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Comment: Network Level (Score 4, Insightful) 97

by Cytotoxic (#48639753) Attached to: Staples: Breach May Have Affected 1.16 Million Customers' Cards

It seems that these POS systems should be more restricted at the network level. In our communications with our banking partners we have single IP address access to the communication server - among other measures (well, dual actually in some cases.... in case of system outages). Only specific IP addresses using specific ports are allowed to traverse the network to even reach the machine. That's before you even start talking about any real security measures.

If that were in effect for the POS systems, the malware would dump its payload down a black hole unless it also compromised the routers along the way. Maybe that's asking a little much for a bunch of retailers, but it is pretty simple to implement.

Comment: Re:America, land of the free... (Score 4, Insightful) 720

by Cytotoxic (#48542877) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

I agree with the concepts your are talking about, but I cannot imagine an IT shop failing to check the background of a system administrator who will be working with banking systems, for example. Think about the fallout if Deutsche Bank hired a database administrator with prior convictions for banking fraud, only to see that employee steal 100 million from the bank.

I'm going to bet that criminal convictions are pretty important in the relevant areas, even in Europe. They probably do a better job of discriminating which information is relevant and which positions are sensitive.

The part where they ask about prior history might also be different in Europe. In the US I think a large part of the reason for asking about prior criminal history is to set up a situation where it is easy to terminate an employee if they lie on the application. In Europe they might not have to ask before running a criminal background check. And lying on the application might not make a difference when it comes time to terminate an employee.

Comment: Re:A felon with misdemeanor convictions (Score 1) 720

by Cytotoxic (#48542775) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

It also speaks to prospective employers about a pattern of behavior. A single screw-up when you were in your early 20's is one thing, a string of criminal activity across several years is another. It does increase his difficulty in finding employment.

I'd think it would also depend on the crime and the role you are looking to fill. A felony fraud conviction would not help you find a job as a system administrator for a financial institution, for example. The help desk / admin side has access to passwords and information that is sensitive and any kind of background that suggests you might use that access inappropriately would be relevant to the employer's decision.

A database administrator would similarly be in a position to access all sorts of valuable information.

A string of convictions for assault and battery might hurt your chances in a team situation, or customer service situations, but would probably be easier to overcome than a criminal history that demonstrates a willingness to steal from the company. Then again, we had a couple of situations where unstable people brought the threat of violence into the workplace. With our lawsuit happy culture, you couldn't blame a company from shying away from someone with a proven history of violence. How quick do you think people would be to file a lawsuit if a company hired a person with a violent criminal history and there was an assault of some sort?

A developer position might be easier to get - depending on the type of job and the type of shop. Being the install guy for desktops or servers in a large shop would probably be a lot easier to get - they have tighter controls in place so trust isn't as critical as it is in a small shop where the guy installing the server is also the guy with all the passwords.

In any case, building some sort of history would be key. A good recommendation as a reliable employee for a couple of years would probably overcome a lot of objections - even if it wasn't in a relevant field. But it isn't easy out there for anyone, particularly with low experience, criminal record or not. My ex's father ran the food service at a university and he used his position to help a bunch of newly released prisoners get a fresh start. He said he only had a couple of guys disappoint him over a couple of decades. For him it was a form of ministry - but there are a lot of guys just like him out there who are willing to take a risk. Finding them is the trick, I suppose.

Comment: Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (Score 1) 323

by Cytotoxic (#48399971) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

One of the linked articles hinted at a problem with information flow of supply and demand in this market. Apparently the government is in the middle of the supply chain - farmers sell their futures contracts to the government exchange and the government sells those contracts to the worldwide commodities markets. So the farmers get a price set by their government and the government skims the price increases. (in lean times this could work in reverse - as price supports protecting farmers) Either way, the market signals are muted. The attached article says this means that investments in increasing production will be delayed by at least a year as farmers don't see price increases until next growing season at the earliest. And if their government decides that the market price is higher than they deserve, the farmers won't get the full price their product could demand in a free market.

