* Posts by Shannon Jacobs

788 posts • joined 9 Apr 2007

Tesla cars 'hackable' says Dell engineer

Shannon Jacobs

Already a bit late

How do you think Michael Hastings was murdered? Hint: Start with the source code for all of the car's electronic systems, including the brakes, accelerators, GPS controls, wireless network, and of course the airbags, windows, and door locks. Make the evidence go away? Just run the hack from volatile memory so it disappears as soon as the power is lost. Chain of command to trace? Sorry, it was just an independent contractor operating on his own initiative. No orders given, none received, no reports filed. Just a wink and a nudge, and probably a bonus for unspecified special services on behalf of "national security". Nothing to see here.

Remember, he was not drunk or chemically impaired. He was a cautious driver. And his leg was fractured from stomping on the brake pedal very hard. Obviously to no effect. Can't you just wait for the self-driving cars?

Me? No thanks.

Ubuntu Edge crowdsauce cash stash comes up short

Shannon Jacobs

Re: Partition the project in a MANAGED mannger

When I said "Ubuntu" will no longer support, I think I was supposed to refer to Canonical or some other entity.

The situation now is that I've mostly lost interest in and quit using Ubuntu, though at one point I had high hopes for it as a real-world populist alternative to the tyrannies of Microsoft and Apple. How is Ubuntu managed these days? I don't know and I no longer care.

Shannon Jacobs

Partition the project in a MANAGED mannger

The main reason I don't support crowd-funded projects is the lack of project management at the level of the funding organization. I actually expect that this massive project had relatively mature project planning, but if I don't financially support Ubuntu through his existing websites, why would I find this approach better? Is it supposed to be an advertising or trendy thing?

Let me repeat the ancient suggestion for "reverse auction charity shares". The projects should be planned in a managed way, including a reasonable scale and success criteria against a KNOWN budget. If they get more supporters, then the price per share should go down. AFTER each project is completed, it should be evaluated, and THEN you can consider what additional projects should follow it.

If Ubuntu was responsive to the users, I bet that there are still a lot of us who would be funding ongoing support for some of the older versions. The latest and greatest Ubuntu is consistently driven by programmers who want to program for hardware I do not want to buy for the sake of running Ubuntu. My own real-world and residual uses for Ubuntu are for older machines--that Ubuntu will no longer run on or support, even for security patches.

Nokia's PHAB-ULOUS comeback attempt: Huge WinPho 8 mobe rumoured

Shannon Jacobs

Price is no object?

Actually, you'd still have to pay me to use another mobile phone with ANY Microsoft OS on it. Once bitten, twice shy as hell.

The thing that most pissed me off about that phone was how it would lose imported data. I would reimport the data from the non-Microsoft sources, and it would disappear again and again. I still can't figure out if it was deliberate, incompetence, or just indifference to the world outside Microsoft. Not sure when I maxed out on my hatred of Microsoft, but that may have been when.

Total cost of that axed NHS IT FIASCO to taxpayers: £10.1bn

Shannon Jacobs

For-profit medical care is fundamentally risky

Yours was the only comment that mentioned profits, though rather tangentially. I think that's the root of this problem. The Americans were only concerned about profits, and I'm even willing to wager that they lied about their capabilities to land the contract in hopes of getting those big profits. The British healthcare system is not focused on profits, but on health and controlled costs. Almost inevitable that the crossed signals would bollix things up.

How much profit did the Americans manage to pocket amidst this snafu? All we can hope is that it wasn't too outrageous? Oh, wait. I'm already outraged.

Forget hackers - storms and snafus are bigger threat, say infosec bods

Shannon Jacobs

Not all outages are created equal

An outage that requires me to reload a webpage is trivial and can be ignored.

An outage that allows a hacker to install a man in the middle and take my bank information is not so trivial and ignorable.

Japan's unwanted IT workers dumped in 'forcing-out rooms'

Shannon Jacobs

Re: How odd-

Ouch and...

At one point I was impressed by Ricardo's equations. He essentially argued that specialists should be treated as profitable insects, not human beings. As equations, they seem mathematically sound, even though a lot of the conclusions of his economic theories seem crazy. Now I'm convinced the equations must be bogus, too.

We need new economic theories that deal with the only REAL scarcity that we ALL share. Time. Yes, it's hard to value, because we fundamentally don't know how much we have, but in the end, it's only valuable thing any of us actually does have. Also, we can't put dollar values on the memories we create with our time. Nevertheless, how we used our time in this world is the real metric of the value of our lives.

