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Comment: Re:How is maintenance performed? (Score 1) 139

by Frobnicator (#48932911) Attached to: Former NATO Nuclear Bunker Now an 'Airless' Unmanned Data Center

I can see a good BOHF episode answering this question.

The episodes have addressed it many times. In fact, both the article AND THE /. story talk about it: "We developed a solution that reduces the oxygen content in the air, so that even matches go out..."

The answer is easy enough: Halon satisfies their requirements, as do Halon substitutes. They work well for cooling and suppress fires. Halon discharges are a BOFH staple.

Comment: Re:Only for the first year (Score 1, Troll) 570

by Frobnicator (#48867423) Attached to: Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

I think the key question is what happens after the first year? How much does it cost after year 1? If you don't pay will it brick your PC or just stop providing updates?

Either way, I predict a massive revolt about 365 days after the upgrade is released.

I also predict a massive PR push by various Linux groups starting about 300 days in.

Comment: Re:Even Better (Score 1) 382

by Frobnicator (#48861111) Attached to: FBI Seeks To Legally Hack You If You're Connected To TOR Or a VPN

Wait till your infrastructure dies because the FBI or some other three letter agency is poking around in your systems trying to install a backdoor or exploit.

Seems like you missed the news on that.

Last May, as part of Glenn Greenwald's book, the NSA's process of supply-chain interdiction was exposed. They would intercept shipments of Cisco hardware, install the back doors, replace factory seals, and put it back into the shipping chain. One story. And another.

Cisco's response was somewhat curious. It wasn't outrage. It wasn't a lawsuit. It wasn't an emotional response. It was a calm, publicly released letter addressed to President Obama about trust and confidence. Nowhere in their public statements do they say anything about surprise, or about lack of knowledge that it was happening, or that they were not complicit.

Nope, it is an open letter asking the government to restore trust and confidence. It reads like the company was asking "please don't let these secrets go public again."

It is widely believed -- and documented -- that government agencies have already inserted various backdoors into Cisco corporate security products. It is also likely that the companies know full well about their products being intercepted and modified by the government, and that Cisco and others are helping the various agencies by tagging the products to be modified.

Comment: Re:H1-B Tech workers are NOT paid less! (Score 2) 484

by Frobnicator (#48817685) Attached to: IEEE: New H-1B Bill Will "Help Destroy" US Tech Workforce

Sources for all these magical wages? Wherever I've been I don't see the tech giant directly hiring the H1Bs. Instead they hire a contracting firm, and the contracting firm brings in an army from India and China.

And as for some of the companies on the list like Microsoft, they beg and plead for more H1B workers, but last year in July, September, and October they laid off a combined total of over 25,000 Americans with a corporate ban to not rehire any of them.

Somehow those 25,000 workers cannot do the job despite many of them having stellar backgrounds, yet they tell Congress in September that they cannot find any qualified workers and so they are opening up offices in other nations..

Most of us see this for what it is: a corporate money grab. The numbers you gave (without citation) do not paint the real picture. Those numbers may be what the companies publicly state when they are pleading for their desperate need for tech workers, but they do not match the reality of the layoffs, the people training their H1-B replacements, the office closures, and the creation of cheaper foreign offices. I cannot fault the companies in their desire to maximize profits, that is the nature of the beast. But please don't fall for and recite their well-spun lies about H1-B workers not displacing American workers.

Comment: Re:ah so both parties f-d us (Score 3, Interesting) 484

by Frobnicator (#48817631) Attached to: IEEE: New H-1B Bill Will "Help Destroy" US Tech Workforce

Well, voting for Obama solidly makes you part of the problem

BOTH PARTIES contribute to the problem. This is not a party-line issue. This story body and TFA point that out: bipartisan bill.

Given the political parties in power there is no good way an American can vote to fix the problem. Both parties listen to the money from businesses who like the cheap slave labor H1-B provides. Who wouldn't want to hire workers for 1/4 the money that cannot leave for another company that pays better?

As a resident of one of the states mentioned in the story I've written my senator in the past about not raising the limits, and just seconds ago wrote again, including my own sad story of a layoff after training my own H1-B replacement in 2012 and learning that he was being paid about 1/4 of my salary, below the poverty line. Not that writing to the senator will do much good as I've written in several times before and only get a form letter "Thank you for mentioned your concerns. They are important. I will now ignore them. Signed, Senator Moneywhore."

Comment: Re:Scope creep ... (Score 1) 52

by Frobnicator (#48798291) Attached to: FBI Access To NSA Surveillance Data Expands In Recent Years

It's worse than "papers please" ... I'm very sure we are all guilty of something. Prosecution therefore, is selective and can be used to target anyone getting in the way of people with power and three letter agencies.

