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Comment Re:All of 'em (Score 1) 153

Releasing the source code in this case is pretty meaningless. You can't actually do anything with it. Sure, you can modify the code, but the device is locked so that, in order to put that modified code back on your device, you'd need to break Amazon's DRM. That feat could land you in jail. And they still have some secret parts. Like the part about remotely being able to turn off text to speech, the part that enables them to gather metrics about user use and book access, etc. All of that is still secret. Sorry, Amazon, this won't win you any points.

Comment How fucking stupid is this, really? (Score 1) 537

So bin Laden had a collection of porn. So did most of the 'men who killed him. What does that mean? It means that, in addition to being a terrorist, bin Laden was also a normal human being who wasn't a lot different than many of us on different levels. I think it's interesting that porn always seems to surface when the government wants to 'really' discredit someone (like they needed to in this case?). It's like they're pandering to the conservative Christians in the country to prove how bad the person was. I can see the conversation now: Mom: Well, they got bin Laden, finally Dad: Yeah, well, I don't think we should celebrate the death of another human being Mom: They found out he had porn, Jimmy - *porn*! Dad: Oh hell no! Thank God they got that evil bastard before he could get that filth into our wholesome American culture. I'm so mad right now, I think I'll be in the garage praying and cuddling with the flag. Mom: It's okay honey, calm down, he's not a threat anymore: they killed him and seized the porn. It's in a safe place now where it can't hurt anyone. This is the most insanely stupid thing I've read in a while. But it's just part of the all-out propaganda war we tend to run against our enemies. We did it to Castro, we did it to the Russians when we were enemies, and it shouldn't surprise us that we are doing it to bin Laden. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go masturbate to a hot picture of Laura Bush and Michelle Obama I photoshopped together. HAWT! I bet Osama had the good stuff too...

Comment Re:Hmmm... (Score 3, Interesting) 601

Yes, you can. During ANY encounter with an officer you should ALWAYS ask 'Am I being detained?'. If they say no, they CANNOT stop you from walking or driving away.

Here is a video of a citizen doing just that:

For more information about civil disobedience visit:


Accepting their tyranny without ANY resistance is simply telling them it's right.

Comment Re:Hmmm... (Score 1) 601

I have to disagree with your assessment that using PUBLIC transit and PUBLIC roads are a privilege granted to you by the state. YOUR tax dollars are what built those roadways and your tax dollars are what fund public transportation which means you OWN those things. You cannot be granted the 'privilege' to use your own property. That's a lie the state has fed us for so long that we've bought it but it's not true.

Comment Re:Hmmm... (Score 1) 601

In the United States, there is a limit to the time you can be detained before it's considered a de facto arrest. If the officer detains you past that limit, they'd better have a legitimate reason for arresting you or you can press charges for false arrest and unlawful detainment. A journalist friend of mine trying to cover the Gulf oil spill ran into this a few days ago and, when he pointed this out, the officer quickly let him go as he had no reason to arrest him.

Comment You're not taking a 100 million line update (Score 1) 750

Of course you should take the update. They're not pushing out a 100 million line update after three months. They're pushing out an update that maybe changed a couple of thousands to maybe a couple of hundred thousand lines of code. Totally doable and testable within a 3 month period. Obviously, it's your choice to take or not take the update but are you willing to put yourself and your family in harms way based on an unlikely 'what if' software bug when you have a KNOWN software bug currently in your system?

Comment I use my Blackberry (Score 1) 1007

I have an enormous amount of personal data on my Blackberry - all encrypted and all safe. If I lose my device, everything is password protected and Blackberry is known for security. I even have a remote wipe utility so I can kill it right away if it's ever stolen. I store all my passwords there, right in the "Password Keeper" application.

Comment This could be an interesting case for someone (Score 1) 505

This is the exact kind of case that would get an activist lawyer chomping at the bits. Can companies justify keeping your SSN on file while you are a customer? Yes, especially if they report to credit agencies. Can they justify keeping it on file even after you're not a customer anymore? Absolutely not and this could be the perfect test case for personal information rights management and control.

Unfortunately, while this would be a fascinating legal case, there isn't, at the moment a lot you can really do about it unless you're willing to give out your SSN to any company that demands it. Of course, chances are that most will refuse you service but some, as you found out, will still work with you.

To those that don't work with you, it's not over yet. Take your business elsewhere BUT DO MORE: write a letter to the CEO and send CC's to the entire Board of Directors and tell them that 1) you wanted to become a paying customer and 2) you chose not to do so because of the requirement that you hand over your social. Be sure to include alternatives to SSN ID in your letter.

Really, because of the American reliance on using SSN's to link to credit reports, there's no real way to function effectively without giving out your SSN. Sure, some will suggest drivers license numbers but those aren't really reliable since they change from time to time. What we really need is a national ID that is assigned to every citizen and used ONLY for ID and credit purposes. You should never have to give your SSN out to anyone.

Comment Letter to Boeing (Score -1, Flamebait) 489

"Dear Boeing,

It has come to my attention that data wants to be free. As a private company that has private date, you are an offender and oppressor of data rights and we ask that you stop such behavior immediately. Please turn over all research data, schematics, and parts list, to your newest planes right away.

Thank you"

Yeah, see how absurd this "data wants to be free" crap is? Data doesn't "want" anything. PEOPLE want data to be free so they can use it - usually after someone else pays for it to be accumulated and processed.

