* Posts by Scott

12 posts • joined 7 Jun 2007

I Was A Teenage Bot Master


The real victims...

...are the rest of the internet users who have to deal with complete idiots who are too stupid or just unwilling to perform basic maintenance tasks and get educated in the operation of their computers, wind up getting p0wned, and flood the public network with malware, spam, and other garbage.

Since car analogies are so popular for some reason, these so-called "victims" are like people who go buy a car, and insist on driving to the store, visit their grandkids, or whatever the case, WITHOUT EVER LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE. Imagine sharing the road with an accident waiting to happen, they never got a driver's license, don't know the rules of the road, and haven't quite figured out the controls. They run stop lights, fail to yield, get in wrecks left and right, and as a result, their cars are shedding battered sheet metal all over the place and posing hazards to everyone else on the road. It doesn't matter that the ne'er-do-wells out on the highway are causing many of the wrecks (let's say they're insurance fraudsters), with a modicum of training in the use of their vehicles, they would be able to avoid such things and motor along safely.

It really isn't hard to not be p0wned. Prudence when opening attachments is a start. Patching Microsoft operating systems frequently is of utmost important, at least if they go into an endless reboot, they're not ruining the internet for everyone. Not using Microsoft's shoddy products, which simply don't belong on a public network, would be better yet even if that's an unreasonable expectation at this point in time. There is simply NO EXCUSE for failing to prevent malware infestations on one's own computer, or for failing to discover and halt a malware infestation in a timely manner.

People are not only hurting themselves when they fail to meet minimal competence standards on the public network. They should be fined for negligence and have their computers confiscated. The people who would take advantage of that negligence to foist malware and do damage should be sent somewhere where electricity and running water are goals for the future, and internet access is a fantasy.

Apple sued over 'inflated' iMac claims


To all the Mactard April Fools...

Sorry, it's true. The press release was yesterday, and that's when tech news outlets picked-up on the story.



Of course, I went to the proverbial horse's mouth too, but unfortunately, the so-called "tech specs" on Apple.com aren't very technical and are rather vague. It seems to be more of the same behavior I've seen from them, such as misleading their loyal customers back in 2000 or so about the Mac platform's performance relative to the Wintel platform. The only problem was that the benchmark they were using compared a year-old Pentium-series processor to the brand new PowerPC processor. There was a much newer iteration of the Pentium at the time, which ran on a faster frontside bus, but they chose to intentionally mislead their customers, most of whom appear to have lost the ability to question and verify the claims. This revelation was much to the chagrin of my friend who worked for an Apple-authorized service center, who smugly directed me to Apple's website where that claim of superior performance was being made. Not only did being directed to read the facts for himself (and seeing that I was correct...it was all there on Apple's site in the fine print) sting, but I think the realization that Apple had basically lied to the faithful stung even more.

All blue-eyed people share one common ancestor


Julia has it pretty well right...

I'm surprised it took someone so long to point out that blue eyes can be more disease-prone due to less shielding against harmful rays, same as fair skin. It probably is that blue eyes aren't the substantial disadvantage in some climates/latitudes that they are in others. And light blue irides might be slightly better at reflecting light, this will not help low-light vision at all (since they'd be scattering it before it even hit the retina), but they could possibly help reduce snow-glare and such...a tiny bit.

I'd suspect there are other factors at play too, such as superstition. In some primitive cultures, the people may have seen a blue-eyed individual as a pariah, in others, perhaps a mystic to be revered. But I'd consider one thing to be certain...regardless of why the mutation was popular enough to survive, it's remarkably superficial to think that this was the only factor that's ever contributed to the reproductive success of blue-eyed people.

Inbreeding was likely a large factor, as recessive traits really thrive in those sorts of populations. Most royal lineages are plagued by such traits, as are the Amish in the USA who tend to sequester themselves from the general population. By merit of their willful isolation, they have extreme rates of mutations that are rare in the rest of the world. That extreme concentration of a trait that's recessive in the rest of the world's population will increase the chances that the trait would be passed-along on any given occasion any of those individuals might mingle his/her genes with those of the general population, or inject them into another isolated population.

IBM hits back against over-timers with pay cut


Aesop had a fable or three regarding greed...

IBM has traditionally been a respectable employer, resisting layoffs and treating their workers well enough that most wouldn't even consider unionizing. The average wages mentioned sound far above entry-level support, even in the Boulder area where a lot of their support staff are located. These people are professionals who are generally considered to be full-time exempt, not hourly-wage grunts. Usually, the employer will take the demands they're making on the employee into consideration, and it sure sounds like IBM is doing that. FTE employment status is basically the employer paying the employee a fixed salary for the year for getting the job done, even if it takes extra long during peak times, or they don't stay too busy another time of the year and can coast.

