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Comment: Re:Stored in cleartext? (Score 2) 126

by SethJohnson (#47614897) Attached to: Alleged Massive Account and Password Seizure By Russian Group
Keyloggers are certainly a popular way for collecting passwords on a malware-infected computer. Undoubtedly, some portion of this claimed collection would have been built off keylogging.

The extortionists describing this password trove are claiming it was built by using compromised client computers to launch SQL injection attacks against servers where the computer's owner had an account. Such a strategy would allow the attackers access to injection vulnerabilities that are inaccessible to an unauthenticated visitor. Additionally, and perhaps more concerning should be that this type of attack would succeed against corporate intranets via employee computers connected via VPN.

Using keyloggers alone might yield a few million passwords (depending on the size of the botnet), but to achieve a collection of a billion, the compromised machines would have to gather passwords not belonging to their owners.

Comment: underwater living (Score 1) 45

Mr. Cameron-

I really enjoyed your visual special effects work on the landmark film, Escape from New York. I've been out of touch with your career since then, but noticed you were able to parlay your success working for John Carpenter into supporting an underwater diving hobby.

I'm wondering if you see any chance of technology improving soon that would enable humans to live underwater for extended periods. These underwater hotels are so darn expensive. I'd like to have a house in about 20' of sea water. When's that going to happen?

Comment: I'm bitching about SQL Server Management Studio (Score 4, Insightful) 240

by SethJohnson (#47583897) Attached to: Getting Back To Coding

Compared with tools we had 10 years ago or more, UIs have indeed improved significantly.

No criticism of the OP here, but this got me thinking about one of my mortal enemies. The UI within SQL Server Management Studio. For the last decade of upgrades, I've really wondered how that development team leaves the office everyday thinking they are doing a good day's work. There are so many blatantly apparent rough edges to the UI for SSMS, I can't believe they think it's as good as they can make it.

In order to avoid tldr, I'll just give a single example. Look at the tabbing for each database connection window. The tabs are labelled "servername.database" but are limited to a small number of characters regardless of how many tabs are open. Here's an example where there are only two open tabs:

The first reason the labelling is fundamentally broken is that the database name is chopped off in an unnecessary abbreviation. The tab could stretch out to display the whole thing! It's not scrunched in with a bunch of other tabs. There's plenty of room there.

The second reason this is broken is that the database name is the thing you actually need to see more than the server name. In the majority of use case scenarios, the user is connected to multiple databases on the same server. When switching tabs, you need to be able to locate the one for the database you're looking for within your current connections. Sure, there's that pulldown menu on the left, but that's a much further mouse drag than the tabs are from your focal point.

So, if you're ever looking for an example of a developer interface that doesn't get a proper update, look no further than SQL Server Management Studio. It's hardly changed in over a decade of releases.

Comment: Re:Airspace (Score 2) 199

I don't think he's saying the airspace should be reserved for him, I think most of us think that those of us who fly deserve some regulations to prevent us from being killed because some idiot realtor caused a drone to strike our aircraft. I haven't heard anyone here say drones shouldn't be allowed. What we want is to be able to share the airspace safely.

Currently, a drone operator who causes a manned aircraft to crash has little fear for their own personal safety. They may have some liabilities (civil or even criminal) but they probably won't lose their life. I'd certainly like some regulations so that I'm not risking my life due to drone strikes every time I go flying.

Comment: Re:Not a rule (Score 1) 199

You forgot to quote paragraph d:

(d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface—

(1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA; and

(2) A powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section.

We frequently operate at 500 feet and below - it's one of the things that makes a helicopter useful. It's going to be a real issue when we start sharing the airspace with drones. Birds are already enough of an issue, but birds large enough to take down the helicopter are generally visible at the speeds we fly close to the ground. A maneuvering quadropter on the other hand is probably close to invisible to us - it's hard enough to see flying objects below the horizon, but one that can maneuver aggressively such as a model helicopter or quadropter is almost impossible to see and avoid. Usually we see RC Fields well before we see the RC Aircraft - the fields tend to look a certain way so when we see such a field we generally keep clear or at least are much more vigilant (and would be reluctant to go below 500 feet if we though an RC aircraft was being operated).

