×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

Aram Fingal Re:How does this matter? (191 comments)

We also know that this Parallel Construction process really does happen. Thomas Tamm, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Tamm/, one of the many pre-Snowden leakers, was a lawyer at the Justice Department whose job it was to prepare warrants for the FISA court. He had cases where the basis for the warrant, the "probable cause", was based on illegal warrentless surveillance by the NSA. He knew that this was illegal but it was up to the FISA court to deny the warrants. They didn't. Instead they granted many such warrants and the decisions were never open to public scrutiny. After seeing too much of this, Tamm leaked the story to the New York Times in 2005. The Bush administration was able to dismiss the story, more or less as just allegations. This and similar treatment of other leaked stories was the reason that Snowden released he had to leak hard evidence and lots of it. The PBS Frontline documentary, The United States of Secrets has a good summary of these events.

about 3 months ago
top

Facebook's Atlas: the Platform For Advertisers To Track Your Movements

Aram Fingal Re:And this ... (92 comments)

I actually created a dedicated virutual machine for my Facebook presence (back when I had one.) Unfortunately, I triggered their bad behavior filters by using Tor. This is a known issue but I hadn't thought to research the use of Tor with Facebook before doing it. I could have gotten access to my account restored if I followed their rigamarole to prove my identtity (despite the fact that friends had tagged me in pictures) but I went of in a huff saying "I will not be treated like a criminial!"

about 3 months ago
top

Security Collapse In the HTTPS Market

Aram Fingal Re:So offer a cost effective replacement (185 comments)

I don't know how you would eliminate all transfer of private information to the merchant. Paypal's system takes care of anonymizing the details of the payment. I gather thaty by saying "halfway" you are referring to the fact that you still have to give the merchant a shipping address. Also, without HTTPS, not only the shipping address but the items you are buying and what they cost is open to evesdropping.

about 3 months ago
top

PostgreSQL Outperforms MongoDB In New Round of Tests

Aram Fingal Re:"Small" amount of data (147 comments)

Or even:

UPDATE table tablename SET PhoneNumber = PhoneNumber - {5551112234}

about 3 months ago
top

2015 Corvette Valet Mode Recorder Illegal In Some States

Aram Fingal Re:huh? (269 comments)

It's related to the expectation of privacy, probably similar to the situation in a privately owned building. They can definitely have surveillance cameras out in the hallways. They definitely can not have cameras in the restrooms. Cameras may or may not be alowable in other rooms, depending on their purposes. Most companies stick to hallways, lobbies and elevators for their surveillance cameras to be on the safe side.

about 3 months ago
top

2015 Corvette Valet Mode Recorder Illegal In Some States

Aram Fingal Re:Illegal or inadmissable? (269 comments)

The rules for where and when are a bit confusing. My understanding is that you can record police outside, in public, without their conscent.

about 3 months ago
top

Google's New Approach For China Is To Serve From Hong Kong

Aram Fingal Re:Did I miss something? (295 comments)

I have as well. Actually they want it both ways. They want to be recognized as Chinese but not associated with the mainland Chinese government. To cover all the bases, you have to call them Taiwan-Chinese.

more than 4 years ago
top

What's Holding Back Encryption?

Aram Fingal A closely related issue (660 comments)

The use of digital signatures in email is closely related to encryption because it requires the same PKI. That may end up being the driving force because of the increasing sophistication of phishing. The institution I work for is now frequently attacked with phishing emails. Our help desk is constantly answering questions about whether a particular email is phishing or not. What's even worse is the people who don't call (and don't know how to smell a phish). We are dealing with hundreds of compromised accounts per year because of phishing. I think this is not only a compelling reason to start authenticating email with digital signatures but also to integrate the recognition of digital signatures into our spam filtering.

more than 4 years ago
top

What's Holding Back Encryption?

Aram Fingal Re:Self-signed is no good. (660 comments)

What about the argument that a policy of only encrypting sensitive information draws attention to encrypted information because it must be sensitive? If you encrypt everything, an attacker doesn't know which particular piece of information is worth trying to crack (or otherwise attack with key logging, social engineering attempts, etc.)

more than 4 years ago
top

The Neuroscience of Screwing Up

Aram Fingal Re:Why most scientists and engineers screw up (190 comments)

There are a number of human traits (and the genes which cause them) that statistically cluster into groups that correspond to what we consider race. You can test a person's DNA and determine their racial heritage, to a fairly accurate degree. Obviously race is real, if you can nearly automate measuring it. The fact that statistical clusters don't have firm boundaries doesn't mean those clusters don't exist.

While this is true, it still doesn't validate existing concepts of race. You can pick out a preexisting notion of race and, indeed, find genetic markers which will correlate with that concept. However, if you do it the other way around, throw out all such preconceived notions, look at the data and derive groupings of humans, you get totally different results. You don't get what people typically think of as the major races. ALFRED has some of this information although it takes a lot of work to go through all the data and the maintainers of the site try to stay out of discussions of race.

more than 4 years ago
top

How Many Admins Per User/Computer Have You Seen?

Aram Fingal Re:What are you really asking? (414 comments)

Is that ratio figuring that the sysadmin is only taking care of the servers at the OS level and not the application level? I administrate an application which has different functions spread out over eight servers. The OS level systems administration is handled by a staff of sysadmins who take care of many other systems in addition to my eight. Two of us (myself and an assistant) take care of the application. If the sysadmin staff had to administrate things like the custom server application for my department, there's no way they could maintain that ratio of servers to admins.

I have noticed, by the way, that the job of sysadmin varies with the size of the business. At a really small business, the sysadmin does desktop support as well as server support and will even teach users how to do things. At a larger business, the sysadmin will only take care of server level stuff but that includes applications and network management. At a really large business, all these jobs are much more finely divided and a sysadmin only manages the server OS.

more than 4 years ago
top

The US Economy Needs More "Cool" Nerds

Aram Fingal Technical need is one thing, business is another (453 comments)

Educators and technologists say...

Too bad the pointy haired bosses aren't on the same page. If there were actually job postings out there for people with hybrid careers then maybe people would try to develop skill sets in two separate fields. I have degrees in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics and work experience in both Biology (with publications) and IT but I have never been able to get a job which values both skill sets at the same time. Actual Bioinformatics jobs are very rare. Computer skills, including advanced database design and programming, are very useful in a bio lab but that doesn't mean you'll get paid anything more for having those skills. I don't know whether this is a bone headed insistence that people need to specialize (I hear that from management frequently) or just a failure to recognize that there are people out there with mixed skills you could hire. It's probably some of each. A lot of people see someone like me as "Jack of all Trades, Master of None."

more than 4 years ago
top

Do You Provide Tech Support To Friends and Family?

Aram Fingal All of the above (606 comments)

It depends on which family member or friend.

Rather than feign ignorance about Windows, I just mention how great I think Macs are and they wrongly assume that I don't know anything about Windows.

more than 5 years ago
top

What Belongs In a High School Sci-Fi/Fantasy Lit Class?

Aram Fingal Asimov (1021 comments)

Like other people mentioned, I would like to see some Asimov in a course like this but I would actually put "The End of Eternity" at the top of the list. No other book explores the paradoxes of time travel as well as this one and time travel is an important branch of SF. Having said that, I Robot or one of the other Robot books would also be a good choice. It was, in fact, Isaac Asimov who first coined the term "robotics."

more than 5 years ago
top

Back-to-school time means ...

Aram Fingal Re:On the bright side (447 comments)

We didn't use to... The US Education system was on life support while I was growing up, but has really taken a turn for the worst in the last decade.

I think that depends on the state and locality you live it. Most administration and funding of US schools is local, although federal rules and funding does make a difference at the margin. That margin matters more in poor areas than rich ones. So, what you're saying is, no doubt, true in Mississippi but not so much in Connecticut, for example.

'No Child Left Behind' has actually lead to 'No Child Whose Needs Shall Be Met', partly due to that obsessiveness with STs.

What I have heard from friends who are school administrators is that it's more like educational triage. There is an upper fraction of students who will do well on STs without help and a lower fraction who won't do well even with extensive help. The best strategy to work with No Child Left Behind is to ignore the upper and lower fraction and concentrate on those students in the middle. An administrator told me that there was one particular school in his district where it came down to only four students who would likely make the difference for the whole school.

The other element of winning strategy is to encourage poor students to stay out sick or give them out-of-school suspensions when they misbehave. This works out well because many of the poorest students also have behavior problems. You can exclude a student from the figures for meeting NCLB if they have a certain number of absences. In some cases, that can make all the difference for a school.

