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Comment Re:/. is becoming more and more irrelevant (Score 1) 224

Not to get into some kind of old-fart pissing match, but yes, I was here in the 90's. I signed up in '98 I believe. BTW - while I would think someone sporting the 4-digit UID would know, the UID is in the parens right next to your name. Hence mine is 5-digits.

While I don't quite have a grasp on your personal tolerance for stupidity, I'm going to make an educated guess based off my spotty memory for seldom-travelled internet sites and say that if you spend some time combing through the archives, this article might actually rank as Pulitzer worthy material. I specifically seem to remember a series of articles put out by John Katz that had something to do with bringing a computer to a little girl in the backwaters of Afghanistan in late 2001 / early 2002 that makes this article look like Hemingway. Of course, if I recall, the whole story was bullshit and he got called out hard for it. But then again, most of Katz's work will go down with scrapings from the bottom of a toilet bowl in the annals of slashdot stupidity.

But, whatever floats your boat in the quality department. I'm not here to judge.

Comment Re:/. is becoming more and more irrelevant (Score 1) 224

I think your nostalgia is clouding your perception of what was reality. Much the same as so many people in the older generation have come to forget the realities of the 1950s and 1960s and instead believe The Andy Griffin Show or Leave it to Beaver was some historical documentary on true life.

Sadly, there has always been crap that rolled through the front page. Back in the 90's we complained that other sites did a better job whether it was Fark or Kuro5hin or later on Digg or some other now-defunct site that was left burning in the wreckage of the dot-com meltdown. I'll give you the signal to noise ratio around here has been on the low side for a while, but even before Taco and the founding posse drove off in their gold plated Lamborghinis stuffed full of sweet, sweet VA Linux stock options there was still noise.

Now get off my lawn. Grandpa has to take a nap!

Comment Software Dev =/= Attorney (Score 4, Insightful) 99

You said it yourself. You are a software dev and not an attorney. Stop trying to play one. While you may have a significant disrespect or distaste for their very expensive profession, when you need one, you need one. IP infringement can be a VERY expensive thing to deal with. Do you have a spare million or so laying around just collecting dust that you don't care about losing? If the answer is no, then talk to an experienced attorney. It will cost you a few hundred to a few thousand to have them review your case and potentially put up a defense, but it's money well spent.

Unfortunately, IP trolls are a fact of life in tech these days. You have better odds of hitting the powerball than doing your own defense and winning though. Stick to what you do best and hire experts at what they do best when these guys come knocking at your door for stupid claims.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 465

An exchange server is not infallible or the primary source of discoverable data. The exchange server follows the rules of archiving and message expiration set out in the agency policy. Some organizations have a 90 to 120 day expiration as a default. This is done to prevent over discovery of email archives during a law suit, as well as to maintain some reasonable limit on data storage. If an organization has a competent general counsel, this will be strictly enforced. This means that the local client will contain either a pst or ost (in an exchange environment) that can be pulled that may contain trace elements of the synchronized mailbox. The local pst copy, both deliberate and incidental, do not have the expiration limits that are enforced on the server side. This means the local pst may contain years worth of messages, contacts, appointments, and other stuff. It's a treasure trove of discoverable data, but it's also at the mercy of the hardware / software environment on the client side. Unfortunately, a simple delete and compact on the local pst will mess up most ability to recover anything not in the active portion. This means, it's bye-bye for all intents and purposes.

Comment Tenure at the secondary level is a steaming pile (Score 3, Informative) 519

At the college level, tenure is an important consideration for professors. It allows research into areas that are unpopular in a contemporary setting without fearing for employment. It facilitates the free exchange of ideas that are so important in a proper educational setting. However, in a public school at the primary or secondary level, what new and contentious ideas are expressed? What fear do teachers have in parroting their lessons to the students? Lessons are handed down from on high and the teachers are responsible to ensure students are proficient (in theory). So why is it that we need public school teachers to have tenured positions?

I am open to thoughts on this subject, but based on what I know right now, providing high school teachers with tenure is a big load of crap. It keeps bad teachers in place and is simply one more outdated benefit that society can no longer afford. When high school teachers are working on original research and disseminating their results to students, then tenure is justified. Until then, it's just one more barrier to improvement.

