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Comment Re:A waste of money (Score 1) 67

Why can't you just use a different USB driver for your OS that filters, alerts on, requires additional permission for, or blocks whatever you want, rather than buying a new piece of hardware?

I mean, I get the voltage thing to fry a port, but that's a DOS attack no worse than someone who is physically there just smashing the port/computer. Why not just secure the USB device driver in the first place?

Comment Re:You make your own bed (Score 1) 244

Yeah. We have a Netflix subscription, Amazon Prime and an expensive Dishnetwork bundle. You'd think with all that there'd never be a need to stream from anywhere else.... nope. DVR missed some episodes of a TV show a month or more ago and you just now noticed? You can keep recording the new ones, but no way to watch the old ones but to find an "illegal" stream online.

At some point the video content creators need to figure out that people who've paid for their content at least once just want to be able to consume it how and when it's convenient for them, not have to get the magical time and space incantation correct in order to make sure they don't miss something.

Comment Re:Very true (Score 1) 74

the lower prices you can offer your customers (at least until you've outlasted the starving competition)

Except, the competition (people) is self-renewing, so you can never "outlast" it and then start charging more than the market rate. That's why Google doesn't charge more than other ad networks, and Apple can't charge more than a reasonable premium for their phones compared to Android phones, AWS can't charge more than competing cloud providers, etc... the whole premise of a market advantage resulting in a permanent monopoly status is flawed, which is why scientists* doing economics reject it. It also helps that we have so many examples of dominant players "losing" after a time at the top, i.e. Myspace, Yahoo, etc...

Comment Re:And any other CLI masking, please! (Score 1) 178

Under the current rules, providers are prohibited from doing this type of call filtering.

They'd like to (they have a shared database of provisioned numbers and who they belong to), but they aren't legally allowed to and still keep their common carrier status.

This wouldn't become a service they charge extra for. They'll do it just to reduce their own expenses in customer support and complaints. How effective it will be in the end is a different matter, but it's a trivial modification to make to their systems and it provides an incentive and ability for an easily proven damaged party (if they start spoofing a real phone #s) to sue the perpetrators and enforce anti-spam measures on foreign providers.

Communications

FCC Chair Wants Carriers To Block Robocalls From Spoofed Numbers (arstechnica.com) 178

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The FCC in 2015 made it clear that voice service providers can offer call blocking tools to customers, but commissioners said at the time that more needed to be done about Caller ID spoofing. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has now scheduled a preliminary vote for March 23 on new rules designed to solve the problem. "One particularly pernicious category of robocalls is spoofed robocalls -- i.e., robocalls where the caller ID is faked, hiding the caller's true identity," the proposal says. "Fraudsters bombard consumers' phones at all hours of the day with spoofed robocalls, which in some cases lure consumers into scams (e.g., when a caller claims to be collecting money owed to the Internal Revenue Service) or lead to identity theft." The proposed rules would let providers "block spoofed robocalls when the spoofed Caller ID can't possibly be valid." Providers would be able to block numbers that aren't valid under the North American Numbering Plan and block valid numbers that haven't been allocated to any phone company. They'd also be able to block valid numbers that have been allocated to a phone company but haven't been assigned to a subscriber. The proposal would also codify the FCC's previous guidance that phone companies can block calls when requested by the spoofed number's subscriber. The upcoming vote on March 23 is for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which means the rules won't take effect immediately. The FCC uses NPRMs to seek comment on proposals before issuing final rules.

Comment Re:Statist thinking (Score 1) 38

Your random unattributed internet reference is incorrect. Even where some cities incorrectly try to call possessing a right-of-way "owning" the sidewalk to people, in a legal sense, the property still belongs to the property owner. If you look at the actual recorded deeds and maps in the recorders office, it's very easy to see the distinction. Some cities explain the distinction between owning the property and owning a right-of-way to a portion of the property very well, others fairly well, and some cities not so well, indicating whoever wrote their stuff doesn't actually understand it. For example, Champaign's web site talks about "owning" the right-of-way "property", then a couple of paragraphs later about the responsibilities of the "property owner" in that right-of-way, not meaning them. :)

The closer you get to an actual legal authority and real city or county recorders who deal with property descriptions, plat maps, easements and right-of-ways, the more you find people who actually understand the difference between the owner of the property and what a public right-of-way legally is. What it isn't is ownership of the property itself, it's the right to use the property for a specific purpose. So under various circumstances the property owner can recover the right-of-way from a city, profit from mining oil or minerals underneath it, etc... Pretty standard for a city street, the center of the right-of-way is the actual property line between property owners (they each own half the road) and the right-of-way extends 30 ft. in either direction.

If you ask a random city employee, you may be told the city "owns" the sidewalk, but if you ask a non-profit which exists to give cities and counties legal advice, you're likely to get a much more accurate answer, including legal citations. Let's not even talk about clickbait web sites who exist to get searchers to land on random "articles" like reference.com.

So yes, "It's better to check when you don't know what you're talking about." Wish more city website writers would check a little more thoroughly, but then, that's what lawyers are for, right? To be legally pedantic. ;)

Comment Re:Statist thinking (Score 2) 38

Sidewalks are owned by the property owner, typically, smaller roads are also. The property just has recorded against it a right-of-way for others to use the road and whatever that locality's legally mandated distance from the road is. As part of the right-of-way, people can drive over the road, walk along the edge, etc...

Cities typically legally take over responsibility for the road portion (and the road is currently usually built and paid for by the land owner at some point), but while the sidewalk is a public location for freedom of speech purposes, for example, it's still generally the responsibility of the property owner. If you are the property owner, if you don't shovel your snow and someone slips, you get sued, not the city. If you don't keep the sidewalk in good enough condition to be used, you get fined, etc...

So for the same reason you can drive without a license on your own private property, you can likely run robots across your property however you like, as long as they aren't violating some other law. Now, if you want to take advantage of the public right-of-way across someone else's property, that's a different story where you'll need to comply with the rules associated with that right-of-way.

Comment Re:Monopolies hurt everyone but (Score 1) 89

Yeah, cable company screwing you over? Just switch providers!.Oops, New York City has a Cable Franchise Agreement giving one company a cable service monopoly. Until that sort of thing stops, there won't be much competition there. A little bit of working around that using phone infrastructure and/or wireless, but even those have similar licensing issues and/or technical issues.

But don't worry, the politicians in NYC are there looking out for the people...

Comment Re:Yup (Score 4, Informative) 516

some people only count as 3/5ths of a person

Have you ever wondered why? It's because they were trying to reduce the influence of slaveholders. A default position of counting slaves as a full person for representation purposes would have led to the slaveholders (who actually voted for representation, not the slaves) controlling the federal government based on the number of slaves they held.

So the 3/5ths compromise as well as granting the power to restrict or prohibit the importation of slaves (also in the Constitution) were the Nation's first two anti-slavery measures, passed over opposition from the slave-holding States. They'd have done more, but then the slave-holding States wouldn't have ratified the Constitution in the first place, making any restrictions in it pointless.

Comment Re:Every hacker once knew? (Score 4, Insightful) 615

I worked in a building numbered 2600 with a bunch of developers for a few years. One day I pointed at the massive street numbers on the side of the building and said something like, "How appropriate." None of them had any idea what I was talking about.

Most kids these days have no idea what phreaking is, what a black box is, or a blue box, etc... Don't get me started on the contents of the anarchist's cookbook.

Most of them don't know what a MUD, MUSH or MUX was or how to program one, let alone about common door games (Trade Wars was the best).

Heck, I remember key cards which worked by perforations. Really easy to duplicate with a piece of cardboard. Remember core memory? Many "technical" folks nowadays probably can't do Boolean logic and wouldn't recognize most of the symbols. let alone binary operations or PEEK'ing and POKE'ing.

Thanks guys, now I'm starting to feel old. :)

Comment Re:DR Testing as a business model (Score 1) 356

An expensive way, which is also pretty bulletproof:
At least two geographically separate production environments, run in each for approximately half the year total, switching periodically which is the target DR setup and which is the Prod environment.

Then you always know your backups to your DR are working (hint: use snapshoting/versioning as well, to avoid the replicating the disaster issue), because you are periodically forced to actually use it as a real production environment. You know your switchover and switchback processes work and how long they really take, because you routinely follow them. It's not just data. In these days of Internetworking, you need to be sure your IP space, firewall rules, partner's firewall rules, routing, proxies, DDOS, VPNs, etc... will all function properly if you need to fail-over during a disaster. It also helps to go live in an environment with only a set or two of patching/upgrade cycles having passed, rather than hoping years of OS and firmware changes were also properly applied to your backup environment.

If you've never run in an environment, then you may have some hardware and such, but you don't quite have an actual environment yet.

Government

Running For Congress, Brianna Wu Criticizes The FBI's GamerGate Report (venturebeat.com) 760

An anonymous reader shares this update about programmer/game developer Brianna Wu as well as the FBI's recently-released report on their GamerGate investigation:Wu has officially unveiled the web site for her campaign for a seat in the U.S. Congress, and says if elected she'll confront the FBI over their "appalling failure" when investigating members of the controversial GamerGate coalition. "Wu catalogued more than 180 death threats that she said she received because she spoke out against sexism in the game industry and #GamerGate misogyny," according to VentureBeat, which quotes Wu as saying "only a fraction of a fraction of the information we gave them was ever looked into."

The article says the FBI did investigate -- even asking Google to "preserve records" for several email addresses and YouTube accounts, and making a similar request to Microsoft. And the FBI also interviewed one minor who admitted to making at least 40 threatening phone calls, but after turning over that information learned that the state of Massachusetts had declined to prosecute. In the end the FBI's 173-page report ultimately concluded that there were no actionable leads.

Wu's response? "All this report does for me is show how little the FBI cared about the investigation."

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