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Comment Re:Well now, not surprising (Score 4, Insightful) 275

A US citizen has an absolute right to re-enter the country.

A sovereign country has an absolute right to defend its borders. I'm pretty sure the contradiction that arises from these two conflicting statements ends up in a loss for the citizen.

Them: "You're not leaving here until you give us your passwords."

Me: "go to hell. and while you're there, tell my lawyer to get over here pronto."


Ashley Madison Source Code Shows Evidence They Created Bots To Message Men 311

An anonymous reader writes: Gizmodo's Annalee Newitz looked through the source code contained in the recent Ashley Madison data dump and found evidence that the company created tens of thousands of bot accounts designed to spur their male users into action by sending them messages. "The code tells the story of a company trying to weave the illusion that women on the site were plentiful and eager." The evidence suggests bots sent over 20 million messages on the website, and chatted with people over 11 million times. The vast majority of fake accounts — 70,529 to 43 — pretended to be female, and the users targeted were almost entirely men. Comments left in the code indicate some of the issues Ashley Madison's engineers had to solve: "randomizing start time so engagers don't all pop up at the same time" and "for every single state that has guest males, we want to have a chat engager." The AI was unsophisticated, though one type of bot would try to convince men to pay and then pass them to a real person.

Comment Re:What did he expect? (Score 1) 275

You become a criminal when you break a law, knowingly or not, charged or not, even if no one else ever knows. That's what the definition of criminal is: someone who has broken the law.

First among the numberous problems with that statement are that (1) "when you break the law" has to be established. Someone says I picked a pencil up off this desk. Did I break the law? Is there a law for that? Does it apply to me? Was I actually the one that picked up the pencil? Are there any extenuating circumstances? Until you have addressed all of those questions and more, you cannot say I have broken the law. And that's what's missing here. They haven't even come close to establishing any law was broken. There are procedures that have to be done, and they're not complete. He hasn't even been charged yet. You must live in a very scary world where you can be considered a criminal simply because someone says you're a criminal, or says they think you broke a law.


Amazon To Stop Accepting Flash Ads 221

An anonymous reader writes: Starting on September 1, Amazon will no longer support Flash across its advertising platform. The online retailer sites changes to browser support and a desire for customers to have a better experience as their reasons for blocking it. Google has been quite active recently in efforts to kill Flash; the Chrome beta channel has begun automatically pausing Flash, Google has converted ads from Flash to HTML5, and YouTube uses HTML5 by default now as well. Safari and Firefox also place limits on Flash content. Is Flash finally on its way out?

Stingray-Like Device Enables Blackmail In S. Africa 50

New submitter PalmAndy writes to note that: South African Police nabbed some criminals using an IMSI catcher device, similar to a Stingray, in Johannesburg. The article says that it was made in Israel and is worth $2 million. A follow-on story says that it was used for tender manipulation and blackmail of Government officials. A corrupt government official helped procure this device, which in theory is only sold to goverments."

Comment Re:Silly string? (Score 4, Interesting) 176

Its a similar problem to using explosives to knock down a building. Paintballs have a large enough amount of energy to take down a drone, but it's not applied in the right way. During WW2 when nations were using bombs to knock down buildings, they discovered that, somewhat contrary to common sense, using an explosive with a very fast detonation speed to produce a very string but very brief blast tended to only so supericial damage to buildings. The problem was that the mass of the building had to be overcome before you started to knock it down.

Explosives like ammonium nitrate on the other hand, have a very slow release of energy, while still containing a lot of total energy. So instead of trying to send the bricks flying airborne, which requires a lot of energy, they invest it slowly to PUSH the bricks sideways without lifting them, and shove the building over. "Work smarter, not harder".

Paintballs I think have a simiar problem of incorrect energy delivery. They're delivering all of their energy in a very small package. But when the ball hits, it breaks, and sends essentailly all of the energy-containing mass plattering in all directions, instead of transferring it effciently to the target. Anyone that's played paintball knows, "the balls that break don't hurt that much - it's the balls that DON'T break that leave bruises". 20% energy transfer vs 100% energy transfer. Stopping paint absorbs much more energy than deflecting it. Look at how the paint just parts around the sides of the drone and continues on to create a spray downrange. All that energy wasted!

