Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:"The Ego" (Score 1) 549

by Frobnicator (#49617753) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

Here's a visualization of her layoffs at HP

To be fair, I wouldn't mind some massive government layoffs.

A few hundred thousand NSA contractors doing surveillance, about 50,000 TSA agents who make people not want to fly, and some serious tax reform could eliminate the need for a few hundred thousand IRS workers. (The Lee-Rubio tax reform plan is much less terrible than the current tax mess, removing most of the deductions, credits, exemptions, and exclusions abused by businesses and individuals, and includes dumping lots of IRS workers.)

Couple it up with some H1B reform dropping anywhere from a quarter to a half of the 140,000 of the H1B visa jobs.

Round it out by firing a bunch of high-level and mid-level people in the agencies suffering from regulatory capture, but those can be filled with new people with an emphasis on avoiding capture.

So a half million or so workers. The layoffs will sting for a few months, but they'll make the country better.

For those, I'd mirror her comments "I would have done them all faster."

Comment: Re: Secrets (Score 3) 94

It's called discovery! And it's required under the law. You can't hide evidence or its provenance from the defense!!!

In theory that is true.

In practice, many people cannot afford an extensive legal fight and settle quickly. Those who do actually go through the courts --- only about 3% in the federal system --- often learn during discovery that the initial reports came by anonymous sources.

Anonymous sources are tricky. A single anonymous source is not considered reliable enough to issue a warrant, but is reliable enough to investigate. Two different anonymous sources can be enough to meet probable cause (People v. Coulombe (2001)).

So as has been documented several times, one government agency, such as the NSA, will observe some illegal behavior but they are not allowed to prosecute. If the information is traced back to them during discovery then the unlawful search or unusable information would be dropped, so they give an anonymous tip to local law enforcement, reporting all the details they are able. Local law enforcement gets the anonymous tip, investigates, finds exactly what the tip said was there, and arrests them all. When questioned about their sources, law enforcement can pull out the records of an anonymous tip, mention that the reporter refused to give their name and that is why they investigated.

It isn't always that the source itself is unlawful. There are many types of lawful recordings and intercepts but during the course of the investigation they hear about other items. Due to the scope of their work they may be legally forbidden from following those other leads.

The term is "parallel construction". Usually the local police either are unaware that the report came from another agency or unlawful search, or they suspect it did but keep their mouths shut. With a successful parallel construction there is no evidence to be uncovered during discovery. The person making the report is careful to leave no evidence connecting their report (which would taint the entire case) that the local officers could discover.

Several cases have been several cases recently where officers were caught attempting to use parallel construction (and failing at it) when data came from these devices.

Comment: Re:It wasn't the tweet (Score 2) 185

by Frobnicator (#49581195) Attached to: How One Tweet Wiped $8bn Off Twitter's Value

This doesn't quite make sense to me. Assuming the bots are smart enough to parse the earnings reports (highly plausible) wouldn't they react the same as if it were a proper release?

There tend to be many additional news stories that temper the results. The markets close at 4:00 PM. That is exactly the moment when the reports leave embargo. Within an hour or so there are human-considered reports hitting the news, and by the time the markets open at 9:30 AM the next day there is plenty of context to place around it.

In this case the bots only get a single source of information and instantly react. Then they are in a hyper-sensitive feedback loop and notice what other bots are doing, selling millions of stock based on a single data point.

When the markets are closed overnight the bots see news articles with both positive and negative reactions, with good words and bad words, building up many different data points, and they tend to take more balanced reactions.

Comment: Re:It wasn't the tweet (Score 4, Interesting) 185

by Frobnicator (#49580499) Attached to: How One Tweet Wiped $8bn Off Twitter's Value

The thing is wall street speculation is now highly automated. ... and cause a sell-off run much more efficiently than humans reading twitter ever could.

This is exactly what triggered it. The page was up for forty five seconds. 45 seconds is not enough for humans to read and understand it, but that is plenty of time for bots.

