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AT&T To Use Phone Geolocation To Prevent Credit Card Fraud

dnahelicase Re:Or call your credit card company ... (228 comments)

A text whenever your credit card was used saying "Card with number ending in xxxx was used in location yyyy, if this was a fraudulent charge reply to this text" would work just as well without the privacy issue of tracking locations.

Unless your phone has been stolen too. Roughly half the population makes a habit of keeping their phones and wallets in a bag that can be quickly stolen.

Or you are in a foreign country, and you have your phone turned off.

Sounds like nothing more than a slightly different way to monitor potential fraud that gets a cellphone company some revenue instead of some analytics expert. In the end, it probably doesn't actually prevent much fraud.

about 3 months ago

Many UAVs Vulnerable To Directed-Energy Weapons

dnahelicase Re:Directed energy weapons (153 comments)

Calling them "directed energy weapons" in the headline was pretty stupid. They're radio jammers and spoofers. What's their output, 10W?

That's 10,000,000,000 nanowatts!!!!

about 10 months ago

Many UAVs Vulnerable To Directed-Energy Weapons

dnahelicase Re:When (153 comments)

When did a GPS jammer become a directed energy weapon?

You know, when Han used his Tricorder to restimulate the active particule neutrino phase shifters, which resulted in a plasma beam that disrupts the life-support system on any craft that flies slower than 22 parsecs.

about 10 months ago

Internet Sales Tax Vote This Week In US Senate

dnahelicase Re:To be fair... (434 comments)

Use tax is arguably unconstitutional due to the interstate commerce clause, and that is why states do not enforce it. They can wield the moral force of "this is the law" to those that don't know better and get them to put it on their tax returns, but they won't go after those who don't pay because they're afraid to lose. The states' end game has been a federal authorization for the states to collect sales tax because it would put them on much more solid legal ground.

You've clearly never been through a sales/use tax audit as a business.

They do not feel like it's unconstitutional, and are not afraid to enforce it. it's not a "moral force" - it actually is the law. You cannot get out of state entities to collect sales taxes for you, but if they can show that you have nexus in a state, they can make you collect them. If you buy things from anywhere, in or out of state, as a purchaser you must pay use tax on it. It's not a suggestion for the ignorant - it is the law that you report your untaxed purchases.

Technically you owe this on everything, even those things that have been taxed by other states - it's just that most states agree to reciprocity.

There is very little gray area here. As an individual they probably won't go after you, but businesses that are supposed to collect sales tax (including those without a physical presence) and pay use tax - they go after you like wolves.

A universal rule for everyone would be a dream for those that process sales taxes. It's ridiculous the amount of time that is spent figuring out which sales are taxable, what jurisdiction those are in (the state, county, city, LOST, misc taxes) and how to report and pay those.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Block Noise In a Dorm?

dnahelicase If you have ADHD (561 comments)

Try concentrating on the distractions, and you'll be distracted by your work!

about a year and a half ago

Nvidia Walked Away From PS4 Hardware Negotiations

dnahelicase Re:dem Economics (255 comments)

My thought is that tablets will allow us to extend games and make them portable. For example, I would have loved to have been able to play Skyrim on the PS3 and the Tablet: The PS3 at home and the Tablet when on the road. Saved games would be synched to the cloud, similar to what Steam does today, and downloaded to the tablet so that you could pick up where you left the game. The capabilities of tablets would have to improve quite a bit before this happens, but it is coming...

I was thinking the same things as I was playing sim city the other it would be nice if this game was synched to the cloud...

about a year and a half ago

Nvidia Walked Away From PS4 Hardware Negotiations

dnahelicase Re:Console margins can't be good (255 comments)

You're making the assumption that they thought about this. The people involved in the decision probably numbered in the dozens tops, with most of them marketing and finance people. With the way companies seem to be run to realize maximum profits in the short term these days, it's even possible they realized this but turned down the long term gain anyway.

Given the fact that we're talking about AMD and Nvidia, my guess is that it was a thoughtful decision.

The fact that they have walked away before, that AMD is in previous consoles, and that everyone is continuously crying (from the tech world and wall street alike) that AMD is near it's end (even though it's not), it sounds like they might have made a good decision.

AMD is going to spend a lot of time making a low margin product that is going to be outdated next year but one that they have to keep spending resources and time on for years. Nvidia is going to be spending their time on supercomputer applications, drivers, and pushing their image as a higher end card.

Sometimes you walk away from a business deal because you want your competitor to win it.

about a year and a half ago

Congress Takes Up Online Sales Tax

dnahelicase Re:Wrong focus (297 comments)

The problem isn't that "state taxes are too big for Amazon to figure out." They've got plenty of legal and tax representation.

The real issue is for SMALL sellers on the internet. Say, people who sell via etsy, or bands that sell albums direct to fans.

Now, suddenly, THOSE people need to understand and properly understand taxes for all 50 states, collect those taxes, and remit them to the proper time to the proper authorities. Oh, with all the necessary paperwork.

It's not just 50 states, its 50 states and each taxing jurisdiction in those states. City, county, local, and special taxing jurisdictions make sales and use tax incredibly complicated.

about a year and a half ago

Congress Takes Up Online Sales Tax

dnahelicase Re:Amazon are crazy (297 comments)

I buy the sort of stuff that people would buy at walmart (soap, deodorant, batteries and other household goods at Amazon so I don't have to pay sales tax

Then you are probably already not following the law. Most states require that you report any goods you buy where sales tax is due, but where the retailer did not collect sales taxes.

I'm going to assume you aren't reporting those purchases at the end of the year (I believe the statistics show most people don't) but that does not mean that it's not a requirement. This legislation is about making it possible for states to collect taxes that are already due in a manner that traditional brick-and-mortar already have to deal with.

about a year and a half ago

Citizenville: Newsom Argues Against Bureaucracy, Swipes At IT Departments

dnahelicase Re:Wikileaks vs. PGP (173 comments)

Not much more challenging.

Note that this may not block individual attacks, but it should prevent mass cable intercepts.

It is much more challenging when all your data is in the cloud. You're communications might be secure, but if the low-level tech hired by the subcontracted firm that supports the datacenter for the company that the government has hired for "the cloud" decides to download all your information, then it doesn't matter how secure your communications are.

about a year and a half ago

Citizenville: Newsom Argues Against Bureaucracy, Swipes At IT Departments

dnahelicase Re:Security in the Cloud is harder, more experts n (173 comments)

And who notices when all the corporate data you have, which can be accessed by anyone in the world with just a username and password, starts getting downloaded in central China, or Estonia?

Or who cares? That cloud provider lets you setup usernames and passwords, and tell you it's secure. Your employees go home, where they've recently downloaded "AVG Super Microsoft Spyware Buster Plus" for a small fee, and now your corporate data is available on bittorrent.

If you call that cloud provider and complain, they say "our users can work anywhere in the world, it's "the cloud

about a year and a half ago

Citizenville: Newsom Argues Against Bureaucracy, Swipes At IT Departments

dnahelicase Re:Looking forward to it (173 comments)

Oh, good. IT departments are going away. Is this when users finally stop calling me because they hid their whatsit toolbar in Outlook and they don't know what they did and they need it back and they don't know how to get it back and why is it so technical??!?!!!?!

Good. Maybe I'll get some real work done instead of bouncing between Slashdot and walking users through basic functions of Microsoft Office for the billionth time. Glad that users don't need my help anymore.

Actually, I think this will be going away in the next 10-15 years. Sure, stupid users will still exist out there, but I see 3 year olds texting now. The idea that you "learn" computers is going away.

Kids are learning how to use computers, iPads, and random electronic interfaces before they can read. Just in the people we've hired in the past 5 years I see a huge difference. The "experienced" computer user from 5 years ago has a harder time learning new software than the "inexperienced" (right out of HS and no training) computer users today.

They might need help and have stupid questions, but I think the days of "I don't know how to do this because it looks different" are going away.

about a year and a half ago

Citizenville: Newsom Argues Against Bureaucracy, Swipes At IT Departments

dnahelicase Re:Hah (173 comments)

I cringe when I hear of small shops that host their own email. I've seen vets and dentists that run their own outdated, unpatched, backup-deficient exchange servers. Even for companies that have 50-100 people, outsourcing email can be a very good practice. It's cheap, relatively secure, and has a professional team behind it. Once you get above 100 people or so, have a real IT crew and budget, you have to really think about the cloud.

When it goes down, there's basically nobody to call, and if MS or Google decides that you are going to change platforms or security settings, there's really nothing you can do about it.

about a year and a half ago

Is It Possible To Erase Yourself From the Internet?

dnahelicase What about slashdot? (295 comments)

How do I get rid of all those incriminating posts from all that time I wasted on /. while I was at work?

about a year and a half ago

Fox News: US Solar Energy Investment Less Than Germany Because US Has Less Sun

dnahelicase Re:Problem? (644 comments)

While it's true that the fossil fuel companies have benefited from political largesse over the years, including special perks, they're hardly unique in that regard. It seems to me that most people who complain about subsidies to fossil fuel companies, especially those who don't complain about similar subsidies to industries which they favor, have an axe to grind and ought to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

I actually do complain about other companies receiving subsidies, but given the fact that this story was about solar and natural gas, that is what we are discussing here. However, they do benefit from a number of subsidies not available to other industries, but that's a very complicated issue to discuss in a comment (which is why I've given a range).

