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Slashback: Walmart and Wiki, Alan Ralsky

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the feel-the-slashback-breeze dept.

119

Slashback, as always, provides updates and clarifications to previous Slashdot stories. Tonight we bring you updates on Australian Smart ID Cards, the security danger that USB memory sticks pose, Wal-Mart's Wikipedia War, Lego Mindstorms, LiveJournal's stance on Ad-Blocking software, and news about 'Spam King' Alan Ralsky. Read on for more.Update on Australian Smart ID Card. CaptainDefragged writes "According to an article at Australian IT News, the data from Smart Card that our government is introducing is going to be used for a lot more than just health care and welfare fraud prevention. From the article: 'Intelligence agencies and police will be given access to a vast database of biometric photographs of Australians to be created for the new health and welfare smart card to fight terrorism and more general crime. ASIO and the Federal Police will be allowed routine access to the smart card database on national security issues, while state police will have restricted access for general crime investigations.'"

USB sticks as a security threat. martijnd writes "The BBC follows up on the risks of USB sticks as a threat to business by looking at data theft and virus-spreading-as-from-a-floppy infiltration."

More On Wal-Mart's Wikipedia War. An anonymous reader writes "Past the media coverage of their article 'Wal-marts Wikipedia War', Whitedust has apparently received an interesting email from Mike Krempasky (representing Edelman Public Affairs in Washington, DC). While maintaining that Whitedust has no actual specific issue with Wal-Mart - the article was published on the simple premise that Wikepedia's important neutrality was apparently being compromised - and in the interests of a more balanced argument, Whitedust have published the email in full to their readership along with some other interesting notes."

Mindstorms NXT: Mindstorms Resurrected?. Since the announcement of Mindstorms NXT; many people believe that my earlier article was completely off target. My latest article, Mindstorms NXT: Mindstorms Resurrected?, attempts to complete the analysis. It concludes that Mindstorms NXT does not represent any change of direction for Lego; and unless forced by competition to act otherwise, Lego will continue to market Mindstorms as a niche product line."

Spam King Alan Ralsky NOT Jailed. narzy writes "DailyTech.com is reporting that contrary to reports last week, spam king Alan Ralsky was in fact not picked up by the Feds. Inquires put in to the DoJ and Detroit FBI field office resulted in puzzling dead ends as both agencies had no information as to having Mr. Ralsky in custody. Early Monday morning the original source recanted the story of Mr. Ralsky's arrest."

LiveJournal Explains Ban on Ad-Blocking Software. An anonymous user writes "LJ Founder, Brad Fitzpatrick, blames the change to the Terms of Service on boilerplate language put into the document by 'some lawyers'." From the article: "This is a pre-announcement that a more user-friendly TOS change is on its way. (After all, we can't even detect that you're even using ad blockers to begin with, so there's no point in us saying you can't. Plus you might not even have control over what's installed on your computer, etc.) So, yeah, sorry: we messed up."

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119 comments

Poor Mindstorms (0, Troll)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266577)

Lego will continue to market Mindstorms as a niche product line.

I can't imagine why. An expensive toy that appeals to a small percentage of the population should have the full marketing resources of the company behind it. That way, the board meetings can be a lot more exciting while everyone tries to figure out where all the money went.

Re:Poor Mindstorms (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266631)

An expensive toy that appeals to a small percentage of the population should have the full marketing resources of the company behind it.
--
I use a Mac, asshole.


No need to be redundant.

Re:Poor Mindstorms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267276)

Textbook ownage.

Re:Poor Mindstorms (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266641)

Actually, I can't imagine why either. This new product is so clearly superior, and will probably also be easier to use (if for no other reason, than that it has servos) that I can't picture anyone buying any more mindstorms. Certainly I will not be purchasing any more mindstorms equipment, and I do currently have some (but I only have a couple of the blue RCXs, even, so it's not like I have a huge investment.)

Re:Poor Mindstorms (2, Informative)

sbaker (47485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267227)

The biggest problem with NXT for me is that they skimped on the memory. That thing really cries out for a decent amount of Flash memory.

Re:Poor Mindstorms (2, Informative)

rossifer (581396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267537)

Shortly after release, there will be a hack to add a secure digital card controller to the NXT. The card controllers can be wired into almost any standard flash memory circuit and cost about $5 each. Then you can throw a gig of flash on there for $30, or four gigs for $120 (don't know if it will be able to use all four gigs, though...)

Regards,
Ross

Re:Poor Mindstorms (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267880)

Uh, 256kB is a decent amount of Flash. I can't imagine that regular customers of these sets will ever reach that limit.

For comparison, the HP49G+ [hpcalc.org] has a very similiar CPU and comes with only twice that amount (the HP48G only comes with 64kB and has nearly the same software), but includes a full-blown advanced symbolic manipulation and solving code library competing with Mathematica in some areas.

It's called a Marquee Product Re:Poor Mindstorms (1)

miller701 (525024) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269373)

GN Doesn't make a lot of money off the Corvette, (actually, they don't make a lot of money on ANYTHING, but that's not the point) but they still have it to bring people in and give them a higher thing to dream for. At least in the past you could put them in a Camaro for half the price.

Imagine a 6-7 year-old seeing some fantastic mindstorms creation. They pick up a couple of basic sets, graduate to Technic, then Mindstorms.

Moussaoui to USA: YHBT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266603)

Zacarias Moussaoui used what was probably the last public appearance of his life to exchange bitter words with relatives of 9/11 victims and with the judge who sentenced him to spend the rest of his days in solitary confinement in Americas most secure prison. God curse America, You have been trolled. You have lost. Have a nice day. he shouted at the court yesterday. You will die with a whimper, and we have soo not been trolled. the judge told him. Looking directly at Moussaoui, one of the three relatives allowed to address the sentencing session declared: lol.

Livejournal Incompetent? (0, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266612)

After all, we can't even detect that you're even using ad blockers to begin with, so there's no point in us saying you can't.

