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Code Spaces Hosting Shutting Down After Attacker Deletes All Data

Edrick Not a Great Response (387 comments)

If you're a hosted site with important data and your site is compromised, the first & best move is to cut the cord immediately. Contact Amazon (or whomever is hosting the data) and get all access shut down instantly and immediately, thereby ending the attacker's ability to do anything further. This will cause an outage, but at least everything is safe.

Working with Amazon, they can create a new account, give it a strong password, and begin cleaning up the mess with the new account (which the hacker will be unaware of). Now they can, at their own leisure, change passwords, administer accounts, delete crap created by the hacker, etc...Trying to outpace a professional hacker at their own game is a gamble that isn't worth it---especially if no offsite backups exist!!!

Lastly, they should be forwarding all of the email/attacker info to Amazon, Microsoft (Hotmail), and to the authorities. Whether they can be caught or not is up in the air, but odds are almost certain that this attacker has hit other sites and would eventually have different cases correlated to each other.

Safety & security of data is #1, fixing damage caused is #2, and accountability is #3. Securing the site against future attacks is part of #3---there's no reason to put the site up (or leave it up) and risk further attacks, thereby risking data loss or a security breach.

about 7 months ago

UK Retailer Mistakenly Sends PS Vitas, Threatens Legal Action To Get Them Back

Edrick What's the big deal? (617 comments)

The law isn't the issue here---and the way the law reads, it doesn't apply anyway. Someone sent something your way by accident. It's not much different than if a bank plopped $1,000,000 in your checking account by accident, or if the electric company accidentally charged you too little or too much one month. Mistakes suck, but they don't entitle you to exploit them over it. In the same way the bank would get its money back (somehow), they have a right to get back a Vita sent to you in error.

I'd expect the company to pay for shipping to get their hardware back---and they'd have to expect lots of opened boxes along the way, but assuming that's no problem, anyone who kept the Vita is being selfish and asking for trouble. Mistakes happen...maybe one day when our computer overlords manage all purchasing, orders, and shipments, errors will be eliminated from society and this will never happen again. Maybe.

about a year ago

When Will We Trust Robots?

Edrick Why Not? (216 comments)

People constantly show mistrust towards robots of all shapes and forms. Science fiction paints a frequent mistrust of science & technology in general. Think of all your favorite sci-fi thrillers---how many had the robots, scientists, and tech companies portrayed as evil? I liken this to the mistrust by people of self-driving cars, or any other new technology that they don't understand, and therefore are scared of.

Let's flip it around for a sec---how much do you trust other people? Are people as predictable, trusting, reliable, and accurate as a robot? Odds are the answer is no. People are grossly inaccurate, often prone to mistakes, poor decision making, recklessness, selfishness, and many other flaws. This isn't to say that machines should replace people in any task---but that the mistrust of robots is more laid in mistrust of new/alien/unfamiliar things---a sort of xenophobia---rather than fear of inaccuracy or lack of reliability.

People are happy to entrust Google or Facebook with all of their private information in ways that would never have been accepted 20 years ago! Same goes for omnipresent smartphones, tablets, and implants. As technology moves further into our lives, that trust will naturally extend to areas that were once taboo or uncomfortable. Time is all it will take.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Are Timed Coding Tests Valuable?

Edrick Under Pressure! (776 comments)

A timed coding test is an excellent way to determine how a candidate performs under pressure and will invariably lead to an opportunity for the interviewers to ask many relevant and interesting questions based on their performance.

Face it, anyone can write a program given enough time and resources, but it is a valuable & rare skill to be able to maintain one's composure and complete a program rationally and calmly in a limited period of time---ie in an emergency when time is limited (such as from a bug fix, changed deadline, staffing changes, etc...)

about 2 years ago

Australian Police Warn That Apple Maps Could Get Someone Killed

Edrick Don't Use a GPS Blindly! (452 comments)

No GPS is perfect---and Google Maps was just as error-prone in its earlier days as well. I have been personally given faulty directions by GPS many times---Google, Apple, Mapquest, Garmin, Yahoo, Microsoft---you name the map service, I've gotten something funky out of it at some point---but I've never ended up mislead or in the wrong state (near home, or in the middle of nowhere). I've been told to go down 1 way streets, go the wrong way on the highway for 60 miles, sent to non-existant roads, etc...

How have I avoided dying in a ditch in Death Valley? Why do I not end up wasting an hour of my life lost in the woods? I look at the directions before charging blindly ahead!!! I always check the map before going ANYWHERE. I don't care if that requires 30 seconds more of my time when I travel, but it guarantees that I end up where I want to and not a victim of my own reliance on technology that is accurate 99% of the time. That 1% will eventually get you---law of averages is not on your side here!! Learn to read a map and understand where places are, and you'll be able to avoid disaster.

