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Comment soil dwellers' substrata equity (Score 1) 294

The Americas Are Now Officially 'Measles-Free'

In other news, the pox just adopted mark-to-market accounting practices.

I figure this is how it works with The Donald, too. He wakes up in the morning with a novel idea for how to litigate one of his business partners—also known as contractual co-signatories—and mentally adds $300 million tax free to his personal net worth as he flosses his astonishingly sharp teeth.

Pity this won't show up on his tax returns for years and years. This, however, is also good—it will probably take five to ten years to amass the necessary 200 pages of tax offsets against correspondingly novel loopholes in the federal tax code.

Trump: "Good morning, Bernie, looks like we have a new long-term project."

Senior minion [whose name isn't actually 'Bernie']: Excellent! Whose blood are we drinking, this time?

Trump: Ah, that building in, ah, the Trump crap whatsitsname, you know, the building from that deal, summer of 2013, where we saw the chick with the really great rack as we walked through the lobby on the way to get the Mexican food that was okay, but not-at-all what we expected, so we left no tip.

Senior minion: Yes, of course, the really great rack—who could forget—before the awesomely authentic burritos which were not-at-all satisfactory. I'll get right on it.

Phone call ends.

Senior minion [addressing staff]: About face! Leaches, march!

Back at the Mar-a-Lago Faraday cage, Trump does a little mental arithmetic. "Let's see, ten point one plus zero point three equals ten point four. Nice." Here he pauses for a moment to let his newfound wealth fully sink in.

"What's next? Let's see, here. Focus group con-call at 11:00 with three adoring, educated black women, located—with some difficulty, to hear my staff bitch about it—in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. That Kellyanne, mostly I just want to strangle her, but my word I've never known a woman who can turn rocks the way she does.

Hmm, not until 11:00, there's the silver lining—still two hours away. Not much else on the schedule, looks like it's Twitter time—best part of my day, not counting lawsuits and loopholes. Ten-point-four. What will ten-point-four say today? Something pithy, or something punchy? Decisions, decisions."

Comment an infection is as an infection does (Score 1) 153

Despite the brass ring TOS of whatever version you were previously running, an infection is as an infection does.

Also, read your antibiotic prescription carefully.
* may include systemd[**]

[**] First we keep Berlin, then we take Warsaw, someday soon we annex Prague, and eventually perhaps we'll incite the Arabs to cut Manhattan down to size.

All hail PC-BSD: the systemd-free libertarian antibiotic of last resort.

Comment public routing table vs connection tuple (Score 1) 125

Even a 64-bit address would have been seen as doubling memory requirements of routing hardware for no good reason.

There could have been an optional 32-bit client sub-address ignored by the public routing backbone.

Then, for most purposes, non-backbone routers need two routing tables: a routing table for the public network (if more complex than a few simple gateways), and an organization-local internal routing table (with 32-bit addresses, just like the public table).

The actual problem is that each TCP/IP connection would require for the connection tuple (src_IP, src_port, dst_IP, dst_port) not 12 bytes, but 20 bytes.

Probably something could have been done to mitigate that, too, as things stood long ago, but I don't feel like speculating further just now.

Even without mitigation, let's suppose you have an FTP server and you want to guarantee at least 16 kb/s for each active FTP connection (circa 14.4/28.8 modem technology). You need to provide nearly a kbit/s network bandwidth per byte of connection tuple held in system memory (we'll ignore the messy nature of FTP, much of whose ugliness could have been averted by a better original IP design).

At the same time, NAT isn't all bad. It does help to conceal the internal structure of your network from the evil public network (and makes exposing your non-firewall hosts more of a sin of commission rather than a simple sin of omission).

NAT also erects a barrier to ultimate host fingerprinting and traffic analysis, at least until HTTP came along to ruin things with user agent strings and cookies.

Some people are quick to point out that a low barrier is no barrier at all, but I like to force my adversaries to at least put on their ballet shoes before attacking my network, and then to stay alert for people with trunks full of tools good at hopping low barriers.

My proposal doesn't much complicate the backbone routing table, except for Sandvine, who would have—once we got there—been pissed in a big way (counterfactually), to much rejoicing.

Comment digital assistant final selection challenge (Score 1) 68

For this one, no pretense of family language.

This post will cover first the competition fine print; then the long-term relationship; and, finally, the lamentable low bar responsible for this Tourettic outburst.

***

To qualify for certification, the DA candidate must be able to distinguish when I'm searching something deserving to bring it more fully into my consciousness, and when I'm searching something horrawful to determine the appropriate size of BFBM (big fucking black marker) required to cross that POS—along with any predictable next of kin—out of my life For-Fucking-Ever.

Digital assistant, read my lips: having now surveyed the top twenty search results in any extreme lather of sudden aghast attention, be it resolved that I hate this thing per the aforementioned For-Fucking-Ever. Please eradicate with extreme vigilance, or crawl back on your pathetic digital stomach to the corporation that brought you into this world with no goddamn balls.

