* Posts by AustinTX

113 posts • joined 15 Jul 2008

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Alleged Brit hacker Lauri Love bailed amid US extradition battle lull

AustinTX
Holmes

Re: Crime and punishment

If I'm not mistaken, you can be dragged off to prison and beaten for saying a thing like that. Let's hope you have some money to pay back your prison room & board fees.

Could be a connection, but I'm being watched and can't speculate out loud.

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AustinTX

It's a mystery to me

I don't know why my country makes a policy of setting out poorly-defended honeypots to catch British Aspies.... Perhaps they're transplanting their brains into drones?

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Eat my reports! Bart ransomware slips into PCs via .zip'd JavaScript

AustinTX

It's Twenty Sixteen

...and opening a zip file still results in it's contents being executed automatically?

WTF

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Beautiful model to explain the universe to physicists

AustinTX

I've always felt uncomfortable with this statement

And I sort of just figured out why:

"cosmologists make simple assumptions that the universe is homogenous and isotropic - that it looks the same in every direction regardless of the viewer’s position."

Given that observers will be scattered across the universe at great distances, and that no communication can take place faster than the speed of light, therefore each observer actually must be seeing a different universe than the others. Not just a matter of perspective, but they're seeing things now as others will see them at a very large offset in time to them.

They can't communicate their observations any faster than their peers will eventually see the changes for themselves. Even for all observers who co-incidentally make an observation of the same structures at the same time, no matter how distant, they each see a measurably different universe, most un-recognizably so. In fact, each observer will see the universe evolve differently because information catches up to them at different times than at any other spot.

This isn't just about an "observer principle" though, because forces in one part of the universe can't affect other parts of the universe any faster than an observer can see them. So it's analogous. Replace "observer" with "a star" or "a cloud of gas" which feels the effect of a combination of forces from all directions.

Literally, even if matter truly was distributed evenly across the universe, in one frame of time, it simply wouldn't look that way from any other points, where multiple, partial frames of time are visible simultaneously. This is cool; it opens up the possibility that many structures we think we see out there are illusions. The product of time delays in information reaching our position. Observers elsewhere may not see the same clumps and filaments, or even the same galaxies!

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Medicos could be world's best security bypassers, study finds

AustinTX

Probably worse than you can imagine

Hospitals are always so short-staffed they can't even keep their records up to date or even refile them so doctors can see their patient's records. I've temped in several hospitals for this reason. One hospital had a decades-old mainframe terminal system which required an employee's badge to be inserted to function. Very nice, right? Would tell you who accessed what and when. Well, every one of these terminals, throughout the bld had a blank badge left stuck in it at all times since doctors were always losing their badges and they didn't want to make ones for the temps. When I got bored entering location codes for files, I could look up people I knew and see what they'd been in for and when along with all their personal identification.

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Tor onion hardening will be tear-inducing for feds

AustinTX
Devil

Re: Run it as middlebox!

My take on this is that the exploit used by NSA employs javascript functions which ignore the browser & PC's firewall & redirects, or which launches core Windows services which also do this (more have come to light recently).

So it comprises a "little snitch" who reports directly to a resource that NSA can monitor, with some kind of unique identifier. Or, they can match you up just by measuring timing. Using exclusively Linux will probably protect, unless javascript is all it needs. The state-security threatening pedos (!!) probably all used Windows. Or Macs, for that matter... :D

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Sysadmin 'fesses up to wrecking his former employer's IT systems

AustinTX

We need to use his name, Kezeor to refer to something in his honor

Sort of like "santorum" but in a complimentary way.

"Agilent was completely kezeor'd for four months"

I salute you, Mr. Kezeor!

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One entire US spook base: Yours for $1m+

AustinTX
Alien

Re: Cult status

Haha, "clearly" we both came here to say something like this.

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Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

AustinTX

@Alan Brown "People have also been convicted of DUI after being stopped walking along the footpath with car keys in their possession because they MIGHT use them to drive a car."

This is absolutely true. I was in a jury selection panel for exactly this. It's rolled under "Public Intoxication". A cop arrested a man who was walking down the sidewalk because *a witness* expressed the concern that this man would get in his car and drive drunk. The cop was his own "witness". It sounded like the man had simply been a tad surly when he was approached by Deputy Dawg. He had been drinking, but wasn't slobbering wasted. The man was literally being tried for a crime he hadn't committed. But could have. Just hope a cop doesn't pick YOU on the street for one of his fantasy scenarios.

I wasn't chosen for trial, probably because I asked too many questions.

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Why everyone* hates Salesforce's Marc Benioff

AustinTX
Terminator

Re: More Baron Frankensteins-

Moar robot barons!

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BOFH: What's your point, caller?

AustinTX

Re: Most fun I ever had on the phone

Oh if you work for an ISP, you get other ISP's customers calling all the time.

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AustinTX
Facepalm

Re: Equipment? Never heard of it.

I briefly trialed a support position at, let's call it "Winger Nixderp" where I was given a cash register to use as my work PC. Yep, a refurbished touchscreen cash register running windows underneath the merchant app. Soft kbd and no mouse.

My voip application wasn't set up right, so my calls were dropped when I rang my co-workers or xferd calls. The co-workers quietly held a grudge for me walking up to them with questions, and I was about to be terminated for that (!!) when the mgr finally tried using my phone himself. With hard feelings exposed and bridges burned (not my fault) I let that 'career opportunity' go. A shame, since it was only 6 blocks from home.

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AustinTX

Re: Gaffa tape

We call it "gaffer tape" because, well, the gaffer uses it.

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Would YOU start a fire? TRAPPED in a new-build server farm

AustinTX

Re: Did you piss of Simon or the PFY?

You don't stick around when you pull the Halon lever.

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Earth's core is younger than its crust surface

AustinTX
Coffee/keyboard

Unscientific Thought Experiment

One little idea I like to muse about from time to time is that perhaps black holes don't form under the collapse of stars, but rather form inside a star earlier in it's life, possibly even having been a seed which drew gasses together to form that star. Either way, it starts out and remains so small for so long, that the core's mass completely hides it. It may affect the sun's "engine" at some point, but the change is gradual. A tiny black hole has too little surface area to pull in very much matter and thus will grow very slowly - at first. An embedded black hole would slowly drain the star's mass, eventually crossing a threshold and suddenly heating it up quite a bit, causing it to puff up and expel material.

The mass of a star, starting with 1.4x the size of our own sun, is tied to the likelihood that a hole makes its appearance after supernova. A star that is too small simply never seems to produce a black hole, though it might reveal a neutron star, or just shrink and cool off. Imagine that it isn't simply pressure, but rather some other sort of stress on space-time which creates black holes.

The article talks about a tens-of-thousands of years difference between the age of the sun's core and it's outer layers. This obviously doesn't mean that we could travel back in time by burrowing into the sun's core somehow, but I wonder if, in cases like this, that there isn't some accumulated "frame drag" that goes on. A star that is too small just can't create enough strain to 'tear' space, but larger ones inevitably do. The mass of a star seems to be related to [the difference in age of the core of a star and it's outer layers] and [the likelihood it will collapse under enough pressure to form a black hole], for what we take to be unrelated reasons.

I propose that perhaps a black hole is actually produced by a kind of frame drag between the core and outside of massive objects like stars of sufficient size. The greater the mass, the quicker the frame drag accumulates. All else that we know about black holes is just what we observe once they become exposed, and behave like independent objects.

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Palo Alto IDs another C&C-over-DNS attack

AustinTX
Boffin

Probably trivial to protect against

This 'attack' seems to rely on the malware using a DNS server of it's choice. Lots of SOHO routers have a feature to transparently grab outgoing SMTP and redirect it to a preferred one. Especially if those routers have "captive portal" (ala free hotspot) or "guest" features. It should be pretty simple to redirect all of the outgoing DNS traffic, too. In fact, the "for pay hotspots" have this feature by default. A legitimate DNS server will either reject or ignore the C&C strings.

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Coders crack Oculus DRM in 24 hours, open door to mass piracy

AustinTX

Re: This whole thing pisses me off.

@John Bailey: I get your point, however it is self-evident that content providers would rather have control over their product than have a larger market.

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AustinTX

Re: This whole thing pisses me off.

@PJF: I'm looking forward to the return of the Power Glove... which of course needs the latest computing hardware and a quarter billion lines of code to function, for some reason.

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AustinTX

Re: This whole thing pisses me off.

@goldcd: Your beef is with the content providers who doubtless threatened to boycott Oculus.

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Speaking in Tech: Uber and Lyft tell Austin: Hell no, we won't give you the finger

AustinTX
Megaphone

Lyft & Uber's still delivering passengers in Austin

Uber and Lyft are both apparently still delivering passengers in Austin. They simply pick them up outside, in the suburbs. Folks can try using Get Me to pick them up inside the city to take them back home. Uber Food, a delivery service, is still operating too. Your Get Me driver will probably also be an Uber/Lyft driver anyway.

Most Austinites who voted against Uber and Lyft weren't even customers. These were knee-jerk SPITE VOTES due to a deceptive campaign by the City of Austin to demonize the rideshare companies as "bullying the city" with "corporate threats", when actually, the City changed their terms after Uber & Lyft made agreements when they opened here for business.

Austinites are famous for voting against their own best interests because they're culturally vulnerable to fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) packaged as defending their right to choose. This only applies to certain "enemies" of course. People like to think themselves liberal here, but they have the southerner's "you can't tell me what to think" attitude which means they live and vote with such closed minds. It's an insult to them, to open a dialogue or try to educate.

Now, we've lost rideshare CHOICES and the corrupt taxi companies have their near-monopoly back. Hu-farking-rah.

That said, I don't think requiring fingerprints is too much to ask. I get fingerprinted for IT contracts. There are too few fingerprinting service offices here, though. I've driven to San Antonio to get fingerprinted because the local ones had no appointment slots! If I were a driver, I would pay for my own background check as long as my rideshare network refunded my money after a few months of active service.

Our public transportation isn't terrible, either, though I won't ride home during rush hour. Busses can be packed nightmarishly full. Also, despite a recent reorganization, busses still mainly just run along certain main roads and lots of the city is underserved. I bike whenever possible, though let me go on the record of saying that Austin's "bikeability" rating is an obscene farce. Motorists hate bikers, and the lay of the streets is very dangerous for biking. We do have a lot of bikers who don't obey traffic laws though.

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Congress calls for change to NSA spying law

AustinTX

Even as a kid, I wondered why the rules were different for foreigners than it was for us. I mean, sure I understand that a visiting foreigner isn't entitled to request welfare and such, but then, our government was always so very eager to dispatch them without employing the time-honored system of justice we supposedly feel is superior to that of the rest of the world.

It seemed like the gov held an actual grudge against the American way of life and liberty, since they would circumvent it at any opportunity. The government demonstrates that it would prefer not to follow these laws, you see. In their heart of hearts, they don't feel it's the best way to do things. This is critically dangerous.

As a teen then, it was little surprise to learn that the USA keeps prisons and torture facilities in foreign countries on the theory that they're then not bound to follow our laws there. It seems that when one of our agents or officers steps off USA soil, they shrug of all of the laws of our land, except those which please them.

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AustinTX

'no one has "ever demonstrated that a terrorist attack was stopped through Internet monitoring"'

Yah, sure they SAY there were those, uhm, 3-4 instances. They didn't say what they were, though. And they had to walk back that count, too.

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ICANN knifes Africa's internet: New top-level domains terminated

AustinTX

Re: @Austix TX - why customers left those walled gardens

@DougS: Don't forget that when phone companies brought "web browsing" to cell phones, they fought hard to keep people in walled gardens too. The service providers hoped to make content providers and consumers alike pay, and make themselves the only way to come together. But, customers had already heard of "the Internet". Ultimately, it fell apart because it cost the providers far more to maintain the artificial restrictions than it benefited them. As I said, customers didn't like paying more for a restricted network than others were paying for open Internet.

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AustinTX

Re: They CANNT (which people)

@veti: yes, and perhaps this is why Google hasn't made the plunge yet. People want more flexibility in domain names. Google wants us to give up domain names. Once their URL-shortener runs out of combinations, they may change their minds. More about that at:

https://mParuMlWQpk5UjfamngwCeFMSBTjQwiOlHrBvVbjRYSsK648NvaYgUr1NmsSzFSEkjIPCfwzp56kE1MMQuEfKmOfq4o2ogBhm9RpZ5U3P500WNTmQyueUxwTfSAvFuVMrgDdH5E70hK9TgOWIt3p5ejqIVS38Pdwccamb8I1JOV8xGYxmvrZpu40hxgFefdWpUwxvZreTp1Q3uXv4GIzR3O2De1ZJG5hpey5SV2pOIwQhhgtu3aMz2AWUDEuxXf93oAM

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AustinTX

Re: @AustinTX, re: DNS.

See, an actual walled garden, by definition, doesn't let you visit places outside. But I welcome the good, old fashioned anti-aol nerdrage! :)

You should realize those "members only" sites didn't exist on the open Internet at all, but rather on the paid service's internal network. Charging corporations extra to reach a minuscule extra percentage of eyes, was never going to last. If someone is adding value to your service, they expect to be paid, not charged!

Furthermore, customers jumped ship from those old walled gardens because they didn't like being restricted AND charged for free content. In time, I think the same effect will kill ICANN. The fella posting earlier stated that his ISP uses google DNS by default. Those are the first steps. (So does my ISP, but then, I have Google Fiber, lol)

ICANN is the walled garden here. It may be a big garden, but they're a monopoly on domain names, and as long as that goes on, they'll be free to make any rule that benefits them and charge any amount they think they can get away with. For providing no real service.

What I'm proposing is a better, opt-in, more flexible and less-restricted "list" of sites that *includes* ICANN's. This is good, legal, and ICANN can't do a thing about it.

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AustinTX

Re: They CANNT

@Terry.6: A good point. What carrot to hang from the stick? How not to become the new oppressor? Since this opens up a tremendous amount of new 'real estate', every organization, company and internet provider will be eager to secure their namesake. And, if they want to homestead their new domain name, make it a requirement that they use and promote the alt-DNS too.

The application could include a field to submit trademarks, so that anyone who later applies to register a name containing those phrases will be flagged for review. Impose a fee at cost. There would be a list of exceptions one can pick from a list, such as "I-hate-%domainname%" or "%domainname%-fansite" so bloggers can launch their free speech or parody site without delay.

I mean, you can lob gruesome obstacles at me all day, and I can post creative solutions back atcha. I've been thinking about this for years.

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AustinTX

They CANNT

Isn't it clear that ICANN doesn't facilitate services? Instead, they charge big money to remove encumbrances. Seriously, we don't need this obscenely corrupt company any more!

It's insane to be charged money for the right to tack a dot and a reserved word onto the end of our web addresses. I wish an influential Internet company like Google, OpenDNS, or the like would implement their own non-ICANN domain registry. By that, we could register any 256-character string as a domain name the same way we used to register free subdomains. People need only configure their DNS server to one of these providers to enable an overlay of non-ICANN domains, which falls back to ICANN if there is no match. This does lower the bar to enabling certain misuses, but the current system hasn't exactly had much effect on spam, phishing and malware.

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Edward Snowden sues Norway to prevent extradition

AustinTX

Re: It's a Trap!!!

Send someone incognito, with the implication that it's Snowden himself, just to see what hijinks ensue.

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AustinTX

"My fellow Norwegian countryjmen, we are gathered together to decide whether the laws and policies of the USA are enforceable within Norway, and whether our police and military must obey orders from the USA government. 'Cause we don't know anymore!"

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Sysadmin given Licence To Perve shows why you always get it in writing

AustinTX

SAID NO MANAGER EVER

“I'm apparently an idiot for yelling at this poor man for doing a job he have been ordered to do,” the manager said. “I will hereby leave and beg for his forgiveness.”

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Bypass the Windows AppLocker bouncer with a tweet-size command

AustinTX

Like good ole Windows Media Player

Reminds me of when we used Media Player to get into Internet Settings and turn off restrictions so we could browse the open web at work.

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VXers pass stolen card data over DNS

AustinTX

What you want to do is transparently redirect all traffic on the DNS port to your internal DNS server. This way, you benefit from security alerts when those seemingly-corrupt packets from infected machines are logged. DNS (and SMTP) redirection is standard for captive portals (public wifi hotspots). If you don't capture the DNS, then a bit of software on your portable can tunnel everything over 53 TCP and you get free wifi.

