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Comment [BUZZWORDOFTHEDAY] security system can be hacked (Score 2) 76

It's usually* not [BUZZWORDOFTHEDAY]'s fault, it's usually the fault of incompetent, cheap, or lazy people.

The same thing can happen with yesterday's [BUZZWORDOFTHEDAY] and the same thing will probably happen with tomorrow's [BUZZWORDOFTHEDAY]. Sigh.

*Sometimes it is the fault of [BUZZWORDOFTHEDAY]. In that case, it might actually be "news for nerds," assuming [BUZZWORDOFTHEDAY] is a tech-related buzzword.

Comment obvious and not-so-obvious answers (Score 1) 277

The most obvious are the serial, parallel, and PS2 connectors used for mice, keyboards, printers, and the occasional device that in the past would have used some variant of the RS-232 serial port.

Less obvious is a reduced reliance on video connectors and special-purpose buses like PCMCIA, eSATA, and MIDI.

USB-based cabling has also replaced the old-school "Laplink" cable connectors for connecting two computers directly to each other, although Ethernet and WiFi long ago reduced the need for such connections.

Comment It really depends... (Score 1) 313

On how much time you want to spend maintaining it. I personally don't want to spend any time fiddling with the hardware. I want to pay for somebody to do it for me (i.e. pay for warranty, on-site repair etc.). In any case I'd say buy an entire PC from some manufacturer. I bet the individual parts (mobo/disk etc.) will be of better quality than those you buy retail.

Comment This is a business decision - possibly a fatal one (Score 1) 246

I can't blame the paper for going the cheapest route. I can blame them for believing patently false info fed to them by their content-management software experts and going with what they THINK is the cheapest route.

I assume their goal is to have a non-anonymous content system going forward, keep their existing comments, and keep the "comment history" of non-anonymous commenters intact and so future comments are connected to past ones made by the same person.

I also assume they want to have all of this done by a certain date and under a certain budget.

Given the short time-frame I assume the remaining work, if any, is expected to take less than a few months.

Their options are:

* Stick with their existing configuration (does not meet the criteria above)
* Dump their existing comment system and start over with a brand new one, possibly losing their entire comment history (does not meet the criteria above)
* Dump their existing comment system and NOT replace it (does not meet the criteria above)
* Keep their existing comment system as an archive but not allow any new comments (does not meet the criteria above)
* Pay $BIGBUCKS to "do the impossible" and get a system that can keep historical comments anonymized but give them what they want going forward (likely does not meet the time and budget criteria above, by a longshot)
* Pay $BIGBUCKS in direct, measurable costs of lawsuits and lost customers and $MOREBIGBUCKS in lost goodwill (likely does not meet the budget criteria above, by a longshot)

The question is, which criteria are they willing to sacrifice? If they continue on their current path, they are choosing to sacrifice the "budget" criteria. I hope they have good legal insurance and enough capital to survive the public relations nightmare that lies ahead of them, or they may wind up needing to hire a good bankruptcy lawyer.

Comment Is there a truly similar payment before 8/11/1994? (Score 1) 53

I would love to know the first cryptographically secure e-commerce transaction outside of a testbed environment. If something similar to the August 11, 1994 https: transaction occurred prior to that date, that would be worth contacting the author about. By similar, I mean a transaction in which the buyer used a cryptographically secure method to provide payment information directly to the seller, vs. using a non-secure method like email to provide payment information, using an intermediary like CompuServe or the Post Office ("cash on delivery") to manage the payment, or providing direct payment through some other means such as via telephone-voice-call/dialup-modem-direct-to-the-vendor/dedicated-data-line-direct-to-the-vendor/fax/mail/in-person/etc.

The article includes some important disclaimers not found in the summary:

* The 1971 ARPANET transaction "technically didn't count because money wasn't exchanged online: they only used the network to arrange a meeting place."

* The 1984 Videotext transation didn't count because the customer "paid for them in cash [at the time of delivery]. That's not exactly e-commerce."

Thanks to those who have already pointed out that you could buy things using Compu$erve (sorry, old habit$ die hard), Quantum Link, etc. and even via a telnet server before 1994.

Those mentioning buying things over BBSs (well, most BBSs anyways) and USENET are probably talking about using the network to arrange a purchase, not to actually conduct the purchase.

Comment Re:Let them lease, but not screw with sales (Score 2) 244

I've torn down my S4 completely to replace a shattered screen. For an early large-screen smartphone it is remarkably slim. The new glued-together-to-render-unrepairable model hasn't really saved any space; it is only contributing to the e-waste problem. I hate that we have become such an irresponsible society where everything is becoming disposable.

Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.