As a history buff, one of the recurring themes of revolution, both as a cause of the revolution and as a key result, is the opportunity to wipe the slate of the old laws.

It is very rare for an old empire to survive more than a few hundred years without either a revolution that resets the legal slate, or some serious reformation work to clean up all the accumulated cruft. The few old empires with old established law (like the UK) have had many major rewrites of the legal infrastructure.

The US is rapidly approaching the critical mass for such an event, either a major reformation and reduction in laws or people getting upset enough to hit the big "reset the government" button.

Comment: Re:Not just self-employed.. (Score 1) 450

Your fake incredulity notwithstanding, most people do not have the cash for that. They have to pay bills.

Investment income does not necessarily mean having a fortune in assets.

Your personal bank account pays dividends and the government will tax it. Even my kids who maintain a balance of under $100 in their accounts earn a few cents of "investment income" each year.

Comment: Re:Just hire a CPA (Score 4, Informative) 450

If you're self-employed, have investment income, or asset depreciation, you probably already do your taxes with a real CPA. If you aren't, you probably should.

Not necessarily. If you've already got your home and other items paid for, you can be self employed and live off a fairly meager self-employed income. Or alternatively, if you have a lot of investments you can survive quite well with no direct income. Just because you have some wealth or are self employed does not mean you have a lot of discretionary funds, nor that you want to spend those funds on a tax professional.

A quick search of Google for tax prep costs for an 1040 with an itemized schedule A, plus Schedule C, Schedule D, and Schedule SE (which are the ones I personally file for my own home business), plus the similar state tax forms, have a starting cost around $400.

The big tie-in for Intuit is if you use their accounting software (Quicken for individuals, QuickBooks for small business and personal mixed funds) and properly mark your transactions then TurboTax will automatically do all the hard parts of the taxes for you, almost zero data entry was required. It would automatically itemize everything based on all the details you enter for every transaction over the year. You end up paying about $150 per year in software, but it makes accounting a little bit easier.

They could have done this with much less backlash with a little bit of additional communication. Maybe announce two years in advance that the prices will be going up, making it visible as part of the annoying ads they have built into both products in recent years. It is still cheaper than hiring someone to do it, but it is an unexpected cost they didn't mention until the last minute.

Comment: Re:Principles vs Practicality (Score 2) 220

by Frobnicator (#48771937) Attached to: EFF: Apple's Dev Agreement Means No EFF Mobile App For iOS

Well, I'm sorry for the EFF, then, but everyone knows what the terms are to get an app in the iOS App Store.

Yes, of course everyone knows.

The headline and other content is all old news, only perhaps a first exposure to anyone who hasn't read much about the Apple development process. The linked article is from March 2010 , almost five years ago.

EFF announced a new app for Android, so the first two sentences of the /. post are great and newsworthy. Everything else in this submission is just inflammatory clickbait.

Comment: Re:Resist bifocals/trifocals and progressive lense (Score 1) 464

by Frobnicator (#48720181) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

Polarized lenses often don't play well with LCDs.

Yes. Many types of displays are subject to it. LCDs and OLCD displays are always subject to it because of the way the crystals twist in a polarized way. Other display technologies have better or worse interaction with polarized light. A common intentional use of it are the polarized light 3D displays like the 3D IMAX movies.

I have polarized sunglasses in my car to help cut through glare and my frequently-dirty windshield. Sometimes they do not play well with display screens.

When I refuel the vehicle I need to take them off, since the display screens on the fuel station usually don't play well with polarized light. On many fueling station displays I can turn the glasses and make the display go from being clear to being fully invisible.

Many cell phones and tablets have screens that don't work with polarized lenses. Ideally if the screen is subject to polarization they are polarized at a 45 degree angle so both common orientations show the screen. Some screens are more subject to polarization than others, depending on the manufacturing details. But today, nearly all of their stronger-polarized screen result in some common angles that give a bright and clear display while the other orientation is completely invisible. YouTube example.

The same effect can happen on computer monitors depending on the details of the display.

Think twice about asking for polarized prescription lenses rather than as a clip. While they may be easier on your eyes when spending a day on the lake and more convenient than clipped-on polarizing sunglasses, they should not be your only pair.

Comment: Re:It would do them good. (Score 1) 223

by Frobnicator (#48707345) Attached to: US Army Could Waive Combat Training For Hackers

They are trying to attract good hackers. If a good hacker is out of shape and you make him go though pre-basic, then basic, he just must decide its not worth it and get a job somewhere else. After all if his skills are that good he has lots of options.

