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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

The Phantom Mensch Re:Tor (376 comments)

I'm sure they wouldn't just accuse people at random. They'd do market research and select targets that meet a profile. Something like middle class households with parents that aren't particularly tech savvy but with teenage kids that might be, all of which use decent amounts of data. All they'd have to do is convince the parents that the kids downloaded something that could illegal or hint to the fathers that it might be the porn their wife doesn't know about. And boom $20 faster than you can blink.

about a month ago

Barry Shein Founded the First Dialup ISP (Video)

The Phantom Mensch Re:Definitely not the first (116 comments)

I had internet access at work starting in 1986 but since it was work related I stuck to fairly sensible net usage. My first home ISP was through a small startup in rural northern NJ, starting in 1992 or so The local phone service at that time under NJ Bell was pretty terrible. Local calls only serviced half the county, and not even the county seat where AOL and Compuserve's dial-up phone banks were established, so AOL use was a toll call. Recognizing this, two guys set up a dial-up phone bank in an area that serviced this little gap in dial-up access and ran with it for about 5 years. This was a full fledged ISP right from the start with IP addresses, ftp access, mail servers, Usenet, etc. And for the first year or two tech support meant talking to the sysadmin himself. was the name of it and as far as I can tell the domain name is up for grabs.

about a month and a half ago

Barry Shein Founded the First Dialup ISP (Video)

The Phantom Mensch Re:Uh... (116 comments)

I remember reading the Mac System 7 announcements on the Mac listserve (Appletalk?, something like that) about a year before it was released, and then downloading it from for free when it was released. In floppy disk image files. Reportedly was hosted by a Mac SE/30 running A/UX.

about a month and a half ago

Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

The Phantom Mensch Re:Absolutely (280 comments)

I do this and add the wrinkle that the password for really important financial sites in my password manager is not entered as is, I have another layer of obfuscation on what I store in there.

about 2 months ago

Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

The Phantom Mensch Re:Who's to say we're not being watched now? (686 comments)

Don't think Diplomats, think Conquistadors. A space faring alien species that shows up here will be like gun toting soldiers in a stone age civilization. Killing, pillaging and burning for sport and decimating us without even trying.

about 3 months ago

Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

The Phantom Mensch Re:First Contact (686 comments)

I think it's safe to say that if interstellar travel is at all possible it is monumentally expensive and anyone that expends the resources to get here will be interested in exploiting the rock once they do. Space is teeming with rock but Earth is teeming with organic compounds, food and whatnot. If an alien species is trying to fulfill a biological imperative, like expand the species beyond one fragile ecosystem they would probably show up to take over ours.

It'd be sort of like Independence Day, except without the happy endingl

about 3 months ago

Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

The Phantom Mensch Re:Let me makes this real fucking simple for cycli (490 comments)

I'd add another outlier:

Red light controlled by traffic sensor that 180 lbs of bike and rider doesn't trigger: Stop, wait long enough to be sure it's not going to change then treat like a stop sign. Look for a pedestrian crossing button on a really busy intersection.

about 4 months ago

NZ Traveler's Electronics Taken At Airport; Interest in Snowden to Blame?

The Phantom Mensch Chromebook For This Situation (453 comments)

Would a chromebook make a good travel laptop for this sort of situation? Let's say you have two Google accounts, one with a bland public persona and one with any sensitive information you care to work with. Delete your sensitive account from the machine before you transit through customs and add it back when you get to a safe(ish) network. Keep all your data in the cloud.

I wonder what Chrome OS does with local files of deleted users?

about 9 months ago

How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix

The Phantom Mensch Re:Every print magazine left. (385 comments)

I'm not sure I'd right off the USPS. Their parcel business seems to be growing rapidly, with very competitive prices for small fixed price boxes.

I think the big shopping mall anchor stores (Macy's, JC Penney, etc) are all likely to fail in the next 20 years. Sears is already a dead man walking, Penney's is close and the others are living on borrowed time.

about 10 months ago

Crowdsourcing Failed In Boston Bombing Aftermath

The Phantom Mensch The Reddit/4Chan crowd needed more data. (270 comments)

The combined Reddit/4Chan photo collection was pretty crappy and lacking in metadata. The website from which the pictures of the two high school kids that got "fingered" by Reddit was very upfront about stating that the picture of the two of them from Page 1 of the NYP was taken 3 hours before the bombing. Photos from the same source closer to the time of the blast don't show them or the bomb in place yet. This could have been used to discard them as subjects if that info was more widely known.

The police/FBI had a huge advantage in that they had all relevant surveillance camera imagery plus everything 4chan had, plus more, including the eye witness reports of the surviving victims. They were probably able to correlate that imagery to cell tower call records and narrow down what phoes were in use right there and then, including the bombers.

about a year ago

If I could change what's "typical" about typical laptops ...

The Phantom Mensch I'd Go With Lighter Weight (591 comments)

After using a Samsung Chromebook for my casual evening browsing habits for a few months I find myself loving the light weight. A 3 pound laptop is something I can keep in my lap all evening comfortably, without wishing I had a desk to throw the thing on to give my legs a break.

about a year and a half ago

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

The Phantom Mensch Re:270 mile range seems good (525 comments)

You could tow a trailer with a big battery pack in it. Or call for the roadside delivery of one if you're dead.

about a year and a half ago

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

The Phantom Mensch Re:The masses have changed. (525 comments)

Buy a $20K financed over 5 years and put anything left over into the kids' college fund is how it really works.

about a year and a half ago

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

The Phantom Mensch Re:For the life of me (525 comments)

It has the potential to be much cheaper once the startup costs are payed off. Just consider the parts count in an internal combustion engine vs. an electric motor driven by batteries. It's at least a 100:1 difference.

Also, think about all the service calls you won't have to make for oil changes, air filters, fuel filters, spark plugs, and so on. And 5 years down the road you might get to retrofit your car with a battery pack that doubles your range.

about a year and a half ago

Google Now Boasts World's No. 2 and No. 3 Social Networks

The Phantom Mensch Re:And if you weight it by value... (150 comments)

Facebook is where my relatives post updates. Google+ is great for information from Google related products like android and chrome os. I tried sharing some pictures on Google+ and while the picture sharing is/was better than facebook I don't think anyone saw them.

about a year and a half ago

Reasons Behind the Demise of Kodak

The Phantom Mensch Re:Pretty simple (200 comments)

I think it's fair to say that Kodak adopted digital imaging about as well as Xerox adapted all of the ground-breaking technology out of Xerox PARC. That is, not well at all.

Many people say they should've gone into the camera business but I don't think that would've worked. Not many American companies can compete in the world of consumer electronics these days and the digital camera business is mostly a consumer electronics industry.

Maybe they should've tried to create the iTunes and iPod of photography. Take your pictures with whatever camera you want, but if you want to make your pictures look their best plug them into the eKodak kiosk or iKodak software for your home computer and we'll make them look better, and allow you to share them with Granny online or send her some pretty photo albums. Sort of iPhoto meets Flickr meets Facebook.

more than 2 years ago

High School Reunions — Facebook's Newest Victim?

The Phantom Mensch Re:Awkward reunions replaced by awkward friend req (168 comments)

I haven't got that many awkward friend requests. Once I got a few HS friends I surfed through their friend lists for familiar names and made some selective friend requests. But I also just surfed through a lot of HS acquaintance info pages and photos to get a sense of what they're up to.

Sadly, the "girl that got away" has never shown up on FB or at the one reunion I attended. Forever a mystery I guess.

more than 2 years ago

High School Reunions — Facebook's Newest Victim?

The Phantom Mensch Re:Who even gives a shit about high school anymore (168 comments)

Not everyone gets to go to a college where they "really" have fun and make friends. Some save money by going to community college during the best party years and then have to get serious when they finally go to a real school.

Some just never make a connection in college. I went to a big state school and had a great time, no regrets really. But thirty years later I have a dozen facebook friends from HS and only 1 from college, and that one is pretty tenuous.

more than 2 years ago

No PDFs, No Co-editing On Underwhelming Apple iCloud

The Phantom Mensch Re:I don't get Apple (189 comments)

The interface to the iPhone is via iTunes. I tried to put a pdf on my wife's iPhone for her because she couldn't figure out how and I couldn't figure out how to do it via iTunes either. Finally, a friend with an iPhone told me the easiest way to do it is to email it and use the phone to grab the emailed file. Doesn't Apple think that people use their phones for anything but listening to music and looking at photos? Oh yeah, there are all sorts of apps, but how does anyone who works for a living get business related stuff on and off the phone?

This was one of the "features" of iTunes that Apple put in place to placate the piracy crazed record labels. Dragging and dropping MP3s from computer to iPod and back again through the file system was regarded as a piracy enabler and the record labels wanted to at least keep it from being so easy that any 13 year old noob could do it. That is, after all, their target market. Apple went one step farther and extended that process to every kind of file on the i[Pod|Phone|Pad]. Then as the iTunes market matured they've been relaxing those restrictions just a bit.

more than 2 years ago

So Far, More Than 50,000 Kindle Fire Pre-Orders Per Day

The Phantom Mensch Re:Nearly an impulse buy at this price (291 comments)

I spose the other tablet manufacturers need to do a better job of marketing. Archos has had several 7" and 10" tablets in the $200 to $300 range, and the B&N Nook has been out for a year at a similar price point (and I suspect the Fire is a direct response to the Nook)...

I think all the Archos products got bad reviews, in the "wrong touchscreen technology, slow processor, last years OS and no Apps store" level. The Fire doesn't have all those strikes against it. The Nook Color needs to be hacked to be a full featured tablet and that shuts a lot of the market out.

more than 2 years ago


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