* Posts by sisk

2352 posts • joined 17 Mar 2010

US voting systems: Full of holes, loaded with pop music, and 'hacked' by an 11-year-old

sisk
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Re: Old joke!

Why aren't elections done that way in the US?

They are in at least some states.

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Re: Obligatory

To be fair to the issues raised in the XKCD comic, planes that have someone trying to make them crash don't typically fair very well. Nor, I think, would elevators that had a person knowledgeable about them trying to make them fall.

But, yes, security on electronic voting machines is a joke. From what little I've seen of them (which isn't much because my state thankfully still uses paper) I've got better security on the wifi enabled light switches I built and scattered around my house.

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You won't believe this but... everyone hates their cable company: Bombshell study lands

sisk
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In fact, if you want to be less infuriated with your cable company, the answer appears to be to go with the small guys

I'd love to. Any tips on how to get one of those small guys to come into town and start competing with Cox?

Here's the real problem: unless you live in a big city - which around half of Americans still don't - they've got you. My options for internet here are AT&T, Cox, or a couple local companies that top out around 5mb speeds. And as for cable TV? The local companies don't even try. Granted I (and, in my opinion, anyone who budgets with any kind of sanity) don't have cable TV these days, but I'm still paying out the nose for internet simply because I have no options.

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Space, the final Trump-tier: America to beam up $8bn for Space Force

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Re: Wrong

Jemma, you need to read a bit closer before you start going off on other people and calling them idiots. Both Trump's comments and Patrician's, which set you off on that little rant, specifically state they are talking about AMERICA'S first rocket. Wernher Von Braun may have launched the world's first successful rocket, but it was not by any stretch of the imagination America's first rocket, even if it did come before the Jupiter C. Context matters.

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Re: Americans need to alter the criteria for being allowed to be president.

Let's be fair: space aliens are almost certainly real.

Millions or billions of light years away, undiscovered as of yet by humans, and absolutely never stepping foot on planet Earth, but probably real none the less.

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Somehow I don't think Trump cares if he tramples over the Outer Space Treaty. He certainly hasn't shown much interest in honoring other treaties and commitments made by the US before he was elected. He's done everything from actively try to dismantle NAFTA to pull out of the Paris agreement. Space based weapons platforms in violation of a 1960s era treaty would be par for the course for him.

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Indictment bombshell: 'Kremlin intel agents' hacked, leaked Hillary's emails same day Trump asked Russia for help

This post has been deleted by a moderator

sisk
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Re: Shooting the messengers much?

Also: how does one "affect" an election?

How gullible do you have to be if you let random posts on the Internet affect your decision on who to vote for? That is the one thing I simply cannot comprehend.

It's really not that difficult to understand. Every piece of information you encounter regarding a person or idea will have an impact on your opinion. If you encounter enough pieces of information that challenge your own views sooner or later you're going to start questioning those views. That's not gullibility. It's just the way the human mind works. And we're not talking about "a" random post on the internet. We're talking about hundreds or thousands of them. Anyone who is undecided or not strongly committed to their decision will be swayed somewhat by that. Only someone who has closed their mind to the possibility that their views might be wrong would be totally immune to that sort of influence.

Personally I'm of the opinion that it takes a serious lack of introspection to understand this concept. I see people who say they think for themselves but immediately reject any information that challenges the ideas they've already formed, regardless of the obvious merit of the information in question, exactly as you are doing here.

At this point it's bleedingly obvious that Russia attempted to sway the US election in favor of Trump. Even if they had zero impact - which, in my opinion, only a fool would believe - that is worrisome. They may or may not have been what made an impact in the election, but the fact that the man they wanted as US President is now President is troubling to say the least.

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Oldest swinger in town, Slackware, notches up a quarter of a century

sisk
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You know, my Arch install is acting up (due to local problems like lack of drive space, and some idiot who shall remain nameless doing a partial update rather than any problems with Arch itself, but the easiest fix is still a full install) and I've never given Slack a go. Maybe it's time....

(I might be a masochist.)

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Y'know... Publishing tech specs may be fair use, says appeals court

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Is it just me or isn't it blindingly obvious that technical specifications should fall under fair use?

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Tired sysadmin plugged cable into wrong port, unleashed a 'virus'

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Re: Common trick

This happened to us exactly once. Then our network manager enabled BPDU guard across the whole network. Real quick easy fix.....well, would have been quick and easy if we didn't have a couple hundred switches to change the settings on anyway.

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Foot lose: Idiot perv's shoe-mounted upskirt vid camera explodes

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Huh. I guess karma DOES work once in a while.

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Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops

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Re: Just Wait till NZ gets the bill

Medivac choppers run 50K+ (pure unalloyed greed, but that is another story)

Insurance companies are to blame for that, not the medivac companies.

plus hospital at the walk-in uninsured rates

Most hospitals will write off most of the uninsured rate. Insurance companies demand a huge discount so they've got to jack up the price, but they rarely actually charge the full hyper-inflated price.

Also, I'm pretty sure New Zealand won't be on the hook for medical care in America at all even if he is one of their citizens.

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I am going to print this article off and make my daughter read it. Articles like this should be required reading for kids around a certain age IMHO.

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BOFH: Got that syncing feeling, hm? I've looked at your computer and the Outlook isn't great

sisk
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I guess this Boss had to do something worthy of punishment sooner or later. I was starting to think Simon liked him too much.

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Woman sues NASA for ownership of vial of space dust

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Re: So... uhm...

Not muddy at all.

They went there with an aim to collect materials as part of the mission. As with most companies, if you produce something whilst doing your job the stuff you produce/collect belongs to them.

True, but things are a little different with jobs where you're on the job 24/7 for long periods of time. Think of it this way: if a soldier is on mission someplace exotic and takes a few seconds to collect some sand from the beach in a test tube as a souvenir in between doing other things, does the military own that vial of sand? Of course not. I don't really think that the fact that very few people have been to the moon and had that chance to grab a vial of moon dust changes the situation that much.

He collected samples for NASA and took a few seconds to collect one for himself, as anyone else who has a job they can't leave at the end of the day would have been allowed to. Just because he was paid to go there doesn't mean every speck of everything he brought back automatically has to be the property of his employer.

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sisk
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Re: So... uhm...

If you go and collect your own samples then that is a different matter.

I'd say even by that measure this particular case is a bit muddy. Armstrong DID go and collect those samples and gave one to a friend's daughter. The argument could be made that NASA paid to get him there, but I think - just my opinion - that it'd be a hard sell to say he couldn't get something for himself while he was there in between all the samples he collected for NASA. And if he could get something for himself them he could also give it away.

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Microsoft will ‘lose developers for a generation’ if it stuffs up GitHub, says future CEO

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A generation? Nah. The horror story would get passed down to baby developers as a lesson to never trust Microsoft for at least three generations. But he's right about Microsoft's recent acquisitions though. Minecraft in particular. I mean how may games can claim to have been the number one game in the world for several years in a row?

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Trio indicted after police SWAT prank call leads to cops killing bloke

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They're just now bringing charges in that? It cause quite an uproar in this area back in December. Here in SW Kansas all our news filters through Wichita, so it was all people were talking about for about a week.

Anyway, I hope they throw the book at these guys so hard that the next dumbass who thinks about SWATing someone feels it when they reach for the phone and decide not to do it.

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BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'

sisk
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Coffee/keyboard

"Which is why I always carry a carrot for self-defence,"

And now I need a new keyboard.

On a related note, coffee ejected through the nose does not feel wonderful. But hey, I must have absorbed some of the caffeine through my nasal cavity cuz I'm definitely awake now.

And yes, I do know better than to drink my coffee while reading BOFH.

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Boffins: Michael Jackson's tilt was a criminally smooth trick

sisk
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Yes, but when the cyborg dancers decide to become full Cybermen, then we have a problem

Only if you consider involuntary upgrades a problem.....wait, are Cybermen running Microsoft these days?

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sisk
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Re: So in order to lean over further than normally possible...

Does that deserve a patent? Surely that counts as "obvious"?

Clearly you haven't paid attention to patent litigation. "Obvious" may legally be a reason to deny a patent, but in practice I can name quite a few patents that have been granted to obvious ideas.

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Re: dance moves are So Dangerous

You Are Not Alone if you tire of Bad puns with Michael Jackson songs. It's enough to make you want to Scream, but hey, at least it's not the Man In The Mirror making the puns, right?

Yes, I'm going. I've Got To Be There you know....

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sisk
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Um......did anyone ever actually think he did the lean unaided? It took me about 30 seconds after the first time I saw it - at the age of 10 I might add - to conclude that there must have been something special about Jackson's shoes that made it possible.

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Kids and the web latest: 'Won't somebody please think of the children!' US Congresscritters plead

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Re: We can protect them from those evil advertisers.

And before any of you point to guns and Conservatives as the problem, let me point out one significant observation: guns, and even kids with access to guns, have been around for centuries. Mass murders were virtually unheard of until recently. What has changed?

