* Posts by MNGrrrl

142 posts • joined 6 Nov 2016

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French diplomat: Spies gonna spy – there aren't any magical cyberspace laws that can prevent it

MNGrrrl
Facepalm

No, we can fix it

We can fix this. Sixty years ago planes were disintegrating in midair. It was so bad the public was demanding action, and so the government (mine, united states, probably elsewhere too) created an investigative and regulatory body -- the FAA and NTSB. Together, they literally combed the wreckages, identifying engineering failures, human failures, and separating fact from fiction. Manufacturers were required to show their work, with the designs available for public inspection. Designs were tested in laboratories and certified as ready for use. Deaths plummeted. Planes got safer. And within just twenty years, planes went from one of the deadliest ways to travel to one of the safest.

What my industry needs isn't laws about encryption, or more laws to punish criminals. What we need is proper engineering standards, enforced by a regulatory body that holds companies that make software and hardware accountable. We don't have that now, and that, more than any other reason, is why our industry is a shit show of failure. Failure is the norm in this industry, with most IT projects -- about 70%, failing to either be implimented at all, not meeting requirements, or going over budget. These are institutional failures, and it's been encouraged by a lack of public awareness and a false narrative that says we have to tolerate failure to be on the 'cutting edge'.

We do not.

An upset tummy and a sphincter-loosening blackout: Lunar spaceflight is all glamour

MNGrrrl

Re: Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

We already elected a JarJar clone. It's just that he's a little more... orange... than the original.

The internet's very own Muslim ban continues: DNS overlord insists it can freeze dot-words

MNGrrrl
Mushroom

DNS Terror

It's not Muslims terrorizing the internet -- it's these ass hats. Countries should just start their own DNS servers and fracture the root server system. Basically cut the head off the snake. Of course, it'll leave the internet in ruins but it's already a dumpster fire thanks to these clowns.

ICANN is just another example of how the United States refuses to play nice with the rest of the world. I am ashamed of my country's conduct, on- and offline. I'm totally serious -- Europe should shove their collective foot right up the ass of our tech companies, along with these kinds of organizations that project US policy while claiming to be neutral.

Sad Nav: How a cheap GPS spoofer gizmo can tell drivers to get lost

MNGrrrl

Easy solution

Modern cell towers use beam forming. There are numerous apps already out there which can navigate by non-GPS means, usually to an accuracy within 20 meters. It's enough to say what street the device is on, just not which building. This is *not* difficult to do. accelerometers are indeed not reliable *unless calibrated*. The very same sensors in cell phones are used in inertial guidance systems on planes. They're not accurate enough to be used for reduced separation approaches but they'll get a plane lined up on the ILS even if GPS is completely out from takeoff to approach 700 miles away. A car won't have the same accuracy due to sudden high g-forces from vibration (like driving over a pothole), but combined with trilateralization it will be accurate enough to navigate the roadways and distinguish between parallel roads.

5 reasons why America's Ctrl-Z on net neutrality rules is a GOOD thing

MNGrrrl
Thumb Up

Go FCC Yourself

The sarcasm here is fatal.

Place your bets: How long will 1TFLOPS HPE box last in space without proper rad hardening

MNGrrrl
Coffee/keyboard

Not a good test

Radiation inside the Van Allen belts is very low; Except for solar flares it's a non-issue. About 99% of the total solar radiation is deflected by Earth's magnetic field. For Mars, it's another story -- it weighs in at nearly .7 sievert per week. For comparison, the ISS receives about 150 mSv **per year**. It's not a valid test because the environment isn't anything like it would be out there. Regular PCs are already on the ISS, with no real ill effect other than a few extra reboots here and there.

An 'AI' that can diagnose schizophrenia from a brain scan – here's how it works (or doesn't)

MNGrrrl
FAIL

Title

"New AI tells people sane people they're crazy 25% of the time".

FTFY

Democrats (still a thing, apparently) are super unhappy about AT&T's Time-Warner merger

MNGrrrl
Thumb Down

This is why they fail

It'll never float; if they were serious about endorsing free market values they'd chop municipal exclusivity agreements and mandate that telecommunications infrastructure providers (ie, cables and bandwidth) must be operated as a legally distinct entity from internet service providers. In other words, anyone can purchase bandwidth and make internet service available on the wires; And such contracts should be time limited. Turn the bandwidth available into a free marketplace, and then leave those with the infrastructure the avenue for profit being building more damned infrastructure.

So, FCC, how about that massive DDoS? Hello? Hello...? You still there?

MNGrrrl
Facepalm

Hi El Reg!

I don't know that it's a conspiracy theory to call bullshit on a wall of silence, denials, and refusals, El Reg -- and I'd take you to task on the letter you attached. They're claiming they couldn't shut down the API. Why not? Just about any IT department you ask would tell you it shouldn't be hard to simply turn off the API for awhile. The API should be rate limited too. Most public-facing APIs are.. so how did the bots blow past all that? There's a lot of inconsistencies in the FCC's story -- I wouldn't call it a conspiracy to say they're bullshitting when the only evidence they're providing is soothing words that, indeed, they can be trusted. All indications are they well and truly can't. Also, Hi, El Reg. I linked your article to my, uhh, "conspiracy theory". :P

When 'Saving The Internet' means 'Saving Crony Capitalism'

MNGrrrl

Re: kameko

On behalf of an avid american reader of el reg, thanks for providing some much needed perspective. I'm not a cynic -- where there is life, there is hope. But I will say this -- our country has some serious problems in the role of media in our society. Our democracy is one in name only. America's business is business -- and it's literally killing us slowly. Our infrastructure is rotting just like our health care is -- life expectancy has tipped the other way now.

I worry if this trend continues, the economics of the situation will create a very dangerous situation. I'm looking at what happened in Turkey after their economy collapsed and I see very uncomfortable parallels between what happened there, who came to power (and how), and the reaction of the international community when the economic reforms programs were halted or stalled out. That's how democracies fail. We've seen it before, and I fear within my lifetime we may see it here as well.

MNGrrrl

I tried posting this on Reddit in a few places and (of course) it was rapidly buried. The hardest part of getting played, is losing your dignity. Nobody wants to admit they were played like a fiddle. That's what's happened here, and this isn't about which side of the debate you're on -- the finances are shady as f*ck. It's like finding out your charity for sick children was being funded largely by the KKK. It's a kick in the balls nobody wants to admit to.

Good news: Samsung's Tizen no longer worst code ever. Bad news: It's still pretty awful

MNGrrrl
Trollface

Translation

"We don't have a problem and we're working to fix it as quickly as possible." -- Samsung, Creator of the Self-Immolating Phone

America's drone owner database grounded: FAA rules blown out of sky

MNGrrrl
Thumb Up

How to tell if they're "evil" drones or "good" ones

A lot of people are asking how we can tell the good from the bad. Actually, it's not really that hard. These quadcopters that are the rage right now can't carry much, and they have such a small airframe that what they're carrying is immediately visible. As I'm sure we've seen, these things have crashed into people before -- even right into their heads. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt, or can't cause some injuries, but as a weapon... you'd be better off throwing a large rock at them.

The police don't really need to worry about these as long as there aren't a lot of them to obscure a real threat, or big enough that the airframe can carry an actual payload. A drone that weighs 50 pounds is gonna make a lot of noise. It will announce its presence. It will be an obvious potential threat. If the FAA simply lowered the weight requirements for what "recreational" is, or altered some of the rules to say that the interior of the airframe can't exceed certain dimensions, it would be "safe enough" for the public to use. Not perfect safety, but decent.

And for people worried about drones hitting actual aircraft: Your quadcopter is not a goose. It will never be a goose. It does not pose the threat a goose does. And we build airplanes to survive geese. If you fly your quadcopter into the flight path of a 777, the only thing it will do is, if it's *really* close to the beginning of the runway it might muck up ILS, but very probably not -- so all its going to do is hit the plane, turn into shrapnel, and the pilot will make a comment saying "Welp, someone just lost their toy" and turn on the windshield wipers to brush its remains off... assuming there was enough of it left. If it gets eaten by an engine, the engine won't really care. Any damage will be minor enough the next maintenance overhaul will see and scrape it off. Basically, a few pieces of burnt plastic or a few flecks of metal lodged in a burner. Maybe.

It's much ado, about not much.

Deeming Facebook a 'publisher' of users' posts won't tackle paedo or terrorist content

MNGrrrl
Facepalm

bad dog, no cookie for you

It never ceases to amaze me how often these sorts of "For the children!" types think websites should do the job of the police. Guys, you don't want that. When you give corporations police powers, the result is a train wreck that is terrifying to behold... and it'll be in your backyard. The best thing to do is to simply disable reporting being viewed by employees for things people believe are illegal (not the same as against terms of use) and direct them to their local law enforcement at that point in the process... and then have a department set aside to coordinate legal requests/inquiries and streamline the process as an outreach program. Ultimately, it's not the job of a corporation to police people, but it makes sense from a public safety standpoint to be cooperative and make it easy for them to do their job, when and where practical (which won't be the same from one company or website to the next).

Besides... what's legal in one part of the world isn't in another. Even just using this singular example "child porn" -- everyone thinks it's so clear cut but it isn't. Age of consent varies by country. In some countries, like the United States, they've also come down on "depictions" of under-age sex -- which has landed a number of anime collectors in hot water and has led to all manner of collateral damage because how, exactly, do you tell the age of a cartoon? Whether the character is 9, or 900, a lot of times... they look the same, in the same style. How about writing a memoirs or "tell all' by (childhood) rape survivors? Well, legal in some places... not in others.

That's where they get you: They're hoping for a knee-jerk instead of a reasoned and rational response to something. And that's the crowbar they lever into people's civil rights. Not even just rights in their own country -- Websites have had to play second fiddle to every country's idea of what's considered obscene or not. Some muslim countries want to ban pictures of women who aren't basically a burlap bag with eyes. Some countries want certain political viewpoints suppressed (Hi Germany, China, Russia, United States, Britain... *everyone in the everywheres*), and it's utterly impossible to meet all of their demands and still have a website. There is nothing you can say in the world that won't get cheered on by one group and pisses off another.

Until the governments of the world decide to stop having their little turf war over who gets to own the internet, there's only one of three viable answers: Don't get involved. Get involved, but only with the government where your server(s) are located... and convince the many-headed fuckbeast of world government to write a goddamn treaty already about this and setup a proper way of streamlining and handling these requests and what people's rights and responsibilities are when running a website, server, service, etc.

Take that! FCC will hand net neut to FTC – reports

MNGrrrl

No.

The logical response isn't "Let everyone"... it's arrest Google's entire board of directors, break google up like they did AT&T, and then begin carpet bombing silicon valley and eradicating the rampant age discrimination and the idea that "young people are smarter"... because clearly, they aren't. Only absolute dimwits would think that algorithms can solve social problems. These guys are far, far below even creationist-levels of stupidity.

But I mean, this should surprise nobody over the age of 30: The young are not wise. They will happily bring back the dinosaurs, without bothering to think if that's a good idea first. And they also forget that for every 'success' story in tech, there's another *ten* (at least!) that fail spectacularly. This is an industry rife with failure, poor launches, rampant quality control issues, and more -- and you can thank it all on Silicon Valley. The real kicker? The kids actually believe the propaganda, when the truth is... they're being sold on the idea they're "smart" to work for pennies for a tech company creating "the future".

Older workers know better: They want paychecks, not stock options and the promise of a "bright new world". The bright new world always winds up looking more or less like the one you're living in now. Stop screwing around: Hire competent engineers, who will tell you slurping up all this data is not only worthless, but a serious ethical problem.

Adblock Plus owners commandeer Pirate Bay man's tip jar Flattr

MNGrrrl

Re: micro payments

> Assume you enjoy venting your spleen on el reg .. how do you suppose it's primarily paid for? Advertising .. I don't see you holding your hand up to pay an elreg subscription.

I would gladly flip them a few bucks. According to their own statistics, 9.5 million people read it. Let's say they have a staff of 150 people or so, most of them support (not writers/journalists). For comparison, the NY Times has a staff of about 3,400; I figure for a very focused niche website that mostly does analysis of other news sources -- ie, not much investigative journalism, that's not an unreasonable figure. At an average pay of $36k USD (for all employees, not just journalists), and assuming labor makes up about 1/3rd of total costs -- a typical business figure, we'll round up to $100k of resource need for the organization times 150 people... that's an operating budget of about $15 million per year. So those 9.5 million people could contribute $1.57 per year and support the organization. Now in practice, most people don't -- We'll say only 5% (a high end figure for advertising responses) do. That 5% of the readership could flip $31.58 per year and cover everyone, or $2.63 per month.

It's not unreasonable to expect $2.63 per year from the top income earners in the field who would be reading this site, and the remaining 95% of slackers who get it for free could keep doing so, but more to the point excerting influence on their peers which increases eyeballs and 'mind space'. By becoming the de facto go-to for IT news through word of mouth, readership grows and revenue grows as well.

That's not an unreasonable business model; There's just one problem -- the people most likely to donate are the ones with the lowest incomes. Those with high income proportionally donate less. A lot less. So we obvious need some kind of tiered system; A combination of one time donations, recurring income (subscriptions), but also a need to keep content free.

When you look at how the news industry has approached this problem, the varying methods from paid-only viewing to donations-only, to premium content, it becomes clear these numbers -- while perhaps not completely accurate -- are illustrative of the overall picture.

Now, me personally... I think the best thing to do, if we take online advertising out of the picture, is to fall back on a tried and true method: Tiered donations with varying 'prizes'. People are much more likely to donate (and in larger amounts) if they get something in return, even as a token. A t-shirt, hat, etc., are all commonly done, and also help fulfill advertising objectives *but with explicit engagement and consent of the consumer*. Wearing an El Reg shirt is both a statement, and a choice. It's not shoved down people's throats and as a result those people become good sources of word of mouth, both actively and passively.

In the United States, we have the Public Broadcasting System, or PBS. It's a television channel and network, supported by tax dollars and donations. They have donation drives bi-annually. Roughly 50% of their revenue is generated through donations, which brings in $220 million (donations only); About 95 million unique people watch it each year. It is a rough analog to the BBC, but with much poorer funding and support at the federal level or the general public.

As you can see, the numbers for donations-only support and what it would take for El Reg to make rent are roughly the same -- PBS gets about $2.30 per viewer per year. I estimated about $1.57 or so for a typical business. El Reg could operate with significantly less overhead (ie, more of its budget would be labor) because it doesn't need all that equipment, transmitters, etc., but conversely wouldn't benefit from any advertisements (commercials), so it would probably break even.

So there you have it: The donation model is viable for journalism, it just requires a radical re-thinking of how to engage its readers/viewers. The most visible problem in the field right now is that the internet generation and the people trying to engage them have forgotten the lessons learned by previous iterations of mass media: Namely, you can't ask people for money without giving something tangible back. A faceless static form asking for credit card information is neither engaging nor effective. Donating needs to be a center-piece of the organization, not a bag hung on the side, with proper care and attention paid to cultivating it. Patron may be successful as a whole, but many of it's content creators are simply clueless on this because they don't have an organizational support or backing from a knowledgable and dedicated staff who handles the donation side of things and promoting it. They are, in effect journalists trying to be marketing directors. Obviously, it's had limited effectiveness, popular opinion notwithstanding.

MNGrrrl
Mushroom

micro payments

People have been trying to make micropayments on the internet a thing since about 2003. Guys, please, just let us bury the dead already. Stop leaving its festering corpse on public display. In other news, AdBorker Plus has gone over to the dark side and is trying to monetize itself.