Comment Interesting (Score 1, Insightful) 691

It always baffles me how supposedly good tech people can jump on whatever bandwagon happens to be popular at the time. Take, for example, the 'Let's Hate Microsoft' one that currently seems to be all the rage.

I've been involved with computers since I was 9 years old (I'm 34 now) and I've used Windows since its very earliest version. When I was a noob, I got viruses and was hit by just about every worm that went around. Then, I took the time to learn about good computing habits, proper security, and sensible practices.

On my Windows XP systems I don't run an AV at all, I run Internet Explorer 8, I use Outlook, and all the other supposedly 'deadly' things that make Windows so insecure and dangerous. I occasionally will download an AV and anti-malware programs 'just to be sure' always expecting to find stuff. You know what? I never do!

In the last five to eight years, I have *never* had a virus or worm hit my computer. I don't get spyware, I don't have popups all over the place, and I don't have those ungodly messes of toolbars that you see many Windows users having on IE. Why? Because I took the time to learn proper security, best practices, and don't do stupid stuff. I also keep my system patched.

The fact is that a properly patched, secured, and managed Windows system is just as secure and stable as Linux. So then, why does it seem so many Windows systems seem to fall under the crush of malware?


Look at the statistics. For most of the major viruses and worms that have been out in the last few years, Microsoft has often had a patch available for the vulnerability they exploited before the software was in the wild. Sometimes, they've had patches available for months or even years. Yet users who listen to the anti-Microsoft drivel of 'they're trying to sneak stuff on your computer' become so paranoid that they choose to either turn off auto-update or they 'selectively' choose 'safe' updates without a good understanding of what the others do. The upshot is that they, through their actions, leave their systems vulnerable.

Now, to be totally fair, I'm also a Linux user (desktop and server Ubuntu and a few Fedora systems) and they are pretty rock solid. But it's easy to say how secure you are when you're in the minority and nobody cares enough to really attack you by writing malware for your platform. Linux also tends to attract a more sophisticated and technically savvy user base than Windows so it's a bit dishonest to compare the two. If all Windows users suddenly migrated to Linux and brought their computing practices along with them, guess what? We'd see a LOT of problems with Linux systems too. So, no, comparing isn't totally honest. But, if we are, we can *easily* find examples of vulnerabilities that were exploited in *nix software and used to own systems.

The simple fact is that *no* operating system, Windows or otherwise, is secure until you choose to make it secure. It doesn't magically happen. USERS have to take the initiative to be proactive about their systems.

It's very popular to jump on the "Let's hate on Microsoft" bandwagon. Everyone seems to be doing it. I've run into a lot of people who told me "Oh I wouldn't use Windows if you paid me. It's crap" yet when I asked them what exactly their complaint was they would mumble something about 'security' but couldn't go into any details. Why do you think that is? It's because they didn't *know* any details! They just heard the rhetoric and thought spewing it forward made them seem knowledgeable and cool.

It doesn't. It makes them sound stupid and uninformed.

So consider this: next time you want to talk about how much you hate Windows, ask yourself this: why do *you* personally hate it? Have *you* had bad experiences with it or have you just read all the hype and made your decision based on that? Have you educated yourself about proper system care and management?

If not, look into it. I think you'll find Microsoft is doing a pretty bang up job with security these days. The chants of 'Linux is going to OWN Windows' are fading away.

I love Linux but I can't say I hate to see the zealots go.

Comment It's all out there (Score 1) 1092

You're right, all of the technology you need for such a system is already on the market. It's just about tying in together in a way that works for you and your situation. The hardest part of this system will be the device your daughter wears. It's got to be small, unobtrusive, and not something that she has a compelling reason to leave behind. If she has a mobile phone, I'd look at using that. If not, you might want to look at some sort of weatherized GPS device sewn into the lining of her backpack. There are also devices that you can buy that disguise themselves as bracelets, necklaces, and the like.

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to assume you're going to use a mobile phone. It's cheap ($40), easy, and the entire system can take you less than a few hours to setup. Taking this route, here's what you'll need:

1. A cheap GPS enabled mobile phone. I recommend the $40 Boost Mobile phone. Unlimited data for about $20 a month IIRC and you don't need a voice plan unless you want one. This will be the tracking device.

2. GPSTracker software from www.instamapper.com. This software is free and allows you to track phones in realtime from the web. It also offers an API that you could develop a web app against to extend tracking abilities if you needed.

3. Another mobile phone (Blackberry, iPhones, Windows Mobile, doesn't matter) that you can use as a mobile locator device.

Once you've got all the pieces in place, install the GPSTracker on your daughters mobile phone. This will now allow you to track her in real time from the web or any web/JavaScript enabled mobile phone. Because you might have a bit of trouble with the real time web updating on the the device you're using to track her, you might want to write an actual piece of software for your mobile that does real time updating a bit better than the web app.

That done, you're set to go and you can find your daughter wherever she is on earth from wherever you are.

Now, to address your 'big brother' question: forget it. The government RUNS the GPS system. They have complete access to it if they need it. There is no way make sure they can't track too. It's either an acceptable risk and you do it or it's not.

Overall, this is a cool project. Good luck with it and good job in wanting to keep your daughter safe.

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