* Posts by Mike 16

506 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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NASA agent faces heat for 'degrading' moon rock sting during which grandmother wet herself

Mike 16
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Legality

Perhaps a visit to

http://loweringthebar.net/2011/06/feds-seize-alleged-moon-rock.html

will help clear things up. Especially the part that explains that _having_ a moon rock is not in fact illegal, although _stealing_ one is, as is fraudulently claiming to have one for sale when in fact you have just come back from the beach. OTOH, SCOTUS ruled a while back that lying is perfectly OK for officers of te law, unless they do it under oath, in court, with a judge that cares.

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Boffins fabricate the 'most complex bendy microprocessor yet'

Mike 16
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2D?

OK, that's a pretty slim stackup, about half the number of layers of the 5 micron NMOS I learned on, but any more than one layer is not strictly 2D.

Also, I'm more than a little amused that folks are making transistors out of something I first knew as "high class grease".

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Tor loses a node in Russia after activist's arrest in Moscow

Mike 16
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Re: Tor exit node?

Problem is that "plausible deniability" in a dictatorship (or wannabe dictatorship) simply does not work. If are tried by a jury, good luck on the possibility of explaining IP, let alone TOR, to them. If you are tried by a judge, who was appointed by the very regime that is pissed off at you, don't even bother trying to explain. If you were arrested you must be guilty. And of course in many cases you just disappear.

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DTMF replay phreaked out the Dallas tornado alarm, say researchers

Mike 16
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Pedant Freak Alert

Draper (Captain Crunch) used SF (Single Frequency, specifically 2600 Hz, although I knew at least one trunk that used 2400), via the famed Whistle. MF was used on some trunks _after_ the SF signal enabled it, but there were SF-only signalling systems up to at least the mid 1970s.

"Whistling" either the original MF or the consumer followon DTMF ("TouchTone") would require quite some skill. Perhaps worthy of some amateur entertainment contest: "Listen, he can whistle all four parts of this tune at once, with one mouth!"

As for guessing the RF frequency band, one could estimate the length of the antenna elements...

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Verizon's bogus bills tanked my credit score, claims sueball slinger

Mike 16
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Not the original

But props for the props in this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHgUN_95UAw

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Radio hackers set off Dallas emergency sirens at midnight as a prank

Mike 16
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Perhaps they also changed the password

something a little less guessable than admin,admin

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Machine vs. machine battle has begun to de-fraud the internet of lies

Mike 16
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Once the machinery is in place and humming

We will of course need someone to manage it. Perhaps Ms. May will decide to leave behind the strife and angst of her current position and agree to lead the newly formed Ministry of Truth. (for those in the U.S. substitute Bannon)

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Boffins give 'D.TRUMP' an AI injection

Mike 16
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Group understanding

Back in the mid to late 1960s, the college I attended offered a service to any profs who used optical mark sense multiple choice tests. In addition to simply grading the test sheets, our IBM 1231 could also punch the raw data (via an attached 029 keypunch), and we could run an analysis of what questions were frequently missed, and, interestingly, what questions were missed by students who otherwise missed few or no questions. The idea was to identify poorly worded questions.

IIRC, only a handful (<10) of profs availed themselves of this (free) service. You can lead a horse...

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Alabama joins anti-web-smut crusade with mandatory opt-out filters

Mike 16
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Any sale?

So, the "space clam" iBook I bought from the thrift store (supporting social services for seniors), for $40, needs a filter? I'll let Apple know so they can get right on it. How about that WAP-enabled (original) Razr my brother-in-law gave me? Is he guilty of something, or am I?

Of course, I don't live in AL, or intend to, but these things have a sort of momentum.

