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Comments

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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Rick Zeman It's truly sad.... (405 comments)

...when we have more information about arrests in the Soviet Uni...err, Russia, than we do in the People's Republic of Maryland.

10 hours ago
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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Rick Zeman Re:Now I just have to ... (405 comments)

But amid all the despair and hopelessness, people were working indefatigably to stabilise the nation and alleviate the prevalent tumult; and on 28 August 2298, the sedulousness of these committed inidividual was recompensed.

Zow. This guy was supposed to be a "language-arts" teacher. I think we can clear the Sherifs department of any charges of overreacting, Patrick McLaw is obviously a danger to himself and society.

"It was a dark and stormy night...."

12 hours ago
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South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

Rick Zeman Re:Mandatory panic! (421 comments)

He wasn't arrested for writing about shooting the neighbors' dinosaur. He was questioned about it, and then he escalated things from there. The story even says this.

Evidently, your reading comprehension is a bit off. From the article: The cops took Stone in for questioning and searched his locker and backpack for guns. None were found.
Police told My Fox Chicago that Stone was difficult during questioning and they arrested him and charged him with disturbing the school.

How, praytell, did he "disturb the school" while he was "difficult during questioning" AFTER they "took Stone in for questioning" which, by common American syntax, means at the police station?

about two weeks ago
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South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

Rick Zeman Re:Mandatory panic! (421 comments)

It's one thing to say "no guns in school". It's quite another to ban any mention of them. This isn't China.

Why the China bashing? It is not illegal to write a story about guns in China, and I have never heard of this sort of political knee jerk reaction there. An American is FOUR TIMES as likely to be arrested and imprisoned by their government as a Chinese citizen.

Hey, did you see the Dalai Lama in Tiananmen Square? He was talking about all of the corruption in upper reaches of the Chinese government with some Maoists while he was on his way to the Falun Gong Meeting.

about two weeks ago
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South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

Rick Zeman Re:Mandatory panic! (421 comments)

we could stand to learn a lot from independent more decentralized cultures from all over the world if they were studied as such, but they are put down as primitive and backwards in history class, while the great white empire of the east india trading company and royal academy of sciences is touted as the greatest achievements of mankind

Yes. I was having this argument with a self-described progressive, who, when faced with me saying, "maybe we don't need to be militarily great, and can learn to live humbly, and trade freely with people without having a huge *@#(ing military" responded with, "But every great nation has to be made that way by having a strong central military" or some such rubbish. It boggled me that someone who nominally claims interest in peace equated greatness with military might. It's downright disturbing.

You're right. That IS disturbing--that he even bothered to rebut you. I'd have just laughed in your face at your display of abject naiveté. There's a phrase that summarizes what you're describing: "Conquered Nation."

about two weeks ago
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Xiaomi's Next OS Looks Strikingly Similar To iOS

Rick Zeman The predator strikes again. (181 comments)

I'm sure China has stolen iOS's source code just like they've stolen every other Western (no longer) secret.

about two weeks ago
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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

Rick Zeman Wha? (267 comments)

Since when does Bitcoin have any credibility to be undermined?

about two weeks ago
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EFF's Cell Phone Guide For US Protesters

Rick Zeman Perfect solution (82 comments)

Block all cell signals so the looters can't send their movies anywhere. That's illegal, you say? And looting and pillaging isn't?

about two weeks ago
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Bezos-Owned Washington Post Embeds Amazon Buy-It-Now Buttons Mid-sentence

Rick Zeman Re:It's not going to work (136 comments)

Snark that misses the point.

He wasn't talking about companies that buy ads, he's talking about companies the sell ads c.f. "ad whore."

Yeah, he's talking about successful companies. While correlation isn't causation, I have to admit he has a point.

about two weeks ago
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Bezos-Owned Washington Post Embeds Amazon Buy-It-Now Buttons Mid-sentence

Rick Zeman Re:It's not going to work (136 comments)

+1 for the snark.

about two weeks ago
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Network Hijacker Steals $83,000 In Bitcoin

Rick Zeman That's okay.... (101 comments)

...Bitcoins are like money in real banks and are insured. No harm to the victim.

Oh wait....

about three weeks ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

Rick Zeman Re:Nerd Blackface (442 comments)

I can tolerate the sharks they have jumped (such as introducing the girls and allowing Raj to speak to girls and what not)

How is adding the girls jumping the shark?

This is actually one of the very few times where a show semi-radically changed, and the result is better.

Agreed. Keeping the same initial 5 cast members would have descended into tedium by now...if it was still on the air.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Personnel As Ostriches?

Rick Zeman Like a priest at confession (246 comments)

Anything you learn during the course of your duties should never be discussed. What you learn around the coffee machine should be not talked about either lest people jump to the wrong conclusion.

about 1 month ago
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Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic

Rick Zeman Re:IPv6 routers (146 comments)

Can anyone recommend a SOHO-level router that properly supports IPv6? Right now I've got my desktop on a Teredo (okay, stop laughing) tunnel set up to a server I have colo'd which in turn has a real /64. It works pretty well, but it was a pain to set up and counts against my colo bandwidth, and of course adds a bit of latency. Router support for IPv6 may be moot since I don't even know for sure that AT&T has IPv6 rolled out here anyway.

