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Comments

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Your Online TV Watching Can Now Be Tracked Across Devices

Rick Zeman Not me (115 comments)

Adobe's Analytics service, gained through its acquisition of Omniture, let it track how consumers view digital media across devices through digital cookies and mobile advertising IDs.

Ghostery, I love you.

12 hours ago
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Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

Rick Zeman Hockey puck mouse (368 comments)

Karjaluoto doesn't recall many such changes that we didn't later look upon as the right choice.

He must have never tried to use the hockey puck USB mouse. Truly a case of form over function....

2 days ago
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Adobe Spies On Users' eBook Libraries

Rick Zeman There is a bright side... (150 comments)

...if Adobe had used encryption no one would have known that the hard drives were being scraped of epub data.

about two weeks ago
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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

Rick Zeman Re: Time To Occupy Comcast HQ? (742 comments)

Not natural monopolies? How many different sets of copper do you think should be run to the same address? How many different water or sewage lines?

A natural monopoly doesn't stop being a natural monopoly because it's regulated. It stops being a natural monopoly when the space restrictions and barriers to entry go away.

And if the barrier to entry is the government? "Sets of fiber" and "sewage lines" are straw men when government regulations even preclude other technologies (see Google fiber, other municpal broadband) from being used in a monopolistic territory. Yes, sewage is a natural monopoly. Cable and internet aren't.

about two weeks ago
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End of an Era: After a 30 Year Run, IBM Drops Support For Lotus 1-2-3

Rick Zeman Just remember.... (156 comments)

"...DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run."

about three weeks ago
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Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?

Rick Zeman Simple answer: (126 comments)

No. Alibaba is fascistic.

about 1 month ago
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Google's Doubleclick Ad Servers Exposed Millions of Computers To Malware

Rick Zeman Re:Just say block (226 comments)

127.0.0.1 doesn't respond, so the page won't finish loading until it times out. That's worse than just letting the ad load from a performance perspective.

Seriously? You think if it acted like that anyone would really do that? Or use a hosts file? Really??

about a month ago
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Google's Doubleclick Ad Servers Exposed Millions of Computers To Malware

Rick Zeman Re:Just say block (226 comments)

At home I made my DNS server authoritative for .doubleclick.net (and admob and few others) all pointing to 127.0.0.1:

% host foo.doubleclick.net
Using domain server:
Name: 192.168.1.5
Address: 192.168.1.5#53
Aliases:

foo.doubleclick.net has address 127.0.0.1

That way mobile devices and everything are covered. Hard to have a hosts file on an unrooted iPhone, etc.

about a month ago
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Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

Rick Zeman Re:Not really a lie (191 comments)

Apple doesn't run public email servers. At least, I don't think so. Nothing like gmail, anyway. So they aren't transporting your email. Unless they back up your mailbox to iCloud

Yeah, they do run public email servers if you've opted in. Was user@mac.com, then user@me.com, and now user@icloud.com. Just using a device, no, your mail doesn't go to an Apple server unless it's one of their accounts.

about a month ago
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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

Rick Zeman Re:Yahoo knew fine was a bluff (223 comments)

How can you fine someone for not cooperating in activities that the government refused to even admit existed?

You send the shadow court a shadow check?

about a month ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Rick Zeman But yet..... (540 comments)

...we give China most favored nation status.

WTF?

about a month ago
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5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

Rick Zeman Enable/// (203 comments)

...2 factor authentication for your accounts, too. Google makes it easy.

about a month and a half ago
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Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

Rick Zeman Simple math (134 comments)

Not a bank + Not a currency = Not a chance.

about a month and a half ago
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3 Decades Later, Finnair Pilots Report Dramatic Close Encounter With a Missile

Rick Zeman Re:Finlandization... (138 comments)

Much as I'm disliking the Hitlerian Russian government now, I can't believe a) anyone wouldn't have reported it (the pilot) or b) not talked about it loudly for 25+ years.

It doesn't add up.

It does if you know anything about Finnish history. Pissing off the Soviets was may have been an American national sport during the cold war period but for the Finns it was not at the top of their agenda. Finland spent the cold war balancing on a razor's edge they were bound by post WWII treaties to have a military of a fixed (and rather small) size and of course to remain neutral. For this reason the Finns painstakingly split their military procurement exactly down the middle. Half the air force jets, half the army's tanks and half the navy's ships were bought in the Soviet bloc and the other half in the West and it was a very successful strategy (which is why its now being suggested as a solution to the Ukraine crisis). The Finns may have wiped the floor with the Soviet army during the Winter War but it was still not an experience the Finns cared to repeat in the nuclear era. Since the aircraft wasn't actually harmed no purpose would have been served by deliberately embarrassing the bad tempered 16 foot tall, 3000 pound grizzly bear sitting on their eastern border by advertising the ineptitude of the Soviet air defenses so the sensible strategy was just to play it down.

No, that was exactly why I read TFA expecting to see that the Finnish government was the one who buried it. They weren't. Seems to...defy credulity that 2 ordinary citizens would be making a political decision like that. The government yes, 2 copilots no.

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

Rick Zeman Re:IMO this is a good thing (108 comments)

Don't get me wrong.... I hate video autoplay.

But I feel that things like this will ultimately result on pressure on carriers to correct the real problem:
The dataplan allowances are way too low, AND
1 Gigabyte of data is priced way too high.

So by having autoplay..... ordinary folks will be using more data, BUT they're not going to want to pay a lot,
so there is going to be pressure on carriers to increase data allowances

Or pressure on the customers to pay more. Guess which one is automatic?

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

Rick Zeman Re:Let me get this straight (108 comments)

Data plans have an immediate cost at the end of the month.

Not everyone has a data cap. Does that invalidate the parent's point? Nope, didn't think so.

about a month and a half ago
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3 Decades Later, Finnair Pilots Report Dramatic Close Encounter With a Missile

Rick Zeman Re:Probably US Navy missile (138 comments)

Probably a US sub-launched ICBM.

1. There is no such thing as a "sub-launched ICBM". Subs carry SLBMs and SLCMs.
2. Any kind of BM would follow a completely different trajectory than the one described.
3. The "B" in ICBM/SLBM means "ballistic". That means that after the initial burn, it is guided by inertia, and would have no ability to track a moving target.

Damn pesky facts.

Here's something I don't know the answer to: Do air-to-airs or ground-to-airs have any sort of range safety feature like rockets, or do they just automatically blow up at the end of their runs? Or both? Or neither (in which case why did it blow up?)?

about a month and a half ago
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3 Decades Later, Finnair Pilots Report Dramatic Close Encounter With a Missile

Rick Zeman Defies credulity (138 comments)

Much as I'm disliking the Hitlerian Russian government now, I can't believe a) anyone wouldn't have reported it (the pilot) or b) not talked about it loudly for 25+ years.

It doesn't add up.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Stop And Sieze

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

Rick Zeman (15628) writes "The Washington Post has an expose on the post-9/11 inderction/seizure industry that's been created on America's highways", saying, "Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police-training firms that teach the techniques of “highway interdiction” to departments across the country.

One of those firms created a private intelligence network known as Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System that enabled police nationwide to share detailed reports about American motorists — criminals and the innocent alike — including their Social Security numbers, addresses and identifying tattoos, as well as hunches about which drivers to stop.

Many of the reports have been funneled to federal agencies and fusion centers as part of the government’s burgeoning law enforcement intelligence systems — despite warnings from state and federal authorities that the information could violate privacy and constitutional protections.""
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How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about 2 months 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 2 months 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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