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Comment And Apple blocks 911 calls if you refuse to update (Score 1) 124

I have an IPhone 4S using wifi and a Consumer Cellular account. Last summer in France I encountered an Apple software problem that locked my phone. The Apple store in Paris fixed it but I turned off automatic updates to stop the problem from repeating while I'm in the lovely French countryside. Apple ignore my "Don't update" instructions; they downloaded the update anyway and installed nagware that "reminds me" every evening that updates are off and I should install the new OS update..

The end result is that Apple Inc. via the nagware blocks me from making a 911 calls for critical seconds in an emergency. Let's say I'm in bed and hear the burglar in the living room. There is an "emergency" icon on the main screen but I'm used to entering my four-digit pass code so I groggily punch it in and go to the "phone" icon to make a 911 call.

But the Apple nagware is linked to the phone button. Suddenly nagware fills my full screen and offers to install the new operating system I've explicitly rejected. It gives me three choices in 3/8" tall letters- "Install now"; "Install later"; "Details" (which is an add). I'm blocked by Apple Inc. from using the phone until I lie and click on "install later". As soon as I click on it a SECOND Apple nag-add pops up and asked if I'm really, really, really sure I don't want them to install the software later tonight. I'm still locked out of making the 911 call until I click the "leave me alone you bastards" icon. FINALLY I can call 911- after fumbling with my phone for 10-15 precious seconds and having to read the fine print in the dark (I'm 72- Where in hell are my glasses?)..

Now am I missing something; I thought blocking 911 calls was a crime? How do I fix this and delete the nagware and the copy of the update? And of course I will NEVER update the OS to fix the nagware problem unless the update is something I can have looked at (uncompiled code) to make sure it does one thing only- delete the nagware.

Comment An informed observer's comment on Podesta leak (Score 1) 116

I hesitate to post this. Last week I was at a small meeting here in Austin, TX. The speaker was a former senior U.S. intelligence official. The meeting was open and I heard nothing that I thought was classified or very surprising.

In the question period a person asked if the Podesta email leak was done by the Russians and was Putin trying to elect Trump. The speaker's answer was that the intelligence community consensus is that the Podesta leak was probably Russian in origin (I’m not sure he said “Russian government”, which is an important distinction). To the “Elect Trump?” question, he said he thought electing Trump was probably not the goal. More likely the aim was to further reduce the American public’s already limited trust in U.S. governmental institutions.

Again, the meeting took place a week ago, I took no contemporaneous notes and I’m paraphrasing what the speaker said from memory, so take it for what it’s worth

Comment Bury the text in the page jump (Score 1) 1017

The WSJ page one headline is “Trump Urges Russia To Wade Into Race”. The lead sentence says Trump “invited Russia on Wednesday to Unearth some of Hilary Clinton’s missing emails from her time as Secretary of State, drawing sharp criticism that he was urging a foreign power to spy on the U.S.”

Now this is profoundly silly; we spy on them and they spy on us. Both countries treat spying as a crime when someone else is doing it and a necessary when they are doing it.

But what did Trump actually say? The WSJ uses a sophisticated way of hiding the actual quote; they put half of it at the end of page A1 and the rest after the jump on page A8. The aim of this traditional and widespread ploy is to make it unlikely that the reader will read the jump and be able to get the whole sentence. It is a surprisingly effective trick. The full Trump Twitter quote is buried in the following WSJ sentence: “Russia- if you are listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump told reporters at (Now the Jump to Page A8) his resort near Miami. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press”.

Upps! So Trump is simply noting the obvious. The Clinton server was probably hacked by multiple parties- the Russians, some Romanian kids and probably others. These parties have the missing 30,000 Clinton “Personal” emails which her attorneys say they would love to turn over to the Court for review but they can’t because they erased them from her computer after deeming them as “Private” (without actually reading the emails- they just looked at the subject line). Trump is calling their bluff. “Fine if you can’t find them I’m sure the Russians can give us a copy”. Then he takes a slam at the press which loves to call the dumps “dangerous leaks” but then proceeds to publish the texts to boost circulation.

The NYT gave the full quote on P1 under the headline “Trump Challenges Russia To Find Clinton’s Emails” with a sub-head “Urges Moscow to Spy on His Rival Amid Hacking of Democratic Committee”. Sorry guys, wrong verb tense. He isn’t encouraging them to spy (neither Russia nor the U.S. neads any encouragement). The spying was done months- maybe years- ago because all the emails were in an insecure server in the Clinton’s New York home. If there is anything incriminating in them, so be it. We Americans have a right to see them.

