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Comment: Re:It's not a networking issue. (Score 1) 364

by v1 (#49742365) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Solve a Unique Networking Issue?

agreed. I'd say gas pumps rank second only to ATMs for their target value by the hackers. I think trying to get them on any physical network may be a bad idea. And I'd be willing to bet the manufacturers made it the way it is very much on purpose. Security is generally a 1:500 option. You add 1% of inconvenience to use and maintain, and it adds 500% of inconvenience to compromise. You see "pain in the butt". Hackers see "practically impossible".

Comment: Re:Well, I'm torn. (Score 1) 201

by v1 (#49714693) Attached to: Baton Bob Receives $20,000 Settlement For Coerced Facebook Post

While it would be nice to see someone grow a pair and say "Nope, I'm not here for hush money, I'm here for my pound of flesh. So buckle up and prepare for some publicity and federal exposure." it's also hard for me to honestly say I wouldn't turn down a free 20g.

It does seem a bit low though? If it were significantly larger, well, everyone has their price, but 20g is really flying low.

Comment: bravo! (Score 1) 39

by v1 (#49636867) Attached to: Santa Clara County Opts Against Buying Stingray Due To Excessive Secrecy

privacy issues aside, it's refreshing to occasionally see any government group not rubberstamp any expense that they don't have to worry about paying for. "We can't use this, we're not going to buy it." "but, but... it's so SHINY!"

So now I think we're up to something like... Common Sense: 5 - SNAFU: 885,236

Grant or no grant, that money doesn't just get tossed in a fire if it's not spent. It'll get repurposed somehow, somewhere, maybe by someone else but for public benefit, and hopefully into something more useful and less harmful to the public.

(hopefully we don't hear a shout from the grant people, "so... does somebody else want a free Stingray?")

Comment: Re:doesn't matter which way court case goes (Score 1) 126

by v1 (#49597763) Attached to: Judge Tosses United Airlines Lawsuit Over 'Hidden City' Tickets

The airlines will simply insert a clause in the purchase agreement that says they can dock you the difference if you don't show up on the second leg.

That is very unlikely to survive a legal challenge, because although statistically people doing what you are doing may be costing them money, (difficult to prove, but plausible) they would have a very hard time proving that not providing YOU the service caused them additional expenses that requires recovery.

Just because it's included in the contract doesn't guarantee it's enforceable.

Comment: Re: Is it the phone or the stupid stuff installed (Score 5, Informative) 484

by v1 (#49552519) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days?

I've had my 5S for close to a year now and it has never actually crashed. It's rebooted for OS updates and for a few dozen dead batteries but that's about it. I *have* had to reboot it maybe a dozen times in all due to lagging performance though when it hadn't been rebooted in weeks. My desktop computer's the same way though. Every 2-3 weeks it just needs a reboot to clean house.

Comment: Re:masdf (Score 1) 297

by v1 (#49453215) Attached to: Would-Be Bomber Arrested In Kansas; Planned Suicide Attack on Ft. Riley

The job of the FBI is to arrest people who commit crimes.

That's like saying my mechanic's job is to change spark plugs.

The FBI's main goal is to protect and defend the United States, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.

Currently, the FBI's top investigative priorities are:

Protect the United States from terrorist attacks (see counter-terrorism);
Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage (see counterintelligence);
Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes (see cyberwarfare);
Combat public corruption at all levels;
Protect civil rights;
Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises (see organized crime);
Combat major white-collar crime;
Combat significant violent crime.

Assuming they list that in the traditional "in order of importance", then their main job is to "protect and defend the United States". It gets a little more specific below that, but nowhere does it even mention "arrest". The FBI's goals are much more general, they talk about "what we are going to do", not "how we are going to do it".

Law enforcement is a complex business and occurs at many levels. Education, intervention, protection, deterrant, punishment, rehabilitation, enforcement, investigation, infiltration, just to name a few. Steps that prevent crime at earlier stages (education, deterrant, intervention) usually have a bigger effect on criminal activity. Assuming you just want them operating in the USA, and the terrorists are getting their training abroad, your work starts as soon as the radical lands back in the states. The problem there is although they are plotting against the USA, they're still protected by its laws. So you either have to catch them plotting, or catch them doing damage. Obviously it's better to catch them while plotting, especially when they are suicide bombers that obviously don't concern themselves with getting caught after the act.

"Hey buddy, you look like someone that wants to kill people for jihad, would you like to drive my truck bomb?"

NOT entrapment:
"Hello there I'm looking to kill people for jihad, can you set me up with something?" "What did you have in mind?" "A truck bomb would be great, can you set me up with one of those?"

It can get blurry sometimes, but they follow specific rules set up around court cases that decided what was and what was not entrapment. "In criminal law, entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit." In a nutshell, if they suggest you break a law, it's entrapment. If you ask them to help you break the law, it's a sting. This wingnut asked for a truckbomb. He obviously was going to try to get one, one way or another, without the FBI's help. So it's not entrapment. He asked them for a rope to hang himself with, and they gave it to him.

And in this case, yes, he got arrested. Most of the FBI's enforcement work ends in arrest, but that only accounts for a small percentage of their total activity. But when they identify someone that's determined to do something dangerous (or substantially illegal), they're more than happy to play the role of an assistant so they can (A) have inside access for gathering evidence, and (B) prevent the attack.

People that are complaining that the FBI ought to find a different way to deal with wingnuts like this need to understand something. You can (A) prevent them from becoming a threat, (B) prevent them from acting, or (C) deal with them after they've acted. These radicals tend to get their training abroad, so (A) is out. I doubt you'd find them walking around with a basket picking up the pieces to arrest, so (C) is out too. So that leaves just (B), which is exactly what they're doing. "If you have a better idea, lets hear it, otherwise quit complaining".

Comment: Re: You don't ban something... (Score 1) 421

by v1 (#49411401) Attached to: Powdered Alcohol Banned In Six States

"You don't ban something because a few irresponsible people use it improperly"

Well, if you have a thimble of common sense, you don't. Which is why our goverment does it all the time. It's one of their favorite passtimes.

Here in Iowa I can legally purchase any number of guns, shotguns, rifles, etc. But I can't buy a firecracker. Because it's too dangerous.

Comment: turn-about isn't just fair-play, it's PROPER play (Score 2) 765

by v1 (#49314869) Attached to: A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy

One wonders if they would feel less "threatened" if we made fun of female anatomy?

That's the first thing that occurred to me. Look at all the games that focus on female anatomy. Now you get an entirely different group of people complaining. The game devs can't make even 1/2 the people happy at any given time. So why bother trying? Novelty sells. Cash in on it.

Comment: Re:Godaddy are thieving wankers dot com (Score 1) 70

by v1 (#49308425) Attached to: GoDaddy Accounts Vulnerable To Social Engineering (and Photoshop)

there is some additional asshattery that allows them to tie the name up for a short period without actually having to pay money for it

This was called "domain tasting", and the guise it was made under was to "allow a customer to put up a web site under a new domain name to test it out and sample it to see if they wanted to purchase it". This is of course a silly concept, you don't need to have the domain name in its final form to decide whether or not your web page works. What it DOES do is encourage this squatter behavior.

When they first started allowing that, there were suddenly millions of domains in a continuous "sampling churn" by the squatters. ("In April 2006, out of 35 million registrations, about 2 million were permanent or actually purchased." ie 94% of active domains were being "tasted") Getting a domain during that period without paying a squatter hundreds or thousands for it was very difficult. They had five days to decide whether to purchase or not, but then could just immediately (within seconds?) re-request a tasting, essentially keeping the domain locked under their control until you paid them off.

In 2009 ICANN made changes to mostly eliminate the free tasting when done in bulk. This helped a lot but there was still a lot of squatting going on. They made one more tweak, and after that the tasting was down to under ONE PERCENT of what it had been a year before. They called it good at that point.

  But someone above mentioned such a squatter being actually owned by the registrar, which really "tastes like" fraud to me.

Comment: Re:And that's half the story (Score 1) 178

by v1 (#49215877) Attached to: MH370 Beacon Battery May Have Been Expired

The standard procedure, as far as I know (not being an expert), is upon noticing the fire, the pilots would have shut down all the circuits on the plane in order to find out if one was responsible for the fire.

Being an expert on the subject of electronics, I can assure you that turning off the electricity that started an electrical fire will not extinguish said fire or provide any useful feedback unless someone is actually watching the "sparking and arcing" and notes when it stops.

(also, "shut down all the circuits on the plane" sounds pretty crazy for a variety of reasons)

Comment: Re:The Canadian arm of the business is stil operat (Score 1) 294

by v1 (#48997035) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy

Their angle was "in stock and in HAND today". They lost sight of that, their most valuable resource. instant availability. I dropped $300 on dx.com last month in a single order. That gets you a crapton of small electronics. But you have to wait for it. I'm still waiting on one of the packages to get here. Ignoring the fact that 80% of that stuff RS doesn't carry, if they did, it would have cost well over a grand.

I remember them putting out an open invitation for surveys last year, and I tried to explain that to them. But they were asking questions like "do you want more DIY stuff and kits". Those were radio shack's bread and butter earlier that they got rid of over time recently, but those actually needed to go away. I can get arduino clone boards for $16 that cost $65 at the shack. No one in their right mind plans to buy that locally. It costs way too much, and you don't need it today.

The classic view of modern Radio Shack being a battery store is actually quite keen. Batteries are the perfect example of something you need now. If they were to survive, they were going to need to identify and focus on items like that. Small items that they can sell at a modest markup that people need TODAY. Anyone that can wait for something will order it from China. But instead they listened to the people that were reminiscing about how they used to shop at Radio Shack, and though that returning to a 20 yr old business model that they'd left behind was a good idea.

It was not.

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins