* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Bacon can kill: Official

Tom 13

Re: Group 1

No, going without bacon only makes it FEEL like you've lived to 100.

Truth is you'll probably check out at 65 because the kind of anxiety that worries about these sorts of things reduces your life span even more than cigarettes do.

Tom 13
Thumb Up

Re: Risk assessment...

Thanks you for looking up the raw numbers. When I saw the 'insert scary percentage increase here' tag line I KNEW the initial risks were going to be negligible. Hell, even the scary percentage increase isn't really all that scary so they had to be reaching for PR.

US broadband giants face 'deceptive speed' probe in New York

Tom 13

Re: 3rd level support for their DSL lines.

I can go you one better.

About 8 years back a co-worker was switching service providers and kept getting put off. At one point he managed to get through to your equivalent who was sitting in the central switch room. He could see the port for my co-worker's current service. He could see the empty port for the new service, but because your counterpart hadn't received authorization to move the service because of paperwork queueing issues, he wasn't allowed to move the cable.

Tom 13

Re: "How on earth can you give meaningful speed ratings to the non-technical general public anyway"

All that argle-bargle is completely irrelevant.*

I paid your company to deliver my internet at speed X (in my case I think we've bought the 25MPS plan and it's been upgraded to 50MPS as their lowest tier). The interconnects are not my problem, they're yours. You took the contract and the risk. You're responsible for delivering the X (50MPS for me) of service to my door. Distance degradation because of medium isn't my problem, it's yours. Interconnect congestion isn't my problem, it's yours. Maybe, maybe, point of origin issues from a content provider belong to the content provider and I should address it with them. But when I can't get the content normally on port 80 but if I hook up a VPN it comes through just fine, it's the ISP not the content provider.

*Yes I know. This is a tech site so intrinsically interesting to most of us, but it's still completely irrelevant.

Ashley Madison made dumb security mistakes, researcher says

Tom 13

Re: web_programming != (software_engineering || systems_engineering)

Actually the problem is that too many people believe that statement is true. These days if you don't treat your web programming with that level of respect, you're risking everything. Well, at least at most places.

Tom 13

Re: They just didn't caaaaaare

Yes and no.

In my experience most people are essentially honest. So they never think about thing that are obvious security holes to a thief. For example, one place I worked at wanted an aesthetically pleasing entrance to the office. They also wanted it secure. So they got one of those nice electronic locking systems that used a flash your badge to the sensor thingie and nice thick glass doors. For the convenience of those leaving there was a motion sensor on the inside of the door. AND since you don't want the glass doors shattering from repeated impacts, a half inch gap between the doors. Nobody from the CEO on down thought anything about it. Until our reformed car thief from the IT department pulled one of them aside one night, took a yardstick and taped a piece of paper to it. After which he easily inserted the yardstick through the gap, waved the piece of paper around, and unlocked the door.

Real security is hard and complicated. You can't break it down to a list of check boxes, even if a decent list of check boxes is better than no list of check boxes. And even if you do it right, there's still no guarantee you won't be hacked, just greatly reduced risk.

Sierra Nevada snow hasn't been this bad since 1500AD

Tom 13

Re: California before slandering the entire state.

Kali can't be slandered anymore. In order to be slandered, one must first have a reputation which can be defended. After electing Governor Moonbeam that condition is no longer met.

Tom 13

Re: it is politics, not a shortage of water

Yes and no.

Yes, the drought is real.

No, the impact need not be as bad as it has been, but as you note it is Kali so they'd do stupid shit* like watering their lawns in the middle of a drought (to the point that they use as much water for that as the almond tree growers do because of the higher acreage of grass).

Yes, they are working very, very hard at not letting a crisis go to waste.

*Meanwhile, the imposition of ultra-low flow toilets, showers, etc in some areas of the region have created problems in their sewers where the shit literally doesn't flow and they've been debating the desirability of using seawater to augment the sewer system.

Tom 13

@Dan Paul


You can take some coal to Newcastle if you'd like too.

Oddly enough, there's a railroad game out there called EuroRails in which making that exact delivery nets you a fair bit of money. Granted it's nothing compared to the payout you get for taking cork to Cork, but it's there.

I often wonder if the game designers moonlight as climate scientists.

Tom 13

Re: Arctic ice not decreasing,

Ah yes, one of the great lines that ALWAYS identifies a High Pope of the AWG religion. No proper scientist would EVER refer to the Arctic ice as he was shouting about rising sea levels. Hell, even a decent wanna be Junior Scientist wouldn't make THAT mistake.

Tom 13

Re: base your conclusions on what

Nope, friends in the business and having once been in the business myself. When I was in the business the usual method for getting the articles peer reviewed was to ask the authors who in the field would be best suited to review them. That was usually who did the reviews. Now in this case while there were often millions of dollars on the line, there was equal pressure from both sides to get the science right so I don't think the reviews were biased. Oh, and once we did have the technical editing phase go so off the rails the paper had to go back through peer review before being published. So the field isn't all nice and pristine like you claim. Even in the case where the peer review doesn't suffer from the obvious defect I just described, I have a friend with an MS in pure math who didn't pursue the PhD because of the issues of peer review even in his non-contentious arena. He said in order to publish a paper your topic has to be so narrowly defined that there will be at most 12 people on the planet qualified to review your paper. Given only those 12 people, when you receive the comments, you'll know who wrote them from the way they are written. This isn't simply a function of it being about math, but about the process by which all papers including physics are published. Which means the whole anonymous review meme is a complete sham and everyone in the business knows it.

Gloves on as Googler deposits foul zero-day on Kaspersky lawn

Tom 13

Re: It was Cluley who was bitching

No. It was Cluely who was noting that BECAUSE it was a US HOLIDAY weekend, many US corporate staff were likely to be less available than they would on a regular weekend.

R&D money for science – from your taxes?

Tom 13

Re: economic system presupposes that humans always behave greedily and dishonestly

Not quite right.

What it presupposes is that there exist greedy and dishonest humans who will actively seek to pervert the system and that their perturbations of the systems are likely to be sufficiently large as to overpower the otherwise honest people in the system.

Unfortunately, those greedy and dishonest people have managed to take over the systems originally designed with the thought of keeping them in check.

Tom 13

Re: Bah Humbug

You do need to differentiate between micro and macro economics. The micro stuff is reasonably scientific. While explicitly controlled experiments don't precisely exist, there are sufficiently numerous cases where we know the variables so that the data sets are sufficiently large to be science. The macro stuff not so much.

In fact I'd say the differences between micro and macro economics pretty much mirror the differences between weather and climate studies.

Tom 13

Re: Absent economists, pretty well all political parties

would still be peddling the falsehood that they can borrow and spend indefinitely...

I'm not sure economists have actually managed to prove that. In fact, looking not only at Greece but also the current situation, I'm pretty sure they haven't. Maybe this is more a reflection on politicians and voters than it is on economists, but given Paul Krugman, maybe it isn't.

Tom 13

Re: We're past that peak, well past it, he says.

I think we can all see that. And until that is fixed the premise of your argument in the article is mooted for precisely the reason that there is a force preventing the dispersion of productivity gains that would otherwise result from R&D.

Tom 13

Re: Patents

I was thinking along the same lines. If there's a weakness in Tim's argument, it's the patent process and most especially those business process as opposed to manufacturing process patents. Given those business process patents are a relatively recent development, I suspect a closer study will show they are precisely or at least mostly the cause of the failure to disperse the productivity improvements.

Tom 13

@Intractable Potsherd

You and Sir Winston are both damning examples of the confirmation bias of progtards. According to the most recent information it costs $2.5 BILLION and take 10 years to successfully develop a new drug. Nobody spends anywhere near 10% of that on marketing.


To get a feel for the real percentages spent on marketing vs R&D you have to look at the yearly spending for both.

Pfizer topped that list with $622.3 million in ad spending last year [2012]. Pfizer came in fourth on FierceBiotech's list of R&D budgets, with $7.9 billion. That means DTC ads were less than one-tenth the size of its R&D budget.


That puts their marketing costs at less than 10% of what they spend on R&D and well withing normal expectations for most industry.

Laid-off IT workers: You want free on-demand service for what now?

Tom 13

Re: might include a retainer

Well sort of. If you don't sign the agreement you don't get the more generous severance proffer.

Tom 13


Yes and no.

IIRC law usually says two weeks notice. Employers normally translate that to: don't let the door hit you on the way out, here's two weeks pay. When you give notice if you don't permit them to keep you you forfeit that pay and get a black mark on your record vis-a-vie references (in the sense that all new employers ask about your former employer and will call them).

As for proper handover periods, they mostly don't exist in the US. The standard management training classes tell you that regardless of whether you are firing or they are quitting, you walk them out the door the day notice is given and give them a check for two weeks. It is regarded as simply too much risk to the company for them to continue as an employee. Too much data to be pilfered, to many chances to sow the seeds of trouble down the road. Short-sighted or no thinking, but there it sits.

Tom 13

Re: Pretty sure you can't impose conditions

See my reply above.

The conditions are nominally voluntary. The minimal offer meets the contractual terms from when they were hired. But, they'll give you more if you accept these additional terms. And the minimal offer from when you were hired are so bad you pretty much HAVE to agree to the terms. And as another poster noted above, if you take the minimal offer, they win by not paying out more money.

Tom 13

@Tony S

Sadly Sun Trust is one of those megabanks that have been deemed Too Big To Fail by the US government. So they won't ever actually go titsup. But still solid advice for the pro-active investor. You might be guaranteed some level of return, but you can probably do better elsewhere.

Tom 13

Re Surely this cannot be legal?

As part of the termination, it's not.

As part of the deal to get your severance package... Yeah, you can get seriously fucked over with regard to your legal rights in the US. When I was RIFed from my last job they offered a weeks pay per year worked with the company. At twelve years and as it was right after the economic collapse on this side of the pond, I had to take it. As part of the deal I agreed that they were harmless for any discrimination or fair pay suits I might otherwise have been able to lodge against them. I could have refused those terms and gotten the standard two weeks severance pay.

Tom 13

@We're with Steve

I think this pretty much covers it all:


Roomie has a copy of this on tape and I laugh and shake my head every time we play it.

Tom 13

Re: bank's customer data going walkabout.

They bought out one of my credit card holders one. Happily I have been an ex-customer for about 10 years now. Very, very happily.

'Malicious time source' can poison Network Time Protocol

Tom 13

I was there once when a company had a malicious ntp source.

Borked the whole network so fast you won't believe it. Whole damn network had to be rebuilt from scratch and the files restored from backup.

For whatever reason, the internet service we'd been using to get the NTP from NIST went down. So the server went down it's list of authoritative services which had of course been left on the defaults. Again for whatever reason, each level wasn't authoritative until it reached the very last one that it had to accept. That source: the date for the firmware for the core switch. As the date was circa 2004 and the firmware was circa 1992... Yeah, bad thing happened.

Junk your IT. Now. Before it drags you under

Tom 13

Re: code based on .net 2.0 and they do so

That is such newb code. Last place I worked had a whole department that was using software that depended on Delphi 2.0, BDE 5.0.x.x (It's been a while and I no longer remember the exact 4 level revision, but I do recall it was CRITICAL to getting it running right), and Crystal Reports 7.0.2 (also a critical version number; something about a subset of the functionality you could put on a shared drive and not have to pay for additional Crystal Reports licenses).

Okay, okay. About the time I was leaving (7 years ago) they were in the process of re-writing the whole thing because nobody currently programming it understood the infrastructure any more. I do believe they were re-writing in Visual Studio with a .Net 3.0 framework.

Tom 13

@Mark Honman

And the net result is that the software is still late, but bloated and inefficient, wiping out the gains from Moore's law.

Ah grasshopper, you have missed the salient point!

If software development did not wipe out the gains of Moore's law, we would only have need of five or six computers in the whole world.

Tom 13

Re: Say what?

No, no, no. You're using LibreOffice, he's using MS Word. That's your difference right there.