My Cisco RV-320 supports IPv6 just fine on Comcast's network.

about a month ago
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Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic

Rick Zeman Re:Being a site for geeks... (146 comments)

Slashdot can't be far behind, right?

Only on Beta.

about a month ago
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EFF Releases Wireless Router Firmware For Open Access Points

Rick Zeman Re:liability? (56 comments)

So if you're sharing your wi-fi with the public at large and someone commits an "Internet Nasty" while connected via your router - who is criminally liable?

No kidding. I don't see the EFF offering to indemnify any users.

about a month and a half ago
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Researcher Finds Hidden Data-Dumping Services In iOS

Rick Zeman Re:DON'T PANIC (98 comments)

The only secure Android phone is what is running Cyanogenmod.

Only if you personally are capable of security auditing every single line of source code. Otherwise, you'll be trusting someone or something...as virtually everyone else is doing.

about a month and a half ago
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NSA Says Snowden Emails Exempt From Public Disclosure

Rick Zeman I'd bet.... (231 comments)

...Snowden would waive his right to privacy, but the NSA's answer would no doubt be the same.

about 1 month ago
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My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

Rick Zeman Mostly still CFLs (278 comments)

Didn't make economic sense to throw away good CFLs to get high-priced LCDs, unlike the move from incandescent to the CFLs.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  5 days ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "The Center for Public Integrity has a comprehensive article showing how Big Telecom (aka, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner) use lobbyists, paid-for politicians, and lawsuits (both actual and the threat thereof) in their efforts to kill municipal broadband. From the article: "The companies have also used traditional campaign tactics such as newspaper ads, push polls, direct mail and door-to-door canvassing to block municipal networks. And they’ve tried to undermine the appetite for municipal broadband by paying for research from think tanks and front groups to portray the networks as unreliable and costly. " Unfortunately, those think tanks and front groups are also paid for by the companies."
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Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars?

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about two weeks ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "Wired has an interesting article on the possibility of selectable ethical choices in robotic autonomous cars.

From the article: The way this would work is one customer may set the car (which he paid for) to jealously value his life over all others; another user may prefer that the car values all lives the same and minimizes harm overall; yet another may want to minimize legal liability and costs for herself; and other settings are possible.
Philosophically, this opens up an interesting debate about the oft-clashing ideas of morality vs. liability."
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Lawyer Sues Apple For His Own Porn Addiction

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about a year ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "Hot on the heels of an attorney suing Apple for a dollar because he couldn't be bothered to know if his device was High Definition-capable or not, comes the amusing tale of another attorney suing Apple because they didn't protect him from his porn addiction. The semi-literate 50 page complaint alleges that Apple is culpable "...for making devices that can display porn" and, containing one of the most amazing sentences to ever appear on the Internet claims that Apple is guilty of:
"UNFAIR COMPETITION AND INTERFERENCE OF THE MARITAL CONTRACT:
The Plaintiff became totally out of synch in his romantic relationship with his wife, which was a consequence of his use of his Apple product. The Plaintiff began desiring, younger more beautiful girls featured in porn videos than his wife, who was no longer 21. His failed marriage caused the Plaintiff to experience emotional distress to the point of hospitalization. The Plaintiff could no longer tell the difference between internet pornography and tangible intercourse due to the content he accessed through the Apple products, which failed to provide him with warnings of the dangers of online pornography whatsoever."
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US Postal Service Scanning Mail

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about a year ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "While the NSA's privacy violations are in the news, the New York Times reports on a lower tech version of the same concept performed by the US Postal Service. From the article: "Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, but that is only a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images." and "For mail cover requests, law enforcement agencies simply submit a letter to the Postal Service, which can grant or deny a request without judicial review. Law enforcement officials say the Postal Service rarely denies a request. In other government surveillance program, such as wiretaps, a federal judge must sign off on the requests." In other words, the USPS is capturing the metadata off of every piece of mail mailed in the US...but with even less oversight than the FISA courts provide over the NSA."
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NSA's Role In Terror Cases Concealed From Defense Lawyers

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about a year ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes ""Confidentiality is critical to national security." So wrote the Justice Department in concealing the NSA's role in two wiretap cases. However, now that the NSA is under the gun, it's apparently not, according to New York attorney Joshua Dratel: “National security is about keeping illegal conduct concealed from the American public until you’re forced to justify it because someone ratted you out" as the first he heard of the NSA's role in his client's case was "....when [FBI deputy director Sean] Joyce disclosed it on CSPAN to argue for the effectiveness of the NSA’s spying.
Dratel challenged the legality of the spying in 2011, and asked a federal judge to order the government to produce the wiretap application the FBI gave the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify the surveillance.
“Disclosure of the FISA applications to defense counsel – who possess the requisite security clearance – is also necessary to an accurate determination of the legality of the FISA surveillance, as otherwise the defense will be completely in the dark with respect to the basis for the FISA surveillance,” wrote Dratel.

The government fought the request in a remarkable 60-page reply, some of it redacted as classified in the public docket. The Justice Department argued that the defendants had no right to see any of the filings from the secret court, and instead the judge could review the filings alone in chambers. “Confidentiality is critical to national security,” the government wrote."
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State Photo-ID databases Mined By Police

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about a year ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "Showing once again that once a privacy door is opened every law enforcement agency will run through it, The Washington Post details how state drivers license photo databases are being mined by various LEOs in their states--and out. From the article: "[L]aw enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities.

Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.""
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US Mining Data Directly from 9+ Silicon Valley Companies

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about a year ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "Hot on the heels of Verizon's massive data dump to NSA comes news of "PRISM" where The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time."
This program, established in 2007, includes major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook...and more."
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Verizon Ordered To Provide All Customer Data to NSA

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about a year ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "According to Wired, an order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court "...requires Verizon to give the NSA metadata on all calls within the U.S. and between the U.S. and foreign countries on an “ongoing, daily basis” for three months. Unlike orders in years past, there's not even the pretense that one of the parties needed to be in a foreign country. It is unknown (but likely) that other carriers are under the same order."
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Fragmentation Leads To Android Insecurities

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "The Washington Post writes about how vendor fragmentation leads to security vulnerabilities and other exploits. This situation is "...making the world’s most popular mobile operating system more vulnerable than its rivals to hackers, scam artists and a growing universe of malicious software" unlike Apple's iOS which they note has widely available updates several times a year. In light of many companies' Bring Your Own Device initiatives “You have potentially millions of Androids making their way into the work space, accessing confidential documents,” said Christopher Soghoian, a former Federal Trade Commission technology expert who now works for the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s like a really dry forest, and it’s just waiting for a match.”"
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Chinese Hack New York Times

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "According to a headline article in the New York Times, they admit to being hacked by the Chinese, and covers the efforts of Mandiant to investigate, and then to eradicate their custom Advanced Persistent Threats (APT). This was alleged to be in reaction to an article which details the sleazy business dealings of the family of Wen Jiabao, China's newest Prime Minister.
China’s Ministry of National Defense said in denial, “Chinese laws prohibit any action including hacking that damages Internet security.” Do note that it says they don't prohibit hacking, and also note that a business being hacked doesn't "damage[s] Internet security.""
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"Immaterial goods turn out...equally immaterial income"

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about 2 years ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "This quote, in an article in Pitchfork, says Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi breaking down the income stream (puddle?) generated by both Pandora and Spotify. He observes, "As businesses, Pandora and Spotify are divorced from music. To me, it's a short logical step to observe that they are doing nothing for the business of music-- except undermining the simple cottage industry of pressing ideas onto vinyl, and selling them for more than they cost to manufacture." and that he has "...simply stopped looking to these business models to do anything for me financially as a musician." In addition, he posits that they purely exist to collect speculative capital to enrich their owners."
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Power And The Internet

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about 2 years ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "The New York Times has extensively surveyed and analyzed data center power usage and patterns.
At their behest, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company analyzed energy use by data centers and found that, on average they were using only 6 percent to 12 percent of the electricity powering their servers to perform computations. The rest was essentially used to keep servers idling and ready in case of a surge in activity that could slow or crash their operations. "Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants." In other words, “A single data center can take more power than a medium-size town.” This is the price being paid to ensure everyone has instant access to every email they've ever received, or for their instant Facebook status update. Data Center providers are finding that they can't rack servers fast enough to provide for users' needs: “It is absolutely a race between our ability to create data and our ability to store and manage data,” Mr. Burton said.
A few companies say they are using extensively re-engineered software and cooling systems to decrease wasted power. Among them are Facebook and Google, which also have redesigned their hardware. Still, according to recent disclosures, Google’s data centers consume nearly 300 million watts and Facebook’s about 60 million watts.
Many of these solutions are readily available, but in a risk-averse industry, most companies have been reluctant to make wholesale change, according to industry experts."
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The Best Book Reviews That Money Can Buy

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about 2 years ago

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "Consumer reviews are powerful because, unlike old-style advertising and marketing, they offer the illusion of truth. They purport to be testimonials of real people, even though some are bought and sold just like everything else on the commercial Internet. Yet it is all but impossible to tell when reviews were written by the marketers or retailers (or by the authors themselves under pseudonyms), by customers (who might get a deal from a merchant for giving a good score) or by a hired third-party service. The New York Times tells of the rise and fall of one such hired third party service who had has been so successful planting paid fake reviews that he no longer trusts any online review. He should know. Because of him and his kind, it's estimated that one third of online reviews are fake."

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