* Posts by Rule of Thumb

23 posts • joined 9 Jan 2014

Mystery surrounds fate of secret satellite slung by SpaceX

Rule of Thumb


... and if so, whose eyes does NRO not want on its bird?

Anything's possible. Does anyone know the rate of "just plain doesn't work" problems in newly lofted satellites? You hear it happening but it seems rare and therefore unlikely.

Engineer's bosses gave him printout of his Yahoo IMs. Euro court says it's OK

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Re: Separate work from private life!

"An 'off the record' warning does not cut much ice with the employment tribunals here and you would end up being fined for unjustified dismissal, lost wages and emotional hurt because you didn't follow proper procedure - you could even be directed to take the person back into your employ."

Every jurisdiction is different. In the US, porn at work creates legal risk of a sexual harassment claim because the claimant only needs to show a "hostile environment" and coworkers viewing porn would easily be seen by a jury as such. Therefore viewing porn at work could easily lead to immediate termination in the US and a written warning could even bolster a sexual harassment claim by documenting the hostile work environment. Organizations defend themselves by swiftly ending the actions that create a hostile environment. A written warning could be construed as swift corrective action, but if the claimant said that the hostile environment continued (either that worker continued to view porn or others did so) then the written warning could look like the company failed to take swift corrective action.

Now, IM'ing with someone, checking sports scores, or posting pictures of cats would not be as serious, because it creates no additional legal risk. However, many US employers refer to this as an employee theft issue (they call it "time theft") and US employers can usually terminate anyone for any reason (or without reason). The only way a terminated employee could bring legal action is to allege that the employer violated one's civil rights (e.g., "I was fired because I'm a woman." or "I was fired in retaliation for being a whistle-blower.").

I'm sure the US lack of protection against termination seems risky in jurisdictions with more protections, but the fact is that few people are terminated capriciously. The largest causes of unemployment are market/labor shifts (the US shed a net 230,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 7 years), technology (which may arguably eliminate a lot of jobs soon -- in a world of self-driving cars, how sure are you that your job cannot be partially or fully automated?), and business cycles.

OpenSSH server open to almost unlimited password-guessing bug

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Re: no problem for "not stupid"

Back in the GOD, they used to tell us how dangerous .rhosts files were because once crackers owns one box, they can easily access others. I understand that ssh is encrypted and that ssh prevents MITM attacks but it still seems wildly unsecure to me to allow passwordless access. I would call you (@Binnacle) stupid for doing so... Am I missing something?

Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

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Re: @Donn Bly

You are long on paranoia and short on facts. I googled your quote and a couple lines later it says:

"Reasonable Network Management: For the purposes of the rules, other than paid prioritization, an ISP may engage in reasonable network management. This recognizes the need of broadband providers to manage the technical and engineering aspects of their networks."

My reading of the notes DOES NOT suggest that the definition of NN makes QoS illegal.

Maybe you need to be a little more circumspect with your "the sky is falling" bullshit?

Your hard drives were riddled with NSA spyware for years

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Re: Linux safe?

The report concerns itself entirely with analysis of Windows code, which seems to be the only code they have, but they have sinkholed some of the command and control servers and they mention getting traffic that purports to be from Mac OS clients, suggesting that there is a Mac OS version. They also speculate that there is an iOS version but I don't recall that they have any solid evidence for this. No mention of any Linux malware.

This is just one program, but my guess is that they don't find their target audience (which appear to be folks like Islamic scholars or jihadist supporters) using Linux a lot.

But it would be foolish to feel safer (using Linux) because of this non-evidence.

Ugly, incomplete, buggy: Windows 10 faces a sprint to the finish

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Where are the Cortina cycles coming from?

I haven't used Cortina but Siri and "Ok Google" are unreliable for me. Often, when I actually NEED voice help (e.g., while driving) my Android phone cannot send the voice data to Google. It seems to be related to entering the nearest big city.

So, where will the Cortina processing happen, locally or on Redmond servers? I'm sure Cortina will be cool for some use cases, but I'm pretty confident that we're seeing the evolution of the next clippy. Even for the use cases where it's a neat solution, I'll bet it's unreliable.

Notorious skin-flick master Max Hardcore goes limp over namesake dot-com

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search for "civil forfeiture"

And then try: civil forfeiture cash to buy a car . Bonus points if you find John Oliver's coverage. What a clusterfuck.

SHOW ME THE MONEY! Ballmer on Amazon: 'They're not a real biz, they make NO cash'

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Anyone care to explain Ballmer's math?

>if you're worth $150bn, eventually somebody thinks you're gonna make $15bn pre-tax and they make about zero

Can anyone expand on what Ballmer is saying here? By "make pre-tax" I guess he means profit, because their quarterly revenue was < $20BIL. Why should market cap. equal ten times some profit?

Breaking records: Google exec in terrifying SKY PLUNGE DRAMA

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Brilliant, but...

I wonder what it feels like to go 800+ MPH without a vehicle? At that altitude, I'll bet it's depressingly pedestrian unless you go into a spin...

However, the stated purpose seems odd. Do we need vehicle-less exploration of the stratosphere? It's not like high altitude biologists need to observe the mysterious denizens of the heights, right? How much data can a human observer gather that couldn't be gathered by instrument?

So, my guess is that part was for his spouse: "No really dear... It was for SCIENCE, not some silly joyride."

Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

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Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

>Example: [I was happily using an old version of Skype and Linux until I was rudely forced to upgrade and it was a huge PITA to update my EOL'd Linux]

>Example: [shitty nvidia drivers bit my ass and now everything works Windows 7]

>Example: [Ubuntu worked fine except not with an all-in-one and now Windows works]

>what was the question again?

@Nick De Plume, what is your point? None of these are really Linux-specific problems. The common theme seems to be a lack of foresight, although elder relatives can be excused. But my elder relative story is about how a new Windows didn't work with her all-in-one, so that issue goes both ways.

As for EOL'd OS's, see how many Windows XP users are sympathetic.

And I've had plenty of problems with drivers on Windows. nvidia was a poor choice on your part; Google "torvalds nvidia" to see what Linus thinks of nvidia and why.

Rule of Thumb

Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

> Probably Debian.

@KenHagan, Debian long ago deprecated the har-de-har-har package format, so you were installing FF the wrong way. Every time I get a new Windows 7 desktop, I have to google "win 7 enable quicklaunch" and copy that god-awful string. So, every OS has something that's difficult; don't whine to me about Linux, which I find quite easy to use.

Microsoft strong-arm tactics, the fact that the cost of pre-installed non-Linux OS's appears to be $0, enormous inertia, and a lack of key applications (games, MS Office, etc.) are the things that have prevented any non-Windows operating system from taking the desktop world.

And none of this is even remotely relevant to the story about how Windows 8 and the Surface are two steaming piles of unholy mess -- about which, virtually everyone agrees.

Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV

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Re: which should be the default more-reliable case in the event of conflicting input?

Let's not forget that cars have a fairly comprehensive backup plan: slow down or stop. I've seen meatsacks deploy this repeatedly on my commute. The main problem with that plan are that the vehicles behind you might be operated by stupid meatsacks. The sooner cars drive themselves, the better as far as I'm concerned.

Satya Nadella: Microsoft's new man presses all the old buttons in LONG memo

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Re-invent productivity?

True story: Today I reviewed my student's draft proposal (in Word). Some of her equations seemed distorted. It turns out that it's too hard to make equations in Word (maybe I should say too tedious), so she's been creating them in LO and copying them as pictures from LO and pasting them into Word. I suggested she just use LO. I don't know that I can stomach any more "re-inventing" from MS.

It also stung that Gavin called Sinofsky a data guy and blamed the unholy horror that is Windows 8 on the use of data over "the human factor" (whateverthefuck that is). But then I remembered what I tell my stats students on day one: thinking that statistics and data are about numbers is like thinking that the Declaration of Independence is about spelling and grammar; statistics is about insight. And then I felt better about Windows 8 being data-driven: they just didn't collect the right data or they mis-interpreted it (or, even more likely, they extrapolated beyond the circumstances that gave rise to their data). I'm also reasonably certain that the "telemetry" in the article did not involve any A/B testing.

British and European data cops probe Facebook user-manipulation scandal

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Did you notice...

Ha ha. FB sucks...

But did any of you fucktards notice that the effect sizes are all the first decimal of a percentage? The largest Cohen's d was 0.008. Essentially nothing happened.

I know the unwashed masses are stupid but I expected some of you to notice the obvious.

SpaceX billionaire claims Air Force official 'likely' made job-for-spy-sat-contract deal

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Wait a minute...

Step 1. Correll makes sweetheart deal with X in order to later get cushy VP position. Step 2. Correll retires. Step 3. Correll applies to SPACEX!?!?!? Step 4. Correll gets cushy VP job with supplier to X.

Step 3 doesn't add up. Correll would never have applied to SpaceX if he knew he had a job waiting at X, unless he applied to SpaceX simply as a diversion?

I hope Musk prevails. I'm quite confident that the USAF wastes money. But Musk's revelation about Correll's SpaceX application seems inconsistent with the accusation. Of course, if proven I hope Correll gets prison but the last such scandal that I can recall the per got 9 months... Doesn't seem like sufficient punishment.

Tom Ridge: Private sector lagging in cybersecurity

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The warfighters...

I believe the actual quote was like this:

"The warfighters are presently laser-focused on the risk associated with the cyber world," Ridge said. "I dare say that no one could steal hundreds of classified military docu... Manning? ... Really? ... Well, the NSA files are secur... Snowden? Russia!? ... As I was saying, the warfighters are for shit and I guess private enterprise is actually doing OK."

