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Comment Re:People can be leeches (Score 1) 811

When I was in college, there was a guy who was really wealthy (no idea how much, not billions, but millions I'm sure) --- his parents died young, I think it was an accident of sorts, and he inherited a fortune, or got a settlement.

Anyway... people used him for free beer, parties, food, anything they could get from him. I knew him tangentially because he was a pen and paper gamer, and ran some D&D sessions so we had some common friends.

The poor guy seemed miserable, knowing most people were only hanging out with him for his money, etc. Seriously, he was just a sad sack, seemed depressed and lonely in that existential kind of way. I know people say 'aw.... poor little rich boy', but I really felt bad for the guy. He seemed like a decent enough person, but the money didn't seem to make his life really that much better. Sure he didn't have student loans like I did, didn't have to work like I did -- but I had some good friends, who certainly didn't hang out with me for money (or lack thereof)

I grew up with someone in high school like that. He was 15 and already experienced this because he was inheriting a lot of money from his parents. His father owned a factory which produced an expensive chemical compound. His father bought him a very expensive car at 16 which he had no choice but to drive. In hindsight I recognize why he tried to keep his $$$ unknown and would get mad when we called him moneybags.

Comment Re:billionaire is a hard set of shoes to fill (Score 1) 811

No, he doesn't. When you are a billionaire, you are not free to do whatever you want to. You cannot travel freely, you need an armed security detail EVERYWHERE you go. You need to live in a secured house/building/whatever. You are very limited in who you can meet and hang out with as most people will freak out and start acting differently when they find out who you are. Your prospects for love and dating are very limited unless you just want a gold digging trophy wife. Also, there is a real question about your life motivation, when you are a coder with a lot of money. Presumably, he enjoys coding, but why would he do it now that he can hire 100 better coders to do anything he can think of? It makes it hard to want to get out of bed in the morning when you simply don't have any reason to. Notch, if you are listening, figure out what give you joy in life, and then use the money you have to create and influence things in a good direction. Also, go talk to Bill and Warren about joining their charity or found your own to do some real good for people who have nothing. There are a lot of them in the world.

I would hire Tiger Woods to teach me how to play Golf. Both on and off the course!

Comment Re:2 for me, 2 for others (Score 1) 811

For others, I would create two charities: 1) Art foundation that provides housing to artists in a major city (probably Detroit, for various reasons), in exchange for art. Ideally, 10 years from now the foundation will be self-supporting by selling some of the art from the artists that happen to become famous. 2) Education foundation that provides free BOARDING school to children of high risk adults - i.e. homeless, drug addicted, criminal convictions. Because normal public school can't help the kids if their parents are the problem.

For me I would do the following: 1) Take a whole bunch of classes - how to do EVERYTHING. Dance, defend a client from a lawsuit, simple surgery, how to play a piano, how to build a car, how to carve a wooden boat. You name it, I want to learn it. 2) Creating a publishing house that makes the decisions on which new book to publish via a combination of crowd sourcing and AI, rather than the current system.

Detroit? They would shoot you and take your money.

Comment Re:Very sad - but let's get legislation in place N (Score 2) 706

not changing anything about how corporations have to secure data, or even (god forbid!) be punished for having sloppy security.

And why should it? For the sake of argument do you think the government should tell you that you MUST install a home security system, have dead bolts on every exterior door, require exterior doors be steel or solid wood, limit the side of windows to no more than 1" by 1" or require bars? If you violate any of these rules on your structure fine or punish you? Should we lighten up the sentences for "breaking and entering" or even burglary?

Personally I think with certain exceptions like public Utilities etc that already enjoy a special relationship with government and a captive market, that companies ought to be allowed to have whatever security posture they like. They should simply have to be honest about it with consumers. Government ought to do one of the few things its Constitutionally supposed to do and set some standards of measure.

Develop some NIST definitions for overall information security postures. If companies then want to claim they have a 'Double plus good can't hack me bro' rating there is a way to prove that. Then if one of these breaches happens and its done in a way that should not have been possible while in compliance like 'plain text data on laptop found on bus' we would all be able to go after them for contract fraud or false advertising etc.

Additionally we should have some disclosure laws, just like food labels there need to be some standardized categories and forms companies that maintain any information that is personally identifiable other than firstname, lastname, current address, billing address, and primary phone number, should be required to disclose that on a standardized and both electronically readable and human readable format. Maybe a nice TML or INI like file.

The government already requires permits, inspections, specific codes you must follow for wiring, water, heat, etc when building a house. If these don't pass inspections your house doesn't get built. If you add to your house and don't get a permit you can pay massive fines and possibly have to rebuild it. In hurricane prone cities they have increased requirements for buildings. So yes, it sure does make sense. It also make sense when you collect and maintain personal data of others. If your house was hit by a Tornado and someone walked in the next day and stole all your customer data you would be liable. Whether it involved putting it in a safe or encrypting it electronically it's your job to secure this info or don't collect it at all.

Comment Re: Very sad - but let's get legislation in place (Score 1) 706

My question: Where would laws be aimed at?

I fear that we would get laws like the CFAA aimed at stringing up intruders in the US, but because most attempts are coming from overseas where the local governments either ignore or actively encourage security breaches, it would not help anything. However, with the cosplan ban that the TPP [2] gives, we likely will see effort along these lines just as scare tactics and security theater.

If we get laws at businesses, it may not help either. Sarbanes Oxley and HIPAA were to address security, and the last time I've heard of someone going to jail under those was someone who caught too many fish and was prosecuted under SOX because he tossed his stash of dead grouper.

If a law stipulates "reasonable measures", a lot of companies would do nothing at all, throw their hands up and say that the bad guys can get through anything, and point to Target and Sony as being heavyweights, but yet nailed [1].

If a law stipulates exact OS methods taken, the OS controls in Windows NT are significantly different from the ones available in Windows Server 2016.

[1]: Even though basic network segmentation would have stopped Target's attack, and locking/warning IT about brute force AD password guesses would have helped mitigate Sony... and an IDS/IPS would have stopped both.

[2]: Here in the US, treaties come before laws. Even Marbury vs. Madison doesn't allow judicial reviews on treaties.

Sox compliance only covers public companies. Private companies not on the stock market like Ashley Madison don't fall under these regulations. It's also meant to reign in the illegal accounting and security practices when reporting quarterly numbers. Bigger companies have their own auditors in house under their payroll who help them formulate SOX compliant reports. In the end it's just more money being spent for the same old thing.

Comment Re:Stop developing 64bit (Score 1) 242

No, AWE allows more than 4GB in a single application, SQL Enterprise or Oracle 10G running on 2003 x86 Enterprise can utilize 32GB just fine, I know because I ran just such a configuration back in 2006 before x64 was mainstream.

Or you could use a modern OS which does it natively without any switches. Not to mention Windows 7 takes advantage of modern hardware which XP/2003 does not.

Comment Re:in favor of "space suits" (Score 1) 372

Afaict in the core countries of the epedemic the problem is a lack of resources. Ideally you would use a new protective suit each time to minimise the risk of material transferring from outside to inside and you would work very slowly and carefully to make sure you didn't puncture the protective suit

And how many medical professionals in the US are actually trained to do so? How many hazmat suits are actually available? How many beds? How many isolation wings? More generally: how big does an outbreak have to be in the US before it's not containable?

It's a valid question that no one seems to want to talk about. Even with relatively unlimited resources, first world countries are still vulnerable if the outbreak grows above a certain size. Keep in mind you don't need one hazmat suit per doctor, you need 1 per doctor per 2 hours of on shift time. The same is true for a lot of equipment.

How many do we actually need? Ebola was technically gone in the US until this doctor returned to the country. So we're down to 1 infection from the peak of 3. Oh no! It's eradicated from Nigeria and Papa Guinea is very close. Only Liberia remains.

Comment Re:Bennett Haselton on the Ebola outbreak (Score 1) 372

I wish people wouldn't keep saying this. It is not virtually impossible to catch before someone becomes symptomatic. From what I gather it is only that the virual load of the individual is much much higher in later stages. The virus is still very more often than not for example detectable in sweat before symptoms set it. It's like telling someone that is allergic to bees not to worry about a few flying around in the bus with them because it's so unlikely they will be stung.. it is a perfectly reasonable concern no matter now many statistics you could cite about how often a bee encounter results in a sting.

If this was true than hundreds of people would already be infected from both the Duncan man from liberia, and both his nurses.

Comment Re:It's risky and unlikely to succeed. (Score 1) 700

Device manufacturing companies may just avoid FTDI chips outright. This is especially true if some suppliers are mixing the real chips with the counterfeit chips.

Worse, since it's coming through Windows Update, the engineers working on Windows Update might outright blacklist FTDI. And Microsoft would be at least partially liable for any bricked device, which would make their lawyers a bit uncomfortable. I wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft release a patch in the future to automatically unbrick the affected devices.

I'm sure the manufacturers know exactly where these chips come from. It's their choice to go cheap and risk their components being counterfeit.

Comment Re:Is this legal? (Score 0) 700

A component manufacturer is unhappy that someone else is using his product id so he puts code in a driver that sets the product id to zero. This prevents the fake component being recognized by his driver or any other driver. The license for the driver explicitly states that using the driver with a fake component may irretrievably damage the component.

If the component manufacturer doesn't want the fake product to work with his driver he can code his driver to ignore the fake. Modifying the product id to brick the component is another matter entirely.

This doesn't hurt the people who created the fake, or even the people who purchased the fake and used them in their manufacturing. It only hurts end users who have done nothing except purchase a product in retail channels. Deliberately destroying equipment because it uses a fake component goes to a whole new level of nastiness.

So when you return to the manufacturer of the product you can tell them you applied a driver update and it bricked your device. They can provide you a refund for their counterfeit product.

Comment Re:The good news (Score 2, Insightful) 700

Now that we know it's happening we can all join the class action lawsuit which will utterly bankrupt FTDI because what they are doing is illegal and they can be held liable for damages, which could easily run into the billions.

You are running a driver/firmware update on a product which isn't theirs. Just like with a laptop if you run a BIOS update on the wrong product and it destroys your machine the vendor isn't responsible.

Comment Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 839

A tax on consumption hits those hardest who consume the most: the middle and lower classes.

Not quite ... they consume the most relative to their income.

So, if Bill Gates buys a $50 million dollar home and a $200K car ... the amount he gets taxed relative to his net-worth is trivial.

The problem is many people view economics as saying that the goal of capitalism is to ensure as much income inequality as possible.

Because, apparently, that's the whole point.

If you had a consumption tax of 10% and I bought a 250k home I'd pay $25,000. Bill Gates would pay $5 million.

Comment Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 839

Taxing consumption is stupid. It encourages people to save and hoard till the day they die, which defeats the purpose of money. The rich are the most capable of doing this, which big trust funds and investments. Also, the idea of a progressive consumption tax is mind-boggling. How can a sales tax be progressive? Right now, sales taxes are collected on point of sale, which is a flat (actually regressive) tax. Do you have to fill out everything you buy on some IRS form?

A better idea is to tax wealth. That will encourage people to spend, and drive the economy forward.

You'd tax it right at the point of sale. Buy dinner, see a movie, buy airline ticketc, etc. Tax added to the end like sales tax instantly. No more filing taxes every year. More money directly into your paycheck.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.