It's not the schools, liberals, or globalists. The problem is much closer to home than that. I do agree with you that it is demonstrably not guns. If it were the current disturbing trend we're seeing with school shootings would have started a century ago instead of just a few decades ago. And besides that, there are nations out there with far higher gun ownership rates than the US (guns may outnumber people here, but they're owned by a proportionately small number of people with large gun safes) where this doesn't happen.

Somewhere along the line a basic respect for life has been lost in our society. We've also failed to teach our kids to cope with adversity. Most of these school shooters have been bullied kids, which is where some people want to lay blame. Well, I was a bullied kid (likely along with a lot of other Reg readers given how the tech field attracts the less-than-socially-adept) with access to guns but shooting up my classmates never entered my mind. And mainstream media doesn't help matters at all by turning every mentally disturbed kid who shoots up his classmates into an instant celebrity.

That said, measures that will make it harder for kids to get guns are a reasonable stopgap measure while we address the real problems. I'm a strong gun rights advocate myself, but this is getting ridiculous.

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Router admin? Bored? Let's play Battleships using BGP!

sisk
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This article made me chuckle.

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Lawyers for Marcus Hutchins: His 'I made malware' jail phone call isn't proper evidence

sisk
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The idea is they could get a job when they leave and become a useful member of society - often at Timpsons Shoe Repairs.

That's another reason for our repeat offender rate. If you've done a stint in a US prison for a felony, good luck finding a job that doesn't involve the risk of going back. And even if you do the government might just screw you over. I know a guy who managed to get a - I think his parents put in a good word for him - job when he got out after going to prison for a couple years on a drug offense. 3 months later the state decided he need to go spend 6 months at a halfway house to "help him integrate back into society" - never mind that he had already done that with a little help from hi family. Most places would have fired him. Fortunately for him it was a small, local company that was willing to hold the job for him till the state decided to let him come back.

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sisk
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If the purpose of putting a felon in a US prison is to rehabilitate them

Let me stop you right there. It isn't. What, you think we get a 90% repeat offense rate by having rehabilitation anywhere on the list of priorities in our prison system? Nah man. US prisons are built and run around the idea of punishment, with a little though given to things like dignity but none at all given to the possibility of taking in a criminal and spitting out a rehabilitated, possibly productive, member of society. If anything our prisons do the exact opposite, taking in petty criminals and spitting out hardened ones.

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sisk
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Erm....Ok....so you took a guy from another country who was drunk at the time. Then you let him waive his Miranda Rights while drunk and sleep deprived. On what grounds can you realistically say this person could possibly understand his rights?

There are times, more and more of them lately, when I'm disgusted by my own government.

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You love Systemd – you just don't know it yet, wink Red Hat bods

sisk
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Re: fscking BINARY LOGS.

"I have no clue what I'm talking about or what's a robust solution but dear god, that won't stop me!" – why is it that all the people complaining about journald sound like that?

I have had the displeasure of dealing with journald and it is every bit as bad as everyone says and worse.

systemd works just fine with regular syslog-ng, without journald (that's the thing that has binary logs) in sight

Yeah, I've tried that. It caused problems. It wasn't a viable option.

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sisk
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It's a pretty polarizing debate: either you see Systemd as a modern, clean, and coherent management toolkit

Very, very few Linux users see it that way.

or an unnecessary burden running roughshod over the engineering maxim: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Seen as such by 90% of Linux users because it demonstrably is.

Truthfully Systemd is flawed at a deeply fundamental level. While there are a very few things it can do that init couldn't - the killing off processes owned by a service mentioned as an example in this article is handled just fine by a well written init script - the tradeoffs just aren't worth it. For example: fscking BINARY LOGS. Even if all of Systemd's numerous other problems were fixed that one would keep it forever on my list of things to avoid if at all possible, and the fact that the Systemd team thought it a good idea to make the logs binary shows some very troubling flaws in their thinking at a very fundamental level.

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Every major OS maker misread Intel's docs. Now their kernels can be hijacked or crashed

sisk
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Imagine you're teaching a math class. You have one kid who's failing but the rest are doing fine. Odds are you have a bad student. If, on the other hand, all your students are failing odds are you're a bad teacher. You are failing to convey the concept to your students and your poor explanation is not their fault.

If everyone misread the documentation then the problem is with the documentation.

