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Comment: VM/CMS DASD mounts (Score 1) 231

by FeatherBoa (#47827751) Attached to: Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

When I was first in school -- and by school I mean graduate school -- the school had a IBM running VM/CMS for general computing. Everyone had an account. In those days you could set up virtual disks to be shared and there was a mount command in exec 2 that let you mount a shared volume given the password. A lot of people would put the mount command and password in an executable script that would run at login. When a professor or admin gave you credentials to a volume, it might have a script in it with credentials for another volume.

I wrote an exec2 program to sift through the files in a volume looking for shared volume mount commands, then recursively mount and search any found volumes. It seemed to work pretty well.

At that point I showed the script to a random undergrad and forgot about it. He was later expelled and arrested.

Comment: What do you suppose "US persons" means? (Score 1) 134

by FeatherBoa (#46150617) Attached to: NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

The critical issue here is that we don't know exactly what "US Person" means. Canada is in the throes of the same issue, with the US demanding access to banking records for any US Persons, and the scope of this is troubling.

US Persons includes US citizens, of course. But it includes folks who might be entitled to citizenship through birth or parentage, whether or not they are actual citizens. It would include anyone who has ever resided in the US. And the definition can be manipulated to mean whatever the US decides it to mean, down the road. It could eventually mean anyone who has visited the US or anyone who has a dollar-denominated bank account or basically anyone who they are interested in.

There is no burden of proof on the IRS to show that they are entitled to specific records. They can ask for anyone's records and claim "US Person" interest. Do you suppose they will not simply vacuum up everything?

And if there is any avenue for information to come to the US government, you know that the NSA will have it. And the DEA and all the rest.

Comment: Re:The patent must run out soon... (Score 2) 579

by FeatherBoa (#43712929) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Patent Case

"We introduced our second-generation Roundup Ready soybean technology in 2009"

So all the seeds in normal circulation now are "Genuity RoundUp Ready 2". Unless there are stocks of viable 2008 seeds around, there may not be so easy to get original patent-expired breeding stock. Whatever the new trait in "genuity" is, Monsanto just has to prove that it is in your glyphosate-resistant crop to come after you. And it most likely will be, because of cross-pollination contamination from fields with the new stuff in them.

Comment: Java (Score 3, Interesting) 58

by FeatherBoa (#43304415) Attached to: The FreeBSD Foundation Is Soliciting Project Proposals

I would like to see improved Java support. What we have now is all either hacks based on running the Linux JVM as a compatible ABI, or you have to build a JVM from source due to licensing. I would like to see a commercial JVM run natively. Ideally IBM's.

That's not something FreeBSD can do though, I don't expect.

Comment: HowardForums: Your Mobile Phone Community & Re (Score 3, Informative) 288

by FeatherBoa (#41010745) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: A Cheap US Cellphone Plan With an Unlocked Phone?

This really is a topic for mobile phone specific forum. My favourite is HowardForums. Here is a link to the US pre-payed/MVNO forums: http://www.howardforums.com/forumdisplay.php/325-US-Prepaid-MVNO-Discussion

There are lots of people there who know what's up with pre-paid and low-cost options.

Comment: the cost of bandwidth changed (Score 1) 299

by FeatherBoa (#40616619) Attached to: RIM CEO On What Went Wrong

Blackberry, like all the phones that came before iPhone, was designed with the needs of the carrier first. The carriers need handsets to have a small data footprint so that lots of subscribers can be handled on a network at low cost to the carrier. Blackberries and their apps are still caught in the requirement to do something useful using microscopically small, closely controlled amounts of bandwidth.

What Apple did was totally break the bandwidth blockade by going to the carriers and saying "here is this shiny sleek gewgaw and you can only sell it if you also have data plans that are much cheaper than what you have now". And the miraculous thing was that the carriers caved.

Opening the bandwidth spigots meant that any idiot could make cool apps do things that the RIM guys had spent years optimizing to run with almost none. A BB can do usable email with 200 BPS, but who needs that when I have 250 KBits and can just do IMAP on my regular email provider?

That's when everything changed.

Comment: Appalling cost to NZ taxpayers (Score 5, Interesting) 316

by FeatherBoa (#40477967) Attached to: Dotcom Search Warrants Ruled Illegal

I wonder, when the dust settles, as I suppose it one day must, will anyone add up the appalling costs to the NZ taxpayers to play out this farce? The Crown is likely going to have to fold their entire case and may face liability for wrongful conduct. It's all well to say that the Americans have achieved their goals just by putting the fear of god into all the offshore quasi-ethical file-share outfits and screwing up Mega's business. But NZ taxpayers will face millions in court costs and lost police and prosecutor time sorting this out. If the costs are large, the embarrassment significant and the gains are negligible or non-existent, how many more times will NZ or other small powers accommodate American expeditions of this type so willingly?

I think there's an onus on New Zealanders to complain to their parties about the policies that let this happen, use access to information to ferret out the complicit officials into the light of day. Make the costs and embarrassment of following though on this farce a political issue for the government.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

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