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Comment I beg to differ. Most of my money is from being (Score 2, Insightful) 169

There are a few really good reasons not to do business with me, but I've always had as many clients as I can handle. Most of my money (over a million dollars) has come from people who choose to do business with me BECAUSE of what kind of person I am.

When they see me being generous with my time and money, they know I'm the type of person they want to do a deal with.

Secondly, without a generous and grateful spirit, you can have $200 million and not be nearly as rich as someone with a spirit of gratitude and generosity who earns 1/10th as much.

Sure, it's POSSIBLE to get a lot of money by being obsessed with money. Some people do that. It's EASIER to get rich by being of service, solving people's problems. Who would you rather buy from, someone who is obsessed with getting your money, or the other guy who is trying to help you solve your problem? If you were really good at what you do, which of those people would you choose to work for?

You don't get rich spending money FOOLISHLY. Every rich person I know is generous, applying the same wisdom to their giving that they apply to their business. (Disclaimer - generous people are over represented in the list of people I know because I don't hang out with, or do business with, scumbags.)

Comment Re:Sci-Fi? (Score 3, Interesting) 112

Another interesting side to the "tech as magic" notion is the work of authors who define rigorous frameworks for their fictional magic. Then magic becomes technology, just technology that's based on different (and fictional) physical principles. Much of golden age sci-fi was about exploring the impact of logical extensions of technology on social structures. Today there's a lot of fantasy that postulates interesting magic and explores its impact on social structures.

Of course, at the end of the day all good stories are about people. I love good stories that use really innovative and mind-twisting technology/magic as a backdrop, but while great ideas add spice great storytelling is about emotional reaction, and that means people.

Submission + - Lenovo CEO Shares $3 Million Bonus with Workers 1

hackingbear writes: Yang Yuanqing, founder and CEO of Chinese PC maker Lenovo, will share $3.25 million from his bonus with some 10,000 staff in China and 19 other countries. "Most are hourly manufacturing workers," Lenovo spokeswoman Angela Lee said. "As you can imagine, an extra $300 in a manufacturing environment in China does make an impact, especially to employees supporting families." In its annual review last year, Lenovo raised Yang's base pay to $1.2 million and awarded him a $4.2 million discretionary bonus and a $8.9 million long-term incentive award. Yang owns 7.12% of Lenovo's shares, equivalent to about $720 million in stock.

Comment They are warrantless- DEA agents subpoena AT&T (Score 1) 141

From the article:

"It is queried for phone numbers of interest mainly using what are called “administrative subpoenas,” those issued not by a grand jury or a judge but by a federal agency, in this case the D.E.A."

So the DEA agents themselves decide to have AT&T pull your phone records.

Submission + - Microsoft Seeks Patent on 'Quieting Mobile Devices'

theodp writes: GeekWire reports on a pending Microsoft patent that proposes to give parents a centralized dashboard on their phones for remotely monitoring and setting restrictions on other family members’ mobile devices. The newly-published patent application for Automatically Quieting Mobile Devices explains how parents could use the dashboard to shut down family members' devices during certain time periods, at designated locations, during specified events, and in designated quiet zones. From the patent: "Aspects that might be disabled include any type of interactive functions and/or features of a device (except, in some examples, initiating emergency telephone calls or emergency text messages and displaying the current time/date or information related to the quiet time may still be permitted), playing games, communicating (via phone, VOIP applications, text messaging, instant messaging, and/or email), using other applications (e.g., browsers, messaging applications, social networking applications, or consuming certain content (e.g., digital media content)." Microsoft also proposes equipping parents' phones with 'biometric detection' to thwart kids who try to circumvent 'Big Mother'.

Comment Re:Why was this even posted? (Score 2) 141

From the article:

It is queried for phone numbers of interest mainly using what are called “administrative subpoenas,” those issued not by a grand jury or a judge but by a federal agency, in this case the D.E.A.

In other words, no, there's no oversight. The DEA issues its own legal requests. The AT&T "contractors" who issue the queries sit next to the agents and are paid for by the DEA (in other words, they're employees of the government). Elsewhere the presentation makes a reference to routing requests via Washington state which somehow converts them into court orders, not sure what that's about.

Also, the presentation tells agents to cover up the fact that it exists and how to do so, so we're back into "parallel reconstruction" terroritory.

That said, I actually care less about this sort of thing than what the NSA is doing, as it's (a) not classified and apparently can be learned about via the regular channels despite their requests for secrecy and (b) it's being used to catch more ordinary, every day criminals like people who rob jewellery shops or make bomb threats. The almost total blurring between corporation and state is very concerning because it implies there's nothing stopping it from stepping over the line and becoming used for petty political activism or worse, but at least they try to actually justify the programs existence with examples (unlike nearly all NSA training material, it seems).

Comment Re:Disclaimer (Score 1) 141

Not only that, but actually current cell-site data for any phone is publicly available for a small fee (1 cent). The GSM Home Location Register is a worldwide database which all carriers need access to for roaming to work, the fact that somehow some companies are able to sell access to it perhaps should not really surprise anyone. What you get back are cell tower IDs, not co-ordinates, but I guess it may be possible to build a map of tower IDs to physical locations (or obtain one) if you're determined enough. For many uses it's not even that hard, as you don't need all of them but just the small set of locations where you expect your target is likely to be.

I guess the next step for drug dealers and other people who don't want to carry a portable tracking device would be to use VoIP via VPNs or other proxy services. I anticipate that over time proxying traffic will become illegal ("packet laundering" anyone?). No way are governments going to give up this wonderful gift society gave them in the form of knowing everyones location, all the time.

Submission + - Woman with cancer, re-implanted with ovarian tissue, is pregnant with twins. (

brindafella writes: A world first! When Australian woman, Vali, was diagnosed with cancer, and treated, she was not looking at a good outcome. Yet, TWO cancer treatments later, she is pregnant with twin girls. Her ovaries were sectioned and frozen before the cancer treatment. She has had her own flesh implanted outside her pelvis. Eggs were gathered, IVF techniques used later with her male partner, and her uterus is now carrying two viable girls due to be born in about 3 months. Melbourne IVF's Associate Professor Kate Stern has explained the process today.

Comment The Calculus book is oversimplifying. (Score 1) 134

I like your example because it demonstrates that the Calculus book is oversimplifying.

Quote from the calculus book: "A function is a relation (such that for each input, there is exactly one output)..."

I can understand why a mathematician might like to say that. However, in the real world there are many phenomena in which, for one input, there are several outputs. I want to use mathematics to model the world. Some mathematicians want to use mathematics as a hobby.

Submission + - Facebook, Twitter, Google opening URLs in your email (

qubezz writes: You have emailed someone a confidential email with a URL that gives them secure access to your site — well guess what, your email provider is logging into it also. Several email and messaging platforms are reading message contents and following web links in the messages.

Security firm High-Tech Bridge set up a dedicated server to see which of the services picked up and used a unique URL they added to emails sent through various services. During the 10 days of the experiment, only six services out of the 50 took the bait, but they included four of the biggest and most used social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Formspring.

Submission + - AT&T Maintains Call Database for the DEA Going Back to 1987 ( 1

Jah-Wren Ryel writes: Forget the NSA — the DEA has been working hand-in-hand with AT&T on the Hemisphere database of records of every call that passes through AT&T's phone switches going back as far as 1987. The government pays AT&T for contractors who site side-by-side with DEA agents and do phone records searches for them.

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