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Comment Re:It is obvious that support most be provided... (Score 4) 125

If MS put real effort into providing good security [...]

You're bitching about an OS with mandatory access controls, DEP, ASLR, virtualized filesystem access, application whitelists, secure boot, and that runs its own authentication daemon in a VM so that not even the kernel itself can directly manage password hashes. You're doing this bitching in an article about a tool they maintain so you can harden and sandbox third-party programs, even when those programs weren't built with stack smashing or ASLR or all those neat Visual Studio canaries in mind.

[...]it would destroy the lucrative market for anti-malware software.

They bundle anti-malware software with the OS. They're, clearly, very concerned about not destroying all that filthy McAfee lucre.

Comment Re:illogical summary (Score 2) 360

There's no proof, and the "Global Competitiveness" crap in TFA is irrelevant to the millions of Japanese SMEs, because they are not competing globally.

Japan is on the edge of a demographics crisis. 25% of their population is over 65, compared with 59% that work. Having only ~2.36 people paying into public healthcare and social insurance for each person drawing out is not a good ratio, and with their notoriously low birth rates, is only going to worsen as time goes on.

In the meanwhile, Japan's racking up shittons of debt, and has to import nearly all of their energy.

So, what does this mean? It means productivity is really fucking important. If your aging population has fewer than 2 workers to cover each retiree, those workers better be really fucking productive or those healthcare costs are going to be an incredible burden. If you need to import 94% of your energy at great expense, you better put that energy to really fucking good use--i.e., be productive--or otherwise you're spending everything on coal and petrodollars instead of your own people. If your government debt is skyrocketing, but has fewer and fewer taxpayers to pay it down, those people better be really fucking productive or you're not going to have a government.

That latter point is especially important. Japan can get away with its debt load because of Japan's famously high savings rate--lots of people (or banks using people's savings) buying savings bonds means you can issue those bonds really cheaply. But, when people retire, they by necessity stop saving and start drawing on their savings instead. The government has double their yearly income in what's essentially an adjustable-rate mortgage, and the interest rates are going to skyrocket right as fewer people are there to pay it down.

Comment Re:How embarrassing (Score 1) 157

He's right though. We spend much more per person on healthcare than even the yuuros do, and we die sooner despite that (fig 1). That's not to say that our hospitals are bad (though some states really fail at not killing people), or that we aren't awesomely good at treating specific diseases, but none of that means you'll live any longer than the slackers across the pond.

Even worse, despite being a nominally private healthcare system, our government still spends more per person than even the UK (fig 3). As in, we'd have less government in medicine if we went full-retard universal care.

That's not to say I'm a fan of single payor systems--our nanny state is already trying to micromanage how many ounces are in a soda even when they're not paying for your fat ass. But, it's simply wrong to say that the single-payor systems don't provide better care for less money.

That said, I'd much rather we emulate Singapore. They make you pay for everything out of pocket from a savings account drawn off your paycheck. Paying cash for everything keeps prices in check, the mandatory contributions mean no one's "uninsured," and no insurer or HMO limits what you can buy. Subsidies help the truly indigent, and you can draw on it like a 401(k) in your dotage should you prove unusually resilient.

The Little Red Dot lets you be as much of a fat-ass as you care to pay for, and ain't that the American way. Japan, in the meanwhile, has an honest-to-God fat tax.

Comment Re:Do it yourself, here is why... (Score 1) 193

You raise a good point, but constantly fixing someone else's computer problems is draining, especially if the help is one-way and never reciprocated. It does nobody's relationship any good if you dread every call for the hour it's going to take to fix whatever broke.

Imagine instead if their computers actually worked, and you could therefore instead talk about whatever you wanted instead of why the printer isn't working. "Spending time with your child" is one thing, but I'm welcome to visit even when the Internet isn't broken; and, when visiting, I'd rather spend the time with them instead of their computer. Likewise, my folks are welcome to visit me even when I don't have a busted clutch slave cylinder or leaking fuel tank; and, likewise, the time is better spent on discretionary projects we want to tackle for the purposes of fun and/or bonding as opposed to helping with an emergency.

Comment Make Things Easier (Score 1) 193

I have no idea what you can expect from big box phone support, or if "good" phone support even exists. There are a bunch of things you can do to make tech support easier, however, if you haven't done them already.

  1. The best thing you can do (again, if you haven't already) is take away the Administrator account. I used to get weekly calls about my grandparents' PC, which saw a lot of use by relatives and grandchildren, until I did that. Suddenly, all the toolbars, viruses, Bonzi Buddies, random driver issues, and how-does-that-even-break issues just stopped. The occasional call to go type in the password and install something was much quicker than the frequent calls to uninstall something added by a well-meaning uncle or a young cousin.

    Yes, some people were angry that they couldn't install things any more. But, they didn't want to take the support phone calls, so they didn't get the admin password. Everyone else was happy that the communal PC was suddenly much more likely to work when they wanted to check e-mail or play Facebook games.

  2. Install Team Viewer. It's free for non-commercial use. When they call you with a problem, you tell them to click the big Team Viewer icon on the desktop and give you the code. Then you remote in and fix whatever broke--and the set of breakable things is much smaller on a limited account than on an admin.
  3. If you still have issues, purchase a copy of Faronics Deep Freeze--absent a password, it prevents any changes to the file system outside of certain allowed areas, like My Documents and the rest of the user profile. When I was an IT monkey, we used this in our computer labs, and it worked great--people could install whatever they wanted, delete whatever they wanted, vandalize the Windows install in whatever way they could think of, and it'd all be gone with a reboot.
  4. If you have more hardware issues ("the printer stopped working"), think about getting new hardware. I have a Phaser 6125N, for example, which is overkill for most anything, really, but toner lasts forever and the drivers are completely free of crapware--you just plug in an Ethernet cable and forget about it. If their printer frequently causes issues, weigh the cost of a newer, more enterprise-y printer with the time saved by not having to fuck with it every week.

    Ditto for modems, routers, whatever. If you have to walk them through rebooting their router every week, weigh the cost of a more reliable router over the time saved helping them turn it off and back on again.

  5. Finally, work on your phone support. If you ask someone if the network cable is plugged in, they'll always say "yes," especially if they're a professor too proud to crawl underneath his desk and check for a lowly IT monkey.

    Instead, ask them if it's plugged in the right way, because Ethernet cables are directional, you see. Make them flip it around (which, coincidentally, verifies a solid connection at both the wall and the PC). If that fixed the issue, they'll forever believe that Ethernet cables actually are directional, but it'll save you the trip to push a cable that last 1/8" into the jack.

    This is necessary because most people--even family--are loathe to actually check e.g. what color some lights are, especially if checking involves some modicum of effort. While most people won't outright lie, they'll give you whatever they think is correct, or whatever answer sounds good off the top of their head, which is especially easy to do for yes/no questions.

    So, never ask "is it plugged in"--the answer's always "yes," because of COURSE they plugged it in they're not an idiot and checking is effort. Ask them to switch the cable around. Don't ask if the lights are on--ask what color they are. Don't ask them to reboot their computer--ask them if their computer makes a noise when they hold the power switch for ten seconds.

...But, yanking admin accounts by itself solved nearly all of my tech support issues, and the few that remained were easily and gladly fixed with a few minutes on Team Viewer. If you can reduce your support burden to a combined total of an hour per year, I don't think you'd mind in-sourcing it again.

Comment Re:Righthaven (Score 1) 67

What is right wing about filing a lawsuit to unmask a doe, suing that person, then settling for a much smaller amount. It seems this is used by many different trolls, and likely doesn't have any political ideology behind it. It is sleazy though. Filing a lawsuit with the intention of settling just to get a payout is wrong. It is short circuiting the justice system for personal profit.

Yeah that's neither right nor left, it's the universal language of greedy bloodsuckers.

Comment Re:Righthaven (Score 3, Interesting) 67

What is right wing about that process? The Democrats support the movie industry, not the Republicans.

The fact that Democrats support something doesn't negate the possibility of something being right wing. The Democrats are not ideologically pure, or ideologically homogenous, and very few of them can be considered "left".

To me, pretending that copyright is only about property rights, and ignoring the fact that copyright was also supposed to be about free speech and about making material available for free to the public after a limited time, is definitely "right wing".

Comment Re:DMCA needs to die (Score 1) 67

This has nothing to do with the DMCA, this is a straight out copyright infringement lawsuit being filed. The real problem is that the methods the copyright holders (or the copyright enforcement goons acting on their behalf) are using to identify torrent users aren't good enough and its good to see at least one judge willing to call these enforcers out on it.

Exactly. Would have been nice for judges to start doing this 11 years ago, but glad they've come around.

Submission + - All Malibu Media subpoenas in Eastern District NY put on hold

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: A federal Magistrate Judge in Central Islip, New York, has just placed all Malibu Media subpoenas in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and Staten Island on hold indefinitely, due to "serious questions" raised by a motion to quash (PDF) filed in one of them. Judge Steven Locke's 4-page Order and Decision (PDF) cited the defendant's arguments that "(i) the common approach for identifying allegedly infringing BitTorrent users, and thus the Doe Defendant, is inconclusive; (ii) copyright actions, especially those involving the adult film industry, are susceptible to abusive litigation practices; and (iii) Malibu Media in particular has engaged in abusive litigation practices" as being among the reasons for his issuance of the stay.

Comment Re:About damn time (Score 5, Interesting) 130

It's harder than you're probably giving it credit for, especially for miles-long freight trains, where a hill can mean one segment of the train is accelerating while another is decelerating. We're just about there, though, insofar as we have software that automatically drives throttle, brakes, and other controls. Link:

Norfolk Southern, an American rail operator, now pulls roughly one-sixth of its freight using locomotives equipped with "route optimisation" software. By crunching numbers on a train's weight distribution and a route's curves, grades and speed limits, the software, called Leader, can instruct operators on optimum accelerating and braking to minimise fuel costs. Installing the software and linking it wirelessly to back-office computers is expensive, says Coleman Lawrence, head of the company's 4,000-strong locomotive fleet. But the software cuts costs dramatically, reducing fuel consumption by about 5%. That is a big deal for a firm that spent $1.6 billion on diesel in 2012. Mr Lawrence reckons that by 2016 Norfolk Southern may be pulling half its freight with Leader-upgraded locomotives. A competing system sold by GE, Trip Optimizer, goes further and operates the throttle and brakes automatically.

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania