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Comment: Montgomery County's own guidance allows 1mile walk (Score 3, Insightful) 783

by xeno (#48835019) Attached to: Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

According to the Montgomery County school website, having the kids walk a mile with a sibling is within normal community standards, and in line with guidelines set forth by the county itself.
(See www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/parents/basics/transportation/ )

In Montgomery County where this occurred, school bus transportation is only provided for elementary school children who live further than 1mi from school, and for middle schoolers (11yo+) further than 1.5mi. The county's guidance for elementary school kids walking 1 mile or less is "Younger walkers are encouraged to walk to and from school with siblings, older children from their neighborhood, or parents. At many schools, Montgomery County crossing guards help walkers cross at busy intersections near the school. In most elementary schools, student safety patrols guide younger children in crossing smaller neighborhood streets."

I don't see how CPS has a leg to stand on here; the children were simply practicing what they are expected to do by the county school system itself.

Comment: Re:parachute (Score 3, Informative) 248

by xeno (#48834575) Attached to: SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

Because parachute recovery is a method of salvage, while "crazy rocket landing" is a method of full reuse without refurbishment.

Keep in mind that refurbishing the waterlogged shuttle boosters ended up being 3X more costly than original estimates, much of the nozzle apparatus was completely trashed each time, and the whole process took months to turn around a single booster.

SpaceX is working toward an airplane/airport-style refuel-and-refly-immediately model. That autonomous landing platform is actually a fuel depot, with the eventual intention to refuel first stages and relaunch them immediately for short hops back to a proper launch facility where they can be fitted with a new payload within a day. Crazy? Maybe. Wrong? I don't think so.

Comment: I'll take that kind of progress any day. (Score 4, Insightful) 248

by xeno (#48833629) Attached to: SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

Hey, as these things go, this was a very very good failure. Consider that we've just progressed from the old reality's typical "the vehicle will splash down somewhere in this 500-square-mile area of the ocean," to Spacex's new reality of "we accurately flew down to a 0.0018-square-mile platform, and borked the touchdown on this first try."

I'll take that kind of progress any day.

Comment: Re:The Dangers of the World (Score 3, Insightful) 783

by xeno (#48833377) Attached to: Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

An how many of those runaways are in response to aggressively controlling parenting behaviors? This is not a facetious comment; my otherwise model children (12 and 15) have in recent years begun to sharply rebel against their mother's strict control of their travel and other normal expansion of responsibility, to the point where they now simply ignore her and leave her home, and she calls them in as missing to the police. (They turn up at the local coffee shop doing their homework, more often than not.) In contrast, I have given both children guidance on how to travel safely, made sure they have state ID cards, bus passes, mobile phones, and bank cards, and I get to know their friends. When I call, the kids always pick up. Always.

The path of fear feeds on itself, and leads to very dark places. I fear for children who are sheltered and smothered in this way, because it just delays a child's process of learning how to manage risk. When these same innocent and ignorant kids are turned loose on college campuses at 17-18yo without the survival skills of my 12yo and without parental support when learning to manage their own risk, they end up with alcohol poisoning, stoned, roofied, fucked, pregnant, infected, robbed, indebted, flunked out, helpless, and ground down on the grit of all the other things they were never told about.**

I let my kids walk home, thank you very much.

( ** Nothing has changed about this, btw. Decades ago it was sad to see the home-schooled and mormon kids fall this way among their college freshman peers, but more often than not... in the long run, being sheltered just makes you soft and unprepared. It's the same today.)

Comment: Re:Prediction: (Score 4, Insightful) 206

by daveschroeder (#48680051) Attached to: N. Korea Blames US For Internet Outage, Compares Obama to "a Monkey"

First of all, you say, "North Korea didn't hack Sony," as if it is an indisputable, known fact. It is not -- by any stretch of the imagination.

The fact is, it cannot be proven either way in a public forum, or without having independent access to evidence which proves -- from a social, not technical, standpoint -- how the attack originated. Since neither of those are possible, the MOST that can be accurate stated is that no one, in a public context, can definitively demonstrate for certain who hacked Sony.

Blameless in your scenario is the only entity actually responsible, which is that entity that attacked Sony in the first place.

Whether that is the DPRK, someone directed by the DPRK, someone else entirely, or a combination of the above, your larger point appears to be that somehow the US is to blame for a US subsidiary of a Japanese corporation getting hacked -- or perhaps simply for existing.

As a bonus, you could blame Sony for saying its security controls weren't strong enough, while still reserving enough blame for the US as the only "jackass".

Bravo.

Comment: Prediction: (Score 5, Insightful) 206

by daveschroeder (#48679895) Attached to: N. Korea Blames US For Internet Outage, Compares Obama to "a Monkey"

Many of the same slashdotters who accept "experts" who claim NK didn't hack Sony will readily accept as truth that it was "obviously" the US that attacked NK, even though there is even less objective proof of that, and could just as easily be some Anonymous offshoot, or any number of other organizations, or even North Korea itself.

See the logical disconnect, here?

For those now jumping on the "North Korea didn't hack Sony" bandwagon that some security "experts" are leading for their own political or ideological reasons, including using rationales as puzzling and pedestrian as source IP addresses of the attacks being elsewhere, some comments:

Attribution in cyber is hard, and the general public is never going to know the classified intelligence that went into making an attribution determination, and experts -- actual and self-appointed -- will make claims about what they think occurred.

With cyber, you could have nation-states, terrorists organizations, or even activist hacking groups attacking other nation-states, companies, or organizations, for any number of motives, and making it appear, from a social and technical standpoint, that the attack originated from and/or was ordered by another entity entirely.

That's a HUGE problem, but there are ways to mitigate it. A Sony "insider" may indeed -- wittingly or unwittingly -- have been key in pulling off this hack. That doesn't mean that DPRK wasn't involved. I am not making a formal statement one way or the other; just saying that the public won't be privy to the specific attribution rationale.

Also, any offensive cyber action that isn't totally worthless is going to attempt to mask or completely divert attention from its true origins (unless part of the strategic intent is to make it clear who did it), or at a minimum maintain some semblance of deniability.

At some point you have to apply Occam's razor and ask who benefits.

And for those riding the kooky "This is all a big marketing scam by Sony" train:

So, you're saying that Sony leaked thousands of extremely embarrassing and in some cases damaging internal documents and emails that will probably result in the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment being ousted, including private and statutorily-protected personal health information of employees, and issued terroristic messages threatening 9/11-style attacks at US movie theaters, committing dozens to hundreds of federal felonies, while derailing any hopes for a mass release and instead having it end up on YouTube for rental, all to promote one of hundreds of second-rate movies?

Yeah...no.

Comment: summary of SCOTUS case law: "pppphhhhhhtttttt, no" (Score 1, Interesting) 250

by xeno (#48603963) Attached to: Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

Mod parent up! (crap, I had points left yesterday.... :)

Parent makes the important point: There's existing SCOTUS case law for this, and Sony's legal-ish threats and demand for press et al to refrain from looking at embarrassing things wouldn't stand up in a stiff breeze, much less in a lower court.

Frankly I'm kind of surprised to see a relatively experienced lawyer such as Boies make a demand like this, even if he is a distinguished douchebag. Usually lawyers like him are concerned about appearances, and making laughable demands that evoke a Streisand effect is bad for business.

Comment: No, Windows 8 pulled a Unity, not the reverse (Score 2) 125

by xeno (#48556367) Attached to: Unity 8 Will Bring 'Pure' Linux Experience To Mobile Devices

OP gets things turned around: Canonical released the Unity interface for Ubuntu in the summer of 2010, and then made it the mandatory desktop on Ubuntu in mid-2011 sparking an exodus of users to other distros, Windows, and OSX. Without getting into some curious timing... Just about a year later in the summer of 2012, Microsoft released the Metro interface for Windows 8, copying many of the tiled UI ideas and touch/gesture-on-the-desktop that had been rejected by more geeky and novice users alike -- only this time into a far larger market.

Honestly, from inside Redmond it was very strange to watch this happen, with a lot of people asking 'what the hell are we doing?' and variations on 'didn't the little guy fall on his face when he tried this?' The parallels were almost comical; with Ballmer and Sinofsky insisting that "customers like this!" in words almost identical to Shuttleworth two years earlier, and similar expressions of dismay and denial of the humiliating reception that followed. Though Ballmer and Sinofsky wielded market power Shuttleworth could only dream of, the outcomes were predictable and there had been plenty of warning. The hard part for these guys to accept is that when your ideas are so thoroughly rejected by people/consumers/end users -- and you keep doing the unwanted thing anyway -- it's not like the audience remains as motivated to see what you come up with next**. They just start ignoring you.

** (even if the very same UI concepts work well in another context -- in this case, on a mobile handset)

.

Comment: Re:Unwanted video on top of Australis mess? I'm ou (Score 1) 237

by xeno (#48504103) Attached to: Firefox 34 Arrives With Video Chat, Yahoo Search As Default

I did. They didn't give a shit. And lest you think me a whiner, I also contributed work and donated a bunch of money to the Mint project (among many others), and whaddya know, they listen to both technical and nontechnical contributors... and produce a polished product with great flexibility across a wider audience. So don't tell me it can't be done; it's just that the FF team decided their first principles were "oo shiny" and "I know best" instead of "do the needful things" and "listen."

Comment: Unwanted video on top of Australis mess? I'm out. (Score 2, Insightful) 237

by xeno (#48502687) Attached to: Firefox 34 Arrives With Video Chat, Yahoo Search As Default

Make that STILL out.

When the naval-gazing derpfest at FF rolled out that hideous chrome-knockoff "Australis" interface revamp in v29, I used the debian equivalent of the middle finger: sudo apt-mark hold firefox
to stem the tide of f**ck-the-user UI design, common features hidden behind weird hamburger buttons, and unreadably huge defaults.
WOW. MUCH HUGE. SO WHITESPACE IS THE NEW CAPSLOCK.

That gave a me a little time to explore options. With a little work, I can make Seamonkey usable, but I do lament the loss of an easy choice that IU can recommend to less geeky friends. IE is a lost cause even on my work machines and msft doesn't remotely give a shit about user feedback. Chrome's entire skeletal structure is made from IE spyware toolbars working together as a virtualized/rootkit OS. And Firefox's UI team has gone full "Grinch paradigm" [To quote the original: "Here's our new, wonderful product. Isn't it wonderful? Don't you just love it? What do you mean it doesn't do something essential that you've been able to do for years and you don't like it? You ingrate! You're GOING to like our new product! We're not going to fix it just because you and 100,000 whiny little dweebs claim to need those missing functions!" ]

Screw this. I'm gonna donate a little more money to the upstarts, because Firefox is lost.

Comment: share those add/mod/deletes/config script ideas? (Score 1) 89

by xeno (#48501493) Attached to: Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon and MATE Editions Released

Do tell. I just updated my custom-stuff-after-installing-Mint script (which has become a go-to for friends and associates), and it's almost clean enough to share and/or xpost to the Mint forums. I'd love to add good ideas from others, and just as importantly, pull out or modify stuff that needs it.

What packages do you find objectionable?
          (e.g. this thread. Care to share that list of 50? Does removal break anything major? )

What are must-haves to add?
          (e.g. little stuff like acpi? mainstream stuff like ms core fonts, and cups-pdf so there's always something that behaves like a printer?)

Any elegant or specific fixes that you consider worth sharing?
          (e.g. have a sed one-liner to change "Label:0" to "Label:1" in /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf so that pdf print jobs don't overwrite each other, but still want a cmd line install of firefox extensions like noscript and ghostery?)

Comment: Re:About time for a Free baseband processor (Score 2) 202

by Safety Cap (#48388761) Attached to: Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

Sure they don't sell bombers and guided missiles, but then if we ever get to that point, there won't be much of a military left for the gov't to use against us, because they are US.

LOL. It is so cute when someone who has never served brings out the "they'll never attack US citizens!!! DERP!" line.

Here's how it goes down. First, the military brass will come up with some disparaging name for the citizens who are the new enemy, just as they did for every other war:

"Haji" is the troops' term of choice for an Iraqi. It's used the way "gook" or "Charlie" was used in Vietnam. "From 'Gook' to 'Raghead'"

Next, the citizens (the bad ones) are depicted as subhuman. (The government will also direct the news to depict the new enemy as dangerous psychopaths, so the average citizen will not join in the revolt.)

Final step: 6-round burst, every time. Change barrels every 10 minutes.

Comment: Re:and for students that don't want to be tracked? (Score 1) 168

by hesiod (#48312625) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Single Sign-On To Link Google Apps and Active Directory?

If a person discusses their own medical history with someone else, HIPAA does not apply. If they talk about it in public and someone overhears it and somehow uses that information, including a marketer, somehow, HIPAA has nothing to do with that.

Now, there may be an expectation of a certain amount of privacy when discussing something over email, but if that information is somehow obtained -- even by a breach of the email servers, and assuming neither server/individual is a hospital/doctor/insurer/etc or an employee of such -- HIPAA does not somehow magically apply. Just because it is medical information, it is not immediately protected by HIPAA.

To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar

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