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Comment Re:What is wrong with you people? (Score 1) 464

I agree the majority of the coverage and comments don't get it. I think there is a sense that we want to respect his family's wishes for privacy and not make this into a CNN parade. I think people feel that tributes to his legacy are more fitting to remembering him than a media treatment. At the same time, I think there is an unresolved question around police brutality which needs to be answered. Someone in the know should say something to confirm what was happening in his life. I can imagine many things which may have contributed to his mental state spiralling down, but I don't know if any of the possibilities are likely. A person might say he did some stupid things, but if you look at it another way, the first responders only helped the people who complained of noises, they did not help the person who was at the source of the issue. Did he need counselling, did he need detox, did he need to talk to a friend, did he have any friends he could rely on? If I had a personal issue, I would not take it to twitter, but to family or friends. Around Christmas, many people suffer from loneliness. Maybe this, family matters, other issues, piled up? Hard to know when no one is talking about it.

Comment OK then, why was Watergate wrong? (Score 2) 395

The thing that pisses me off about the view of "I've got nothing to hide, spy away", is that it isn't about you, or me. The problem with domestic spying is that it provides a secret police tool to whomever is in power at the moment. Watergate was wrong legally, and also violated our sense of fair election practices. People knew there was a principle close to democracy which was being violated by Richard Nixon and his pals when they intended to secretly tape record a meeting of Democrats. Any secret spy apparatus can be abused by someone in power to remain in power. Just imagine if the opposition's moves, information and political strategy are always known to the group in power. It provides a huge strategic advantage to the group having access to this information. By the very nature of the spy activity, the use of it for political advantage never need be reported. There are two pillars to a free and democratic society. One is the freedom to vote based on your views. The other is the fairness of the political system, which includes open access to media, no tampering with the vote, etc. The spy powers in the hand of one ruling party destroys the fairness of the political system.

Comment Facebook is still acting like a cop (Score 1) 114

Regardless of the tweaks, facebook is still asking for government ID to be sent to them, which will link the pseudonym to a real person in a way that only the police could be interested in. Outside of financial transactions, I have no other online services which require such a thing. On slashdot, web forums, CB radio, or G+, I can be any handle. For this reason, I continue to ban Facebook from my online activities.

Comment Nothing has stopped or stablized (Score 3, Interesting) 145

The concept is false. Things have changed in how they break and what we are concerned about on a daily basis. 10 years ago I didn't have compromised accounts to worry about every day. But I did spend more time dealing with hard drive failure and recovery. We are still busy with new problems and can't just walk off and let the systems handle it.

If you believe IT is like running your Android device, then yes, there is little to be done other than pick your apps and click away. If you have some security awareness you would know there is much going on to be concerned about. When the maker of a leading anti-virus product declares AV detection is dead, it is time to be proactive looking at the problem. Too many IT folk believe if there is malware it will announce itself. Good luck with that assumption.

Comment Can one not doubt? (Score 1) 600

Why is there such a need to shame people when it comes to whether there is total belief in everything produced under the title of "science"?

A lot of what has been stated from science in the past was wrong. Not all genetic characteristics are Mendelian, for example.

I read a story recently where the characters on cereal boxes were said to be looking down at the children in the grocery store aisle.


Try this yourself. Take a cereal box and hold it up high. The Trix rabbit will never be looking down at you, because it is a 2D picture. Science can be downright flawed and stupid.

I do agree with the practice of using dead material for vaccine. However I question the use of adjuvants. Many things have been introduced to us in the past which were said to be safe and later the scientists flip flop. Who else flip flops? Politicians! Maybe this is the issue: politics within science are causing science to promote one view and quash any dissenters. There is also the corporate line. Who makes and tests the vaccine? Do I trust corporations to look out for me? No. If you say yes to that question, you must be young and naive. I can tell you that within a corporation, there is no freedom to exercise one's opinion. So you a reliant on the opinion of whoever is boss. Are all of your bosses right all the time? What kinds of people tend to become bosses? Yes people, not critical thinkers. Therein lies the flaw.

As for the big bang... What difference does it make if I agree with that or believe in a steady state universe or whatever? Anything that insists on 100% conformity is a cult. So I question why is there a hunt down on those who disagree with the big bang? If big bang is truly science, has it been replicated in a study using the scientific method? No, it is just a conjecture. Like the way Nietzsche conjectured the reabsorption of semen into the blood with monks makes them strong.

I think this is great that people are not ready to accept everything that is supposed to be true to the mainstream view of science. Anyone who believes science is always right has just found a belief system to replace the religion they said they could do without.

Comment What if the other 20% is where learning happens? (Score 1) 133

Is the goal to allow the student to get right answer, or to allow them to learn?

This is so stupid. The thinking expressed here isn't about the student, but all about the success of the brainwave machine. Stop making our world into a 1984 hell with the the invention's success defining our paths forward rather then the wholistic view on what is happening and whether this really helps or not.

For what I'd expect, the cases where they get the answer right are of no value to learning, but the cases they cannot solve are the ones where learning happens!

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 582

That's why you need the magic words: "I'll do it for free". Otherwise the enchantment doesn't work.

I wouldn't give over this power even if they paid to do it. Free means nothing when you are talking about power and control being lost. People are not as naive as they are in movies. You might be able to volunteer at a radio station or something, but not network and systems administration.

Comment How far our signals have travelled (Score 1) 90

First, to share the link that was going around on google+. Here is a shot of a galaxy similar to our own with a yellow dot to show how far radio waves would travel out from the center of the yellow dot in 200 light years.

From this you can see our efforts are puny.

The Arecibo message is now revealed to be a complete joke. It was aimed at a cluster 25,000 ly away which will be in a different place by the time our carefully crafted bitmap arrives from 1974, and of course it would take 50,000 years for any reply to come from that message if it had been aimed properly. I feel the current SETI efforts are in the same minor league of effort as this.

The other thought I have, to expand on another made here about use of light... What about these gamma ray bursts which arrive here once in awhile and show enormous releases of energy? Has anyone considered that they could be the equivalent of flashing a light in your eyes to see if you are paying attention? We don't have the means to produce such a burst of energy, and so it was assumed this must be a natural event. But we are thinking of our technology and our scale of capability. It doesn't mean there isn't another being capable of massive energy releases like this, to act as a lighthouse beam of sorts

Comment Position dedundancy? (Score 1) 290

I'm surprised your employer and boss allowed this to happen.

Have you ever gone on vacation for 2 weeks? How did they cope? Just stop everything?

Many large institutions adopt practices to ensure they don't run into bad situations like one person who knows everything in his head and then leaves. Just having a second person trained (often cross over training) along with some notes helps cover the basis. Ideally, one would document everything, but you should be able to assume some knowledge of anyone taking over a sysadmin position, or at least rely on generic information common to all usage guiding them along.

It should be part of your tasks to document the practices you keep, and methods used to keep things going, or update apps and services. If you are not somehow sharing this information and only keeping it to yourself, then you are not doing the job properly. Any job in IT should be done with some bare minimum of docs on how things are set up. Even for your own use in the case someone asks for something you have not had to touch in 2 years.

You are asking a question you should have asked on day 1 of your Admin job. It should carry over to your Network Admin job or your employer will face the same issue there when you leave, which will certainly happen some day, one way or another.

Comment Really? (Score 1) 582

In all Universities there is an "Inner Circle" formed by network admins, who are impervious to proxy filtering.

The incantation to enter that select group is:

"Hey, I'd like to help with the university network maintenance. Can I do it as a practice? I'll do it for free."

This psalm recited to the right university demon will get you access to the University's network system. With luck, in 1 or 2 months you will have the relevant network keys/info. Probably you will have the rights to whitelist the pages you want.

