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Comment: Re:Samsung's motion (Score 1) 282

I do have a bias, but it's mostly that lawyers are crafty devils who know just how to skirt the law and make the most of any advantage they can find. They may say that it was so and so's wife, but I don't buy it for a second. Lawyers - the good ones that a company like Samsung can afford - know that courtroom cases are won and lost based on what is known and what is hidden. I honestly can't believe something as obvious as this was missed by everybody.

But for bias? Frankly I figure this lawsuit nonsense is the best thing ever to happen to the patent system. Eventually the kludge will break the system. Like anything else, you don't get money to do it right until doing it wrong proves to be a gigantic clusterf***.

Comment: Re:Samsung's motion (Score 1) 282

That's not hard to figure out. They knew about it because they were involved in the lawsuit. I'd say they (they being a lawyer at the company, but probably not the lawyers involved - to avoid any potential misconduct) knew about it from the minute he showed up on a list of potential jurors and figured "Hey, ace in the hole right? If we lose we've got a strong case for juror misconduct and a mistrial."

Comment: Is it just me... (Score 3, Insightful) 244

by alaffin (#40934131) Attached to: Telco Company Claims Freedom of Speech Includes Misleading Ads

...or does this not seem like the perfect opportunity for the competition to hoist Rogers by their own petard? I mean really - free speech? Then what's to stop me from telling the world about how Rogers phones emit a high powered form of ionizing radiation that causes impotence in males? That Rogers internet service will infect your computer with malware. That Alan Horn (Chairman) is an accused paedophile and that Nadir Mohammed (CEO) is terrorist?

I mean it's all free speech right?

Comment: Re:Doesn't work in the US (Score 1) 368

by alaffin (#39967881) Attached to: The Dutch Repair Cafe Versus the Throwaway Society

Nope. Last I checked a mouthguard didn't really reduce the amount of pain taken in an impact, just the permanent damage it might cause. The plastic and foam shoulder pads allow a football player to hit and bit hit harder by distributing the point of impact. It's similar to boxing gloves allowing boxers to punch harder.

Comment: Re:Still a problem (Score 1) 85

by alaffin (#39705487) Attached to: The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn't

On the surface it appears to be nothing more than a hassle for my department. To a point that's fine - that's what our department is paid to do. However there is an opportunity cost there - the time we spend cleaning up the mess is time we could have spent elsewhere. There's also cost to the students, staff and alumni involved in the attack (yes, we provide email to all three groups) - students and staff dislike the policy we have of making them prostrate themselves before our department to ask that they be let back in after falling victim to a phishing scheme while alumni actually have to be shuffled between departments trying to find the right people to talk to to get their account unlocked.

Further down the line we suffer some knock on effects. Government, in particular, has some stringent blacklists that we made following the recent spate of spam originating from our server. That's tough for a lot of our researchers who are working with the government on various and sundry projects. Or for students who are waiting to hear back on research grants. Business uses a lot of these lists too, but calling up a business and asking for them to correct their blacklist is fairly straightforward and is usually done within hours. The government is another matter altogether. It's usually faster to just wait until the ban expires rather than actually push to get removed.

So there are costs to phishing besides the nominal cost of bandwidth. And that's ignoring other phishing attacks I've seen scanning through some of our spam filter's archives. One that comes quickly to mind offers job opportunities to new graduates if they submit various pieces of person info (name, birth date, SIN number). Identity theft *is* common, and phishing is a common vector for identity theft.

As for the profitability I imagine it's a lot like most industries. A few guys with high grade organizations are raking it in, a few middle of the road companies are making enough to get by (usually taking contract work for the big guys) and the rest are lame duck orgs who think "get rich quick" and find out its not so.
   

Comment: Re:Still a problem (Score 1) 85

by alaffin (#39701895) Attached to: The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn't

Most of them go to my spam folder or get filtered into another folder that is not spam but might as well be for the number of times I look there. When one gets past that gauntlet I naturally want to find out how it did so and where my rules might need tuning. Because I thought it was fraud I started collecting info from the email to send to my bank's fraud division (as long as I was reading the email anyway) and it rolled from there.

Comment: Still a problem (Score 4, Interesting) 85

by alaffin (#39699307) Attached to: The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn't

Over reported? Possibly. Is it still a problem that is a long way from being solved? Yes.

Just last week the university that I work at suffered a significant phishing attack that compromised a large number of email accounts (we don't have a complete count yet - the phisher turned around and used those accounts to send out spam and he didn't use all of them at one time). How did it work? Well, it wasn't very sophisticated - a dupe of our webmail login page (at a different URL) and an email that said "dear {university} account user...blah...account being locked...blah...go to this page {link to copy of page with fugly URL}...blah" from a Yahoo address. And the students (arguably an intelligent bunch, and most young enough to know how computers and phishers work) drank the kool-aid, clicked on the link and, in the end, made quite a mess.

I've actually been in the room when people have said "hey, this Nigerian prince thing looks like a good idea" . I've spoke with people who let a phone caller from "Microsoft" take control of their PC. And it comes from both sides. I've received legitimate emails from my bank that l could've sworn up and down were from a spammer (unsolicited, from someone I've never met, from a branch that I don't go to, poorly formatted and offering me a free credit card) but which were upon further review (checked the email address and the phone number provided in the email with the bank's fraud division) were legit. That irks me the most because it just encourages people to accept stuff that doesn't pass the smell test.

The more press this kind of thing gets the better. I'm not saying it should take headlines and mindspace from other, worthy causes but the fact is that people - including me - are stupid. If you don't hit us over the head every once in awhile to remind us why we ought not to do this than we probably will.

Comment: Re:Autism (Score 1) 1007

by alaffin (#39667799) Attached to: Lack of Vaccination Sends Babies In Oregon To the Hospital

As a parent and a husband I say bullshit. Mom can have all the money to go with the pussy and you know what? Fuck that. My daughter still comes first. And I will sacrifice everything and fight like a wounded animal to do what's best for her. Now there are some hills that aren't worth dying on. I don't truly care if my daughter gets her ears pierced while she's an infant or if we use cloth or disposable diapers. But vaccination? That's a hill worth dying on. That's something worth fighting for. Even if I lose.

Comment: Re:Legality? (Score 1) 503

I totally agree, however it would seem that in this case the rule applies to returns of defective merchandise as well (as the subject of the story was returning a defective blu-ray).

FWIW - Costco has an insane return policy. We purchased a crib for my daughter there and my wife (who is far more concerned about such things) was worried about finding a matching dresser. This was fairly early in the pregnancy (we were buying the item because it was heavily discounted) and Costco essentially said that as long as we hadn't damaged the crib in any way we could return it. That kind of system is ripe for abuse (we wound up finding a matching dresser and keeping the crib, and I'm not sure a crib is something you buy for a week and return later anyway) but I'm still not sure how it is legal for a company to sell defective product and deny returns for it.

Comment: Legality? (Score 3, Insightful) 503

Easy solution - don't buy product from there for 90 days.

In all seriousness - how is this even legal? I know in Canada any goods sold must be of merchantable quality - which means they must work. If they are defective than the sale is void and the merchant must take them back. Even if I've returned another product within the last 90 days. Is there some kind of American consumer protection loophole they're exploiting here or do the laws not protect consumers at all south of the border?

Comment: Re:Mountains and molehills? (Score 1) 747

by alaffin (#39561059) Attached to: Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches For Any Arrestable Offense

As are a majority of the people that wind up being arrested. However if the issue is that "it's too easy to put people in jail, where this law allows peace officers to conduct strip search" shouldn't we be up in arms about the laws that allow a police office to drum up charges and throw people in jail at a whim? Once again - it seems to me this law is fairly sound - it's other laws around it that are not.

Comment: Mountains and molehills? (Score 1) 747

by alaffin (#39559297) Attached to: Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches For Any Arrestable Offense

I'm not seeing the reason for all the umbrage here. Strip searching a prisoner who is being released into the general population of a prison (and not any offence, no matter how minimal, thank you very much submitter sl4shd0rk - but good on you for twisting things so that you could get more of a reaction from the knee-jerks) seems to me to be a valid idea. Protects the guards at the prison. Protects the other inmates. Unlike those of us who aren't in prison, prisoners have no right to privacy (and have never had) so it's not a violation of their rights. Can someone explain to me what the big deal is?

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