During that 45 seconds, assorted stock-trading bots picked up on it, scanned it, and sold over 3M units, or $153M, of their stock. That's over 30x their normal trading levels.

The huge uptick in stock sales triggered another bunch of automated trades, and over the next 18 minutes they had more trades than they had seen all quarter -- the last trade spike that big was after their last earnings report, when the price jumped from about $37/share to around $50/share.

Then, about 18 minutes after the brief posting, trading stopped because of the anomaly. It is normally an effective tactic when trading bots go crazy.

20 minutes later trading was resumed for the remaining half hour of the day. There were over two million trades per minute over that half hour, and the stock price continued dropping from $51.24 to $42.27, with a slow but steady drop today down to $38.49. Days like this make me laugh at stupid investors. No point in selling now, the value is already lost. It is unlikely another bombshell will be dropped. Selling just reinforces your losses.

Of course, if you're a long term investor you'll note that nothing about the company changed; no deals were cancelled and they are still growing in ways that matter. Their stock is low, making it a good value to pick up.

Comment: Re:IE 6 (Score 2) 218

by Frobnicator (#49564975) Attached to: JavaScript Devs: Is It Still Worth Learning jQuery?

In my experience, I haven't noticed any issues on mobile devices for websites using jQuery.

I can list of plenty of mobile websites with horrible experiences that use jQuery.

But I would not say jQuery itself is the reason for that.

jQuery itself is not inherently a problem. It can be leveraged to do many memory-hungry and processing-heavy actions that break mobile browsers, but that's not jQuery's fault. People can make memory-hungry and processing-heavy PC-centric websites using many different tools.

Comment: Re:This seems backwards. (Score 5, Informative) 62

by Frobnicator (#49564819) Attached to: Supreme Court To Consider Data Aggregation Suit Against Spokeo

Or as is very likely the case, a company passes up on hiring him for something.

That's nifty and all, but that's not the actual lawsuit.

The key feature of the lawsuit is that the individual cannot show any specific harm was done, only that their legal rights were infringed. Most aspects of civil law require that the person show some sort of injury. In this case the specific law does not require damage. Damage to consumers is assumed as automatic if the company does not comply with the law. The wording of the law is only about compliance, not about harm.

The big data companies absolutely want to forbid standing in the case. If he could show specific harm he'd have a strong case but it would be a different case. This is about data aggregators being compelled to follow the law.

The first court dismissed it, claiming since he had no specific "actual or imminent harm" he couldn't sue.

The appeals court observed that the law required specific actions by the company, and the law tied failure to comply with the rules to a $100-$1000 fine for noncompliance. That's even the name of the section: "Civil liability for willful noncompliance". Again, the law specifies damages for failing to comply, not damages for actual harm. The appeals court ruled that since the law as written does not require any actual damages -- the law is about compliance by the company, with damages assigned to "any consumer" affected by non-compliance -- he can sue. He qualifies under the definition of "any customer", and the law is only about compliance, not about actual harm.

Because of the exact wording of the law, my money is on Robins on this one. The actual law does not rely on harm to the individual. The wording of the law is based entirely on compliance, with noncompliance resulting in liability. Additional harm is not mandated.

But let's turn it around. Frequently the courts will examine the consequences if the court rejects the arguments. If they turn it down, if they say consumers cannot have standing unless there is real harm, then they would effectively void sections 1681n and 1681o. There would only be civil liability for actual harm, there would not be any civil liability for noncompliance. Generally the SCOTUS relies on a Constitutional reason to void large chunks of law like that, but in this case there are several solid reasons for Congress to pass the law. If he doesn't have standing then SCOTUS is voiding the law since no other method is available for liability. The Justices tend to be careful about voiding the law, generally only voiding laws when it falls outside what the Constitution allows. I'm absolutely certain that will come up in the oral arguments: if they deny standing how else can the noncompliance law be applied? If they deny standing they seem to be voiding the law without a constitutional reason.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 5, Informative) 409

To be honest, I figured that it /had/ to be a bad ruling and ...