Exactly how can you not detect this? User hasn't visited in a while and so probably doesn't have page cached, user downloaded page, user didn't download ads, user is using an ad blocker.

It's not foolproof, you'll need to turn this kind of detection off for anyone surfing through a proxy/accelerator, but you can detect this kind of behavior from anyone else, which means pretty much anyone on broadband (for example google web accelerator slows down broadband users, or at least, always has for me) and anyone who doesn't pay a premium to have their images degraded.

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (4, Informative)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266659)

user didn't download ads, user is using an ad blocker.

AdBlock has a feature to download the ad but not display it.

-:sigma.SB

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266728)

Gotcha, I've never noticed that particular feature. Half of the joy of blocking ads is not wasting bandwidth on them. 49% is not seeing 'em, and 1% is not putting hits into the ad-tracking assholes' databases...

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (1)

oirtemed (849229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266811)

I'd say 99% of the joy of blocking ads is not seeing them. Unless you are still on dialup, I HIGHLY doubt you notice the bandwith difference.

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (2, Interesting)

petard (117521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267354)

I don't notice the bandwidth difference, but I see a huge difference (on some pages) in the time it takes to display pages on my 3Mbps DSL line. The way some pages are written, browsers can't render the page until they've fetched the ads. IIRC it has something to do with sizes not being included in an img tag...

Some of the ad servers are quite slow to respond, and I can see my browser waiting for ads.mediaplex.com or some such. If I configure a proxy to remove all references to these servers, pages load much faster even though the bandwidth difference is negligible. So for me, 50% of the joy of blocking ads is the latency difference, not the bandwidth difference.

But to address OP's point, they can't tell whether you've fetched the image or not in anything resembling real time if they don't host the image themselves. So it's not incompetence alone that prevents them from noticing this, it's the desire of ad providers to track their own stats rather than trust LJ to do so themselves. Well, that and the desire of the ad providers to be able to send cookies to your site and track you across different sites, which they couldn't do unless you make an HTTP request to the ad provider...

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (1)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267553)

Half of the joy of blocking ads is not wasting bandwidth on them.

It's the other way round : with "download, don't display" enabled, half the joy is knowing that the asshole is paying for the bandwidth, even though the ad never got displayed.

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15268679)

Man you really *don't* like people who provide you with free content, do you?

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268234)

Which would still give credit for the ad counters, no?

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268311)

That and most ads these days are served by an external image reference to 3rd-party server named e.g. ad.sendmecrap.com; the LJ servers would not easily be able to detect if these weren't being downloaded.

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (1)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266746)

And how much would it cost to monitor, analyze and store the data from the tracking of even a small percentage of their 10,169,726 users and communities? Is it such that it would add any value to their ad-service business? Would it be less per month than the combined ad revenue per month? Would it be worth going out of their way to shut down any of the users they found in violation, particularly in the eyes of the advertisers?

So let's say they honestly can't (because I know it's possible not to), why would they even want to? I doubt it makes good business sense.

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (3, Interesting)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266818)

And how much would it cost to monitor, analyze and store the data from the tracking of even a small percentage of their 10,169,726 users and communities?

They are already doing that. Any site with any traffic that generates revenue monitors this very closely. It's the blood of the net.

Would it be worth going out of their way to shut down any of the users they found in violation, particularly in the eyes of the advertisers?

For sites of that magnitude, changing click-through ratios by just a few percentage points can mean millions in revenue - lost or gained.

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (1)

Stellian (673475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266967)

It's important to observe that most ads are delivered from diferent servers. The content site only places a few inline frames on it's pages.
So to do what you propose, the logs from multiple servers/organizations must be corelated. It could work for online comunities to do this scan once in a while, but the average add-infested website would need a constant link with the adserver to check for this and instantly refuse service to a surfer that blocks adds.
Also note that the adservers have litle incentive to suport this. They usualy only care about the clicks, not the number of impressions. No add displayed, no clicks, no money for the content site.

Client Side Ad-Blockers Not the point? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266994)

IIRC, the issue was to prevent LiveJournal authors from using sneaky html/css tricks to obscure or somehow defeat the adverts & to prevent them from offering up ad-blocking software to their readership.

If you want to refresh your memory, you can read this section of the original thread [slashdot.org]

It didn't really have anything to do with [Random Person] browsing by and using an ad-blocker.

Ad Blocking Countermeasures (1)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267013)

Here is an interesting link describing some ad-blocking countermeasures. [URL="http://www.websitepublisher.net/article/ad-b locking/4"]www.websitepublisher.net/article/ad-blo cking/4[/URL] Site implementing them... [URL="EnvironmentalChemistry.com"]EnvironmentalChe mistry.com[/URL]

My proposal (1)

acidrain69 (632468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267161)

In response to this, I recommend a proxy that holds the ad block list/logic that still downloads all the images, but requests the non-ad images from the http server first, and discards at the proxy the rest (the ad images). Now you still get the pages faster with no ads, but you still use the bandwidth (to the proxy) of the whole page, including ad images. And technically, they COULD see what order you are downloading the images in, but at some point it's more trouble than it's worth for them to force someone to view ads. And you may be able to foil THAT by getting one or more of the ads early on.

I don't know a lot about how proxy and ad blocking works, or if anyone has already implemented this, but there's an idea for anyone so inclined to write one or modify an existing.

Re:Livejournal Incompetent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267318)

Exactly how can you not detect this?

i'll tell you how. ads come from third-party servers. those ads don't have any pictures in them. i think they're using one of those newfangled intarweb ad brokers called google. you might want to look them up in altavista or something.

Full Disclosure (5, Informative)

narzy (166978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266614)

I am Tim Thorpe, I am also narzy I wrote the article on dailytech.com and submitted it to /.

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

DarkAxi0m (928088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266941)

No im Tim Thorpe!

Re:Full Disclosure (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267214)

I'm Tim Thorpe, and so is my wife!

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

XoXus (12014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268350)

No, I'm Spartacus!

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

Paul Crowley (837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269413)

Er, to whom are you explaining the joke?