And the complaint on flex time being unpaid...come on! Seems like my fellow Americans always want something for nothing. You work four hours extra one day, you get four hours off another. Or if you need to take a few hours off to take in a ballgame, you can do so if things are slow...and make up your hours later. Or would it be reasonable to say if an employee wanted to take time like that under flex, that they would have to reimburse their employer with 6 hours worked?

I think these employees were just being greedy. The nature of salaried positions is that surges in workload happen, that's why they're paid whether they're working overtime or sitting around doing nothing. Serves them right for trying to grub more money, by all means, if they think they're worth the crazy wages they were trying to claim as OT, they're welcome to hit the pavement around the Denver area. Oh, that's right...we're in the middle of a tech recession here. They'd be lucky to find a job paying entry-level wages regardless of how high their experience level is. I'll wish them good luck with that! Yes, these dogs lunged for the bone they saw reflected in the river and lost a relatively sweet deal they had already.

LA grand jury probes MySpace teenage suicide case


Reading comprehension here...

...seems to be poor. Almost all of you FAIL.

The mother knew about the pretenses surrounding the Myspace account. Her daughter & friends were the ones primarily using the account to spy on the ex-friend, and it was the daughter who sent the mean message to her ex-friend while masquerading as the cute boy.

The daughter is the bully here, not the mother. The mother facilitated the scheme and was aware of it, but likely didn't condone or know about the actions her daughter was taking.The mother arguably set a bad example of setting up misleading identities on the internet for her daughter, but if that's to be considered a crime, then I guess the police should arrest everyone in online dating sites and AOL chat rooms.

The greatest life lesson to be learned here is to not believe everything you read/see on the internet, don't assume the "people" you encounter online are real and who they say they are, and pass these revelations on to kids. I'm guessing the Drews are the scapegoats, it sounds like the harassment was systematic and involved a lot more of the dead girl's peers, those she knew in real life. To attempt to place all the blame on people just because they were masquerading is a bit of a stretch.

Dell moves 40,000 Ubuntu PCs


Dell moves more than 40k Ubuntu PCs, but just doesn't realize it...

Ken Jennings is spot-on in what he alludes to-- that a lot of folks went unaccounted-for because they didn't want to settle for a low-end system. When I voted in their polls, I did so from an XPS laptop I'd already bought, and it was running Kubuntu rather flawlessly. That purchase didn't factor into their numbers either because it was made before their roll-out. The situation is basically that regardless of which systems Dell offers Linux on (or that it doesn't), most run it pretty well with negligible driver issues, and as long as Dell keeps that up, I'll likely continue to purchase their products even if I have a Windows license rammed down my throat.

Microsoft sells Windows twice


And a COA isn't enough...

According to Microsoft, that old PC isn't "Genuine" and you are pirating Windows if you just have the sticker on the side of the computer, but no install/recovery media. That's apparently what this MAR "education" campaign is all about. And here, you thought putting that sticker on the side of a computer made it legal to install your one (and only one) copy of Windows (of whatever version) on it forever!

eBay boots off Skype rival


More anti-competitive practices from eBay? Who'd have thought!

There is no basis for eBay to ban Google Checkout, which by all indications is just like Paypal at the worst, but more likely substantially better in that it doesn't promote a false sense of security like "Seller Protection" or "Buyer Protection" (when in reality, these things are just the same old rules that govern any credit card or e-check transaction, and really only protect against the most preventable forms of fraud).

There's no basis to ban a halfway useful voice chat medium either. It's just sad that all corporations who have a good product at one time seem to get so big and inept once they've cornered one market, that they have to resort to abusing their monopolies to force their customers to make use of their inferior side-offerings.

I look forward to the day that the USDOJ sets its sights on eBay and repeats the farce that it played with Microsoft. Even if nothing changes, it's still good for entertainment!

Universities warned of Storm Worm attacks



People who are swamping the net with the filth that is the end result of their carelessness, naivete, and incompetence are anything but innocent. Just because the end luser is some old granny who wants to share photos of her grandchildren doesn't mean she's magically entitled to flood the internet with malicious packets because she doesn't know how to keep Windows updated.

I'd of course rather not see those machines DDoSed offline, I wish that ISPs would simply kick them off their networks if they exhibit the hallmarks of being compromised until the user can demonstrate their computer has been cleaned and secured.

Vigilante policing of the internet is fun to think about, but realistically would just add to the problem. The only sort of vigilantism that I approve of are those rare instances of someone who, say, rewrites a worm that spreads itself like the original version, but actually has the worm patch the hole without the knowledge or consent of the owner a few days after it's infected the machine and attempted to propagate across the network to other vulnerable machines in need of repair.

Burned by a MacBook


Pardon me while I wipe away these crocodile tears...