No, it's all due to the stupid vague line between a "temporary stop", a "detention", and an "arrest". Our various branches of government have struggled with it for two centuries now.

Police need people to interact with them so the officers can do the job of investigating crimes. But legally in order to do that they must seize the thing, seize the person, seize the property, whatever. The requirements about due process, seizure of people and property, the law needed to allow for certain types of temporary seizures of people, and the balance is a hard one.

The traffic stop is just that, a stop. A temporary detention that can only last as long as necessary for the administrative task.

In the ruling (and according to most judges already), the officer stopped the individual and performed the task of writing a citation. Anything more than that is no longer a stop, it becomes either a detention or an arrest.

The ruling is clear on what the problem was here. The officer testified that they "had all their documents back and a copy of the written warning. I got all the reasons for the stop out of the way." Then after the stop was complete he did not allow the man to leave, even after the man asked to go, so the officer could call in a drug-sniffing dog. That was a second detention, done without probable cause (since he had already dealt with the reason for the stop), and was therefore unlawful.

Comment: Re:Hold it (Score 4, Informative) 649

by Frobnicator (#49516875) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars

And the HP and Lexmark toner cartridge cases which were just about embedded serialization

Yeah, no. This was specifically mentioned in the Lexmark v Static Control Components case. That was already dealt with in the 6th circuit and supported 9-0 by the SCOTUS. Copy of the decision.

Automobile manufacturers, for example, could control the entire market of replacement parts for their vehicles by including lock-out chips. Congress did not intend to allow the DMCA to be used offensively in this manner, but rather only sought to reach those who circumvented protective measures “for the purpose” of pirating works protected by the copyright statute. Unless a plaintiff can show that a defendant circumvented protective measures for such a purpose, its claim should not be allowed to go forward. If Lexmark wishes to utilize DMCA protections for (allegedly) copyrightable works, it should not use such works to prevent competing cartridges from working with its printer.

... By contrast, Lexmark would have us read this statute in such a way that any time a manufacturer intentionally circumvents any technological measure and accesses a protected work it necessarily violates the statute regardless of its “purpose.” Such a reading would ignore the precise language – “for the purpose of” – as well as the main point of the DMCA – to prohibit the pirating of copyright-protected works such as movies, music, and computer programs. If we were to adopt Lexmark’s reading of the statute, manufacturers could potentially create monopolies for replacement parts simply by using similar, but more creative, lock-out codes. Automobile manufacturers, for example, could control the entire market of replacement parts for their vehicles by including lock-out chips. Congress did not intend to allow the DMCA to be used offensively in this manner, but rather only sought to reach those who circumvented protective measures “for the purpose” of pirating works protected by the copyright statute. Unless a plaintiff can show that a defendant circumvented protective measures for such a purpose, its claim should not be allowed to go forward.

Yes it is a short line, but it seems rather bright-line to cite in this case.

Comment: Re:Why it did not go further (Score 4, Insightful) 134

But, then, I've never thought about starting the discussion with a drunk person.


The three causes are clear enough in the news report: Two drunken roommates around 1:00 AM were in a fight. That's it. What they were arguing about is irrelevant.

Having heard drunks argue, I can assure you it was not an articulate and well-reasoned discussion. The argument could have been about anything from a favorite phone operating system to a favorite sports team or a favorite color. The fact that they reached for the nearest beer bottle as a weapon is unsurprising.

Comment: Re:Surveillance is okay (Score 1, Troll) 254

by Frobnicator (#49501537) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

It is only a problem when somebody (state/corp) has the advantage.

Those with the recordings and with the ability to use them, have the power.

That can be a government with cctv, or a business with cameras on the doors, windows, tellers, and product aisles. Or it can be a cell phone camera capturing a police shooting, or even google glass capturing a crime on the street or an abusive patron.

When the 'little people' have and use recordings it can be leveraged for many things, including social changes for better or worse, such as social pressure after injustice is found, or social pressure to keep your head down and mouth shut.

Ubiquitous cameras can mean a police state, they can also mean when an individual has been abused by government or officers there are plenty of cameras to tell the story from many viewpoints. It can be used to identify triggers, and assign blame, and ensure justice, and to correct policies.

The tricky thing is those same two details: Who has the recordings? What are they able to do with them?

Comment: Re:Why is it even a discussion? (Score 4, Insightful) 441

by Frobnicator (#49467963) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

Yes, its called graft or bribery and is illegal in most other developed countries.


What other developed countries?

UK? Campaigners get government funds, political party funds, and unlimited contributions. There have been quite a few scandals in recent years where individuals receive over a quarter million pounds in a single donation, and it is all legal.

Germany? Again, government funds, plus government-mandated airtime distributed to the candidates. On top of that, individuals get whatever you can buy. No campaign contribution limits to corporations and the first roughly 3000 euro are tax deductible to encourage businesses to buy their local leaders.

France? Well, there are a huge number of tiny political factions, each well funded and owned by the local businesses. The small parties ensure the elections run favorably by making deals with other political parties (businesses).

Australia? Three decades ago they changed the law to move toward public funding in an attempt to remove private interests. The law was quickly and quietly revised to continue to allow both. Yet wikipedia claims over the last two decades, corporate donations have gone up 5x, from just under $30M to well over $130M publicly reported and millions more through other sources.

Italy? In most of the country, including the southern regions, the old families run everything. What most of the world terms "protection money" is considered basically a local tax. Corruption is rampant.

India? Greece? Just kidding, we all know these are above any form of political corruption.

Comment: Re: Everyone loves taxes (Score 1) 173

Our world needs a unified tax code that applies evenly to everyone. No loopholes, no dodges. Everyone pays their share no matter how the company / individuals lives. My suggestion would be for the united states to make it simple. If you sell one product in the United states, you will pay US tax rates on your income. Period. If you have paid taxes somewhere else, you can deduct that amount from the amount you owe the US, but you cannot dodge paying those taxes somewhere. If a company doesn't like it, they are free to not sell products in the United states.

That is logical from several standpoints, but people's emotions prevent it.

People from a region want certain jobs, and they demand results from government leaders, not logic.

How can you get jobs? Entice businesses to move in or to form. How do you encourage business? Tax breaks and other government money. Money to entrepreneurs. Money to small businesses. Money to relocated or new offices.

In the short term that means results to the politicians, meaning re-election. In the short term it means more jobs. In the short term it means growth. In the short term it means an improvement in local life. In the short term it means getting re-elected. Most of society does not think about the long term handcuffs, but in the short term, it means the results most people want, so longer term consequences are ignored.

That's why the uniform taxes won't work. Not because it isn't logical in itself, but because it deprives governments of one of the most powerful incentives (rather than punishments) in their toolbox.

Comment: Re:I tried this myself (Score 1) 892

when the cashier told me the groceries cost $35.50, I told her that I would pay $20...

When I go to a restaurant I know sends out coupons, I will ask if they have any behind the counter, and they often do.

When I go to stores that are known for discounts, I ask for them.

Yesterday I needed new tires on my vehicle. At checkout I asked if they had any discounts available. He gave me 10% off.

About a month ago I went to a rock chip repair shop I asked if they had any deals running. The clerk said there was a radio special running and I needed to say their station name for a huge discount... Then he told me the name of the station and smiled, waiting for me to repeat it.

There are opportunities to negotiate everywhere.

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 106

by Frobnicator (#49435705) Attached to: Bell Labs Fighting To Get More Bandwidth Out of Copper

Even in suburbia it can work out.

My DSL (vdsl2 modem) is 48 Mbps down 16 up. All the time, not a shared cable loop. My comcast friends pay a similar amount and have similar speeds --- but only during non-peak times. We found the cable loop is shared in the neighborhood, and peak evening hours most cable-using homes in my neighborhood struggle to get a steady 10 down.

While VDSL2 doesn't compare well against fiber to the home, it can compete well with most cable offerings.

A debugged program is one for which you have not yet found the conditions that make it fail. -- Jerry Ogdin