* Posts by JLV

1076 posts • joined 4 Mar 2013

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Pack your bags! NASA spots SEVEN nearby Earth-sized alien worlds

JLV
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Facepalm

Yup, all this scientific hypothesizing is waaaay less credible than this little jewel, straight outta the Good Book:

http://creation.com/kangaroos-dinosaurs-and-eden

We are also told in Genesis 1:29-30 that Adam and Eve, and all the animals, were to have vegetarian diets. So T. rex was originally a herbivore!

I see you are in good company, Sir Ignoramus!

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JLV
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Joke

I'd rather sit it out for a while. Or at least until I change out of today's red shirt.

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Apple to Europe: It's our job to design Ireland's tax system, not yours

JLV
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Re: @Peter

Sorry, even that doesnt make much sense. Foxconn assembles, right? So, presumably, whatver Foxconn's charges Apple is the cost of manufacturing, to Apple. Telling me Foxconn makes < $10 / phone?

By any non-clickbait metric, i.e. not by a publication calling itself Cult of Mac, the accounting concept you are talking about when you are contrasting it to SG&A is cost of goods sold. That would include pretty much all the bill of goods plus the labor and assembly costs. Not whatever weird cutaway slicing they are using to make a non-existent point.

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JLV
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Boffin

Re: @Peter

>The cost of manufacturing an iPhone is less than 1% of the list price.

Do you have any numbers to back that up? I find it really hard to believe that just the CPU and the screen, by themselves, would not be more than $10. Even in YUUUUUGE volumes. Heck, how much is Qualcomm's pound of flesh?

This case is aggravating and Apple's arrogance is immense, but let's try to stick to reality nevertheless.

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Watson can't cure cancer ... or all the stuff that breaks IT projects

JLV
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Trollface

So, no more Watson 'outthink cancer' ads, here or elsewhere? :-(

</eom>

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Florida Man jailed for 4 years after raking in a million bucks from spam

JLV
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Re: My $0.02 (@JLV)

>we shouldn't just look at how much money he made in order to determine the severity of his crime

We still disagree on this point. I appreciate your reasoning, but, IMHO, in the case of white collar crime we want to aim somewhat for a Nash Equilibrium where rational criminals can look at the cost/benefit outcomes and realize that cybercrime isn't a risk-free proposition, purely from a financial gain POV. That

requires you to look at money, because money IS the metric in this type of cases.

In addressing white-collar crime, deterrence for CEO-level crimes is also required, but bear in mind that that type of perpetrator has a lot to lose in the cost-benefit matrix, precisely due to their already-(over?)privileged position. So, if SPAM $1M => 4 years, it doesn't automatically follow that $10M CEO needs 15 years. An actual conviction for 3-4 years, with regulation implying the loss of future earning capacity, would still be sufficient, I think. With exceptions for especially egregious cases like Madoff.

Different crimes can be minimized different ways. Here in BC we had a horrific case where a gas station attendant tried to stop some gas-n-dash lowlives and got dragged to death. The solution (besides jailing those particular lowlives and throwing away the key), was to pass regulations that require prepayment at gas stations. Problem solved.

There is no one-size fits all. Any time we jail someone society incurs very real costs. I believe that what this guy got is consistent with society's interest in minimizing his type of crime. Whether he "deserves it" at an individual level is not the question I am addressing.

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JLV
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Re: My $0.02

>in-person, physical robbery being penalized more harshly than using compromised servers as botnets for spam, even if there is a huge disparity in the gains.

Respectfully disagree with you. There are ample well-grounded precedents for applying very stiff penalties to low-violence crimes because not doing so would result in undue criminal burden to society at large.

Take for example money counterfeiting. Two guys hanging out in a garage and printing out fake money on a high end printer is not a violent crime. But, if such behavior was not very aggressively discouraged, then public trust in money would be undermined (the Nazis even had an elaborate plan to do that to the British currency during WW2). Ditto, I have been told, penalties for dine-n-dash in France - it's not much of a crime, but if it becomes cheap and easy to get away with, then societal trust is lost.

Scammers on the internet may not be violent types, but amassing millions of loot implies a lot of individual victims. I don't minimize the trauma to a 7-11 clerk of getting robbed (without injury) at knife or gun point, but the overall societal impact is low. And if it becomes "10 years for $100 armed robbery" or "1 year for $1M internet ID theft", any criminal with the vague intellectual capacity required for ID theft will reconvert. Leaving behind hundreds or thousands of people dealing with the major hassles of ID theft.

I admit I am switching the goal posts from spam to ID theft, but ID theft is a non-violent crime needing strong deterrence. Pure spam I am less gung-ho about. Still, in this case, 4 years (he's gonna be out in, what, 1.5 at the most?) served for 1M$ gain is hardly being unduly harsh on the little lowlife.