LinkedIn lowers age of consent to 13

Shannon Jacobs

Main beef with LinkedIn is the SPAM

The main reason I can't take LinkedIn seriously is the amount of spam in their name. Some of it is quite sophisticated phishing, while a lot of it is just abuse of their link shorteners. Some of the phishing is so good that the only way I'm sure is because it arrives at an email address that was never known to my LinkedIn account. The link shortening stuff could be cured by hijacking the links--but only IF LinkedIn actually cared about their reputation.

I think the endorsement thing is silly, but I don't rate it as a major negative. Just another reason to ignore LinkedIn. Perhaps it could be made credible if the reputation of the endorsers was verified outside of the network? In other works, hierarchical endorsements would be okay, but circular endorsements would be reduced in value...

Snowden journalist's partner gave Brit spooks passwords to seized files

Shannon Jacobs

Journalism is dead, long live the Queen

I'd say the point was to kill journalism, but it's already a bit late. The only question is whether or not they have to kill the journalists. (Yes, I'm still and increasingly convinced they killed Michael Hastings.)

We are heading for a future where regular people like you and I have no privacy and are completely enslaved by the corporations and governments, whereas the richest and most powerful people have complete privacy and all power. It isn't just the negative personal information, though those threats are easy to understand. Even the most positive information about your tastes, interests, and personal strengths can be used to control and manipulate you and effectively remove your freedom.

It's possible that the flow of information will become uncontrollable and even the rich and powerful people will be stripped of the secrecy. However, even in that case, I'm sure they will continue to abuse our personal information and us. Sometimes the future just looks too bleak and I'm glad of my age...

Bug-finder chucked for posting to Zuck

Shannon Jacobs

OTHER is NOT an option for security

Does reply post this count as an open letter to Facebook? I also tried to report some problems to Facebook via the official Facebook channels. I don't think they were listening, and anyone who trusts Facebook with ANY sensitive data is a gigantic fool

Hey, let's try persuading the black hat hackers that they have to play by the rules! Isn't that a brilliant idea?

Listen here, you morons of Facebook:

The essential nature of security threats is that you do NOT know what they are in advance--or you would have blocked them already and they would NOT exist as security threats. Sometimes that means the reporting mechanism may not be suitable for accepting the information. You ALWAYS need an OTHER channel. Shooting the messenger for YOUR incompetence is NOT a solution.

In conclusion, I do NOT trust Facebook at all. However, I don't think they are yet as EVIL as the google has become. It's just that the amazing incompetence of Facebook combined with the sensitive personal data makes Facebook much more dangerous.

Microsoft: That $900m Surface write-down is smarting

Shannon Jacobs

You'd have to pay me to use it

I'm not joking. I wouldn't use it unless someone was paying me.

Come to think of it, that pretty much describes all of my relationships with Microsoft products. If I had any viable choices, I would be strongly biased against Microsoft, but in every case I can think of, there was no choice. Microsoft's software was just there and I was being paid to deal with it.

NSA gets burned by a sysadmin, decides to burn 90% of its sysadmins

Shannon Jacobs

You thought flying killer robots were bad?

Flying killer robots are NOTHING compared to this monster.

Have you ever made a mistake that would embarrass you? Well, it's out there now.

Have you ever tip-toed over the legal line? "Book 'im, Dano" whenever it suits 'em.

Do you have any interests or special talents? Well, now they're just bait to pull you in.

Remember the joke from the funny movie: "Wherever you go, there you are." The new version is "Wherever you went, they already know, and wherever you think of going, they will be there waiting for you."

Snowden's secure email provider Lavabit shuts down under gag order

Shannon Jacobs

Freedom of speech is too expensive in today's Amerika

Hey, if you had a battery of lawyers, maybe you could have survived.

Privacy in America? Try to intrude on the Kolk brothers or the big dick Cheney. They can afford to break you into small shiny pieces.

Hey, it could be worse. You could have gotten murdered by your hacked car a la Michael Hastings.

British boffin muzzled after cracking car codes

Shannon Jacobs

Murder through obscurity

No, it's much worse than that. How do you think Michael Hastings was murdered?

Hint: Basically a two-part hack. (1) Disable brakes. (2) Initiate maximum acceleration.

Deadly Spanish train disaster exploited by malware mail scumbags

Shannon Jacobs

Surrender, Dorothy!

After all, SpamCop and the google have surrendered to the spammers, and Yahoo has been on their side for years already.

As someone who really hates spammers and who wants to make their business models less profitable, I have to express extra dismay this week, since SpamCop has evidently thrown in the towel, too. Maybe it was inevitable since CIsco acquired them a couple of years ago. After all, from Cisco's position, there's nothing wrong with spam as long as someone is willing to pay for the extra hardware to handle the extra packets created by the spammers. At least that's how it looks to the short-term bean counters.

What I don't understand is why the major email providers continue to support the spammers. I'll offer a prize to anyone who can convince me there is ANY positive value added to ANY part of the Internet by any spammer. They just suck value from everyone in their desperate search for suckers, and especially from the value of email systems.

There have been some cosmetic 'improvements' in the email systems I use, but the #1 problem remains the same as it ever was: SPAM. Does anyone know of an email system that has integrated spam-fighting tools? I'm talking about a system that would let me help in targeting ALL of the spammers' infrastructure, help pursue ALL of the spammers' accomplices, and even help and protect ALL of the spammers' victims, including the suckers, the email systems, and even the companies whose reputations are abused by the spammers.

Yes, I know that we can't create a perfect world and eliminate all of the spam. However, I believe we can reduce their profits and have less spam, and I even believe that the email system that did it first and best would be significantly more valuable.

Japanese police bust poker-playing IT boss for Android malware

Shannon Jacobs

Who's at risk?

Actually called the Japanese police to see if they were going to publish a list of the dangerous apps so I could check against the Japanese apps I've downloaded. Absolutely no clue that I could detect. Either there is a clue somewhere else, or someone delivered the gang on a platter.

Shannon Jacobs

Now I'm running scared

From the description, I'm pretty sure that I've been receiving that spam--but to the best of my knowledge I've never installed such a poison app. How did they get my email address?

At this point, I'm not even certain they haven't somehow registered me on such a website, though I certainly wouldn't have done it on my own, given the limited state of my Japanese... I haven't noticed any suspicious credit card charges, but maybe I haven't been looking carefully enough.

Do you suppose the google would help by warning all of the people who downloaded the dodgy apps? Don't hold your breath waiting for the google to become less EVIL. Another positive thing the google could do would be to add a 'financial model' tab to their app website. In this case, the warning would have been something to the effect "The creator of this app claims an advertising-based financial model, but the creator is not using Google's advertising system and has not received any advertising-related revenue from Google."

Still, in terms of supporting spammers and scammers, I think Yahoo is #1. Hmm... Returning to the original question, maybe that's how the scammer got my email address without actually getting me to install anything on my phone?

Five charged as Feds bust largest credit-card hack in history

Shannon Jacobs

Linkage to spam?

I'd like to know about the linkages to the spammers. Yes, many of the spammers do seem to be minor-league nuisances, though they are much more visible in our lives, but I'm curious about such factors as (1) How many major criminals started as spammers? (2) How much cover do the big-league criminals get from the massive noise of the spam? (3) How much of the spammer infrastructure is shared with the big-league criminals?

In short, I do regard these guys as smarter than the average spammer, but about the same level of evil.

Speaking of EVIL that reminds me of the new spammer-friendly policies of the google and Yahoo. Anyone want to report on recent changes in Microsoft's email systems? I'm not using them these days because of their excessive spammer friendliness in the past (and even though Microsoft has done some good work against spammers upstream--I'm still on the downstream end).

Yahoooo! - Activist! investor! leaps! overboard! jingling! with! cash!

Shannon Jacobs

Such a bright future...

Yahoo has such a bright future that he wants no part of it? Take the money and run.

Like he contributed a big fart to the success?

Seriously, since Yahoo is becoming the best friend of spammers, I'm increasingly convinced the best thing for everyone would be immediate bankruptcy. Yes, it would inconvenience lots of people--but especially the spammers. I'm guessing Yahoo will never get desperate enough to react.

Hint: How about mail-system-integrated anti-spammer tools that target every part of the spammers' business models? ALL of the spammers' infrastructure and ALL of spammers' accomplices. Separate the spammers from ALL of the suckers who feed them.

Turn some of that spammer hatred into Yahoo fondness? ROFLMAO at Yahoo.


Shannon Jacobs

Re: Probably get spit out immediately.

But maybe the whales were doing research, like the Japanese 'researchers'. While the whales might have disliked the taste of humans, I haven't heard many reports of Japanese who don't like the taste of whales.