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269507)

No, I'm Dick Darlington, and Susan was Jiselle!

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

egriebel (177065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267584)

I'm Jim Thorpe, and I approve this message.

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269537)

Please translate your sig. From what I can tell it says:
'This computer is not for finger-pokers or assgrabbers. It is not for use by idiots.'

I somehow believe that may be innaccurate.

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

SillySlashdotName (466702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269692)

WAAAAAY to subtle for me.

Did you just call the parent poster a finger-poker, an assgrabber, or an idiot? I can't tell which one you meant...

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269936)

None of the above. GP's sig was in german. I attempted to translate with my limited german knowledge, but am pretty sure I've done a piss poor job.

OT: Claiming posts across multiple accounts (1, Offtopic)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267229)

I'm not disagreeing with you, but I just wondered whether if someone was in a similar situation as yours in the future, it wouldn't be a bad idea to link your comments in some way; actually I was thinking about this when reading some AC posts that resembled posts of a registered user ... sometimes you want to post something anonymously or pseudonymously, but leave open the possibility of claiming the comment later.

I was thinking that maybe the way to do it would just be to end one comment (the one from your alternate account, AC, whatever) with a MD5 hash of some secret phrase, and then if you later wanted to claim the post you could publish the secret using your main account. Not quite as effort intensive as actually signing the posts cryptographically (plus it's deniable, sort of) but it'd let you claim an anonymous body of work later on if you wanted.

Anyone have any immediate thoughts or criticisms?

It just seems like it's getting to the point where few people have just one account on one site anymore; most people have a bunch of accounts, sometimes using the same nickname and sometimes using different ones. Sometimes you don't want to link all the identities together, but there are definitely reasons why you'd want to be able to retroactively, if circumstances dictated. Has anyone put any serious thought into the problem, in a way that preserved psuedonymity until a user chose to reveal themselves?

Re:OT: Claiming posts across multiple accounts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267647)

every post would look like this then

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

This is a test
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.3 (MingW32) - GPGshell v3.51

iD8DBQFEWgt5o0WsMKpsHWkRAmFHAJ9sOYSoie624 ZJLfYtREb5Nc6GbkACfS4tW
cqUNpsXj2hPk5qUZjSJqwKI=
=wIEm
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Re:OT: Claiming posts across multiple accounts (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267694)

That would be a karma whore's dream; make tonnes of posts, then claim the ones which get karma.

Re:Full Disclosure (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268826)

It's spelt 'Nazi'

Ralsky - Recanted on Monday! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266621)

So, the douche bag with the false report recants his story on Monday and Slashdot gets around to reporting it on Thursday Night?

WTF!?!?!? Slashdot through it's inaction permitted a known cyber terrorist time to escape justice. Ergo, Slashdot implicitly supported the cyber terrorist and cyber terrorism.

Down with SLashdot! There's never a black helicopter around when you need one!

Sigh, and just when we got our hopes up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266747)

Sigh, and just when we got our hopes up that he'll be floating face down in a river somewhere.

Can't detect ad blockers? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266624)

I just ad blocked images from a local web server and looked in the logs afterwards. No more requests for the images. Maybe I am missing something seems that it would be trivial to detect. Just look in the logs. You wouln't even have to look through all of them, you could just take samples.

Re:Can't detect ad blockers? (1)

wrfelts (950027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266792)

Text-only browsers have been around for quite some time. No need to download something that won't be displayed anyway.

Re:Can't detect ad blockers? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266887)

Browser information is also in the logs. And before you reply saying you can spoof that, I know. Fact is, outside of tech circles like this, text only browser usage and spoofing the user-agent is rare. I'd say text based web browsing is probably fairly rare here too, though I'm sure someone will post ancedotal evidence in the form of "I use lynx all the time" or "$text_browser represents 75% of my $conspiracy_theory blog visitors". I use lynx too, but it only represents about 0.1% of my total browsing.

Re:Can't detect ad blockers? (1)

wrfelts (950027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266935)

Browser information is also in the logs. And before you reply saying you can spoof that, I know.

Yup, but a lot of "administrators" won't be smart enough to notice things like that. They won't get past the "how dare they not download our ads. They must be stopped..." part of the thought process.

"$text_browser represents 75% of my $conspiracy_theory blog visitors".

Wait... I thought I was the conspiracy...

Re:Can't detect ad blockers? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267059)

Yup, but a lot of "administrators" won't be smart enough to notice things like that. They won't get past the "how dare they not download our ads. They must be stopped..." part of the thought process

Well, in my experience, it's the PHBs who do the "how dare they not download our ads. They must be stopped..." and issue the directive of "find me all/how many/etc of the users who block our ads" to the administrators. Having been given somewhat similar tasks, if you don't find that fun, maybe you shouldn't be an adminstrator of a high traffic web site. Analyzing that sort of stuff is par for the course.

Re:Can't detect ad blockers? (1)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267739)

What about blind people using a screen reader? (and thus having images turned off.)

Re:Can't detect ad blockers? (3, Informative)

strider44 (650833) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266991)

Plenty of adblockers allow downloading of the images but don't show them on the page. In fact mine does this.

Re:Can't detect ad blockers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267040)

Okay, now buy a couple hundred more servers, a handful of load balancers, and two or three dozen edge cache servers in data centers across the country. Then get several hundred million hits per day. And then get log files for images Google hosts. Oh, and don't forget to solve the age-old problem of uniquely identifying visitors to a website instead of just hits or IP addresses.

Still think it's easy?

Re:Can't detect ad blockers? (1)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267162)

Oh, and don't forget to solve the age-old problem of uniquely identifying visitors to a website instead of just hits or IP addresses.

Well, I don't really know the specifics of live journal, but it is my understanding that they have users and users have accounts. In addition, it was my understanding that these users were the target of the TOS and their accounts could be terminated. Logged in accounts are - guess what - logged in the weblogs. You can track logged in users. As far as volume goes, you don't have to look through all the logs only some of them. Caching servers and load balancers don't matter, some of the users hits will get into the web logs. I used to do this for a living, tracking and banning users at a free porn host. Our apache logs grew so fast we had to delete them almost daily despite the presence of several dozen squid proxies. Of course, this was in the 90s when disks were a hell of a lot smaller.

