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Comment FBI has shutoff all non-terror resources basically (Score 1) 57

The thing is that the FBI has basically diverted all their white collar crime resources, and probably whatever might be used to track hacking / financial crime stuff, into stupid counter-terror campaigns. This whole mess is really a permutation of white-collar crime.

They haven't sent a single greater-than-pawn level obvious fraudulent white collar criminal to prison in like a decade. They catch a couple hackers running large creditcard schemes but they haven't done jack about the industrial espionage, which as you note is going 'all the while.'

I am mainly just sad that all this context is lost, the one primary thing feds are good at is 'making an example' and making sure that it appears to be a broad enough example that they are getting to the core of the matter.

Comment Please check out the new Army domestic ops manual! (Score 1) 406

Bad news brewing in here
http://cryptome.org/dodi/fm-3-28.zip
New Army Field Manual draft -- all this stuff is coming home as NORTHCOM-commanded Full Spectrum Dominance type doctrine. Please read this new revised Army field manual to have a better idea.

These domestic military operations are rapidly expanding - in recent weeks, mass scanning/stops in NY state and now in CA border areas. You *need* to study the details before something like the G20 descends on your city -- I have seen these domestic military crackdown ops up close and personal and it's really, really bad.

Submission + - MS Windows 7 Law Enforcement guide on Cryptome.org (cryptome.org) 1

HongPong writes: "In a continuation of the excitement around Microsoft's confidential Law Enforcement guide hitting Cryptome.org, now several more Law Enforcement Sensitive PDFs about Windows 7 have been posted, including a lot of detailed information about examining BitLocker drive encryption and potentially cracking it: "We can also see the Recovery Key ID number" and a series of hex addresses, it says (win7-bit-spy.pdf p 67). With all the guides Cryptome has posted for PayPal, MySpace, AOL, SKype, Yahoo! & others, one can certainly get a clearer picture of implementations of government demands, but also these training manuals created by the companies clearly illuminate their own intent. Also, who else has had this information? Isn't it deceptive marketing to peddle products with such backdoors or intended weaknesses?"

Comment Inline doc help via wiki? Usability & design u (Score 1) 769

K I skimmed this whole thread, the core problem & solution are elusive. Part of it is a decline in the 'harmony' of Linux app/desktop design integration, part is the information 'rot' of obsolete threads found on Google. The Gentoo wikis are pretty much the only bright spot here, no one can even cite a good GUI linux app documentation.

I'm not a Linux expert but I spend a lot of time dealing with Drupal which is also GPLed and regarded as a tough learning curve. They have dedicated a ton of effort into not just the documentation and forums but also U of M usability research. I met Dries at the U of M before they went in and looked at how peoples eyeballs scattered in panic because a RED ALERT BOX was worried their user creation password was not secure enough. They got a draft usability plan out of the research:
http://groups.drupal.org/node/9252 - and even video of eyes mapped around the screen.
In this case the information, inline documentation really, came in perceived as too hot by being RED so they changed it in Drupal 7 to light orange bkgnd. You structure the information to direct attention appropriately and then deliver snippets when the environment changes.

Think about it: we have totally divorced 'documentation' from even considering how important little snippets of text are, delivered correctly *with the correct level of detail* AND *the ability to seek up down and laterally in the conceptual environment*, instead thinking of man vs info vs annoying old threads. Probably the most important documentation, definitely for non-GUI Linux, are the small, less-than-ten-line, instructions and advisories that come before prompts. And usually these have HTTP links included for big deals. If everyone tripled their effort here it would work a lot better than just cleaning up the disastrously wrong (or certainly obsolete) design of man and info pages. Could familiar man pages spit out more examples and not exhaustive list of flags? (well it has to if you believe man must only be one page of stuff with all the programmer hooks, signals &etc. Where's the non-programmer material to be found then?)

Good wiki pages for software documentation usually break text into similar less-than-ten line sections, and do so in an up-down-lateral hierarchy of headers. Fortunately this can get exported and stashed into the app. If you had wiki paragraphs XML tagged to land in certain dialog boxes and other points, you could pipe wikified micro-documentation into the apps, even desktop apps. Hell if you just put a "WIKI??" button right there in the modal dialog box or prompt at least half the users would get it immediately. If a clever crew was handling this 'help string wiki' it would work out fine probably.But you'd have to control yr wiki or yr enemies would put in bad Windows YES/NO dialog boxes' help ("Do you want to print or save? YES/NO") just to mess w you.

Anything you present an end user should be structured in the newspaper article style - a pyramid structure leading with 'what does this do? how can i do the 3-5 basic things? why does this matter? what is this related to?' Beyond that you should be able to reach an overview of that part of the system architecture. Like apache2ctl would get you to rc and rc.conf and note what the runlevel is and why / which daemons are at runlevels.

There should be a clear ontology between nodes and levels of information. There is usually no explicit way to back out from a command to where the command fits in the system, or something you can run to lookup what a weird file does. maybe also the Apple 'receipt' type file that is a breadcrumb for packages could be used as a way to pull out documentation from different versions, another big gripe/snag here. There is not a lot of unity between Linux packaging systems and documentation and window managers. Obviously packaging info is already quite helpful but once things are installed it doesn't 'appear' anywhere useful, to other apps (imagine special warnings for diff versions INSIDE of a gui of something else) or the user. Package hierarchies are also useful and should appear inline somehow - help clarify the awesome world of Linux DVD writing ;-).

Another side of it is the kitchen sink app design, GIMP the leading example. Since a hierarchical executive isn't dictating design, usually the complex apps lack an overarching 'vision' or metaphor. (You don't need executives but they end up making the usability decisions traditionally) No one it seems has read 'The Design of Everyday Things' which describes the importance of letting users build a mental model of the object's function, which in turn provides them the cues for interacting with the object. The user doesn't need to know how it's wired but they need to perceive that lowering microwave power lowers its heat.

The problem is that Linux of course crams in as many functions as possible to each command, so the average user can never 'perceive' tar command at all. And GOD FORBID (because UNIX tradition tells us so) that the tar man page start off by telling you how to make a .tar.gz file of a directory... because it would be noncanonical to use tar the way 90% of the time you use it AND it would be non canonical to start with a working EXAMPLE of the most common 3-5 use cases. And the man pages are apparently purposed as tjwhaynes depressingly put it "not help pages". Why?! It's a manual to pipes, flags and hooks that can lead you to no other pages in an easy way.

Who decided this and how can it get changed? The fact that no 'front desk' of the OSS community could ever actually get the entire format of man pages straightened out. This is a structural problem of the open source world.

So I decree from the mighty /. thread: Man pages should include the leading 3-5 use case examples. The programmers and doc people have to actually determine these use cases because usability is central. The examples should be at the beginning. And this should somehow magically become 'canonical' in the OSS world. :)

Obviously it would be best over the long run for all packages to expose blocks of help for searching so that you can have an OSX or Google-like exposed help search. It could include all config file names, all flags and commands. The hierarchy to organize this would be similar to the form that the Gentoo wikis take, installation, networking, signals, hardware interfaces and cards, particular apps, etc.

You need to think about points of access to the help system. Where would you come into it? You should be able to drop error numbers and other obvious phrases into a searchytastic box.

I haven't been that deep with Linux lately, let alone touching desktop Linux. But this kind of usability problem plagues everyone - focus on inline documentation and usability, provide examples and let people move around with up-to-date and package/version tailored info. Every OSS project should have 'use cases' and 'skill level' practically as separate extra fields, next to 'license' and 'language'. And you could make a wiki-style participatory user interface dev app (lets wiki up these checkboxes). which would also be a good way to get people to develop add-ons/plugins.

Comment Public notices are the classified of last resort (Score 1) 420

I worked for a few years in independent & corporate journalism, going from an independent (generally centrist) newsletter/news aggregation into a corporate newspaper company.

The culture clash between the digital style and the old print style was really right in the middle of things. And another key revenue factor that you can't get online: legally mandated classifieds, or 'public notice publishing,' in particular residential foreclosures.

If you're an electronic publisher you can't really capture the revenue stream from these government-mandated notices. They are a 20th century legacy and a major revenue source for smaller papers.

It is very successful to work on small niche audiences and develop long-running ad relationships with a few people. Going with bigger news 'targets' is a really tough proposition right now. Better to build sites in Drupal than try to make money in journalism, that's my new tack :-)

Comment 6 cell phone data links w stream encoder (Score 1) 180

I heard about a backpack-sized setup that you can get which takes a video input, compresses to HD quality, then splits the outgoing signal onto six separate cell phone data links (three are 3G, three are standard).

This was pretty expensive for 30 hours/month service but in theory would let you do high quality video without a satellite uplink or other special gear.

Presumably stitching the data streams back together is a pretty big hat trick especially with low latency.

Comment The SHAC 7 case is a bigger deal, related (Score 1) 494

Everyone should check this out. A group called Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty (SHAC) ran a website that supported putting the seriously nasty Huntington Life Sciences animal testing corporation out of business. They were quite successful but now the SHAC7 are getting crushed via the ridiculous Animal Enterprise Terrorism laws & etc. This seems a lot worse than the Texas situation because this is about anti-corporate political websites rather than simple social networking harassment. See http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/shac-7-conviction-upheld-on-appeal/2307/ . A really, really dangerous appeals court ruling came out that should scare the hell out of anyone that wants to effectively organize against corporate trolls via the Internet:

The conviction of the SHAC 7–animal rights activists hit with “terrorism” charges for publishing a website and vocally, unapologetically supporting direct action–has been upheld by a U.S. appellate court. It is a landmark free speech ruling that lowers the threshold of what types of conduct are protected by the First Amendment, and upholds a law that is so broad that it targets civil disobedience as “terrorism.”

As a brief introduction: The “SHAC 7” of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty ran an effective campaign that had the sole purpose of putting Huntingdon Life Sciences, a notorious animal testing company, out of business. The campaign pressured corporations to sever ties with the lab. The SHAC 7 were never accused of breaking windows or releasing animals from labs, but they supported those who did. They published a website which posted news of both legal and illegal tactics, and supported all of it. The website had also posted names and addresses of individuals connected to the corporations targeted. ....Supporting and facilitating non-violent civil disobedience is not protected speech.

As part of their campaign, SHAC supporters were emailed about “electronic civil disobedience.” The email and message board posts included instructions on how electronically “sit in” on corporate web sites through emails, faxes and phone calls.

Now, one of the benchmarks in First Amendment law is what is called the Brandenburg standard. It holds that even the most controversial and inflammatory speech is protected as long as it not likely to incite “imminent and lawless action.” That is a very high threshold. In this court ruling—which, to the best of my knowledge and the attorneys I have spoken with is the first of its kind—the written word can be construed as promoting, or resulting in, imminent and lawless action.

To put it more plainly: Vocally supporting civil disobedience, explaining what it involves, and encouraging/facilitating people to take part is not protected speech.

This is so important let me say it again, another way: People who write about civil disobedience and encourage people to take part can be found convicted of a crime even if they do not take part in the civil disobedience.

Another thing happening is extreme Grand Jury fishing expeditions against green activists - we had a grand jury thing go down in Minneapolis just this week. See http://tc.indymedia.org/ for the latest on this.

Comment Mn's infant DNA Mayo-Gopher industrial complex PDF (Score 1) 78

Here's a nifty story I did for Politics in Minnesota based on the docs about Minnesota's mostly-mandatory infant DNA screening program. It turns out that the State owns the DNA intellectual property rights but the Mayo owns the derivative works, according to the contract. Who knew?

The original headline was "Freedom of consent, total galactose & intellectual property: Minnesota's infant DNA Mayo-Gopher industrial complex". see
http://www.politicsinminnesota.com/2009/may29/3251/freedom-consent-total-galactose-intellectual-property-minnesotas-infant-dna-mayo-gop

Get 100 MB super-multifile-PDF here - OCR'd
http://www.politicsinminnesota.com/files/infant-dna-combined-doc.pdf

ledes:
A new round of documents obtained from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regarding the state's Newborn Screening Program (NBS) show interesting implications about the difference between its role catching certain dangerous genetic diseases, and the various genetic research and testing programs that the samples ultimately get sent to. There's quite a difference between the "trip-wire" disease screening program and the DNA studies; the role of DNA research as intellectual property suddenly pops up.

The study project authorizations approved by the Department of Health involve DNA research; critics of the policies around the newborn DNA samples want to know what happens to all the genetic data, and who might profit from it. Two big players around here, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota, do work on the blood samples. The operative contracts, which include defining the "intellectual property" of what could almost be called the "derivative works" of newborn DNA, of the U of M and Mayo were obtained by lawyer Nathan Hansen, working in concert with the Citizens Council on Health Care, via Data Practices requests.

Here is the University's newborn screening contract and the Mayo's [PDFs]. Fans of cellular rights might find the parts on the State apparently owning their chromosomes a bit profound! [PIM combined all of Hansen's PDFs, now searchable via OCR...]

Comment Hey, I called it (Score 2, Informative) 312

I am rather pleased with myself for correctly parsing this story in 2006. It was clear to some at the time what was really going on.

"In sum total: The FBI has the evidence already. The shape of spy scandals to get exposed depends on who runs the Intelligence committees, and Reyes seems like the only good choice" etc.

Comment This book rocks (Score 1) 157

An excellent overview of the techniques and methods of mass data mining.

The question is whether all that stuff they collected (and the galaxy of contractors is REALLY well explained) can count as exculpatory evidence in big cases. (IE if you're accused of being a terrorist, then Booz Allen Hamilton ought to cough everything up.)

Which is why i loaned my copy to rnc8.org - the RNC Welcoming Committee "furtherance of terrorism" defendants!

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