I know that Australia is BIG, and that fact alone should make you even more careful towards the technology that you use. If it were 100% accurate all the time, then I'd say charge blindly ahead happily, but it is not, and every manufacturer and software developer admits that this is the case.

more than 2 years ago

What Should Start-Ups Do With the Brilliant Jerk?

Edrick Can They Learn? (480 comments)

If the "brilliant jerk" can learn and it's believed that they'll be able to grow with the company, provide greater value, and learn enough social skills to avoid being a detriment, then keep them, no question.

If they're unable to learn, though, and will simply be a hindrance for the indefinite future, then what I've seen work (especially in government work) is to have that person isolated. Keep them alone, make them feel special so they are happy and productive, and they'll stay away from people that would otherwise alienate or insult.

If none of this is possible...then perhaps the person needs to be given the stern warning that either they are "brilliant" enough to learn how to deal with people, or they should no longer work for your company anymore.

more than 2 years ago

Legislation In New York To Ban Anonymous Speech Online

Edrick Good luck enforcing this! (398 comments)

While I understand the mindset behind this legislation, enforcing it will be so prohibitively difficult, that I could see companies moving their sites to other states to avoid having to comply with it.

If taken literally, this law basically means that the web site will need people who are available and taking requests 24x7 from irritated users/companies that want other people's posts removed---and not just posts where a name isn't attached, but ones where they suspect that the name isn't accurate or that doesn't match their IP address/physical address.

The way I have always looked at it is that internet laws should reflect the rest of our laws. If I want to speak in public, I do not need to confirm my name, address, and phone number before doing so - free speech doesn't work like that. Legislators need to learn that throwing technology at something doesn't necessarily solve it.

Perhaps we can build a SkyNet to take care of this for us, then we'll never have anything to worry about again!

more than 2 years ago

Leave Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Alone!

Edrick Re:When "everyone else" does it, it's ... **NORMAL (319 comments)

Lying in a sworn declaration (which some job applications are, though not all) is 100% illegal---no questions about it. In addition, the benefits you receive via your job that you have lied to get may constitute insurance fraud, and are also illegal. There are also a number of laws/acts that make falsifying information (in writing, or sometimes verbally) about your past illegal--especially if it has to do with military service or honors.

In 11 states, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, North
Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Michigan, and Washington, misrepresenting parts of your experience---including college education---is a criminal offense. In 5 states, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Kentucky, and Washington, it is a felony that could be punishable with prison time. For completeness' sake, there are no generic federal laws that forbid lying about education - all are specific and address certain cases of lying, rather than saying that all lying is illegal, which would be over the top.

Lastly, many of the legal proceedings that occur after someone is fired for resume fraud can constitute perjury or violate state/federal laws if the person accused decides to take legal action against the company. This is also rare, but there are many cases where ex-employees have sued their former employer, lost, were counter-sued and also lost as a result of their legal actions. Not commonplace at that point, but still quite real.

Do employers sue over any of this? Rarely---usually they want the quickest way out with the least amount of fuss and money spent---but it has happened before. Either way, please check your facts before letting out your dramatic anger upon those you disagree with.

more than 2 years ago

Leave Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Alone!

Edrick Re:When "everyone else" does it, it's ... **NORMAL (319 comments)

In fact, lying on a job application can, in fact, be a crime! When you apply for a job and are going through all of that paperwork---you sign at the bottom, and in most cases, what you're signing is to affirm the truth of what you have stated. This is true on the applicant history, your tax info, references, and so on.

You don't sign documents for nothing, nor does that signature exist solely to get you through a process of paperwork. Depending on the job and position, the degree of legality can be serious---lie on an application for the military, government, or a security agency, and you could be in serious hot water (beyond just being embarrassed)

I understand the (albeit dramatic) point you are trying to make, but what you've asked for a is a statute of limitations, after which one's crimes can be ignored. As you said, the company will decide in this specific case if 30 years was enough or not, but in general, there is no consistent precedent for what you are asking for.

I am sure if someone steals candy from a store and 30 years pass, that odds are no one will care, but more serious wrongdoings can easily be relevant, even years later. This happens all the time---getting away with something doesn't make it OK or absolve you of it. People are brought to justice (or at least brought public if it is too late) all the time to answer for what they thought they got away with.

I'm not condoning harassment or hypocrisy, simply stating the facts---and you certainly do not have to like them, but civilization doesn't survive through corruption & lying. People certainly make mistakes and we are all aware of that fact all the time, but that simple fact doesn't make our mistakes OK. We're still responsible---you, me, everyone, and if we mess up big time, then it's on us to answer for what we've done.