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Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

sisk
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It's been years since I've opened Notepad on my own computer. There are FAR better alternatives - most of them free in every sense of the word - for what it does. Mind you my preference is for one of the few non-free ones, but meh, still applies.

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sisk
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Re: relief arrived a long time ago

Open the file in wordpad any non-MS text editor instead of notepad. Though I suppose it's good for the newbies that probably never knew that.

FTFY

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BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave

sisk
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Heh. Yep. Just, yep. Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately - all the support vendors I deal with go to lunch at least 300 miles from my office.

Also, anyone else getting the feeling that Simon likes this boss for some reason?

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Bill Gates declined offer to serve as Donald Trump's science advisor

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Microsoft make hardware too and spend many billions on scientific R&D, it's not that far apart.

Running a company that employs a lot of scientists does not make one qualified to be a science adviser. At the end of the day Gates is a very intelligent businessman but also a college dropout. He does not have the qualifications for any sort of science based position.

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sisk
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I don't think ANY of the men mentioned in this article would be qualified to be the White House science adviser. Gates was right to turn down the position, and of the three men mentioned towards the end of the article Musk - whom I quite like but whose idea of science is commendably lacking in considerations of what's actually feasible much of the time - is the closest to being qualified, but he's still no scientist. I know who would be on my personal short list for that role and, sadly, none of them are from Silicon Valley. In fact a couple of them aren't even from the US.

One in particular - a British scientist who would be #1 or 2 on my list if we didn't have to consider nationality for White House positions - is a rather infamous YouTuber who would really piss off the radicals at both ends of the spectrum (bonus!) but who would be fantastic at the job. That's especially true with a President like Trump who needs to be told things in a blunt fashion by someone who's not easily intimidated.

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Don’t fight automation software for control, just turn it off. FAST

sisk
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Re: Even in the extremely unlikely event that fully autonomous vehicles ever become viable

but on public roads driving your own car will rapidly become viewed as violently antisocial insanity. I've been saying for a few years now - by the time my (so far unborn) kids are old enough to learn to drive, they won't need to bother, and by the time THEIR kids are old enough, it'll be against the law.

I highly doubt that. For starters, there will still be cars on the road 40 years from now that were built before self-driving cars were a thing. Not many mind you, but there will no doubt be some just as there are still people driving around in cars made in the 1960s today. Around here it's not even unusual to see a mid-60s model muscle car in the parking lot at the local grocery store. In fact, given the type of person who drives them, it's likely that a lot of those cars will still be running up until their current owners are too old to drive. Even in the unlikely event that autonomous drive becomes mandatory there will be holdouts in older vehicles. Just like seat belt laws, autonomous drive laws will not apply to cars that don't have autonomous drive.

Second, we're at least a couple generations from people really being completely comfortable with autonomous cars. More than a couple if the robot apocalypse genre continues to be popular in the future. Too many people actually think Terminator is a realistic scenario.

Third, software is glitchy. Every time some car manufacturer issues a bad update or a car gets hacked - and make no mistake, both will happen on occasion if autonomous cars are widespread - it will be a reminder that computers are not 100% trustworthy.

Yeah, autonomous cars will probably - quickly - get to the point where they're safer than a human driver. But that won't matter. Just as flying is much safer than driving and people still get nervous flying, autonomous cars are going to make the average person nervous for a good long time.

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It's US Tax Day, so of course the IRS's servers have taken a swan dive

sisk
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Re: COBOL hacking

"At the conclusion of his questioning, Connolly lightheartedly suggested the silver lining of legacy systems is that the Chinese don't know how to hack COBOL"

So the Chinese don't have any aging programmers looking for a way to pad their wallets a little now that their skills are out of date? I find that hard to believe.

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sisk
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Ok, I get that today is the deadline, but I still have to wonder why anyone is filing taxes today. Maybe I'm weird but I've always had the philosophy that you should get your taxes done just as soon as you can. I usually have mine done and a tax return check in hand (not literally of course - this stuff is all done digitally these days) by mid-February. The only time I put off filing my taxes it was because I had to pay in and needed a little extra time to come up with the money, but even then my taxes were done long before mid-April rolled around. I could see maybe putting it off till March if you're still waiting for some paperwork, but why would anyone put off filing their taxes till the last possible day?

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Supreme Court punts on Microsoft email seizure decision after Cloud Act passes US Congress

sisk
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what happens when a company refuses to hand over content citing local laws?

Isn't it a standing facet of international law that one nation cannot require an entity to violate the law of another? If not then it dang well should be.

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Pentagon sticks to its guns: Yep, we're going with a single cloud services provider

sisk
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I can think of no level on which this makes sense, especially in terms of defense. Depending upon which cloud vendor they go with there could be a single or a very short list of facilities where the Pentagon's data resides, which, to my mind, is a security disaster no matter how you look at it.

So, just as a thought experiment, suppose Amazon is awarded this contract. Great. AWS currently has the biggest slice of the market, so it seems like a sensible choice. Amazon has just 4 or 5 AWS data centers in the US (and I think it's a pretty safe assumption that any contract involving Pentagon is going to include a stipulation that all data physically stay in the US). That means a single enemy submarine loaded with cruise missiles could wipe out the entire Pentagon cloud in a single strike. In a wartime scenario it's not difficult to imagine that happening. This problem does not go away completely because the Pentagon has multiple cloud providers, but it does become less of a problem as you add more providers.

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'I crashed AOL for 19 hours and messed up global email for a week'

sisk
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I remember that day and it's all Bert's fault! Well....no, really I don't remember that day. And given what I was using email for back then, I'm fairly certain that no negative impact would have found its way into my life. I might have missed a turn of two of my play-by-email D&D game (yes, play by email D&D in 1996. Have I mentioned I was am a massive nerd?) but that would have been it.

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Torvalds schedules Linux kernel 5.0, then maybe delays 'meaningless' release

sisk
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Remember when major versions were programatically significant instead of just having some arbitrary numerological significance?

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Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help

sisk
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Re: subfolders hell

A common problem for us is files with file names so long that they can't be deleted through normal methods. I've yet to figure out why Windows will let you give a file a name over the length that it can handle when you later want to delete it or why a user would WANT a file name that's 300ish characters long, but we see it all the time.

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sisk
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Re: re: teachers

As a tech in an educational environment, yes. A thousand times yes. It boggles my mind how they can do so many online classes to maintain their teaching licenses and still be so utterly helpless with computers.

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sisk
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Several years back I had recently built a new computer for my dad. My dad, while probably not as competent as most of the El Reg reader base, is pretty handy with a computer. He calls me for anything that involves opening the case or for especially stubborn software problems, but generally speaking he's comfortably in the 'power user' category. My mother, on the other hand, would never touch a computer if she had a choice and is really only able to run the few programs she needs for her job as a nurse, none of which would be likely to be found on a home PC.

The case I had gotten for dad had a huge power button, a 3 inch circle on the front of the case, with a much smaller reset button inset into the edge of it. For some reason mom needed to get on the computer - a circumstance that already trips the "what is going on here" response - and called me in a panic.

"This computer won't turn on!"

"Ok...you're hitting the power button on the tower, right?"

"Yes, I'm not quite that hopeless."

"Which one?"

"What?"

"Which button on the tower are you hitting?"

"I only see one."

"There's a big one and a little one and they're right next to each other."

"All I see is a button and a logo."

And at that point it became obvious what she was doing.

"Push the logo."

"Oh, it's turning on now."

"Yeah, that was the power button. The little one you were pushing was the reset button."

I love my mother to death, but I thank all that is holy that the computer room at their house is my dad's domain, especially after that call.

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The first rule of maths class: Don't start a fight club

sisk
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This article threw me for a loop. I know a teacher named Ryan Fisher. Fisher, not Fish, so not this guy. Still, it took me a second.

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eBay has locked me into undeletable Catch-22 trap, complains biz bod

sisk
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EBay's minimum seller performance is pretty stringent. In order to cancel 5 transactions due to buggy software you have to have sold at least 251 items during that month. And it may be as high as 300 depending upon how EBay rounds percentages. Personally I'd have ditched the software after the first time it listed an item it shouldn't have.

That said, I don't think it was right of EBay to mark this as a case of fraud if the buyers did, in fact, get their refunds. And from what I understand that mark of fraud is the only reason his account was permanently suspended.

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UK 'wife'-carrying champion named

sisk
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Re: RE: Sisk

perhaps the Texas Testicle Festival is more your thing

I've known a lot of people who scoff at calf fries. Usually they stop once they've actually tasted them. It's a tradition born of not wanting to waste any part of the animal way back when that continues today because they're damn tasty. The fact that a lot of folks go to their first calf fry (both the food and the event of making it in bulk go by that name) on a dare is beside the point. :-P

In short, yeah I'd be there. I don't care what they're preaching as long as they're serving calf fries. I'm not sure if that makes me a redneck or not. In fairness the ones around here are usually organized by veterans organizations as fundraisers rather than churches as missionary outreaches though.

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