Yes, Gertrude, they still have 'research samples' of whale meat at the local grocery stores in Japan. I certainly saw some within the last few weeks, though I don't pay close enough attention to see if it is sometimes 'out of research'.

Icahn offers to sweeten his Dell deal with warrants

Shannon Jacobs

I hope Icahn wins and LOSES

I hope that worthless vulture "wins" and completely destroys the value of Dell. Nothing personal against Dell the company or the man, but I want to see Icahn spend the rest of his life fighting lawsuits for his greed and incompetence and selfish bastardy.

Giant human-powered quadricopter wins $250,000 Sikorsky Prize

Shannon Jacobs

Hard to believe it was possible

I have to give some credit to Kickstarter, though I still think it needs to incorporate some project management...

US states: Google making ad money on illegal YouTube vids

Shannon Jacobs

Shocked, shocked, to hear there is gambling going on here!

Intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.

If the google was serious about stopping the scammers and spammers and assorting copyright thieves then they would provide wholesale reporting tools for the wholesale crimes. Instead, the google makes it quite difficult to report abuse and criminal activities. Quite obvious they are willing to support the criminals with free advertising as long as they get a share of the eyeballs. Profit!

I used to think the google wasn't especially guilty, but was just being forced to become EVIL by the way the American laws are written. In other words, the system in America is for the most cheaply bribed politicians to write the worst laws for the greediest and least ethical businessmen, and of course they want laws that make the game more and more crooked. However, since the google is now a major, probably the leading, lobbyist among high tech companies, I'm no longer buying the innocent plea.

Guilty, guilty, guilty. EVIL, too.

Icahn lines up prodigious Dell deal dough

Shannon Jacobs

Re: Has Carl got a driving license for this?

However, I think it is debatable whether or not Dell is that good at running a computer company. Yeah, it's a tough business, but it's not like all of us are going to be abandoning our computers anytime soon. Actually, I think the real point of this entire argument is that Dell wants to abandon computers via a path that the existing shareholders would refuse to support.

In other words, Dell the company is looking at an extremely rocky transition whatever happens. It's just that the blackmailer is also a skilled vulture capitalist who is convinced he can get more cash out of the corpse of Dell the computer company than Dell the man can.

I actually give Dell the man some credit for wanting to save the company with his name, but I don't actually have any strong reason to think that he still has enough entrepreneurial spirit to do it. Success is partly a matter of timing and luck, but age and energy are also important, and he's much older and less energetic than he once was, and whatever market he's planning to enter is not going to be free of competition. Then again, he will have the advantages of experience and a lot of start-up capital (except that, given the state of American and especially Texas law, I am expecting the blackmailer to win and suck all the capital out).

Secret US spy court lets Microsoft, Google reveal their petitions

Shannon Jacobs

The truth will make you free or enslave you

Just depends on who has it and how much. Let me clarify:

It's obvious that your past mistakes can be used against you, especially if any of them are wander over any legal edges. It's also obvious that knowledge of your weaknesses can be used to attack you. However, even your interests and strengths can be used to manipulate and control you. Even knowing what you want to believe can be exploited to put you in a hole.

Freedom involves meaningful and unconstrained choice. I guarantee that if they know enough about you, then they can constrain your freedom.

Shannon Jacobs

If you believe what they tell you...

If you believe what they tell you, then I have a perfectly lovely bridge I'm sure you want to buy. There's also some lovely real estate that we can look at... Let me see. When is low tide again?

Actually, I think it is quite possible that the management of the company does not even know what data they are providing to who. If the politicians wanted a cloak of legality over it, then they could just write the law to allow the "Homeland Security" people to work directly through the appropriate technicians, basically compelling them to cooperate without informing their superiors. I'm sure I could draft a law with a blackhole provision like that. However, there's also the old strong arm approach of just breaking in and stealing the information, though it would be harder to put the legal bandaid over it.

Yeah, I'm paranoid, but I'm increasingly convinced that Edward Snowden only knew about the tip of the iceberg. Several people have expressed amazement that a new hire in such a lowly position could have found out so much. My current belief is that what he saw was quite trivial compared to the serious stuff. They had just become so used to spying on us that they though that stuff was trivial and could be shown to any one off the street and no one should care--at least not compared to the rest of the iceberg.

