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Comment: Old-School vs Old-School (Score 1) 76 76

So, as far as the old-school pitmasters go, look at it like this:

Let's say someone wanted to go through engineering school using software that would do all kinds of mathematical equations for them, without them having to learn the underlying math and other discrete skills that the software automates for them. You'd frown upon that, right?

That's kind of how the old-school pitmasters look at rigs like this. It has a purpose, and it has value...but you won't get any respect for using one.

Comment: Typical Slashdot... (Score 0) 91 91

They're omitting a really, really important point here in the OP..they barely hint at it in the title, but that's it. The claim isn't against the music itself; it's against a recording of a specific performance of it. That performance is, actually, copyrightable.

Here's another way to look at it. Let's say someone uses the song "Dear Prudence," off the album by the Beatles, in a movie. They owe royalties to the owner of the library that holds the rights to that. But let's say they use "Dear Prudence," the cover done by Siouxie and the Banshees...essentially the same song, but a different performance by a different artist. They would then owe royalties to a different owner, even though the two recordings (while slightly different in instrumental arrangement) are from the same original song written by the same person.

In this case, Rumblefish isn't saying "every time someone plays 'America the Beautiful' we deserve to get paid." Rumblefish is saying "The US Navy Band pays us to hold and manage the licensing to their performance of that song. When someone uses that recording for commercial purposes, we deserve to get paid." And they're right.

Comment: Re:This makes complete sense (Score 1) 43 43

On the plus side, unless WWIII is breaking out(in which case the personnel getting burned out is likely to be a trickier problem; but also one you'd encounter regardless of spare parts), you can probably swap out crew more easily than you can parts(especially the larger ones, or the more sensitive ones that you can't just put in checked baggage); unless the ship is in the midst of active hostility, in which case the crew would be pretty dumb to sabotage equipment that increases their odds of making it home alive.

With humans, you have some uncertainty(accidents, unusual medical issues, the occasional psych freakout or disciplinary problem); but the approximate rate at which you need to rotate people to keep them from burning out is comparatively predictable. With spare parts, there are some you know you'll need; but an impractically bulky number of ones you might need; but can't say for sure about. Much easier to ferry out a fresh batch of crew every X months than it is to guess, sufficiently far in advance, what parts to put on the next supply boat.

You think that crew are the expendable element on a ship? Wow...where did you get your expertise in military operations...Jerry Bruckheimer movies?

The military throws tremendous amounts of materiel and money at preservation of personnel, because personnel are always the choke point. It's always been that way, too...back in WW2, they could build fighters like nobody's business, but training pilots took far longer and cost much more. Expertise, experience, training, team acceptance...these are all hard-won things that cannot be rushed and for which no shortcuts have been found. Even without 3D printing, it takes a lot longer to produce a seaman or an ensign than it does to create a replacement part. (And I'm hoping nobody catches on to the phonetics of "how long it takes to produce a seaman in the navy")

Comment: Re:Johnny can't get a job (Score 5, Insightful) 132 132

Have you actually priced these guys? My ex-wife used them back in 2001-2003 to finish up a BSN degree, and paid an obscene amount of cash each month to do it. They also adopted that neat little trick the state colleges have of requiring 'bridge classes' and of discounting certain courses taken (in favor of pricier ones they provide), so sometimes you're taking superfluous classes and in some cases re-taking classes you'd already taken.

One thing I do wonder about though... most of the oft-touted 'free' community college courses are more towards getting an Associates' degree, whereas Phoenix' big advertising push is for folks who want to convert their 2-year degree into a 4-year one, or to convert a Bachelors' into a Masters'.

Personally, I think their biggest competition is the recent growth of small state-accredited colleges going online, expanding their presence, and pushing to provide the same thing Phoenix does. Many of these colleges have provided this sort of thing remotely (albeit not online, but by 'traveling prof') to military members for decades, but have recently decided to get a piece of the civilian market now.

The thing is, what matters isn't the final bill. What matters, in recent years, has been the apparent short-term affordability of such institutions.

Two things have been happening in higher education in the last 15 years. One, a recession drove many people out of the work force, and a lot of those people instead turned to higher education while they were idling as a way to improve their marketability and also kind of hit the 'pause' button on working until things improved. And two, most of those people did it by taking on student debt. For-profit schools flourished during this time, because they understood that the name of the game to growing their enrollments was at least as much about how to finance the education as it was about the nature of the education itself.

But now, two other things are happening that counteract each of those effects. One, the job market is growing steadily, and even more importantly, people are returning to the work force. That's how it's possible for more and more net job creation to take place, and yet for unemployment (the number of people *looking for work* who are unemployed) to rise at the same time. And two, everyone has suddenly caught on to the fact that people are racking up massive amounts of debt to finance these classes, without really gaining all that much in the way of job opportunity. So the drive towards education using this model fades, and a counterforce starts pushing away from it.