So what you're saying is there are not enough qualified American tech workers are willing to invest the time and effort to satisfy the long list of requirements. So clearly more H1B's are needed. :-)

Comment: Re:And how many were terrorists? Oh, right, zero. (Score 1) 276

by Frobnicator (#48661659) Attached to: TSA Has Record-Breaking Haul In 2014: Guns, Cannons, and Swords

Source: Am airline pilot.

That is not authoritative on the subject. If you were an aircraft engineer designing cabin fuselage for Boeing, that would be different.

While in pilot training I'm sure you learned a lot of things about air pressure and air flow over the wings, I seriously doubt you are an expert on the exact changes involved for bullet holes in the fuselage. Flight school won't have you spending time memorizing the material properties of the compounds used in the fuselage, won't have you studying the formulas for airflow through tiny holes and the stresses it places on them. Flight school certainly won't have you analyzing assorted styles of bullet-hole punctures to see how it affects metal fatigue and stress.

And as for maintaining pressurization, as a pilot you should already know that ECS compressors are running all the time. Some of the air exits through an outflow valve, but quite a lot is constantly escaping through small leaks all over the fuselage. While the design attempts to build an air-tight fuselage, in practice there are many small holes and air escaping everywhere. Yet the aircraft doesn't explosively decompress from those small holes. "Miraculously" everything from a small Cesna to a jumbo jet remain intact despite the pressure differences and small leaks around the craft.

Comment: Re:I'm shocked. (Score 4, Interesting) 191

by Frobnicator (#48611429) Attached to: Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case

i'd be surprised if apple didn't win the case.

At the jury level this is expected. The appeal was expected either way. And in the longer term this may turn out differently.

Anti-trust concerns usually do benefit the consumer in the short term. And as the article points out, the jury specifically wrote that the features have an immediate benefit to the consumer.

Usually anti-trust problems are not immediately bad for the consumer. In the short term the consumer sees a lower price, easier access, and other conveniences.

In the long term the market ends up with monopolies and oligopolies, a loss of vibrancy, a slowdown in innovation, less desire to follow expensive advances, and worse customer experiences. Think of your local telco and cable companies as prime examples.

I expect that like so many other technical cases the jury's verdict will be overturned on appeal because juries in the US rarely understand the actual law. While criminal law is usually pretty straightforward for a lay jury, things like IP law and business law are often miscommunicated or misunderstood when handed to a jury of random citizens.

Comment: Re: PRIVATE encryption of everything just became.. (Score 4, Interesting) 379

But cloud is great, right? They told me cloud is great!

Yes, cloud is great as a convenience for you.

It is also great as a convenience for NSA and other agencies. The text of the bill allows that anything that was encrypted can be kept indefinitely. If your web site says HTTPS then it is fair game for permanent governmental storage.

Also, they can retain it forever for a number of reasons:

From the bill now on its way to the President's desk: "(3)(B) A covered communication shall not be retained in excess of 5 years unless ... (ii) the communication is reasonably believed to constitute evidence of a crime ... (iii) the communication is enciphered or reasonably believed to have a secret meaning; (iv) all parties to the communication are reasonably believed to be non-United States persons;"

#2 should be troubling. Does your communication (which is not limited to just email, but also includes web pages and any other data) have any evidence of a crime? Evidence that you downloaded a movie or software from a warez site, or looked at porn as a minor, or violated any of the policy-made-crimes that even the federal government has declared they are not countable? With an estimate of over 300,000 'regulations-turned-crime', plus laws that incorporate foreign laws (the Lacey Act's criminalization of anything done "in violation of State or foreign law"), pretty much anything you do probably violates some law somewhere in the world. Better preserve it just in case somebody eventually wants to prosecute you for that crime someday.

#3 refers back to a vague definition of "enciphered" that does not just mean encryption. The "secret meaning" could be as simple as data inside a protocol, Who is to say that the seemingly random bytes "d6 0d 9a 5f 26 71 dd a7 04 31..." used as part of a data stream are really not an encrypted message? Better record it just in case.

And of course #4, the law has a careful wording about communications between "non-United States persons". Considering the "internet of things", all those devices talking to other devices are not communications between United States persons. It was your camera (a non-United States person) communicating with a data warehouse (a non-United States person), so better exempt that from the 5-year retention policy as well.

Comment: Re:PRIVATE encryption of everything just became... (Score 2) 379

PRIVATE encryption of everything just became mandatory.

Go look back at the bill, start at page 22.

Observe that unencrypted communications can be retained for five years. But any encrypted communications can be kept indefinitely.

Also note that the law doesn't say anything about who enciphered it nor about if they are able to decipher it. If it was encrypted at any point along the journey it qualifies for unlimited retention.

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos