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Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 3, Insightful) 391

by jeffmeden (#47919959) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

Can you back that up with data?

The best post-undergrad standardized test for critical thinking skills is the LSAT. Looking at the scores broken down by major, more STEM degrees appear in the upper half, but some, like Computer Science, don't fare too well, getting beaten by many non-STEM fields.

Its worth noting that those taking the LSAT fall into the "I want to be a lawyer" category... and then please direct your attention to where "Pre law" is on the list. The scores on this list are from people self-selected for wanting to make the leap from whatever undergrad degree they had, to law school. Pre-law scores are below average because *everyone* who got a Pre Law undergrad now has to go to law school and therefore must take the LSAT. Selection bias is funny like that. Meanwhile, people with other undergrad degrees either have a deep passion/talent for law (providing the inspiration for succeeding on the LSAT) or they simply ignore law school and do whatever else it is they graduated to do.

If you picked people at random (regardless of intention of going to law school) and sat them for the LSAT, you would get useful data. Please only interpret this as tacit disagreement with the premise that your data demonstrates the value non-STEM degrees; I am not trying to comment at all on the actual value of said degrees.

Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 1) 391

by jeffmeden (#47919825) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

Employees with STEM degrees might also believe (incorrectly) that they can do the job without learning anything new, which makes them less useful. Employees without STEM degrees may be less susceptible to this since it's clear to them that they've got a lot to learn.

Not saying this is always the case, but I think it's a factor sometimes.

You mean like the 125 comments so far in this article, from STEM grads insisting that the coursework to earn their degree has prepared them perfectly for any possible situation in the real world? Yeah... about that...

Comment: Re:Uber Fresh? (Score 1) 139

by jeffmeden (#47917429) Attached to: Uber CEO: We'll Run Your Errands

And you trust the cashier making $3 an hour after taxes not to be stealing your controlled substances?

So long as the bags are sealed in the pharmacy and the contents are not noted on the outside, it should be fine.

Should be fine! Because there's no way the security of the stapled paper bag can be subverted (the method pharmacies use to "seal" hand-filled prescriptions). Not to mention the pharmacy won't let your drugs go to someone who doesn't know your DOB.

Great, so let's review: I am giving someone on Uber my DOB, home address, form of payment, telling them what drugs I am on, letting the pharmacy give them random paperwork about me (which might be an insurance form carrying my SSN) AND hoping they dont swap the drugs out for roofies and then come in and steal all my shit while i'm unconscious or simply fill the prescription and tomorrow steal my identity.

Sure, it should be fine, but I think I will trudge to the pharmacy myself, thankyouverymuch.


Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor 418

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-tor-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes Comcast agents have reportedly contacted customers who use Tor and said their service can get terminated if they don't stop using Tor. According to Deep.Dot.Web, one of those calls included a Comcast customer service agent who allegedly called Tor an “illegal service.” The Comcast agent told the customer that such activity is against usage policies. The Comcast agent then allegedly told the customer: "Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules. Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast, have a great day." Update: 09/15 18:38 GMT by S : Comcast has responded, saying they have no policy against Tor and don't care if people use it.

Comment: Re:No comments here yet... (Score 1) 471

by jeffmeden (#47888859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

triage incoming communications

What the fuck is wrong with modern society? You're not a cunting ER nurse. Whatever the hell you have been asked to do is not that urgent, either for you or for your boss (who couldn't give two shits about you, so take your nose out of there). Grow some cojones.

If you ACTUALLY need to answer calls all the time as part of your job, wear a Bluetooth headset. Then you don't have to rush to your 'phone or speak into your fucking wrist, or whatever you're supposed to do. A ringtone/announcement can indicate the origin/importance of the call. Cost of decent headset: starting around $20.

There, I've just saved you however-many-hundreds-I-assume-this-thing-costs. You're welcome.

How else would I keep up with all the "someone just called you a cunt on slashdot" alerts I get on my phone? Oh, just wear a bluetooth headset around all the time? Good way to not look like a complete fucking toolbag! /sarcasm. No thanks, I would rather throw money at the smartwatch company. If you don't want one, don't buy one. However, the absence of a use case isn't a use case for absence. Or, in case you need it in plain fucking English, there's no fucking way you are smart enough to tell everyone else they don't need one.