I'll make this easy for you: Anyone who's smart and motivated enough to install ad blocking software is also smart and motivated enough not to want to pay someone else. Monetization is what we're trying to avoid -- you're no different than the soul-less marketing flesh bags we're trying to kick into the Sun to us.

This is blasphemy to them but... the internet won't self-destruct if advertising gets a bolt cutter taken to it and yanked out. Nothing of value will be lost if doubleclick and its clones are gathered up and shot into the Sun (we landed men on the moon... I'm sure we can land marketing directors on the Sun -- and don't worry, you'll be landing at night). If your business plan has "advertising revenue" as its sole source of income, I have some bad news: You already failed. People will go right on spending money without images of dancing toilet paper and warnings of erectile dysfunction haunting them, and maybe, just maybe, it's about time companies start making products people want to buy, instead of trying to turn their users into the product and then getting pissy when they don't want to.

Twitter's motto: If at first you screwed developers over, try, try again, eh?

MNGrrrl
Holmes

How do we pay for it? THIS.

Ah. The perennial debate whenever 'how do we pay for it' comes up regarding social media, journalism, fake news, etc. It does indeed all reduce to that question, and Twitter, as big and well-known as it is, hasn't learned the lessons of previous generations of mass media.

Let's take El Reg as one example -- According to their own statistics, 9.5 million people read it. Let's say they have a staff of 150 people or so, most of them support (not writers/journalists). For comparison, the NY Times has a staff of about 3,400; I figure for a very focused niche website that mostly does analysis of other news sources -- ie, not much investigative journalism, that's not an unreasonable figure. At an average pay of $36k USD (for all employees, not just journalists), and assuming labor makes up about 1/3rd of total costs -- a typical business figure, we'll round up to $100k of resource need for the organization times 150 people... that's an operating budget of about $15 million per year. So those 9.5 million people could contribute *** $1.57 per year *** and support the organization. Now in practice, most people don't -- We'll say only 5% (a high end figure for advertising responses) do. That 5% of the readership could flip $31.58 per year and cover everyone, or $2.63 per month. To be clear: These are estimates, not actual figures. An actual staffer can (and maybe will?) step in with better numbers, but let's start here.

It's not unreasonable to expect $2.63 per month from the top income earners in the field who would be reading this site, and the remaining 95% of slackers who get it for free could keep doing so, but more to the point excerting influence on their peers which increases eyeballs and 'mind space'. By becoming the de facto go-to for IT news through word of mouth, readership grows and revenue grows as well.

That's not an unreasonable business model; There's just one problem -- the people most likely to donate are the ones with the lowest incomes. Those with high income proportionally donate less. A lot less. So we obvious need some kind of tiered system; A combination of one time donations, recurring income (subscriptions), but also a need to keep content free. Top income earners often do recurring donations, but the rank and file opt for one-shots (often after tax returns).

When you look at how the news industry has approached this problem, the varying methods from paid-only viewing to donations-only, to premium content, it becomes clear these numbers -- while perhaps not completely accurate -- are illustrative of the overall picture.

Now, me personally... I think the best thing to do, if we take online advertising out of the picture, is to fall back on a tried and true method: Tiered donations with varying 'prizes'. People are much more likely to donate (and in larger amounts) if they get something in return, even as a token. A t-shirt, hat, etc., are all commonly done, and also help fulfill advertising objectives *but with explicit engagement and consent of the consumer*. Wearing an El Reg shirt is both a statement, and a choice. It's not shoved down people's throats and as a result those people become good sources of word of mouth, both actively and passively.

In the United States, we have the Public Broadcasting System, or PBS. It's a television channel and network, supported by tax dollars and donations. They have donation drives bi-annually. Roughly 50% of their revenue is generated through donations, which brings in $220 million (donations only); About 95 million unique people watch it each year. It is a rough analog to the BBC, but with much poorer funding and support at the federal level or the general public. But remember, the internet is global, while television is not. PBS has a market cap of about 320 million people -- the current US population. Europe has nearly 800 million; About 854 million people speak/read english worldwide. That's your market cap for a website that speaks/writes only english. The tech industry in the US weighs in at about 6.5 million people; So if Europe is similar, that's another 16 million on the top, or about 22.5 million people in the industry, of which El Reg has tapped 9.1 million, or nearly half. Aggressive advertising could top that in 5 years to majority; ie, they could expect to grow to another 20% of current size in good conditions with proper investments. Will that happen? Probably not, but it's a goal to shoot for. 20% more El Reg also means they could take a proper run at investigative journalism, maybe enter new markets like video and mass media (television).

As you can see, the numbers for donations-only support and what it would take for El Reg to make rent are roughly the same -- PBS gets about $2.30 per viewer per year. I estimated about $1.57 or so for a typical business -- not a media business, but the average across all markets as a business entity. El Reg could operate with significantly less overhead (ie, more of its budget would be labor) because it doesn't need all that equipment, transmitters, etc., but conversely wouldn't benefit from any advertisements (commercials), so it would probably break even on this figure, worst-case.

So there you have it: The donation model is viable for journalism, it just requires a radical re-thinking of how to engage its readers/viewers. The most visible problem in the field right now is that the internet generation and the people trying to engage them have forgotten the lessons learned by previous iterations of mass media: Namely, you can't ask people for money without giving something tangible back. A faceless static form asking for credit card information is neither engaging nor effective. Donating needs to be a center-piece of the organization, not a bag hung on the side, with proper care and attention paid to cultivating it. Patron may be successful as a whole, but many of it's content creators are simply clueless on this because they don't have an organizational support or backing from a knowledgable and dedicated staff who handles the donation side of things and promoting it. They are, in effect journalists trying to be marketing directors. Obviously, it's had limited effectiveness, popular opinion notwithstanding.

Facebook's going to block revenge porn with AI. Or humans. Or both

MNGrrrl
Facepalm

Real problems not found?

Having solved all other problems, *uckerberg now sets his eyes on deleting 'revenge' smut? What about the flagrant abuse of minorities and a steadfast refusal to fix the problems with the 'real name' policy that led to so many drag queens, transgender people, and other marginalized groups being targeted with their automated reporting system and then booted off their system? Yeah, you've got a pile of new gender options on the signup page, but you canned the person responsible and then cancelled their account. Repeatedly. Anyone can use a bot to make a couple hundred fake accounts and then all set them to report another account and get it booted. It's all automation. Automated abuse.

Artificial intelligence can't fix real stupidity.

NY court slaps down Facebook's attempt to keep accounts secret from search warrants

MNGrrrl
Devil

*uckerBerg does it again

It's funny how they'll fight any attempt by the government (any government) to get into its systems, and routinely engages in civil rights abuses from privacy to racism, sexism, all the -isms really -- in fact, that's basically what 'the social network' is... a way to turn '-isms' into profits. They do all of this, and yet people insist they can't live without it and the industry showers them with accolades and hails them as a 'success story'.

Really. You know, we thought the internet would bring knowledge and democracy to the world, and instead it puked up cat videos, porn, trolls, and fake news. Those of us who helped launch this mess look on it rather like many parents of adult children... with great disappointment. We love it anyway because of its potential... not as much how it turned out. Now tell me honestly... how could anyone create something as soul-crushingly inhumane and toxic as Facebook and not want to put a pillow over its face while it sleeps and end it for the good of all mankind? To have created that... I'd feel not unlike someone who raised a kid who later became a serial terrorist who murder-rapes his way through life.

At least the internet was borne out of good intentions and still has the potential to be all of those things. Facebook is like what would happen if robo-Hitler had angry hate sex with a warehouse filled with discarded phone books and AOL CDs. It can't help but be made of pure evil.

Apple fans, Android world scramble to patch Broadcom's nasty drive-by Wi-Fi security hole

MNGrrrl
FAIL

Epic fail

First, an explanation: Mobile phones are actually a globbed together mix of systems, not a single device as the average consumer believes. There is the communication stack -- the 'phone' part of your smart phone, and then there is the main system, the 'smart' part of your phone where all the apps and such live. Other systems that are hung off the main system include GPS, WiFi/Bluetooth (usually integrated), camera, and sometimes a GPIO (Generic Pin I/O) plug-in for a notification LED, auto-sensing headphone jack, camera flash, etc. These are each so-called 'systems on a chip' which are baked into your phone via a generic internal bus (USB for example). The main system accesses it via a primitive set of I/O calls.

This design is to minimize development costs -- want to add a camera? You don't need to redesign the entire stack, just glom it to the bus and do the interface in software. The downside is that the system you're attaching can't be updated easily, if at all. Making matters worse, the internal bus used isn't usually something like USB where there is a clear device/host barrier (ie, the device can't access main memory); It is usually a bus (like PCI) that has access to every other peripheral and can raise interrupts, access main memory, etc. These SoCs follow the same pattern internally -- often they, themselves, are glommed together frankensteins with the glue logic sitting in firmware.

The end result is your phone is basically a network internally, and what you're accessing (touchscreen, buttons, microphone) is just one device on this network. Worse, Android (unlike Apple) suffers from severe fracturing, meaning it's up to the manufacturer to release updates for each specific device. It's easier to just tell their customers to buy a new phone every year rather than properly support it with security and OS updates for its expected service life -- ie, until the hardware is simply not capable of doing what the user wants anymore.

So yes, shame on Broadcom for crappy development practices, but this is really an industry problem. We can't keep borgifying our devices and assimilating everything into the everythings, then not supporting it, and expect it not to end in disaster. IT: The only branch of engineering where a trend of decreasing reliability and increasing costs doesn't alarm anyone. Because let's be honest: If we built our houses like we build our information systems, the first wood pecker to come along would destroy civilization.

VMware to end support for third-party virtual switches

MNGrrrl

Re: Er... sniff test fail

@Simon --

> Really? For starters, I won't have my byline on native marketing.

As a reader, I can't be expected to do an in-depth analysis of every journalist's background, or even every news source. Obviously, I like El Reg. I'm here afterall... and I'm across the pond. You guys are good enough to have an international audience. And bluntly, I think you guys have more journalistic integrity and balanced reporting (albeit with a comedic twist) than most of what passes for "journalism" in my own country. Plus, I admire the self-deprecating humor that is so common to Britains; I have that myself, and it's a rarity in 'Murica. Maybe it's just the constant cloudyness and raining that does it, but I love it nonetheless.

But please, consider the position I'm in before getting outraged: This is becoming increasingly commonplace and many organizations either don't adhere to their own standards, or quietly change them, and it's just too much of a mess to expect anyone to sort out. It's an industry-wide problem -- be honest! I have to go with how it appears to be, which isn't always what it may actually be. This article stood out to me as unusually dry and free of the usual color commentary I expect (and love) from this publication.

I was wrong this time, I can admit that. But step out of your own shoes and ask yourself if a reasonable person could justify that suspicion. Every writer, and every organization, has a certain culture, style, and tone in their publications... and as a writer myself I'm sensitive to that cadence and when it's off I get suspicious. It *was* off on this one, be honest. I just got the reason wrong.

MNGrrrl
Stop

Er... sniff test fail

No witty subhead, long description of a product free of any snark, with no direct mention of what any of the competing solutions are...

Penalty flag. Native marketing, number 27 on the offense, illegal forward motion. Five yard penalty, second down.

US ATM fraud surges despite EMV

MNGrrrl
FAIL

What you don't know

You Europeans need to know that the United States did not roll out a "chip and pin" system. It's a chip. The end.

---

There is no pin required -- you can press credit or cancel to bypass it and this is common knowledge. This was originally done as part of a "transition" away from the old system, while merchants still used old equipment. It's been many years. The old equipment is still there, and so is the "transition" period. So yeah, physical card fraud has gone up, because the new cards are actually less secure: It is one factor authentication -- "I have card. Gimme money." And you *can* get money at most places by simply asking for cash back. Which means... you don't need an ATM to get cash, just a candy bar to buy.

We didn't roll out EMV to decrease fraud, but to shift costs from banks to merchants, re: card-present (CP) transactions. But I mean, think about it... these pieces of plastic just need to be present to turn holding on to it into cash, albeit for a limited time. And as for people thinking skimmers can't be used? Most of the chipped cards also have RFID tags. Walk by someone carrying it. Conduct a card-present transaction by sending the challenge/response over the internet to another location. Bonus: Add bluetooth so the 'fake' card can emulate the real one.

EMV does nothing to stop man in the middle. It was fundamentally broken from day one -- and criminals need only use their heads and a tiny amount of finesse to overcome it.

Critical flaw in Pidgin, Adium's Off The Record chat lib. Patch ASAP

MNGrrrl
Holmes

Point missed.

That whooshing sound is the point going over the previous posters' comments. I used OTR when I had a friend in China, who worked for their telecom company. He helped install parts of the 'great firewall of china', but being an ex-pat, still wanted to talk to his buddies at home. Said firewall does a lot of keyword searching and other such, but it isn't exactly an intelligent beast. Much like the Great Transparent Proxy that the USA uses (funny, nobody considers that...), it is designed for bulk collection and processing and when we were using it, OTR was a very niche thing nobody really knew about -- thus the GFOC wouldn't notice or flag encrypted communication over a protocol and configuration that it was looking at as plain text: It would just see a long stream of random characters that wouldn't match any of its filters.

Software like this isn't just for 'criminals' or 'terrorists'... it's also for the people who are well aware of the surveillance in the world and simply want to be left alone. My friend wasn't engaged in some clandestine intelligence operation... mostly, we just talked about video games, caught up on what people were doing back here he knew when he was state-side... very ordinary stuff. But in an era where bringing a fingernail clipper on a plane can get you years in prison, even the most mundane things can become a danger when an overzealous government thug sees an automated alert and, lacking any higher level brain function, roflstomps his way all over some innocent person's face.

We don't live in civilized society anymore. We need tools like this. Everyone does -- because even if you are the kind of naive idiot who thinks your government is the best simply because *you* were born under it... there's over two hundred other governments filled with the same kind of naive idiots, and very likely think *you* are the enemy. Unfortunately, this level of stupidity is exceedingly common... and while I'd love to put them in a room together and let them wallow in their mutual stupidity -- I have to live on this planet too.

Minnesota, Illinois rebel over America's ISP privacy massacre, mull fresh info protections

MNGrrrl

Re: Minnesotan here!

> was in the aforementioned district of Michelle "Nuttier than than a Snickers Bar" Bachmann

Er... We don't talk about her. It's right up there on the How To Minnesotan list next to "Always insult outsiders in a way they'll think is a compliment". Example: yes, your kid really is special!

MNGrrrl
Angel

Minnesotan here!

Minnesota, def. (For Europeans): We're basically Canadian, just stuck living under the stars and stripes.

We generally sport European levels of progressiveness (Except Italy... but I mean... Italy). We've generally led the rest of the country in civil liberties -- contrary to popular belief, California is not the center of social progressivism in the country, and neither is New York. And we have some of the highest standards of living, educational systems, and economic development of any state. We are actually *world* leaders regarding food safety and handling. Republicans, for example, bitch endlessly about how regulating businesses will destroy the market. Almost all of this country's hazardous materials production and disposal is handled here. Until about a decade ago, we sported the biggest munitions factory in the country. And nobody cares because we regulate it well -- and instead of shooing businesses away because we don't want them and their unregulated trash, we throw open our doors. It's just one example amongst many, many more. To Republicans, I say this: Keep being stupid. Businesses love us, because they're moving here left and right -- and out of your states. Please. Continue to talk about your economic policies. Talking is all you *can* do. We didn't just take action, we ended the debate. IT's all in your head now!

Our economic development is because of a focus on infrastructure (partly because we have really nasty winters and can't afford to let our infrastructure fall apart). We'd have more, but the goddamn Republicans keep stealing our money -- we pay in nearly 10% more in federal taxes than we get back. That 10% is being fed to crappy states like Alabama, that never invested in anything but racism and swamp land, but still want all the trimmings like running water, lights, that sort of thing. If you ask anyone up here, they'll tell you -- we'll give you those things when you stop being horrible, horrible human beings.