Comment A thought experiment (Score 1) 120

The federal government's position is "There is nothing we can do about it" even though most of the calls- if you play along- switch you to an America-based phone salesman working on commission. Almost all these folks work and live in Palm Beach County, FL, where boiler room phone scams are the biggest private employer (30,000 people the last time I heard). This has been going on for 30-40 years and started with timeshare and commodities options. The companies use standard credit card merchant accounts the government can quickly find and shut down. The local phone systems can be easily wiretapped. For the few big-wigs in India who are involved ("Hello, my name is Bobby") a few secret international arrest warrants that snag them on vacation in Europe will suffice. This is a huge illegal business, easily shut down. Why it isn't is a bit of a mystery to me.

So here is the thought experiment: Imagine if you picked up the phone tomorrow morning and heard that cheery female voice hidden behind two layers of Skype say "Hi, I'm from the Should We Legalize Presidential Assassinations? Project and we're doing a survey to gauge public support for Presidential assassinations and to see if you would like to make a small contribution to our campaign. To continue press one" . Note that "Presidential assassinations" can mean either assignations authorized by "A President"- (of what isn't specified) or assassinations aimed at a President. A bit ambiguous, but heck, no harm intended.

Exactly how many minutes do you think it will it take before the FBI gets a report, hits the "trace" button, finds the location and comes through the splintered doorway with guns drawn to take away everyone involved? Needless to say, no bail, multiple federal conspiracy charges each worth 20 years in jail on the way. My guess is 30 minutes unless the FBI decides to trace every cellphone call the perps have made in the past 10 years to see if anyone important is involved. Then it may take a few days. The claim that these operations can't be shut down is sheer silliness.

If Trump ever gets up in a debate with Hilary and said "I'll end these calls in the first 90 days of my Presidency" he'd be elected in a landslide. Hilary could do the same but she never does anything spontaneous.

Comment The bill is due (Score 5, Interesting) 639

Iowa farmers: Please ask the state to send all property tax bills for John Deere tractors to the "owner" (John Deere) instead of the farmer. Ask for all the state sales tax money back since there was no sale. Ask JD for the liability insurance policy number for all the tractors since they apparently own them. The possibilities are endless

Comment Comparitively speaking (Score 1) 202

Bad comparison. Try: "Three times more deadly for men than for women",

Literally "Obesity is three times as deadly for men than women" lends itself to the meaning "obesity kills three times as many men as are killed by women", which may be true. Or is it the obesity in women that is killing the men when the women roll over in bed at night? Is this like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?.

I can see it now in the DSM-6 or 7; a new reason for the rise in the male death rate. "Sleeping Male Asphyxiating Syndrome- Help!" (SMASH).

Beautiful sunrise out here on the porch in Rhode Island. I've either have had too much or too little coffee... or maybe as much coffee than I can take.

Comment How is the money invested? (Score 1) 392

The big five (Apple, etc) hold roughly 500 billion overseas, not quite Chines government numbers (2,000-4,000 billion) but still significant. How is it invested? Some of the choices are T Bills, TIPS, Euro Bonds, gold and commodities. The companies may be investing the money in ways that meet a number of U.S. government goals (keeping interest rates low, stabilizing markets, supporting weak governments). If so there is more to this story than the usual conflicting "Make them pay taxes" versus "Let them bring it home at a new, low tax rate".

If anyone has any information on how the cash horde is deployed, please post it.

Comment Does this article belong on Slashdot? (Score 1) 381

How did a "Scientists say" NYT diet article wind up on Slashdot? Just because the NYT is turning into the National Inquirer doesn't mean Slashdot should.

This article defies the laws of physics; it is bogus science. If you take in X calories and expend X + 1 calories you lose weight . If you expend X - 1 calories you gain weight. If set points were really running the show then in 1945 we would have busted down the gates at Dachau and the Japanese POW camps and found a fair number of fat people. We didn't. Calories in; calories out.

Set points are real and self control is a bitch. Your body is yelling at you "I want more food". Don't feed the body more than it needs, get some exercise and you will lose weight and eventually the body will adjust- it will shut up and stop yelling. The laws of physics are not related to the human urge to have a another bag of jellybeans before bedtime. Slashdot should stick to technology and science.

Comment I'm shocked, truly shocked (Score 3, Interesting) 216

Gambling at Ricks? I had no idea.

So what was an open secret to every diesel mechanic in the U.S. and Europe, that the diesels didn't ever pass the emissions tests in the real world, didn't get noticed by anyone in a position of power in Europe or anyone in the the U.S. Department of Transportation, any state DOT, anyone in the general press or anyone in the specialized automotive press. Do we really believe that? Or are we witnessing a breakdown in both government and press accountability?

