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Changing the Ratio of Women In Tech: How Etsy Did It

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the breaking-the-glass-ceiling dept.

Businesses 546

First time accepted submitter occidental writes in about Etsy's push to get more women engineers. "You’ve probably heard of Etsy, the bustling online marketplace for crafters and artists. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that most of its customers are women, both buyers and sellers. Ditto that the Etsy team is a pretty good representation of the Earth’s gender ratio. Yet when Marc Hedlund took the helm of Etsy’s Product Development & Engineering department, 97% of the engineering department were men. Hedlund realized that in his nearly two decades in IT, he’s hired no more than 20 women for engineering positions. This began to bother him. Especially after his daughter was born."

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Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (5, Insightful)

Karganeth (1017580) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491513)

Typically you see a rule like "at least 10% of the workforce m ust be x% female". This means that people will be hired according to their gender - sexism is built into the system. The same applies to many anti racist rules. You can't ever have rules that explicitly favor one gender over another.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (3, Informative)

Raedwald (567500) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491555)

Typically you see a rule like "at least 10% of the workforce m ust be x% female".

But TFA Says

Don’t lower hiring standards, or make exceptions or compromises

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491607)

Then what exactly changes if they were hiring the best people anyways?

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (3, Insightful)

jamesbulman (103594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491787)

Expand the pool of candidates applying for the job.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491897)

Did they not let women apply before?

This means if they get two similarly qualified candidates they will select a woman if their quota needs one. That means males who apply are being discriminated against.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (3, Insightful)

Zapotek (1032314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491803)

They get to appear all feminist and enlightened in the media.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (5, Insightful)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491811)

Well, about a year ago I was working in a games company (~120 employees) that had no female developers, artists, or producers. In total there were three female employees: the office manager, the HR manager, and the cleaner. Over the seven years I worked there, we hired 3 women, but they'd all leave after about six months... possibly as a result of having 50+ horny games devs constantly trying to hit on them (in fairness, they may have left due to other reasons, but I doubt it helped much). It's sad to say, but in the games industry there are a large number of immature men (boys is a more accurate decsription), who think that women are nothing more than boobs on legs. They often act creepily around them, sending them unwanted valentines cards, hanging around their desks like bad smells, etc, etc. In short, these people just don't know how to interact properly in civilised society, especially around women.

I'm now working in a film VFX company, and the difference is night and day. On the software teams, about 20% of the employees are female, and on the art teams, it's about 50%. The female software devs aren't for show either, they are more than capable of holding their own when it comes to C++/SIMD/GPU/Graphics coding, and it's actually been a really refreshing change from the games industry! Really though, the difference between the two comes down to one thing only. In VFX, women are treated with the respect. In Games, they're often treated as the office oddity.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492007)

Meh, I guess it depends on where you work, and who you work with. IMO, we could benefit from more female gamedevs making games, but they're not non-existant (and they do make games that are just as good (and bad) as males do).

Be careful that when you paint with a wide brush, you don't get paint in your eyes.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492171)

It's sad to say, but in the games industry there are a large number of immature men (boys is a more accurate decsription), who think that women are nothing more than boobs on legs. They often act creepily around them, sending them unwanted valentines cards, hanging around their desks like bad smells, etc, etc. In short, these people just don't know how to interact properly in civilised society, especially around women.

What's sad is that this is culturally pervasive. It's not just in the games industry. Any time you get a bunch of dicks in the same room the people they're attached to are probably being sexist.

In VFX, women are treated with the respect. In Games, they're often treated as the office oddity.

Artists are squishier people.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43492307)

Wow, thanks. I really appreciate your constructive criticism about me. Can you name specific behaviors in a crowd of males that are off-putting? I'm given to understand that we often treat women as "one of the guys." Is that not something we should do? Help me out here.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492241)

In the games industry you're expected to basically give up any hope of an outside life and probably burn a lot of the time that you would have available for marrying and having children. Unfortunately a woman's biological clock is less negotiable than a man's. It's something you do see in many other industries where the choices about how to handle family life and where the balance is tends to favor women at home and men at work. Regardless of what women's groups suggest, that's ultimately a legitimate aspect that companies look at when hiring, firing and promoting. If an individual shows no loyalty, they're going to be on the short end of things.

Not saying that it had anything to do with it, but women do tend to be more interested in having social lives and such than men are, and men tend to be socialized to be more tolerant of poor working conditions.

Unless there's some evidence that HR isn't hiring the best candidates or the applicant pool doesn't represent the balance in the industry, there's very little that an individual company can do that is going to solve the problem. At best they can discriminate against men to artificially appear like they're interested in treating women with respect.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43492393)

The difference between two companies can be the role women play. In one company they may be more administrative than hands on. I've found that when a company hires women to "babysit" developers, it's not a good company for women. Most developers don't respect management and consider them to be clueless in terms of software development.

Unfortunately, the "Women's movement" tends to measure the advancement of women in the workplace by their representation in management positions, but not in well paying worker bee positions, like a game developer.

So, sexist company has many developers that respect neither women nor managers hires female managers. What could possible go wrong?

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491563)

You're assuming that the supply of employees is small enough that one cannot afford to choose between several equal candidates of different genders and races.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491757)

Candidates are never equal, this is not college admissions, where all you have is test cores and GPA's to compare students too. How they did in the interview, and letters of recommendation are two things that will separate candidates just because they both have 5+ years of experience with HTML5 checked on their applications does not mean they are equal. Lets just say that the candidate pool was deep enough for your fantasy world, women comprise about 10% of the IT field so for every 1 women there are 9 men who are qualified, after the 3rd or 4th company does this the pool will be depleted of diverse candidates.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491565)

Exactly this. Favoritism is always bad.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491575)

Exactly, it needs to come down to who is best for the job, giving one group preferential treatment over another is not any better than any other group.

I don't know where this guy or you are coming from (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491585)

Typically you see a rule like "at least 10% of the workforce m ust be x% female". This means that people will be hired according to their gender - sexism is built into the system. The same applies to many anti racist rules. You can't ever have rules that explicitly favor one gender over another.

I've been in this business since the early 90s, I have never - ever- heard anyone speak that way. Neither have I ever seen anyone do anything on this guy's "Don't" list.

Ever.

The only reason we didn't that have many women engineers, programmers, computer scientists, etc... was because there wasn't that many applicants.

At IBM Boca - when it still existed - there were plenty of women engineers and women engineering managers.

If you want more women in tech, look at the CS programs.

But you see, most women are smarter. They see that if they want a nice livelyhood, they'll skip the whole engineering thing and the off-shoring and to medical school. As a matter of fact, my doctor is a woman and she is the first doc that ever just sat down and listen to me. And she gets the problem/diagnosis right the first time, too.

Re:I don't know where this guy or you are coming f (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43492037)

Docs make a lot, but they also start their careers close to $750k behind an engineer with a BS between foregone income, student loans for med school, and accrued interest on debt from undergrad. You are probably looking at age 50-55 before the doctors pull ahead on net worth.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491587)

That's called positive discrimination, and it's not a bad thing, because it's trying to fix a problem.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491617)

Why is it a problem? Not every lopsided gender/race/etc statistic is indicative of a problem. Sometimes it just means that men and women have different interests, or different strengths and weaknesses.

A problem would be if there were plenty of women in the field and employers were intentionally passing over them. However, if the issue is that there simply aren't a lot of women interested in a field, therefore fewer women are employed, then there isn't a problem.

If you try to fix a problem that doesn't exist, you're more likely to make it into a problem.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491705)

And if we lived in a universe where there wasn't an empirically demonstrated bias against women and ethnic minorities (having the same level of suitability) in hiring decisions across almost all fields, you'd have a point. Unfortunately the problem is very real and very well documented, and it's preventing us from hiring optimally, much less fairly.

Affirmative action supposes that the first step to eliminating that bias is to ensure that the individuals making these decisions are representative of the population as a whole.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491817)

The IT department in which I work is currently 67% female and 33% male. One of the women is being promoted to manager of another department, so you're saying that we should only look at male replacements in order to bring the disparity closer to being representative of the population as a whole?