Republicans talk about business, jobs, and economic progress. We actually do it. But don't tell them that, it's a political truth that if mentioned goes over about as well as mentioning gravity in a room full of quantum physicists. You guys figure that one out yet? Haaaaaah.

And here again, we'll be leading the country in sensible regulations and civil liberties... and I'm guessing in another decade or so all the data centers will have migrated out of California and New York into the Midwest, so many more Americans can enjoy privacy protections even though they, sadly, remain trapped in their crappy, economically regressive, needy states.

Oh wait... that's already happening. Iowa is nearly ready to beat California in new data center deployments. O___O

#MakeAmericaGreatAgain < #YouBetcha

Ex-military and security firms oppose Home Sec in WhatsApp crypto row

MNGrrrl

Re: How to end the encryption argument

> Trusting someone like Apple with an encryption back door key is fundamentally no different. Either get worried about both, or neither.

A digital signature to verify the binary hasn't been tampered with is a very different thing than device encryption. It also neither adds nor detracts from security -- it's just a way for vendors to create their own walled garden monopolies, and can be bypassed by anyone who either has a decent amount of resources or isn't concerned with legal consequences (ie, a government).

> You're seriously suggesting that western governments should turn their societies into facsimilies of the German Democratic Republic, complete with a copy of the STASI?

I'm going to go out on a limb here... a library is probably not the place you go on your day off. But if you ever happen to fall into one by accident, ask them for a copy of Sun Tzu, and flip to about the middle where he talks about the types of spies and their uses. And who knows, maybe you'll figure out why the United States, with the most powerful military in the world, lost to a bunch of barefoot rebels in Vietnam. I'll give you a hint: the soldiers didn't want to be there, and deprived of female attention they went into town and found plenty of people willing to trade sex for cash. And, wouldja know it, they talked about their job... while getting a '-job'. The vietkong knew that, and used it.

Spies.

That's why America got its ass kicked in Vietnam.

MNGrrrl

Re: Let em do it.

> Now the USA is trying to help create a modern society in Afghanistan - is said the Russians are supplying the Taliban with weapons.

This is a game in which the only winning move is to not play. If Russia hands them weapons and they go all murder happy, just step back and wait for them to get sick of neighbors killing neighbors, then drive in and offer food and schools. It may not work the first time, or the second, or the fifteenth, but eventually, it will.

Contrary to popular belief, it's easy to either have a tyranny, or a republic. What's in between is a no man's land that is very hard to traverse for entirely political reasons; It takes many attempts to reach the critical mass of economic improvement and education of the population needed to catapult it over that divide. Civilization has collapsed several times in human history; And it always took hundreds to thousands of years to rekindle it.

The middle east will not be fixed by the policies and interventions of the western world -- indeed, its the very thing guaranteeing it can't be. All we can do is lay the tools at their feet and be patient. Civilization will naturally and inexorably develop given adequate resources -- and advancements in forms of governance do as well. The only thing we should be doing, is making sure they have those resources. Beyond that, we must be patient.

It may take a long, long time, before they bring about an end to their own suffering. But we. cannot. help them.

MNGrrrl

Re: Bravo

> Something the government have a real problem seeing, even more so than encrypted communications... Common sense.

It's so rare in the world it's a goddamned super power.

MNGrrrl

Re: Let em do it.

> A terrorist isn't sitting in some cave using Whatsapp because it's the flavour of the month ffs

No, he's sitting in a cave because it's the third world, where all the roads are dirt, no natural resources, and an over-abundance of weapons from decades of western powers arming them to fight proxy wars. And when the wind changes the bombings start, thus ensuring -- all the roads are dirt, there are no natural resources, and a new truckload of weapons is arriving shortly.

And it keeps going on because nobody in the developed, yet morally bankrupt, world has asked their government why if they don't have food, factories, infrastructure, or often even a home to live in, that they somehow manage to have mortars, explosives, rockets, and an endless supply of automatic weapons.

Terrorism is a problem *created* by the western world, and if anyone bothered to dig into the matter they'd realize everyone is sick and tired of others giving them weapons to fight their wars, but not food, shelter, or economic development. And then golly jee go figure that they're pissed off. You wanna stop terrorism? Stop handing them bullets, dumbasses, and build a school.

MNGrrrl
Holmes

How to end the encryption argument

For pro-government guys: Ask them if they're okay with the other 200+ governments of the world having the same rights to your data. The internet is global. Even if you think you have God on your side, there's 200 other governments and tens of thousands of agents and threat actors that will feel just as entitled to your citizen's data as you do. What's more important -- keeping them out, or eating that risk so you can spy on your own citizens? Choose wisely.

For the but-terrorism: Intelligence operations have traditionally been the most successful way of stopping terrorism. Intelligence is not technology. Intelligence is what sits between your ears. As a native american tracker friend I know said: If you want to find something, use your eyes. Invest in boots on the ground, cultural understanding, and goodwill. The vast majority of the world population doesn't like terrorists either -- but they hate you more. Sun Tzu would kick you in the balls if he saw how you were fighting this war. Spies. Spies. More spies. All the spies. That is how you win. Nothing else. Get off the computer, and go outside. This is just as true for the intelligence community as it is for teenagers in mom's basement!

For the child-porners: No matter how much encryption they have, they need to get the images unencrypted from *somewhere*. That means talking to people, online or offline. Go where they are gathering, which isn't in your office cube masturbating to the idea of 'cracking' someone's phone. Juries will happily convict with hidden-camera footage of them at their computer -- just skip the encryption problem entirely and do that. And once they're in jail... smash their computer with a large hammer and send it off for scrap. No decryption necesary. Bad guy goes bye bye. Again, this is about the intelligence asset lifecycle -- develop your assets, and you can only do that by TALKING to people, not raging at a 'locked' device.

=======

Encryption isn't something the government needs to be worried about, and making the government's job easier is not my problem (or yours). We all put our 40 hours in a week, and we don't try to set the world on fire just because something is harder than it "should" be. The world is full of "should be", and nobody sitting on a pile of them ever gets anything done. Just accept this, and stop blowing billions on massive dragnets and other surveillance bullsh*t. We're drowning in information already, and it hasn't made you any more effective! We need *analytical ability* far more than large chunks of the internet shoved in some database and indexed to individuals.

In other words... go to the college campuses, and find people who don't suck at investigating. Hire them, sit them down in front of a computer, and tell them to go socialize with the criminal element. Make your inroads, and then go drop the hammer. This hasn't changed since the days of Sherlock Holmes: There is no substitute for critical thinking skills. PERIOD. All the technology in the world won't help you if you can't use what you have... and you're pissing away all your resources on things that aren't actually helping you, with watchlists and data centers and other useless shit. You need people, not technology. Your job is *investigation*. What are all these tools doing for you right now? Dick! Dick, dick, dick. You're drowning in marginally useful information and living on a promise that in some idealized future, you'll be able to collar criminals by pushing buttons. So where's my flying car?

We've been trying to tell you this, gently, as IT professionals... but at this point, it appears we need to start beating your agents to within an inch of their lives because you've gotten so stupid about it you've actually made the situation worse. Stop screwing around with the technology -- make it work for you, and if you hit a roadblock don't rage against it like a moron, screaming "We need access to the everythings or DOOM!"

No, you don't. And it won't help you anyway.

GiftGhostBot scares up victims' gift-card cash with brute-force attacks

MNGrrrl
Flame

Validation on a magic number alone was stupid even in Roman times. At least they rolled up parchment on a stick to cipher things. And yet here we are.

The companies should be held liable for this kind of criminal stupidity. Even sophisticated encryption still usually has a second form of authentication besides the keys. And we only use stupidly large prime numbers because they are so hard to find. That is the only reason it works. Ccard numbers are largely sequential and very limited in the number of valid possibilities.

