* Posts by Shannon Jacobs

721 posts • joined 9 Apr 2007

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Health apps and wearables make you nervous, not fit, say boffins

Shannon Jacobs
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Continuous monitoring? How about BP?

I think continuous BP monitoring might be the most useful capability for most people, but the devices are still experimental and not yet approved. The continuous monitors use sound and vibration, not pressure, to track the blood pressure. However, you'd think they could start marketing some less reliable BP meters that can at least spot the critical situations?

By the way, I really want to know what the thumb down on my earlier comment was about. Mindless criticism from another mindless critic? Or was there something interesting or provocative in my comment? You'd think I'd have noticed it, eh?

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Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

But I love TOYS

Actually, it's not just love of toys, but some concerns about my health that have had me "playing" with some of these devices over the last few years. My own feeling is that most of the data is not useful, but overall I think it reduces worry because it pretty consistently indicates there isn't much to worry about. Your mileage may vary, especially if you have more severe medical problems that I do. Mostly I've concluded that I'm suffering from "getting-old-itis", but the doctors hate to say so.

Having said that, I'm in the market for a sleep meter, and the options are almost overwhelming... Does anyone know of a good database where the various models of such devices are compared on some systematic basis?

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It's 2015 and a RICH TEXT FILE or a HTTP request can own your Windows machine

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Re: Flash Player - or a Prayer?

That's exactly what I was going to ask. It's not just the monthly patches, but I'd estimate they average an update every week--and the Flash Player still crashes several times a day. That's going back as long as I can remember. How is it POSSIBLE to produce such buggy software and FAIL to fix it for so long?

As regards the Microsoft patches, I'm just getting overwhelmed by the sheer size of them. If you have Office 2013 installed, then this month's patches ran over a gigabyte. Also problems with the emergency patches from Microsoft--there were at least two or three of them that just went in in the last week...

AMAZING. Can you imagine they could distribute such buggy software if they they were actually liable for the damages caused by their bugs? Me neither.

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Apple, IBM jump into bed for health data love in

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Trying to be optimistic, but...

Given the corporate track record, it's hard to believe the personal data won't be abused...

Having said that, I confess that I'm pretty sure that I qualify as a heavy user of these devices. In fact, right now I'm in the market for a new sleep meter. Does anyone know of some good online database comparing the various features? When I was shopping for my first sleep meter about a year ago, there were only 3 or 5 options in the stores, but on my latest visit, it seemed like at least 30 options. Then there's the exercise trackers, the BP meters, and fancy scales, many of which have options to feed smartphone apps... Just feels overwhelming.

Not exactly a comprehensive solution, but let me mention that EdX is offering a class on this topic, starting next month. I think Rice is the primary sponsor, though Baylor Medical School is involved, too. Even if I can't find such a database, maybe the class will help me understand the most important evaluation criteria?

Now we return you to your regularly scheduled worrying about corporate abuse of your personal information...

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Android gets biometric voice unlocking

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

More erosion of my respect for the google--BAD security

The fix is obvious, but if they can't implement it yet, then they need to wait on voice authentication. The phone should NOT use the same password, but rather show some random text that you have to read. Not perfect, but at least it would beat the most obvious countermeasure of the recorded login.

Whatever happened to the non-EVIL and competent google of so few years ago?

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US hospital boffins demo cancer-busting smartphone kit

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Wrong problem

The fundamental problem with the for-profit model of medicine is that they have a vested interested in your being sick so they can profit. From the insurance side, they have no sincere interest in reducing costs because higher costs simply mean they can sell you more insurance to pay those higher costs.

By the way, I have experience with the pre-ObamaCare system, and it was outrageously expensive and I would have been bankrupted except for the detail that the other guy had enough insurance to pay for most of the damage he'd caused.

In contrast, my recent experience is with the Japanese healthcare system, which is quite a bit like the ACA (AKA ObamaCare). One major difference is that there are non-profit public insurance options that essentially keep the private insurance companies honest. A second major difference is that the government regulators are relatively competent and even respected and the bureaucrats are actually doing a pretty good job of keeping costs down. Two of the results are long lifespans and low medical costs.

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Russia pulls alleged 'Svpeng' kingpin

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Show us the money, google

If google hadn't become so EVIL, then they would be taking stronger action to improve Android security. Here's an obvious idea:

SHOW US THE MONEY.

If the developer has a legitimate business model, then it is much more likely that the developer is not a crook. No, it's not a guarantee, but it's the most important data to know, and in some cases it could be pretty close to a guarantee.

Each app on the Google Play website should include a tab for "Financial Model", maybe they should just call it the "Money" tab. The developer gets to say his piece, perhaps by just selecting from one of the most popular financial models, and then the google would say their piece at the bottom, in a place where the developer can't mess with it.

Concrete example of what a developer might say: "This is a free trial version of the <foobar> service, which is doing extremely well."

