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Comment: Re:At least one thing that makes sense. (Score 1) 115

by nine-times (#49829931) Attached to: Tim Cook: "Weakening Encryption Or Taking It Away Harms Good People"

Like the federal government.

Well I think the idea that "If you have a hole in a system, it will be abused by malicious people" is a big part of the reason I'm uncomfortable with the federal government having access to people's personal info. Yes, there's the whole danger of dictatorship and secret police and bla bla bla. It's a real danger, but it feels far off. Far more immediate is the danger of... just some asshole that works for the NSA or FBI abusing the access. For all the assurances that "we have access to your data, but we promise only to look at it after we get a warrant from a secret court," you know that there's some dude at the NSA looking through email from people he went to high school with, just for kicks. And that's creepy and all, but if that guy is also a bit crazy and malicious, he can do some damage to people's lives.

So ultimately, the danger of the Federal government having access to your data is less that the Federal government is itself dangerous, but having access to private data without sufficient oversight is going to be abused by individuals within the Federal government.

Comment: Re:Nonsene, both of you! (Score 3) 498

The one thing that you two probably agree with, the one thing that polls have shown like 80% if Americans agreeing with, is that the Patriot Act is nonsense and needs to be repealed. Yet, over 99% of the elected representatives seems to want the Patriot Act passed.

What do you imagine this is all about, then? Why do you think there's such a discrepancy?

My running theory is that it has nothing to do with political parties or oppression. The elected officials support the PATRIOT Act because they're cowards. They believe that the American people are stupid and fickle, and that even if 100% strongly support repealing the PATRIOT Act, those same people will still blame their elected politicians for "not doing enough" when the next terrorist attack comes.

And they're right to believe it. There will be another successful terrorist attack. There will. Someday, under some circumstances; it's only a matter of time. And when it happens, no matter what the circumstances are, the general populace will panic, and they'll do all kinds of stupid things. And the funny thing is, you might not realize this unless you really pay attention, but the general populace has no memory. It doesn't matter how much they disapprove of the PATRIOT Act now. As soon as there's a successful terrorist attack and they're scared and confused, they'll be absolutely irate that we aren't spying on more people more often. They won't have any idea why the NSA stopped monitoring all of our phone calls, but they'll be angry at anyone involved in putting an end to it.

I mean, if you talk to people now, nobody was ever in favor of invading Iraq. Go ahead and ask people, and they'll get upset and say they don't know why we went in, but it was a big mistake, and they always knew it was a mistake. Or they'll say they were tricked. But back when it happened, it was popular enough that representatives were afraid to oppose it. At least some of those people are mis-remembering. Same thing with all of the deregulation going on during the Clinton era, which everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten happened during Clinton's presidency. Everyone remembers that they economy grew under Clinton, but everyone forgets all the deregulation and Walmartization going on at the time.

People have no memory and no principles, so they're just running off of whatever they're feeling at the time. Our elected officials tend to base their policies on irrational fear and bigotry because those are the most consistent and trustworthy feelings.

Comment: Re:Amazing (Score 1) 207

I think it's a little too easy to say that the problem is "we're being too easy on children". And yes, I think that there's a sort of Mrs. Lovejoy "Won't someone think of THE CHILDREN" every-child-is-a-perfect-snowflake political correctness that is a problem. However, I also think it is important to be accommodating to the different needs of different children.

There's a larger problem, which is that we don't know what we're doing, and we don't even know what we're trying to do with education. Are we providing vocational training to get a job? Are we advocating a general liberal-arts-type education? Are liberal arts stupid and useless? I can't seem to find a consensus.

So instead, we speak broadly about accountability without specifying what people are accountable for producing. We make our kids take a crazy number of silly standardized tests, and put a lot of pressure on them (and on teachers) to perform well. It's not clear that the standardized tests are testing anything that we care about, especially since it's not clear what we care about. We're telling kids, though, that it's vital that they do extremely well on such tests, or else they're stupid useless people who are unfit to do anything but become a janitor, and "being a janitor" is described as a punishment.

It's not at all clear to me what we think we're doing, but what we're doing is awfully stupid.

Comment: Re:Warning: RAID 0 (Score 1) 226

by nine-times (#49745843) Attached to: Linux 4.0 Has a File-System Corruption Problem, RAID Users Warned

I meant, what if there was a bug in the RAID 5 code that caused similar corruption?

Yes, I understood. And I way saying, yes, it seems clear that we would all care more if it were a problem with RAID 5.

I understand that you think "we would respond differently if this were RAID 5" is a sign of hypocrisy or something. But it's not really that.

It's a little like saying, "There was a design flaw in trash cans that cause items stored in the trash can to be damaged." And people respond by saying, "Yeah, well... that's not great, but it could be worse. Things stored in trash cans are usually things nobody cares about anyway."

And then you say, "Would you respond differently if this trash can problem were discovered in long-term storage bins?"

And so the response is, "Yes, we would care more about that. Of course we would all care more about that. Because people probably care about things in long-term storage bins, and usually put trash in trash cans. I understand that someone somewhere may be storing their valuable family heirlooms in trash cans, but they probably shouldn't be doing that."