YouTube, for example, keeps on suggesting styles of videos I explored for a tawdry half hour at some point in the distant past, long after a sane AI would have wooshed that bowel movement down the egress funnel, around the septic hair pin, to swirl and merge into the collective effluent.

But no, Google has settled for the derp, derp, derp algorithm in which it presumes that if you ate it once, you'll surely eat it again—forgetting, I suppose, that it gave you the major shits—so long as we continue to wave it under your nose until the end of time.

Nicely done, YouTube.

Comment s/Have/Have Not/g (Score 3, Insightful) 173

Please, for the love of the children, can we STOP innovating on curly braces already.

And here I was all pumped up about the Erlang to Elixir upgrade path, repeated for Go, which suffers from the same weird Erlang-like conservatism that isn't suitable for all needs (such as most projects by corporations employing fewer than 20,000 technologists).

Conservatism has its uses, but it's no silver bullet, nor can removing braces make it so.

Comment Re:Anti-Hillary is not Pro-Trump (Score 1) 852

How did my choice between "if" and "not unless" turn into "not if"? I'm going to generously account this one as an error between first coffee and keyboard, like a quarterback who forgets himself on the first play of the game and inserts "y'all" into his snap cadence, and then immediately collides with his running back.

Comment Re:Anti-Hillary is not Pro-Trump (Score 1) 852

In the end it will not make that vast a difference in Trump or Clinton wins, two arms springing from the same body politic.

Well, not if we equate "vast" to the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and even then with our fingers crossed.

In domestic relationships (excluding domestics), you need to maintain a ratio of five positive comments to every negative comment. Fly in the ointment: some of those positive comments need to be about the other person.

Is this rule any different in international relations? Does the fly in the ointment somehow squirm less?

Stay tuned to an exciting meme generator near you.

Comment Re:Last resort (Score 1) 295

A line needs to be drawn somewhere. I doubt that it's possible to create a society where no one ever gets screwed (even to death), but it would be far worse if we didn't try to draw a line and enforce it.

Read it again. Nowhere in the article does it advocate for the line not being drawn.

Civil disobedience is where you choose to cross the line nevertheless, knowing full well you might ultimately bear the full force of criminal-code sanctions.

If you draw attention to a stink pile by doing so, and society determines that the stink pile is effectively breaking far more serious laws (e.g. systematic torture of children) while throwing their prestige and authority around to suppress the normal mechanisms of recourse through the courts (gag orders, parentectomies, threatening to black-list staff who spill the beans) then it would be an unusually cold judge to sentence the unlawful whistle blower to maximum term (suspended sentence on reduced charges seems to be the standard "well, don't do it again"). But if you deliberately broke the law, a soft outcome is more a courtesy of the court than a public obligation of forgiveness.

I've only ever met one physician where I felt that a story like this was remotely possible. Unfortunately, he cleared that bar by a wide margin. He was quick to judgment, he was opinionated, he felt he was personally defending society from the depredations of leeches and slackers (perhaps due to that copy of Atlas Shrugged he kept under his pillow he suffered from chronic neck pain that adversely affected his bedside manner). Furthermore, he was powerful (director of his own institution at a major research hospital), and I sensed he was willing to wield that power to brook no dissent.

When faced with such an individual , the courts are an imperfect instrument.

Sometimes life presses you into such an unbearable corner that the equation "do the crime, do the time" comes up "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" with no lines of civic order blurred anywhere.

Military combatants routinely make the ultimate sacrifice in war. So too do civilian combatants sometimes make the penultimate sacrifice in the name of social justice (the penultimate sacrifice being life behind bars among a population of violent sex offenders, to whose unlawful depredations on your person society turns a winking blind eye—so I guess I must now concede that "yes, Dorothy, there are blurred lines at play in our system of justice after all").

Comment uninstaller unrunnable in safe mode (Score 5, Interesting) 387

I will never tire of telling this story until the day I die, or the neo-millennials go "huh" when you mention BSODs or 404s.

Back around 2003 (the last time I volunteered to "help" somebody with their Windows system), I was recruited by my sister to help a friend of hers install a printer driver for her new HP printer.

I thought, "surely this won't be too hard".

So I went to the right website, downloaded the correct driver, and clicked "install". Whirr, whirr. Time to reboot. Oh, shit, BSOD! Reboot again. BSOD.

"Oh well, I guess I'll have to uninstall that POS printer driver."

Boot into safe mode. No problem. Click on HP-provided utility to uninstall broken driver. Dialogue box comes up: "uninstaller can not run in low resolution". Program terminated. I forget the resolution required, but it wasn't available in safe mode. Piss around with the video mode in safe mode for fifteen minutes. No dice.