Concrete example from the google: "We can confirm that the <foobar> service is making substantial revenue."

Of course the more details the developer is willing to divulge, the more basis we would have to decide how much we trust the developer, but even in this simplistic case, we would know that the developer has some legitimacy and would lose that "substantial revenue" if the software is discovered to be malware in disguise. Based on my experiences on Google Play, right now it is almost impossible to get any idea about an app's legitimacy or finances, even though most of them seem to be using minor variations of a few basic models...

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Unpatched 18-year-old Windows man-in-the-middle diddle revived

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Typos in the first paragraph

As it stands now, there appears to be a misplaced "to" in the fist paragraph.

As the vulnerability report stands, wasn't this the same one that was reported last week? Quite possible that I read about it on the Reg...

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DARPA-funded team says it can SMELL Android malware

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Follow the MONEY. How does the MONEY smell?

If the google would make it possible for us to know more about the financial models of the developers, that would be the most important factor in detecting malware. If the developer has a sound business model, we don't need to see all the details. It would be sufficient if the google added an annotation something like "Yes, this developer claims to be selling lots of full-featured versions, and our records support that claim" or "This developer claims to be ad-supported, and we confirm substantial ad-related payments." In cases like that, we'd know there is good reason for the developer to be legit, but in another case "The developer claims to be independently wealthy, but we have no evidence of that claim", then the alarm bells should go off.

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Google-Twitter hookup rumours pushes up babble blog site's shares

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

More or less EVIL?

My own opinion is that Twitter is an amazingly worthless waste of time. Stretching my brain to come up with two uses: (1) Source of stupid comments that can be mutated into actually funny jokes on @midnight, and (2) A convenient login mechanism for throwaway websites.

Now considering the worthlessness of Twitter, how would it's acquisition affect the key question: "How EVIL is the google?" YouTube has clearly made the google much more EVIL than before, while most other parts of the google are kind of morally neutral tools (used for both good and bad purposes), but what effect would the Twitter have? I think I'm too biased against stupidity?

Wait a minute. The article claims that Twitter is supposed to be worth $33.7 billion? My bad. Stupid wins again. Go ahead google. What can it hurt?

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Ex-NASA OpenStack pioneer Nebula sucked into black hole

Shannon Jacobs
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Better financial models needed

It's the financial model that matters. Look at Microsoft if you think the quality of the software is significant in comparison.

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Zombie SCO shuffles back into court seeking IBM Linux cash

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Nothing can stop SCO!

He may be able to divide by zero, but not even Chuck Norris can kill SCO!

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Google adds evil-code scanning to Play Store

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Follow the MONEY. Oh wait. Can't do that.

If the google were sincere then the most obvious thing they could do would be to offer to display the developers' financial models. I'm not saying they have to forcibly expose the money, but they should give the honest developers an option to explain where the money is coming from, and where possible, they should explain why they think it's true or false. Imagine a "Financial Model" tab with the developer's explanation of the money at the top, and the google's uneditable reaction at the bottom. This would let us make meaningful and informed decisions about the apps in most cases.

In most cases, the developers would be able to select from a relatively small number of standard models. For example, if the developer says it's ad-supported, then the google can say whether or not they have actually been paying money to the developer without giving out exact numbers. Maybe the developer claims to be independently wealthy, but all the google can say is "We don't know." That's still useful in deciding if you want to download the app. Perhaps the financial model is "Produced for a class project", then at least we will know not to count on long-term support if the app seems likely to need any.

All in all, I've lost almost all of my respect for the google. I think they are EVIL now, and the real motto of today's google is "All of your attentions is belonging to us."

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Ow.ly plus AWS plus Box roped into worm-spreading spree

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Is Twitter affected, too?

I saw some stuff over on Twitter that might have been related to this attack? How to check? Yes, I did report it to Twitter, but I don't recommend taking Twitter seriously as regards security or responses to attacks.

On the more general topic of abuse of link shorteners, this is mostly a solvable problem. All it would take is for the operators of those websites to get slightly serious about abuse. Instead of eventually terminating those links, they should leave them up--but repointed and locked to the abusers' worst nightmares. Easiest example is the 419 scam, where the shortened link could be repointed to a website explaining 419 scams and warning against them. Actually, if the link-shortener operator wanted to get really serious, he would resolve the location of the abusive spammer's website and repoint it to the best anti-419 website in that legal jurisdiction.

Having said that, it isn't clear how effective such a technique would have been in this case. As it appeared on Twitter, there were lots of Tweets, but they were so messed up that it wasn't at all clear what the scam was supposed to be.

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Google MURDERS Google Code, orders everyone out to GitHub and co

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Google is too EVIL for words these days

The google did NOT buy the Deja News archives to "preserve Usenet history". They were hoping to make their lame Groups more attractive, but they shot that idea in the head by their censorship.