And how come I don't see anything about encouraging more men in fields like nursing and teaching?

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491913)

And if we lived in a universe where there wasn't an empirically demonstrated bias against women and ethnic minorities (having the same level of suitability) in hiring decisions across almost all fields, you'd have a point.

Empirically eh? Define the population of applicants. Cross section of society, yes? Actually no. Who earns the apporpriate degrees? Who has the GPA? I've worked in both tech and HR, and you're full of shit. You have a shit ton of Asians, Indians, and Caucasians because they dig it, and they're the best qualified.

Affirmative action supposes that the first step to eliminating that bias is to ensure that the individuals making these decisions are representative of the population as a whole.

And affirmative action is discrimination (don't even try othe 'posltive discrimination' description), so it is fucking WRONG. So let me guess, we need more unqualified women and minorities of lesser ability making the decisions.. is that what you're saying? Tech is a meritocracy, deal with it.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492287)

As in, if you give the same selection of CVs to two different hiring panels, the only difference between the two sets of CVs lies in the names, the CVs from ostensibly female applicants are consistently rated lower. This is research that has been repeated over and over.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491933)

A far better policy would be to do all interviews via written form or phone call with some sort of voice modification.

Select employees without knowing their sex.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492361)

If you're talking about the US, then there is no such bias against women.

You see the same lack of women at the bottom of society that you do at the top of society. It's called the Apex Fallacy and it's complete horseshit. You have a different clustering of jobs between men and women and thanks to societal changes that disproportionately reward people at the top, you see a bit of an income disparity between men and women.

Ultimately, if we control for the distribution of income you'll find that the income differences between men and women are quite small indeed, it's just that since income is skewed towards the rich that the men that are poorer than their female counterparts don't add as much to the calculation.

What's more, most college students are female by about a 2:1 ratio and they basically get away with murder. I've sat through many "sex discrimination" lectures over the years which were basically just excuses to bash men for all the imagined slights and to just use sound bite quotes with no understanding of where they came from and why to rationalize it.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491829)

That's called positive discrimination, and it's not a bad thing, because it's trying to fix a problem.

This is equivalent to stating that the unilateral invasion of Iraq was not a bad thing, because hey, it was trying to fix a problem.

Slavery? Totally cool - the South was just fixing that labor shortage problem.

Genocide against native Americans? Well, see, we had this not enough land for settlers problem...

Stalin's purges? Also aimed at problem solving.

Internment of citizens of the United States who had Japanese ancestry during WW II? Fixin' a problem, wut wut.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492293)

Sure it is. And you don't see positive discrimination without also seeing negative discrimination at the same time aimed at the same group. If you think that women need the help, then you implicitly view them as inferior and incapable of taking care of themselves.

The healthy approach is to ensure a level playing field, or one that's level enough that women can take care of the problem for themselves. But, forcing employers to hire more women, regardless of qualification, just means there's more resentment and resistance to change.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492397)

A "positive" discrimination is still discrimination.

Any kind of affirmative action is harmful not only to potential employees involved, but also to the employer as well -- and I'm not speaking about what is "moral", but actual utility.

Try a simulation: assign every simulated person a random ability score, according to some distribution. In most cases, you want the normal distribution, but you may try others as well. Do the simulation twice: once for both groups being equal, once for one of them being on the average better than the other. The recruitment process consists of making candidates pass an exam and adding a bias to one of the groups, then picking X top scoring candidates.

It's obvious that with equal groups any discrimination will decrease the total utility: you'd replace some candidates from the group you discriminate against with worse-qualified ones from the group you give preferential treatment to. It's somewhat less obvious this happens also when there is an actual difference between abilities of both groups -- and if you run such simulations, you'll see this happens for other models of racism/affirmative action as well: flat-out banning the worse group, giving them a penalty, giving them a bonus, enforcing some quotas. You get the most utility for being strictly gender/race/Zodiac sign/colour of underwear/etc blind.

It's an unpopular thing to say around here, but there are actual differences in intelligence between races: Ashkenazi jews > asians > whites > hispanics > blacks, and men > women. Does this mean that the highest measured IQ should belong to an Israeli male? Uhm no, it's a white woman without noticeable jewish ancestry. Comparing the averages for two populations doesn't predict outliers -- and when looking for good engineers, you care about a small portion at the top rather than the bulk of the population. With the normal distribution, though, you can expect a group with lower average to have a smaller representation among the top -- this is natural, and not your fault.

There are some non-genetic causes that can be rectified, like giving "boy toys" to girls, disrupting ghettos/"white trash", etc, but it's far too late to attempt such things by high school or university. At that time, loss of IQ due to development causes is undistinguishable for that due to genetics.

Obviously, this is not a reason not to fire jerks who create a hostile workplace for those women/etc who proved their superiority by passing an unbiased entrance exam. That woman is in some regards better than you, as she rose higher above the average than you did, so do respect her. After both of you passed the same barrier, there is no reason whatsoever to assume one of you is more able, according to statistics. If your employer did the right thing and avoided biases, you don't have a right to introduce biases of your own.

TL;DR: any form of discrimination by anything else than pure ability is not only evil, but also harmful.

Stop with this myopic bullshit! (2)

ixarux (1652631) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491831)

Bullshit!

Policies are not all myopic decisions that affect just a single generation.

When you make a policy, you are looking at its impact in the long run. By having more women in the workplace you are encouraging more diversity of gender in the work place for future generations.
This is something you need to consider. Does diversity in a workplace help? Is it an ideal you wish to work towards in the long run? If you think diversity is unimportant, and you rather wish to reduce current costs in searching for labour, then so be it.

I think a large part of policies deals with compromising people's present value vs. future value of a decision. It is why, we humans are floundering in solving problems in the world.

Re:Stop with this myopic bullshit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491939)

Myopic!

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491853)

American History X, the flashback scene around the dinner table when a young Derek Vinyard is talking to his dad about the Affirmative Action policy at the firestation. If you take out the racial slurs, you can't help but see the guy's point. Would you want someone of lower capability than an other applicant working on your team just because some bureaucrat thinks a quota of $gender/race is the correct way to bring diversity to the workplace? It is even the correct kind of diversity? Diversity of experience, opinion, skillset, or interest is surely something better to strive towards.

On the other hand, we have the Catch 22 of women not working in $Career, so girls don't take an interest in $Career at an early age, meaning women don't apply for jobs in $Career. Is it the fault of society for not making careers in, say, engineering more glamorous? Should we push hard for intellect being more attractive than physical appearance? Should we stop seeing a chosen occupation as inherently masculine or feminine? Is it upbringing or genetic predisposition?

This is why Sociology exists.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492109)

"Diversity of experience, opinion, skillset, or interest is surely something better to strive towards."

This is what my current and most recent employer both strived for. It was by coincidence that it also led to gender/racial diversity as well (because different backgrounds lead to different skillsets and opinions... who knew?). In the end, we had a lot of really good solutions to problems from people starting ideas with "Once when I..." or "I saw something like this before...". We never had anyone say they had a good idea because their ovaries/testes told them or that the color of their skin allowed them to receive transmissions from a far off alien civilization sharing ideas with everyone the right color to listen.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (1)

u38cg (607297) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492405)

Yeah, actually I don't care that much. I work in central London and it's painfully obvious that none of our workforce come from local communities. I'd be quite happy to see us lower our hiring standards just a little to bring some of these people in. I don't believe for a second they're actually worse - I think they just don't know how to play the corporate game.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (5, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491931)

The problem of hiring female engineers happens because there are very few female applicants. I've interviewed one female applicant, ever, in 20 years as an engineer. ONE. I've worked for a number of engineering companies, small and large and I can count on ONE HAND the number of female engineering co-workers I have had, out of hundreds of engineers. They were all good at their jobs. I wouldn't hesitate to hire a woman engineer, if there was one available.

My sister is an engineer and my niece is in engineering school. They are the only two female engineers in my whole extended family, but there are dozens of male engineers, scientists and programmers.