Report: Android malware up 614% as smartphone scams go industrial

Shannon Jacobs

Re: I blame Google

I used to think the google was kind of innocent (or naive) and didn't deserve so much blame. However, these days I'm convinced they've gone EVIL (including the lobbying).

Having said that, the most obvious improvement to the store would be a 'financial model' tab. Google doesn't have to certify the information there, but they should give legitimate developers the option to prove their honesty. Fakers and scammers would still be there, but just the lack of proof would be powerful. Essentially the more the developer is willing to say about his financial model, and the more proof, then the more likely that is a safe app.

Let me try to to make it clear with an example. The developer's comment on the 'financial model' tab might say "This app is funded by advertising." Below that, there would be a section for google's comment, which might be "We have in fact paid significant advertising revenue to this developer" or "We have not paid any money to this developer over the last year." If you are comparing two apps, and one says "I earned $15,000 from this app" and the google confirms it, while another app has no such information, then you should regard the first app as much safer.

Snowden dodges US agents in Moscow, skips out on flight

Shannon Jacobs

The police state of America?

I don't think you're giving enough credit to the big dick Cheney, but President Obama clearly failed to undo the damage he inherited. In short, the shock of 9/11 had already been used to drive the government to new depths of secrecy and the Constitution had been more undermined than ever before and Obama failed to undo the damage or reverse the trend. I think the historians' question will be whether or not Obama even slowed it down a bit.

My current view on this is that Cheney and Rumsfeld won by basically playing clever bureaucratic poker. It's relatively easy to redirect the government a little bit through your political appointees, but the problem is that your political appointees leave office when you do. The innovation was to use those political appointees to target the career civil service. In theory, the civil service is supposed to be hired on the basis of competence with a focus on doing whatever they are told to do, but Cheney made it a high priority to change the retention and hiring processes. The existing civil servants were actively harassed and encouraged to quit, and the hiring process was "adjusted" so that the post-Cheney government was strongly tilted in a new direction.

US DoJ: Happy b-day, Ed Snowden! You're (not?) charged with capital crimes

Shannon Jacobs

No, the charges were NOT filed on his birthday

Nor do I believe all of the charges have been unsealed. I think he should be more concerned about having a fatal "accident" like Michael Hastings. All those car electronics are so easily hackable. Here's the algorithm:

1. Turn off braking system.

2. Engage maximum acceleration.

3. Bye bye, sucker.

The actual attack code (in the case of Hastings) probably had such wrinkles as a link to the GPS and was designed to reside only in volatile memory.

Google staffing boss: Our old hiring procedures were 'worthless'

Shannon Jacobs

Where are the customers?

Well, pretty good point, but I think it's more relevant that they are losing track of the real world. Insofar as there are lots of less educated and dare I say older people in the real world, how much can the google know about them? Weekly email to your parents is scarcely sufficient...

P.S. I just like the icon and the old classic mysteries, but I've never smoked a pipe.

Shannon Jacobs

Relavant puzzles? Not hardly

Funny. I would have said that the google is doing a great job of hiring moneygrubbers, except for that silly old "Don't be evil" thing. On the one hand, I was going to be forgiving and say humans are too imperfect to strive for such perfection, so perhaps "Be less evil today" would be about all the google could hope for. Unfortunately, on the other hand, I found out that the google is probably the leading high-tech lobbyist of the day, which means it really is their fault as the rules of the American business game evolve in favor of more and more evil. Hey, they didn't have to join in that meta-game of bribing the cheapest politicians to write the worst laws.

I actually looked at a couple of pages of google-interview puzzles. My reaction was that most of them weren't worth my time. I only remember one question that I regarded as interesting, and I already know that I had the wrong answer. The question was something like "What is the biggest problem with UNIX and how would you fix it?" My answer is "The financial model and I think the best fix I can currently think of would be a charity brokerage using reverse auction charity shares (RACS) in a viral way... Like I said, it's the wrong answer, but it might also solve the question of how to save the First Amendment...

As for the google, I'm not sure what the question is, but I am sure I no longer trust the google's answer.

Internet fraud still stings suckers

Shannon Jacobs

Hello! I'm a criminal going to rob you! Here's my email address!

Doesn't this kind of thing amaze you? Isn't this the sort of problem that should have been solved many years ago? I'm a criminal, but just ignore me while I rob someone else!

Solution hint: Lots of people hate spam, but there are only a very few precious suckers who feed the spams.

Suggestion: Give us tools to get between the spammers and their victims. If a tiny percentage wanted to help, the suckers would be completely overwhelmed--and the spammers would get no money.

I'm not suggesting the spammers would become decent human beings. However if you cut off their money, they will move under other less visible rocks.

SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

Shannon Jacobs
Paris Hilton

Re: Daftest thing is ...

Not the .com domain. Belongs in http://www.sue4ca$h.scam website.

Shannon Jacobs

Corporations are people, my friend!

Haven't you been paying attention? The SCOTUS (Supreme Court) says corporations are people. Sociopathic people focused on nothing but making money.

Then the SCOTUS wonders why people are losing respect for the law? Don't forget Bush v. Gore, for-profit prisons, and the pursuit of pot smokers. Oh? You thought they were pursuing happiness? Fie fie on you.

Short summary of why the system is increasingly phucked even though most businesspeople are fine and upstanding people. It is because a FEW of the greediest and least ethical businessmen are bribing the cheapest professional politicians to rig the game. The insane IP laws and the resulting insane SCO lawsuit are just part of the rigged game.

But don't worry, they'll settle down as soon as they have enough money. ROFLMAO.

Confidence in US Congress sinks to lowest level ever recorded

Shannon Jacobs

The Founding Fathers would be appalled

Let's go from the cause to the results:

(1) Most businesspeople are fine and upstanding folks. They just want to play by the rules. However the greediest and LEAST ethical businessmen (and virtually all of the members of this bad crowd do seem to be men) have discovered it is easier to rig the game than to play fair. They do this by bribing the cheapest professional politicians. I think there is a slight bias in favor of neo-GOP pols as having the cheapest souls to buy these days, but that doesn't really matter, because the crooks will just buy as many as they need. (Because they are so greedy, they don't buy extra votes for what is actually a form of class warfare, which is why Congress gives an illusion of some balance.)

(2) Congress is broken. The founders wanted Congress to generally represent the will of the majority while protecting the rights of everyone. In the Senate, the protective clauses are now routinely abused to the point where the Senate can do nothing if Senators representing less then 25% of the voters feel like blocking action. (Remember that the 40 senators from the smallest states did not even receive all of the votes in their own states. The actual worst-case number works out as roughly 60% of 30%, which is only 18% of all of America's citizens.) The House is even worse. Due to aggressive gerrymandering and focused bribes (AKA SuperPAC money and some campaign donations), the part of the government that was supposed to be most responsive to the voters is now completely unresponsive and not even representative. The Democratic Party actually receive the majority of the votes in the last election, but only wound up with less than 45% of the House.

Personally, I prefer evolution rather then revolution, but most of the lunatics don't even believe in evolution. I think the future of America looks increasingly brutal and short.

Facebook, Microsoft beg Feds: Let us tell users what YOU asked for...

Shannon Jacobs

Less than you think? But MORE than ENOUGH!

Knowledge is power, and knowledge of your private information is POWER OVER YOU.

We already know what you (the government and sociopathic big companies) are, now we're just haggling about how much of our freedom you can remove by lying to us about the need for more security. The truth is more like "It's hard to get information about actual terrorists, but it's really easy to get YOUR information."

Near as I can tell, most people remain pretty clueless about the real threats here. It isn't just your negative information, though those examples are easier to understand. Your mistakes and flaws are embarrassing at best and might be legally actionable at worse, so of course you prefer they not become public knowledge. However, even your positive information can become a weapon in the wrong hands, like the imaginary hands of a sociopathic not-really-a-person profit-uber-alles corporation. Your tastes and interests can be used to manipulate you and remove whatever freedom you think you have left.

Have a nice day. If they let you.

KEEP CALM and Carry On: PRISM itself is not a big deal

Shannon Jacobs

Making the problem better or worse?

There are three main things that are really bothering me about these disclosures:

(1) Knowledge is power. Knowledge about you is power over you. It isn't just the negative stuff like embarrassing mistakes, exploitable weaknesses, or even legal transgressions that might make you subject to blackmail. It's also the positive things like your tastes, interests, and even your strengths that can be used to manipulate you. If the power is there, sooner or later someone is going to abuse it--and probably sooner. I still remember the big dick Cheney.

(2) Terrorists are insane, and mental pressure drives people insane. How much pressure does it create to know that everything you've ever said and done is on the record? How much pressure does it create to know I can't talk to anyone about anything that is critical of the government? I think we may be headed for an epidemic of lone wolf attacks--if that isn't what we are already seeing. Has it seemed to you that there have been a lot of crazy shootings lately? Were they just crazy paranoids? Not it turns out they probably were right to think the government was after them, eh? So they go nuts and shoot people. There is no perfect safety, eh?

(3) If I was a BAD actor trying to organize a large-scale plot, I would assume that all of my electronic communications might be tapped and I would act accordingly. What the government is doing here reminds me of the joke about trying to help some guy who is looking for some money. "Were you standing right there when you lost the money?" "No, I lost the money in Afghanistan, but I'm looking here because the light is better." It's hard to look for information about actual terrorists, but it's really easy to look for information about us.

Author Iain (M) Banks falls to cancer at 59

Shannon Jacobs

Sublimed? That was the theme of the Hydrogen Sonata

Just read that book a few days ago. Magnificent, but it still made me feel he was getting a bit mellow. The survival rate of the principle characters was unusually high...

I'm greatly saddened by his passing, but I'm not yet willing to try to assess his legacy. I am most familiar with his SF, and his optimism about a better future was quite inspiring. That actually reminds me of Gene Roddenberry, though I felt Banks was painting on a much larger canvas. Still, I can also consider the argument that most of his SF was just space opera, though again on the grand canvas... There were even some scenes where I felt he was almost deliberately playing for the camera, as in thinking of how it would appear in a movie.

For now my summary would be that I did not regret any of the time I spent reading his works, though some of his literary works were the source of some nightmares... His imagination was superlative, and he had great skill in transmitting his dreams into the minds of his readers. Amazing power, and it saddens me to know that there will be no more from him.

BT! dumps! Yahoo! after! 10! long! years! together!

Shannon Jacobs

Re: Yahoo loves spam and deserves the harvest

No, that's why it's generally pointless to pursue the spammer's ISP or botnet, but the spammer has to keep the dropbox open or the website up because there's a human sucker in that loop. There are VASTLY more people who hate spammers than suckers who feed them, which means it is relatively easy for the spam-haters to get there first--well, if Yahoo was willing to provide a few tools instead of helping the spammers.

Shannon Jacobs

Yahoo loves spam and deserves the harvest

Of the big three, Yahoo is clearly the biggest supporter of spam and they deserve to go bankrupt. Yahoo is most often used for the spammer dropboxes, and Yahoo makes it hardest to report abuse. You can't even get the full email in a form that lets you see what is under HTML format. They will show you what they think the header is, but I'm sure they aren't as competent as the spammers in fudging the headers.

Yahoo could give us tools and minor incentives to fight the spammers. I'd be glad to donate a bit of my time to make the world better, even if those scumbags at Yahoo also benefited from my efforts. Just tell me that I was the first to target the spammer's website or dropbox and I would have a warm fuzzy feeling.

Yoo hoo Yahoo. Are you listening. I think you have two options. (1) Go bankrupt. (2) Improve the value of your email system.

Ubuntu's Shuttleworth: Microsoft no longer dominates PC biz

Shannon Jacobs

Big donor financial model is nice--if YOU are the big donor

Microsoft has a business model of producing inferior products, evading ALL liability for the problems, and selling AWAY from the real customers, upstream, and just forcing us to use their garbage. It sucks, but it works.

Apple has a business model of attacking freedom and exploiting fashionable fanbois (and fangoils?). I think that's even even worse than Microsoft, but as a financial model, it seems to work even better.

Linux? Good software, gawdawful financial models. For some years I was a heavy user of Ubuntu and I still have it running in a few virtual machines (and native in older versions), but I no longer it poses any real threat in the real world. Shuttleworth has made too many bad decisions. That's what happens with the big donor financial model. It only works until the donor runs out of money and it only succeeds if the donor doesn't make too many bad choices. Ubuntu has not succeeded, and in my opinion has been going the wrong way for a couple of years now. I can no longer recommend it to any new user of the normal sort. (Have you ever met a normal sysop?)

As a small donor, I want something that will let me have something of the feeling of the big donor. If I was donating a million bucks, I would get to ask "How do I know this project will succeed?" Something like Kickstarter, but without the "Let the donor beware" tag. (My best 'theory' is called "reverse auction charity shares", but I'd consider other possibilities...)

Google whips the sheet off new Gmail interface

Shannon Jacobs

Cosmetic garbage is useless against spam

Are you tired of the arms race between the spammers and the email providers? Have you noticed that "Live and let spam" is fine with the spammers?