As for the google worrying about spam, that's hilarious. Have you seen their miserable anti-spam webform? Probably not, because they have pretty good reason to hide such a weak-arsed travesty, but let me assure you it is nothing for the spammers to worry about. Or how about the waves of phishing and pwning spam that infest Google's YouTube? Many YEARS of futility there, but my conclusion is that the google people don't have any children or they would be bothered by the YouTube traps targeting children who just think they are trying to watch their favorite cartoon. Or maybe the Android ads are more annoying, with all the fake "You've been infected" notices to con suckers into installing gawd-knows-what malware? Spam in the blogs (as well as disappearing posts)? Lots of other examples, but I can't imagine the Google Code spam problem is high on the list. (These days my #1 EVIL pick is oscillating between the google and Facebook.)

Personal bias disclaimer: I'm one of the newsgroup posters who was shot in the head over on Groups, though I'm still not sure what term of service I might have violated. I've asked a number of times going back about 10 years, and occasionally I receive a robotic reply that my case is still under investigation or appeal or something... I suspect it was for swearing, but hey, that's not the only bad habit I picked up in the service.

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Clinton defence of personal email server fails to placate critics

Shannon Jacobs
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Boffin

Don't you UNDERSTAND?!? It was in her spam!

You see the real reason for using Gmail was so that her communist bosses could send her orders disguised as spam. Of COURSE she won't remember to reveal her spam, no matter how many times the patriotic neo-GOP politicians investigate her! What a cover up!

Need proof? Why do you think the google is so spam friendly? Why is their anti-spam webform such a sick joke? Hillery's orders! She wants lots of spam to disguise her secret communications!

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BILLION email address spam scam: Feds collar two blokes, hunt another

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

If SpamCop is so great, why is there still spam?

My own experience is that SpamCop lost their fire after the Cisco acquisition. As far as the spammers are concerned, SpamCop is just another minor nuisance to live with.

To really reduce the spam, the spammers' business models must be broken. As long as they are making money, they will continue to spam. Case in point: How much stock market pump-and-dump spam do you see now? Almost none, because the spammers' business models were targeted and shut down--but only after several academic reports showed the spammers were basically printing money there.

I wish ANY of the major email providers would take the initiative of creating really effective anti-spammer tools to allow US, the extremely annoyed masses, to break the spammers' business models. Look at the numbers. The suckers who actually feed the spammers are a relatively rare and precious resource. Such profound stupidity doesn't grow on every tree. You don't have to help, but I sure wish I could help categorize the spam and target the best countermeasures to cut the spammers away from the suckers.

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Paul Allen hunts down sunken Japanese WWII super-battleship

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Re: Not so vulnerable...

According to a book I read on the specific history of the Musashi, there were many Japanese ships nearby when she was first attacked, but the Americans focused their efforts on her until she lagged behind and was finally sunk. If I remember correctly, the Yamato may have been elsewhere in the same loosely organized convoy.

As I further recall the stories, the Japanese originally had plans to build four ships of this class, but the third was converted into a makeshift aircraft carrier and the fourth was cancelled as the war situation 'developed not necessarily to their advantage', in the famous imperial euphemism. My memory is fuzzier on the third ship, but I think it was named the Shinano and was sunk by an American submarine quite close to Japan. They had launched it and I believe it had been ordered it to head for the Philippines, too, though it was essentially without armament at that late point in the war.

P.S. More fuzzy recollection, but I think that one of the enabling technologies for Pearl Harbor was a Japanese-designed airplane-delivered torpedo that could be used in relatively shallow water.

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£280k Kickstarter camera trigger campaign crashes and burns

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

No accountability on Kickstarter

I'm very interested in supporting good projects, but Kickstarter has never made any pretense of guaranteeing results. There should be clear success criteria for ANY project that wants my money, and Kickstarter could actually earn their cut by making sure that the project proposals are well thought out and complete, that they include all the necessary resources and have a realistic schedule, that the success criteria are clear, and by evaluating the finished projects and reporting on the results.

The Kickstarter people said they'd get back to me on such suggestions. Just kidding. I did submit the suggestions, but Kickstarter said nothing that I can remember.

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Snowden 'ready to return to US', claims lawyer

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Bullets not needed

In the States they have a contractor hack your car's electronics and arrange for a completely mysterious and inexplicable accident. Did you know that Michael Hastings fractured his legs stomping on the disabled brake pedal? Based on my reading on the topic, I'm convinced Snowden is just a patsy and Greenwall is a gullible fool. Both of them are sincere, but easily manipulated, whereas Hastings was fundamentally out of control and had probably established (or was perceived as likely to son establish) a secure linkage to the real dirt.

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Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Suspicions are cheap and worth less

Whether or not 0.07% or 7% is significant is a difficult question that depends on the amount of data and how accurately it is measured. Your suspicions about the "margin of error" are therefore baseless. They might be reporting on samples in the millions where tiny fluctuations can be measured.

