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Comment Re:Every military man's worst nightmare (Score 3, Insightful) 82

Some kill-crazy sonofabitch off the chain and looking for body count.

How does one PROJECT this sort of thing without actually getting lost in it?

In essence, making the other dumb sonofabitch crap themselves for their country and not want to actually fight and die?

Scary naming conventions.

I don't know that I'd assign government-wide significance to this. At most, it was a small handful of people who gave it the's not like the name went before Congress for ratification, after all. And as far as the "violence" aspect...for fuck's sake, it's a grenade launcher. It's a pretty violent device to begin with. :)

I think of it a bit more humorously, like this:

Maria Hill: What does S.H.I.E.L.D. stand for, Agent Ward?
        Grant Ward: Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
        Hill: And what does that mean to you?
        Ward: It means someone really wanted our initials to spell out "shield."

Comment Re:I call bullshit (Score 1) 73

"Decentralization" is the idea that a database works like a network "that's shared with everybody in the world, where anyone and anything can connect to it," writes Vinay Gupta for Harvard Business Review. "Decentralization offers the promise of nearly friction-free cooperation between members of complex networks that can add value to each other by enabling collaboration without central authorities and middle men."

And this wonderful decentralization, where anyone and anything can connect to "the database," is why Bitcoin transactions take hours to confirm, the network is only capable of supporting a handful of transactions per second, etc. Don't even get me started on the laughs involved if "everybody in the world, anyone and anything" is keeping local copies of "the database," or enough of it to verify transactional integrity to a level necessary for shit like inventory management at Wal-Mart scale.

I can see's happened before, on a smaller level and with the removal of a different choke point that required centralization of a different kind.

Anyone here remember "The Sharper Image"? They were stores...and a catalog...of incredibly cool stuff. This was before there was public access to the Internet or such a thing as a .com TLD; back then, you had to go to stores or catalogs to find things. As a result, for lack of a better way to put it, it was "harder to find stuff."

Today, if I wanted to buy...gird your loins...a "Slave Leia outfit in purple, size X-large," I would have to do research just to find out what kind of a store might carry something like that, and then find one such store within my physical reach. If I was really stretching, I could make a phone call to some other place and perhaps get them to ship it to me...sight unseen. (And hopefully, something like a Slave Leia outfit in size X-large would forever remain sight unseen, but I digress.)

Now, I simply go to Google, or some other search engine, and...gah! But yeah, I found it, in less time than it would have taken me to go grab my copy of the Yellow Pages.

As a result, The Sharper Image found themselves as a solution for which the problem no longer existed. Their shelves drew customers because it was the best way to get introduced to clever, interesting, or quirky high-end items that solved interesting problems or had unique appeal for some other reason. Before you could got into a Target and buy a Dyson vacuum cleaner (and before you could buy one online), they carried them, for example. They had the capital, business model and logistics to do this. But then, websites popped up (like ThinkGeek) which did what they did, but at an even more targeted scale...which was made possible because you no longer needed physical stores or a catalog to be accessible to your customers. The mass which made them successful was now a pair of cement shoes as they sank in the ocean of options.

So what exists now, as far as centralization? Amazon comes to mind. But note that Amazon is about logistics as much as anything else; hell, they don't even make sure that half of their "Apple" products actually came from Apple. And the hardest part of that logistics value proposition is payment handling. A lot of their products aren't shipped or handled by them, they just do the payment processing for the vendor. Anyone can go to a FedEx or UPS to ship something; heck, if you have a return to Amazon, that's what you end up doing. The main thing that Amazon, as a vendor, provides is the payment processing.

And yes, AWS is a real thing...I get that. But it's separate, and can exist outside of this concept of where the value proposition lies today vs. where it would lie in a blockchain-based economy. Indeed, it is the infrastructure that supports their payment processing, their shipping, their logistics, inventory, etc. But you could open up a blockchain-based vendor that competes with them...and run it on AWS, too. Amazon's main nemesis in the video content streaming space, for example, runs on AWS. It's called Netflix. :)

Comment Re:Overturned 160,000 parking fines? (Score 2) 90

Evidence please? And not "it's been used 160,000 times".

