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DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

DutchSter Re:Insane (191 comments)

The good news is that once the Ohio politicians rightly realized that the prosecutor in that case was using a law they passed in ways it wasn't intended (no kidding!) they quickly closed that loophole. And upgraded the charges to being a felony. Unfortunately for the victim in the case you cite you can't criminalize past conduct so no charges were brought but that investigation quickly came to a halt.

The trouble here is that federal employees are exempt from all state laws while carrying out their duties. So even when the states see a problem and quickly close it federal agents remain free to do whatever they want. Then it falls on the federal agent's employer to decide if any crime occurred. Funny how often no crime is found when federal employees are involved no matter how outrageous the situation but that same agency will be quick to bring charges when local law enforcement do something that's close to the line.

about two weeks ago
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How to Avoid a Target-Style Credit Card Security Breach (Video)

DutchSter Re:Avoiding credit card breaches? (146 comments)

I can and do pay cash for a lot of things. But I use my credit card whenever it's convenient to me. It's a question of utility. My credit card was among those swept up in the Target breach. My hassle consisted of two days without said credit card and having to sign a form and mail it back.

No liability, no problems. If I lose cash that's on me baby.

Other than for some altruistic "for the greater good because merchants just pass down the cost of fraud to their customers" why should I care? I mean, seriously, why should I care? Debit card interchange fees were statutorily capped a few years ago and all of the merchants stoically supported the idea because it would be great for consumer's bottom lines. A study conducted by the Wall Street Journal six months later found that despite merchants generating substantial savings from the interchange fees being cut virtually none of it made its way back to the consumers. In fact some merchants even boasted in their earnings statements about how the savings went straight to the corporate bottom line. If credit card fraud went "poof" tomorrow, where do you think those savings would go?

So I ask again, if I bust my ass and Initech saves a few units, I don't see another dime, so what's in it for me?

about 10 months ago
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Link Rot and the US Supreme Court

DutchSter The courts are already aware of this (161 comments)

I have always found that whenever an opinion cites a URL the courts are careful to indicate the date that it was accessed. A hard copy (or at least a PDF) of the page as it existed at that time is then retained by the clerk in the case file. There's usually a footnote concerning this arrangement.

It's not that hard. No need for fancy technology or mass archiving of the Internet. The only thing they need is a basic PDF writer. Problem solved.

1 year,26 days
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Your Moral Compass Is Reversible

DutchSter Re:Old trick (295 comments)

And it became a classic George Carlin skit about airline safety and euphemisms:

Here's a phrase that apparently the airlines simply made up: near miss. They say that if two planes almost collide, it's a near miss. Bullshit, my friend. It's a near hit! A collision is a near miss.
[WHAM! CRUNCH!]
"Look, they nearly missed!"
"Yes, but not quite.”

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Securely Store Private Information For Posterity?

DutchSter Get your account ownership in order (257 comments)

As implied by other posters, take the time to get your bank account ownerships/titles in order. At my bank online banking is tied to me, the individual. As soon as the bank gets wind of a customer's demise the first thing they do is revoke online banking access and restrict the safe deposit box. Unless it's a joint account or one with right of survivorship they are SOL until an executor can be appointed and the account retitled. Only then will the executor will have access to the online account using their own credentials.

more than 2 years ago
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IT Pros Can't Resist Peeking At Privileged Info

DutchSter Re:This is why I will never trust cloud services (388 comments)

Even working in HR is not carte blanche to access to everything. A payroll clerk has no need to access my annual performance reviews, job application or disciplinary history. Furthermore once my pay information has been entered into the system the payroll clerk has no need to look it up absent a change request, processing error or a complaint.

At my employer audit, HR, and security are held to much higher standards than everyone else. HR clerks have been fired for transgressions that might only result in a written caution for a dude in the mailroom.

more than 2 years ago
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IT Pros Can't Resist Peeking At Privileged Info

DutchSter Re:This is why I will never trust cloud services (388 comments)

At my company the salary range is up there for anyone to see. You log in to the HR system and pull down your compensation information. It will show you how much you make plotted right on the salary band and which quadrant you fall in. There's four quadrants - entry, competitive, advanced competitive, and experienced. IMHO its good to be in the competitive categories. There's something to be said for not being the guy busting his salary range when the Bobs come around.

They also show the breakdown of my total compensation which includes things like their contribution to my 401(k), pension, and health benefits. It does put things into perspective because if I were to consider going to another employer I'd have to really understand the total value of my compensation and not just my salary.

So for instance I could get an offer at another employer for $10k over what I make now but if they don't offer a pension plan and match the 401(k) at half the rate of my current employer then it's not a better deal (assuming my motivation for leaving is strictly financial).

more than 2 years ago
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IT Could Have Caught $2 Billion Rogue Trader

DutchSter Why the rush to blame and fix? (179 comments)

Seriously ... the fraud was discovered Wednesday with arrests following overnight and the suspect made his first court appearance yesterday. Even the prosecutor has said that he doesn't even know if the suspect profited from his actions.

