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Comment: Re:I donâ(TM)t suppose... (Score 1) 622

by Zebra_X (#45242433) Attached to: Feds Confiscate Investigative Reporter's Confidential Files During Raid

The information she had was not her own. The people who gave it to her signed documents saying that they would protect the information they gave her. Then she went and published accounts based on that information in a public forum. What constitutional right was violated when the TSA came knocking to recover what they rightfully "own"? I'm asking because I don't know...

Comment: Re:It seems that (Score 2) 112

Uber is rather awesome, actually.

#1 - No money exchanges hands.

Boston cabbies are some of the rudest businessmen on the planet. Many times they pretend their card readers don't work or make their customers feel awkward for paying by credit. It is extremely frustrating and in today's world of connectedness there is no excuse for not being more "normal" in handling everyday business transactions. Outside of Boston many cabbies don't take cards at all (despite having a card reader in the cab). Personally, I don't carry cash and it is a bit of a hassle to "prepare" for a taxi ride.

If you ask a cabbie about this they will tell you that the cab company (the middle man you don't see) takes some 5-10% of their fare if you use a card.

#2 - Definite pickup time.

Calling a cab in Boston is a bit of a crap shoot. You call a dispatcher and you are told a cab is on its way and usually given a time estimate. The estimate is likely provided by a magic 8 ball based on actual vs. estimated.

#3 - Driver phone number.

Not provided by a traditional cab service as far as I know - Uber connects you directly with the driver. This is very helpful when trying to coordinate a street side pickup.

#4 - Professional

Some will value this more than others but all of the drivers are very professional.

I am in no way affiliated with Uber. I am just a pleased customer who is happy to finally have a reasonable alternative to the terrible Boston cab services.

Comment: Re:F*(K the panic do something awesome (Score 1) 208

by Zebra_X (#34672346) Attached to: Aerial Video Footage of New York Taken By RC Plane

Corporations have agendas because they are run by people who have agendas. Corporations don't just run themselves, there are millions of the electorate walking into their doors every day furthering their agendas. Corporations are the electorate. The electorate is getting just what they want - food, security and a paycheck.

The issue I see is that not everyone wants what they are being given or the "protection" being offered. To deny the fact that we and our predecessors are collectively responsible for the current state of affairs is disingenuous.

Networking

Verizon Changing Users Router Passwords 545

Posted by timothy
from the has-this-happened-to-you? dept.
Kohenkatz writes "I have Verizon FIOS at home and my Verizon-supplied Actiontec router had the password 'password1' that the tech assigned to it when he set it up three years ago. I received an email from Verizon that said 'we have identified that your router still had a password of either password1 or admin1 and we have changed it to your serial number.' I checked and it actually had been changed. I believe this to be in response to the Black Hat presentation about the hackability of home routers. I am upset about this because Verizon should not have any way to get into my router and change the settings, especially because I own the router, not them! I looked in the router's settings and I see port 4567 goes to the router and is labeled 'Verizon FIOS Service.' Is this port for anything useful other than Verizon changing settings on my router? What security measures does Verizon have to protect that port from unauthorized access?"

Comment: Re:Drones in US airspace? (Score 1) 215

by Zebra_X (#32522222) Attached to: FAA Adds a Study On Adding Drones To Commercial Aviation

Pilots, if expensive and infallible would be great. However the reality is that they make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Crashes are usually ~ 80% of the time a direct result of pilot error. Flying is not that complex, the parameters are very well understood and the technology for vector and approach is well established. With ADS-B mesh position reporting technology the "see and avoid" is not as necessary. Though I do fundamentally believe that the autonomous pilots should have the same navigational capabilities as a VFR pilot.

This is really only becoming a reality due to MEMS and GPS. It will take some time before the systems based on this technology prove themselves to be infallible (or not).

Ultimately we'll probably end up with a Human in the cockpit for show aiding in "basic" but complex tasks such as taxi, but the rest of the flight will be autonomous.

Security

The Men Who Stare At Airline Passengers, Coming To the UK 468

Posted by timothy
from the setting-aside-american-senators dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "The Economist's Gulliver reports on a story in Nature that questions the current airport security regimen," excerpting: "Over the past four years, some 3,000 officers in America's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have been specially trained to spot potential terrorists at airports. The programme, known as SPOT, for Screening Passengers by Observation Technique, is intended to allow airport security officers to use tiny facial cues to identify people who are acting suspiciously. The British government is currently launching a new screening regime modelled on the Americans' SPOT. There's just one problem with all this: there's no evidence that SPOT is actually effective. The whole thing is mostly based on pseudoscience, Sharon Weinberger reports in Nature." Happily, Nature's original article is available in full, rather than paywalled.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 363

by Zebra_X (#32150040) Attached to: A Call For an Open, Distributed Alternative To Facebook

No I don't work for facebook. If I had a communicable disease facebook would be the last place I would sign up for "support". I just think most of this is ridiculous. Facebook's privacy settings really aren't "labyrinthine". They do seem to change often but quite frankly I don't care. Moreover, when people get upset, facebook does seem to respond, so that's at least a start.

"Facebook is being duplicitous and greedy" right well, Facebook is *FREE*? Are you paying for their server farm? Are you paying for their developers to improve the product? Is privacy from a free service a right? Yes. No. No. No.

Also, I have no sympathy for "tech-savvy" people. The computer is a tool just like any other tool. If you don't understand how it works, then shame on you for not taking the time to understand it. It takes time and effort to learn new things so take the time and the effort.

Privacy is a myth if you really want something to be private, don't write it down.

Finally ask yourself, would you pay money for advanced privacy settings? Money is really the only way that you can truly reconcile this privacy issue.

Comment: Seriously? (Score 0) 363

by Zebra_X (#32146710) Attached to: A Call For an Open, Distributed Alternative To Facebook

First - usage of Facebook is not mandatory by any stretch of the imagination. However, this guy is seriously off his rocker...

Facebook (to me anyway) has always been about "friends". Right? That's why friends are labeled as "Friends".

So when he cries about "I'd like to have my profile visible only to my friends, not my boss. Cannot." I have little sympathy. If you want to social network with professionals there is always Linked in. Further he is not correct about this - you can do this by specifically excluding people from viewing your profile, it is under Account -> Privacy Settings -> Friends, Tags and Connections

Further when Ryan says something like "I'd like to support an anti-abortion group without my mother or the world knowing. Cannot." I think, well that's pretty lame. This is like hanging out with the Popular kids in public but secretly attending nerd club and asking all of the Nerds not to tell anyone you went. I personally have no desire to censor every aspect of my "life" on Facebook. Do you *really* want a screen to manage every SINGLE group you belong to and who can see it?

Ryan goes on to say "Setting up a decent system for controlling your privacy on a web service shouldn't be hard.". I'd disagree. It's tremendously difficult. Creating interfaces and a data model for managing these settings is very difficult. Implementing it is a pain as well. From a coder perspective, I find this kind of work the least rewarding around. And Ryan actually admits to this saying "the whole system is maddeningly complex.". I rather think Facebook did a decent job with the current set of options.

Ultimately, if you are not comfortable with the information that Facebook is sharing, then don't share it. Of course you could go and build your own site that has the greatest privacy controls world has ever seen. But that would be awfully difficult wouldn't it?

Comment: Amazon is the only one that can fix this (Score 1) 236

by Zebra_X (#31717446) Attached to: Amazon Caves To Publishers On eBook Pricing

The kindle and Amazon's eBook sails channel is one of the most mature. Amazon has a ton of pricing data for these sales, much more than Apple. As Amazon is forced to raise prices they will be able to see if the higher prices lead to lower profits. Hopefully the higher prices do depress the sales and result in the book companies rethinking their pricing strategy.

Comment: I don't understand (Score 1) 538

by Zebra_X (#31031496) Attached to: Murdoch Says E-Book Prices Will Kill Paper Books

This must have been what it was like when the library was created. All the publishers were upset no one would go and buy their books. In fact I imagine that the very concept if it didn't already exist, of the library would cause an unimaginable shit storm now.

I bring this up because the library in direct competition with publishers desires to sell more books. However, people still buy books. People still have bookshelves - and people still want to put books on those shelves.

eBooks are a new medium - they compete in a way with paper books. However nothing will replace the paper book and the book shelves at home, at least not for my generation.

I don't really understand how the publishing companies can't increase their profit margins on eBooks - there is a whole physical plant that can be done away with if they would just embrace the eBook. If amazon and apple are taking too much profit for doing very little - then the publishing companies should kick em' where it hurts.

UFOs are for real: the Air Force doesn't exist.

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