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Comment Get your freedoms right (Score 3, Insightful) 539

I have every right to censor what content I do or do not want to see. I have every right to mute annoying TV ads, skip them, or walk away from the screen, and with my personal computer and internet service, if I want to use - what could arguably said security-focused - tools like AdBlocker to help prevent my internet connection (be it landline, or the much more usage-sensitive wireless/mobile options) from being bogged down with awful, intrusive, and annoying ads, and secure myself against the ad-space that is regularly exploited by malware and the like, that's my right.

The advertiser has every right to speak, to put their speech out there for all to hear, and to not have to fear government censorship (within certain limits). They do NOT have any right to force me to hear their speech when I don't want to, especially when it is not just on a public street corner somewhere I can choose not to go, but is being piped into my home. Just as I have the right to choose who I let in my front door, I have the right to choose who and what I let in my internet doors. If the hosting site suffers too much and doesn't like it, they can always consider a subscription service, or building their content in a different way, and then I can choose to get my content someplace that exercise some restraint over their advertisers and keep it reasonable.

Comment Re:Phonetic passwords (Score 1) 103

Re: parent, while the XKCD for this is more or less correct, the fact of the matter is that there is no excuse today for all passwords - even those for simple forums - to be fully salted and encrypted, with an arbitrary minimum length of 4 - 8 characters, a max length of at least 64 characters, and no restrictions or requirements whatsoever on character usage, because at that point, beyond brute force attacks (for which there are a wide variety of available defense methods, from simple to complex), it really shouldn't matter at that point what combination of characters are or are not used - at least in terms of a compromised user password database - and it should be up to the user in all cases to decide on their own level of security vs. ease of use, and in the event it is their own poor selection of password that results in a compromise, should be accepting of the consequences of their choices.

Comment Possibly, with a giant "but" attached... (Score 1) 563

Possibly, yes, however...

Only with the advent of a game-changing technology that somehow provides for functionally unlimited energy, or at least insofar as the sum total of both the average persons' needs, as well as the average of all of humanity's needs, are concerned.

With functionally unlimited energy available for both the individual and society would come associated revolutions in the ability to readily meet all of our other needs on both scales, from housing to food and transport and everything else. Most likely - at least by that point in our technological development, assuming other fields keep pace - far fewer human "work hours" would be needed per-capita to meet everyone's needs, and thus it becomes much more possible to move to a society that does not revolve around the exchange of human effort for needed - much less basic - goods and services.

The invention of matter-to-energy and energy-to-matter conversion devices would cement such a money-less society as a real possibility, but without such things - and probably even with them - the trade-off is likely going to be the acceptance of a government with a high level of central planning authority and all the woes that accompany people being given authority over other people.

Comment Simple... (Score 1) 712

Education and community/individual outreach. Both by, for, of and to the police officers themselves - current and prospective - as well as of, to, for and by the public at large.

That's all.

It's not a quick fix, it's not an easy answer, and it's not one that will work unless the individuals who want reform are willing to get off their butts and do something to make it happen, as opposed to wailing and gnashing their teeth and expecting someone-/everyone-else and/or "the government" to do it for them. It won't work or happen overnight, either, but it is, unquestionably, the only reasonable, workable, and practical answer that will have any positive impact on crime as well as both public and officer safety.

Comment Just no. (Score 1) 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

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

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

"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

*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

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

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

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

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

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.

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