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Comment: Re: Not quite true (Score 1) 307

by Zeinfeld (#48430745) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Whether the term is enforceable or not is debatable and almost certain to be rendered moot. Unlike US Republicans, UK Conservatives do actually believe in the rule of law and honest business practices (sort of). There isn't any party who believes that screwing the consumer is a constitutional right. There will be a bill passed.

A rather more direct question is whether the hotelier was entitled to collect the charge under the credit card agreement. And that is unambiguous, he isn't. A credit card merchant cannot use a charge card to recover a disputed charge. It does not matter what the purported contract term was or if it is enforceable. The credit card agreements are designed to prevent cardholders from dishonest merchants. So the consumer will get their refund and the hotelier will find themselves facing a 30 quid chargeback fee.

The only option for the hotelier to recover would be to take the matter to court. The most he could win is the hundred pounds, if he lost he would likely be out the legal costs which could be a couple of thousand. Small claims courts don't usually award costs but they might well do so in this case. Judges tend to detest bullies.

Comment: Re: Ask the credit card for a refund (Score 1) 307

by Zeinfeld (#48430547) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Its more than that, without regulation you end up with a lemon-law market.

Lots of times the difference between an honest product and a dishonest one only becomes apparent years later. If the product is safety equipment you only find out if the hard hat works when someone drops the brick on your head.

The libertarian theory that self interest will drive people to make honest products has turned out to be utterly false. In fact it turns out to be quite difficult for a company that intends to do the right thing to do so. I once had to get a guy fired after I found he had goosed his response rates for customer support calls by deliberately setting the phone tree up as a maze.

People do all sorts of idiotic short sighted stuff. This hotelier for example got his pants in a twist over a bad review and now he has probably sunk his business completely.

Rational choice is not an empirical fact of human behavior. It is a modelling assumption that tends to give good results in certain cases. But it does not hold for corporations because the interests of the corporation are not identical to those of the employees. All those banks who go belly up because the traders get big rewards for raking in profits and face no consequences for a loss. I don't gamble with my own money but if you want to give me $100,000 to gamble with I am happy to take it to Vegas, find a roulette wheel and let you take 100% of any losses and 90% of any gains.

Comment: Re:Isn't possible (Score 1) 174

by jaredmauch (#48121941) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: VPN Setup To Improve Latency Over Multiple Connections?

This isn't possible, nor should it be.

Actually, I know of some people who have built their own network appliances to perform this task. It's feasible and can work but requires encapsulate and decapsulation on each end. You can MSS clamp for TCP and timestamp/reassemble the UDP frames. Not impossible, but certainly requires effort. The people I know who did this was for redundancy between DSL + Business DOCSIS services so they would get the fastest performance of each direction from their links with redundancy should one fail.

IT

Ask Slashdot: An Accurate Broadband Speed Test? 294

Posted by timothy
from the works-fine-from-our-end-sir dept.
First time accepted submitter kyrcant writes Is there a way to accurately really test my "broadband" connection? I don't trust the usual sites, the first ones I found via Google. I suspect (and found) that at least some of them are directly affiliated with ISPs, and I further suspect that traffic to those addresses is probably prioritized, so people will think they're getting a good deal. The speeds I experience are much, much slower than the speed tests show I'm capable of. For a while I thought it might be the sites themselves, but they load faster on my T-Mobile HTC One via 4G than on my laptop via WiFi through a cable modem connection. Is there a speed test site that has a variable or untraceable IP address, so that the traffic can't be prioritized by my ISP (call them "ConCazt")? If not, which sites are not in any way affiliated with ISPs? Is there a way to test it using YouTube or downloading a set file which can be compared to other users' results?
Medicine

Ebola Has Made It To the United States 475

Posted by Soulskill
from the cdc-recommends-chaos-and-panic dept.
An anonymous reader sends news that the CDC has confirmed the first case of Ebola diagnosed on U.S. soil. An unnamed patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas was placed in isolation while awaiting test results for the dreaded virus. Apparently, the patient had traveled recently to a West African country, where the disease is spreading, and later developed symptoms that suggested Ebola. A blood specimen from the patient was sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, a testing process that can take 24 to 48 hours to confirm an Ebola infection — or not. The results came back about 3:32 p.m. In other Ebola news, outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal appear to be completely contained.
Networking

Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities? 238

Posted by timothy
from the thick-pipes-and-sturdy-valves dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I currently connect to the internet via a standard router, but I'm looking at bulking up security. Could people provide their experiences with setting up a dedicated firewall machine with VPN capabilities? I am a novice at Linux/BSD, so would appreciate pointers at solutions that require relatively little tweaking. Hardware-wise, I have built PC's, so I'm comfortable with sourcing components and assembling into a case. The setup would reside in my living room, so a quiet solution is required. The firewall would handle home browsing and torrenting traffic. Some of the questions knocking around in my head: 1. Pros and cons of buying an off-the-shelf solution versus building a quiet PC-based solution? 2. Software- versus hardware-based encryption — pros and cons? 3. What are minimum requirements to run a VPN? 4. Which OS to go for? 5. What other security software should I include for maximum protection? I am thinking of anti-virus solutions."
Security

Akamai Warns: Linux Systems Infiltrated and Controlled In a DDoS Botnet 230

Posted by timothy
from the strutting-around-like-they-own-the-place dept.
An anonymous reader writes Akamai Technologies is alerting enterprises to a high-risk threat of IptabLes and IptabLex infections on Linux systems. Malicious actors may use infected Linux systems to launch DDoS attacks against the entertainment industry and other verticals. The mass infestation of IptabLes and IptabLex seems to have been driven by a large number of Linux-based web servers being compromised, mainly by exploits of Apache Struts, Tomcat and Elasticsearch vulnerabilities. Attackers have used the Linux vulnerabilities on unmaintained servers to gain access, escalate privileges to allow remote control of the machine, and then drop malicious code into the system and run it. As a result, a system could then be controlled remotely as part of a DDoS botnet. The full advisory is available for download only with registration, but the (Akamai-owned) Prolexic page to do so is quite detailed.
The Internet

Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion 210

Posted by timothy
from the please-open-the-porthole-a-bit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Level 3, an internet transit provider, claimed in a recent blog post that six ISPs that it regularly does business with have refused to de-congest most of their interconnect ports. 'Congestion that is permanent, has been in place for well over a year and where our peer refuses to augment capacity.' Five of the six ISPs that Level 3 refers to are in the U.S., and one is in Europe. Not surprisingly, 'the companies with the congested peering interconnects also happen to rank dead last in customer satisfaction across all industries in the U.S. Not only dead last, but by a massive statistical margin of almost three standard deviations.' Ars Technica reports that ISPs have also demanded that transit providers like Level 3 pay for access to their networks in the same manner as fringe service providers like Netflix."

Comment: last mile access (Score 1) 135

by jaredmauch (#46867007) Attached to: Netflix Confirms Deal For Access To Verizon's Network

Now is the time if you care to have everyone you know stand-up for *decreased* regulation in the last mile and locally, not more. The cost of building high speed access to your location is not in the long-haul but the local access network. Long-haul costs are at their lowest point ever, but getting to the major locations is always the expensive part. Labor costs, including engineering and permits make the cost of installing fiber or other technology insignificant.

Comment: Re:Build refineries in ND (Score 1) 206

by Zeinfeld (#46802907) Attached to: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

There is plenty of capacity in St Louis and room to build more.

The cost of the pipeline is much more than the cost of a refinery. The 'surplus capacity' claim is total nonsense. The tar sludge isn't anything like the crude that the existing refineries process. There would have to be major upgrades in any case. And building a two thousand mile pipeline costs a heck of a lot more than any refinery would.

Comment: Re:after november... (Score 1) 206

by Zeinfeld (#46802895) Attached to: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

The decision was made years ago: No pipeline.

Not announcing the decision stops the Koch bros and the Keystone corp from starting their appeal. Its like an administrative filibuster.

There is already a pipeline that runs to St Louis, the only reason to build the second pipeline is to sell the sludge to China. Having that option available will allow the price to be jacked up when the sludge is sold to the US market as it will fetch the international price which is a lot higher than the refiners currently pay in St Louis.

There is absolutely no reason for the US to OK a pipeline that will increase the cost of supply to the US market. The only reason the GOP backs the pipeline is that the Koch bros stand to make $100 billion from the increase in the value of their shale tar sands.

It is a purely tactical decision because nobody outside the GOP wants the pipeline built. Everyone who wants the pipeline will vote GOP in November whatever the decision. Obama could make a short term political gain by announcing that there will be no pipeline but that would allow the appeals to start. Better for the country to wait until there have been some GOP deaths on the SCOTUS.

Comment: Re:Control vs. Prosperity (Score 2) 119

by Zeinfeld (#46241413) Attached to: A Strategy For Attaining Cuban Internet Connectivity

What I find problematic with that mode of argument is that it tends to turn McCarthyite very quickly. Castro attempted to cut a deal with the US before going to the Soviets, he is rather less committed to communism than either his supporters or his opponents believe. He also gave the CIA the location of Che Guavera when he decided he was a liability. So there has been a basis for cooperation for a long time.

The list of crimes committed by US Presidents panicking about communism is very long. Snuffing out a democracy in Iran to replace it with a bloodthirsty dictator, supporting the Khumer Rouge after Vietnam ejected them, installing Pinochet, a mass murderer in Chile. George W Bush just managed to cause the deaths of a half million Iraqis and wonders why he isn't being praised for his efforts.

The problem isn't capitalism of communism, the problem is authoritarianism and elites who believe that brute force is the solution to every problem. Castro is a thug and a murderer but its the US who set up a torture chamber in Cuba.

Since the US government has been spending a large amount of money to get the Internet into Cuba, giving them a pipe and letting them rip with it seems like the best way forward. They will try to control it but everyone knows that Cuba is going to liberalize in the near future.

The logical way forward would be for the US to lift the blockade and let the commerce flood in. The communist system would collapse pretty quickly when there was money to be made. But the problem is that there is a faction that is less interested in bringing democracy to cuba as returning their assets that were nationalized. Since they stole the assets under the corrupt Batista regime, there aren't going to be many interested in that happening.

Comment: Re:Tor (Score 1) 83

by Zeinfeld (#46239485) Attached to: Utopia, Silk Road's Latest Replacement, Only Lasted Nine Days

The Dutch government is very clear about not being a haven for drug dealers shipping to other countries. Unlike the US police, they don't spend time going after domestic pushers or users. But anyone who is shipping through the Netherlands to another country is in for serious grief.

>Hmm... perhaps their mistake was even dumber than simply believing tor is magic.

Magical thinking is very common in security. Lots of people think BitCoin is anonymous despite the fact the transaction log is public.

Call Tor services 'hidden' and some people think that means the NSA and GCHQ can't find them. Call them the 'dark Web' and they think its protected by Professor Dumbledore himself.

Comment: Re:The Surprised Dutch Prosecutor (Score 1) 83

by Zeinfeld (#46237363) Attached to: Utopia, Silk Road's Latest Replacement, Only Lasted Nine Days

No, Tor is not compromised. Tor isn't really designed to protect the privacy of Web Sites. Tor is designed to protect the privacy of Web Site users.

If you have a server that is visible to any client on the Tor network then either the server IP itself must be visible to an exit node put up by Law Enforcement or an intermediary node that is directly conspiring with the server has to be visible to law enforcement.

That is just a basic limitation of onion routing. A client can hide because it gets to choose the entry node. A server can't hide because anyone can set up an exit node.

This illustrates one of the big problems with computer security, people want to believe that security claims are true so they tend to be very gullible. They often rely on claims being made about a product by people talking about it on Web sites rather than the people who built it. And note I said 'rely'. Taking note of someone saying 'steer clear, this is why' on a Web site is very different to following the advice of people playing the pied piper.

There are lots of people who are convinced that Bitcoin is anonymous. This despite the fact that every transaction is public and every wallet tracks every one of them. The BitCoin people don't like hearing that their scheme might not be the future of currency or that it really isn't very different from e-Gold or GoldAge or Liberty Reserve which the FBI had no trouble rolling up. Take a look at the comments on my Bitcoin podcast, not a single substantive comment from a BitCoin supporter. Just a regurgitation of the ideology as fact:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

I think this is coming close to the endgame for BitCoin. The FBI might be nervous about the influence that the Winkelvoss twins and other rich supporters of BitCoin might be able to buy (but Senators probably don't take bribes/campaign contributions in Bitcoin). So the logical tactic to make them radioactive would be to arrest them too.

Funny how an ideology that holds the government is an oppressive freedom destroying force can be self-fulfilling. But Bitcoin can't possibly survive when LE believes that the vast majority of Bitcoin transactions involve drugs or kiddie porn or gambling. And I see no evidence to the contrary.

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond

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