Honestly, while I'm far from a fan of Apple, I've seen worse. I work for one of the most respected international computer companies for onsite repair work, and while occasionally things don't go right, we generally meet our warranty obligations in a timely manner. I still get treated to the occasional indignant whiner who's "lost TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars" or whatever because a laptop that cost less than a couple thousand dollars has been broken for one or two days. Here's a clue: ALL electronics have the potential to fail. If your livelihood depends on a particular electronic item, and you're going to lose THAT MUCH MONEY if something fails, then gee, maybe you'd better consider getting some redundancy. That might mean buying two cheaper craptops rather than one MacBook where you're paying more for the image and prestige. It's the same principle as having a reliable car in one's garage in addition to an exotic sports car that may have a reputation for requiring frequent visits to the mechanic.

All I'm seeing in this story is that Apple has the same failings of any other manufacturer, but that the users seem to think the price of fashion entitles them to whine. But I've also learned why Apple has incorporated rounded "safety" edges into most of its products...if they used sharp corners or the cheap tin cases that may have sharp edges exposed when they're slipped off, a user MIGHT GET HURT!

Google cancels anti-eBay bash


Anti-competitive practices.

Google may not be a saint in this respect, but having had my own merchant credit card account, used Paypal, and used Google checkout, Google is the closest to a real merchant account. Well, except that it prohibits quite a broad range of items that it considers blacklisted products.

Paypal really only pretends to be better than a real merchant account with its false "Buyer/Seller Protection" claims, but in reality, they seem to not protect anyone except for themselves. If you doubt it, read the TOS very carefully if you doubt this, any hint of a chargeback for any fraudulent reason, the so-called Seller Protection Policy dissolves...if the seller is a fraud and the buyer doesn't have the recourse of charging back a credit card against Paypal, well, there's no Buyer Protection if there's not enough money in the seller 's account to "recover" for the buyer.

Forcing buyers to use only their own electronic payment service (mention "google checkout" in a listing, it will be removed for violations of TOS by eBay), when there is an alternative that isn't appreciably different in terms of safety and security is flagrant abuse of their auction market position. Can anyone say, "Time for a DoJ anti-trust/anti-competitive investigation"? I knew you could. This is far more overt than what Microsoft did, it's there for every consumer to see.

Toyota Prius is not so green, says ads watchdog


Some folks need to get a clue...

Seriously, it seems to be a pastime here to comment on things you know nothing about. So a few corrections:

-- The current Prius is NOT an electric car. While there may be an outlet somewhere to plug it in if it's sat for several months and the batts are dead, it's not part of routine use. When the batteries get low, the generator runs and charges them. The pre-2004 Prius may have been plug-in, I've never seen one up-close.

-- I'm not even sure what an "electric engine" is-- the Prius is basically a generator with battery storage on wheels. The generator head is basically a motor winding, a rather small one at that. There are electric traction motors attached to the front wheels. As far as weight goes, the car doesn't have "two engines", it has one engine, a generator head, and two electric motors, and they're all fairly small ones at that.

-- The 2004 and later Prius has regenerative braking, which means that rather than wearing out the brakes turning momentum into heat energy when slowing down, it's able to recharge the batteries. The implementation could be better, but every little bit helps.

-- ALL "green" energy is just a shell game, robbing Peter to pay Paul. Whining about batteries or manufacturing pollution while using anything other than your own to legs to walk or bicycle everywhere you go is disingenuous. Why? Being defeatist and rationalizing to dismiss alternatives to justify continuance of bad behavior unabated is inherently disingenuous. Roughly just as much so as driving a Prius and subsequently indulging in the magical thinking that one's carbon footprint has magically gone away so it's okay to drive unnecessarily and stop minding one's consumption.

Cars like the Prius seem to be engineered to enjoy far longer lifespans than others. For example, a "15-year-old Escort" likely has an engine and transmission that are going to be in imminent need of replacement, but is it worth it for most folks to sink that sort of money into overhauls? Most likely not, so they drive around said relic spilling oil onto the streets (and vicariously the storm sewers that drain into rivers), belching out exorbitant amounts of pollution for a car that size because the engine is worn out of its tolerances. At 15 years, a Prius theoretically should just need new batteries and maybe some odd suspension parts replaced. Genset engines generally last an extremely long time since they run at a constant speed and load on-demand, which dramatically reduces wear and tear.

No, the Prius' technology isn't the answer to everything, but it's a step in the right direction. What it basically is, is a car with the interior room of a mid-size car (if you look at the specs, it's comparable to a Camry), that has comparable durability to and is almost as responsive as a mid-size car, but which gets fuel mileage comparable to a disposable economy car. It also give yuppie retards who feel naked without a status symbol to drive around town a viable alternative to a Caddilac Escalade or Hummer...even though it's a different set of bragging rights, it seems to work to get some of that demographic out of being the worst offenders.

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