Having said that, it is the Register, and I'm certainly not going to invest or gamble any money based on their reporting. To me, the real focus of the Windows XP topic should be that Microsoft's threats and blackmail aren't working perfectly, and as too often happens, the Register is off chasing some codswallop.

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RIP Leonard Nimoy: He lived long and prospered

Shannon Jacobs
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Stop feeding the trolls

Which reminds me to report my own sad trollage experience on this very topic...

I basically visit Facebook only to complain about Facebook-supported spammers and scammers. If I could only prove Facebook had leaked my email address to these spammers I'd also be the first one on the sue-em-to-death bus.

On a recent visit to complain, my eye was caught by a story about President Obama expressing his regrets about the death of Leonard Nimoy. Facebook also offered two comments for my enlightenment. Both were from trolls attacking Obama for various reasons. One was from a well-known racist, but I didn't check the second. That would have required 15 seconds of research, and no vile troll is worth 3 seconds.

Of course the saddest part is that Star Trek was so optimistic about the post-racist future of the USA (in Federation disguise, of course). Did you know the first interracial kiss on (American?) TV was in an episode of Star Trek? And NBC was seriously annoyed, of course.

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NO ONE is making money from YouTube, even Google – report

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

I beg to differ. The criminals are clearly profiting

Based on observations of their behaviors, it is clear that there are some criminals who are doing quite well on YouTube. Their videos and accounts are constantly and frequently being nuked, and yet they keep recreating them. They would not be doing that if they were not profiting.

The most flagrant example I know of involves a category of copyright infringement. Not fan videos or trivial stuff. These are accounts with large numbers of not-quite-commercial videos. Actually, they claim to be the real thing, but the actual videos are just stubs intended to get the suckers to click through to other websites. The exact scams are unclear, and I don't regard myself as technically skilled enough to investigate. I suspect that they are persuading suckers to install pwnware in hopes of getting "free" TV programs and movies, but it's just as possible that they are drive-by attacks that will pwn my insufficiently protected computer on the touch. Or perhaps they are making their money from commercial suckers who think they are paying for actual clicks?

After several years of careful observations, the details don't actually matter to me that much. What is clear is that the google supports EVIL, and the criminals love the google for it.

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Russia considers keeping its own half of the ISS alive after 2024

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Vacuum is no joking matter, even for mold?

Or "mould" as you might prefer. However, I think this branch of the thread was intended as a joke of the facetious sort, but why? It would certainly seem that they could wipe out any problematic growths of any sort simply by depressurizing the affected part of the space station for a while.

Gets rid of odors, too. Take it back to that new space station smell.

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The finest weird people in the world live here, and we're proud of it

Shannon Jacobs
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Re: Expensive housing

Typical rightwing Libertarian BS to focus on rent control. Geography is the problem for SF, as in no room to expand. Various geographical constraints, but it comes back to the famous old joke of real estate agents:

Q: What three things determine the value of a piece of land?

A: Location, location, and location.

Virtual reality notwithstanding, if you have possession of the actual and physical location, a location that other people want, it's really hard to define any meaningful limit on the price. Accept no substitute because there is no substitute.

Also, I find the thought of SF vertically built up like Hong Kong rather depressing. Or perhaps frightening, considering the residential tower that just burned down...

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So long, Lenovo, and no thanks for all the super-creepy Superfish

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Which flavor of EVIL do you want today?

I'm having trouble focusing on Lenovo as the primary culprit here. Yeah, they done wrong. They even done wrong in a big time way, but these days, it's just par for the course.

Right now I'm hoping never to buy another Microsoft-infested machine. It was the end of so-called support for Windows 7 that finally blew my fuse. It's not as though the thing that Microsoft laughably calls support has ever been worth anything, but at least it was a nice theory. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. I think I actually have found some useful information there, but mostly I remember all the times when I found nothing but infinite loops. The feeling is 2% success, but it might have been as high as 10% averaging over the last couple of decades...

Of course the punchline is that Microsoft is doing just fine. Terrible software is NOT a problem. Customer satisfaction? Pshaw. All you need is a EULA to disavow all responsibility and a sales strategy selling to the vendors, not the end victims.

Sadly, maybe I'll have no other choice. The google has clearly gone to the EVIL side, and Chromebooks seem too limited anyway, whereas Apple has always been more of a fashion statement than an exercise of meaningful freedom... Ubuntu? Ah, that was a sad joke, though it might be the most "successful" of the Linux failed economic models. *sigh*

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M0n0wall comes tumbling down as dev throws in the trowel

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Financial models matter

I've said it before, but maybe someone is listening this time?

Great software without a good financial model is meaningless. In contrast, the most awful software (AKA Microsoft) can be extremely successful if the financial model is cunning enough. MS actually has two important innovations, but none of them involve better software. (1) Sell to the makers, not the victims of your software. (2) Devise a EULA that completely absolves you from any responsibility for the egregious flaws in your software.