Comment: Re:we need more detasils on this "big data thing" (Score 2) 147

by Cytotoxic (#48340169) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

Plus the strategic element of bringing in a consultant. Outside expertise is valuable not only for the expertise, but also because of other less tangible benefits. The outside guy is always more trusted by the business units. It is just human nature. You can lecture everyone on the benefits of some new initiative until you are blue in the face and get nowhere, but bring in a consulting firm to say the same thing and everyone suddenly thinks it is a great idea.

The same goes for having a scapegoat when things go south. A huge change like moving to a new data warehousing technology has a very high probability of hitting major snags and having lots of growing pains as end users figure out what it is that they really want it to do. Having a place outside the shop to shoulder the blame is a big deal, as is having someone outside say "your requirements specified X", something that is often not well received when it comes from the in-house team.

Comment: Re:ignorant rubbish (Score 4, Informative) 264

by Cytotoxic (#48328519) Attached to: We Are Running Out of Sand

I asked in a reasonably factious way, realizing that in any event, dredging the ocean for beach sand would be prohibitively expensive by a long shot.

Not really. They dredge the bottom to replenish beach sand all the time. Pretty much all of the beaches on the Atlantic side of Florida are built out by dredging.

The sand on the beaches naturally moves up and down the shore, making wide beaches and then eroding down to nothing, creating barrier islands and wiping them away. It is only when we stuck a bunch of buildings on the shore and expected everything to stay in one place that this became a problem.

Comment: Re:Hoax (Score 1) 986

Forget Europe, in the US the utilities are required to buy back excess power production from your alternative energy generation kit. At rates that are higher than their own cost of generation.

Here's a pricing sheet from one energy company.

Alabama has much, much less incentives for renewables than other states, so there is very little in the way of installation of things like solar panels.

Besides which, this guy lives in the EU where tax credits, buybacks and other subsidies are in plentiful supply. If it worked to generate electricity (which he does not yet claim to be doing) he would indeed be able to start earning money today.

Comment: Re:Mustang Shelby GT 500 (Score 1) 393

by Cytotoxic (#47935537) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

It doesn't. Because large swaths of the city are depopulated the income is pretty much zero, along with the population. The 50 families that are making 65k on average are irrelevant in a neighborhood with another 350 empty homes. The city wants to close down entire sections and relocate the remaining residents to save on city services. Don't know if they will be able to make that happen. Shrinking population is pretty ugly - at least for a while.

But the cheap real estate and massive empty industrial buildings might attract a lot of growth at some point with the right governance. The question is will any of the infrastructure last long enough for the turnaround to happen. I don't think anyone is betting on it right now.

Comment: Not a cheetah (Score 2) 90

by Cytotoxic (#47916035) Attached to: MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

Exceptionally cool and really fast legged robot. I really liked the ability to alter its gait to bound over an obstacle.

But the defining characteristic of cheetah locomotion is not just the 70mph speed. It is the use of a long, flexible, back to power and lengthen the stride. This bot has a completely inflexible body and is solely powered via the leg joints. Not very cheetah-like. More like a sheep.

But sheep-bot is just not very cool. And if I had built the thing, I would have named it a cheetah robot too. Or maybe Mechanical Hound or Robot 451.

Comment: Re:Fucking Government doesn't care about US (Score 1) 73

by Cytotoxic (#47901749) Attached to: NSA Metadata Collection Gets 90-Day Extension

what part of the 10th amendment is so hard for people to understand? If its not written in the constitution itself, the federal government has no authority

I think they pretty much began ignoring that amendment before the ink was dry. They say social security is the third rail of politics, but the 10th amendment is even more off limits. Properly enforced, the 9th and 10th amendments would outlaw most of the activities undertaken by the federal government.

So no, not gonna happen. Not now, not ever.

Comment: Re:Why the fuck is this on Slashdot? (Score 1) 789

If you want expert analysis of the Russian government, what better source is there? It is an independent Finnish-owned english language paper specializing in the news of Russia.

Would you go to Izvestia or Pravda instead? Gazeta? Moscow Times might lean against the current government in Russia, but at least they are independent and able to publish critical commentary. You can't really expect the Times of London or the New York Times to have the same level of expertise in Russian politics as the Moscow Times either.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.