* Posts by Henry Wertz 1

1854 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

'Hi, I'm from Microsoft and I am GOING TO KILL YOU'

Henry Wertz 1
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"spent 20 minutes on the phone being instructed on how to download teamviewer and activate it BEFORE teling the spammer that the machine was a MacBook Air!!!!! ;)))))"

That's what I did too! You know, even if I had been using Windows they were using the wrong terminology sometimes. But they wanted me to install TeamViewer. I said I was unpacking the archive and they were like "Huh?" but went along with it. When it got to where I was going to read them some number, then I was like "Oh I forgot I'm not even running Windows, I'm running Ubuntu Linux. Bye." They called right back but I ignored them. I tied them up about 20 minutes.

They called some other time and I strung them several minutes "Oh that's funny that you'd find problems "with my Windows" because I keep Windows the hell off my computers, I'm running Linux." 8-) They tried to say I must be mistaken and I had to point out "I think I know what software my computers are running." 8-)

The worst are the one I call "card fucker" though. This is "Rachel from Account Services" and associated scammers. The fuckers called 6 times yesterday before I even woke up! I have filed over 284 FCC complaints against them for violating the Do Not Call list, illegal robocalls, and line seizure (they sometimes call twice or 3 times in a row, so if I tried to make an emergency outgoing call they'd have the line tied up.) US law allows me to personally collect fines for each incident (probably most people can't because they don't bother to file complaints.) When the Do Not Call laws were passed they realized the FCC and FTC would not be able or willing to collect all fines, thus the clause allowing private citizens to do it. These fines would come to $284,000 if I collect the minimum amount. (Once they are informed the calls are illegal, which I've done on record several times, I could collect double or triple.)

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Super SSD tech: Fancy a bonkers 8TB all-flash PC?

Henry Wertz 1
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"Assuming pricing were affordable, such SSDs could basically kill the PC and notebook disk drive market in a couple of years. ®"

Yup. SSD could almost completely wipe out HDs right now if they were affordable. I'm still clinging to HDs so far though... I'll see the price on a 64GB or 128GB SSD, think "Hmm, that's not too bad!".... then see that I could get like a a 2TB HD for that kind of money.

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Storm in a K-Cup: My SHAME over the eco-monster I created, says coffee pod inventor

Henry Wertz 1
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Not hipsters

Anyway... somoene asked what the point of this is? I'm not 100% sure. Basically, you put in a pod, I guess some water (I assume it's not plumbed in), hit the button and you've got a $1-$2 cup of coffee. Personally, I just make instant; probably even faster than faffing about with a "pod", just as caffeinated, and tolerable flavor. I can also just buy a cup of coffee and have it still cost less than these pods do.

Hipsters? Nope! Hipsters (at least here in the US) don't have the kind of cash anymore it takes to buy and operate one of these machines, wage stagnation combined with inflation has taken care of that! The people I've seen with these were doctors -- so enough loads of cash they don't seem to care how expensive these pods are, and they get the impression they're more convenient than making coffee the "old fashioned" way (even if that's not the case.)

Re:"Anyone pitching K cups or blaming Keurig for something that was resolved by the aftermarket half a decade ago, is either trying to pitch a new product or trying to feel better about themselves by kvetching about others."

People are *100%* justified in kvetching! You overlooked the bit about newer Keurigs REFUSING to operate with the aftermarket pods you say are the solution, because they now (just like HP printers with their ink cartridges) look for a chip on the pod, "use up" the chip when the pod is used, and WILL NOT OPERATE without a fresh chip!

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Here's what keeps VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger awake at night

Henry Wertz 1
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EMC?

I didn't realize EMC owned VMWare, but they bought them up in 2004. Huh.

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Make room, Wi-Fi, Qualcomm wants to run LTE on your 5GHz band

Henry Wertz 1
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Well...

On the one hand, I'm not a fan of having cell cos use an unlicensed band, potentially crapping it up for other uses, to provide LTE at the high per-GB rates they charge. On the other hand, I suppose where these would be located, well, a warehouse or something that may run 5ghz wifi just wouldn't have an LTE cell in it too, and it's not too likely you'd end up with one outside your place interfering with home use.

I *would* be interested in the possibility of using LTE on 5ghz to just provide data service in general (i.e. like an "LTE access point" instead of wifi), I'd be interested to see how 5ghz LTE holds up against 802.11n or 802.11ac in terms of performance (especially under load.)

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FCC says cities should be free to run decent ISPs. And Republicans can't stand it

Henry Wertz 1
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Yep deregulation

Yep this is a move towards deregulation. ISP prices are quite higher than they should or could be, I'm all for it being a totally competitive market.

These municipalities are providing service at a profit? Well, then they are being competitive in the market, the cable and phone companies will just have to compete versus the relatively uncompetitive duopoly we have now in some locations. (Cable co and DSL co.... the cable companies don't share their cable infrastructure at all, your ISP is the cable company. Some phone companies have to allow 3rd-party DSL service on their lines... CenturyLink does not, and AT&T and Verizon don't where they've replaced the copper with fiber. )

(1) Under the telecom act of 1996, phone cos had the option to either A) open up their lines to competition, but be able to compete outside the markets they hold physical copper and fiber to provide nationwide service. or B) Maintain their monopoly but not compete outside their home markets. Qwest was the only telecom I know of who chose option B instead of option A (Qwest is now Centurylink.)

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Lenovo: We SWEAR we're done with bloatware, adware and scumware

Henry Wertz 1
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So Lenovo doesn't want to sell in the indeterminate future?

So Lenovo doesn't want to sell any computers in the indeterminate future? Nobody in their right mind would possibly buy a Windows 8/Windows 8.1 Lenovo, when Lenovo is only claiming they'll clean up their Windows 10 systems. And Windows 10 is after all vaporware (there's no even vague determination of when it's going to be released after all.)

Also, what are "Lenovo applications"? Could be bloatware by another name.

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Iran hacks America where it hurts: Las Vegas casinos

Henry Wertz 1
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Finally some sanity

Finally some sanity and a reasonable assessment of what the real risks are from hacking. I got absolutely sick of hearing all these ridiculous obviously non-technical DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) talking heads implying how some hacker or hackers could make water mains explode, back up the sewers, blow out the power grid (usually not just implying blackouts but implying they'd burn out all the lines and transformers), you know, the kind of crap they'd put in a bad low-budget movie.

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Thousands of UK drivers' details leaked through hole in parking ticket website

Henry Wertz 1
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Re: Yet another reason..

"And if its a parking ticket that goes to the "wrong address" you start to rack up penalty charges, fees from recovery companies and one day you'll drive past a police ANPR point and you'll be flagged down and someone from a debt recovery firm will ask for several £100 if not £1000 pounds on the spot or they'll take the car and you'll be walking home!"

Well, probably not. They can ask for all the bonus charges and penalties they want -- but you can't be flagged down for a private debt, which is what this is.

We have a similar issue popping up here in the US -- some cities have these speed cameras that they operate themselves. If you get popped you get mailed a photo ticket, and are probably obligated to pay it. OTHER cities (like Cedar Rapids, Iowa - who is greasy enough to have been told their camera installations are ILLEGAL under state law because of the positioning of the cameras and "there's cameras ahead" signs and basically said "Fuck you, we're running them this way anyway and not cancelling any tickets") have Gatso own and operating the cameras. Well, guess what? Gatso is a private company, not a city, county, state, or federal agency. They could mail me a ticket, but I'm not obligated to pay anything because it's not a city, county, or state agency of any type, and I haven't requested any goods or services from them. They can demand payment all they want but there's still no obligations. If they try to put it on my credit report, I can tell the credit agency I didn't order any goods or services from Gatso and the agency is legally obligated (by the Fair Credit Reporting Act) to remove any adverse notes.

That said -- don't be a jerk about it please! I'm not speeding like a crazy person just because the speed cameras are invalid, and I wouldn't intentionally park without feeding the meter or paying the lot fee or whatever just because private property parking (not)-fines are not enforceable.

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Microsoft man: Internet Explorer had to go because it's garbage

Henry Wertz 1
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The more the merrier

The argument that Microsoft could make a browser totally from scratch faster than just basing one on WebKit? I think this is probably nonsense. HOWEVER:

"Moreover, he said, Redmond is concerned that other browser makers' reliance on WebKit is creating a "monoculture on the web" – something that today's Microsoft is apparently against."

This is 100% true; with Chrome and Opera using Blink (WebKit-derived) and Apple & KDE using WebKit, you're down to like WebKit, Blink and Firefox engines dominating the browser market share. It is "healthier" and overall better to have more independent HTML implementations than fewer.

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Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid

Henry Wertz 1
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Devices indeed

The problem isn't paying for a CA card to be active versus not. The problem is having DVB TVs that become useless, DVRs that become useless, set top boxes that become useless, DVB cards for computers that become useless.

I've put off switching from OTA (over the air) plus about 20 channels from (very cheap) analog cable to DirecTV or digital cable for just this reason -- I have a MythTV DVR, and I don't want to set up a clunky set top box + IR blaster arrangement, and none of the vendors (DirecTV, DIsh Network, or any cable company with CableCard) has any viable arrangement to just pop that access card into a USB, PCI, or PCIe device and get video into the DVR.

(I think with CableCard there's like 1 super-clunky setup, that requires buying an ENTIRE pre-built Windows PC. The card is not sold seperately due to some assinine idea that rights restrictions systems work if the video card and PC are tied together.)

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Net neutrality victory: FCC approves 'open internet' rules in 3-2 vote

Henry Wertz 1
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Good

You should have heard Mark Cuban on BBC a day or two ago... he argued against Net Neutrality, with arguments like "Things like Virtual Reality will need more speed, and those companies should pay for it." His argument was he (running a streaming audio service 15 or 20 years ago) paid some ISPs to implement multicast, so... well he kind of just trailed off there, since people now would be paying something for nothing basically (since they are just getting some prioritization, not use of a CDN or anything). He also said the FCC responding to the overwhelming response in favor of net neutrality was a bad thing (like 800,000 comments in favor versus 1,000 opposed). The BBC person said "isn't that democracy in action?" Cuban said yes and concluded that the democratic process is bad since he disagreed with the conclusion. Classy! Anyway...

A) VR actually doesn't need that much speed or bandwidth -- games aren't necessarily good examples since the content is pre-loaded. But Second Life doesn't use that much bandwidth either. That's kind of beside the point though, his main point was "some future high-bandwidth service" and VR was just an example that seems like it should use a lot.

B) Netflix, Linden Labs (Second Life owner), Microsoft (Xbox Live etc.), Google (Youtube), etc., they all pay BIG BUCKS for multiple gigabit or 10gigabit ports at various peering points. THEY ARE PAYING FOR THEIR USAGE ALREADY.

C) The customer already pays for their connection, and ISPs like Comcast already charge (quite high!) for various speeds AND impose a GB cap. THE CUSTOMER IS ALREADY PAYING FOR THEIR USAGE. These greedy iSPs wanted to double-dip by charging Netflix etc. for the usage the customer is ALREADY paying for.

Therefore, I'm glad net neutrality was enforced.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

Henry Wertz 1
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Sounds like incompetent deisgn...

I can't imagine why anyone would roll out a new document management system that requires a .NET client to be installed. Server-side? Do whatever you want, if you want to use ASP and .NET type stuff knock yourself out. Client-side? Sounds like the kind of thing that (if they really aren't going to just exchange Word files any more) should be done in-browser.

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Man the HARPOONS: YOU can EASILY SLAY ad-scumware Superfish

Henry Wertz 1
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Why do they keep arguing?

So, the CTO of Lenovo doesn't want to argue with the security guys, merely to contradict everything they are saying about the safety of the software Lenovo forced on their customers. You know, if they had said (to paraphrase) "It seemed like a good idea at the time, we realize it really wasn't now, sorry about that", it may have minimized the repercussions. All this "Well, it's not that bad is it?" type waffling is making damn sure I never buy a Lenovo.

(Note, I take it as a bad sign when a company starts referring to customers as "consumers". "Consumer" is a macroeconomic term to differentiate between the general public that buys and "consumes" resources, goods and services, from those who provide and produce resources, goods and services. For example the term "consumer price index". I have no idea why companies, starting 10 or 15 years ago, thought it was remotely a good idea to start referring to their customers as "consumers". But I think it shows a general contempt for their customers, and indicates the company no longer views their customers as customers but as an aggregate lump that is bound by the laws of economics to buy ("consume") their products. They then act all surprised when it turns out the customers can turn away and buy someone else's products.)

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

Henry Wertz 1
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Umm... Temporarily removed?

""Due to some issues (browser pop up behavior for example), with the Superfish Visual Discovery browser add-on, we have temporarily removed Superfish from our consumer systems until such time as Superfish is able to provide a software build that addresses these issues," Hopkins said.

Umm, temporarily? Nobody wants adware installed on a computer, period. The certificate attack is possibly illegal, but that's not actually the main issue here, it is the installing adware on there to begin with. A few vendors have done this on and off in the past (briefly, due to the customer backlash!) Now that you've been caugh red-handed, you must commit to not installing this software any more or your sales will absolutely tank.

edit: Are you guys saying it's actually typical for Windows PCs to come with various adware and spyware installed now, as opposed to just some random "bundled apps"? It makes me particularly glad I don't use Windows on my systems 8-)

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HTTP/2 spec gets green light: Faster web or needless complexity?

Henry Wertz 1
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No reason for policy changes.

I have to disagree with Poul-Henning Kamp to some extent. I can't argue with his statements about HTTP/2 breaking layering and so on -- I don't know if it does or not. I would think it'd certainly be harder to accelerate HTTP/2 than HTTP/1.1 due to the multiplexing and all that.

But, as HTTP is a *transport* protocol, I think it is quite out of scope for HTTP/2 to require encryption, and also out of scope for it to drop support for cookies in favor of something else. I do favor increase in use of encryption, but as a updated transport protocol i simply don't see it as HTTP/2's place to force policy changes, and if it had I think it would have limited it's adoption considerably (after all, who want so to rewrite some third-party code that uses a cookie or two?)

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Inside GOV.UK: 'CHAOS' and 'NIGHTMARE' as trendy Cabinet Office wrecked govt websites

Henry Wertz 1
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I should note healthcare.gov is just as bad

I should note healthcare.gov is (I think) just as bad. I never did get it to work. now I'm going to (when I have time!) call them to get my account deleted, since I assume it's also insecure.

So, it went around in a loop over and over, while I tried to sign up. It would not format my street address properly, and each time it implied I could continue, it'd loop to the beginning of the sign up. Each time, it forgot about 1/3rd of the answers for various questions, while remembering the rest. It does that trendy one huge question on the screen, then "unhiding" the next (even though it's basically 10 or 15 questions in a web form on each page), so you can't just tab through like you're supposed to be able to do if they hadn't decided to make it al "trendy" looking. It has a "step bar" showing steps 1 through 6 on the left but you can't click on it to go forward or back.

It was unable to verify my identity, the phone number it gave could not verify my identity, the phone number THEY gave could not verify my identity but apparently unlocked my account anyway (this of course makes it pointless to have them verify your identity if someone on the phone is just going to override the security, I should note without even asking any of the security questions I had supplied answers to.) It then decided the ~$32/month insurance was going to cost like $225 a month. I tried to go back to withdraw my application since I'm not about to pay that for insurance. It then decided again it could verify my identity, and eventually flashed up a window, closed it, then said they would review the 0 documents I had sent (this was apparently supposed to let me submit a scan of a drivers license or other ID). It then would not allow me to do ANYTHING else while they "review" this non-existant document I didn't send (no option to re-send it or continue.) Part of the site claims they will still send me that $225 bill, the other part implies they won't (I'm not paying a penny if I get it, since I cancelled it.)

Oh and they think I'm going to pay a "not a tax" tax penalty for not signing up through this crap! All I can say, I've never signed up for any monetary assistance before.. but if the feds are going to go beyond taxation and try to tell me what to do with my own money, I'm signing up for as many assistance programs as possible, so they can just be telling me how to spend *their* money instead.

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Henry Wertz 1
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"The disclosures paint a picture that contradicts the public image of supremely confident digital gurus modernising the British government's many websites, and making them more efficient."

I don't think it does contradict it. These digital (not really) gurus WERE supremely confident -- but confidence doesn't mean competence, it doesn't mean they know what they are doing! That is in fact the cause of so much problems, they were so confident they didn't need to know what the sites actually need to DO, just how they should look.

It reminds me of what Microsoft did with 1) Office ribbon UI and 2) Windows 8, where they just did not listen to customers, due to being ever so confident that they know what they are doing and people will just have to get used to whatever they implement.

Actually, nematoad sums it up well enough I'll quote him:

"To me it looks like the GDS have recruited people with the same mind-set as those who developed, if that is the term, MS's Metro and Canonical's Unity. They seem to be arrogant know-it-alls who are so in love with their "vision" that practicality and the the needs of the clients is ignored in pursuit of showing off their so-called design skills. Remember form follows function. A pickaxe with a nice bendy handle might look different but probably won't do the job it was supposed to do."

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Smartphone NOT INCLUDED: Google plays with Mattel – plugs VR into retro toy

Henry Wertz 1
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Not to be a stick in the mud...

Not to be a stick in the mud... but, if this already requires Google Cardboard (the cardobard holder to put the phone in), and the phone, isn't this just a viewmaster-looking piece of plastic then? So, why would I buy it when I could just use the Google Cardboard directly? Will it even accept Viewsmaster disks? (It'd be.. .well.. something at least if it accepted both cardboard and the disks.)

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Over 50? Out of work? Watch out because IT is about to EAT ITSELF

Henry Wertz 1
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"That’s amazing enough -- but what happens when someone gets the crazy idea to let Watson read all of Stack Overflow and O’Reilly and Slashdot and Google Groups and GitHub and all of the other things everywhere that we in IT use as resources to help us do our jobs?"

I don't know but I don't think it'd be good. Really, I've found answers to problems on Stackoverflow (for instance) but also many WRONG answers, poor code samples, and so on. I don't know that an AI could sort it out.

Will AI take out IT work? I'll believe it when I see it. Maybe they will, AI systems are better now than they used to be. But I should note, there was a move in the 1980s towards "4GL" (4th generation languages), which people selling them claimed would allow non-programmers to specify in more-or-less plain English what they wanted the computer to do, making programmers obsolete. Didn't work out. I kind of see "AI replacing IT workers" as analogous to this; the AI will not replace your faulty hardware, physically install new PCs, printers, etc., do any networking, optimize anything for you workload, make sure your licenses are in order (if you have to worry about this), and probably will not be particularly flexible in what configuations it supports. It could be useful as an "expert system" of sorts to help the IT people search for solutions though.

That said, due to being in a college town, it seems here 35 is already old enough around here to have problems finding IT work. The businesses here would rather hire people directly out of college than someone with 30 years or so experience with computers (starting with 8-bit systems, 20 years UNIX experience, CS degree in 2000, and having kept up to date, C, Java including Java EE, Python, a little assembly language, networking (wired and wireless) and having refurbished literally 1000s of PCs working at a computer surplus.)

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Accused Goldman Sachs code pilferer sues FBI for 'wrongful arrest'

Henry Wertz 1
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Sounds trumped up to me

This sounds trumped up to me too -- you know, the modern day "lets find the most impressive-sounding charge, and if that doesn't work firehose on more charges" approach. I don't support ripping off code, even from Goldman Sachs, but I do think when a judge sees treatment like this they should simply drop all charges and chastize the prosecutors for this behavior. Unlawful use of scientific material? Sounds like a crock of shit to me. If they had filed a more normal charge than an "economic espionage act" charge, and followed proper procedure handling the evidence, I bet it would have stuck.

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Gleeful Apple and Microsoft bathe in bathfuls of debt

Henry Wertz 1
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"Isn't that one of the things the banks did that lead to the 2008 collapse?"

No. What they were doing is loaning out too large of loans to people, expecting payments said people could not make. They then divided up these loans into "mortgage backed securities", and invested improperly in these. They were FLAT OUT TOLD by the developer of these securities that 1% annual default rate over the course of 100 years DOES NOT MEAN 1% will default each year, it means almost 0 will default usually, then a few years out of those 100 years quite a few will default. Then they acted ALL SHOCKED when (after making money hand-over-fist for 5 or 10 years) the high default rate happened EXACTLY as they were told it would. Instead of letting them go out of business, various governments then bailed out these incompetent firms, and indeed they are now investing again in mortgage backed securities.

This is simply Microsoft and Apple (in effect) hedging that these interest rates are so low that they are below the rate of inflation. Since they already have cash to pay off these loans it's risk-free, and effectively they come out ahead.

As for those putting out loans at such low interest rates -- I do think this low a rate is rather unhealthy, but I think it's a symptom of poor economic health rather than a cause. This is a complicated matter to untangle though, particularly since economics is more a "whose opinions do you follow" than any sort of a hard science.

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FCC sexes up, er, sextuples 'broadband' speed to 25Mbps in US

Henry Wertz 1
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How about working on prices?

How about working on prices? We have a duopoly locally (Mediacom cable or CenturyLink DSL), both have like ~$30 a month or so introductory prices -- but then prices go up substantially, closer to $40-50 a month just for 1.5mbps DSL or 3mbps cable, and $60-120 a month for anything faster. I'm in the ridiculous situation where with two landline sources of internet, satellite costs substantially less -- I can get 12mbps down/3mbps up for $45, this'd cost me about $70 via these other jokers.

Just saying, I don't need higher speeds, I want lower prices for the lower speeds!

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Let's be clear, everyone: DON'T BLOCK Wi-Fi, DUH – FCC official ruling

Henry Wertz 1
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"But it does represent an extension of the FCC's scope. If they don't simply regulate the spectrum but also the data and the business model do they get to decide matters of traffic shaping, DNS redirects, VPN blocking and which content is delivered?"

It doesn't represent an extension of the FCC's scope, they are merely regulating spectrum here. The 2.4ghz spectrum, the rules amount to "Your equipment must accept interference" and "your equipment must not intentionally interfere with other equipment." Marriott's equipment was intentionally interfering with other equipment (albeit at the link layer rather than RF layer) and so violating basically the only rules for this band. The FCC is *NOT* telling Marriott what they can and cannot do with their APs within these rules. If Marriott gets too onerous in blocking VPNs, traffic shaping, etc., people will decline to pay for it. I am, however, firmly in the camp of the point of view that a connection that starts blocking numerous services is no longer an internet connection, and should not be able to be advertised as such.

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Bitcoin trade biz MyCoin goes dark, investors fear $387 MEEELLION lost

Henry Wertz 1
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r"Some customers claim they were told that if they wanted to bring about their promised returns on investment, they should recruit other investors to pump additional funds into the operation."

So a pyramid scheme.

"Final Nail in the bitcoin coffin? "

No, not at all. This is a standard scam, and it doesn't reflect at all on Bitcoins. After all, if I said "I'm going to invest in US Dollars and Euros to (insert financialbabble* here) to double your money in x months", it's obviously a scam and does not reflect in any way on the dollar or euro (the US and EU are doing a good job of digging these currencies into a hole on their own.)

Could one double their money via bitcoin exchange? Sure, bitcoin exchange rate is fairly volatile. Are there any guarantees? No, and the big red flag is right there when someone claims "I'll make x within y time." These investors showed a supreme lack of common sense being taken in by a fairly standard investment scam.

*I guess if you can have technobabble you can have financialbabble.

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The Interview? Kim Jong-Un, you really shouldn’t have bothered

Henry Wertz 1
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Yep.

A) Don't think it was north Korea, as plenty have said. I should note here, US old media has dutifully reported, over and over (until they got bored with the story) the "party line" that "officials" say it was North Korea, and trotted out an expert (without naming who they worked for) to say it was North Korea (with no reasoning as to why.) They never even suggested the possibility of someone else doing it as literally all other news coverage on the planet has. US "new" media (i.e. sites that are not just a newpaper or news channel's online portal) did cover it properly. Luckily I have time to listen to BBC News during my lengthy commute, so even if I hadn't read it on The Register, I heard the Kaspersky employee's doubts (having analyzed attacks of South Korean systems and found this did not follow the usual "modus operandi"), and later on the paper trail suggesting ex-employees being responsible.

B) I think I liked the movie slightly more than the reviewer. But, yeah, it was pretty low-brow compared to what it could be. If Kim had been involved with these hacks, I would think it would have to be strictly due to (spoiler?) him being incinerated during the movie; the movie is too far off reality to be a serious (or even much of a non-serious) critique of North Korea or it's regime.

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'Privacy is DAMAGING to PROGRESS' says Irish big data whitepaper

Henry Wertz 1
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The thing is...

So, yeah, this data mining probably would allow ("enable" for the business types) all sorts of uses. Data analytics are a pretty powerful tool. But that's the thing, people know how powerful data analytics are and do not want companies to have access to all this information. Simple as that.

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Bankrupt RadioShack to close up to 2,900 stores, share others with Sprint

Henry Wertz 1
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So more of the same

So more of the same then.

I think this is what probably put them out of business; 20 years ago, you could go in, get an electronics kit, get resistors, even buy (gasp!) a radio (either normal radio, CB radio, shortwave radio, or some ham radios.) Along with soldering irons, certain microchips, wires, TV antennas, and so on. I don't expect this to be a huge market, but there was probably no competition whatsoever in many markets they were in.

The last 10 years, they've basically been trying to make a go selling cell phones and plans; but there are so many other stores selling these too that I would never think to go to Radio Shack (the nearest Radio Shack has a cell phone seller NEXT DOOR to it, selling better plans to boot!) I've tried to go to Radio Shack, in one case to actually buy a radio, and they have almost nothing of interest in stock.

These plans of Radio Shack's really make it sound like they are still going to pretend they are a viable cell phone store.

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Ofcom can prise my telly spectrum from my COLD, DEAD... er, aerial

Henry Wertz 1
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They want to do something like this in the US too (well, maybe not reduce/eliminate FTA television but further reduce available channels, making it a tight fit). I personally have absolutely ZERO interest in this -- the cell cos here are SO greedy, while LTE and more spectrum has decreased their cost per GB significantly, they actually have increased per-GB charges.... so screw 'em, I'm not interested in making it easier for the cell cos to deliver data at $10-15/GB.

"whereas I prefer adverts at speed rather than skipped as I may miss a good one."

You have those in UK ("good" ads?) Here, the advertisers seem to just assume people are "forced" to watch the ads, and seem to make them as obnoxious as possible.

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Snowden leaks LEGALISED GCHQ's 'illegal' dragnet spying, rules British tribunal

Henry Wertz 1
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"Prior to December last year, the secret policy breached Article 8, the right to a private life, and Article 10, the right to freedom of expression without State interference, the tribunal said."

A) As almost first commenter (Lost all faith...) says, why has there been no punishment? If I was tapping your calls and snooping on your data traffic I'd certainly get prison time. I don't expect NSA or GCHQ officials to get jail time, but prosecutors or some tribunal should at least be breathing down their neck and making them VERY nervous.

B) Why in the hell would disclosing illegal practices magically make them legal? These practices still breach the right to a private life. I'm not sure these practices breach the right to freedom of expression without State interference, since neither the UK or US regimes have been cracking down on freedom of speech.

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Half a billion wearables... and guess whose kit has to support all that data, asks Cisco

Henry Wertz 1
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"As a result, total mobile data traffic will reach 292 exabytes (292 x 1018 bytes) per year by 2019, up from 30 exabytes in 2014, according to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2014 to 2019."

Not if the cell cos can help it. The data pricing here in the US is absurd (like $30 for 2GB), price per GB has actually been increasing while cost to carry those GBs has decreased. Very few unlimited plans, and cash overages instead of "throttle caps" (except T-Mobile!). I'm on grandfathered unlimited, but I know for damn sure I would not let my data price balloon from, say, $30 a month to $300 a month! (as would happen with the 10x the useage Cisco suggests), and I doubt very many other people would either.

