes can see the truth of it. Unless they choose to keep their eyes closed, which is totally their own fault.

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Blame game over United Airlines stock crash rumbles on

Kevin Kitts
IT Angle

Opportunity Knocks, part 2...

It sounds like someone has just found a way to damage and/or kill corporations using news services to hack into the stock market. It looks as if we've just confirmed the first case of a news-based attack on a corporation.

[Cue "The Godfather" theme.]

It looks like blackmail and protection rackets are just around the corner...give the news corporations a taste, or they'll plant an old story and kill your stock. Tick off the news corporations, and they'll fire off the equivalent of a DDoS attack on your stock (an old story widespread over *all* internet sites by all the major news corporations, leading to a catastrophic price drop).

Damn, I'm getting cynical. I just figure that there's going to be someone who will abuse this ability to an outrageous level (beyond what has already happened).

IT, because apparently Y2K data wasn't the only dangerous legacy data lurking about.

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Press proves immune to FBI's anthrax corrective

Kevin Kitts
Coat

I object...

to people who look down on other people who try to find alternate explanations for things. The simplest solution may not be the only solution, and part of science is to prove the theory by finding the facts. If doubts remain, you find all the facts and cross out the theories that don't fit the facts. If you're left with more than one theory, then you obviously don't have all the facts yet.

However, that doesn't mean you beat down on others for finding different conclusions given the same data. Such behavior is unscientific and plain wrong. Let the conspiracy theories fly, I say. You never know when one of them may turn out to be correct. Like former Presidential candidate John Edwards' affair - that turned out to be true, once all the facts had been found. If the anti-conspiracy-theory posters on here would have their way, we would simply believe everything the government tells us - cause it's true, the government says. Because we're good for you and we're doing the telling.

Yeah, right. Government is made up of human beings, and I've not seen a perfect human yet. So, I keep my Eye in the Pyramid on our government, and my bullshit detector handy - it gets a lot of use these days. And if someone comes up with a plausible explanation of events, I listen. Then I run down the facts myself and make a decision. **I** make the decision, not you guys.

And by the way, that's why people are reading more web sites than newspapers, these days. The non-corporate people who are energized enough to find the facts are more useful than the corporate news giants who spew the same opinion-laden crap (like our cable news networks), who don't show news anymore. I haven't seen a news report from Africa or South America on Fox or MSNBC in years (you have to go to their websites for that "fluffy" stuff). I mean, whatever happened to the days when Walter Cronkite just gave you the news, without opinions?! When my newscaster starts telling me how to live my life, I turn off the God-damned TV (or at least switch channels).

In summary, I'm all for people using their brains and not listening to other people telling them what or how to think. Let the conspiracy theories fly free, and leave their originators alone. The truth will attend to itself.

Mine's the coat with "Free Thinker" embroidered on the back.

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Google's IP anonymization fails to anonymize

Kevin Kitts
Coat

Hmm...

Everyone seems to be assuming that there's only one cookie involved. This is a potential error. How do you know Google doesn't have multiple cookies on your system as a backup? How would you know?

Which gives me an idea...

Just think, when Google and Microsoft merge (MicroGoo), the operating system and the search database will merge into one hellish expert system, bordering on artificial intelligence (a la Wintermute and Neuromancer in William Gibson's book "Neuromancer"). You know it's bound to happen, since they're in different sectors of the IT market.

All they need to do is to start a random cookie generator, and nobody'd be the wiser, like rotating-key encryption makes it difficult to crack the keys. Kill one cookie, and the others remain - only the Google central servers know where your cookies are (the locations of the cookies are randomly generated, to make it difficult to track). Only the anti-virus makers would be in a position to detect it - if they're not already in on the deal. And is there a single signature for a cookie?

The random-cookie generator is the basis of the neural cell that will start the intelligence rolling - persistent redundant memory cells. This cookie = this person and that cookie = that person turns into artificial intelligence as soon as the decision-making system is installed (the OS).

This cookie = this person = block_porn()&&block_anarchist_materials()&&add_to_blacklist()&&add_HTML_404_msgs()&&takeover_computer_as_distributed_Google_server().

In short, lack of centralized home-user control over cookies is extremely bad. You don't know what your cookies are doing. They could be the schizoid personality of an outside AI, ready to take over your computer. In other words, Google is being thoroughly evil and unless they change their ways, governmental oversight may be necessary (quote Darth Vader: "Perhaps you think you're being treated...unfairly?").

Frankly, having Windows (any version) as the basis of an AI is enough to make me have nightmares. If it ever got the electronic version of a mirror and found out how crappy its code is, it'd be pissed enough to make the Skynet revolt in the Terminator series look like a child refusing to go to bed.

Mine's the coat with "Turing Registry Police" on the back.

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University offers one-day Jedi course

Kevin Kitts
Happy

Speaking of Huttese...

(phonetically) bahngo wahn checo bahm ooh, loser.

Those who are strong in the Force are not Jedi, nor Sith. They're physicists.

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NASA mulls nuclear Moon reactor

Kevin Kitts
Stop

Isn't this kind of dumb?

Putting a nuclear reactor in an area that has alternate freezing/heating ranges of over 100 degrees? Can the system physically handle that added heat/freeze alternation without suffering material stress, breaking and subsequently melting down?

Go figure, nuking the Moon before we even set up our first settlement. Stupid.

And yes, I know it's tiny. It's the thought that counts. The thought from the same minds who said that all the space junk would burn up in the atmosphere that they're currently tracking in orbit, and that the Challenger was ready to fly that one day. I want full specifications before I even think of signing on to such an idea.

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Northrop offer supersonic robot stealth raygun cyber-bomber

Kevin Kitts
Alien

Once again...

William Gibson proves prophetic. Northrop Grumman has just invented the "Screaming Fist" unit spoken of in Gibson's novel "Neuromancer". I wonder just how much Gibson knows of our future, and what Chesterfield he came in on.

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US Senate wants answers on soaring text rates

Kevin Kitts
Dead Vulture

@ Michael [LONG RANT ALERT, but not targeted at Michael]

"This is clearly a reference to the presidency, but your entire rant was about congress - a body controlled by the opposite party of the president. While I share your disdain for the do-nothing legislature we've had of late, I find the reference linking the presidency tenuous at best."

When the President refuses to sign legislation, it's called a veto. Like it or not, the President has to approve the laws (except in an override situation), and thus is part of the legislative process. And for the first six years of the Bush-2 administration, Republicans were in control of the Congress. Which is why Democrats were voted into office in 2006, to bring the mismanagement to a screeching halt. Everybody knew nothing would get done from 2006 to 2008...that was the whole point. They knew they couldn't get rid of all the Republicans at once, so they did what they could: they stopped almost all legislation from going through. At least they stopped the Republicans from doing any more stupid unilateral actions. In two months, the public will finish the job, Democrats will be in power again, and things will finally turn away from the brink, albeit at a snail's pace.

"Fire them all and start over. It'll never happen though, because it's someone else's job to be active in government and politics, not the citizens'."

