* Posts by b shubin

308 posts • joined 19 Apr 2007


Japanese council worker in 750k smut site pornathon

b shubin
Paris Hilton

Pavlovian response

did somebody just ring a bell? why am i salivating with the urge to say "Lindsay Lohan nipslips" over and over and over...

PH, very apropos.

Securing cyberspace against war, terror and red tape

b shubin
Dead Vulture

Sock puppet

if they'd like to have a true value-add, they can outsource Mr. Garcia's job to one of the lobbyist PR firms on the Beltway, and eliminate the position, thereby saving money. the PR house would produce output identical to this, but with better spelling and grammar.

this guy is an empty suit with decision-making authority (what we call a Type 4, to be removed from the gene pool soonest). he has no technical or security experience, and his only qualifications for the job were that [1] he's a "free market" zealot (able to spout dogma at the slightest provocation), and [2] he was somebody's friend or campaign contributor. in this respect, he is just like every other appointee this administration has put forward in the last 8 years.

not one of them will acknowledge that "market solutions" are usually reactive, as the market does not effectively anticipate possible futures (unless one considers panic or paralysis acceptable reactions). this backward-looking approach has already failed in the antivirus industry, as the black hats have continuously gained ground on the security firms over the last 5 years, and we now have permanent botnets reaching deep into government, not just the private sector.

dead bird, because the bald eagle that represents the US is headed that way.

Governator outs Dubya's global-warming 'time bomb'

b shubin
Dead Vulture

All in context

amazing indeed: Webster drove amfM to lucidity.

Arnie has done a much better job than originally expected (i thought his life experience as a steroid-packed, stoner musclehead didn't seem relevant to this work), and when it comes to this issue, he's been excellent.

aside from anthropogenic GW, climate change, or whatever all the lobbyists are arguing against these days, it seems like a really good idea to pollute the atmosphere (and the rest of the planet) less, rather than more. Earth is the ONLY PLANET WE HAVE, and the only one your children will have (for those of you who have some), likely for several generations, at least (as a species, we spend far more resources on war, than we do on space exploration).

don't dump your toxic crap where your descendants will live - how controversial can this be?

we already have an Asian Brown Cloud, and California gets a piece of it on a fairly regular basis. i think one permanent industrial-pollutant cloud is enough. only deranged right-wing nutjobs like Phreaky and Hewittt (i know you're out there...) would argue against such a simple idea. it doesn't take all kinds, but we've got them anyway.

dead bird, because humans do that to wildlife far too often.

Apple gets into mine-sweeping, missiles and storage

b shubin

Gunpowder coffee

it is worth noting that the biggest US DoD purchase of Apple servers (so far) predated the switch to Intel, and the Navy promptly put Linux on them (namely, Yellow Dog, if memory serves).

perhaps Jobs woke up to the profit potential of deals such as that (residuals from service and support contracts, anyone?). maybe future Fruit-flavored server gear, computers, and embedded products will emerge in a parallel track, one that avoids generic, all-purpose chips in favor of bespoke, DSP-or-RISC-type processors, better suited to the kind of specialized, best-of-breed products the company is famous for. possibly, Apple will buy TerraSoft next.

so far, the partnership with Intel has produced performance improvements, at the expense of stability, reliability and quality. let's see what happens to PA Semi technology in the next 2 years.

Oldham murders owl with whalesong

b shubin
Dead Vulture

Put the shiny in a cup

they traded an owl (ancient symbol of wisdom) for this?

i have a vision: a bunch of male marketing consultants urinate in a round trashcan; then they all deposit a "seed sample" in the same receptacle; stir vigorously with a stick for 2 minutes; then they sit around, discussing what it looks like the most, while a 1964-vintage porn soundtrack is playing in the background.

this would correctly represent the meaning of "disgusting and obscene waste of public money".


the dead bird because this is such a train wreck, and a proper accident should have casualties.

Australia giving snoop powers to employers

b shubin


if the equipment, software, and/or connection used for your "personal" communication, belong to a third party you do not control, like your employer, your government (yeah, don't kid yourself), or an internet cafe in Beijing, YOU SHOULD REALISTICALLY HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS OF PRIVACY WHATSOEVER.

many of these platforms are possibly infested with one or more of the following:

[1] monitoring/compliance software

[2] RDP or similar remote admin software

[3] trojan or other spyware/malware

any of which may also be open to someone else's exploits. the transiting communication will likely pass through other devices, which are also monitored (at&t, Verizon, etc.) and/or exploitable (Cisco, Microsoft, Apple, etc.). snooping IT people are the least of your problems, and i speak as a senior "IT person". the only times i've ever viewed someone else's emails or files, was when my boss or the HR director were staring over my shoulder, pointing to what they wanted to see. not that this isn't WIDE OPEN to abuse (it most definitely is), but there are SO many other reasons you should not trust the stuff provided by others, be it a mainframe, a UNIX laptop, or a mobile phone.

legal or not, moral or not, anyone who trusts connections under someone else's control, is a fool or worse; moreover, if one wants to keep something hidden, one should never commit it (unencrypted) to ANY medium, including print, audio recording, photography or film (though steganography and one-time cyphers are still adequately secure).

old Russian saying:

don't think.

if you think, don't speak.

if you speak, do not write it down.

if you write it down, do not sign your name.

if you sign your name, do not be surprised at what happens after.

US war robots in Iraq 'turned guns' on fleshy comrades

b shubin

What comes next

a pointed firearm makes me uncomfortable, because i know what often happens next (it's called "point and shoot" for a reason).

as for the grunts, i can't blame them for screaming bloody murder; friendly fire is the worst kind of surprise, and fully automated friendly fire is probably worse still. they can deploy this s41t in the field after it has been tested functional in live-fire exercises. one particular test i'd want to try: the device(s) providing cover fire for the senior management team of the defense contractor providing the gear, as the c-level officers advance forward, with the robots behind them (distinguish friend from foe). if any of them get shot in the back, it's a fail (though possibly an improvement in the world).

let's see how that lowest-bidder situation works out.

Network Solutions hijacks customer sub-domains for ad fest

b shubin

Tiger stripes

NSI was always sleazy, going back to their monopoly days (some companies just have a certain odorous je-ne-sais-quoi, you know?).

in an entropic universe that is constantly in flux, it is reassuring to see that some things never, ever change.

US cops taser groom, cuff drunken bride

b shubin
Paris Hilton

For convenience

can we maybe get Britney, Tara, Lindsay, and Paris in the story, so they can all be enjoyed properly in the same place?

PH, of course, she's the only one available.

Google opens private cloud to coders

b shubin


here's a contest idea: the first one to port Storm or Kraken to Python over Linux, and stick it successfully into Google's cloud, gets a red pill (bullet in the back of the head).

Phorm admits 'over zealous' editing of Wikipedia article

b shubin

Spin to win

how is this unusual? there was a large group of organizations (including the CIA and ExxonMobil) revealed some months ago (after the originating IPs were traced) to edit facts out of Wikipedia, in a blatant astroturfing move.

this latest offering by Phorm is strictly pro phorma (oops, sorry) PR; so really, the bunnies were just doing their jobs, censoring reality to fit the corporate agenda.

as for BT, the company appears well on its way to NSI glory. during the heady days of the Network Solutions monopoly, one of its executives actually threatened an aggrieved customer with violence. with pervasive government influence, ethics-free management (CTO moves to legally-ambiguous vendor, no problem?), and feeble regulatory oversight (Ofcom is just kidding, really), BT is poised to write the next chapter in NSI's old playbook.

good luck with that, guys, and remember, an AT&T never dies; it reconstitutes itself like the T2000...a'course, as the new at&t, it's totally different, no?

Gates teases bankers with Windows 7 dates

b shubin

Smells like teen spirit

@ J

Phreaky is with us, if only in spirit. see Damien Jorgensen, 3rd post above yours.

and i'd have to say "it" 3 times, if he was asleep. that always summons him, and he comes out roaring, like a hibernating bear woken before his time.

b shubin

Quiet. Too quiet.

"Where's Webster?" did he run out of Oxycontin, and is now taking an enforced nap?

Move over Storm - there's a bigger, stealthier botnet in town

b shubin

No need

@ Christoph

sure, but why?

for individuals, if one has ipcop installed (why wouldn't one?), the IDS will flag the anomalous traffic, so no need to screen outgoing to that extent at the firewall (except the desktop sw firewalls on Windows boxes, which should certainly be set up to log, if not block, all manner of stuff, and even rotate the logs, assuming the user or admin is even aware of such things).

for organizations, the email server is there for email (set up properly, with anti-malware and junk-filtering, and maybe even routing outgoing email through MessageLabs or similar), so why allow outgoing SMTP from clients at all?

b shubin

And you're what came running

@ Michael

my point was that, if one provides technically ignorant people the means to alter their systems, the systems will break; therefore the thin-client solutions or the locked-down installs proposed. this is true of any OS, but is most often seen in Windows environments.

to be fair, you'd have to read and understand the post. based on your response, this didn't happen for you. when it comes to morons, you really know your subject, or perhaps, yourself.

b shubin

Uncommon knowledge

@ Christoph

because they are not set up for it. many firewalls in corporations are configured to forward any outgoing traffic and allow established connections back in, as a path of least resistance, after repeated flames from management.

like it or not, that's the way it is.

the last firewall i administered full-time, allowed no outgoing SMTP connections except between our email server and MessageLabs, but i know what i'm about (and i scared the pants off the management).

@ Brian Miller

because they'd have to hire and retain knowledgeable people, whose job it would be to deliver bad news and tell people "no, you can't have the shiny".

also, because ignorance was once the same as absence of liability, but managers are ignorant, so they haven't realized that THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

b shubin

Canonical defense

two options immediately occur (other than removing the user and automating their job).

[1] deploy thin clients that allow no installs and a limited range of whitelisted applications; clients have no local storage, boot off a remote image only (95% of the staff in corporate will be just fine doing their jobs, as long as the needed apps are available).

[2] use the Canonical defense: switch to Ubuntu (or Edubuntu, if you want to combine [1] with [2]), and deny users sudo privs.

otherwise, it's only a matter of time before Kraken (or similar) gets you.

HMRC tax credit database takes the week off

b shubin

It's obvious

the database used is MS Access or (much less likely) SQLite, only one copy exists, there are no backups, and the person updating it is a narcoleptic.

Royal Mail sites hit by downtime cock-up

b shubin

More on secondary

@ KarlTh

you underestimate our fine friends from finance. the secondary is specced at less than 50% on EVERYTHING, including disk space (for which they may have bought a system with 1 big hard drive, if the purchasing is done by the purchasing department and not by IT - not a joke and i've seen this happen). the application may not start, and if the disk got full from replication, the box will hang on boot (if it is a Windows box).

also, depending on what OS it's running, the server may simply drop requests under high load (MS Server 2003 did that when running a commercial Java app server, in a test i've seen).

to conclude, if the secondary is substantially inadequate, it may not boot, or may not be usable if it comes up.

b shubin

Bean count

@ KarlTh

the way it works is, the primary may be big and beefy, but the secondary is less than 50% the spec on everything, starting with memory. the accountants always want a word when that failover box is purchased, as an idle system already gets their thongs in a knot, and a well-specced one is simply inconceivable (credit: Princess Bride). all one can do, as the original system scales up to 90% or better utilization, is:

[1] put forward a funding request for an adequate failover system every year (it is, of course, rejected, or deferred until next year), and/or

[2] bring up a JBOC* (built from spare parts and scavenged components) tertiary that would take some of the load, but is unproven, unsupported, unauthorized, and off the books (management will force IT to ditch it if they find it, and the persons responsible may lose their jobs), and/or

[3] pray (this will not work, but makes everybody feel better, until the primary "falls over and catches on fire").

odds are, CSC are replacing the failed components in the primary, and possibly doing a bare-metal restore (assuming they have a backup). it is also possible that the primary's UPS had a catastrophic failure (power "flapping", or similar), that may have hosed the primary system quite thoroughly, without actually baking anything. in any case, it all sounds exceedingly unpleasant, and the setup was probably planned with a good measure of delusional optimism.

to conclude, this happens, far too often, and is in most cases a management failure, but occasionally a design issue, and very rarely a technical fault (assuming that equipment has a finite lifespan, which all equipment does, component failure is part of the normal scope of events).

*Just a Box Of Components

Ban using mobiles while crossing street, says US legislator

b shubin

Cart before horse

don't criminalize the phone, legalize hitting the idiot. very soon, there will be no idiots talking on the phones while jaywalking, because the really stupid ones will be dead, and the smart ones can dodge fast enough to stay out of my way.

credit: Darwin.

Al Gore's green job bonanza - can we afford it?

b shubin

Happy medium

the reality is likely to be something in between. Al and his crunchy commandoes are useful for pulling in one direction, and Webster's GWBushie burn-and-pillage gang are pulling in the other direction (btw, nice to see the Phreakster is on the junk again, i thought he quit Oxycontin for good), so we'll probably settle on range of somewhat reasonable solutions, with a few extreme boondoggles.

Al is useful for doing the PR work i don't have the stomach for, and if he makes a buck in the process, i don't mind (the Bushies certainly make a mint on selling their services to their corporate sponsors). not surprised to see that any voices of reason get flamed by both sides in the process.

the desirable outcome is that i will live the rest of my life in a world with somewhat less waste and pollution, and some wildlife will survive in a few remaining protected natural areas. here's hoping.

UK.gov password protects Aryan Governance Summit site

b shubin
Dead Vulture

V comes home

take a painfully ignorant, corporatist government; add the Panopticon trend; sprinkle hints of violent, Big Brother police; throw in a suspiciously familiar logo, and you have...Neoconservatives, UK style. jerky, mustached hatemongers not required (we have better PR these days, that stuff is so last-millenium).

good to see the Duck test still works.

the dead bird, because we all know what comes next. Chris Rock said it best: "That train is never late!"

MS keeps admins busy with critical Vista patches

b shubin

Not a saint

@ Mike and SpitefulGOD (really?)

if a company's marketing pitch says (for 20+ years) that its development process is excellent, superior, and puts out highly optimal code for a top-notch product, but the company has to release an endless, regular stream of fixes for remotely exploitable bugs, then people will point and laugh, and rightly so. they point and laugh at Comcast for lying and getting caught, why should MS get a pass?

if the same company points to other people's products and claims they are inferior, it would be more believable if this company did not continually overpromise and underdeliver (have supported Windows since before 95 came out, and Vista is the worst i've seen yet).

Ubuntu makes no promises of perfection, so no reason to whine. Apple has been putting out some marketing tripe recently, especially considering the number of big, ugly problems in the Leopard release, but a bad day on Leopard (with Time Machine) is still better than a bad day with Windows (any version). i speak as one who does not own an iPod or an iPhone, and likely never will.

everybody's biological byproduct smells, but it helps if one does not insist that one's stuff smells like roses, or stinks less than everyone else's mess.

Top cop: e-crime is the new drugs

b shubin

Soft round

"...no golden bullet." perhaps a silver one would work better, against that terrorist werewolf hacker you seek; and for the vampire trojan mastermind, may i suggest a wooden stake?

if the Home Secretary's speech is any measure of government understanding of technology, perhaps the UK should go back to paper and pencil, so as not to wind up in the clink due to some absurd laws that Labor hastily created (to address a huge public outcry stoked by the police, not that they would ever...). who needs IT, when it may lead to prison?

Microsoft EULA lands it with $175m Indian tax headache

b shubin

Equal opportunity offender

@ Welcome AC

many people in Eastern countries still have national pride (and lack the American excuse - see below); give them another 10 years of industrialization, consumerism, and subsequent outsourcing and layoffs, and they'll all be as cynical as the well-informed skeptics of the West.

@ Rusty D

most Americans are AT LEAST as ignorant about their own country, as they are about other countries. for example:

[1] they have no idea that they voted themselves a corporatist government (twice!), that is trying to tear down any laws that protect individual freedoms or the environment, any regulations that restrict corporations, and any oversight for what it and its corporate sponsors are doing; all this while methodically building a police state.

[2] they do not understand that their current economic crisis was directly caused by banking deregulation; specifically, the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which was made law in 1933 (to prevent another 1929-type meltdown and Great Depression). i believe that the lobbyists who made this repeal possible, should be fed to the pigs.

[3] they never consider that the US is only 5% of the human race, and therefore, it is prudent to care about what the other 95% thinks and does; many of them are also innumerate, and would have no use for these figures.

...and that's just the current events; never mind history, geography, technology, philosophy, etc. before the hurricane hit, better than 50% of the population didn't know where New Orleans was located, if you asked them to point it out on a map. some of them found out when it flooded and they saw it on the news; most still don't know, or care.

b shubin

Equal opportunity offender

@ Welcome AC

many people in Eastern countries still have national pride (and lack the American excuse - see below); give them another 10 years of industrialization, consumerism, and subsequent outsourcing and layoffs, and they'll all be as cynical as the well-informed skeptics of the West.

@ Rusty D

most Americans are AT LEAST as ignorant about their own country, as they are about other countries. for example:

[1] they have no idea that they voted themselves a corporatist government (twice!), that is trying to tear down any laws that protect individual freedoms, any regulations that restrict corporations, and any oversight for what it and its corporate sponsors are doing; all this while methodically building a police state.

[2] they do not understand that their current economic crisis was directly caused by banking deregulation; specifically, the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which was made law in 1933, to prevent another 1929-type meltdown and Great Depression. i believe that the lobbyists who made this repeal possible, should be fed to the pigs.

[3] they never consider that the US is only 5% of the human race, and therefore, it is prudent to care about what the other 95% thinks and does; many of them are also innumerate, and would have no use for these figures.

...and that's just the current events, never mind history, geography, technology, philosophy, etc. before the hurricane hit, better than 50% of the population didn't know where New Orleans was located, if you asked them to point it out on a map. some of them found out when it flooded and they saw it on the news; most still don't know, or care.

b shubin


greed may not be self-regulating, but if it is rapacious and shortsighted enough, it can sometimes be self-defeating.

MS EULA, indeed. it really does take a lawyer to read all the way through those dozens of pages, doesn't it?

ahh, that was very satisfying. not often i get such a good laugh out of Ballmer & Co.; usually, they cause me to lapse into a stunned, incredulous silence ("i've seen that kind of ruthless avarice before, but the cheek, the cheek!...").

BlackBerry delivers bumper spring harvest

b shubin

View from the top

their definition of "market" probably includes all notably successful and profitable smartphone-or-imitation vendors...so that would be RIM, and Apple (where's Webster?...wait for it...).

full disclosure - BB 8800 user, no plan to ever purchase the iPhone.

Thailand cracks down on cut-price castrations

b shubin

BIG plus

people who wish to remove themselves from the viable human gene pool (especially during their most viable years), should be allowed to do so. we're heading toward 7 billion on the planet, so we need any help we can get.

Darwin would be proud; also, an award may be in order for the ones who get it done illegally (?) at a discount (or at a premium, for bonus award points), by some incompetent hack (as previously mentioned), and expire from complications.

Intel forces server chums to fend for themselves

b shubin


that is one well-equipped hunka-hunka-burning...copper. oh, that hurt.

the softly whirring, water-cooled parka, please.

Google pink slips 300 Doubleclickers

b shubin

Where's W...?

a curious thing: every time there is a Comments section available, in an article that is not ecstatic, glowing praise for Ballmer & Company, one can play "Where's Webster?", and usually find him very quickly (just follow the foaming, fluorescent-green spittle tracks).

pity. it would be nice if he was harder to find, like Waldo. at least amfM is psychedelic, and thereby entertaining; Webster appears to be merely psychotic.

as for the takeover layoffs, if i had a dime for every time someone was let go after a corporate buyout or merger, i would be as wealthy as BillG. headcount cost reduction is SOP in IT, and in every other business i've ever heard of. in my opinion, this one barely merits a side note in another, more newsworthy story (say, one about the periodic Dell, HP or IBM redundancies, usually numbered in the thousands, usually related to earnings calls and not M&A activity).

Vodafone chief tells mobile users he knows where they live

b shubin

This may work

humans are very, very bribe-able, and cheap! candy works, money works quicker and better. the man is smart.

if the operators bribe the users, the herds will come running. mark my words, this will likely work better than anything else they've done so far, but ONLY if they multiply the bandwidth, FIRST; no one will pay for a slower link clogged with ads, discount or no.

i don't like it, and will pay full-price to avoid it, but most people will jump at it.

New(ish) Labour plans Whitehall 2.0

b shubin

Looking in

from the outside, the UK Labor gov appears to be the insane leading the blind...so just like the US, then. if a social networking project seems likely to save one's "bacon", it is too late - one is well and truly doomed.

coat, because it's time to get the fsck out of here, before they turn off all the lights, and another Dark Age descends upon the land.

Storm Worms exploit April Fools

b shubin

Low-hanging fruit

@ Matthew Anderson

your optimism is unwarranted, so either you're joking, or you have not been exposed to enough end users.

most people will click on ANYTHING, especially if they are at work, and the PC they're using is provided and supported by someone else.

Jules Verne gets intimate with ISS

b shubin

Consumables not optional

@ Underwood

no, "Missed truck!", as in, "our supplies didn't get here", and "we're out of air/water/[other non-optional stuff], so off to the escape pod".

@ Evans

sorry, the US spent all the money "spreading" democracy (or manure? or maybe death and destruction?), not enough left to fund the space program adequately, and Russia is still recovering from US democracy-spreading efforts in the 90s.

@ Rackham

it is the Russian way: if you don't succeed at first, try, try again. the capsules got there, didn't they? sheesh, everybody's a critic...

Patent shields customer support from customers

b shubin


dear editors, can you PLEASE use a particular color scheme for the article page, to designate what is, or is not, a gag?

this story lacks any obvious gag potential, and falls under the "you can't write this stuff" category, especially since IT'S TRUE.

grrr...at what point do the corporatist bastards get shot/hanged? what's it going to take? a patent on eating?

IBM unveils nano-projector based VirtuaHuman with 1TB of memory

b shubin


i always wondered whether there was a correct, official, "right" way to do a three-finger salute. now i know: it requires an underhanded approach to a back door.

CIA demands UK halts interrogation tactics

b shubin

Flash waterboarding

the Spanish Inquisition, the Khmer Rouge, and the WW2 SS were notorious for using Flash to torture their prisoners, and the use of Macromedia animation products for any purpose, other than "lowbrow entertainment and twitch games", is explicitly proscribed by Article 69, paragraph (f), subparagraph (9) of the Geneva Convention (original text).

more recently, the CIA subjected terrorism suspects to Flash-based questionnaires, but the practice was stopped when the agency realized that it scared the prisoners so badly, nothing they subsequently said was credible (or indeed, intelligible, as the subjects permanently switched to a clicky, obscure dialect of ancient Urdu, that no one has been able to translate).

BT and Phorm secretly tracked 18,000 customers in 2006

b shubin

All your NDA are belong to Phorm

in a world of ambiguity, this is a rare situation: the problem is very obvious, and very simple.

if you do ANY work-related activity at home, the confidentiality that is usually assumed in employer/employee communication is broken, if your or your employer's packets pass through Phorm's "service", no matter how briefly, retained or not. same applies to any communication confidential to you or any other parties (financial, medical, personal...).

whoever thought this was a great value-add (BT's CTO? i would take my business elsewhere on that basis ALONE), has ABSOLUTELY NO UNDERSTANDING of how communications links are used. maybe BTCTO was hypnotized by the "shiny" (which makes him a dweeb, technically, as no true geek would fail to see the bright "biohazard" stickers covering every surface of this idea).

or maybe he's just stupid and/or greedy (seems rather likely, but i'm cynical, and have dealt with far too many C-level officers).

Everyone's a winner in the Comcast - BitTorrent detente

b shubin

RTFA, Noob

@ Bennett

no, i have NOT missed the difference.

i had both services (not by choice - i got FIOS once i had choice), and the "hub" model of the cable aggregator was always obvious from the packet loss versus "switched" DSL. where DSL would send a backoff to slow down traffic from the endpoint, cable would simply drop traffic. this was endlessly documented, for years, on DSLReports among other places (i read it at least 5 years ago, maybe more - it was that long ago). you apparently read none of the (reams of) docs online about the cable back end, and managed to not read (or understand?) the article where you posted the comment, as well. kudos!

before you patronize others, make sure you at least RTFM.

b shubin

Pull the other one, it has bells on it

"...all of us who buy network services from the cable company should be happy about it."

erm, this is Comcast, remember?

so they finally decided to move from a hub-based aggregator to a switch-based one (hey, talk about timely, isn't this concept as old as switched networking? has 20 years gone by so fast? didn't DSL do this? and how about that switched landline phone network? back in the day, when we had only ISDN...i'm old).

there are still PLENTY of reasons to avoid Comcast (painful tech support, constant price hikes, resistance to a-la-carte, inferior products, monopoly tactics, and then of course, there's the lying, the constant, endless lying...). one negative less, does not a kudo make.

this was a decision they should have made long, LONG ago, instead of deploying Sandvine or similar, but they chose to lie about it instead. for that alone, a fine should be in order. in many areas, Comcast is a monopoly, and it should be treated as such, when it acts this way.

corporations should not be rewarded for rational behavior, that should be their SOP; it's a business they're running, fer fsck's sake, not a high-school cheer section or religious cult (with all due respect to Messrs. Jobs, Ellison, Gates, Torvalds, etc.)!

Shell waves goodbye to 3,000 IT staffers in $4bn outsourcing gig

b shubin

Executive promotion/bonus lifecycle

[1] pick business function(s) to outsource; friends who run outsource firms can help, and later provide favors, kickbacks, and/or references.

[2] present financial figures (generated by friends in [1] above, from delusional optimism and marketing materials) that show substantial (usually unrealistic) cost savings; ignore or dismiss any mention of functionality or service levels (those can be invented later); add huge doses of marketing-based fertilizer.

[3] sign outsource agreements; put previously invented cost projections into future budget(s); inform everyone of stunning success, and watch the share price spike (note - flip stock options).

[4] collect bonus and/or receive promotion (and soonest, before the real consequences begin to manifest - in a big company, this will hopefully take some time); MOVE ON (this becomes important later).

[5] as the cost savings prove illusory, and the functionality, quality and flexibility of services plummet (this is normal in outsourcing), blame the implementation ("behold the incompetence! i would have done it differently..."); assert that your glorious vision was mishandled (note - good time to sell short).

[6] as former employer desperately scrambles to insource the function(s) outsourced by your initiative (note - stock price will fall, buy low), evaluate current employer for the same sequence (go back to [1]).

...rinse, repeat.

Microsoft looks to fix bugs with desktop search

b shubin


@ Brent Gardner

the direct path to the most flexible TCP/IP config in Linux, is protected by something FAR more fearsome than multiple dialog boxes...it is like the Rabbit in Python's Holy Grail...it is...

a command prompt. it will sometimes sound very violent, like "bash" and "kill", and some of the commands are suggestive (mount, spawn), or mysterious (ifconfig, ls, ps, du, grep, sed, awk...). the editors are alien (vi, emacs, pico, etc.), and repeated use will mutate your hands into misshapen, elongated, hideous claws with 8 to 16 fingers!!...

or, you can use the GUI.

yeah, some call me Tim. good luck with that.

Want to get into 10 Downing Street? Get a Lithuanian ID card

b shubin


two kinds of watchers to handle physical security, [1] human and [2] machine.

[1] security personnel are usually badly paid and badly treated; therefore, they are usually apathetic or passive-aggressive, and unwilling to exercise any initiative in their job. it is usually pretty easy to get past a human checkpoint. to address this, they need decent pay, training, effective leadership, and a stake in whatever they are guarding (so, they're more likely to win a lottery than get any or all of those).

[2] machines are not too good at recognition, especially biometric recognition. additionally, a machine watcher is predictable and rule-based, and incapable of initiative; therefore, ways can be found around most automated checkpoints. the watcher mechanism has to change periodically, to void possible developing workarounds; this is expensive and painful.

neither method is perfect, but a combination of the two would mostly cover the failings of either. this requires careful thought, and effective planning and implementation, with continuing maintenance and review; all of which rarely ever happens anywhere these days.

therefore, we are doomed: stoned hippy terrorists will demonstrate inside the PM's residence, with placards made from hemp, and sing "Kum ba yah".

Land Warrior 15lb soldier-smartphone kit lives on

b shubin


"...and this has been granted."

surely, "grunted"?

mine is the armored ghillie suit with the gecko gloves and booties.

Hackers mug gamers in Playstation Store

b shubin

Trust Hannibal?

erm, these are the people that gave the world the Music Rootkit, and they would instill confidence in whom, exactly? by what miracle of mass forgetfulness would Sony regain the public trust, after that magnificent electronic scalping?

whoever this target market is, must have been raised by wolves, and then suddenly presented a PS3, with no other awareness of our magnificent civilization (i know, sarcasm unwarranted...).

Dutch MP releases anti-Islam movie

b shubin


@ Shakje

you and your atheist friends know him personally, then, to make that kind of assertion?

i have his book (The God Delusion), and see no particular foundation for your statement. he condemns irrational behavior. sounds sensible to me.

i don't know the man, and am not inclined to judge his character, but his work has more rational merit than the Bible, the Torah, and/or the Qur'an. they're interesting as works of literature, but dangerously unsuitable as guides to a life in a civilized, technologically advanced society. i'm sure they worked better before the Industrial Revolution, but THOSE DAYS ARE OVER. we now have genetic engineering, the internet and nuclear energy, and these ancient teachings (especially the way they are dictated by the established religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church, the various Ayatollahs, and the Orthodox Hasidic Jews) are as obsolete as the buggy whip.

many people feel they have the right to believe in God. i feel i have the right to believe these people are delusional.

b shubin

Religion vs. ideology

@ AC

when ideology or a cult of personality become a substitute for religion, the results are identical. the distinction is in what is being worshipped fanatically, without question. modern "neoconservatism" is a good example. if an idea is too sacred to question, the line has been crossed.

the saying goes "you can tell a zealot, but you can't tell him much". note that it doesn't specify a religious zealot, any sort will do.

that said, i stand by my statement. religious war has no rational basis whatsoever, and those who promote it, have given up an essential part of their humanity.

b shubin

Institutional religions

to slightly paraphrase the late Richard Jeni, religious war is about who has the better invisible friend.

a belief in a Sky Fairy, of any flavor, is no different, or more rational, than a belief in the Tooth Fairy. the measure of maturity and civilization, is the ability to think objectively, logically, and RATIONALLY. it is the only activity that differentiates a human from a baboon...well, that, face pigmentation, some hair, a brightly colored posterior, and maybe some other genetic markers.

the species will evolve no further, until it grows out of its need to believe in a fictional Alpha Creature; an unlikely being that created (and now rules) the entire universe, and gives humans that are clever enough to worship it, warm-fuzzy cuddles.

bleagh. i need a drink, and i don't even drink.


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