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A Mysterious Piece of Russian Space Junk Does Maneuvers

amjohns Gotta be for spying somehow (146 comments)

Why else wouldn't you announce it? Especially if it's the size of a cubesat but can manuever, that's a breakthrough.

At least the US admits the X-37B is there, even if nobody has a clue what it's doing...

about three weeks ago
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New NSA-Funded Code Rolls All Programming Languages Into One

amjohns Re:NSA: A Source Name we trust! (306 comments)

Yeah, like that horrible SELinux thing they developed...

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

amjohns Re:example of "dork" thinking ruining tech (194 comments)

Wow, now fully in namecalling mode... Argument Won!

BTW, when you were panning the one *possible* COTS solution I provided, amidst the Anti-Samsung tirade, you missed the point that it was just Skype - all the famlies could use whatever they want.

in all seriousness though, when dealing with self-supporting users, KISS principle applies. I get you were advocating that with the "maintenance-free" kiosk, but you were totally overlooking the server maintenance (patches, etc, not physical maint.), and the same to the kiosk.

And with the rate of change of some sadly-named standards, one security-driven library update could break the whole thing. Then OP gets the 2am call, or they pay someone $100+/hr to troubleshoot the bugs. Thus why fully-COTS is best in this scenario

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

amjohns Re: WebRTC, Asterisk/FreeSwitch and a JS SIP clie (194 comments)

I know I'm gonna get modded down for this - so be it:

Typical /. radical evangelism for open source, at all costs (metaphorically, not $$), without regard for the whole of the circumstances.

If there was a dedicated IT team, fine. If this was just OP and his grandma only, fine. Any of several circumstances, fine. But that's NOT the case!

Here we have lot of users, you MUST have dedicated support, and OP can't (trust me, I've been in this situation) provide that 24/7 long-term. And keep that server running, but that can be outsourced very cheaply is a delusion. Who's gonna pay for the next X years?? IT Consultants aren't cheap, and any upgrades that break things will be costly to repair, while being an outage for the users.

In a situation like this, COTS, with consumer support available and used to dealing with non-technical users (you know, the helpdesk script monkeys that piss US off...), is the way to go.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

amjohns Re: FaceTime (194 comments)

Build a fixed mounting kiosk so it doesn't walk, use the MDM to lockdown apps, etc, and it's golden.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

amjohns Re: WebRTC, Asterisk/FreeSwitch and a JS SIP clie (194 comments)

Actually, my suggestion is in a separate comment down the page...

But to answer why the above is still a bad idea, it leaves OP on the hook for regular/recurring maintenance. Moreover, it creates a single point of failure if he gets hit by a bus, or just goes on vacation.

When dealing with highly nontechnical users, especially under a high-stress environment such as distant family wanting to talk to failing relatives before they die or can't usefully communicate anymore, any delay or breakdown leads to massive tension- and gets OP called at 2am on Sunday!

Therefore, a 100% COTS soltution is ideal.

Fronkly OP needs to learn to use freakin' google, I found COTS solution, in stock at Best Buy, in ~45sec... There are still supported, stable solutions out there

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

amjohns Keep it COTS! (194 comments)

You're dealing with nontechnical folks at both ends... You want ease of use and commercial customer support

Easy answer: Smart TV w/ Skype camera. Here's Samsung's version

about 4 months ago
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New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

amjohns Re:How is this a good idea? (249 comments)

Especially if you value your privacy, and battery life

about 5 months ago
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New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

amjohns Re:Well, no. (249 comments)

So you're saying developers will flee Google Play for Apple - if Google implements the EXACT SAME privacy/permissions controls iOS already has??

Lack of control over app permissions, just having to blindly accept whatever an app requests all-or-none, is precisely why I avoid Android. Now they've just made it even worse!

about 5 months ago
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In the year since Snowden's revelations ...

amjohns Re:secure by default (248 comments)

Not only does the US Government have no authority over foreigners (not on US soil), those foreigners have no authority to direct the US Government, by means of voting.

Every democratic government's primary interest is making it's citizens happy - that's how the elected officials get re-elected. It's really that simple... For the vast majority of the citizenry, that means the basics: food, water, education, safety, healthcare, etc.

All people (and thus their governments) are inherently selfish to varying degrees, they always want more for themselves, whether it's better food, a bigger house, or improved safety. And they will gladly take personal enrichment, at the sacrifice of others if need be, it's basic human nature. Obviously there are limits, both practical and driven by needing to live communally, whether at the person-to-person level, or nation-to-nation, and that drives just how much we're willing to screw-over someone else to improve some facet of our own lives.

Since we're all trying to get ahead, governments need to keep an eye on each other, to maintain their own standard of living, that will never change. And modern technology has made it easier than ever...

I'm not saying "deal with it", because there do need to be limits, but they will always be driven by ANY government looking out for it's own citizens' well-being first and foremost. If they can achieve that through cooperation, awesome, but sometimes it'll be through subterfuge.

about 5 months ago
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In the year since Snowden's revelations ...

amjohns Re:"citizens" ? (248 comments)

Yes, according to the US Constitution: "(We) the People of the United States". The OP's point is still valid...

about 5 months ago
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Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

amjohns Re:Another type that is interesting... (717 comments)

You mean the people that actually come in, knuckle-down, get work done instead of facebook/instagram/etc, then leave and go have a life?? Damn them, Damn them all to hell!!

about 9 months ago
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EU Parliament: Other Countries Spy, But Less Than the UK, US

amjohns Re:Problem? (170 comments)

They were probably pissed, of course. But if their company had the right product at the right price, they could have won.

There's a difference between exposing corruption and fostering it. In that specific case, the US had a valid concern of impropriety, were proven right, and protected the national economic health.

Any other country would do the same, and if they're not, then they're failing the citizens...

1 year,29 days
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EU Parliament: Other Countries Spy, But Less Than the UK, US

amjohns Re:Problem? (170 comments)

Not at all. By necessity, Israel is one of the best countries at deception, and they use that against everybody.

Given their nature to overreact to threats, I'll sleep much better if ALL the UNSC countries are heavily spying on them, and calling them out when something sketchy is brewing. Looks like they're about to re-invade the West bank?? Bring that up in the spotlight!

1 year,29 days
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EU Parliament: Other Countries Spy, But Less Than the UK, US

amjohns Re:Problem? (170 comments)

Absolutely wrong. In many cases, sprying on countries prevents an immediate threat! That said, you have to be sure you're getting accurate data, and not repeat the iraq invasion fiasco.

Should the west stop spying on Iran, and just wait until the day they announce "We've got nukes!"? I think most people would rationally say no way. Should US stop spying on China's buildup of missiles aimed at Taiwan?

But besides the purely miltary applications, here's another equally valid one, well documented by the EU in their Echelon investigations: The US spied on Saudi Arabia and airbus, and found the Saudis were bribed by Airbus to win a massive airplane purchase, over Boeing. When the US blew the whistle, a new clean competition ended up with the US manufacturer winning. That probably saved or created thousands of jobs, clearly protecting US financial well-being. If they had waited until the winner was announced, they would have never known the bribes happened in the first place, so preemptive spying saved jobs, which protects the economy.

1 year,29 days
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George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

amjohns Re:"Three Stooges" Self Defense Law (1737 comments)

The most striking thing to me has always been that both actors would have been within their rights, under "Stand Your Ground," to attack the other.

Absolutely not! The one who instigates the conflict is not entitled to claim self-defense under any state's laws, except if they clearly try to disengage and are prevented by the other person(s) from doing so. Questioning someone is not conflict, it's a question. Hurling fists, or even profanities, is conflict.

Here's how it works:
Scenario 1: I ask you what you're doing here, you pull knife, I shoot you: Legit self-defense. If state has SYG no need for me to run away

Scenario 2: I ask you what you're doing here, you pull knife and stab me: Murder by you.

Scenario 3: I aggressively tell you to '"Get the F(*& out of my neighborhood you $^&%$" while charging towards you (assault), you pull knife (defense), I shoot you: Murder or at least Manslaughter by me, because I started the conflict.

Scenario 4: I aggressively tell you to '"Get the F(*& out of my neighborhood you $^&%$" while charging towards you (assault), you pull knife (defense), I put up my hands and try to run away (disengage), you follow me and back me into a corner (continuing assault), I shoot you: Legit self-defense due to attempt to disengage

Scenario 5: I aggressively tell you to '"Get the F(*& out of my neighborhood you $^&%$" while charging towards you (assault), you pull knife (defense), I put up my hands and try to run away (disengage), you follow me and back me into a corner and stab me: Murder by you

Scenario 6: I aggressively tell you to '"Get the F(*& out of my neighborhood you $^&%$" while charging towards you (assault), you pull knife (defense), I put up my hands and try to run away, you let me go: Assault by me if you want to press charges.

It all boils down the the actions. At no time did anyone prove ZImmerman truly started the conflict, either by hostile words or actions, and that's why the jury had to go with self-defense. *If* Martin was the one to start the conflict, and especially if he was on top of Zimmerman (per witness), then he had no right to do anything.

about a year ago
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George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

amjohns Re:Does anyone know (1737 comments)

That man would have to be engaged in a forceable felony or represent a real threat.

Isn't being punched (assault) in the face, on your back, with your head being slammed into concrete a "forcible felony"? Sure seems that way to me, many other people, and quite obviously the jury as well.

I'm not saying that's what happened, none of us really knows... But *if* it was, and the person being beaten didn't throw the first punch or start the fight, then self-defense is absolutely justified. And no, following someone is not starting the fight, even if it's stupid, and possibly morally (although not legally) wrong.

This was clearly a case where the state's slim evidence, and poor evidence handling apparently, was insufficient to overcome the defendant's testimony and medical evidence as to how the events occurred in the minds of the jury. It may be right, it may be wrong, but it's still the best legal system around.

about a year ago
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Whistleblowing IT Director Fired By FL State Attorney

amjohns Re: Do good ... (569 comments)

So you're claiming that inquiring whether the prosecutor, intentionally or not, withheld evidence from the defense is bad?

That has NOTHING to do w/ anyone's guilt or innocence, it has EVERYTHING to do with the rule of law. FTA: "Kruidbos said he became concerned that lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda might not have turned over Kruidbos’ report to defense attorneys." This man saw a potential violation, and questioned it. If that evidence HADN'T been turned over to the defense, it could have been grounds for an appeals court to overturn any possible conviction.

The entire American (and western world) legal system is based on the principle that a defendant has the right to all information the government may try to use against him/her, AND any information that could cast doubt on the prosecutor's evidence or interpretation of the facts; it's called exculpatory evidence. Whether it's relevant to the case is up to the (presumably impartial) judge, and then the jury if the judge allows it to be presented. Now that may not always be fair to the victim and their family, but it's the law, and everyone in the legal system, police, lawyers, judgets, etc is bound to uphold it.

Let me give a similar, but counter hypothetical example: What if the police had a rock-solid forensic expert who could positively identify some of the other evidence (e.g. the screams on the phone), and conclusively prove ZImmerman was innocent (not saying this exists... follow me here)? And they withheld that and still charged him with murder. Would it be right to bring that up? Obviously it would!

There's NO DIFFERENCE between that hypothetical and this actual situation, both are cases of the defendant potentially being denied their right to exculpatory evidence, to be vetted by the judge for relevance and bias.

about a year ago

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