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* Posts by Tom 13

5460 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'

Tom 13
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Re: There seems to be no penalty for running over budget

On really huge projects there isn't, but for reasons outside of the usual accusations of graft and corruption. My roommate does R&D work for a branch of government. There are basically two vendors in the US who do the work for which they contract. So if you try to inflict the sorts of financial penalties you'd get in a broad market, you wind up with the unintended consequence of handing the other guy a monopoly.

Which isn't to say there isn't a hell of a lot of back scratching and other corruption in the system, just that even if you could eliminate the corruption you'd still have a problem because there are only a small number of companies that can play on the really BIG projects.

On little ones, like the contract on which I work, they'll cut us off in a heart-beat if we don't perform. Because there are lots of other vendors out there doing the same thing and we're easily replaced.

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Tom 13
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Re: Amateurs

In fairness to the NHS, their system is 10x more complicated than SSA's. SSA is essentially: was there someone who at some point in time contributed money to SS. If yes, process claim, if no, reject. And since that person is either you directly or a parent or guardian, confirming the contribution is relatively straight forward. After that, consult the contribution table, consult the payout percentage, and you're done. (With the built-in faulty fraud detectors of course.) The only thing making it complicated is the shear size of the thing.

NHS on the other hand has all sorts of other information to track. Granted they gain some on the shear size of the thing, but those exponentials on the complexity are killer.

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Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket

Tom 13
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Re: Solid boosters?

Solid rockets on man-rated vehicles are risky, but manageable as the Russians have proven. It's strapping them onto liquid rockets that makes them a disaster-in-waiting.

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Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs

Tom 13
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The problem you see is all those third party apps and hardware

it makes it nearly impossible to properly regression test....

What? There are no third party apps and the hardware components are hand selected by Apple?

Never mind.

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Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN

Tom 13
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Re: Verizon appears to be the worst

Agreed enough to give you an upvote, but this bit isn't correct. They're pretty much all about the same. We're currently with Verizon because after the conversion to high def, Comcast had their cable lines so screwed up they were fogging the picture on their cable package. Initially I didn't go with them because they were known to be virus central on shared connections. FIOS and DSL avoided the shared line issues.

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Tom 13
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Re: Why aren't customer's sueing? Business units, transit, and peering

In my case it's because the Verizon bill is technically in my landlord's name, so I don't have standing to sue. Even if it were, without being certified as a class, I'd have to go to small claims court where I'd have to pony up the cash to fight their well paid lawyers. So I'd still be out of luck.

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Tom 13
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Re: Probably, but not necessarily ...

You're down in the weeds on this. Come up to a higher level.

Verzion has the pipes to send the data to their customers. They aren't doing it. Therefore it is Verizon's issue, not Netflix. I know what I pay Verizon a month, and I know what I pay Netflix a month. I know what Verizon promised me, I know what Netflix promised me. Verizon is the one who isn't delivering and I'm paying them better than 5 times as much money.

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ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US

Tom 13
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Some El Reg authors need to do a bit more fact checking

The ALJ conducted an evidentiary hearing from June 1-9, 2009 .. Prior to the hearing, Qimonda tacitly withdrew three of the asserted patents: the '055 patent, the '240 patent, and the '456 patent. Qimonda did not present evidence regarding those patents at the hearing, and did not include any analysis of those patents in its post-hearing briefing.

On October 14, 2009, the ALJ issued his final ID. The ID formally withdrew the '055 patent, the '240 patent, and the '456 patent from the investigation. The ALJ found that based on his claim constructions, Qimonda had not demonstrated that it practices any of the patents in suit. Accordingly, the ALJ ruled that an industry does not exist in the United States that exploits any of the four remaining asserted patents, as required by 19 U.S.C. § 1337(a)(2). The ALJ ruled that certain LSI products infringe certain claims of the' 918 patent, but that no accused products infringe any of the other asserted patents. The ALJ ruled that all of the asserted claims of the '918 patent, and some of the asserted claims of the '434 patent, are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 102, but that the asserted claims of the' 670 and '899 patents are not invalid.

http://www.usitc.gov/publications/337/pub4268_volume_1_of_2.pdf

So Realtech fired the scattergun, but their shells were filled with rock salt, not actual pellets.

And really, it didn't take that much digging for me to find the actual document.

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Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers

Tom 13
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Re: problem with enabling autoupdate is simple

This conventional wisdom, much like complex passwords for everything, is one that needs to be re-examined.

Not all systems are mission critical. In fact, I expect that even most systems that get classified as mission critical don't require the level of security that tests every patch before it is deployed. Those that do most likely have the fund available to do that testing including the manpower required for it. Next, look at the lists of released patches that have broken systems in the last decade. Now compare that with the number of virus signature updates that have broken systems. I think the virus scanners have broken more systems than the patches have and very few places run without auto-updating their virus sigs every single day. Which means that on a rational basis, most systems can probably be auto-updated with relative safety. Certainly many of them can be, especially user boxes.

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Tom 13
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Re: not even the most fanatical Linux fanboi would blame windows

Yes, yes they would. They wouldn't be any more correct than the MS fanbois who are always spouting off about how many vulnerabilities Linux has, but they would. Granted MOST Linux admins wouldn't.

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Tom 13
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Re: Not sure why the thumbs down

It wasn't me, but having followed the threads here, I'll wager it was because you were too specific on the OS. In this case some fanbois will be particularly offended that you recommended it in an article about it being compromised by malware. No, it doesn't matter how factually/statistically correct you are.

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There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES

Tom 13
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Re: Quantity != Quality

There's some good stuff out there. Just not on broadcast for the most part.

Although I will confess the next season doesn't look promising. B5, Stargate, Eureka, Sanctuary, and Warehouse 13 are all gone now. All Gone. And I haven't noticed anything promising on the horizon.

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Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup

Tom 13
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Nah. Catfights can be amusing and people will crowd around to watch them. This is more like a rhinoceros and an elephant fighting. Only a damn fool wants to be close to that fight.

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Tom 13
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Re: The money has been followed

I am both a Verizon FIOS and Netflix subscriber. From my point of view it is really very simple, but I have no good legal way to attack the problem: Verizon is not supplying me the service they promised. Netflix is.

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Tom 13
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Re: Monopoly = Artificial Scarcity

There's just one huge gaping hole in your argument.

The Verizon vs Netflix problem isn't in the last mile. It's in the interconnects between the big boys.

Other than that I like the idea. The intermixing of media production, broadcast etc. gives rise to precisely the sorts of problems the Sherman anti-trust act allegedly is intended to alleviate.

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Tom 13
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Re: Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

Grasshopper, you are suffering a delusion. Verizon is not one company. They only want you to think that. In truth they are many, many small companies. None of whom talk to each other. Especially on the wireless ones. I discovered this over 20 years ago when handling the finances for a small non-profit. For various and sundry reasons three cell phones were purchased in Philadelphia, PA to support a couple of officers. That was about three years before me. Then we decided that we should issue cell phones to more officers. So I bought 4 more from a store in Gaithersburg, MD. And asked them to consolidate the billing for the phones. Took me the better part of two years before I finally found a high level manager who could work out how to do it. The problem in the interim was making sure the right checks got applied to the correct phones so that service wouldn't get cut off.

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Tom 13
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Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

There are NO natural monopolies. ALL monopolies are a result of government regulation. Especially in the case of Telcos.

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Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet

Tom 13
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Re: I'm guessing the Ecuadorian embassy doesn't have vehicular access

Ambassadors, even from Ecuador, don't WALK anywhere for official business.

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Tom 13
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Re: The funniest element in the Martyrdom of St Julian

Now, now! Don't go using logic or anything. This St. Julian we're talking about here. Last time I checked he ranked higher than Snowden among the Progressive Saints. Why he's almost up there with Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs.

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Tom 13
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Re: but even Assange isn't going to be tricked into leaving

So you're saying we need to actually set fire to the building? Seems a bit extreme to me, but if you say so, OK.

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Tom 13
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Re: How can any lawer keep a stright face

As long as the money keeps rolling in to pay his fees. But outside of the public eye they'll tell you "Of course the mofo is guilty as hell!"

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Tom 13
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Re: waltz off to the rainforest

Oh, I'd be perfectly willing to do that. There would however, be some additional conditions.

