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Comments

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The Executive Order That Led To Mass Spying, As Told By NSA Alumni

Ronin Developer Ending of the Cold War (180 comments)

What is interesting is that order was executed in the final years of the Cold War. There was no "Internet" so it is doubtful that this was the intent. However, we were still in a Cold War with the Soviet Union. And, there were communist sympathizers here in the US who would be subject to this surveillance. Additionally, the drug cartels and weapons trade were in high gear (ala Iran/Contra). So, given this context, it is understandable WHY this order was created and issued in the first place.

I doubt President Reagan envisioned the rise of the internet and the privacy concerns that the budding .com businesses would generate.

Where the fault does lay is that when these avenues did arise, is with the continued existence and extension of the initial order. This finger points directly at GHB, Clinton, GWB and now Obama. And, I would focus more on GHB given his close affiliation and vested interest with the intelligence communities. The dangers were well known by Clinton/Gore with the desire to push the Skipjack encryption algorithm into everything...right until it was revealed that the LEA (Law Enforcement Access Key...ala LEAK) key code could be forged rendered it a non-starter - it didn't meet National security needs once that was revealed and the common folk and business community would never accept it. RSA Laboratories was the key vendor of secure encryption at this point and fought against Skipjack. With that battle lost, sights turned elsewhere and we KNOW RSA's new overloads (EMC) sold us out for $10M. It was the perfect subject of a compromise given the pervasiveness of their products. I would venture their right to continue to exist was at stake and the $10M was simply a means to cover up the coehersion.

Ultimately, nobody but the brakes on this surveillance and we know where it has since led.

yesterday
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Ronin Developer I like... (601 comments)

Of course, somebody will think this a bad idea...

3 days ago
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Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

Ronin Developer Is it just me.... (246 comments)

Operating with cutting-edge technology out of a trailer in rural Illinois....Me and Dr. Bubba J will test ... whether the Universe is a flat course and always turning to the left.

Out of a TRAILER????

I think they should have just left it as "Operating with cutting-edge technology...." and left out the "trailer" part.

3 days ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Ronin Developer Kill Switch for the CA Cell Phone Market (233 comments)

So, they are mandating that cell phone manufacturers implement a kill switch to be able to sell mobile phones in CA? Is the cell phone market in CA big enough for the manufacturers to really care? Or, will they tell to CA to screw off and simply not sell in CA and the Nevada cell phone business and black market phone market will boom?

This will be interesting to see how it plays out.

4 days ago
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13-Year-Old Finds Fungus Deadly To AIDS Patients Growing On Trees

Ronin Developer Re:The Tools of Science (134 comments)

Incorrect. She used her father's influence to get a position collecting samples. She was responsible for collecting the samples and sending them for analysis. After DNA sequencing, the results were compared against the profile of an AIDS patient and then sent back to her.

From the article..."She was surprised to find that specimens from three of the tree species were genetically almost indistinguishable from the patient specimens.".

That was several years ago. Since her initial findings, the researchers (I believe her father is one of them), established the latest findings through further research and analysis.

But, it was her work that discovered the fungus and its similarity to what infected AIDS patients. That is how it supposed to work - the work of one researcher is expounded upon and extended by another. The fact that she had access to the DNA sequencing because of her father's influence is inconsequential. When I did my research for a science project, I had brief access to a university vacuum chamber - I was a high school student. I asked for a sponsor who had the equipment I needed. This is no different.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Ronin Developer Re:Learn to Recognize Abusive Employers and Jump A (548 comments)

My uncle worked for Burroughs and then Sperry/Univac as an EE/Computer Engineer. With layoffs looming and managers telling him he should take the early retirement package, he refused as he wanted to work, enjoyed working, and felt he was too young to retire. Next thing he knows, he's laid off, lost the golden parachute and, being disabled, was unable to find a real job before he did actually retire. Sperry screwed him but good.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Ronin Developer Re:History (548 comments)

Or, you could just talk to the old guy in the corner - I am always willing to impart knowledge to those who ask.

Have you seen my stapler?

about two weeks ago
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Hackers Steal Data Of 4.5 Million US Hospital Patients

Ronin Developer Patient Identification (111 comments)

Our gov't allowed SSNs to be used in all sorts of capacities since, I think the 1980's. I still have my SSN card which says "Not for Identification" - yeah...that old...issued in the 60's. Congress changed the rules and put us all in jeopardy by allowing SSNs to be used as a personal identifier.

How pervasive is it?

Want to write a letter to a military service member? Well, don't forget to add their SSN to the address. The military now uses SSN as the service number...it's in printed on the envelop of every letter to every military member.

Are you a student? It's likely your student identification number.

Shopping at the grocery store? Just you wait for them to ask for it...it's coming.

Hospitals do need the SSN because they become creditors and may need to supply information for disability and death claims. But, why is it needed as a patient identifier? Billing should be separate from patient records.

What we really need is a something like OAutht access to our record (which should be encrypted). Granting access to this data should also require 2 factor authentication at the very least. The encryption keys should be kept in another secure system requiring extreme protocols to obtain a single one.

Who should maintain the patient id and records databases? Who should maintain the keys to access the encrypted data? Not sure. But, whoever figures it out and implements it is going to make a fortune.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

Ronin Developer Moderating Trolls (382 comments)

Forums such as Disqus are prime examples where a discussion will quickly devolve into one about political affiliation, views on gay rights or simply, Obama. I always feel like I lost time on this planet which I will never get back having read some of them - And, I feel like I less intelligent since I probably burned a few brain cells out consuming their dribble.

Here on /., it seems the common definition of a Troll seems to be someone who has a dissenting opinion to the common group think. Sometimes, do we see the discussion turn to towards political hate speech. But, more often the the tone of comments can be very denigrating and hateful. And, one can quickly find their comments downgraded to 0 or -1 by someone who simply doesn't like your point of view.

The moderation model used by /. has worked fairly well. Still, it isn't perfect. Allowing people to hide behind the mask of Anonymous Coward presents its own dilemma in dealing with trolls. A possible solution would be to require all anonymous posts to undergo moderation by several moderators (maybe 3?) before being visible and the reasons for a moderator's decision should be listed. Moderators should see a list of posts, per article, that are being moderate downwards. Posts only viewed and acted upon by a single moderator should be made visible after 12 hours to keep a single moderator from squelching the voice of others. And, moderators, themselves, should be ranked by the fairness of their actions. Unfortunately, I don't have a good model on how to do this, just some ideas. Maybe, having other moderators approve or disapprove of the moderation action of another moderator and ranking the results might be a start? It could be done on a running averages basis - allowing people who might not have moderated wisely in the past to regain trust. In some respects, it's like the concept of Karma points but for moderators.

Requiring all posters to have verified accounts linked to their real identity is another solution. AC positing would simply be an option when posting as a verified user. It's AC to the world, but still linked back to oneself. Yes, this would mean the end of true anonymity. But, it make people responsible for their actions even when they choose to hide their identity. Combined with a fair moderator system, it would all but eliminate Trolls even in a non-payment subscriber model.

about two weeks ago
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Google Expands Safe Browsing To Block Unwanted Downloads

Ronin Developer I trust... (106 comments)

That Bing and MSN are on that list? Darned things took over Chrome on my Mac. Not quite sure how it happened. However, Chrome is now slow as heck.

Sad state of affairs when I am finding I am using Safari just to avoid it.

about two weeks ago
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The Biggest iPhone Security Risk Could Be Connecting One To a Computer

Ronin Developer Re:Well insulated? That's debatable... (72 comments)

What a crock comment. Clearly an Apple Hater.

if someone, with the necessary skills, wants to expend sufficient time and effort to decompile the OS looking for a way to get in and/or alter the image, they will eventually succeed.

Given that the OS is downloadable AND the fact that it still took 4-5 months to jailbreak it I think, in and of itself, is pretty amazing. Jailbreaking a device requires someone determined to do it - it's not done over the air by somebody without physical access to the device.

about two weeks ago
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The Biggest iPhone Security Risk Could Be Connecting One To a Computer

Ronin Developer Developer Access? (72 comments)

To my knowledge, to utilize an iOS device with developer provisioning profiles, you have to enable the device for development access via XCode.

Even with an ad-hoc distribution, the device must be listed in the provisioning profile with the exceptions being enterprise and app-store apps.

Did this attack vector circumvent these protections? Or, was he using iOS devices configured for development and, thus, not a real-world attack?

about two weeks ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

Ronin Developer Say it isn't so!!!! (393 comments)

"Plait accuses the congressmen of trying to bury private spaceflight under red tape in order to protect established industries in their own states."

Ya, think?

about three weeks ago
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Extracting Audio From Visual Information

Ronin Developer Um... (142 comments)

How did they isolate the speech from the crunch of potato chips???? And, if this possible, there is no hope for anyone with the munchies!

about a month ago
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Nuclear Missile Command Drops Grades From Tests To Discourage Cheating

Ronin Developer The Air Force is also making an effort to replace (122 comments)

... or refurbish the aging equipment that runs these facilities.

Which equipment? The testing equipment, the launchers, missiles, terminators?

about 1 month ago
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Ronin Developer Re:Did they take on Apple? (317 comments)

Apple is also authorized and licensed to resell music for this purpose with it's iTunes service.