If you want to use paintballs, the solution is easy. Freeze the paintballs. I absolutely guarantee frozen paintballs will be effective in bringing down a drone. Just keep a sandwich baggie of them in your freezer "in case of emergency". See a drone? Fill your hopper and encourage the drone to "chill out" and take a "break" on your lawn. Just make sure it lands ON your lawn, so it's clear to any authorities that it was in your airspace at the time. (and if it happens to land just outside... you might want to "covertly relocate" it slightly)

If the owner comes traipsing over and insists on your handing it over, refuse admission to your property. Insist that they will be charged with criminal tresspass if they enter or will not leave your property. If the neighbor kids throw a baseball and it lands inside your fenced yard, just because it's their ball doesn't give them legal right to come onto your property to recover it. Tell them to send the cops, you will gladly turn over the drone to the cops, and they can turn it over to the pilot. If they persist, don't resist, just protest and document (picture/film) the tresspass. Then regardless of how the drone thing ends, they WILL be liable for tresspass.

So leave it sitting on your lawn, guarded and covered. If they call the cops, take them to where it landed, point out the camera, turn it over, give your statement, and its all documented. The owner should get a nice dressing down from the cops before they give him back the drone.

Depending on the local laws and the particular judge though, you may be found liable for damage to the drone. Be preapred for that if you go hunting. Even if it doesn't seem fair, the law may not be on your side. If it really worries you, contact your local authorities for their official position on the matter before it comes up.

You might also go down the route "My daughter was upstairs in her bedroom changing to come outside when this drone flew by on our property at the same level, it could have been filming her through the second story window. She had an expectation of privacy that wast being violated. We demand the owner turn over any recorded footage."

Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 430

> ...You can be fired for discussing salary while on the clock....

To me, that sounds like an open invitation for a wrongful dismissal suit.

Not really. Except for specific restrictions provided by state and federal law, you are handing over your time to the company for the period you are there, in exchange for compensation, that's the deal you agreed to. They tell you what to do with that time, and that's what you do with it, and you get money and benefits. If you choose to do something else, you are violating the terms of your employment contract, and yes, they are legally justified if they choose to fire you for it. It's no different than insisting on playing solitaire on the computer when you should be crunching numbers in excel. You violte the terms of the contract, and they at the very least can tear it up. (they can also pursue legal action against you)

Though we live in a very litigous ("sue-happy") society nowadays. The reality is "You have the right to sue for any reason you want to, you're just not very likely to win a judgement in court for a lot of it". This falls into that category. Other factors can play in and tilt the balance too. Some companies have a known policy of going to great lengths to shut up former employees that sue to avoid bad publicity, and in those cases it can be (disgustingly) easy to get a settlement from them. So, despite "how it's supposed to work", YMMV.

Comment one-way loyalty (Score 5, Informative) 585

A couple jobs ago I was chatting with another employee, we were discussing some "ominous signs" such as HR shredding documents like she was preparing for a parade. The topic of "giving notice" came up. The other guy said that if he found a good job somewhere else he'd walk with zero notice.

The manager overheard this and stepped in on the conversation, trying to berate us with "that's not how it's done in business, I expect you to give me at least two weeks' notice if you're going to quit!" I turned to him and said "so, how much notice will you give ME if you're going to lay me off or fire me?" (huff) (huff) (snort) is about all I got back, he couldn't even form words let alone a coherant sentence to respond to that. So I added, "I'll give you as much notice as I believe you'll give me." So rather than answer me, he just stomped away.

I don't think they consider just how much more inconvenient being unemployed is, compared to having to hire someone to replace a single employee that departs unexpectedly. For the boss, it's inconvenient. For the employee, suddenly losing their income, possibly the only income for an entire family, can be devastating. And yet they expect to be provided with notice, while providing none themselves. Sselfish, arrogant, and inconsiderate!

So everyone with a clue began job hunting. I had found new work, it wasn't nearly what I had now, but the writing was on the wall in pretty bold print at this point, so I accepted it. I showed up on a Thursday evening to start my (3rd) shift, and the gal from HR was in the parking lot with her hatch open, handing out unemployment packets. The entire center had been closed, everyone there got laid off that day, no one even was offered a transfer. I found out later that our manager had known this was going to happen for months.

My new job started on Monday. (total time unemployed - two days) Unfortunately, that's how they play the game, so that's how I have to play it too. If they don't like that, they have no one to blame but themselves, I'm just playing by their rules.

Comment Re:Never understood (Score 4, Interesting) 430

My understanding is that US law prohibits employees signing away their right to share the compensation information.

it does. A worker must be legally allowed to share their benefits (salary and otherwise) to members of their Union. But the law doesn't specifically say union, it's good for anyone.

Discussing it while on "company time" can certainly be controlled. You can be fired for discussing salary while on the clock. But once you step off the premisis, they cannot restrict that. Updating a spreadsheet stored on company servers, at work, while company time, however, is enforceable for a variety of reasons. Google could have canned the lot for that, provided it didn't violate other employment laws.

I've been chastisted by my manager for discussing salary with other employees outside of work. We explained how the law was on our side, and he simply got pissy and grumbled something about "you're not supposed to do that".

The whole point of it being that discouraging disclosure of benefits directly helps the company in negotiations. THEY know how much each employee is being paid, and they really do NOT want you to have that information, because it's leverage in the negotiations. So it's not even slightly surprising that they will try to prevent it. But as long as you do it off company time, off company grounds, and off company resources, they can't do jack. They can blowhard all they want, but there's no legal basis for action. In an "at-will state", you could still get fired for some random reason or no reason at all, but if they were foolish enough to open their mouths as to the reason they fired you, you could easily net a large payout in court. (any boss that specifically tells you why you were fired in front of witnesses is an idiot and needs to be fired themselves - too much litigation risk)


Google Staffers Share Salary Info With Each Other; Management Freaks 430

Nerval's Lobster writes: Imagine a couple of employees at your company create a spreadsheet that lists their salaries. They place the spreadsheet on an internal network, where other employees soon add their own financial information. Within a day, the project has caught on like wildfire, with people not only listing their salaries but also their bonuses and other compensation-related info. While that might sound a little far-fetched, that's exactly the scenario that recently played out at Google, according to an employee, Erica Baker, who detailed the whole incident on Twitter. While management frowned upon employees sharing salary data, she wrote, "the world didn't end everything didn't go up in flames because salaries got shared." For years, employees and employers have debated the merits (and drawbacks) of revealing salaries. While most workplaces keep employee pay a tightly guarded secret, others have begun fiddling with varying degrees of transparency, taking inspiration from studies that have shown a higher degree of salary-related openness translates into happier workers. (Other studies (PDF) haven't suggested the same effect.) Baker claims the spreadsheet compelled more Google employees to ask and receive "equitable pay based on data in the sheet."

Comment Re:Tax dollars at work. (Score 1) 674

Firstly, the USB spec covers current draw up to 2 amps, typically communicated/negotiated via voltage preset on the two data pins. (wikipedia's got a good writeup on it) But considering the power the train is requiring all by itself to operate, a single light bulb could easily be drawing double what any iPad does. The variance of bad bulbs on trains would be more noticeable than the occasional charging phone.

There's already a sign up on these outlets saying "not for public use". If I were them I would add a little additional verbage, "use of this unregulated power outlet may cause damage to peripheral, train operatior is not responsible for damage caused by unlawful use" Lawyers would still maybe try to pick on it but wouldn't get much traction. There's alwayws that 1-in-a-million that pulls it off, but it's a statistical blip.

Changing the outlet covers would be expensive. You'd also have to change the vacuums etc. I'm sure there are other things they use like work lights etc. Covering the outlets would probably be effective but would end up costing more in staff time than the $$ saved in electricity, by far.

Placing the outlets on a switch would be hideously expensive. They tap into the common power rails, so new lines would have to be plumbed and a new breaker AND switch would have to be installed. No, you can't use the breaker. Breakers aren't meant for frequent use, you'd be replacing them once a year if you used them every day.

The wear and tear on an outlet would be noticeable but not bad. The trains get taken down for scheduled maintenance regularly anyway, and that's already on their checklist. If they try to use the outlet and it's a bit off, it gets replaced. One $4 outlet every few years really doesn't affect them.

It sounds like everyone involved overreacted to some degree or other, the train people, the citizen, and the police. The difference is only one of them could have severe direct consequences - the police. This places a higher onus on them to remain calm and rational, which they failed to do, which is confirmed by saner heads at the precinct prevailing and "de-arresting" him.

I'd like to say more but I gotta get off to work. When I get there I will plug in my phone to charge. And I won't expect anyone to flip a biscuit over it.

Comment Re:Domain Registrars are all scammers (Score 1) 108

registrar turned off auto-renew, the alert emails were nowhere to be found, and my domain was suddenly owned by a cayman islands company.

Lesson: never rely on others to save you from yourself.

Don't ever take a chance with your domains, register them for 10 years at a time.

100% agree. I've owned a 4char domain for over two decades. Fortunately it's not a common combination and doesn't make any good acronyms, so no problems so far for me. But I still keep it registered 10 out AND make damn sure I know my domain unlock codes. (you will remember when godaddy locked all those people out awhile ago when their dns and registrar pages went down, no unlock codes means you do not have control, only your registrar does)

I have a very basic web page system and also have been running email on that domain the entire time though, so I hope that's a good enough case if need be.

Comment the analogy can work (Score 1) 154

though only if you identify the scope of the work. You need a bricklayer to build the house, but he needs to be educated if he's going to be the GC / project lead. Don't hire unskilled labor for a skilled position.

But it totally makes sense to hire basic codemonkeys for the grind work. You don't need a CS degree to maintain your site's javascript or write queries all day long.

If entropy is increasing, where is it coming from?