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Comments

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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

buss_error Sad (928 comments)

I've used South West Airlines for more than 3 decades. Unless the people responsible for kicking off an unhappy passenger are corrected in public, I will no longer include South West Airlines in my travel plans, nor will I authorize use of their services for my employees.

When I have an unhappy customer, I don't demand they delete their rant, I ask them how I can fix it for them. Sometimes it's not what I'd like to do, but it is what I must do to make my customer happy. I never have, and I never will ask a customer to remove a negative comment. I will ask what can I do to make this right, and if there is any way I can meet the expectation, I will.

#Eyes on YOU SWA

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

buss_error Re:Cars are a luxury (390 comments)

Hmm. Much depends on where you live. If you are on the west or east coast, with great public transport, then I agree.
If however, you live in Texas, where public transportation is treated as a poor joke, and one in bad taste at that, and vast metroplexes, then maybe not so much.
It's funny, because the buss routes through the "poor" side of town are 40% less than on the "rich" side of town. On the poor side, you are expected to walk as much as 6 miles to a "transportation hub", while on the "rich" side, there are no routes longer than a mile away from any business or residental section.

about 4 months ago
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Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

buss_error Libability (440 comments)

The issue here isn't that CostCo is being numb, the issue is that people can sue CostCo if they claim to be sick from the peanut butter. Even if the food bank gives it away, and the person that gets it gives it away, the chain is still there, and CostCo is still in the sights of a plaintiff as a target for a suit.

This is pretty much why railroads will shred brand new cars if they were in a derailment. It's easier accounting to pay the manufacturer for the car than to risk 100,000 or more in liability because the car "might have been" damaged in the derailment leading to the suit. Hmmm. $40K for the car an know that's the end of it, or risk potentially $100K+ payouts for decades after from someone that might not even be born yet? It's simple math.

about 5 months ago
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Snowden Says No One Listened To 10 Attempts To Raise Concerns At NSA

buss_error Re:The tighter you clench your fist, Lord Vader... (273 comments)

He's a sysadmin at the NSA, which means he's supposed to be maintaining their servers -- not looking through classified materials.

That's a problem the NSA needs to look into. Unauthorized people seeing classified data is a problem.

So if he were to report to his superiors about his concerns with any of these highly classified programs, he'd be admitting to looking at information he should never touch.

Another problem for the NSA to look into.

If he did anyway, he would have been shit-canned immediately and investigated.

Third time's the charm, right? Right?

So, it sounds like a complete pile of horseshit to me.

Except so far no one is saying "yeah, we looked into his complaints, they were completely baseless."

By the way, my tag line is the same tag line I've used for most of the years I've been reading Slash Dot.

about 6 months ago
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Oil Train Explosion Triggers Evacuation In North Dakota

buss_error Where was the dispatcher? (199 comments)

Ordinarily tracks next to a derailed train are closed, being considered unsafe until a track inspector or officer OKs it's use.

about 8 months ago
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EU Committee Votes To Make All Smartphone Vendors Utilize a Standard Charger

buss_error Great - but don't limit it! (415 comments)

I have a HD camcorder. The charger is proprietary. It dose the amazingly complex thing of supplying 8.4 VDC at 1.5 amps. The battries are proprietary too. They supply 7.4 VDC at 890mAh.

Not common (and I think I know why) but not out of the realm of cobbling up something to match. However, any aftermarket parts just don't work. Why? Because they don't have the all holy and copyright/trademarked "protection" of geniuine equipment which would "degrade" my user experience. Never mind that a simple battery for this camcorders costs retail $190USD, while the price of the parts is nearer to $12.

And while we are about tilting at windmills, let's go after ink cartridges. I wouldn't mind paying $400 for a printer, if I could get ink packs for it for less than $130 per month to print about 200 pages.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Fight Usage Caps?

buss_error It's all about the last mile (353 comments)

The barrier to entry for competition in the US is the last mile from the home to the internet hub. This may of course be more than a mile, but usually it's right around that. Cable companies have pumped billions of dollars per large city into their infrastructure. AT&T same. They are not about to allow competition in their areas if they can (legally or under the table) prevent it. Some of the dirty tricks used by incumbent telco operators is to have a "third party" buy up internet cooperatives once they become medium to large (more than 1000 subscribers), then bankrupt them, forcing the current customers to either pay much higher fees for less service via the incumbent, or do without internet all together if the incumbent decides a portion of the co-op is too expensive to build out to.

As far as radio frequency spectrum, look at what most of them already have in inventory versus what they have in use. The incumbents are stock piling spectrum to keep it out of the hands of competitive companies that require it to provide better service at lower cost. The FCC needs a rule that if 50% of the spectrum is not in at least 80% use, the spectrum is taken away and put back up for auction.

It is frequently stated that the US has the worst internet at the highest costs in the world. This is incorrect. It's only about the 8th worst, it just affects the most people.

about a year ago
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The Legal Purgatory at the US Border: Detained, Searched, and Interrogated

buss_error Well, if they ask me for my disk password.... (555 comments)

I have an encrypted loop back file that auto-mounts upon log in, requesting first the account password via getty, then the disk password in .bashrc

Interesting thing to note kids:

Never use mass transit without pulling out your "Sunday go to meetin'" laptop. You know the one I mean.
The one that, first thing you do, is to DOD wipe the drive (Thanks DBAN!), then load the OS (Linux, of course.)

If you mount a drive over a directory that already has files in it, you can't see the files in the original directory.
So, in my encrypted directory, I have many many files of Porn that I bought the files. Carefully recorded in an invoice.txt file in the directory
along with the bank account .pdf showing the credit card transaction, banal stuff like my tax returns, the in box for the email address I hand out when I -know- they are going to spam me, browser history when I don't care when someone sees what I'm browsing, megabytes of files created by /dev/urandom and dd. That sort of thing. If I'm asked about the "gibberish" /dev/urandom files, I tell 'em the truth. They are there to confuse people that somehow get access to my system. They are completely worthless, and in fact, can be deleted. Here, let me delete them for you just to prove the point. Oh, you don't want me to? OK. But really, it's just
gibberish. Nothing to see. Honest Injun!

On the base directory, I used to have my "real" files. Now I do something far sexier than that dodge. I used to just not give the loop back encrypted drive
a password, it would fail to mount, and I'd have my real files.

The key takeaway here is "Give 'em something to titillate them while at the same time hiding your real private files. Sensitive files belong in a encrypted cloud drop box outside of ANZAC treaty partners. Remember to delete history on that kiddos. Not ALL history, just that which shows you accessed a drop box."

I have to wonder though. Why am I more afraid of my own government than I am of "terrorists"?
I don't want to hurt anyone, and I don't have a "statement" to make that requires more than a few harsh words to select people behaving badly.

The below has been my tag line almost since I opened a Slashdot account. Sad to say, it's more true now than it ever was before.

about a year ago
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First California AMBER Alert Shows AT&T's Emergency Alerts Are a Mess

buss_error AT&T (380 comments)

AT&T - for all that it's the same name as the precursor of the inventor of the telephone system and many innovative systems, is sadly not even a pale ghost of it's former glory. What they are is group of clue avoiding MBAs cum lawyers running a reconstituted monopoly to maximize shareholder profits and piss off customers. They are worse than that barking dog that just won't SHUT UP, they are a drag on innovation, competition, and customer service. While they do a great job of "servicing" their customers, it's not in a way that is appreciated or desired by those same customers. Besides, they use crunchy peanut butter as lube. With no "reach around". (I know how disgusting a mental image that is. Sorry, but that's about what I feel about them.)

If I had the power, anyone at AT&T (Indeed, ANY telco) above lower management would be forever barred from working anywhere near telecommunications, internet, or anything more advanced than a grill for flipping burgers. Even that I would consider high risk; food poisoning, you know.

America: Highest Internet costs, Lowest Internet speeds. Go figure.

1 year,21 days
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NSA Utah Data Center Blueprints Reveal It Holds Less Than Thought

buss_error Depends.. (197 comments)

On what is kept. If it really is just the metadata and not the conversation, then the storage requirements are not all that large.

For Landlines, there is a unique identifier applied at the switch. I mis-remember what it's called, but in South Texas, it usually started with BAPA- blah blah blah for several digits.

For cell phones, there is the OMEI/UDID/ESN. Normally around 14 to 20 digits, usually 15.
Next, called number, same info.
Last, call duration.

I believe it's long been known that using particular words in a telephone conversation would raise a flag. I don't know if that's true or not. If so, lets consider this scenario:

Call metadata captured and stored - always.
Call voice session saved to a temporary storage area.
Call concludes.
Voice data is analyzed for key words using automation. (Think about when you call your credit card company, and can input your CC number by voice)
If no keyword flags are raised, delete the conversation after X time (or immediately, who knows?)
If keyword flag is raised, score by number of keywords, flag conversation for human review, preserve all data.
After human review, who knows?

What I think: If preserving our freedom comes at the price of invading all of our privacy, then the terrorists have been gifted with a victory they could have never won for themselves. We have destroyed our freedom with the illusion of security, and now have neither freedom nor security. To draw a parallel, how is having the TSA able to squeeze my balls protecting me? "Dude - don't touch my junk!"

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Explaining Cloud Privacy Risks To K-12 Teachers?

buss_error I worked in K12 for 15 years (168 comments)

About all you can do if you can't get someone to listen (and I'll bet you can't, and I'll tell you why) is to refuse to give your permission for your child to use the Internet as school. So why won't they listen?

Money.

When I left, there was a ~4 million dollar budget to renew and expand the email system (All teachers and staff, all kids, plus all parents, maybe e-mail for life like some colleges do, mail boxes that hold more than 512 megabytes and anti-virus). Google came in and moved everything to Google for under $200,000, expanded coverage of users as we'd wanted, and freed up 3 staff members that were doing nothing but email for other tasks. Hard to argue that $3.8 million bucks that suddenly pops up for other uses isn't a good thing, especially when a lot of other money was cut off. What's going through the superintendents head goes something like this: "Someone worried about privacy -something I don't understand but sound like it's not that important- for kids versus like, 3.8 million I can put toward fixing X, or maybe keeping those 1,000 classroom teachers I was going to have to lay off..."

about a year ago
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Are Booth Babes Going Away? (Video)

buss_error Red flags (334 comments)

Booth babes (of either sex and orientation) are a red flag that the company you are dealing with would like to grab your attention using the nether regions of your body rather than engaging your mind with a fantastic product. Easy tip off that they are more interested in flash over substance that will leave one looking foolish for having selected their product.

Look - don't buy.

about a year ago
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Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles

buss_error Properly design your DB (814 comments)

Pet Peeve: Coders that bring up the earliest record in history. If a customer with 7 years of history calls up with a problem, likely it's with the latest order, not one they made 7 years ago.

That said, a database should treat all information in it as frangible. Nothing is ever written in stone, and all input can never be 100% validated by rules. The best you can do is say "Did they really go from Male to Female?" or "Customer unique identifier change is not supported on this version. See your supervisor for how to proceed."

about a year ago
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Ask slashdot: Which 100+ User Virtualization Solution Should I Use?

buss_error OpenStack (191 comments)

What about Open Stack? For production, don't oversubscribe RAM. For a play ground, isolate them to one physical machine and let that machine over subscribe. I'm guessing but you can host about 20-25 virtual servers per compute node, you'll need a physical management machine, and if you do a lot of different images/want backups, you'll need a machine with a bunch of disk space or a iSCSI appliance. The open stack doc will tell you which iSCSI system will work.

about a year ago
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Rep. Mike Rogers Dismisses CISPA Opponents "14 Year Old Tweeter On the Internet"

buss_error So much for privacy (222 comments)

It took me all of three minutes to isolate his Flash Cookie.
My my my. Just LOOK at what he's been doing!

about a year ago
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U.S. Senate's Big Immigration Bill Seeks Centralized Database For H-1B Jobs

buss_error Whatever (251 comments)

From the really crap work I've seen by "ThoughtWorks" developers, this can only be a Bad Thing.
I mean, when a developer can't even properly craft a curl statement to correctly test his own work... well, ---FACEPALM---

about a year ago
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Maintaining a Publicly Available Blacklist - Mechanisms and Principles

buss_error wrong tech. (89 comments)

Better solution: Stop trying to force email to be a reliable and concurrent source of information. It has never been reliable nor has it ever been concurrent protocol. Check the default settings for sending email - try every hour for up to 5 days before giving up. Wait one day before sending a trouble report.

That email now generally DOES deliver results in almost real time is no excuse to think it will ALWAYS deliver in real time. If your communication either critical and/or time sensitive, then email is the wrong tool to use.

about a year ago
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GoPro Issues DMCA Takedown Over Negative Review

buss_error Good to know (232 comments)

I was about to purchase 30 GoPro cameras for the charities I support. I'm glad this came thought now rather than two days from now. I've canceled my orders for their cameras. Going forward, I will refuse to purchase their equipment or anything with their IP in it.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Is a Reasonable Way To Deter Piracy?

buss_error Why deter deadbeats? (687 comments)

Here's my take: If I find value in a tool, I'm quite willing to pay for it to use it.
If I find no value in a tool, then I quit using it and delete it.
People that use your tool but refuse to pay for it are willing to invest a lot of effort in to circumventing any kind of DRM you might wish to use.
Consider their time and effort as a non-fungible expression of the worth of your tool. Simply take the high road and ignore them.

For an example, see the "Audio-Grabber" project.

At worst, limit updates to only paying users. As "haters gotta hate", deadbeat users are just another fact of life. It isn't worth worrying about them. Put your effort into pleasing those that pay you.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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What to do when your Government is out of control

buss_error buss_error writes  |  about a year ago

buss_error (142273) writes "I've been watching the NSA and related stories. All I can say is that my personal feeling is that our government is completely out of control, ignoring our rights, and doing what ever they want. I hate to say this, but it seems that no matter who we vote for, it doesn't affect the out of control cowboy moves made by the minions of Bureaucracy. Peaceful protests are ignored. Legal challenges, directives, and congressional orders are shrugged off with less effort than rain. They do what they do when they want, how they want.

No one sane wants to see a city vaporized by a terrorist's atomic bomb, but it that any worse than a society where we have no secrets from the Government? "I've got nothing to hide" is a mind set that trusts that someone won't find a rationale that something you did was harmful. Then make your life a living hell with "secret evidence" you are not able to see or refute.

To quote Ben Franklin: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

How do we, the citizens, reign in the over broad, overzealous surveillance culture? Normally I'd say "cut off the money" but that depends on elected representatives to pass a budget to do just that. Time and again, they have failed to do so."
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Sites that don't tell you the price without signing up

buss_error buss_error writes  |  about a year ago

buss_error (142273) writes "I've been noticing more and more sites that simply will not tell you the price of their items without creating an account and logging in, or giving them your email and telephone contact. My reaction in such a circumstance has always been "Then I guess they're doing so well they don't need my business."

Are sites that do this shooting themselves in the foot and losing a lot of sales, or am I a stick in the mud for not wanting to part with my email and telephone number to get a price?"
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Training promisory notes

buss_error buss_error writes  |  more than 2 years ago

buss_error writes "My employer is requiring a promissory note for any training given. In exchange for the training and continued employment, for 30 months I must repay 100% of the training costs, the cost of attending training, and my meals if I leave employment. There are no exceptions.

If I am released due to budget cuts — I owe it 100%.

If I die, my estate owes it, 100%.

If I must take medical retirement, I owe it 100%.

If I leave to care for a terminally ill mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, I owe it 100%.

Human Resources says that this is "common industry standard." I don't think so. Human resources says that this is "normal" and "accepted", that any that object are "irrational" and "over reacting". Human Resources also say "we'll carefully consider the circumstance" and "not require repayment in true hard ship cases" but will not exclude anything in the contact.

I think this is dishonest. Add in that I've requested training since 2006 but have always been denied until this contract was formulated, and I was ordered (upon pain of dismissal) to take the training I don't want, didn't ask for, and can't use. In private, they say they won't ask for repayment if budget cuts deem they have to cut my job. But they won't put it in writing.

I don't mind if the costs were called due if I left to accept employment elsewhere. I wouldn't mind if it called for repayment if I violated work rules — I've been there for 15 years. I know the rules and obey them. Worse, there isn't anything from keeping $DAYJOB from demanding that I take $10K, $20K, or 100K of training.

I would like to ask you to post what your employer requires for training."
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Why do new technology cables cost so much?

buss_error buss_error writes  |  more than 4 years ago

buss_error writes "Went to the store today to purchase a 12' HDMI cable for a Blu-Ray(TM) player. most were in the range for $50, almost half what I paid for the player.
I got curious, went and looked at USB cables — same story, cost a lot. Why are the new cable technologies cost so much? Is it the proprietary connectors? It can't be the wire — there just isn't that much copper in them and the cables are not gold plated (though some connector contacts are)."
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What use old TiVO hardware?

buss_error buss_error writes  |  more than 4 years ago

buss_error writes "I have old TiVO hardware that I'd like to reuse — however, I find in searching that the most frequent reply is "Don't cheat TiVO!"
I don't want to cheat TiVO — In fact, I'd like to nuke the drive with a completely open source distro with no TiVO drivers at all.
Some uses I'd find interesting:

A PVR for security cams
A PVR for a drive cam
A unit for weather reporting
FAX/Telephone
Power monitor for the home
Other home automation

Again — I would prefer a completely TiVO free install — this is because I have major issues with TiVO and don't want the slightest
taint if their intellectual property. But since I paid for the hardware, I'd like to wring some use of it rather than simply put it in the landfill.
I won't give it away for some other person to experience my issues with TiVO — I'll throw it away before I'd do that."
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"Uncle" Walter Cronkite has died

buss_error buss_error writes  |  more than 5 years ago

buss_error writes "CNN and others are reporting that the icon of modern news reporting, Walter Cronkite, has died. I remember when "Uncle" Walter reported that JFK had been assasinated, at the time, I lived in Lake Worth, TX, just outside of Dallas. For you young ones, I'm sure this isn't really all that important, but for me and those in my generation, this is a major rock to our world."
Link to Original Source
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Houston live web cams still running?

buss_error buss_error writes  |  more than 5 years ago

buss_error writes "Up until last night, I was keeping an eye on the situation in Houston via traffic cams. However, all traffic cams are now off line. I've heard referance to some live web cams still operating in Houston, but I've not located any my self due to a lack of time to properly research aside from the TV stations in town. Anyone got a link to web cams still operating in the area?"
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buss_error buss_error writes  |  more than 7 years ago

buss_error writes "At workplace (K-12 education), we've had a massive management change.

Old management consulted with the techs, sought buy in to management changes, and generally involved us and engaged us with change. New management is far more likely be autocratic: "This is the WAY you will work, there is no discussion, our way or the HIGHWAY, sucker!". Almost all of them are ex-or-reserve Air Force. To be utterly honest, I don't think they see their management as I do.

Lately, all the rage is to control all change, no matter how trival, and gain mangement approval. While I wouldn't mind that if Management knew an HBA from a USB port (or their elbow, for that matter), sadly, my current management knows absolutely nothing about tech at all, and seems to actively avoid gaining Clue. (Much worse, they THINK they understand tech.) It seems that while they do not understand that which they manage, they are bound and determined to approve the least little thing. We no longer have any self direction at all, even in the smallest things. Adding a key in a database reqires management approval, while I'm almost sure that only one manager even knows what a index is. Worse, we've been informed that "Emergency Change logs" have become too common, and now such will most likely be denied out of hand.

On the one hand, I COULD just say "I don't care anymore, what ever pleases my management team", or I could take a (what seems to me) an utterly futile stand and insist that while business considerations and planning are firmly within the perview of management, tactal planning and configurations are within the sole perview of the tech team BECAUSE management does not understand it, can't appreciate how important it is, and is only slowing the answer to problems for reasons that don't make sense, business or technical wise. I'm 100% sure I'll be dismissed for doing so. In fact, I am sure that if they suspect that's what I thought, I'd be dismissed.

Add to that: my technical team is one of the best I've ever worked with, I get along well with them and they with me, our business is pretty much recession proof, and while we aren't paid market rate, not even close, we still only work about 230 days a year, medical is 50% covered, retirement is not through SSA, we get 11 days vacation, 10 days sick, and 5 days personal per year. Lastly, I do feel that what I do is important, makes a difference, and that I am honored to be working at it.

What would you do, and why?"

Journals

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Today, we do the email macarena

buss_error buss_error writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Get a bop - email rejected at someone else's server - cause, SPF.
Huh? Out bound farm has been stable for more than 3 years!? (None added/removed in the IP pool.)
Dig the TXT record - yup, that's right.
Call the remote site: whistle cycle on hold for a bit, get a tech that can talk to a senior admin
about the issue. What's your allocation? I tell 'em. What's the IP of the server? Tell 'em.
I ask, what's the last received line leaving? He tells me - yep, it's one in the SPF record.
"So why is the SPF check failing?" I ask. "Surely you aren't using SPF checks past
the first received line?"

Dead silence for awhile. I ask, "Are you inspecting SPF past the first received line?"
More dead silence.
"I'll have someone get back to you." he says.

I'll just bet you will, and I'll hold my breath waiting.

About an hour later email to them stops bouncing. No call back.

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