I'm disappointed the criminal element took this long. Step up your game people, you're slipping.

Inside OpenSSL's battle to change its license: Coders' rights, tech giants, patents and more

MNGrrrl
Megaphone

Its bad

The subhead tells me everything i need to know: not responding counts as a "yes". In other words it's so bad the only ones who would vote for it don't know it's happening

It's happening! It's happening! W3C erects DRM as web standard

MNGrrrl
Holmes

Oh, please.

First, the W3C shouldn't be doing this, but the W3C is also irrelevant. It hasn't been a forum for engineers and leading industry professionals for a long time, and that's why its initiatives have become bloated, unimplimented, and standards have become ad hoc or de facto instead of guided by a deliberate design process.

That said, they (all the corporations) have been shoving DRM down people's throats and... other... orifices, for a long time now. It's inevitable it will eventually get into browsers, standards committee approved or not. And for people thinking boycotting websites or companies will somehow be effective, I've got some bad news: There's never been a successful boycott of a website or a large company that amounted to anything, because people aren't organized politically. Not just here in 'Murica, home of the yellow-haired angry groundhog, but anywhere. There is nowhere in Europe where there is a powerful organization with a strong membership base and enough influence that it could tell enough people to blacklist a website or corporation enough to matter.

I'm ideologically opposed to DRM, but I'm also a realist. We lost this fight, a long time ago. At this point in the game, it would take substantial resources and an unprecidented groundswell of public support and political engagement to make a difference. My country can't even organize itself to make health care a basic government service, and this is something that is quite literally life or death. The idea of people organizing to fight back against DRM, or for their own privacy, is as fanciful as selling plane tickets to the moon.

Which by the by, people thought would be a thing back in the 40s and 50s. We also thought we'd have the flying car, "learning caps" that would transmit knowledge, and a cure for cancer. None of those things happened, but the contemporaries of the era made the same mistake we did: They thought the trends in technology they were seeing at the time would continue, and that people would see good ideas and work to make them a reality.

You know, like the internet... we thought it would spread democracy and knowledge throughout the world, uniting humanity in a way never before seen. What we got was porn, cat videos, and the cancer that is social media. If I'd been amongst the creators of the internet in the 70s and 80s and saw what my creation had become... I would be filled either with an insatiable murderous need to tear it all down, or liquor because of my newly-discovered drinking problem.

That's where idealism in technology gets you if you aren't careful. Sad, but true. I'm not saying don't give up on idealism -- indeed, it's only people who have ever tried, that ever made a difference. What I am saying is don't hope that people will follow you. If you're in this field, do it for the love of the work not what you hope it'll be used for. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to be in the right place, at the right time, as the right person, to be the one who starts a paradigm shift towards something better. But for the most part, we can only look on our creations with the same loving eyes that a parent looks upon their child -- they will not turn out the way we expected, and often not even the way we wanted. If you became a parent to get those things, you did it for the wrong reason. All creative acts have this in common.

Strike that: 17,000 AT&T workers down tools in California, Nevada

MNGrrrl

Re: How to cancel your AT&T cellular service

> Still, if you don't give two shits about your privacy, then by all means; remain their customer. Enjoy!

I love this guy. He thinks corporations want to differentiate themselves with their privacy policy. That's adorkable.

Here's the reality: They're all the same. They will schlurp your data and sell it, and consider telling you or getting permission to be optional -- and the law agrees, because the people getting screwed don't have money, and in our legal system money is the only thing that talks. But ignore that; Let's say you find your unicorn cellular provider who has that -- they are still only going to be able to sell you a cell phone that will, of course, schlurp your data and sell it. They don't even make phones anymore that don't do this -- Pretty much anything after 3G started rolling out does it, and before that it was becoming commonplace. And that'll still leave you with the government schlurping up all your data -- and as we're starting to see, they don't mind selling that data to corporations.

You're screwed no matter how you approach it. And just FYI, AT&T isn't any different than the rest on cooperating with the government -- it's quite strange, almost like getting arrested and disappeared off to the American version of the Star Chamber before suffering some unspeakable horror at the behest of "national security" gives high levels of compliance. This invasive and pervasive surveillance is hardwired into everything; Even children's toys. You're not a person anymore, you aren't even a citizen or a consumer, or even a *number* anymore... you are now a product. We accept Visa or Mastercard, but not American Depressed.

MNGrrrl
Pint

"We're a customer service company and we plan for all contingencies, whether related to weather, natural disasters, work stoppages or any other factors."

I'm noting here "poor management" isn't part of that list. It reminds me of when, a very long time ago, back in the early days of the internet, Usenet got sick of AT&T not doing anything about spammers on Usenet, so the sysadmins of the thousand or so list servers got together and voted to carry out a "Usenet death penalty" due to a lack of response to dozens of requests, which would blacklist AT&T's network from Usenet*. At the last hour (literally) a response was posted, it went more or less like this --

"We don't have a problem and we're working to fix it as quickly as possible."

Some things never change.

--

*Note: I think it was net.abuse, or one of the news.admin where the post was made. I don't have the exact quote or source because 17 years ago on the internet is like asking for a citation from 1496 on what the priests in France said at their annual meeting. Someone more bored than me can go chase it down if they're feeling like a net.archaeologist. While you're out there, let me know if you find the bones of some of the early attempts at p2p file sharing -- the stuff that pre-dates torrenting and had searches and encryption built in from the start. A pity people abandoned it for the far less robust and easier to dismantle 'torrent' system we have today...

That 'Trump lawyers threaten teen over kitten website' yarn is Fakey Fakey McFake Fakeface

MNGrrrl
Alert

Fake news? Use your brain, people.

Before you scream "Fake news!" you need to ask yourself how plausible it is. This should have been the first question anyone asked, rather than knee-jerking themselves in the balls. And you all deserve a kick in the balls for tagging this 'fake news'. Let's start with what the man has said, in front of fifty cameras and a dozen microphones -- which is that he wanted to "open up" libel laws so he could sue newspapers and pretty much anyone who disagrees with him. And he's not exactly a stranger to throwing sueballs at people for this -- he's been doing it his entire life.

What, exactly, makes you think this story about a teen getting a C&D for an anti-trump website is "fake" news, but not the other, er, fifty or so examples in the past couple of years? Or perhaps you believe there is a giant liberal conspiracy, complete with Elvis flying around in a UFO, and it's all just made up. I've gotten REALLY tired of this "Fake news" rhetoric, so I'm going to lay it out on anyone who uses that phrase -- Dig your head out of your back side. The letter is *very* likely legitimate. A zebra doesn't change its stripes. This isn't just in-character for the man, it's central to the definition of him. He wouldn't be our Snowflake in Chief if he wasn't busy sitting in a golden throne at the top of his dick-shaped tower, with his name stamped on the side, in gold letters, posting defamatory and denegrating tweets at all hours of the night about anyone who disagrees with him. This is a man who believes Obama is hiding under his bed, watching him masturbate.

Here are just a few examples, brought to you by a google search...

--

Club for Growth gets C&D.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/09/22/donald-trumps-cease-and-desist-letter-annotated/

New York Times gets C&D

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/10/breaking-trump-sends-cease-desist-letter-nyt-demand-retraction/

Co-author of Trump's "Art of the Deal" book gets C&D

http://abovethelaw.com/2016/07/biglaw-partner-eviscerates-trumps-cease-and-desist-letter/

Clothing retailer gets C&D

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-lawsuit-shirts_us_5602b000e4b0fde8b0d085c6

And another

http://www.alleghenyfront.org/pittsburgh-company-gets-cease-and-desist-letter-over-anti-trump-t-shirt/

Here's one he sent to Ted Cruz

http://www.hannity.com/articles/election-493995/watch-ted-cruz-responds-to-donald-14392135/

And here's Spicer, the spokesperson for Trump, mentioning in passing how many people present had received C&Ds...

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/sean-spicer-paul-manafort-donald-trump-russia

JS package catalog npm frees its team software for open source devs

MNGrrrl
Trollface

Hang yourself.