Comment: Re:Ignorance is self-righteous posturing (Score 2) 536

by jeffmeden (#47882779) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

I am genuinely baffled at how the embargo is supposed to support US policy interests(either idealistic, cynical, or both); but alleged damages that high do seem to suggest that the "It's pointless, they'll just trade with the EU and BRIC and things" theory is limited at best. I honestly would have expected a smaller effect myself. I just can't fathom why anyone thinks it's a worthwhile plan.

At this point the embargo is there solely for the "I'm right as long as I don't admit I was wrong" effect. In that regard, it is highly effective. The other possible explanation is to serve as a warning to others (i.e. nations with resources we might actually want, such as Bolivia, Venezuela, etc) such that they know any further steps toward socialism would lead to economic disaster even worse that what they have already endured.

Comment: Re:It should be (Score 1) 364

by jeffmeden (#47874847) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

I kind of liked the idea of a "smart steering wheel"

If for any reason, the driver takes either of their hands off the wheel, then their paired phone will automatically lock, and they can't place or answer calls when moving,
except by using voice commands and a hands-free device.

What good would this be, why not just use the existing method of locking the phone while it's in motion? Or, do you mean to have a way for all other phones in the vehicle to somehow also pair and abide by the steering wheel hand sensor, thereby allowing passengers to text only when the driver is being "safe"? Why not just have a working phone act as a key to the car, which then becomes locked (presumably its the driver's phone) and therefore who ever isnt the driver has a working phone still? Better yet, have electronic "driving gloves" in the car that are required to have hands firmly in them in order for the engine to run, which will naturally stop the user from being able to operate a touchscreen while driving (unless they have a blackberry or happen to be Bennett Hasselton, two punishments worth more than the crime of texting while driving anyway.)

The unfortunate thing is that drivers have a really endless list of dangerous shit they can do behind the wheel (ghost riding the whip, anyone?) and passengers do, too (watch any given episode of tosh.0 for hints) so bending over backwards to stop serial texters is probably not worth the trouble. Give cops good ways to spot and cite it, let the offenders get penalized, and if they dont stop then take their license away. Pretty simple, really. Alcohol, at least, has a chemically addictive component that isn't easily forsaken which calls for more specific punishment to encourage rehabilitation. Texting and driving is perhaps only rehabilitated if you take away the offender's friends.

Comment: Re:No comments here yet... (Score 3, Insightful) 471

by jeffmeden (#47872477) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

LOL, true. We were talking about this at work. I'm far from an Apple hater. I bought a first-gen iPod and loved it, along with some later generations. I've had two iPhones (though now am on my second Android). I'm on my 4th Mac. I have Kindle tablets but admit that the iPad is a very nice machine.

With that said, it is hard for me to imagine why I would want - price aside - another device on my wrist that does a subset of the thing in my pocket. If the watch were useful away from the phone, I could see some applications. But as is? The uses are contrived and niche.

If you're like a lot of people, you carry a backpack/computer case with you on a regular basis. Keeping your phone safely inside that bag for most circumstances would be a benefit, freeing your pockets of the burden. You could still receive/triage incoming communications while the phone was tucked away. "Nearby" for a well designed bluetooth transceiver is 30-45 feet which is enough to keep you from having to unsheathe your phone in most circumstances. If you're worried about EIRP from carrying a phone on your body, this is a clear win for the smartwatch (assuming the watch is good about TX power management).

Comment: The war hasn't started (Score 3, Interesting) 471

by jeffmeden (#47872231) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

Not until the health/life insurance companies start offering incentives to wear and heed a smartwatch's fitness advice. Given the recent findings correlating sitting for extended periods with poor health outcomes (even for those that exercise and have an otherwise "fit" life) , a smartwatch that guided the user to the right level of daily activity could significantly reduce their risk of many chronic diseases later in life and thereby reduce the cost profile for insurers.

Comment: Re:It should be (Score 5, Interesting) 364

by jeffmeden (#47871115) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

Ironically, if you do text and drive, you are likely to become disabled.

How any automated system will know if the phone is used by driver vs passenger is a challenge, I imagine.

They are OK with ignition interlocks that could easily be defeated if a non-inebriated passenger were to provide the breath for analysis. The idea is to put a barrier in front of a known offender, not to properly filter the actions of would-be offenders. One would think that this sort of reform/punishment would be offered in lieu of alternatives (i.e. you can get your license back in half the time, if you agree to have your phone locked/monitored) such that you can opt out, if you want to receive the normal punishment.

Comment: Re:One simple question I wish were answered... (Score 1) 75

by jeffmeden (#47865189) Attached to: Book Review: Architecting the Cloud

I don't know a single cloud provider that would provide that contract. In other lines of work, there would be a third party escrow company. However, with a cloud provider, since decryption would be needed, the only way to provide any assurance is to have some backend appliances that do encryption and are rented, with a paid deposit that once the rental ceases, all keys are wiped. That way, a bankrupt provider would have all their servers sold, but the encryption appliances would be owned by another party. Of course, this may not mean much as it might be a fight wresting the leased items from the bankruptcy trustee, but in theory, it helps put at least a layer in place of protection.

However, I don't know any cloud provider who would spend the time and effort to do this, just because the current system of assuring people that "passwords", "encryption", and "firewalls" is good enough.

If you don't care that the data is "gone for good" then a split encryption system is not needed, just a thorough erasure system (which is where an escrowed sum comes into play, to cover the cost of a third party service performing on-site wiping of all hard drives with customer data in the event of bankruptcy). I also do not know of a single cloud provider that does this today, the cost difference at scale of a cloud solution vs a managed hosting solution is not that great, so a company with truly invaluable data will choose the latter and retain all control. Hopefully one or more all-cloud platforms will come forward with solutions like this in the future.

Comment: Re:I really don't my vital body parts to be on wif (Score 1) 183

by jeffmeden (#47863697) Attached to: In France, a Second Patient Receives Permanent Artificial Heart

Then how exactly you want to control it? Artificial heart won't speed up/slow down automatically in response to oxygen needs of your body because it is not controlled by nervous system. Maybe you want wired connection with plug embedded between your ribs? I don't understand why 'wifi' means 'unsecured/unauthenticated wifi' to you.

It seems that considering all the other hurdles, an internal pulse-oximeter and manometer would be an easy feature to build in. No doubt it will have some sort of feedback loop with the body, but perform better when a profile is loaded knowing what to expect (say, extended running vs extended sitting around). To your point about security, the real problem isn't that it is well designed today, but is it considered well designed still in ten years? Wifi protocols have a pretty serious history of security-breaking vulnerabilities discovered after only a few years of use (see WEP and WPA first gen) so it would be good to know that a new organ won't be obsoleted in 10 years and need replaced else it become a security risk.

Comment: Re:One simple question I wish were answered... (Score 2) 75

by jeffmeden (#47855765) Attached to: Book Review: Architecting the Cloud

How would a cloud provider assure customers that their data will remain secure if they go bankrupt or just quit the business?

As of now, if a provider tanks, the servers go to the auction house, and in theory, are blanked. However, in reality, there is no assurance of that, and the buyer will get all data stored free and clear. If they wanted to do a multi-terabyte torrent of a failed bank's account and transaction data, they can, and nothing legally could stop them.

Like, a contract to escrow the cost of the wiping and/or returning of all relevant hardware to the original owner? There are plenty of precedents in contract law to mitigate risk in the case of bankruptcy. Just because you can't think of them doesn't mean they aren't there.

Comment: Re:NSA leaks Tor's bugs (Score 2) 142

by jeffmeden (#47852553) Attached to: Feds Say NSA "Bogeyman" Did Not Find Silk Road's Servers

Recently there was this story about NSA guys leaking Tor bugs to devs and suggesting changes to "improve" Tor's design:

I vividly remember that Snowden's documents said that NSA tries to influence Tor's design, being unable to actually break it. This might be a way of doing it: they pretend to be "good guys" and suggest changes that, while removing purely theoretical vulnerabilities, actually open the doors to more serious ones.

I hope Tor developers aren't so foolish to follow those "suggestions".

Of course they aren't documenting their ability to subvert anonymity on Tor. It is probably the most powerful weapon an intelligence agency can wield right now. The rather simple (but un-falsifiable) fact is that with enough relay and exit nodes owned by one entity (and ownership is deliberately un-attributable) you can pretty effectively de-anonymize it by attrition (there are a few protocol weaknesses too, that allow you to leverage a lot of hosts). The only clue an outside observer might have that it is happening is inorganic changes in the network layout (i.e. a lot of nodes going online or offline) signalling a large single controller is at work. Luckily, at least this avenue is covered and you can see via the Tor Metrics portal what is going on across the network, and infer occasional events (like the de-anonymizing attack this past spring).

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.