Really, this was's almost like there was a "higher education bubble" that is bursting as we watch. Instead of it being funded by subprime mortgages and shady income verification, it has been funded by aggressive student loan processes and overstated promises by many institutions.

Comment: Re:File this under "no big surprise:" (Score 1) 92 92

You do know that any agreement can be changed by the company with or without notifying a consumer. This happens enough that is is not unusual.

Scott McNeally, the CEO of Sun Microsystems, said that "Privacy is dead" when the Internet hit mainstream. He was correct and anyone who thinks differently really is living in an unreal world.

POTUS Obama has proposed (and is going about to accomplished) placing all the USA health records "online" or "in the Cloud". This will make everyone's HIPPA and PII available to the entire world. This goes beyond USA companies contracting the paperwork to foreign companies. POTUS Obama has simplified the process for pirates to have your data. And no one complains.

Your point has one problem; as of the time when True went out of business, the "we don't share information" part of their terms of service as still in effect.

Oh, and you misspelled HIPAA, in your quest to make this about the ACA. And also used it correctly...there is no "HIPAA and PII", it's just PII, which happens to be governed by a law called HIPAA. You'll do a lot better trying to convince others of your conspiracy theory if you can get the basic terms straight. Just sayin'.

Comment: Re:Jeez, sparse arrays, really? (Score 1) 128 128

It's a map, with its keys constrained to numbers.

JavaScript arrays are actually sparse arrays. Under the covers, they are implemented as maps.

Apparently, Wikipedia editors don't get sparse arrays either...because they define them as arrays where almost all of the values are 0 or null.

Comment: Re:File this under "no big surprise:" (Score 3, Interesting) 92 92

Reason #43385634 why I try to minimize my exposure by refusing to give as much personal information as I can as often as I can. Paying in cash for day-to-day transactions helps out a lot too.

No kidding.

With regard to True, I once used their service, very briefly. And then, a year later, I started getting all kinds of spam to the email address I had created just for that one account. Mind you, I literally had given this email address to only one entity, ever...the True website. I ended up just re-creating the email account and blackholing it.

So either they had a breach (and didn't report it) or they sold the email address in violation of their own agreement. Since there are criminal legal consequences to not reporting a breach of PII and there have been many studies that indicate that companies (especially ones that are failing) violate their own privacy terms, I think the latter is more likely.

Comment: Re:Emergency services? (Score 1) 119 119

(Flooded area...Jetpack Guy flies in near house with a family of 4 on top of it, as the flood waters rise...)

Jetpack guy sees problem, calls in real helicopter.....

All of your scenarios imply that Mr. Jetpack has to save the day by him / her self. Real rescues are a team sport.

That said, it isn't a compelling sort of thing to own. Expensive, likely cranky of maintenance and training. Limited range. More useful to get a bunch of cheap drones and running around looking for people to help.

All of my scenarios imply...correctly...that there aren't helicopters on standby with nothing currently going on. Helicopters have several times the range, several times the capacity, and several times the speed of one of these things. They can do everything the jetpack can do, do it better, and more importantly, they can do a lot more. This is why helicopters go do these things. When these events happen, the helicopters are entirely busy, and not because they're just wandering around for someplace to be useful.

What makes more sense...sending out jetpacks to find people in need, and then sending helicopters...or just finding them with the helicopters, thus shortening the whole process in the first place? At night, the helicopters can find people with FLIR...the jetpacks can't. The helicopters can drop off supplies and bring out the injured for treatment elsewhere...the jetpacks can't.

I would hasten to point out that in both of the scenarios that I illustrated...both of which I took from the video off of the website, mind you...that it's not hard to find places where help is needed. These aren't the "stranded hiker in the woods" scenario where having more eyes is more important than having more hands. These are the "holy shit, the logistics of helping these people are fucking overwhelming" problems, which are definitely not served by flying in one more mouth to feed who doesn't have his own supplies, much less anything to help the others.

And they are the examples that Martin put forth as their business case.

Comment: Emergency services? (Score 4, Interesting) 119 119

The video shows floods, earthquake areas, even people trapped in burning buildings. And they talk about how these machines are somehow going to help.

Here's the problem:

(Flooded area...Jetpack Guy flies in near house with a family of 4 on top of it, as the flood waters rise...)
Jetpack Guy: "Hey, you guys look like you could use a little help!"
Family of 4: "Yeah,we sure could, Jetpack Guy! How about you fly us to safety?"
Jetpack Guy: "Ah, sorry about that...I've only got a weight limit of about 250 pounds, and on top of that, the weight would destabilize the pack. How about I just keep you company until you drown?"

(Earthquake-ravaged area...Jetpack Guy flies into the city, and lands...)
Jetpack Guy: "Hey, you guys look like you could use a little help!"
Earthquake Survivors: "Yeah, we sure could, Jetpack Guy! How about some food, water, shelter, or sanitation? Or equipment so we can rescue people trapped under tons of rubble? Fortunately, most of us are still alive, and we've got manpower to spare, but all basic services have been wiped out and there are people buried alive who need to be excavated!"
Jetpack Guy: "Ah, sorry about that...I've only got a weight limit of about 250 pounds, so all I could bring was these two shovels. How about I just keep you company for a while? It's not like one more person will add an extra burden to the lack of food, drinking water, or sanitation...right?"

Yeah, thanks a lot, Jetpack Guy. Fuckin' prick.

Comment: Re: Tell me... (Score 3, Interesting) 172 172

The 'purchaser' doesn't pay less, but the writer gets paid less because Amazon just wants to pay them less.

That's it right there. If the reader turns the pages and you end up getting more at the end of the book, then I can work with that. But that's not what's happening. If someone buys your book and doesn't read it, you get squat but Amazon still gets paid.

It's kind of a ripoff for authors.

What the OP doesn't mention is that there's a kind of "scam" on Amazon where people self-publish e-books on a broad variety of topics and give them promising descriptions. The books are usually somewhat short and/or heavily plagiarized, but the key is that the entity doing the self-publishing shotguns tons of them out there. Some even use automated systems to simplify the's on that scale. They're all crap, mind you, but they're cheap, so a lot of people say "what the bad can it be?" and buy them. Five bucks here, five bucks there, and the books turn out to be worthless, so the people who buy them rarely read more than a few pages in. This is a means of changing the economics so that if you are a self-publisher and your book is total shit, you won't get paid.

A valid question would be, "What does Amazon care?" The issue is twofold: one, the Kindle users have a bad experience, which is bad for Amazon, and two, the crap books clog up the search results. Both of these are against Amazon's (and our) interests. Hence the desire to figure out a way to cull such things. And I like that Amazon's effectively taking themselves out of the decision loop on this...ultimately, it's a way that the readers get to decide, directly, whether or not the person who published the e-book should get their money.

Comment: Shodan? (Score 1) 64 64

Does anyone have any banner or other information for this product that could be searched in Shodan? :)

By the way, if you haven't looked at the exploit on GitHub, it's ridiculously simple. The script on the server is there for file retrieval; pass it the path and filename to the file you want, encoded in base64, and it sends you the file.

Makes me want to ask the vendor, "Hi...I'm the idea of using service accounts with minimized rights for listening network services, Have we met?"

Comment: Helpful Protip (Score 2) 193 193

A large number of the people manning the phones for these boiler rooms have criminal records...most have done jail time. I've found that this provides me with no small amount of entertainment whenever these people come calling. Think of it as a combination of Jedi mind tricks and suddenly seeming to know more about them than they know about you. Sometimes it flops, but a lot of the time you can almost hear their eyes go wide on the other end of the line. Priceless. Even better, since the drones making the calls have no real ability to take people out of their database, you may end up recognizing the same people by their voice on subsequent calls...and this allows you to keep building on your past "conversations." Imagine a telemarketer dreading calling you :)

Comment: Re:Government does it (Score 2) 161 161

There has been a major push to get basically every security camera in downtown DC networked into the government systems. It's sold as a why-wouldn't-you-want-this measure, and IIRC almost everyone has signed on.

You're a bit late in your assessment of this, and also a bit incorrect...but unfortunately, not in a way that makes it any less bad.

There's already a remarkable network of such cameras; what's left now is that more and more government agencies (because they are run separately, and have different needs and goals) are asking to drink from the data fountain they provide. There's no singular push on behalf of "the government systems," there are multiple efforts, each with their own intentions, on behalf of each specific agency that wants the data. And major cities (like New York) that have similar networks of city-run cameras are all getting the same requests, since there's nothing really special about one city or another that exempts it from the aims of such agencies.

Comment: Re:Remember that remote substation that was attack (Score 1) 168 168

Transformers detonate. They do it because the oil loses its dielectric property, or because an air space forms inside the transformer. The idea that linemen, who eventually would have seen an event like this take place as well as the injury/death that resulted (it's not all that rare, and used to be even more common, "back in the day") would cause such events just to get some overtime, sounds preposterous to me.

Not all psychopaths manage to make it to management. Some of them are going to be stuck at blue collar jobs. And I suppose not having underlings to torment would cause them more likely to act out their pathology in illegal ways.

Of course it's anyone's guess if grandparent's "friend's dad" actually was a psychopath (and dumb enough to let a couple of kids know what he was up to), or if it's yet another piece of propaganda for the ongoing War on Workers.

But the poster isn't just speaking about a couple of psychopaths. He's describing a situation where people do this, do it often, and do it openly. Without even fear of consequences. And that nothing happened to them, when lots of people knew about it. And even more to the point, that this was a widespread thing.

I say again: bullshit.

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.