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At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert 241

Posted by samzenpus
from the secret-coffee dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this interesting story about what it's like to work at “Store Number 1,” the CIA's Starbucks. The new supervisor thought his idea was innocent enough. He wanted the baristas to write the names of customers on their cups to speed up lines and ease confusion, just like other Starbucks do around the world. But these aren't just any customers. They are regulars at the CIA Starbucks. "They could use the alias 'Polly-O string cheese' for all I care," said a food services supervisor at the Central Intelligence Agency, asking that his identity remain unpublished for security reasons. "But giving any name at all was making people — you know, the undercover agents — feel very uncomfortable. It just didn't work for this location."

Comment: Re:HTC One (M8) (Score 1) 299

by JackAxe (#48009977) Attached to: Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed
I don't know why I'm responding to an AC that is in absolute denial and would like to blindly insult others, but this video disproves your claims:

The HTC One M8 does bend a bit, but does not break, where as an iPhone 6+ breaks and warps under less pressure.

Here's the iPhone 6+ bending under little pressure.

Comment: Re:Someone's going to complain (Score 2) 208

by aardvarkjoe (#47998547) Attached to: Drones Reveal Widespread Tax Evasion In Argentina

In the case of Argentina it sounds like they're flat out lazy. How can you not see a house built on a lot that was supposedly vacant? You have to plat the lot, take out permits presumably and then have inspections. Maybe in Argentina they don't have building codes? I doubt that but somebody isn't doing their job.

In the case of Argentina, they're not using Google Maps (etc.) They're going out and taking pictures of the property, getting timely evidence. That's what the whole article is about -- them using drones to do their job.

Lazy is when now during re-appraisals (which we go through annually here) means that they have to have an up to date photo of the property to assess "condition" We caught them last year using a 6 year old Google Street View image. That's lazy and I already pay well enough for these morons to just drive around and get up to date information, it's in the tax law for my state and we caught them not doing their job.

If they legally need a photo less than a year old, and they're instead grabbing photos off of Google, then yes, they're using Google inappropriately, and it's fair to call it lazy.

Comment: Re:Opensource remake (Score 2) 87

I took a graduate neural networks class in 2002 and did my implementation in Perl using PDL. The professor desperately pushed matlab on everybody but left us free to choose our own implementation language, and I chose Perl. I felt I understood neural networks pretty well at the end of the project. Twelve years on all I remember are the basic concepts at a high level.

Comment: Re:Someone's going to complain (Score 1) 208

by aardvarkjoe (#47997487) Attached to: Drones Reveal Widespread Tax Evasion In Argentina

Its stale. I've got news for you Google Street View and Satellite images can be years old. If I were relying on it for up to date information then I'd be mistaken. My house on street view was taken in 2010. A lot has changed since then.

How much is that more-up-to-date information worth to you?

Depending on what the government is using it for, using street view or maps images may or may not be effective. A blanket statement characterizing it as "lazy" doesn't make sense until you have determined whether or not the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Comment: Re:"could be worse than Heartbleed" (Score 1) 316

by jdavidb (#47997461) Attached to: Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

any CGI script that at any point invokes a shell or invokes a program that invokes a shell (e.g. using the system call), irrespective of the actual shell command

But it's been well known for more than ten years that you ought not to call system or execute external programs from a CGI program. That's just a bad idea. This exploit is one proof as to why.

Comment: Re:Not Brute Force (Score 5, Informative) 93

by aardvarkjoe (#47989267) Attached to: Apple Allegedly Knew of iCloud Brute-Force Vulnerability Since March

20,000 is not a brute force attack. That will only succeed if your password was 3 characters long.

I find it hard to believe anyone was actually vulnerable to this.

While you're correct that 20,000 attempts is too small to "brute-force" a password (by trying all combinations of characters), it's plenty to do a dictionary attack. If you can try 20,000 popular passwords on a whole bunch of accounts, you'll almost certainly be able to break some of them.

Comment: Re: Trolls are bad people (Score 1) 240

by aardvarkjoe (#47970227) Attached to: Friendly Reminder: Do Not Place Your iPhone In a Microwave

What if I dressed up as a doctor, had an air of gravitas, videoed from what looks like an ivy covered university and gave terrible terrible medical advice about Tylenol maximum dosages?

Not really the same thing, as that could cause death (or death-like symptoms).

Or if I dressed as a garage mechanic used all kinds of mechanical words and gave horrible advice such as sugar in the gas tank eliminates the squeal when you hit the brakes?

This falls under the category of life lesson. Just like the iPhone trick.


Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple 408

Posted by timothy
from the you-just-haven't-earned-it-yet-baby dept. writes Medium reports that although many startups want to design something that mimics the fit and finish of an Apple product, it's a good way to go out of business. "What happened when Apple wanted to CNC machine a million MacBook bodies a year? They bought 10k CNC machines to do it. How about when they wanted to laser drill holes in MacBook Pros for the sleep light but only one company made a machine that could drill those 20 m holes in aluminum? It bought the company that made the machines and took all the inventory. And that time when they needed batteries to fit into a tiny machined housing but no manufacturer was willing to make batteries so thin? Apple made their own battery cells. From scratch." Other things that Apple often does that can cause problems for a startup include white plastic (which is the most difficult color to mold), CNC machining at scale (too expensive), Laser drilled holes (far more difficult than it may seem), molded plastic packaging (recycled cardboard is your friend), and 4-color, double-walled, matte boxes + HD foam inserts (It's not unusual for them to cost upwards of $12/unit at scale. And then they get thrown away.). "If you see a feature on an Apple device you want to copy, try to find it on another company's product. If you do, it's probably okay to design into your product. Otherwise, lower your expectations. I assure you it'll be better for your startup."

This is now. Later is later.