* Posts by User McUser

629 posts • joined 6 May 2011


Our vulture listened to four hours of obtuse net neutrality legal blah-blah so you don't have to: Here's what's happening

User McUser

The Definition of "Common Carrier"

It bothers me that people are so dismissive of the Communications Act being applied to the Internet. Sure, the technology underlying the communication system in question these days is completely different than that in 1934 - nobody is arguing otherwise. But the underlying principle - that the companies that own the "wires" can't control with *whom* you communicate nor the *content* of said communication - is what that law is really about. That principle is essentially the same as what is commonly known as "net neutrality" - no Internet service provider should be able to decide what sort of communications I get to have over the Internet. It's none of their concern - their job is to shuffle the bits back and forth as quickly as possible; no more, no less.

My Internet connection brings me entertainment, news, and personal correspondence in the form of audio, video, text, pictures. It allows me to do business by remote controlling my computer at work and have fun by playing video games with someone on the other side of the planet. I can interact with government services to renew a license plate or pay my taxes. I can buy groceries, order a pizza, pay my bills, and transfer money from checking to savings. Almost everything that I can do in the world at large, I can do over my Internet connection.

I cannot think of a more apt term for that connection than "common carrier."

Should the super-rich pay 70% tax rate above $10m? Here's Michael Dell's hot take for Davos

User McUser

Also England

The UK had a marginal tax rate of 95% in the 60s.

The Beatles even wrote a song about it - Taxman - which has the line "One for you, Nineteen for me"

Dozens of .gov HTTPS certs expire, webpages offline, FBI on ice, IT security slows... Yup, it's day 20 of Trump's govt shutdown

User McUser

Re: Comparison

They'll all get their back pay.

Except that in the meanwhile they can't pay their rent or buy things like food, gas, clothing, etc.

THIS time, Republicans aren't caving in

For TWO WHOLE YEARS (2017 & 2018) the Republicans had a majority in both the House and Senate and they didn't allocate a single cent to the wall. POTUS didn't seem to give a shit about it then so why all the drama now?

And besides, I thought that Mexico was supposed to pay for it.

Ding dong merrily on high. In Berkeley, the bots are singeing: Self-driving college cooler droid goes up in flames

User McUser


That is NOT what I meant when I ordered "Flaming Hot Cheetos."

Official: Voyager 2 is now an interstellar spacecraft

User McUser

Re: I was around 50 years ago, just barely

I have a feeling some billionaire will cause a ruckus a century from now by recovering one of them, bringing it back to Earth, and putting it on display in his house.

If it makes you feel better it would take a LOT of effort to do so.

Using chemical rockets would probably be too expensive to even just catch up to either Voyager probe, let alone return to Earth with them.

They're both currently traveling at more than 15km/s so you'd have to accelerate to a speed faster than that to catch up to one of them, then capture it and change direction to head back to earth. That's a *very* large amount of delta-V which means a tremendous amount of fuel would be needed.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

User McUser

Re: What are the 3 rules again?

1. A human employee may not reduce the profits of the Amazon corporation, or through inaction allow profits to be reduced.

2. A human employee must obey the orders give to it by Amazon except where such orders would conflict with the first law.

3. A human employee must protect their own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

He's not cracked RSA-1024 encryption, he's a very naughty Belarusian ransomware middleman

User McUser

It's unethical because they don't tell you that they are a go-between or escrow service - they imply that they can somehow decrypt your files themselves. From the article:

Dr Shifro, a Russian-language organisation presenting itself online as a ransomware decryption agency, claims that it's "the only company that specializes in decrypting files", urging users: "Call – we will help!"

So if you want your files back but don't wish to fund evildoers this would appear to be an alternative solution. Except, of course, that it isn't that at all.

Canuck couple returns home after night on tiles to gaggle of randomers hanging out in their flat

User McUser

Re: The landlord [..] denied ever passing Mongrain's keys to the group

A third possibility is that the door was left unlocked (on purpose or by mistake) and the merry men of macaroni simply entered the wrong flat by honest mistake.

Upgraders rejoice! The 2018 Mac Mini heralds a return to memory slots!

User McUser

Re: Mixed emotions....

This may not be the problem you have but make sure you remove the clear plastic wrap from the thunderbolt cable. There's a chip in the connector that can overheat and cause this problem (randomly blank screens). I witnessed this problem on several dozen trashcan Mac Pros and removing the film fixed it right up.

Apple in another dust-up with its fans: iMacs, MacBooks lack filters, choke on grime – lawsuit

User McUser

Re: Errr....

My gaming PC has filters in the front, but only where the two 120mm fans are located. So there are plenty of gaps where the dust gets in anyways.

Though I do agree that the industry norm is to not have filters.

Facebook's CEO on his latest almighty Zuck-up: OK, we did try to smear critics, but I was too out-of-the-loop to know

User McUser

Content Moderation

And by machine-learning, Facebook may well mean a small army of poorly paid human content-moderators.

The PBS series Independent Lens recently aired a documentary film on these content moderators called "The Cleaners." Available to watch online here: https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/the-cleaners/. I highly recommend it.

On a related note, Frontline (another PBS program) recently did a two-part series on Face Book called "The Face Book Dilemma". It's an excellent primer to share with your friends who don't understand what all the fuss is about. Also available to watch online, here: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/facebook-dilemma/

If you saw a Google ad recently, know that it helped pay off one of its 'sex pest' execs $90m

User McUser


Pichar tried to assure folks that [the] company “deeply cares about Chinese users['s money],”

AI's next battlefield is literally the battlefield: In 20 years, bots will fight our wars – Army boffin

User McUser

"The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots. Thank you." -- Military school Commandant's graduation address, "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" [4F21]

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

User McUser

Re: Have fun!

It's a phone. What do you expect they'll find?

The correct question is 'What do they expect they'll find?"

By that I mean: what could possibly be on a phone that a customs agent need to see? Pictures of foreign fruit? Sound recordings of cane toads?

Groupon to pay IBM $57m after getting money off e-commerce patent settlement

User McUser

Re: What are the patents?

Don't know the specific patents in this case but with them being "eCommerce" patents I'm willing to bet they all boil down to:

"An economic thing people have done for centuries but, like, now there's a computer and/or the Internet in there? So it's different somehow. Whatever, who cares - just give us the patent already."

A web where the user has complete control of their data? Sounds Solid, Tim Berners-Lee

User McUser

Some people just have to ruin everything...

"For all the good we've achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas"

Name a single technology from any time in human history that did not follow exactly the same path.

I'm sure the first were fire and flint knives and I don't think it ever stopped.

'Incommunicado' Assange anoints new WikiLeaks editor in chief

User McUser

Re: installed a jamming device ????

Radio signal power follows the inverse square law. So, if the remote WiFi is reasonably distant then the jamming device need not be very strong in order to overpower the WiFi, as long as it is relatively close to Mr. Assange's devices.

Eat my shorts, watchdog tells every city mayor in the US – FCC approves $2bn 5G telco windfall

User McUser

Re: Calling a spade a spade

In other words, it's a fucking lie. Kieran, please stop mincing words. Call a lie a lie.

NPR had an interesting piece on this issue, which can be found here.

Have I been pwned, Firefox? OK, let's ask its Have I Been Pwned tool

User McUser

You use an email address for banking? Why?

Probably because their bank required them to provide an email address when creating a login? I know mine did...

Wow, great invention: Now AI eggheads teach machines how to be sarcastic using Reddit

User McUser

Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun to Be With!

"Dealing with chatbots and virtual assistants can be so frustrating that it’s normal for humans to start getting snarky. Such run-ins would be a little more entertaining if the machines could give some of that sass back" said the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation representative.

No wonder they were first against the wall...

AI image recognition systems can be tricked by copying and pasting random objects

User McUser

I'd go further and say that brains of many species have evolutionary advantages that AI simply can't match.

Obligatory XKCD comic - https://www.xkcd.com/1720/

Judge bars distribution of 3D gun files... er, five years after they were slapped onto the web

User McUser

Machine tools

As for guns... yeesh, 3D printing isn't the only way. They're gonna ban machine tools next?

The difference being that making a gun out of metal (and other materials) using machine tools requires actual skill.

In theory, any idiot can plug in a 3D printer, load some plastic into the hopper (or whatever) and click "Print" to start churning out shitty finger removers plastic guns.

Beam me up, UK.gov: 'Extra-terrestrial markup language' booted off G-Cloud

User McUser

When did they start offering it?

I reckon it was shortly after July 8, 1947.

Google Chrome: HTTPS or bust. Insecure HTTP D-Day is tomorrow, folks

User McUser
Big Brother

Not Secure -vs- Not Encrypted

I object to it being labeled as "Not Secure" when "Not Encrypted" would be far more accurate and far less nasty sounding. But that's the whole point of this, to scare users and drive site operators to use HTTPS. If a user sees "Not Encrypted" they'll either not understand or not care what that means. But calling it "Not Secure" implies that Bad Things™ will happen! Because everyone is always telling them to "Be Secure" and that this is important! And now their browser is telling them their favorite website is not secure? Well, I guess I'd better steer clear of that site until they fix it; thanks Chrome for warning me!

But why does Google care about some random WWW server being encrypted or not? Because with plain HTTP, nearly anyone can see your data and thus access that sweet sweet nectar of your browsing history. But with HTTPS, only the browser and the site you're going to get that info. It's all about trying to stop other advertising companies from getting the same info that Google will get from Chrome users. It's aimed squarely at their competitors and has nothing to do with making anything more secure. I mean FFS, the data is only encrypted during transit - once it hits the browser or the server daemon it's right back to plain text and just as (in)secure as it was before they started using HTTPS.

Samsung’s new phone-as-desktop is slick, fast and ready for splash-down ... somewhere

User McUser

Laptop replacement

Samsung introduced the Dex with 2017’s Galaxy S8 and then updated it this year with a smaller dock that puts the phone in a horizontal position and turns it into a touchpad. That’s an important trick because as a portable device, the DeX Pad is a wash: you need a USB charger, a keyboard and an HDMI cable to get it working. Samsung recommends that you use only its supplied HDMI cable too, so that needs to go into your bag too, making a rat’s nest of cables even before you add a mouse to the mix.

Obviously the solution is a laptop-style "shell" with a keyboard, a built-in display and some useful ports on the back (USB, HDMI, Ethernet, etc). Put a big ass battery in it to recharge your phone and power the display then leave a slot in the front for the phone to dock where the trackpad would normally be. Then you can plug the phone in when you need a proper keyboard or a bigger screen, then pop it out when you don't.

Only problem I can see is that smartphones vary wildly in size and shape so you'd have to come up with a standard or make some kind of sabot for each model...

Google offers to leave robocallers hanging on the telephone

User McUser

Whitelist by default.

Yes to this - a thousand times yes to this.

I already do this manually - If a number appears and it's not in my on-device phone book then straight to voicemail it goes - but it would be nice if the phone just did that for me automatically.

99% of the calls I get on my phone now are voice spam - mostly it's someone trying to sell me health insurance (because, you know, that's the sort of thing you buy from some random weirdo that cold-calls you) and vaguely threatening messages in Mandarin.

Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

User McUser

A few suggestions...

Git While the Git'n's Good

Git On With IT (the version for your Tech support team)

Git In M'uh Belly (you know, for fat bastards)

Labour MP pushing to slip 6-hour limit to kill illegal online content into counter-terror bill

User McUser

Three clicks

How can they prove you watched it? For all they know a malicious website opened a new tab or a pop-under window that started streaming it in the background.

And as someone else pointed out in another comment, can people now be terrorickrolled right into prison?

Wah, encryption makes policing hard, cries UK's National Crime Agency

User McUser

Re: Wut?

Both firearms and crypto can be used for good and bad.

Ugh, I know, right? Remember that time a crazy person went into that primary school with a copy of "FIPS PUB 197" and he encrypted all those poor children using a 256bit length key?

New Monty Python movie to turn old jokes into new royalties

User McUser

Re: Shovelling shedloads of sheet glass in the shithouse?

When I get my membership card and blazer badge back from the League of Agnostics, I shall urge them to launch a formal protest against that religious racket.

Let's be Frank: Bloke drags Google to the US Supreme Court over $8.5m privacy payout

User McUser

Re: Economically Feasible?

This is supposedly compensation and the cost of processing that should be part of the costs paid by Google. If someone has suffered $x damages then $x should be what they're entitled to receive, not $x minus some administration fee.

That is exactly my point - if Google has agreed to pay an amount that breaks down to 4¢ per class member then those individuals in the class are entitled to the entire 4¢ and not 4¢ "minus some administration fee." Ergo, Google has to pay whatever direct and indirect fees or costs incurred while processing those 129 million 4¢ payments.

User McUser

Economically Feasible?

Why does the court (any court) care to make things easier or cheaper for the giant corporation with many billions of dollars?

Personally, I would consider the amount paid to track down addresses for the class members and then print and mail all the checks as part of the punishment.

There's just one month left 'til the big day: May 25... but don't panic!

User McUser

Aww, Belgium...

I'm so un-hip it's a wonder my bum doesn't fall off.

US government weighs in on GDPR-Whois debacle, orders ICANN to go probe GoDaddy

User McUser

To be honest, why should the rest of the world comply with ICANN's wish -not even a law- to have our private information and publish it globally? And then charge you to hide it....that's like volunteering for blackmail.

Was Whois data ever intended to be private in the first place? The identity of what entity owns which domain names never seemed to me like data that needed to be protected or kept secret. (Please note that I am NOT defending ICANN just arguing that Whois data is of public interest.)

Then again when I was but a lad they published the name, address, and phone number of everyone in town with a phone in a big book that everyone got a copy of every year. (And if you didn't want your information listed in this book you had to pay a separate fee for the privilege of being unlisted.)

Facebook faces foe formation in facial fingering fight

User McUser

What I don't like is the fact that despite a complete lack of a Facebook profile, Facebook still has got my biometric data because I have several friends that use the service and I am often in photographs that get uploaded. Zuckerberg et al might not specifically know who I am beyond whatever primary key they assigned my facial data in their database, but they'll be able to identify me as such in any other photographs or videos and I have no idea if any of the existing privacy laws or regulations would even cover the use of such non-subscriber data.

Maybe I'm paranoid but for some reason I just don't trust multi-billion dollar corporations to act in my best interests.

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

User McUser

Re: And naturally, the IRS will fine those who coudn't file on time

Sorry, but if you wait until the last day to file then you kinda deserve it.

Most people get all their W-2's and similar required paperwork by the end of January so they had at least 8 weeks to get their shit together.

Or if they couldn't manage that, then they could file IRS Form 4868 which will automatically give them a 6 month extension.

No password? No worries! Two new standards aim to make logins an API experience

User McUser

Re: And when your biometric data gets stolen?

I don't see the problem.

The problem is that they forgot that biometrics should be your username, not your password.

Backpage.com swoop: Seven bods hit with 93 charges as AG Sessions blasts alleged child sex trafficking cyber-haven

User McUser

The War on Prostitution

Remember when they declared war on drugs and now you can't get drugs anymore?

It'll be like *that*.

Blackberry snaps, yakkity-yak Snapchat app brats slapped with patent trap rap

User McUser

Re: Ahhh, the optimism of lawyers

otherwise Blackberry would not be in such dire financial straights that [it needs] to become resume being patent trolls.