I don't know why, but women, at least in the USA, almost universally lack interest in being engineers. No hiring policy can change that.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (0)

Velex (120469) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492201)

if there was one available.

This. A million times this.

It seems that womyn-born-womyn just can't handle fields where there are right and wrong answers. They believe that all accomplishment comes from social status alone.

Groups like the Ada Initiative see that womyn-born-womyn can't have the social status of a programmer or engineer (apparently they see something in that social status I'm completely missing) and they want womyn-born-womyn to have that social status as well.

Where are the womyn-born-womyn like Lovelace herself who recognized that one cannot simply expect a computer to do what one means? One must spell it out, step-by-step, mathematical transformation after mathematical transformation.

Post feminist womyn-born-womyn have an entitlement complex. They can't understand that the reason the computer doesn't do what they want it to do is because they've failed in their analysis.

We find that trans women do just fine programming computers, but womyn-born-womyn universally fail. We chalk this up to some kind of sexism. If a womyn-born-womyn fails at something, clearly there must be sexism afoot. Why then can trans women successfully program a computer or set up a computer network? Clearly there's no inherent problem between the ears, since womyn-born-womyn and trans women have the exact same body part between their ears.

The womyn-born-womyn fails because she merely feels entitled to have the computer do what she wants the way trans women and men can.

The feminist response? A trans woman is just Buffalo Bill wearing a woman suit over some kind of inherently "male" stuff and raping the female form. Either that, or trans women like me who are routinely gendered female by others who don't know otherwise, who even find that guys are interested in her, become John Carpenter's The Thing, lurking out in women's bathrooms just waiting for the right moment to shoot out tentacles and rape womyn-born-womyn. And, well, we already knew that all men are rapists. So there's our feminist explanation!

Excuse me while I hook a power generator up to Ada Lovelace. She seems to be spinning in her grave at an impressive rate.

Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (3)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492401)

"at least 10% of the workforce m ust be x% female". This means that people will be hired according to their gender - sexism

When you get down to a point where you have trouble getting 10% of a group of people who are a majority of the population at large, isn't it a wee bit late to suddenly get all upset about discrimination?

funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491529)

...how it only began to bother him AFTER his daughter was born.

if you check the ratios of women to men in engineering majors, you'll likely see why there's not a lot of women in engineering.

It's to bad (4, Insightful)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491531)

The problem is most women just aren't interested in engineering type roles. I know 1 female engineer out of the 40+ women I know, all the rest can't stand doing math, physic's or even intense thinking. I think part of the problem is that when kids grow up boys are taught to build and women are taught to be pretty, when a boy plays with Lego or other similar products in a sense he's engineering. On the other hand girls are given a barbie and a easy bake oven and told to have fun, how is that going to lead to a career in engineering. I think the problem needs to be fixed at the child level.

Re:It's to bad (-1, Flamebait)

anyaristow (1448609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491557)

No, the problem is that engineering has people like you in it. What woman wants to deal with that?

Re:It's to bad (4, Funny)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491629)

ya what woman would want someone who supports women in engineering! I know right, unthinkable, ass.

Re:It's to bad (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491647)

You're saying the problem is with people that have identified a potential root cause, rather than just trying to treat the symptoms? I sure hope you're not a doctor. Or a mechanic. Or an engineer. Or in IT. Or any field that requires solving problems for that matter.

"identified a potential root cause", my ass (2, Insightful)

anyaristow (1448609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491865)

No, the problem is know-it all, under-socialized people who think their simplistic explanations are genius, and who think women "don't like intense thinking", and who moderate as troll anyone who calls out their misogyny.

People like this are intolerable for women to work with.

I sure hope you're not a doctor. Or a mechanic. Or an engineer. Or in IT. Or any field that requires solving problems for that matter.

Oh, no, someone thinks you and your like are under-socialized, misogynist, delusional dumbasses. However will you deal with that? That's right, you'll make a determination of my job-worthiness from two sentences I wrote.

Aren't you clever!

*You* are why women don't want to work in IT.

Re:"identified a potential root cause", my ass (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491969)

So you think women are incapable of dealing with adversity?
They are incapable of tolerating socially uncouth individuals to reach their life goals?

Who is the misogynist here?

Re:"identified a potential root cause", my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43492421)

You should know that a lot of men find people like that insufferable too. So if you take that out of the equation, what's different?

"identified a potential root cause", my ass (0, Flamebait)

anyaristow (1448609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491895)

No, the problem is know-it all, under-socialized people who think their simplistic explanations are genius, and who think women "don't like intense thinking", and who moderate as troll anyone who calls out their misogyny.

People like this are intolerable for women to work with.

I sure hope you're not a doctor. Or a mechanic. Or an engineer. Or in IT. Or any field that requires solving problems for that matter.

Oh, no, someone thinks you and your like are under-socialized, misogynist, delusional dumbasses. However will you deal with that? That's right, you'll make a determination of my job-worthiness from two sentences I wrote.

Aren't you clever!

*You* are why women don't want to work in IT.

Re:"identified a potential root cause", my ass (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492121)

So... this comment:

I think part of the problem is that when kids grow up boys are taught to build and women are taught to be pretty, when a boy plays with Lego or other similar products in a sense he's engineering. On the other hand girls are given a barbie and a easy bake oven and told to have fun, how is that going to lead to a career in engineering. I think the problem needs to be fixed at the child level.

He's arguing that when gender stereotypes are reinforced at a young age, the effect cascades to adulthood and thus we have fewer women in technical fields.

How is that misogynist? He's not claiming that women are inherently unsuited or anything like that. He's saying society pushes women away from engineering, and if we want more women in engineering we've got to change the ways we treat boys and girls.

Re:"identified a potential root cause", my ass (0)

anyaristow (1448609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492323)

He's arguing that when gender stereotypes are reinforced at a young age, the effect cascades to adulthood and thus we have fewer women in technical fields.

That's a simplistic, cliche and tired explanation.

When I got into the field in the 80's there were more women and and there was less social dysfunction. A question more interesting that the cliche "women don't like tech", or the misogynist "women don't do difficult thinking", is "what happened in the 90's to make technical fields so hostile and so uniform?"

I'd suggest the internet happened, and gave a leaning toward social dysfunction a place to reinforce itself. Self-selection.

Re:"identified a potential root cause", my ass (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492155)

You're the only one who said anything about women not liking intense thinking. For that matter, you're the only one who has said the disparity is because women are different... everyone else you're responding to is saying that the issue is with society.

Re:It's to bad (1)

nine-times (778537) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492229)

You're saying the problem is with people that have identified a potential root cause, rather than just trying to treat the symptoms? I sure hope you're not a doctor.

We often treat symptoms rather than the root cause. If you're seriously injured, they might give you a pain reliever and something to reduce swelling. If have the flu, they might recommend a fever reducer and decongestant/expectorant. If you have lung cancer, they don't try to go back in time to prevent you from smoking. The focus is generally on reducing the symptom of "death".

Re:It's to bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491919)

Derpage detected

Re:It's to bad (2)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491597)

Question is why are they not interested?
I have never heard of a credible biological reason to this, is there a "scientist" gene that is present in only men? I would find that hard to belive.

Personally I think you're right about development of young children. Want more women in STEM? Then give them things like video games and Legos to play with as children to help foster that interest.
It's unreasonable to tell them for 12+ years that those are BOY TOYS then expect them to overnight develop an interest.

Re:It's to bad (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491651)

Exactly! My sister always wanted to use my Lego but mom kept buying her barbies and now she's in Psyc, who knows, maybe if she played with Lego at a young age she would of entered engineering or IT.

Re:It's to bad (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491711)

Yea, it's not that children lack the interest, it seems that it's the parents who keep buying them the gender specific toys, and reinforcing his idea that women do not belong in STEM.

Children should have the same opportunity to play with w/e toy they have an interest in.
If a boy want's to play dress up with dolls, don't tease him or think him developmentally challenged. (nor tolerate that from his peers)

Of course this is all well and good but in reality marketing and consumer buying habits play a much bigger role to a company and their bottom line then some idealised view on an internet forum. Don't expect a change in any of this till it's the parents who get wise and start ignoring the gender specific marketing.