Comment: Re:Warning: RAID 0 (Score 2) 226

by nine-times (#49744063) Attached to: Linux 4.0 Has a File-System Corruption Problem, RAID Users Warned

Well, it mitigates the seriousness of the damage a bug should cause, assuming that people use RAID reasonably.

I'm going to go ahead and say that it mitigates the serious of the damage caused in actuality since most IT people entrusted with serious and important data aren't going to be that stupid. I mean, yes, I've seen some pretty stupid things, and I've seen professional IT techs set up production servers with RAID 0, but it's a bit of a rarity. There could still be some serious damage, but much less than if it were a bug affecting RAID 5 volumes.

Comment: Re:Warning: RAID 0 (Score 4, Insightful) 226

by nine-times (#49743517) Attached to: Linux 4.0 Has a File-System Corruption Problem, RAID Users Warned

Would you say the same thing if the bug affected RAID 1 or RAID 5?

I suspect not, since his point seemed to be that you shouldn't be using RAID 0 for data that you care about anyway.

It doesn't really make it ok for a bug to exist that destroys RAID 0 volumes, but it does mitigate the seriousness of the damage caused. And it's true: Don't use RAID 0 to store data that you care about. I don't care if the MTBF is long, because I'm not worried about the mean time, but the shortest possible time between failures. If we take 1,000,000 drives and the average failure rate is 1% for the first year, it's that that comforting to the 1% of people whose drives fail in that first year.

Comment: Re:Need more information (Score 1) 200

by nine-times (#49691993) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format?

Photos aren't documents. Spreadsheets tend to be proprietary.


Data needs to be organized by purpose (Record keeping = Primary / structured data) and Executive Summary Type data (human readable).

It depends on what the data is, and what and how it's being used. There is no "correct" organization, and no "one true way" to deal with data. I would not recommend going around cramming documents into some set organization without understanding where the data is coming from and what people hope to do with it.

Your organization may work for your purposes, within the constraints of the company or organization you work in. I've supported a lot of different types of companies over the years, and personally, I've never found a one-size-fits-all solution. In each case, it really pays off to start off with no assumptions, and figure out what will work for that specific situation.

Comment: Need more information (Score 4, Insightful) 200

by nine-times (#49690745) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format?

As an IT person, I hate questions like this. There's not enough information to give a solid answer. For example:

* What kinds of documents are you talking about? Text? Photos? Spreadsheets?
* What is the source of the documents? Are these currently printed out documents that need to be scanned back in? Are they currently digital, and in a particular file format?
* What will people need to do with them when these documents are retrieved? Do they need to be able to edit the documents?
* How much does formatting matter? If someone retrieves the document in 5 years, will it be important that all the line breaks and page breaks are in the same place? Does it need to have all of the correct fonts? Or are you more interested in being able to have access to the information itself?
* When you say that the application will need to allow ".docx, doc, .pdf, etc", what formats are in "etc"?

There may be many other relevant questions, my point is that there just isn't enough detail here. In general, if the most important thing is that you have a printable document that you want to be able to print out from any machine, maintaining the formatting as much as possible, then PDF is a pretty good choice (be sure to embed the fonts and include searchable text!). If you already have a bunch of Word documents and you want the formatting unchanged, and would like the capability to edit the document after it's retrieved, then I'd typically just recommend keeping it as a .docx. It keeps things simple, will be widely supported, and prevents the risk of something going wrong while you're converting to another format. If you like the idea of using .docx because of what I just said, but want something more "open", then ODF is probably worth looking into.

Really, there are only so many choices, and each have advantages depending on your specific needs.

Comment: Re:No thank you (Score 2) 203

by nine-times (#49653551) Attached to: Critics Say It's Time To Close La Guardia Airport

There's no subways to JFK either, really. Yes, yes, you can transfer to the Air Train, which is better than the bus. But honestly, there's no subways to any of the airports. No matter what, you have to transfer to some other train or bus or something, or else take a car.

And sure, JFK may be more convenient for you, but it's less convenient for other people. I can spend over an hour transferring trains trying to get to JFK and pay $2.50 for the subway and $5 for the air train, or spend $50 for a car to JFK and take god-knows-how-long depending on traffic, or I can spend $20 on a car to LaGuardia and be there in 20 minutes. Guess which option I prefer.

Comment: Re: not outside the jurisdiction of the NSA (Score 1) 135

by nine-times (#49653379) Attached to: Dropbox Moves Accounts Outside North America To Ireland
Yeah, that's what I was thinking. My understanding is that the NSA officially claims not to collect information on US citizens when the data resides solely in the U.S. However, they do monitor data going in and out of the U.S., so if you're an American located in the U.S., then storing data outside of the U.S. seems to open you to monitoring.

On the other hand, I also thought part of what Snowden released showed that they didn't exactly stick to their own rules, and they were collecting all kinds of data that they weren't really supposed to. I could be wrong about that, though. Reporting on the issue has been terrible.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.