Anyway, there are lots of operations that legitimately take us below the altitudes specified in paragraph b & c.

Comment: Re:Not a rule - Not just the FAA (Score 1) 199

I'd like to second this. If I go out flying I'm likely to see one or two fields where people are flying RC aircraft. Not too hard to avoid. (and they have maximum altitudes the keep them below most manned aircraft). When uses for commercial drones are found, it's likely to suddenly flood the national airspace with a huge number of drones, and at that point we're going to need to have safety regulations already in place. If anything, I think FAA has been a little slow to enact drone regulations. I hope they hurry up, but also make balanced regulations that protects the flying public (and public on the ground) but also does not hinder the development of what will certainly be a huge and useful capability - I'm thinking autonomous drones here......

Comment: Re:Dear Fed (Score 1) 199

The reason FAA has the concept of commercial operating certificates is so that:

a) it can make sure those operators are following regulations enacted for safety reasons.
b) It can revoke the certificates of operators who for one reason or another violate those regulations.

The FAA has very little authority over an entity (person/corporation) who operates without a license or operating certificate. (I think it can levy fines against individuals but I'm not sure where their authority stops in that sense. I don't believe the FAA can act in a law enforcement capability, so it's not clear to me at what point a person can be arrested for violating FAA regulations).

By licensing drones, the FAA can enact rules to prevent them from endangering manned aircraft. For instance, if something akin to a type certificate is required by drones because FAA finds that certain equipment (like ADS-B) is required to insure separation from manned aircraft, how would they enforce that? Probably the way they will is by having certain equipment requirements for drones that want to operate in the national airspace.

Hopefully they will use a layered approach so that very small light drones will have little to no equipment requirements, but may have severe altitude restrictions, while larger/heavier drones, or drones that need to be operated at higher altitudes will have equipment requirements to keep them separated from manned aircraft.

We also have the issue of parts falling out of the air onto the public. In general this isn't an issue for manned aircraft, because usually when big pieces fall off the aircraft, the people on board are killed - it gives the crew plenty of incentive to make sure this doesn't happen. But what's to prevent an SLR carrying drone from falling out of the sky and killing people walking down the sidewalk? Since there's probably little to no risk on the part of the drone operator, we need a way to enforce some rules about how drones can be operated above people...

Comment: Re:Dear Fed (Score 1) 199

And I don't want people driving down my road disturbing my sleep at night, but I have to share the road with my neighbors and to some degree the same thing is true of the airspace above our property. There are lots of things that may take a helicopter low over your property - I've done utility inspection jobs that sometimes require us to fly quite low - while the noise may be a nuisance, it's an even bigger nuisance when your home loses electricity because the transmission wires weren't inspected.

I've flown traffic helicopters and we try to fly high so as to not make a lot of noise for people on the ground, but there are circumstances where we may have to fly fairly low so again, it's a nuisance, but does serve a useful purpose in helping to keep driver's aware of traffic conditions.

Another case I can think of would be a medivac helicopter making a low approach over your house in order to land nearby to pick up a critically ill person.

In general, the helicopter community works hard to be responsible about how and where we fly; we try to be sensitive to the noise we make and the fact that people on the ground have a right to feel safe, i.e. we need to operate the aircraft in a responsible fashion so that people on the ground are not exposed to risk due to our presence.

One worry I have is that crazy people with access to drones may try to enforce their desire to keep helicopters away from their homes by purposely crashing drones into helicopters. I'm thinking that there may be a market for armored civil helicopters in the not too distant future!. Or maybe a pod of anti-drone drones I can release from my helicopter... ;-)

Comment: Re:No exhaustive.. (Score 1) 285

by SethJohnson (#47409491) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
Sounds like you missed an opportunity to capitalize on his genius. You could have been the Steve Jobs to his Steve Wozniak. No disrespect to yourself, because this is clearly one of those impossible-to-predict scenarios. I guess the lesson learned is to watch for these types of talents and make sure the work they have in front of them is sufficiently engaging on levels that will interest them.

