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Comments

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Microsoft Confirms Xbox One's Phone Home Requirement, Game Resale Rules

alaffin Not recording? (581 comments)

> "When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded."

Says the company that jumped on board the PRISM train so happily and willingly....

about a year ago
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Unredacted Filings Reveal Claims of Juror Misconduct in Apple vs Samsung Trial

alaffin Re:Samsung's motion (282 comments)

I do have a bias, but it's mostly that lawyers are crafty devils who know just how to skirt the law and make the most of any advantage they can find. They may say that it was so and so's wife, but I don't buy it for a second. Lawyers - the good ones that a company like Samsung can afford - know that courtroom cases are won and lost based on what is known and what is hidden. I honestly can't believe something as obvious as this was missed by everybody.

But for bias? Frankly I figure this lawsuit nonsense is the best thing ever to happen to the patent system. Eventually the kludge will break the system. Like anything else, you don't get money to do it right until doing it wrong proves to be a gigantic clusterf***.

about 2 years ago
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Unredacted Filings Reveal Claims of Juror Misconduct in Apple vs Samsung Trial

alaffin Re:Samsung's motion (282 comments)

That's not hard to figure out. They knew about it because they were involved in the lawsuit. I'd say they (they being a lawyer at the company, but probably not the lawyers involved - to avoid any potential misconduct) knew about it from the minute he showed up on a list of potential jurors and figured "Hey, ace in the hole right? If we lose we've got a strong case for juror misconduct and a mistrial."

about 2 years ago
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Telco Company Claims Freedom of Speech Includes Misleading Ads

alaffin Is it just me... (244 comments)

...or does this not seem like the perfect opportunity for the competition to hoist Rogers by their own petard? I mean really - free speech? Then what's to stop me from telling the world about how Rogers phones emit a high powered form of ionizing radiation that causes impotence in males? That Rogers internet service will infect your computer with malware. That Alan Horn (Chairman) is an accused paedophile and that Nadir Mohammed (CEO) is terrorist?

I mean it's all free speech right?

about 2 years ago
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The Dutch Repair Cafe Versus the Throwaway Society

alaffin Re:Doesn't work in the US (368 comments)

Nope. Last I checked a mouthguard didn't really reduce the amount of pain taken in an impact, just the permanent damage it might cause. The plastic and foam shoulder pads allow a football player to hit and bit hit harder by distributing the point of impact. It's similar to boxing gloves allowing boxers to punch harder.

more than 2 years ago
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Russia Threatens Pre-emptive, Destructive Force On US Missile Defense

alaffin Re:The United States wouldn't care (675 comments)

This. Russia and its antecedents have spent the better part of six hundred years trying to control Poland and her neighbours. Did anyone really think that the collapse of the Soviet Empire would change that?

more than 2 years ago
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The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn't

alaffin Re:Still a problem (85 comments)

On the surface it appears to be nothing more than a hassle for my department. To a point that's fine - that's what our department is paid to do. However there is an opportunity cost there - the time we spend cleaning up the mess is time we could have spent elsewhere. There's also cost to the students, staff and alumni involved in the attack (yes, we provide email to all three groups) - students and staff dislike the policy we have of making them prostrate themselves before our department to ask that they be let back in after falling victim to a phishing scheme while alumni actually have to be shuffled between departments trying to find the right people to talk to to get their account unlocked.

Further down the line we suffer some knock on effects. Government, in particular, has some stringent blacklists that we made following the recent spate of spam originating from our server. That's tough for a lot of our researchers who are working with the government on various and sundry projects. Or for students who are waiting to hear back on research grants. Business uses a lot of these lists too, but calling up a business and asking for them to correct their blacklist is fairly straightforward and is usually done within hours. The government is another matter altogether. It's usually faster to just wait until the ban expires rather than actually push to get removed.

So there are costs to phishing besides the nominal cost of bandwidth. And that's ignoring other phishing attacks I've seen scanning through some of our spam filter's archives. One that comes quickly to mind offers job opportunities to new graduates if they submit various pieces of person info (name, birth date, SIN number). Identity theft *is* common, and phishing is a common vector for identity theft.

As for the profitability I imagine it's a lot like most industries. A few guys with high grade organizations are raking it in, a few middle of the road companies are making enough to get by (usually taking contract work for the big guys) and the rest are lame duck orgs who think "get rich quick" and find out its not so.
   

more than 2 years ago
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The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn't

alaffin Re:Still a problem (85 comments)

Most of them go to my spam folder or get filtered into another folder that is not spam but might as well be for the number of times I look there. When one gets past that gauntlet I naturally want to find out how it did so and where my rules might need tuning. Because I thought it was fraud I started collecting info from the email to send to my bank's fraud division (as long as I was reading the email anyway) and it rolled from there.

more than 2 years ago
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The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn't

alaffin Still a problem (85 comments)

Over reported? Possibly. Is it still a problem that is a long way from being solved? Yes.