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Bloke whose drone was blasted out of sky by angry dad loses another court battle for compo

Mike 16
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Cricket bats

many do, at least in the SF Bay area, one place cricket is actually played. And then there are all the items that look a lot like bats with Greek letters on them in fraternity houses all over the U.S. (for "ceremonial" purposes)

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Pure Silicon Valley: Medium asks $5 a month for absolutely nothing

Mike 16
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Patreon

The major difference is that people actually choose to use Patreon as a way to reward creators of content that they know from experience they are likely to enjoy. It's like tipping the staff at your favorite restaurant. A subscription Medium is more like "give us money and we'll send a random food truck of our choice around to your block, maybe, someday"

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Yet another job menaced by AI! Uh, wait, it says here... Dance Dance Revolution designers

Mike 16
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Break into a sweat?

Even spectators break into a sweat with the variant Dance Dance Immolation:

http://www.interpretivearson.com/projects/ddi/

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US Senate votes to let broadband ISPs sell your browser histories

Mike 16
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Half a brain, and...

the ability to keep up in the arms-race that will arise between people hoping to avoid their ISP's DNS treachery and well-heeled and technically savvy ISPs devising ever more devious ways to keep MITMing them. On Comcast's budget, the can afford to suborn pretty much every CA on the planet, as just one example. Sure, sign up for a VPN, but also take a couple courses in network security so you can understand the articles about how to defeat the latest attack. You can read them via what you might think is myrandomvpnservice.com, and is actually served by Comcast, like their speedtest proxies.

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Carnegie-Mellon Uni emits 'don't be stupid' list for C++ developers

Mike 16
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Re: Pascal is the future!

Oddly, the most "amusing" errors of the "buffer overflow" sort I encountered were in systems coded in PASCAL. Of course, the "overflows" were in parts of the system that were not main memory, but the disk. Yes, the OS code was written in PASCAL, and apparently the authors had so ingrained in them that "the language will keep me from doing anything stupid" that their filesystem code did not bother to check their own metadata, and so blithely wrote outside the "limits" of the filesystem that they were building. There is no Silver Bullet.

I suspect this is related to the observation by insurance companies that drivers of cars with anti-skid braking systems tended to drive more aggressively, with sometimes fatal result.

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Startup offers $10,000 to Silicon Valley techies … who will leave Bay Area

Mike 16
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Re: except

I'm curious why you think that manufacturing is the only possible use of things like oscilloscopes, or the need to be in the physical presence of some equipment. Contrary to popular opinion, one does not simply write VHDL, push a button, and have a completely debugged board with the new chip magically appear. Also a bit difficult to faithfully emulate a 40Gbps link over Comcast's best offering. My previous employer used a contract manufacturer in the Bay Area (about a 20 minute drive from our design office), but of course had multiple copies of the systems in our own office. When we were acquired, the new owner insisted that we shift to their favored contract manufacturer. Now that 20 minute drive to diagnose issues on the line would be a flight to Malaysia. Alternatively, perhaps they could have allowed a remote desktop session over the factory's dialup internet connection?

Having a duplicate setup in our offices was vital. It would not have fit in my home office.

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FBI, NSA top brass: We've seen jack squat to back up Trump's claims of Obama wiretaps

Mike 16
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Maybe worthless, but not valueless.

Where there's muck, there's brass.

One enterprising group created a twitterbot to use sentiment analysis of Trumptweets to its benefit,

shorting stocks of firms that received disdain from POTUS. All for the Puppies, of course.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/31/trump-and-dump-when-potus-tweets-and-stocks-fall-this-animal-charity-benefits/

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Google deploys flamethrower on Android ad-fraud apps

Mike 16
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Precision targeting?

And "legitimate advertising business"? OK, I use gmail (for my "bulk" email), so it would be OK for Google to slap some ads on their web interface to keep the lights on. Of course, their web interface has gotten so horrid over the years that I stick to their (almost) IMAP interface. Sorry, Sergei.

As for precision targeting, I still shake my head remembering when they started slapping up ads for kilt rental and bagpipe lessons next to a thread on functional programming (which _might_ have mentioned Haskell, but had not by that point mentioned Glasgow)

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Most of 2016's holes had fixes the day we knew about 'em. Did we patch? Did we @£$%

Mike 16
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Why do we patch, or not?