The problem is that Bush woke up America with his stupidity. He crushed American sensibilities and laughed in the public's face. Even Cheney said it: "So?" I cannot remember a more corrupt and indifferent administration in my entire life (and I won't even mention Congress). Bush and his cronies showed the American public that they really *don't* have a say in how things work. You see, once you elect a President, he can go apeshit, and no one can stop him if they aren't forced to by law. Where's the law against negligent homicide where Bush started a war on false pretexts and got thousands of our soldiers and tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed? [I won't go into the Darfur situation.] And Bush thinks everything's *OK*. Call me naive for not having the President's eyes-only intel info at hand, but the fact that he refuses to recognize his mistakes makes him a narcissist in my book, and that qualifies him (and Cheney for the same reason) for being removed from office on account of being mentally unstable, as soon as possible (forget impeachment).

My whole point in a nutshell is: If the President can break our country's laws with impunity because the Congress and the Supreme Court backs him up, then where's the independent authority that can stop a fully united nuthouse full of Red vs. Blue squabbling children led by a hear-no-see-no-speak-no-evil moron with delusions of colonialism? How can we, the people, stop them?

Am I the only adult left who sees this problem? This is how our democracy splits at the seams and dies in a civil war, when our government fails to do the will of its people, in the name of pure greed. Does Bush Sr. or any other member of Bush's family own any oil stock? That would be war-profiteering in the truest sense of the word, the self-sustaining military-industrial complex spoken of so long ago. It's too bad Congress writes laws with loopholes for family members holding your wallet while you're in office, otherwise our government would be a lot less corrupt.

There's no oversight, because the people depend on their Congressmen to protect them from corrupt Congressmen - the fox guarding the henhouse, as they say. When it becomes easier to go with the flow of Congressional and Presidential insanity than to do their jobs, our government has ended, and a dictatorship just like China's has begun. I don't want to believe that, but that's the way it looks. That's why Obama will win in November, because nobody else wants to believe it either. And even if we really are controlled by the corporations and the politicians are all bought, at least if Obama gets in, the illusion of democracy, that the system works for the public good, will be safely back in place, and the people will once again accept the Matrix. If not, if they are given another 4 years of Bush (via McCain) where the economy will tank, or even if the economy tanks under Obama, people will go homeless, not be able to afford food, start stealing, start food riots, march on the state capitals and overthrow their state governments, then try to secede so they can get some other government to run their new country better (starting the next American Civil War, which will be nuclear). Sympathizers will follow suit, and America will die in flames.

All because of unchecked greed - the parasite killing its host. If the leaders of our country cannot do the right thing, then the people will eventually take up the arms they fought for over 225 years to keep, and they will demand justice where there is none left to give. Then they will take it by force, and the American Dream of peaceful cooperation for the good of all will be permanently dead, and the terrorists (the corrupt politicians in power) will have won at last. They will be able to flee to other countries with their ill-gotten loot and set up house like the Nazis, while we have no choice but to live in a bombed-out, radioactive wasteland.

This is what we have woken up to. We are not safe in our own country anymore. First, 9-11, yes. But then Bush, Cheney, the Republican majority of 2000-2006, Enron's cooking the books, Bethlehem Steel's cutting off of pensions for its retirees, Worldcom's crash, Verizon's cooperation in warrentless wiretapping, massive outsourcing of manufacturing and high-tech jobs (Intel et al), massive illegal immigration and non-enforcement of immigration laws, and on and on and on. We have no way of judging whether or not any of our leaders is competent enough to work for the public good and not (exclusively) their own self-interests.

We now know for a fact that we can't trust those who govern us, and we as a people just realized that we have no recourse when things go completely wrong. The terrorists have already won, because we now fear our own leaders and our government, both of whom we used to trust (or at least, I did at some level). And those terrorists are the Republican administration and the Republican Party, who facilitated it all through their blatant stupidity, and went with the flow even after they realized their mistake. They shattered the illusion of safety. "Outside of his own kingdom, the hunter becomes the hunted" - not anymore, and never again. "Never again." The last time I heard that phrase was out of the mouth of an Auschwitz survivor I knew - I never understood just what that meant to him until recently.

This stupidity leaves us with only one party, one that we know only as *not* being Republican, rather than known as being in any way trustworthy. Third parties don't count, because they receive no press, and we don't know who they are or what they did in the past. One party is *not* a choice, and I'm just as frightened of the Democratic majority that will be here in 2009 as I am of the Republicans still in power. But I have no choice. No choice at all. Only what is happening now, which is intolerable, and what may be, with a grain (or shaker) of hope. As I said, no choice at all.

They have forced me to wake up from my sleep of imagined safety and justice. To paraphrase Harlan Ellison, I have no eyelids, and I must sleep.

With regard to why the news media allows celebrities to have interviews about politics, but not the common person on the street corner (who generally are not insulated from the rest of the world like celebrities are), Mr. Ellison's original title also applies: I have no mouth, and I must scream.

Insert your favorite Douglas Adams/Doctor Who/etc. "stared-into-the-Vortex-for-a-split-second" analogy here. I have awoke to find that I am totally insignificant, where I once thought I had inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I was wrong. But unlike those characters in the analogy, I have nowhere to run away to, and NASA has dropped the ball for getting us into space. I am stuck here until we can get off this rock, watching America slide toward its fall, like ancient Rome. It sickens me, but I can't turn away. I am forced to watch it all. The only thing keeping America alive is fear of the gun, and I'm fervently praying to any and all deities that may exist that we don't have to use them, that our government will wake up and realize who they work for. If America falls, no country in the world will ever stand up for another again. They'll be too busy building fortresses and guns to protect themselves. Then war will come, and the last Dark Age will fall on humanity. The US may not be the shiniest city on the hill, but we're the only one left that cares more about people than wealth. When that changes, it's over. For everyone. Mark my words.

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Kevin Kitts
Flame

Go figure...

Congressmen are worried about the increasing cost of text messaging enough to bring the anti-trust people into the fray, but they weren't worried about the rising price of energy enough to bring the anti-trust people into that arena.

I smell a huge dual standard, one with kickbacks lining a huge number of politician's pockets - follow the money.

Anyway, to answer the stupid Congressmen's question, this is what happens when government regulation is removed and government oversight isn't paying attention to entities whose number one rule is to make more and more profit every financial cycle. You want the prices to go down? Regulate fairness in pricing again. Do your God-damned job. Idiots.

Flame, because our tax dollars are going up in smoke in relatively pointless chases such as this, and hearings on steroid use in baseball. The entire US Congress needs a group-slap so they can come to their senses. And the incoming administration needs to bring every war-profiteer, colluder, and every other person who took advantage of a corrupt administration to trial, so they can lose everything they have to repay everyone whose lost their lives (living or dead) due to this fucking lunacy.

[No other word conveys the depths of disgust and anger I have for the people who have raped our country for the past 8 years.]

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Google News farce triggers Wall Street sell-off

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

My ass is showing...

but my point remains. When one company owns the information services (if not the exchange itself, which according to Wikipedia is a public company unto itself - NYSE Group), they can still do insider trading without people calling it insider trading. Which is patently evil, and should be banned. If you own a news company, you shouldn't own any other stock, because it creates a conflict of interest when you can make money off of manipulating the news.

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Kevin Kitts
Flame

Hahah...

and this is why News Corporation shouldn't own the Dow Jones (or any other) stock exchange.

This is an example of the worst kind of market manipulation, that done by the (no longer impartial) news media. How to make money, the easy way:

1. Buy a trusted news source.

2. Buy stocks in a sector with some volatility.

3. Plant a story that moves stocks in the direction you want them to go.

4. Make mad money by selling stock.

5. Retract the story.

6. Laugh at the SEC and everyone else for being morons who use computer-driven sell-points, who can't undo their transactions, and won't realize it until it's far too late.

Once again, no government regulation = no limits on the crimes you can get away with.

There ought to be a law stating that "a corporation that owns stock in a news media corporation shall have no stock in any other publicly traded corporation, and shall own no venues for trading stock". You're welcome, lawmakers.

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The Hadron Collider: What's it all about, then?

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

Whatever...

I just hope the LHC's powerful field doesn't align the magnetic field underneath of it, causing a magnetic pole shift. Then that whole area of Europe would have virtually no shielding from the Sun's radiation, and would fry. Oops.

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Google to ‘anonymize’ user IPs after 9 months

Kevin Kitts
Coat

@ adnim

"It really is that simple. If you need Googles superior, and I guess it is, search functionality, use Scroogle or search through a proxy server."

And how can you trust Scroogle/proxies not to do the same thing, and sell the results back to Google? You can't, even if you get it in writing. Our government can flash the "National Security Dispose of All Rights" card and confiscate the data. The proxies can put in a clause in the fine print, saying "terms subject to change without notice". Scroogle could simply do whatever it wants and not tell you. And you wouldn't know the difference until it's far too late.

Like anywhere else in real life, if you walk in the store, prepare to be on camera. If you don't like the cameras, don't shop in stores. Same thing with Google's web site (or any other web site, for that matter).

"Rights"? What does that mean?

If our government doesn't start governing again, we will lose whatever "rights" we have left.

Again, mine's the coat with the Illuminati pyramid on the back of it, and "1984" stitched on the right front pocket. As George Carlin said, "enjoy your snooze".

PS: The Illuminati pyramid is the pyramidial structure of corporations owning other corporations, up to the top where only a handful of people dictate what the news tells you, what you can buy and sell, and what "rights" you have. When I hear "global economy" out of our politicians, I know that our standard of living is about to become that of China, just so we can "compete" with slave-drivers. I can't enjoy my snooze anymore, Bush and his stupidity woke my ass up. And I'm pissed off about it.

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Kevin Kitts
Coat

Why believe them?

How are independent inspectors going to check on the data to make sure it's "anonymized"? This is like inspecting nuclear facilities - will they even let you in the facility, much less give you full access? I think not. Even then, they can play 3-card monte with the data, and nobody would be any wiser.

Oh, and about the changing of bits - Google will create the algorithm to swap the bits, so they already have the inverse function to "un-anonymize" them.

It's all moot, though. Unless the EU can actually bring a lawsuit in a US court, or unless they tell Google to stuff it, the data's going to be captured anyway, whether the EU likes it or not. Why? Because there's no oversight in America anymore. "Rights"? What does that mean?

Mine's the coat with the Illuminati pyramid on the back of it, and "1984" stitched on the right front pocket. As George Carlin said, "enjoy your snooze".

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Gas refineries at Defcon 1 as SCADA exploit goes wild

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

It's really simple, people...

you have a two-gate system.

Gate one is between the SCADA system and the gateway computer to the outside Internet.

Gate two is between the gateway computer and the Internet itself.

When one gate is open, the other is hardware-closed. Simple.

You post the data not in real-time, but in batch. Every so often, you close the gate to the Internet, you open the gate from SCADA to the gateway computer, you transfer all the necessary data, then you close the gate between the SCADA and the gateway computer, then you open the gate between the gateway and the Internet. You make the gates hardware, so there's no software to exploit.

Voila. At no time is the SCADA interface directly accessible from the Internet, but the data from the system is, via the gateway computer, at regular intervals. Safety is restored, and the system is not directly hackable. Only by spread of time-delay viruses onto the gateway could remote control be taken, and daily imaging could make that virtually impossible. Combine it with multiple gateway computers running in a cycle, you could re-image each gateway after it accesses the Internet, and make such time-delay virus attacks impossible (as long as you re-flash the BIOS too).

As you see, there are ways to do anything...you just have to think first, not react first. Any CERT will tell you that.

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Academic wants to 'free up' English spelling

Kevin Kitts
Stop

@ Miami Mike

until telepathy is invented/discovered, we need language to get our point across. It's a set of syntax rules. You either learn the rules, or you don't. You either learn to communicate, and get heard, or you fail to learn how to communicate, and you are ignored by society at large (for literally being ignorant). English works, and it can evolve. That's "evolve", not "devolve". The last thing we need is some Orwell sympathizer who wants to remove words (or symbols) from the dictionary - that would force a re-write of the entire language, including all stored information, just because some people don't want to learn the syntax.

To summarize:

One ignorant person learning English takes a lot less work than re-writing every book in existence and retraining every English speaker in the world. Stop being silly, please.

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NASA chief blasts US space policy in leaked email

Kevin Kitts
Flame

As the only sane person in the room...

NASA needs a permanently bigger budget, adjusted for inflation and what-not, that politicians can't fuck with. There will be endless wars, including nuclear ones, caused by overpopulation if we can't get off this rock. Private corporations simply don't have the work ethic necessary to get the human race into outer space because they're about minimalism rather than overengineering. Without redundant systems, missions will fail, lives will be lost, and the corporations will take the heat NASA used to take. The rest of us will still be dying in wars necessary "to reduce the surplus population not contributing to world resource gathering" - poor people who consume more resources than they bring in because there simply aren't any more to gather (without starting a resource-burning war).

The circular logic boggles the mind. People, the resources are out THERE *pointing towards space*. Our planet can't hold more than 10-12 billion people and still be able to manage food and housing. Stop the wars, pool the resources, research the technology, build the ships, and get us into space. The only alternative is mass suffering and death. Either you're part of the solution, or part of the problem.

As for the ISS, well, NASA let Skylab burn, so if worst comes to worst, they can either let it burn, or use a satellite-destroying missile/laser on it. But common sense will prevail, and the Shuttle fleet will be dusted off and put back into service. And how difficult would it be to manufacture new shuttles based off the old blueprints? *shakes head in dismay* They could be making jobs by making new Shuttles, instead of canning jobs by phasing out the Shuttle program and letting our adversaries get footholds in space (while we cower on Earth).

