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Comment: Re:This needs to stop ... (Score 3, Insightful) 388

by tnk1 (#48619191) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

The hackers are totally wrong. So is Sony.

Sony is getting egg on their faces, and the hackers may eventually get caught. Both parties may well get theirs.

And thanks to them, I get to see a real life version of "Swimming with Sharks". That's the positive.

The big negative would be if this becomes yet another excuse for Sony to break the Internet with trying to cover their own asses by making everyone else do their work for them. And in that sense, that is the negative for having both Sony, and hackers who attack Sony existing. Sony will never fix their security, just like they won't fix their distribution. That would require effort. They'll just try and buy regulations that make other people have to jump through hoops so they can continue to store their master password list on unsecured shares on their open network and continue to use various pricing schemes to make people pay more for the same product.

Comment: Re:Call me racist and evil and bigoted and everyth (Score 1) 158

by tnk1 (#48601877) Attached to: 9th Circuit Will Revisit "Innocence of Muslims" Takedown Order

Being killed because you wear glasses, whether or not you are educated, because glasses are considered to be the mark of the educated elite is a degree of oppression that the US does not have and hopefully never will. That is just one thing that the Khmer Rouge did.

Yes, there are problems here, but living in Cambodia was a nightmare of the worst sort. They depopulated every city in the country, sent them all off to the country to work on insufficient nutrition, and basically killed anyone who didn't fit their perfect ideal of the agrarian Khmer.

There isn't even a comparison. The only argument that you might have is that you don't want this country to become like the Killing Fields, but I have a considerable amount of doubt in anyone who says that who can't even tell the difference between murderous genocide and some civil liberties being infringed that you are free to talk about and protest about without being murdered or sent to a forced labor death camp.

We *are* SOOO much better than those places. Not by right of birth, but by the fact that people here fight to keep it that way. If you believe otherwise, I encourage you to go to those places and experience life there as an actual "citizen" of such a place, not simply a tourist. There the problems aren't angst over racial profiling. Its fear of genocide, slavery, rampant corruption, and attendant complete hopelessness.

We should not rest on our laurels. We have to keep fighting to keep the US a country worth living in. The fact that we are actually a better place to live does not mean it will continue to be that way without effort. Every day we are assaulted by things that will drag us in the wrong direction that need to be fought. We are not better because we are born that way, we're better because we work to be better. As soon as we stop, we will actually be no better.

Comment: Re:Lie (Score 1) 720

by tnk1 (#48544879) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

Doing that could get you fired, and for gross misconduct to boot. Gross misconduct might deprive you of unemployment and COBRA benefits. Usually it gets avoided so there's no need to prove that in court, but it is simple to prove in the case you lied on a form and they caught you out.

If he's truly desperate, he could try to lie, but I seriously advise against it. If you like working in IT, you don't want to piss off the people you work with like that. Word gets around. Even in big towns, people in IT frequently see each other again.

I would tend more towards getting in the door in some indirect way where they don't conduct the background check or can somehow be convinced that it isn't a big deal. There are some places that would at least listen to you, if your position isn't particularly sensitive.

Our company does do background checks, and I ensure all my admins are checked. We have responsibility for credit card numbers and it is part of our information security program to get them done. I can't say if the check will definitely find his felony, but I can tell you that if he lied and it did, I'd immediately fire him. It's one thing to be a past criminal who has served your time. It's another thing to be a past criminal who is still lying. It tends to reinforce the idea that you can't be trusted.

I have sympathy for his position, be he needs to not lie about it. What he needs is a situation where someone will accept his explanations and character references or for the question to not come up. People fudge things all the time, like their skills or education, but this is not something you can fudge and have it not come back to haunt you unless you are very lucky.

I'd might suggest he consider being a developer. You might still get checked, but usually the only people who *need* checks are administrators who have production access. That's why we do our best to lock down production and keep everyone else out. That allows the rest of the company to not have to deal with crazy audit and checking requirements. All you have to deal with then are your change control process and tests. Since there is the expectation that we can't trust code that goes in, we don't have to trust the developers completely. I'm not sure how viable that is, but it could work.


Comment: Re:A felon with misdemeanor convictions (Score 3, Informative) 720

by tnk1 (#48543161) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

Misdemeanor is a minor crime. Misdemeanor can lead to jail time and fines and gets you a criminal record. Jail time is not uncommon, but is usually not handed out unless it is a more serious offense or this is a second conviction. It tends to be on the order of like 30-180 days. Fines and probation are the usual sentences.

Felony is a very serious crime, and in addition to a record and much more likely jail time, which starts to become years in length, you also lose many of your civil rights. In many places, you cannot vote, serve on a jury, or own a firearm as a felon and this lasts for some period after your release, up to and including the rest of your life. Your only recourse to that state is often an executive pardon.

Of course, these are classifications, not actual crimes. Murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, grand theft, etc. are all felonies. Speeding is an infraction, not a misdemeanor, but speeding excessively over the limit might be reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor. Carrying illegal substances would usually be a misdemeanor as well (in the places it isn't legal anyway).

Dealing illegal substances is more serious and can often end up as a felony, although laws vary based on how much you've been dealing.

You will frequently end up with a felony if you continue to repeat misdemeanors. And this is a frequent reason for drug based offenders to turn into felons. In addition to the utility of becoming a dealer if you are a user, if you are simply a user, addiction puts you in a position where you continue to have strong motivation to keep breaking the law which escalates charges to felony-level under repeat offender provisions in the law.

It is important to note that a crime is defined by law as a felony, there is no hard and fast requirement for a crime to meet some sort of definition to be considered a felony. For instance, two minors sleeping together used to be able to both be convicted of statutory rape, even if the act was completely consented to by both parties, because under the law a minor cannot consent to sex. In many places that is a felony. The drug laws are also one situation where felonies seem to be handed out very easily, and so consequently, is a reason the US is seen as a place where the jails are busting at the seams with non-violent offenders.

Comment: Re:No, it's not even possible (Score 3, Interesting) 181

by tnk1 (#48534919) Attached to: Do you worry about the singularity?

Actually, the 6,000 year number comes from a calculation done by Bishop James Ussher in 1633 by using a chronology from the Bible based on linking Biblical events to events with other historical attribution.

It was actually a very academic and careful undertaking, and like most bishops, Ussher was a very educated man who today might well have even accepted the Theory of Evolution.

The problem is that he lived in the 17th Century and no one at all knew what evolution was, and he was a Protestant bishop to boot. Such people, failing other reasonable alternatives, will go to the Bible for answers.

However, taken for what it is, his Bible chronology is quite defensible, albeit not the only possible reading of the Bible text.

So, while it is possible that the Young Earth Creationists just don't like Evolution, they didn't have to make it up to make their point. It was very good Bible scholarship, but only if you insist (as fundamentalists do) that the Bible is unerring and not allegory at all, ever. Most Christians do not believe that the whole Bible is literally consisting of the actual words God spoke. Some parts of it are solid, if slanted, history that you can base good archaeological digs on. Some parts of it need to seriously be taken on faith or accepted as stories which interpret the big questions in ways that a person in ancient times would have interpreted them.

Of course, there is always the possibility that the YE Creationists are right. It is entirely possible that there is a metagame out there where rules allow the universe as it is today to not be the universe as it once was. That is generally discounted, because its completely useless to any sort of practical application, but with an all powerful Creator God, who is above all physical laws and even logic itself, you can literally have *anything* happen. In that scenario, the only way you know it is different is if someone tells you it was different. And then you have to believe them. There's no other choice. This is what we call "Faith" with a capital "F".

Of course, you don't need that sort of maddening, useless, mind-bending scenario to have an actual deity, but it can never be ruled out because it is completely untestable, and it isn't even illogical. Absolute power makes anything possible.

This is why science is never going to equal truth. Science is useful because it confines itself to the observable and the testable, but something does not need to be observable to be true, nor will all true things be testable.

So, the answer to the Young Earth Creationists is not that they are wrong (although my gut says that they probably are), but that we can't derive any policy or theories based on untestable truths. Evolution does not have to contradict Creationism, but YE Creationism is not really useful for such subjects as genetics or anthropology or whatever. It does not match what we have tested and observed.

I would move all untestable theories to the Philosophy class, including Creationism and whatever is going for the atheist hypothesis about how we ultimately ended up existing. They're both untestable and that's where you can have the two fight it out in debates and leave the good science for the Science classes.

Comment: Re:#richbastardproblems (Score 1) 602

by tnk1 (#48519503) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

I don't think anyone is arguing that the rich are, in fact, poor. Seems a little paradoxical, right?

The point I was making was simple. There is no such thing as government money. There are only individuals paying taxes. If you exempt one group from paying more taxes, that still doesn't mean that there is "government money". Now, it is just a smaller pool of individuals paying taxes, but it is still humans paying taxes. It's now just "someone else".

You need to get money from somewhere to spend it. There is really only one place value is generated: from the production of goods and services by individuals. If you try and spend more than you produce, you run out. Governments try and use tactics like borrowing to offset that, but really, they can only do that by making sure that individuals somewhere have money extracted from them. It's a slight of hand game.

The point is, Soylent Green is people. It may look like the government has "plenty of money", but no one gets "plenty of money" without extracting it from the source, which is people, mostly non-rich people. It is dangerous to view the government as a magical money pinata.

Comment: Re:Huh? What does this reveal? (Score 1) 114

by tnk1 (#48519063) Attached to: Comcast Forgets To Delete Revealing Note From Blog Post

With such a merger, the market is not competitive now, and if they merge, it will not be more competitive in the future either, even if someone changes the regulations.

If this is an actual argument for letting these companies merge, then they could just reconstruct an equivalent to Ma Bell. After all, if the only problem is not lessening local competition, then you can buy up all cable markets, because most of them aren't competitive by design already. No loss, except now there's just Ma Cable. We all saw how that worked out.

I wonder if they'll start making cable boxes out of bakelite. At least you could use them to repel intruders without worrying about them breaking.

Comment: Re:There is no single "fair" value. (Score 2) 602

by tnk1 (#48518821) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

And that is why I said that the government is good at certain things and I am happy to pay for them.

What I most objected to, I think, is this idea where someone says, it is either the individual or the government who pays for something. There is no such distinction.

The "government" is a corporate fiction just like any corporation. It is just run under different rules. The government may print money, but it doesn't create the value of the money out of thin air. It doesn't produce things. That value is generated by individuals, either by themselves or as part of a corporate body devoted to production or for-pay services. And since the corporations don't usually eat the cost of taxes, but pass them to consumers, *all* taxes are actually paid by individuals.

There is no division between government money and individual money. It is all individual money, the government merely extracts it and redistributes it to ensure order and collective security from things like fire, invasion, etc.

This is why people are wary of government being used for every problem under the sun. There are people out there who believe that there is this magical vault where the government has money that was not generated somehow by charging people. What people are saying when they want "the government" to pay for it is that they really want other people to pay for it. Just not them. Maybe those rich people over there.

And again... there are times that a government makes a lot of sense, and I probably do generate a lot of benefit for paying to make sure that poor person's house doesn't light my McMansion on fire, but it starts becoming dangerous when people believe that taking from the government isn't actually equivalent to taking from actual humans... they lose sight of where that money actually comes from and they start believing that it is magically produced and can't run out.

Comment: Re:Really about not being at someone else's mercy (Score 1) 96

by tnk1 (#48518439) Attached to: Openwashing: Users and Adopters Beware

I did leave out forking as a benefit, and that was an oversight, so thanks for bringing that up. I certainly don't undervalue that, because you can customize or ensure continuity if the original developer disappears.

As for the selling of the code.... I think that leaving the code out there is a huge negative for being able to sell the code itself. You can still go the copyright route, of course, but its harder to detect and then prove, and for a smaller developer, probably a barrier to serious enforcement and not worth it.

For that reason, if I'm going to open my code so everyone can read and download it, I'm probably just going to make it free to use and sell my services as someone who is extremely familiar with the project and code and who clearly has the skills to create code that people want to use. And maybe ask for donations, because anyone principled enough to pay me for code they can easily steal will probably be principled enough to just donate to my project without me forcing them to by law.

Comment: Re:How detached from reality is astrophysics? (Score 1) 52

by tnk1 (#48518221) Attached to: The Moment of Truth For BICEP2

Is it really an easy laugh? Seriously, even if you're a scientist, you haven't done all of the experiments yourself, even if it is technically possible to do them.