I have to disagree about the time to open though. A lot of work these days is done opening multiple files and cutting and pasting into a new document or cross-comparisons. For work like that the opening speed slows you down tremendously.

Also, since he is using the MS Office Suite, his work environment may be one that is heavily macro-centric. That can be a hell of a time AND memory hog depending on the document. In fact a couple months back we had some idiot send out an Excel template (locked of course) that was formatted, formulated, and macro-ed in such a way you couldn't even open the damn thing on a new i7 desktop with 8G of ram and nothing else running.

Tom 13

@Robert Helpmann??

",,,forces them to learn a completely different way of doing the exact same task. "

I regret that I have but one upvote to give you for that remark, so have a virutal pint as well.

Tom 13

Re: You've got it backwards

While there's a lot of truth in what you write, it obscures an even more important truth:

Because the hardware keeps getting faster, larger in capacity, smaller in size or energy consumption, the hardware guys have a problem: How do I sell it when what's out there already does what they need it to? The answer is bloatware and MS have been happy to oblige them.

Tom 13

@Pascal Monett

You know, that thing that pays you at the end of the month ?

I think I found your problem. Looks to me like the author is one of those Gartner types. You know, makes his money from getting people to chase "Ooh! Shiny" instead of actually supporting productive business. So what he's advocating DOES fund his paycheck, just nor yours or mine.

Faked NatWest, Halifax bank sites score REAL security certs

Tom 13

Re: I fail to understand why they generally do little or nothing

That's because you've never tried to do it. I have. We won. It was painful and took the better part of a year to accomplish. And we were fortunate. The miscreants hadn't set up a fly-by-night shop with the intention of running away at the first sign of trouble. They were actually foolish enough to stay in one place and be in the same country we were in. As was they were in another state.

First up, our legal counsel was general legal counsel, not IP legal counsel. So he had to recommend another (more expensive) lawyer who was an IP lawyer. At which point they drafted the first lawyerly letter to the defendant. Then the defendant had to hire a lawyer who responded back to our lawyer. It was a polite Fuck You! letter because they were in a different state and didn't think we'd think it was worth the hassle to file charges.

So we filed charges in our state because that's how the process starts. Then comes the request to move it to the state where the defendant resides. At which point your lawyers are no longer licensed, so they have to find yet another set of lawyers to handle the charges in that state. Until everything was said and done I think we'd spent north of $35K defending our name. We never spent more than $35K on advertising. Never.

Worldwide there were yet more instances. And in some instances because arse-backwards laws even though our mark was chronologically first, because we didn't beat them to filing in their country, we'd be the ones infringing on their mark. If it was in our hemisphere with reasonable reciprocity laws, we'd defend the mark. Otherwise it wasn't worth the money, the time, or the hassle.

Tom 13

RE: easy to avoid if you pay attention

They are, but most people don't pay attention. Now, pay attention:

NEVER follow a link about your bank account from an email*. Even following it from a trusted search engine is iffy. If it requires you immediate attention, pull the card out of your pocket and call the number listed on the card.

If you don't have your bank account details saved in your favorites from the first time you hand-typed the url into the browser from the brochure included with your shiny new piece of plastic, you are BEGGING for trouble.

*Just because your bank keeps trying to get you to switch to online statements doesn't mean its a good idea.

Tom 13

Re: concerns about people spoofing your domains

It's not really possible for the average company to reasonably cover the cost of registering all fake and proximity domains to their primary site. Even at the small cost of site renewal, there are too many variations to cover. And that was before the explosion of top level domain names.

Tom 13

Re: Banks should find a more reliable way for customers to authenticate

Much as I'd like to agree with that, the Carlin Observation keeps getting in the way:

Think about how stupid the average customer is. Now remember, half of them are stupider than that.

Set aside for the moment the question of whether or not the NSA has a root for an RSA fob and just run with the concept for a moment. It meets the something you have and something you know test in a way that fingerprints and retinal scans really don't. It's fairly cheap and relatively simple. Now think about the amount of hassles your local servicedesk has training users to use them. In no time at all your customers are clamoring for a username and 24 character password. Sadly that's a problem without a good solution.

