* Posts by Henry Wertz 1

2033 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Google IS listening: Binary blob banished from Chromium build

Henry Wertz 1
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Only usage

"Just because the term "kernel module" is widely used to refer to packaged software used to extend the Linux OS, that doesn't mean it's the only usage."

Well, I use it to refer to the little .ko files (whether packaged or not...) that can be loaded into the Linux kernel. Other OSes do have these... *BSD has modules, OSX has them but calls them kernel extensions. I'd go so far as to say it IS the only correct usage, computer science does give certain terms a pretty limited and precise meaning to avoid confusion. If someone decided to call some add-ons "kernel modules" I'd point out that term has a precise usage and they should call them something else.

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

Henry Wertz 1
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I'd buy one

I would love something like that, I've never had a Thinkpad but loved the deisgn on the older ones. I'd buy something physically like that but with modern tech in it for sure. Do make a range though, I do tend to prefer longer battery life, lower heat and less fan use over a firebreathing monster. Others do prefer the firebreathing monster though 8-)

If you want to really lock it in, have a non-Microsoft option. Even if it's just "no OS", I really don't care to pay for an OS license I'll never use and be counted statistically as a Microsoft customer when I'm not.

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So much for rainbows, Zuck: Facebook staff still overwhelmingly male and white

Henry Wertz 1
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"Perhaps white people live there because black people can't afford to because your racist ass won't give them a job?"

What a racist statement. Nope, most people can't afford to live in these areas in California, regardless of race. About 20 years ago, I was offered a job in Silicon Valley area of California, with pay that sounded good by the standards of the midwestern US... but when I looked up expenses for the Silicon Valley area, I realized it would not have even paid for an apartment there even with 0 left over for living expenses.

As for the gender differences... I think the main factor here is IT departments that tend to demand unpaid "on call" service, and brutal overtime. I would not want to work at a place that sees this as the normal state of events, rather than a temporary situation they should work to correct. But, I hear that it's all to common. Quite simply, I think there are plenty of people of both genders that will not put up with this long-term, but more males than females will put up with it.

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Robo-car wars: Delphi's near crash, prang, wallop with Google DENIED!

Henry Wertz 1
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Umm...

Well, if they were a lane width apart there was no near-miss. But, if the Google car caused the Delphi car to abort a lane change, then yes, the Google car cut the Delphi car off, or the Delphi car did not "look" before it started to make a lane change, or it was excessively cautious. Does this happen to me? No.... I look before I signal and make lane changes, so I don't have to abort lane changes. And, if I'm signalling and performing a lane change and someone else is veering around from lane to lane without signalling, that is what my horn is for; they (the one who is not signalling) can damn well wait until they learn to signal their lane changes.

Of course, I doubt they were REALLY lane width apart at the closest -- why would either car abort doing anything if they were not (at some point) at least in adjacent lanes (which is NOT a lane width apart....)?

Are they going to start having robot wars? "If you buy a GM car, better not go to Mountain View, those Google and Delphi car computers are having a feud again." 8-)

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BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

Henry Wertz 1
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Don't let it be an excuse to raise prices

"I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls."

"But can they do that in an area without a signal, or if the cell towers are down?"

The "you can't call in an area without a signal" is an ad hominem, because you're comparing to a phone that only works within like 20 feet of the wall plate in your home. Do you have signal in your home? Yes? Then, the cell phone works in a superset of the area your wired phone does. Does it work when cell towers are down? No, and the landline doesn't work when your landline is down either.

"Similarly, power outages were common in the 1970's, but are extraordinarily rare today."

"Power outages in the UK are still quite common in more rural areas, (where there is less likely to be a mobile signal) and are likely to get more common and widespread if the government policies on power generation continue."

The "Power outages are uncommon" argument is silly. Nevertheless, power outages shouldn't be an argument against cell phones either. This shouldn't affect your cell phone (not saying that it doesn't but it shouldn't.) Verizon Wireless, for instance, has battery backup and generator backup on their cell sites. If your service goes out with the power, it means your phone provider are being cheapy-cheapy.

As for BT -- I'd say if they wish to change how they provide POTS, they should be able to go ahead. But there should be a few conditions.

First, since they say this'll save them money, they should not be able to use this as an excuse to raise prices. Side bar on this topic -- when cellular phone companies in the US started adding 4G LTE and VoLTE (Voice over LTE), MetroPCS said "LTE and VoLTE has cut our cost per voice minute and per byte by more than half, we're lowering rates". Almost every other provider said "LTE and VoLTE cost a lot to roll out, we're jacking up your rates".

Second, they should still be obligated to charge the same or lower than current POTS rates, to provide a dialtone to the customer's phone jack. If they want to do it over an internet connection with a VOIP to landline phone adapter, by all means. But they should NOT be able to use this as an excuse to rope these people into paying the the same voice rate as now, PLUS an internet connection fee PLUS a VOIP adapter rental fee.

Finally, something should be done about data caps -- either all VOIP use should count against whatever cap, or all VOIP use shouldn't. I can just see BT using "our VOIP doesn't count against your cap, theirs does" as some kind of bludgeon to "persuade" people to buy BT's VOIP service. (Honestly VOIP doesn't use much data... but still.)

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Whoops, there goes my data! Hold onto your privates in the Dropbox era

Henry Wertz 1
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I'm calling BS

I'm calling BS on the claim that a typical firm uses *923* different cloud services. Are they misusing the term "cloud service" to mean literally any web site, or what?

This doesn't really negate the fact that unauthorized use of services like Dropbox a) Could be a security risk b) Is a problem if it's being used in lieu of backups. c) Could be a cash drain if the corporate budget is being used for it.