Also, I would never let my phone switch from wifi *back* to cellular just to let some cellco recoup fees! After all, the phone is going to be doing more than one thing at a time, I don't want that "free" music stream to be running but the GMail updates and whatever using up my data while I told the phone to stay on wifi.

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Hey kids! If you vote Facebook will give you EXTRA LIKES*

Henry Wertz 1
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Why?

I kind of feel like, why? If someone doesn't care enough to vote anyway, why should they be kind of cajoled into voting? They probably haven't thought over who they are going to vote for anyway.

Problem we have in the US, is the broken 2-party system; effectively, these parties are both centrist and act almost as a single party. Third party candidates are excluded from debates, polls ignore the existence of third parties (one poll call I got did not list a third party as a choice at all, and the other I got listed "other" then when I hit the number for "other" said "that is an invalid choice"), and the media uses the (invalid since they don't allow third-party choices) poll results to ignore the existence of third parties. The voter turnout here is low because voters are disenfranchised, I vote third party but a lot of voters just think "neither choice" is any good and don't vote at all.

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Spent the weekend watching Game of Thrones? You're a FAT LONELY SADDO

Henry Wertz 1
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"But I see no reason why binge-watching, like binge game-playing, can't be a social activity."

It can be. But usually, it's not, it's one person sitting there watching episode after episode after episode. I honestly doubt it's healthy to watch like 20 hours of anything all in one stretch. They're talking trends, not saying literally every instance of binge-watching is buy a umm "fat loney saddo".

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Adobe and software pals haul Forever 21 to court over piracy allegations

Henry Wertz 1
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"It's probably just very disorganised IT bods who weren't on the ball with licence tracking, or they were imaging PCs with the applications on." ; "would help if software companies made licensing easier"

It's possible, and if so I sympathize with Forever 21 I suppose if this is the case.

But having done a stint of IT work recently, I've seen businesses also where they want Office and so on (even if they are doing nothing that'd make a difference if they had Office, LibreOffice, or even just the "notepad on steroids" text editor that newer Windows versions have for that matter.) They aren't that concerned over how it gets on there. We bought copies of slightly older Office versions, and did it all legit. But I could easily see this being a case of them buying like 1 copy of the software, and either finding it doesn't actually deactivate when it phones home so they just kept installing more and more copies (or possibly it *does* deactivate and they installed a crack!)

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Why Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2? Upton: 'I drank the Kool-Aid'

Henry Wertz 1
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Well... OK

I'd like to first point out, I think these (alleged) people lining up asking for Windows on Pi, I'd guess in general are expecting *Windows*, not WinRT. I wouldn't be surprised to find out most of these people (if they indeed exist) may not even realize that, for example, their phone and their desktop are running completely different CPU architectures. I know (even as a non-Windows user) that I found it quite disappointing when "Windows for ARM" rapidly devolved from potentially a full copy of Windows with x86 emulation for non-ported software to essentially ".NET subset that runs on a tablet". (Before you think this is pie-in-the-sky, recall Apple ported MacOS from 68k to PowerPC, and PowerPC to Intel, while maintaining this type of compatiblity; and Linux for non-x86 platforms gets you a full desktop, and optional x86 emulation to run any non-ported apps.) That said, having a WinRT 10 BSP (Board Support Package) available certainly can't hurt.

But... anyway... as long as they don't force-bundle Windows 10 with the Pi or something... fine with me. ARMv7 is a significantly better chip than ARMv6, with significantly better software support. Forget Windows 10, most Linux for ARM ports also require ARMv7 or up... the existing ARMv6 Linux versions and software builds are basically *just* to support the Pi, virtually everything else was using ARMv7 even when the Pi originally shipped. Although perhaps unnecessary (as long as you stay away from Windows), having more RAM can't hurt either since it hasn't increased the price.

linicks -- They make a slackware for Pi? Damn, that's nice, if I get a Pi that's defeinitely the way I'll go working on it!

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Snapchat jihadist-fearing peers return with LAST GASP Snoopers' Charter demand

Henry Wertz 1
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"So why re-introduce at report stage?"

They do this kind of thing in the US too. It seems, these politicians (mainly ones trying to ram in pro-Recording Industry Ass. of American and anti-civil rights and anti-privacy provisions) have such a low opinion of the public and other politicians, they think they will not even look to see what has stuck into a bill before they pass it.

As for Lord King -- I have full disrepect for you. Sometimes, someone is just misguided, or simply has a different point of view, I can disagree strongly with their viewpoint and still have respect. However, almost bragging about how people have tried to explain a topic to you, but you don't understand it or aren't willing to understand it.... but you're going to promote laws regulating that topic anyway? That is flat out stupid.

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Whew, US cellcos... Better find a new revenue stream, QUICK

Henry Wertz 1
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"I have seen the opinion that that's not really classical monopoly behavior, which would consist of keeping prices low in order to discourage competitors from entering the market, so making it a source of low but steady and reliable profits for the incumbent. Duopoly has different dynamics."

Monopolies only keep prices low to drive competitors out of the market, then jack prices up high to the profit maximization point (i.e. the point where $ per customer x number of customers yields maximum dollars.). There can be two of these points, one lower $ per customer but more customers, and the other higher $ per customer but fewer customers, with both being higher than a free market would have.

That said, the US market is no monopoly. Don't get me wrong, I'd like a more competitive market, but it simply is a very very high barrier of entry to be able to run enough cell sites to even cover a region, let alone the country. (MVNOs are another matter but they are run at the pleasure of the big 4...) The original buildouts (1980s), if the coverage started out spotty... well, tough, there was probably nobody else to go to, they could build out over time and get plenty of customers to fund it. Now, if you started even a regional carrier, you'll have trouble getting enough customers with a lesser buildout, to fund completing the buildout. You could need $1 billion or more to build out a regional network, let alone national, and very few investors would invest in this. After all, VZW has been spending like $4-5 billion a year at least since 2000 ($75 billion), AT&T something like that, and even if T-Mo and Sprint have been spending $1 billion a year (I think it's somewhat more than that) that's $15 billion since 2000. And these carriers are older than that actually.

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Henry Wertz 1
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Coupe points

"Apart from mergers, carriers may also choose to preserve profit margins by sacrificing market share, losing the lower value consumers and keeping those who choose an operator not on price but for network quality, added value services or choice of devices, for example."

Well, the problem is (as you really did cover in the same page of the article), AT&T and Verizon Wireless already do this. Damn are they expensive! But, network-wise they absolutely clean Sprint's and T-Mobile's clocks, VZW has the most coverage but both VZW and AT&T have enormously more coverage than Sprint or T-Mobile.

T-Mobile, they have very fast network in a very limited area and way the hell too much EDGE* everywhere else (which they are in the process of upgrading directly to LTE, since 3G is already obsolete.) *This is a bigger deal than you might think, EDGE in the US isn't getting that 100-200kbps data speed you might see on European EDGE, it's usually like 0-5kbps (1/10th dialup speed, so even GMail etc. will simply time out.)

Sprint... well, they do have loads of spectrum, but the execution? Heh. Typically, they'll 1) Release grandiose 3 or 4 year upgrade plan that'd result in a good to excellent network (depending on the market.) 2) When the first year's up, it seems they've gotten through like 2 months of planned upgrades. 3) Delay delay delay... 4) After 4 or 5 years, they'll be through the originally first year or so of upgrades, and the rest is scrapped since they are on the *next* round of upgrades by then. I do hope they do their upgrades this time, and with Softbank's cash maybe they will.

Two other points:

First, LTE. MetroPCS *did* acutally roll out LTE and the world's first VoLTE deployment, in order to provide 1-2mbps data and voice at lower costs than their existing CDMA network, then passed some of those savings on through lower monthly bills. However, the other carriers viewed LTE as this magic cash cow and thought (at least at first) that they'd be able to charge all this extra money for the service, whereas (most) customers see it as the carriers problem to maintain a reasonably fast service and don't care if it's 3G or 4G as long as they do so. I must agree, if there were a "4G surcharge", I'd happily accept ~1mbps or so EVDO service and pocket the surcharge. (There are the other customers, as seen on howardforums, who love to see just how high a speedtest they can get, whether they "need" the speed or not.)

Second, AT&T *loves* to conflate wireless, wireline, and cable figures. (Well, now that I Google it appears Verizon now also does this.) Last figure I saw for Verizon Wireless alone was (a few years ago) like $5 billion, and AT&T Mobility was like $4 billion (with both planning to bump it up as high as maybe $8 billion a year in the fastest -- i.e. most expensive -- portion of the LTE upgrades.)

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Microsoft tells big biz: No free Windows 10 for you, crack wallets open

Henry Wertz 1
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Uh, sounds like fun?

"We're trying to figure out how consumers get a one-size-fits-all OS and features as fast as possible at a quality bar that businesses wouldn't tolerate."

I'm I the only one that is made a bit nervous by this statement? Well, not for me but for those poor Windows users. The concept is sound, and in fact in the early Windows NT days (if I recall correctly) there was the option of installing "update only" updates or installing the updates that added features.

But the way it's phrased -- I expect my updates to always be at a "business" quality bar, and to not have my updates install dodgy new software. Ubuntu doesn't disappoint (at least for LTS releases) -- the updates are stable, and the updates don't decide to tack on some dodgy software. Of course, with 10,000s of packages, I'm sure a few of the not-officially-supported available packages are real buggy, but they aren't automatically installed by an update.

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Quantum of Suspicion: Despite another $29m, D-Wave doubts remain

Henry Wertz 1
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"I'm also mildly puzzled as to why there's confusion as to whether it's a quantum box or not."

Honestly, me too. The basic argument against it using quantum computing seems to be "we haven't figured out how to make it commercially viable yet so it must not be possible." There was serious doubt, but quantum computing tests indicated it was the real deal; that ~2011 Nature paper statistically analyzed some results to some class of programs to discriminate between 4 solving methods and the best fit indicated quantum computing.

I have had little doubt about this system being quantum. Of course, given the apparently significant algorithm speedups the last few years, it's possible the quantum annealing box will be a dead end until significantly faster read/write speeds for the "qubits" are developed. Personally, I'm somewhat "bullish" on D-Wave's prospects and think they may well be able to get nice speedups.

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Privacy alert: Outlook for iOS does security STUPIDLY, says dev

Henry Wertz 1
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I'm just amused

I'm just amused that, as much as Microsoft wants EVERYONE ELSE to use their cloud, that they are using AWS (Amazon Web Services) for their own product.

The poor security handling? That is just par for the course among some of these local/"cloud" hybrid services. Not that I condone it; far from it, I recommend not using "cloud" at all unless you know what it's doing with your information and especially security credentials. (To those who say this is OK and necessary -- no, it's obviously NOT necessary to keep your credentials when you've removed the app, or told it to delete your account.)

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'People ACTUALLY CONFUSE Facebook and the internet in some places'

Henry Wertz 1
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Maybe not confused?

"People will walk into phone stores and say 'I want Facebook'. People actually confuse Facebook and the internet in some places."

Or they are obsessed with Facebook, and actually only care if the phone can use Facebook, not any other web site (or the rest of the internet for that matter.)

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'One day, YOU won't be able to SENSE the INTERNET,' vows Schmidt

Henry Wertz 1
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ANNET?

So, like ANNET? Go ahead and see Romantically Apocalyptic to see how that ends up 8-)

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Welcome to Spartan, Microsoft's persuasive argument for... Chrome

Henry Wertz 1
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How about standards?

