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Comment: Just no. (Score 1) 157 157

Do. Not. Want.

If you have something to offer in terms of genuine improvement to my vehicle's performance or its systems, then you can offer it to me in a safe and secure way that I can retain control over whether or not it is applied, and when. I do not want any part of my vehicle's systems - be they critical or seemingly trivial - to be remotely accessible and able to be changed or updated by other people or the manufacturer.

Not only do I not want people to be able to use any sort of wireless technology to hack into my vehicle, I don't want the manufacturer having the ability to apply updates either. We all know just how often software is released that turns out to be broken, and the last thing I want is to get up in the morning and find my car bricked because someone pushed a shoddy update, or my stereo or climate controls stuck on full blast, all to "fix" something when the vehicle wasn't actually broken.

There's a damn good reason I don't allow any updates to be automatically pushed to my computers: because I have long, personal experience as a 20-year IT professional with what happens when you do. Why would my car be any different?

Auto manufacturers: stick with USB upgrades. Mail them to me. Allow me to register my VIN on a website and download them myself. Whatever. I can promise you this much, though: as soon as I have no other choice but to buy a car that can be tampered with wirelessly, I will be removing the antenna from it straight-away, or wrapping it in copper wire.

Comment: Making it more complex than it has to be (Score 1) 263 263

Cheap IP cam takes picture, stores to local HDD. Directory on local is sym-/hard-linked to directory (wherever it lives, via whatever standard methods are available depending on your configuration) to either the appropriate image path for the website, overwriting the previously existing image, OR, to a directory where the existence of a new/updated file will prompt an FTP transfer to the serverhost where the website lives.

Many cameras, cheap or expensive, still fully support the saving of still images to a directory on a computer on the local network, regardless of whether the camera is hard-wired or wireless. Other tools and functionality will be present depending on OS for automating any further copies or FTP transfers that may be necessary.

Comment: As an agnostic, I like Pope Francis, but... (Score 1) 894 894

He's absolutely wrong on this one, and his bias towards religion is showing. I believe he needs to be reminded of the lesson in Matthew 26:52, when Peter draws a sword in defense of Jesus from arrest:

"Then said Jesus unto him, 'Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.'"

Nothing in your personal beliefs, ethics, philosophy, feelings, or anything else can ever justify the initiation of force or violence against an innocent person regardless of the content of their speech (at least so long as the speech itself is not a credible and reasonable threat or incitement to violence).

If I insult your mother and you punch me, I'm going to hit you back. Repeatedly. At the least. "Fighting words" is NOT an ethically supportable excuse, regardless of what the law in some places may say: your sense of offense is not an acceptable justification for violence because it has no bearing whatsoever on your health, safety, liberty, or life expectancy, whereas violence does. Words cannot - directly, in and of themselves - put a person in the hospital, or in a grave. Even the most "simple" fight, however, can.

If your religion, philosophy, ethics, creed, etc. - or your faith in them - cannot stand a little satire or ridicule, then that's a pretty clear sign it (or your faith) is severely lacking, and that is your problem and yours alone, not mine. If those things lead you to believe violence is acceptable just because someone made light of them, they're an outright failure and you and your lack of impulse control make you a danger to society no different from or less than a rabid dog, and you have no place around other people in a free society.

"Violence begets violence," said Dr. King, paraphrasing the theme of Matthew 26:52. To paraphrase Col. Jeff Cooper, if anyone brings violence to me or mine, I intend to beget a whole lot more violence than s/he bargained for in return.

Comment: Never been true (Score 1) 319 319

"MI5 could not give a guarantee it would be able to stop it" That's no more or less true today than it was 5, 10, 25 or 50 years ago. Presuming otherwise is like presuming you can prevent a single, truly determined and capable individual, from assassinating someone else, which history has proven time and time again is impossible. Sure, they might say they can fairly reliably catch amateurs and idiots, but no matter how much power they are granted to do whatever they wish, they will
  • never

be able reliably detect and stop the truly determined and capable, any more than police actually stop crime.

Comment: Just goes to show (Score 1) 441 441

*Facepalm* It just goes to show that being wealthy is not corollary with being intelligent.

For example, while certainly possible, a "cure for cancer in the next ten years" is wishful thinking at best, and in light of engaging in a behavior that increases cancer risk, is dangerously naive.

Another example is the fact that he's subscribing to another idiotic fad diet with absolutely no credible scientific backing, and like all fad diets (ala, any diet besides "eat a healthy, well-rounded diet and exercise") is likely to actually do more harm in both the short- and long-run than good.

Comment: As long as NYC benefits, screw everybody else? (Score 1) 262 262

So, let me get this straight: he's willing to let Comcast get even bigger - and almost certainly even worse as a service, much less as a company - and effectively cement Comcast's monopoly on cable internet service throughout much of the nation, as long as poor New Yorkers benefit? How is that even remotely ethical in any sense? For that matter why would people make the effort to educate themselves and gain useful new skills necessary to get better jobs when you just give them luxuries that would otherwise serve as an incentive for improvement and mobility?

Comment: Fallacious (Score 1) 839 839

Author's assertions are patently fallacious, based on a failed analysis resulting from disregarding a crucial point: we have not had anything remotely like "unchecked capitalism" in this country (or in any other First World nation on the planet) since WWII and/or FDR's "New Deal", at the absolute latest, and really not since the creation of the Federal Reserve and the beginning of its meddling with our economy.

To blame "income inequality" and all the rest of the world's ills on "unchecked capitalism" that hasn't existed in most people's lifetimes just plain fails on every front, given the ever increasing interference, meddling and "regulation" of industry and economy by the government, especially as "income inequality" has largely only worsened ever since the government started meddling more and more with the economy, introducing more and more regulation, giving unions patently anti-liberty powers they should never have to fulfill a purpose that shouldn't even be necessary, and in return, businesses use the regulation and legal process to bring about ever more and more laws that are patently anti-capitalist in order to protect them from competition and to game the economy.

The failure of this analysis becomes only more evident when you consider the fact that when you compare America - arguably the closest thing to "unrestricted capitalism" you'll find among First World nations today, regardless of how far it is from being completely true - to the rest of the world, our "income inequality" gap is as narrow - or narrower - here than almost anywhere else on the planet, and certainly among nations with a population exceeding 20 million.

What, does Piketty think that there was no "income inequality" anywhere else in the world, prior to the existence of Capitalism as we know it today? That it is somehow worse today than it was in the 18th century? That there's no "income inequality" in nations with heavily "managed" (i.e., meddled-with) economies? That all government will always work towards the betterment of "the people" by default, more so than private industry will?

Sorry, but Piketty's analysis is just plain flawed on too many levels to be worth taking seriously, as it is premised entirely on the falsehood that "unrestricted capitalism" has ever even existed recently enough in this country - or anywhere else in the world - recently enough to be a cause of income inequality, when it is readily shown that the ever-increasing regulations imposed by government have led to ever increasing meddling by that government in the operation of business, paving the way for other businesses to then abuse the political process to create ever more anti-capitalist laws and regulations, and that a great deal of that very same regulation, taxation, and interference is very often itself a factor in income inequality.

In a truly "unrestricted, free-market capitalist" economy, under a strong, just and ethical system of reasonable laws based on liberty and freedom that are equally enforced regardless of wealth, influence or social station, the only restriction on wealth and income (aside, perhaps, from physical/mental health) is one's own industry and willingness to work, learn, and create industry where none exists.

"The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits."
--Thomas Jefferson to M. L'Hommande, 1787

"[...] a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government..."
--Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, Washington, D.C. March 4, 1801

"[Ours is a] policy of not embarking the public in enterprises better managed by individuals, and which might occupy as much of our time as those political duties for which the public functionaries are particularly instituted."
--Thomas Jefferson to W. C. C. Claiborne, 1808

"Taxes on consumption, like those on capital or income, to be just, must be uniform."
--Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Smith, 1823

"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
--Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816

Comment: Reports still serve a purpose (Score 3, Insightful) 179 179

Granted, it may be primarily of a bureaucratic bent that many geeks - professional or otherwise - may not be terribly keen on, nor interested in, however reports - especially those of the "mailed-daily-to-your-inbox" variety fulfill a number of functions within a business ecosystem.

