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Comments

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Interview: Ask Bruce Perens What You Will

Tiger4 Re:How do we address the weaknesses of Open Source (129 comments)

More to the point, how do you reply to the criticism and practice that Open Source is worthless because there is no company to back it? I run into this all the time. First, no one stop shop to get tech support from if we have trouble.
Second, No company to go after for liability
And Third, no company to maintain regular bugfixes and general currency and freshness.

We don't have a policy against Open Source, we just have a standard the vast majority of (perfectly adequate) software can never meet

about two weeks ago
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I prefer my peppers ...

Tiger4 Re:Common Examples (285 comments)

Thanks for that link! Habanero is about my limit, but I had no idea where it fell on the scale. For me Tabasco is just mid-range warm.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Reimagine a Library?

Tiger4 Re:Teach the students what a library is (231 comments)

Yes. No one wants to wallow in ignorance. They may not want to learn what you think they should learn, but they will educate themselves on something.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Reimagine a Library?

Tiger4 Re:Teach the students what a library is (231 comments)

You might even consider something like a Treasure Hunt, where teams of students find pieces of knowledge in the library. The winner gets whatever prize is available

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Reimagine a Library?

Tiger4 Teach the students what a library is (231 comments)

The students presumably want to learn things. If they don't they will only go there if forced. So, first, you show them what a library is and how it is used to access information. The staff, catalog, the stacks, how to request materials, and most important What They Can Find in the Books (and recordings and videos, etc). Once they see it as a living tool that they know how to use, they will tell You how it should be better set up.

about 3 months ago
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Disney Pulls a Reverse Santa, Takes Back Christmas Shows From Amazon Customers

Tiger4 Kindle (418 comments)

Every time I am tempted to buy a Kindle (like around Christmas season, for example), Amazon pulls this crap. Yes I know it was Disney the publisher that made the big decision. But the money went to Amazon as the provider to me. And if they retain the right to pull back anything I've already purchased, then I don't need to give them my money. And this isn't the first time. It may be rare, but so what? I wouldn't tolerate a bookstore coming to my home and pulling books off my shelves either.

about 4 months ago
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Why Engineers Must Consider the Ethical Implications of Their Work

Tiger4 Morality Engine (406 comments)

Even if I could develop a morality engine and install it in every device, system, and process I've ever worked on, I don't think I would. Not only is it too comnplex a problem, it subverts the morals of the user and substitutes my own. And I Know I don't have the far ranging vision to appreciate the fine points of every potential future situation to evaluate them properly. It is hard enough to do that well in real time, with all or most of the facts and evidence present for examination.

Any engineer, actiing responsibly, can take or refuse a job based on the knowledge at hand, and whatever moral framework may seem to apply. But predicting the future uses as well, no. It has been generally ruled out and rightly so. To do otherwise assumes people of the future are incapable of seeing their own situation and evaluating it for themselves. That kind of deprecation is as bad or worse than the kind of ancestor worship that says our forebears were smarter, wiser, more moral, etc than we are today. Still wrong, but at least in looking back we have evidence to back up (some of) the claims.

about 4 months ago
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An Anonymous US Law Enforcement Officer Claims US Wouldn't Arrest Julian Assange

Tiger4 Its A Trap! (399 comments)

Sounds like a tactic to let the Justice Department be able to say, "He is not facing arrest" without lying.

Plus they problaby have to soften up the journalist community, to get them OK with the idea that Assange is a spy and not a publisher/journalist.

about 5 months ago
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POV-Ray Is Now FLOSS

Tiger4 Re:bad summary (121 comments)

Us old timers know what it is. It's a ray tracer from the early early days (it was used to render one of the covers of my books back in the mid 90s). I honestly thought it went the way of the dodo since I haven't heard about it in years.

I've run it in MS-DOS many times. Got a nice rendering of The Ringworld system, complete with background stars and shadow squares. The last time was on a Vista machine. A NEW Vista machine, I made some springs or some such thing. Haven't been back since.

about 5 months ago
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Google Ends Internet Explorer 9 Support In Google Apps

Tiger4 Re:We're stuck on IE 6 or 8 here in business land (199 comments)

Right on the nose! Coming to you live from IE8 ! I can't wait to get back to my Firefox machine. It is only stuck on FF ESR 17

Between ultra conservative policies and massive filtering, I'm surprised I can even see /. let alone get it to work.

about 5 months ago
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Withhold Passwords From Your Employer, Go To Jail?

