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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Shoten Re:Land of the free (493 comments)

Home of the brave.

Um...Sony is headquartered in Japan. And there's no way that a decision with this level of financial impact was made without permission from management back hom.

11 hours ago

In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

Shoten Re:In IT, remember to wash your hands (153 comments)

Beware of Fad Versus Functional

What's so IT-specific about this maxim, that it warrants being on Slashdot? A slow news day?

Probably the fact that tons of us have tried to tell people this in our jobs in the past, but few have been able to put it as clearly and as succinctly as this, while still stating all the factors that play into it.

2 days ago

Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

Shoten Re:not staff increases, either (110 comments)

Well, you can not force a company to hire more people, nor blame it for optimizing their warehouse. It they're really not firing people, that's a good thing. I guess their business is growing, too, so to compensate the reduction in manual labor.

Well put. On the other side of it, I don't see how it should in any way be a surprise to anyone who knows Amazon at all (like their warehouse employees) that this kind of thing would be on its way. There is a certain reality to the fact that people must grow and evolve their skills to maintain their own employability no matter what their career path.

A more cynical, if not entirely inaccurate, way to describe the other side of that equation is this.

about two weeks ago

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

Shoten Re:Can Iowa handle a circus that large? (433 comments)

The republican candidate list now includes (at least)

Mitt Romney

Jeb Bush

Scott Walker

Chris Christie

Sarah Palin

Bobby Jindal

And now Carly Fiorina wants in, too? That will be quite a crowd.

Well, I gotta say...the next two years are going to be an absolutely wonderful time for comedians!

about three weeks ago

Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

Shoten Re:Peter Principle (204 comments)

This one hundred times.

The company who can solve the issue of demotion without loss of face is going to go far.

How about demoting the incompetent boss and the fuckwit who promoted them that one step too far together? Root cause analysis, after all, is crucial when resolving a process failure...

about a month ago

Amazon Goes After Oracle (Again) With New Aurora Database

Shoten Re:Methinks the article sensationalizes! (102 comments)

If you look at AWS's actual announcement, they say nothing about Oracle. They say that Aurora is compatible with MySQL, which happens to be owned by Oracle, but it is not what most people think of as "Oracle"!

What's my migration path from Oracle to Aurora? Does it support PL/SQL, XML, APEX, Java, etc. stored procedures? Does it support Oracle syntax, index types, etc? How sophisticated is its data dictionary?

From AWS's announcement, it looks like Aurora is meant to be mostly a drop-in replacement for MySQL, but with much higher scalability and durability and more advanced backup features. If I had to call it something, I'd call Aurora "MySQL RAC", because Aurora seems to buy you more RAC-like features but with MySQL syntax/features.

It absolutely does NOT appear to be an easy migration from an existing Oracle application to the Aurora database. Maybe Aurora will attract some new applications, but if you're a big Oracle customer, don't salivate on that 90% cost savings so quickly, because it ain't there!

I think you don't understand how competitors get displaced in the IT market.

Nobody is going to state that their product is a drop-in replacement when it comes to applications. It's not possible, it's never been true, and nobody would believe it even if it were. But Oracle has a huge number of extremely unhappy customers (direct and OEM) who hate their licensing cost and behavior (see the comment a bit of a scroll above about Oracle being "audit-happy"), and want another option. Oracle sells not just databases but full-on applications as well; they're a competitor to SAP in the ERM space for example, and against PeopleSoft in the HR space. But there are ways to roadmap away from them, so that instead of just dumping Oracle tomorrow and replacing the database, you plan to replace them. One extreme case is ArcSight, which used to OEM Oracle for all of their products. They wrote their own DB engine to get rid of Oracle, and their pricing has become much more sane as a result. And, since their DB is purpose-built for the single purpose it serves, it's actually better at what it does than Oracle was. It was a major effort, and other parts of ArcSight were rewritten to facilitate it, but the end result is pretty badass.

So, in the end, a database does not need to support PL/SQL or Oracle syntax to displace Oracle. It just needs to do what Oracle does, with the understanding that the interfaces to it have to change to some degree...which isn't really the end of the world anyways. Things like service-oriented architecture being in place already make this kind of change a lot easier, as well. But there's no need to act just like the product you want to replace, any more than Dell servers needed to be able to use Compaq power supplies and hard drives when Dell first entered the server market. Customers simply switched, and switched their inventory accordingly along with it.

about a month ago

Tor Project Mulls How Feds Took Down Hidden Websites

Shoten Defender's Dilemma (135 comments)

So, look at this through the eyes of the defender, in the context of breaches of other sites. Put aside ethics, right/wrong, law, etc.; what this comes down to is a security breach when viewed from the defender's perspective, right?

Okay, so when you look at past breaches, what do you find...breakdowns in basic security. Sony wasn't patching, Home Depot wasn't watching their security monitoring, etc. While many vendors and researchers are trying to come up with novel security products and solutions to solve exotic problems in unique ways, what's actually happening is entities aren't following Security 101.

