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Comment Not in Gmail; images are cached (Score 3, Interesting) 294

Gmail caches any images in an email, and serves them through their own servers, in order to prevent tracking bugs from having any effect.

The greater concern for me is what happens when you hover over a link that causes action by virtue of the URL being hit? I assume they must have done some filtering-out GET URLs, but...what about URLs that are prettified? Jesus, this is such a bad idea all around.

Comment And if you're not BoingBoing? (Score 2) 104

It's amazing that Doctorow is so thick as to not understand his privilege.

The FBI agent probably dropped it as soon as he realized who Boing Boing was.

Your average home user or small business running a tor exit node is not going to be treated with anywhere near that kind of kindness.

Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 430

I think "on a shared workstation" means it was an electronic document and not a physical sealed envelope.

Fair point, and that sounds dicier. 'Round these parts (California), that employee might have a case for wrongful termination. But maybe not; snooping around corporate computer systems, even if the door is unlocked, just doesn't look good.

In the other case, though, now that I think about it, even if I had signed a contract that said my salary was confidential, surely that's only an agreement between me and the company? Would I really be violating such a clause if I disclosed my salary to another agent of the same company? It just doesn't seem like there's anything management can really do to prevent this sort of thing.

Seems like the only thing that keeps people from discussing this sort of thing more is the fear that someone's feeling are going to be hurt -- either theirs or yours -- if it turns out there's a big salary discrepancy.

Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 430

We recently had someone canned because they opened someone else's offer letter (which was sitting on a shared workstation).

Well if a sealed letter had someone else's name on it I'd agree that's a firing offense.

Me voluntarily telling you how much I make, on the other hand, is our business. Management can cough and sputter all it wants, but unless I signed a contract that stipulates my salary is confidential information, there's nothing they can do about it.

Comment Studio gear... (Score 1) 620

I had a circa-1986 Mac 512K running in my recording studio up until the early 2000s. It ran Opcode MidiMac (sequencing) and SoundDesigner II (sampling, front-end for an Ensoniq Mirage). Never crashed, reliable as hell, and very quiet since there was no fan or hard drive. Load the OS and software from a 400K floppy and it would run until the heat death of the universe.

Most everyone involved in music production (EDM excepted) has an affinity for vintage equipment, whether it's an old RCA ribbon mic, an EMT plate reverb, a pre-CBS Fender guitar, or anything with vacuum tubes. It's the one field where "vintage drum machine" is not an oxymoron.


Comment It was a BlackHat / DEFCON publicity stunt (Score 2) 26

Hackaday is pretty much spot on:

There's always posturing for PR before BlackHat and DEFCON. This was to get the researcher's name on people's radar.

Many a competent unix sysadmin could come up with something similar.

What's hilarious is that despite how easy it would be to make something like this, the "researcher" just bought a yagi antenna and posed for a picture. They didn't even bother to point the yagi antenna towards the ground, for that matter.

Comment Physics called... (Score 2) 549

It's preferable for the car that is struck to not release its brakes. Basic physics. The more the struck car moves, the more injuries from the passengers in it. Also, the struck car moves and hits another car, etc.

The struck car's momentum is what mitigates the impact for its occupants. Ideal would be deploying a system to keep the struck car from moving at all. Mercedes has a braking system they've been testing that would probably do the job. It's basically an airbag on the bottom of the car, with a very high friction surface.

Comment Europe has also had wire transfers (Score 4, Interesting) 294

Wire transfers are extremely common in Europe; virtually instantaneous, cheap, etc. Customers can do them themselves, person to person.

Here in the US? Anywhere from a day to WEEKS for absolutely no legitimate reason. You generally need a teller or branch manager to do it. At least $5; $40 if the transaction ends up going through the Fed.

It's 2015. Why does transferring money in the US take more than a minute and a few cents?

Comment Re:Bogus plot -- didn't the 2000 election teach us (Score 1) 57

That's an interesting concept.

But it does not do away with the undemocratic Electoral College, it just massages the system to force the Electoral College electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote.

As such, it's likely an improvement, but to me the fact that this strategy is being used highlights the broken nature of our political system and the fact that it is simply too difficult to amend the Constitution so such end-around moves have to be done to reform/change things.

Comment Bogus plot -- didn't the 2000 election teach us? (Score 2) 57

I don't like the winning plot at all; it ignores reality and the Constitution.

Forget about encryption or electronic voting -- didn't the 2000 election teach us anything when Al Gore got more of the votes from the American people across the country but George W. Bush took the White House? Does this plot presume we had a constitutional amendment to do away with the undemocratic Electoral College?

The US Constitution clearly says that the president is elected by the Electoral College. There are only 535 members of the electoral college. We could call them via phone calls in a couple of hours to see how they voted.

But don't let me get in the way of a good fairy tale... :-)

Comment actual stats: 35k trips, 80k miles a day (Score 3, Informative) 100

Most Citi bikes go ununsed as far as I can tell.

You tell wrong. There are 6,000 bikes in the system and there's roughly 35,000 daily users.

I personally would've rather seen cleaner, faster, quieter and more reliable subways than more advert-bikes. But it's not so sexy for citibank to donate a tiny fraction of the MTA's budget for some billboards/posters.

Thank goodness we have urban transit planners, people with degrees in this stuff. They are heavily, heavily pushing bicycle transit and bike shares. Not because it's 'sexy', but because it works.

You can plop down a bike share station in a matter of days or weeks (the biggest hassle are the community meetings) which affords enormous flexibility; it takes months to redo a bus route, and decades to plan a subway line. Bike share bikes convert a fair number of people over to bike ownership, too - and the presence or more bike riders on the city's streets makes the streets safer for everyone.

Comment Re:Don't give money to your alma mater. (Score -1, Troll) 348

Not only am I well aware of how an endowment is operated -- this is a regular topic of faculty meetings, for god's sake

Then don't say ignorant things like this:

"A bit of data: Harvard's endowment amounts to $1.7 million per student. With a reasonable return on endowment investment, hey could quite literally abolish tuition forever if they wanted to"

You could also demonstrate some basic knowledge on the subject by showing that you understand "Harvard University" isn't "undergraduate" - that's Harvard COLLEGE. Here you go again:

A 3.5% return on Harvard's 1.7 million per student endowment would give an annual income of $60,000, which is equal to Harvard's tuition plus room and board.

Why do you think room and board at Harvard College is $60K?

What do you think will happen when you direct all the investment income into student tuition and board?

Well? Here's a big hint (oooo, am I being "condescending" again?): paying everyone's tuition via the investment income doesn't change REVENUE. So what pays for all the things the endowment income WAS paying for, but isn't anymore?


Well, Mr. Fucking I Teach Physics? Ever heard the expression "rob Peter to pay Paul"?

If mathematically you end up with the wrong answer, try multiplying by the page number.