Just last week the university that I work at suffered a significant phishing attack that compromised a large number of email accounts (we don't have a complete count yet - the phisher turned around and used those accounts to send out spam and he didn't use all of them at one time). How did it work? Well, it wasn't very sophisticated - a dupe of our webmail login page (at a different URL) and an email that said "dear {university} account user...blah...account being locked...blah...go to this page {link to copy of page with fugly URL}...blah" from a Yahoo address. And the students (arguably an intelligent bunch, and most young enough to know how computers and phishers work) drank the kool-aid, clicked on the link and, in the end, made quite a mess.

I've actually been in the room when people have said "hey, this Nigerian prince thing looks like a good idea" . I've spoke with people who let a phone caller from "Microsoft" take control of their PC. And it comes from both sides. I've received legitimate emails from my bank that l could've sworn up and down were from a spammer (unsolicited, from someone I've never met, from a branch that I don't go to, poorly formatted and offering me a free credit card) but which were upon further review (checked the email address and the phone number provided in the email with the bank's fraud division) were legit. That irks me the most because it just encourages people to accept stuff that doesn't pass the smell test.

The more press this kind of thing gets the better. I'm not saying it should take headlines and mindspace from other, worthy causes but the fact is that people - including me - are stupid. If you don't hit us over the head every once in awhile to remind us why we ought not to do this than we probably will.

more than 2 years ago
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Lack of Vaccination Sends Babies In Oregon To the Hospital

alaffin Re:Autism (1007 comments)

As a parent and a husband I say bullshit. Mom can have all the money to go with the pussy and you know what? Fuck that. My daughter still comes first. And I will sacrifice everything and fight like a wounded animal to do what's best for her. Now there are some hills that aren't worth dying on. I don't truly care if my daughter gets her ears pierced while she's an infant or if we use cloth or disposable diapers. But vaccination? That's a hill worth dying on. That's something worth fighting for. Even if I lose.

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Mint To Create Digital Currency

alaffin Re:A better name (298 comments)

Nope - not our fault. Oh we have a wonderfully fun accent (actually - we have a bunch of wonderfully fun accents, you can often tell where someone is from in Newfoundland by the lilt of their speech) but we do not say "a-boot". That's a mainland product pure and simple.

more than 2 years ago
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Best Buy Scans Drivers License For Returns — No More Allowed For 90 Days

alaffin Re:Legality? (503 comments)

I totally agree, however it would seem that in this case the rule applies to returns of defective merchandise as well (as the subject of the story was returning a defective blu-ray).

FWIW - Costco has an insane return policy. We purchased a crib for my daughter there and my wife (who is far more concerned about such things) was worried about finding a matching dresser. This was fairly early in the pregnancy (we were buying the item because it was heavily discounted) and Costco essentially said that as long as we hadn't damaged the crib in any way we could return it. That kind of system is ripe for abuse (we wound up finding a matching dresser and keeping the crib, and I'm not sure a crib is something you buy for a week and return later anyway) but I'm still not sure how it is legal for a company to sell defective product and deny returns for it.

more than 2 years ago
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Best Buy Scans Drivers License For Returns — No More Allowed For 90 Days

alaffin Legality? (503 comments)

Easy solution - don't buy product from there for 90 days.

In all seriousness - how is this even legal? I know in Canada any goods sold must be of merchantable quality - which means they must work. If they are defective than the sale is void and the merchant must take them back. Even if I've returned another product within the last 90 days. Is there some kind of American consumer protection loophole they're exploiting here or do the laws not protect consumers at all south of the border?

more than 2 years ago
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Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches For Any Arrestable Offense

alaffin Re:Mountains and molehills? (747 comments)

As are a majority of the people that wind up being arrested. However if the issue is that "it's too easy to put people in jail, where this law allows peace officers to conduct strip search" shouldn't we be up in arms about the laws that allow a police office to drum up charges and throw people in jail at a whim? Once again - it seems to me this law is fairly sound - it's other laws around it that are not.

more than 2 years ago
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Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches For Any Arrestable Offense

alaffin Mountains and molehills? (747 comments)

I'm not seeing the reason for all the umbrage here. Strip searching a prisoner who is being released into the general population of a prison (and not any offence, no matter how minimal, thank you very much submitter sl4shd0rk - but good on you for twisting things so that you could get more of a reaction from the knee-jerks) seems to me to be a valid idea. Protects the guards at the prison. Protects the other inmates. Unlike those of us who aren't in prison, prisoners have no right to privacy (and have never had) so it's not a violation of their rights. Can someone explain to me what the big deal is?

more than 2 years ago
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Up To 1.5 Million Visa, MasterCard Credit Card Numbers Stolen

alaffin Easy fix (189 comments)

The thing is there are so many better ways to do things right now. For starters, you could force any retailer that wants to accept credit cards to upgrade to a chip and pin setup or lose their ability to accept credit cards. Chip and pin isn't perfect, but it's better than a magnetic stripe and a signature. For card not present transactions allow Visa card holders to create a one time credit card number (with a maximum limit) via the internet or over the phone. Want to buy something on line? Generate your own credit card number to the exact value of what you're buying. That CC # number expires at the end of the day - meaning that even if you gave it a ridiculous limit and then sent it to a shady site they'd have 24 hours to use it.

Of course implementing these fixes would cost more than just paying the scammers, so we'll never see it happen.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Feed Africa?

alaffin Re:For Mozambique ... (592 comments)

(a) That's a single river (well, many rivers really, but certainly not all of the water in Ethiopia). Why hold back on the development of other rivers? For that matter why kowtow to a distant nation? Why not try to secure international backing for your claims (as International Law clearly states that riparian nations are required to share waters in a fair and equitable manner)? There are lots of other options,
(b) If it is Egypt (admittedly working through a dated treaty put in place by a European nation) that is forcing Ethiopia's hand, it is hardly the Empire building of European nations that is holding Ethiopia back.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Feed Africa?

alaffin Re:For Mozambique ... (592 comments)

While Western Imperialism did not help Mozambique in any way, to say that the poverty of African nations is a result of Imperialism is misguided. Ethiopia is a good example of this. It was only recently (the mid-20th century) and very briefly (1936-1944) brought under the control of a proper empire. For most of the rest of its history is has been a monarchy and has always had the potential to be fairly affluent - the soils there are quite fertile compared to neighbouring nations and the nation sits high above much of the rest of Africa making it the source for a dozen or so major rivers. However the nation is a poorly organized communist society - so very little of its fertile land is irrigated by its vast water reserves and it is usually one drought away from disaster.

Are there things we could do to make things easier for Ethiopia? Sure. Because of her robust economies anything the west does has significant effects on the rest of the world. However there are many contributing factors to the poor economies of Africa, many of which have more to do with the people and the governments of these nations than anything the western world has done. Compare Ethiopia and Mozambique to Botswana, which gained independence in 1966 and was, at the time, the poorest country in Africa. Now it has a robust economy and the 2nd highest GDP per capita in sub-Saharan Africa (after Seychelles).

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Music Industry Wants Subscriber Disclosure Without Court Oversight

alaffin Re:You used to be cool, Canada (211 comments)

Harper is just copying what Martin tried many, many moons ago when the Liberals were still relevant. The current bill is not that different from C-60 which was introduced in 2005 by the Liberals. That failed when government fell, as did C-61 and C-32 (which were introduced by the Conservatives). Harper's not any more evil - he's just better at it because he can lead his party to a majority...

more than 2 years ago
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Pasadena Police Encrypt, Deny Access To Police Radio

alaffin Re:So? (487 comments)

And that worked out so well for Nixon didn't it.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

alaffin hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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The War...

alaffin alaffin writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Alright - apparently I have fans now. Yay for me! Or something like that. Anyways - I'm going to try and put out a 'journal entry' I suppose to explain where I stand on the war (which is what I have been writing about the most these days).

First off - I am not pro-war. I hate the thought of war. I'm frightened by what it means and what it might bring. I'm very much of the view that this war is unnesscessary.

Or was unnesscessary. I also believe that Saddam has to be removed. If only because he's a threat to stability in the gulf, which is right now the most strategically important location in the world. Ignoring what he has done to his own country, looking at what he has done in the past to other countries makes it clear to me that he needs to be removed. He needed to be removed tweleve years ago. And thanks to 'diplomatic' efforts by opposed countries (which essentially means standing around and making sure that the UN has no teeth to use to enforce it's resolutions) the US was left with little choice.

So I'm not pro-war. I'm pro-getting rid of Saddam.

Some things I've noticed though in my diatribes on the subject:

(a) People seem to enjoy saying that this is a plot for the US to gain access to Iraqi oil. I have yet to see any evidence of this besides the occasional reference to US history. To this I point out that the main opposition to the war also have a less than stellar history. I don't need to go into the past crimes of Russia or Germany. France too, under Napolean and Co. Yes - some of the references are slightly older than the US references, but the point is that history does not matter a whit.

(b) People like comparing Bush to ruthless dictators by throwing up cheap references to the occasional act which might mirror something Hitler did, but it also might mirror something anyone else has done.

Think about it folks. Like Bush or not, he is not Hitler. He's not Stalin. He's not Milosovic. These people have perpetrated clear evils against humanity. Bush hasn't even scratched the surface of their evil. But do you know who has?

Saddam.

(c) Alot of anti-war people are all too anxious to jump on anything that sounds even remotely pro-war. These people aren't worth listening to. They ignore facts and only look at what they want to see. They need to open their eyes.

(d) D is an overrated letter.

(e) I wish that those anti-war protestors would try to go to Iraq and speak out against the government. And while I'm talking about them - to that certain group of protesters who are going beyond the doctrine of civil disobedience - yeah, nice way to promote peace folks. Violence really lends legitimacy to your claim.

I think that's it for now. My thoughts and prayers are with both the American and British soliders in the Gulf, and with the Iraqi people who have lived too long under an opressive, evil regime. Hopefully this will be the last war they have to suffer for some time.

Later

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