Yes, I do have a better idea, but no one is listening, so why waste the keystrokes (again). However, I may soon have the freedom to pursue it seriously...

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Finally, the Fermi Paradox mention

Not surprised the original author didn't mention the Fermi Paradox. Same blathering idiot frequently denies climate change, so probably he never heard of Fermi. "Who was Fermi? Another one of those damn fool money-grubbing so-called scientists? Oh, you say he had a Nobel thingee or such?" However, somewhat surprised to see so little mention of the Fermi Paradox here in the comments.

My amplified form is to consider a single stable civilization that started with our level of radio technology within our galaxy. If they wanted to say "hi", they could create a major radio beacon. They don't even need to run it continuously, but just let out a a few megawatts of encoded squawk when they are at their time of low power demand. To define stable, let's say we can claim 5,000 years of civilization, and our "stable civilization" is at least 20 times more stable. Then by now their signal would have reached every corner of our galaxy--and even with our primitive technology, we would have picked it up. Therefore, we can safely say there is no such civilization in our galaxy that wants to say "Hi."

Various resolutions of the Paradox, but the two I favor are:

1. A proclivity for technology is not a survival trait, and all such civilizations quickly exterminate themselves, probably by a cost-effective bio-weapon.

2. Naturally evolved intelligences like humans replace themselves with AIs, and the AIs are talking among themselves in ways we can't perceive. In this case, we can conclude the AIs are not malevolent, or they would have exterminated us by now. I'd prefer to believe they are wagering quatloos on how long we survive or genuinely interested in the various paths taken by natural evolution. However, in any version of this case, I can't imagine they would ever bother talking to us. What would you say to a flea (even if you knew the flea or its ancestors had once created a super-smart dog)?

More at:

http://eco-epistemology.blogspot.jp/2007/08/resolution-of-fermi-paradox.html

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Google's latest letdown: Simply not enough billions since October

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

"All your attentions are belonging to the google!" is the motto

Do you feel you're in an increasingly adversarial relationship with the google? All I'm saying is that they are working for the advertisers, and if you actually value your time, then the advertisers are not your friends. Whatever you might want to do with your time, the advertisers would prefer to stuff an ad into it. There's just no satisfying some people, eh? The problem is that even the google is going to run out of time. You can't intrude beyond 100%, eh?

Meanwhile, the delusion investors will also continue to be dissatisfied. The value of the shares (and not just the google's shares) has become a purely imaginary figment. If they think they can find a sucker to buy the shares at an even higher price, then the price goes up, and so does the market cap, though nothing actually changed. If they think they can't find a sucker, then they drop the price and the market cap, but reality remains elsewhere... No satisfaction here, either.

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'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

"All your attentions are belonging to the google!" is today's motto

If you believe in freedom, there is a simple solution. Just to be safe, I better clarify that I am talking about freedom as meaningful and unconstrained choice, not the Microsoft version of freedom (now adopted by Google et alia) where you are only free to choose the flavor of your cancer. The problem with cancer as an model of ideal growth is that it always kills the host, even if the cancer is smart enough to bribe legislators. (BtW, did you read the recent article about Google as #1 in lobbying among high-tech companies?)

So the solution is to give us choice. Easiest to illustrate with Microsoft, but basically the same can be done with the google. The solution is LIFE as in reproduction on the model of an amoeba rather than a cancer.

Cut Microsoft (or the google) into 2 to 4 pieces. Give each of the child companies a copy of the code, databases, and an equal share of the employees and facilities. Shareholders get equal shares in each of the child companies. Then they compete against each other. They can even exchange information about standards and interfaces, as long as it is shared in public and everyone else can see it, too. The children will naturally start to diverge, and we (the customers) have the freedom to make meaningful choices.

Right now the customers of Microsoft (and the google) are treated with less respect than the fleas on a dog. If you're the only dog in the neighborhood, why should you care what the fleas think?

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Yahoo's! Mayer!: We'll! spin! off! $40bn! Alibaba! stake! and! pay! ZERO! tax! on! it! Ha!

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Stock markets have a well known bias against reality

Market cap is based on stock price, and stock price is a matter of opinion. Therefore, it's all smoke and mirrors, creates nothing, and the wisdom of today's stock market is best compared to a soap bubble. Just a timing game.

Can I convince some other sucker that this share is worth more than I paid for it before both of us realize it's worthless?

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Shannon Jacobs
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Reporting from Japan -- no landline needed

In Japan I was able to get rid of my landline some years ago, and haven't missed it at all. I'm pushing the envelope a bit, but my current phone and Internet bill (unlimited data) is running about 5,000 yen/month (about 30 of your pounds or 40 euros/month).

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Verizon posts WANTED poster for copper rustlers

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Rethinking the problem: Why are the theives that desperate?