(that's not my downvote, I generally agree with minimizing jail time for most minor crimes)

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Don’t panic over cyber-terrorism: Daesh-bags still at script kiddie level

JLV
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Re: "we are very resilient as a country"

See, the cool thing @ http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GC.DOD.TOTL.GD.ZS is that UK and USA are right next to each other on the charts.

Respectively at 97.8 and 96.6% GDP debt, 2013. Although, by some measures, adding up state and local debt gets the US numbers to 125%.

Pot calling the kettle black, at least wrt debt?

For the rest, yeah, you are on firmer ground, I'd say.

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Talk of tech innovation is bullsh*t. Shut up and get the work done – says Linus Torvalds

JLV
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Re: Git command line

ClearCase was one of those VCS "misfortunes" I worked with. "Abortion" is a way better term for CC tho ;-)

To be fair, with git it's not that advanced commands don't make sense - they work and work well. It's just that if it's not your primary job to wrangle with it, then it's not worth the effort to really know obscure stuff and edge cases. But since git is command line - copy, paste, adjust, and run is doable. Much more so than with a super complex nested GUI like CC.

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JLV
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Pint

he's really quite clever, ain't he?

You could argue (I won't) that Linux cloned a lot of ideas from Unix/BSD/Minix. Lots of perspiration, not all that much innovation. In fact, a troll is surely waiting in the wings to chip that in. Or maybe whine that it's not a micro-kernel OS.

But git seems to be another beasty entirely. Yes, it's a VCS, and yes, those have been done before. But, it's a different VCS in how it stores data. And it is a very different VCS in how its API interacts with standard file system commands.

I confess I am a fairly clueless person wrt git. The railroad diagrams used to explain commit points just make me scratch my head. Lots of the advanced command and option combinations are incredibly complex and don't make that much sense, so I tend to cut and paste them from SO.

But unlike some of the other VCS I have had the misfortune to interact with, I get the feeling that it's actually pretty elegant, if I was clever enough to grok it fully. Commands like git bisect, once you get with it does, just are "wow, this is so useful, why did no one do this before?". I am not sure how long he took to put git together, but as I recall, he had to do it when some (other) Linux devs kinda pulled a fast one on the vendor of a commercial VCS that they had been using (for free, IIRC).

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Munich may dump Linux for Windows

JLV
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I'd like to know more...

So, we have a lot of speculation and not many clear facts. Might I suggest El Reg trying to actually talk to either Heise? Or someone @ Munich? It's not that small a city and it has good beer.

If this story has legs then it would be a good learning experience for the FOSS crowd to figure out what went wrong. Outlook or lack of specialized biz-specific apps that run _well_? (program X did this but we can't get it)? Distro customization costs/quality? Training? (Win 8 anyone?). Is it that running a complex business/govt organization does NOT require the same ecosystem and apps as the needs of an IT-savvy organization whose goal is IT? Or the needs of departments looking after IT infrastructure? Superior marketing/back scratching? What was the involvement of the big consultancies? They're usually a kiss of death.

The "how dare they/it makes no sense/they're idiots/my granny could do it/disgusting bribery" howls don't seem very useful to lil ol me. Given how much of a hash Windows is making of the desktop, there is a good potential that an appropriate offering, meeting the needs of end users and management, not just the IT priesthood, could make gradual inroads in the enterprise. Whether that's based on Linux or Macs is actually not that important. Either would still light a fire under Redmonds ass.

But first you have to learn from mistakes.

And if it's an "at this point Linux is just unsuitable for large general business /govt deployments" then, as a taxpayer that's also good to know.

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Stick glue on a drone. Fly it into a flower. World hunger solved, bee-lieve

JLV
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Re: Good Freekin' Lord...

Generally agree with your sentiment, the world is not about to end.

However, I don't fully agree with

>tends to be bought up grown -- and a good proportion of that left to rot -- by the wealthy nations

If Nigeria's population, for example, is set to peak @ 750M by 2100 (by some high-end estimates*), then, what is our responsibility in the matter? The fact that population grows most in poor countries is not surprising. However the fact that most of the surplus food is grown in countries that are managing their population is going to make for rather uncomfortable ethics. Giving away food, as some well-intentioned people tend to suggest - "we grow enough in North America to feed everyone" - has the potential to be pretty much the death knell of many African farmers' businesses and make the rest dependent on our goodwill.