Tiger4 Re:Exactly right (599 comments)

The process should be the passwords to every system written down, sealed in individual envelopes, then all of them sealed in one large envelope and locked in a safe. the envelope seals are anti-tamper sealed and signed by at least two responsible people, a sysadmin and a manager. As long as nothing changes, all is good. If any of them needs to change, you break the seals and redo those. On the systems themselves, it should take two people to authorize the password change, with notice going out to them and others that the change happened. That is less likely to be implemented, so it becomes the weak point of the system.

At no point should a single person be the only one with all the key passwords. This case is what happens when you let it all fall to one guy.

about 5 months ago
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Withhold Passwords From Your Employer, Go To Jail?

Tiger4 Re:Passwords are property of the employer (599 comments)

It wasn't his work to defend. It belonged to his employer. Work for hire, and the guy that hired him told him what to do. That same person could have entirely destroyed the work, told him to rebuild it, then destroyed it again, over and over. As long as Childs is being paid his agreed and legal rate, it is entirely the employer's option to do so. Pride in his work, or more likely self-righteous pride in himself, does not properly enter into this at all.

His only defense at all is "preventing public waste" which is subjective as hell and probably not his call anyway, certainly not after the judge ruled against him.

about 5 months ago
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File-Sharing Site Was Actually an Anti-Piracy Honeypot

Tiger4 Re:No name fake site that has no rep is a honeypot (225 comments)

Honestly they were barely known and had ZERO rep in the community.

So, perhaps you'd care to share who does have the best rep? ::recorder ON::

about 6 months ago
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Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

Tiger4 Re:It may all be for naught (250 comments)

1. ACA is Federal law. The fine / tax/ whatever is Federal, imposed on the residents of the states.

2. You might look a bit further up, to Amendment 16, where it says

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

about 6 months ago
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Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

Tiger4 It may all be for naught (250 comments)

Good luck to Zients. He's a good guy and I don't doubt the code can be repaired with enough effort. A lot of effort, maybe, but it can be done.

But it might not matter. The Los Angeles Times had a story about how the real code running the show (the legalese in the ACA law) may have a fatal flaw in it. The federal government may not be able to grant subsidies to low income people in the states that did not set up their own exchanges. The law specifically says the states must do it in order for the money to flow. So 36 of the 50 may not be able to get the money. But they are still subject to the penalty for not signing up. This means the people least able to afford insurance get hammered. And since they are treated differently than people in the other 14 states that do have exchanges, you can bet an Equal Protection lawsuit will be quick in coming.

Federal judge is due to issue the initial ruling soon.

about 6 months ago
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5-Year Mission Continues After 45-Year Hiatus

Tiger4 Re:45 years ago... (283 comments)

Let's not get too hasty! Wandering in the wilderness is not to everyone's taste

about 6 months ago
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No, the Earth (almost Certainly) Won't Be Hit By an Asteroid In 2032

Tiger4 Sure, you say that now... (142 comments)

But how do we know you aren't preparing for a quick bug out when its only a month away? I've seen 2012, I know how this stuff works!!

about 6 months ago
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IsoHunt Settles With MPAA, Will Shut Down And Pay Up to $110 Million

Tiger4 Re:Damages != Net Worth (245 comments)

I think you totally missed the point. The damages done have no relation to the worth of the person that did them.

about 5 months ago
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I typically visit a doctor (for medical reasons) ...

Tiger4 Re: I only go... (415 comments)

My citation is only the daughter of friend, who did indeed go into autism spectrum after a series of vaccinations. He doesn't believe, and neither do I, that it was thimerisol. But her decline was quite obvious from just after the injections to a few years later when she stabilised.

Neither of us advocates non-vaccination, far from it. But ignoring a real risk, when we've seen it happen, isn't "science" either.

about 6 months ago
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I typically visit a doctor (for medical reasons) ...

Tiger4 Re: I only go... (415 comments)

I'm not mercury/thimerisol basher, but it isn't entirely true that vaccination can't cause autism. It isn't the mercury, it is the potential for overloading the immune system. all those vaccines are reputedly dead. Yes. But the immune system still has to respond to them, to be ready to fight off the real thig some day. One vaccine, probably no big deal for most people most of the time. A few hours of sore arm or osre butt and off you go. But several vaccines, injected into a weakened but not quite obviously compromised immune system over a short period of time? That is a differnet story. That person may become overwhelmed, and then its an open question on what collateral damage may occur.

Anyway, that is the new, and relatively legitimate science, route the "vaccines cause autism" reaserch is going. The potential "solution" would be fewer vaccines spread over a greater period. But that leaves the child open to more infections longer. Or find a way toi detect these borderline cases before the injection series begins.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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DIY Web Search

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  about 3 months ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Dear Slashdot,
With all the talk about NSA spying and manipulated search results and malware steering, I thought that maybe a roll-my-own approach would be best.. So want to know: Is there any good search engine / web crawler software out there for me to run on my own home server? It might not be the best, but it would be mine, and with only me to do the tampering (until NSA finds the back door, anyway)"
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Finally, The Hobbit starts shooting

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  about 3 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Real pictures, not photoshopped (much), of Peter Jackson on the set of The Hobbit acting like a director are now available at EOnline.com. This despite the strikes, bankruptcies, contract disputes, and legal actions that have swarmed Jackson and the project since his Lord of the Rings days. Yes, this is News for Nerds and it is Stuff that Matters. Admit it, secretly you've been dying to see this happen."
Link to Original Source
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How to implement a Deadman?

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame has been rumored to have many more documents than have already been released. Further, some of these are rumored to be held back from release by a deadman's switch, a device that activates when the person controlling it has apparently died, disappeared, or stopped providing input. The question then is, how to implement a deadman? What would be the best way to reliably ensure distribution of information after you are gone?"
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Wikileaks Rehosted

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "It was widely reported, (Associated Press, Washington Post, The Guardian, etc) that Amazon.com has kicked Wikileaks off its cloud of servers. Apparently members of the US Congress brought pressure to bear on Amazon and they succumbed. The US Constitution's First Amendment, which governs official actions of the government but not private actions, was mentioned as a protection for Wikileak's recent publication of embarrassing documents."
Link to Original Source
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More than faces captured on Goolge Street View

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Google admitted today that it sniffed up information from unguarded WiFi networks as it s Street View vans prowled America.

"Google Inc. has been vacuuming up fragments of people's online activities broadcast over public Wi-Fi networks for the past four years, a breach of Web etiquette likely to raise more privacy worries about the Internet search leader."

Leadership at Google says it has ceased the practice and is notifying regulators,

"Nevertheless, Google's decision to hold on to the Wi-Fi data until it hears back from regulators shows the company realizes it could face legal repercussions. At the very least, company officials concede that snooping on Wi-Fi networks, however inadvertent, crossed an ethical line. "We are acutely aware that we failed badly here," Eustace wrote.

Antoerh good reason to secure your local WiFi. Google might be looking over your shoulder."
Link to Original Source

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Font foundries opening up to the Web

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "A huge number of fonts are migrating from the print only world to the Web. As the browser manufacturers get on board, the WWW will be a much more interesting place (see the article illustration).

"Beginning Tuesday, Monotype Imaging, a Massachusetts company that owns one of the largest collections of typefaces in the world, is making 2,000 of its fonts available to web designers. The move follows the San Francisco-based FontShop, which put several hundred of its fonts online in February. In just a few weeks, Font Bureau, a Boston designer of fonts, will make some of its typefaces available online as well."

With any luck, the transition period to Font-richness will be more brief and less painful than the waving flag — jumping smiley — flashing text era HTML explosion"
Link to Original Source

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Broadband, who says its broadband?

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  about 4 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Columnist David Lazarus reports that the FCC is finally getting serious about measuring what you really get with a "broadband" service.

"The plan includes requiring Internet service providers to disclose average access speeds, rather than the current practice of promising speeds "up to" a certain rate. What many consumers now get "is often much less than the advertised peak speed," the FCC says.

The column goes on to say that the US currently ranks 18th among nations with broadband services. And apparently who does the measuring makes a big difference in what "they" say you have. He went to two sites recommended by the government and got 18mbit and 6mbit results. Other commercial sites varied even more, from 4mbit to 20mbit. The FCC is embarking on a 10 year plan to fix all this, but at the rate the internet changes, in 10 years it may not matter."
Link to Original Source

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iPhone app aids Haitiain survivor

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "CNN reports that a survivor of the Haitian earthquake, Dan Woolley, used a iPhone app for First Aide to help save his own life. Wooley was in trapped and injured in his hotel after the earthquake. The app on the iPhone helped him with patching his injuries, and then helped with fighting shock and tracking the passing time. He was rescued after 60 hours."
Link to Original Source
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Will Comcast Deal kill Hulu ?

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Comcast, a major US cable TV provider, may soon be in a position to kill free access to Hulu, the online TV streaming service.

"The nation's leading cable company has made no secret of its disdain for Hulu's approach of giving away the shows that Comcast and other pay-TV distributors spend billions for — and rely on to retain subscribers. Comcast is in talks with NBC Universal about pooling their entertainment assets into a new company that would own 30% of Hulu in addition to the NBC network and cable channels such as Bravo, E! and Syfy. Comcast would control the new entity and possibly have the clout to push Hulu to begin charging for access to some of its most popular shows, including "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" or "Psych." "

However, regulatory concerns do exist

There is no guarantee that Comcast and NBC Universal will come together. The deal hinges on whether a French company, Vivendi, decides to unload its 20% stake in NBC Universal. Vivendi must decide in the next two months, and then federal regulators — already concerned about media consolidation — would have to sign off on the venture of Comcast and NBC Universal.

If the deal is completed, Comcast would own 51% and GE would have 49%. This would give the Philadelphia-based cable operator a stake in Hulu, which has experienced explosive growth during the last year. The service's online audience swelled to 38.5 million viewers in August, up from 10.2 million a year earlier, according to ComScore Video Metrix, which tracks online audiences.

"

Link to Original Source
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Netflix prize winners to be announced

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Netflix wanted a 10% improvement in recommendation accuracy, and two teams appear to have hit the mark

"And not much separates the two top teams. Teams Bellkor (AT&T Research), Big Chaos and Pragmatic Theory combined to form Bellkor's Pragmatic Chaos, the first team to qualify for the prize on June 26 with a 10.05 percent improvement over Netflix's existing algorithm.

This triggered a 30-day window in which other teams were allowed to try to catch up — and indeed, a team called The Ensemble, made up of lower-ranked contestants, submitted a higher score of 10.10 percent as time ran out — a hair better than Bellkor's Pragmatic Chaos' final score of 10.09 percent."

Netflix is offering a $1 million prize. And apparently the developers, winning and losing, are not tied to licensing the tech only to Netflix."
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Cancer Breathalyzer

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Cancer researchers in the UK have come up with a way to sniff for lung cancer on the breath.

"From the results, the researchers identified 42 "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs) present in the breath of 83% of cancer patients but fewer than 83% of healthy volunteers.

Four of the most reliable were used to develop a nine-sensor array made from tiny gold particles coated with reactive chemicals sensitive to the compounds.

Other sources have picked up the story as well. Obviously, this would be a big breakthrough for rapid screening, and early detection significantly improves outcomes."

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Wireless Power Transmission!

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "A short blurb from the TED conference in Oxford, England about transmitting serious amounts of power wirelessly, in the home.

"The company showed how a transmitting unit, which could be placed in a wall, could power a television set several feet away. The chief executive of the company, Eric Giler, also showed how the system could wirelessly charge a G1 cellphone equipped with an antenna unit so small it could fit inside the phone case."

The company announcement is here

I really wonder about the safety of this at high power levels. Can power tranmission be done? Yes. Can it be done without cooking the person/pet/plant in the way? Remains to be seen."

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Online Forum - Hostile Workplace

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "A group of black Philadelphia police officers have filed a lawsuit against the police department and the city, alleging a hostile work environment due to a private website popular with police. It has received wide coverage.

From the CNN.com story,

" The suit alleges white officers post on and moderate the privately operated site, Domelights.com, both on and off the job.

Domelights' users "often joke about the racially offensive commentary on the site ... or will mention them in front of black police officers," thus creating "a racially hostile work environment," according to lawyers for the all-black Guardian Civic League, the lead plaintiff in the suit."

The site appears to be owned and operated by a member of the police force. But it is not city funded or operated. Management clearly knows it exists, it is possible police force members access it on the job, and the suite says members reference it on the job. Individual police force members have a right to their own opinions, but management has a responsibility to enforce the law fairly and equitably across the city and among their own workforce. What is the solution here?"

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Eye in the sky for city crime fighting

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "The mayor of the City of Lancaster in the Antelope Valley of southern California is considering a high definition video flying platform to aid in crime fighting. The aircraft would circle the city constantly, able to zoom in on activity spots instantly.

"You never know when you are being watched or followed. It would be stupid to commit a crime. You see it with such detail," said Mayor R. Rex Parris, who took a ride last week in a camera-equipped airplane with pilot Dick Rutan.

"I have every hope that Lancaster will be the first city to deploy it. I've never been so excited about anything."

Dick Rutan is same pilot that flew around the world non-stop in the Voyager, custom built by his brother Burt Rutan at Scaled Composites in Mojave."

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Layoffs at Google

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "the Los Angeles Times reports, "Google, the company that always seems to be hiring, has finally started firing. And it's starting with the people responsible for the hiring. The search giant said today that it planned to let go about 100 recruiters. The cuts were first reported by Valleywag and quickly confirmed on the Official Google Blog by Laszlo Bock, the company's vice president of people operations."

More positions in the engineering division will be released as well. The article states Google is a 25,000 person operation, so these aren't a relatively large number. But still, Google has the rep of being invincible, so a downturn that touches them is definitely significant."
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Test for Prostate Gene soon to be available

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "CNN.com reports a simple test to determine the presence of genes linked to Prostate Cancer. These five genes, if present, can increase the risk of prostate cancer up to nine times. "More than 25,000 American men will die from prostate cancer this year. But prostate cancer can be treated successfully if the disease is caught early. A blood test that can detect whether a man is at high risk for developing prostate cancer is on the horizon. The study was published in the February 28, 2008, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine." It turns out the company actually wants to test saliva, making the test significantly easier and more convenient.

Compare this to the tests available for BRCA, the so called Breast Cancer genes. Finding you have the gene can be devastating, but knowing well in advance of developing cancer allows many more options to be considered."
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Lin v. Win Performance Comparison

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "I know it will invite the inevitable flamebait, but I will ask anyway: Which is faster, Windows or Linux? Serious question. At the application and processing level, and at the humans-performing-a-task level, are there any good apples to Apples comparisons of throughput or time to completion of a task. Desktop, server room, network infrastructure, shop floor, custom specialty, whatever. This would be especially nice if people could point to equivalent software running in both environments to take that variable out of the equation."
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Obama's Mobile Phone records compromised, Shared?

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "CNN, Reuters, and the AP all report that Verizon has confirmed some of its employees have accessed and perhaps shared calling records of President Elect Barack Obama. Verizon says the people involved have all been put on leave with pay as the investigation proceeds. Some of the employees may have accessed the information for legitimate purposes, but others may have been curiosity seekers and may have even shared the information around. The account was "only" a phone, not a Blackberry or similar device, and Verizon believes it was just calling records, not voicemail or email that was compromised.

The articles do not dip into the similarity to the warrantless wiretapping or hospital records compromise situations of recent months. But thaty immeditately sprang to mind for me."
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Cyberwarfare threats are real for the US

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "According to numerous sources, CNN reports that the DDOS attacks preceding the Russian Georgian war are just the beginning.

"Nobody's come up with a way to prevent this from happening, even here in the U.S.," said Tom Burling, acting chief executive of Tulip Systems, an Atlanta, Georgia, Web-hosting firm that volunteered its Internet servers to protect the nation of Georgia's Web sites from malicious traffic.

Major utilities, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, may be wide open.

"This is such a crucial issue. At every level, our security now is dependent on computers," said Scott Borg, director of the United States Cyber Consequences Unit, a nonprofit research institute. "It's a whole new era. Political and military conflicts now will almost always have a cyber component. The chief targets will be critical infrastructure, and the attacks will emerge from within our own computer systems."

Botnets are of course being blamed in this one case. But we can assume a well resourced opponent would not just hire out such a potentially devastating pre-emptive attack."
Link to Original Source

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What is my end-to-end (open) HD video solution?

Tiger4 Tiger4 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Tiger4 (840741) writes "Toshiba has Surrendered in the Format War. Sony and others will now be cranking out discs in Blu-Ray format. Players will doubtless fall in price now, for those who don't already have Playstation 3. HD TVs have been out for a while. So we will soon have all the elements of an industry standard, DRM reinforced, consumer cash cow system in place. What about the rest of us? Those who want High Def video, played by machines we control, on machines we control? What are the hardware and software solutions available for minimal DRM, Do-It-Yourself storage, distribution, players, and displays? Open and Free would be nice too, but I don't want to start another war ;-)"

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