Kidding aside, this is the most vacuous El Reg article I've read in a while. Slow news day?

As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

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Word for Windows ... exploded in popularity??

I call bullshit on this. The article makes it seem like Word was a huge hit in 1989. I saw this bit in the MS blog about this release and I choked on it there too. Having been there, my observation is that Word was a small player until somewhere around WordPerfect 5.2 and I think most people were still using DOS (and the DOS version of WP or WordStar or something similar) until Windows 95 came.

Wikipedia seems to agree with the article ("Word for Windows was released in 1989. With the release of Windows 3.0 the following year, sales began to pick up and Microsoft soon became the market leader for word processors for IBM PC-compatible computers"), but it doesn't match my recollections from the times at all. Am I misremembering? Or does "soon" mean several years later?

John McAfee declares war on Android

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I think I already have an app that does this... Except I deleted it because I noticed that I mostly start up a handful of apps and I (thought I) could detect a delay in launching them after installing PermissionDog.

I suppose that if this app is well executed, it could do a lot of good but I think what I need is a better explanation of what the permissions are... Angry Birds needs to know what "read phone state and identity"? What exactly does that mean?

It would also help if I could control these permissions, like denying such permissions. An app that lets me do THAT would be useful.

Bad luck, n00bs: Mozilla to splurge ADS inside empty Firefox tiles

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This doesn't seem unreasonable

I suppose fewer eyes will read an article entitled "You'll hardly notice ads that run inside Firefox" but this is almost a non-event for my favorite browser. If this helps at all in keeping FF updates coming, I welcome my new advertisement overlords.

I would far prefer that the new tab brought up my home page, but so long as I can pin my homepage to the new tab grid, I certainly don't care what the other cells show.

FBI offers $10,000 bounty for arrest of laser-wielding idiots

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Sounds a bit desperate?

Applying economic forces to this problem might have some success, but does this sound a bit desperate to anyone else? If this program principally communicates that it's almost impossible to catch people who do this, then it could backfire.

I also have to wonder who does this (11 x day)? If these are terrorists, then I have to say that I'm thrilled at their ineffectiveness, but I wonder how many arrests will result. It's not like terrorists go to the pub after a hard day's jihad and complain to the bartender.

At a guess I'd say that most of these people are morons and even if they got a bunch of moron convictions, I don't know how many morons that will dissuade because... they're morons. I'll bet their money would be better spent exchanging laser pointers for $10 McDonald's coupons.

Asus unveils dirt-cheap Chromebox desktops with Haswell chips

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Thumb Down

ChromeOS is a dealbreaker

The Chromebooks I've used made it extremely difficult to run anything but ChromeOS. For example, you have to boot to developer mode and stay in developer mode. If you ever go back (e.g., during login), the machine resets itself to factor settings. Or something like that, it was last year. Apparently some folks don't mind, but I found it waaay too precarious.

If someone knows how to avoid this (without resorting to a soldering iron) I'd love to hear about it because the device itself was nice. But back to this ASUS device -- if this device is the same, if you cannot strip off and completely remove ChromeOS, then I'd say the NUC has a huge advantage.

BTW, I didn't mind ChromeOS but there were so many things that I wanted to do that I found either I couldn't do or I had to do it Google's way. For example, all my files are available by SSH from my home server. ChromeOS has an OK ssh client but there was, at the time, nothing like sshfs and no prospects for anything like that anytime soon (if ever) because you were encouraged to use Google cloud storage. I can't/shouldn't be asked to/won't move all my crap to the cloud, just so I can use ChromeOS. So, I gave the device to my son who really only needs a portable web browser and is being indoctrinated by his school into reflexively using Google services.

Judge: Google owes patent troll a 1.36% cut of AdWords' BEELLIONS

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@turtle, I'd like some of what you're smoking. I don't know if you're referring to the AdWords and other advertisement revenue as extortion? I, myself, have benefited greatly from Google advertising. For my work, it's an incredible value costing an order of magnitude less and being far more effective. I have also used Craigslist and while you cannot beat the price, Google sends me dozens for each person I get from CL. Bing and Yahoo are probably great too but their pricing didn't fit my business.

I'm sure there are businesses for whom Google ads are less effective, but if Google weren't generally effective, no one would use them. Believe me, I have zero loyalty. If a new order-of-magnitude better solution appeared, I'd try hard to be the first to switch.

To say nothing of all the other benefits I get from Google, beginning with their search which IMNSHO is superior to all others. I'm also quite pleased with my $200 moto G and with KitKat. Maps. Etc.

Anatomy of a 22-year-old X Window bug: Get root with newly uncovered flaw

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... the work of the NSA?

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