Re:It's to bad (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491923)

Well one thing is for sure my daughter, if I have any, is going to bought lego before barbies.

Re:It's to bad (3, Informative)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491723)

There might actually be a biological reason. I was watching a documentary on the brain on NatGeo, and they brought up a study on chimps while discussing the general differences between the male and female brain. They gave chimps who had lived without human interaction some human toys. Even among chimps without our cultural influence, the males predominantly chose the trucks and the females predominantly chose the dolls.

This was like a decade ago so I don't know the significance of that study or if it has been debunked, but I always found it interesting.

Re:It's to bad (2)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491795)

Oh yes there are differences in the brains of both genders, I just can't see it being the sole justification for the gulf we are observing; especially when you compare it to history,

Men used to dominate the health and teaching fields; yet now are a small minority; 200 years is nowhere near enough time for a biological change to have happened on such a wide a scale and with such an impact.

I would suggest that our social norms are a much better candidate.

Re:It's to bad (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491955)

The problem with comparing it to history is that until a few decades ago, it didn't matter what women were interested in - they simply weren't allowed in most fields. However, now women are able to choose any job that men can choose, it's an entirely different ball game.

Since women are now allowed to choose what they want to be, they tend to gravitate towards nursing, teaching and other human interaction fields. Of course societal pressures still play a major role, but I just don't think you can compare it to history of more than a few decades ago.

Re:It's to bad (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492333)

But we're not talking about social norms, it's being proposed that there is a biological reason for it; which history does not support.
Also the world is bigger than western culture, in other cultures throughout history women have played a role in various industries; clearly the differences which are present in the brains of men and woman cannot be the sole cause of this gulf.

Re:It's to bad (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491999)

I think you mean both sexes, gender is a different thing all together. Sex is defined by biology, gender is a cultural thing.

Re:It's to bad (1)

ixarux (1652631) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491951)

But from what I understand, there can be effeminate men and there are masculine women. Gender has passed the stage where it is treated as just a binary. And it is often not completely correlated from the actual biological sex of a human.
So while we have artificial constructs based on historical practices, both men and women find themselves discriminated when they fall on either side of the spectrum.

Re:It's to bad (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492033)

Our culture has passed that stage. Gender is defined by a culture. There have in the past been cultures that defined it more like you are speaking about now already.

Re:It's to bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491755)

Biological reason 1: men have developed a strive to be successful and earn lots of money, because successful rich guys get to fuck more women. Successful and rich women experience the reverse effect for their dating&mating possibilities. Engineers typically make a fair amount of money.

Biological reason 2: because men had to be the ones hunting the deer, they have developed an on average stronger ability for spatial thinking and mechanics. All so that they could throw the spear with higher accuracy or build a better trap. This is related to what engineers do today.

Re:It's to bad (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491843)

Which might hold up till you also compare it to other industries that used to be dominated by men but over the past couple centuries, their representation has dropped like a rock.

Male teachers, nurses, seamsters, college graduates.

Re:It's to bad (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492359)

Differences in brain size and structure, not to mention reproductive strategy, isn't a "credible biological" cause? Let's assume they don't effect performance or motivation in any way, but why more women in STEM? Is there a shortage of manpower? Or are the men going to be reassigned as homemakers? Where is the payoff for anyone except in fulfilling some abstract concept?

Re:It's to bad (1)

ctid (449118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491605)

When I started in computing (this is in the mid 1980s), the majority of programmers that I worked with were female. This was an old-fashioned mini-computer based department in an industrial environment.

Re:It's to bad (2, Interesting)

RussR42 (779993) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491637)

Obligatory xkcd (Although something seems to have gone wrong, it's an SMBC [smbc-comics.com] )

Re:It's to bad (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491639)

It's the brain.
I saw a documentary once about why boys like car mechanics and exact things and girls don't.
When working on a car, the man's brain uses mainly his logical half. Women usually use both halves of their brain, even on logical things.
They found that women who did enjoy car mechanics, had a brain usage pattern similar to men, so they too used their logical half of the brain on these tasks.
You can't change nature (or just very slowly through natural selection ;-)).

Re:It's to bad (1)

nine-times (778537) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492351)

Did they address the question of whether this brain pattern was the result of nature or nurture?

That tends to be a difficult question, since you can't have controlled experiments.

Not really a problem (1)

ixarux (1652631) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491921)

It's not about being interesting in engineering. We are moving to a world where we are able to create interdisciplinary domains of work. Pyschology, Neuroscience, and computer science are now interlinked. We are being inspired by biology in many engineering applications.

I think that we need to look beyond the current to the possibilities. How can we utilize the large talent pool, with diverse strengths to increase the potential of engineering in solving problems. Women are half of our human species, and I bet we are losing out on a lot of diversity by sticking to archetype engineering stereotypes.

Another point I would like to make, albeit a little disconnected, is that a young child looks at its adults to be able to dream possibilities of what kind of future they might look for. Having less women engineers right now, will decrease the probability of young girls having a role model to emulate. Even if we spend extra resources to mine out as many rare female engineers as we can, it will be worth it in the long run.

Re:It's to bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43492275)

The problem is girls are raised to think the skills and mindset required for engineering are undesirable behaviors. it's mostly not even intentional, but culture consistently portrays engineers as undesirable men, and children pick up on that. Then girls think "ewe why do I want to do what the nerdy men do, I'd rather ride a pony".

Thus when they grow up and start looking for a career they don't have the pre-requisite skills and have no desire to learn them.

Re:It's too bad (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492277)

The problem is most women just aren't interested in engineering type roles. I know 1 female engineer out of the 40+ women I know, all the rest can't stand doing math, physic's or even intense thinking. I think part of the problem is that when kids grow up boys are taught to build and women are taught to be pretty, when a boy plays with Lego or other similar products in a sense he's engineering. On the other hand girls are given a barbie and a easy bake oven and told to have fun, how is that going to lead to a career in engineering. I think the problem needs to be fixed at the child level.

Not a bad idea. Good way to do it - just ban all dolls, make-up kits, cooking sets and so on, and make unisex toys for everyone. Force girls to build and break stuff, just like boys do, but don't leave the option for either to play w/ dolls. That way, boys won't turn out to be metrosexual, and girls won't turn up to be pretty-in-pink Barbie lovers who grow up to either become arts majors who can't find jobs outside education or politics, or barefoot & pregnant and good for nothing else.

Re:It's to bad (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492409)

We have a play room for my son and two daughters, who are only a 3 year spread apart. I try to teach my girls building and whatnot, but they will straight up take the Lincoln logs and make a cake out of them, or cookies. My littlest girl does nothing but talk about being a mommy to every doll, stuffed animal, or whatever. It's not like there isn't at least some genetic angle on this.

With that being said my girls are very creative with drawing, and enjoy building sand castles, and whatnot. But my son gravitates to trying to take my drills and hammers and do stuff.

MSM: Breaking news: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491571)

NRA Teabagger Chechen mad bombers ID'd, one is assuming room temperature, other one on the run.

As you can imagine, he's a tea partier, just as Chris Matthews and NPR said he would be.

Police are currently attempting to draw him out of his hiding place by playing Brad Paisely music over their speakers. They have also constructed an elaborate snare-trap, baited with ribs, high-end fishing equipment, and Bibles.

In case the situation should escalate, they've deputized a civilian to act as a Hostage Crisis Negotiator. That civilian? You guessed it, Jeff Foxworthy.

Obviously we're going to have to have a national conversation, lecturing one side about their celebration of and propensity for political violence. But alas it will not be the side which makes unrepentant terrorist murders university professors.

And the conversation will not be directed at the side that keeps producing terrorists and murderers.

You stupid douchebags.

