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Comments

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I expect to retire ...

Rick Zeman Re:Free rides are over (319 comments)

Put money aside, corporations and governments are going to take it all anyway.

That's what Bitcoin is for.

Ah...so someone else can take it. Got it.

2 days ago
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Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

Rick Zeman Re:What's the range of an EMP? (269 comments)

Somehow I have the feeling that if a nuke detonates, that is powerful enough to produce an EMP that causes a blackout in the entire USA, the EMP will be low on the list of things to worry about. That is, assuming you survive the initial blast long enough to even realise there is a nation-wide blackout.

A ground-based/low altitude nuke will kill you, but not cause an EMP pulse. A very high altitude nuke will cause an EMP, and not give any radiation to the ground. While they're both fruit, it's apples and oranges.

2 days ago
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General Mills Retracts "No Right to Sue" EULA Clause

Rick Zeman Re:Joke about lawyers (87 comments)

"... when lawyers aren't kept on a short enough leash"

Here is a typical joke about lawyers in the United States: There was a terrible tragedy. A van carrying 5 lawyers went over a cliff. What was the tragedy? There was room for 1 more lawyer.

The common underlying feeling is that the legal profession in the U.S. is often out of control.

This is interesting: What country in the world has most lawyers per capita? Answer: The United States. There is one lawyer for every 265 Americans.

So the laws of supply and demand say that since the law schools are excreting so many of them the prices should be going down, right? Would that it would be true. Instead, they're uniquely positioned to create more work for themselves by chasing the harmless, the frivolous, and the inane...all which still have to be defended against...producing more work for other lawyers.

2 days ago
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Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

Rick Zeman Re:Boycott General Mills' products (216 comments)

'nuf said.

That's the only way to get companies to stop doing shit like this. Hit them where it hurts...the bottom line.

$18 billion in annual sales.

Good fucking luck putting a dent in that bottom line. Or more to the point, finding enough consumers who actually give a shit.

'nuff said.

More the latter than the former. But I can do my part and sleep at night.

5 days ago
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Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

Rick Zeman Re:Send a message (216 comments)

Don't buy their products. Boycott.

People keep suggesting things like this.

Sony puts a rootkit on a CD? Boycott. Apple tells you you're holding your iPhone wrong? Boycott.

Problem is it's nonsense. A boycott is the fiscal equivalence of silence. Your favorite restaurant changes the way they make ? Boycott is the equivalent of "go somewhere else." Well, that sucks. How about "tell the manager/owner you don't like the new recipe"? Try communicating that you're unhappy and why with them. Otherwise your absence means nothing. It's statistically lost in seasonal variance, for instance.

So, for this, send a letter to the company explaining your problem. Send them a "do not like" letter, basically. Boycott alone is meaningless.

The problem with that in this case is then you have a relationship with them by their standard and are then bound by their TOS. :-)

5 days ago
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Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

Rick Zeman Boycott General Mills' products (216 comments)

'nuf said.

That's the only way to get companies to stop doing shit like this. Hit them where it hurts...the bottom line.

5 days ago
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Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

Rick Zeman Just tell them.... (313 comments)

...that Ukraine is there already!

about two weeks ago
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Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Back To the Tech Industry

Rick Zeman Re:They already "gave back" (267 comments)

and they've done their best at tax avoidance depriving each country where they trade of valuable tax revenue

In violation of the law? No? Better change the laws then. I damn well take my mortgage deductions, etc, when I do my taxes. I owe that to me. If Apple (and all of the other companies....) take advantage of loopholes and other deductions it's because they owe that to their shareholders. Don't like it? Get the laws changed.

about two weeks ago
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Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Back To the Tech Industry

Rick Zeman Re:Inspiration (267 comments)

LOL @ the car analogy also.

about two weeks ago
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Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Back To the Tech Industry

Rick Zeman Re:Inspiration (267 comments)

I think thats down to Xerox Parc, not Apple

Umm, other than spouting a cliché, have you ever seen what PARC designed? No such thing as direct object manipulation (you clicked on an icon and then got a menu; you couldn't do anything with that icon. Couldn't drag it, move it, double-click it.). No hierarchal space, nothing analogous to QuickDraw, etc. I could go on...

Just because a buggy also had 4 wheels doesn't mean your BMW is much of a derivative.

about two weeks ago
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Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Back To the Tech Industry

Rick Zeman Article is flame bait. Or a troll. (267 comments)

"The company lists dozens of open source projects and components that it contributes code to: from the Apache web server"

And that, my friends, is what open source is all about. You use, you give code back.

The article title should really be "Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Monetarily To The Apache Foundation." To agree with that Apple should be giving them money is the moral equivalent of saying that users should have to pay to use Apache.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Rick Zeman Re:Soldier (736 comments)

What do you think would happen if hunting became deregulated? Game populations would disappear. .

Doesn't that depend on the nature of the catastrophe and how much population has been lost?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Rick Zeman Re:Soldier (736 comments)

Mankind has been selectively breeding animals for favoured traits, including behaviour, for thousands of years. All we will need is cattle bred to come running up to any humans it sees, calling out eat me eat me.

And they can come up to our tables and tell us what cuts are particularly good, right?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Rick Zeman Re:Soldier (736 comments)

I guess no one ever hunts in your world? Or will people just be going to the post-apocolyptic Safeway?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Rick Zeman Soldier (736 comments)

Knowing how to shoot and shoot well would be an invaluable skill.

about two weeks ago
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Interview: John McAfee Answers Your Questions

Rick Zeman Re:Wow (124 comments)

I think your meds wore off.

about two weeks ago
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Interview: John McAfee Answers Your Questions

Rick Zeman Wow (124 comments)

Imagine out-Hunter S. Thompson'ing Hunter S. Thompson. This did.

about two weeks ago
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One Billion Android Devices Open To Privilege Escalation

Rick Zeman Re:Nope (117 comments)

What the summary fails to explain properly is that this vulnerability only works with permissions that are new when the device gets an OS update. Say you install an app and it asks for permission to use NFC, but your device's OS is old and doesn't support NFC (pre 4.0 I think). You install it anyway. Then you upgrade the OS and now it supports NFC. The app then gets the NFC permission without any further prompts or warning to the user.

That is certainly an issue, but not the huge gaping security flaw the summary makes it sound like. Apps can only ask for normal permissions that the OS offers, not bypass security or the sandbox. It's basically a UI issue.

Yeah, and since the carriers update Android devices so infrequently the threat exposure is more theoretical than practical.

about 1 month ago
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Dorian Nakamoto Officially Denies That He Created Bitcoin

Rick Zeman He almost got the name right (102 comments)

'In an ensuing discussion with the reporter from the Associated Press, I called the technology "bitcom."'

If he had called it "bitcon" he'd have nailed it.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Lawyer Sues Apple For His Own Porn Addiction

Rick Zeman Rick Zeman writes  |  about 9 months 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 10 months 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 10 months 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 10 months 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 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 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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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