Priests used to say: "The Earth is this way because God made it. I know this because He told me so and the other priests verified this vision against scriptures. Unfortunately, He doesn't want to talk to you too. Probably because you're impure and have sex with women, or something. As consolation prize, you're going to heaven when you die, if you listen to me. You can thank me later."

And that was just as good as any other explanation because no one really had a way to actually prove or disprove that. And the competing theories really sounded the same, or were fairly unsatisfying.

Today scientists say: "The Earth is this way because.... I know this because I did all these experiments and they were peer reviewed. Unfortunately, these experiments cost millions of dollars to do and require a PhD in that specific field to even understand what the experiments do. Luckily for you, I've written this popular science book that you can all read where I tell you what this all means. Feel free to quote it at your leisure."

Most people aren't even at the level of technological savvy that is represented on this board, let alone actual PhDs. That means that people have to accept what another person tells them is true without being able to personally verify it. Although today people would scoff at calling science "magic", the reality is that your average person treats technology and particularly science at the level of astrophysics to be something that a respected authority tells them what it is and they believe it based on trust. That may not be a religious faith, but it is a practical sort of faith.

That's why some people love to bash scientific theories, and other people just as angrily think that the first group of people are morons. But both of them are usually appealing to authority, even some of the scientists who are discussing things outside their field. And that's why a common person honestly believes that if a priestly class can trick them for their own benefit, a scientific class is just as able to do so for their own benefit.

Comment: Re:The End-Users most of the time don't really car (Score 3, Interesting) 96

by tnk1 (#48515943) Attached to: Openwashing: Users and Adopters Beware

You're not wrong as a general rule, but there are plenty of organizations that do make use of the code to look at and having it be open helps even the people who just want the "free" aspect.

For instance, independent security labs can and will look at code. They then release information which aids me, as someone who may not look at the code, in making a decision on if it is safe to buy.

Open source is not about being free, it is mostly about the sharing of information with the goal of making it better and aiding everyone. Those who open source their software get the benefit of other people extending it, who then contribute back to the project in some manner. Those who use Open Source software can take advantage of the community and its work and oversight.

Being free is mostly a side effect of the fact that if you give up the source code, the software can be copied easily, and it can be made difficult to control trade secrets or algorithms, so there is little point in charging for the code itself. Opening the code removes the ability to adequately charge for the "intellectual property" but as a side effect, being "free" is a huge motivator for adoption as well, so it is usually win-win.

And although I agree that Open Source *can* mean reading a manual or Googling, that is *not* part of open source. Bear in mind, most people get support for Microsoft products in the same way... ie. Googling. You do have the option of buying certain support or developer resources from MS, but there are also service companies out there that operate services for Open Source software in the same way. Percona comes to mind for MySQL. If it is open sourced, you can have support and have it paid for. The question is whether anyone actually wants to pay for that when there is Google.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 196

by tnk1 (#48515805) Attached to: IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard

People have been talking about networking non-PC "things" together ever since people became acquainted with computers.

IoT as a term represents nothing more than the beginning of the "Marketing of Things".

At the same time, once marketeers get their hands on things, they have generally landed in some way. So, although the term annoys me, it may be a precursor of good things to come. Aside from the annoying sales and marketing babble that will be accompanying it, of course.

Comment: Re:There is no single "fair" value. (Score 3, Insightful) 602

by tnk1 (#48515457) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

Services paid for by the government *are* services paid for by individuals. I pay a significant portion of my paycheck in taxes. Please don't tell me that I'm not individually paying for government programs.

What you mean is that the government ensures that everyone has individual services irrespective of their ability to pay for them. They make that happen by charging individuals with those means to pay for people who do not have those means. If I am poor and want fire services, under a libertarian system, I pay let's say $100, but under the government, I pay $10, $1 or even zero. If I am not poor, under a libertarian system I will still pay $100 for fire services, but under the government, I pay $150 (or more).

Unless the government is an entity that generates its own operating expenses from the sale of a service or product, it is not anything other than individuals being forced to pay for services. It's just not all individuals at the same rate.

Don't get me wrong, I am not necessarily arguing for the existence of the a la carte ultra-Libertarian state. The government exists for a reason and I happily pay taxes for those services that government is well designed to manage. What I don't like is when the government becomes an engine for wealth redistribution, forced charity, or social engineering experiments.

MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer