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Comment: Re:Information Wants to Be Free (Score 1) 46

by smooth wombat (#49173813) Attached to: Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement

Yes, Russia does do this. Evidence has surfaced (just like Russia sending troops and equipment to invade Ukraine) of locations and the amount these people are being paid to post Russian propaganda.

The nice thing about these trolls is they are easy to spot for several reasons including:

1) They use the word fascist when describing Ukrainian leaders
2) They use the words junta and Kiev in the same sentence
3) They describe Ukrainian troops as Nazis
4) They consistently ask for proof of Russian equipment and men invading Ukraine despite giving them photos and videos from Russian state tv showing this. It's like talking to a Creationist: no matter how much evidence you have to show they're wrong, they'll never believe you
5) They talk of Eastern Ukraine being part of Russia anyway so the Ukrainian troops are actually the invaders

Once you spot these trolls, it's easy to ignore and flag them.

Comment: Re:Information Wants to Be Free (Score 2) 46

by smooth wombat (#49172567) Attached to: Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement
they are able to change their thoughts and opinions and recognize that what they're being told to think doesn't match up with reality.

Apparently all those people are dead and Putin has been able to destroy history. Despite the overwhelming evidence of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the vast majority of Russians still believe one or more of the below items as told to them by Putin and his state-controlled media. Just a quick rundown of the lies encompass:

- the U.S. was behind the overthrow of Yanukovych (False. Once again our vaunted experts were surprised by the downfall of a country's leader)

- Yanukovych fleeing was the result of a U.S. coup (False. Similar to above, but slightly different as the Russians are claiming the U.S. sponsored a coup, which it wasn't. Yanukovych fled because the Ukrainian parliament abandoned him when he ordered the murder of protestors in Maidan Square)

- the current Ukrainian government are fascists (False. Fascists are people like Putin who use taxpayer money to support selected businesses or people. Also, it is well known that Putin's government orders the confiscation of personal and business property to be managed under state control. Witness the annexation of Crimea and how businesses there are feeling this effect)

- the current Ukrainian government are Nazis (False. Only one militia group, Azov battalion, is known to use Nazi symbols and/or policies in their organization. As they are not under direct control of the government, they're privately funded, to claim the entire Ukrainian government are Nazis is of course false)

- the Ukrainian government ordered attacks on Russian speakers in the East when it came to power (False. No such attacks by government forces has ever been documented, even by the people claiming such attacks.)

- the Ukrainian government shot down the Malaysian airliner (False. Substantial evidence shows the Russian-backed rebels shot down the plane thinking it was a Ukrainian military plane and then bragged about it on Twitter and elsewhere before they retracted their statements once the truth was known)

- there are no Russian troops fighting in Ukraine (False. Documented graves of dead Russian soldiers show a MINIMUM of 1,000 troops dead. Other estimates gathered by Russian mothers has put the estimate closer to 5,000. It is known 100 or so died in one incident in late 2014 around Donetsk. Further, Russian state tv showed the equivalent of Russian marines fighting at the Donetsk airport with their arm patches visible).

- Russia is not supplying equipment to the rebels (False. Near daily convoys of Russian equipment are seen crossing into Eastern Ukraine, this is in addition to equipment captured by government forces, equipment which is only manufactured in Russia and never owned by the Ukrainian military.)

Comment: Is there a light-weight XFCE distro? (Score 1) 89

by billstewart (#49162055) Attached to: Xfce 4.12 Released

Yes, XFCE is a nice light-weight window manager. Is there a light-weight distro that uses it? Ubuntu wants 5-10GB of disk, even for Xubuntu and Lubuntu. TinyCore can do a graphical environment with maybe 100MB, but is a bit too minimalist for me - I want something that can keep security update working with no more work than apt-get/yum/etc. I need a window manager, browser, shell, and maybe a C compiler or so, and I want something under 0.5 GB so I can keep a few spares on a desktop and spin up lots of cloud instances as well.

Comment: Better Krebs than Weev (Score 2) 228

You don't want to end up like Weev, even though they did eventually let him out of jail. And you're apparently not somebody who's got the kind of personality he has, which, while it may make you less likely to end up in jail, isn't necessarily going to get you off the hook either.

Comment: Re:Can someone please answer (Score 2) 409

by smooth wombat (#49154835) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

I said elsewhere that this is a scam for the following reasons.

Her Tumbler account (Swiked) shows the initial photo asking what color is the dress. A day or so later she posts a second picture of someone wearing the blue/black version, stating:

this is the dress as i saw it on the day of the wedding. blue and black. It's just that one photo bUT it's so weird???!??

Here's the thing, she does not say the second photo is the same dress ON THE DAY of the wedding, only that the photo shows what she saw.