Then move out of there.

This is a position of power and trust. It isn't given to volunteers. That would be like volunteering to look after the SWAT teams guns, or volunteering to clean the bank vaults. You must have watched a lot of Commando Cody or something as a kid.

Comment Push for academic freedom (Score 1) 582

I work in IT at a Canadian University. In our case, there is no requirement to go through a proxy server. It isn't necessary, although it is a strong solution to prevent running of web sites and bots on student, staff and faculty desktops.

In University, faculty have clout. Talk to them. Get an informed opinion together and make a dialogue happen between faculty and IT services. This will likely help, and if it doesn't right away, faculty can push their issue with the senior administration to get things changed, whether that is change of policy or change of the person serving as IT Director/CIO.

Of course the other option, if you are discovering this in your first year, is to switch to a campus with better IT management.

The relationship between the student and the University is much like customer/client combined with hotel guest if they live on campus. The student should be treated like a customer, and pleased whenever possible. However they cannot expect to go beyond being a guest. A guest does not have the privileges of ownership. This is what rock stars have gotten confused when they trash their rooms. Just because you pay for something doesn't make you king of it. A guest remains at the pleasure of the host. If you break the rules of the host, you are not welcome to remain. Thus most IT departments have rules that if repeatedly broken, lead to loss of network access.

Comment Re:4 reasons why people need web enabled phones (Score 1) 851

1. Their boss demands it (in today's economy, a request counts as a demand).

2.They are a single man and want a social life. If you are married/a hermit, then you and your wife/hermit friends can avoid using the maxed out cellphone. But single men need to be able to contact women - HOWEVER the woman want to be contacted. It can be hell trying to call someone at work who wanted you to email her - or text or whatever she wanted. I am a guy so I don't know if women have it a bit easier, but I suspect not. And to check websites for addresses/times/etc.

3. They have children. My sister has one and she uses the web to keep track of her kids. Smart phones help her a lot.

4. You like music and feel no need to carry an ipod if you have a phone. This only works if your music is easily portable to your phone and back.

I am sure there are others, but work, social lives, parenting, and music are all pretty focused on the smart phone now.

I have a dumb pay as you go phone. Costs less than $100 per year. The data plan in my country is about $50 per month. It is too high for me. We do without a cell plan. We do without TV service. We watch netflix, youtube movies and the odd rental. Google news provides superior news to TV. Radio provides superior local news to TV.

If the boss demands a smart phone, let the boss pay for the premium service! I won't even give my boss my cell phone number. It is my airtime.

I can get internet from wireless cafes and such with a regular iPod. Same for listening to music. Costs $0 per month.

The other things you mention can be done with a regular land line phone or a regular cell phone.

Comment No, you've all got it backwards - email gives time (Score 1) 377

Most people here are talking about companies demanding your time and saying the "no email" policy flies in the face of that. You've got it wrong.

Email does not interrupt your lunch, your love life, etc. Phone calls do interrupt your life and take away from personal time.

You can bet anyone shutting down their email over a break *will* be phoning people in place of that. You didn't get more of your life back, you got more of it taken away, and immediately so. With email, one can always respond when there is a better time. That is the great thing about email. Too bad if 11 to 19 year olds don't get email. Since when are they the brains and wisdom? If we were to follow their lead we would assume you can make a living playing WOW or COD. etc.

Comment Re:Solution is simple (Score 1) 397

I don't think "conflict of interest" is taught as a concept in American Universities. At least not as something which is wrong in principle. Look at Wall Street, acting as investors and bankers both (as well as gamblers - derivatives are not based on having a share of any asset like a bond or stock ). Look at Haliburton and the link to Vice President Cheney in Bush years. Completely unthinkable for such things to be allowed in many other developed countries. For example, in most developed nation governments, large procurements must be done with a bidding process, and sometimes are handled by an advisory group at arms length to the politicians.

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Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson