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Comment: Re:CurrentC doesn't have competitors (Score 3, Interesting) 257

by Voyager529 (#48263951) Attached to: Apple Pay Competitor CurrentC Breached

My chief problem is I'm hopelessly conflicted over which group of assholes I want to win and which group of assholes I want to lose.

Well golly gee! It's not like there's not a choice of "none of the above". Ah, but, *Give me convenience, or give me death* :-)

At first I was going to mod this up, but then I thought a bit more about it. Let me give you a better example of what the grandparent was likely getting at:

RealNetworks, Inc. v. DVD Copy Control Association, Inc.

Let's face it, I sincerely doubt that ANY slashdotter uses Realplayer on a regular basis. Most of us file it under "relics of the 90's" or "squandered tech opportunities" or something similar. Had RealNetworks won that case, I sincerely doubt anyone here would have actually purchased or used this application. However, this court case was one where many of us were hoping that RealNetworks would win - not for the amazing software or for the continued growth of RealNetworks, but for the court precedent. If RealNetworks won, it would be the first piece to fall of the problem of legislatively backed DRM. The war would continue, of course, but it would be a start.

I can't speak for the GP, but I concur with his sentiment. I don't think that Apple, Google, or these retailers have my best interest at heart. Not in the slightest. However, they all want the same thing: money. Apple seems generally better about not directly selling marketing data, but there's also no guarantee that they're not doing it under the table. Even without the tin foil hat, Apple may keep all that data in-house, and if iCloud security is any indication, that database security is questionable. Aunt Google, we all know, sells marketing data - they compete just as much with ClearChannel as they do with Microsoft - arguably more so. Retailers have their own science about how to psychologically manipulate you to buy stuff in their store. Apple may be the 'least offensive' in this lineup since their biggest crime is still a matter of speculation, but they're still no saint, even by corporate standards.

Thus, we have ourselves a bit of a conundrum. Even if you and I continue to use cash, the order invariably goes "opt-in, opt-out, alternatives disincentivized, alternatives socially unacceptable, alternatives impossible/illegal". Thus, the question becomes "who do we want blazing that trail?" That's the true question being asked by the GP, and unfortunately, I agree.

Comment: Re:Those travel time signs on the highway... (Score 1) 168

by Voyager529 (#48214153) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

Is that seriously a federal law now? "Real-time traffic information" has been available on the radio since my grandfather was driving. Waze, Google Maps, and virtually every other software-based GPS provides traffic information. Can we all agree that this is allowed to be filed under "completely useless legislation"?

Comment: For those of us keeping score... (Score 2) 168

by Voyager529 (#48214127) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

To get to that point, one has to:

1.) buy airplane tickets, most likely by credit card (I'm sure there's some way to use cash to pay for airplane tickets, but I don't know a single person who's done that in a decade). These tickets give a very good probability as to where you are going to be, when.
2.) check in - in other words, directly inform the airline that you are at the airport.
3.) get onto a line whose exit involves partial undress (shoes, belts, jackets), placing your personal effects on a conveyor belt to be searched, and an X-Ray of your body. now they're using the MACs of cell phones to figure out how long people are going to be in the queue, and we're worried about "privacy concerns"? You're in the wrong place if you're worried about privacy in the security line at an airport.

Comment: Re:Wow... (Score 1) 347

by Voyager529 (#48212869) Attached to: The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

You could stay with Win 7 until they stop doing security updates, and then hide it from the scary internet inside a virtual machine that has gpu passthrough (nvidia vgx or amd vdi) and is defined not to have a network adapter. Windows will run your games and never know that the world outside has moved on.

...and exactly how many games run without an internet connection these days?

Comment: Re:Still try to do proprietary email? (Score 2) 173

by Voyager529 (#48207029) Attached to: Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

Hasn't USENET been overrun with spammers, though?

Depends where you look. Many major topics have moderated groups. has lots of interesting information in it. rec.arts.drwho.moderated also has some insteresting discussions. Surprisingly, has lots of posts and barely any spam; one wouldn't normally think of iPhone users as usenet users, but apparently there's plenty. alt.os.linux.* has some great discussions in it; .mint and .ubuntu are both pretty active. There's plenty of spam to be found, don't worry - but most of it ends up in inactive groups and is generally recognizable. Conversely, much of the spamming seems to have subsided - with the relatively small number of people using it in comparison to Facebook or Kik messenger, and those that do being the kinds of people who are going to be able to download and configure Pan or Agent and find a Usenet provider, the 'intelligence floor' for getting in is generally higher than the 'gullibility ceiling' required for a spam campaign to be terribly useful.

Comment: Machform (Score 1) 104

by Voyager529 (#48197503) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

The details of what they're looking to do is a bit vague, and it depends on what the real requirements are. In other words, this is a two part question, and the choke point is vague...

Part 1: Getting the data in the door.
I'm a huge fan of Machform for this. It's not free, but it's inexpensive, self-hosted on any garden variety LAMP stack, their support folks are pretty good, and making new forms is a very simple process that you can teach Sally Secretary to do in half an hour. You can download the data in a CSV once the form is done and look at it in your spreadsheet flavor of choice.

Part 2: Doing something useful with the data.
So, you've got a spreadsheet full of names, addresses, and phone numbers. What do you do with it? Do you run a Mail Merge in Microsoft Word? nice and easy. Does this go into a SQL database somewhere? Importing it gets interesting, although I think you can export the data from Machform using PhpMyAdmin. Does it need to go into Quickbooks? Good luck with that, although to be fair you'd need half a dozen interns to copy/paste that no matter how you slice it. ConstantContact? I don't know what mass import tools they have, so that can vary. The list of potential use cases goes on and on, and whether this is a practical method or not depends if "data getting into spreadsheet form" is a solution.

It's been said that a well-asked question is half the answer. If you can provide us with more information as to what's done with the data, and where their current solution falls apart, and what specific uniquenesses are limiting the current setup, more solutions may come to light.

Comment: Re:I have a suggestion... (Score 1) 72

by Voyager529 (#48152999) Attached to: Designing Tomorrow's Air Traffic Control Systems

What no one has explained to me is why the plane could not just land on the runway in question. The premise was that the planes could not communicate with the tower, so everyone was in a holding pattern.

Once they were able to communicate with the plane in question, why not just tell it to land so they could download the copy of the software while on the ground?

The "Show Logic" was that the runway wasn't long enough for the plane to land without taking out a few blocks in the process.

Why they didn't land at the airport with no ground control was what didn't make sense to me - They can communicate with the pilot and all the runways are clear, so why not just hand someone at LAX the phone, let 'em land, and do everything else via Remote Desktop?

Comment: I have a suggestion... (Score 4, Funny) 72

by Voyager529 (#48152171) Attached to: Designing Tomorrow's Air Traffic Control Systems

Make sure the tower doesn't have software written by a company that went out of business, but still managed to get an update that can bring the whole thing down, and employ versioning in your datacenter backups...but if that doesn't work, ensure that copies of the software are uploaded to the planes themselves so that, in the event there's a group of socially awkward geniuses that can drive a Ferrari down a landing strip, they can download the software via an Ethernet cable and save everyone.

Comment: Re:Local Backups (Score 2) 150

by Voyager529 (#48148901) Attached to: If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

Both systems have their advantages and drawbacks:

Local backups, advantages:
1.) Lower cost/GB.
2.) Control over data.
3.) Backups done on demand.
4.) Multiple users/devices can be backed up on the same drive.

Local backups, disadvantages:
1.) Backup of mobile devices gets interesting.
2.) Backup schedule needs to be adhered to; most people forget until the day after they need it.
3.) Cost/GB narrows if more than one external disk is purchased to protect against disk failure.
4.) Opportunity cost - performing backups take time and some level of technical expertise.

Cloud backups, advantages:
1.) Streamlined and convenient, so they're generally actually performed.
2.) Realtime backup, usually including versioning.
3.) Simple to do on all form factors.
4.) Additional benefits - sharing, access from other devices, etc.

Cloud backups, disadvantages:
1.) No recourse if data is lost or "shared" on the provider's end.
2.) Necessity of trust that the cloud provider will honor their Super Pinky Promise to not sell your data to the highest bidder.
3.) No guarantee that the cost won't double tomorrow.
4.) Backups make messes of data transfer quotas.
5.) Initial transfer / complete data recovery can take a VERY long time.

Now, the first three Cloud disadvantages can be somewhat mitigated by a decent SLA, but consumer grade cloud services aren't going to have a decent one, and a company who signs an agreement to be sued into oblivion for technical mishaps will be prohibitively expensive for end users - and even then, it boils down to enforcement. Voyager529 Cloud Services, Inc. goes into contract with Jason Levine for cloud backups. 99.999% uptime, no data gets out, and $25/month for 1TB for life, no matter what. Next month, my colo goes belly up overnight, and the servers with your data on it get sold at auction for $50. I file bankruptcy. Go ahead and sue me - you probably won't see your money, and you definitely won't see your data.