Offer a starving man a moose-turd pie, and watch him hesitate. The typical "update", even (especially?) a "security critical" one is as likely to contain corporate or state malware as it is to actually fix something. To be fair, sometimes they do actually fix something, typically something a competitor (Google/Apple/MSFT/FSB) was using...

In an ideal world, "Security fixes" would be exactly, and only, that. No software equivalent of the "Omnibus puppies and motherhood (and indefinite pretrial detention and unlimited expense accounts for MPs) act". In the real world, modern software is so full of bizarre dependencies that it is entirely plausible that deprecating a particular encryption suite will break the ability to display cat videos in other than 4:3 aspect ratio, or some such.

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BS Detection 101 becomes actual University subject

Mike 16
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Once upon a time

When I was at university, but, you know, after they switched the language of instruction from Latin to English, there was a department called "Philosophy". Although I was a computer science major, the classes in rhetoric and epistemology were among the most beneficial. Those and the "intro to logic" (not circuits, but syllogisms, and a splash of statistics) taught in the philosophy department by a professor who also taught my calculus class.

Of course, by then I had been marinating in television, radio, and newspaper advertising long enough to be familiar with the concepts, if not the terms.

Book recommendation: besides "How to lie with statistics", I strongly suggest the books by Tufte on data visualization. Once you can recognize "chartjunk", you have a real leg up on BS detection.

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US account holders more likely to switch banks following fraud

Mike 16
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Pointless

I am old enough to have switched to a better bank from one that just didn't give a damn not once, but three times. In each case, the conscientious bank was within five years taken over by one of the "hey, it's our money now" banks. Seems like it's a lot more profitable to not care, and those excess earnings have to get used for something. OK, a lot go to bonuses, but a lot go toward buying and wrecking good companies. Just like in telecom and IT.

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Did Oracle just sign tape's death warrant? Depends what 'no comment' means

Mike 16
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To be fair

The cassette recorder on my KIM-1 seems to be pining for the fjords, but I still have access to a lovely septet of IBM 729s.

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FAKE BREWS: America rocked by 'craft beer' scandal allegations

Mike 16
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Beermageddon

---- If you're old enough, think back to the days of the 1960s and 1970s, when UK brewers were busy consolidating, and the quality of beer (and cider) was nosediving. Without much competition, and limited choice in pubs, the brewers churned out awfulness by the barrel. ----

I distinctly recall when I realized (1990 or so) that "the market" was at least trying to deal with the dreadful state of both beer and bread (what is it about grain and yeast?), with the growing popularity of local breweries and bakeries. It was like seeing Adam Smith's invisible hand at work.

I recall this because I reasoned that the plummeting quality of software would surely be corrected in a similar way. Ah, well, all dreams have to die someday.

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Mike 16
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Re: Dilution of the language

Harumph!

--- worth the extra from all the processor cycles it uses... ---

_My_ craft programming uses fewer cycles, by using them more efficiently. Not only lowers my silicon footprint, but I save all those cycles and once a month decant them into artisanal jerrycans to be distributed to deserving charities.

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Ex-FBI man spills on why hackers are winning the security game

Mike 16
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Re: Typically wrong.

----

This is what makes the term "Software Engineer" such a joke. Does anyone using that title, actually have a PE?

----

I think I met one, once, in 50 years of DP/MIS/IT (same s**t, different labels). OTOH, his PE was in Mechanical engineering. He just "followed the money" into SW.

----

You can get specs on a building.

----

Tell that to the folks in the Millennium Tower in SF. Many balls were dropped in the making of that fiasco.

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Mike 16
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Re: Sorry, off topic but I can't resist

Wait! Did I miss the news when they sued Mellanox?

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Macs don't get viruses? Hahaha, ha... seriously though, that Word doc could be malware

Mike 16
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Email Viruses

Anybody else here old enough to remember the first Word Macro virus (ILoveYou?) that was spread within (IIRC) weeks after all the major ISPs "debunking" the notion that email could possibly deliver a virus? That was in response to an email going around warning of such email viruses, which_may_ have been a hoax, or _may_ have started with serious research, or _may_ have been a response to a UseNet post from a year or so previous (on April 1, IIRC) detailing how one could construct a "model-line virus to attack people who used emacs as their news and mail reader (and time-manager, pickle slicer, poetry generator... You know, the sort that just don't get out much)

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Mike 16
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It's the 21st century

I would have thought that people who enable macros on Word documents without knowing where they came from would be extinct.

I mean, how do you eat, when all your money has been sent to some script-kiddie? Where do you live, when title to your house now belongs to a company with single-family homes all over the world, but "offices" that only exist as a mail-drop in the Caymans?

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Happy birthday: Jimbo Wales' sweet 16 Wikipedia fails

Mike 16
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Re: Hoax??

Some years ago (before there _was_ a Wikipdia) A famous security expert (no, not Bruce) suggested that it could be salutary to create what he called Encyclopedia Disinformatica. He proposed a sort of crowd-sourced link-farm (before those terms came about, but after Google, when Page Rank was passing AltaVista) of bullshit web pages on various subjects likely to be consulted by students instead of doing actual research. The idea was to be so outrageous, to anyone who actually knew much of anything about a subject, that it would be accepted as parody, but swallowed whole by students on a (self created) deadline. Of course, the teacher would know better than to accept a claim that Henry VIII was gay, but had a harem to placate the church.

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Mike 16
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An ElReg-worthy sample

You want controversy? As of 03DEC2016

Length, in markup bytes, of the 'Talk' pages for

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systemd => 4112

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Israel => 10866

Meanwhile, anybody else at least mildly amused that the included video is from RT?

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Comcast lied and now it must STFU: Its cable broadband is not 'the fastest' in the US

Mike 16
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How can they tell?

I can't even get a straight answer about what my speeds are _meant_ to be. But then how would I check when the terms of service disallow my taking measurements? And, at least once (although it was a while ago) it looked like they proxied a speed-test site. Yeah, Comcast, I know you can get blazing speeds from my cable modem to your head-end, when you detect that I'm trying to measure speed. Now explain how a file transfer to/from either of my off-prem. servers is so slow (way below advertised) compared to the same transfer between them (or to/from either from/to several others).

When I first got cable internet, it was advertised as T1 equivalent, and it pretty much was. After two ownership changes, it's now advertised as 20 (or maybe 50) Mbps, but I have never seen it top 14 or so. Briefly, on a good day, with a tailwind.

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ITU-T wants video sizes to halve again by 2020

Mike 16
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Frog Boiling

I suspect that the main driver of advanced compression techniques will be slowly acclimating viewers to an ever-worse viewing experience. Bonus points: follow the cable trend in eliminating most (if not all) of the error correction. That will work even better on a mobile device, amiright?

So the tradeoff is: when I try to watch an entire movie on my phone, do I want to hit my monthly data cap before it ends, or have the battery explode?

BTW: The "story-telling" thread reminds me of an article I read years ago, about how speech-compression researchers were bummed that bandwidth was getting cheaper, faster than their compression was getting better, so they re-tooled their gear and wrote new grant proposals around "speech recognition" and "more natural sounding speech synthesis".

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Russia (A) bans web porn as a 'bad influence' (B) decriminalizes domestic violence – or (C) all of the above?

Mike 16
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Re: Etymology

So, would "Prince of Peace" be an appropriate (rough) translation of Vladimir? Meshes nicely with his alliance to the Church. Or is there another meaning of "mir" that is closer?

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Feds snooping on your email without a warrant? US lawmakers are on a war path to stop that

Mike 16
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Re: You mean...

