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Comment: Re:Not trying indeed (Score 1) 98

by roc97007 (#49149637) Attached to: Fighting Scams Targeting the Elderly With Old-School Tech

Good point about the home shopping network, but I guess my feeling is that it's the grandparents' money, they earned it, and if they want to blow it, that should be their decision.

True story. My grandfather confessed an idea of doing some traveling -- cross country road trip, international travel, cruises. I said, why don't you do that? He said, they're saving their money to pass along to their children (my mom and aunt).

You know what? Screw that. I lobbied hard for the grandparents to get out and do what they've always wanted to do, now that they're retired but still fairly mobile. To hell with inheritance. Their kids (who were adults in their forties at the time) could damn well learn to fend for their silly selves.

The grandparents did partially take my advice, and traveled some before illness took my grandfather. I'm glad they got to do at least some of the items on their bucket list. And I'm really ok with the fact that their daughters had less to fight over when they passed.

Comment: this is so easy to circumvent (Score 2) 98

by roc97007 (#49149587) Attached to: Fighting Scams Targeting the Elderly With Old-School Tech

We only have one child. At a very early age, about the time she could memorize the home address and house phone number, we decided on a passphrase.

The phrase is fairly random, not anything that could be gleaned from facebook accounts or other personal records. It's multiple words, (like the XKCD "correct horse battery staple") so one of us could say part of the phrase and the other could say the other part, which authenticates both parties.

Once a month or so, when I picked her up from school or dropped her off from an event, or some other time when we were alone, I would say "what's the passphrase" and she'd repeat it to me. Now 17 years later, she still remembers the phrase, and only her, my wife and I know it.

We've never needed it.

But if I get a call from someone saying "daddy I need money right now or they're going to put me in prison" or some other permutation of the scam, I would ask "What do you need to say?" (The answer is not "please".)

This solution is really easy to implement and requires no technology. (Which is probably why it doesn't show up on Slashdot.)

Were I to do it over again, I'd have all of us memorize two passphrases, one that means "I am me and I am making this request" and "I am me but I am being coerced into making this request". I still might do that.

Hopefully, when my daughter has kids, she'll teach them a passphrase. (And share it with the grandparents.)

Where did I get this idea? I am a little embarrassed to say. It was from a Hardy Boys novel, circa early 1960's. The father, who is himself a detective, always puts a tiny mark under his signature. The signature authenticates him, and the mark means "I'm ok". If his signature does not contain the mark, it is either a forgery, or he's being coerced into signing.

Comment: Pull the drive, access it directly (Score 2) 460

by roc97007 (#49143613) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem

I had to do this recently for a really old computer, and the easiest and fastest method was to buy an IDE to USB adapter, pull the drive, connect it to the adapter, plug the USB side into a modern machine, and copy the files over.

A family member had been putting every photo he or anyone else in his immediate family had ever taken, onto this really ancient computer that was old when he bought his first digital camera. Kids, grandkids, vacations, irreplaceable stuff. He brought the computer to me when it failed, asking if I could pull the photos. I thought his data was gone, but interestingly, in this case it wasn't the hard drive that had failed, but something else in the machine. (I didn't care what...) I pulled the drive, connected it to my machine, pulled the photos, burned them to several DVDs, marked the old drive with a sharpie, and put it on my backup shelf "just in case". Recycled the computer. About two hours work end to end, including trying to figure out how to remove the drive with no documentation for the machine.

So, I wouldn't even bother trying to figure out some kind of historic file transfer protocol or how to handle ancient removable media. Assuming the drive interface doesn't predate IDE (also known as ATA or PATA), reading it directly is the way to go.

Comment: Re:Don't complain about 'the Intenet' (Score 2) 188

by roc97007 (#49130653) Attached to: Google Now Automatically Converts Flash Ads To HTML5

It's not necessarily the ads, (hell, I've clicked on a small static ad once or twice) it's the way they're implemented.

Let's take for example a company that will remain nameless but their initials are Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It's not that their website contains ads. It's that the pages take so long to load even with fiber to the house, and the ads autoplay, or pop over full page with hidden "dismiss" buttons, or pop under and autoplay (yes, I know I already said "autoplay") to an extent that it resembles a porn site.

...which makes me wonder, is there some balancing point where ads conflict with content to the extent that consumers start to get driven away until you've reached some maximum level of people dumb enough to continue to try to use the site? Because I have a feeling that they're way past that.

Comment: the non-geek stuff (Score 1) 698

I'd say... (well, I *did* say, in an open letter to my daughter that's been a continuous project for the last few years) that there will be a time just a few years from now (13-15) where your emotions will be in turmoil, and you may not be able to make sense of it or know why you're having the feelings you have. This is a normal part of growing up, and it will pass. You just need to do the best you can and wait it out.

Later you'll go through a different set of emotions and crises when it's time to leave home and set out on your own. This too will pass.

During these times, you may say or do things that you will regret later. Know that your family understands this and will not hold it against you.

All I ask of you is that you follow your heart and strive to do your best. Find something you want to do and become the best you can at it, no matter what it is. Think clearly, make educated decisions, set your own course. The people worth having in your life will remain, the people who aren't will go. This is a natural process.

Many times throughout your life you will be saying goodbye for the last time -- to friends, family, pets. This is part of the price we pay for living our lives. Eventually people will be saying goodbye to you. But your influence on others -- the footprints you've left in other people's lives -- will live on. And this will be enough.

Comment: Re:Mine must look horrible (Score 1) 147

by roc97007 (#49114905) Attached to: Looking Up Symptoms Online? These Companies Are Tracking You

Yeah, same here. When I hear a term or a disease or a disorder I hadn't heard of, I usually google it, as computer or phone are usually nearby. That must have created a really eclectic list of ailments and behaviors.

A few days ago I got a letter that my doctor had retired effective immediately. Maybe she saw the list...

Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program doesn't deliver it.