It's for these reasons (and others) that I agree with you and do all my own personal backups on my own hard drives, and give an undesirable hand gesture to The Cloud (tm). For the majority of people though, the Saturday spent shopping at Microcenter for parts, 2-3 hours unboxing and assembling their own FreeNAS, installing the software, configuring the storage array, and port forwarding in their router like I did, just isn't worth the hassle. As much as I'd rather people do that (or even get a WD MyCloud), I'm begrudgingly happy that Dropbox and Google Drive and iCloud are all getting better traction because, even though Google/Amazon/Microsoft end up with plenty of that data, for most people, they actually have backups.

Comment: Re:This is going to backfire in an ugly way (Score 1) 86

by Voyager529 (#48148459) Attached to: Millions of Voiceprints Quietly Being Harvested

I have no idea if they have a means to stop a recording being played back though - that's presumably a harder problem to solve.

"For verification, please say the following words out loud: Propeller. Spinach. Fiberglass. Indonesia."

The system chooses randomly from a list of thousands of words that are easy for an individual to repeat back, but highly unlikely to be recorded and readily accessible to someone using a set of recordings to fool the system.

Comment: Re:I disagree (Score 1) 549

by Voyager529 (#48135711) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

What we really need is some kind of standardized identity management system-- like you know how you can sign onto various sites using either your Facebook or Google+ sign-on? Like that, but standardized. We need a true single-sign-on solution that is easy to manage, hard to screw up and lose your identity permanently, and usable everywhere.

This has been obvious for well over a decade, but we can't do it because we don't create standards anymore. For any solution, Microsoft wants to have their solution, Facebook wants theirs, Google wants to do it their own way, and Apple wants to do something different from all the rest. Each company pretty much wants a solution that will benefit themselves and screw over their competitors. None are really focused on creating the best solution for social/economic/computing progress, and if they were, it would still be impossible to get others on board. So that's the real problem. Unwillingness to create standards.

I completely agree with this - and it gets even worse: who gets trusted? SSO works in a corporate Windows domain because the answer to "who gets trusted" is "the company's internal systems...and it's the company's data anyway." Logging into the company's AD/Exchange/Sharepoint is just fine, because the systems authenticating stuff and the systems storing stuff are effectively the same.

Now on the greater internet, who do we trust? I have a friend who trusts Apple with basically everything, a friend who trusts Google with literally everything, a friend who trusts Microsoft with more of everything than not, and me, who trusts my own systems and no one else's. You own, a vBulletin forum for cat enthusiasts. You trust Google and Apple, but not Microsoft. two friends can SSO in, the other two of us can make internal accounts for the forum. Google friend owns, another vBulletin site. He allows Google's SSO. Three of us need accounts now.

So, we then do something like the US Federal Government having a standardized "internet identity", available to anyone who wants it. Well, we can forego corporate fanaticism this way, but now we've legislated digital identities and said goodbye to even the illusion of anonymity, and have a digital treasure trove of data for not only hackers and identity thieves (do you REALLY think the federal government is going to have bulletproof security on this thing?), but now you tell me that the NSA isn't tapping all of *that* "metadata", and I've got a password storage device for you. More to the point, if you google 'voyager529', you will indeed see my photo in the very first set of image results, and have a pretty good idea of who I am and what I do. I have a completely separate digital identity that is *not* tied to 'voyager529' in any sense.If the federal government gets in the online identity business, I sincerely doubt I'd get two.

We've eliminated corporate, and we've eliminated government, which leaves us with two obviously-even-worse options: self-signing and crowdsourcing. Self-signing gives us no real concept of who the person is, which is why Usenet devolved into the spam garden it is today. Requiring X number of people already joined to a website to validate that you are who you say you are turns logging into stuff into a popularity contest.

Passwords get stuck to monitors and under keyboards. Password managers are treasure troves to compromise and aren't cross compliant. Possession-based authentication (RFID card, NFC/Cell phone, etc.) makes losing your wallet ten times worse and you still need an issuing authority to oversee unique cards tied to a particular human. Biometrics are nice, but cross-device biometrics still have the problems of password managers, and having all ten fingers enrolled is a good idea, because one lapse in tomato slicing safety precautions and you won't be accessing your Gmail for a week.

No matter how we slice it, "proving that a person is the correct person on the internet" is a problem inherently tied to the problems that 1.) one's authentication MUST be represented as data, and 2.) computers, by design, perfectly replicate data VERY efficiently. Adhering to the first requirement while preventing the second is a problem whose solution will revolutionize computing again.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.