Comment This may not end well ... (Score 2) 125

I can appreciate your situation and need for advice, but if you are asking these questions here on /., you may need to step back a bit a lay some ground work. I've been where you are and made the transition and here's some hard lessons I've learned.

First, if you are at a point where you are trying to hire a person to replace your technical function, understand that you are on a path to grow beyond a single person. This means that while you were capable to deal with the technical responsibilities, your management function facilitated the ease at which you could accomplish things. Your replacement will not have the flexibility of authority you enjoy. This means that new processes and procedures will have to be put in place to accommodate that. This also means, as you go through that exercise, you will determine that a single person will not have all of your qualities. This means there will be more hiring on the horizon. Plan accordingly.

Second, your instinct is to not allow your baby to be in the hands of another parent. Get over that impulse quickly or you will burn through competent staff very quick. Oversight is good but micromanaging is not. A good sysadmin / network admin is worth the money paid - a mediocre admin can often have a negative value to your operations. You are hiring someone to do a job - hire the best you can find and afford and let them do it. If you don't or think you know best, you are setting yourself up to play with the B-team or worse.

Third, I don't know your line of business, but now is a great time to begin setting up an infrastructure for auditing and monitoring. If you want to be a real company and not fly by the seat of your pants, understand that IT is a solved problem with many best practices that can be adopted and audited for success. IT operations, Software development, information security all have standards associated that can help ease your transition. Once you fully implement that, you will find your IT operations run smoother and you become a much more attractive organization to various clients and contracts.

In short, embrace your role. You are a manager and are in charge of strategic vision. You are not a tactician nor are you a technician. Understand your role and do it to the best of your ability. The big part of that is hiring people who will execute your vision.

Comment Re:Gather 'round children ... (Score 1) 804

While I initially took a condescending tone as a fun way of sparking some discussion, your post seems to exemplify much of the point I was trying to make. So many posters here take can't seem to move past their own noses when it comes to identifying uses of technology. If it doesn't fit into their own little box, it's irrelevant or prosumer or marketing or whatever.

The simple fact is that there are some industries that need to use Apple software for whatever reason. For a business that has that requirement, there is nothing high end that will do an end-run around the requirement. Yes, the default answer is build your own hackintosh, but for real business, legality is a huge issue.

So let's talk about case studies. A huge industry that will eat this machine up is the forensics / e-discovery industry. This is a very powerful machine in a very small form factor that natively runs OSX and will happily also run Windows or Linux or whatever in a virtual machine. This machine can easily be set up to run many password cracking tools in parallel as well as natively examine many very large datasets (e.g., hard drives and databases). It can do it fast.

While you can't see a business case for these because they don't fit into your narrow perspective of graphic design, media production, or whatever I can guarantee that there are many large orders for these things in the queue. A company that needs this will not even hesitate about dropping a couple million on these little buggers. Government will be looking at these things to replace their aging Mac Pros that do the heavy lifting in their forensic labs.

There are other use cases for this where it absolutely makes sense, but this was the first that came to mind.

Comment Gather 'round children ... (Score 5, Insightful) 804

Let's let grandpa tell you kids a story since the Apple bashing has reached a bit of a frenzy lately with the introduction of a professional-grade computer.

First things first. This is not a computer that little Billy is buying so he can run the latest warez torrent of today's game du jour. This is also not a computer that dad is buying for the family to sit in the living room and run quickbooks on. No, your average neck beard is probably not looking to max one of these out so he can whip up the the latest build of the development branch of his custom linux kernel.

This computer is a business computer. It is designed and offered at a price range that will appeal to a customer who uses the computer to make money. No, not some bit coin mining operation, but real tangible money. These are designed for professionals who bill out to real paying customers for between $200 and $800 per hour. Yes, you heard that right. In the grown up world, highly productive and effective professionals bill their clients real money. When people grow up and begin to afford products like this, they are not wearing skinny jeans and sitting in Starbucks trying to look cool on a financed Macbook.

So, this is a $10,000 computer. So what? For a business purchase, let's evaluate this whole thing.

