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Comment Re:Why not let Grandma choose? (Score 1) 287

One hour and a usb live stick should be all that is required to let Grandma try out KDE, Gnome, XFCE, etc.

Let her pick, she is the one that has to actually use it after all.

Lol - tried that one with my mother (age 78). After about two hours of my showing here the different desktops, she finally flat out told me to stop wasting her time, and install something with the 6 applications that she gave a damn about.

So now she has a Debian Wheezy system with LXDE (it's an older machine), and 6 application launch buttons. She has no idea whatsoever how to change *anything* on that machine, and couldn't navigate her way to any of the applications via the normal menu.

And she loves it.

The moral - don't try and turn Gradma into a nerd. You probably won't succeed, and she won't be very happy with you for trying. Instead, aim for something like a "walled garden", with you being the gardener...

Comment Re:Unregulated... what? (Score 4, Insightful) 75

Apropos of nothing, has unregulated speculation decreased since the SEC was established?

Wish I had mod points. The reality is that the SEC is to unregulated speculation what the TSA is to terrorism - just a show to convince the people that the govermnet is actually doing something about the problem.

Maye we should add the term "regulatory theatre" to the lexicon along side "security theatre"...

Comment Re:So he was clever enough ... (Score 1) 547

You think they couldn't get a warrant based on TOR activity at the 8:30am time of the emails and a 9am test? I think you are likely wrong.

If they got such a warrant, it would have been thrown out (along with the seized evidence) later, assuming he had a decent lawyer. Your logic assumes that that police already knew that the bomb threat was made in order for a student to evade an exam. But they had no evidence of that until *after* he confessed. The bomb threat could just as easily have been made by someone who wanted to spook a student who was taking the exam. Or for a reason unrelated to the exam at all...

And added to this is the fact that the police had no evidence whatsoever that the bomb threat was made via Harvard's network. That was just a (not unreasonable) guess. But such guesses, while a staple of police investigative technique, are NOT evidence.

So at most, the cops had a guess as to the reason for the bomb threat, a guess as to where the bomb threat was sent from, and some evidence that *if* the bomb threat was sent via Harvard's network then this person *might* have been the one to send it. Hardly what I would call "probable cause".

Comment Re:So he was clever enough ... (Score 2) 547

We can assume that someone who needs to avoid a test isn't the brightest spark. We can assume that someone who sends a bomb threat to avoid a test is reckless and stupid. We can assume that if someone who is reckless and stupid mails in a bomb threat, and his identity is discovered, then there _will_ be evidence. For example, they had easily enough to get a search warrant for his computer. What are the odds that there is evidence, like a draft of the email, on his computer? Remember: This is not an evil genius trying to disrupt US universities, it is a reckless idiot trying to get out of an exam.

Did you read a different warrant than I did? I saw *nothing* in the declaration that would count as probably cause for a search warrant, until it got to the part of "he admitted it to me". So most likely they did NOT have enough to get a warrant for his computer (the fact that he accessed TOR on that day wouldn't, by itself, be enough - he could have been using TOR for any number of reasons).

You were dead on about him not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, though. What probably happened is that the police talked to him (along with everyone else who accessed TOR via the campus network on day in question), noticed that he was *very* nervous when they started talking about the bomb threats, and then proceeded with the standard "good cop/bad cop" interrogation (excuse me, *interview*) technique and got him to confess.

Comment Re:Blasphemy (Score 1) 184

Do you read the unaltered bible or are you using one of the many translations?
Languages do not map 1:1 (otherwise, machine translation would be easy and perfect), so any translation inevitably alters the meaning of the original text.

Uhm, what exactly is this "unaltered bible". Even the King James verison, which is the closest there is to a "standard" bible for the English language, contains more than a few translations errors (when compared to much older Greek texts from which it was translated), as well as some deliberate alterations.

Comment Re:Rumors say ... (Score 1) 174

... Chinese and Taiwan Keyboards have a logger build in in hardware, storing all key presses in a kind of flash. And they simply collect old keyboards on the way to the garbage deposits.

Hmmm. No comment on the CHinese/Taiwan aspect, but that one *would* be an interesting type of penetration technique. Convince some target (maybe a bank) to participate in a "beta test" of some new super ergonomic keyboard that your "company" has developed. Have a keylogger built into each them. Have them rigged to "fail" randomly after 30-60 days of use. Aplogise profusely, take the "failed" keyboards, and dump the logs.

Of course, it'd be even easier to just build some sort of wireless system into them, and then have a "janitor" periodically wheel around a polling server in the bottom of a trash bin. Given the amount of empty volume inside most keyboards, this wouldn't be too hard to pull off (technically, that is).

Comment Re:I was just thinking about this since... (Score 2) 160

(If you are trading in a car, they will take your keys to look at your trade-in. You will not be getting them back any time soon, so be sure to bring an extra set of keys you can drive off the lot while they are playing this game to wear you down.)

I had this happen once. Fortunately for me, it was a fairly busy day, with a dozen other customers in the showroom. I went to the manager's office, and told him to either return my keys, or I'd go out in the showroom and very loudly complain about this particular tactic.

I got my keys back (and was escorted out of the showroom) in under 2 minutes...

Comment Re:Surprised they didn't incorporate the blank spa (Score 1) 302

Encrypt the serial number into the features on both sides of the bill. That way at least the forgers have to copy multiple bills using multiple plates if they want a bunch of different serial numbers.

So how is the *government* going to print these things, without having a different set of plates for every serial number?

FYI - Bills are typicallly printed in sheets, without the serial numbers, and the serial numbers are added in a later printing step.

Comment Re:Surprised they didn't incorporate the blank spa (Score 1) 302

Uh, because anyone making a set of counterfeit plates would just make sure his plates had the same blank spaces? The idea is to put in features that the counterfeiters couldn't easily copy...

(and FYI - it took me about 20 minutes to slap together a simple TSR to provide the proper "bad" sectors where required for those stupid disks. Turns out that was trivially easy to get around too...)

Comment Re:All that, and yet ... (Score 1) 302

They'd also do well by dropping the one and two dollar bills, replacing them with coins; the currency has devalued so much, it's not worth keeping the low value notes as notes. You could also make a case for ditching the penny, to boot.

But hey, what would I know ...

The government would *love* to be able to discontinue those bills, and replace them with coins. But to date, there have been *two* attempts to replace the $1 bill with a $1 coin, and both have failed miserably because people refused to use them.

Comment Re:$2 bill? (Score 3, Interesting) 302

There are something like 3 million of them in circulation, and new ones are still being printed periodically. But many people, like yourself, have never actually encountered one.

(I've heard anecdotes of people trying to spend one being accused of counterfeiting, because the cashier had never seen one and assumed that it was a fraud).

Comment Re:and my grandma says... (Score 5, Insightful) 362

Just out of curiosity, exactly what "offense" did he commit that you think is worth even a year's probabation with a suspended sentence.

He used MIT's computer system to accomplish what it was designed to do. All he did was do a lot more of it than the designers were expecting.

There mght have been a civil copyright issue here, but none of the copyright holders appeared interested in pursuing such a case.

And there definitely was a "using more than your fair share of shared resources" issue, which is not a crime (unless you're a federal prosecutor with an axe to grind).

To me, "common sense" dictates that MIT should have pulled him aside, and informed him that his massive downloads were not acceptable, and if they didn't stop, he would be officially banned from using MIT's network in the future. Once banned from the network, if he continued his activities he would *then* actually be guilty of a crime worthy of prosecution.

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