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Comment: Re:There is no public benefit (Score 1) 300

by SethJohnson (#47749559) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video
If this is your takeaway from that footage and you are proposing that watching this footage can have a valuable effect for viewers, it does not surprise me that you can't find a job using your journalism BA.

In your entire discussion of this topic, you ignore the relationship his suicide has to the larger community. You are caught up in the graphic sensationalism of the State Senator suddenly pulling out a gun and shooting himself. You treat the end of his life as if the meaning is journalists should pay attention at press conferences.

Yes, in j-school, they taught you to get the Five W's for your story. The first four are the least important... . The fifth is last for a reason- the 'WHY' is where you have the opportunity to fill your prose with meaningful content that can improve the human condition. If you focus on that dimension of your journalism, it will enable you to stand out of the crowd and get that job.

Nobody needs to see the beheading of a western journalist at the hands of lunatics. YouTube is right to remove the stage out from under these violent criminals.

Comment: Re:The real crime here (Score 1) 463

by SethJohnson (#47731963) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

Now is a 33 month prison sentence fair for gross stupidity? /shrug I've heard of worse . . .

I don't think people are recognizing that 33 months is a light sentence. The jury definitely shaved off a few months beneath what they would have handed down if he had been found guilty of pirating Fast 5. That movie was exponentially better than #6.

Comment: Re:Stored in cleartext? (Score 2) 126

by SethJohnson (#47614897) Attached to: Alleged Massive Account and Password Seizure By Russian Group
Keyloggers are certainly a popular way for collecting passwords on a malware-infected computer. Undoubtedly, some portion of this claimed collection would have been built off keylogging.

The extortionists describing this password trove are claiming it was built by using compromised client computers to launch SQL injection attacks against servers where the computer's owner had an account. Such a strategy would allow the attackers access to injection vulnerabilities that are inaccessible to an unauthenticated visitor. Additionally, and perhaps more concerning should be that this type of attack would succeed against corporate intranets via employee computers connected via VPN.

Using keyloggers alone might yield a few million passwords (depending on the size of the botnet), but to achieve a collection of a billion, the compromised machines would have to gather passwords not belonging to their owners.

Comment: underwater living (Score 1) 45

Mr. Cameron-

I really enjoyed your visual special effects work on the landmark film, Escape from New York. I've been out of touch with your career since then, but noticed you were able to parlay your success working for John Carpenter into supporting an underwater diving hobby.

I'm wondering if you see any chance of technology improving soon that would enable humans to live underwater for extended periods. These underwater hotels are so darn expensive. I'd like to have a house in about 20' of sea water. When's that going to happen?

Comment: I'm bitching about SQL Server Management Studio (Score 4, Insightful) 240

by SethJohnson (#47583897) Attached to: Getting Back To Coding

Compared with tools we had 10 years ago or more, UIs have indeed improved significantly.

No criticism of the OP here, but this got me thinking about one of my mortal enemies. The UI within SQL Server Management Studio. For the last decade of upgrades, I've really wondered how that development team leaves the office everyday thinking they are doing a good day's work. There are so many blatantly apparent rough edges to the UI for SSMS, I can't believe they think it's as good as they can make it.

In order to avoid tldr, I'll just give a single example. Look at the tabbing for each database connection window. The tabs are labelled "servername.database" but are limited to a small number of characters regardless of how many tabs are open. Here's an example where there are only two open tabs:

http://img.informer.com/screen...

The first reason the labelling is fundamentally broken is that the database name is chopped off in an unnecessary abbreviation. The tab could stretch out to display the whole thing! It's not scrunched in with a bunch of other tabs. There's plenty of room there.

The second reason this is broken is that the database name is the thing you actually need to see more than the server name. In the majority of use case scenarios, the user is connected to multiple databases on the same server. When switching tabs, you need to be able to locate the one for the database you're looking for within your current connections. Sure, there's that pulldown menu on the left, but that's a much further mouse drag than the tabs are from your focal point.

So, if you're ever looking for an example of a developer interface that doesn't get a proper update, look no further than SQL Server Management Studio. It's hardly changed in over a decade of releases.

Comment: Re:No exhaustive.. (Score 1) 285

by SethJohnson (#47409491) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
Sounds like you missed an opportunity to capitalize on his genius. You could have been the Steve Jobs to his Steve Wozniak. No disrespect to yourself, because this is clearly one of those impossible-to-predict scenarios. I guess the lesson learned is to watch for these types of talents and make sure the work they have in front of them is sufficiently engaging on levels that will interest them.

I suppose this is one aspect of Google's 20% projects. People who are bored with their normal work may find satisfaction with their own pursuits and stay with the company to continue working on them.

Comment: Hall of Fame is different than these projects (Score 1) 285

by SethJohnson (#47409383) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
While each of those are significant milestones in implementation achievements, I'm not aware of a single individual who can claim credit for enabling the completion of those projects.

To put those projects in proper scale to what the programmers on this IT World Hall of Fame have done, the above examples were all built with budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. The needs of those systems were readily apparent by everyone involved. It was a matter of assigning an army of workers to put all the pieces together.

The accomplishments of these hall of fame programmers revolve around smart people identifying a vacuum of need that others hadn't recognized even existed. Then these people set about filling those needs by building essential tools themselves from scratch.

Comment: Cab companies are not LLCs (Score 2) 139

by SethJohnson (#47404207) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

What difference does it make if it's an Uber driver or any other driver who paralyzes you?

Difference being that Uber is sucking up around $213,000,000 per year by avoiding significant insurance coverages that their competitors are having to pay. They're offloading this chunk of the insurance burden on their 'independent contractors' who are not able to cover injuries like a $1 Billion / year revenue company can.

What does it matter? It's the difference between being compensated properly for a life-changing injury caused by an 'independent contractor' working for Uber and suffering "tough luck" by getting zilch in compensation. Compensation is the deciding factor between institutionalized living or as normal-as-possible life for the remainder of your years.

And if you think you can get lots of money out of taxi companies, think again: they are usually limited liability.

That corporate structure doesn't work the way you think it does. An LLC is created so it can implode in the face of a liability claim and protect the owners. If Yellow Cab were operating as an LLC, they would have dissolved after the first accident by one of their cabs.

Instead, in the big cities like New York and Chicago, the cab companies are trying to shield themselves from liability in the same way as Uber-- the drivers are independent contractors.

Comment: Re:And in other news (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by SethJohnson (#47403049) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

Why shouldn't the same insurance rates apply to everybody, simply based on mileage, driving history, and vehicle type? I mean, if I wanted to pick out a category of drivers to charge more, it would be mothers with children in their cars (they are dangerous), not Uber drivers looking for rides.

Consider the scenario where you are standing on a street corner and a car comes rushing towards you at a high rate of speed. Collision is imminent. You're going to survive the impact, but you'll be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of your life.

If the car that crippled you was operated by an employee of a cab company, it might mean that a legal settlement would be reached such that you'd spend the rest of your life at your house with inhouse nurse care.

If the car was an Uber driver rushing down the street to pick up a customer before becoming inpatient and choosing a different car in the app, well, I hope you have substantial insurance through your own job. When you attempt to sue Uber over your injuries, they'll say they have no liability in the matter because their driver wasn't on the clock with a passenger. And they'll exert significant legal resources to prevent creating a precedent that'll put them out of business. They'll happily spend more fighting your case than the amount for which your suing. In this scenario, you're likely to have to live at an institution to be provided needed medical care for the rest of your life.

As for your stereotyping of mothers with infants, the most common cause of car accidents is distracted driving due to cellphone usage. Seems that Uber drivers looking for fares would strongly fit into that category....

Comment: Re:Tonka Tough (Score 1) 431

by SethJohnson (#47258667) Attached to: Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year
This AC speaks the truth.

I saw this happen in the US with the skateboard deck industry. In the eighties and nineties, all legitimate wooden skateboard decks were manufactured in woodshops located in North America. Sure, Chinese-made skateboards would show up in big-box retail stores, but they weren't taken seriously by serious skateboarders. They were junk for kids.

In the early 2000's, certain California-based vendors contracted their entire production of these boards to Chinese factories. Within just a couple of years, the margins forced the all the other mainstream deck vendors to follow suit. As it ended up, the companies in California now just design the pictures on the boards, purchase advertising, and promote the decks made by Chinese companies. Whereas previously, Chinese-made skateboards weren't accepted by the skateboard industry, the Chinese factories have co-opted the California industry members to promote and market their products.

Comment: It's a taxi service, duh... (Score 1) 79

by SethJohnson (#47040445) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber

One thing that Lyft does and Uber does not do is Lyft requires both drivers and passengers to log in with their facebook account.

Required Facebook membership? No thanks.

Lyft could do some interesting analysis to match people up based on shared characteristics.

These people need to get out of their comfort zone. Expose them to different cultures and ideas. Using FacEbook to ghetto-ize drivers is xenophobic. No sympathy for the OP complaining about immigrant drivers, either.

Comment: Call Uber's insurance company (Score 1) 79

by SethJohnson (#47039819) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber

Uber explicitly states that it is up to the driver to remain compliant. Drivers aren't Uber employees, they're independent contractors.

If the drivers get money from Uber as independent contractors, then Uber's workers' compenation and liability insurance policies cover the independent contractor unless the contractor provides proof of their own coverage. Without proof in Uber's hands, the liability falls on the general contractor, not the subcontractor.

Any city that wants to expel Uber should simply have the state insurance board examine Uber's insurance coverage. Once their insurer has been identified, a quick call to that company is all it would take to convey the real shenanigans being played by the policy holder.

Comment: Re:a question that will not be answered (Score 2) 79

by SethJohnson (#47039531) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber
I love this rationalization---

"If you pay for premium service, you can expect a higher degree of safety. If you purchase standard service, it's a roll of the dice."

If Uber isn't requiring proper licensing and insurance from these service providers, but is referring people to use them, Uber will be held liable for insurance claims.

The lawsuit won't come from the guy's family who got paralyzed after an Uber driver ran over him on his bike. The paralyzed guy's health insurance company will sue Uber because they don't want to pay for quadraplegic care for the rest of his life.

Guess who has the tougher set of lawyers...

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo. - Andy Finkel, computer guy

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