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Comment Most fantastic pile o' loot on the planet (Score 2, Interesting) 323

The American taxpayers' dollars are the single most fantastic pile of loot on the planet. It is so big that pilfering it is a full-time job for millions of people. It's like a horde of scavengers around a perpetually gushing cornucopia.

Defense contractors are not even the big time scavengers here. No, the real T-Rexes in this game are the Federal employee unions, believe it or not. A defense contract comes and goes, and is generally audited. A union benefit is forever.

Disclaimer: I have nothing personally against unions, contractors or T-Rexes.

Comment Re:Great for botnets (Score 1) 375

A good point. But I also could see the Ethernet port, an old-fashioned card with two LEDs for TX and RX (yes, old machine). And both were blinking furiously.

Otherwise, yes, you are right, the activity light of some cable modems is blinking simply when there is some traffic on the local segment, not necessary from or to the attached machine.

Sorry I wasn't more specific.

The concern is that many cable companies don't have even a minimal firewall in their cable modems. This changes every unaware consumer's PC into a potential zombie.

Comment Great for botnets (Score 4, Insightful) 375

The last Cablevision subscriber I saw was a friend who had a Windows machine plugged in directly into the small cable modem, with a world-routable IP address. The machine was idle and the modem was blinking constantly during the whole time I was there, without any one logged it. Needless to say, my friend complained his machine was "starting to get slow". Translation: the machine was pwnd.

I shudder at the thought of having botnets take hold of vulneratble machines sitting on 100 Mbit/s pipes.

Comment Gaming the system (Score 1) 284

Gaming the laws is as old as mankind. How about NOT passing laws that haven't gone through the same level of cursory inspection that is routinely given to newspaper editorials?

If a law is badly written, it will be abused.

The more complex a system is, the worse the abuse possibilities. That's true for an OS as well as a legal system. That's why all tax laws and subsidies regulations should have an expiration date, or not be passed altogether.

Comment Re:Dolphin stranding in ancient Greece (Score 1) 323

If the drummer's noise is your hypothetic cause then you need to be consistent. To be consistent, you should blame boom boxes in the Navy ships' mess, not sonar.

See, outlandish hypothesis are OK, provided you are consistent with them. Remember: a good hypothesis supplies a theory which explains the observed facts, predicts more facts yet to be observed, and can be falsified by an experiment. Otherwise it's not science, it's slashdot.

Comment Re:Dolphin stranding in ancient Greece (Score 1) 323

> Fag. Better?

Thank you for restauring cosmic equilibrium. This is now an average Slashdot discussion. :-)

And you are absolutely right, I am a history buff.

You are also right about multiple causation and the fact that a known cause A for a given observation doesn't preclude the existence of an unknown cause B.

Here, scientific prudence recommends that we correlate an observation with historical occurrences before we attribute it to a new factor. If there was any obvious inner ear damage in stranded mammals, the obvious cause would be sonar. To the best of my knowledge, no such damage was found in stranded mammals. This seems to go against the man-made sound explanation.

On the other hand, some dolphin autopsies showed evidence of bacterial infection of nervous tissue. Now that is an interesting finding. I also read an interesting hypothesis about cerebral amoeba infection. I'd like to see these plausible causes eliminated before going after a less-than-obvious possible cause. Occam's razor and all that.

Comment Dolphin stranding in ancient Greece (Score 3, Insightful) 323

Classic Greek authors tell us that in the ancient Greece, dolphins and whales were already found stranded on the shore. This was a windfall for the locals, who were not eating meat very often. They saw it as a divine gift and thanked Poseidon for it.

So considering that the Greek galleys didn't use sonar, we need to stop barking at the wrong tree and find the cause of this phenomenon. My money is on a parasitic disease that affects the brain.

Comment My model M rules (Score 5, Funny) 519

I am still using an IBM model M keyboard made in 1985. It doesn't have the Windows key, which is one more reason for me to like it.

You cannot beat the touch of a model M, and the tactile feedback helps me limit the number of fat-finger typos.

One downside of a model M is that the clicky noise might annoy coworkers in open space offices. But I have few complains. Complains are generally going like this:

Cow orker: "Eric, your keyboard is sure loud".
Me; "Yup."
Cow orker: 'Err..."
Me: "Heavy too. All metal. Feel this."
Cow orker: "Wow. At least three pounds".
Me: "Almost five, actually. And reliable, too. You can wield it as a baseball bat, whack someone's head, clean up the brain bits from the bottom, and it's still good for years of service."
Cow orker: (Gulps, retreat hurriedly.)

See why I love it?

Comment A matter of definitions (Score 3, Insightful) 129

There are foreseeable problems with this Net Neutrality provision:

  • The definition of what Neutrality is will be decided by FCC bureaucrats and by courts. Both are notoriously clueless about networking and the Internet. Yet we will rely upon their uninformed, harried rulings to decide how to run critical infrastructure. What can possibly go wrong?
  • I am blacklisting whole IP subnets in my mail server. Am I going to be sued by notorious spammers for preventing them from reaching my users? I am not neutral to spammers, that's for sure.
  • If I pay for some costly network infrastructure, can any two-bit business come along and use if for free?
  • I want to bar kiddie porn from my workplace. I am blacklisting the most notorious XXX web sites. Am I going to be sued by Young Flesh, Inc?

You see where this can go? Fuzzy regulations are often abused, this one will be no exception.

Good going, guys.

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