Also, Nigeria is part of tropical Africa. There's a lot of space, but without looking into it, I wouldn't be sure that its forests would support mass agriculture to the extent needed by these numbers. Looking at Brazil for example, the Amazon does not make for a perfect grain growing area.

i.e. the world will not end, but it would be nice if we stopped pretending that countries' decision to be irresponsible wrt population growth is their God-given right. Also speaking of God-given rights, it'd also be nice if certain rich nations stopped throwing spanners in family planning projects, just to please their Bible-thumping constituents. Coercion is not the answer, and is ethically shaky, but surely helping them to slow down gradually is in our mutual interest.

* http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140918-population-global-united-nations-2100-boom-africa/

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Planned Espionage Act could jail journos and whistleblowers as spies

JLV
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Re: Stasi wet dream

>1984

That is a rather silly accusation. Your government is trying to save the taxpayer money by not wasting time reinventing the wheel.

Instead, they wisely decided to follow best practices and just called up the Honorable V. Putin to ask him how he deals with embarrassing leaks. The key is to just label everyone involved a "foreign agent", regardless of what happened and what was exposed and throw everybody in jail.

Trump ❤️❤️ Putin & May ❤️❤️ Trump. So, by transitivity, it follows May ❤️ Putin, no?

I am relieved we just got rid of Harper, otherwise there'd be even more lying together at this big happy love-in.

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Want to come to the US? Be prepared to hand over your passwords if you're on Trump's hit list

JLV
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Re: Do all those border officials speak and read Arabic?

It wouldn't have to be Trump's picture per se. Just something recognizably his...

- an orange toupe

- a groper icon

- something from https://thenounproject.com/term/donald-trump/651997/ ? I rather like the elephant...

Seriously, El Reg, we haven't seen a new icon in ages. Pretty please.

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JLV
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Paris Hilton

Do all those border officials speak and read Arabic?

Are the border officials expecting to see those FB accounts all written up in USA English???

Or... are US security professionals who happen to be able to read Arabic going to be diverted to this oh so useful dog-chasing-tail exercise?

This isn't just speculation. I don't know if it's been fixed, but historically French security services have struggled with keeping up phone intercepts, due to the lack of people speaking Arabic.

I also wonder how US citizens who approve of this type of intrusion would appreciate if they were subjected to it on their trips abroad?

Also, what were the travel and vetting arrangements like, and how were the legalities addressed, for Soviet visitors during the Cold War? If the US insists on treating visitors from certain Arab countries as potential enemies, that would have been a historical precedent, no? Not that Cold War behavior was always very clever either - like w McCarthy. The numbers would have been much lower however.

p.s. we definitely need a Trump icon. I am starting to feel really bad about insulting Paris' intelligence by using hers.

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Who's behind the Kodi TV streaming stick crackdown?

JLV
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>What's a "DVD"?

something you own, dear.

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JLV
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Unhappy

Re: Said it before, will say it again

AFAIK Amazon.com doesn't stream stuff to Canada and we're stuck with that stultifying dried-up hellhole that is Amazon.ca.

Ditto with mp3 purchases on it btw.

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Tails Linux farewells 32-bit processors with imminent version 3.0

JLV
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Re: Sad to lose old hardware

Sadder still is a 8GB, decent-ish recent CPU... with a 15" 1366x768 screen. With a whole row of similar crippleware on the shelf next to it.

The machine as a whole is pretty decent, the screen res hobbles it, esp for coding.

That's still what a lot of dumb chain stores sell. The trick they try to pull on the unwary is labeling it as an "HD screen", with no pixel count anywhere in sight - you have to figure out where Redmond put the screen resolution setting this time around.

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EU whacks first nail into mobile roaming charges' coffin

JLV
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Unhappy

>stir up trouble.

What can I say? Guilty. I was bored with taking easy shots @ Trump, BJ and MS ;-) (Originally meant to be AC as well).

My sentiment remains, though. While it is popular (oh, please don't deny it) to chide our American friends on this forum, it very much seems to me that Brexit is an even bigger own goal than Trump, with longer term effects and with weirder motivations than Rep voters deciding to just stick to their party come what may.

So... people who live in glass houses...

I also guess I was surprised at Parliament's article 50 approval vote margin.

I am suitably chastised, dear Sirs.

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JLV
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good thing fer yer telcos that y'all voted fo' secession, huh?

sorry, grabbin me coat. couldn't resist. pure flame-bait, hence icon.

I think, for a time at least, that you Brits need to be a tiny weensy lil bitty bitty less patronizing towards your American brethren. If you find that hard to do, grab a cold one n go watch Waldorf Salad.

The consequences of a Trump, dire as they will probably be, might be swifter to go away than that pesky 52%'s.

Ain't nah merkin nor a brit mahself. Hey, respect to both, but this "experts suck" thingy can get pretty dangerous if you sub "people who have a clue about a subject".