This is a noose around the neck of open source developers. Open source means you don't need someone's permission or their blessing -- if they get run over by a bus or turn into a fire-breathing dickface, your project survives because they can't cut away key sections of it. If Linus Torvalds tomorrow decided to set fire to Linux and tell people they had to pay him now to use Linux, people could simply say "Screw off" and continue on with what they have now.

That's the big benefit of open source, and all the package managers used, like github, rpm, dpkg, etc., etc., etc., all can be forked and new repositories established, should a dickface event occur. NPM offers no guarantees you won't invest in it, only to find out in a year they changed their mind and you have to pay now. And if you think that would never happen, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Steer clear, guys. It isn't worth it.

FYI anyone who codes outside work: GitHub has a contract to stop bosses snatching it all

MNGrrrl
Facepalm

'Murica

The problem is that most employment contracts in IT contain some variation of "Any IP/patentable thing you make while working here is ours", with some extra language that basically suggests anything to do with a microprocessor is "proprietary" or a "trade secret", thus developing it on your own time still means they can steal it because you used the aforementioned "proprietary/trade secret" knowledge learned on the job. And because the judges in this country were all elected from the brain slug planet, they generally run with that. It takes a very expensive legal battle, with many lawyers, and many appeals, to get some semblance of sanity out of the system.

In America, and to a lesser extent western society in general, someone has to own *everything*, and it slants heavily towards corporations owning it all because there's the perception that is better for society than letting an individual keep it. It's also how all music, software, and other copyrightable goo had language snuck in by a congressional scribe (ie, it was never voted on, and was done by someone whose job description is to correct spelling errors and the like) that added a whole clause making all of it a 'work for hire' -- meaning if you get money for it, it's owned by the person who purchased it, not you. Sell it for anything at all, and you lose all your rights as an artist.

This is about as useful as those people that tried to send modified http requests with embedded cookies saying something to the effect of "By continuing this connection, you agree to my terms, which supercede your terms." Needless to say, it had zero legal weight. Sorry, but this move by github means absolutely nothing unless they're willing to setup a straw man case and get a precident set that it does, indeed, supercede other contracts without exception.

And I seriously doubt Github is going to blow hundreds of millions of dollars (or more) to try to overturn decades of corporate rape of creative works. Remember, our court system entertained a multi-year hundred-plus million dollar legal battle with several suits... over whether or not beveled edges on a cell phone was a valid patent. The courts reversed repeatedly as it went up the appeals chain. There have been similar examples of exceptional absurdity in our courts. The open source community should well remember SCO and it's unending battle with the entire universe (IBM principally, but they've gone after many organizations) which has been going on for over a decade in various forms, and the courts still keep entertaining it.

It would be cheaper, and more efficient, to simply round up the legislators, business leaders, lawyers, and judges responsible for the mess and dump them into a volcano. Or a shark pit... i'm flexible. I don't know there's enough sharks in the ocean, however, so volcano currently tops my list.

Google Fiber goes full Wizard of Oz: We're not in Kansas any more

MNGrrrl
Mushroom

If only my country still had a brain...

Funny you should mention the Wizard of Oz. I believe it was a quest to find a heart, a brain, and a few other bits of humanity. While that story had a happy ending, this one surely won't -- my country lacks the courage, brains, or heart to take the bolt cutters to Google and break it up.

It is the role of the government to step in and break businesses that gain monopoly power, and it's pretty clear at this point that's what Google is. It's time to shut this down. If necessary, by marching the military in and burning the data centers to the ground -- though I should think there's a better way! When people start wondering if Google owns them, as in the whole of their personhood, we as a society have lost.

Wanted: Bot mechanic. New nerds, apply within

MNGrrrl
Stop

HELL THE F*CK NO.

We cannot use technology to solve social problems. PEOPLE solve social problems, and that's it. Every asshat who has tried it has failed spectacularly, occasionally with horrifying results for the larger society. It's the height of hubris to think we can create a technological thing that can make better people. The Germans tried it... it started WWII. The Romans tried it. The world fell into hundreds of years of war. The Christians tried it... it led to the Crusades. You cannot make people better. They are, what they are.

And the idea of letting robots care for the elderly is disgusting. These people need tender and loving hands, not being locked away in a robot factory to spend their last days. What a shameful display by our leaders to even consider such a thing. Throw any businessman who suggests such a thing into the gladiatorial arena and let the bastard get eaten by a lion. It'll get my clap.

Large Hadron Collider turns up five new particles

MNGrrrl
Boffin

Er, "new" particle?

Okay, I'm confused -- how are these "new" particles? My understanding is these aren't stable formations. They are essentially pieces of subatomic matter that are so energetic they become a temporary aggregate. It's like saying two cars passing on the freeway are actually one car, because they happen to be in the same lane, bumper to bumper. At that scale, it might be more accurate to say one car is partly or even completely overlapping the other because particles are also waves, but they are not coalescing into a single entity; They're simply so energetic as to be interacting with one another or overlapping, but in no way bonding.

I'm not saying this isn't interesting -- discoveries like this help us better understand the limitations of the Standard Model and in turn may lead to a better understanding of how and why it breaks down at very high energy levels, but to say they've found *new* particles is, I believe, inaccurate. They've found some new states for previously identified particles. I understand this is rather like finding a new phase of water -- many have been identified beyond solid, liquid, and gas, but that doesn't mean we've discovered something *other* than water, merely other ways of *organizing* water and understanding its behavior -- in other words, the state of it.

Maybe a physicist can weigh in here, but I believe the media has misunderstood what is being reported.

'Sorry, I've forgotten my decryption password' is contempt of court, pal – US appeal judges

MNGrrrl

Court fail

This is an ongoing problem, caused by ignorance. People view technology incorrectly; Rulings by the judiciary and legislative branches in many governments is not based on a sound understanding of what computers are, and what they can do, and do not use this understanding when considering the larger body of law and the lessons learned there.

Judges are partly to blame for this -- they are typically over the age of 50, have a limited understanding of technology, and rely heavily on metaphor and analogy to make their rulings. But the majority of the blame is at the hands of legislators, who suffer from the same ignorance except that it is ignorance that is actively encouraged -- law enforcement blatantly lies to them, and political interests as well, and the few from the industry who try to educate them are quickly declared enemies of the state or discredited for not having any "business" sense.

This has resulted in rulings and laws which simply are not logically consistent, even within the narrow contexts they are made; Such as encryption. To wit -- the government's case, accepted by this judge, is that they don't even have to prove he knows the password, simply that he *could* know it. So now, people can be thrown in jail as long as it's possible for them to know a password or key. Which, taken to its logical conclusion, means that the court holds any computer that you have ever accessed, at any time, is sufficient grounds for contempt if you do not provide an access method upon request. And be mindful that contempt of court is not a crime with a defined sentence... they can throw you in prison for the rest of your life without parole, trial, or possibility of appeal. Which in this case, is justified because the defendant can end his incarceration by simply complying with the judge's demand.

A demand that could be impossible to meet.

Bloke cuffed after 'You deserve a seizure' GIF tweet gave epileptic a fit

MNGrrrl
Alert

Trivial fix

I contacted an organization after doing my own research into photo-sensitive epilepsy, and learned much the same as this guy did. Unlike this guy, it was because I'm a programmer and had concerns over a game mod with user-customizable lighting, which included rapid strobing and complex lighting effects that could, non-deliberately, lead to disaster.

As an ethical and old school hacker, I believe knowledge is power and it should be free. Everyone should have free access to computers, whether they're American, or Iranian, christian or muslim, rich or poor, black or white -- disabled, or not. The benefits to humanity having that knowledge at their fingertips outweighs all other considerations -- an idea that is perhaps too radical for today, but nonetheless, I profess it.

I know technology can sometimes cause people problems -- this website tends to catalog such failures with gusto. But when it crosses the line and starts restricting people's access to knowledge -- and affecting people's physical well-being certainly fits that mandate -- then it falls on me to uphold the unspoken principles of my community and fix it.

