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Comment: Re:The first rule (Score 1) 245

by David McBride (#41930069) Attached to: What To Do After You Fire a Bad Sysadmin Or Developer

There is truth in what you say; see also The Unspoken Truth About Managing Geeks for a further discussion along those lines.

However, I have also seen cases where the person they're talking about really is an incompetent and/or immoral idiot, and what management are parsing as name-calling and a possible shifting of blame is, in actual fact, one of your staff warning you of a significant danger.

While management might not like to believe they've hired someone with those qualities for a role, if it has happened, they would be well served to listen to the bad news being reported and take some action to assess and mitigate that risk!

Comment: Re:Have a great trip! (Score 1) 1095

by David McBride (#30216634) Attached to: Geek Travel To London From the US — Tips?

And regarding your trip. Depending on how long you stay there, if it's more than a week, try to find a neighbourhood pub (a real one preferably, not one of those modern things) and meet the locals.

A friend of mine put together a list of decent pubs in the area; see: http://ashok.org.uk/thelist/

Comment: Serious threat to Facebook, Twitter, et al (Score 5, Insightful) 170

by David McBride (#28130327) Attached to: Google's "Wave" Blurs Chat, Email, Collaboration Software

The decentralised nature of this system will directly threaten Facebook, Twitter et al.

The DNS system works, and scales, because everyone publishing information to the DNS is responsible for the upkeep of the nodes that publish their own records.

Facebook and Twitter, however, have scaling and financial problems. Facebook, so far as I am aware, continues to make a substantial annual loss despite its enormous success, and I have yet to hear that Twitter has managed to turn a profit.

More importantly, the privacy of everyone publishing much of their personal, private correspondence using a small number of centralized agencies is directly threatened -- and it could get particularly messy if, in a few years time, $SOCIALNETWORK fails to become profitable, goes into receivership, and the vast databases of private information are identified by the administrators as the organisation's most valuable asset.

In contrast, a Wave infrastructure, like DNS, will distribute the upkeep and storage of private information to many (hopefully) locally trustworthy systems. Because of social engineering / hacking attacks, leakage of private information can and will still occur, but the impact should hopefully be minimized if the Wave protocol and its implementations have been suitably well engineered.

This is going to be interesting.

Comment: Re:Well, this WAS a triumph (Score 1) 246

by David McBride (#27424337) Attached to: Google Launches CADIE, the First True AI

Creating a portal tunnel between your room and the surface of the Moon would fairly rapidly result in most of the air being evacuated from the Earth and deposited in lunar orbit around it.

This idea definitely falls into the Egon Spengler "That would be Bad" category.

Better idea: create a perpetual motion machine -- free energy -- by opening the exit portal above an entry portal, fixing a turbine in between them, and chucking in some water.

Comment: Avoid: OTRS; Try: RoundUp (Score 1) 321

by David McBride (#27006869) Attached to: Best FOSS Help Desk Software For Small Firms?

We deployed OTRS locally when we had to deploy something open-source off-the-shelf quickly, and it's proved painful. It might be possible to make it do what you want with more time and customization.

Since then, I've seen RoundUp appear, and it looks most promising, though I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.

Comment: Re:don't forget radio... (Score 5, Informative) 336

by David McBride (#26952933) Attached to: Cory Doctorow Calls Death To Music, Movies, Print

You can bash the man if you like, but you'd be more convincing if you laid off the ad hominem attacks and got your facts straight:

This latest is just the gasp of a flunkie, uneducated has-been science fiction author whose work is so spectacularly bad that he had never had a commercially successful work.

On the contrary; his latest novel "Little Brother" made the New York Times Bestseller list (Childrens), reaching the #8 spot after 6 weeks. It's had multiple print runs, been published in both the US and the UK, where they've sold well, and has been nominated for and granted a range of literary awards.

I'd say that qualifies as a commercially successful work by any reasonable definition!

Security

Largest Data Breach Disclosed During Inauguration 168

Posted by kdawson
from the debit-cards-at-risk dept.
rmogull writes "Brian Krebs over at the Washington Post just published a story that Heartland Payment Systems disclosed what may be the largest data breach in history. Today. During the inauguration. Heartland processes over 100 million transactions a month, mostly from small to medium-sized businesses, and doesn't know how many cards were compromised. The breach was discovered after tracing fraud in the system back to Heartland, and involved malicious software snooping their internal network. I've written some additional analysis on this and similar breaches. It's interesting that the biggest breaches now involve attacks installing malicious software to sniff data — including TJX, Hannaford, Cardsystems, and now Heartland Payment Systems." One bit of good news out of this massive breach is that, according to Heartland's CFO, "The nature of the [breach] is such that card-not-present transactions are actually quite difficult for the bad guys to do because one piece of information we know they did not get was an address." Heartland just put up a press release on the breach.

Comment: Re:what is so hard about it? (Score 3, Informative) 131

by David McBride (#25588337) Attached to: BBC Brings DRM-Free Content To Linux Users

The BBC is using open formats, protocols and systems to provide this service.

See:

http://uriplay.org/
http://open.bbc.co.uk/rad/uriplay/availablecontent
http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=555823

This is a source plugin for content made available by the BBC, kindly sponsored
by the BBC and Canonical. It's still quite basic, but functional.

(Note: this has nothing to do with the iPlayer, it mostly just makes content
available in totem which is already available in some form or other on the BBC
website now, at least for the time being; server-side things are also still
work-in-progress, so expect the occasional hiccups and problems with the
content in the feed.)

The totem plugin's implemented in open-source python. Go play!

The Media

BBC Brings DRM-Free Content To Linux Users 131

Posted by timothy
from the gnu-linux dept.
eldavojohn writes "The BBC is planning to release some of its programmes to users of GNU & Linux. You won't see Doctor Who or Dragons' Den on there anytime soon, but they have been working with Canonical & Collabora on getting this out there for Totem users. The developer blog mentions that the sheer number of options in the open source world actually makes this difficult to accomplish."
Government

H.R. 4279 Would Establish Federal IP Cops 686

Posted by kdawson
from the lawn-forcement dept.
MrSnivvel writes "H.R. 4279, Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, is gaining momentum in Congress. It passed the House a few days back. It would allow the Feds to seize hardware that has even one file coming from 'dubious origins,' e.g. downloaded from P2P. If passed into law, the bill would establish an Intellectual Property Enforcement Division within the office of the Deputy Attorney General. Rep. John Conyers says the goal is to 'prioritize intellectual property protection to the highest level of our government.'"
The Courts

+ - Jack Thompson threatens Bill Gates and MS

Submitted by
smitty_srs
smitty_srs writes "Looks like old Jackie hasn't learned his lesson yet. Now he's threatening Bill Gates over Halo 3. [gamealmimghty.com]
From the letter: 'Here's the deal, Mr. Gates: Either Microsoft undertakes dramatic, real steps, through its marketing, wholesale, and retail operations to assure that Halo 3 is not sold, via the Internet and in stores, directly to anyone under 17, or I shall proceed to make sure that Microsoft is held to that standard by appropriate legal means. I have done that before successfully as to Best Buy, and I shall do so again as to Microsoft and all retailers of Halo 3.'
So, the question is: Why go after Microsoft and not retailers as he's done 'successfully' before?"

Wishing without work is like fishing without bait. -- Frank Tyger

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