Microsoft outlines some ground rules to prevent it from nicking your IP

User McUser

Re: Companies & Microsoft

You are thinking of "Stacker" by Stac Electronics. In 1993/94 after negotiating with Stac to license their code for inclusion in DOS, Microsoft basically just ripped them off instead with their "DoubleSpace" program. This resulted in several lawsuits with around US$200 million in damages and payments awarded to Stac in the end.

SpaceX has a good day: Successful launch and FCC satellite approval

User McUser


I thought that Iridium went bankrupt and that the US Gov bought their satellites...

I guess I need to pay more attention!

'Tis the season: Verizon first in line to flog Palm phone resurrection

User McUser
Thumb Up

Ah Palm...

In my college job I appropriate the boss's untouched Palm III for my own use until I graduated and got a HandSpring Visor Deluxe. To this day when I am filling out paper forms that require you to put letters into individual boxes I find myself writing in Graffiti.

A friend of mine got a Palm VII when those came out - I remember being impressed that he could look up movie showtimes on it. This would have been in the summer of 1999 so instant access to data from basically anywhere was still a pretty big deal.

Another day, another self-flying car pipe dream surfaces

User McUser

NOT a flying car...

Audi and Airbus are pondering a self-driving car that can also fly


"The ultra-light, two-seater passenger cabin can be attached either to a car module or to a flight module.

So NOT a flying car but instead a box that you sit inside that is then either put into a car or put into an airplane. By that logic it is also a boat, a train, a horse-drawn carriage, a semi-truck, and a helicopter - just put the box inside any of those things.

A flying car is one that will drive along the road and then start flying without swapping out parts.

Google to 'forget me' man: Have you forgotten what you said earlier?

User McUser

Re: Orwellian

IMHO, it's less 1984 and more Hitchhiker's Guide.

They don't want to expunge the information from the record to pretend it never existed in the first place as much as they just want to make it so that the only place you can find it is in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "beware of the leopard."

Uber hopes to butter up Brit transport chiefs with lots of lovely data

User McUser

(f.e Clingon warbird(*) cloak)

That's Klingon with a "K" you honorless petaQ!

La, la, la, I can't hear you! Apple to challenge Bose's noise-proof cans

User McUser

Wait - am I a weirdo?

I actually *like* the ambient noise in the aircraft - that low level hiss/hum of what I guess is the wind or maybe it's the engines? (Or both?) Not sure what causes it, but I find it quite soothing.

World+dog ignores Rubin's Wonderdroid

User McUser


phone's model number ("PH-1")

Personally, I'd prefer something a little more basic.

Disengage, disengage! Cali DMV reports show how often human drivers override robot cars

User McUser

The "Kitty Hawk" moment

If we define "self-driving" cars the way we defined "powered flight" after Kitty Hawk, then we're well past that point and have moved on to this: https://youtu.be/Sp7MHZY2ADI

As Facebook pushes yet more fake articles, one news editor tells Mark to get a grip – or Zuck off

User McUser

Oh FFS - fixing this is EASY

Step 1 - Setup a news white-list. If you aren't on the list then your "news" won't be allowed.

Step 2 - Create a process whereby *any* news site can apply to be added to the white-list. This would be human reviewed by qualified people and the sites would be required to meet very basic journalism standards such as only publishing actual, factual news and having a clear demarcation between what's news and what's commentary or editorial content. (This is neither difficult nor burdensome.)

Step 3 - Review these sites on a regular basis to make sure that they are still in compliance.


Leaky credit report biz face massive fines if US senators get their way

User McUser

Re: No chance

The biggest problem with the bill is size of the potential fines. They are big enough to bankrupt a company in short order (50% of annual revenues). In many cases that would be as bad as the security breach as the company sinks taking other innocent businesses with it.

Well then they had better be pretty fucking careful with our data in order to keep that from happening.


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