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Comment: Some Problems (Score 3, Insightful) 110

by DERoss (#47404187) Attached to: YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

The vertical scale in the charts has no indices or any indication of what is measured. I see the statement to the right "Daily video activity is averaged
over 30 days.", but it does not say what is really averaged. Is this MB/sec, percentage of available bandwidth, or what?

In any case, the throughput of a broadband connection is not the only issue in moving large amounts of bytes. I am having a problem with software for an HP printer. Today, HP advised me to download the entire software package for that printer, approximately 1.4 GB. However, HP's server could not deliver event 300 KB/sec into my 15 MB/sec broadband connection. There are servers delivering video that cannot keep up with playback speeds.

When I cannot get downloads a MB/sec rates, I generally blame the server at the other end and not my broadband provider. After all, I can immediately try a different download from a different source, and get my full 15 MB/sec.

Comment: Unsending E-mail (Score 5, Interesting) 346

by DERoss (#47376307) Attached to: Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

The ancient Roman Horace (65-8 bce) said: "Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled."

More recently, Omar, the Tentmaker (died ca 1123 ce) said:
"The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety or Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it."

Comment: The Wind Does Blow (Score 2) 441

by DERoss (#47347589) Attached to: Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

About 30 years ago, "wind farms" were built in several places in California where the wind seems constant, not intermittent. One is in the San Gorgonio Pass along I10 between Beaumont and Palm Springs. Another one is in the Altamont Pass in the hills near Oakland. In both places, with what was then primitive technology, the constancy of the wind still justified the construction of these "wind farms". I have seen both installations, and I have never seen them idled by a lack of wind.

Similarly, there are places where sunshine is so prevalent that solar power would have few interruptions during the day. Unlike wind power, however, storage of electricity during the day is needed for use at night.

In the meantime, Southern California Edison has outages at all times of the year. These are not the result of unreliable generation sources. Instead, these are the result of not performing any kind of scheduled preventive maintenance on local portions of the distribution system.

Comment: Will Not Work With Me (Score 1) 131

by DERoss (#47344495) Attached to: Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

I see the the following problems --

For at least 20 years, I have had a full beard. Since I am mostly (not entirely) bald on top, I do not get a haircut more than once in two months. When I get a haircut, I also get my beard trimmed somewhat short. Will facial recognition allow me to drive home from the barber shop?

I do not have a mobile phone, smart or dumb. When I leave my house, I want to leave my phone, computer, garden, etc behind me. Where would this feature send the photo?

Comment: Never Got MS E-mails (Score 4, Informative) 145

by DERoss (#47339065) Attached to: Microsoft Suspending "Patch Tuesday" Emails

I never got E-mails from Micro$oft about updates, vulnerabilities, etc. Instead, I have an RSS feed from US-CERT (computer emergency response team), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Yes, they do have a few useful functions.) US-CERT not only notifies me about Micro$oft's alerts and provides links to them, but that agency also notifies me of alerts from other companies.

The link to subscribe to the RSS feed is

Comment: Pocket Watch (Score 1) 427

by DERoss (#47324969) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

I bought a new Hamilton Railway Special conductor's pocket watch with the first paycheck I earned as a computer programmer in 1962. Since then, I have never worn a wrist watch and do not plan to wear one.

I retired the Hamilton when I got a pocket Casio with a calculator, alarm, and count-down timer. I now have an electronic pocket watch with a round dial and hour, minute, and second hands; it also shows the date (but not the month or year). I have to reset the date when a 30-day month ends. When that happens, I recheck the time against a global array of atomic clocks that are tied to the Internet; I find it keeps excellent time.

Yes, I was a computer geek in the early days of geekdom and remained so until I retired. I do not own a smart phone or even a dumb cell phone. When I leave the house, I prefer to leave it entirely -- phones, computers, etc. But I do carry a watch in my pocket on the end of a chain attached to my belt.

By the way, during much of my career, I was the go-to person for issues relating to time-keeping and the rotation of the earth on which time-keeping is based. This was for various projects involving earth-orbiting, military space satellites.

Comment: Sunshine is the Cure (Score 1) 163

by DERoss (#47303599) Attached to: I suffer from jet lag ...

Exposing your skin (arms and face are sufficient) to sunlight is supposed to reset your body's clock when you travel. Even with such exposure (including on my bald scalp), I suffer the equivalent of jet lag when we change our clocks between standard and daylight-savings time (summer time for those outside the U.S.). It sometimes takes me 2-3 days to adjust to a 1-hour change.

Comment: Re:Strategies to Defeat Age Discrimination (Score 1) 370

by DERoss (#47298135) Attached to: Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

There are no falsehoods involved in what I said (other than perhaps using hair dye to hide the gray). Omitting information such as the date of a college degree is not lying if you really received the degree.

In any case, a prospective employer is lying if they say you are not qualified for the job when they really mean you are too old.

Comment: Strategies to Defeat Age Discrimination (Score 3, Informative) 370

by DERoss (#47293245) Attached to: Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

When seeking employment, there are strategies that can be used to help defeat age discrimination.

Remove the gray before an interview. Clairol and Clairol for Men (and other such products) can be your friend; alternatively, visit a good barber or hair salon. Pick a natural-looking color. Men should remember to color their beards and mustaches. This should be done several days in advance so that accidental coloring of adjacent skin can be washed away. DO NOT persist in coloring hair, however; this is suspected of increasing the risk of cancer. Do not wear false hair; it is too easily detected.