Why would there be this worry about IE versus Spartan and worrying about having to make two different pages?

For "normal" web pages, there's simply no reason to use every HTML5 feature in existence just because it's there, these pages will probably then load even on a 10 or 15 year old browser.

For "fancy" pages... IE is probably the worst at following industry standards on the market, but is SO much better than a few years ago that probably the easiest thing to do is just avoid those features IE doesn't properly implement. Once that's done, you're done, your page will load on IE, Spartan, and all modern browsers.

Of course, if you have some cruft-tastic app with ActiveX plugins and junk, well, that's legacy, you were supposed to ditch that stuff like 10 years ago you're going to just have to deal with it. It's nice that Microsoft gives SOME clean(ish) solution to do it. And "I told you so", some of us (probably dismissed as Linux fanbois) said from the start that these ActiveX "web pages" were big problems (I hesitate to call it a web page when it's a frame with an ActiveX control stuck in it).

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NSA gunning for Google, wants cop-spotting dropped from Waze app

Henry Wertz 1
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However...

However, in my state, the location of speed traps (which, lets face it, is why the police are marked in Waze) is considered public information, and in fact the public access channel lists the speed trap locations (or at least it used to.) It would be considered illegal here to have anyone tell anyone else "no, you cannot post this information." (edit: Well, freedom of speech, you as a citizen can SAY whatever you'd like, but wouldn't be able to enforce in any way having someone not post the info.)

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Penguin porn? NO! Linux folk in #LCA2015 standoff

Henry Wertz 1
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To me

To me, it would actually make more sense (especially once they realized there's a has collision) to use #LCAu2015 for the Linux Conference Au, particularly since there's a Linux Conference North America (which people might refer to as Linux Conference America and abbreviate to LCA.... this'd then be #LCNA2015.)

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'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?

Henry Wertz 1
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"At least with professional software you (usually) get updates at a predictable cadence and can plan the patches. Seems Mr Torvalds would rather have us firehose the damned things and that just won't happen."

Umm, sitting on patches to release them once a month is actually a DISavantage, blackhats then know they can start heavily exploiting a flaw (the day after "Patch Tuesday" in Microsoft's case) and have about 4 weeks where NOBODY has patched the flaw (since the patch is not even available.) You can slow down your patch deployment schedule as much as you want (really, I won't tell!), just because Linux distros get patches immediately does not prevent you from rolling them once a month or even less frequently if you really want to.

As for Linus being unfit for the workplace -- this is nonsense. Have you heard the stories of Steve Jobs berating people, and Balmer even throwing chairs? Not that I endorse this behavior, but not everyone is required to be a bland yes-man. Some people have a passion for the job they are in, and a view of what "The One True Way" should be for their work. Imagine the mess Linux would be in if Torvalds just meekly said "Yes" to every idea, good and bad, that people wanted to put into the kernel?

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Boffins: It's EASY to make you GRASS YOURSELF UP for crimes you never did

Henry Wertz 1
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Texas-style

"'By empirically demonstrating the harm 'bad' interview techniques – those which are known to cause false memories – can cause, we can more readily convince interviewers to avoid them and to use 'good' techniques instead,' Shaw said."

Or, do it Texas style -- the deep south in general, and Texas in particular, they generally have the attitude that if someone was picked up by the police to begin with, they did it (whatever "it" may be). I'm quite sure they'll be interested in these techniques -- in order to "ensure a conviction."

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BMW: ADMEN have asked us for YOUR connected car DATA

Henry Wertz 1
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So how much will I get paid?

First off, I will never buy a "connected" car if there is any way for it to phone back my present location (without me hitting some emergency button first). I don't trust GM (or Toyota, or BMW, Audi, Hyundai, etc.), don't trust advertisers (the US basically has no privacy laws the way most EU countries do) and don't trust the Feds to not override both of the above to slurp data (not to target me, just to pull an NSA and decide it'd be "neat" to collect the data just because they can.)

Second though... in Japan, there's the option to have your car display... well, ads... I think to make it sound useful they refer to it as sponsored personalized information on available nearby services. ***BUT***, if you elect to do this Toyota actually CHARGES LOWER MONTHLY PAYMENTS in return for this, you effectively are paid for giving up your information. They found that people there were not willing to give up information without compensation, and they have functional privacy laws so they'd be (probably) be sued into oblivion if they decided they would just do it and not tell anyone.

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What an ACE-HOLE! This super-software will whip you at poker, hands down

Henry Wertz 1
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Two comments..

First, I was reading the text as meaning the 4000-CPU cluster was running 6 billion hands/second, as opposed to each CPU running that. (The numbers still don't work, that'd come out to like 31 million billion in two months...)

Second, I must say, online poker of any sort is pretty different than in person; online, it's largely a game of mathematics (the mathematics being determining your odds and so on) and strategy ("strategy" being mainly detecting the foibles of other players.) In person, you can get reads from other players, they may detect tells from you, and there's the psychological aspects of being there in person interacting with other human beings in addition to the usual aspects of online play.

I saw a round once on TV (a few years back when World Poker Tournament had some popularity on TV)... the one guy (who had gotten into the tournament via online play) had a straight flush -- STRAIGHT FLUSH! -- and had a 98% chance of winning. The other guy (who looked somewhat like Tom Petty, and got in via live play at casinos) had dick, like a pair of 6's or something, but was bluffing hard... he raised, the guy with the straight flush looked real nervous and sat there. The guy with the 6's just kept sitting there stairing at him with the crazy eyes... after like a minute, he's like "Are you going to call or what!!" and kept stairing. The guy with the straight flush hadn't played much in person, he couldn't deal with the crazy eyes, they psyched him out and he folded!

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