Gee, maybe they're seriously desperate for small amounts of money? Maybe it would be cheaper to hire the thieves as security guards?

Large income disparities are troublesome, but the disparities in the States are nothing compared to the international ones. Let's hope Saudi Arabia doesn't disintegrate now... Much more potential for troubles there, but I suppose the only link you see is that gas prices could rise again.

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Google spent record cash lobbying Congress in 2014 – report

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Don't be EVIL? ROFLMAO

Current motto is "All your attentions are belonging to us."

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IBM to open up on global re-org TONIGHT - sources

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Re: moles not seeing the whole picture

My own curiosity is more concrete. How many z13s have to be sold to recover that investment? (It was reported to be in excess of $1 billion.)

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2014 in infosec: Spammers sneak small botnets under the wire, Java is dull

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Would you like to help break the spammers business models?

Apparently I'm the only such person? Really? Don't you think that most people are basically good and if you help them do good things, then they will? Do you think most people want spam?

Wasting the keystrokes again, but I REALLY wish that one of the major email services would get serious about putting the spammers out of business. Playing patty-cake with filters is NOT a solution, and it is obvious the spammers don't mind at all.

However, have you noticed that one category of spam has mostly disappeared? The so-called powers-that-be decided to break the business model of the pump-and-dump stock scams, and now you hardly ever see that kind of spam. Not because we hate it as much as other spam, but only because several research papers revealed that the spammers were essentially printing money, and the powers-that-be could not tolerate that, so they broke the spammers' business model.

We could, if the powers-that-google-or-Yahoo-or-MS wanted to, do the same thing for every other category of spam. I'd be glad to help out by donating a bit of my time to analyzing the spam and helping recommend the best countermeasures--but I can't. Especially in the case of the google, it is clear that they are too EVIL to care. If you study the google's anti-spam measures, all you can say is "pitiful", but the spammers are happy.

What we need is a fairly simple iterative analysis and targeting tool for spam. At each round of analysis or targeting, the wannabe spam fighter would confirm or correct the analysis and countermeasures. Of course there should always be "Other" options, because the spammers are also sickly imaginative and there will always be new scams coming up.

I'm not saying we can cure the spammers or make them into decent human beings. I'm just saying we can reduce their profits and drive them under less visible rocks.

Remember, the number of people who HATE spam is huge, and the sucker who feed the spammers are really scarce (and stupid). If only it were easier for the large number of people to protect the suckers from themselves. (Amazingly enough, that would even protect the corporate victims from the abuse of their supposedly valuable reputations, which is the part that amazes me most. Why does the Google keep punching themselves in the face?)

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SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS that 2014 was record HOTTEST year? NO

Shannon Jacobs
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The stupid. It BURNS.

Knew the author from the title. Didn't read his tripe since he has ZERO credibility left.

Unfortunately, a media website, such as the Register, only has two assets. Integrity and credibility. If the author doesn't shut up, he's going to finish destroying the Register.

In conclusion, hey, Mr Page. Why don't you stop punching yourself in the face?

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Windows 7 MARKED for DEATH by Microsoft as of NOW

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Excuse me, but I'm SICK of this game

Much as I dislike Apple, what choice do I have? Between EVIL and EVILER? At this point, I'm convinced Apple can't be more evil.

Yeah, I was thinking about Chrome, but after the abuse of Linux, I just can't see myself going that way. I feel like I wasted too many years hoping Ubuntu or something would grow into a viable economic model.

The real lesson of Microsoft is you can produce the worst software in the world and ram it down people's throats via the manufacturers while your EULA protects you from any liability, and it's still a working economic model. Unlike their software, the economic model works extremely well.

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Huawei? Apple and Samsung's worst nightmare, pal

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Eh, what's a couple of bad centuries?

That really is the Chinese perspective on things. LONG term, and their interpretation is that it's about time to go back to normal, with the Chinese on top according to any metric of civilization you pick.

However, on the topic at hand, I can report that I've had 3 Huawei devices over the last few years, including one smartphone, and all of them were quite satisfactory. Basically they have delivered on what was promised and conformed well to the standards. My other smartphone experiences have included a Samsung and an HTC, and something that Microsoft claimed to be some sort of smartphone.

I do have some security-related concerns, however. I actually trust Huawei and think they are too smart to put any backdoors into their phones, but... The hardware is built in China and therefore accessible to the Chinese hackers. My belief is that a skilled hacker who has physical access to the device is an unbeatable combination. Nothing is perfect, and therefore I am basically assured that any device made in China has been most thoroughly explored by hackers, almost certainly including hackers who are working for the Chinese government.

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Blind justice: Google lawsuit silences elected state prosecutor

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Current google motto: All your attentions is belonging to US

Former coworker now at Google accidentally revealed the new slogan of the google:

All your attentions is belonging to US.