When describing education, do not mention in what years your degrees were granted.

When describing employment history, only go back 10 years.

Do not mention spouse, children, and especially grand-children.

Do not mention expertise in obsolete computer languages or hardware.

If you are a victim of age discrimination, however, think very carefully about legal remedies even if you have solid proof. There is a U.S. Supreme Court justice who previously was the head of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While in that earlier post, he deliberately sat on over 20,000 age-discrimination complaints until the statute of limitations expired and prevented action. (Anita Hill was merely a side distraction.)

Comment: How I Am Doing It (Score 5, Interesting) 208

by DERoss (#47276037) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

First of all, I assume you are serious and not trolling (as some others who replied have asserted).

My son died in April of 2013. He lived with cancer for four years and then took four months to die. During that time, he ignored my pleas to create an estate plan with an attorney. I am still trying to unravel his estate. Divorced and without a will, his son (my grandson) is his sole heir. My grandson is 6 years old. After my son died, it was too late to create a trust for my grandson. Instead, I had to go to court (several hundreds of dollars in court fees, legal fees, and even appraisal fees) to be appointed the guardian of my grandson's inherited estate. (His mother is the guardian of his person.) I will then have to return to court every two years to report on the status of the guardianship. In the meantime, NO ONE had authority to pay my son's final bills. It took seven months after my son died before I had legal authority to collect his credit union accounts, IRA, Roth IRA, and multiple 401(k) accounts, by which time several bills had already been sent to collection. All the legitimate bills have now been paid, and all known assets have been collected (the last, just a week ago). In July, I will transfer the balance of my son's estate into my grandson's guardianship. That will not end the hassle as I will have to report the status to the court for the next 12 years.

I am thus on a campaign that every adult needs an estate plan. Even if you have no heirs, even if your estate is small, you need to provide binding instructions on how to handle your assets after you die.

Before my son started actually dying of cancer, my wife and I started a complete overhaul of our own estate plans. With the exception of our IRAs and Roth IRAs, all our assets are in trusts. We each are the other's beneficiary of the IRAs and Roth IRAs, with the trusts the contingent beneficiary. The trusts require two trustees, currently my wife and me. If one of us dies or becomes incapacitated, the replacement trustee is already identified in the trusts. When we are both dead, the replacement trustee must appoint another trustee to have two. CONTINUITY IS VERY IMPORTANT. Our credit unions, bank, and mutual fund group all have copies of the relevant portion of the trust documents to ensure they accept this continuity.

Now for the original question: In California, where my wife and I live, a bank safe deposit box is NOT sealed if one of us dies. The box remains available to the other persons who are listed at the bank -- with their signatures -- as having access to it, which includes our daughter and will eventually include our replacement trustee. The complete original documents for our estate plan are in the safe deposit box. Right now, I can see a ring binder with a copy. The replacement trustee has a copy. A list of all our accounts is in the safe deposit box. An inventory of our mutual funds (IRAs and Roth IRAs) is in the safe deposit box.

In a sealed envelope in the safe deposit box are a floppy disc, a compact disc, and a printout of my OpenPGP public and private keys and my OpenPGP passphrase (the latter otherwise exists only in my brain). (I chose three media since I have no way to predict what formats might become obsolete before I die.) That envelope also contains a list of all my important Internet passwords, which are encrypted on my PC.

I have an unencrypted list on my PC titled "Where Is It?" that describes where everything should be found: checkbooks, bank statements, insurance policies, durable powers of attorney for health care, mutual fund statements, deed to our house, etc. When I update this list, I E-mail a copy to our daughter; another copy is in the ring binder with our estate plan. Also in the ring binder is the paperwork for our purchase of burial plots.

Comment: Re:If It Is Private, Keep It Private (Score 0) 475

by DERoss (#47144781) Attached to: The Sudden Policy Change In Truecrypt Explained

I have accounts at four different financial institutions. To serve a search warrant, they would have to know which branch of which institution houses the particular safe deposit box containing the "magic" envelope. If such a search warrant were successfully served, they would still have to find my external hard drive or serve another search warrant on my house to access my files. Since none of my files contain evidence of a crime, such warrants could easily be challenged.

As for keeping my master pass-phrase in my head, the 5th Amendment protects me in the U.S. I understand that in the U.K., however, failure to give the police your master OpenPGP pass-phrase can result in a lengthy prison term.

Comment: If It Is Private, Keep It Private (Score 2, Insightful) 475

by DERoss (#47142733) Attached to: The Sudden Policy Change In Truecrypt Explained

I never use cloud resources. Too many users have been severely inconvenienced if not outright burned by cloud services that have been hacked, suppressed by some government, gone out of business, or gone down for several hours. I keep all my data where I can access it, either on my PC or on a removable hard drive that I store remotely from my PC but easily reached.

I encrypt my most sensitive data. No, I do not rely on some corporation's declaration: "Trust us. We are good. We will protect you." Instead, I use an OpenPGP application that has been reviewed by outside experts and that I have installed on my PC. The data on my removable hard drive are encrypted. Some of my PC files are also encrypted. My pass-phrase, without which my private key is useless for decryption, exists only in my head and in an envelope in my safe deposit box at a bank. My private key is on my PC in a non-standard location. If somehow someone else were to access my private key, I have a much greater problem than the compromise of my sensitive data.

See my

"Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world." - The Beach Boys