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Comment Re: The problem is the doctors. (Score 1) 119

Doctors are terrible businesspeople. I work in the patient refunds department for a very large insurer and it's absolutely out of control. I've seen 12 year old refunds of simple duplicate payments. It often takes them 4 years to notice a payment which wasn't even for them. The most basic of "does this account balance" is beyond them.

It's bad when they do their own books but it's still bad when you let them hire their own office staff. They need to be firewalled away from the business side of their practice in a big way.

Comment 2-Part Attack? (Score 1) 74

Make the datalogger very infectious but otherwise look harmless.

The datalogger dumps the information back into someplace like say the portable hard drive that brought it into the secured area to begin with. It sets up shop and makes a gazillion copies of the data it was designed to ferret out but it does nothing but log the data.

Then the portable hard drive gets walked out of the building and used on other hosts, at least one of which is infected with a transmission vector which picks up the payload and forwards it to somewhere else.

The transmission vector doesn't have to be ubiquitous or virulent because that would be very easy to catch. All it needs to be is patient and wait for someone to deliver a suitable payload from any datalogger created to interface with it. The datalogger(s) will always look harmless because they can't even transmit the information on their own and the transmitter will look harmless since it doesn't replicate aggressively or quickly and doesn't ever appear to do anything at all until it encounters an appropriate payload.


US Copyright Czar Cozied Up To Content Industry 162

Nemesisghost writes "According to emails obtained via a Freedom of Information request, the U.S. Copyright Czar played an important role in brokering the deals between ISPs and copyright holders to punish subscribers whose IP addresses participated in copyright infringement. From the article: 'The records show the government clearly had a voice in the closed-door negotiations, though it was not a signatory to the historic accord, which isn’t an actual government policy. ... [T]he communications show that a wide range of officials — from Vice President Joe Biden’s deputy chief of staff Alan Hoffman, the Justice Department’s criminal chief Lanny Breuer to copyright czar Victoria Espinel — were in the loop well ahead of the accord’s unveiling. "These kind of backroom voluntary deals are quite scary, particularly because they are not subject to judicial review. I wanted to find out what role the White House has played in the negotiation, but unfortunately, the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) withheld key documents that would shed further light on it," Soghoian said when asked why he sought the documents.'"

Comment I actually use it... (Score 3, Informative) 456

I'm actually on G+ and I use it kind of a lot. I thought the discussion might benefit from somebody who's actually actively using the service rather than having sampled it and written it off as "I hate social networking and this is social networking". I'm enjoying it a good bit because it's more interactive and engaging than Twitter and with a lot more obvious and up-front control over everything than on Facebook.

The integration with Picasa is excellent and I'm looking forward to the (optional) integration with the other services. I'll really be happy with it when Gmail and Voice filters can use my Circles to do useful work, i.e. let family and friends through, dump the other crap.

I'm still using Twitter, mostly because I'm still following #FuckYouWashington, but less and less. G+ easily occupies the same space as Twitter and with a little tweaking will easily replace Facebook for me.

As for the supposed privacy issues, I haven't run into anything that concerns me. When I share something Public, I take for granted that means Public. When I post to a smaller Circle, I trust it go to that smaller Circle. If they want a more accurate profile of me to present ads which I might conceivably be interested in while I'm doing my friends-and-family socializing, that works fine by me. I've dismissed about a million Zynga ads on Facebook and their ad-bot code can't take a hint so more accurate ad profiling works in my favor by being less irritating by several orders of magnitude.

Moreover, I can use any pseudonym I like as long as I don't use it on G+ which seems a reasonable trade-off. If your concern is that the CIA might get grandma's cookie recipe, then you're screwed if your family is contacting you through G+ but hopefully you're bright enough to do anything truly nefarious on a more secure channel.

I follow a couple of Googlers, a couple of celebrities I was already following on Twitter and that's just about it for now until invites are opened a little wider. In all it's low-key and fosters a more interesting kind of correspondence. Open discourse seems to pop up a lot more often and it's a lot more coherent than either a Twitter discussion or a Facebook comment thread not to mention a lot easier to join a public thread.

In all, I like it a lot and I'm looking forward to the improvements.

Comment Re:The Rotten Bastard's right (Score 4, Insightful) 433

Except that Murdoch is making some fundamentally flawed assumptions about the business and market.

He assumes that what's wrong is the business model, as if nothing about journalism, publication, advertising or content has to change to capitalize on a fundamentally different market.

Murdoch seems to be expressing the view that the "problem" with the internet is that information isn't scarce enough and he's entirely missing the point. Information was never actually scarce, it just wasn't distributed as evenly as it is now. The only way to make information scarce on the internet is to make up your own stories and put up a paywall. Everything that doesn't originate with you will route around you somehow.

