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Comments

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Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq

Optic7 Re:Was this ever anything but a slogan for sheep ? (376 comments)

Yeah, about that. Sorry, but there was no good or even half-bad reason for a ground invasion of Iraq; only fully bad to terrible reasons, involving intelligence errors and exaggerations (about chemical weapons) and outright lies (about nuclear weapons). Many many people paid the price, and are still paying the price (we all are, actually). So yes, "Bush lied people died" is still completely applicable, and his administration is still completely deserving of the hate and vitriol that it receives and will continue to receive, probably forever.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

Optic7 Hard problem, but gmail is one of the better ones (261 comments)

In my experience, gmail is fairly good (the best?) about catching actual spam, but I still get both false positives and false negatives (a lot more of the former). That makes me believe that this is actually a very difficult problem to serve. The post above from someone who was a gmail engineer reinforces this impression.

However, how much spam you receive is largely under your control. I receive very little spam even in my spam folder - usually less than 5 a day. It basically boils down to keeping tight control over who gets your actual main personal email address. That should be reserved only for friends and family, and even then, I've thought about asking them to not enter my email address on any websites if I decide to change my main address some day.

Here's how I control the commercial emails (and consequently, spam):

1. You will need a domain name to use for receiving commercial emails (i.e. any website where you enter your email address), and domain hosting or at least an email forwarding service.

2. Configure the email forwarding/filtering to forward all emails or emails following a certain pattern for that domain to your real email address. I configured the option on my webhost to forward all email (a catch all, if you will), however, I've since learned that this is not the best way, because if your domain starts getting flooded with spam your domain could get blacklisted. Supposedly the best way is to configure a filter that has a "key" string. Let's say you use your initials: .jb (Joe Blow) - the filter would then only forward emails that contain .jb among the recipients' addresses.

3. Register with a unique address at each website, each store, any commercial use of your email. Ex: use spammer.com.jb@mydomain.com when you register at spammer.com. Same thing if you give your email address to any entity who is not a family member or personal friend. Now all the commercial emails will get forwarded to your real mailbox because they have the .jb key. I actually make an exception to this for banks and for things like webhosts, etc, but I'm reconsidering banks after the recent JPMorgan breach when they obtained contact info for everyone. I would still make an exception for webhosts or anything where there could be a problem if your mydomain.com is not available for some reason.

4. ???

5. Profit. I.E. as soon as you start seeing real spam (not the stuff that a lot of people incorrectly mark as spam), you will know what address they're sending to and can block them at your webhost or email forwarding service. Here are some examples of entities that I had to block because they were breached or sold my email address to spammers:

adobe.com (breach)
dropbox.com (breach)
planusa.org (unknown)
cinegearexpo.com (unknown)
equifax.com (unknown)
zappos.com (breach)
whois (open database - I use a proper domain registrar that hides my info by default now)

Bonus: another major advantage of doing this is that it makes it much much easier for you to change your main email address. You can reroute all your commercial email with one reconfiguration of your forwarder instead of having to go to each individual website to change your address.

Extra bonus: makes it super easy to setup a filter at your client or webmail to send all commercial email to a separate folder. Just filter for mydomain.com in the "to:" line.

Doing this for a few years now has really opened my eyes to how many companies and other organizations either don't give a shit about your private contact info, have shitty security, or actually sell you out for money. I was frankly surprised at some of the organizations that I had to block. Unfortunately early on in my spam-fighting days I did use my main email address on websites, and sometimes also used google's floating period or + functionality to try to individualize email addresses so I get some spam where I don't know where they obtained my address. But those are few and far between, and I've been slowly untangling myself from it to the extent that I can.

about a week ago
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Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal

Optic7 Re: It will never get built ... (31 comments)

You're being a bit overly negative. This camera is nowhere near a RED competitor. This camera is going to be closer to a Blackmagic Production Camera competitor (which currently retails for $3k), at least in terms of hardware. In fact, their costs will likely be even lower than Blackmagic's, because they are concentrating on core features and openness, and will not include things like a video display, internal recording, etc.

about two weeks ago
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Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal

Optic7 Re:It will never get built ... (31 comments)

While I agree with you that the goal of 100k Euro was a bit low (they actually ended up getting 175k Euro = 221k Dollars right now), the 350 Euro was just deposit/voucher that would allow you to buy a camera from the early batches for half the retail price. That means, you had to shell out another 2600 Euro to get the actual camera when they become available. Retail buyers will have to pay in the 5000-6000 Euro to get it.

I'm guessing that the money from this campaign will pay to build the prototype and get it ready for manufacturing, then they will probably finance the actual manufacturing run with the number of deposits/vouchers as an indicator of how much money they will actually get for selling the first batches of cameras. 175000/350 means something close to 500 deposits. 2600*500 means they're should expect to eventually get somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.3 million Euro, or about 1.65 million Dollars.

But yeah, I feel like that's a bit over-simplified and over-optimistic, especially given the delays and other issues experienced by both Digital Bolex and Blackmagic Design. They will have to demonstrate that they have things under control and are making good progress to get people to go through with the final orders. Still, I want them to succeed, and donated what small amount I could afford to help make it happen.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: An Accurate Broadband Speed Test?

Optic7 VPN improves my net performance and test results (294 comments)

I had been noticing poor performance from Youtube when watching videos (buffering, dropping to low-res, etc). Then I noticed that youtube seemed to work much better while I was connected through VPN, which is the opposite of what you would expect, at least in theory. But I realize that ISPs have been playing throttling games with large video sites like Youtube and Netflix.

However, I did another test and the results of it were more surprising for me. I have 3mbps DSL service through Verizon. If I run a test through speedtest.net, it reports right around 3mbps. However, if I connect my VPN first and then do the same test, it reports around 5mbps! How is that even possible?

Unfortunately, I feel like the VPN slows normal browsing of other sites a little bit, but I haven't done a comparison yet to confirm my perception.

about two weeks ago
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Why America Won't Match Sweden's Cheap, Fast, Competitive Internet Services

Optic7 Meanwhile, in China... (346 comments)

I heard this interesting interview over the weekend on NPR (transcript in link). In it, the interviewee has this gem:

I was meeting with the vice president of the Communist Party in Shanghai, and I said, well, you know, what's your plan, sir? And he said, well, our five-year plan is to ensure that every man, woman and child in China has, at the very least, five megs of connectivity. And in all the top 10 cities, everyone's going to have one gig a second of connectivity. So I said, you know, sir have you thought about, you know, the unexpected side effects of giving 1.3 or 1.4 billion people a gig a second? And he says OK, I know what you're saying, I know where you're going, but here's the thing - the future of the human race, at least in this century, is ultra-high-speed Wi-Fi everywhere all the time. And it's going to happen whether you or I don't want it to happen or not. And because it's inevitable, we might as well get there first.

I live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US, and my only viable choices for internet connectivity are 3mbps DSL or Cable internet which is supposedly much faster, but capped at 250GB/month. The cheapest option of the two is $50/month. There are no signs of this changing in the next few years. At the current rate we're going, the US is pretty much doomed to be at the back of the line when it comes to internet connectivity. Think of the effects this will have on our economy in the medium to long term and gnash your teeth.

about two weeks ago
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Users Report Warping of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus

Optic7 Apple's "form over function" strikes again (421 comments)

Seriously. They prioritize form over function in many of their design decisions: thin aluminum cases that scratch and dent (and now frames that bend), chiclet keyboards with no tactile feedback for centering your fingertips, ultrasharp edges on laptop wrist-rest area that cuts into your wrist, glossy screens that have tons of glare, non-user-replaceable batteries that require you to send the device for service unnecessarily, etc.

about three weeks ago
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Users Report Warping of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus

Optic7 Re: Third option (421 comments)

How much do you want to bet that the answer is "management"?

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Good Technology Conferences To Attend?

Optic7 VMworld (131 comments)

I believe I heard that VMworld is now the largest IT infrastructure conference in the world. If you are already steeped in virtualization, it's a wonderful conference to learn stuff and meet people. If you're not already steeped in virtualization, it's a wonderful conference to learn where the IT world is moving, and in fact has largely already moved to.

about 2 months ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

Optic7 Re:Blade Runner's script had little to do with Rid (144 comments)

I watched a documentary about movie art direction and production design, and they had an extended segment about the art design of Blade Runner, interviewing the people involved, etc. One thing that they said that was unusual about the film, and hard to replicate, is that there was some kind of a strike (perhaps writer's guild) around the time that they were pre-producing the film, so they had a much larger amount of time to design and plan the look of the movie than the usual, so they really went to town on it. I think the look of the film shows the extra attention to detail that was given.

about 3 months ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

Optic7 Re:Vote (200 comments)

You believe in Lord Vader, don't you?

about 3 months ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Optic7 Did religion or suppression of it have any role? (619 comments)

What an interesting coincidence. I was having a conversation with my dad this last weekend about just this subject. He proposed his theory that people in, for example, countries like Russia and China were less ethical than in other countries because of the purging of religion that happened in those two examples, within recent history. This surprised me because he's a fairly liberal-thinking person, although he has become more religious as he gets older. I think of myself as agnostic for the most part, but after giving it some thought, I wonder if he might have a point.

What do you think? Did the suppression of religion in those countries reduce the level of ethics? Can ethics effectively spread and be maintained among a large population without a broad system of organized religion?

about 3 months ago
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Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

Optic7 Re:Faith in God (299 comments)

You forgot to add promoting comprehensive, real-world sex education from an early age, if you don't like abortions.

Although it has nothing to do with religion in general, but more with culture and what specific sub-type of religion people follow. Case in point being Scandinavian countries which are ostensibly Christian, but have the type of sex education I mentioned, a much healthier and natural attitude towards sex, and a much lower incidence of unwanted pregnancies as a result of both.

about 4 months ago
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FTC Says T-Mobile Made Hundreds of Millions From Bogus SMS Charges

Optic7 Re:T-Mobile's Reponse (110 comments)

I had almost exactly the same experience as you did: $10 charges showed up on my t-mobile bill from some random bogus premium service. I called them up, they refunded me, and offered to put a block on those types of premium services on my account, which I accepted. Problem solved for me, but I feel bad for anyone who doesn't or didn't review their mobile phone bills. I would imagine that other carriers are subject to the same "premium" text service scams, by the way.

about 4 months ago
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Why Snowden Did Right

Optic7 Re:One more blowout (348 comments)

Jack Devine is the subject of the sentence, so the article is saying that Aldrich Ames was Devine's former colleague, not Snowden's:

Jack Devine, a former CIA director of operations, said he did not believe Snowden had been a spy, but that he shared many psychological characteristics of American traitors such as his former colleague Aldrich Ames, who spent years betraying secrets to Russia and is now serving life in prison.

about 5 months ago
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eBay Compromised

Optic7 Re:I've had it with these motherfucking breaches! (193 comments)

Thanks for the idea, and I'll check if my bank offers something similar for my credit card. But I'm going to stick with credit cards from now on. I realize now that there's a reason why banks seem to try to push us to use debit cards every change they get.

Here's an article describing why:
http://www.consumerreports.org...

I say screw them, at least until they pull their heads out of their asses and give us secure cards (chip and pin).

about 5 months ago
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eBay Compromised

Optic7 I've had it with these motherfucking breaches! (193 comments)

I'm getting so tired of these. It seems like every few months now I'm getting affected by one. Last year my bank replaced my debit card three times (Adobe breach, Target breach, and who knows what the third one was)! Consequently, I'm no longer using my debit card as a debit card, but only at ATMs. I use my credit card for any card-based purchases now. But it doesn't stop. You name it: zappos breach, dropbox breach, a breach at an old community college I attended years ago, and probably others that I've forgotten about in the last year or two. Fuck me running.

By the way, the stories about this breach claim that no financial data was compromised. That's fine, except that the data that was compromised may be used for identity theft: your name, date of birth, and street address. I'm pretty much getting ready to use the option that the credit reporting agencies offer to lock down my credit so that no one can obtain credit in my name without me unlocking it. It's a pain, but I don't think it's a choice anymore at the rate these breaches are going.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

Optic7 Re:Age (466 comments)

That's reassuring. Thanks for the reply!

about 5 months ago
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Adobe Creative Cloud Services Offline (Again?)

Optic7 Re:NO Photoshop for you! (164 comments)

Except you just happened to be come up for renewal on the authentication right now. Then you are screwed. How many thousands of clients will that probably be?

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: How to get old commercial software to be open-sourced?

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "Many gamers have probably dreamed about the idea of an old favorite game or other no longer supported or developed commercial software being converted to an open-source license so that it could be updated to add new features, support new hardware, other operating systems, etc. However, this type of change of license seems exceedingly rare, unless the copyright holder itself decides on its own that it would be beneficial. The only examples I could think of or was able to find in a brief internet search were Blender (3D animation software that had its source code bought from creditors after a crowd-funding campaign) and Warzone 2100 (Game that had its source code released after a successful petition). With those two examples of different strategies in mind, have any of you ever participated in any efforts of this kind, and what did you learn from it that may be useful to someone else attempting the same thing? Even if you have not participated, do you have any suggestions or ideas that may be useful to such an effort?"
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Verizon and Cable Cos Enter Deal That May Freeze C

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "A series of three articles at GigaOm describes an ominous telecommunications business deal that is taking place which will likely have a large impact on the future of competition in both the wireless and broadband markets in the United States:

"Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are selling off the spectrum remnants of their stillborn wireless venture, SpectrumCo, to Verizon Wireless for $3.6 billion. The deal would allow Verizon to double-up on its LTE network — in some regions triple up — creating huge overhead for future mobile broadband growth."