This is a computer that based on its speed and performance may allow that professional mentioned above to be 1.5 - 3 times more productive. That means more money. At $200 per hour, that's only 50 hours to recoup the cost. That's one billable week. It's a drop in the bucket. One client engagement. But wait, there's more

You see, in the business world, there's also this neat thing called depreciation of assets. It's an accounting thing. I know, I know, they aren't elite computer dudes, but the accountants do stuff with numbers and things like that. Anyway, in a basic system, the business that buys the computer gets to take the money spent off their taxes based on certain formulas. One way they do this is taking the acquisition price minus the residual value at the end of the effective lifespan (5 years) and then take the total left and divide it across the total period. Say the company buys a $10,000 computer and estimates it will be worth $1000 in 5 years time, it then takes the remaining $9000 and divides it by 5 years, which gives $1800 per year. The company can then take $1800 each year as depreciation expense on the asset. (Disclaimer for those with some accounting background, this is straight-line depreciation and there are other allowable forms that handle things different)

This means that not only does the company get to reap the rewards of more productivity but they also get to reduce their tax liability on the money they earn from it. I know, evil capitalists are keeping the man down by denying tax money. However, this is how the world works.

That is why a company will happily spend $10,000 on a high end Apple computer that some of you can't wrap your head around.

But, can't it be done cheaper by building it themselves? Probably yes. Although TFA was a non starter in that regard. Here's a hint for you just beginning your career. Business does not care that you can twist a screwdriver and put something together off newegg. Apple, for the money, provides someone that will happily offer mature support and a one-stop shop to handle repairs and other needs. Yes, the genius bar is not perfect nor is it what is usually considered enterprise level support (believe me, I do know the difference). But, it's a good option.

Move past the point that things are upgradeable or hackable or DIY or whatever. These things are productivity appliances. They are like the big screen televisions in the conference rooms or the phone systems. If something breaks, it gets fixed or swapped out by the vendor. It's cost effective and gives management someone to yell at when things go south.

So, y'all can continue to bash the product. You can happily laugh with derision at Apple while the stock price climbs and they win awards for design and their product. And you can continue to scratch your head wondering why anyone would buy this while you try to figure out why you are an unemployed IT guy who thought he knew what worked better. While you do that, real professionals will be making real money with real hardware.

Now, get off my lawn!

Comment Re:Respect the First Amendment! (Score 2) 109

It is obvious you have never worked in an investigative agency or really understand the politics involved.

First, this is a case that is being brought by the federal government. A high profile case. This means that the political stakes are very high, which can play a huge role in the prosecution of this case. So let's put things in order, shall we?

As a federal case in the Western District of New York, this falls under the prosecutorial purview of the United States Attorney's Office. Currently, that would be William Hochul and his deputies. For those unaware, the USA is an appointed post by the President. In a little over a week, this man is going to know if he has a job or not since his position is tied to Obama's success or failure. Contrary to popular opinion, many of the higher level government officials are pretty smart cookies. They know how to take an opportunity and they know how to position themselves. Having one of the highest profile civil cases taking place in your district with one of the highest profile companies on the planet is like a gift from above. Don't piss off Facebook and there might be a nice position with them either directly or indirectly through the big law firm you'll become a partner with after you leave the USA's office.

This up's the stakes. Now, the deputy in charge of the criminal prosecution division will be getting pressure from his boss to look into this Ceglia guy. After all he's a bad apple having previously been charged by Andrew Cuomo when he was the AG of NY. So the criminal prosecutor tells the Special Agent in Charge of the local FBI office in Buffalo to look into this. A case agent is assigned, along with the other bundle of cases already assigned to him or her, which could be anywhere from 10 to 40 in various stages of closure. So the case agent makes a couple calls to obtain the evidence, in this case the hard drive images and other bits and pieces, which are probably in the safe keeping of Facebook's attorneys, Ceglia's attorney's, or both. They may even do a warrant for new evidence.

All the computer evidence will get shipped off to the FBI computer lab, which in this case would be the regional computer forensics lab in Buffalo. There, a multi-agency task force works that sifts through submitted computer evidence for forensic artifacts and puts together a report on their findings. And that's exactly what they will do. The Ceglia case will get put into the queue among the cases dealing with child exploitation, terrorism, homicide, etc, and will be given a schedule for completion of somewhere around 6 - 15 months, since after all, this is just a fraud case. But with a little prompting from some highly placed prosecutors, the case will be fast tracked for completion in probably 30 days or less.