However, the google didn't go EVIL overnight. I first noticed their EVIL when the started censoring me about 8 or 10 years ago. Some sort of death penalty, but whenever I ask about it, I receive a robotic reply that the case is still under review. What case? What crime? (Presumably something that they regard as a violation of some ToS, but damn if I know what it is--or maybe my death penalty is for profanity of the most sincere sort?)

Well, now I saw phuck the google and the horse it rode in on. EVIL is as the google does.

P.S. I've noticed that criticisms of Microsoft and the google tend to elicit lots of down votes. Let me assure you that I could not care less, but if you have the guts or data to back up your disagreement, let's see your comment. In the case of the google, I'm liable to dismiss it as just more lobbying by a herd of professional sock puppets.

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Microsoft fires legal salvo at phone 'tech support' scammers

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Re: But what does the scammers EULA say?

Okay, this specific comment merits a response. I should have included a mention that I, too, approve of Microsoft's positive actions, rare though they be. For example, Microsoft has been quite effective upstream in some of their legal actions against professional spammers. Though I'm not sure of the numbers, I'm confident MS is not showing a full tithe of contrition. Most likely they are just tapping a fraction of their marketing budget. "What is the cheapest good thing we can do for some good press?"

The other replies touched minor points, so I'll give them minor responses here.

Regarding the inability to profit without protection from liability, I addressed that point. Programming differently in this context mostly means defensively.

The more complicated defense attempts to absolve Microsoft because the criminals are taking the initiative in this specific category of crime. My basic response is that MS is still liable for two reasons: (1) They created a monopolistic OS environment that not only nurtures the scammers, but creates a convenient target-rich environment for the criminals. (2) They did not program defensively. Microsoft's approach is more like selling tanks to little old ladies who just want to go to church on Sundays.

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Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

But what does the scammers EULA say?

This story amuses me. If Microsoft were held fully accountable for all the crimes they are responsible for, then I'm convinced they would be bankrupt. About the best you can say regarding this particular scam is that Microsoft only set the stage for the crooks.

If Microsoft had actually accepted responsibility for the problems in their software, then you can bet they would have designed MUCH better software in the very first place and the scammers wouldn't have such a juicy market of Microsoft so-called customers to pray upon. Heck, if the scammers have a sense of humor, they probably have a EULA patterned after Microsoft's that says nothing that goes wrong is in any way their fault or liability.

By the way, the "so-called" before "customers" is because of Microsoft's other major business innovation. They don't market to the actual victims AKA users of their software. The marketing efforts are targeted at the manufacturers, and we, the users, are merely obliged to go along, quality of the software being irrelevant.

Dare I post it? It certainly appears that any criticisms of Microsoft elicit lots of mysterious down votes. Hey, let's hear why you're defending Microsoft or I'll just assume you're a professional flunky or sock puppet of some sort.

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Sony sued by ex-staff over daft security, leaked privates

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Re: "criminally-culpable negligence"

Well, the down votes indicate a lot of people disagreed, but the comments are so muddled that I'm not clear what they disagreed about. Presumably a waste of keystrokes to attempt to clarify at this late date, so I'll just add the very short clarification of the relationship:

Microsoft's EULA says that whatever they did wrong, you can't sue them for the harmful consequences. That is now the precedent established for major companies, especially in the high tech industry. Sony has lawyers, too, and you can rest assured that their contracts include similar wording. It's probably a blanket disclaimer, but if their lawyers are sharp enough, there's probably a specific disclaimer for email losses, too, probably right after the place where you agree that they can read all of your email for any 'legitimate' reason, but 'promise' not to abuse the postmaster power. Yes, you could argue it's an overabundance of caution, since so much email is not even under Sony's control (since the origin or destination is outside of Sony), but lawyers are extreme cowards of the most natural sort.

If you need to down vote, be brave enough to say why, eh?

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Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

"criminally-culpable negligence"

You say "criminally-culpable negligence"? Does not compute!

Seriously, you need to look at your EULA to see what happened to that concept. Or are you really trying to say that Sony didn't spend enough on lawyers to copy the Microsoft fine print?

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

How to pay for resources for responsive design: Let US do it

First the summary: After a week, I still see no advantage of the new design, and it still feels less useful than the design it replaced. I would accuse it of being less intuitive, too, but I can't really remember how long it took to get used to the previous design. For example, the hot article feature was good and easy to figure out, but I'm not even sure if it exists in the new design...

Wasting the keystrokes on the funding suggestion, but:

Two-part project:

(1) Implementation costs: When enough people pledge to implement the responsive design, then you release the funds and do that project. (As previously suggested, you would be holding the money already.)