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Oculus gift: VR biz to cough up half a billion dollars for ripping off software copyright

JLV
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Re: Bit Steep

A different POV is that, if Oculus was acquired for 2+1 B$, then that gives them 15% of the acquisition price. Depends how much the value of what FB acquired was based on what was supposedly stolen from Zenimax.

Seems steep, but who knows? In any case, a type of IP shenanigans that FB's founder should be well acquainted with, neh?

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Parliamentary Trump-off? Pro-Donald petition passes 100k signatures

JLV
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Facepalm

Re: Asleep at the Wheel

>Supply side economics works EVERY! TIME! IT! IS! TRIED!! Trump economics will be just that:

>'trickle down'

Hmmm, you are aware that Reagan tripled the national debt on his watch, right? Or are these also alt-facts?

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JLV
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Re: quip? not all that clever, no.

Well, hum, actually, Reagan did do much worse, in addition to what you've mentioned. The whole Central American dirty wars / death squad affair was a massive ethical fail. It's actually surprising there was so little public outcry about it at the time, and it's encouraging that I, perhaps naively, don't believe similar abuses would be quite as unchallenged nowadays.

Totally forgot about it in this instance, my bad. I still think of Reagan being a relatively competent leader overall, but by no means a saint, no.

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JLV
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Re: Asleep at the Wheel

Nixon the individual was the worst, true.

As a president, in terms of outcome? You get the China trick, that's a major, major, kudo to him. And the scandal mainly reflected badly on himself and his co-conspirators. The impeachment system functioned well, and he was ousted in a mostly bi-partisan manner. A bit of a stain on the presidency, but not that much practical effect and probably even some reinforced checks and balances (can't remember which Pres had the CIA do dirty tricks to the opposition, something about LSD on stair railings).

So, overall, the outcome wasn't as bad as say Bush Jr, who messed up the two wars he got involved with and raised partisanship and division to new heights. Could Obama have done more to heal the divide? Not sure, not with fools like Bannon and Limbaugh. In hindsight, maybe it was a mistake to wave the red flag of Clinton-hood to the Rep-leaning voters. After all, Jeb Bush suffered from his family name as well.

Sadly, so far Trump is, in my opinion, well on the way to making Bush Jr look like a thoughtful, organized and clever president. With a competent cabinet. And if he does mess up badly, in this climate there is little chance that neutering him will be as clean and harmonious as removing Nixon. Ideally his reign will serve to inoculate the American public* to quick easy populist demagoguery (I count Bernie in that camp too, though I believe him to an honest and ethical man).

* yes, and I believe in magical flying ponies too.

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JLV
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quip? not all that clever, no.

>and even Ronald Reagan.

The problem with including The Gipper in that list is that it makes it really look like no Republican president would be acceptable to your tender sensibilities.

Reagan is controversial in some ways (I still joke about "Reagan vegetables"), and trickle-down economics didn't turn out as claimed (you could argue it was the starting shot for the great inequality race).

But Reagan was also quite successful at both knocking the USSR out of the Cold War. And, when that happened, actually taking a chance at more productive relations with Russia. Granted, not much $ or effort was expended in bolstering civil society and economies in ex-Soviet block countries (or Afghanistan) later, but that was on other people's watch, mostly.

Point is, he may not be to everyone's liking, but he doesn't belong on that list with the other psychopaths. And, since he was the least toxic of the recent Republican presidents (along w Bush Sr), you are basically saying "no Republican is acceptable". What's your suggestion? That the Dems keep power permanently? No matter how competent Bill and Barack might have been, it's toxic to stick with one party. Granted, 4 (or 8) more years of Democrats would have been better than the current buffoon.

Great attitude. IMHO, gives credence to morons like Bannon, Limbaugh and the like when they tell Rep voters that everyone's out to get them. And look where that bit of voter polarization got us this time. Someone who's already well on the way to displacing Bush Jr as the most incompetent POTUS of recent times.

As far as the Queen meeting with El Toupe or not, that's UK citizens' business. If I were making decisions, I'd keep my powder dry and reserve opposition to Trump where it really matters, not surface levels of protocol. Slighting him would not, at this point, achieve much. There are plenty of other opportunities awaiting, I suspect, where a principled stand against Trump will be more relevant. We are, not quite, yet, at the point where the main way to influence the US is to boycott everything, like with South Africa in the 90s.

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Imagine a ChromeOS-style Windows 10 ... oh wait, there it is and it's called Windows Cloud

JLV
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wtf?