The worst thing about the obsession with STs is that they ignore some very important aspects of education like creativity and the ability to work independently.

more than 5 years ago
top

We're In the Midst of a Literacy Revolution

Aram Fingal Voice Recognition (431 comments)

she concludes that we don't need to worry about computers and the Internet causing a decline in general literacy

Right now, text is a major part of the user interface with computers and the Internet. That is likely to change. Audio and video are increasingly becoming part of the web and replacing content that would otherwise have been text. This trend will only increase with the increasing availability of broadband. We're already seeing people blog by sitting in front of a webcam and posting the video to youtube. Voice recognition will probably reach a point where it becomes the primary means of giving commands to a computer and becomes the main method of data entry. Text-to-voice is getting better all the time and will eventually be as good or better than having someone read to you. When these things happen, it will be the end of our current golden age of literacy. It will become easier then ever to function without being able to read.

more than 5 years ago
top

LoTR Lawsuit Threatens Hobbit Production

Aram Fingal Re:Bad news all around (427 comments)

These are works that should be in the public domain now for a variety of reasons.

Actually, the LOTR movies included some scenes which were not in the LOTR books. The scenes involving Isildur, for example, were from The Silmarillion or other books, published after J.R.R. Tolkien's death, with Christopher Tolkien as editor.

more than 5 years ago
top

Navy Spends $33 Million For Hybrid of the High Sea

Aram Fingal Re:Not exactly a new idea (210 comments)

Actually, there is a mature technology for powering ships with wind. It's called a sail.

more than 5 years ago
top

Detailed Privacy Study Finds Loopholes Galore

Aram Fingal Re:Guilty as charged (126 comments)

Personally, I don't believe it makes sense to have a web completely free of "web bugs"...

Why? Why can't advertising work on the web without tracking? Advertising in newspapers, television and radio doesn't track people and that has worked just fine for many many years.

more than 5 years ago
top

Detailed Privacy Study Finds Loopholes Galore

Aram Fingal Re:Guilty as charged (126 comments)

You're right but storing personal info in the cookie itself isn't the way it's normally done. More often, they store something like visitor#42383645934568125 which is a database key. Your personal info is in their database and not in the cookie. Part of the problem with web beacons is that they effectively allow different sites to share the same database key. This wasn't supposed to happen with cookies which are restricted to being read back only by the same site that set them in the first place. Web beacons get around this limitation by loading a portion of the site which you are visiting, even something as small as a one pixel graphic, from a common advertising agency site. Some of these advertising sites are backed by huge clusters and able to serve a bit of content to a huge percentage of sites on the internet. That's what the graphs about Google's reach are explaining.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

top

Should I Hackspeak my Address to Avoid Glitches?

Aram Fingal Aram Fingal writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Aram Fingal (576822) writes "When my postal address (snail mail) is written using standard postal abbreviations, it is far too easily misread by humans. The obvious solution would be to not abbreviate it but many computer systems do not allow this. Most software will automatically abbreviate what I enter. The example below isn't my real address but similar enough to illustrate the problem.

I enter my address: "4 South Main ST"
Computer changes it to: "4 S MAIN ST"
A human misreads it as: "45 MAIN ST"

From this point, they may just send to the wrong address or, worse, enter it into another computer system, propagating the error. I have lived at this address for two years now and already the same error has been made independently by the Department of Motor Vehicles, a university where I take classes, three financial institutions where I have accounts and an online merchant.

My proposed hack solution is to deliberately misspell "South" in a way that will prevent software from automatically abbreviating it but which will still be obvious to humans. One possibility would be "Sou+h" but I wonder if some software would reject non-letter characters. Maybe "Sowth" would be better. Am I going to just dig myself into deeper trouble if I try this? What could possibly go wrong?"
top

China irks US with computer security review rules

Aram Fingal Aram Fingal writes  |  about 6 years ago

Aram Fingal (576822) writes "Yahoo Finance has a story, reporting that China has a plan to start requiring government certification of security related software. The U.S. sees this as a trade barrier designed to favor Chinese software makers. There is also the concern, among large U.S. technology companies, that their trade secrets could be disclosed in the review process."

Journals

Aram Fingal has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?