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Comment Too Late (Score 1) 192

Like you said, you are already on the list. The only people who are going to bother to generate fake traffic are the same people who want to hide / obfuscate their behavior with said fake traffic.

The only way to do it would be create applications that people can run, and convince enough people to run them. Sort of like SETI @Home or similar. You would want to get people to run the apps on their phones as well.

The only realistic way that I see to do this in the current environment is via some sort of malware. Infect people and take 5% of their bandwidth to generate a whole slew of fake traffic. Even by doing this I do not think that it would take long for the surveillance providers to tune their filters to account for the noise that you were generating.

I hate to be pessimistic, but this battle has already been lost. We are on the other side. The only way to deal with it is to know what your rights are and defend them at all costs. You have to stand up and say, "Yes, I did X. So what? Prosecute me. Put me in front of a jury of my peers and convict me for it."

Comment Re:I call BS. (Score 5, Interesting) 129

This aligns with the one system that I was involved in setting up. A former client of mine was running (and probably still runs as far as I know) a couple of power plants in Central California. The control systems were built by Honeywell. For a small, single turbine plant there were 5 servers. 2 masters, 2 slaves / reporting servers and 1 witness.

Both masters, 1 slave and the witness server were on a private network without internet access. 1 slave was in the DMZ with a uni-directional connection from the secondary master that wrote out reporting data. There was a VPN connection (over satellite because the plants were out in the middle of no where farm country) back to the company's main office. The VPN connected the company office to the DMZ and the reporting server so that people in the main office could see the output of the plant.

Nothing in the setup allowed settings to be changed over the internet. Everything within the plant was run on a dedicated IP network that was air gaped from the internet. The only server that was connected to the firewall was the slave / reporting server. It had 2 NICs. So I suppose in fantasy crazy TV land, someone could have hacked the firewall, hopped into the DMZ, compromised the slave and jumped into the control server where they would have been able to... do nothing, because it was the redundant server that would only have been active if the primary failed.

Keep in mind I set that network up in 2005 for a small, single turbine power plant that generated power by burning green waste (yard trimmings, etc.) I think it is reasonable to assume that 'real' power plants that power thousands of homes and businesses are at least as secure. In my situation, Honeywell told me how to do it. I did not make it up. The vendor had the solution, I was just there to handle the network and VPN.

Comment OMSI had a similar exhibit (Score 1) 61

Back in the late 1980s or maybe early 1990s (I was a kid at the time), OMSI ( had a film that showed a large number of nuclear tests in the Pacific ocean. It was about an hour long and most of it was silent. It was primarily all in black and white. It lacked any sort of narration. It was just bomb after bomb after bomb after bomb...

It would be great to see it again now that I am older and able to appreciate it more.

Comment Re:Antennas (Score 1) 215

This right here. Back in the day, and by that I mean the 1990s, you had a whole channel to yourself when you made a call. At the time, we bitched about call quality and dropped calls, but looking back on it, it was pretty good. The biggest hassle was only getting one side of the conversation. Either you could hear them, or they could hear you. But if you got a good connection, and stayed stationary / on the same cell site, you were good to go. Moving between sites got kind of dicey. Ah, memories... Can you imagine that? Driving down the freeway was like playing Russian Roulette with your phone conversation. You never knew when you were going to hit an over loaded site and lose your call.

Comment DMCA Safe Harbor certified (Score 1) 223

I offer some perspective on how DMCA Safe Harbor is used outside of the ISP realm.

The organization that I work for maintains DMCA Safe Harbor status. We are a legal technology service provider, which in English means that we collect data involved in litigation and process it so that it can be entered into evidence as part of a legal proceeding. We have Safe Harbor protection in case we happen to collect copyrighted media during the course of doing forensics collections on systems that we do not own. In order to maintain our status, we have to take reasonable measures to ensure that we are not facilitating copyright infringement. What that means in practice is the security team monitors the network to make sure that people are not running bitTorrent, hosting FTP sites or otherwise actively sharing copyrighted content.

We have never once been served with a take down notice or had to remove content from our systems.

Regarding the article and the DMCA, it seems to me that all Cox has to do is provide subscriber information. It is up to the content holders to go after the individual infringers and make them remove the content from their systems, one lawsuit at a time. Cox and the ISPs are simply providing transit services. They are not actually hosting the content and do not own the systems hosting the content. While I applaud Cox for trying to shield their customers from frivolous lawsuits, I think they are being stupid here. We all know that the large majority of bitTorrent traffic is piracy. If the pirates are too cheap / stupid to spend $10 a month on a VPN or proxy service to obfuscate their connections, they deserve to go down.

Comment Too Little, Too Late? (Score 1) 320

It is interesting that Anonymous is taking this on at the same time that the group is moving their operations to the dark net.

It all seems all too convenient to the larger narrative that is shaping up around the need to crack down on encryption, Tor and other privacy measures. Here we have Anonymous serving as a tool of the powers that be, driving the "bad guys" to encryption through their vigilantism.

In an effort to do something good, they are inadvertently making things worse.

The fact that anyone serious about their trade craft has already been using encryption and stenography and other means for concealing their communications is not going to affect the narrative fed to the masses by the mainstream media. All they are going to hear is "Terrorists are going dark via encryption." and "If you're not doing anything wrong, you don't need to be using encryption."

Comment Re:How's Irvine, CA? (Score 1) 464

FWIW - I am leaving Irvine and moving to the Pacific Northwest after having grown up in southern California. I recently started a family and have no interest in raising my kids around here.

If you are okay with being house poor, you can probably afford to buy a house in Orange County. If schools are important, you better be willing to spend nearly a million dollars for a track home somewhere in Irvine, or set aside a significant chunk of money for private school tuition. Just took a look at Redfin or Zillow to get some idea of what you are going to have to spend. Where I am looking to move, I can get ~2000 sq/ft (3 bed, 2 bath) on a 5000+ sq/ft lot with good schools for $300-400K. The same in Orange County is going to cost close to $1 million.

The food here is pretty amazing and I am going to miss it. Southern California is an ethnic melting pot and you can get cuisine from all over the world here.

I am also going to miss the car culture. With so much disposable income in the area, and no moisture to destroy them, there are awesome cars all over the

The weather sucks. The temperate climate that I grew up with as a kid is gone. Blame it global warming or whatever, but now it is just hot.. getting hotter, and the humidity is increasing. Plan on having to run the air conditioning for a good portion of the year, even close to the beach. The much hyped "ocean breeze" is non-existent if you are more than half a mile inland. The change in weather is the primary reason that I am leaving. Southern California is a DESERT. There are major drought problems and they are only getting worse. Maybe climate change is going to prove to be a load of crap and I will be wrong, but I cannot imagine anyone with any sort of long term vision making a conscious decision to settle down in a desert that has to import its water to survive.

Ignoring the above, there is a good tech scene here. There are a wide variety of industries represented from straight tech like Google, to health care, to manufacturing, legal, literally any industry that you can think of has some sort of representation in southern California in general, and Orange County specifically.

If I was in my twenties and wanted to live in a house with a couple of guys and just ball out, this is a decent place to do it. There is always something going on. Or if I was still single and could spend half a million dollars on a condo, it might be worth sticking around here. But there are better cities to be single in, like Chicago.

Comment Got Skills? Consult. (Score 1) 177

It seems to me like finding qualified, full time IT talent is next to impossible. There are too many tech jobs that need to be done and not enough people with the skills to do them. Therefore the people who have the skills that companies need turn into consultants and earn considerably more than they would if they were to work in house.

On the other side of the equation, companies do not seem to want to invest in training employees when they can simply outsource the work (and the risk). They hang on their hat on skill / knowledge transfer activities that nearly always fail, to at least come up short. I believe that the best way to truly understand a technology is research, plan and implement it. That way you develop knowledge of the technology and how to overcome the hurdles. When something breaks, you have a better than average chance of knowing where to look and focus troubleshooting efforts first.

What ends up happening is a widening skill gap between consultants and in house talent. The consultants get experience deploying the same technology multiple times, and hopefully get better at it every time around. The in house talent gets stuck supporting something that someone else built, that they do not really understand, and that they only see once in their own environment. That dynamic is often further compounded by the consultants who always get to work with the latest version, versus the in house techs who often times might not even be allowed to perform upgrades out of fear that they will break it. "Too risky, we better get consultants to do that."

Comment Re:Great (Score 3, Informative) 89

Because during peak hours where these batteries are going to be active is when buildings in Orange County have experience the occasional power outages. So reducing their draw during these hours is a benefit to the larger Orange County community.

You are spot on with this. As an employee of a company who is in an Irvine Company building that is going to get these batteries, I can attest to the power outages and mandatory rationing that we are subject to. They are not too invasive and so far have amounted to little more than no building A/C after 5pm. I had to contend with much worse rationing working at a non-profit in downtown LA who had heavily discounted power.

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 1) 394

You've never been on mass transit and been forced to be near people who (1) stink to high heaven, (2) are drunk, or (3) loud and threatening?

I have a story about (1) that beats them all. A four hundred poundish woman who would get on the train, and within seconds of the doors closing, half the car smelt like ass and death. She was always talking to herself, and all you could do is wait it out. She usually only rode for a few stops, but people who knew what was up would get out and switch cars.

Your car might sit in traffic but at least you're not sweating, listening to obnoxious music. etc.

When it comes to cars, having them at work is convenient if you are doing things after work, or sometimes even on the way to it. Working a job where I was going to the same place, at about the same time five days a week, for roughly the same amount of time every day, I did not need a car. And if something were going on, I could catch a ride with friends and still get a later train back home.

I saved SO much money in gas over those couple of years. Was the money saved worth the 'drama' of having to 'endure' mass transit? Hell yeah it was.

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 2) 394

It ain't safe for you to ride the bus through Central LA everyday. Especially not some pasty white dude making 6 figures; you're going to get their attention. You use the past tense; I'm going to guess you didn't really do it for very long. I will say that I've never been to LA; but I did the same thing in Memphis years ago. Only I wasn't a 6 figure eco green hipster, I was actually poor with no car.

You are making some generalizations that while close to true, are exaggerated. I rode the train for three years and stopped doing it because I got a new job, not out of concern for my safety. There were a couple of hectic incidents that could have been dangerous, but they were dangerous for everyone involved and not because I was white.

One incident was where an Eighteen Street gangster got on at one stop and then rode for three stops screaming "Fuck Florencia" at anyone and everyone who was on the train. Luckily for him, nobody from Florencia was on the train.

Another incident involved a situation in Watts where a guy from one gang got on the train and three or four other gangsters were not happy to have him there. Things almost got ugly and it was to the point where I helped a woman get out of the way so that they could settle their beef, but luckily for everyone involved, the train reached the next station and all of the people involved in that situation got off to settle their problems with each other out on the platform.

As for being robbed, the only thing you really stand to lose these days is a wallet with no cash in it because everything is digital, and your cell phone assuming you're the type to live on it. The thing is, the majority of people on the train these days have a smart phone. They do not scream "rob me" like they would have a decade ago.

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 4, Insightful) 394

To offer a single counter point, when I was living in Long Beach, CA and commuting into downtown Los Angeles, I opted to take the blue line instead. It took a little bit longer, but it was worth it for me because my employer subsidized the cost of the ticket as part of a county initiative to reduce traffic congestion.

My options were sit in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour every morning, or kick back on the train and read for about an hour and fifteen minutes. To me, the extra 30 minutes I spent on the train every day was worth not having to sit in traffic and pay for gasoline.

Just an opinion here, but I think that a person has to be a certain kind of sick in the head to actually prefer the "freedom" of sitting in their own car in traffic if given the opportunity take mass transit instead.

I also had co-workers who took Amtrak trains into work from 50+ miles away. Another co-worker of mine rode the bus in.

It has been my experience that in most cases, the challenge of getting people to take mass transit is cultural and based in classicism. I met people who had trouble getting their brains wrapped around the fact that I was making a six figure a year salary, and riding the train through south central Los Angeles. "You have a car, why would you want to subject yourself to that?" was a question that someone once asked me.

Comment Almost 20 years (Score 5, Interesting) 162

I have been earning a paycheck doing IT work since 1996.

The biggest change that I have seen is the need to specialize. When I started, I was able to be a jack of all trades kind of sysadmin.

One of my bosses imparted the following wisdom to me. "To be a good IT professional, you need to understand systems administration, programming and networking." He was not implying that one needed to master all three of them. One just needs to understand enough about all three to be conversant about them with other professionals who might be experts in them.

These days, generalists are looked down upon. There is simply too much to know, and roles / job descriptions are too siloed. People are hired to perform a specific set of tasks or to have proficiency over a small portion of an entire environment. The larger the organization, the more prevalent this becomes.

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