To me, the solution is:

a) Find out what services people are using or want to use.

b) If it's important to the business, implement it. Either set up the service served from your own data center, or main office, or whatever... or buy a corporate version of the service so it's still going wherever, but you have some visibility into what's actually going on there, and some control over what happens to the files. Note that a way WAY clunkier equivalent is not at all equivalent -- the example from the article shows this, a clunky and slow web-based CMS is not equivalent to, say, Dropbox, which has a web version, an app, and makes sure everything operates nice and smoothly.

c) If it's just a sync'ed calendar or something, the risk of letting people use an "unauthorized" one may be pretty low, so you may just want to let them go ahead and use it.

edit: Regarding implementation -- if making this new service integrate with existing services at your business is going to delay the new service indefinitely.... maybe you just have to drop that requirement. After all, the choice here is not "service you provide" or "nothing", it's "service you provide", "unauthorized 3rd party service", or "nothing". I think it's better to have, say a "dumb file store" you operate than have people just use a 3rd party one... after all, the users using the unauthorized 3rd party one are clearly already getting by without that tight integration.

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Verizon outage borks phones, TVs, internet for hapless East Coast folk

Henry Wertz 1
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"Thats why I pay for a land line

It is only for emergencies.

"

Except, in FIOS markets, your landline would be via th FIOS service -- which is down.

When my parents had "a certain company" for landline -- I name names, it's CenturyLink, formerly Qwest -- and Verizon Wireless cell phone, CL had several outages while VZW had none. In addition, CL would get fast busies like clockwork around 4 or 5 in the afternoon (which they did, after some years, eventually clear up...), while with VZW I think I got one "all circuits are busy" over like 10 years. I assume as a former part of the Bell system, CenturyLink has the usual huge bank of 48-volt batteries for battery backup, but VZW also has battery and generator backup on their cell sites around here. The cell phones here are more reliable than the landlines. Plus, of course, for an emergency where seconds matter, my cell phone is on me, while the landline, I'd have to find where it's sitting.

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Wake up, sheeple! If you ask Siri about 9/11 it will rat you out to the police!

Henry Wertz 1
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Not phonetically identical

Not phonetically identical; this is a Siri screw-up. The date (which should be 11/9, but US'ians do their date in the nonsensical order month/day/year instead of day/month/year) is pronounced "nine eleven." The emergency phone number is "nine one one."

Despite this, I'm sure there'll be a few of the conspiracy theorists who take this to mean that... umm... lets see... I guess they'll decide Apple and Siri are in league with the CIA (who really took the buildings down, don'tcha know?) to prevent people finding out the truth.

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Amazon enrages authors as it switches to 'pay-per-page' model

Henry Wertz 1
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Re: Do the publisher contracts permit this?

"Surely Amazon can't unilaterally decide to pay a page at a time unless the contracts have some sort of language about selling parts of books."

These are self-published books, Amazon *is* the publisher. I'm sure they made sure their own contract permits changing the payment terms.

"Suppose someone self-publishes a book, 1000 people buy the Kindle version but no one reads it. Then five years later the writer becomes well known, and everyone who bought those 1000 copies suddenly reads all of it. Would Amazon pay the writer at that point?"

No they wouldn't be paid in 5 years, they would be paid at time of purchase for the whole book. People who pay the monthly fee for "all you can read" never purchase the book, so I would assume they could put the book on their device now, flip through the whole book 5 years from now and the author would be paid for them flipping through the whole book.

"This is going to be a bitch for people writing technical manuals/reference books/textbooks. Does anyone read every single page of the computing books they buy?"

Anyone buying a book, they will buy the book and the technical manual author will get the same as before. This is just for this "all you can read" service, and self-publish through Amazon.

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Henry Wertz 1
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I know why they are doing this

First off, I don't know about various posters, but I'm not a consumer, I'm a customer (or not -- I don't subscribe to Amazon's book service.)

I know why they are doing this. Or at least strongly suspect. I can think of two good reasons.

I've seen, time and again, self-published "books" that are like 10-20 pages long. This is not to denigrate these books, but I really don't see it as fair for a short story to be paid out the same as a full-length novel.

I've also seen a few books in Amazon, where the preview made it clear it was gibberish. Not merely badly written, but apparently text from one of those spam-web-page pseudo-English text generators... the ones that make text that at casual glance appears to be English but when trying to read it it's nonsense and sentence fragments. These guys shouldn't be paid at all, but this way when a reader glances at 1 page, says "WTF!", and moves on, they at least will be paid for 1 page instead of a whole book.

Of course, the devil is in the details. It's probably possible for Amazon to set a per-page rate so typical writers actually make more than before, while cutting down payment on very short books and "spam page text" books enough that Amazon still saves money. But, it's of course also possible for the per-page rate to be set way too low so everyone loses but Amazon.

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Vicious vandals violate voluminous Versailles vagina

Henry Wertz 1
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Looks OK to me.

"Actually on the topic of the Queen's Vagina I confess the picture leaves me unconvinced,l but then it's only a picture - I suppose it could be better in person."

Agreed.

To be honest, to me this just looks like an art piece that makes some interesting use of light and shadow. (Other than the likely astronomical cost) I would have no problem putting this thing in my yard. If someone said "Hey, don't you think that looks like a vagina?" I guess I'd say "Well, I guess" but it's not the first thing that would have come to mind when I saw it.

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Ubuntu daddy Mark Shuttleworth loses fight to cancel $20m bank fee

Henry Wertz 1
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Sort of subject to rules and regs

"Ummmmm, no. Even they are subject to Reserve Bank rules and regs."

Well...... *(waggling my hand)*. At least one of these banks (HSBC) was recently investigated and fined for wide-scale money laundering on the behalf of South American drug cartels. Ultimately, they were subject to he regs, they were fined $1.9 billion. But no jail time for responsible parties, the wealthy are not subject to the same penalties as everyone else. Given the lack of real threats (jail time, or breaking up the offending bank, or firing or barring bad actors from working at banks), the profit maximizing move for these banks is not to follow the regs, it's to ignore the regs and pay the fines. I'm sure another bank would have been quite... accomodating.. of Shutlesworth's requests.

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FBI says in secret that secret spy Cessnas aren't secret

Henry Wertz 1
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Re: Anonymous tol who claims they have nothing to hide. Yeah you do, don't be a tool.

