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Comment: Re:Mr Dell's just upset (Score 2) 173

by Shag (#47237693) Attached to: Dell Exec Calls HP's New 'Machine' Architecture 'Laughable'

Well, there's a difference between that raw retail part you bought, and an identical mobo in a pre-built PC. A guy I knew did IT at a big paper in... Annapolis, if I recall. Several years ago, they upgraded to shiny new all-in-one PC's all over the newsroom. I don't remember the brand - either HP/Compaq or Gateway, probably. Anyway, a few months in, they start failing, one after another. Turns out a bunch of them had components that had all been in one shipping container in a warehouse - and that container was under the leaky spot in the roof. By the time they were built, the boards had dried out and nobody noticed, but the damage had been done.

Your retail part, on the other hand, has been in its happy little shrink-wrapped box from the day it was born.

Comment: This is just K-12 for now, yes? (Score 1) 519

by Shag (#47208391) Attached to: Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Perhaps it's more of an issue at the primary and secondary levels - at universities, it takes a while to get tenure, and the bad apples should be sorted out by then (although there are certainly those who get tenure, then do things they probably shouldn't). It does make me wonder whether there'll be a push for something similar at the university level, though. Given the horror stories in the press about how adjuncts and lecturers are treated, moving away from a tenured faculty (claiming "cost" and "responsibility" reasons, or whatever) might fit just fine.

Comment: Other than profit, difference from SETI@home? (Score 1) 220

by Shag (#47200455) Attached to: NSF Researcher Suspended For Mining Bitcoin

I remember a decade ago when we'd install the SETI@home screensaver on every computer we could get our hands on. (Putting it on a Power Mac G5 and setting the machine to not go to sleep bumped my electric bill at home up 50% for a couple months.) I guess the difference here is that a profit is being made.

Comment: What a horrible misquote. (Score 1) 415

by Shag (#47014625) Attached to: Apple's Revenge: iMessage Might Eat Your Texts If You Switch To Android

Just to be clear, "an Apple support person" did not say that. Nor would they. Ever. A tech calling Apple's engineering team clueless about anything? Surely you jest.

The original writer, Adam Pash, was clearly paraphrasing what the tech "explained" (his word) in his post at - and even used bullet points to group the general themes, rather than quotes, to make it abundantly clear it wasn't a direct quote. The tech probably said something like "the engineering team isn't yet sure what the best course of action is," or something similarly honest-yet-noncommittal. Pash decided to simplify that as "clueless."

Selena Larson on ReadWriteWeb, for her part, changed "explained" to "told" (slight difference there, the latter being more direct, which this wasn't), and then our own redletterdave (or perhaps timothy) managed to change it to a direct quote. What is this, some twenty-first-century game of telephone? And we wonder why people still don't take online news seriously. Sigh.

Comment: Not bad - sorry your scope is so small. ;) (Score 1) 146

by Shag (#46753623) Attached to: The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

I'm stuck spending the night at an 8.3-meter with a bunch of people who're tinkering with something called "Visible Aperture Masking Polarimetric Interferometer for Resolving Exoplanetary Signatures” - VAMPIRES for short. Unfortunately, we're not lasering the moon, or doing spectroscopy of it during totality like we did last eclipse (you can measure elemental abundances and pollutants in Earth's atmosphere that way, nifty). But at least we're somewhere that it all happens 2 hours earlier in the evening than on the west coast. :)

Comment: But what did he end up flying on? Not that easy. (Score 1) 144

by Shag (#46660449) Attached to: Hacker Holds Key To Free Flights

Most airlines have assigned seats. Most airlines have computers that know who's supposed to be in each seat and also know who's bought tickets. So on most airlines, that fake boarding pass is going to be pretty tricky. And using passbook is just a more hip way of the old "print a fake boarding pass" trick.

You could make a "no seat assignment" boarding pass, which often happens when a flight is booked full except for rows that are blocked (exits, front row of economy blocked for the handicapped, etc). Then you go to the gate, ask the gate agent for a seat assignment, all perfectly normal... except that you're not going to be in the computer, so at the very least, there's an element of social engineering.

You could make a "no seat assignment" boarding pass for an earlier/later flight, and if the computer at the gate were so dumb it didn't know about any flight but the current one, you might be able to "stand by."

Making a "no seat assignment" boarding pass for a different airline entirely ... well, they'd probably want to know why you had been sent over to them. And they'd probably want someone at the other airline to sign off on it. Odds might be a tiny bit better if the airline you chose was a partner, but not in a joint venture involving shared access to customer records. If Delta and Alaska both have flights between a pair of cities, make a fake boarding pass for the one that leaves first, show up at the other one after it's left, claiming you missed your flight and asking to stand by.

Of course there's also the non-rev standby category, but for that you need to fake an airline ID and uniform... and that's a lot more risky.

So I'm guessing this guy may be flying an airline that lacks assigned seats, and maybe isn't all that great at IT in general... which means congrats, you're getting flights on either Ryanair or something even worse, for £0 instead of £1 they usually charge. ;)

I don't know when I'll have the opportunity, but next time I'm heading through a certain airport where I have lounge access and am friends with the lounge staff, I'll see if I can make a few "modified" boarding passes and see what happens when they scan them, just for amusement. Like if I'm in economy on a domestic flight to Los Angeles, make one that says I'm in business class on the upper deck of a 747 to Tokyo, and see what they say when it doesn't show up in the computer.

Comment: Comparing Berkeley to Berkeley? (Score 1) 127

by Shag (#46630235) Attached to: State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

Berkeley is, if the (UK) Times Higher Education Supplement Rankings are to be believed, one of the top 10 universities in the world - and top three in engineering and technology. I'm pretty sure that constitutes "elite" standing. But in this article, it's treated as a "top-tier public university." Is it both?

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