@youngone:

---

My favourite is the way US legislators can add riders to bills, to either derail them, or add some completely unrelated clause.

---

Not just legislators. There have been well-publicized cases of staffers 'improving" legislation under rteh guise of "fixing a few typos", and the legislators voting without reading the revised bills. I mean, who has time to read the entire 1000-page ext of the "Puppies and Happiness preservation (plus pork for anybody involved Bill) when the vote is in ten minutes?

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Teach undergrads ethics to ensure future AI is safe – compsci boffins

Mike 16
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Business ethics

Sometimes you have to disguise it a bit. A friend and I (both "corporate grunts") managed to deflect a pretty clearly unethical proposal by convincing Mahogany Row that the risk of coming to the attention of the regulatory authorities was too high for the most likely level of profit enhancement. Of course, about five years later one of our competitors did the deed and got away with it. Also of course, they were operating in a more relaxed legal regime.

You pays your money and you takes your chances. But appealing to an executive's better nature is a non-starter, I agree.

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Chrome 56 quietly added Bluetooth snitch API

Mike 16
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Re: It gets worse every year it seems...

And IF the switch actually does anything.

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Microsoft's device masterplan shows it's still fighting Apple

Mike 16
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Compete with Apple on Quality?

Apple seems hell-bent on helping them out with that.

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Mike 16
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Re: Why !

You mean like Alvin Straight?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0166896/

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What links macOS, iOS, Safari, tvOS, watchOS? They all need patching

Mike 16
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Related?

I think you can read between the lines to guess that the Webkit/Safari bugs were introduced 10.10 or earlier, while the MacOS kernel bug was introduced in Sierra. else they would have issued a patch for the allegedly still supported OS versions before it.

Update Treadmills are _so_ much fun. Especially when they keep taping hand-grenades to the belt.

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UK.gov still drowning in legacy tech because no one's boarding Blighty's £700m data centre Ark

Mike 16
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Legacy?

Always reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft. His stories have a quite a lot in common with my experience of I.T.

(Hmmm, Ark at Corsham. Would that be Arkham for short?)

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Welcome to the Wipe House: President Trump shreds climate change, privacy, LGBT policies on WhiteHouse.gov

Mike 16
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whois obamawhitehouse.org

NOT FOUND

I suspect that _when_ this domain is registered, it will belong to Breitbart.

Also that this "quick exit" was not POTUS44's idea, or he (well, his minions) would have registered the domain before publicizing it.

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Trump's 'cyber tsar' Giuliani among creds leaked in mass hacks

Mike 16
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Myspace?

I'd expect a little loyalty to the team. That is, LiveJournal.

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On last day as president, Obama's CIO shrouds future .gov websites in secret code

Mike 16
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So we're good then?

Or only until some CA issues a cert to vlad@kremlin.ru?

(You _know_ it's gonna happen)

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Kill it with fire: US-CERT urges admins to firewall off Windows SMB

Mike 16
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Re: Samba can disable SMB1 as well

I once had to deal with a manufacturing automation system that would only work with Win2K at the "head of the line" and DOS on the individual machines. No, not that long ago.

But it is a rare company with a factory worth automating that also has tech-savvy people making purchasing decisions, so it's moot.

Of course it can get _way_ more "traditional":

http://www.pcworld.com/article/249951/computers/if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it-ancient-computers-in-use-today.html

Scroll down to Sparkler Filters.

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Just give up: 123456 is still the world's most popular password

Mike 16
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Horses for staples

First off, someone above mentioned using a password manager and "sharing the file between devices". That might be good advice for another year or so, but many (most?) phone makers and telcom carriers make it damn hard to "share a file" between devices without going through either their network (yeah, even if the devices are only a meter or so apart) or their app (which can send it to Burkina Faso for all you know). The continued iOSification of MacOS, and the ever more suck-ulent telemetry on Windows mean that soon they will be effectively the same as the Mobile OSes.