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Which keys should I press to enable the CockUp feature?

AustinTX

Re: I avoided a prank once

Oh my... I do admire your *amazingly* large hands, sir!

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How one developer just broke Node, Babel and thousands of projects in 11 lines of JavaScript

AustinTX

Take Your Ball And Leave, Will Ya?

Bwaha! We stole your ball back!

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Microsoft adds 'non-security updates' to security patches

AustinTX

Yes, it would be nice to have a resident program that blocks microsoft's resident infection. Something that auto-updates so I can put it on customer's PCs and leave it. I have "GWX Control Panel" installed on several machines, but it really just watches for KB3035583 and, ironically, it puts an even more prominent [10] icon on the task tray.

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AustinTX
Terminator

It didn't happen to me

Ran the updates the other night. For whatever reason, KB3146449 wasn't installed on my machine.

However, KB3035583 was included in the list of "Important Updates" again FOR THE FIFTH TIME.

I keep unchecking it and hiding it. It keeps coming back like pernicious cancer.

Here's my compiled list of unwanted WX and telemetry "updates" which I keep an eye out for. You can put these in a batch file and run as Administrator:

wusa /uninstall /kb:2952664 /norestart

wusa /uninstall /kb:2976978 /norestart

wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /norestart

wusa /uninstall /kb:3035583 /norestart

wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /norestart

wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /norestart

wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /norestart

wusa /uninstall /kb:3146449 /norestart

I have W7, so there are actually several more which W8it users should worry about. Once you run the batch, reboot, then launch WU, Search for updates, and manually hide each of the KBs which come back. That'll keep them at bay until microcrap sends the secret signal to unhide them again, heh.

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I beg you, please don't back up that secret directory full of photos!

AustinTX

Re: "Some things seen can't be unseen."

This reminds me of when I and a girlfriend dropped off some film at a 1-hour place at the mall. I was distracted arguing with her about the personal nature of the photos (she didn't care) that I didn't notice, until returning, that their developing machine displayed photos on a conveyor along the front window. And to think the staff gave *us* dirty looks!

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AustinTX

Re: In the olden days

I still don't, hehehe.

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AustinTX

I always kept my various .bat files in C:/belfrey

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AustinTX

The things you learn about your friends

I guess what surprised me the most, when I worked on one client's PC, was who the photos showed that it was that did what. You see, one of them looked like Johnny Weir, and the other like Colonel Sanders. Johnny Weir does not look good in a leather chest harness, and Colonel Sanders does not look good wrapped in saran wrap.

I also used to work for a local dialup ISP which did a really piss-poor job of setting permissions on user directories. They had a telnet address where, upon connection, all guests were provided the text-only web browser Lynx as a shell. There, customers could access forms to update their password, contact info, etc.

Did you know, Lynx isn't a half-bad file manager too? Not as good as Midnight Commander, but you can browse around, and it even facilitates downloading files locally. So, the keystrokes are "(press G, period, enter)" (Google that WITH the quotes for a treat), and they were not disabled by the ISP.

Years later, after they had supposedly "hardened" their network to try and sell "security services", anyone could still browse the private folders and files of most customers. The ISP had been very popular at one time, and had a ridiculously short domain name, so many of my friends and colleagues had email and web space there. It was amusing to find out who among them were furries, prostitutes and foreskin-restorers.

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Gopher server revived after 15 years of downtime

AustinTX

Re: needs some work

Could be there were problems which they fixed.

I'm browsing it using Lynx browser and it's lightening-fast.

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AustinTX

Gopher is all cleartext anyway, man.

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AustinTX

Re: Good Gopher Times

BTW, if you want to visit Gopherspace, there are still, well, dozens of servers to connect to and thousands of relatively updated links. Google 'em. You'll likely find that your browser no longer supports gopher:// addresses, but if you install Lynx on a Unix/Linux system, it still supports it. Lynx actually makes a handy file manager if Midnight Commander is too heavyweight for ya. See paragraph on bottom right here: io.fondoo.net

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AustinTX

Good Gopher Times

Back when I was a college boy, I got my Internets for free by dialing up the local university's free Gopher-only dialin for library book availability. You dialed in just like it was a BBS or CompuServe, only you just got their Gopherspace.