Not so hard really (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491589)

1) Don't be combative (this will get you better male employees as well)
2) Don't allow your team to be combative (mgmt needs to do their job in reigning in aggressive team members)
3) Recognize and punish prejudice in the interview/work place (I've witnessed this several times with some being harder on women for no apparent reason)

That's it really. I've worked with a lot of women in tech, and they do fine. There are some environments though that aren't fitting for ANYONE, and men tend to end up there. Women tend to think about problems differently, which if you are looking for the best team is something you should want. Sadly, those that approach problems differently have tended to be hounded into submission in some work places. It doesn't matter if they're presenting a valid point, the receivers can't seem to process the approach and discount everything. In truth, it's many of the men who have no business being in the roles their in. That have no idea how to handle running a team. Add that to mgmt who never seems to like to put an engineer in their place, or worse, agrees with the hostility and you get a place no one wants to work in.

How is affirmative action not discrimination? (1)

Unitedroad (1026162) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491591)

One of the things he did according to the article is
"contact journalists who have been critical of gender disparities, partner with an appropriate group or organization to create a new program, dedicate a budget for the project."
It sounds like wooing the politically correct people - who most probably have not real understanding of the real working of technology - by hiring candidates of one gender while discriminating against those of the other gender who are atleast equally qualified for the job.

from 2% to 15% (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491595)

I don't know how much "engineers" (whatever that means... support engineers? software engineers? ... ) he employs, but he went from 2% to 15% women engineers.
Wiki says Etsy had 60 employees in 2009.
How much of these are engineers? Let us take 30, so he went from 1 women engineer to 5?

And if the total of staff represents a 50/50 ratio (implied but not explicitly said in the article), that means he's employing much more women in the artsy/HR/finance/marketing departments? Isn't that discrimination too?

15% is still a pretty low mark. I don't see this as being a success at all.

Re:from 2% to 15% (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491743)

15% is still a pretty low mark. I don't see this as being a success at all.

If you look at the typical Comp Sci and Engineering Classroom, it's pretty good.

These women have to come from somewhere, you can't (typically) hire them out of high school and expect them to perform.

Re:from 2% to 15% (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491805)

15% is actually 50% better then the rest of the IT field 10%, and yes it is discrimination to choose any race or gender over another.

Never good enough (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492057)

Your post has 2 issues:

1) It's never good enough for many people. He increased from 2 to 15%. That is a substantial gain. If that were in the financial market investors would be popping champagne. Should we automatically assume that he should rest on his laurels and stop increasing it? Most likely not. That becomes a matter of opinion though about what the proper mixture of men and women, race or whatever other areas are covered under policies like this. I have no opinion on that detail other than you should have the proper personnel makeup to accomplish your task in the most effective manner. To immediately rebuke this particular effort is though just starts a chain of goalpost moving which accomplishes nothing. What if next year it increases to 20%? Is that enough? Some will say no and say we need more so maybe he redoubles his efforts and makes it to 30% the next year. Is that enough? Some will say no, rinse and repeat. At least he is doing something positive because in this economy I am happy if anyone has a job, especially engineers cause that's my trade.

2) You found and demonstrated why alot of people use percentages. The way you apply them can make your results appear bigger or smaller than they are. As you said the article states 15% so that went from 1 to 5 total engineers. 5 does sound small doesn't it? So to make it look bigger convert it to a percentage. People like you and I will catch that but laymen or those who just aren't interested will just kinda gloss over it. You can go the other way too. Say there's something that has killed 100,000 people. That is a lot of people. But if you were trying to deny the issue or block legislation or something similar then you could convert that to a percentage and say (just an example) "That's less than 1% of the population!" Now that doesn't sound so bad anymore. Less than 1%? Statistically insignificant most would say. Don't tell that to the families of the dead though.

If the BOS bomber was a teabagger (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491609)

You douchebags would have the story up on the front fucking page at 100 gadgillion badgillion comments by now and you know it.

But it turns out to be a muzzie operation, criickets.

Isn't it funny that these radical nutjobs got away with hiding in Cambridge where all the losers like you - probably a lot of you in fact, just listened to their shit and nod and say Ya man! Bush Tax Cuts!

Fucktards.

Why to do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491611)

I completely understand the goal 'let's get rid of discrimination'. But why would anyone want to pursue a goal 'let's have better gender parity in engineering'? Now I would love to have more girls around me (which would be labeled sexist, I guess), but other than that - why would anyone want to pursue such goal?

Re:Why to do it? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491751)

A lot of studies involving this seem to avoid actually talking to young girls. Of the ones I've talked to, many of them feel insulted that they could get hired because they have a specific set of reproductive organs rather than on their other merits. It reminds me of the pilot episode (I think) of SG-1 where Carter goes off on a rant against O'Neil because "her reproductive organs are on the inside". And it turns out he just dislikes scientists.

HOST files know no gender... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491613)

A corrupt slashdot luser has pentrated the moderation system to downmod all my posts while impersonating me.

Nearly 230++ times that I know of @ this point for all of March/April 2013 so far, & others here have told you to stop - take the hint, lunatic (leave slashdot)...

Sorry folks - but whoever the nutjob is that's attempting to impersonate me, & upset the rest of you as well, has SERIOUS mental issues, no questions asked! I must've gotten the better of him + seriously "gotten his goat" in doing so in a technical debate & his "geek angst" @ losing to me has him doing the:

---

A.) $10,000 challenges, ala (where the imposter actually TRACKED + LISTED the # of times he's done this no less, & where I get the 230 or so times I noted above) -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3585795&cid=43285307 [slashdot.org]

&/or

B.) Reposting OLD + possibly altered models - (this I haven't checked on as to altering the veracity of the info. being changed) of posts of mine from the past here

---

(Albeit massively repeatedly thru all threads on /. this March/April 2013 nearly in its entirety thusfar).

* Personally, I'm surprised the moderation staff here hasn't just "blocked out" his network range yet honestly!

(They know it's NOT the same as my own as well, especially after THIS post of mine, which they CAN see the IP range I am coming out of to compare with the ac spamming troll doing the above...).

APK

P.S.=> Again/Stressing it: NO guys - it is NOT me doing it, as I wouldn't waste that much time on such trivial b.s. like a kid might...

Plus, I only post where hosts file usage is on topic or appropriate for a solution & certainly NOT IN EVERY POST ON SLASHDOT (like the nutcase trying to "impersonate me" is doing for nearly all of March/April now, & 230++ times that I know of @ least)... apk

P.S.=> here is CORRECT host file information just to piss off the insane lunatic troll:

--

21++ ADVANTAGES OF CUSTOM HOSTS FILES (how/what/when/where/why):

Over AdBlock & DNS Servers ALONE 4 Security, Speed, Reliability, & Anonymity (to an extent vs. DNSBL's + DNS request logs).

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program). A truly "multi-platform" UNIVERSAL solution for added speed, security, reliability, & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs + DNSBL's you feel are unjust hosts get you past/around).

2.) Adblock blocks ads? Well, not anymore & certainly not as well by default, apparently, lol - see below:

Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/12/12/2213233/adblock-plus-to-offer-acceptable-ads-option [slashdot.org] )

AND, in only browsers & their subprogram families (ala email like Thunderbird for FireFox/Mozilla products (use same gecko & xulrunner engines)), but not all, or, all independent email clients, like Outlook, Outlook Express, OR Window "LIVE" mail (for example(s)) - there's many more like EUDORA & others I've used over time that AdBlock just DOES NOT COVER... period.

Disclaimer: Opera now also has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc..

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF (non-mozilla/gecko engine based) family based wares, So AdBlock doesn't protect email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows "LIVE" mail & others like them (EUDORA etc./et al), Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 5-7 next below).

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, OR make you reach them faster since you resolve host-domain names LOCALLY w/ hosts out of cached memory, hosts do ALL of those things (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082908-kaminsky-flaw-prompts-dns-server.html [networkworld.com] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions (in-addr.arpa) via NSLOOKUP, PINGS (ping -a in Windows), &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

* NOW - Some folks MAY think that putting an IP address alone into your browser's address bar will be enough, so why bother with HOSTS, right? WRONG - Putting IP address in your browser won't always work IS WHY. Some IP adresses host several domains & need the site name to give you the right page you're after is why. So for some sites only the HOSTS file option will work!

