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Comment Re:Force of Law (Score 4, Insightful) 355

This is the type of approach most of us "law hackers" (aka "armchair attorneies") would try as a next step. The flip side (and the down side) is that AT&T will never allow the actual issue to appear before a judge. They will:

- parade out yours terms of service agreement as a contract and request sunmary dismissal
- cancel your service
- bury you in motions: change of venue to their HQ state (which is likely in those terms of service), dismissal insufficient standing — you're not an expert, you hacked your gear to obtain incorrect figures, et cetera

At the end of the day, they can simply outspend the average user, and it's in their best interest to do so. Lending any sort of credibility to such a lawsuit would expose them to similar suits from other users — up to a potential class action. The lawsuit will never even make it to anyone technical for review of it's merit. They have an in-house legal team and many firms on retainer to deal with just such suits.

It all sucks, but that's the real world view for the little guy in our legal system.

Comment Watch Dogs? (Score 1) 107

I read this, and thought, "Wait, I'm currently playing this in simulationâ¦" It's sad that this is manner in which life has chosen to imitate art. It also raises the question, "Did the researchers see the game and decide to try it? Is the game really a covert proof-of-concept? Or is this *really* just a coincidence? (Go away you nutty conspiracy theorists!)"

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How do I know if my computer is compromised? 4

soren42 writes: There's been numerous stories recently on Chinese components integrated into computers bound for U.S. markets with espionage capabilities, and now there is the Edward Snowden Affair.

What's the easiest method to determine if someone is stealing my private or corporate data? And how do you stop them (above and beyond the joke that encryption has become)?

Comment Mathematica (Score 1) 656

Whilst studying for my BS in computer engineering 20 years ago, I struggled with the same issue. Now, after all these years, I'm poised to complete my Doctorate of Engineering in mathematics. The trick was grasping the basic concepts of advanced maths (theory, not equations and applications) and then solving them using software, either commercial or custom. One thing that was a *huge* help was Mathematica. It's damned expensive on a student's budget, but it was an amazing learning tool that, at least, helped me earn that first degree. Most tech colleges require MatLab, which is an amazing tool as well, but it's hard to match Wolfram's software. I'm not suggesting that you just key in your homework and coast â" Mathematica always provides reference material, links, and other sources that a great way to pull apart the problem and make it understandable. Lastly, if Mathematica is out of your budget, use Wolfram Alpha. This free tool has more capabilities than Mathematica did 20 years ago. There are also low cost modules for Computer Science, DiffEqs, Stats, Integration, and more. Best of luck. I hope your degree leads you into a successful career.

Comment Why hasn't anyone simply ported BeFS? (Score 1) 268

I know there are only a few diehard holdout BeOS geeks still out there, and I know we have a terrible secret the world has never uncovered: BeFS. This file system, coded and deployed (production) in 1992, is 64-bit, multi-threaded, and fully journaled â" attributes taken for granted today, but only futuristic buzzwords for other OSes of the day. Hard drives deployed on R4, an Intel x86 or PPC OS, were typically 6GB IDE drives. BeFS can handle single files of up to 18,000 petabytes - all of recorded human history at the time was only ~100 petabytes. BeFS is built on an OODB. It's tough, reliable, and well documented (there are even three venerated O'Reilly books on the subject â" two dedicated to *just* the filesystem). It's what zfs and btfs want to be when they grow up. And today, it's discarded. While Linux, OS X, BSD and other OSes could be compiled with kernel support, they aren't. Running it essentially means putting a virtual FS in a file. Tragic â" another example of reinventing the wheel.

Comment Re:Nuremburg Defense (Score 1) 156

You're absolutely right. I *hate* to use a cliché, but this is just another example that "the terrorists... er, lobbyists have won."

There's no reason we need to throw away the Constitution or the Bill of Rights just to get the "bad guys". It's not like every police agency from the small town sheriff to the FBI isn't familiar with the process of obtaining warrants to tap phone lines. This just means they've no need for probable cause.

The flip side of this is that nearly every wireless hub sold from 2007 to today have encryption and/or authentication turned on by default. More of the population is aware of the risks today than ever before. It's hard to imagine that any illegal endeavour would use unencrypted wireless access. And while nearly every encryption method has been cracked, it's been a brute force attack — not something a law enforcement agency wardriving will be cracking onsite — unless you can fit a supercomputer or a super-computing grid in your car.

It will eventually take quantum computing to make this possible, but by then, we'll likely be using quantum non-locality cryptology. Oh well.

Comment Re:Honestly, I'm shocked that any serious court... (Score 1) 636

You make an excellent point in the first part of your remarks - tickets did exist before radar and the like..

However, speeding tickets are criminal charges - they simply aren't felony charges (unless the speeder is exceeding the limit by greater than 15 mph in most states). There may not be a jury, but with most moving violations, while de died by the jurist, are still held to the standard of reasonable doubt. While this may indeed come down to the more credible witness, it still shocks the sensible mind that this is within the scope of reasonable juris purdence.

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