So, with the information back from the lab, the FBI agent now compiles the data, meets with the prosecutors and decides options. Do they have enough to go on? Do they need to dismiss the case? Can they bring it to the grand jury? Do they need more? Is the game plan to really bring this to trial or is it to force a plea or to simply destroy credibility?

Sometimes, in a high profile case, a perp-walk is more than enough to satisfy political goals. Ceglia was arrested and the Slashdot hivemind has already convicted him and believed 100% all the claims of the prosecution. Send him to jail now - no need for a trial or to have the evidence reviewed by a forensic examiner on the defense side. The perp-walk worked again. It's more than enough to let the USA be known as a friend of facebook in the event this election doesn't go down the way he would like.

But what about everyone else? The criminal prosecutors? They are career prosecutors so regardless of the administration, they will have a federal job until they decide to retire. The FBI agent(s)? They aren't in much danger of layoff. They will simply keep marching along until their next case comes up or until they rotate to a different duty station or have to go to HQ. The RCFL plugs along with their case load.

In the end, the only person that really has a stake outside of their federal employement is the USA, simply because his boss may or may not win the election. But, William Hochul worked for many years as a federal prosecutor doing some very high profile cases. I personally can't see him losing his integrity now over something like this, since his post political career will no doubt be very secure regardless. Is there political pressure on this case? Absolutely, the whole thing reeks of it. I have no idea where it's coming from though. Probably someone placed high enough in the administration to put pressure on a USA.

Is justice not being served while working on this case? Of course since there is a scarcity of resources. But then again, most tiny crimes won't ever get the attention of a federal prosecutor. Unless there's a news-worthy sum, it just won't. It may get the attention of a state level agency, but the feds have a price for entry.

Comment Don't Underestimate Cuomo (Score 2) 306

Don't underestimate the deliberate nature of Cuomo's actions. He is acutely aware of technology, what it is, and how it can be used. He has a lot of good advisers who are technologically aware. He also knows a lot of the dangers posed by email and what it can do.

During his time as Attorney General, he learned very quickly how crucial email was to a case. I don't specifically have to name cases, but a reader can easily find landmark investigations he conducted that hinged on getting email, mining it using some very sophisticated tools, and finding the right evidence.

I'm sure as he conducts himself and his staff now, mis-steps are keenly in his mind. This is a man who is not satisfied as Governor and will run for President.

Comment Re:Mainstream politicians (Score 1) 1051

Obviously you haven't read the 1st amendment closely:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Note the comma and the conjunction "and". The right to assemble is not exclusively linked as being for the purpose of redress of grievances.

The constitution as a whole does not grant or give any right. The constitution is a document that defines the duties of the government and explicitly defines limits on certain rights for the government. "Congress shall make no law..." defines a limit on the rights of the congress. The courts have upheld the rights of association and assembly for centuries. Restraining orders can be enforced and are constitutional because not all parties to the assembly are in agreement. Someone doesn't want someone else there or they pose a danger to the other person, therefore they can be explicitly barred from being there. Liberty is a concept that states you have the right to do what you want, but your rights end when it interferes with my rights and vice versa. Nothing inconsistent there at all.

Felons lose many of their rights both during incarceration and after. Free association is one of the rights. Sex offenders are no different and restricting their activities and associations are constitutional.

Comment Re:So is every ISP (Score 1) 376

CALEA is not a log retention act. It's a regulation that says device manufacturers need to allow the means for law enforcement to access it. It can also extend to networks and configurations - such as in the case of the phone companies.

However, one of the big impediments to law enforcement investigations of legitimate criminal activity has been the lack of log retention. Depending on the ISP, you may get anywhere from a few weeks to a few hours. There is no uniformity. However, there have been bills introduced at the federal level to require mandatory log retention but the bills have stalled in committee.

Yes, government can obtain certain pieces of data without a warrant. Generally, these fall under the allowances granted by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Usually, the rules are non-recent user content to summarize. Account information, IP addresses, headers, etc. are all fair game. Stored email older than 180 days is also fair game. New email or other private data needs a warrant. Although exceptions exist.

Although it doesn't seem like it - there are actually rules in place.

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