For me? I use passphrases (for sites without length limits) or truncated hashes of passphrases, for any site I care about. The ones I use frequently I memorize. The others are on a piece of paper in a safe.

Junk sites (sorry, El Reg) get junk passwords. It's not like anybody who went to school with me and knows me now (or works in law enforcement) would be stalled long by the "password reset" questions. Other than the ones I lied about, which also go on that paper.

Bottom line: passwords can suck, but they are about the only commonly available method of authentication that is not subject to subversion by "people with more power than you", which is pretty much everybody.

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Aaarrgh, zombie! Dead Apple iOS monopoly lawsuit is reanimated

Mike 16
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Re: Who is paying these corrupted judges, uh?

Just an observation about:

----------------

Apple is not telling devs "if you want to get your app approved for the App Store, you can't write an Android version of it".

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Nintendo did pretty much that, and got away with it. Just sayin.

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Donald Trump will take cybersecurity advice from, um, Rudy Giuliani

Mike 16
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Re: I doubt his company actually does anything

A certain developer lately much in the news did not just use his "juice" with the building department to move his own projects forward and hold competitors back. He also leveraged his cordial relationship with the leadership of several construction unions. One has to wonder if the IT security folks from some of these "family businesses" would be a better choice. They are, after all, adept in keeping the FBI out of their systems.

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Wi-Fi for audiophiles: Alliance preps TimeSync certification program

Mike 16
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Broken already (Re: Amazed that this stuff is so difficult)

One sprocket hole, heck even one frame, would add/subtract at most 50 milliseconds of latency. Yeah, the guys who claim to be able to assess the amount of oxygen left in your cables might object, but real people in the real world would not notice.

What I, and the comment you are replying to, are talking about is where the audio gets out of sync with the video by multiple seconds, making the experience indeed akin to watching a badly dubbed film.

The issue is not likely to be addressed by anything a WiFi standard can help, as the content is broken well before the connection from your receiver to your TV/speakers. I first noticed it during the run-up to the digital TV transition, when my totally analog TV, receiving off the air via an antenna, started exhibiting this behavior. A little digging found that the networks had started doing all-digital feeds to the local stations, so even though there was no way for latency warts to appear between the analog transmitter and my TV, it was too late at that part of the chain.

Synchronized sound was "born" in the 1920, and "died" in about the 1990 (at least in the U.S.A). So, three score and ten applies to technology as well as people (see also the years between the mid 1950s and late 1990s, when a radio didn't need to "warm up" _or_ "boot up" :-)

Maybe in another 30 years or so, home wireless boxes will be so full of deep packet inspection and neural networks (for "crime fighting") there will be a bit of extra capacity to fix this sort of thing. I'll be too dead to care.

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Anti-smut law dubs PCs, phones 'pornographic vendor machines', demands internet filters

Mike 16
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Automated detection

Have "they" managed to fix the filters that blocked images of a pig farm, because of course pink == nude?

Asking because there are pig farms in ND. Would the farmer have to add $20 for each security camera?

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Let's go ARM wrestling with an SEO link spammer

Mike 16
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Targetted ads

Can't say for Google Search (as I use other engines), but I noticed a few years ago that a gmail thread on functional programming was decorated with ads for kilts and bagpipe lessons. I have to assume that some "too clever by half" algorithm at the big G had done

FP -> Haskell -> Glasgow -> Scotland -> Scottish cliches

At least they didn't try to pitch me on Haggis

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Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

Mike 16
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IIRC, it was Cisco

that "invented" the iPhone, or at least named one of their products that, and Trademarked the name, so Jobs et al. had to buy the name from them.

Of course, I could be misremembering, but I can't be arsed to check facts, as that is now an occupation up there with flint knapping and spinning on a drop spindle.

BTW: on the "but it needed a screen" front, I was struck by a mental image of a lovely orange plasma-panel smartphone. Maybe with a chorded keyboard built into the side... Of course battery life would be dire, but modern smartphones have added that feature on their own.

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