For what it's worth, think how it'd be if you applied for a job and lost out to someone that lied their way through and got away with it. That's a lot of changed history that could affect the rest of your life. Maybe many other lives. It's far from negligible and you do yourself a great disservice by using semantics to throw away a very valid point.

more than 2 years ago

Leave Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Alone!

Edrick Re:When "everyone else" does it, it's ... **NORMAL (319 comments)

No one's saying that anyone has to be perfect, or even close to perfect---but people are still accountable for their actions.

As soon as you toss that away, and as soon as you allow the "everyone is doing it" mentality, you open the door for people to "make mistakes" but not care if they're right or wrong---in other words, you take a society that is (by nature) imperfect, and make it even more flawed. The worst crimes and acts of group stupidity in history were because people were allowed to follow each other off of a cliff without thinking twice about their actions and what they mean.

No one is perfect, but at the same time, people can do the best they can and avoid making as many mistakes as possible (and then learn from those they do make). Lying about your job or education experience is blatantly wrong, everyone knows it, NOT everyone does it, and many people that do will get caught, just like any other crime.

And for those that do not get caught, then I suppose good for them for getting away with it, huh? Maybe by not learning the lesson the first time around they'll get caught doing other (or worse things) later in life, or maybe they'll never have to do it again.

***Beyond the speculation, though, is that the simple fact that crimes are not justified by the fact that others do them. Being imperfect is not an excuse for making mistakes. It may be a fact of life, but it isn't a defense, an excuse, or any way to justify poor judgement. When mistakes are made, people are responsible & accountable for them, and I can care less of it's an average guy or a CEO***

more than 2 years ago

Leave Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Alone!

Edrick Just because "everyone else" does it... (319 comments)

The attitude here is that, if everyone else is doing it (however you define "everyone else"), then it's OK for you to do it, too.

Lying is lying---it doesn't matter if it's a recent college grad or a CEO. Justice has nothing to do with how much you make or how high you've climbed in life.

The only difference here is that someone got lucky and no one caught him sooner. Just because you get away with a crime doesn't mean that it suddenly isn't a crime. This guy deserves the flak he is receiving on all fronts and I have no sympathy for him any more than I would have had he been caught when he first lied about his education.

If you don't want to get strung up as a liar, cheater, and thief, then don't do those things in the first place. It's so simple, and some people never learn.

more than 2 years ago

The Privacy Richter Scale

Edrick We do have a choice! (75 comments)

There's a simple solution to this --- just say no! If someone asks you to do something you aren't comfortable with, then get up and leave and go somewhere else. If enough people have the guts to do this, then these practices will change. If people in general follow them quietly, then they'll become an accepted part of our society and that'll be that! People are always too quick to forget that they do, in fact, have a choice in nearly everything they do!

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Leaving an IT Admin Position?

Edrick Document Vigorously! (290 comments)

I went through the same process about 2 years ago---and I recommend leaving as much documentation behind as possible. It's time consuming and can get big, but if you have an indexed document or documents explaining the steps needed to resolve common situations or handle regular tasks, then they'll be able to solve their problems without calling you every time. If they call you and the answer is in the documentation, you can then tell them to RTFM. If vendor documentation is good enough, then you can leave that behind as well for them. Either way, this puts much of the training on them, and not on you, since you only have a single day to explain everything that you've learned over the course of 5 years!

more than 2 years ago

Some Critics Suggest Apple Boycott Over Chinese Working Conditions

Edrick Really? I mean...REALLY? (744 comments)

I think it's silly that Apple always ends up being the target of this sort of complaint. Are any of our electronic devices manufactured in quality, safe facilities where workers are given 40 hour (or less) work weeks, vacaction time, full medical benefits, and a 401(k) plan? Is your Droid or Windows phone manufactured any differently? How about your TV, PS3, or Blu Ray player? This is a commentary on 2 things: 1) Working conditions in China For this, the Chinese government will need to be persuaded to change their policies to protect their workers more. Either the people of China rise up and demand better working conditions, or people around the world stop buying their stuff. Without that change, the horrible working conditions there are essentially legal and will continue. 2) A company's desire to produce their electronics cheaply and very quickly. Cell phone makers can't produce their hardware in the US. It'd be a beautiful gesture if they could, but it's impossible. The cost to do so would mean that your $200 cell phone would suddenly cost $500 and your $500 cell phone would go for maybe $1000? Beyond that, the US, and many Western countries lack the necessary infrastructure to manufacture technology at the speed and volume that occurs in China. Will the US make the dramatic changes necessary to "bring jobs home", as everyone always asks for? Would US workers be willing to make $5/hour to support this new industry and guarantee a shift in global industry? I for one don't like the fact that everything I buy comes from somewhere in southeast Asia, but our society has been embracing this change for decades, and to change it from what it is now will require immense effort by many people for many years in order to know that all of these great toys we buy aren't the product of underpaid, overworked, tortured people.