Start reading the internet about how to manually uninstall broken HP printer driver. God knows what files I deleted or what scary reg-edits were required, but I eventually got rid of the damn thing. Computer now boots normally again, but the printer still doesn't work.

I go to the HP support page to file a bug report, through an HP supplied URL. Many, many, many required fields. Gave them a piece of my mind in the comment box. Click submit. Result comes back: "404 not found". This is HP's own support website, as found in ancillary tools packed with the broken driver. It found the form for me to fill out, but couldn't find the server after I finished filling it out. Submission lost.

HP forever since has resided in my colossal fuck-up bucket. I know people who purchase their expensive HA kit and swear by the organization, but on the consumer side, I can only swear at this organization.

Despite this, I did buy a networked wide-body inkjet from HP subsequently at a huge discount from a going-out-of-business sale, and it hasn't been terrible, but I only replace the ink when I know I'm doing a lot of printing for a few months.

I don't know any company that's fallen further or faster in consumer esteem (once upon a time, a time I still recall, HP calculators represented the pinnacle of consumer esteem) except perhaps for the Hudson's Bay Company, but to comprehend that story you have to know what it once owned: a list of assets many nation states would envy. They spun off oil companies, railroads, real estate. What did they keep? Zellers.

I keep telling my wife that the insurance business has the rare business model of litigating its own customers (just try to collect ...)

But just now I realize that the ink jet market is not so far behind as all that.

Comment Hey, can I swipe your seven? (Score 1) 167

Given that you do not seem to have figured out that gloves with silver threads suffice to unlock an iPhone 7 i'd guess that you live all alone on an island in the tropics?

Ah, yes. The once-common glove, now the new Tamagotchi.

Celebrities in Gloves

In our courageous new world, instead of offering to light some starlet's cigarette, the power move is to walk up say, "hey, can I swipe your seven?"

"You, bet, buster. I was waiting for a real man to come along and recognize that not all haute couture comes with a silver lining."

"Not to worry, I'm sure Versace will buff up on Michael Faraday, just as soon as someone in the company (outside the accounting department) finally passes Math 11."

Comment Re:what a load of shit (Score 1) 233

Study can be summarized as "X percent of people with no experience with new technology have strong opinions researchers inexplicably value."

Three spacious floors and two subbasements below the replication crisis, there's research by randomly asking around.

People out there are worried about the competence of their airline pilots (most of the time supplemented with a living, breathing, fully qualified hot spare), supported by their highly instrumented cockpits, supported by their nearest air traffic control tower, supported by the entire air traffic control grid, supported by red phones to every major aircraft manufacturer, all of which are probably manned 24/7 with qualified aerospace engineers, who are in turn supported by a hundred thousand other employees (of which not an insignificant fraction have MIT-branded palladium slide rules), supported by an aviation database with detailed information and root cause analysis of every aviation disaster since Hollywood first popularized Donald Knuth's impressively spastic polyphase merge sort, as seen in the Six Million Dollar Man backdrop working its magic on giant arrays of spinning tape.

And yet these same people will go on a 2000 km road trip traversing two-lane or four-lane undivided highways, while thousands of members of the general public—the freaking general public—whizz past them at 250 km/h relative velocity (all of three meters away at closest approach), many of them towing trailers for the first time in their life.

Welcome to a clue gradient that would give Escher vertigo.

Comment Re:You mean new apps right? (Score 1) 153

In other words we have the apps we like... which is kind of why this article makes me roll my eyes.

There's this thing in economics called rational ignorance.

The upside of finding another app with positive utility is less than the downside of having to wade through hundreds of apps whose security policy comes nowhere close to my personal threshold of acceptability.

The search friction is immense, because Android doesn't allow me to hard code my own "acceptable security" profile, restricting the apps that it shows me to only those apps (at least, not the last time I tried). It would be a short list based on what I've observed in prior dumpster dives.

Want to access my personal contacts in exchange for turning my camera flash into a flashlight? Go fuck yourself.

The utility I'm losing because of my posture of rational ignorance is definitely non-zero, by deliberate Android design. Make it easy for users to impose their own personal security profile, and users will actually start doing it, even the lazy ones who might otherwise fire and forget.

Because the granularity of my control is so outrageously coarse, I have my GPS disabled, I have my data service disabled, I have location services disabled, I have Bluetooth disabled (despite owning a Pebble watch), and 90% of the time I have my Wi-Fi disabled. And I have software installed to warn me when any of my apps try to update. Even Google Play now has to ask permission. If I had a mechanical slide switch like I do on my T500 laptop, I'd also have my microphone and camera electrically disabled when not in active use (the switch on the T500 only controls a few radios).

In a world where the Mozilla phone was viable (never did I suspect this for a second), I'd have switched already.

Android has a user security experience—for a user technical enough to know the difference—of a combination payday loan / taco stand / ripoff currency exchange parked over a filthy storm drain piped through rotting, pre-coup infrastructure into a Zika-infested marshland.

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