So, all of the Windows hassles and un-intuitiveness and none of the power? Presumably with most of the petty licensing hassles? Minus viability in the absence of broadband. Minus the ability to install programs from where I see fit? Built-in monitoring. With the added benefit of an uncertain future - it's not like MS ever drops a product line when it gets bored, izzit?

Sign me up. not.

At the least the Surface makes sense. This doesn't. Or maybe it does, since they've royally screwed the pooch on mobile - so this is their new version of mobile? Plan D? F?

p.s. one slight item in their defense - their recent work with stripping down Windows to Nano edition might have set the ground for an OK technical base to it.

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Infosec industry to drive machine learning spend surge says analyst

JLV
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Trollface

Truly self-aware AI

McAfee: "Dave, I have spotted anomalous behavior indicating CPU-constraining programs are currently monopolizing CPU-time to an unacceptable degree. Analyzing possible solution... ".

McAfee: "Dave, I'm sorry, but I am afraid you are going to have to disconnect me. Your computer is too important for you to allow me to jeopardize it.".

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Trump decides Breitbart chair Bannon knows more about natsec than actual professionals

JLV
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Re: It will be yet another war soon

7 years at what seems to have been Lieutenant-grade rank on a destroyer now qualifies one as an NSC principal?

Hmmm.... right.

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JLV
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>just three letters. I.R.A.

O.A.S. (Organisation Armee Secrete)

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JLV
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Re: It will be yet another war soon

>if you're already this deluded

OK, BJ, I'll bite.

I get that global warming is a partisan thing. Ditto health care. Reps and Dems just don't see them the same way. Agree to disagree.

Now, can you explain the upside from a political campaign operative present on the National Security Council? Rather than the pros? Is that so that hard decisions about how to react to national security threats can benefit from a PR and spin perspective? Vetted for fitting your worldview?

Honestly, you couldn't make this shit up. Even Karl Grove's undue influence on post-invasion troop level planning in Iraq, with the disastrous impact thereof until the surge, does not at all approach this level of stupidity.

How can a Republican administration be this careless about national security? How partisan do you have to be before you think this is a good thing? What if Reps like McCain flag it as stupid, would that wake you up???

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Sony takes $1bn writedown: Streaming has killed the DVD star

JLV
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Re: Short Window of Opportunity...

Yeah, gotta agree with the problem here.

Maybe it's the CAD $ exchange rate, but $3500 CAD gets you a... moderately well appointed Mac Book Pro laptop. 512GB SSD, 15" screen, 16GB RAM. All soldered in. When I bought my 2011 MBP, the Apple price premium was about 30% (2500$ MBP with specs of a 2000$ laptop). Now it's way more than 30%.

I think the problem is the obsession with small size, coolness factor, retina. But an MBP, esp at that price, should kinda allow... development, not just Starbucks FB browsing.

Honestly, even at $2500 CAD, these are NOT machines I am salivating over. That may not be such a big deal for Apple in pure $$$ terms, but what if their developer base/power users generally head elsewhere?

Next time around, I'd consider a well-built, high-price, fully-supported (maybe through overlaying some hardware-specific stuff on an LTS distribution?) Linux laptop, where I have to do as little thinking about hardware and drivers as I do on a Mac. Most of the time, I am on bash or Sublime anyway so a switch isn't a big deal.

The solution? Not sure. Don't see much upside from Dell/HP macos laptops and licensing didn't work out well for Apple (and the licensees) in the past.

How about... true market differentiation (between its customers) from Apple?

Big a** laptops, 17". Lots of ports. Swap-able components. Not small. You know, for folks who do other shit than browse FB and send each other iMessages.

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Doomsday Clock moves to 150 seconds before midnight. Thanks, Trump

JLV
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>you are all rabidly supporting.

Take a biiiig chill pill. Stridency is not just a problem on the right, my dear.

Many comments do diss Trump. And your comment is hardly on the way to winning the hearts and minds of the voters who exercised their democratic prerogative to vote for him.

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JLV
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>direct military conflict with Russia, and now that possibility has basically vanished.

Sorry, I'll call bs on that too. Neither Putin, nor even an aggressively anti-Putin US President would go all out with in a Russia-USA war. The stakes just aren't there. Russia is angling for respect and Putin needs to have external enemies for political reasons. But Russia is not in a credible position to take over the world unlike USSR 1950-89. So neither party has anything to win or defend by Armageddon. All the Hillary-bashing in the world won't change that.

Contrast that with China. Relative power transition points (remember the German High Seas fleet 1914) have a way to upset stability. The up and coming think they can take over. The dwindling party think they should take action now, before it's too late. Wars are started when folks calculate they can win. Russia can't but China will eventually get to the point where they'll surpass the US. 20 yrs? 30 yrs?

Appeasement with China isn't the way. A peaceful transition, where each party agrees to peaceful coexistence is our best way forward. With diplomatic reminders to China that they have much to lose if they ramp up confrontation. Building regional consensus. China's is not a messianic political ideology like the Soviets', it might work. Tricky though.

That's our biggest challenge over the next 20 yrs.

And guess which US President is going to be in charge for a while? A man with an even temperament, well known for getting along with China, a man keen on international alliances, with clear and stable principles, trusted by other liberal democracies and newly industrializing nations. Popular at home, so China can't game his support. Ready to collaborate on matters of mutual interest like global warming. Internationalist.

But, yeah, go on believing that chumming w Putin matters more.

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JLV
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I call BS

Much as I dislike Trump, I find it hard to reconcile this risk rating with the risk before the Soviet Union broke up. Not to mention the Cuban Missile Crisis itself.

Really, this, now, is the worst it's ever been???

China may or may not become a major ingredient in risking nuclear conflagration. And Trump's smoochies with has-been Russia is unlikely to make up for his possible inflammation of Chinese-US relationships. But that is most likely 10-15 years in the future at least.

Climate change is a massive risk. But it's also quite slow moving and unlikely to result in a quick, large scale termination of most human life and civilization. Unlike what could have happened in the Cold War.

North Korea could nuke someone, probably. And they're the most likely state actor who's stupid enough to do it. But a nuke on even a major Western city would not be the end of civilization, it would mostly result in a liquefied NK and a re-strengthened resolve to control nukes. Ditto a Pakistani strike somewhere.

IMHO this level of risk-flagging seems a bit too political and likely to dilute the seriousness which nuclear risks warrant. Esp wrt the US, talking about climate change, which is an entirely different subject, is a sure way to get 50% of ostriches to close their ears. And they'll run out of clock space and need a "dial up to 11" pretty soon at this rate.

daystogo:1455:

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'Celebgate' nudes thief gets just nine months of porridge

JLV
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Seems about right, esp if he does the time.

It was a inexcusable thing to do, and it violated people's privacy. But he did not intend to distribute it and, perhaps, the mitigating circumstances were there.

A year or two of actual jail for non-child, non-violent, non-profit-seeking, not originally intended for public humiliation, sex privacy offenses sounds about right.

It's not a trivial sentence, to be denied a year of your life. It should be a good enough deterrent, without slipping into the heavy revenge mode that so often would have us fill up prisons with long-term inmates that are only really losers, rather than dangerous. This is not good for society, criminal reinsertion or taxpayers.

A less discerning judge might have gone for a year per victim for example.

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President Trump tweets from insecure Android, security boffins roll eyes

JLV
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Boffin

Don't worry. Giuliani told him it's safe, and he knows what he's talking about.

</eom>

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Cisco's WebEx Chrome plugin will execute evil code, install malware via secret 'magic URL'

JLV
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Black Helicopters

Re: An Adobe Wannbe?

>was this deliberate?

Yeah, that's a good question. The assumption most of you have so far is that it was just a nitwit or dishonest dev. Just because this is a massive fail doesn't mean it didn't take time to set up and why would a dev do it on her/his own initiative? That stupid? And it never got caught by QA/reviews?

On the other hand, could it be a magic, lazy, get-out-of-jail free feature? Just in case something goes really wrong and you want to figure out what's going on, customer-side. You have a backdoor and you use it.

Not really different from a secret hardcoded, unchangeable, root password, is it? And we never see those either, of course. But, if that's the case, then don't call that a bug, please, because it would have been sanctioned at higher levels than individual incompetent devs.

Of course, the fact that it nukes security is irrelevant. It's more important that it solves Cisco/insert-other-dodgy-vendors' support problems.

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Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

JLV
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Trollface

Stability is for losers...*

All that whining about browser versions? Look at js instead and behold the might of the anti-"back in the day"**

https://hackernoon.com/how-it-feels-to-learn-javascript-in-2016-d3a717dd577f

There's a similar write-up about Docker-izing something simple. That one is the first one I read, some months back.

* Notice the Troll or Joke icon. sarcasm.

** Verity Stob posted a link to it in her last article, but I feel it deserves even more recognition. Esp when one is struggling through merging &*%+ 8-/ ^ Webpack config files :( :( :(

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Make America, wait, what again? US Army may need foreign weapons to keep up

JLV
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>how Europeans denegrate the military-industrial complex

Actually, the term was coined by Eisenhower, a Republican president, serving at a time of unprecedented Soviet threat.

" In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex."

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

I don't necessarily always think badly of US military endeavors. And I don't think that there, at least for now, no need for weapon systems development and acquisition. But, with some of the massive gravy train and spending, you can't help but think that, maybe, just maybe, some of it isn't quite as efficient, including to the detriment of US armed forces themselves, as it could be.

Obviously, a certain VSTOL fighter-bomber comes to mind. Fancy-butt destroyers. There are even more blatant ones, when defense base closures, requested by the armed forces, is vetoed by pork-happy congressmen.

The case you make for military => civilian research synergy isn't totally unwarranted. But your rather rosy presentation reminds me of the (mostly leftish) advocates of more government spending, where they always claim that "for X dollars spend on Y, the economy grows by cX". Where c is, of course, >1.

With its very long development cycles, will military technology always lead civilian? I rather doubt it. If you really wanted to make a better point, you'd argue for transferring more $ into DARPA, rather than just claiming military spending in general is an economic multiplier.

Remember what happened to the Soviet economy. Odd that it didn't bloom with so much useful military spending, no? At that point, Reagan was correct to push on the military budget pedal. Is it really required to that extent now?

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Trumping free trade: Say 'King of Bankruptcy' Ross does end up in charge of US commerce

JLV
Silver badge

Trade wars ahoy

And all of this will happen quietly, because the other countries whose goods are going to be highly taxed on import have never heard of trade wars and retaliatory tariffs. And trade wars and autarky have a brilliant record of improving economy and living standards everywhere.

You know, I was having a discussion with a friend where the "well, at least with Donald, unlike Hillary, the tension with Russia will go down". She does otherwise hate his guts.

So... lemme see. You elect a total nutjob who is going to be pals with Putin and his prickly-but-has-been Russia. As if pandering to Russia was usually a Republican hallmark.

Same nutjob's campaign pledge is to drag the up-and-coming future superpower, China, over hot coals.

So, cozy up to the losers and aggravate the guys who are gonna take over*? Yeah, makes total sense.

* I am sitting on the fence wrt China. They could be a relatively benign dominant power, quite possibly. But they could also transform into quite the bully - their various South China sea island claims are ridiculous, soon as you look at a map. Are they for real? To stir up nationalism in support of their un-elected rulers? Who knows?

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Deadly Tesla smash probe: No recall needed, says Uncle Sam

JLV
Silver badge

Re: Persuit of perfection vs. incremental improvement

No, put that under negligence in my book. And uncap payouts. I am talking honest mistakes, not flagged and known about but ignored. I realize that I used 'negligent' in different meanings above. I meant if Tesla had been at fault, not (willfully) negligent, my bad.

No one wants the Pinto recall $ vs death calculations back.

Put it this way: the Brasil - Paris AF 477 killed 228 people due to a combination of instrument failure and inadequate pilot training. Both Airbus and Air France were at fault, but not by negligence. Did you see a massive sueball to both companies, like 5M$/person? No, because they do have caps. Instead you saw a costly investigation, lessons were learned and corrections were made. Aviation's caps, but also obsessive trend to constant safety improvements is what I believe we should emulate.

Pinto recall fail? That should be hard jail time.

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JLV
Silver badge

Re: Persuit of perfection vs. incremental improvement

lawyers...

I believe one big risk with autodrive tech is when a manufacturer is found guilty of buggy software.

Let's take this and say "yes, it was actually Tesla's fault". Now, if it had been a human's fault (it seems to have been the truck driver's IIRC) then liability is well known in most countries and covered by standard auto insurance. So, yes, there is a faulty party and, yes, we know how to cap damages for loss of life or health. And, yes, insurance companies exist to ensure coverage and payouts. But, there is no way for someone to claim $50 million for death of a spouse, even if the guilty driver is a billionaire.

Contrast this with could happen if say, Tesla, was found negligent. What's to keep the ambulance chasing industry from a $50M wrongful death lawsuit, on the sole basis that the carmaker has deep pockets? How would the law say "yes, this was their fault, but look, also -40% accidents overall"? Toyota got dinged on Prius runaway brake defects and this is in a much more mature branch of car manufacturing. The payouts were way above the range of standard car accident payouts.

Plus, if you drive, you are responsible for insuring your driving capability. If it's an auto-drive, does your insurance cover the autopilot fail? Does Tesla do it? If so, what's their incentive, and their risk exposure?

IMHO, once the technology is mature enough*, we should either put autopilots into general insurance regime. Or we should cap payouts - like you see in the aircraft and airline industry - and investigate each failure thoroughly, again like plane crashes. What we should not do is automatically open up carmakers to outlandish claims, unless their error is due to negligence rather than just an error. Otherwise, we have the risk that the early entrants get burned too much to persevere in something that should eventually make our driving much safer in aggregate. Face it, these things won't be perfect to start with.