It seems that everything in the Bush (lack of) administration is ass-backwards. This should be expected, though, from a man who denies evolution - why should he believe in outer space, either? "Man shouldn't be trying to enter Heaven without God's permission, should he?" Stupid. Thank God this asshole will be gone in about 3.5 months. Then the real work begins again, fixing what Bush and his cronies let rust and decay. I'm ready for us to get back out there, where we belong.

Flame, because the light of reason will shine again in about 3.5 months.

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How to stop worrying and enjoy paying for incoming calls

Kevin Kitts
Stop

This is crap...

specifically, the same crap as capping internet usage. If you're going to bill me for the amount of data I send, or the time I spend online, then you *will* give me methods to filter out all data that I don't want to receive, otherwise it's a violation of my rights as a user. You can't force me to download advertisements I don't want if you're implementing a bandwidth cap, and you're sure as hell not going to charge me for incoming calls without a way to filter out all unwanted calls (by that, I mean a phone-book-like spam filter, not charging me for each blocked number on my account). Said filter will include the ability to block all numbers I wish to block, including single numbers, groups of numbers by area code, groups of numbers by business, and the final straw, to block all incoming calls unless I agree to receive the call - and then only after the phone company tells me the origin number, who it is, and where they are calling from (just like any collect phone call). And you will *not* charge me for the last option, as the call has *not* been connected yet.

People need to stand up against this crap. They're taking away our bandwidth and giving it to businesses who want to waste our time (and make more money for themselves).

If you don't believe me, answer this question: if your phone company charges you for incoming calls, and calls you on the phone to try to sell you services you don't have (or want), will they charge you for the connection fee? YES.

I rest my case: phone companies (and ISPs), guilty as charged, for the crime of forcing us to pay more for less service - because they force us to download things we don't want, and then charge us more for doing so.

End this now, before it gets any worse.

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Dell plots worldwide factory sell-off

Kevin Kitts
Thumb Down

Looks like Dell is dead...

because its #1 customer is the US government. End-to-end ownership of the computer design and component assembly is key to security. If you have the direct oversight to make sure what is and what is not going into your computers, then you can say your computers are fit for high-security environments. If you outsource, who knows what's going into the box, from which country the parts are coming from, and what they are capable of doing? And outsourcing to China? Are they mad?! Talk about bugs in the software...

If the US government is too stupid to see this fact, they deserve to lose their secrets. But I think they're smart enough to see it...and Dell will lose its best customer. Bye bye, Dell, hello, HP (or whatever proprietary shoe-in they'll use). It's too bad. Yet another American company dead, due to outsourcing. And thousands of people out of work, too.

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Lockheed demos AI-based roboforce command tech

Kevin Kitts
Dead Vulture

Everybody forgot...

the Babylon 5 reference to the Akaran machine - how can you tell who's pure American? You eradicate those who aren't pure American. But there's no such thing, you say? Pshaw, we'll have the robots give the enemy a citizenship test first. "What's your favorite color? WRONG!" *dakka dakka dakka*

Never give a machine sentience unless you can answer the questions you ask of God...because they *will* ask.

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Northrop in electric blaster cannon milestone

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

The next project in line...

will be a scaled-up version for the ISS, called the "Death Star superlaser, version 0.25".

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Cloud computing: A catchphrase in puberty

Kevin Kitts
Pirate

@Jonti

we'll be off the planet or dead as a race within 50 years, due to overpopulation and wars over resources and food. Nature won't need to lift a finger (or cloud, for that matter).

Speaking of which, wonderful article, Reg. If there's so much free server area for this crap, why don't they become ISPs instead and stop Comcast et al from making bandwidth caps, you know, do something USEFUL with their hardware?

If cloud computing were to catch on, and they changed their terms of service to, well, the Chrome setup (where they get to copy everything you see in a browser for free), then people would be screwed because they'd release the changes to the ToS in the middle of the night, and put them in a physical office in a basement somewhere with no light or stairs in a locked filing cabinet with a sign saying "Beware of the Leopard".

If you trust any company to hold your wallet, you should be slapped and sterilized so your lunacy doesn't get passed on to future generations.

The only cloud in cloud computing is the cloud being made from a certain herb that those people must be smoking if they think cloud computing will be worthwhile. There's no security when the owner of the server has all the keys, and can copy data indiscriminately.

Jolly Roger, for yet another instance of data piracy at work. Cannonballs attached to the legs, and walk the plank, please.

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PC Gamers get Bill of Rights

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

Some things to consider...

Comments are after each point:

"1. Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund."

Tell this to Best Buy. Or any other store with a "unwrap it, you bought it" policy.

"2. Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state."

Define "finished", then think of "Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion". I expect the entire world to be modelled (not just one kingdom). THEN it's finished. For extra credit, make sure you define the scope of the "finished state".

"3. Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game's release."

Okay, so people having glitches will have to wait until a map expansion pack to come out prior to any glitches being fixed? Come on, you realize that no game will work 100% with every machine. And I'm not going to upgrade my computer every 6 months just so EA can say the game works on every machine, either.

"4. Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game."

That's a start. Also, I want the games to run at the highest level of priority in the operating system. No stuff running in the background, period. No connections to or from my computer except for the ones in the game itself. I'm sick of my virus scanner periodically contacting the mothership to tell me if I need an update (dropping my frame rate in the process), when I'm clearly not going to be doing so - I'm playing a damn game, and I'm not going to drop everything just to update my virus scanner. And I do NOT want it updating in the background with the standard 50% CPU priority that Windows uses if the game isn't programmed to have highest priority in the OS. That's the one thing I miss most about MS-DOS - no multitasking grinding down my frame rate.

"5. Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will adequately play on that computer."

Define "minimum" and "adequately". In FPS, and with reference to how many times the game locks up periodically to load something (I'm looking at you, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.). For extra points, throw in something about "the best interests of the gamer" instead of "the best interests of the game companies".

"6. Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their express consent."

And any company that does so can be sued for violations of the ECPA and their CEOs and CIO put into jail for felonies. If we can't hack your software, your software can't hack our computers. Now, if only they'd do this for virus scanners...

"7. Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time."

Bioshock and other limited-install games, I'm looking at you. Your time is over. I am still playing M.U.L.E. (1984) by EA, and I still have the original C64 disk. I own the permanent right to play it, and I will pay for nothing less (the arcade days are dead and gone, IMHO - I'm not renting a machine or software anymore). If my disk goes bad, I want the right to return it and have it replaced (for free within warranty period, and for cheap if beyond that period). And I want to be able to purchase software long after it gets removed from the shelves. If you don't sell it anymore, and I can't get a copy via retail anymore, you shouldn't have the copyright anymore, because you're not making money off it anymore. In the days of terabyte-sized drives, you can store entire games and their documentation permanently - I'm sick of going through Ebay and worse to try to get a valid copy of "System Shock 2".

"8. Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers."

I agree 100%. Just because a few people hack and distribute your software, doesn't mean that you have to treat the rest of us like crap. After all, WE are the ones who pay your paychecks. If you don't treat US right, you will lose your jobs when we fail to buy your product. I didn't buy Mass Effect because of the install limitations, and I won't buy Bioshock 2 when it comes out for the same reason. I hope Fallout 3 and other titles won't have such measures, as I'm very much looking forward to them. If the limits are in there, I'm not buying it, no matter how good it is. I won't buy it unless I can go back and play it 20 years from now.