Reports of the "traditional" variety provide an accountability chain and historical record that a dashboard cannot. They can be accessed locally, outside of any other application or access requirements - including email - meaning a connection to said dashboard is not required when someone must review those reports for whatever reason.

Reports can be printed off readily, and due to their very nature, are often formatted to present data to the viewer in such a way that they retain their usefulness after being printed to hardcopy, whereas a screen-cap and printout of a dashboard is quite often one of the least efficient ways to consume the type of data these more traditional reports display.

Last but certainly not least, they make it possible for data to be shared easily with other interested parties, on demand, at any time, without having to carve out user accounts or VPN tunnels to internal networks or mission-critical systems, with no requirement greater than being able to read whatever format the report is stored in - again, unlike dashboards, no few of which also require Java or some other extension to be installed on the user's computer, often necessitating IT support for non-Administrative end-users, which is itself a special and often painful consideration when this data needs to be provided to customers or vendors with their own IT processes, procedures and issues to deal with.

Dashboards have their uses and purposes, especially for live, changing data, things that need to be regularly and closely monitored, or even things that just need occasional monitoring, however for many other purposes, such as those involving accounting or other applications where historical data is of a concern, they fall dramatically short of being able to adequately - much less completely - supplant reports as they have traditionally been used.

Comment: In other words, retritbution... (Score 1) 157 157

Revenge is a dish best served in the wrong orbit?

Funny, isn't it, in the midst of all these sanctions and general brou-ha-ha over the Ukraine, with Russia taking all kinds of tit-for-tat punitive measure in response by EU attempts use economic fines in order to restrain their bad behavior, that, âoeThe nonstandard operation of the integrated management system was likely caused by an error in the embedded software," which manages to cost the EU the full use of a multi-million dollar satellite whose purpose was to provide competition with Russia's GLONASS system (in addition to American GPS)?

They didn't even have to do anything fancy, just twiddle a few lines of code to send it off course, then blame it on random "unforeseeable" coding error that they'll refuse to accept responsibility for.

Comment: Forget Federal funding... (Score 1) 643 643

Forget Federal funding, this needs to be Federal law , plain and simple. As in, no officer testimony or evidence gathered or submitted without corresponding and complete video+audio evidence shall be admissible in a court of law, absent other strong, irrefutable and corroborating testimony or evidence originating from a non-police/non-governmental source. After all, anybody who took a basic logic or philosophy class should know that the burden of proof lies on the accuser, not the accused, and anyone who has been paying attention should know that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that police officers are somehow more honest than everyone else, or incapable of lying simply because they took some classes, swore and oath, and had a shiny piece of metal pinned on them: they are caught lying in and out of court ALL the time, on a daily basis, so why should their word be considered more reliable than anyone else's?

Frankly, the behavior of the police has been so questionable lately that there's no reason for anyone - especially otherwise honest judges - to take them at their word, especially when they're the ones completely in control of the entire evidence-gathering process, and thus have every opportunity to rig it in their favor.

There's just no excuse for officers NOT to be wearing cameras (particularly cell-enabled body-cameras that are constantly uploading to a remote server), much less for them to ever make an arrest or gather evidence without one running. Cost is not relevant: even if they are $1000 or $3000 each, that's still vastly cheaper than the lawsuits cities regularly pay out to as a result of police misconduct, alleged, factual, or otherwise. Cameras will help ensure officers conduct themselves professionally, knowing their behavior is being recorded impartially and will be subject to review, while simultaneously reducing false claims and ensuring that when such claims are made there is sufficient evidence to disprove them.

Comment: Re:This guy might be overvaluing his files (Score 4, Insightful) 100 100

I designed a honeypot built on similar principles at the last data center I worked for, whereby I had at least two different VM's comprising at least two different OS' on each and every subnet on our network.

Using a custom implementation of PSAD and a bunch of PERL, the basic idea was that any time a specific IP (external *or* internal) scanned more than eight ports per IP across two or more subnets, it was unquestionably an illegitimate scan of our network, and the IP originating the scan in question was immediately submitted for null routing, because nobody could possibly have a legitimate reason for doing such a scan.

Port scans from internal IP's, along with those matching other patterns (such as multiple scans within a single subnet or attempting certain exploits/attacks that can be deduced from snort's output in /var/log/messages, like the slammer worm, etc.) were output to a file that was reviewed daily, and could then be fed either in whole or in part(s) to a script that would process the desired actions. Before I knew it, I was blackholing hundreds or even thousands of addresses a day... ~70% of which were from China Telecom, followed immediately by Russia, Brazil, and Moldova, with less than 5% of attacks originating from U.S. or European addresses. The number of compromised customer servers on our network plummeted, along with a corresponding and by-no-means-insignificant dip in network traffic.

What got me started on this project was that, among other things, hackers were scanning our network for Plesk's default admin login port (as Plesk at that time *had* a default admin login and password), and any time they got a response from port 8443 on an IP that previously did not have that port open, they would jump in and root new installs often before the customer ever logged in for the first time. Needless to say, I put an end to that nonsense.

However, calling spammers dumb as others have above is probably a mistake: they can often be fairly smart, but what they really are - usually - is Peak Lazy, and are aiming for low hanging fruit. Eventually, the more sophisticated ones will create or adapt new techniques to defeat - or at least cope with - this particular methodology, and the cat-and-mouse-arms-race game of security will continue on as it always has, with one side or the other evolving new defenses or offenses, and the other evolving an appropriate response. The fact that a particular batch of spammers got caught and will find the emails from their current spam campaigns not reaching their intended audience on this go round will only slow them down for a time on the domains this list covers, but to say the spammers have hit "Peak Stupid" as a result of excessive automation is, in fact, an NP-Dumb analysis.

Comment: assumption fail (Score 1) 426 426

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong." ~Arthur C. Clarke

Just because they can't figure out HOW a digital machine would compute it does not mean that machine consciousness isn't possible... merely highly unlikely with the current state of the art.

Semi-/organic systems or components or other radically new or different implementations and designs of hardware, new materials, as well as new software techniques could blow their assertion out of the water next month as easily as in the next decade.

Pretty much every time someone says "you cannot", someone eventually comes along and develops something to prove them wrong. Just like they said no one would ever break the sound barrier, or put a man in orbit, or that there's only a need for a handful of computers globally. You know, like every time someone says "tape is a dead storage medium", or "ZOMG Moore's Law is going to fail in the next 5 years", and are consistently proven wrong. This scenario is no different, and merely indicates a lack of understanding of science on the part of the researchers, as well as a lack of imagination. Just because they can't figure out HOW it could be done does not mean it is not possible.

Comment: Not even remotely... (Score 1) 179 179

Star Wars didn't even remotely do this first... in fact, it wasn't even the first in major media, seeing as how this was the whole point of the "deflector dish" in Star Trek.

Also, they've "proven" or "demonstrated" precisely nothing, as they have tested - and derived results from - precisely nothing.

Finally, the feasibility of this was demonstrated long ago by an "odd" occurrence in a 3M plant making polypropylene film, not to mention the high-strength electro-magnetic fields (or "bottles") currently in use in experimental fusion reactors.

Just because I noticed that birds and other creatures can fly and write about it in a paper, does not mean that constitutes demonstration or proof of an assertion that human-powered flight is feasible, nor does it demonstrate the actual principle in any useful way.

Comment: By this logic fire should have been banned (Score 1) 178 178

If this exact same logic had been applied during the time the Constitution was written, these people would have attempted to ban anyone from possessing or using fire in any place where any document that any government agency might one day want to read is created or stored, because "the criminals might burn the papers we think might contain evidence against them, therefore nobody should be allowed to have fire and paper at the same time because it would inconvenience us."

"Because he's a character who's looking for his own identity, [He-Man is] an interesting role for an actor." -- Dolph Lundgren, "actor"

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