I suppose this is one aspect of Google's 20% projects. People who are bored with their normal work may find satisfaction with their own pursuits and stay with the company to continue working on them.

Comment: Hall of Fame is different than these projects (Score 1) 285

by SethJohnson (#47409383) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
While each of those are significant milestones in implementation achievements, I'm not aware of a single individual who can claim credit for enabling the completion of those projects.

To put those projects in proper scale to what the programmers on this IT World Hall of Fame have done, the above examples were all built with budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. The needs of those systems were readily apparent by everyone involved. It was a matter of assigning an army of workers to put all the pieces together.

The accomplishments of these hall of fame programmers revolve around smart people identifying a vacuum of need that others hadn't recognized even existed. Then these people set about filling those needs by building essential tools themselves from scratch.

Comment: Cab companies are not LLCs (Score 2) 139

by SethJohnson (#47404207) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

What difference does it make if it's an Uber driver or any other driver who paralyzes you?

Difference being that Uber is sucking up around $213,000,000 per year by avoiding significant insurance coverages that their competitors are having to pay. They're offloading this chunk of the insurance burden on their 'independent contractors' who are not able to cover injuries like a $1 Billion / year revenue company can.

What does it matter? It's the difference between being compensated properly for a life-changing injury caused by an 'independent contractor' working for Uber and suffering "tough luck" by getting zilch in compensation. Compensation is the deciding factor between institutionalized living or as normal-as-possible life for the remainder of your years.

And if you think you can get lots of money out of taxi companies, think again: they are usually limited liability.

That corporate structure doesn't work the way you think it does. An LLC is created so it can implode in the face of a liability claim and protect the owners. If Yellow Cab were operating as an LLC, they would have dissolved after the first accident by one of their cabs.

Instead, in the big cities like New York and Chicago, the cab companies are trying to shield themselves from liability in the same way as Uber-- the drivers are independent contractors.

Comment: Re:And in other news (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by SethJohnson (#47403049) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

Why shouldn't the same insurance rates apply to everybody, simply based on mileage, driving history, and vehicle type? I mean, if I wanted to pick out a category of drivers to charge more, it would be mothers with children in their cars (they are dangerous), not Uber drivers looking for rides.

Consider the scenario where you are standing on a street corner and a car comes rushing towards you at a high rate of speed. Collision is imminent. You're going to survive the impact, but you'll be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of your life.

If the car that crippled you was operated by an employee of a cab company, it might mean that a legal settlement would be reached such that you'd spend the rest of your life at your house with inhouse nurse care.

If the car was an Uber driver rushing down the street to pick up a customer before becoming inpatient and choosing a different car in the app, well, I hope you have substantial insurance through your own job. When you attempt to sue Uber over your injuries, they'll say they have no liability in the matter because their driver wasn't on the clock with a passenger. And they'll exert significant legal resources to prevent creating a precedent that'll put them out of business. They'll happily spend more fighting your case than the amount for which your suing. In this scenario, you're likely to have to live at an institution to be provided needed medical care for the rest of your life.

As for your stereotyping of mothers with infants, the most common cause of car accidents is distracted driving due to cellphone usage. Seems that Uber drivers looking for fares would strongly fit into that category....

Comment: Re:Tonka Tough (Score 1) 431

by SethJohnson (#47258667) Attached to: Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year
This AC speaks the truth.

I saw this happen in the US with the skateboard deck industry. In the eighties and nineties, all legitimate wooden skateboard decks were manufactured in woodshops located in North America. Sure, Chinese-made skateboards would show up in big-box retail stores, but they weren't taken seriously by serious skateboarders. They were junk for kids.

In the early 2000's, certain California-based vendors contracted their entire production of these boards to Chinese factories. Within just a couple of years, the margins forced the all the other mainstream deck vendors to follow suit. As it ended up, the companies in California now just design the pictures on the boards, purchase advertising, and promote the decks made by Chinese companies. Whereas previously, Chinese-made skateboards weren't accepted by the skateboard industry, the Chinese factories have co-opted the California industry members to promote and market their products.

Another megabytes the dust.