Almost no confirmed details have been released and yet every Tom Dick and Harry in cyberspace knows exactly what happened and has a simple fix whether it be regulatory, managerial, coding changes or a combination of all three.

To trot out the usual car analogies ... this is kind of like the news reporting that there was a serious car crash on the freeway an hour ago, three cars caught fire and five people are dead. Then in the next segment they have a panel of experts who talk about how better brakes, traction control and a closer fire station could have prevented the tragedy.

Anybody who claims to know what could have prevented the incident at such an early stage is overgeneralizing, talking out their ass ... or both.

This fraud has been going on for the better part of three years. We barely know what controls have been circumvented at this point and we sure don't know how they were bypassed. Why can't we wait for the investigators to figure out what happened first before we start trying to prevent the next one?

more than 3 years ago
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Musician Jailed Over Prank YouTube Video

DutchSter Re:The moral of the story (538 comments)

A lady walked up and complimented me on the dog and talked about the chicken and said it was nice to see a father out with his kids. I said they weren't my children and they had just come up to pat the chicken

Petting your chicken you say ... you don't suppose the lady was confused about the gender of the bird and told the police that there was a man letting 12 and 13 year old kids pat his cock do you? :)

In all seriousness when they asked about the books I would asked if they'd like an autographed copy. That'd make for some really interesting analysis on their part.

more than 3 years ago
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Court Rules Website Doesn't Have To Remove Defamatory Comments

DutchSter Re:but it was false anyway? (145 comments)

If that's the site's policy and they consistently adhere to it, then why is it the site's problem? Sure it sucks for whomever was defamed but that goes back on the person who posted the defamatory statements in the first place. It's worth pointing out that this particular aspect of the case only concerns the forum in which the statement was made. The person who makes the defamatory post is 100% responsible for what they said. The fact that the defendant knowingly posted a false statement to a website that makes it perfectly clear that they will not remove the comment should be a factor in determining the level of damages owed to the defamed party.

In your friend's case, she should pursue Bridezilla for the damage caused to her business. Saying things on a public forum has consequences. I've never actually posted anything on RipOff Report but I did go through the process once just to see how it works. They make it abundantly clear to the poster that they are completely responsible for anything they say.

more than 3 years ago
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Discovery Threatens Fan Site It Also Promotes

DutchSter Re:It doesn't cost much to defend yourself. (287 comments)

I'm glad you've been successful at representing yourself in court. As I alluded to in an earlier post though we can't begrudge someone for not doing what we would rather they do when it comes to their situation. It's a personal decision. Here we are talking about a fan site that a guy runs as a hobby. Presumably he runs it because he likes Discovery and he likes their show. He's probably not so endeared to them anymore. We don't know but after this treatment he may not even be interested in providing them with free publicity

Is it wrong that Discovery is going after him like they are? Yep, no doubt. But that doesn't mean we can decide for him how he should proceed. We know nothing about this gentleman's personal situation. What kind of a job does he have? Can he get all the time off he needs to defend himself in court, and what would his employer think about him being in a large civil suit? Is he married? Does he have kids that he's saving money for to send them to college? We don't know the facts and quite frankly we have no right to tell this guy how he should manage his affairs, particularly when the risk is all his and the reward is all ours. If he wins in court, what does he really get? The right to continue providing free publicity for a company he now despises? Talk about a hollow victory.

more than 4 years ago
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Discovery Threatens Fan Site It Also Promotes

DutchSter Re:Look, ma! No legs! (287 comments)

Too bad it will never see a judge because the owner of the site in question decided to acquiesce Discovery's C&D rather than go to court. I'm sure there will be posters who will bemoan the fact that he's "taking it in the ass" or "abandoning the principle of the matter" or other such nonsense. I never begrudge anybody for making a legal decision based on their own situation. Lawyers aren't cheap, and at the end of the day I can't think of any hobbies I have where I'd be willing to front thousands of dollars I don't have and years of stress just to make a point when the end result will be either:
1. I win, and now have the right to continue to maintain a fan site for a show that's either now out of existence (by the time the case is concluded) or that I absolutely despise after what the company put me through.
2. I lose, and go bankrupt.

I think the owner is doing the best thing he can here - he's giving in without spending a cent but he's generating a lot of negative publicity in the process.

As an aside someone should report all of Discovery's Youtube videos because they are not adhering to Youtube's terms of use.

more than 4 years ago
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Jailbreaking iPhone Now Legal

DutchSter Re:Does this mean... (423 comments)

That Apple isn't allowed to do anything warranty-wise if you jailbreak your iphone in the future? Could they refuse to replace a broken glass screen if they find out your iphone is or was ever jailbroken, JUST BECAUSE it was jailbroken?