Part of the problem is bad regs (under certain heavy load conditions diesels really can never meet the requirements). But that is no excuse for allowing VW and the others to get a total "pass" on all pollution control regs in Europe. This is a totally open secret, just like the computer tweaking all manufacturers use so they can claim the magic "40 MPG!". The shift point programmed in make the car burp and barely accelerate so AFTER the certification runs the manufactures issue "software updates" that drop the mileage a bit but make the cars run properly. Now this is an open secret. It is probably illegal (fair trade laws, EPA regs, etc).

I'd like to propose an experiment. There is clearly an important story here. I'll bet that many of the readers here are members of the press or government employees; they are honorable people who know a lot. They tried to report this stuff and were rebuffed. They are rightfully afraid to send the info to Slashdot. In modern America you will be punished or fired for publishing documents that show what is going on so, regretfully, you must learn to think and act like a Soviet or Chinese dissident. This is the only way to publish the often embarrassing truth and still stay under the radar.. ,

The key is a Gmail/hotmail account that is not traceable One way is get a throw-away computer and use wifi at coffee shops. NEVER use the computer for any other purpose except browsing and spreading the word and NEVER leave the battery in while not using the computer. All email is traceable. A second way is use the throwaway computer and a "borrowed" untraceable email address- and that means if you have ever cell-phoned or emailed the person with the account you are traceable. I'd suggest that you use your brother-in-law's or grandma's name to open a gmail account using their computer (with their permission) and report what you know to Slashdot.

And remember on the "how to get the documents" side, if you open, download or copy documents using your work credentials they will trace the leak back.

So folks, if you are an insider, give it some thought. Find a way to get a copy of the documents that matter. Photograph them with a throwaway camera (pay cash at Walmart). Load them on a "safe" computer at the coffeeshop and drop them as a comment here under 'anon coward"- you need to stay "anon" but it is about time you stopped acting like cowards.

Comment Very simple solution (Score 2) 382

Eliminate payroll direct deposits for all TSA and DOT employees, including the Sec. of Transportation. Hand the checks to the security screeners at one of the Reagan Airport security lines. If an employee want to be paid he or she just has to get in line every two weeks, wait the usual 45 minutes and show an ID to get the paycheck.

Then extend the system to Congressmen, Senators and Supreme Court Justices, all of whom get to use a special parking lot for free at Reagan and to use a "courtesy" checkin system- quite private with no lines, no xrays, no shoe removal and best of all, no waiting. If this sounds vaguely like the old Soviet system... can't help that.

Comment Hit them where it hurts (Score 1) 515

High-tech companies like Microsoft depend on employees being able to say proudly "I work at Microsoft". The moment that saying that leads to people screaming at them over the update problem the Microsofties start hiding who they work for and the best ones, the ones with choices, start looking for an employer they can admit to working for. Even better at conventions refuse to let them into conversations- shun them. And don't accept "But that's not my division" as an excuse.

Comment I live in Austin (Score 1) 260

Two comments:

First, Uber spent money to force an election but the city must fund the election, one with only one subject on the ballot, the Uber-fingerprinting issue. The total cost to the city will be hundereds of thousands of dollars. Uber got the signatures to put it on the ballot by having the paid signature-gatherers lie- "The city of Austin is forcing Uber to close down; do you want to stop this?". The mayor tried to come up with a face-saving compromise; Uber said "no". I'll vote against Uber. And remember, there is an alternative start-up in the wings that will accept fingerprinting. I'll bet Uber backs down at the last minute to avoid allowing a new competitor to start us.

Many of the Uber drivers are not legal (immigrants without papers, student visas that don't allow work, people with suspended licences using other people's names, etc) and Uber doesn't want this sort of thing stopped.

Comment How to end this (Score 2) 253

This is criminal activity. If the federal government wanted to stop this they CAN trace a call, follow it back to the U.S. call center or credit card billing number. How? Find 100 people willing to have a tap on the phone; tell them to agree to anything and pay with a government credit card they are given; trace the credit card info and land on the U.S. part of the operation HARD using the conspiracy laws.

If you don't think they have the ability to do that do the following though experiment: How fast would it take for the police to arrive at your door if the robo call was saying "I think we should bomb the White House with confetti using toy drones. Would you like to buy one set up to use? If so, press one.

If any of the people running for President made it a campaign promise to shut these people down I'd vote for him or her at the March 1st Texas primary

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