Try it. Just check the html and it should be obvio (2, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268799)

The answer why you can't just check the logs is obvious IF you have a browser that somehow can tell you what it is getting from who as it loads the page.

Thats right. The ads are served from a different server.

What is therefore missing is the link between requests.

IF you served your own ads you could indeed build in some system that checks wether the ad you inserted into the page is being downloaded. You would have to start a session for each user, you would have to write a script around your image server that notes in the session wether the image was retrieved but it is doable.

But how do you do this with ads from a third party?

I serve a page to you with a link to get an image from another server. UNLESS I can communicate with that server I have no way of telling wether you did that.

How it could work.

  • Client sends request for page.
  • Server starts a session and generates the page includings ads.
  • Server sends the page to the client with the ad link (including sessionid).
  • Client loads page following the link to the adserver (sending the sessionid with the request for the ads).
  • Adserver sends a message to the server that an ad has been downloaded for this sessionid.
  • Server checks if all the ads it included got a response from the adserver and if all are loaded the user is allowed to ask pages again (with this sessionid) or told to fuck off.

There are other ways as well, the server could send a list of ads included to the adserver and get a single message back if they all been requested or not. But the idea remains the same, you need communication between the adserver and the page server.

That, to my knowledge isn't in use yet.

Oh and the above "solution" ain't perfect either. Ad blockers that retrieve the ad but don't show it would be unaffected. How do you deal with a slow client who browses to fast for the ads to download? You also end up sending your content and are only able to block the user from getting stuff again within the same session.

More problems then, for now, it seems worth to taggle.

There is one form of ad that bypasses all this. The blocking flash ad. You know those screens you get before you go to the content page with a huge flash ad? Some require you to wait some time but what if the content link is only IN the flash ad.

Just make the link to the content only display after the ad has played. Forced ads. Lovely eh?

I have had to think about this problem before. The writeup above is very simple because I can't be arsed to write it all down again because at the time I came to the realisation that it is hard to sell anti-ad-blocker solutions to people who use IE and don't even know how to block virusses.

Re:Try it. Just check the html and it should be ob (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268889)

EnvironmentalChemistry.com think they can stop people blocking advertisements. Unless, of course, said people are using Firefox with Javascript disabled and View -> Page Style > No Style.

Does anybody else here think it would be worth applying for a patent on a foolproof ad-blocker-stopping method, and then signing the patent over to an anti-advertising group?

Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1, Flamebait)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266629)

It's very unlikely that many (if any) Wal-Mart employees are manipulating Wikipedia. Most of them don't make enough money to own a computer and have an Internet connection. Even if they do, they're too busy working a second job just to make ends meet. Sad but true.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266700)

Yeah! They got the Wal-Mart floor staff to do the work of a 3rd party PR Company, that's it. No wait... Maybe they hired a PR COMPANY. For the love of God use your brain.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266776)

Right, because ALL Wal*Mart employees are cashiers or stockboys. You don't think they have a vast group of IT professionals and industrial engineers who may have the time/drive/financial interest in battling over the Wiki entry?

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266851)

Wal*Mart does indeed have a large staff of IT folks and industrial engineers. What these people do not do, however, is participate in this kind of media manipulation, certainly not on their own initiative. And in a 'dirty tricks' situation, they won't be involved at all, since there would be too many people in-the-know, it's too easy to get caught, and the PR blowback would be significant.

This is purely a PR consultant/lobbyist kind of thing.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266863)

While I don't work directly for W*M, I do work with their IT dept very closely. One thing I've learned is they are very serious about ROI's (return on investment). I find it very hard to believe anyone (Public Relations or IT) would be able to convince management that fighting over a Wiki entry had a solid ROI. The average W*M customer just isn't very concerned with Wikipedia. Dollars spent in local community donations and advertising speak much stronger to the typical W*M shopper.

I don't find it so hard to believe that some very dedicated IT guys/gals like Wikipedia but don't like what they read about Wal-Mart there. Being a CS grad, I've met my share of people who I can imagine taking a wiki entry very seriously, even to the point of it being personal. This seems like a much more likely scenario than a broad corporate scheme to better the W*M wiki-image.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (2, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267516)

While I don't work directly for W*M, I do work with their IT dept very closely. One thing I've learned is they are very serious about ROI's (return on investment). I find it very hard to believe anyone (Public Relations or IT) would be able to convince management that fighting over a Wiki entry had a solid ROI.

Try editing the Walmart article on Wikipedia and you will soon learn that you are wrong. They always have someone on the Wikipedia article. Every piece of criticism is pushed as far down the article as possible and then deleted. They have something like ten different editors. If you look at their histories they don't edit many other articles.

This is a big problem across Wikipedia in general, it is pretty easy for a politician or a company to erase negative information.

If you look at the Fox News article you will find that pretty much all mention of its role as a conservative propaganda organization is eliminated. The only mention of the fact that many people consider Fox has a hard right tilt comes right at the end. Thats just the folk comming in from the wingnut-sphere. I really doubt Fox cares about being considered conservative, its just an act they put on because they know it gets up the nose of liberals (but not as much as Colbert got up their nose this week).

If you read the Katherine Harris article you will find that there are people who don't think the fact that she had a meal costing $2,800 with a defense contractor who just pled guilty to corruption and bribery notable at all, nor the fact that she tried to send a $10 million federal contract his way through an earmark the next day and subsequently lied about doing so repeatedly. That fight is particularly amusing because the people most desperate to get Harris off the November ballot are her own party. Jeb Bush, Karl Rove and Ed Rollins are all on the record briefing against Harris.

You can even find bogus info in the history articles and the articles on religion. There is a group that is very eager to tell us that nothing really bad happened during the Spanish Inquisition.

Crank contributions come in from both the left and the right. Its quite interesting to see an MIT full professor being told he does not understand the technology he pioneered.

I think that these problems are fixable but it needs a change of priority that Jimbo does not seem willing to make at this point. The priority is to have the widest range of participation with the lowest barriers. That may not be the best way to create articles on controversial subjects.

I think that there needs to be a bit more process and a mechanism to track editor reputation, similar to the slashdot scheme but with something added to cope with the partisanship factor. Slashdot forays into politics are none to successful unless it is on a topic like CALEA where there is a guaranteed 500 posts, all with the same opinion.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

jrsimmons (469818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267974)

I haven't tried editing the wikipedia entry on Wal-Mart (I don't really have anything to add), but I did read the article on this when I first saw it on slashdot (or digg or wherever it was I ran across it). I'm not advocating that no one is doing as you say--watching the article and methodically manipulating it. The point I'm making is that such a project (for everything in business is a project of one sort or another) would not fit into the way W*M does business. For one, it would be VERY expensive (the alleged changes are not ignorant propoganda. they are well worded and placed, though obviously biased). People capable of doing this type of work and not talking about it don't come cheaply. As you say, the articles seem to be watched closely, so that means several of these people. You're talking a lot of money, and W*M does not spend a lot of money without knowing what they're getting for it.

There are a lot of interest groups out there with money to throw around and there are a lot groups of people who believe what they believe and don't mind spending a lot of time in the interest of their beliefs.

This type of activity just doesn't make business sense. The overhead would be enormous, and the payback would be undefined. That's not to say someone isn't doing it...I just don't think it's Wal-Mart Store, Inc.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (2, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268047)

This type of activity just doesn't make business sense. The overhead would be enormous, and the payback would be undefined. That's not to say someone isn't doing it...I just don't think it's Wal-Mart Store, Inc.

It would not be the first time that that Walmart spent a pile of cash on a pointless operation. They spend a fortune trying to avoid paying their staff a living wage or give them real health benefits.

Exxon spent tens of millions last year on phony think tanks dedicated to peddling the myth that there is scientific doubt over global warming.

Walmart is penny wise pound foolish. Their financial results over the past five years are far from impressive. Pay peanuts, get monkeys. Costco has a much better, much more sustainable model. Pay an honest wage, control costs by selling in bulk.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269527)

Pay peanuts, get monkeys.

Shouldn't you get elephants by paying peanuts? I believe you'd do better paying bananas if you wanted monkeys.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

Maru Dubshinki (804451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268206)

"Crank contributions come in from both the left and the right. Its quite interesting to see an MIT full professor being told he does not understand the technology he pioneered."

I'm going to guess that you're talking about Carl Hewitt here. He got banned because he was an awful editor. His articles were poorly written, he had no idea what a reference was (he referenced *Godel's papers on his Incompleteness Theorems* in an article on Hewitt's Scientific Community model), and couldn't stop promoting himself and his papers, even after he was banned by Arbcom from editting exactly those articles.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269232)

Every piece of criticism is pushed as far down the article as possible and then deleted. They have something like ten different editors. If you look at their histories they don't edit many other articles.

Out of interest, can you provide some examples? I see the article does in fact have a "Criticism" section, which is fairly high up, not to mention a dedicated article for Criticism of Wal-Mart [wikipedia.org] . I believe there are ways to attract the attentions of other editors on Wikipedia - it shouldn't be that hard to outnumber ten people on a popular article such as this, but maybe I'm wrong.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

wetfeetl33t (935949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266833)

I disagree. While it is true that Walmart execs probably aren't sitting in their evil lair trying scheming about changing wikipedia articles, articles about powerful companies/politicians/organizations have a tendency to be edited such that they are POV, regardless of the point of view. It has happened before, and it happens all the time (just look at the history of the GW Bush article). If you go and look at the history of the Walmart article, it is pretty obvious that someone is up to no good.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266837)

That's not true. One of our student workers at the university computer services help desk works at Wal-Mart. Of course, his job with us is a second job, and he ends up falling asleep at work because he can't sleep if he's going to make end's meet, and he uses Linux because he can't afford a new(er) computer with Windows... but still! That sort of slander is uncalled for!

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

snarlydwarf (532865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266882)

Well, the interesting thing to me is these two quotes:

The Whitedust staff decline to comment at all on the question of if Wal-Mart are actually guilty of editing their own Wikipedia page.

Now, that implies a that they can't actually prove their contentions. Follow it with this one:

According to our latest poll, at time of writing 74% of Whitedust readers believe that Wal-Mart have manipulated Wiki.

So, "we can't prove it, but hey, we convinced 74% of our readers that it's true, so it must be!"

We now consider this matter closed.

Right, why actually respond to a reasonable, polite and friendly letter? Better to flame him and insist that you're right because 74% of the readers of your site believe you're right without any sort of evidence.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (2, Interesting)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267011)

One reason that Wal-Mart is so efficient is the have a killer IT department. They have a very good inventory and order system, that is a real competitive advantage. One of the reasons K-Mart failed in their bid to re-invent themselves is that they couldn't compete with Wal-Mart efficiency. They have some of the best tech, if not the best tech, in the industry. Just because they're in Arkansas don't think they're goobers.

Re:Wal-Mart Wiki Manipulation unlikely (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267399)

"Sad but true."

No, that's called generalizing. And it's a poor substitute for an informed argument.

The only thing worse than working at WalMart... (-1, Troll)

raehl (609729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268209)

Is not working at WalMart.

If you are in a position where you are considering working retail at a grocery store or hardware store or discount retailer, chances are you are better off working at WalMart than WalMart's competition.

People get on WalMart's case because many employees don't get benefits or get low wages or whatever. And that's true - people who work at WalMart have crappy wages and benefits compared to, say, computer engineers.

But people who work at WalMart have *BETTER* wages and benefits than people who work at independent grocery, hardware, greeting card, etc, stores.

Do you think your local grocery store or hardware store has mostly full-time employees with health benefits, retirement benefits, etc? They don't.

WalMart is not evil. People work at WalMart because WalMart offers the BEST pay and benefits for people with similar skillsets. The consumer gets cheaper goods. The only people hurt by WalMart are small store owners who pay their employees even LESS than WalMart does.

Any numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269214)

Could you give us some more details? How much money earns an Wal-Mart employee and how much gets the average employee in independent groceries "with similar skillsets". There has to be some statistical data.

I heard every year one of three employees leaves Wal-Mart. That does not sound like the BEST employer to me.

you think their PR people work for minimum wage? (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268733)

BTW, the "flamebait" mod is ridiculous.

While you did get right the idea that a rank-and-file minimum wage part-time Walmart employee is unlikely to defend the company on his own time for reasons having to do with low income, I saw nothing inflammatory about it.

Any more my posting the fact that PR people, whether in-house or working for an agency gets paid a hell of a lot more than minimum wage is.

Australia as a testbed (2, Interesting)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266711)

It seems Australia could be used as a testbed for invasive smart card and biometric technologies, seeing as how the populace on the whole embraces the anti-terrorism-means-restricting-our-rights -mantra.

I am sure that the Australian experience will be looked at in the US, once the final decision has been made to implement a universal biometric ID system.

There are many things, such as the PASS-card as well as requireing biometrics on your passport, that can be seen as groundlaying work for such a system.

Things like these, after all, don't come all of a sudden, instead they are slowly implemented, one step at a time. In the end, you will find it strangely convinient, and not really all that bad, to have to carry your biometrically enhanced universal RFID card along with you.

Re:Australia as a testbed (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267121)

I am sure that the Australian experience will be looked at in the US, once the final decision has been made to implement a universal biometric ID system.
Ah, such a naive world view.

The Australian experience is going to be the means behind the US implementing "a universal biometric ID system".

If the Gov't ever decides to implement one, they'll "harmonize" US law with the Australian law. They'll probably do this through a treaty or some other maneuver, so that there will not have to be any debate on the matter.

Re:Australia as a testbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267331)

The populace on the whole does not embrace the anti-terrorism-means-restricting-our-rights -mantra. But there is little we can do until the next election, and even then we'd better hope a "no id cards" party forms, with enough other mainline policies to get everyone to vote for them on that issue alone. It's just like when the decision was made to go to war in Iraq, and there was some huge number of people protesting in the middle of Sydney (I think the number was somewhere over 250,000). In a city of I think 4 million. 250,000 people is about 1% of our population, able to get to the centre of sydney on the same day. To me that is a significant voice of dissapproval, that was ignored.

Re:Australia as a testbed (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268842)

It seems Australia could be used as a testbed for invasive smart card and biometric technologies, seeing as how the populace on the whole embraces the anti-terrorism-means-restricting-our-rights -mantra.

The UK has already started working on exactly this, an ID card that ties multiple government databases together and has multiple biometrics on. We've been old it's 'voluntary to begin with' but also that we can't have a passport without one wither so hardly optional.

More interestingly, apart from the usual 'it will stop terrorists/ID theft/criminals stuff, the biometrics are also (erroneously AFAIK) being justfied as a requirement for entering the US.

Re:Australia as a testbed (1)

CrankyOldBastard (945508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269714)

As an Australian I would like to clarify a few things:

It seems Australia could be used as a testbed for invasive smart card and biometric technologies, seeing as how the populace on the whole embraces the anti-terrorism-means-restricting-our-rights -mantra.

I don't think the majority of Australians even know what our government is up to these days. The Howard Government has an absolute majority in both Houses, and has been pushing ideologically motivated legislation through in the small am hours, such as the sale of Medicare and the removal of our Unfair Dismissal Laws (gotta love job security...).

As a result it's up to the States to challenge these new laws in the High Court. The challenge is to show that these laws could be considered as unconstitutional. Possibly the best chance is if there is some way that it could be shown that these cards could constitute some kind of barrier to interstate trade, and then it can be shown that the cards act (in some way) as a tax or duty (i.e. raising costs) across borders.

You have to realise that our country is structured quite differently to the USA - you have an explicit list of rights in your constitution, we don't. Our constitution is a purely economic document. As a result, as long as an activity doesnt interfere with the economic management of the Commonwealth of Australia, it's States and Territories, then that activity is allowed unless there has been specific legislation passed either by the Federal or State Governments prohibiting that activity.

In some respects this provides us with greater freedoms than countries that rely on explicit Rights have, but it does provide for the kinds of abuse that the Howard Government is committing. Conversely, we don't suffer from Government by Lobbyist and Corporation the way you Americans do. It's a different system.

I'm desperatly hoping that many people will hold a personal opinion that in the interests of the continuation of the Rule of Law we will have to practice widespread Civil Disobedience. (The previous convoluted sentence is to get around another midnight anti-terrorism law which makes it illegal to promote anti-government activity unless it is an honestly and earnestly held belief that is congruent with the popular Australian ethos (that's a gross simplification by the way - even the lawyers can't agree exactly what the safety provision in that Bill actually means...).

You also have to consider that as a percentage of population we've had more people killed by terrorists (Bali Bombings) than you did in New York, so many Australians feel very vulnerable. We do have the world's most populous Muslim nation just a 300km north of us, and this current Government seems to be doing it's best to piss off all 300 or so million of them.

In general most Australians seem to believe that Islam is a religion of hate and violence, rather than that the Wahabists are the problem. As a nation we are really only just realising that this isnt a pure white anglo-saxon country, so issues like "these Muslims are nice people" vs "those ones are crazy" are way beyond the understanding of probably 80% of the population. Just today the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney announced that Islam is a religion of Hate (and that Global warming is not happening!!!) - what hope does the man on the street have?

So why isn't Ralsky in jail? (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266715)

Don't they have space for him?

Re:So why isn't Ralsky in jail? (3, Funny)

Skadet (528657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266742)

Maybe they should get some Cell-alis and increase the size of their cells anywhere from 2-6 feet?