6.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles (or ELECTRICITY) like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTLY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can since hosts files run in MORE EFFICIENT & FASTER Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode operations acting merely as a filter for the IP stack (via the "Plug-N-Play" designed IP stack in Windows) vs. SLOWER & LESS EFFICIENT Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode operations (which webbrowsers run in + their addons like AdBlock slow down even MORESO due to their parsing operations).

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than remote DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server, typically 30-100's of ms, vs. 7-10ms HardDisk speed of access/seek + SSD seek in ns, & back to you - hosts resolutions of IP address for host-domain names is FAR faster...). Hosts are only a filter for an already fast & efficient IP stack, no more layered b.s. (remote OR local). Hosts eat less CPU, RAM, I/O in other forms, + electricity than a locally running DNS server easily, and less than a local DNS program on a single PC. Fact. Hosts are easier to setup & maintain too.

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:

GOOD INFORMATION ON MALWARE BEHAVIOR LISTING BOTNET C&C SERVERS + MORE (AS WELL AS REMOVAL LISTS FOR HOSTS):

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org]
  http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org]
  http://hostsfile.org/hosts.html [hostsfile.org]
  http://hostsfile.mine.nu/downloads/ [hostsfile.mine.nu]
  http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net]
  https://zeustracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php?filter=online [abuse.ch]
  https://spyeyetracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php [abuse.ch]
  http://ddanchev.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  http://www.malware.com.br/lists.shtml [malware.com.br]
  http://www.stopbadware.org/ [stopbadware.org]
Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were:

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1898692&cid=34473398 [slashdot.org]
  http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1896216&cid=34458500 [slashdot.org]

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code (to customize it better than the GUI front does @ least). With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL (even moreso "automagically" for Vista, 7/Server 2008 + beyond by UAC by default) &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:

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US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/16/0416238/US-Military-Blocks-Websites-To-Free-Up-Bandwidth [slashdot.org]

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)

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Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for:

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB: -> http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]

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And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:

PEOPLE DISLIKE ADBANNERS: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

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As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

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Even WORSE still, is this:

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/156225/Advertising-Network-Caught-History-Stealing [slashdot.org]

---

15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:

---

Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/16/bing_yahoo_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/24/malware_ads_google_yahoo/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/24/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/excite_and_rhapsody_rogue_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google sponsored links caught punting malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/16/google_sponsored_links/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/11/yahoo_serves_12million_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/23/real_media_serves_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/13/doubleclick_msn_malware_attacks/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/1433210/Attacks-Targeting-Classified-Ad-Sites-Surge [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/01/20/0228258/Hackers-Respond-To-Help-Wanted-Ads-With-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/11/doubleclick [wired.com]

---

Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/microsoft_ips_hijacked/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/13/0128249/Two-Major-Ad-Networks-Found-Serving-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

THE NEXT AD YOU CLICK MAY BE A VIRUS:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/15/2056219/The-Next-Ad-You-Click-May-Be-a-Virus [slashdot.org]

---

NY TIMES INFECTED WITH MALWARE ADBANNER:

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/09/13/2346229 [slashdot.org]

---

MICROSOFT HIT BY MALWARES IN ADBANNERS:

http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com]

---

ISP's INJECTING ADS AND ERRORS INTO THE WEB: -> http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

ADOBE FLASH ADS INJECTING MALWARE INTO THE NET: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/20/0029220&from=rss [slashdot.org]

---

London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware:

http://www.securityweek.com/london-stock-exchange-web-site-serving-malware [securityweek.com]

---

Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/spotify_malvertisement_attack/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:

---

Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/03/01/0041203/Infected-Androids-Run-Up-Big-Texting-Bills [slashdot.org]

---

AND, for protection vs. other "botnets" migrating from the PC world, to "smartphones" such as ZITMO (a ZEUS botnet variant):

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=ZITMO&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

---

It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

HOSTS files are NOT THAT EASILY "webbug" BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked on AdBlock in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT FROM ARSTECHNICA THEMSELVES:

----

An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."

and

"Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!

----

19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):

---

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT (from -> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/16/wikileaks_mirror_malware_warning_row/ [theregister.co.uk] )

"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like stopbadware.org (which protects the Firefox browser)...

---

20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

21.) Custom HOSTS files gain users back more "screen real estate" by blocking out banner ads... it's great on PC's for speed along with MORE of what I want to see/read (not ads), & efficiency too, but EVEN BETTER ON SMARTPHONES - by far. It matters MOST there imo @ least, in regards to extra screen real-estate.

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ), IE 9's new TPL's ( http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] ), &/or NoScript ( http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net] especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ) does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:

---

DNS flaw reanimates slain evil sites as ghost domains:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/16/ghost_domains_dns_vuln/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

---

SECUNIA HIT BY DNS REDIRECTION HACK THIS WEEK:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/26/secunia_back_from_dns_hack/ [theregister.co.uk]

(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)

---

DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that):

http://www.scmagazineus.com/new-bind-9-dns-flaw-is-worse-than-kaminskys/article/140872/ [scmagazineus.com]

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)

---

Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even NORTON DNS (more on each specifically below), & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)

---

DNS Hijacks Now Being Used to Serve Black Hole Exploit Kit:

https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/dns-hijacks-now-being-used-serve-black-hole-exploit-kit-121211 [threatpost.com]

---

DNS experts admit some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/12/08/1353203/opendns-releases-dns-encryption-tool [slashdot.org]

---

Potential 0-Day Vulnerability For BIND 9:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/11/17/1429259/potential-0-day-vulnerability-for-bind-9 [slashdot.org]

---

Five DNS Threats You Should Protect Against:

http://www.securityweek.com/five-dns-threats-you-should-protect-against [securityweek.com]

---

DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/16/ddos_on_dns_firm/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!)

http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/04/1525235.shtml?tid=172&tid=95&tid=218 [slashdot.org]

---

DNS ROOT SERVERS ATTACKED:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/02/06/2238225.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

TimeWarner DNS Hijacking:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/23/2140208 [slashdot.org]

---

DNS Re-Binding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/11/21/0315239.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/has-halvar-figured-out-super-secret-dns-vulnerability/1520 [zdnet.com]

---

BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning:

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/09/123222.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/08/21/2343250.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/06/03/16/1658209.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

High Severity BIND DNS Vulnerability Advisory Issued:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/02/23/156212/High-Severity-BIND-Vulnerability-Advisory-Issued [slashdot.org]

---

Photobucketâ(TM)s DNS records hijacked:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1285 [zdnet.com]

---

Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Problem Linked To DDoS Attacks Gets Worse:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/11/15/1238210/DNS-Problem-Linked-To-DDoS-Attacks-Gets-Worse [slashdot.org]

---

HOWEVER - Some DNS servers are "really good stuff" vs. phishing, known bad sites/servers/hosts-domains that serve up malware-in-general & malicious scripting, botnet C&C servers, & more, such as:

Norton DNS -> http://nortondns.com/ [nortondns.com]
  ScrubIT DNS -> http://www.scrubit.com/ [scrubit.com]
  OpenDNS -> http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com]

(Norton DNS in particular, is exclusively for blocking out malware, for those of you that are security-conscious. ScrubIT filters pr0n material too, but does the same, & OpenDNS does phishing protection. Each page lists how & why they work, & why they do so. Norton DNS can even show you its exceptions lists, plus user reviews & removal procedures requests, AND growth stats (every 1/2 hour or so) here -> http://safeweb.norton.com/buzz [norton.com] so, that ought to "take care of the naysayers" on removal requests, &/or methods used plus updates frequency etc./et al...)

HOWEVER - There's ONLY 1 WEAKNESS TO ANY network defense, including HOSTS files (vs. host-domain name based threats) & firewalls (hardware router type OR software type, vs. IP address based threats): Human beings, & they not being 'disciplined' about the indiscriminate usage of javascript (the main "harbinger of doom" out there today online), OR, what they download for example... & there is NOTHING I can do about that! (Per Dr. Manhattan of "The Watchmen", ala -> "I can change almost anything, but I can't change human nature")

HOWEVER AGAIN - That's where NORTON DNS, OpenDNS, &/or ScrubIT DNS help!

(Especially for noob/grandma level users who are unaware of how to secure themselves in fact, per a guide like mine noted above that uses "layered-security" principles!)

ScrubIT DNS, &/or OpenDNS are others alongside Norton DNS (adding on phishing protection too) as well!

( & it's possible to use ALL THREE in your hardware NAT routers, and, in your Local Area Connection DNS properties in Windows, for again, "Layered Security" too)...

---

20++ SLASHDOT USERS EXPERIENCING SUCCESS USING HOSTS FILES QUOTED VERBATIM:

---

"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398) Homepage Journal

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org] and http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to 127.0.0.1" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525) Homepage Journal

"A hosts file certainly does not require "a lot of work" to maintain, and it quite effectively kills a LOT of advertising and tracking schemes. . In fact, I never would have considered trying to use it for ddefending against viruses or malware." - by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday December 30 2010, @05:48PM (#34715060)

---

Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:

A RETURN TO THE KILLFILE:

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/491 [securityfocus.com]

Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):

---

"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!

---

"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 http://www.furtherleft.net/computer.htm [furtherleft.net] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates NTCompatible.com (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread28597-1.html [ntcompatible.com] !

---

"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/09/1840246/Beating-Censorship-By-Routing-Around-DNS [slashdot.org] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL [wikipedia.org] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!

---

* POSTS ABOUT HOSTS FILES I DID on "/." THAT HAVE DONE WELL BY OTHERS & WERE RATED HIGHLY, 26++ THUSFAR (from +3 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

BANNER ADS & BANDWIDTH:2011 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2139088&cid=36077722 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907266&cid=34529608 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1490078&cid=30555632 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1869638&cid=34237268 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1461288&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=30272074 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255487&cid=28197285 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1206409&cid=27661983 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1725068&cid=32960808 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1743902&cid=33147274 [slashdot.org]
  APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1913212&cid=34576182 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1862260&cid=34186256 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1924892&cid=34670128 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS FILE MOD UP FOR ANDROID MALWARE:2010 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1930156&cid=34713952 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP ZEUSTRACKER:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2059420&cid=35654066 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP vs AT&T BANDWIDTH CAP:2011 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2116504&cid=35985584 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2220314&cid=36372850 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS and BGP +5 RATED (BEING HONEST):2010 http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1901826&cid=34490450 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS & PROTECT IP ACT:2011 http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457766&cid=37592458 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457274&cid=37589596 [slashdot.org]
  0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1197039&cid=27556999 [slashdot.org]
  0.0.0.0 IN HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1143349&cid=27012231 [slashdot.org]
  0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1198841&cid=27580299 [slashdot.org]
  0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1139705&cid=26977225 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319261&cid=28872833 [slashdot.org] (still says INSIGHTFUL)
  HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2603836&cid=38586216 [slashdot.org]

---

Windows 7, VISTA, & Server 2008 have a couple of "issues" I don't like in them, & you may not either, depending on your point of view (mine's based solely on efficiency & security), & if my take on these issues aren't "good enough"? I suggest reading what ROOTKIT.COM says, link URL is in my "p.s." @ the bottom of this post:

1.) HOSTS files being unable to use "0" for a blocking IP address - this started in 12/09/2008 after an "MS Patch Tuesday" in fact for VISTA (when it had NO problem using it before that, as Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 still can)... & yes, this continues in its descendants, Windows Server 2008 &/or Windows 7 as well.

So, why is this a "problem" you might ask?

Ok - since you can technically use either:

a.) 127.0.0.1 (the "loopback adapter address")
b.) 0.0.0.0 (next smallest & next most efficient)
c.) The smallest & fastest plain-jane 0

PER EACH HOSTS FILE ENTRY/RECORD...

You can use ANY of those, in order to block out known bad sites &/or adbanners in a HOSTS file this way??

Microsoft has "promoted bloat" in doing so... no questions asked.

Simply because

1.) 127.0.0.1 = 9 bytes in size on disk & is the largest/slowest
2.) 0.0.0.0 = 7 bytes & is the next largest/slowest in size on disk
3.) 0 = 1 byte

(& HOSTS files extend across EVERY webbrowser, email program, or in general every webbound program you use & thus HOSTS are "global" in coverage this way AND function on any OS that uses the BSD derived IP stack (which most all do mind you, even MS is based off of it, as BSD's IS truly, "the best in the business"), & when coupled with say, IE restricted zones, FireFox addons like NoScript &/or AdBlock, or Opera filter.ini/urlfilter.ini, for layered security in this capacity for webbrowsers & SOME email programs (here, I mean ones "built into" browsers themselves like Opera has for example))

MS has literally promoted bloat in this file, making it load slower from disk, into memory! This compounds itself, the more entries your HOSTS file contains... & for instance? Mine currently contains nearly 654,000 entries of known bad adbanners, bad websites, &/or bad nameservers (used for controlling botnets, misdirecting net requests, etc. et al).

Now, IF I were to use 127.0.0.1? My "huge" HOSTS file would be approximately 27mb in size... using 0.0.0.0 (next smallest) it would be 19mb in size - HOWEVER? Using 0 as my blocking IP, it is only 14mb in size. See my point?

(For loads either in the local DNS cache, or system diskcache if you run w/out the local DNS client service running, this gets slower the larger each HOSTS file entry is (which you have to stall the DNS client service in Windows for larger ones, especially if you use a "giant HOSTS file" (purely relative term, but once it goes over (iirc) 4mb in size, you have to cut the local DNS cache client service)))

NO questions asked - the physics of it backed me up in theory alone, but when I was questioned on it for PROOF thereof?

I wrote a small test program to load such a list into a "pascal record" (which is analagous to a C/C++ structure), which is EXACTLY what the DNS client/DNS API does as well, using a C/C++ structure (basically an array of sorts really, & a structure/record is a precursor part to a full-blown CLASS or OBJECT, minus the functions built in, this is for treating numerous variables as a SINGLE VARIABLE (for efficiency, which FORTRAN as a single example, lacks as a feature, @ least Fortran 77 did, but other languages do not))!

I even wrote another that just loaded my HOSTS file's entirety into a listbox, same results... slowest using 127.0.0.1, next slowest using 0.0.0.0, & fastest using 0.

And, sure: Some MORE "goes on" during DNS API loads (iirc, removal of duplicated entries (which I made sure my personal copy does not have these via a program I wrote to purge it of duplicated entries + to sort each entry alphabetically for easier mgt. via say, notepad.exe) & a conversion from decimal values to hex ones), but, nevertheless? My point here "holds true", of slower value loads, record-by-record, from a HOSTS file, when the entries become larger.

So, to "prove my point" to my naysayers?

I timed it using the Win32 API calls "GetTickCount" & then again, using the API calls of "QueryPerformanceCounter" as well, seeing the SAME results (a slowdown when reading in this file from disk, especially when using the larger 127.0.0.1 or 0.0.0.0 line item entries in a HOSTS file, vs. the smaller/faster/more efficient 0).

In my test, I saw a decline in speed/efficiency in my test doing so by using larger blocking addresses (127.0.0.1 &/or 0.0.0.0, vs. the smallest/fastest in 0)... proving me correct on this note!

On this HOSTS issue, and the WFP design issue in my next post below?

I also then questioned MS' own staff, even their VP of development (S. Sinofsky) on this here -> http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/02/09/recognizing-improvements-in-windows-7-handwriting.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage [msdn.com] & other places in their blogs, to get them to tell me WHY this seemingly intentional inefficiency was implemented... & I have YET to get a solid LOGICAL answer on this as to why it was done - THUS, @ this point?

I am convinced they (MS) do NOT have a good reason for doing this... because of their lack of response there on this note. Unless it has something to do with IPv6 (most folks use IPv4 still), I cannot understand WHY this design mistake imo, has occurred, in HOSTS files...

AND

2.) The "Windows Filtering Platform", which is now how the firewall works in VISTA, Server 2008, & Windows 7...