No it just means that Apple can't sue you for $250,000 in compensatory damages for violating the DMCA and you won't go to jail. Of course they can still refuse to honor your warranty for things you've done that you agreed to not do as a condition of getting service (i.e. a warranty) from them.

more than 4 years ago
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What Happens In Vegas Happens In Afghanistan

DutchSter Re:Fly-by-wireless-link for the win! (522 comments)

In war a soldier's purpose is always to reduce the enemy's fighting capability, typically in any way possible. Killing a pilot is much more effective than just shooting down an aircraft, because training a pilot is a much more expensive and time consuming prospect.

Shooting down the aircraft but not killing the pilot might actually be the better outcome. If you kill a pilot his country will pay some money in a death benefit and cover his burial. On the other hand if you leave him severely injured he'll be useless to his country yet live to be an ongoing drain on the country's resources since they're obligated to treat his service-related medical / psychological issues forever.

more than 4 years ago
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New York MTA Asserts Copyright Over Schedule

DutchSter Re:This is will never fly in the courts (395 comments)

This is bullshit. When they arrive at the station and their train is not there, usually they'll ask someone working there or start to complain to someone working there, at which point they'll get informed about the facts of life.

You've obviously never been in a public facing position with an angry New Yorker who's Tom Tom is telling them to go down a road that's closed either. Why should they require their staff to put up with rude and aggressive asshats when the situation is caused by something totally out of their control? Particularly if a guy is pointing to a train schedule on his little computer. Do we honestly expect the average station worker to understand that the schedule on the little computer is someone's hobby? It's hard enough to get one of them to tell you where the public toilets are.

The problem is, a third party service is required to spread the information. In the UK, there are at least 10 different websites, where you can search, book and print anything you could possibly need (including a bus service or a taxi at the destination), and if you're on the move already, you can just send an SMS, and they'll text you back with the information you need.

Yes I know...I've been there done that. I don't know how all of those systems play together but I'd be willing to bet that they are not dependent on some well meaning guy sitting down with a copy of the schedule keying in timetables by hand. Chance are there is an official API or some other way for all the third parties to grab the data directly which cuts the risk of human error down significantly. In an ideal world MTA would come up with a way to accommodate what is obviously a public demand for the information.

Again I don't agree with what MTA's doing, but this is the only place where I think they might have a legitimate concern. It does not justify horrid abuses of copyright law however.

more than 4 years ago
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New York MTA Asserts Copyright Over Schedule

DutchSter Re:This is will never fly in the courts (395 comments)

Not to mention stupid. It's their own best interest to make that information as widely available as possible.

Not that I agree with what the MTA is doing, but I can see where they might be coming from, if for no other reason from an accuracy standpoint. I'm sure they wouldn't disagree that it is in their best interest to make the information as widely available as possible. However, you'll note that it says that Schoenfeld enters the data manually. What happens when he has a typo or transcribes a column wrong and borks an entire train? Customers get angry because they miss expected connections and blame MTA not Schoenfeld.

Of course they've got other issues where they've supposedly got a deal with some vendor to provide some kind of mobile scheduling service, but I wonder most about the liability MTA could face if people rely on someone's home grown hobby and it goes bad. Sure in the end they'd come out OK, but there'd be lots of bad press and time spent cleaning up the mess.

As one of the posters to the blog pointed out copyright law isn't the proper way to go about this objective. Sadly it's probably just the first thing that came to mind when Director Somensmuck called Legal and said "Johnson? We've got a problem. I want to know what you're going to do about it before you go home tonight."

more than 4 years ago
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Is Sat-Nav Destroying Local Knowledge?

DutchSter Re:Road signs (519 comments)

Half the time when im out, I have no idea where I am. I am where my gps told me to be. This bothers me sometimes, but the tradeoff is that I can literally go anywhere I want. Now when people start to tell me directions I just tune out and know I'll just do what the gps says. I can and have driven across the state with no problem.
Guess what? I don't have a GPS and I can literally go anywhere I want too. Not knowing where you are should bother you a little bit. GPS is great until you encounter real world situations where you have to make a quick decision that takes you off the route. Many times in my part time work as a police officer I've had to close a road due to an accident, a fire or something like that. In my city, the main streets are roughly N-S and E-W. If one road is closed, you backtrack to the last major street, make a turn and then turn the same direction up the parallel road.

I can't tell you how many LOCAL people have gotten irate with me when I tell them that the road is closed and they'll have to detour.
Citizen: "But my TOM TOM says I HAVE TO GO THIS WAY."
Me: "Sorry sir, road's closed - bad accident."
Citizen: "(demandingly) OK, what do I need to do then."
Me: "You'll have to go back to the first light and work your way over to the next road which is Pine. Pine parallels this street and will take you to Miller Road as well."
Citizen: "I can't do that. There's no way to put that in my Tom Tom!"
Me: "Sir, you've gotta move, there's 100 cars behind you and I've got a firetruck trying to get through the jam."
Citizen: "But I'm LOST and it's YOUR fault because you closed MY road!"
Me: "You're right sir, it is my fault. Tell you what, I'll draw you a map on the back of a ticket for obstructing traffic."

Many people know one and only one way to get home, and they are utterly incapable of dealing with everyday hiccups that make them think. When you're being flagged into a detour in rush hour traffic there's no time to stop in the road and try to reprogram your GPS. Even if you don't know the street names, understanding how a town is laid out combined with a little common sense can make a huge difference. I really believe that those who constantly rely on a GPS lack the ability to spatially reference themselves because it's a skill they just don't use. Throw in an emergency where you don't have five minutes to think out a course of action and you've got a real problem.

more than 5 years ago
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In the next 12 months, I expect to travel by air ...

DutchSter Re:At the risk of being called an ass... (408 comments)

"I almost always fly with a firearm" - what the hell for?
One of our many hobbies is competitive target shooting. When we take a vacation we usually try to find a local event, whether it's a national match or just a local IDPA league to participate in. It's a great way to meet people outside the usual tourist areas and get a real flavor for the area. Forget the travel agent - we've gotten more good advice on places to eat, things to see/do (and places to avoid) from the locals than any other resource. It's tough to find a group of regular people hanging out where you can drop by and join in for a few hours uninvited. Target matches are a great place to do just that. Sure we'll meet a few "characters" but by and large we've had nothing but positive experiences.

more than 5 years ago
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In the next 12 months, I expect to travel by air ...

DutchSter At the risk of being called an ass... (408 comments)

My wife and I take one vacation a year, and it's always at least a week long and more than two days driving distance away. The closer destinations we'll sometimes do as last minute weekend specials pop up and we'll drive. We budget carefully and have a predefined amount of money taken out of our bank account each month and into a special vacation account.

The two of us combined make about $80,000 a year, no kids, both cars paid for. Generally speaking when it comes time to book our flight we will pay for first class tickets. The logical, analytical side of me points out how much more I'm paying for marginally more expensive services. When you've paid for a first class ticket, they will bend over backwards for you. I almost always fly with a firearm within the US and they'll handle dealing with TSA on that for me. We get lounge access while waiting for our flight to board, the attendants welcome us by name when we sit down in the plane. The seats lay nearly flat and if I want my seat reclined a bit on takeoff they're not going to say a word to me. I have an oversized carry-on but that's OK because there is plenty of overhead bin room. The meal choices are infinitely better and they give you as many bottles of water as you want - no need to buy them at the airport after you're through security. You get a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, hand sanitizers etc so you don't have to worry about clearing those through security either. In many cities they'll get us complimentary shower access once we arrive.

Perhaps most importantly is that my wife arrives in decent shape. She has IBS and is terrified of flying. There's always a food choice she can handle, and I discretely let the concierge at the gate know that she's terrified of flying when she's out of ear shot and they make sure the attendants go out of their way to make her experience as comfortable as possible. Hell, we returned from London three weeks ago and a few days later a handwritten note from the concierge came in the mail thanking us for flying with them and hoping that my wife found the flight relaxing.

There's nothing you can do about TSA and their stupid regulations, but at least when flying first the airline will go out of the best they can.

more than 5 years ago
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Australian Study Says Web Surfing Boosts Office Productivity

DutchSter Re:I believe it (173 comments)

I wonder how much the 'browsing the Internet' bit really matters. As others have pointed out, there have been other studies that promote the benefits of massages, naps, etc. Seems to me the common denominator is taking a break at natural intervals. I spend enough time at the keyboard during the day that my Internet usage is really minimal (no, seriously!). On the other hand, if you walk in my office you're always going to find the Wall Street Journal opened up to some article on the side of my desk. I will periodically peek over and read for a few minutes after finishing a task while waiting to start the next one, such as the five minute lull at the start of conference calls where the host keeps saying "Let's give the others a few more minutes to join..." An aside - I start my conference calls on time. After a year, even my boss was trained to be no more than 30 seconds late.

In terms of workload, I consistently fall into the 'exceeds expectations' category when it comes time to figure out year-end ratings. Yet I also keep a fairly regular schedule. I'm not in the office 12 hours a day like the guys across the hall who consider it a badge of honor to eat lunch AND dinner at work yet bitch when their reviews keep coming back as 'meets expectations.' And yes, we more or less have the same job duties.

more than 5 years ago

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