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Comment: non-free formatter is risky (Score 3, Insightful) 178

by John_Sauter (#48390949) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

The SD Association has a special formatter which avoids this problem.

Interesting that the special formatter is only available for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh, and apparently only in binary form. Even if I had such a computer I would not be comfortable formatting my disk with non-free software. Who knows, it might be putting an encrypted child porn picture on a hidden part of the disk, exposing me to the risk of prosecution. No thanks.

Comment: euphemism (Score 1) 120

by John_Sauter (#48384819) Attached to: No, You Can't Seize Country TLDs, US Court Rules

Basically it works like this. 1) Amy has a contract to wash Bob's car for $100 month. 2) Carl sues Bob for murdering his dog. 3) The courts can not give Carl a contract with Amy. The courts can only award Carl with property and money taken from Bob. Basically the courts can't force Amy to work with Carl. They can't force ICANN to work with the plantiffs.

A very thought-provoking post. I had trouble understanding why Bob would pay $100 a month to have his car washed, until I realized that washing his car is a euphemism. Upon realizing that, your argument became much more persuasive.

Comment: Re:Yes, but the real problem is being ignored. (Score 2) 461

by John_Sauter (#48349285) Attached to: Washington Dancers Sue To Prevent Identity Disclosure

Too bad the license costs $75/year. If it were free, we could fix this problem really quickly by everyone applying for stripper licenses.

Hell, $75/annum is only six bucks a month. I'd get one if I lived there, just for the novelty value....

In 2002 I found the same licensing regime in Houston, Texas. One of the dancers I talked to said she worked illegally because she knew that registration created a public record, which could follow her the rest of her life. In response, I registered as a nude dancer. The people at the licensing bureau were remarkably polite, even though an audience would pay to not see me nude. I still have the identity card: call me 007735 Robert.

Comment: Re:Only the beginning (Score 1) 236

by John_Sauter (#48002293) Attached to: First Shellshock Botnet Attacking Akamai, US DoD Networks

...You can check if you've been scanned for exploitable CGIs using something like (adjust apache logs path accordingly):

grep cgi /var/log/apache2/access*|egrep "};|}\s*;"

And you can check if your bash is vulnerable using:

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c 'echo Testing...'

If 'vulnerable' appears, it is.

Thank you for the grep. When I ran it on my little web site I found I had been probed. The log line looked like this:

89.207.135.125 - - [25/Sep/2014:01:53:59 -0400] "GET /cgi-sys/defaultwebpage.cgi HTTP/1.0" 404 224 "-" "() { :;}; /bin/ping -c 1 198.101.206.138"

I wonder what would happen if we all starting pinging that last IP address.

Comment: Re:solution (Score 1) 290

by John_Sauter (#47910647) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

A budget is a statement of what's important. (A more-or-less clerical friend of mine said that the most important theological document a church has is its budget.) If a company is required by law to do something, then that something will be held to be important, and an unwillingness to devote the resources to doing it will not necessarily fly with the judge.

That is why you hire the judge's granddaughter. The judge will be reluctant to declare the effort insufficent, because she won't want her grannddaughter to lose her cushy job.

Comment: Re:solutionn (Score 1) 290

by John_Sauter (#47892065) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

And within a few days the girl will file a report informing about the volume of work she is facing and the number of subordinates she needs to hire to get the work done, along with the suggested salary for herself and the subordinates. All of it to be paid by Google, of course.

And her supervisor will reply that there is no money in the budget for hiring more people, so she should do the best she can with the resources she has been allocated.

Comment: Re:Life may be common, but not always as we know i (Score 4, Funny) 211

by John_Sauter (#47871557) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

....if we were to find a planet filled with plants made up of D amino acids and left-handed DNA we may find ourselves unable to consume those plants for nutritional value.

More importantly, they would not be able to consume us for nutritional value.

Comment: Re:how I prepare a presentation (Score 1) 326

by John_Sauter (#47849907) Attached to: Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

I'm still saying you are the competent exception. If you took one class in public speaking and are an expert, you are not the standard student. You are a savant. Where I worked we had technical editors, visual editors, and general content people who went to school to learn how to communicate ideas professionally and if you are performing at their level you are possibly in the wrong line of work.

Just because I can prepare a presentation that people will listen to does not make me a professional. When I started doing it, the ability to communicate with customers effectively was considered part of the normal duties of a software engineer. Today's professional communicators will invite you to a free dinner and sell you a timeshare. I'm not in their league.

Comment: Re:how I prepare a presentation (Score 1) 326

by John_Sauter (#47848291) Attached to: Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

....A trained communicator in the loop is a very good idea.

I would disagree with you only on this point, and only slightly. I would say that a trained or experienced communicator in the loop is a very good idea. I have never had any formal training in communication, beyond a class in public speaking in summer school.

Comment: Re:how I prepare a presentation (Score 1) 326

by John_Sauter (#47847179) Attached to: Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

I have a similar background, except we had an editor who approved all slides. She was a ruthless, heartless person who lacked a soul while wielding a red pen like calvaryman's saber as she edited. In other words, the perfect editor. To this date, I cringe at a presentation withe text less than 16 pt and more than 20 words on a slide. When I see a sentence with a period on a slide I remember her admonition "Women have periods, slides don't."

I would liked to have met her. As far as I know my slides never had any approval process, but I think your editor would have liked them.

Comment: how I prepare a presentation (Score 1) 326

by John_Sauter (#47846767) Attached to: Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

I started doing presentations back in the days of 35-mm slides. I didn't have to prepare them myself—I sent the text to the corporate slide presentation department, and they sent me back the slides.

I prepared my presentation by first writing out what I wanted to say, word for word. I then distilled that document into a few topic lines, which I had made into slides, generally about three topics to a slide. At this point I discarded the original manuscript. When I gave the presentation I glanced at each slide to remind me of what I wanted to say, then spoke extemporaniously.

Today I prepare the slides myself using LibreOffice Impress, the free equivalent of Microsoft PowerPoint, but I use the same method.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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