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Comment: CloudFlare is a nightmare for anonymity (Score 5, Interesting) 66

by Rosco P. Coltrane (#48024985) Attached to: CloudFlare Announces Free SSL Support For All Customers

A surprising number of sites use CloudFlare. The trouble with CloudFlare is, if you want to stay anonymous on the internet using Tor, you're SOL, as they serve you captchas every 3 pages when they see a connection coming from a Tor exit node.

So essentially, if you're a Tor user, CloudFlare:

- Renders a sizeable portion of the internet unusuable for you
- Makes money on your back by making you solve captcha, and turning you into a human OCR.

CloudFlare and Google (which also serve captchas to Tor users, only fewer exit nodes are concerned) are quickly making Tor unusable, which must make the NSA wet their pants.

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 1) 179

by kurisuto (#47998549) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Reporting Still Relevant?

I do think I know more about technology than management does. Management knows more than I do about how to run a business. Neither one of us has the entire picture. We have to inform each other as well as we can, so that our business decisions reflect good judgment across all of our areas of expertise.

Sometimes we have to explain things to each other, and sometimes those explanations need to go into depth. Some of my best moments in business have been when someone went to the whiteboard and effectively taught a little class.

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 4, Insightful) 179

by kurisuto (#47995473) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Reporting Still Relevant?

There is a reason why management is asking for it.

The reason might be one of these two:

1. Management knows what they're talking about: there's some valid business reason why the information needs to be in the requested form; and the tech guy just isn't aware of that reason.

2. Management thinks they know what they want, but their request reflects an incomplete understanding as to what technical solutions are possible, and which one would really best serve the business.

I encounter both situations regularly. Sometimes I investigate and find out that management really does have good reasons. Sometimes I conclude that I'm dealing with case #2 above. It's not that I think management is stupid; it's just that their expertise is in a different area from mine. I often try to educate, depending on how important I think the issue is. Fairly often, my effort succeeds: managers generally want to do right for the business; they understand that the tech guy knows things and is worth listening to; and sometimes they agree that my proposal is better.

However, of course the effort doesn't always succeed. Unless you're writing software on your own without having to please clients or management (e.g. as a hobby, or in an academic setting), it's just a part of life as a paid tech guy that you sometimes have to implement decisions which were made without the benefit of as much tech expertise as you have yourself.

Comment: Re:I just want the new Nexus. (Score 1) 222

There are three professions where being untruthful is the key to success: Lawyers, salespeople, and marketing. All three are hired to portray their client in the most favorable light possible, and the very best ones lie through their teeth. The worst of these three are the marketers because they have legions of psychologists and scientists trying to figure out the best way to lie to people.

Yes! You're both presenting a perfectly defensible argument against marketing and reinforcing my original point! Because geeks tend to abhor marketing, we dismiss its significance, and are perennially gobsmacked as to why an intrinsically emotional, manipulatable species is so susceptible to emotional manipulation.

So long as humanity is what it is, reason will only ever get you so far. You either need to blow the doors off with a staggeringly amazing thing, or come to terms with the fact that every single entity who might care about your thing has feelings, and bending those feelings in your favor can work wonders.

It's not all bad, though; emotional manipulation works under much the same constraints. Unless you're a Level 80 Snake Oil Salesman with a hat full of luck, you're going to have a very hard time making your thing last if it doesn't live up to the hype--and your reputation will suffer for it.

Comment: Re:I just want the new Nexus. (Score 5, Insightful) 222

The only real feature of note was Apple Pay, which might finally make NFC payments take off in the US. It's been a technology that should have hit it big a couple of years ago, but has never seen much consumer buy-in for some reason.

It's pretty straightforward, to my mind. With the exception of all but the most staggering technological advancements, widespread adoption of new technology typically requires:

  1. a sound implementation,
  2. a robust support infrastructure, and
  3. an effective marketing campaign.

Geeks, for a variety of reasons, tend to respect the first, grok the second, and abhor the third. I personally believe it's what drives our perpetual cycle of incredulity on this subject--because we so detest the last part of this equation, we refuse to see its importance in getting all those squishy, distracted, emotional bags of water to adopt cool new stuff.

NFC has never had the effective marketing campaign in the US, and only kinda had the support infrastructure. The iPhone has incredible inertia on the marketing front, and Apple have clearly done the legwork on building a good starting lineup of financial institutions and retailers for Apple Pay. It remains to be seen whether this'll be sufficient to make NFC catch on, but it's easily the closest we've come to covering all three of the bases above.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 540

by Rosco P. Coltrane (#47879065) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Cuban cigar smokers in the US don't have a PAC to push through changes. They're just not a big enough special interest group.

Rich people can get Cuban cigars without any problem whatsoever, embargo or not. Hell, JFK smoked Havanas during the Cuban missile crisis.

Normal rules and laws don't apply to the one percentile...

Comment: Re:How? (Score 0, Flamebait) 364

by Rosco P. Coltrane (#47870719) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

How to distinguish whether the phone user is driving a car or riding a bus?

At least you can exclude all iPhone owners from that particular test: people who can afford Apple products are so not riding busses... Or if they do, they probably know better than to whip out a multi-hundred-dollar device begging to be stolen onboard the bus.

Comment: Re:difference between driver and passenger? (Score 5, Interesting) 364

by Rosco P. Coltrane (#47870661) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

I suppose the same way PawSense detects whether a cat or a human is using the device: when you text and drive, you have a funny way of using the device - because you're constantly switching between texting, putting down the device and driving, picking it back up after 10 seconds, and doing that over and over, as opposed to a human that's fully committed to the task of inputting text.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken