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Slack Now Letting Employers Tap Workers' Private Chats

bhmit1 They are expanding to other markets... (79 comments)

... not exploiting existing ones, at least not intentionally. This is a requirement for places like financial firms that have to show there was no insider trading going on, so phone calls and messaging systems have to have full logs. Every other system is simply banned for compliance. So if Slack wants to be used in those companies, they have to have this capability.

Seems like a story of company expansion more than privacy being exploited, but of course, like others say, if it's not on your computer, don't assume that it's private.

about 2 months ago

A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

bhmit1 Could be worse (44 comments)

At least it's not the Rube Goldberg design of MLAS...


But I still agree with others, the NASA designs are over engineered, designed by committee for maximum vendor usage so jobs get created in as many states as possible, making it difficult for Congress to cut their budget.

about 3 months ago

Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

bhmit1 Re:Let's call it what it is: SPAM (418 comments)

That's a terrible analogy. Email is paid by each end of the connection paying their ISP for the network and possibly mail server access, and the sender being willing to do the work of creating the email for free (or getting paid through an outside mechanism). Contrast that with youtube where the provider of the video needs to make some money to keep their lights on and pay for their end of the network traffic. Either you have ads to pay for the other end of that network connection, hosting fees, and the content creator, or you need to workout a subscription or micropayment system.

Besides, SPAM works completely outside of the email payment system by frequently hijacking a host with malware and use their resources to send the junk. Ads, on the other hand, pay the person that is providing the service or content, and are only pushed to you when you request the content. Don't want to see an ad? Then don't go to an ad supported website. Don't want to see SPAM? Sorry, there's no easy opt out for that.

about 6 months ago

Officials Say HealthCare.gov Site Now Performing Well

bhmit1 Re:Nope, still not working for me (644 comments)

Same here, still waiting for my identity verification.

Got all the way to the "verifying identity" step a week or two after launch and have been stuck there ever since. Sent in my drivers license and SSN scans and never heard back. All I received (before my ID had a chance to be verified) was a file called "IndentityProfingFailureNotice.pdf" (sic) that cannot be opened. It's been over a month waiting for them to check my credentials. Apparently I have a message according to a banner that I can close, but I don't see anywhere on the site to check messages.

Unfortunately, since I applied during the initial rush, the phone number to the 3rd party credit reporting bureau was not taking any calls, and I'm not longer able to use that method to verify my identity. And I still question why the credit reporting bureau thought I had pets that I'd taken to a vet and a phone number on the other side of the state. Seems like they were mixing up my identity with someone else. (Yes I check my credit reports for identity theft, nothing there. And you can't report a bad security question to the bureaus, at least not that I can see.)

about a year ago

Florida Law May Accidentally Ban Computers and Smartphones

bhmit1 Everyone is a criminal, by design (238 comments)

That's the goal of far too much legislation. This way law enforcement always has something they can charge people with that they don't like and lets everyone else go about their business. We no longer have a "rule of law" in this country, we have a "rule of staying on law enforcement's good side." In all likelihood, you committed 3 felonies yesterday and will do so again today:


When I see my local politicians doing this, it just shows how much they like the current setup:


about a year and a half ago

State Dept. Bureau Spent $630k On Facebook 'Likes'

bhmit1 Welcome to our life (99 comments)

It must be terrible to have to constantly pay more and feel like your getting less and less in return.

Welcome to the life of every tax payer, cable TV subscriber, health insurance purchaser, etc. I feel both the laugher of irony and the sorrow of more wasted tax payer dollars when private companies turn things around and "tax" the government.

about a year and a half ago

Altering Text In eBooks To Track Pirates

bhmit1 Re:Defeated in one... (467 comments)

This isn't designed to stop the determined thief, there will still be plenty of piracy. Instead, it's designed to maximize profits from average users. Friends no longer let other friends borrow a copy of their book like they would have done with a physical book, because they are afraid that it could get shared publicly.

It's not so different from how dvd DRM isn't to stop people from making copies of movies, it's to prevent the manufacturers of players from adding features that customers would like, such as region free playing and the ability to skip ads at the beginning of the disk.

In both cases, criminals can easily do what they've always done, but the law abiding users are less and less able to use the product in ways that used to be legal.

about a year and a half ago

Mayor Bloomberg Battles Fleet Owners Over NYC 'Taxi of Tomorrow'

bhmit1 Uber? Stop aiming so low (278 comments)

If you really want to "destroy an industry" then allow self driving vehicles to replace cab services. People could subscribe to a car service or pay per use to have a car when they need it. The cars would automatically recharge when not needed, automatically deploy to areas of high demand, be callable with a smart phone app and station themselves at predetermined locations for non-app users. Google can integrate voice commands, local search, maps, and their field trip app so there isn't even a need to talk to a cab driver again.

When cab drivers are finding alternate ways to get customers, you've altered an industry. When cab drivers are looking for a different career, you've destroyed an industry.

about a year and a half ago

Can Older Software Developers Still Learn New Tricks?

bhmit1 Font size (365 comments)

Did TFA intentionally use a 10 point font that's too small for older people to read on this article? Maybe I'm getting too old, but I was cont-+'ing that a half dozen times so I wouldn't have to use a magnifying glass.

about 2 years ago

T-Mobile Ends Contracts and Subsidies

bhmit1 Re:Just wait.. (404 comments)

I've been with them for 2 years without a contract (they used to hide the option in the past, and they didn't allow you to pay for the phone over time). Not once have they changed my plan, features, or my monthly charges. The only thing that changed was my 3rd party insurance plan reduced their coverage.

The great thing about T-Mobile phones from 2 years ago was that they weren't crippled. They allowed the portable wifi hotspot feature out of the box, without any extra charge. And they included a "call out over wifi" option for people in a bad coverage area (though that didn't fix incoming calls).

about 2 years ago

Nearly Every NYC Crime Involves Computers, Says Manhattan DA

bhmit1 In other news... (108 comments)

Nearly every crime involves transportation and communication. This is less of a story about how cybercrime is a threat and we should all unplug from the dangerous internet and worry about the next attack on a major utility company. Rather it's a realization that technology is an extension of our lives now, everything is impacted by it, and that's no different for criminals.

about 2 years ago

Tax Peculiarities Mean Facebook Paid No Net Taxes For 2012

bhmit1 There's no pleasing an angry mob (307 comments)

When corporations keep record profits internally and pay their people minimum wage, we scream that it's not fair and they need to pay their employees more. When they pay no taxes because they paid their employees with large stock options, they aren't paying their fair share, even though the marginal rate for employees is typically higher than the tax rate of a corporation. And contrary to the implications of the article, stock options do cost the company something, they cost the company the future ability to use those shares of the company to raise investor funds.

This all said, I do agree there's an inherent unfairness to small businesses who can't easily utilize international laws to move profits to a location where corporate income isn't taxed. But unless you're trying to move more business out of the US, I don't agree that the right answer is to force companies to pay taxes on foreign income. Rather, we should be doing more to eliminate red tape and other barriers to entry faced by people that want to start a company and hire people.

about 2 years ago

Australia's Biggest Telco Sold Routers With Hardcoded Passwords

bhmit1 Re:Comcast routers (154 comments)

Hardcoded initial passwords should never be used for anything other than the first access to a device (after a reset) to configure it with the customers own password and settings. It should also not be usable from any public facing interfaces, but that's a side issue. This is no different from being given a temporary password and told to change it when you first login to a computer or web site.

Leaving default passwords, even if they are unique per device, exposes the security risk that someone will discover those passwords. With unique passwords, all someone needs to find is the database or printing records used to create all those unique labels, or they can discover an algorithm used to generate the unique passwords. Once hacked, unique passwords provide only marginally better security than identical default passwords, but they create a bigger issue because of the false sense of security they have given users that assume they are secure.

more than 2 years ago

Google Unveils New Search Features, Including iOS Voice Search

bhmit1 Act of Congress (96 comments)

Google: What will it take to get this app in the app store?
Apple: It would take an act of Congress.
... some time later ...
Apple: It was a figure of speech!

more than 2 years ago

Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? There's an App For That

bhmit1 Re:A good reason to go independent (550 comments)

You don't register with a party in my state, but my neighbor still has a list of names and addresses to visit when she canvases the neighborhood. I'm pretty sure they just note which primary elections you vote in, and since Democrats have been incumbents lately, I've been classified as a Republican. I vote in every primary in the false hope of blocking the extreme right and left wings from getting on the ballot.

Not only should we make someone's vote secret, we should also make it secret whether they voted at all.

more than 2 years ago

MS To Build Antivirus Into Win8: Boon Or Monopoly?

bhmit1 It's About Intention and Competition (748 comments)

You have to look at the intention of the monopoly and the competition they face. When the bundling of IE happened, there was no desktop OS competition. All they had was the competition of moving the desktop into the browser, and MS wanted to be sure that they controlled that migration and limited it to their browser. Their competition was Netscape and their intention was to eliminate this competition by bundling and keeping their product "free."

When you look at the AV space, MS doesn't face competition from the AV vendors, they are helping their product work safer. Their competition is from Apple in the consumer space, Linux in the server space, and Google in the mobile and cloud space. Adding AV to their OS is an attempt to compete in the market, not to eliminate their competition of AV vendors.

That said, it will be interesting to see if and how 3rd party AV vendors will be allowed to replace the built-in AV.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Do We Need Pseudonymous Social Networking?

bhmit1 StackOverflow already solved this (213 comments)

Admit that you'll never know if anyone's name online is their real name, let them put whatever name they want, but then limit what they can do until they build up some reputation.

If they are a new user, don't let them run around spamming on everyone else's posts and throttle the number of activities they can take until it's been verified by other more trusted members. Allow people to flag posts or identities as spam, and follow up with moderators (or even algorithms analyzing the flags) to suspend or outright ban the offender.

There's no need to reinvent the wheel here.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Protect Data On Android?

bhmit1 Re:usb security (238 comments)

Can you even access the pull down the activate USB mass-storage mode when the phone is locked?

Yes you can activate the USB without unlocking the phone, at least that's the case on my G2. But this only gives access to the SD card, which you have physical access to anyway (remove battery, pull SD card, mount with any adapter). The device's internal memory is another case, and may be protected when the screen is locked and development mode is disabled, but I personally wouldn't trust this lock. An obvious first step for anyone that is paranoid is having a remote-wipe capability.

more than 3 years ago

IBM Watson To Replace Salespeople and Cold-Callers

bhmit1 Answer in the form of a question (316 comments)

To every inquiry, it will answer you in the form of a question, just like every other sales and support person I've worked with. Doesn't seem much different to me.

more than 3 years ago



Solar Panel Rips on ISS

bhmit1 bhmit1 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bhmit1 writes "Nasa's solar panel woes continue with today's discovery, a rip on one of the recently moved panels. From the article: "The astronauts abruptly stopped the unfurling of the second panel, however, as soon as they saw the rip on the edge of the panel. The panel was almost completely unfurled when the rip was spotted. The astronauts beamed down photos of the torn and crumpled section so NASA can analyze them and determine the extent of the damage.""
Link to Original Source

Space station solar equipment showing damage

bhmit1 bhmit1 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bhmit1 writes "The latest space walk has turned up some bad news for the problematic solar panels: metal shavings. From the article: "The rotary joint, 10 feet in diameter, has experienced intermittent vibrations and power spikes for nearly two months. Space station managers were hoping a thermal cover or bolt might be hanging up the mechanism. That would have been relatively easy to fix, so they were disheartened when Daniel Tani radioed down that metal shavings were everywhere. 'It's quite clear that it's metal-to-metal grating or something, and it's widespread,' Tani said.""
Link to Original Source

Nobel Awards Harddrive Technology

bhmit1 bhmit1 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bhmit1 writes "The Nobel Prize in Physics this year is given for technology that makes compact harddrives possible. From the announcement: "In 1988 the Frenchman Albert Fert and the German Peter Grünberg each independently discovered a totally new physical effect — Giant Magnetoresistance or GMR. Very weak magnetic changes give rise to major differences in electrical resistance in a GMR system. A system of this kind is the perfect tool for reading data from hard disks when information registered magnetically has to be converted to electric current.""
Link to Original Source

Nasa: No Fix Needed for Endevavour's Tiles

bhmit1 bhmit1 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bhmit1 writes "It looks like everyone but slashdot is reporting that no repairs are needed for Endeavour. From the article:

After meeting for five hours, mission managers opted Thursday night against any risky spacewalk repairs, after receiving the results of one final thermal test. The massive amount of data indicated Endeavour would suffer no serious structural damage during next week's re-entry.

Their worry was not that Endeavour might be destroyed and its seven astronauts killed in a replay of the Columbia disaster — the gouge is too small to be catastrophic. They were concerned that the heat of re-entry could weaken the shuttle's aluminum frame at the damaged spot and result in lengthy postflight repairs.
Godspeed Endeavour!"

Link to Original Source

bhmit1 bhmit1 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

bhmit1 writes "Time has an interesting piece about human evolution. From the story:
Yet tiny differences, sprinkled throughout the genome, have made all the difference. Agriculture, language, art, music, technology and philosophy — all the achievements that make us profoundly different from chimpanzees and make a chimp in a business suit seem so deeply ridiculous — are somehow encoded within minute fractions of our genetic code. Nobody yet knows precisely where they are or how they work, but somewhere in the nuclei of our cells are handfuls of amino acids, arranged in a specific order, that endow us with the brainpower to outthink and outdo our closest relatives on the tree of life.


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