For a variety of reasons the government will be less likely to attempt to block this deal, in contrast with how they have handled AT&T's $39 Billion bid to buy T-Mobile, even though the deal, which includes secret agreements among the companies involved, shows signs that it will virtually eliminate any new or real competition for internet access in the US:

"This is the crystalline moment when the division of the marketplace becomes completely clear, even to people who haven't been paying attention. VZ and ATT get wireless; cable gets wires; consumers are stuck. Wireless, like wired high-speed access already wholly dominated by the cable companies, is a natural monopoly service at this point, with incredibly high barriers to entry — so high that even current players, like T-Mo, are having trouble making it. Clearwire [WiMax] has nowhere to go at this point. So we have the worst of all worlds: no competition, and no regulatory oversight.""

Link to Original Source
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Gel Found to Reduce AIDS Risk in Women

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "A medical trial in South Africa has found that a gel containing an antiretroviral drug has significantly reduced the risk of women contracting HIV up to 54% compared to placebo depending on how closely the women followed the protocol. The best article about it that I have found so far has been at the Washington Post:

"The material came packed in syringe-like applicators. A woman was instructed to inject the gel into her vagina no more than 12 hours before intercourse and again within 12 hours afterward (but with no more than two applications in a 24-hour period). Each woman got a monthly AIDS test, and the researchers collected used and unused applicators to verify the women's reports of whether they were using them.

At the end of 2 1/2 years, there were 98 infections in the 889 women. The HIV incidence, measured as the number of new infections for every 100 "women years" in the study, was 5.6 in the volunteers using the tenofovir gel and 9.1 in those with the placebo gel.

That amounted to a prevention effectiveness of 39 percent. Among women who said they used the gel for at least 80 percent of episodes of intercourse, the effectiveness was 54 percent.""

Link to Original Source
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Major Voter Protection Effort Launched For 2008

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "With early voting,registration and absentee deadlines looming, Election Protection launched its 2008 general election efforts today. The nation's largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, representing more than 100 organizations and the full spectrum of American citizens, will undertake the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken to empower voters to make sure their vote counts this November 4.

They will be needing volunteers, so here's a chance for all Slashdotters to participate and help us all have a smoother election this time around. If you would like to know more about the organization, the New York Times recently wrote about them (linked through Google in order to avoid the New York Times login)."

Link to Original Source
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Transitioning From Windows Admin To Linux Admin?

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "I've been a Windows IT guy for many years, doing my fair bit of systems and network admin, deskside support, etc. I find myself increasingly tired and bored with with the Windows IT world so have been looking for a change. I looked at Cisco and even got my CCNA but find the pure networking stuff kind of dull as well. I've had a long-time interest in Unix and Linux, but never did much about it other than play with it occasionally and install a few different distros, and nothing much beyond that. Now I'm seriously thinking about jumping into Linux admin work with both feet and seeing what happens.

My question is what do you think is the best way to make such a transition? I'm currently studying for the LPI certification, and also plan on doing LFS based on recommendations I've read from fellow Slashdotters. But would anyone hire me as even a junior Linux admin without having any real-world business experience with it? What are some things that would increase my chances of that happening? Is there anything else, any other avenues that I'm not thinking of?

How the heck do you get started in a Linux admin career?"
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Gnucash 2.2.0 released, now stable for windows

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "I just happened to visit Gnucash's site to download it and noticed that they have just released the new stable version, 2.2.0, today. This also marks the first stable Gnucash release for Windows. It seems that the Windows port is also the main feature of this new release. If you are not familiar with Gnucash, it is an open source alternative to Quicken and Microsoft Money. Visit their website to read more, or head straight for the downloads."
Link to Original Source
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Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "NPR reports that a new study by Harvard and the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that nutrition studies funded by food companies are almost eight times more likely to reach a conclusion beneficial to the food companies than similar, independently funded studies. New Scientist has also done a story on this, if you prefer to read instead of listen to the NPR story."
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Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "Given the interest garnered here by stories about classic adventure games, Slashdot readers are sure to be interested to hear that 1up is reporting that Sierra is about to release compilations of all of their famous and classic adventure games series either this Friday or Monday. The series compilations to be released include: King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry.

I hope they don't forget to do this for Quest for Glory as well."

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