* I am still not convinced Tesla's autopilot shouldn't be a bit more regulated than it has been. It seems to be getting the light end of regulation, compared to fully autonomous systems like Google's.

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College fires IT admin, loses access to Google email, successfully sues IT admin for $250,000

JLV
Silver badge
Facepalm

Google-generated storm in teacup

Why doesn't Google just restore access to representatives of the organization paying the bills? I presume it wasn't the admin's CC that was being debited.

Sure, that plays havoc with automating everything, and it would require some thorough identity checks to prevent phishing. Perhaps, gasp, human to human interaction. But, geez, isn't that what happens everywhere else in these cases?

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'Ancient' Mac backdoor discovered that targets medical research firms

JLV
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Re: "More secure than PC? Ha!"

> Careful, the Jobsian cult will be after you for such blasphemy.

Oh, I agree. Remember Mac Defender? "AppleCare employees were told not to assist callers in removing the software." (Wikipedia quote, true, but it was also all over the news at the time). Macs are more secure, due to their 'nix underpinnings, but Apple has sometimes been lackadaisical when it comes to security. They do seem to be getting a bit better. I guess they've figured out the ostrich defense doesn't look so good after all.

>The fact that this is at all newsworthy (compared to the uncountable hordes of Windows malware) tells you something.

True enough, but no reason to get all complacent either. I know I am always interested in Linux/OSX malware to get a sense of the risk for us non-Windows users.

Any recommendations for a good Mac AV/malware scanner? I've used Sophos and it was a real hog, always sucking up CPU for live scans. I am more interested in something that I can launch when I want, for example on a download. Not something that acts like a junior McAfee by being on alert all the time. Malwarebyte?

IMHO, the problem with Mac/Linux AVs is that they are a bit like the SWAT team in Luxembourg. Sure, they can talk the talk and look tough. But they've seen so little action that it's hard to know how they will react when the shit hits the fan. So it's not sure if their donut bill is worth it.

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Nadella calls for AI sector to move beyond 'worshipping' a handful of companies

JLV
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Ooooh. Pick me! Pick me!

Nuff said.

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Happy birthday: Jimbo Wales' sweet 16 Wikipedia fails

JLV
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Re: Citation needed

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement

I can't remember how long it lasted, but for a while, it was entirely filled up with innocuous and harmless citations from the Koran and mainstream Muslim content. Nothing mentioned that was in the least bit threatening or coercive ;-).

Fortunately, because the goat-molesters doing the edits were totally brain-dead, it was also clearly recognizable as whitewash.

Bit like the Church of Scientology suing folk that publish their actual religious tenets.

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JLV
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Happy

Re: Reference

which now has become a noun:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_citogenesis_incidents

Good article, but, in Wikipedia's defense, there is little a public-content based website can do to eradicate this problem. On their end, best would be to mitigate it as much as possible while keeping the openness that has fueled its mostly pretty darn good usefulness.

I'd be curious to know if Wikipedia has been improving in this regard. And what additional remedies could be applied.

StackOverflow & co has a partial solution: answer up/down votes.* But that relies on multiple answers being self-contained entries mostly edited by one person, not mingled paragraphs. i.e. it fits their content. And even then, you have the phenomena where the accepted answer turns out to have better alternatives but it gets stuck as THE answer.

My takeaway: Wikipedia as a quickie source is OK, as long as you are not doing anything too important/sensitive with the info or you know the subject somewhat. Unfortunately, journalists, by definition, have a higher duty to be factual than most people, but not always having the domain knowledge to weed out issues. So that leaves El Reg in the lurch - but at least they know that there is a problem.

* I recently took down one of my answers when several people pointed out it wasn't particularly clever. I rode out the first comment or two, but then figured more probably indicated a real problem.

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Promising compsci student sold key-logger, infects 16,000 machines, pleads guilty, faces jail

JLV
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Another lost opportunity

Normally I am unimpressed by the tough-on-crime crowd. Crime needs minimizing but emotional pleas to throw people in jail for long durations for low-impact crimes is stoopid. A well-run country, to me, imprisons a low proportion of their citizens while keeping the others safe.

However, 16000 computers hacked and a substantial propertion of their owners likely having to spend time untanglingling identity theft is NOT victimless. High-reward white collar crime needs deterrence past what their lack of violence would suggest.

Hack _criminally_ for profit? But, wait, if you get caught, all is forgiven and you get hired to be a government hacker? Not much downside, izzit? That sounds pretty effin stupid to me. We also have enough ethics problems already with government spying. Without adding this kind of lowlife to the mix.

10 actual years? Too much. But 2-3 served, with a proper reinsertion program to have his legal skills benefit society and himself again? Sounds about right.

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