And, I do believe the courts have ruled in favor of copying music from CD's to MP3 and similar (i.e iPod) devices for personal use.

Time to shut these asshats down once and for all. Sadly, it will probably result in a settlement vs a legal ruling so this crap will keep on haunting the rest of us.

about 1 month ago
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For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

Ronin Developer Re:~50% have no degree... (174 comments)

Wow. Sounds like sour grapes from somebody who has chosen not to seek a degree or, for perhaps, maybe couldn't afford one, overly smart and found school boring or simply didn't have the necessary non-technical skills to get into college?

A four year degree, in most disciplines, might teach some technical skills. But, the value of an higher education is, as blazer1024 pointed out, is it prepares you to be able to think and learn and it improves the gene pool you are exposed to as well as to get laid. This was exactly the attitude my boss during my co-ops held as well and one I hold as well. A four year engineering or science degree isn't going to get you very far in those fields. You really need a masters or beyond to enter those disciplines. You seldom find non-degreed "engineers" working in an engineering discipline. In lieu of a degree, some states require you pass a licensing exam to perform engineering functions. Like passing the Bar exam, one doesn't need a law degree to become a lawyer. But, possessing the degree makes a world of difference in preparing you for the exam as well as open doors that a non-degreed person might never be able to step through.

Fortunately, software development ( and IT in general) is one field where someone with just the technical skills or a degree can enter, make a mark, and even advance. Sadly, I have found many such individuals, despite technical brilliance, lacking when it comes to discussing topics outside of their work or technical discussions.

College is designed to make people think and open their minds to new and different ideas. It offers and exposes you to ideas that only an academic world can offer.

I earned a BS in Physics. With a 4 year degree, I am not qualified to be world renowned physicist working at CERN, for example. Frankly, I wouldn't be taken seriously by the best scientists.

In fact, I seldom use my science degree. Upon graduating college, I entered Naval service as an officer where I travelled the world, met new people, encountered different viewpoints and ideas (and was trained to kill them). And, when I left service, I found that it was those life skills, along with a lesser degree my scientific and computer skills, that enabled me to be immediately hired into a higher, technical leadership position. I was still hands-on and developed code for years and chose not to be a project manager or executive - it didn't float my boat. Now, I am an solutions architect and, even after 25 years in the field, still love what I do. No, I do not hold a CS degree despite wanting to go back an earn it or a business degree - life interruptus.

So, don't knock higher education. Maybe for some, it fosters elitism. I say, that one should just realize what it can do to enrich your life.

about a month ago
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China Plans Particle Colliders That Would Dwarf CERN's LHC

Ronin Developer Earthquakes? (219 comments)

Sounds cool. But, given China's perpensity to have massive earthquakes, is the building of such a large collider a wise idea? I would think a 57 mile diameter ring of superconducting, supercooled magnets and high vacuum might have some integrity and alignment issues even after a minor tremor let alone a large quake.

about a month ago
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No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

Ronin Developer Re:Question for someone with Legal? (282 comments)

Most states and the IRS require that, as an independent contractor, that you hold at least 2 active contracts. Given they were your former employer, the transition to a 1099 raised eyebrows as it provided your employer with a way not to pay employment taxes (putting it on you). All you needed was another 1099 contract and they would go away as you would meet the definition of contractor vs employee.

about a month ago
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MIT Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati

Ronin Developer Re:De-salination? (110 comments)

They speak of micropores in the sponge material. This would likely foul with particulate in the water. The water in the system would need to be fairly pure to start.

That being said, if it is an efficient steam generator, perhaps, it could be used to provide the heat source for desalination systems such as what are used onboard navy ships for the production of fresh water?

about a month ago

Submissions

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Key Logging on iOS Devices

Ronin Developer Ronin Developer writes  |  about 10 months ago

Ronin Developer (67677) writes "iKeyMonitor popped up on freecode.com today. It provides key logging capabilities to users of jailbroken iOS devices.

This is a perfect reason NOT to jailbreak your phone and why the Apple walled garden provides a measure of security.

Now, question for you Android folks — Can you install a key logger on an Android device? Any special requirements to do so? If the answers are, respectively, "yes" and "no", it seems to provide a clear indication why Apple still dominates the Enterprise tablet market.

Thoughts?"

Link to Original Source
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Break-Even at the National Ignition Facility Achieved!!!!

Ronin Developer Ronin Developer writes  |  about a year ago

Ronin Developer (67677) writes "It is being reported that the NIF has achieved break-even with the fusion reactor — getting as much energy out (if not a little more) than they put in.

While a long way off from commercial fusion power generation, this is a significant milestone."

Link to Original Source

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