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Comment: Boil it down to cost (Score 5, Insightful) 91

by plover (#48197639) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

A couple of years ago, I was asked to be the registration chair for a national event, which we successfully held this spring. All previous events had been run strictly on paper-and-pencil mail-in forms, but that involves a lot of manual work, including a lot of last minute work at the event door. I looked long and hard at various open source and commercial event management offerings, and I spoke to other people who ran similar events. Based on recommendations from other event organizers, I landed on regonline as a good blend of features and customizability, even though it was a bit expensive (though they offer a discount for a 501(c)(3) organization.) What it came down to for me was effort. I wouldn't have time to set up all the hosting needed, to install and configure the software, or to integrate with a payment gateway, and I got a lot of really valuable features from their system. I didn't want us to make our attendees suffer through hour-long lines at a registration booth. And I was able to provide instant reports to the conference chair, who used them to help run the event smoothly.

Something it sounds like you need to do here is figure out "who is the Registration Chair"? If it's you, your only question to the Event Chair should be "what is my budget?" Base your solution on the bottom line. If your budget is $5/registrant, and it includes lanyards and ID cards, your options are wide open. If your budget is $0.50/registrant, and you have to use a box of old "Hello my name is..." stickers, your options are a bit more limited. The important thing is: the Registration Chair is in charge of registration. He or she decides how to best solve the problem, not "here are some random developers, you must write us a site."

One thing that still isn't clear is why you would have to "write" a new site. It sounds like you created one a few years ago, and then another, and then another. I realize your group is a precious snowflake, completely unique in the world, but events really are just events. They all have web sites, registrants, admins, venues, agenda items, merchandise, travel, lodging, taxes, payments, receipts, badges, volunteers, and reports. And there is nothing in that list you can't get from the marketplace. Ultimately, if you absolutely can't use a packaged solution because of [illogical rationale], you should only need to have someone reconfigure the existing site. That's a lot less effort, perhaps not much more than c/2014/2015/g

Finally, if you're taking payments on line, you're going to run into extra effort and risk to interface with them. No matter what, you really, really don't want to be responsible for someone else's credit cards. Not these days. The risk is more than you can imagine. If that's something you can foist off on a third party, you'll keep a ton of liability out of your organization.

Comment: Re:And meanwhile (Score 2) 84

by plover (#48178153) Attached to: India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

Yes, many of India's people are impoverished. That condition has existed for thousands of years. Instead, look at the rate at which India has been lifting her people out of poverty. Forty years ago, less than 5% were wealthy, and she had virtually no middle class. Today, about a third of the people are middle class or wealthier. That means that about 400,000,000 people are a whole lot better off than their grandparents.

They won't ever be able to eradicate poverty with the signing of a law, or with a "government cheese" kind of program. Instead, they know it takes a long time, and a strong competitive nation to provide her citizens with opportunities to lift themselves up. India has not been squandering her new independence. It's not perfect, it's not corruption-free, it's not smooth, and it's not fast. But what they have done in the last few decades has been nothing short of amazing.

Comment: Re:GPS (Score 2) 84

by plover (#48178115) Attached to: India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

I think we can safely assume that since Indian engineers are designing and building the chips they'll be using in their own system, it would certainly be possible for them to build their own GPS receivers that aren't subject to the American munitions export restrictions on velocity and altitude. They are doing this strictly for independence from all foreign influences.

Comment: Re:Region-Specific (Score 4, Interesting) 84

by plover (#48178031) Attached to: India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

You jest, but it's a real problem they are solving by creating their own Indian standard time infrastructure.

The entire system is being designed, built, launched, flown, and operated in India, by Indians, with absolutely no foreign dependencies. Having been burned more than a few times in their short existence by various nations who disagreed with their internal decisions, they take their independence very seriously. This is slightly different than the average American who pretty much takes their own independence for granted these days.

Comment: Re:Why not? When you have kids.. (Score 1) 319

by plover (#48170273) Attached to: Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

Civil disobedience is an option, but it generally requires popular support. When Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, there were a lot of people who agreed that it was an unjust law, and supported her. If he tries that with libel and slander laws, he'll likely find that most people would rather not be lied to, they would not like granting random strangers the freedom to post photoshopped pictures of them smoking crack and costing them their jobs, and ultimately would not support repealing the law.

The Supreme Court has found many cases of unprotected speech, including threats, extortion, incitement, and this goes way back. They have long held that freedom of speech is not absolute.

Now, the laws regarding intentional infliction of emotional distress are new, and are pretty awful. There are other laws that could used to prosecute harassment, and so I can see those eventually being challenged. But libel and slander? Those go all the way back to English law, and at least as of today, they help keep a civil society.

So when I suggested he run for office, that was really my way of saying "go away, and spend your time fruitlessly in pursuit of this nonsense."

Comment: Re:Why not? When you have kids.. (Score 1) 319

by plover (#48164999) Attached to: Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

According to him, it's the fault of the believer for being so stupid as to trust a random web site claiming he's a pedo. But given how many people believe "it must be true, I read it on the Internet, and they can't publish anything on the Internet that isn't true", I don't think arguing with a potential employer is a winning strategy for a job seeker.

While I haven't really considered where I'd fall on the line of how much the slander and libel laws abridge the right to free speech, the case law itself is well established. To establish a defamation claim, most states require the plaintiff prove four elements: the defendant made a defamatory communication to a third party, the statement was false, the defendant was at fault in communicating it, and the plaintiff suffered harm. The courts have established that sending an email to someone else meets the publication requirement, as does posting on a web site. The plaintiff is supposed to only recover actual or compensatory damages commensurate with the harm suffered. Punitive damages may be awarded if the act was wanton, malicious, reckless, or in willful disregard for another's rights. And in the case of libel, the plaintiff may not have to prove harm.

He may or may not like the law and how it's been interpreted, but either way he's obligated to follow it. If it's that important to him, he can run for office and try to change it.

Comment: Re:why use this instead of say dm-crypt? (Score 4, Informative) 220

by plover (#48136365) Attached to: VeraCrypt Is the New TrueCrypt -- and It's Better

The OS's built-in encryption for many people is not dm-crypt, but BitLocker, a closed source implementation by Microsoft. And we know nothing about it. When is the key present in RAM? Is the key derived on boot up? How is it protected between boots? Is there an escrow key obscurely baked into the trillion bytes stored somewhere on the hard drive? And can it contain deniable drive images in the slack space of a parent drive?

Because the open source TrueCrypt code has been subjected to code reviews, and backdoors have not been found, it's somewhat more trustworthy than the closed source implementation that comes with the expensive versions of Microsoft's OS.

Comment: Re:Does K-Mart use the same stuff as Sears? (Score 1) 101

by plover (#48125873) Attached to: Kmart Says Its Payment System Was Hacked

While it's possible (unlikely in these days of PCI) that a POS register could have a direct route to the internet, it's also likely that the registers weren't the only machines in their system that were hacked. It is probable that the criminals found a little-used server in K-Mart's HQ systems, compromised it, and set up what's called a "dump site." The registers are then configured to exfiltrate their data to this internal HQ server, perhaps by periodic FTP, and the hackers had the HQ server send batches of data out to the internet at a later time.

Comment: Re:Everybody Panic! (Score 5, Insightful) 419

by plover (#48125649) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

What I don't understand: Wouldn't it be possible to put the wearer through a disinfectant decontamination shower before he or she takes off the suit?

There is a strong protocol, and yes, it includes decontamination sprays. As I understand it the protocol includes a disinfectant spray before taking off the suit, a hand spray after removing the first layer of gloves, then another disinfectant spray after stripping. And the gloves and suit are all supposed to come off inside-out, always turning the the hot side to the inside.

Remember that any suit that can protect the wearer against virus is also impermeable to air. That means the suits heat up. They are sweating profusely as soon as they get their suits on, and they can only remain suited up for less than an hour before roasting in their own juices. When every surface is soaked in sweat, it's impossible to recognize when it's the patient's infectious sweat or your own.

We know the best practical approach is to use a buddy system, and have them help each other. Even so, the first buddy to disrobe is still handling the infectious materials while helping the other to strip, so they still have to be vigilant. Repeat that clothing protocol every other hour for a long work day, week after week, and if the wrong piece of fabric ever accidentally brushes on you any time during the process you may get infected with a disease that has a 60% chance of killing you. Or if this is your first time dealing with an Ebola case, how do you know you've followed the protocol perfectly?

Now, cross the ocean. Place all of that in the context of extreme poverty; chronic suit, glove, equipment, and doctor shortages; wailing and shrieking family members; orphaned babies that may be infected; contaminated water supplies; relentless heat; men who tell rumors that Ebola is a disease from the West that is being spread by doctors and is being used to kill Africans, or that Ebola doesn't exist; populations frightened by the presence of workers in "moon suits" coming to collect their dead relatives; a culture that grieves by touching the bodies of the dead; and the dozens of other deadly diseases that still strike Africans constantly, including malaria, dengue fever, AIDS, hepatitis, typhoid fever, and chronic diarrhea caused by rampant bacterial and protozoal infections. Oh, and attacks on clinics by gunmen.

It's almost as if the disease evolved itself to adapt to collapsing health care systems in impoverished nations.

Comment: Re:Texas and Spain (Score 2) 419

by plover (#48124319) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

The problem in these African nations is that the virus' main victims have been predominantly among the few trained health care workers they had.

If you live in the developed world, you don't even think about the doctor:patient ratio, which is probably somewhere around 1:400 in your country. In Liberia, the ratio was about 1:100,000 (back in 2008). That means in this entire country of 4 million people, they had about 40 doctors - about the same as one typical urban American hospital. These are the only people capable of "holding back the infection", as you so glibly put it.

This year alone, Ebola has already killed about 10% of their doctors.

As far as money goes, Liberia already spends more of their money on health care than any other country in the world. As they are one of the poorest nations, they have very little money for anything at all, so this has them completely tapped out.

What good is even a hundred liters of zMapp if there aren't enough doctors to identify and treat the infected?

Comment: Re:Everybody Panic! (Score 4, Insightful) 419

by plover (#48124131) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

well no, I bet a dollar there was a tear in his suit. Simplest explanation is always right.

Be prepared to lose a dollar. The protocol for donning and removing the protective gear is very complex, and very hard to get perfect. When putting the suit on, it's possible to get gaps between the goggles and suit without even knowing it. And when taking it off, a tiny flap of the contaminated suit brushing against a clean surface is almost impossible to detect.

In contrast, Tyvek suits are very hard to tear unless you're doing hard physical labor in a rough environment. Most hospital settings don't have the infectious care nursing staff crawling through piles of dirty rebar or squeezing along rough mortared brick walls.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.