Also if you think the asylum process is as simple as appealing a parking fine, you're fucking high. This guy appears to have more hubris than experience, and it reminds me of the $1 laptop programmes where somehow people without shelter and electricity and maintenance shops were somehow going to benefit from Wikipedia to tell them how to re-build the civilisation that the same cultures that delivered their laptop had destroyed.

While I agree that evidence of the claim would be useful, I also see no evidence of the implied accusation that his system has been unhelpful to anyone.

I can absolutely imagine how this kind of system would be useful to an asylum seeker. Some of the biggest challenges aren't about nuance of law or understanding of precedent. Imagine showing up in an industrialized country, not able to speak the language very well (or at all). You don't know what government agencies you're about to interact with, nor do you know what their roles and responsibilities are. You don't know what processes you're expected to follow, what they are called, what they do, or how they work. You don't know what you're going to be asked to do, produce as evidence, or answer as questions. The specifics of what you'll need to know vary based upon things like where you're from, what kind of danger you're worried about, and whether you are alone or with a family. The process is long and byzantine (despite what Trump thinks) and when you throw in the cultural and language differences in combination with simply just being scared about the future...yeah, wow.

Look at it from another perspective related to something that has to be about one one-hundredth as scary and intense. Say you're going to the DMV for the first time to take a driving test and get a license, and have never had any aspect of the process explained to you before. What would be easier...a sheet of paper explaining all the different things at the DMV and how they work, or a person that you could interactively ask questions of, so that you can find out what you, specifically, need to know and need to do?

Comment Re:"Are you in danger" (Score 4, Insightful) 90

From what I understand of the current asylum interview process, the key question is "is your life in danger" followed by variations on "prove it." (Sometimes the proof is as simple as pointing to death threats on Facebook.) Does anyone know if coaching this process is what this bot is doing?

Yes...but using that reductive approach, you can say that this is how almost any compliance/vetting process works.

PCI DSS: "Do you handle payment card information securely," followed by variations on "prove it." Yet, accomplishing this is expensive and challenging.

Tax audit: "Have you paid what you owe for taxes," followed by variations on "prove it." The visceral reaction of anyone who has been through a tax audit makes my point here.

Security clearance interview: "Can we trust you with state secrets," followed by variation on "prove it." This gets even more interesting if you get a polygraph exam...which is essentially nothing more than a twisted, mind-fucky variation of the same.

The trick is in the "prove it" part...or more specifically, the overlap between what actual means are feasible for providing proof combined with what the questioning entity defines as acceptable proof. In different situations, this overlap may be subject to negotiation as well (or not), and that is its own area of expertise unto itself in some cases. Almost all of these processes also involve setting legal precedents during their early days as well.

In short: sure, you can use a verbal metaphor to represent the process in an oversimplified manner. But that doesn't make the actual required by anyone who engages with it...simple or easy.

Comment Re:Editors, you stripped the original title (Score 1) 642

Original submission: Brianna Wu Is a Harsh Mistress.

You stripped this brilliant title and wrote in your blurb that spans two lines!

Objection! "Mistress" is a gender-definitive word created by the Patriarchy and favored by cis-gend...*chuckle*...CIS-gender...*laughing*

I couldn't get through it with a straight face. How do these SJWs manage to say all this stuff without laughing their asses off?

Comment Re:Admin? (Score 1) 238

Context here:

There are two different scenarios that have to be discussed, and they are very different.

One is enterprise users...that's people at work, using Windows. For them, Admin rights are really not usually necessary, and there is someone else (the admins, obviously) who can serve in the admin role when needed. This is where the biggest bang for the buck of reducing user rights comes in. Yes, there's software that requires admin rights...but in the enterprise market that is becoming increasingly rare, and there are often ways to hit a middle ground where that software will run without giving full local admin rights to a user.

The other group is home users. This is the sticky wicket. Yes, there's UAC...but as home users aren't really that technically savvy. So, when something asks them to click (assuming Windows 10 here) "Yes" or "No," they will often just choose "Yes" because it's what they've had to do a hundred times before to make something valid work correctly. And that 101th's malware. And sure, you could have them using an account with no admin rights at all, but then who would be their admin?

So, as you debate TFA and its message, keep these two scenarios in mind. They both have a lot of users in them, even the same users when you think about it...but they work in very, very different ways.

Comment Re: I do (Score 1) 172

Byuu has more detailed knowledge of the hardware quirks and is able to get more accurate dumps because he understands how the memory is mapped at a low level. His custom rig has already found several bad dumps that previously thought to be good.

And yet...he was okay with these being shipped by US Postal Service? I guess intelligence, experience and common sense can be compartmentalized.

Comment Re:Toys, toys, toys... (Score 1) 119

local administrative rights are needed by some software.

Well if need to have 2 laptops then I need 2 data cards with world wide data. Or is to ok use an hot spot for both?

This is less- and less-frequently true these days. More importantly, it's less-frequently true because companies are taking away admin rights, at which point they then notice which software is written this way. And in turn, that software often gets replaced by something that's better-written since it represents a security risk by confounding the business' need to properly control user access rights.

Comment You gotta be fucking kidding me. (Score -1, Redundant) 90

So...these people are angry that they were forced to give up, what...the iPhone 3? Whose cellular support tops out at 3G, which is barely even in existence any longer? Which didn't even have a forward-facing camera to do FaceTime in the first place? Which couldn't even do video in the first place?

Comment Re:And when people start hacking these devices? (Score 1) 59

These are small, battery powered devices. There is little that a "hacker" could do to hurt himself that he couldn't do better by sticking his tongue in a light socket.


So...on one hand, these are supposed to herald a bold new way of treating various disorders because its effects can be so powerful, but on the other hand, you couldn't possibly mess up and cause harm?

I don't think that kind of logic has ever been true, ever, about anything. Either it's inert or it's effective; inert has no upside or downside, while effective means it can be done incorrectly or abused, resulting in harm. Personally, I think the idea of zapping your own brain to alter your neurological functions is NOT a good idea from a "do-it-yourself" perspective. Some things are not suitable for unsupervised trial-and-error approaches.

As they say: if at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Comment Re:At this rate, we'll have to go British style (Score 4, Informative) 152

I agree. A short cheap cable with an inline fuse could solve this problem. No reason to turn the function of a fuse into a fancy overpriced gadget.

No it couldn't.

USB-C is the standard that charges tiny little Bluetooth headsets and your MacBook. Same cable. It's also the standard that's supposed to be able to tell the difference between the big power supply for the MacBook and the little one that came with the Bluetooth headset, so that the MacBook knows that it's not going to get what it needs unless the big power supply is at the other end. Conversely, it also keeps the big power supply from totally detonating the Bluetooth headset.

The key to this technology is the ability for the cable and the devices at either end to essentially have a conversation about what's charging what. The problem here is when that conversation gets a bit garbled...and the capacity at one end and need at the other end are allowed to misalign, catastrophically. Sure, you could put a fuse inline to keep your Bluetooth headset from melting...but then you'd only be able to charge your Bluetooth headset with that cable. And the whole point of USB-C is about getting away from that paradigm.

Comment Re:Or just do this. (Score 2) 152

"Stop being cheap and buy known certified products from official channels"

Please, there's plenty of UL/CE-listed crap out there where the second you take the power transformer apart you can find violations.

Certification means jack shit in this day and age.

No, there's plenty of devices that have a fraudulent UL/CE stamp on them out there...there's a difference. The difference is in where you get your devices from...and recognizing that just because it's a major retailer doesn't mean that you're necessarily getting good product.

Comment Re:Or just do this. (Score 1) 152

Stop being cheap and buy known certified products from official channels in the first place, instead of cheaping out with items from Alibaba.

Exactly. I buy all my USB devices from Amazon, so I know I am safe.


I can't tell if this is sarcasm...because that's what this should be.

For example, a recent check of "Apple" chargers and cables on Amazon turned up that 90% of them were counterfeit...some of them dangerously made. And that seems all the more insane when you realize that there's only one Apple Computer, and yet Amazon doesn't seem to notice/check/even care about all the unsafe power adapters coming from a constellation of crappy little factories, when they could have a single unified stream coming direct from known Apple sites. Amazon does enough volume; they can do the homework and set that up.

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