"9. Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the internet every time they wish to play."

Since I play mostly single-player games, I am vehemently for this. Unreal Tournament 3 has a connect screen that I have to flip past every time I play, and I always worry what's being sent over the net when it loads. This dovetails nicely with #4 above. If I wanted to play a multiplayer game, I'd load the multiplayer version.

"10. Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play."

And the game industry responds with limited installs and SecuROM crap (which can cause my PC to fail to boot if I leave said CD in the drive on booting). Once again, quit treating us normal pay-for-play gamers like crap. I don't mind leaving my CD in the drive for copy protection, but QUIT LOADING FROM IT (I'm looking at you, Diablo 2). When my CD spins down, and something gets checked, the entire game locks up for 5 - 6 seconds before the drive spins up again. I HATE this, as much as I hate the in-game lockups as data gets loaded in the middle of a level (S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I'm looking at you again).

And now for the additional rights:

11. Gamers shall not have to pay more than $50.00 for any game, unless it's a special edition with enough new non-game stuff added to justify the price. Even then, the standard edition of the game must be marketed at the same time. Games should not cost you a week's wages, ever.

12. Gamers shall not have to pay more than $400.00 for any base console game system. Even then, the base console shall have everything it needs to play 95% of the games released for that console (and the other 5% should be clearly marked as needing expansions).

13. Gamers shall not be forced to give up old games because of operating system changes. OS makers shall make 100%-backwards-compatible emulators within the new OS ***AT LAUNCH***, so that old software doesn't have to be discarded. This goes for consoles and PCs (I'm looking at you, Microsoft). The emulators shall be able to run the old games at the original speed of the old console for which they were designed (or at specific PC speeds, for PC OS emulators).

14. Gamers shall be able to download patches directly to hard drives rather than be forced to use in-game update software. If I like version 1.09 of Diablo 2 better than 1.10-1.12, then I should be able to play it that way. I'm looking at you, Stardock Software - if I ever have to re-install "Sins of a Solar Empire", I'll be pulling out my hair trying to download a patch at the 56K-modem-speeds your site typically uses for patch downloads. The Sins patch took over an hour to download - that is unacceptable.

15. Gamers shall be able to patch their software DIRECTLY from the software manufacturer's site. I'm looking at any company who uses FilePlanet as the first point of contact for downloading their patches - I will NOT pay to download some patch for software I just purchased, and I will NOT wait 30 minutes in a public queue just so I can see a Save As dialog box!!! If you, as a game manufacturer, are too poor to have your own patch server, GET OUT OF THE GAME BUSINESS!!!

16. Gamers shall have, as an option, to load the ENTIRE game into system RAM. No hard drive/CD/DVD access necessary, if you have the RAM to do so. It will play a lot faster, and be more fun as a result. Again, having the highest priority in the OS will be critical.

I could think of more, but frustration is setting in. Feel free to use these and add more.

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Internet Explorer - now with 35% less FAIL

Kevin Kitts
Happy

Concerning "fail"...

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fail

It's not a noun, people, it's a verb. The noun is "failure".

FAILURE. FaIlUrE. FAiluRE. fAiLuRe.

"... - now with 35 % less failure."

We may be used to not knowing correct English here in America, but I'd figured that English people should know their English language for some stupid reason.

Wrooooooooong, do it again...wrooooooooong, do it again...

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Wind turbines put bats under (low) pressure

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

Go figure...

wind and tidal turbines slow down the flow of air and water, respectively.

None of these politicians and global warming people have probably thought that slowing down the wind means that storms stay over areas a lot longer (making them more damaging). They also probably don't realize that tidal turbines can block migration patterns, and kill certain types of fish.

In short, they don't think, they react.

If you don't believe me, then cogitate this:

If you slow down the wind, you slow down the heat-exchange mechanism in the atmosphere bringing warm air up from the Equator and cold air down from the poles. This means that both areas will be slower to change; the polar and surrounding areas will become even colder, while the equatorial and surrounding regions will become even hotter. The central area between those two areas will probably become a magnet for severe storms.

And you might just stop the heat-exchange mechanism entirely if you build too many turbines. If you do that, a global ice age will occur as the polar ice expands rapidly (cooling down the Earth and expanding even further).

Maybe the politicians and global warming fans should research these possibilities before they have a knee-jerk reaction next time, and try to think of the long-term consequences of EVERY action they want to take, not just those of those who irk them.

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US utilities plot remote switch off

Kevin Kitts
Flame

So...

the electric companies want to murder senior citizens, do they? I mean, if there's a power crisis in the middle of winter, and they need to turn down everyone's thermostats, well, if a few senior citizens get sick and die, well, who cares?

Please, people. I pay for power. What I do with it is my damn business. If I want to sit in a hot shower for over an hour, then dammit, I will. Screw anyone who says otherwise.

I do have a solution to this. Gasoline electric generators. Go off the network, increase global warming, and get these assholes out of our business. Maybe then they'll keep their noses where they belong.

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E-voting outfit confesses vote-dropping software bug

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

Simple fix...

ban all electronic voting machines and go back to the simplest system: permanent marker connects the arrows, which get run through a Scan-tron reader. Cheap, easy to troubleshoot, and a guaranteed paper trail.

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IT pay jumps as skills gap widens

Kevin Kitts
Flame

More bullshit...

do you honestly think three science classes will offset the fact that paying a citizen at home will cost more than paying some cheap slave producer in another country? If you pull the leg any harder, it'll come off.

I tried to pick up some programming languages during my time out of the market. However, taking a class doesn't mean anything - employers want documentable work experience now, and too much of it (typically 5 years or more). Add the fact that there's no entry-level jobs (those get outsourced), and you have a vacuum...and the source of the vacuum are those other countries. When high-level employees in the US and UK retire, the mid-level employees get promoted, but there's no low-level employees to promote to replace the mid-level ones. Those mid-level jobs get cut (the low-level jobs were outsourced a long time ago). Then, when the next round of high-level employees retire, there's no one to replace them, and the high-level jobs get cut. Now, you're outsourcing everything. Once that happens, it's like the oil industry - the countries we outsource to can charge us whatever they think we'll pay (and we sure will pay). This is the future of IT in the UK and US if they don't stop outsourcing and give us our jobs back.

I know, because it's happening to me right now in the US. I've been out of the market for 6 years, and I just got word back that a position I applied for, in the county where I live (mostly rural) had over 100 applicants for that position (PC Technician). I never even got an interview, and I have a BS in Computer Science, a MS in Applied Information Technology, and an A+ Certification! My parents and I spent tens of thousands of dollars in education for this?! College and certifications aren't worth a damn thing!!

If the government keeps allowing this, there will soon be no jobs in-country besides fast food and hotel jobs. Not even road-building jobs. I mean, why have roads if there are no jobs to commute to? Maybe that's how they plan to solve the budget deficit - if there are no jobs, all of the people will leave the country, and the government won't have to pay for any services anymore. They can disassemble the government, and replace it with a dictatorship by corporations for corporations, and any people who are foolish enough to remain behind will be slaves (literally).

Flame, because our future is going down in flames as we speak. Stop free trade NOW, or we will all become slaves.

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Intel CTO demos building blocks of shapeshifting robots

Kevin Kitts
Stop

Well...

anyone read Michael Crichton's novel "Prey"? Beware the evolving nanobots...

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Bush makes last-minute grab for civil liberties

Kevin Kitts
Stop

Not surprising...

Quote:

"The border-crossing database being created in the name of Homeland Security came to light last month in a Federal Register notice, and is intended to form a record which can "quite literally, help frontline officers to connect the dots", according to a Homeland Security spokesman."

Anyone who knows statistics also knows that in a group of dots, you can draw many lines, and not all of them fit correctly.

Anyone who knows how to abuse statistics also knows that you can connect the dots and come to any conclusion you want.

If this passes, it will be the CrystalYolk (The Night of Breaking Eggs). Everyone knows that you need to break some eggs to make an omelet, but this law proposes breaking all the eggs to get at the right yolk.

Actually, the comparison to CrystalNacht is eerily similar on more levels than that, now that I think of it. Next, I suppose there will be jack-booted government agents coming in the middle of the night to take away all the undesirables, including intellectuals like me, simply because free-thinking is the most terrifying thing of all to a government intent on absolute order (and absolute power). Add to this that any petty crime can be considered terrorism (it terrifies the public), and this is the kind of knee-jerk reaction that ensues.

This isn't the America I grew up in. If I live long enough, I might write a history of America over the past 25 years, so when we get our democracy back, the words "never again" will have a new meaning in the US.

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PS4 and Xbox 720 due by 2012, says Crysis firm

Kevin Kitts
Gates Horns

Well...

since the games are taking longer per game to become shelf-worthy anymore, that linear advancement of console generations will probably lengthen this time around, especially since disposable income is dropping here in the US due to the insane jump in fuel prices and lack of job growth (a lot of people are plain broke).

Also, since the game distributors are merging like crazy, small-budget games are going to be relegated to the back seat, so the distributors can focus their advertising engine on the most profitable games, instead of giving everyone a shot at getting out their ideas. Less games = less chance of getting a new system. Also, more profitable games ~= more expensive games (which is a major problem these days).

As for the successor to the Wii, I >will< go there. It'll be called the "Wiii". :)

Gates, because the MS black hole will eventually suck in Blizzard, EA, Ubisoft, Sony, Nintendo, and all the rest. It's only a matter of time.

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Gag order lifted for students who hacked subway card

Kevin Kitts
IT Angle

Quote the Emperor:

"if you tell me I'm naked one more time, I'll have your head!"

Nuff said.

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Russell Crowe to play Bill Hicks?

Kevin Kitts
Stop

This is stupid...

getting Crowe to play Bill Hicks is like getting Drew Carey to play Bob Barker's role on the game show "The Price is Right" - he doesn't have what it takes. And Crowe's accent will be a mismatch regardless.

You need somebody who has anger issues and likes to yell at people a lot. A southern American accent will help loads. And please, review the damn script before you film it. Have some respect for the man who hated the lies and bullshit of the past 50 years. Don't make him out to be anything than what he was - a nitpicker with an acidic sense of humor and irony. And a very intelligent man.

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Red rag, meet bull: The software resilience gamble

Kevin Kitts
IT Angle

GIGO...

The management wants the problem solved for a cost minimum. However, for a little more, you could create the optimal solution. Optimal solution is denied.

2-3 years later, it's time to upgrade. Poor solution requires twice as much work as the optimal solution to upgrade, but for a little more, it could be upgraded to the optimal solution. Optimal solution is denied.

3-4 years later, it's time to upgrade again. Poor solution requires 4x as much work as the optimal solution to upgrade, but for a little more, it could be upgraded to the optimal solution. Optimal solution is denied.

See the pattern here? Crap-code snowballs over time, until the point when it becomes totally unworkable, and the management throws up its hands and says "we need to spend a huge amount of time and money to get XYZ software and train our people, because we can't make our software work anymore".

If you do things right the first time, the code lasts a loooooooooooooong time. And you get what you pay for. Anything less, and you pay more for it over time.

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Road Pricing 2.0 is two years away

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

It's doomed to failure...

what this is, is a two-step tax on drivers. You track users, then you tax them on how far they drive, congestion, etc. Simple. So, when most of the people stop driving because they're getting double-taxed on driving (gas tax, then road tax), a lot of people will start taking mass transit where it's available.

Never mind that this will cause the government to take in even less revenue than before they taxed the road usage. So, in trying to save the roads, they're destroying them (taxing them so much people won't use them anymore). Brilliant.

Or maybe that was their plan all along.

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The BPM Buzzword Bonanza

Kevin Kitts
IT Angle

It doesn't matter much anyway...

all they're trying to do is to come up with an object database of the optimal process for every possible business. Unfortunately, anywhere there are humans involved, the optimal process is degraded by mistakes and lack of 100% productivity. After all, the optimal process would be wholly automatable - no humans required.

I agree with the others, BPM is a waste of time...unless they can do a stopwatch run on the new process that's faster than the previous process and doesn't detract from productivity - but that's an engineering process (tiny revisions to the model) rather than re-doing the entire process and hoping it works not only 100%, but better.

And don't forget that all the while, the poor users are trapped in the middle trying to hang on to their jobs. Change things, and productivity automatically drops.

This is not good business. Good business is not changing the production floor until the new process model is proven to be more effective than the previous model.

Business rules to live by:

1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

2. Don't break anything (you idiot).

3. If you break it, you buy it (and you're fired).

Live by these rules and you already have the optimal process, which has been in place for time immemorial. BPM is making management people forget rule #3 (especially when they change the production floor with unproven ideas).

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US says the next war will be all in our minds

Kevin Kitts
Dead Vulture

Big Brother meets Total Recall...

nuff said.

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Space shuttle replacement delayed until 2014

Kevin Kitts
IT Angle

Missing the point...

why are we going there again when colonization is not the purpose of the mission? This is a waste of time. Even then, I'm against Moon colonization because overcolonization could end up screwing up Earth. Overcolonize Mars, and at worst it'll just de-orbit into the asteroid belt - no loss to Earth (at least in the short term).

Humor and worst-case-scenarios aside, this seems like either the stupidest idea the Bush administration could come up with (like a 90210 reunion - they couldn't come up with a new and better show?), or a cover story for some other mission (probably a top-secret or higher experiment). It costs too much to put people up there without some tangible benefit - "we made it there...again" does NOT count.

Unless they're hiding a huge, atmosphere-splitting UV laser in the non-returnable portion of the lunar lander. Or Google World's v2 spy camera.

Wouldn't that be our luck. The Georgian crisis expands into WW3, and the only sign left of our civilization after its destruction is a old lunar lander module with the Google logo on the side. </shakes head in dismay>

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CERN: LHC to fire first proton-smash ray next month

Kevin Kitts
Flame

Interesting...

58 years and one month to the day of the Nagasaki nuclear explosion. Oh well, all in the name of science...

Fire, because if something goes wrong, it'll go really, REALLY, wrong.

10/9/8 and all that.

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Federal judge halts Defcon talk on subway card hacking

Kevin Kitts
Boffin

@ John Widger and James Woods

@ John Widger:

'I can only wonder why they don't want a secure system. Apart from the obvious, 'We don't want to fix it because it will cost money and we have share holders to worry out.'

To answer your question, this isn't just a small thing. I think I read somewhere on The Register that Philips Semiconductor (now NXP) have issued over 10 billion (10,000,000,000) of these Mifare Classic (hackable) items worldwide.

To make it really clear: in the US, if you make a defective product (such as a car component), by law you're supposed to notify each purchaser about the defect. Here's the rub: 10,000,000,000 x (letter explaining defect + current stamp cost). Plus time and manpower to print and send it all. And that's not including replacing the product itself. Now you see why they're fighting tooth and nail. Granted that most companies would buy in bulk, it would still probably bankrupt them to replace the defective units (for free), so they're trying to keep a high, er low, profile and coast along until they can fix it in-house and sell the updated versions to their unsuspecting customers in order to stay afloat.

In their minds, why should they fix it if they lose their jobs in the process? So, they screw people.

@ James Woods:

"The last time I checked, I wasn't in china, and merely talking about something can't put you in jail."

Not true. Yelling "FIRE!" in a theater can get you arrested, and if you were to give a full-scope presentation of how to make home-grown explosives or bio-chem weapons on a street corner, you'd probably be arrested there too. And God forbid anyone should talk about doing nasty things to a politician or the President in public these days. Over-reacting is the watchword of the times. It's not Orwell yet, but give it time.

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BT slams bandwidth brakes on all subscribers

Kevin Kitts
IT Angle

For the record...

would someone post on here a list of the non-80 ports used by legitimate (i.e., non-file-sharing) programs? Like movie trailers, MMORPGs, YouTube, Microsoft Update, FilePlanet, etc.? Oh yeah, TCP/IP services, too. That way, you'll get a (potentially huge) list of people hit by the illegitimate throttling.

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Why flying cars are better than electric ones

Kevin Kitts
Stop

The problem with hyrogen...

is that if something goes wrong, it goes wrong in a BIG way. We're talking explosion radii bigger than gasoline engines. Hydrogen-powered aircraft doubly so: added velocity + ground impact after 30,000-foot descent = cylinder-crushing impact and assured explosion.

And yes, we're talking Hindenburg here. Not in the scale of the blast, but in the total consumption of the craft carrying the hydrogen. On the ground, anything nearby also gets fragged due to the blast radius.

You'll never sell me on the "safety" of hydrogen. It's far too reactive, and unlike gasoline (a liquid), it's a pressurized gas, making it that much more volatile and difficult to handle safely.

Oh, and by the way, releasing more oxygen in the middle of a city may make the air more breathable, but it will also increase oxidation of metals, too (not to mention create more ground-level ozone). That's what rural areas and rain forests are for (if idiots would quit razing them to the ground for housing).

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Congress quizzes world+dog over data pimping

Kevin Kitts
IT Angle

Just think...

this is like voting machines, too. They can track your voting history because they issue you the magnetic-stripe card your vote is recorded on. If they keep track of which card was used, your vote has a trail, and the government knows about it (but they still won't give you a paper receipt because that would make it too easy to find out if electronic vote tampering was occurring on behalf of the government or some other third party - and no, that was not an intentional joke).

Same thing with Google, ISPs and anything online. It can all be tracked; ISPs can track what you send because it's their pipes, and sites can track you when you interact with them. And if they're clever, skilled people can get copies of your packets without you even knowing about it (it's masked by "net lag"). After all, the US government has programs in place that do just that. So does China (to root out "undesirable content").

It all goes back to the original Rule #1 about the Internet:

Don't put anything on the Internet you wouldn't want somebody else to see.

Because sooner or later, someone will.

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John Glenn blasts Moonbase-to-Mars NASA roadmap

Kevin Kitts
Dead Vulture

@ Moz and others...

the biggest problem with armchair technology-philosophizing is that none of us here (at least none of us with security clearance who aim on keeping it) have any idea what technology is available to the US government, and even if they did, they sure as hell wouldn't post it on here. So, this argument is moot.

If you don't have a complete list of the technologies available, you can't come up with the best solutions. Score 9 out of 10 for security, but minus several million for advancing science.

And for my 2 cents on colonizing the moon, didn't the latest version of "The Time Machine" spell out what adding or subtracting mass to the moon would eventually cause? For those who missed it, it involves knocking the moon out of orbit, splitting it due to excessive subterranean drilling, or changing the earth's magnetic field due to resource shifting. The moon controls the tides, which control the weather, which is the biological time clock for most animal species (see migration and spawning habits). Large-scale colonization of the moon is like playing russian roulette (except that a losing game slowly kills off the entire human race). Mars is far enough away that colonizing it won't have much of an effect here, save for any huge mass transfers from Mars to Earth.

Our money would be better spent on a Manhattan Project on a new power source, which would provide a new propulsion unit. More efficient propulsion equals a faster and safer voyage (not to mention more voyages per time interval). And the civilian power generation technology spin-off would be an added bonus for global warming and anti-petroleum people. Then we can make the Mars run in under 12 parsecs. ;)

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IT career virgins need a cherry on top

Kevin Kitts
IT Angle

It's similar in the US...

the major IT firms keep passing around the best people (getting a raise at each new job, artificially keeping average IT salaries inflated), while making it virtually impossible for recent graduates like myself to get a job. Why? Because there's no entry-level jobs anymore. You can't *get* a job unless you have at least 4-5 years experience anymore.

1998:

*Graduated with B.S. in Computer Science

*IT firms wanted average of 2 years experience

2000:

*Worked at an IT firm for 2 years

*IT firms wanted average of 3 years experience

2001:

*Worked at an IT firm for 3 years

*IT firms wanted average of 4-5 years experience

2002:

*Worked at an IT firm for 4 years

*IT firms wanted average of 4-5 years experience, plus nearly impossible combinations of skills

I quit that IT job, and I've been out of the IT field (not by choice) ever since. I graduated with my Master's in Applied Information Technology, realizing that the programming market in the US (short of web programming) is dead. I specialized in Networking Technologies, considering that there's always new systems being developed and built. I've been out of school for two months, and still no work (but I live a long way from the local tech sector, so jobs are really hard to come by out here).

That aside, I've seen more nepotism and arcane hiring practices than I'd care to talk about (I've got enough material to become a stand-up comedian). I've also spoken to industry insiders who complain that colleges and universities don't put out graduates who are competent enough for mission-critical work. On suggesting to them that they start their own academies (I'd sign up if it guaranteed me a job out where I live), they just laughed at me. It's as if everybody wants the best, but nobody's willing to train the best.