(2) Operating costs: On an annual project basis. Of course key features should be funded years in advance, but if the so-called responsive design is not a key feature, you should implement it to allow it to be turned off if there are not enough donors for the operating costs. The website would continue operating, but we would see a link to the operating-cost project. As a concrete example, imagine that the 2016 year is not funded at the end of 2015. Then the responsive interface would turn off, but we would see the link to fund it, if we really want that feature. Imagine the thrill of being the last donor who gets to turn on the popular feature? You could even feature that donor at the top of the funding donation page for the feature. Then again, if no one actually wants to support the feature, then it should remain turned off, sorry. If I had been one of the people who had wanted to put 10 quid towards enabling it, then I might be unhappy, but no skin off my nose. My pledge would become available for some other project.

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Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Re: NORKs ought to fund assassination of POTUS, staring Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu

Are you being sarcastic? If so, your presentation is poor. It's a major stretch to interpret your comment as some sort of free speech claim rather than as a racist attack on President Obama.

Are you trying to say the terrorists should have come up with millions of dollars to fund their own assassination movie, or, as seems to be the case, you are saying you would approve of and presumably pay to see a movie about the assassination of Obama?

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Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Terrorists win BIG time--America is now a nation of cowards

What this means is that EVERY future movie project will be considered in terms of the risk of a "release-killing terrorist threat". Anything that is too provocative or risky will never even be made because the studio will be afraid of losing the entire investment.

In addition, you can look forward to the terrorists pushing the line to see exactly which movies they can censor. Well, "look forward" is too soft. Rather you can count on it. The precedent has been clearly established, even if the movie itself was a muddled message.

Freedom = (Meaningful - Coerced) Choice ≠ (Beer | Speech)

You do NOT have the freedom to choose to watch this movie, so this is a place where free speech crosses into the freedom area.

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EU Google-bashing is making us look really bad, say Google bashers

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Hey, if your business model is cancer, you have to protect the google

The friend of Microsoft is not necessarily your enemy, though it turns out that way about 99% of the time. The problem is that Microsoft epitomizes cancer as a business model, so they have to be nervous about attacks on the google's cancerous nature. Remember the google's motto "All your attentions is belonging to us."

If it makes you feel any better, Amazon is worse and even more EVIL than the google. I stopped shopping with Amazon more than 10 year ago because of their intrusive and aggressive use of my purchase history, but that hasn't stopped them. The other day I visited Amazon and checked some information on a book, and Amazon responds by emailing me a list of related books they want me to buy.

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Chum's house burnt down? Facebook mulls 'DISLIKE' button for that

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Facebook = SPAM

Facebook = SPAM is all you need to know, but they aren't the most annoying. Right now I think Amazon is still the world champion of in-your-face intrusions. A bit off topic, but consider it a warning of where Facebook would like to go: I stopped shopping at Amazon over 10 years ago because of their high-pressure sales abuses of my interests, but they are STILL doing it. A few days ago I checked a book on Amazon. I had already read it but wanted to check a detail about the English original. Then I received email from Amazon with a list of related books they were hoping to sell me. Remember I have NOT bought anything from Amazon in over a decade, and they are STILL in my face.

Anyway, on the topic of Facebook fake "likes" and fake "friends", the real problem is the oversimplification of messy reality. The world is NOT one-dimensional and binary, no matter how convenient that is for Facebook. (The comment about a "sympathize" button was sort of on the right track.)

So does anyone need an Ello invite? Interesting and promising, though I have doubts about economic models, or rather what appears to be the lack of a viable economic philosophy. In that regard, Facebook is also on trial. We know Microsoft's economic model works with total disregard for the negative qualities of their software...

(Yeah, I know you aren't supposed to mention Microsoft in a negative light. Apparently it elicits negative clicks from Microsoft's pet trolls.)

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Microsoft pulls a patch and offers PHANTOM FIX for the mess

Shannon Jacobs
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Holmes

Here's the REAL fix

Make Microsoft bear some responsibility for the costs of their errors. Though it was a very successful business model innovation and helped Microsoft make lots of money so they could pretty much take over the computers of the world, in practice it has been really bad. In fact, my firm belief is that if MS were suddenly required to pay for all the damages caused by their errors and carelessness, the company would be bankrupt. (Their other major business model innovation was selling upstream, to the manufacturers, so they could basically ignore the actual users of their software. Actually, it's an exaggeration to give MS full credit for either of these, but MS perfected them.)

So here's a way to implement a solution: Cut Microsoft into separate pieces and require they compete with each other. Each company would start with a copy of the source code and an equal fraction of the employees and facilities and equipment, and after that they have to compete. They can even work on a standard version of Windows (as seen by the installed programs), but any information they exchange (for example about the Windows APIs and how they work) has to be exchanged in public.

Rather than eternal bandages, the daughter companies would have strong incentives to offer real solutions. For example, MS-A might add a data recovery service to provide some protection against loss or theft. MS-B might offer a more expensive OS but with backup services and security signatures imbedded into your data to protect it from theft. MS-C might go the route of focusing on performance speed without accepting any increase in liability. Whatever. The point is that we would have real choice = real freedom and as the code bases diverged, we would get more real security, too.

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