And to be blunt... this is a very simple problem to fix. Almost every kind of graphical interface pins down to either OpenGL, or DirectX -- and the computational requirements to scan frames progressively and mitigate potential 'strobe' events is trivial. It can be implimented in hardware, software, or both, with minimal overhead. Unfortunately, because of how the industry f*cked itself sideways with it's stupid copyright and trademark laws, and endless patents on total non-innovations by people from the brain slug planet... there's no easy way to get at the part that needs fixing, and fix it.

Which is exactly how they (Apple, Microsoft, Google) want it. And if you ask me, it's about time we kick them firmly in the balls and tell them to put the safeguards in place to protect a vulnerable segment of the population -- if for no other reason than that we should not fear that our technology will try and kill our kids when we're not looking. Japan found this out the hard way when Pikachu flew through the air in flashing red and yellow strobes... followed shortly by children flying through the ER, accompanied by flashing blue lights. Television is usually safe, because they know about the problem and scan everything prior to it being aired.

Our computers, unfortunately, remain ticking time bombs for jerkwads like this guy to abuse on a whim -- and there is no reason we couldn't have stopped him from succeeding. This isn't like gun control or bomb building where there's maybe a question about whether it's for protection, or someone with an oddly specific set of legally-purchased items -- this is completely preventable, detectable, and has no legitimate application.

And while yes, I think this guy deserves a long send off to prison... two things: First, premeditated murder requires clear intent and a reasonable likelihood it could actually result in death. Giving someone seizures can lead to death, but as even this case demonstrated -- it doesn't necessarily. Which makes it some variety of homicide, reckless endangerment, etc. Stop trying to lawyer up, people -- leave that to the police. Just say he was a dickhead and deserves a long time behind bars to think about the exact level of stupidity that landed him there, not sit here and try to pick apart what crime he should be charged for. But if you really need one, here's one: Criminal Stupidity. Which should, in my estimation, be punishable by taking the warning labels off everything in the house and letting McMoron El Stupidnuts live there for a couple months. When the time's up, open the door. If he walks out, he's a free man. If he doesn't... we're free... of him.

Europe will fine Twitter, Facebook, Google etc unless they rip up T&Cs

MNGrrrl

Good luck

Yeah, good luck with that. All of those companies are located in the United States. Do you really think they won't just cry to Congress and then watch as America craps on yet another treaty. Are you guys prepared for the equivalent of economic armageddon?

If the fines are serious enough to be a deterrent, they will seek legal recompense here, on their home turf, not on yours. If they aren't serious enough, why are you bothering? To make a political statement? Because that's all it'll do: A cheap mean-nothing handed out by your politicians to say "See! See! We're punishing them for their crimes against hum--er, money." If you want to make real change, you'd better make it clear to this country, where the center of this ball of sh*t sits, that you're prepared to hit the entire country where it hurts if they shelter companies like this, allowing them to operate within our borders, while collecting *your* data. And then selling it.

Well, Europe? You got the balls?

Ubiquiti network gear can be 'hijacked by an evil URL' – thanks to its 20-year-old PHP build

MNGrrrl

> I'm vaguely disturbed by the concept of a 20 year-old PHP build...

You should be disturbed: It didn't exist then. It wasn't PHP as you'd recognize it until a year or two later -- when it became more language and less... snot and bailing wire holding together a bunch of CGI scripts. But that's not really the depressing part: It's that they were making wireless networking gear out of some dude's scraps of code, which he wrote principally to track people viewing his resume online, before he even banged a few rocks together to mangle it into some semblance of a generic platform.

This is rather like building an operating system using stuff you found in a nearby landfill. Oh, wait... That's already been done. Umm, insert another less conspicuous example here. *poofs*

The priest, the coder, the Bitcoin drug deals – and today's guilty verdicts

MNGrrrl
FAIL

Insert Title Here

The goal of bitcoin is laudable: Provide a digital equivalent to cash. The problem is, nobody wants cash. Cash isn't traceable. It comes and goes without surveillance. It's a manageable problem in the physical world, but in the electronic one, an action that may take seconds, minutes, or days to happen can happen millions of times in less than a second. Needless to say, law enforcement doesn't like that idea, and neither does anyone who wants to know about who's getting paid, for what, and where.

We're now in an era where there is a digital 'land grab' -- but for our private data. Everyone is selling to everyone else, trading around your viewing habits, buying habits, political orientation, sexual orientation, and if there were a pig-related orientation they'd track that too. Corporate and government interests have aligned here because they both want mostly the same information and benefit from its lack of protection. Unfortunately, that lack of protection legally carries over electronically.

Bitcoin provides a partial solution to part of that problem: It tries to obfusciate who's paying for what, breaking that chain. Which is precisely why both corporations and governments have been keen to kill it off. It's also why criminals use it. Which is unfortunate, because there are very many good uses for a digital currency for the average, law abiding, citizen. It's the same with Tor: Both block the bulk collection of data -- and the IETF has gone on record as saying pervasive surveillance is, in itself, an attack, irrespective of motivation.

It's the sad truth that the people most motivated to use these technologies are the ones with the most to gain by breaking that chain, and thus there has been a heavy push to criminalize or legislate-away the solutions; Using Tor is now "probable cause" for any search warrant, anywhere, ever. "They aren't giving up their juicy personal data -- THEY MUST BE CRIMINALS." We needed more average people to get in, but average people don't recognize the risks of the system, and so they aren't apt to start using new technology that would mitigate them.

And so it goes... another high profile bitcoin-related crime that has as much to do with 'bitcoin' as Jack Daniels does with drunk driving... which is to say, that bottle wasn't at the wheel when the car plowed down a bunch of people. And El Reg, like all the other media outlets, will throw a little more gas on the fire with this story to give corporations and governments justification for killing off a necessary thing. Mind you, Bitcoin isn't the solution we needed... it's just the one we have right now. Rather like the world governments... mostly they aren't something we want, and broken in so many ways, but... there they are.

MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking

MNGrrrl
Thumb Up

food for thought

Not only do criminals want to rip us off, but businesses too. And the government wants to steal all the data as well. And all three of them are at war, playing an endless game of exploit, counter, exploit. And yes, arresting someone is also an exploit -- it's a (puts on sunglasses) denial of existance attack. Am I the only one that's wondering who's on *my* side besides me?

There's almost nobody trying to stop privacy invasions and create technology that achieves this goal... the few that exist are laughably underfunded compared to... well, everyone. It's basically privacy advocates versus the world.

Oh my God, 911 is down. Quick, call… aaargh!

MNGrrrl
Facepalm

Free market fail.

> Surely this is a free market differentiation, if you aren't happy with your 911 service you can simply switch suppliers to one that offers a better service.

During a house break in..."Gosh, if only I'd upgraded to the Police Premium license..." Or the fire department shows up and then asks you to slide your card for a 'water' up-charge fee. If you want your cat saved that'll be extra. There's a 10% mandatory gratuity for households over 4 members as well. Does that seem stupid? Good. Because that's what 'free' market looks like. And let us now never speak of it again. Yes, I'm fairly sure you were joking, but please don't -- people in my country can't tell the difference anymore.

The FCC should walk into AT&T headquarters tomorrow and arrest every senior level manager, not fine them. 911 should always work. Always. Multiply redundant impossible to fail *always* because it's one of the areas in technology where failure is *not* an option. Failure = people die. Now, sometimes things happen. Maybe simultanious lightning strikes, tornadoes, floods, or apocalypse took out their three or more layers of redundancy. I think we can forgive that; Nobody could anticipate such a failure. But if they could, if a reasonable person would look at the system and say "This could fail" plausibly? Drag them out of their offices and put them in jail: It's what we do to threats to society, and screwing up emergency services *is* a threat. If this were some kid screwing around and cut some wires, you'd bet he'd be in jail for a long time. They deserve the same.

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