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Why Chinese Hackers Would Want US Hospital Patient Data

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Where did you go to school? (165 comments)

I'm serious. Where did you go to school? Because I want to make sure that absolutely nobody I know goes there. Wow. If your plan was to take the daily prize for grammatical errors, missing words, lack of sense, and so on, well, congratulations as we have a winner.

You're (you might notice that I spelled that correctly) the only person I know of to ever mention individual state laws as a health care problem. A law can simply be passed making health care a federal matter to deal with that. And tuition to medical schools has always been high. This is not a recent occurrence. Outside of Los Angeles there just aren't all that many plastic surgery doctors so that's not really a problem either. However, this a shortage of general practitioners among younger doctors and that is because it doesn't pay as well as specialty medicine does, but doctors are going into all the specialist fields. There's no explosion of cosmetic doctors. And the system can only support so many specialists. Every medical school candidate simply can't go into the same specialty because there aren't enough training opportunities.

2 days ago
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Nuclear Regulator Hacked 3 Times In 3 Years

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Skydrive? (66 comments)

Why on earth would the NRC (or any company or government entity, for that matter) not block access to all cloud storage providers, except those which are explicitly authorized?

My first job after college was working for a branch of the Department of Defense as a civilian. I was a programmer at first and then a Unix system admin. You may not know how tight Microsoft is with Uncle Sam so it could be that SkyDrive was or even still is deliberately allowed. I could certainly see Microsoft telling some big shot manager "This can only be a good thing you for you" and they signed off on it. My experience was that security was highly variable and depended on how serious the people responsible for the systems were. It could just be an oversight or they may be operating under the bad "Permit anything not explicitly denied" policy. Both government employees and contractors have wildly varying skill sets and some people in both groups are barely qualified for the jobs they hold. Those people don't do security very well because they don't know enough to consider situations like this.

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

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Unconstitutinal (373 comments)

I don't know how it works in other countries, but here in the USofA, there's a little thing known as "the presumption of innocence," meaning that the accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. This does the exact opposite by assuming that anybody who's accused must be guilty and penalizing them without allowing them to present a defense. No judge would ever be stupid enough to rule in favor of Rightscorp, making the idea DOA at best, even if they don't get sued into bankruptcy the first time they try to enforce it.

You really do not understand how the US legal system works. I'm not an attorney, but my best friend is. He has taught me a lot about how the legal system really works here. I can assure you that it is indeed quite possible to find a judge who would rule in favor of Rightscorp. Anything can happen in a US court - anything. I know of a case involving a business dispute in my city where an appellate court ruled that the court that decided the case made up the law out of thin air. Think about that - a court was found to have made up the law they ruled on. My friend told me he had never heard of that happening before. The Naxos vs. Capitol case,which had devastating results for those of us who hoped that copyrights might actually expire one day, in my opinion also resulted in a ruling where the court that heard the case made up the law they ruled on out of nothing. If the US Supreme Court was to get some kind of hypothetical case where the law technically was very clear and required a certain ruling but actually giving that ruling would destroy the United States, plunge it into civil war and directly lead to the deaths of tens of millions of people, at least 4 members of the current court would shrug their shoulders and give that ruling, acting powerless to do anything else. There were all kinds of crazy decisions made by courts allowing mass mailings of infringement notices some years ago and that was probably as big a violation of due process as is even possible, yet it took years before judges in general began to oppose the practice. And this isn't even getting into the practice of having juries decide complex patent cases. All I can tell you is that if you haven't served on a jury, you really cannot even comprehend how stupid and technically challenged many if not most jury members are.

2 days ago
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Posting Soccer Goals On Vine Is Illegal, Say England's Premier League

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Laws vary by country. (226 comments)

So what may be illegal in England is not necessary illegal in the United States.

In the United States, you are definitely allowed to show a short clip of the the guy starting at the kick and ending at the goal.

Not exactly. It should be legal in the USA if the clip is really short, but there are no guarantees. Neither lawmakers nor courts have ever explicitly defined what "Fair Use" means, so if someone says "it's Fair Use" and a copyright holder disagrees, it takes a court case to rule on who is right. And as I always say, if you go to court in the USA, literally anything at all can happen. One court might rule that a 10 second clip is clearly Fair Use and another might rule that it's clearly a copyright violation. I know of a case in recent years where a local court got admonished by an appellate court for making up the law they used in their original ruling so literally anything can happen in US courts.

5 days ago
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Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:What are they complaining about? (338 comments)

In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars. Erm, do you actually own a car? I guess not. My private, standard, insurance for my private car, with no intent to be used commercially is insured up to 10 million Euro (damage to persons). That is a very normal rate, I doubt you can even get a lower one.

My bet is that you'll probably have better coverage when you travel as a passenger/driver with Uber than if you were to drive yourself personally Certainly not. Damage to yourself is not covered by your car insurance. That is covered by your health and/or accident insurance or 'out of job insurance' in case you can no longer work.

My friend, things are very different in the USA. I have higher insurance coverage for damage to persons than the average American. I have this based on the advice of my best friend who is attorney. My coverage tops out at about $1 million US dollars and while I could get more, to achieve your levels would be cost prohibitive. Again, note that I said that my coverage is far above what a typical American has. Here you can indeed have damage to yourself covered by car insurance. Because of the messed up way that medical care works in the USA, we actually need this kind of coverage as our health insurance may require co-pays that could bankrupt someone who isn't rich if they got into a serious vehicular accident. In fact, prior to "Obamacare" (or the Affordable Care Act if you prefer) it was quite common for health insurance to have payment limits that could easily be reached in serious accidents. Automobile insurance makes medical payments all the time here.

5 days ago
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Snowden: NSA Working On Autonomous Cyberwarfare Bot

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Snowden's comments at odds with his actions (194 comments)

I find Snowden to be a typical pampered, ego-centric product of his generation. If he actually surrendered himself to US authorities unconditionally, I'd think he just might be insane. So I totally get why he is in Russia. I'm not saying I approve of what he did as I don't, but I get why he felt the need to hide under protection to do what he did. But he undermines his credibility with statements in the article like this:
I told the government I'd volunteer for prison, as long as it served the right purpose,” he says. “I care more about the country than what happens to me."
Yeah. Right.

about a week ago
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Larry Rosen: A Case Study In Understanding (and Enforcing) the GPL

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve You sir, are being absurd (191 comments)

From the parent post:
There is rich detail about this matter that will come out during litigation. Please don't criticize until you understand all the facts.

When has knowing the facts ever stopped Slashdotters from criticizing? Sounds like somebody doesn't understand how things work around here.

about a week ago
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Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Where do I sign up? (326 comments)

Wishful thinking. Federal employees are practically unfirable. For one, they are — bizarrely — unionized (to protect them from their employer — us), but that's only part of the reason, for corporations with unionized workforce still do fire bad workers, even if it is harder for them to do so than it ought to be.

This is just simply not correct. I know. I worked for Uncle Sam for a while. While it is difficult to fire federal workers, it's not impossible. Firing for cause can happen, although the more time a person has working there, the harder it becomes. And spare me the "they're in unions" argument. Unions do exist for federal employees, but at least where I worked in the Department of Defense, unions are a waste of money for most people. By federal law federal employees cannot strike (see Ronald Reagan vs. the air traffic controllers) so the union can't really do a lot in terms of collective bargaining. The only benefit I knew of that the union offered where I worked was that they had a supplemental insurance plan you could get through them that would pick up the consumer responsible charges of medical insurance and if you had a very expensive need, like major surgery, with such insurance you could get out of it paying nothing. I know of a case where a unionized worker was going to be fired for just cause. I don't remember what the guy did, but it was really bad and there was no doubt that he was guilty. The union called for hearings and drug their feet where it took a year to fire him but in the end the guy was fired. So other than giving you supplemental insurance or delaying a firing, that's about all a union could do where I worked. The majority of our workforce was not part of any union.

about two weeks ago
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Network Hijacker Steals $83,000 In Bitcoin

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Bah ... (101 comments)

Frankly, I see little difference between stealing BitCoins from a mining pool and High Frequency Trading. And that's perfectly legal.

The official stock market justification for HFT is that it provides "liquidity" (that's the actual word they use) to the market. Translated into human-speak, that means that the trading companies get transaction fees for every transaction under HFT and that money is very important to them. Of course the traders don't pay the kind of fees that us normal people pay. They get volume discounts. But the justification is that somehow the HFT fees that get paid benefit all of us by allowing them to lower the fees that we normal people pay for our rare transactions.

After reading the book Fortune's Formula by William Poundstone, I've come to the conclusion that the stock market will always be gamed by those with money and if HFT were banned, they'd just find something to exploit, maybe even worse. I do admit to being amused by this thread because I thought that the advocates were swearing that BitCoin stealing was impossible - too many safeguards you know.

about two weeks ago
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Massive Russian Hack Has Researchers Scratching Their Heads

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Objection! (102 comments)

Individual consumers can find out through its identity protection service, which Hold Security says will be free for the first 30 days.

It's free and they still can't afford it? Sophos can't use a fraction of its 100,000 honeypot email accounts to sign up and see if it's legit?.

If I had to guess, "free" service users will have to provide a credit card and then hope that if they try to cancel that the cancellation is actually honored rather than getting into a common situation where they keep getting billed for months for a service that is almost impossible to actually cancel.

about two weeks ago
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Ecuador To Forge Ahead With State-Backed Digital Currency

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Not like bitcoin... (85 comments)

It would be extremely interesting if this is a move by Correa to put into practice Modern Monetary Theory. Correa is an economist by training, and clearly not a neo-liberal. If we see the Ecuador government switch to collecting taxes in the new currency and improving tax enforcement, I think it would be a good sign that is the direction. Assuming the neo-liberals and Washington Consensus types don't assassinate Correa before the transition is complete, it could be a fascinating case study in whether the MMT crowd gets it right.

I can assure you that Correa is anti-American first and above all things just like most of those in South American presidencies right now. He is an economist at absolute best second. This has very little to do with MMT and is all about reducing dependency on the US, including the dollar. He's just barely less anti-American than the governments of Venezuela and Cuba. Like his similar minded fellow presidents in most of the region, the US provides a convenient evil boogey man to blame government mismanagement and corruption on. Correa can't really see very far into the future and he has no great plan. It took a call from Joe Biden to point out that the US buys a lot of stuff from Ecuador that we could buy elsewhere. There's nothing special about Ecuador as a source for those things. That got him to back off a pretty virulent and typical anti-US rant related to Edward Snowden when he realized that he could very quickly be looking at an economy destroying US boycott. All he really cares about is staying in power and providing little scraps to the citizens to keep his job. Whether this idea works or not, it's not part of any great plan or forward thinking. It's all just part of his general anti-US outlook. He can't really scrap the dollar and go back to the worthless sucre, so this is his only alternative.

about two weeks ago
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Gmail Recognizes Addresses Containing Non-Latin Characters

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Great idea (149 comments)

Of course there is probably someone in China or Korea thinking "why do I have to use this special keyboard mode with characters I don't understand to write emails".

Any educated person there, and in countries that use Cyrillic in case you wondered, will learn the Latin alphabet in school. By the way, their keyboards always have the Latin alphabet on them along with symbols for certain characters in their own writing systems.

about two weeks ago
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Ex-Autonomy CFO: HP Trying To Hide Truth

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:This is really egg on HP's face (59 comments)

If your accounting is violating all the rules it's possible to hide the real accounting information from everyone. Look at what Enron did with layers of fake companies that weren't on the books holding all the bad debt. When you go to that level of fraud the only people that are going to be able to unravel it are forensic accountants and months of fine toothed combs. The system is gameable because it operates on a system of trust, when these CEO's and accountants are willing to go to the level of full on accounting fraud the system we have doesn't work because it always assumed we had rational players that aren't two bit scammers. The degrading of ethics in business school has apparently turned that on it ear.

We had posts on this subject maybe a few months after the acquisition blew up on HP and it became to clear to everybody that HP got suckered. The posts at the time said that HP's upper management put heavy pressure on all parts of the company to quickly approve the purchase of Autonomy and dissenting voices who wanted a closer look were silenced. There were various outside sources prior to the purchase who were warning that simple logic dictated that Autonomy's claimed sales figures could not be correct, but we had several HP employees post here saying that nobody in upper management wanted to hear any "negativity" about the acquisition, so "due diligence" was rushed through.

about two weeks ago
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French Provider Free Could Buy US Branch of T-Mobile

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:This might just be bad news. (111 comments)

French here. Iliad's strategy might be good in the short term for consumers, but in the long run, this might just have catastrophic consequences. Let me explain.

...

SFR's network is dwindling fast, Bouygues no longer has the economic power to improve, Orange is still afloat because it's the spin-off of France Telecom, the old public phone company, and Free is still there, working on their network at the slowest pace ever because they don't have the cash to build up,

Since you are French I am shocked that you made such a big mistake, but Orange is not a "spinoff" of France Telecom. Orange is France Telecom. The FT name is no more. It is now Orange.

about three weeks ago
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An Accidental Wikipedia Hoax

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve It happens (189 comments)

I'm not very good at the HMTL linky thing, so I'll skip that, but interested parties may want to check the Wikipedia article on the late Ron Stewart, former hockey player in the NHL. If you go through the history of edits and look at the original article, you probably don't have to know much about hockey to realize that the article content is absurd with multiple references to his supposed love of pottery and other ridiculous claims. Yet the absurd and unsubstantiated claim from the original article that his father was a lumberjack and Stewart grew up in Mobile, Alabama (there is no way an NHL hockey player of his era could have grown up in the Deep South of the USA and made it to the NHL) persisted for over 3 and a half years before finally being removed. The current article on Stewart seems factual.

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

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Anything can happen in a US court (317 comments)

As an American with an above average grasp of the US legal system thanks to a long time friend who is an attorney, I can tell you that anything can happen if this case goes to court. Should the AARC lose? Yes. But will they? Who knows? Juries aren't made up of people who understand technology. If Ford and GM's lawyers botch the case or the jury has quite a few members who are obsessed with punishing rules breakers, the AARC can win. I agree that it seems likely that an undisclosed settlement will be reached. The AARC probably knows that most likely it won't prevail so getting something is better than losing in court and getting nothing and GM and Ford would prefer not to take the risk that a crazy jury will rule against them and view a limited settlement as the best option available. Even having judges decide cases is no guarantee against craziness. I know of one case where a court was overruled by an appellate court who accused the original court of making up the law out of nothing on the case in question. My attorney friend told me that he agreed with the appellate court ruling but he'd never seen a court use that kind of language before in slapping down another court.

about three weeks ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Syfylys passes on an actual classic (144 comments)

This is why you put an executive in charge of a channel that actually likes the genre. Bonnie Hammer only saw SciFi Channel as a stepping stone to a more mainstream network (USA), and installed another idiot who didn't really care for the shows they were peddling when she left.

This. The fact that Syfy (hate that spelling) passed may actually be a good thing, but I can't really offer a thought on what it means that the BBC passed. Maybe it was a cost issue for them. Syfy's recent track record is not good unless Sharknado and it's ilk are all you are after.

about three weeks ago
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Samsung Delays Tizen Phone Launch

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:Windows Phone? (112 comments)

How did Windows Phone get in that group. That's the 3rd largest ecosystem and growing rapidly with multiple billions behind it. It has shipped and is shipping. Unitwise it is over 1/3rd of of iOS sales. Definitely 3rd place but not marginal, or non-existant.

Are they "growing rapidly" in any developed market like the USA, Canada, EU, Japan, Australia, New Zealand? The only person I know who has one lives in Taiwan and she admitted to me she bought it for cost reasons but would have preferred an Android or iPhone. And billions of what, exactly, behind it? If you mean sales then that is certainly not true. If you mean Microsoft is throwing billions of dollars at trying to get suckers to buy them, maybe. They don't even advertise Windows Phone on TV any more in the USA and at least a few years ago they were doing that.

about three weeks ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve I hear ya, Nom du Keyboard (354 comments)

I feel the same way you do, Nom du Keyboard. My biggest complaint about Netflix streaming is that they don't have what I want to see. Now I admit that my tastes are not typical, so I get that if I want to see some Japanese sword fighting film from the 1970s, I'm probably going to have to get a DVD. But when I actually want to see a Hollywood movie, I am always finding that I can't stream it from Netflix. If they stopped their disc service, I might as well stop being a customer at that point. Other than 2 TV shows from a few years ago that I missed when they were on, I've found Netflix's streaming offers to be very poor. I would like to know what people watch who love the streaming from Netflix because there sure are plenty of them.

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

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve Re:I can't ever work for IBM again .. (282 comments)

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that those terms won't be enforceable in what they call "right to work" states in the USA. In those states I know of businesses that try to enforce restrictions like that, but the only reason they work is because the employees don't know their legal rights, not because the restrictions are actually legal in those states.

about a month ago

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