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Comment Re:Sentences (Score 1) 123

Nobody's goling to jail for 80 years; to think he may is to misunderstand American justice at work.

The 80 years is the stick; the carrot is the plea bargain. If you refuse to cooperate they may try you with whatever relevant charge and with the prosecution's sentencing recommendation of 80 years, but there will be some rather attractive options given the accused. If he pleads guilty and admits his role, they probably will counter with a maximum of ... well, who knows, but for the sake of argument ... ten years. That may involve going to court with a lesser charge, or reduced counts, or whatever technical requirement is needed to get a 10 year outcome. The prosecution will recommend the sentence; the defence will (of course) agree, and they present that to the judge. Faced with a joint recommendation, the Judge pretty much always goes along with it.

Then there is the sentence itself. No-one in America serves the sentence they are given, with the exception of natural life sentences. It is actually against the law to not offer time off for good behaviour ... it's constitutionally protected as a right against cruel and unusual punishment. "Time Off is Time Served" ... you can't be sent back to jail if released due to actual time served and "good time" that adds up to your sentence.

How much time off varies by state and also the Federal system has guidelines as well. The Federal system is the most stingy. Calculating the reduction is so complex that in many cases even prison officials can't tell you the actual release date with good behaviour included (partly because it requires predicting future behaviour, as the reduction is earned per 30 day period of actual time served); one day they figure out you are due to be released, and the next day you're out is often how it works.

But for non-violent offenders, it can be as much as two thirds of actual time served. So a ten year sentence could be fully completed in as little as 3 years and a number of months. And, because good time and actual time are treated identically, that means you are eligible for parole after serving some portion of your sentence, which in this case would be some portion of three years and some months.

Finally, because so many involved in the Justice System are elected, it serves the purpose of "law and order" politics to publish long sentences in the press, when the actual amount of liberty deprived the offender is much less, which is almost never followed up on in the press (with the exception that if an individual re-offends they may list the previous crimes he was convicted of, and the sentence, and the release date, which inevitably illustrates the above is true).

Some jurisdictions give time off merely for showing up at the jail, that's how people in the news like Lindsay Lohan serve 30 day sentences in four hours. But generally speaking most states allow 10 days per month served, plus often additional days if you do things like take a prison job or complete some program, and in some states you can earn up to 20 days per 30 days served. The Feds tend to be closer to 5 days per 30, but you can still earn extra with them as well.

Comment Re:We've known this for years (Score 1) 352

I'll buy that for Indiana, but it makes no sense for Arizona, whose economy is based on mining, tourism, and old people.

Casinos don't borrow money? Once you get past a certain amount of funding, you aren't dealing with the local bank anymore, you need New York to raise the funds. The entire Mining Industry worldwide is dependent on Stock Exchanges to raise capital. And "Old People" have more assets in New York-based investment firms than any other demographic.

Comment Re:We've known this for years (Score 2) 352

The areas that do not implement DST do so precisely because farmers don't want it.

It's business interests that drives it ... if New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and in Canada Toronto didn't implement it, the other areas that need to be in contact with and in sync with the plethora of Head Offices based in those cities wouldn't lobby to implement or keep it.

Comment Easy alternative to dictionary words (Score 1) 415

A simple alternative to using simple dictionary passwords (appropriately, eg to unlock a more secure password manager) is to get out a map of the world, pick some region you are willing to become familiar with, and choose the name of a town or other small, obscure feature.

You will always be able to re-read that passphrase if forgotten, by searching the same regional map, and it almost certainly won't be in a language dictionary (assuming you choose wisely) as cities and town are normally not included in dictionaries save for large, well known ones.

So, instead of Zagreb (Capital city of Croatia), perhaps choose a small town near there that isn't a Croatian dictionary word, and use that. Say, "Sesvete"

Check that it isn't a dictionary word (with a Crotian dictionary) ... you don't want a town whose English translation is "Brother", for example. It will be in the dictionary.

It might take a half hour of playing around to get a decent example, but after that you have a non-dictionary word you can remember, that few, if any, others will guess, and of moderate complexity. You could also use it as a component of a more complex password that has the usual features (uppercase + lowercase + numerals + symbols).

Comment Makes Perfect Sense (Score 1) 203

I would never trust anything I own and absolutely need to work to an electronic lock. Not that I'm a luddite ... far from it ... but because I know what can go wrong, and in some circumstances absolutely nothing can be allowed to go wrong. So no electronic locks on my home's entry doors, and no home safes with electronic locks (includes gun safes).

Hotels ... I can see huge advantages for a hotel to have electronic locks on rented rooms. They will also have staff who can defeat said locks if need be. Downsides? Could be a problem if fire breaks out, but as I understand it (my ex worked for a Federal Prison System) a proper electronic lock must by law fail open, so that would be the type found in hotels.

The only exemptions are for prison locks, which fail closed, and those models are subject to strict controls, only available to bona fide law enforcement or prison purchasing agents, not the general public.

In this case the locks probably hadn't failed so much as were programmed to operate in a closed manner. I wonder if (voluntarily) cutting power could have opened the doors? That would take some effort ... almost certainly the hotel had backup generators that would have to be defeated, so definitely a job for the hotel support staff, but from there it should result in open doors.

Comment Re:Security expert, or blowhard? (Score 1) 377

No they aren't. But when we have multiple cases of experts doing non-expert things in one big row combined with incredible unluckiness I'm still questioning if they are an expert.

To be clear this security expert:
a) left a laptop in his car
b) left it in plain view / didn't know someone knew he left his laptop in his car
c) left the car unlocked
d) had no encryption on his laptop
e) actually got his laptop stolen (which by extension makes people wonder if he's the unluckiest man in the world, or if he's done this more often and just got hit by probabilities)

Any one of those things is dumb, any 2 or 3 things probably as well. But this case shows an epic pattern of failure for an "expert" to make.

The Calgary Sun said he was a "computer expert". You don't believe everything you read in any of the numerous Canadian city "Sun" newspapers. For all we know, the reporter asked him if he was familiar with computers, he answered yes, and they ran with it.

Comment Re:Security expert, or blowhard? (Score 1) 377

I once owned a truck that I bought with just an ignition key (GM, so two keys needed). I never did bother to remove the glove box lock and pay the $50 the locksmith wanted to create a new key which would work for the door.

For eight years, I never once locked the truck. I parked it numerous times overnight in some rather dubious locations (dive bar parking lots, for example) and no-one ever took a single thing from inside that vehicle.

I also own a convertible. You never lock a convertible; thieves will just knife the top to get in. So as of today it's been about seven years without ever being locked.

Now, I wouldn't leave a laptop, or anything tempting like a shopping bag with new items in it, on the front seat. For some reason people do get inside and rifle through it; change disappears from time to time. Now, the trunk isn't big, but it works just fine, and that's where valuables go if I leave it unattended.

Comment Re:More likely scenario (Score 1) 377

More likely is that the laptop got converted for cash at a pawn shop and later bought in good faith, which means he's humiliated a poor girl who had nothing to do with the theft.

Without knowing the time scales involved, that seems very unlikely. Unless he waited weeks to do this.

Also, pretty sure all the savvy thieves use Craigslist these days, not pawn shops. But either way, the chances of a buyer pouncing very quickly is pretty low unless he was selling at a very steep discount.

The "more likely" claim really makes me pause.... why would you say this? Does this have something to do with the alleged thief being female?

Nobody in Canada uses Craigslist much. Kijiji rules that space.

Comment Re:More likely scenario (Score 1) 377

More likely is that the laptop got converted for cash at a pawn shop and later bought in good faith, which means he's humiliated a poor girl who had nothing to do with the theft.

In which case the pawn shop owner would be in trouble. Many locales have laws to make it harder to fence stolen property; if she bought it off of Craig's List cheap it would be hard to make a good faith argument.

In Canada you need to provide Photo ID to pawn anything, the Pawn Shop must record the information related to the transaction, and that record is submitted electronically to Police once a week, where it is checked against police reports of theft. Plus, it's a common sight to see detectives visiting all the Pawn Shops in the city; it's a routine part of their duty.

Comment Re:'computer expert'. (Score 1) 377

This took place in Canada. In Quebec, Ontario, and any other province with a provincial police presence, you report federal crimes to either the local or provincial police - not directly to the RCMP (feds), except where the feds have jurisdiction (airports, etc).

Context matters - and in this case, the context is that it's not in the USA.

You must be from Ontario; people there like to speak for all of Canada, despite not knowing a thing about anywhere outside of Ontario. The list of "any other province with a provincial police" would be the two you cited and Newfoundland.

In the other seven provinces and two territories that comprise Canada, you can either form and fund your own local police (whether rural or urban), or you can contract with the RCMP to provide local policing. (Not having one or the other is not an option).

For example in the province of British Columbia, municipal forces are the rarity, not the norm. Outside of the City of Vancouver, chances are you will be dealing with RCMP everywhere you go. In Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, even Rural Municipalities may have their own local police force.

However, in every province and territory of Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland, it is the RCMP whom are charged with dealing with cyber crime. So you may still contact them should the theft of a laptop result in certain crime(s) that are not simply the original crime of theft.

Specifically, in this particular case, the computer owner is in Calgary, Alberta. Calgary has a municipal police force.

Comment Not in a million years ... (Score 2) 244

Advertisers who choose quality over lowest common denominator? Never going to happen. If that industry had any ... and I mean any ... ethics, there would not be late night ads for copper pots on TV. Or anywhere. There would be no way to get fake Viagra; you'd have to get the real thing from a real pharmacy with a real prescription from a real doctor. And the web would not have driven people into ad blockers in the first place.

Let's not forget, Hosts files have been around for ... I don't even remember when I installed one for the first time, but it was around the time you could get broadband instead of dialup for the first time. So let's say 25 years. Probably longer, but I can only talk of my own experience.

Yet, few people actually installed them. It was the banal drivel wallpapering every website on the planet that drove ordinary people to seek out simple browser add-ons that kill ads. And it was the demand for those plugins that got developers to build them in the first place. The industry has no-one to blame but themselves.

And now we get this "it wasn't us, it was the other guy" plea from them to please let them serve us ads. Pretty please. We're sorry.

Well, they're sorry all right, but not in the meaning they intended.

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