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Comment: Re:Farscape (Score 1) 239

by billstewart (#48890771) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

My local cable company didn't carry The Sci-Fi Channel until just about when Farscape went off the air (idiots! This is Silicon Valley, what did they *think* we wanted to watch? ESPN?) so I never saw enough episodes to really catch on, but it was kind of fun. And ST:TNG happened during the years I didn't have TV, so the few times I saw it were always the same annoying episode with Q in it for some reason.

Comment: X-Files vs. Bab-5 - ouch! (Score 1) 239

by billstewart (#48889595) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Babylon 5 vs. Star Trek ver N+1? Easy choice, Bab5 wins hands down.

But X-Files was why I had a TV in the first place. We'd had an old Amiga monitor and VCR to watch movies, which eventually got replaced by a TV/VCR combo, but my wife saw X-Files when she was staying at a hotel for a conference, came home and rented all the available videos at the video store (remember video stores?), and then one day I came home and there was a coax stretched down the stairs from the cable jack, and I was told that if I didn't like it I could move the cabinet that was in front of the living-room cable jack.

Encryption

Data Encryption On the Rise In the Cloud and Mobile 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the setting-a-standard dept.
dkatana writes: Overall, demand for encryption is growing. Cloud encryption services provider CipherCloud recently received a $50 million investment by Deutsche Telekom, which the company said positions it for "explosive growth" this year. The services are designed to allow corporations to benefit from the cost savings and elasticity of cloud-based data storage, while ensuring that sensitive information is protected.

Now, both Apple and Google are providing full encryption as a default option on their mobile operating systems with an encryption scheme they are not able to break themselves, since they don't hold the necessary keys.

Some corporations have gone as far as turning to "zero-knowledge" services, usually located in countries such as Switzerland. These services pledge that they have no means to unlock the information once the customer has entered the unique encryption keys. This zero-knowledge approach is welcomed by users, who are reassured that their information is impossible to retrieve — at least theoretically — without their knowledge and the keys.

Comment: Abandoned calls - heh (Score 1) 230

by billstewart (#48882643) Attached to: Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

95-99% of the calls to my home phone are from robots. Some are friendly robots ("Your prescription is ready at CVS"), most are spammer robots. I finally got fed up and put the number on the Do Not Call List, and the main change has been that more robots call me and either don't play a recording at all, or else play a recording but if I press "1" to talk to their human, never connect me to a human. (And I almost always tell them I want to; usually I'll put the phone down, sometimes I'll chew them out, often I'll put the phone down and if somebody answers, I'll say "hello" and then put the phone down.)

Back when I used to design call center equipment, in the 80s, phone calls cost more per minute than operators. These days that's totally changed, so it doesn't cost them much to make calls and abandon them if they don't have a spare operator within a few seconds; it's not like they're worried about losing repeat business.

Comment: Can't prosecute them if you can't catch them (Score 1) 230

by billstewart (#48882615) Attached to: Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

My assumption, since the entire country has been annoyed at Rachel and her ilk for years, and since the FBI could easily get warrants to search for her even if the NSA didn't pwn the phone companies, is that either

  • - It's really a Russian scam, out of their jurisdiction, or
  • - They're a distributed scam, run by lots and lots of people who can buy a "Rachel from Cardholder Services" audio recording kit, hire work-at-home telemarketers, and run their own cottage industry, so if they do get caught, the scam keeps going, or (like old-fashioned spammers in trailer parks) maybe they don't make as much money as the folks selling the kit promised them, so they go out of business and other scammers take up the slack.

Comment: Re:What is a cuda core? (Score 1) 111

Cool. Our research folks at $DAYJOB have been building GPU-computing clouds, and have found that for many workloads, the GTX 750i was extremely cost-effective (that's the predecessor to this card, and costs include the server you plug it into and electricity as well as the graphics card), compared to much higher-end computation-focused systems. But they bought their lab hardware months ago; this looks to be about 50% faster, for a slightly higher price, so that's a win.

Comment: Re: where the streets have no name (Score 1) 31

Friend of mine got to name streets in a lot of towns around Alaska. He was working for the Alascom phone company, and they got funded to put satellite dish phone access to a couple hundred small towns in remote parts of the state. Phone company offices need to have street addresses, and many of the towns hadn't bothered to name their streets (why, if you've only got one or two?)

Years earlier, I did some training at South Central Bell in Alabama. They were still converting their databases from paper cards to computers, and a lot of their rural customers had address descriptions like "take the third dirt road after you get to where the Jones place was before it burned down", because their official Post Office addresses were either just "Rural Route 6 Box 32" (which doesn't tell you anything about how to get there), or "P.O.Box 32, Podunk, Alabama" and they picked up their mail at the post office.

Comment: Actually, logging's optional :-) (Score 1) 43

by billstewart (#48863369) Attached to: Canonical Launches Internet-of-Things Version of Ubuntu Core

The installation instructions says that logging isn't one of the services included in Snappy Ubuntu Core by default; you have to install syslogd or equivalent if you want it. (Presumably it's not just because it saves space, but because the system can be more flexible about whether or where to have writable storage if it's not logging things, and because one of the typical behaviours of Internets of Things is that they're for consumers who aren't going to bother reading logs anyway.)

Comment: CIA says half of UFO sightings were them (Score 1) 31

UPI Story on CIA and UFOs says half the UFO reports in the 50s and 60s were really sightings of their U2 aircraft, which were secret because they still hadn't found what they were looking for, and which flew enough higher and faster than normal airplanes that people didn't recognize them. (Remember that propeller planes were still common, though jets were starting to be common.)

Even in the late 80s / early 90s, supersonic planes weren't common - the Concorde only went that fast over the ocean, mainly due to sonic boom concerns, and the new wide-area air traffic control system that was being developed then wasn't spec'd for them; you'd typically get one blip and then they'd be off the radar screen.

Comment: Re:Link please? (Score 2, Informative) 680

by billstewart (#48862373) Attached to: Doxing Victim Zoe Quinn Launches Online "Anti-harassment Task Force"

Even Gjoni later admitted that didn't happen. But the *chan boards where he posted his long attack screed against his ex-girlfriend had been attacking Anita Sarkeesian for months, for the sin of showing totally made up clips of Grand Theft Auto and many other games being misogynist. (Oh, they weren't totally made up, they were right out of the game? Our bad, let's attack her for dissing Mario and Luigi, or harass Brianna Wu instead.)

Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, opulence is when you have three -- and paradise is when you have none. -- Doug Larson

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