I could maneuver my way into a real free Unix account provided by cyberspace.com by using Gopher search engines (Archie, Jughead and Veronica were the Google, Yahoo and Bing in those days) to find a "gopher to telnet gateway". I typed the destination into the gateway's Gopher page field, and if it was agreeable, my screen turned into a telnet window.

Cyberspace gave free trial accounts to anyone who applied online, so from that point I had a real commandline and tools like Lynx and Pine. Pine got me my email and newsgroups and Lynx got me my web pages sans images and file downloads. If I wanted anything on my local machine, I had to mail it to myself at a local BBS (9JACK9) which connected periodically to the Internet since the nature of my connection prevented X/Y/Zmodem from working.

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AustinTX

Gopher vs FTP

An FTP server generally displays folders full of files and symbolic links in the order which they actually appear in real folders on the server. Like an HTTP directory listing. The FTP server generally only displays files and folders on one server - it doesn't span servers (though this can be accomplished). Also, FTP is technically a command-line interface though this is masked by using a GUI FTP client. FTP directory contents are fundamentally bound to real accounts existing on the server.

A Gopher page's content is arranged at-will and contains hot-links to pages and documents on various servers. Just think of Gopher as the web without embedded images or self-launching widgets (though there can be entry fields and submit links for search engines and such).

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Tor users are actively discriminated against by website operators

AustinTX

Re: HELLO I AM TOR ENDPOINT LOL

Well, that's if the discriminator is inspecting packets. Inspecting host names is trivial. I've paid attention to this when I've encountered "you can't tor us" messages. Refresh the 'identity' a number of times and you'll find that the one they accept doesn't have 'tor' in it as I said.

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AustinTX

HELLO I AM TOR ENDPOINT LOL

If TOR endpoints don't want to be discriminated preemptively, they ought to not register a domain name that has the string tor (or snowden, etc.) embedded in it, and they should opt-out of being listed on the web page that shows endpoint status.

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Standing desks have no effect on productivity, boffins find

AustinTX

Not Your Average Office Environment

I don't think they tested productivity in the right sort of setting. Call centre workers are pushed to the absolute limit no matter what kind of desk they have. You spend a whole working day with your mind separated from your body as you talk back and forth and record details on keyboard without thinking about it. Being really uncomfortable doesn't much impact productivity.

Let's see how productivity is affected when you test the sort of environment where a comfortable Airon chair is an invitation to tip back with feet up and browse the Internet with the mouse. At a standing desk, you'll remain alert and your full range of tools and supplies are always within hand's reach.

One last thing is that the article's title almost sounds negative about standing desks. Spin it a different way and you could have said that the healthier desks did not *impact* productivity, so readers see that it's an advantage.

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D&D geeks were right – their old rule books ARE worth something now

AustinTX

Re: AD&D, Digitised

Ahh, Castle Ravenloft... I was a temporary worker at a printing company who was producing this one. I spirited out several copies of the module as whole uncut sheets. Like a poster, complete with calibration marks along the sides. I wonder what they're worth now? :D

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Austinites outraged as Google Fiber tears up Texas capital

AustinTX

Take it from a local

I'm a long-term Austin citizen with Google Fiber partly installed (the fiber's not live yet, so they haven't brought the router out). While I see clues here and there that the subcontractors doing various legwork and digging are a bit detached from the smiley-face Google Fiber cheerleaders, they've been very helpful and personable for us.

My experience with Texans, Austinites, and particularly with my south side neighbors compels me to disclose that no-one loves a shark frenzy like this mob. You simply would not believe what kinds of things they whip into some sort of social or safety crisis. Picture a city packed solid with small-town busybodies. Once a target has been selected, everyone jumps in and tries to tear a hunk of flesh out for themselves. No-one is ever *for* anything; they're always just opposed to something.

Google Fiber is doing a fine job, though they do seem to be about 1-1.5 years behind schedule, heh. I credit the delay with them moving with necessary diligence. My only complaint is that they chose the deplorable "teleNetwork" call center to serve as their local customer service. I worked for them at one time.

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