As for these planes... I have no idea if they should need a warrant or not. To be honest, if they are just looking on public spaces, maybe they shouldn't need one. Given 100 or so flghts over at least 5 years, they aren't just flying them indiscriminantly anyway, so really there's no good reason for them to not get one either. But either way, they should absolutely not be able to ignore oversite and tell Congress "No we aren't telling you dick."

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Pwned so many times - but saved by the incident response plan

Henry Wertz 1
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"The shiny"

I've seen this certain type of IT person that I think the article is referencing.

They want to use "the shiny", whatever the latest and greatest technology is. Sometimes, this is perfectly appropriate -- if I were running heavy number crunching, whether I use CUDA or not I would at least want to look into it. Sometimes it's totally unnecessary or even harmful, using a technology or software that may not even be the most appropriate for what they are doing just because it's new and fun to play with.

Some of these guys also can go as far as developing this exaggerated view that whatever new technology they are looking into will automatically better... it (in there view) will use better, modern programming techniques and so avoid bugs, and even avoid security holes, compared to whatever older technologies or softwares they are comparing it to. Of course, this may occasionally be true, but usually it's not... if anything, the newer item will have more bugs simply due to the bugs not being found and patched out yet.

Finally.. of course, even if the security of the software is quite good, it's always good to layer on some *extra* security and logging. After all it only takes one security flaw for someone to thoroughly pwn your system. For instance, when I used some modules in a web project that were supposed to sanitize the inputs, I "pre-sanitized" the input anyway. So months later when an "oh no! This module's sanitation lets these couple items through!" I "laughed all the way to the bank" since the pre-sanitizing I did already filtered these items out.

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Farewell then, Mr Elop: It wasn't actually your fault

Henry Wertz 1
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Must disagree

"Elop himself divides opinion, with some Finns blaming him for the demise of Europe’s biggest technology company and the former number one phone maker in the world. This really is a bit of chauvinistic nonsense, which seeks to transfer blame away from years of complacency and mismanagement at Nokia. What Elop’s critics forget is that he had an impossible choice in front of him when he arrived in late 2010."

Sorry, but I must disagree, this is not nonsense in any way, chauvinistic or otherwise.

Was Elop given a huge mess? Yes. Was it an impossible choice? Possibly, of course there's no way to know for sure, and Nokia really was (not to repeat myself) a huge mess. But.... I think Elop made the worst possible choices.

First, Nokia had a bit of a mess in that they had Meego (as people have mentioned) as well as several other parallel projects to make a modern smartphone platform. It would have made sense to pick one (probably Meego) and throw in bits and pieces of the other projects into it if it made sense to. What *didn't* make sense (and is what Elop did) is to cancel all of them (even though Meego for instance was complete enough to have shipping products) and decide to try to modernize S60 a bit instead. This of course wasn't going to go that well, because S60 had a very unusual programming model and basically very few of the facilities of a modern operating system.

Second, the memo. You simply do not say your current products are crap, and the ones that are coming out sometime in the future will be so much better. It's common sense. Up until this memo, Nokia was in fact muddling along actually selling a surprisingly large number of S60 phones still -- the low hardware requirements of S60 was allowing them to sell below the price of any competitor. After the memo, who wants to buy a product the CEO has said is crap and that they are no longer interested in? Sales dropped like a rock, with no replacement yet.

The last few steps, I don't place any blame for. When Nokia picked Windows Phone, since Elop had already cancelled Nokia's in-house development, the choice was down to Windows Phone and Android. Android phones are typically low profit margin, and running Windows Phone would make Nokia's phones stand out. I would have picked Android... I know Microsoft feels free to "burn" their partners when it suits them, but perhaps Elop did not. (In this case, I feel like Microsoft burned Nokia by refusing to make any OS changes to suit Nokia, when Nokia was literally the only licensee.. even trivial changes like increasing the maximum photo size to match the size of images Nokia's camera actually took.)

Finally, when Nokia sold to Microsoft --- by that point, I would have done the same. They were seriously on the ropes, and Microsoft made a fair offer.

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The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

Henry Wertz 1
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Yes a good sysadmin does need documentation

"A good sysadmin shouldn't normally need documentation as mentioned in the article. You should be able to determine what to do and how in a reasonable time using various troubleshooting skills as well as research. This can be done in a timely manner, even when something breaks and haste is required."

With all due respect, if a site has a cable or DSL modem (or 4G broadband or whatever), and some switches or access points in standard configuration, I agree. You plug the stuff together and it works. It breaks, you replace the unit and are done, no documentation needed.

However.... if your DSL modem, cable modem, or switches, routers, gateways, access points, go dead, and there's anything specialized... how do you expect to ordain what ports have been forwarded (if there's port forwarding), what VLANs are being used... if there are VPNs, what IP addresses, usernames, and passwords are being used for these -- are the even outgoing, or are remote sites connecting *IN* to form the VPN? If you get down there, find a port light out, switch that cable to an open port and determine it's actually a bad cable... how do you tell (until someone complains their service is dead) WHERE that cable is going, without some docs (perhaps docs just being a label on the cable itself?)

Don't get me wrong, it's possible... I had to do just that at the site I posted about a few above, read existing configs out of some routers and stuff to see what was what. But, it's a hell of a lot easier to have a document that says something like "This cable modem is left in bridge mode; this DSL modem is set in bridge mode, VCI/VPI are 0/31. These use bridge mode because they flake out under traffic load in normal mode. These feed into this device to do two-connection failover. On this device, the cable connection is set for DHCP. The DSL is set for PPPoE, with this username and password. Port xxxx is forwarded to address a.b.c.d to allow access to the foobar device from the internet. Traffic shaping is set up just so"... That's a lot easier than (best case) read out a config from the existing hardware and hope you didn't miss something important... or (worst case, your hardware is cooked) calling the DSL provider to get the username and password, not know the devices may not handle the traffic and wonder why there are connection problems (pretty sure the NAT tables would almost immediately overflow due to the high trafic levels), not know about the port forward and have to fix that later, and then have the 100 people on public wifi complain about speed problems and have to re-figure out what kind of traffic shaping helps with that.

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Henry Wertz 1
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Parallel problem

"...all the documentation you have, you get it to them and they promptly lose it or file it away never to be seen by human eyes again."

This is the problem I ran into. I was doing IT work for a company (freelancing), and tried to NOT be the Tim there. I made sure the couple managers had information on the backup and remote desktop systems, network hardware, a network map, and so on, as well as the passwords. Several times -- when it came time they wanted to check on something, they NEVER seemed to be able to track this info down! Eventually I printed it out and stick it in this folder where they had some info on the old phone system and so on they have there, I figured they were less likely to lose that than to delete the electronic copies or whatever they were doing to them.

The flip side of this all was, I started having to repeatedly fix things -- I'd fix, say, port forwarding for their security camera DVR, and a few weeks later it'd quit. I'd come in, and find out that some piece of network hardware or other had been replaced, and not set up per documentation! (Basically, plugged in "out of the box" then called me when things didn't quite work)! I found out eventually, they had me working on some things, a person at the company that did some IT stuff "on the side", and a *second* group of two IT people doing *other* work, all without coordination with each other. Hopefully they didn't have a *second* set of docs *I* was ignoring, but maybe they did. No wonder there were problems 8-)

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The Hound of Hounslow: No $40m Wall Street wobbler

Henry Wertz 1
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Hypcorisy

"Can someone trading from his mum's house on the wrong side of the Atlantic tens of milliseconds away from the US equity exchanges involved (remember that the big boys pay huge amounts to get closer and closer to the exchange, even co-locating ("co-lo") in the same room, shaving precious microseconds off their latencies to trade) can have any effect at all except by accident, or by being allowed to?"

Exactly. The fact of the matter is, this single trader should have no effect on the markets. And, the other fact of the matter is, these HFT trading systems are well-known to be using exploits in the trading systems, so not only do they get lower latency than everyone else (by being closer), they actually use these exploits to view trades and FORCE their trades ahead of those other trades in the queue! They "provide liquidity" by forcing their trade in the middle, taking away profit from somebody else. In this respect, they are parasites, not a vital part of the market as some claim. They do of course have true trading strategies and so on, but a lot of the "arms race" among them is how to analyze these in-queue trades (that they by al rights should have no access to anyway), analyze those, and force themselves ahead of them in the queue, faster than the other HFT systems.

So, riddle me this -- if these systems are permitted to continue to use these exploits to take (some of) everybody else's money, why is this guy not allowed to use OTHER exploits to take a little of this money back from the HFT systems? It is pure hypocrisy.

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Vintage Ask toolbar is malware – and we'll kill Jeeves, says Microsoft

Henry Wertz 1
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Agreed

Re: Strange.. I agree. Not being a Windows user I have not had the enjoyment of Ask toolbars, but I'm also surprised that Oracle would continue to bundle Java with "extra offers" as it were.

As an Ubuntu user (and Gentoo and slackware before that), I've never seen any sign of this thing, in packages or the download from Oracle. Do you think since they've added it to the OSX version that the Linux installer will get this sooner or later? (Technically, it wouldn't be difficult to install as a firefox extension or add-on.)

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Microsoft to Linux users: Explain yourself

Henry Wertz 1
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Useful stats

"And so it is with computer monitoring. All the monitoring services seem to be in a race (and, truth be told: have been for decades) to provide the greatest number of different measurements of obscure, irrelevant and often inter-related factors. However none of them provide anything that is of primary importance, such as: how long do I have to wait for the answer to appear? can I run something in the background without affecting the important stuff? Is there time to back my stuff up before I go for lunch?"

Yeah they give you that info. If you want to know if you can run something in the background, check if you have enough free RAM to run it (and enough free CPU time and I/O bandwidth so it'll run in a reasonable amount of time -- if you renice it it won't slow down your main tasks but it may run too slowly.) How long to wait for answer to appear? There are I/O delay stats, but it's not going to know how much I/O a "request" (in terms of a page loading or whatever) takes. Is there time to back stuff up? Check I/O stats. These apps are not going to digest the raw numbers, since they don't know what kind of workload you're actually running and actually don't care... that's what an admin is for. They are to collect raw stats, let you graph them, and warn you if they exceed some threshold.

The use of these stat is, if you are "proactive" (not a fan of that term but it's accurate here), you can see the stats starting to degrade and catch problems before they are a problem. Otherwise, if you do run into a problem, these stats will tell you what's causing your problems (lack of RAM? Is it a constant lack of RAM, or is some processing bloating up every now and then? I/O bandwidth constricted? CPU exhaustion? ) Don't get me wrong, Linux handles this stuff quite well, and degrades quite gracefully, so you may well not have any use for this level of monitoring. But, it certainly can't hurt to have it available.

As for Microsoft's motivations on this? I think it's simple, the current leadership at Microsoft realizes the techniques of the past ("Embrace, extend, extinguish" and "Let's pretend everything but Windows does not exist") do not work in the present, and would only cost them market share, not help them maintain it.

The stats this utility lists are trivial to collect, I'm pretty sure they all just sit there in /proc/ ready to read out. Nevertheless, there apparently was not a utility to read them out and collect them for this Microsoft monitoring tool, and now there is. And, Microsoft is apparently genuinely interested in if there is some useful info that should be collected but isn't.

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Germany drops probe into NSA's Merkel phone-hacking

Henry Wertz 1
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Indeed

"It wasn't just the NSA that was eavesdropping. The BND was doing it too and may have been supplying the data to other parties as well. THAT may have been the reason why the investigation was dropped as it would be fairly embarrassing to both aggrieved parties."

Indeed. The info's come out that BND was/is involved in large scale surveillance just as the NSA is, it would have been fairly hypocritical of the Germans to REALLY pursue the tapping of Merkel's phone when the BND is doing the exact same thing to so many others.

