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RAND Study: Looser Civil Service Rules Would Ease Cybersecurity Shortage

dcooper_db9 Re:RAND totally misses it (97 comments)

I think it's totally worth ignoring the one or two good autodidacts out there if it also means missing out on the thousands who are absolute crap.

Of course. Here's a list of some of the other autodidacts whose contributions we can dismiss: Leonardo da Vinci, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Edison, Michael Faraday, Benjamin Franklin, Buckminster Fuller, Jimi Hendrix, Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Frank Lloyd Wright and Wilbur Wright.

about 2 months ago

Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

dcooper_db9 Re:Digital vs Physical (560 comments)

Breaking the lock only requires reasonable cause. Compelling the defendant to provide the security code introduces the fifth amendment question. Breaking encryption takes time and money that the state would rather spend elsewhere.

about 3 months ago

Astronomers Discover Earth-Sized Diamond

dcooper_db9 Any uses for a big diamond? (112 comments)

Assuming some day in the distant future humans could reach deep into space, could a really big diamond serve any functional purpose?

about 3 months ago

U.S. Democrats Propose Legislation To Ban Internet Fast Lanes

dcooper_db9 Not necessarily (190 comments)

It might. I remember when the first bill was produced a bill to regulate telemarketing. The idea was a classic political maneuver. They'd introduce the bill to give the impression they gave a shit. Then they'd quietly kill the bill or gut it before it got too far. But it turned out that people were really tired of having their phone lines abused. So many people called or wrote their congressmen that they couldn't kill the bill. They did water it down over the years but it had a lot more teeth than they intended. So yes, getting involved matters. When a congressman knows that a lot of people are paying attention it affects how they vote.

about 3 months ago

Transforming the Web Into a Transparent 'HTTPA' Database

dcooper_db9 Might have a place (69 comments)

Years ago I was working as a subcontractor to a major defense contractor. I had a conversation with IT that went something like this:

IT to all personnel: Anyone with a computer must review each file on their drive and label any that might contain confidential information. Please insert our company logo and the following text into any confidential files.
Me to IT: To clarify, I have approximately X files on my hard drive. Do I really need to review ALL of my files?
IT to me: Yes
Me to IT: Do you have any tools I can use to automate this?
IT to me: No. You need to open each file, review it and determine if it contains confidential information. Then insert the logo and message into any files that do.
Me to IT: I just want to make sure I'm understanding your instruction. The vast majority of my files are operating system files. Some files, like the Outlook PST file might contain confidential information. They're not documents, spreadsheets or anything like that. Modifying those files might affect the performance of my computer. Also, I have several Microsoft Access databases containing thousands of records of sensitive information. I can insert the confidentiality message into the database but it might be more useful to add the message to the reports.
IT to me: No, you must insert the confidentiality message into any files containing confidential information.
Forward to my supervisor: Can you take a look at this? This is going to take a lot of work.
Supervisor to me: I looked into it. You're going to have to do this.
Me to IT: Which department do we bill this to?
IT to me: Your department.
Me to IT: Procurement?
IT to me: Yes.
Forward to procurement: I ran the numbers. It's going to take me a year of working full time to get this done. Can you authorize this?
IT to me: You don't need to review your files.
Me to IT: Okay, thanks.

about 3 months ago

Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

dcooper_db9 Re:Where do I send the electricity bill? (474 comments)

I was thinking of POE over coax, which does exist. Cable companies do run low voltage power through their lines and it can be used to run low voltage electronics. I don't know if there's a standard for POE over coax but here's an example of a device:

about 3 months ago

Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

dcooper_db9 Re:Where do I send the electricity bill? (474 comments)

They could be using using power-over-ethernet. Some of their business class devices support POE but I couldn't find anything that said they're using it for the XFinity WiFi network.

about 3 months ago

Kids With Operators Manual Alert Bank Officials: "We Hacked Your ATM"

dcooper_db9 That's why we have 'extraordinary renditions' (378 comments)

By which I mean sanctioned kidnapping. I know; you were picturing 200 lumberjacks drunk on maple whiskey, performing a line dance while singing 'O Canada'.

about 3 months ago

Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

dcooper_db9 Alternative corporate structure (114 comments)

I've been thinking about an alternative structure that might allow a viable alternative to the hegemonic networks we have today. Every time I try to write this out I struggle to explain it, and never submit. I'm going to do my best to write this and hope that some of the folks on slashdot could help flesh this out. I'm trying to do something along the lines of writing a GPL license. Using a contract to turn the business of networking upside down, making people owners of the network they use.

As I see it, the major obstacle to competition in this market is the massive red tape involved in connecting a network to the internet. Pretty much anyone could wire up their neighborhood with ethernet, but they can't cross the public right-of-way without paying the troll under the bridge. Local governments have tried to build publicly owned networks only to have their growth blocked by state legislation. The organization I'm thinking about attempts to bypass these obstructions.

I'm thinking of a non-profit cooperative whose members agree to a contract that requires them to cooperate. For instance, the contract would require members to allow other members to connect to their network. Members would also be required to support some level of throughput. The organization would have an elected board and elected officers, The contract would be updated by vote of the members.

This way, I could wire up my neighborhood with ethernet. If the next neighborhood over does the same we could connect to each other. We can share the cost of connecting to the larger internet, and leverage our network to get reasonable terms. If businesses in the downtown want to build a Wifi network they can cooperate to do so. The city can help organize the effort but wouldn't own the network.

about 4 months ago

KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

dcooper_db9 Re:It doesn't look that different (94 comments)

No, this isn't about beta status. The components are being rewritten and some will not be ready for the release in July. Other components will not have feature parity with the current versions. Again, from the press release:

Plasma Next builds on top of Qt 5. With this transition, all QML-based UIs—which Plasma is built exclusively with—will make use of a new scenegraph and scripting engine, resulting in huge performance wins as well as architectural benefits, such as being able to render using available graphics hardware. Plasma Next is the first complex codebase to transition to KDE Frameworks 5, which is a modular evolution of the KDE development platform into leaner, less interdependent libraries.

about 4 months ago

KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

dcooper_db9 Re:It doesn't look that different (94 comments)

From the press release:

Plasma Next is intended for end users, but will not provide feature parity with the latest 4.x release, which will come in follow-up releases.

Stability is not yet up to the level where the developers want Plasma Next. With a substantial new toolkit stack below come exciting new crashes and problems that need time to be shaken out.

Performance...will be hampered by various shortcomings. These can and will be addressed, however, much is dependent on components like Qt, Mesa and hardware drivers lower in the stack.

about 4 months ago

Average American Cable Subscriber Gets 189 Channels and Views 17

dcooper_db9 How many of those are broadcast? (340 comments)

I'd be willing to bet that at least half of what people watch is available over the air. It used to be that content from Discover's channels was worth paying for but now they have nothing but crappy reality shows. I cut the cord a long time ago. I'd rather spend the money on trips to the beach.

about 4 months ago

India To Build World's Largest Solar Plant

dcooper_db9 Re:I love numbers but.... (253 comments)

The total construction and decommission costs of wind farms and the problems associated with them have not been realised yet. They may well be lower, but until we actually start taking them down and getting rid of the tonnes of concrete and other infrastructure for each turbine, we don't really know.

I think we have a pretty good idea of what it would cost to decommission a wind farm. It would be much like decommissioning a small ship. The main components are a big electric motor, a fiberglass propellor, a lot of wires, a steel framed building and a concrete foundation.

Much of the material and equipment have residual value. They can be recycled or even reused. Costs of demolishing the steel and concrete structure are no different than any other building. The fiberglass might have some environmental hazard components but not more than, say, the shell of a boat. The wires include plastics that may require special handling, but that would be the case for any power generation facility.

about 7 months ago

Government To Require Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication

dcooper_db9 Re:To require? (390 comments)

Indeed, this is in the pre-rule stage. The NHTSA will soon publish a report and submit it for public comment. We won't know if they have the authority under existing law until they publish their proposed rule. They may have to go to Congress and request additional authority. It will be years before any regulations actually change.

Here is is an overview of how the regulatory process works in US federal agencies.

Here's an excerpt from the NHTSA announcement:

NHTSA is currently finalizing its analysis of the data gathered as part of its year-long pilot program and will publish a research report on V2V communication technology for public comment in the coming weeks. The report will include analysis of the Department's research findings in several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy and security, and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits. NHTSA will then begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices in new vehicles in a future year, consistent with applicable legal requirements, Executive Orders, and guidance. DOT believes that the signal this announcement sends to the market will significantly enhance development of this technology and pave the way for market penetration of V2V safety applications.

about 7 months ago

Valve Offers Free Subscription To Debian Developers: Paying It Forward

dcooper_db9 Re:The amount of BS here is legendary: (205 comments)

Somehow I lost my rating points between loading the page and reading your post. Sorry I couldn't mod you up.

In the future we're going to have locked down devices running proprietary drivers, with proprietary apps and DRM'd content. But it'll run on open-source software. And the community is happy because "we finally got the manufacturers to write drivers for Linux".

And the free game was nice too.

about 8 months ago

Hacker Says He Could Access 70,000 Healthcare.Gov Records In 4 Minutes

dcooper_db9 Re:HIPAA does not apply (351 comments)

The HIPAA defines three categories of "covered entities". They are health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses. Because the site is government run it is not classified as a clearinghouse. Some people claim that it wouldn't be defined as a clearinghouse anyway. After reading the relevant section of the law I wasn't so sure, but the question is moot. The project is government run and the contractors enjoy sovereign immunity.

The "Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act of 2014" would at least require notification. That bill passed the House with bipartisan support on January 10. I've not seen any reports on how or if the bill is proceding in the Senate.

about 8 months ago

Hacker Says He Could Access 70,000 Healthcare.Gov Records In 4 Minutes

dcooper_db9 HIPAA does not apply (351 comments)

The HHS is a public agency and as such it is not covered by the HIPAA. In any case, considering HHS is tasked with enforcing the HIPAA....

I expect there are other laws that do apply. There are lots of laws governing how federal agencies and their contractors handle sensitive information.

about 8 months ago

Microsoft Security Essentials Misses 39% of Malware

dcooper_db9 Sponsored? (149 comments)

From page 19 of the report:

What is the difference between a vendor and a partner vendor?

Partner vendors contribute financially to the test in return for a preview of the results, an opportunity to challenge results before publication and the right to use award logos in marketing material. Other participants first see the results on the day of publication and may not use award logos for any purpose.

Do you share samples with the vendors?

Partner vendors are able to download all samples from us after the test is complete. Other vendors may request a subset of the threats that compromised their products in order for them to verify our results. The same applies to client-side logs, including the network capture files. There is a small administration fee for the provision of this service.

about 9 months ago

Enormous Tunneling Machine 'Bertha' Blocked By 'The Object'

dcooper_db9 Re:Doesn't sound very stable... (339 comments)

It's 45 feet deep at this, the first section. It'll reach 200 feet below surface at the deepest point.

They will have to dig below the water line, which may be more expensive and dangerous with a trench. Besides having to move or work around tall buildings they would also have to remove more dirt. It would certainly be more disruptive to dig a trench. The more reasonable alternative would be to build an elevated highway rather than tunnel below the ground.

about 9 months ago


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