Corporate welfare is a bigger problem in this country than many other types of handouts, and giving them to the most profitable companies, that are granted exclusive rights to drill by the government, can easily be argued that it against the public interest.

Fossil fuel subsidies aren't just a problem in the US, but around the world subsidies are an issue. The IEA claims they are the biggest enemy to green energy.

Just because many companies have their hand out doesn't mean it's alright for fossil fuel companies to do it. We should stop where it makes sense (ie grossly profitable industries that don't compete in a free market) and support them where they do make sense (ie young technology that could eventually get us out of middle eastern interests and leave the planet easier for our children to live in).

I find people that don't complain about fossil fuel subsidies don't have an axe to grind; they tend to not care enough to be informed.

about a year and a half ago

Fox News: US Solar Energy Investment Less Than Germany Because US Has Less Sun

dnahelicase Re:Problem? (644 comments)

You may not like all the subsidies given to fossil fuel companies but you and the rest of us consume fossil fuels to drive our vehicles and, until we stop that choice, it makes sense to subsidize the companies providing the energy product most Americans prefer to use.

We do all choose to consume those fossil fuels, but that is exactly why it doesn't make sense to subsidize them.

We are going to buy them anyway, and they are going to make billions in profits. Why should we all pay taxes to pay oil companies so they can sell us gas cheaper? It doesn't make sense at all.

It does make sense to subsidize investment in cleaner, newer tech. It is harder to sell, but better in the long run for us. You subsidize it until you can make something better and cheaper. You don't subsidize something everyone is going to buy anyway.

Why would I give you 50 cents to sell me something 40 cents cheaper?

about a year and a half ago

The Return of CISPA

dnahelicase Re:Let's meet them half way (97 comments)

Lets meet them half way... they can have all the zeroes.

That's pretty much what Congress is made up of now.

I don't know why everyone is being so hard on them. They've been pretty bored lately, with all the healthcare, debt ceiling, spending, and military issues all being recently solved.

about a year and a half ago

Fox News: US Solar Energy Investment Less Than Germany Because US Has Less Sun

dnahelicase Re:Sun, vs sunlight (644 comments)

This is not meant to nickpick

I know "US getting less sun than US" means "US getting less sunlight than US", but I still feel a little bit queasy when people substitute the word "Sun" for "Sunlight"

Maybe that's just me ...

So, when people use the phrase, "fun in the sun", do you correct them with, "fun in the warmth and light of the Sun"?

No, I think the the Fox commentator meant that Germans are brighter than the Americans when it comes to solar energy policy.

about a year and a half ago

Fox News: US Solar Energy Investment Less Than Germany Because US Has Less Sun

dnahelicase Re:Oh give them a break (644 comments)

While she knows little about the science behind solar energy production, and proved it, she was there to talk about solar energy subsidies and economics; which she does know something about. Unfortunately she scuttled her very valid point about the US wasting money subsidizing solar energy production, to the detriment of natural gas, et al.

The statists, true to form, ridicule her stupid ad hoc comment, which in no way mitigates her arguments, and ignore their own vastly more stupid support for foolish and failed government policies.

I don't think she does understand the economics of the situation. Solar energy is an area that deserves research money (it does make economic sense). Getting rid of politicians that fund pork projects makes economic sense. It's unfortunate when those two collide, but it's bound to happen.

There is no "detriment" to natural gas because of the solar industry. Natural gas is crazy profitable, as are most fossil fuels. They don't need or deserve subsidies, but rake in billions each year. We pay those subsidies, they profit, our politicians get money from them. That doesn't make economic sense.

about a year and a half ago



Verizon selling "new" iPhones with preloaded data?

dnahelicase dnahelicase writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dnahelicase (1594971) writes "One of my employees just went to the Verizon store in town to upgrade his Blackberry Storm to a "new" iPhone 4S. I told him to take it there and they would transfer his contacts, pictures, etc — and I'd setup his work email when he returned. When he did, I was surprised to find "preloaded" apps, such as Facebook, Bank of America, and others — as well as purchased music and a hotmail account — all setup for a recent high school grad 50 miles south of here.

Verizon denies selling him a used phone, and denies this has ever happened before. Has anyone else received a "new" phone with someone else's data on it?

I was able to post to this kid's facebook wall to tell him, as well as emailing him on his two email accounts. Verizon has given me a window into his personal life, his contacts, his music. I can call his (new) girlfriend, his sister, his high school friends. Why didn't they just clear the phone and we wouldn't have been the wiser?"


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