There are signs that this has happened with Tor as well. Silk Road 2.0, for example, was registered using "Blake@Benthall.net," which is about as NON-anonymous as you can possibly get. It's not only giving up the name, it's the name as it's tied to a very specific "Blake Benthall," so that law enforcement wouldn't even have to set about figuring out which Blake Benthall it was. A quick warrant request, a fax to the hosting provider behind "Benthall.net," and the guy is toast. This is not very fucking good security, at a fundamental level. And even worse, it was what got Ulbricht, the original operator of Silk Road, caught.

The argument could be made that only some domains were hit because others were out of reach due to where they were hosted; I don't buy this. In the past, it's been possible to get significant disruption of even the most unreachable systems through a number of means. This is why the RBL "broke up" and went to ground; even being out of the reach of law enforcement didn't mean their IP space couldn't get blackholed by ICANN, for example, or domains ignored by upstream TLD resolvers in the DNS hierarchy. I do believe that this "out of reach" potential was why hundreds of domains were shut down, but only 17 people were arrested. But if there were a fundamental issue with TOR itself, I don't see why they couldn't (and wouldn't) take down all of the sites they would want to hit at one blow. But now three of the top six drug-sale sites are still up, including the one that was second-largest, Agora.

So this looks more to me like the variability of operational security among the operators of the different domains, and poor security by those that got hit.

about a month ago

Some Virgin Galactic Customers Demand Money Back

Shoten Re:armchair engineers (165 comments)

Newer Airbuses limit rudder range at speed. The A300 could lose its tail if the pilot did something stupid, as happened with American Airlines 587. People seem to be happy enough to deal with the interlock.

And thank goodness that there's been a meaningful poll asking all of the passengers how happy they are with the interlock, not to mention informing them of it...otherwise you'd not have been able to make this assertion!

about a month and a half ago

Tech Recruiters Defend 'Blacklists,' Lack of Feedback, Screening Techniques

Shoten Re:oh boy! (253 comments)

From my experience, the boneheads were almost exclusively in the HR agencies. And that's a light term for fucking-unbelievable-idiots. I have tons of incompetence-filled horror stories. Techies (anything from coders to any branch of engineering), IMHO, should only be recruited by their peers. Period.

Almost exclusively, yes...but not entirely. And we blacklist recruiting firms as well...at least I do. I have only 6 blacklist entries in the spam management settings for my personal domain, and 4 of them are to keep me from getting contacted by companies like KForce...companies whose recruiters' behavior is so egregious that I consider contact from them to be a threat to my career.

But then, on the other side, I've interviewed (as a hiring decision maker at my company) people who are so unfuckingbelievably full of shit that I documented it in detail and sent it back to the recruiting firm with an admonishment for not doing a better pre-screen. I would neither be surprised nor bothered if such people were then blacklisted by that recruiter. If a resume is a little bit exaggerated, that's expected. But don't go in for a crucial position with a ton of responsibility that requires a lot of technical expertise if you don't have the slightest goddamned idea how any of it works.

about a month and a half ago

Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"

Shoten Re:As many have pointed out... (257 comments)

Sure. Remove the Google link to the bad review.

And every other link to the guy. Forever.

No more searches on him, for the entire rest of his performing career.

It's the only way to keep that review from sneaking back into future search results.

Actually, the reviewer's take on it did in fact seem to indicate that we should forget all about this guy...

about a month and a half ago

Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"

Shoten Re:its terrible (257 comments)

the cultural marxist media

What does this even mean?

It means that his mommy didn't give him enough attention, and now he's upset that the media isn't giving him attention either.

about a month and a half ago

Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea

Shoten Re:Why the tiny turbines? (216 comments)

, a 5 knot ocean current has more kinetic energy than a 350 km/h wind.

. If each Hammerfest machine delivers its advertised 1MW of power,

With such large amounts of energy why oh why are they pissing about with such tiny turbines? Modern wind turbines are 6MW+, some hydro power turbines are over 700MW each. Are they trying to destroy the financial viability of the project with unimaginative small scale thinking?

Scroll up to the post just above yours, referencing the Bay of Fundy and its failed turbine approach. Big turbines go boom when water move too fast, it turns out. Smaller turbines are made of materials with similar strength, but have much less force exerted on them under extreme tides. And, unlike a hydro power turbine, they can't force the full flow of the water to pass exclusively through the turbine here; a turbine that attempted the same level of energy harvesting would instead build up a head of backpressure, and the water would flow around it. That is, until the tide ripped the thing off the floor of the bay.

about a month and a half ago

Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea

Shoten Re:um, no (216 comments)

hydroelectric damns


I realize some people like to curse dams, but still....

Whereas, when I hear someone referring to those "hydroelectric fucks," it seems they are speaking about the Canadians...

about a month and a half ago

Dance Your Ph.D. Winner Announced

Shoten Re:Not fair (14 comments)

Not fair, her Ph, D as in Critical Dance Studies!

