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Comment Re:I don't get CR process. (Score 3, Informative) 87

CR typically doesn't get a big enough sample size (from its subscribers during their annual survey) for a single product within a single year to generate a reliability score within a statistically significant confidence interval. Consequently, they use a multi-year sliding window average of reliability to build up sample size. This has the unfortunate effect of conflating different year models, but the operating premise is that a brand's attitudes towards quality and reliability stays more or less consistent.

By pre-announcing that they're not going to recommend Microsoft Surface this year, they're basically saying the product's reliability in previous years was so low that even if the new model turns out to be 100% reliable in their survey, its multi-year sliding window average will still be so low that they can't recommend the product.

You can see this in action in their auto reports. In deference to their subscriber base (who is typically clueless about statistics) they won't throw around terms like confidence interval and standard deviation. But some of the less-popular cars will have an asterisk saying they have an insufficient sample size. Even if they do have a big enough sample size, I actually prefer the sliding window method (with decreasing weighting the older the data is). It avoids the situation where with the new year, everyone's slate is wiped clean. If you have a history of making crappy products, it makes it harder for you to pull yourself out of the pit you've dug yourself into.

Personally, I really like the specs of the Surface of Surface Books. But I won't touch them for the simple reason that they're impossible to repair. If you're gonna buy one, make sure you get a multi-year extended warranty with it.

Comment Re:"violence to advance their cause" (Score 2, Insightful) 148

Almost everything you think you know about Antifa is due to trolling. There are extensive troll campaigns out there involving fake Antifa accounts. Each tries to outdo each other with the most outrageous thing they can say to make gullible right wingers take them seriously.

"Antifa" has no ideology except hatred of Nazis and those espousing similar ideologies (general white supremecists). It is not a "group". It has no "leaders". No little black book. Nothing except "hates and will actively oppose Nazis and other white supremecists", and random people who are of that view describe themselves with the term Antifa. Not all people who identify as "Antifa" support violence as a means to counter Nazi activity (there's been a widespread "Is it okay to punch a Nazi?" debate since Richard Spencer was punched on camera). Of those who would answer that with "Yes", there's a further subset known as "Black Bloc"; which again is not an ideology but more of a style (dressing in black and actively physically engaging when Nazis and aligned groups come to town). The "Don't punch a Nazi" crowd thinks of them as counterproductive. Black Bloc style protesting existed before "Antifa"; before the most recent flareup, it was most commonly associated in the US with WTO protests.

To reiterate: Black Bloc does engage in violence - although you might have been misled about "innocent victims". To pick an example: the most famous viral video of Black Bloc actions was this attack. Who is that poor innocent victim? Why, that's Keith Campbell, known on Twitter as "PatriotWarriorMedia". He's involved in R.A.M. ("Rise Above Movement"), a group built specifically around active training to engage in street brawls with perceived leftists. Rather than all black, their hide-their-face approach is black skeleton masks.

What did Campbell have to say about that protest where he got beaten up beforehand? Why let's look!: "Fuck Antifa! Let them come to Berkeley on August 27th so we can kick their asses AGAIN! @1776RealNews @ProudBoysCA @BasedCops"

How did that work out for you, Keith?

Anyway, this is all secondary to my main point, which was to make you aware of the fact that the vast majority of "Antifa" accounts are just trolling to try to dupe gullible right wingers. My personal take on the whole thing? Black Bloc protesters and R.A.M. deserve each other, and both can go F* themselves as far as I'm concerned.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 2) 120

You'd be how easy it can be to get a teacher's password.

Back when I lived in the US and was in high school, the school offered an introductory course to programming in Basic. I already knew how to program, so I spent the course primarily either writing games or espionage tools ;) One of my favourite was a program that mimicked the DOS prompt (including most common commands), waited for them to run what they thought was the logon program, wrote out the username and password to a file, reported that the password was wrong, logged out of my account and put them back in the real DOS shell - wherein they'd log in normally and everything was fine. I'd usually leave it running on a couple random classroom computers whenever I left. By the end of the year, not only did I have most student passwords, but the password of my teacher and a different one.

Did I use it to change assignments? Alter grades? Vandalize the network? No no no, of course not. Rather, my final project was an overly elaborate demo, which had many different scenes (things like me walking around shooting lightning bolts and other similar nonsense). One scene was a stereogram generator. The hidden image in the stereogram? The teacher's username and password ;)

Thankfully she found it amusing rather than disciplining me ;) I got a perfect score. Looking back at it, I could imagine a teacher with a lesser sense of humor having me suspended or even calling the police.

Comment Re:Kids these days... (Score 1) 120

You guys all were way more involved than I was. My simple hack was to change the DOS prompt on one PC in a lab to some ANSI escape codes to save the current cursor position, move to the top of the screen, print out "You have been stoned", and return the cursor to its original location, and complete the prompt as normal. I then moved to another PC in the lab, watched a student boot up the "infected" PC, get concerned, talk to one of the sysadmins, a small team of admins come in and try to virus scan the hell out of the machine before reformatting and rebuilding it.

Within the next month or so, they changed all PC bootup procedures to start by reformatting the disks and copying from a read-only network share so that all machines would start off clean with every boot.

Ah, the days of DOS.

Comment Re:"hacking" (Score 2) 120

Computer hacking and penetration is a complex activity involving data collection and active compromise. Nobody gets points for being super-cool about it; you use DNS look-ups, interesting Google queries, and implied facts from public job postings to work out what questions to ask and even who to call if you want to do some direct data gathering.

Once, one of my biggest-balls-on-the-palm-tree coworkers walked through the front door of a big utility company by showing a fake badge and wearing a suit. The guards saw he had a badge, and that was good enough; he sat in the employee lounge, hacked their wifi, stole the Active Directory SAM database, stole some Exchange mailboxes, and left. No cantenna involved. If there was a network jack in a discrete location, he wouldn't have bothered hacking their wifi.

Kevin Mitnick said it's surprising what people will give you if you just ask for it like you don't know you shouldn't.

Dropping and then extracting a physical device to compromise the secrecy of the information stream between the keyboard and the motherboard is exactly the kind of thing a hacker would do. It's especially the kind of thing he'd do when nobody's around to see him poke at the back of the computer, while posing as tech support in case anyone catches him scrubbing all the malware from the computer to ensure actual tech support doesn't get called until he retrieves the device. You can make the device perfectly proxy the keyboard behind it and thus invisible to the OS.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 120

Pretty much yes. It's like stealing a motorcycle: if you grab a unique sports bike and ride it like all hell to the chop shop, the police are coming to get you; if you grab a Kawasaki 650, there's thousands of them out on the street, and nobody notices unless you drive like a nut.

I'm not worried about anyone stealing my Zero SR when I get it.

Comment Re:I think you may be confused... (Score 1) 195

The vast majority of Republicans considered McCain a Republican in 2008 when they tried to elect him President

Yeah they actually didn't. Rather most considered him a political insider, and there were huge pushes to stop him from winning the primary which the RNC pushed against hard. Gee, the establishment party turning around and trying to make sure that "their guy" won. Where have we seen that in the last 2 years? OH RIGHT it was with Hillary Clinton.

You realize that the reason Trump won, and won so hard was because he wasn't RNC establishment, he wasn't political establishment either. The warning signs were there when the Tea Party shit was kicking into gear. The DNC on the other hand still hasn't figured this out and are currently stuck in "it's 1999 and things are still great!"

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