1. He will be delivered into the jungle by parachute air drop.

2. Except for the parachute he will be naked when he jumps.

3. He will take no additional supplies with him.

4. He will jump when told to do so by the police escorting him to the jungle.

The police will of course make best efforts to avoid alligator and piranha waters.

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Tom 13
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Re: He can't come out in a diplomatic bag

Sure he can. That's a time tested method of smuggling someone out of a country. Admittedly it's usually a box not a bag, but it's been done and it is still covered as a document.

No, the reason the Ecuadorians haven't smuggled him out is very, very simple, and something the Assanhats can't comprehend about St. Julian: no other sane person wants this POS in their country.

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Tom 13
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Re: Just a fair trial, possibly(1) a sentence

I doubt he'll get one, but it will have nothing to do with the US, the CIA, or any of the other conspiracies theories posted in the past on these pages. I think the whole thing is just one rabid prog eating another one. So if I were at the CIA, even if I wanted to have a conversation with him, I think I'd steer clear of this whole media circus until well after the sex and bail jumping trials are over. Much easier to nab a guy in the middle of the night AFTER he thinks he's made a clean get away.

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Tom 13
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Re: I'm guessing the Ecuadorian embassy doesn't have vehicular access

You're guessing very very badly and your critical thinking is even worse. HTF do they get their people out if they don't have vehicular access?

The truth is, Assange has nowhere to run to even if he COULD leave the compound. The only reason the Ecuadorians are allowing him to stay is some damn fool screwed up when he first entered the compound, so now if they don't keep him they lose diplomatic face.

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MYSTERIOUS Siberia CRATER: ALIENS or METEOR not involved, officials insist

Tom 13
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Too be on the safe side, check for both. And er, molemen too.

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Elon Musk GIVES UP ON SEX: He'll make do with a 'cheap' Tesla III instead

Tom 13
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Re: What it is about Ford and the letters E and F?

The PR types were probably walking the engineering floor, and they kept hearing all the engineers asking "What the F?". Then they walked the production line and they kept hearing all the workers asking "What the F?". And then when they talked with the dealers, they kept being asked "What the F?"

So they figured "Series F" must be a great name for a car because that's what everybody was always talking about.

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Tom 13
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Re: why password systems *insist* on capitals,...

That part is easy. If you don't, a very large number of people revert to the easiest thing to do, which will get you things like fluffypassword instead of even Fluffypa$sw0rd. And if you know most of the target is all lowercase letters, you've reduced the needed brute force to crack it. It's sort of like a couple years ago when they did a rationality check on security questions for password resets. They realized that while in theory the universe of possibilities is large, when you start looking at actual data you quickly realize that seven colors covers 75% of the answers and Mrs. Smith gets you 23% of all favorite high school teachers.

The problem is, everybody tweaks their required rules differently, AND requires 8/12/16/20 characters AND requires you to change them every 30/60/90 days. For an extreme case I'll pick on my roomie. For work he has to maintain 15+ passwords, none of which can be the same (and the systems are integrated enough to check) which change as often as every 30 days, plus combinations for 5 safes and even the combinations on the safes change every 6 months. A couple years ago every week he was coming into work and getting a message that there had been a confirmed security breach and ALL of the passwords had to be updated. That simply doesn't work for maintaining the security of the environment. So this paper is actually a breath of sanity in a really screwed up mirco-universe.

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Tom 13
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just use a password manager

There is no one size fits all solution, which is part of the problem with the current security regime mindset.

Yes, I use a password manager for a number of sites. It sits on my home PC and I use it to generate keys for sites. Mostly I use it for stuff that I care about with high entropy long passwords (assuming the sites permit). But they are all sites that I plan to access only from home on that one computer. For other sites I have easily remembered (for me) passwords. But then I have to generate passwords on a regular basis for creating or changing user accounts. I do simple things like pick song lyrics, l3Et two short words, smack them together between a date and add some additional characters on the front, end, or both. Other times I look at article headlines I am reading. For example, from this article I might generate: )20nE3d14$h0ulD07(

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Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises

Tom 13
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Re: Go and play with your iToy, kid.

Not sure he even rates an iToy. Maybe an Etch-a-Sketch a-la Dilbert.

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Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

Tom 13
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Re: I'm firmly...

