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Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 337

How about adding a simple two-factor authentication? Instead of rejecting the payment outright and freezing the card, text message my phone IMMEDIATELY and I can read a 6 digit code to the cashier to allow the transaction.

My Citi card already does basically this. If they detect a suspect transaction, they text my phone. If I reply "yes", it goes through, if not, the transaction gets declined.

Comment Re:The Talos Principle (Score 3, Informative) 52

For several years, the U.S. Special Operations Command has been working on a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or "TALOS,"

"Talos"? Now the SOC is just trolling us.

Talos in Greek mythology was an animated bronze colossus who was charged with guarding Europa, so it seems appropriate in this context. You see it pop up a lot in fiction and when naming programs that deal with anthropomorphic robots, particularly military ones.

Comment Re:How long will the company stay up? (Score 4, Insightful) 494

At some point you just bankrupt the company, which is stupid, it'll put millions of people out of work, destroy a lot of wealth, and then when it files for bankruptcy, it won't be able to fix the cars in the first place.

Do you want vengeance (against millions of people who didn't do anything), or do you want solutions?

The fines need to cost the company more than they made/saved by implementing this scam OR the people who perpetrated this scam need to be held personally responsible, especially the executives overseeing the operation. Nothing else will deter companies from repeating this kind of behavior. Otherwise they will just make some lowly engineer the scapegoat and write off whatever symbolic fine that gets handed down as the cost of doing business.

Since the higher ups are usually able to use the corporate veil to protect themselves from the latter option, we're left with he former: punitive fines that force shareholders/boards to police themselves.

Comment Re:If you didn't RTFA "Blame Agile"! (Score 1) 618

Even the healthcare software I work on today does not have nearly any requirements on how the software is developed, as long as it performs (or appears to perform) the task contracted to us. Fortunately for our own sanity and quality we do use quite good practices. Even agile development can have good ticket/requirement trails.

I worked on medical information systems for 15 years and we were definitely subject to FDA audit as a "software medical device" and had to abide by their design control process. Every commit that made functional changes had to be tied to a change control ticket. Every ticket had to be traceable to a documented requirement in the SDD. Every requirement had to have test case associated with it that had to be executed for each release.

My understanding as a non-lawyer though is that much of the class 1 software device classification is voluntary. I.e. the FDA doesn't have the resources to police the entire industry, so it depends on the developers voluntary submitting themselves to regulation.

Comment Re:H4xx0ring (Score 3, Informative) 151

Oh, come on, it's easier for young people today to get into the guts of computing than ever before. I remember as a child, the most I could do with my parent's Mac was play with Resedit or create little Forth programs that could hardly interface with the OS. All the cool stuff (C compilers, documentation) was extremely expensive. It was only in the 1990s that, thanks to the convergence of Free Software and x86, a person could get a serious dev environment for cheap. Kids these days can get a Raspberry Pi for cheap, install Linux, and immediately have access to all kinds of ways to tinker -- even quasi-professional documentation like O'Reilly books is free today thanks to torrents.

The 8-bit computers of the early to mid 80s are way simpler to understand and hack on for a kid than an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. When I was 7 there was no way I would have had any grasp on a C compiler. However, booting up my VIC-20 dumped me immediately to a BASIC interpreter where I could immediately begin to mess around. It wasn't very long before I was POKEing values into video memory to create simple animations and games based on program listings in books and magazines. Eventually I was creating my own programs from scratch with not much more than 5 or 6 simple commands and no tool chain to learn.

Modern systems might be far more capable and make it "easier" to create a sophisticated system, but there are many more layers of abstraction between you and the machine and a lot more to learn in order to make it do something useful.

Comment Re:The enabling technology, itself, is ridiculous. (Score 1) 94

AirDrop is only useful when, for whatever reason, you want to share some document of some form with someone you don't know and don't feel like setting up a "proper" channel to. Otherwise there's no reason to use it over email.

It's also useful when you want to share a largish video without down sampling it or going through the rigmarole of syncing the phone and copying the file between PCs. This is literally the only time I've used it: to exchange a video of our daughter with my wife.

Comment Re:all good? (Score 4, Informative) 95

You know the scary thing ... in just how many cities would the board have bought into the FUD, decreed that they can't do something which supports terrorists, and then get duped into saying it should be left off?

You might be surprised in the other direction. Librarians have a pretty strong tradition of standing up to this kind of crap. The ALA has been speaking out against the section 215 of the PATRIOT act (the one used to justify mass metadata collection) since day 1 because it could be used to snoop on people's library records.

Comment Re:domain seizures on suspect? (Score 1) 122

Can the FBI take over a company's retail shops, black out the windows, lock the doors and put up FBI seizure signs over it if they're suspected of criminal activity?

I don't see how that's any different than taking a domain name.

The cops can seize real property (store front), inventory, and assets if a prosecutor can make a convincing case that they are part of an ongoing criminal enterprise: e.g. stolen goods, contraband, part of a money laundering operation. It's somewhat comparable to jailing a suspect prior to trial. You want to halt the suspected criminal activity and make sure the evidence doesn't disappear, so you "arrest" the property.

Once a trial takes place if the business owner is cleared of charges, the property would presumably be restored. Unfortunately by that point htere may not be a business left to restore the property to.

Comment Freenet-- (Score 5, Interesting) 51

This seems an awful lot like the Freenet project, minus attempting to guarantee anonymity or plausible deniability. It is definitely interesting if it takes off as it would be nice to have a global public DHT-based CDN, but seeing that Freenet was around in beta for in the late 90's, this is nothing particularly new.

Comment Re:I'll never understand why we privatize (Score 2) 164

Because cable companies (which became cable ISPs) weren't originally something you could call a public utility. When they started, nobody knew what was the best way to rig up houses, or allocate bandwidth. When they started offering Internet service, that increased the complexity because now each home needed to be able to transmit data back to the cable company. These were all complex problems with a plethora of possible solutions. The "myth of capitalist efficiency" is precisely what filtered out the bad solutions over three decades, leaving only the efficient ones.

Who cares about the cable companies? If we had a public data utility, we'd have just strung fiber everywhere and no one would have had to solve the problem of transmitting upstream over coax. Then those who wanted to continue to be robbed by the cable companies could continue to do so while the rest of us purchased our data services a la carte. Heck, the cable companies could even provide their services over the new infrastructure.

This is what we were supposed to get via our existing common carrier infrastructure if the phone companies hadn't stolen all the money for it. Since private industry has proven itself too inept or crooked to get this done, I think it's high time we take it over as a public works project.

Comment Re:Marketplace Justice (Score 1) 109

They can see and hear a lot of details of activity inside the house, not just the baby. Whatever is in range of the camera and microphone.

Again, what's the threat? It's creepy, yes, but you have to be within about 50' of the house to pick up the baby monitor (maybe a little further with a high gain antenna). That's either in the middle of the street or a neighbor's yard. Someone who is that close can tell if anyone is home anyway. And anyone just loitering outside my home, in my yard, or in a neighbor's yard in the middle of the night is probably going to have some questions to answer before too long.

Random kidnappings, especially ones involving home invasions are so rare they are not worth worrying about. They just get sensationalized to such a degree that people worry about them disproportionally. The chances of it happening to your family specifically are basically 0. Your kid probably has a better chance of getting struck by lightning.

And if someone wants to rob me, well there's not much I can do to prevent that regardless. I have an alarm to deter casual thieves, but locks only keep out honest people. That's what I have insurance for.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"