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Cynical Apple says it'll gouge less cash from iTunes strummers' sales

Henry Wertz 1
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Cynicism

"Why does everything that Apple does have to be cynical or bad in some way? "

1) I don't know, it just is.

2) Someone has to be cynical, it "balances out" the rabid fanbois on the conventional media that pretend Apple "invents" or "re-invents" every market they belatedly enter, that'll go as far as actually saying Apple can do no wrong, and that, every time Apple pre-pre-announced a product, pretend that it's news but instead of covering it like a news story will just gush about how great whatever it is will be (you should have seen them pre-hyping that stupid watch, like a year before release.. failing to even mention that several vendors already had ones on the market.)

Anyway... yeah, I can't actually be cynical about a company reducing it's cut to try to increase usage.

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The weapons pact threatening IT security research

Henry Wertz 1
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Might as well black hat then.

So, the gov'ts are going to try to make it impossible to be legit, and the conferences are paying lower and lower payouts anyway? Might as well blackhat it then, sell those 0-days privately online to the highest bidder.

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What hyper-converged storage really means for you

Henry Wertz 1
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Depends on requirements

I figure it may be a matter of preference and requirements.

A well-designed distributed filesystem can do a fine job of making sure you have redundancy to keep your files safe (edit: from hardware failures. MAKE BACKUPS!!), while letting you use whatever disks to provide your storage pool. If your storage requirements go up rather in line with compute requirements, this seems like a nice solution.

But, if you're organizational setup favors having seperate groups admin the systems and a group taking care of the storage and backups, then a SAN seems like the way to go. If you have unusually high storage requirements then you'll want a SAN.

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Spaniard sues eBay over right to sell the Sun

Henry Wertz 1
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"But the point was if ebay allows the selling of these certificates for bits of the moon why ban some other loony/entrepeneur from claiming and selling bits of the sun through their site."

Good point.

"3. Wrapping it might be a problem."

That made me spit out my drink.

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Henry Wertz 1
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Well, at least in the US...

Well, at least in the US (I saw a case on one of the numerous TV court shows about this kind of thing), you can sell a deed or title and any and all rights that deed or title gives you. Note "any and all rights" may mean no rights at all. If you claim the deed or title actually confers any rights and it doesn't you've commited fraud. If you're careful to not make any claims, you're merely a huge scumbag but technically not a fraudster. Or possibly misinformed or (probably in this case) crazy, if you honestly thought you had clear title to something but actually didn't. (In the court case, the person was somewhat greasy, the deed was some 1800's common-law "land in the middle of the desert" sort of deed he had ininherited, that may or may not have still conferred any rights whatsoever, and he traded it for a car knowing this. The judge made him undo the deal.)

In other words, EBay should definitely block any claims that someone is selling the sun since they are fraud, but she may be within her right to sell a deed to the sun as long as she doesn't claim it gives her clear title or anything... although hopefully nobody will be dumb enough to bid on it.

That said, I think this is in the same category as the people that were selling "exactly what you see in the photo", showed a photo of a Playstation or XBox box, and let people bid an empty cardboard box up to $1000 or whatever. Hopefully, the Spanish court will not clock EBay for blocking this, and hopefully will charge this crazy old bat EBay's legal fees. edit: Excuse me, I mean crazy allegedly old bat.

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ISIS command post obliterated after 'moron' jihadi snaps a selfie, says US Air Force

Henry Wertz 1
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"Right, so now we let them know how we found out where they were. That is just as stupid as the original selfie. Keep quiet and let them figure out how we are taking out their C&C."

Don't think it makes any difference. People already know it's stupid to post themselves drinking at parties, smoking joints or whatever, drag racing, even outrunning the police. They seem to do it anyway without a thought. Some people seem to have this odd mental disconnect with social sites such as Facebook that the posts will go to friends and family rather than to anyone on the planet that pulls up your page, even if they've done nothing whatsoever to actually restrict their "wall", "posts", "photostream", or whatever the particular site uses.

I have a friend that doesn't do all that, but does complain every so often about how Facebook restricting some posts is violating freedom of speech. I point out Facebook's not a public forum, it's a private company's site whose goal is to data mine whatever info you put on there and show you ads, and they are not restricting what you say anywhere but on their own private site. Next time he hears about someone's post being pulled, he's back on "freedom of speech" again -- a disconnect that Facebook is an anything goes public forum.

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Life in prison not appealing to Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht – appeal filed

Henry Wertz 1
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He doesn't want life in prison? Shocker.

Ulbricht doesn't want life in prison? Shocker. I thought people loved long stints in prison 8-)

I do sympathize to some extent with his reason for running it -- to be honest, he basically thought people should be able to buy/sell/trade whatever they want for their personal use, rather than being personally interested in, say, guns and drugs... it was like some kind of ultimate libertarian experiment with the money coming in as a side effect. But, he had to have known the feds would take a dim view of this activity, he got pinched, and it seems like a fair cop. Really, whoever stole those Bitcoins should be charged for a crime, but it doesn't affect the strong evidence against him. Given the scale of the operation, the US's excessive (IMHO) sentencing especially for drug crimes, he had to expect a stiff sentence. And, given he went as far as (allegedly) ordering a hit, it seems like he may have ended up going down the path of Walter White (in Breaking Bad), ending up with dirtier and dirtier hands as he went along.

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Private cloud is NOT dead – and for one good reason: Control of data

Henry Wertz 1
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Dead? Yeah.

Yeah, there was really no reasonable reason to think "private clouds" would be dead. I mean, I know some pundits claimed it. But... 1) Most larger companies are going to keep running at least one data center, either exclusively or in combination with online services ("clouds"). 2) Said data centers are more and more likely to use virtual machines rather than dedicated servers, perhaps allow migration, may be moving towards using high availability filesystems rather than (or in addition to) RAID. That is, they are moving towards being run like a private cloud rather than a traditional server farm.

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Telenor Norway projects 2020 switch-off for its 3G network

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VZW has simlar plans.

"Rapid? :)

Maybe it stands for Reluctant Adoption of Incompatible Devices :-)"

The band situation in the US is flatout stupid, but yes rapid. Verizon Wireless has nearly 100% 4G LTE coverage, and Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile probably have 90% of covered population covered by 4G LTE (although by area they have much less 4G than Verizon Wireless.) T-Mo plans to go straight from 2G to 4G LTE in the rural coverage areas. There are many MANY 4G devices, all 4 of the "big 4" see quite heavy 4G usage these days.

Anyway, this is more or less VZW's plan too.... they have 4G LTE. They plan to shut down 3G EVDO data around 2020 (this 3G technology is data-only...) but keep 2G CDMA 1X (voice, SMS, 144kbps data) up indefinitely, for use of whatever devices don't support VoLTE yet, a fallback if you are out of LTE range, and for M2M.

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MS scolds businesses for failing to eradicate 7-year-old malware

Henry Wertz 1
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Scold away I guess

I'm not going to jump on the "hating on Microsoft bandwagon", there's plenty already doing that in this thread. But, I guess all I can say is "scold away", people just seem to love running ancient, unpatched software - not just Windows. Sometimes it really is a standalone system, so if everything works who cares what it is running. But often times, they will justify it by claiming they'll keep the system offline, but in reality get sloppy and put it online anyway. And even more often, they'll just pretend it's not a problem, stick their fingers in their ears, go "la-la-la!!!" and then when the system gets massively infected, start up with the "Don't you hate it when computers (insert litany of problems that computers don't have, 7-year-old unpatched software has them.)"

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Second-hand IT alliance forms to combat 'bully' vendors

Henry Wertz 1
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Treat them like vehicles?

"If there isn't a second hand market for your particular brand your product will depreciate more quickly. Eventually your customers' bean-counters will notice and try to steer purchasing to buy kit that holds its value."

I've got to be honest, I've seen very few businesses worry about how fast equipment REALLY depreciates, they tend to assume that stuff (other than buildings) depreciates to 0 after 5 years. Mainly for tax purposes AFAIK. The problem is actually that your product *does* hold value, and I think these vendors are losing some potential sales because the current lower-end kit may be close in specification to the mid-range or higher end range of several years ago, and some people would rather save the cash and get the used kit instead.

I must agree with this though.. when some laws were passed in the US in the 1970s (during the dark times of the "malaise era"), car companies were well on the way to trying to make it so all but the most trivial car repairs would require going back to the dealership. Restricting the supply of repair parts. Restricting diagnostic information. Restricting repair information. Making it real clear that your warantee would be voided if anyone but them so much as touched the car. Well, at least here in the US the feds said "Nope!" and put a stop to that, and when some vendors later tried to restricted computer diagnostic codes, they said "nope!" again.

I'm not a fan of adding more and more legislation, but I do think similar principles should be applied to these IT vendors... repair parts should be available to anyone. Basic repair and diagnostic information should be available to all (although not necessarily further tuning information, whitepapers, advanced documentation, and so on... go ahead and restrict it if you want. Those under a support contract should get something for the money.) Furthermore, items like a SAN unit or something that relies on installed software... if they charge, say, a yearly fee for updates, then 1) Someone buying the unit used should be able to pay to reinstate the support contract and get updates, not be told "tough luck because it's been resold." 2) If someone *doesn't* pay, no more software upgrades, but they should not be able to disable the software already on the unit, or sue them for having unlicensed software, or whatever**. Regarding this, it may be a good idea to have bugfixes available to all (so if you had like software 3.4.x, the 3.4.x patches are available to all, but not the installer to install 3.5.x or 4.0 over 3.4.x, those are for paying customers).

**Of course, systems where you are paying some hopefully discounted annual fee to lease the existing software, rather than for updates, is a different matter. Obviously barring this practice would make companies quite unhappy that are saving money from leasing software rather than paying more up front and paying just for updates.

On a side note, re: spaz, you know, as far as I knew this was just some somewhat outdated 1980's slang. I think when people have to explain the origins of some term that is little-used anyway, to explain why people should be offended by it, it's time to lighten up. Also, not to nitpick but discrimination is discriminatory, using some naughty word is not.

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Sysadmins rebel over GUI-free install for Windows Server 2016

Henry Wertz 1
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Will they listen?

Will Microsoft listen to their customers, or do a "we know better than you" like they did with Windows 8... and the Office ribbon... and so on? For sure, if you don't need a GUI it's a good idea to not install it. But, really, if the customers want a GUI install option on initial install, just give it to them. There probably are plenty of Windows Server uses where they aren't running IIS, or Exchange, or file or print services (does anyone still print via a server any more?), but some random applications (that "could" run on a version of Windows other than server but either aren't supported, or the site views it as a server task, therefore it runs on server.)

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Elon Musk's $4.9 BEELLLION taxpayer windfall revealed

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Smug

"You can't blame him, obviously. If it's raining free money, then why not collect some? But it is possible to have a vague feeling that this isn't quite how red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalism is supposed to work."

I can blame him, because at the same time he's getting these huge sacks of cash, he's (several times over the years) smugly commented how he has not gotten any bailout money like GM did. Well, yeah, no "bailout" money, just billions of other dollars.

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Holy SSH-it! Microsoft promises secure logins for Windows PowerShell

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I don't

"And yes, I think its a trap, MS doesn't acknowledge technologies/formats other than their own unless they want to destroy/screw/muddy them. (check the ISO OOXML disaster) Everything they do is cold calculated."

This has certainly been true in the past. I think in this case, the move may be calculated but here's how I see this calculated move. They want a secure remote access protocol for Powershell, and ssh can provide that. It'll be much easier to make some patches for Powerhsell and/or OpenSSH so they work together than to create a secure protocol, with a secure implementation, from scratch. With the plenty of shops now having a mix of Windows and Linux servers or VMs, having Windows support ssh would make admin'ing this much less of a pain. Not that Microsoft would necessarily be interested in this out of the goodness of their hearts, but being "less of a pain" could help retain some uses of Windows that'd otherwise be migrated off of it.

"So far their contributions to the GPL have been a bit lacking, just drivers so they can run Linux Hosts in Hyper-'Vi' more or less decently "

I do fully expect the contributions to OpenSSH to amount to "here's patches so it integrates with Windows". *shrug*

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US Patriot Act's phone spying rules are dead – but that means very little

Henry Wertz 1
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Good

Well, the NSA has been operating illegally anyway, pre-Snowden they had hidden programs (which were leaked in the New York Times, then when the EFF tried to use those NYT articles in court, the feds claimed the New York Times aritcles were classified and inadmissable.) There've been articles about how, the few times FISA actually said "Hey you have to cut this and that out", the agencies made non-sensical circular logic arguments to justify their illegal activities being legal even if FISA says they are illegal. So I doubt that's stopped.

BUT, not passing this law begins to swing things away from people like Obama who want to "balance" rights or privacy (which means taking rights or privacy away) towards people who recognize the Constitution guarantees these rights and want to have these rights. This move alone won't do a thing but will start moving things towards the attitude that will reign in the NSA.

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KFC takes legal axe to eight-legged mutant chicken claims

Henry Wertz 1
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The red flag

Well, for me the biggest red flag here would be, legs and dark meat are already priced lower than the other pieces, they are simply not as popular (I don't know why, I think the dark meat's the best part.) If anything, any chicken mods would be to make them have bigger breasts.

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Secure web? That'll cost you, thanks to Mozilla's HTTPS plan

Henry Wertz 1
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Another issue with https

Another major problem with https... I use a caching web proxy. This doesn't do any naughty "man in the middle" on https, so https content is not cached. I'm with those who say, if I'm going to some random site where the content is the same for everyone, what difference does https make security-wise? None whatsoever.

I second SSL certificates being excessively hard to install. I mean, I got it done, but it wasn't as easy as I thought it should be.

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Airbus confirms software brought down A400M transport plane

Henry Wertz 1
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Wrong calibration

"Instead of calling for take off thrust the system simply needs to monitor the position of the throttles. If it only knows the relationship of those to the position of the throttles in the fuel system then there is no confusion in defining what "take off thrust" means in aircraft to aircraft."

Yes there is confusion, "take of thrust" might be like 30% throttle on one engine, and 75% thrust on another engine (I doubt it's as low as 30%, but for sake of argument). These vendors tend to order an airframe and then order some engines to be put on seperately... why, I don't know, but that's what they do, so it's not like there'd be an "A400M calibration". This kind of thing does actually apply on cars too -- some car with 1.8L engine, 2.2L engine, 3.0L engine option, they will usually all 3 use the exact same computer, with a calibration ROM (in the past a physical ROM chip, now flashed in parameters) saying "this is a 4-cylinder, here is the fuel curve, here's the ignition timing curve, here's an "fast idle" versus temperature curve", and so on. Although I've never heard of GM f'ing this up by putting the wrong calibration in.

Besides confusion over "how much throttle" with electronic throttle control, there'd also be confusion over fueling (I'm sure underfueling or overfueling a jet engine jacks up your power just like it would on a car engine), the different engines may even be expected to run at different RPM to produce some amount of thrust.

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: The new common-as-muck hybrid

Henry Wertz 1
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Don't use 4WD on the A-Road!

"If you want to second-guess the Outlander, you can stick it into permanent four-wheel-drive mode – handy on a slippery A-road or for a spot of light off-roading"

Actually, 4WD is very VERY BAD on a slippery road. AWD? Potentially useful. 4WD? Locking the 4 wheels together means as soon as you have the kind of problem you'd THINK the 4WD would help with, in actuality the locked together wheels tend to force the vehicle out of line and into the ditch. 4WD is for keeping a vehicle from getting stuck, not for helping keep the vehicle going where you're steering it on slippery roads. (It looks like the Mitsubishi system, 4WD Lock doesn't really lock anything though, just suggests to some computer to apply more power to the "other" wheels than it normally would, but still varies the power depending on driving conditions, so in actuality it's still a true AWD system. True 4WD rigidly locks the wheels and is really only for off-road, while AWD uses various differentials and (usually) computer control to make it usable under all conditions.)

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'The Internet of Things is like the Cloud 8 years ago' ... Boss of Dell's new IoT biz spills beans

Henry Wertz 1
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I've got no candy

So, you now have all this local processing power, storage, and RAM. So, praytell, why for any of the states iOt uses, should I send ANY information to a 3rd party? Even the "useful" 5% of it? Tenancy-based temperature control, the thermostat alone should have enough processing power I think... but this multi-ghz "gateway" definitely has way more than needed. Ligthing control? 3rd parties don't need access, and this doesn't take processing power either. Remote camera viewing (which has been done for a decade or more with IP cameras and DVRs, btw...), "plug and play" port forwarding, NAT punching, and manual port forwarding will ALL allow this with no 3rd-party access.

Oh, you WANT all that juicy info? Well, too bad, I've got no candy for you 8-)

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Man sparks controversy, fined $120 for enjoying wristjob while driving

Henry Wertz 1
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Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

""It's not so much handheld. It's a watch. You know, it's on my wrist. That's where it gets controversial. It's like, 'Is it? Is it not?' but I think this needs to be talked about," he said."

OK, let's talk about it. You are driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!! Discussion over. Good job on the po' for giving you a ticket.

More generally, this is a good reason why I have thought "cell phone use while driving" or "texting while driving" statutes are a bad idea - not because I think either one is a good idea in any way, but because I figured knobs like this guy would say (depending on how the statute is worded) "Oh I'm not holding it it's strapped to my wrist" or "That's a music player not a phone" or whatever. Also, there are those people who think they should turn around to stare their kids around while they chew them out (luckily I've not seen this in real life). I favor enforcement of a general "distracted driving" statute.

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Insurer tells hospitals: You let hackers in, we're not bailing you out

Henry Wertz 1
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I don't know about licensing

I don't know about IT people needing to be licensed. That's a whole kettle of fish. I think companies that rely on IT but strip IT to the bone, may already reconsider how they handle IT if they find out insurance will not automatically cover them.

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Henry Wertz 1
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Good

Good. I agree with this decision. I mean, an insurance co would think twice about paying for house theft if they found you left the doors wide open when you leave; they wouldn't pay an accident claim if your car had no brakes and you were driving around drunk. I have no idea why insurers have treated computers as this mysterious special case for so long. If a blackhat used some cunning hacks and tricks to get in, fair enough. If the blackhat does a google search and finds you left the goods on an FTP site? I'm glad the insurance co. didn't pay, that'd just raise insurance rates for everyone else who does things properly.

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Crafty fingering could let Apple Watch thieves raid your bank account

Henry Wertz 1
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"The best thing I can think of to say about the latter is that it's proof that Apple users won't use things just because they're told to."

Umm, yeah, actually Apple users do use things because they're told to, as near as I can tell. I mean, look at the Apple Watch for a good example. What a useless device but people are buying them anyway (and overpriced compared to the Android watches that have been out for like a year already). And, per the quote you have just below this statement, all these people signed up for Apple Pay (66% of IPhone6 users?). You know for this watch thing to work, they don't actually have to USE Apple Pay, just sign up for it? Well, they have.

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Beware Red Hat interviews: You'll pay for coffee, lunch and fuel

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Fair enough I guess?

Sean Timarco Baggaley has a good point about ATMs.

That said, I really thought these guys were going to be some kind of jerks expecting him to pay up for the meal, gas, etc., just because. It sounds like it really was just a serious of events that ended up with him paying. Fair enough.

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Zuck-Up as Facebook Messenger app tracks you everywhere forever

Henry Wertz 1
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Yeah but it's Facebook

Yeah but it's Facebook, I would expect nothing less than to have it not respect your privacy in any way. You know how I've avoided having it leak my info? I don't use it.

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Why are all the visual special effects studios going bust?

Henry Wertz 1
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"Also note precisely why a particular genre of show is known as the soap opera."

Tradition? I do realize back in like the 1950s, soap companies sponsored them. But, that's really not relevant now. I'd say at present, one show is not a genre. I don't know about UK, but in the US, General Hospital has been the one and only soap opera left for close to 10 years.

I'm really not sure admen necessarily know what they are doing. I'm sure some are quite competent but the rest.... The ones that get me are ones that.. well, on slacker, for instance, the audio on most of the ads *just* play some music, forgetting that it's an *audio* app and therefore I'm not going to be staring at the screen. They never state (audibly) what product or service they're advertising, so they've wasted money for nothing. I see this on TV too (when I don't fast forward through the excessive ads) -- ads that think they are being clever (I guess), but really just manage to not even state what they are advertising, so they're a waste of money.

I think (in the US at least) one reason for this low quality is simply oversupply of ad slots. The networks are currently in a downward spiral of the form "We are getting less money per ad slot. Therefore, we need more ad slots to keep revenues up." This of course lowers the value per ad slot even further. This, I think, is where these low-quality ads come from, they are people who would not have bought ads at all with fewer ad slots & higher price per slot, but in the present market get whoever to make an ad and air it.

As for VFX market -- I think the article touches on the problem well... but I think Moore's Law itself is hurting them too. I would guess effects that 5 or 10 years ago would have gone to a VFX firm, now... it won't need much hardware, software is available to do it, and they can hire on one (or some) artists to operate it. Something like a Lord of the Rings movie would still be a big project but the typical special effects just aren't any more.

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Microsoft tosses Office, Skype portball to 20 Android makers

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Preloaded apps

"Microsoft reckoned that pre-installing the apps and services would make it easier for customers on Android machines to access them."

Well, really it doesn't make anything easier to have a bunch of junk preloaded onto my phone or tablet, if I wanted to "access these services" I could type "Office" into Google Play no problem and install it. But, I already have "QuikOffice" or something (that I never use) preloaded on so i guess go ahead Microsoft, I don't care *which* "Office that I never use" is preloaded.

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Wi-Fi was MEANT to be this way: Antennas and standards, 802.11 style

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"Does wifi still in n, and ac versions, allow a single weak user to hog the band for ages?"

Yup! 802.11 had a "Coordinated Point Function" option, which meant essentially the access point assigned timselots to clients, but it was virtually never implemented and I've never heard of an AP or client that supported it. It's up to the AP and clients "playing nice" still with 802.11n for sure, and ac as well as far as I know. I think having an option where the AP has tighter control over channel access would be really good for heavier used access points but there doesn't seem to be one.

"What's your objection to double-NAT? Just asking."

The problem I've seen is, at least with the DSL modems CenturyLink has for rent, is that even though I would have thought NAT has been a solved problem for decades, each and every one of these DSL modem models seems to have repeated reports of randomly locking up and crashing until they disable NAT and turn the DSL modem into a dumb DSL modem. I.e. run it to a PFSense or DD-WRT access point or something and have *it* do the DSL login/password and so on.) Or (with ADSL2) buy an aftermarket modem. Unfortunatley with VDSL2, the only 2 companies using it with the north american banding are AT&T and CenturyLink, so the only available DSL modems are like used ones "for" AT&T or CenturyLink, unlike ADSL2 where there's dozens of aftermarket models available... although in CenturyLink's case, the VDSL2 modems apparently also support "dumb DSL modem" passthrough mode.

The problem with this with AT&T, is they have evilly replaced the standard DSL login/password with some kind of key-based authentication using keys they burn into the DSL modem firmware, so no after-market DSL modem will work... and if the DSL modem *does* support passthrough "dumb DSL modem" mode, it won't work due to the non-standard authentication.

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