* Posts by Tom 13

6522 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Comcast flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable

Tom 13
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I'm just about ready for somebody to sue the right way and end all this.

1. Buy service with a known transmission fiddler.

2. Purchase services from one of the Netflix/Hulu type operations.

3. Work with Netflix/Hulu to document the transmission fiddling, at each point contacting fiddler to troubleshoot problems. Before each call announce it is being recorded and record them.

4. When the fiddler fails to fix the problem, sue under FTC instead of FCC.

5. When the court finds in favor of the plaintiff, argue that no rebates or court oversight can correct the problem: the content division MUST be separated from the ISP or the natural conflict of interest will remain.

6. After judge splits the company along those lines, watch the fun.

I'd do it myself except my name isn't the one that's officially on the bill and my roommate doesn't want that sort of publicity.

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Comcast 'flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable'

Tom 13
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Re: sigh

If Demoncrats stopped being hell on business, they wouldn't have that problem.

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Don't shoot the Messenger: NASA's suicide probe to punch hole in Mercury

Tom 13
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Re: The problem with software models....

In my younger days I was an amateur astro-boffin aspiring to be a professional astro-boffin despite my predilection for sunlight. It took a while for it to penetrate my thick skull that I was never going to develop the math skills to work in the field. Until then I swam in these waters and the myriad of places where we've waved our hands at things we think are true without knowing why they are true are truly mind boggling. That we've managed to understand as much as we do is truly an amazing feat. In astronomy, the leaps are excusable because we can't actually test the bits and pieces where we wave our hands, and astro boffins WOULD if they could. It makes the same leaps all the more glaring when you see the Warmists do the same things, and all the more damning knowing we CAN test many of those.

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Default admin password, weak Wi-Fi, open USB ports ... no wonder these electronic voting boxes are now BANNED

Tom 13
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Re: The position of the constitutional court of Germany is worthy of note

An ID card?

POLL TAX!! POLL TAX!!

You're prejudiced against BLACK people.

You just don't want poor people being represented!

And What do you have against Undocumented Workers anyway!

You hood wearing KKK troll.

Sorry, I have no basis on which to accuse you of any of those things, but if you suggest that here in the States, what I wrote is mild compared to the hate mail you'll get.

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Tom 13
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Re: The position of the constitutional court of Germany is worthy of note

In theory in the US it is supposed to be 2000 people per polling district. In practice it varies greatly and the granularity causes as many problems as it solves.

There is some sense in which a national holiday would be logical. It would at least remove the obstacle of having to take a day off from work to assist at the polls. Not that I think all that many people would show up mind you. That's why it is a very, very limited sense.

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Tom 13
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Re: That wouldn't be acceptable with voting.

Actually, the audit trails in elections are every bit as critical as they are in the financial industry. The catch is, you have to anonymize the actual vote count. For each ballot cast there needs to be a signed receipt in the ballot box, and a signature in the official rolls. The ballot IDs in the attached bag need to match the ballot ID for the machine.* And there has to be a signed audit trail for moving the equipment from the voting authority to the polling place and back.

*Or at least there did when we used optical ballots before the new fraud boxes were deployed. Now you get a smart card that gets repurposed after you vote and ALL of the records are just 1s and 0s in the memory of the ballot box. Oh and yes, the last time I was in the ballot box I heard someone at another booth complaining the booth was changing her votes. I wasn't even a registered poll watcher, so I didn't interfere.

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Tom 13
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Re: The current method involves checking

In theory the current system works that way.

Having served as a poll observer in a couple of elections, I can assure you theory has about as much familiarity with reality as a whorehouse has with chastity. Most polling places can't even get enough polling judges to staff voting places properly. You almost never find a poll observer from both major political parties let alone the other ones. At the location where I served, the polling judge put in a 20 hour day because he had to start at 5:00 in the morning picking up the voting machines and getting them set up for the 7:00 opening. Polling ended at 7:00 pm After he disassembled all the equipment and made his in place checks, he then had to deliver the equipment to the tabulation office, then he had to stay until they finished tabulating the votes. Nominally he gets a break for lunch and dinner, but there was no alternate there so he ate while in the polling location.

If I lived somewhere competitive instead of the People's Republic of MD where it doesn't really matter, I'd be appalled. And that's before you get to the lax voter ID/registration laws.

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Tom 13
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Re: Why was this system even implemented in the first place?

Al Gore and the hanging chads fiasco.

Following that the US government came as close to forcing every state to use electronic voting machines as it could. For my money, ballots with the two black markers where you have to scribble the thick black line and then run them through an optical scanner are the optimal combination of speed and tracking possible. Completely handwritten ballots would be more secure, but kill processing time.

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Tom 13
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Re: WEP encryption, I might be generous and give you that one.

Nope, not even that one. Systems were only in use for 10 years. WEP was proven unfixably broken before that. Even if Comcast and Verizon are still using it as the default configuration when they sell a punter a connection.

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Tom 13
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Re: What an odd country, this USA.

Hey, it got McAuliffe elected didn't it? Time to close the barn door.

Many of us were wondering how that carpetbagger won. Now we know.

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Someone PLEASE stop patent trolls' stroking their favorite tool, cries Google and friends

Tom 13
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Re: Hello pot, this is kettle...

Why, erm, eh. That's a ... That's a purely DEFENSIVE patent we'll have you know. Google will NEVER raise it in anger against another fine corporation that merely serves the People's needs.

[Did I get that right? Yes, I'll go to confession to night and find out what my penance is.]

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Tom 13
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Joke

Re: Most of all we need to have each patent concidered for uniqueness

Gads! Next you'll be asking for honest politicians!

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Tom 13
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@HildyJ

Good proposal. I might tweak it a bit and specifically give software patents a 7 year life, no renewal. And I might grant a bit more leeway on actual mechanical stuff, say by the same 3 years I'd cut from software.

Yes, I see the logic of having no software patents, but if the id ten T people are going to keep them there anyway, at least we can shorten the life span. Given the state of IT, I can't see any company needing a software patent for more than 7 years. Even Linux is evolving more quickly than that.

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Tom 13
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Re: they don't generally rely on dubious patent claims

While it might be true that they don't do it often (can't be arsed to check), the occasions on which they do more than compensate for the ones they pass up.

And I write that as a dedicated MS OS user for the last (scribble, scribble, scribble; My GAWD has it been that long?) well, let's just say almost as long as you've been coding.

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Tom 13
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Devil

It truly is a sad state of affair when the likes of

Google, Apple, and Intel can't afford to buy sufficient votes in Congress to get this passed.

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KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

Tom 13
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I'm not sure a side landing appreciably improves your odds of a soft touchdown. Now you're trying to initiate a controlled tumble that stops exactly at the right spot, and you'll have engineering issues reinforcing part of the rocket that currently isn't intended to withstand that sort of stress.

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Tom 13
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Re: The ocean acts as a moderator for variations in atmospheric conditions

Yes, but except for a few seconds here and there every couple of decades, land doesn't go up and down in swells. Even that tends to be geographically concentrated, so not a real risk when trying to land.

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Tom 13
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Re: Not sure where they could safely launch and come down on land

Launch from Kennedy, land at White Sands. Yes, you still have to tow the equipment afterward, but only during development and test. Once the system is proven you consolidate to the Cape.

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America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?

Tom 13
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@Dana W

US military budget is 15% (610 billion out of 3.9 Trillion) of federal spending not 50%. Put I wouldn't expect that from a cretin who gets talking points about what TEA Party people believe from the DNC.

And what that means is that it's not 3%, but 60% of federal spending that is Unconstitutional wealth transfer from actual working people to those who don't.

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Tom 13
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Re: (Still?) no votes for them...

Baloney. Last time I checked they have 536 residents voting for them.

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Tom 13
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Re: Well, even cosmetic house improvements need to be checked

Those are the nominal reasons for the regs. The real reason is that any work you do to your house is likely to change it's assessed value, and that changes your tax base.

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Tom 13
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Re: never needs a loan has a "bad" (non existent) credit history.

For precisely the reason that they have no history. With no past history, you can't make future predictions. If you can't make future predictions, you put them in the highest rated risk group.

Anyone who lives here knows the goal is to have two or three credit cards on which you make regular purchases and pay off the balance due each month. I'm ALMOST there having spend far too many years with credit balances that were far too high.

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Tom 13
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Re:The IRS has nothing to do with this.

Yes and no. No, the IRS doesn't directly have anything to do with. Yes, being able to deduct house taxes from your federal taxes encourages non-federal taxing entities to boost their take from property taxes.

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Tom 13
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Re: there will be a Home Owners Association

Only if you live in one of the People's Republics. My parents house has no Home Owners Association. Problem is, the maggots that live in the People's Republics keep moving out because they don't like them, then vote to impose People's Republic rules in their new location. Kalifornia is one of the prime examples of this behavior.

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Verizon FLICKS FINGER at Netflix with skinny à la carte-style TV package for fibre munchers

Tom 13
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Re: Is it not possible

The problem in the US is that because of badly handled deregulation of cable tv back in the 1980s we wound up with a national cable monopoly (Comcast) which competes with a couple of morphed phone companies (Verizon on the east coast, forget the west coast company) and a couple of cable wannabes like Cox. All of them integrated cable tv, phone and internet services in large areas although is some places, they opted not to add some components (my Dad has FIOS for phone and internet, but they don't offer tv). So OTT services like Hulu and to some extent Netflix compete with their cable bundles. This is the real heart of the FCC issue at the moment. If neither Comcast nor Verizon had the cable portion of their business, you wouldn't see filtering for Netflix and the like.

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Tom 13
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Re: How can this be competing with Netflix?

People buy Netflix for the movies and stay for the TV and original content.

And you should get your eyes checked if you think only FIOS users is a small market.

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Tom 13
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Re: Only two problems.

For the moment, I agree. But not forever.

The first brick in the wall has already been removed. One of the major sports (can't remember if it was NFL or baseball) just stopped blackouts for games in the home team area if the stadium isn't sold out.

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Tom 13
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Re: surely the cableco has the power now to tell any one specific broadcaster to piss off now.

Meh. Depends on the channel. The Food Channel, sure no problem. ESPN, not so much. Even The Weather Channel can be a bit of a challenge, although in my area they have recently done that.

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Tom 13
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Re: so called "Custom TV" - this sums it up perfectly

Make it $35 for 35 channels I get to pick, with additional packs available at $10 for 5 picks and you might have a deal. Call it $5 a channel for premiums (I don't subscribe to any myself because they cost WAY too much) and you might even save the industry.

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FCC hit with SEVENTH net neutrality lawsuit

Tom 13
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Re: Surely the government is meant to be 'for the people' / 'by the people'.

Meh. You're just another special interest claiming you represent all the people.

If it what you were saying were true, the legislation to change this would have originated in the House, then passed the Senate, and finally been approved by the President. Instead what happened was The Big 0 made a Executive demand on a nominally independent agency, the independent agency jumped and asked "how high sir?!" while in the air, and the ruling was handed down as surely and as obnoxiously as anything George III did back in colonial times.

So at best we've got two groups of nobles trampling over the fields of the peasants in their fight for control of the internet.

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Watch: Nasty JPEG pops corporate locks on Windows boxes

Tom 13
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Dear El Reg

Could you kindly hire some reporters who speak English (or at least American) as their first language?

I'm getting tired of trying to parse nonsense like this:

that is true because they have Linux server you usually use Windows clients for connect to them

Some uploading portals so weak he says, malicious dynamic content will be accepted merely because it carries a .jpg extension.

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Bank-card-sniffing shop menace Punkey pinned down in US Secret Service investigation

Tom 13
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@Christoph

On a more serious note, there are edge cases such as the one I sited in a reply above. In addition to being a POS terminal, it functions as a web based lookup terminal for something else. Also, depending on the application, the POS terminals phone home the sales numbers for inventory purposes. Yes, it probably would be better done with a dedicated modem line, but that would probably just lead to a different hacking scenario.

But yes, for most instances you shouldn't. The thing is, today a cheap PC with POS software probably costs less than a dedicated POS terminal. So that's what you get. Since the PC comes with the browser, that's just a "bonus".

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Tom 13
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@Christoph

Haven't you heard? IE is an integral part of the OS on Windows. You can put a different chrome on it, but you cannot pull the innards without breaking the system.

Or so Microsoft claimed in court, and now they're stuck with it.

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Tom 13
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Why internet for card processing

Because that's actually the card processors preferred connection for confirming transactions. Remember, each authorization has to be confirmed at the time of sale. That means talking to the issuing company (usually via third party software) to confirm the transaction.

I have an edge case that absolutely depends on using the internet. Convention runs for three days once a year. The convention center doesn't supply phone numbers ahead of time, but you can provision for internet on a T1. System is only up for those three days, then gets put in storage. Given the window, and vendor supplied equipment coming in, it's actually fairly secure, even over the internet. Granted, even at that when I was there we only gave the POS server internet access, not the actual terminals. These days they also run a pre-registration database which does require internet access, so the POS terminals now have direct internet access. Not sure what if any other measures they added to secure the terminals, but I don't run it anymore.

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LA schools want multi-million Apple refund after kids hack iPads

Tom 13
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Devil

Re: We had 3 keypunch machines

A 3 key punch machine? Hah. That was the height of luxury where I came from. All we had was steel rods, some wooden beads and a couple of wooden boards. And we were GLAD for it too!

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Tom 13
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Re: Technology for technology's sake

Ah yes. I recall "hacking" the TRS-80 system they had in my high school my senior year. I took the class thinking I'd learn something. I didn't realize that the previous year working on their test machine with the permission of my probability and statistics instructor I'd learned 95% of what they'd be teaching. So of course I was always done with the assignments (thorough REM statements included) in half the time of anybody else in the class. Some of the teachers had been fascinated by a Centipede clone released for the TRS-80. And they'd let those of us who were finished play with it on the their console. But it was binary code from a floppy and so couldn't be loaded at the work stations, only the teacher's console. Eventually they got tired of me and a few friend tying up the teacher's console. We asked if we could download it to a station. They said it wasn't possible. At which point I picked up the manual, found the appropriate commands, and downloaded it to my student station. Which in turn was worse than me hogging the teacher's station because now everybody could see what I was doing.

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Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase

Tom 13
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Re: Why a wobbly wave-tossed barge?

Safety reasons of some sort or other. Barge landing was all they could get approved.

Nope, doesn't make sense to me either. Solid land seems much better for this sort of test.

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Tom 13
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@ridley

All very true. And yet, a carrier is nearly immobile compared to that little barge.

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Yelp can protect critics in rough reviews row: Virginia yanks rug from under furious carpet biz

Tom 13
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Re: Just a Stupid Idea

While neither of them are something I'd probably consult, they have their place and people use them successfully. My roommate/landlord did get a subscription to Angie's list because she needed to have a major remodel done on the house (new floor for the kitchen, new cabinets, extended the project into the foyer, and picked up the bathroom off the foyer). Not the sort of thing you purchase repeatedly and not necessarily the sort of thing your friend have done so word of mouth isn't as useful as you'd like it to be. Angie's list (and presumably Yelp) are attempts to extend that word of mouth effect.

As for only negative reviews, she picked the contractor based on his good reviews. So it's not all toads and snails.

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Tom 13
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@ dan1980 Re: Ever heard of "word of mouth"?

IIRC the claims from Hadeed were that on the dates posted in the reviews, none of the specific services were provided in the localized area identifiable from the review. That ought to be something a court can confirm. But first Hadeed has to be able to confirm the real name and address of the poster. Risk on the other side is the complaint is valid and Hadeed is just trying to strong lawyer someone they've already abused. Maybe the poster changed the dates so they couldn't be identified, maybe they changed something else for the same reason.

Complicated, messy. But you get that with real people.

Where I come down on this is that there ought to be a legal way for some sort of arbiter to confirm or force a retraction for the review. But it can't involve the company with the bad review getting the name of the reviewer until after the arbiter confirms it is a false accusation or at least that there is a reasonable expectation it can be successfully challenged in court. You know, the sort of thing Grand Juries were theoretically supposed to do.

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Tom 13
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Re: Ever heard of "word of mouth"?

Except that this business obviously doesn't know who the reviewers are, otherwise they would not be asking for the identities from Yelp.

I'm local to the area so I hear Hadeed commercials on the radio all the time. This case is a bit more complicated than you suggest. Not sure if the article I read was here on El Reg or elsewhere, but the details were that according to Hadeed, they checked the on the bad reviews in an effort to identify the customer to make things right. In reviewing their billing records they could not find any instances that matched the details of the reported bad service. Hence the claim of defamation.

I don't know that I believe Hadeed, but I think they've presented sufficient evidence to call into question the validity of the bad service reviews on Yelp.

The problem then becomes how to protect both Hadeed and the reviewers. I think the only way to resolve that is that the identities have to be revealed to a court appointed auditor (or whatever title you want to give them) who talks to the reviewer and the reviewer has to document the validity of his posting. If the reviewer finds sufficient evidence that the event is valid, the court rejects Hadeed's claim. If on the other hand he finds insufficient evidence, or evidence to the contrary then Hadeed should be able to proceed with the defamation case.

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Lack of secure protocol puts US whistleblowers at risk, says ACLU

Tom 13
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@ Hargrove Re: This should work well.

On re-reading my comments, I realize that I dropped some context. I work for one of those US government agencies as a contractor. (Since I'm not authorized to speak for them, it's bad form for me to say which one.) And I'm referring to entirely too many of their sites. I'm just a private in this fight, not even a corporal. But I can see crap as well as the next guy.

Also, I while hubris certainly contributes, I think there's an even more basic element. The whole thing is just too damn big. Nobody can hold enough of it in their head to have an idea of how it works. Add a bit of rushing, a dash of goldbricking, and maybe even a bit of featherbedding and you're doomed to failure even without the hubris. Yes, you can do a dive here or there and find really examples of horrendously shoddy work, but you can't build a picture of how it SHOULD work because there are too many rules with which to comply.

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Tom 13
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Unhappy

This should work well.

None of the sites can "afford" real certs so they'll self-issue. After that instead of using TLS they'll use SSL 2.0 or SSL 3.0 depending on WHICH critical flaw they've decided to defend against. At which point anybody with a properly patched system won't be able to access the site at all.

And I wish I were joking. Within the last month I've had to inform some of our contractors who have been using vendor supplied laptops on our guest wireless network that they can't use the wireless for just that reason. After you configure the wifi, you're supposed to open a browser which redirects you to a website to log in with a user name and password. Yep, site unreachable for just those reasons.

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Sysadmins, patch now: HTTP 'pings of death' are spewing across web to kill Windows servers

Tom 13
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@AC Re: It "IIS" thing

You were actually doing pretty well there for a bit.

Then, with your very last line, you went and earned yourself a downvote.

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Tom 13
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Re: Don't like IIS?

The web server is a sunk cost

Oddly enough, that MIGHT be true if it were OSS, but not anything from MS or Oracle. As El Reg has been pointing out quite loudly with some of its headlines this last week, there's a lot of MS software out there that is EOL and MUST be replaced, regardless of whether or not the hardware is overloaded.

Yes added value is important, but you really should be sure of your footing before making that argument. If you don't you wind up not merely looking like a fool, but confirming the fact that you are.

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Tom 13
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@Hans 1

DAM used the alternate joke icon. How could you have possibly missed that big nuke?

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Tom 13
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@1980s_coder

Apology accepted.

Next time, just don't even post it. Too many trolls out there post exactly that sort of drivel with no joke intended and put on the joke icon so they can claim otherwise when downvoted. I'd remove my downvote, except the only way to do that is to switch it to an upvote. While I no longer feel you deserve the downvote, I can't go full opposite to an upvote.

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Tom 13
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@h4rm0ny

Stuart Longland has the better statement in this argument. The kernel was the wrong place to put this part of the system. That SHOULD have been fixed when they did the "ground up" rewrite of code back in Vista. And this sort of parameter checking is coding 101, not some arcane dark art.

Yes, having found the bug they had to fix it. But this bug should never have been there in the first place and absolutely shouldn't be in the kernel.

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Finally, Mozilla looks at moving away from 'insecure' HTTP. Maybe

Tom 13
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@Charles 9

I'm not sure that it couldn't be secure and relatively easy to use, but then it would be expensive. I'm thinking something along the lines of when you buy a computer the price includes 1/2/4 certificates that establish your id and trace back to one of the current trusted CA groups. If the OS and apps are configured to allow easy selection and you use them to establish chains of trust it would be a hell of a lot easier than remembering 36 different passwords all containing all four character types with no (regular + hacker) dictionary words or easily identified number sequences and all at least 24 characters long.

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SQL Server 2005 end of life is coming, run to the hills...

Tom 13
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@AndyDoran

I'm sure many companies are running many instances of MSSQL Server 2005, but are there many companies running a business-critical instance of MSSQL Server 2005?

For those installs which do require high-availability

I suppose if you work in Big Data, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that high availability isn't the only criterion for business critical.

An extreme case of just this sort of data migration mess is a former employer. They bought a COTS badge printer that came with software that used an MSDE to store the data. This data in turn was exported through a complicated home brew of transformations into an internal employee directory. It also constituted the primary HR database for employees. Oh, and it was purchased when Windows 95SE was still the standard desktop. When we tried to deploy the app on a Windows 2000 machine, it broke. The original printer plus software setup cost around $3K. The replacement for the software alone cost $5K. So the best we could manage was to upgrade it to Windows 98SE and pray we had enough parts to keep it running as they failed. That machine was still running when I was RIFFed and they were debating whether it was time to move the desktops to Windows 7.

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