Sure it works in this new single point method & it is simple to manage & "sync" all points of it, making it easier for network techs/admins to manage than the older 3 part method, but that very thing works against it as well, because it is only a single part system now!

Thus, however?

This "single layer design" in WFP, now represents a SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE/ATTACK for malware makers to 'take down'!

(Which is 1 of the 1st things a malware attempts to do, is to take down any software firewalls present, or even the "Windows Security Center" itself which should warn you of the firewall "going down", & it's fairly easy to do either by messaging the services they use, or messing up their registry init. settings)

VS. the older (up to) 3 part method used in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003, for protecting a system via IP Filtering, the Windows native Firewall, &/or IPSEC. Each of which uses diff. drivers, & layers of the IP stack to function from, as well as registry initialization settings.

Think of the older 3 part design much the same as the reason why folks use door handle locks, deadbolt locks, & chain locks on their doors... multipart layered security.

(Each of which the latter older method used, had 3 separate drivers & registry settings to do their jobs, representing a "phalanx like"/"zone defense like" system of backup of one another (like you see in sports OR ancient wars, and trust me, it WORKS, because on either side of yourself, you have "backup", even if YOU "go down" vs. the opponent)).

I.E.-> Take 1 of the "older method's" 3 part defenses down? 2 others STILL stand in the way, & they are not that simple to take them ALL down...

(Well, @ least NOT as easily as "taking out" a single part defensive system like WFP (the new "Windows Filtering Platform", which powers the VISTA, Windows Server 2008, & yes, Windows 7 firewall defense system)).

On this "single-part/single-point of attack" WFP (vs. Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003's IP stack defense design in 3-part/zone defense/phalanx type arrangement) as well as the HOSTS issue in my post above?

I also then questioned MS' own staff, even their VP of development (S. Sinofsky) on this here -> http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/02/09/recognizing-improvements-in-windows-7-handwriting.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage [msdn.com] & other places in their blogs, to get them to tell me WHY this seemingly intentional inefficiency was implemented... & I have YET to get a solid LOGICAL answer on this as to why it was done - THUS, @ this point?

I'll stick to my thoughts on it, until I am shown otherwise & proven wrong.

----

Following up on what I wrote up above, so those here reading have actual technical references from Microsoft themselves ("The horses' mouth"), in regards to the Firewall/PortFilter/IPSec designs (not HOSTS files, that I am SURE I am correct about, no questions asked) from my "Point #2" above?

Thus, I'll now note how:

----

1.) TCP/IP packet processing paths differences between in how Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 did it (IPSEC.SYS (IP Security Policies), IPNAT.SYS (Windows Firewall), IPFLTDRV.SYS (Port Filtering), & TCPIP.SYS (base IP driver))...

2.) AND, how VISTA/Server 2008/Windows 7 do it now currently, using a SINGLE layer (WFP)...

----

First off, here is HOW it worked in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 - using 3 discrete & different drivers AND LEVELS/LAYERS of the packet processing path they worked in:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb878072.aspx [microsoft.com]

The Cable Guy - June 2005: TCP/IP Packet Processing Paths

====

The following components process IP packets:

IP forwarding Determines the next-hop interface and address for packets being sent or forwarded.

TCP/IP filtering Allows you to specify by IP protocol, TCP port, or UDP port, the types of traffic that are acceptable for incoming local host traffic (packets destined for the host). You can configure TCP/IP filtering on the Options tab from the advanced properties of the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) component in the Network Connections folder.

* "Here endeth the lesson..." and, if you REALLY want to secure your system? Please refer to this:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22HOW+TO+SECURE+Windows+2000%2FXP%22&go=&form=QBRE [bing.com]

APK [mailto]

P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also in the form of TPL (tracking protection lists -> http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] , good stuff )) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - mvps.org covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem (mvps.org offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once? GET CACHED! Right into the kernelmode diskcaching subsystem (fast & efficient RAM speed), for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcac

Re:HOST files know no gender... apk (1)

TrollstonButtersbean (2890693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491655)

tldr

Jeremiah Cornelius: Grow up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491797)

You're embarassing yourself Jeremiah Cornelius http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3581857&cid=43276741 [slashdot.org] since you posted that using your registered username by mistake (instead of your usual anonymous coward submissions by the 100's the past 2-3 months now on slashdot) giving away it's you spamming this forums almost constantly, just as you have in the post I just replied to

Re:HOST files know no gender... apk (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492379)

Maybe we could equalize things at least in Unix computing by having both men & women edit /etc/host files. Either you'll see the men doing more human interaction, or women finding the files more interesting

well obviously (1)

Velex (120469) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491729)

He did it by giving the IT department nut shots and creeper cards every day until they all left. Without any men or trans women to compete with, womyn-born-womyn found they were able to land IT jobs. Obviously.

I'd love to see more women in tech, but... (1)

DoctorBonzo (2646833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491747)

what I see reported as the biggest turn-off to most women is the perception that tech work, computer science in particular, is "geeky", whatever that might mean.

Proposed solutions always seem to involve changing geek culture to be more welcoming and sensitive, but I don't see that happening. To me, geekiness is inherent in the field and can't be avoided. Where's the value proposition in trying to attract women to a situation that they are likely to find ultimately distasteful?

Seems to me that people follow their interests. What's the advantage of misdirecting these interests in the name of some abstract goal of "diversity"?

Am I missing something?

To Summarize (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491769)

How Etsy did it: aggressively pursued women who met the requirements

Headline (2, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43491813)

I think the headline should read:

Changing the ratio of women to men in tech How they did it.

Re:Headline (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492185)

I think the headline should read:

Changing the ratio of women to men in tech How they did it.

Is that because you think a reasonable person would otherwise assume that the ratio is women to cheeseburgers or women to solar flares or women to rutabagas?

Re:Headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43492239)

(Score:+1, Pedantic)

Slashdot is a Dice Holdings, Inc. service. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43491869)

Let's get more job stories, those are what keep people reading this site.

Technical people choose where they work (2)

davide marney (231845) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492005)

If you are in a technical field that requires a lot of time, effort (and sometimes money) to become proficient, then personal attributes like gender are generally meaningless. Is there any doubt that a person who is sufficiently smart and dedicated enough to become a crack developer can do so, regardless of gender?

Developing software is a huge enterprise, spanning hundreds of job categories and every human skill imaginable. No doubt if one were to include the full scope of work, then the balance of men to women would be the same as the working population as a whole; that is certainly the case where I work.

Sure, there are some disciplines where men are more concentrated, but also others where women are more concentrated, and still others where the split is more even. What does that matter? To deliver a great product, everyone must put their heart into pushing the wagon down the road, or it goes nowhere.

High profile jobs (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492063)

You always hear about women being underrepresented in high profile jobs. I never see campaigns to get more women into plumbing, road work, carpentry, mining and similar "men jobs". Until those jobs get an equal represented share in the campaigns to get more women doing mens' jobs and the campaign gives just as much attention to men doing "women jobs", I regard the campaigns as sexist biased. The only way to break these gender biased roles is to work on them all at the same time and give all of them the same kind of attention. Focusing on a specific small part will never work, unless it's part of a big campaign that works on all jobs in all levels.

Re:High profile jobs (2)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492247)

You also see very little effort to address the gender imbalance in teaching, nursing or human relations (which are all female dominated).

Re:High profile jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43492339)

I never see campaigns to get more women into plumbing, road work, carpentry, mining and similar "men jobs".

There was a lot of stuff like this back in the '70s, especially in children's media.
Nowadays the feminists just want more women in the jobs that get respect and attention.

HR wins again (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43492211)

In getting the notion propagated that humans need to be interchangable biped commodities--er, "resources".

I'm an engineer, my sister is a nurse. I don't consider either job imbued with a superiority such that the statistical gender count needs to be "fixed" in either case. If men and women are psychologically different and often have a different mix of motivating interests (as, when we review reality, we see is... reality), why should we expect or desire that all types of jobs net out at a 50-50 gender split?

Judge Only By The Results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43492243)

I could care less about gender. Just give me the best engineers.

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