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Submission + - How a bucket brigade kept Peer 1 online during Hurricane Sandy (gigaom.com)

bedroll writes: Barb Darrow at Gigom writes of some heroics at a downtown Manhattan data center, "When Hurricane Sandy hit 75 Broad Street in Manhattan, forcing Con Ed to cut power and then flooding the basement generators, the most customers could legitimately expect was an orderly shutdown of their equipment. But Peer 1 Hosting’s small local staff — along with friends and customers — went way beyond the call of duty, forming a bucket brigade to deliver gallon upon gallon of diesel fuel up 17 floors to keep the company’s backup generator humming — and their equipment online."

Comment Re:Good times! Clearly, he's a dirtbag (Score 1) 747

This is no different than the Westboro Baptists that go around protesting at military funerals. They can get away with it it because it's not threatening anybody, and that's why it is the unfortunate side of acceptable Free Speech.

WBP is half "church" half legal machine. They know the law and they work within it. They have to be very careful because they will be arrested and punished if they overstep their bounds at all. To that extent, WBP members have been arrested and I'm sure that members will be arrested in the future.

It is very common to want legal justice to enforce social norms, as is the case here and with the WBP protests. In fact, many laws are enacted to do just that. If you're going to openly eschew social norms, say by making a highly inflammatory video, then you are wise to make sure there is no way that you can be punished for it, as the WBP do. This guy clearly did not do that, and his rap sheet makes it clear that he is something of a habitual fraudster. The prison door was open and waiting for him before he did this and that was spelled out in his agreement. Should we now be weeping for him because he provided an easy excuse to push him through it?

Freedom of speech is so often used as an excuse to avoid any sort of punishment. Freedom of speech is not, and never will be, freedom from consequence. There is plenty of legal precedent for consequences to speech. You can be fired for certain speech. You can be jailed for certain speech. In this case, the consequence of his speech is that it caused media, and later prosecutors, to look into his background and expose that he was in violation of parole. He is not excused from his existing probation limitations because he created something that is constitutionally protected.

And, since I find what he created to be abhorrent, I will gleefully celebrate his further incarceration.

Comment Re:Ban is dumb (Score 2) 1080

The tax wouldn't be as effective as the ban. The ban was needed to push the industry forward and enable them to be profitable making the newer, more efficient bulbs. The tax would need to be exorbitantly high for cheap-to-produce incandescent bulbs to be as expensive as the more efficient bulbs. If the price isn't adjusted enough for competition then no manufacturer could invest in the infrastructure to produce the new bulb, it would be too risky, and thus adoption would be slowed. The most telling part of this: this legislation was drafted with the help of the industry.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/may/20/ameripac/conservative-pac-claims-democrats-banned-incandesc/

Moorhead said industry representatives were closely involved in the legislative process to develop the new efficiency standards and would never have supported a ban of incandescent bulbs. The companies, as well as the legislators who drafted the bill, were keenly aware that the new standards could be met through the development of halogen incandescent light bulbs, he said.

It's also worth noting that, while current opposition to the "ban" is primarily from Republicans, the bill was passed by a Democratic Congress but signed by a Republican President. So, the bill is not anti-consumer. It isn't anti-industry. It isn't particularly partisan, either. Now if we're lobbing complaints around we should perhaps worry about the mercury content of the CFL bulbs that are now making their way in larger quantities to landfills, at least there's some small amount of legitimate concern to that.

Comment Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (Score 3, Informative) 188

Nothing's stopping Google+ from offering a secondary ID you can become, while Google still knows who you are.

A brief read of the patent tells me that this is exactly what Google has patented. It's a system in which a single identity can be used to generate anonymous secondary ones. In that case, Google, and anyone able to subpoena them, would know who the anonymous secondary identity is but third parties wouldn't be privy to the link between accounts.

Comment Re:Bull Shit. (Score 1) 352

Uh, "default app store" does not mean Google's Play store. It means the default app store for the phone in questions. If Google cuts Acer off then Acer could team up with Amazon for the default app store on their phones. Thus Amazon would earn more money because their store and apps aren't bundled on many phones right now.

Comment Re:If Obama's BIRTH can be an issue (Score 1) 571

I don't think it's fair to lump the two groups together. While I will agree that both groups are petty and immature, I think there is a demonstrable difference in the zeal and desire of birthers versus whoever added the brown noser tidbit to Wikipedia.

The first difference is intent. The Wikipedia entry was made before this announcement, as opposed to the birther's claims which didn't surface until the President was at least the presumptive nominee. The Wikipedia entry doesn't reflect well for Representative Ryan. The supposed claim by the birthers would, if it had any veracity at all (hint: it doesn't and never did) disqualify him completely. The intent is not merely to smear the President, as one might think the claim about Ryan is intend, but to disqualify him for his mere personage.

The second difference is zeal. Again, this is merely an edit to a page made well before Ryan was involved directly in the race for President. Meanwhile, the birthers have been at this for the last 4 years.No amount of contrary evidence has stopped the birthers. They've filed lawsuits in multiple states and wasted countless tax dollars on their nonsense.

The third difference is hate. Birthers are more of a hate group than anyone who would put this on Mr. Ryan's page. Nobody likes a brown noser, unless perhaps its your rump causing that nose to be brown. Meanwhile, birthers are hateful racists that are determined to "other" anyone who does not fit the "traditional" mold for American leadership. As others have stated, Mr. Romney's citizenship was never questioned. Neither was Mr. McCain's. The difference is that some believe there should be an unconstitutional religious test for the presidency and that President Obama's skin isn't the right color. Yes, racism is childish and stupid, but it is a particularly hurtful type of childishness and stupidity. There is not a history of enslaving, killing, raping, and dehumanizing brown nosers, instead we promote them to middle management.

The last difference is whom is advancing the issue. The person who put this on Wikipedia did not do so as part of a conspiratorial movement. For all we know it was an old classmate poking fun. There was no fanfare about this until someone removed it for political reasons. Thus, the ones seeking to deny Ryan's status as a brown noser are making this into an issue, rather than the ones presenting that status. This is very different than birthers, who advanced the issue and were generally ignored until their petty cries and expensive lawsuits became too annoying (and the President saw a chance to win a news cycle which might have otherwise gone to other things). So far the ones being petty in this issue are the Ryan supporters who think this matters.

So, sure, you can say the two groups have similar properties but I think lumping them together denies how much dumber birthers truly are.

Comment Re:If Obama's BIRTH can be an issue (Score 5, Informative) 571

You're right, Obama's place of birth gives us an excellent opportunity to examine areas of Constitutional law that are commonly misunderstood. For example, where he was born means absolutely nothing because the citizenship of his mother is not in question. So, like George Romney - Mitt's father, who was born in Mexico - President Obama is a natural born citizen regardless of where he was born. The rest is racism and xenophobia.

As for the usefulness of Ryan's brown-noser status: Well it's not particularly important except that Americans like to know the personality of their prospective leaders. When Biden was picked it wasn't particularly important to note that he's a gaff machine, except in the personal context of how others will judge him. Either way, if it is verifiable and people are interested in the information as a part of his profile then it should meet the minimum standards for inclusion in Mr. Ryan's Wikipedia page.

Comment Apple has their own retail space. (Score 1) 639

The simplest answer is that Apple has their own retail space, which is likely the top location for buying their products. They get to dictate that experience and others selling their products must follow. Google has the Play store, but if they ever want the Nexus to be a success it must be displayed at big box retailers where potential buyers can try it out. As it happens, big box retailers like packaging that is difficult to open but attractive otherwise. It's a lousy theft deterrent, but they prefer it to having extra security measures to prevent open box theft. Still, Google should probably have omitted some of the plastic seals for direct sale tablets.

Comment Re:Hmmmm, yeah (Score 3, Interesting) 274

I doubt it's an ad or a distortion. It's common for a smaller, more committed user base to be happier with a product. There's a lot of ownership bias. At this point most people have at least a clue what G+ is, and the ones who use it know that they're dealing with a smaller user base. They're happy with it despite its flaws and lack of ubiquity. It shouldn't be surprised.

The slowing of FB adoption is the bigger story. It probably doesn't mark a shift toward G+, but it may be that Facebook is at the upper bounds of users interested in its service. For my part, I didn't close my FB account but I've moved almost all of my social networking activity over to Twitter. I wanted to like G+ but none of my social circles use it.

Comment Re:lastpass (Score 4, Insightful) 233

The problem with local storage is that you're responsible for securing your local device. That makes you much more susceptible to a direct, targeted attack. It also makes you beholden to the security of the various systems you use.

Correct usage of Keepass will likely give you a more secure password database than Lastpass's vault. The non-standardization and decentralization of that method will make you less susceptible to mass database leaks. Even if you use Dropbox (which has some serious security concerns itself) and that service were compromised the attacker would have a hard time getting all of Keepass vaults out. So, that argument holds.

Where it fails is if you are targeted, and even worse if you are not an advanced user. In a hand-spun system like this you are the one who has to monitor for intrusions, and you are the one who has to design the security and maintain it. If you store your password database in Dropbox I believe the exploit of stealing a machine authentication token will still allow an attacker to gain access to your files, which may allow them to begin cracking your password without your knowledge. Once they've gotten a copy of your encrypted file it does not matter if you change your password because it won't change their copy. This becomes a real problem if you're not an advanced user whose setup strong encryption on your database or if you've used a weak password, let alone the issues with a standard user using and maintaining such a system.

Targeted attacks are scary. One can assume that if a victim is targeted it is because the attacker knows there is value in the additional work. If we assume that the effort to decrypt a Lastpass vault is not significantly less than any other strongly encrypted container then we can infer that a compromise of Lastpass (or 1Password, or other such services) would be comparably expensive because each vault has an unknown value. Long story short, I'm far more concerned with a targeted attack than I am a database leak in this case. I'd rather have a service focused on security monitoring for intrusions, even if that doesn't excuse me from maintaining a reasonable level of security on my own devices.

Comment Re:lastpass (Score 4, Informative) 233

This wouldn't terribly shock me, but it also wouldn't concern me much if it were to happen. While the data in a Lastpass vault is quite desirable, it's also much more securely stored than your average data set. Even if someone managed to get a dump of their entire data set they'd have to decrypt each vault individually. If you follow their recommendations then your vault is likely not easy to crack.

Most of all, I wouldn't be concerned because as Lastpass has shown in the past they take communications seriously. When they noticed strange traffic they immediately told their users to change their vault passwords. This is different than waiting for a whistle blower to come forward and then announcing the breach, or even waiting until an investigation proves there was no breach. That previous incident may have shook the faith of some, but the way the company handled it increased my faith in them.

Should a major breach happen I would simply change my vault password and then begin changing the passwords I have stored in the vault. Since Lastpass would alert me early on that the breach happened, by the time my vault was cracked - if at all - the passwords within would be useless.

Comment No, we all win. (Score 2, Insightful) 475

I don't get this attitude that the lawyers are the only winners. Sure, they're the big financial winners here. This was never a case about lost funds, though. It was a case in which the students sought both relief from invasive practices and a punitive sum to discourage further similar actions. They won on both counts, and since no school district wants to shell out over half a mil because they spied on their students it should be a win for the privacy of teens everywhere.

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