How about an arms race among the major email providers to create weapons we can use to break the spammers' business models? Can you think of anything that would increase the value of email more than reducing the spam?

I'm not saying you have to participate. You can be a free rider, for all I care, but I really want the tools to help disrupt ALL of the spammers' infrastructure and to pursue ALL of the spammers' accomplices. No, I'm not saying that they should give me direct access to the nuclear button. My hatred of spammers is such that mayhem would surely ensue, but wouldn't you feel better if you could at least help in the categorization, prioritization, and especially in the targeting?

There are lots of victims to help, too. I'm not too worried about the corporations whose precious reputations are abused. I'm a little concerned about the fools who feed the spammers, though protecting fools from themselves is not too important. I'm much more concerned about the really innocent victims--like YOUR children or YOUR parents.

Microsoft loads botnet-crushing data into Azure

Shannon Jacobs

Give Microsoft some credit for working upstream against spammers

However, I actually HATE spammers more than that. I've decided the ultimate sin is wasting other people's time, and the spammer's are the leading WHOLESALE wasters. Yes, it's good to hit them upstream, but I'm on the downstream end and I want to help hit them. I want the anti-spammer tools to attack ALL of the spammers' infrastructure, to pursue ALL of the spammers' accomplices, and to help and protect ALL of the spammers' victims.

Why can't any of the major email systems understand the value of being the real leader against the spammers? Don't they understand how they could increase the value of their email by removing more of the spammers? Don't they understand how it would increase the value of the Internet for everyone by removing more of the criminals? Maybe Yahoo desperately wants to go bankrupt? Why else would Yahoo be the leading supporter of spammers (among the big three). (BTW, there are a number of minor supporters who should be nuked, perhaps by having their email delayed in proportion to their slowness in removing the spammers' dropboxes.)

Huawei: 'trust us, we are being transparent'

Shannon Jacobs

Peculiar problems with Huawei smartphones?

Or is it my carrier? I'm not trying to start a rumor and this is not intended as some kind of a push poll, but I'm really curious if anyone else has problems when trying to browse the web with a Huawei smartphone. Mostly the phone seems to work pretty well, but whenever I start browsing, about 9 times out of 10 it will do nothing. The browser loads, the screen goes white, and nothing happens. After several minutes, it will start working, but I've never been able to figure out what is causing it--but it does seem to be getting worse. Recently I found someone else with the same problem--but with a different model of Huawei smartphone. (There don't seem to be too many of them around here.)

Since most of the other network-related functions seem to work well, I'm suspicious that it is something specific to port 80. Something with the firewall? Or should I get paranoid and wonder if the phone is phoning home to Huawei to report on my browsing?

Whatever it is, the annoyance has reached the level where I'm increasingly eager to dump the phone... I paid about $100 to dump my previous phone before the contract ran out, and the annoyance level and buyout costs are getting close to the same level... Maybe I should suspect a marketing conspiracy to sell more phones? If it gets to that point this time around, I'm pretty sure I'll change carriers, too...

COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

Shannon Jacobs

Believing what they want to believe

I think that's the crux of the problem, and the real threat of the Internet is that people can now saturate their input channels with "evidence" for whatever insane silliness they want to believe.

The google returns over 2 million hits for "obama birthplace kenya", which would keep anyone busy for a few years. Larry Page says this isn't a problem. No EVIL here, eh? Thanks to the google.

The only question about this article is whether they are self-deluded or attempting to profit on the delusions of others. Based on the cloud of secrecy, I'm pretty sure they are just con artists milking suckers with money who want to invest in nothing.

Government admits seizing two months of AP phone records

Shannon Jacobs

Look at the track record

The record is absolutely clear. The people with political power and weapons kill more innocent victims than the people who only have the weapons. It's a little like the kind word with the fun versus the kind word alone. In theory, the press is supposed to help keep the politicians in line. ROFLMAO.

Judge hands copyright troll an epic smack-down

Shannon Jacobs

Fraid not

All it proves is that Prenda Law wasn't smart enough and rich enough to bribe the right (AKA cheapest) politicians. I'm not saying that most businesspeople are bad. Most of them just want to play the game by the rules--but the rules are encoded into law by the most cheaply bribed politicians working for the greediest and least ethical businessmen... If there were only enough law firms of the ilk of Prenda, you can bet they would have lobbied to legalize their scam. Their only "sin" was that they weren't big enough. You know, to the point where you're basically compelled to become more evil over time just to survive.

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