about 3 years ago

My $200 Laptop Can Beat Your $500 Tablet

Edrick They're all quite different (789 comments)

Tablets, laptops, and desktops all serve different crowds: A desktop is for all computing needs where you don't need to be on the road---everything from checking email to graphics design or programming. They're cheapest and you get the most horsepower for your $. A laptop is for someone who needs most of the power of the desktop, but on the go. Laptops run similar OSs, have somewhat similar specs, interface, and try to cram it all into a portable box. The price tag is higher and you compromise some on graphics and processing power, but most people do not use laptops for intense processing. A tablet is for quick information gathering or posting on the go. It's great as a e-book reader, a GPS, an internet browser, or other applications when time, space, and location are limited. I give Apple a ton of credit as they took a market that had been failing over and over for years and made it into a success---maybe not everyone agrees with their business model or the devices they create, but you cannot deny that they are on a roll and have the market captivated with everything they do (if this wasn't the case, you wouldn't see multiple posts on /. every day about them).

more than 3 years ago

How Much Math Do We Really Need?

Edrick ...Until you need it! (1153 comments)

Does anyone NEED math in their life? I'm sure you could get by without it and survive...but you're guaranteed to live a lot worse! Probability, basic accounting practices, decimal/fractional math, and other basic stuff we learned early on may seem simple and basic enough, but few people understand it well enough to use it to their advantage in life! Taking out a mortgage? You'll be in bad shape if you don't understand all the types of loans out there, the benefits of each, and be able to determine which is the best deal for your house. Our mortgage crisis wasn't caused by well-educated Americans making careful and thoughtful decisions! Out shopping? Being able to compare prices and quickly do that basic decimal math in your head (and add or subtract percentages) can save a lot of money in the long run! Beyond all the simple economic examples, I like being able to read the news, whether it's politics, science, or economics, and have a clue what's really going on. Math isn't just for test scores and educational grants, it's so people can understand the world. Understanding math allows people to solve problems better and to apply analytical skills to the world around them instead of judging based on biases, rumor, or the opinions of others. It's lack of science and math knowledge that's allowing people to hold ignorant beliefs and make poor decisions, whether on a mortgage, or on who to vote for in an upcoming election. Will the average guy need Calculus for anything...nope. Will they need alot of other math skills in order to live their lives the best they can? Most definitely!

more than 4 years ago

How To Manage Hundreds of Thousands of Documents?

Edrick Organization and Procedure (438 comments)

It seems that the first responses to a request like this is to suggest new technologies and programs to solve the problem. It sounds, though, like 95% of the problem is that there are no procedures and organization in place already so that files have a purpose or place to go. A good file storage policy with the appropriate instructions sent to the users could just as easily make this work going forward. I've seen collections of millions of files that were perfectly fine as they were organized by user, purpose, source, destination, etc...and then subdivided as needed...and users knew what the organization was and how to maintain it (to their own benefit as it means they can find their own stuff). You can also institute a more structured system where organization is already there for them to use, but it's your call. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS figure out how you want things to be organized first! What are the functions of these files, why are they saved, who created them,, who accesses them? This will make the job of sorting the mess out easier.

more than 5 years ago

How Do I Talk To 4th Graders About IT?

Edrick Keep it Exciting! (531 comments)

For 4th graders, there may be a couple in the class that enjoy computers and would be riveted by a discussion of what system admins do. The rest will be long into nap time before you've spoken for 5 minutes. Talk about your company, what they do, and how your work helps them. For students at this level, you really cannot go into great detail about your specific work. Unix, Linux, NAS, SAN, etc...are things that are technical for most adults to understand, let alone kids. You're in the AEROSPACE industry. For kids this means rockets and planes and space ships and defense and troops overseas and all sorts of other exciting things that kids can really relate to! Tell them how everything runs on computers and that your work makes sure that every rocket and ship can be operated without fail because of the hardware that you maintain and keep reliable for them. If you work on a team, you can tell them briefly how many people report to you. Toss big numbers at them if they're relevant, such as how much data flows through your department/division per day, is it a trillion MP3's worth? Good luck finding an Ipod that big!!! Keep it simple, light, fun, and not overly technical and you will keep everyone interested, regardless of whether they're computer geeks, history buffs, or budding football stars.

more than 6 years ago


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