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Comment It's not you, it's the merchant. (Score 1) 345

Remember that the algorithms not only look for patterns with your card, but patterns from merchants as well. It's quite likely the algorithm didn't get your spending habits wrong, but found a series of fraudulent charges from the merchant and marked them all as bad.

If you frequently buy internationally you need a bank that offers text or app based purchase verification. When a purchase is made with your card that looks questionable, they push an alert to your cell phone. Ack it and they now have a two-factor authorization for that purchase, and will generally allow it. If you travel overseas, particularly to high fraud countries, it is well worth calling or online chatting your bank and letting them know the countries in your itinerary, they will make adjustments.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 528

I beg to differ, and have a great example.

Trap shooting is where a shotgun is used to hit a clay "pidgin". They are about 5" in diameter, way smaller than most drones, and moving at relatively high speed. The shooter stands 16-27 yards from the launch point of the clay, and typically hits them about 15-25 yards downstream of the launcher. That means they are regularly hitting a 5" target at 150' away, the best shooters with basically 100% accuracy.

A larger, slow moving drone at 200', hardly a challenge for anyone who has practiced trap, skeet, or bird hunting, and not even a remote challenge for a shotgun.

Comment Might want to reconsider paying the fine... (Score 4, Interesting) 528

I can pay the fine

Federal Law does not put drones in a special category. They are just another aircraft. The penalty is up to 20 years in federal prison, and a $250,000 fine. That's in addition to the charges this individual has already faced for discharging a fire arm in the city he lived in, as they make that illegal there.

More interestingly, there is a line here that is not well defined. What's the difference between:

  • Google taking pictures from a Satellite for google maps.
  • Bing taking pictures from a Cessna at 10,000 feet for Bing maps.
  • The police helicopter flying over at 3,000 feet but only using their eyes.
  • The police helicopter flying over at 3,000 feet and using their 100x super-zoom camera.
  • The drone at 400 feet with a GoPro.
  • The done at 100 feet with a GoPro.
  • The drone hovering outside your window with a GoPro.

I think most people would say the first is fine, and it's not legal to try and shoot down the google satellite. Similarly, I think most people would be ok with taking action against the last one to protect privacy (even if that isn't legal per the federal law I cited above). This technology is so new, we simply haven't decided as a society where the line should be drawn, and our old laws probably don't work well.

It's not just personal houses either. What about the drones used by activists to fly over industrial operations breaking the law and get footage of it? Can the industrial operations shoot them down? If they do the same thing with a Cessna at 3,000 feet everyone would say no. What makes a drone at 400 any different?

Comment Re:Who supports it (Score 1) 60

As someone who has written in at least a dozen languages, I do not understand arguments that "python is easier to read" at all. The way python wants to use indentation to indicate blocks of code is much more difficult to read for anything of modest complexity. With standard tab widths it wastes too much screen space, and with smaller tab widths it becomes impossible to follow moderately complex code. There's a reason why almost every other language on the planet has some sort of block delimiters.

Also, python tends to be slow. I'm not sure how much of this is inherent to the language, and how much is how people use it. What I can say is that in real world experience python seems to be "too slow" for the task about twice as often as perl, and I have seen numerous examples of python tasks recoded into both C and perl to make them faster.

Python's main win seems to be that it is easy to learn. I'm afraid many of the reasons why also make it slow.

Comment Re:Will the training really matter? No. (Score 1) 388

It's an easy problem to solve, not that we will. High school level teachers should get one year of paid training every 5-8 years. That is, perhaps teach for 5 years, then attend a full years worth of classes at a university in their field, then go back to teaching. Paid, at their regular salary. That's how you get teachers who are current, interested, and properly trained. Will most of the country go for it? No. Cries of paid vacation, and do it on your own time. Then they will complain teachers are undertrained and haven't kept up.

Comment Re:Take it from a big FreeBSD fan... (Score 1) 267

Ok, I'll bite. m:tier, a two-person company worth about 100,000 Pounds Sterling, that has been around for 6 years is your poster child? A company that has a single reference on its web site for a, and I quote:

We have been using the M:Tier CompliantBSD complete Desktop and Office solution since 2008 to provide an extremely secure and stable environment for up to 350 users across diverse geographical locations.

And somehow you want us to believe this is evidence that BSD is competitive on the desktop with over a billion Windows installations, or 66 million Macs in use?

I think you just proved my point. When everyone else has thought about what to run and made their decision, a billion chose Windows, 66 million chose a Mac, and a few hundred chose OpenBSD. OpenBSD has so few users, it has trouble keeping the lights on, literally.

There is a fleetingly small number of companies with BSD on the desktop, virtually all are involved with supporting BSD in the data center (including m:tier), and they all involve a very small number of folks.

Comment Re:Easiest way... (Score 4, Informative) 267

a focus on usability and mass appeal over flexibility and choice.

Let's parse that, because there's a lot packed in that small fragment.

focus on usability, so your complaint is that a vendor is spending a lot of time and effort making the software easy to use? Huh?

mass appeal, it's somehow a negative if the best option available is something everyone likes? Or turned around, it can only be a good option if a lot of people hate it? Huh?

over flexibility and choice, in what? In software? On a Mac you can open up a terminal window and ./configure;make;make install pretty much any open source software I've ever seen. I think you'll be hard pressed to find any software that runs on FreeBSD that does not run on a Mac. Exactly how is a Mac limiting your choice of software? Perhaps you mean they only allow specific things in their App store? That's kind of like complaining that Ford limits your choice of tires by only selling Firestone in the service department. Maybe you mean in hardware? Except you can run any operating system you like on it. Plenty of people have installed Windows or even FreeBSD onto Apple hardware, it works just fine. You can throw out all of OS X if you want and still use the hardware. Now true, you can't do the opposite and run OS X on hardware of your choosing, so I'll give you that is a small limitation. But in the end what difference does that make.

You were drawn to linux to play. We've all gone through a phase where we tested 10 different window managers just to see what each could do. Linux, FreeBSD make that easy. It's fun. Other than a couple of guys at RedHat, I can't think of anyone who gets paid to do that though. Your job description probably doesn't include testing every software alternative in Linux.

Comment Take it from a big FreeBSD fan... (Score 3, Interesting) 267

You don't want to use BSD on the desktop.

I'm not saying you can't, all the usual stuff is in FreeBSD ports, there are distributions like PC-BSD that attempt to be good for desktops out of the box. If you really want to make it happen, you can. I've watched many Linux and FreeBSD folks spend countless hours making their desktops work.

Even going to a hard core sysadmin conference, you're going to see a sea of Mac's, some folks even using Windows, and a smattering of the hard core on Linux desktops. Why? To work with other people in their company or at other companies they need Skype, or WebEx to work. They need Excel to open the quotation for hardware, and flash player to view some mandatory training. They want resource browsing that just works so they can print to a printer in the office.

The reason BSD is great in the data center is lots of people use it for that. It's a network effect. You're standing on the shoulders of other folks. It's the same reason Windows and OS X dominate the user desktop market, the software you need just works on them, someone else has made it work. If I told you to replace all of your data center servers with Windows 8 boxes you'd probably laugh at me, and yet the opposite question does not provoke the same response!

So if you want to, try. It can be done, with much blood, sweat, and tears. You might find that fun, if so enjoy! You might work for a small enough company or even just yourself where you can mandate BSD, and LibreOffice and be happy. If so, you are extremely lucky. Otherwise as a long term, die hard, FreeBSD supporter I can tell you from 20+ years experience, you're going to just frustrate yourself.

Comment All it takes is one data breach. (Score 1) 631

One data breach of a CurrentC retailer such that bad guys can debt someone's account, followed by the subsequent "sorry, the money's gone and you have no fraud protection" will be the end of it. After the national news skewering no consumer will trust such a system ever again, and retailers will have lost all hope of getting around credit cards. Given how often data is breached these days, I give it about 3 months after the system rolls out. 12 tops.

Comment Re:Only because they're stupid. (Score 1) 435

Using it for bombings. What's so different from sending an autodrive vehicle to someplace with a bomb in it as opposed to sending a regular vehicle with a bomb and then leaving it before it blows, or even having some ignorant stooge drive it for you? After all, it's not like you can make the autodrive violate it's programming and plow through a crowd or into a mall. If you really wanted to do that, you could just rig a normal car up with remote controls. It's not that hard or expensive, they do it a lot on mythbusters, so it's not a strange concept to most people either.

I'm afraid you're not being very creative. The threat isn't one car with one bomb, because you can always find a single bomber. The threat here is fleets of cars, possibly hacked remotely, perhaps in coordination with other attacks. For instance many government buildings have strict security on which cars can get inside the perimeter. A latent trojan in the car firmware might not activate until after it was inside the security perimeter. Or if someone could find a way to take over a fleet of semi-trucks they may be able to convince them to all drive down a perfectly ordinary street -- at the same time a marathon is being held. It's the same tactics being used with botnets on the internet, but this time with real things that pose life-threatening dangers.

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