I'd say, you just have other more important things consuming your time. I'm sure if tomorrow found you independently wealthy so that you were no longer required to work, with friends who were also suddenly independently wealthy and played when you did, you'd be interested in the game once again.

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Tom 13
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Re: Give 5th Ed. a look?

My most game oriented geek friend reviewed a pre-release two weeks ago. He said it looks pretty much like a light re-skinning of the old game so not worth the money. His advice was to stick to whatever you're currently using. If you're just getting started he figures it would be OK.

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Tom 13
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Re: WotC's stewardship of the D&D name.

D&D under WotC has become a Warhammer clone. If you want to play classic D&D you have to use the Pathfinder system. Or maybe Hackmaster if you can find the books.

I haven't played regularly since AD&D, but I have friends who do. D&D is much like Churchill's assessment of Democracy. I've played both simpler and more complicated systems, more realistic and more heroic. For me D&D always hit the sweet spot: complicated enough to be interesting and challenging, not so complex you were more bogged down in bookkeeping than playing.

I've played a system that I think works much better, but it's an unpublished system from a friend. It had stats, a skill matrix based on the stats, and skill costs. After that you rolled straight percentages for success or failure. He had a modifier system for how difficult it was (easy you would succeed at double your skill level, up to exceptionally hard which was 1/4 of your skill level). You'd have to build the skill matrix for the world though.

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SHARE your big data scientist. They're too costly and rare to keep a whole one – HP exec

Tom 13
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@minersluck

"Big Social Data company" - How many of those are there? About 3? Maybe 5. Yeah, those companies will probably offer that kind of salary. Others? Not so much. As for the freelancers, that's asking price. And you expect them to be less than full time employed.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

Tom 13
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Unhappy

Re: I have six words for idiots like this:

I've tried that a couple of times. It hasn't worked. They won't transfer you to their supervisor.

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Tom 13
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@Ron Christian

I'd still assign 55% of the blame to you. I may have still had a Compuserve account about the time that AOL was starting up, but I don't think so. I think I had move to local bulletin board services which were much easier to navigate. I looked at the AOL once. Couldn't stand the kiddie interface which at the same time communicated a Compuserve style service. Also the internet was just coming online and I had access to the raw internet without the need for a Compuserve/AOL/MSN front end. So I never signed up for the service. So it's not like the signs weren't there to warn a discerning consumer.

I did eventually grow to loathe them, but only because when I eventually started tech work, some of our clients were using them for their internet front end and I had no choice but to use them. Windows updates via their dial-up were nearly impossible.

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'Big Internet' wades into 'net neutrality' battle with the FCC

Tom 13
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Re: damn near obsolete!

If it's damn near obsolete that means we're currently deploying new technology to replace it. And if it's new technology that we're just now starting to deploy, it is by definition young technology. And the FCCs remit is only to encourage young technology. Which is where we came in at.

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Can it be true? That I hold here, in my mortal hand, a nugget of PUREST ... BLACK?

Tom 13
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What I want to know is

Is it sufficiently black so that Hollywood can now fill one the EE Doc Smith sequences where a negashpere destroys a planet?

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Tom 13
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Re: back to the drawing board

Are they going to just use their current plans to build the next one? No? That would be insane you say?

You're quite right. That would be insane. They need to make design changes. Where do you make design changes? At the drawing boards maybe?

So then, "back to the drawing boards" is quite the right phrase. And frankly, was invited when Musk said "Kaboom" in his announcement. If Musk can have a bit of fun with the failure, why can't somebody else?

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LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy

Tom 13
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Re: came as close as it's possible to come to outright fraud.

Absolutely true. There is only one offsetting mitigation, but in this case it happens to be a big one and you admitted to it: Harbinger looks like it equally comes as close as it's possible to outright fraud. And makes an inquiry into whether or not there were other FCC side shenanigans a valid one.

I will admit that while your solution of a pox on both their houses is intriguing, with Dish also being at risk I'm not sure it is one I'd like to pursue. If Dish the company could be excluded, I'm all for it. I'm not a Dish subscriber myself, but both my dad and my brother are. Not much else available in my dad's area. I'd think my brother should have more options in MSP, but don't know.

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BitTorrent not to blame for movie revenues, says economist

Tom 13
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Re: the place is spotless, etc.

I think you've hit on the real keys. For a movie theater to be successful, it needs to be a special experience. Your big screen home tv will still not be as big as the theater screen and the sound will always be a bit better. But if the seats are too tight, with insufficient leg room, and there's too much crinkling of candy wrappers or talking on phones, the experience is ruined. And most especially, the floor can't be sticky. That may mean they need to add a couple of people to staff. Escort out people who are talking on their phones*. And if needed, mop out the rows with the spilled drinks.

*I'd almost prefer a sign outside the theater: We employ cell-phone signal suppression equipment on these premises to insure all of our patrons enjoy our movies. But I know that likely breaks local ordinances in more than a few jurisdictions.

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Tom 13
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Re: Hypothesis

In the current age, the only PR the companies control is up to the first screening. After that it hits twitter and the blogs. By the end of opening weekend, all control is lost.

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Tom 13
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Re: Meaningless research

Everybody knows movie revenue and profit numbers are far less reliable than the stock prices he examined. Just ask Meatloaf even if it was a different industry. Besides which the investors are the ones buying the shares. So the expectation is that if you see a torrent release and figure that's going to tank profits, you'll dump your shares as fast as you can even if you lose some money just so you won't lose more. Likewise, if you see the torrent release as a benefit, you'll buy more shares. The important bit here is that regardless of which way the trend moves, the percentages as they relate to torrent releases are negligible.

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Tom 13
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Re: Don't forget the twenty minutes of trailers.

The trailers I don't mind nearly as much as the 20 minutes of commercials they show before they start the trailers. I already bought my Coke/Water/Dots/Popcorn/burger/dog before I came INTO the theater. So all you are doing is irritating the frack out of me. Also, one reminder to turn off your phone is sufficient. It should come right before the trailers start and after that if anybody's phone goes off they should be escorted out of the theater with no refund.

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Tom 13
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Re: It could be worse....it could be dubbed.

As someone with a fair number of anime watching friends, I've listened to the sub vs dub argument for ages. The simple truth is, they are both subject to very bad work as well as occasional exceptional performances.

There is one valid complaint against most commercial subs: the failure of studios to pay attention to small details. Fan subbers long ago discovered that the optimal subtitles are yellow characters with a thin black outline. Yet most commercial releases continue with solid white characters.

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Tom 13
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Re: clueless script, excessive CGI, teen nonsense, banal humour, you know the sort

Given that American movie companies now depend more on foreign revenue than domestic, you have no one but yourselves to blame for the current crop of movies.

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FBI and pals grab banking Trojan zombielord's joystick

Tom 13
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Re: Legitimate websites?

Same difference as far as I'm concerned. If you own the website and you rented the ad space to generate revenue, it's still your flaw. Validate your code, or at least your vendors.

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Silent Circle takes on Skype, Viber, mobile telcos with crypto-VoIP

Tom 13
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Re: Which is the equivalent of no protection at all.

I wouldn't go that far.

It seems obvious to me that the out of circle calls would be subject to standard intercept. But within circle calls won't be. It has always struck me that the biggest problem with switching to encrypted systems is the chicken and egg problem. If you switch to an encrypted system that only talks to itself you have too small a base of people to call. This seems like the best compromise possible. Within the circle you get the encryption, but you don't lose outside connectivity.

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'Dread Pirate Roberts' suspect's bid for freedom fails

Tom 13
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Re: prove that from day one he wanted to deal in drugs

Unlike you, the judge is an educated person.

They do not have to prove that was his intention from day one. They only have to prove that at the time he was captured, a significant purpose of the site he was running was to run drugs, and that he knowingly promoted it as such. The captured chats and email are sufficient to bind him over for trial.

As for Amazon and eBay, so long as the people running the sites are:

1) Not actively promoting it for those purposes in advertising, and

2) Taking reasonable actions when notified of such activity, particularly when the notification comes from law enforcement

you aren't engaged in money laundering, drug running, or other felonies.

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Snowden leaks latest: NSA, FBI g-men spied on Muslim-American chiefs

Tom 13
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Re: I'd like more details...

They were obvious chosen as major nexus points of information flows. Whether or not you suspect them, from a national security only perspective monitoring is the right thing to do.

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