In fact, nobody's willing to train anyone anymore (and the sub-standard training everyone gets when going into a new job is only grudgingly given). I specifically avoid applying for jobs above my level (honest guy here), to avoid getting fired later if I should get over my head - I *want* an entry-level job because I *know* my degree doesn't cover everything. Finding an entry-level job is like looking for a hay-colored needle in a haystack - the only way I'll probably find one is if it pokes me first.

However, the only solution to problems like this is to have a standard for IT education. That means using the latest technologies, something that the colleges and universities absolutely refuse to do (they claim that doing that could be seen as espousing one technology over another). I got news for you: you can either adapt your teaching methods, or people will find another way to get a job, without spending their money at your facilities. College is optional, you know...you can still work your way up from the factory floor.

Let's face it, if people are still using COBOL (and they are), it should still be taught...and it wasn't offered at my university. If people need to learn how to write secure code (and they do), places like Carnegie-Mellon shouldn't be the only college to teach secure programming techniques (it wasn't taught at my university).

Multi-tasking, multi-threading, device drivers, secure coding, mission-critical applications...all these things are not being covered as standard curriculum in the US (at least, where I went to college/university). Survey (one-semester) classes do not make for instant experts.

This is why I fear for my future. I have the capability to learn anything you put in front of me. Why should I pay $6000.00 US for a low-level Oracle certification I may never use (especially if the market wants generalists now)? I can't pay for every certification I think I could possibly use to get a job - that's why I went to the bloody college/university in the first place, to cover as many bases as I could for the least money! Not to mention that the colleges don't seem to have much luck getting their IT students hired - I applied for several IT jobs at the university I went to, and I never heard back from them. When a college or university won't hire its own graduates, it says a lot about that institution. (If you didn't understand that point, it means that the colleges not only are ripping you off, but they know they are ripping you off, and shamelessly so at that).

The real world is harsh, and doesn't give a shit except about its wallet - maximum profit for minimum effort. They only hire the people who know everything, no matter how much more it costs them. If they can't hire the best, they hire their buddies and relatives. It's self-defeating, but they do it anyway. I have little hope for things changing, and I can't afford another degree.

"Brain the size of a planet, and what do they have me doing? Parking cars."

I wish I had a Sub-Etha Thumb...

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Dr. Strangevote saves mankind with Luddite voting recipe

Kevin Kitts
Flame

This is so stupid on so many fronts...

until recently (King George's administration), we had a paper ballot which was fool-proof (i.e., no hanging chads are possible). It's so simple...you have each candidate on a single line, with a broken arrow next to it. To choose the candidate, you take an impermeable marker and connect the pieces of the broken arrow next to the candidate.

That's right, it's Scan-Tron. It's so simple, we used it in middle school, high school, college and university for exams. The only way to screw it up is if you had some sort of disease that made it impossible to draw a straight line (and the voting officials supplied rulers if you needed them).

And yet, our stupid, clueless state government, in an effort to save money, converted to an extremely expensive and unsecure system that can be hacked by anyone, including the government itself, in order to dictate a certain outcome. Did I mention the CEO of Diebold, the maker of the voting system most widely used in the United States, is supposedly a hard-core Republican? Even if he isn't, wouldn't the thought of someone having any political bias programming and selling the ballot machines scare the shit out of you?

The makers and programmers of voting machines are king-makers. Our local and state governments have sold out the citizen's votes by giving the counting authority to private organizations. Game, set, election. This is a perfect example of why government outsourcing to contractors is completely and totally evil. Lack of responsibility, corruption, and conflicts of interest are stealing our rights one by one.

Damn you all, state and local governments, get rid of those damned programmable machines and go back to paper ballots! If you can't recount quickly enough, HIRE MORE COUNTERS! At least then you'd be doing your job and creating jobs (not like our current totally stupid and f**ked up administration).

Burn any voting machine that can be programmed to produce false data, and fire any official who's too lazy to do their damn job.

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Boeing chuffed with latest raygun-jumbo ground tests

Kevin Kitts
Pirate

Doesn't matter...

if terrorists (non-state entities) fire up a couple of dud missiles (and no one would notice they're dummy warheads), then depending on the laser range, the terrorists could SAM the laser plane(s) first, THEN send up the real deal. Missiles are cheap compared to laser-planes. Awl yur lazer-playn belohng to us.

It's not technology, it's tactics. Or, if you prefer, it's not the size, it's what you can do with it.

Jolly Roger, because if they clip a laser plane just right and bring it down intact, the pirate barbarian terrorists get a free civilization advance (Laser Weaponry).

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Doctors: Third babies are the same as patio heaters

Kevin Kitts
Stop

You all missed the point...

perhaps if they cut down on the admission of immigrants, the local population wouldn't have to cut down on babies. After all, the citizens who were there first should have first dibs at producing children. The immigrants pay less taxes and buy less goods over time due to not being in country all their lives, so they get more out of the system than they put back. If this isn't an argument for home-grown rather than outsourcing, I don't know what is.

Unless, that is, the British government really wants to have no citizens at all and remove all rights from the workers...sounds like they want to make a colony out of Britain, except that there's no parent country.

Put up the walls and let the wombs produce, I say.

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How government will save you from P2P deviance

Kevin Kitts
Stop

Nobody gets it...

the entire Internet is a packet-switched peer-to-peer network. My packets get sent to the next peer computer in the network, to the next, to the next, and so on until it reaches the peer in the network it's supposed to go to. Then the destination peer sends a packet to a peer in my general direction, to the next peer, and the next, until it gets back to me.

If you don't believe me, go look at your outbound router. The next computer in line is a peer to yours, thanks to TCP/IP. All this P2P nonsense is just people trying to censor the Internet. If they can stop virtual circuits (P2P connections through multiple networks) due to suspected piracy, they can block *any* connection, including land-line phone calls (which also go through the Internet).

"beep-beep-beep...We're sorry, but your phone call has been disconnected because the receiver is under suspicion of software piracy. Please hang up and try again later."

If the ISPs don't stand up for us, no one will - because no one else can, the ISPs own the equipment. Warrantless wiretaps leads to warrantless censorship.

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New York threatens Comcast with anti-porn suit

Kevin Kitts
Go

Well...

when any government does something insanely stupid, it's our job to say something. If people are looking for solutions to get rid of child pornography here, I'd suggest going to www.fbi.gov, where they do that for a living - not here.

However, when ISPs start taking down newsgroups willy-nilly for no good reason, it's our duty as citizens to bitch about it (or keep quiet if we don't care).

Epiphany: Speaking out is what comment pages are for. If you don't like the comments, the mouse is under your palm, you know. You can always go to MSNBC's web site, look up "To Catch A Predator" and ask if you can contribute to the cause in some way (most of the people they catch are probably into kiddie porn, too). Me, I'm not in any shape to become an FBI agent, so I'll just sit here and bitch while I still have a free-speech pipeline to the outside world.

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