Anonymous UK 'leader' fined for revealing ID of rape complainant

Tom 13

@lucki bstard

While true, its a bit of a pedantic point since all that is necessary to correct his true statement is to change the word "women" to "rape victims"

Tom 13

Re: Either way, blaming a rape victim is never the right way to go

There's an old saying about that:

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Being a rape victim doesn't invalidate it.

Frankly the guy is an obvious lout. She is either oblivious to this and impossible to protect or attempting to climb the perceived social ladder by sleeping with the leader. Neither are socially desirable behaviors and she ought to be shamed for those.

Tom 13

Re: Presumably

Of course, this was an extreme case, and such occurrences are, thankfully, rare.

That is an unproven assertion. Proving innocence is as difficult as proving rape, so the likelihood is that we only believe they are rare because we can so rarely prove it.

Tom 13

Re: It's not quite as simple as that

But it is this simple:

A man accused of rape will continue to have a cloud over his head regardless of whether he is guilty, not guilty, or even innocent. While rape is a serious crime, so if the false accusation of same. Until both are treated with equal severity, there is no justice, just one side goring the other.

Tom 13


While I concur with your assessment of that particular waste of $5.23 of chemicals, I still find the way the law has been abused offensive. Also, I believe that anyone willing to sleep with that waste of chemicals, is as much a waste of chemicals as the first.

Tom 13

Re: Sounds like that particular accused fucktard probably did it.

Given the woman admits to being in a relationship at the time, and given that she apparently was so blind drunk she didn't even know about it until he claimed it did, it is impossible to speculate as to the accuracy of the charges. In fact I am surprised he didn't counter with a charge of false accusation.

Given the information provided in this article, I find the whole thing to be an abuse of the legal process.

Internet daddy Vint Cerf blasts FCC's plan to ban Wi-Fi router code mods

Tom 13

Re: there's the Sixth Amendment to contend with


How does the right to a speedy trial by a jury of your peers affect your ability to spirit away the equipment?

Tom 13

Re: VHS vs Wifi

You are harkening back to a bygone era. Yes, the courts did rule that because VHS had more legal uses than illegal ones the big media companies had to pound sand. But those days are gone. We now live in the era of BlueRays that can disable your legitimately purchased disk at the whim of the vendor.

Tom 13

@ BillG Re: deliberately difficult for a user to modify

That definition may have worked circa 1983, but these days any old fool can easily modify most firmware.

Yes, I did replace a BIOS chip once or twice back in the day although I never had the "pleasure" of adding more RAM to reach my 640K limit. These days people don't think twice about flashing the BIOS on a motherboard.

So just what is the third Great Invention of all time?

Tom 13

Re: Rule of Law

Again, if we're accepting the scientific method as the second, this predates it and therefore does not qualify as the third, but could be the second.

Tom 13

Re: is that important details will be lost with time of an event.

Not for the really important ones. Again you can't carry your prejudices for the written word into the argument. You have to look at societies with actual oral histories and how accurate those histories are. They match what we do with writing. What writing gives us is the ability to forget it because we've written it down somewhere. With an oral tradition you have to keep repeating and reinforcing it so it becomes part of who you are.

Tom 13

Re: @Doctor Syntax - Writing?

Because we've replaced the way the spoken word was used to pass along information in pre-writing civilizations, we denigrate its accuracy too much. If you look at societies that have oral traditions for keeping their records you'll find they built both redundancy and recall techniques into the spoken records they used to track such things.

No, printing wasn't just a development of what already existed. It did fundamentally change the way society works. It did for the written language exactly what the LLC does for the home based shop.

Tom 13

Re: Writing?

Given the formulation Tim has given, I'd have to exclude Writing because as others have pointed out it was necessary to the scientific method and predates it.

You could of course argue it was the Second and the Scientific Method should be moved to 3rd, but that would be a different debate.

Tom 13

The origins of bankruptcy go much farther back than the limited liability company. Therefore it cannot be it's evil twin. Minion perhaps.

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