Putting up a paywall around the same old stuff isn't going to make us spontaneously want to pay for it.

Comment Re:They really want to be part of the "Dark" web? (Score 1) 390

This isn't even about the content though, this is about the ads that don't get through in the aggregator's linked version of the story.

You and your eyeballs are the product, not the customer or the consumer. They believe that they deserve to get paid for stories which you don't even read. In the case of Google News you can scan through, decide which story you want to read and then click through to read it, ads and all. Their "lost revenue" consists of all the ads you didn't see because of all the stories you didn't flip past on the way to the thing you actually wanted to read.

It's a failure of their journalism and marketing. If their stories were more widely appealing or their marketing more narrowly focused they wouldn't see this loss of revenue. They'd be advertising the right things to the right people and increasing click-through even as they saw reduced traffic on particular page or story or they'd be attracting a sufficiently broad audience as to increase the raw number of hits and proportionally increasing their click-through.

In this case they're saying "Our stories and marketing at perfect! It's the readers' habits which are wrong!"

Comment They really want to be part of the "Dark" web? (Score 1) 390

So the print media thinks that they'll benefit from the loss of the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising? Isn't becoming invisible the last thing you want your website to do?

That's insane but we should let them have it. Any company who understands the internet will modify their copyright license terms to circumvent this ridiculousness and any company that doesn't just has to search for referrer=anything-at-all and deny everyone from viewing their content unless they actually bookmarked or manually entered the URL in the browser.

I don't really savour the idea of the death of "real" media, central control is bad but having actual life-long students of journalism working the stories is good. If media companies decide that they won't go where the market is leading them, that's their decision.

Comment The Answer? (Score 1) 542

The answer is this: People who care about a given project, feature, etc. either work on it or pay someone to work on it.

Developers with no incentive but their own interests, satisfy their own interests. Developers given incentive to do otherwise would likely do otherwise.

Comment Re:MOD Parent up (Score 1) 794

I don't need to know what resin my Legos are made of in order to use them for what I consider to be useful application. I get what I want out of them without knowing the intimate details and in fact knowing wouldn't do me any good at all.

Does knowing a processor has registers improve your code? And moreover does it improve or guide your code in a specific language? Unless you're doing some very low-level work, which not everyone aspires to or needs, that knowledge is entirely academic, not exactly useless but simply of no consequence.

The parallel argument to yours would be that car mechanics who are trained in materials engineering or thermodynamics are too rare these days. If the machine is a black box with discrete, replaceable parts, that's just as good for most purposes.

Comment Re:no honor among thieves (Score 4, Funny) 665

Roughly 2004ish I bought what was on paper a very nice Alienware desktop.

While I waited, my machine bounced around their eleventy bajillion phases of testing and building and installing, etc. seemingly at random for about 2 months. When the machine arrived, it still hadn't hit "shipped" status on their site.

When it arrived, I opened the box and plugged everything in and SLI didn't work... I investigated and found that the SLI bridge wasn't seated properly. I fixed that and everything was okay for a couple days.

Then I discovered that I was getting corruption on the hard drive and things weren't working *quite* right on the RAID. After poking around I found it'd been configured slightly wrong. Being a power user I wasn't really worried, I'd paid for them to image my hard drive and a restore after configuring it right couldn't be *that* hard...

Then I discovered that my restore disc was completely blank. The only way Alienware was willing to help me was if I shipped it at my expense to their service center to be reimaged. (Reimage WHAT exactly? The RAID was hosed, there wasn't anything to reimage!) Relatively minor setback but I can install Windows, I just didn't want to...

So I installed Windows and discovered my driver disc was completely blank as well. I used my wife's machine and managed to get online to download drivers from their website. After rebooting an ungodly number of times, downloading for seemingly forever and putting together my own backups, the machine finally worked properly.

The parts would have been far cheaper at NewEgg but I was flush with cash from my mother's life insurance and wanted to have a flawless machine I didn't have to build and troubleshoot myself. The same machine was twice as expensive from Falcon Northwest and parts availability was an issue so I went to Alienware. This didn't work out. In the end, Alienware offered me the amazingly unhelpful option of shipping it back at my own expense and being refunded most of my money, the 30% restocking fee still applies when they manage to fuck up the machine before shipping it untested.

Fast forward 2 years and my Windows restore/install disk doesn't work for reasons which are vague and stupid. I installed Linux and various WINE implementations and it does what I want it to do, runs faster and more solidly than it did out of the box.

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