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Comment: Re:Thus, they fully admit (Score 2) 18

by schnell (#48623003) Attached to: Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits

Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits

What I don't understand is that this is supposed to be a patent cross-licensing deal between Google and Verizon, which has nothing to do with anyone else. Per the headline, does that mean that Google is a patent troll? Or is that Verizon? Or both?

I don't understand. Unless of course it's just terrible editing on Slashdot with a clickbait headline that is unrelated to the story at hand. That I would understand.

+ - Marissa Mayer's reinvention of Yahoo! stumbles

Submitted by schnell
schnell (163007) writes "The New York Times Magazine has an in-depth profile of Marissa Mayer's time at the helm of Yahoo!, detailing her bold plans to reinvent the company and spark a Jobs-ian turnaround through building great new products. But some investors are saying that her product focus (to the point of micromanaging) hasn't generated results, and that the company should give up on trying to create the next iPod, merge with AOL to cut costs and focus on the unglamorous core business that it has. Is it time for Yahoo! to "grow up" and set its sights lower?"

Comment: Re:Verizon admits it's a "weakness" (Score 1) 161

by schnell (#48614185) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

I doubt it will be very long before third parties apart from government figure out how to access their backdoor.

No, because the "backdoor" is getting a judge to sign a warrant for the police to wiretap you, and the police submitting that request to Verizon through official channels so that Verizon uses the keys that they have to decrypt the communication and give it to the police.

How is a third party going to use that?

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 3, Informative) 161

by schnell (#48614151) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

An unconstitutional law is actually not a law at all.

What's unconstitutional about CALEA? It requires police to show probable cause and have a judge sign off on a request, just as if it were a warrant for arrest or any other search and seizure of personal records. Whether it does so in practice is a different question, but in theory the law itself is at least designed to be fully compatible with the Fourth Amendment.

NSA warrantless wiretapping? Almost certainly unconstitutional, by any reading other than Dick Cheney's. CALEA? Probably not so much.

And BTW an unconstitutional law is still a law. Not sure where you learned your legal theory. A law that's unconstitutional should in theory be overturned by the courts so that it's not a law anymore - that's how "checks and balances" work - but until such time, it is most definitely a law and entirely enforceable!

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 4, Informative) 161

by schnell (#48613635) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

Nobody is being "backdoored" here except as required by law. The linked story summary is a troll for mentioning the NSA - it has nothing to do with them, but either the writer doesn't know what they're talking about or they just figured that would get more clicks.

Telecom providers are required to make sure that any voice service they sell is compliant with CALEA. There is no direct CALEA equivalent today for data services, interestingly - this is how far behind the times the Feds can be. And yes everything in LTE is data but for the purposes of the law, anything where you are talking - for example VoIP - is considered a voice service.

CALEA basically means that if you (the telecom) get a wiretap order - signed by a judge - from a law enforcement agency, you need to wiretap and record that user's calls for the specified time period, decrypt them if necessary, and then turn them over to the law enforcement agency. Verizon had to make this service CALEA compliant, or they couldn't have offered it. And remember that CALEA is not about mass wireless surveillance a la NSA but is actually about targeted recordings of specific individuals where there is probable cause enough to get a judge to sign off on the wiretap order. Very different things. You can dislike CALEA but you can't blame Verizon for putting in some magical backdoor - that has absolutely zero to do with the NSA - which they are required by law to have.

However for the privacy-minded it should be noted that the way things work, CALEA only applies to telecom providers. If you bought the same software from a non-telecom source (e.g. the software OEM themselves) and put it on your phone, then CALEA won't help law enforcement because Verizon wouldn't have the key to decrypt your calls with and could only turn over the encrypted stream. So if you are worried about being wiretapped by the police, don't buy your encryption service from your phone company.

Comment: Re:There's only one image organizing program (Score 1) 258

by schnell (#48598229) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

I'm genuinely curious - what does Lightroom do that iPhoto on OS X doesn't? I have extensive (non-professional) photo archives in iTunes for the easy import, automatic facial recognition, ease of posting to social media etc. but if Lightroom does really awesome stuff I would certainly consider switching.

Comment: Re:transfer the ID information to the police (Score 1) 207

by schnell (#48579461) Attached to: In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

It seems reasonable that we could just eliminate having to carry around physical IDs altogether (at least as a requirement of the law) and have the police taking pictures and/or typing in a name to verify someone's identity.

Neat idea but it misses a lot of practical problems.

Many police cars are equipped with cameras that can read via OCR your license plate (called "Automated License Plate Recognition" or ALPR) and check against a database to see if your car has been reported stolen, is reported in an Amber Alert, etc.

However, the person driving the car is a totally different issue. Let's assume that there's no requirement that you have a personal driver's license.

The officer pulls you over for speeding and he/she says, "name please?" You say "Oliver Klozoff." Without that government-issued ID you can make up any darn name you want to. That officer has no way to get you to produce your real name, even if it is Osama bin Laden and you're driving around the country touring Whataburger locations. Oliver Klozoff isn't an owner of that car? Well, your friend lent it to you for the afternoon, what's wrong with that? So without the fact that driving without a physical license is a crime, the cop has no way to figure out if you are a wanted person or not. Not a great thing for catching wanted people (see Timothy McVeigh and his traffic stop arrest after the Oklahoma City bombing for example).

On the flip side of civil liberties - the officer pulls you over for speeding and he/she takes your picture and runs it against a visual database stored by the DMV. Unfortunately, because it's nighttime and lit only by the officer's flashlight, and you grew a beard since you had your driver's license photo taken and put on some weight, you are no longer recognized as a valid driver in your state. Why not arrest you just to be sure?

You get the idea. Think of a driver's license like a form of two-factor authentication. It's not the physical card itself which is important so much as that it is a token which only you are supposed to have, which links you back to a known set of credentials at the state level which can be attached to a permission to drive, a known wants/warrants record, or so on and so forth. Just like how your physical passport isn't what is important when you enter the country - it's just a good way to get started when they scan it into a database where the real information is stored that can figure out who you are.

Comment: Re:What in the hell was he thinking? (Score 1) 388

by schnell (#48542487) Attached to: Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

What you say is fair, but did this guy agree right away or did they badger him repeatedly until he agreed?

To me, that's part of the point. There's no amount of badgering that should make you even consider doing it. In fact, if someone is badgering you about it an you aren't reporting it to the appropriate authorities then something is wrong with your moral compass.

Comment: Re:What in the hell was he thinking? (Score 5, Insightful) 388

by schnell (#48540955) Attached to: Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

So this is basically and [sic] artificially generated crime, made by the FBI.

If you are given a US security clearance - after a significant background investigation and detailed indoctrination about exactly how important that it is that you do not tell anyone - not your wife, not your buddies, not your colleagues who don't have the same clearances - about classified material... and then someone claiming to represent a foreign power approaches you about providing classified information to them... and you even take more than half a second to say no, you should not have been in that job in the first place.

This isn't luring someone into adultery, or petty theft, or embezzling or even facilitating Marion Berry smoking crack. This is a dude straight up offering SENSITIVE US DEFENSE INFORMATION to a known frenemy (depending on who's in power this week) FOR MONEY. There is no scenario in which you are a Good Guy who just got entrapped into something you didn't really mean or didn't think was going to hurt anyone.

It's sorta like how I can be sympathetic to men whose jealous significant others hire PIs/escorts to hit on them and lure them into adultery to see if they're susceptible to cheating. But this is more like trying to bait someone into hiring a hit man to kill their wife to see if they would go for it... If you even consider it, buddy you are not a Good Guy and deserve what you get.

Comment: Re: yea no (Score 1) 345

No, this magazine actually is a public trust. It has never turned a profit in 100 years. But it has provided a forum for some of the best writers we've ever had.

That sounds awesome and all, but what you're describing is not a business, it's a charity. If they want to convert themselves to a 501(c)3 and take donations like NPR does (which serves a similar niche), then I think that's awesome. But it's not a business, it's a particular type of ego-driven charity bankrolled by the super-wealthy who are happy to lose money being associated with something that gets them invited to smart cocktail parties instead of losing money on something that does things like cure malaria or provide clean drinking water. (See also: "owning professional sports teams.")

I say this as a former professional journalist myself: if your publication is losing money, never get too comfortable and keep your LinkedIn up to date. Because your self-indulgent ownership today may change to an actual business person owner tomorrow, and if they ever do, shit is going to turn 180 degrees immediately in every way you care about. And don't be surprised or upset when it does.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 167

by schnell (#48536915) Attached to: Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

A fair comment and I appreciate your civility (pretty rare on Slashdot these days).

My viewpoint is due to a specific bias of my own: I was a Journalism major in college and worked as a reporter at a couple "mainstream media" (EEEEEVIL!) newspapers before moving into technology. I'm not a deluded idealist viewing journalism from the outside with the "wool pulled over my eyes," I was a practicing reporter for several years.

And you know what? I was taught in college for four years to be above all else unbiased, and I damn well tried my hardest to do that once I got out into the professional journalism world. It's certainly possible that I didn't always succeed, but I always made a good faith effort to do so. No editor ever pressured me to add a slant to my stories, or favor some advertiser or some bullshit or something like that. My paper (the Richmond Times-Dispatch) had an Editorial department that was hard-core conservative, but that group had absolutely zero influence on the actual news reporters and how story ideas were declined/accepted and how those were ultimately presented. And from talking with my former colleagues and friends who continue to be practicing mainstream journalists, that continues to be true even to this day.

If you're a TV reporter for FOX News or a writer for the Huffington Post, then yes your editor will telegraph to you the conclusion that your story is supposed to come to. But there are LOTS of other US journalism outlets where I can say from first-hand experience that bias is NOT a desired outcome, even if you see it there.

No offense - and again I appreciate the civility of your comments even if I disagree with them - but this is one area that I think my several years of practical experience provides me with a little more direct insight than whatever "People's History of..." you have read that posits otherwise.

Comment: Re:Not unexpected. (Score 3, Informative) 141

by schnell (#48536877) Attached to: Apple DRM Lawsuit Might Be Dismissed: Plaintiffs Didn't Own Affected iPods

I'll spend extra on a dependable product. Apple computers have shown to not be dependable

Perhaps not in your experience. For other people, including me, the opposite has shown to be true.

But you know what? Everyone has their own version of the plural of anecdote being data, so we will all work from our own individual experiences and be justified in doing so. But I wouldn't be so certain about identifying macro trends in your personal experience here.

Comment: Re:Not unexpected. (Score 1) 141

by schnell (#48536773) Attached to: Apple DRM Lawsuit Might Be Dismissed: Plaintiffs Didn't Own Affected iPods

Well, to those people I'll say this: Welcome to Slashdot. The topic has been posted about to death a billion times before. See that search box next to the logo at the top left of the page? Click there, type the word "Apple" and hit enter. Then read until your heart is content. You're welcome.


Just to recap here, you have basically: 1.) said Apple stuff sucks in the middle of a thread almost designed to be a flame war invitation; 2.) refused to explain why you think Apple sucks with any specificity; and 3.) given a follow-up response akin to "I don't have to tell you why I don't like New Zealanders. Just Google 'New Zealand' and read until your heart is content.'"

You, sir/madam either 1.) win the Internet brilliant troll of the year award; or 2.) should ask yourself why you bothered posting not just one comment but also two responses as of this writing where you could have just explained your problems with Apple in less text than it took to explain why it was beneath you to explain why you wouldn't explain what your problem with Apple was why you wouldn't NOMAD DOES NOT COMPUTE.

The idle man does not know what it is to enjoy rest.