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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

coofercat Re:How long things take.. (222 comments)

If I was hired as the CEO, the first thing I'd do is whatever the hell the board asked me to do.

3 days ago
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Congress Passes Bill Allowing Warrantless Forfeiture of Private Communications

coofercat Re:PRIVATE encryption of everything just became... (379 comments)

Maybe it's time for reverse-gzip - the rebigulator, if you will. The idea is to start with a small message:

"Hey, fancy going for a pint tonight?" ...encrypt it:

"asdhasdjkhasdkjasdkashdasdwqw" ...rebigulate it:

"dsfshfuykhfferwerrhwerhjkfsdofiueioroeirerqwehqweudyasdadwkljqoeiweorujk" ...send :-)

about two weeks ago
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Are the TSA's New Electronic Device Screenings Necessary?

coofercat Re:ive been through the new check (France, CDG air (184 comments)

I have a white, male British friend - it's a bit of a running joke that he gets checked every time. Years ago, he and I went to/from Canada via the US. On departure from London, there were three American goons (yes, imported goons!) doing 'random' bag searches on the way to the gate (extra to the actual security screening). He got checked by all three - presumably the first two were incompetent so the third guy had to do it right. Or maybe the whole system was a complete sham. Should anyone ever want to smuggle anything, just go along with my mate. He'll get checked for everything, you won't get checked for anything and you get to take your contraband wherever you like.

about two weeks ago
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Are the TSA's New Electronic Device Screenings Necessary?

coofercat Re:Redundant Question (184 comments)

The cock pits of most planes isn't en-suite, so you'd have to fix that up too. I should imagine that external doors cost lots of money and add lots of weight, so less of them makes sense in that regard. Having a door for just 2-3 people to escape from makes that one an expensive door ;-)

about two weeks ago
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US Navy Authorizes Use of Laser In Combat

coofercat Re:This might alienate anti-ISI* Muslims. (225 comments)

Would you be able to put up a lens instead? Potentially you could just widen the beam, or refract it somewhere else... Clearly, not practical on a missile, but if they were aiming it at your boat, you might be able to do something, I guess...?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

coofercat Re:America, land of the free... (720 comments)

My last two UK jobs have required a "CRB" check to be performed (CRB = Criminal Records Bureau) - I believe these are now called DBS checks. One of those employers was American, and had a non-existent HR presence in the UK, so I assumed it was "just do whatever we do in the US" that meant the check was required. My current job is for a UK company, but they're heavily regulated around the world, so I assume that's the reason. Before that, I don't remember any such checks (even for a security cleared role, although I guess the security check implicitly did something similar).

So here in the UK, you might need to be checked if you want to work for regulated industries (banking, gambling, trading, etc). Otherwise, probably not. Even in these regulated places, there's a reasonable chance you wouldn't be checked if you were a consultant - as a contractor you might get checked though, depending on what work you were doing and how diligent the company was, I guess. You absolutely wouldn't be checked as a supplier though, so make a product and be self-employed (easier said than done, I guess though).

about two weeks ago
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The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

coofercat Re:Sad? Saddest? (528 comments)

I agree with you and the GP.

I equate this situation to civil unrest. For civil 'direct action' to work, someone has to be inconvenienced. Hopefully, that 'someone' is the government, and hopefully only them, and hopefully they're inconvenienced a great deal. However, in reality, the government is just a bunch of people with lives and jobs, and they use the services of non-government people. So no matter how targeted some civil action might be, it's going to end up inconveniencing some 'ordinary' people.

The question is are the 'ordinary' people responsible for the government's actions? You might argue 'no', but you'll find a lot of people arguing 'yes' - ultimately, it's the 'ordinary' people that give the government the power to do whatever the unrest is about. We can argue about the indirect nature of that power provision, but no matter how corrupt or misdirected, the fact remains that it exists. It's the game we've chosen to play; don't argue about the rules.

And so back to Sony Pictures. Whatever the beef is with them, they were able to do that thing because of the people that work for them. You can argue that if those people didn't work for them that a whole load of other people would just take their place, but if the majority of people thought about who their employer was and what they do day-in, day-out, the shit kickers of the world would have a much harder time hiring good, honest decent and talented people. That might make them think twice about their business practices (or in the case of the NSA/GCHQ etc, their purpose in life).

[Anecdote: one of my previous employers used to get extra discounts on hotel rates because it was well known that the staff were nice people - sort of the reverse of what I'm trying to describe above]

Don't misunderstand me - if my employer got screwed over this badly, I'd be screaming innocence and "I'm just a brick in the wall, I'm not responsible" and so on (after all, I'm "just" a lowly techie, right?). But the fact remains that my work for my employer potentially facilitates someone else here to do bad things more easily. For what it's worth, I do have a moral compass, and so don't work for some of the worse companies out there (despite recruiters trying to get me into them), and I haven't seen my employer doing bad things. Other people may view their actions differently though, and perhaps they'd judge me differently as a result.

about two weeks ago
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The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

coofercat Re: ... Everything? (528 comments)

If they'd had traffic shaping in place, there's no way anyone would have got 100 terrabytes of anything out of the company ;-)

about two weeks ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

coofercat Re:"The theory is that 'something' should be done" (216 comments)

It's okay though - GCHQ watched the whole thing happening, and have totally figured out who did it. Those people will be rounded up and dealt with very soon. Yeah right.

about three weeks ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

coofercat Re:Please Russia, Korea, Santa Claus (216 comments)

I saw the bits of "The Interview" that were on the news because apparently NK are upset about it. "intellectual property" seems a bit strong ;-)

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source?

coofercat Re:Most bizarre logic fart ever .. (488 comments)

Got it. However, imagine that in the course of using that piece of software, it screws something up on some way. Either trivial (eg. "I click this, nothing happens") to terrible (eg. "I do this and the application crashes, losing my work"). Now you have two choices:

1) Forget about it - find another way to do whatever you're trying to do (ie. work around the problem)
2) Figure out exactly what steps cause the issue and then describe these in a bug ticket in the hope the bug will be fixed by other people who'll then furnish you with a new version that doesn't suffer from the problem.

I think GP is suggesting (1) is the best option for them. Fair enough.

Option (2) is probably better for most people in the long term, so long as they're reasonably guaranteed:
a) The bug will be looked at seriously, and not just forgotten about because it's not written in technobabble or because it's missing one piece of information that probably isn't relevant to the problem at hand.
b) That an updated version will actually be better than the current version.

If either of these points is false, then you're wasting your time with option (2), so should use option (1). If both guarantees are (within reason) true, then you're probably better off (in the long term) going with option (2) so you don't have to suffer problems long into the future. From a moral/ethical standpoint, (2) is better too, because you're helping out some of the people that are helping you out.

In truth though, a lot of open source suffers with problems with (a) - comments above note various 'hipster' issues, 'cults' and the generally poor social skills of the sorts of people who spend a lot of time coding. Likewise, as noted above, lots of projects fail (b) too because they try to make the product into something it didn't used to be, or they mess with the UI so badly that the product becomes less usable (gedit is my favourite example from those above).

So for me personally, I'd usually try to take option (2) so long as it's relatively easy. I don't mind registering with yet-another-website to log a bug ticket, and if it's something that matters to me, I'll do my best to answer any questions that arise. However, if they start asking me for my shoe size, inside leg and the number of bricks that it took to build my house, then I'll probably bail out. If I find a bug in "ed", I'll probably take option (1) because I can count the number of times I've used it on one hand - it could be the buggiest thing in the world and I probably wouldn't notice, so I don't really care enough to even log a ticket for it.

about three weeks ago
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Black Friday '14: E-commerce Pages Far Slower Than They Were in 2013

coofercat Re:I did not participate (143 comments)

My favourite related joke: "You know you're working class when your TV is bigger than your bookcase."

In these people's case, it's probably "if your TV has more inches than you have in IQ points" ;-)

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

coofercat Re:Super-capitalism (516 comments)

The US also lacks them darn hippie commies regulating the industry in the consumer's favour from time to time.

Your domestic supply doesn't have an SLA, or penalties if there are outages. In truth, none of us will probably ever see such a thing. Instead though, get a regulator who penalises supply companies when they screw up. If it's force majeur, then you might let them off a fine, but warn them to toughen up their infrastructure because next time you will fine them. If it's just that they're scrimping on delivering, then fine them to 'motivate' them to spend the money when the consumers need it.

Contrary to popular belief, an awful lot of European power is run over ground. If there's an area prone to problems, then they either end up routing around it, adding more capacity to cope with outages or in extreme circumstances, go underground. I don't believe the US is unique in any important ways with regards to the logistics of power delivery - all of its problems have a solution, if you're motivated to find it. USians probably laugh at us Europeans who generally pay more for almost everything than they do, but at least our shit works most of the time.

about a month ago
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What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

coofercat Re:I'm quite surprised it wasn't (523 comments)

All that for just 20% of the total mission (wasn't 80% of the science to be performed by Rosetta?). If they'd really been trying to keep Philae alive longer, they'd have at least put fold-out panels on it. From what I can tell, they just kept it simple - seems pretty sensible to me.

about a month ago
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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

coofercat Re:The answer is...virtual credit cards (307 comments)

I like the sound of these, but I've never had one, and never felt like I needed one either. I've never been ripped off in any way that I couldn't resolve entirely with one (or at worst, two) phone calls to my bank.

Visa/mastercard/Amex are all ways of reducing my risk, not increasing it. Even if I drop my wallet on the floor outside right now, any money spent on my cards is not my concern - it's the bank's problem, not mine. I guess if the bank could prove I was negligent with my cards, they might not pay up, but that's a pretty hard thing to prove beyond reasonable doubt. Plus, if their fraud filters haven't caught the problem quickly enough, then that again is their problem not mine. At worse, I might get left with a couple of hundred quid of "negligence fine" - but as I say, they'd have to try really hard to make it stick, and they would, without fail lose a customer that same week (well, within the 28 days or whatever it is that they have to allow my account to be transferred out by).

about a month ago
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New Facebook Update Lets You Choose News Feed Content

coofercat Re:How about... (54 comments)

...and you wouldn't need to say who you'd like to hear more or less from either. Essentially, they're saying "our 'big data' skillz aren't up to doing what you actually want" (or maybe they're saying "your 'friends' are so full of shit we can't sift out the good stuff from the endless drivel").

about a month and a half ago
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New Particle Collider Is One Foot Long

coofercat Re:so size DOESN'T matter? (161 comments)

It's only 12 inches long when it's SLAC. Otherwise it's more like 2km ;-)

about a month and a half ago
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What People Want From Smart Homes

coofercat Re:Yup (209 comments)

Rumour is they're working on a bulb you can control from anywhere in the world, but it can also shine on you anywhere in the world. Can't wait for that one ;-)

about a month and a half ago

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About Coofer Cat

coofercat coofercat writes  |  about 9 years ago

I'm a chap from London, UK, trying to make his way through this ole' life as best as possible.

I've been a sysadmin for most of my professional life, mostly playing with Sun systems, latterly more Windoze and Linux though. I'm quite good at "getting things to work" - that is, making things work they way they ought to.

At the moment, I'm working for my own company, Pre-Emptive Limtied. It's a small company that makes appliance based products, the first of which is a search engine. We make use of open source products and "glue" them together with a bit of development and a proprietary administration and usability layer.

In my spare time, I can often be found boozin' in pubs, or scaring off the opposite sex. I've also got a blog.

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