What most likely happened was she took the first picture on a different day and because it's white/gold, it took on the cast of the lighting to give a blue hue and her friends had a disagreement over the color which started the whole thing, especially if someone is red/green colorblind.

Second, if you look at the top edge of the dress in the first picture you can clearly see what would be considered "virgin" light, i.e. light which is not reflected but directly falling on to the dress. If the claim is that our eyes are fooling us because of the bright background or because we can't be sure what the lighting situation is, this light should produce a different color under it, just as light shining across a rippled surface can produce different colors.

Except it doesn't. There is no transition from the slice of light to the shaded portion. It's one continuous tone. In fact, as the picture shows, there are multiple shadows of different angles and lighting conditions which should produce different colors, but they don't. For instance, under the cape/shawl toward the upper right, the area under the shadow is darker but not a different color.

Further, if our eyes are being deceived by the bright background, covering up all but a small portion of the dress should reveal the true colors because then there would be nothing to confuse us. Except that doesn't work either, the dress stays as white/gold with a blue hue.

And finally, if you look at the edging in the middle of the picture then down to the lower left corner (our left), you can see shadows under the gold edging. If the dress in the picture was blue/black you would not see such distinct shadows as are shown in the picture.

So, the dress in the original picture IS NOT the same dress she shows a day or so later but is the same style.

One final thought. The opposite of blue on the color wheel is gold and the opposite of black is white. However, if you look at what is blue and black in the "good" picture, they are not the correct parts. The bodice is blue which means in the reversed portion the bodice of the original picture should be gold and the edging should be white. Except that is not what is shown. The bodice is white and the edging is gold.

And for the record, I am not red/green colorblind. I pass all the Ishihara color tests without issue.

Comment: Fragmentation is terrible for hardware owners (Score 1) 136

by billstewart (#49144849) Attached to: Who's Afraid of Android Fragmentation?

How many Android phones have you had that didn't require you to either wait for your carrier to provide an update (and they never do), or give up and root the machine to install Cyanogenmod or whatever, or you just bought a new shiny phone to replace it? My HTC Aria is so hopelessly vendor-locked I doubt it's worth putting Cyanogen on it (the OTA upgrade from 2.1 to 2.3 never succeeded.) My newer Samsung did get upgraded to 4.4.2, but my Coby tablet running 4.0.4 isn't the version the manufacturer sells today, so I doubt they'll bother with customer satisfaction.

I haven't been able to Google up a good reference to Android documentation from Google that says how a regular user can upgrade their own Android version, as opposed to "Wait until your vendor ships an upgrade!"

Comment: Re:Why Not? (Score 1, Interesting) 320

by smooth wombat (#49127019) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP
They borrowed it from Republican Mitt Romney who referenced Republican Newt Gingrich.

Which makes sense when one considers the voodoo Republicans have with trickle down economics (witness the wonderful state Kansas is in) or that swallowing a small camera can somehow lead to being able to perform a gynecological exam.

Comment: What can go wrong? Concrete, that's what (Score 1) 421

by billstewart (#49112121) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?

The easy way to turn things white is to make roads out of concrete instead of asphalt. The catch is that the process used to make cement in most of the world involves heating calcium carbonate enough to bake out a CO2, leaving calcium oxides / hydroxides, so it's a surprisingly large generator of greenhouse gasses, more than making up for any albedo gains. Oops.

Comment: Re:Mossad connection is a red herring (Score 1) 113

Israel doesn't have a lot of revenue sources or natural resources, so high-tech products like software are important to them, even more so than growing oranges on Palestinian land. And everybody has to serve in the army, except a few specially exempted groups, so just about everybody with a college education has been in the Army before they got that high-tech job, and a lot of them did computer jobs in the Army as well as marching around with Uzis, because every army these days needs computer technology. That doesn't mean that every high-tech company in Israel, or even every sleazy adware company in Israel, is a front for Mossad.

Homeland Security has two highly obvious reasons to put out urgent guidance to remove crapware - there's a Congressional partisan squabble that's caught their budget in the crossfire, so they want to get positive press mention rather than the negative mention they'd get if they didn't do that, and the NSA's just gotten caught bugging every computer in the world so Homeland Security needs to talk about anybody else they can being dangerous and scary.

Besides, if it really was Mossad, they'd have done a much better job.

Comment: Dude, we want a UNICORN pony! (Score 2) 113

Not just any boring vanilla pony - we want a unicorn pony and rainbows and the whole bit!

Lenovo probably will fire somebody, for embarrassing them, but it won't change the number of vendors of crapware out there. Lenovo's certainly not going to take the kind of financial hit that Gemalto did when the public found that the GCHQ had pwned all the SIM cards they sold. Maybe one or two adware companies will lose a non-trivial percentage, but there's a market for sleazy advertising and there's a market for having software companies pay to Add Valuable Features to your hardware.

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.