And I was about to make some snarky remark about how most Ph.Ds seem not to provide much value in this day and age...

about a month and a half ago

Steve Ballmer Gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off For Being Basketball Baron

Shoten Re:So the taxpayer pays for overage, got it (255 comments)

he would pay more in tax in a single year than 99% of the population pay in there entire lives.

Except he won't, he'll exploit exceptions and loopholes until he's paying less tax than a top-level middle manager. You don't seem to understand how taxation works.

Actually, this is only sort of true. On a percentage-of-annual-income basis, it's correct. But in terms of dollars and cents paid in taxes annually, it is incorrect.

The fact that Ballmer is involved in this is the only reason it's on Slashdot...let's face it. This situation relates to capital investment, and it happens several times a day with regard to transactions of varying sizes. We could argue about whether or not it's about the taxpayer that gets stuck with this or that, or whether capital will flee if we tax the rich more, but one thing is true: Ballmer is no more to fault for leveraging available, documented, and legal tax write-offs than we are when we all claim a write-off for our mortgages, business expenses, or even just the standard deduction (if we don't even itemize).

None of us seek to maximize the amount of taxes we pay. But we demonize the ultra-wealthy, by name, when they do the same thing as us but on a larger scale. Don't fault them, fault the system...and then change it.

about 2 months ago

CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

Shoten Re:Prison time (275 comments)

Formally, a flash bang is a "stun grenade" and falls in the "less than lethal" category of offensive weapons.

Note it is not harmless, most people report significant temporary (1 year or less not 5-10 minutes ) or permanent hearing loss. If close to the detonation point, 2nd & 3rd degree burns are common. Vision problems (retinal damage, corneal burns, etc) are another frequent side effect.

  These weapons are designed for high risk breaches, not raiding a house in the middle of the night to serve a search warrant after you've already arrested the suspect.

One more thing: flash-bang devices often ignite fabrics and papers, if they happen to land on them. The amount of heat they put out is quite intense, if brief, and the reason why tactical teams frequently wear either natural (cotton) or ablative (nomex) fibers on the outside. Imagine if a raid starts with the blankets of a crib catching fire while the baby's inside, and the parents can't do a thing about it because they've been put face-down on the floor, hands zip-tied behind them, hysterical while they have a cop kneeling on the middle of their back.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects?

Shoten Re:Options... (155 comments)

"Fork" the thing on SourceForge or similar service. SYNC the repos and web pages there over the time while trying to gather collaboration.

Perhaps you can manage to get there what your company doesn't. At very least, this will guarantee the project's surviving when your company shuts the support down.

At very worst, you'll have a way to save the project's source code and documentation to posteriority when the company support ends.

In the mean time, you can negotiate a hand over to Apache, GNU or any other Open/Free Software Foundation.

The problem is in finding developers to support the project in the first place...which includes companies being willing to let some of their employees do some of it on company time. The website is NOT the big roadblock here, by a long shot. So forking it accomplishes absolutely nothing, and moving the repository to SourceForge, while not a terrible solution to the "no more website" issue, really doesn't address the true problem.

about 2 months ago

Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

Shoten Re:A few things... (324 comments)

We had the socialists in power before, and it was no different. They just taxed different things like education and healthcare, which was somehow all hunky-dory with the EU.

Yeah, I was thinking pretty much the same thing. He's calling the current government "stone age" and yet wants to go back to the days when Hungary was run by the SOCIALISTS as progress? As a way of LOWERING taxes? Pretty funny, actually...

about 2 months ago

FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Shoten Re:Is this legal? (700 comments)

Two things. One, the cloned FTDI subcomponents are in and of themselves essentially indefensible. The notion of "unclean hands" absolutely applies here. Two, that notion further applies to the manufacturer who included the cloned subcomponent in their product. To use a car metaphor, if a car is supposed to use a Bosch-made airbag sensor that has been well-tested and proven to be reliable, but the manufacturer instead knowingly uses counterfeit sensors, they open themselves up to enormous risk in any situation where the reliability of those counterfeit sensors has been called into question. They cannot rely upon any of the due diligence that Bosch has done, nor can they point to Bosch as being at fault. Furthermore, even if they point to the counterfeit manufacturer as being at fault, they themselves end up taking on some of that blame as well, for knowingly having included their product in their car.

about 2 months ago



Cost and Build Problems with Death Star Project

Shoten Shoten writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Shoten (260439) writes "Foreign Policy magazine has a fascinating analogy for real-world timeline and cost overruns on military projects. Apparently, the IGAO (Imperial Government Accountability Office) has run a review of the project to build the Death Star, finding multiple issues. At the top of the list? "Frequent Turnover in Senior Personnel Hampers Continuity," with a recommendation to stop using strangulation as a management tactic. Design flaws relating to reactor shielding and anti-fighter defenses are also cited."


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