Re:So why isn't Ralsky in jail? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266745)

Make the punishment fit the crime. Shouldn't Ralsky be ground up and made into a potted meat product?

Re:So why isn't Ralsky in jail? (1, Flamebait)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266836)

Because he has loaned access of his Spam-net of computers over to the republicans for use in the up-coming election.

It's about time, too many killings down under (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266725)

Terrorist activity has gone mad down under, and it is about time that the government monitors every citizen in order to keep the peace before another shrimp is stolen from the barbie.

Hello! I have a bold statement. DON'T MOD ME DOWN! (0, Offtopic)

GET THE FACTS! (850779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266749)

My message to you is about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the way to end it.

I had not intended to speak to you about this issue, because, for us, this issue is already decided on: diamonds cut diamonds.

Praise be to God, our conditions are always improving and becoming better, while your conditions are to the contrary of this.

However, what prompted me to speak are the repeated fallacies of your President Bush in his comment on the outcome of the US opinion polls, which indicated that the overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of the forces from Iraq, but he objected to this desire and said that the withdrawal of troops would send a wrong message to the enemy.

Bush said: It is better to fight them on their ground than they fighting us on our ground.

In my response to these fallacies, I say: The war in Iraq is raging, and the operations in Afghanistan are on the rise in our favour, praise be to God.

The Pentagon figures indicate the rise in the number of your dead and wounded, let alone the huge material losses, and let alone the collapse of the morale of the soldiers there and the increase in the suicide cases among them.

So, just imagine the state of psychological breakdown that afflicts the soldier while collecting the remnants of his comrades' dead bodies after they hit mines, which torn them. Following such situation, the soldier becomes between two fires. If he refuses to go out of his military barracks for patrols, he will face the penalties of the Vietnam butcher, and if he goes out, he will face the danger of mines.

So, he is between two bitter situations, something which puts him under psychological pressure - fear, humiliation, and coercion. Moreover, his people are careless about him. So, he has no choice but to commit suicide.

What you hear about him and his suicide is a strong message to you, which he wrote with his blood and soul while pain and bitterness eat him up so that you would save what you can save from this hell. However, the solution is in your hand if you care about them.

The news of our brother mujahideen, however, is different from what is published by the Pentagon.

This news indicates that what is carried by the news media does not exceed what is actually taking place on the ground. What increases doubts on the information of the White House's administration is its targeting of the news media, which carry some facts about the real situation.

Documents have recently showed that the butcher of freedom in the world [US President Bush] had planned to bomb the head office of al-Jazeera Space Channel in the state of Qatar after he bombed its offices in Kabul and Baghdad, although despite its defects, it is [Al-Jazeera] one of your creations.

Jihad is continuing, praise be to God, despite all the repressive measures the US army and its agents take to the point where there is no significant difference between these crimes and those of Saddam.

These crimes include the raping of women and taking them hostage instead of their husbands. There is no power but in God.

The torturing of men has reached the point of using chemical acids and electric drills in their joints. If they become desperate with them, they put the drill on their heads until death.

If you like, read the humanitarian reports on the atrocities and crimes in the prisons of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

I say that despite all the barbaric methods, they have failed to ease resistance, and the number of mujahideen, praise be to God, is increasing.

In fact, reports indicate that the defeat and devastating failure of the ill-omened plan of the four - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz - and the announcement of this defeat and working it out, is only a matter of time, which is to some extent linked to the awareness of the American people of the magnitude of this tragedy.

The wise ones know that Bush has no plan to achieve his alleged victory in Iraq.

If you compare the small number of the dead when Bush made that false and stupid show-like announcement from an aircraft carrier on the end of the major operations, to many times as much as this number of the killed and injured, who fell in the minor operations, you will know the truth in what I am saying, and that Bush and his administration do not have neither the desire nor the will to withdraw from Iraq for their own dubious reasons.

To go back to where I started, I say that the results of the poll satisfy sane people and that Bush's objection to them is false.

Reality testifies that the war against America and its allies has not remained confined to Iraq, as he claims.

In fact, Iraq has become a point of attraction and recruitment of qualified resources.

On the other hand, the mujahideen, praise be to God, have managed to breach all the security measures adopted by the unjust nations of the coalition time and again.

The evidence of this is the bombings you have seen in the capitals of the most important European countries of this aggressive coalition.

As for the delay in carrying out similar operations in America, this was not due to failure to breach your security measures.

Operations are under preparation, and you will see them on your own ground once they are finished, God willing.

Based on the above, we see that Bush's argument is false. However, the argument that he avoided, which is the substance of the results of opinion polls on withdrawing the troops, is that it is better not to fight the Muslims on their land and for them not to fight us on our land.

We do not object to a long-term truce with you on the basis of fair conditions that we respect.

We are a nation, for which God has disallowed treachery and lying.

In this truce, both parties will enjoy security and stability and we will build Iraq and Afghanistan, which were destroyed by the war.

There is no defect in this solution other than preventing the flow of hundreds of billions to the influential people and war merchants in America, who supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars.

Hence, we can understand the insistence of Bush and his gang to continue the war.

If you have a genuine will to achieve security and peace, we have already answered you.

If Bush declines but to continue lying and practicing injustice [against us], it is useful for you to read the book of "The Rogue State", the introduction of which reads: If I were a president, I would halt the operations against the United States.

First, I will extend my apologies to the widows, orphans, and the persons who were tortured. Afterwards, I will announce that the US interference in the world's countries has ended for ever.

Finally, I would like to tell you that the war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever as the wind blows in this direction with God's help.

If you win it, you should read the history. We are a nation that does not tolerate injustice and seek revenge forever.

Days and nights will not go by until we take revenge as we did on 11 September, God willing, and until your minds are exhausted and your lives become miserable and things turn [for the worse], which you detest.

As for us, we do not have anything to lose. The swimmer in the sea does not fear rain. You have occupied our land, defiled our honour, violated our dignity, shed our blood, ransacked our money, demolished our houses, rendered us homeless, and tampered with our security. We will treat you in the same way.

You tried to deny us the decent life, but you cannot deny us a decent death. Refraining from performing jihad, which is sanctioned by our religion, is an appalling sin. The best way of death for us is under the shadows of swords.

Do not be deluded by your power and modern weapons. Although they win some battles, they lose the war. Patience and steadfastness are better than them. What is important is the outcome.

We have been tolerant for 10 years in fighting the Soviet Union with our few weapons and we managed to drain their economy.

They became history, with God's help.

You should learn lessons from that. We will remain patient in fighting you, God willing, until the one whose time has come dies first. We will not escape the fight as long as we hold our weapons in our hands.

I swear not to die but a free man even if I taste the bitterness of death. I fear to be humiliated or betrayed.

Peace be upon those who follow guidance.

Re:Hello! I have a bold statement. DON'T MOD ME DO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267060)

Cute, the punchline is in the link.

Flaw in detecting ad blocker (2, Informative)

ParanoidJanitor (959839) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266791)

If a user for Livejournal is using a text-only browser they won't load any images. If you just look for images loaded in a log a text-only browser will show up as adware when it's really not.

Re:Flaw in detecting ad blocker (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266971)

I doubt that there are too many Lynx users there.

Re:Flaw in detecting ad blocker (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267379)

brltty [mielke.cc] , you insensitive clod!

FWIW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267225)

LJ ads are googleads. Those I've managed to see at any rate. No images there, just words.

prisoner locator (2, Informative)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266830)

There is a web page to check for Federal prisoner: http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/LocateInmate.jsp [bop.gov]

I checked before, and found out that a spammer that I sued Gary Hunziker was recently released. http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/InmateFinderServlet?Trans action=NameSearch&needingMoreList=false&LastName=H unziker&Middle=&FirstName=gary&Race=U&Sex=U&Age=&x =0&y=0 [bop.gov]
It sometimes is a handy web site.

Re:prisoner locator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15268285)

Great, looks like we'll be footing the bill for this guy [bop.gov] until 2011!

this bush (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268420)

paying until 2011 for a Bush is getting off easy. We will be paying much longer for this Bush [whitehouse.gov] .

WalMart needs a mouthpeice? (2, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266946)

I'm a bit surprised: Why would WalMart use an external consultant (especially a lobbyist) to deal with a press inaccuracy? Don't they have people who do that in-house?

If they don't have'em, how likely is it they have people to manipulate a wiki in-house? They'd just contract it out, like the defense. Plausible deniability.

Re:WalMart needs a mouthpeice? (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267107)

Most billion dollar companies make use of PR firms and advertising agencies. A few have in house agencies,
but it is the exception rather than the rule. Edelman is one of the bigger PR firms.
At least if the PR firm screws up you can blame someone else. They are pretty damn careful though,
after all they have one function, make the company look good (and damage control too, I guess)....

Re:WalMart needs a mouthpeice? (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267454)

Why would WalMart use an external consultant (especially a lobbyist) to deal with a press inaccuracy?

If you read his email, he was just trying to establish a dialog with the author to prove or disprove his claims. Whitedust decided to act irresponsibly (again) and published it rather than forwarding it to the author.

Honestly, if I have any security needs in the future, Whitedust will be the LAST company I look to for help or recommendations.

Re:WalMart needs a mouthpeice? (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269761)

I'm a bit surprised: Why would WalMart use an external consultant...to deal with a press inaccuracy?

They did have a guy, but he was only making $6.50 an hour. He found a much better job delivering for Domino's.

Erm..wow, that's some quality research. (2, Insightful)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267029)

According to our latest poll, at time of writing 74% of Whitedust readers believe that Wal-Mart have manipulated Wiki.

A purported *security* company thinks this is valid evidentiary support? "The lurkers support me in email" is even lamer in the real world than it is on Usenet.

Re:Erm..wow, that's some quality research. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267576)

74%? Well then the people have spoken and by the mandate of the citizens of the internet it must be declared true! Long live democracy!

Man, I never expected to see the day when I would side with the vice president of a PR firm. Whitedust is apparently run by complete assholes.

National Healthcare == National ID (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267598)

After reading the recent article about people in the UK being healthier than people in the USA, it struck me that if we ever have nationalized health-care in the USA, it is guaranteed to come with a national-id card as part of the implementation.

Sure, it is technically possible, even technically easier, to not implement a full-on big-brother national-id just to do socialized medicine. But the political climate in the USA is such that it just won't come to pass without such a draconian requirement. There are just too many corporate and political powers with an interest in tracking all citizens at some level or another and too few citizens that understand or care about the huge risks that such systems bring with them.

So, while some arguments for a single-payer healthcare system are compelling, I find the threat of the one database to rule them all and in the darkness bind us to be sufficiently compelling on its own to oppose any nationalized health-care system in the USA.

I guess it could be worse - we could still end up with the identity card and the subsequent corporate-police-state-utopia without any of the benefits like nationalized healthcare.

Re:National Healthcare == National ID (1)

Dominic (3849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269837)

Why would it have to come with a card? Here in the UK we have the NHS as you say, but you don't need any ID to use it. Anyone can walk in to any doctors surgery or hospital for treatment without having to 'prove' anything. Your medical records are held by your own GP, but if you visit another GP (on holiday, for example) or hospital then they wouldn't usually require your records, so it's not a problem.

This is exactly how it should be - isn't helping the sick one of our obligations as a society? If they want to come over from abroad and use our doctors then who cares? The cost of this is nothing compared to our stupid illegal wars - in fact treating the poor who can't afford treatment in their own countries that aren't civilised enough to provide universal free healthcare is an honourable act of charity - I certainly don't object to my taxes being used to pay for it. What person with morals could?

Re:National Healthcare == National ID (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270046)

Super-secret-numbers are used for Medicare/Medicade, what more would be required by a comprehensive system?

Not that ssn's for medical care is all that appealing...

duh (1)

flogic42 (948616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268152)

Though dispicable, Wal-mart's actions are not unsual. Manipulating media is par for the course for corporate PR.
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