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Comment HTTPS vs VPN? (Score 1) 402

Given (assume for argument) that there is no proxy setup by ISPs --- what is the functional difference (related to privacy) between VPN & HTTPS? HTTP I get - but with DNSSec and SSL what information can be gleaned from HTTPS?

Yes - I know what a VPN is - use them everyday. But what I don't understand is....what info of value is leaked from HTTPS ? Simply DNS lookups? They can't see inside the stream. OR--- is the concern that a lot of sites & apps are still using HTTP such that there's enough value to be gathered?

My company uses a web proxy and require MiM certificates installed - allowing them to monitor everything. Plus- DNS doesn't work (nslookup returns nothing)... however typing works and the certificate is NOT Google. Seems that Chrome was changed recently so you can't see who the issuer is anymore.

Submission + - Why You Should Care About The Supreme Court Case On Toner Cartridges (

rmdingler writes: A corporate squabble over printer toner cartridges doesn’t sound particularly glamorous, and the phrase “patent exhaustion” is probably already causing your eyes to glaze over. However, these otherwise boring topics are the crux of a Supreme Court case that will answer a question with far-reaching impact for all consumers: Can a company that sold you something use its patent on that product to control how you choose to use after you buy it?

Here’s the background: Lexmark makes printers. Printers need toner in order to print, and Lexmark also happens to sell toner.

Then there’s Impression Products, a third-party company makes and refills toner cartridges for use in printers, including Lexmark’s.

Comment Re:Bundle != Using It. (Score 1) 143

Fair point - I think it does matter though when carrier negotiations come up. The Cable company will claim that X million people watch (look at our subscriber data) and the Networks will claim Y actually watch.

Of course now that Xfinity can track what people actually watch they have the data. Of course in my house - my daughter presses the On button for the "box" to see the blue ring light up. So whatever channel is on is reported as watched for "24 hours" until I feel like turning it off.

She's a great MTBF tester... loves pressing the button

Comment Bundle != Using It. (Score 1) 143

Dear NBC/CBS/Fox/ABC et al - we aren't channel surfing on a Friday night, although we do watch some of your shows....via your apps on our AppleTV rather than using, say, a DVR (which we don't have). Comcast makes us buy TV service in order to have the higher speed internet (in my area that is speeds higher than 15mb/s)

So yes - we pay for it. But only to get to 50mb/s service (although that was recently upgraded to 100mb/s a few months ago).

I purchased the cheapest bundle to get high speed as both my wife and I work from home occasionally -- and the real reason is that we stream netflix on our iPads separately at night :-) Also - I can receive OTA which we used to do until realizing we needed more than 25mb/s service.

We spend most of our time watching Netflix and a bit of Amazon Prime. I pulled the power cord from the oversized Xfinity device so that my baby daughter wouldn't burn her hand on it.

While I've been tempted to watch the "free" bundled HBO I find the menu system on Xfinity to be tiresomely complex and slow. I just want to see the channels I subscribe to - not the other 960 that I don't. My Pavlovian response has developed "if the channel takes more than 2 seconds to appear - it isn't part of my subscription"

Submission + - SPAM: Burglars Can Easily Make Google Nest Security Cameras Stop Recording

Orome1 writes: Google Nest’s Dropcam, Dropcam Pro, Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Cam Indoor security cameras can be easily disabled by an attacker that’s in their Bluetooth range. The vulnerabilities are present in the latest firmware version running on the devices (v5.2.1). They were discovered by researcher Jason Doyle last fall, and their existence responsibly disclosed to Google, but have still not been patched.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Ridiculous Extrapolation (Score 1) 374

I'm not sure it can be blamed on "easy credit" - it would be the same force that allows home prices to accelerate. But I agree that there is a lot going on at schools these days to pull in people who spend money. My alma mater has been building giant new "student centers" and condo-like dorms (which I believe are rented at full rate). Someday these giant buildings may become hulking run down castles.

My father paid ~$2,200 / year at the same University in the 1970's. I paid $10k in 80/90's. And the current rates are $32k for in-state and $48k for out-of-state. About a 300% increase in each ~20 year span. I was able to pay for college with a part-time job over those 4, or 5 years ;-)

I do believe that the extrapolation is a fair warning - but prices are set based upon what people can pay. For $500k to be true - our salaries will need to grow faster than the current 3%.

Submission + - Ask Toolbar Network Compromised Twice in Two Months (

An anonymous reader writes: The Ask Partner Network (APN) was compromised for the second time in two months, as crooks found a way to deliver malware to computers running the Toolbar. The first attack took place at the end of October and start of November 2016, while the second took place in December, just after APN cleaned its network.

Both incidents [1, 2] were similar, as attackers found a way to breach the APN network and hijack the Ask Toolbar update process, pointing users to a malicious file, which resulted in the installation of malware on affected computers. The malware used in the second attack was signed by the certificate APN issued after the first attack, which means the attackers maintained a foothold on APN’s network after engineers cleaned servers after the first attack. This time around, APN appears to have done a better job, as no malicious activity was detected from APN's network in the past three months.

Comment This is cool !!! (Score 1) 52

I hadn't heard of this "contest" prior to the publication of the article on Ars. But it is a really cool art installation. I also read the paper by the previous winners.

This seems like my kind of puzzle. I don't have the skills to work for the NSA -- This artist wanted to create a puzzle that was hard while still allowing anyone a chance to crack it. Observing, building frequency tables, pattern matching, and lots and lots of figuring things out. Even though the current one has been solved I might give it a try before they take it down. It looks fun - a neat puzzle to solve in spare cycles.

Read the article and follow the link to the Live "Video Feed" of the building. (I put video feed in quotes... kind of like "wiretapping" - meaning it isn't really a video feed but it is...isn't).

Comment Re:Semaphore? (Score 1) 52

Sort of - yes. Not physical flags. But rotating disks "waving" out a message. Check out the article and the corresponding website that contains a live feed - it's pretty cool.

It meets this definition of a semaphore: "system of conveying information by means of visual signals, using towers with pivoting shutters, also known as blades or paddles"

Comment Re:Class actions are scams (Score 1) 48

I can that being true - but think it is engineered by the lawyers to make money. They smell something - get somebody to toss up a complaint - and turn it into a class action.

I've even seen late night ads "Have you or someone you know been harmed by product XYZ - if so call our toll free number 1-800-make-us-rich" They are fishing for customers.

I remember years ago being involved in a class action with VW. It was "possible" for the sunroof to leak if I didn't clean out the drain lines --- which wasn't documented in the owners manual/service guide. Somebody actually had this problem and got wet. Lawyers were paid (big) millions of dollars and the rest of us received a New Page to place in our service guide --- plus a coupon for $50 off a future purchase. Not cash...a coupon. Not even a "free sunroof service" $50 bucks off. Geez - I get offers from VW in the mail all the time "Get your car serviced with us --- 10% off your next oil change or 20% off next service cycle" (which usually costs $200)

They come every other month -- for free. No class action required.

Comment Well - it is Free & Easy (Score 1) 244

Aside from not having "good" content on Netflix/Amazon/iTunes etc (aka be an appealing product) --- watching Pirated content fills the "Now" and "Cheap"

I know multiple people who watch pirated content -- and Own a copy too -- only because the mechanism to watch said content is easier via the pirate tools. One person wants to watch on his phone when traveling (or some mobile device for the kids in the backseat) - but the copy he purchased on iTunes/Amazon can't be loaded onto said device. But the device will play other formats that can be downloaded off the web.

And then there are those who are too cheap to pay $10 a month for the streaming services (or sum of iTunes purchases / 12 months). Free is always a good price - plus you can watch movies that aren't available on the streaming services.

Comment Re:Highly irregular (Score 3, Interesting) 519

While correct - there is a nuance to the "nobody can stop him." Congress can - via impeachment proceedings. If he starts disclosing "real" Classified information to the point that Congress feels he's a danger to the country - then Congress has a tool to "stop" him. There are also smaller hammers such as Censure.

The President is not the all powerful ruler that some think he is -- rather one branch of government balanced by the others.

Wikipedia has this wonderful quote in the Impeachment article: "Benjamin Franklin noted that, historically, the removal of "obnoxious" chief executives had been accomplished by assassination. Franklin suggested that a proceduralized mechanism for removal—impeachment—would be preferable"

Submission + - The Rocket Science Of Designing Future Jet Engines (

dryriver writes: The BBC has a very insightful article detailing the current and future challenges of designing efficient jet engines. An excerpt: "Jet engine design will face changes in the future. One new potential science, which several companies and research institutions are currently studying, is called the Rotating Detonation Engine. Essentially, this works by creating a series of small detonations and using the supersonic wave that a detonation generates to keep combustion going continuously. Theoretically, if the system works, it would require significantly less fuel to get the engine moving and keep it moving. And even with less fuel the engine would also theoretically produce significantly more energy. “The trick of the engine is containing [the detonation], making it stable, and having it operate at conditions you want,” says Dean. “Will it operate well, will it be durable, can it have low emissions, and what fuel can I burn with such an engine? We’re in the middle of the science phase.”"

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