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Comment Wall Posts (Score 5, Interesting) 292

I like the "memorialized" version of the page. How bad do you think it would be for someone to look through pictures of the recently deceased, go back to the profile and see all kinds of "Hey man, haven't seen you in a while...where've you been?" posts... I just hope there's no "Like" option for the change.

CIA Invests In Firm That Datamines Social Networks 190

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Wired: "In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It's part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using 'open source intelligence' — information that's publicly available... Visible Technologies crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. (It doesn't touch closed social networks, like Facebook, at the moment.) Customers get customized, real-time feeds of what's being said on these sites, based on a series of keywords. 'That's kind of the basic step — get in and monitor,' says company senior vice president Blake Cahill. Then Visible 'scores' each post, labeling it as positive or negative, mixed or neutral. It examines how influential a conversation or an author is. ('Trying to determine who really matters,' as Cahill puts it.) Finally, Visible gives users a chance to tag posts, forward them to colleagues and allow them to response through a web interface."Apropos: Another anonymous reader points out an article making the point that users don't even realize how much private information they're sharing over these services.

Comment Re:I have a better idea (Score 1) 220

And gues wat? NOBODY visits any web site because it's "cool". Stop trying to impress me, because you're not going to do it with a "cool" web site. You'll only annoy me. You're putting the cart before the horse.

Clearly, you've never met a teenager. There's different website styles for different people; some people want things that are flashy and cool, some people just want to check their e-mail. The point is applying the same design philosophy to both projects would be crazy.


Computer-Based System To Crack Down On Casino Card Counters 597

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Yahoo Tech outlining a system currently being researched: "Card counting is perfectly legal — all a counter does is attempt to keep track of whether the cards remaining in a deck are favorable to his winning a hand (mainly if there are lots of tens and aces remaining in the deck) — but it's deeply frowned upon by Vegas casinos. Those caught counting cards are regularly expelled from casinos on the spot and are often permanently banned from returning. But given the slim house odds on Blackjack, it's often said that a good card counter can actually tip the odds in his favor by carefully controlling the way he bets his hands. And Vegas really doesn't care for that. The anti-card-counter system uses cameras to watch players and keep track of the actual 'count' of the cards, the same way a player would. It also measures how much each player is betting on each hand, and it syncs up the two data points to look for patterns in the action. If a player is betting big when the count is indeed favorable, and keeping his chips to himself when it's not, he's fingered by the computer... and, in the real world, he'd probably receive a visit from a burly dude in a bad suit, too. The system reportedly works even if the gambler intentionally attempts to mislead it with high bets at unfavorable times." It's not developed in Vegas, though, according to the brief description (the other projects are also interesting) from the University of Dundee's release, but rather in conjunction with the Dundee Casino.

Italian Scientists Put Robot Spiders In Your Colon 203

Sockatume writes "Scientists in Italy have developed a robot which will move around the lower digestive tract using legs. The 'Spider-Pill' is fitted with a camera and will stow its legs until it reaches the lower intestine. Once there it can crawl around and take pictures under direction from surgeons. Its USP is that it's more appealing than an endoscopy." The BBC also has video.

Comment Re:Who verifies the source? (Score 3, Insightful) 94

Truth? Wikipedia might actually have a good idea. Truth is whatever the majority believes at the moment, and the majority can always edit the story to make it fit the latest fad.

Thrasymachus, is that you?

That's an awfully short summary of a pretty big field of philosophy, right there. Sure, there's a spin on it and we will always see what we want to see, but 100 years later, when people have had time to dissect leaked documents with the benefit of hindsight, things will surface. The majority may believe something at the moment, but it's not the truth.

Comment Re:personally (Score 1) 1721

Guantanamo Bay hasn't been closed yet because the previous administration didn't care enough about many of the prisoners there to keep proper files on why they were there in the first place, and they don't want to release everyone on the grounds that they don't quite remember what they did. Granted, a lot of them shouldn't have been there in the first place, but they don't want to accidentally release some criminals along with however many presumably innocent people are there...the point is that they don't know whether releasing them or not would be really, really dangerous, and they're trying to find places to move them while they figure it out.

Similarly, with the health care reform...well, I don't know if you've heard, but there's been somewhat of a debate on the issue holding it up a bit? Nothing huge, it'll probably blow over soon.


Ministry of Defense's "How To Stop Leaks" Document Is Leaked 141

samzenpus writes "A restricted 2,400 page-document put out by the MoD designed to help intelligence personnel with information security has been leaked onto the internet. Wikileaks notes that Joint Services Protocol 440 (JSP 440), was published in 2001 and lays out protocols to defend against hackers, journalists, and foreign spies. it says, 'Leaks usually take the form of reports in the public media which appear to involve the unauthorized disclosure of official information (whether protectively marked or not) that causes political harm or embarrassment to either the UK Government or the Department concerned... The threat [of leakage] is less likely to arise from positive acts of counter-espionage, than from leakage of information through disaffected members of staff, or as a result of the attentions of an investigative journalist, or simply by accident or carelessness.' " Looks like it's time to write JSP 441.

Comment Re:Major pain (Score 1) 334

I'll give you that one, there's definitely a time when people need to have the authority shown, just like how you can't parent with a smile all the time. But if you're not a people person, their managers should be, and you can tell them they're compromising the security of the company, and they can ream ass on their employees.

Comment Re:Major pain (Score 1) 334

This is the same problem that teachers face every day. Teachers who give up and figure most teenagers "just don't care" aren't the ones kids thank later in life. Of course people are going to react negatively when you try and take away their YouTube. Let their manager deal with their lack of productivity in whatever ways managers do it best (or worst...).

The problem is that there's a fine line between "keeping twerps from using up all the company bandwidth" and "administering draconian policies to get everyone to work your way or else". The only difference between the two is the discretion of whoever's in charge, and leaving it up to that person often has disastrous results. The answer is definitely not to fight from both sides until someone gives up, that just makes enemies out of both sides, when it's in the interest of both parties to be on the same side.

For example: a common method to limit bandwidth is to block users from installing Flash and thus block websites which use Flash to stream content (YouTube, streaming radio stations, etc.) But then you run into having to allow access to people who want to use Flash for legitimate reasons. Or people who want to stream content in the background while working more productively (like listening to music at work)?

If you're in IT, it's your job to make sure the systems work so that people can do their jobs better, not to hinder the systems so that people do their jobs worse.

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