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Inside a Ransomware Money Machine

ePhil_One Re:Scams (158 comments)

One day I'm going to be a senior citizen and my bullshit detector is going to stop working like it does for everyone else

Its not that it stops working, its just that its misaligned. You know MS would not call you directly, but Grandma doesn't. The rules we know to protect ourselves are completely alien to someone not immersed in the culture.

more than 2 years ago
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What's Wrong With the US Defense R&D Budget?

ePhil_One Re:R&D (225 comments)

It's true enough, though, that one of the reasons why many countries that could expect to face us on a battlefield do not focus too heavily on air assets

USSR focused heavily on air assets, and both the Mig-29 and Su-27 were very impressive planes. With the exception of the few F-22 ; most of our fighter aircraft are 1980's tech with some updates. Mash stolen Mig-29 & Su-27 designs (soviets feared China too) with 30 years of computer tech and China is test flying the Chinese designed/built J-20 stealth fighter already.

But there is a very short list of countries that expect to face us on the battlefield, countries equip themselves with air forces to defend against the countries that they DO expect to face on the battlefield. Isreal vs Arab nations, India vs Pakistan, etc. Unless you hit that tipping point of US/NATO involvement, you need to be able to stand on your own and there's plenty of evidence that air power is a significant force multiplier, whether its just piper cubs for scouting or the latest supersonic aircraft from the US/Russia/Europe. Witness the Falklands conflict, the US stayed out while the UK could only bring 30-odd Harrier's to the party to defend their far flung island outpost against Argentia's 120-odd aircraft. During this fight, the US never committed its airforce to one of its oldest allies.

In other words, count on the US to defend you at your own peril, but bury them if they do show up against you unless you are China/Russia.

It would also we wise to negotiate your way to settlement quickly. Before the 1st Gulf war, Saddam was a US ally, recieving lots of aid from the US in their war on Iran. There is evidence he may have thought he had the US's nod to invade Kuwait, and if he had agreed to pull out before the first bombs dropped, he'd likely still have one of the largest militaries in that region.

more than 2 years ago
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World's Worst PR Guy Gives His Side

ePhil_One Re:So he hasn't learned a thing. (576 comments)

"Clients have brought it up, but they've mainly laughed about it. I haven't lost any clients."

I'm trying to imagine the type of client that laughs about his PR rep being outed as an asshole who abuses their clients and the english language. At best he's been feeding them "his" version of events, and they haven't checked out the well documented reality of it yet. More likely, he's making them up as well since I've not seen anyone else linked to this guy despite the geek-cred bounty currently out on it

Also note that this is in direct contracts to the articles earlier sentence, (In the SAME paragraph, two sentences before) that he had in fact lost at least one client. Which sort of comes around to the fact that this is a very one sided, pro-Christoforo piece that twists actual events. Dave CC'ing several popular gaming sites with the email thread becomes the sinister Dave got the press involved, sending a lengthy recounting of his frustrations to Christoforo and a number of gaming news outlets, etc. Just an really poorly written article trying to syphon of the fame of this jackass.

more than 2 years ago
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Reviews of Kindle Fire Are a Mixed Bag

ePhil_One Re:what space is there for the Fire?" (381 comments)

A $200 device that will do both.

The standard Kindle is better is better for reading books because of the E-ink technology, which gives it longer battery life (by an order of magnitude) and better readability

The Kindle Fire gives up this advantage by using a color LCD screen, so it will suffer all the disadvantages of the iPad for ebooks. if it has a slower processor and less memory, it is very unlikely it will do the Media thing better. Which doesn't mean it will be a failure, its hitting a low price point, only the foolish will expect it to be as fast and responsive as the iPad2...

more than 3 years ago
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Doctors To Patients: First, Do No Yelp Harm

ePhil_One Re:Streisand Effect (581 comments)

And this is why normal people hate lawyers/government. Does it have to be so indirect and complicated? Without lawyers attempting to weasel their way out of obvious intents of plain language, we could have a much simpler legal system.

Lawyers are the result of people trying to weasel their way out of things, they bring consistency and repeatability into the process. Plain language is rarely as plain as you imagine it, just look at all the arguements over the second ammendment.

more than 3 years ago
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Tasmanian Dept. of Education Wants Anti-Virus for Linux, OS X

ePhil_One Re:Passing on Viruses (396 comments)

As many have already figured out, AV is pretty useless.

It is nowhere near fullproof.

Not Foolproof != useless

If you want foolproof, disconnect from the internet, power down, and encase your PC in concrete.

more than 3 years ago
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Tasmanian Dept. of Education Wants Anti-Virus for Linux, OS X

ePhil_One Re:Yes (396 comments)

The DoD's reasoning is pretty straightforward. There are few to no "in the wild" viruses or trojans for Linux/Mac (several worms though), but data rarely stays in one platform in an interconnected world. We put virus protection on every platform so that whenever a document or program is introduced on the network it gets scanned. That way if it has malware in it, even Windows malware on a Linux/Mac system, it's caught early. Just because I first put the document on a Linux system doesn't mean it's going to stay on a Linux system.

Exactly. 99% of what my Linux boxes scan for are Windows malware (viruses, worms, trojans, etc). I prefer to scan for such things on a box that is not succeptible to most things. Since websites, USB keys, and portable media, bittorrent, etc., mean virus can come into almost any system on the network, all machines shoudl be scanning for all viruses, whatever the platform.

Home users can do what they want, but in any larger networked environment where you don't have absolute control, this is absolutely neccessary.

more than 3 years ago
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50% of Apple's Revenue Comes From the iPhone

ePhil_One Re:What I want to know (292 comments)

Carrier agreements just means paying for iPhones. They cost $640 on average, but the user pays $240 on average and the carrier pays the rest.

Actually, Carrier agreements means exclusivity deals, cross promotion payments, etc. Its not as simple as $640x18.4 million units. I'm not sure what exclusivity $ is out there now that its on two networks, or if Verizon is paying Apple to bring the iPhone to Verizon faster, etc. But if they are, that money is captured here.

more than 3 years ago
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50% of Apple's Revenue Comes From the iPhone

ePhil_One Re:What I want to know (292 comments)

If you read the article, App store purchases counted as "iTunes" revenue. The big delta here is carrier agreements, which were counted as iPhone revenue.

more than 3 years ago
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New Houses Killing Wi-Fi

ePhil_One Re:Plastic pipes... (358 comments)

What freaks me out the most about new homes is the switch from copper to plastic for water pipeing.

Most the plastic pipe is actually better than copper. The old black pipe is bad of iron and actively rusts after a bit. Biggest issue is plastic sewer pipes, they are noisier than the old cast iron, and don't even get me started on clay sewer lines used in the ground.

Of course, there's at least 3 "modern" plastic pipes, PVC, CPVC, and PEX, I plan to go PEX (Cu is way to costly now), but admittedly older plastics could do bad things over a very long period of exposure, maybe. Talk to folks whose copper pipes need to be replaced after 10 years due to "pinhole" leaks which they wish their builder had used, or those who had their pipes stolen for scrap...

more than 3 years ago
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New Houses Killing Wi-Fi

ePhil_One Re:Really reaching here (358 comments)

My heating bill, on a 1980s house is by far once of the most cash sucking and depressing aspects of my budget.

Same here, but with a 1920's house.

Same here, but with a 1900's house. Do I win?

Same here, but with an 1876 home. You lose!

more than 3 years ago
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Apple's Secret Weapon To Win the Tablet Wars

ePhil_One Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (716 comments)

Almost everyone that I know that buys one spends very little time thinking about what they stuff might actually "do" and instead want an iPad because that's the new cool gadget.

Yes, some significant percentage of early fit this category, its a classic early adopter profile. Some others likely have a very specific task in mind, from "watching videos in [Airplanes|Ranger Stations|etc] to [Important business function that would justify spending 10x more than it costs]. Don't make the mistake of assuming "People you know" = "World of all iPad consumers"

Which any decent tablet will do, but the others all seem like iPad ripoffs (as I guess they are), so people aren't interested in them.

Or perhaps they already have an iPod/iTunes library and see value in not switching. Or they looked at the application environments and chose Apple's locked down model of reliability of Andriods model of openness at the cost of instability/risk.

I just think people are first interested in the product, THEN its usefulness

That will get you through the early adopter phase, but without some sort of "Killer App" that the tablet does better, it will be a niche product that dies out (again). The vast majority of folks don't have money to bun experimenting with toys, if they don't have a VERY compelling reason to chose tablets over competitors (iPod's, Kindle, Netbooks, desktops, etc). Keep in mind the 5% rule too, if it works for 95% of what you want better but can't do the last 5%, it may get tossed aside as unworkable. This is why so many rural residents drive trucks, a car would be better 95% of the time, but they can only afford 1 vehicle and need the truck that 5% of the time, so they buy a truck.

more than 3 years ago
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Steve Jobs Questioned In iTunes Monopoly Suit

ePhil_One Re:How is iTunes a monopoly? (370 comments)

Only iTunes can place rights restricted music using the native "Fairplay" DRM on the iPod. That is how it is a monopoly. Everybody else has to use unrestricted formats.

more than 3 years ago
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Steve Jobs Questioned In iTunes Monopoly Suit

ePhil_One Re:Bad guys (370 comments)

Exactly, that bastard Steve forced the record companies to accept his tyrannical 99 cent pricing policy and allow me to burn purchased songs to CD's where they can be ripped back to MP3 free of the restrictions! We must end his monopoly on rights restricted downloadable music for the iPod! Other companies MUST be free to sell us restricted license music & video for our iPods! Unite!

more than 3 years ago
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Red Hat Stops Shipping Kernel Changes as Patches

ePhil_One Re:diff(1) (184 comments)

Selective patching for reasons other than "you don't necessarily want to consume all of those fixes" I could understand, if I were to stipulate the hypothetical that some of the "fixes" aren't really "bug fixes" but optional enhancements. But really, in RH's kernel history, I can't remember very many of those (actually, I can't remember any).

Sometimes things aren't as simple as broken/not broken. Sometimes its fixed for some edge cases at a cost of slowdowns on all systems. Sometimes its removed functionality to prevent a security issue that may be irrelevant to me. You need to be very careful extending the particular "I've never had a problem" to the universal "No one has ever had a problem"

I long ago forgot the original issue, but I definitely recall having to build a custom kernel RPM package every time we decided to adopt the latest kernel fixes for our server farm to undo some "fix" Red Hat had installed that worked great in the majority of cases but broke badly in our environment; it was also obvious from the Bugzilla reports that we weren't the only ones and that Red Hat knew of the issue and were choosing not to undo it because they felt their fix helped more people than it hurt

more than 3 years ago
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Red Hat Stops Shipping Kernel Changes as Patches

ePhil_One Re:CentOS (184 comments)

RedHat exercises the GNU freedom by selling for money a distribution consisting mostly of free programs made by others.

For the record, RedHat is selling support for a distribution they have engineered. They aren't selling the distribution, except possibly a "media charge", year 1 to obtain the support and year 2 to maintain the support are the same price.

CentOS does not offer any support beyond the standard Open Source model of chat boards, bugzilla, etc. As a general rule, when I introduce Linux to a company with a small unsupported project, I bring in CentOS, not Fedora, because I know if it takes off we'll be bringing in RHEL 9 times out of 10 when the company decides they want/need support. That way, there is pretty much zero retraining of the staff that needs to happen.

more than 3 years ago
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Cell Phone Industry's Six Biggest Failed Schemes

ePhil_One Re:Iridium (163 comments)

The problem wasn't that someone at the top should have recognized the situation had changed and that spending a few billion dollars or so when there were going to be few customers was foolhardy. I think part of it was that Motorola didn't know when to cut losses but went ahead anyway.

When launched, 1997, the situation was quite different from today. You are arguing that they should have forseen the rapid pace of the cell phone industry. There was a market then, there still is a market today, and understand the decision they faced in 1997 wasn't "spend billions developing and building a global satellite phone network", it was lanch the satellites for the gobal satellite network we already designed and built for a hundred million or so or walk away from the project.Seeing as the network is still in place and they are planning to launch more satellites, sounds like it was the right decision. Problem was Motorola chose to recoup its costs at the expense of its partners by charging high service fees to maintain the network, possibly intentionally bankrupting the original Iridium organization to lose the debt from the balance sheet.

There are still lots of times/places the Iridium phones make sense, New Orleans post Katrina, for example. Rescue craft for ships/oil rigs. While cell service exists in 90% of the world, sometimes people need to visit the other 10%

more than 3 years ago
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Cell Phone Industry's Six Biggest Failed Schemes

ePhil_One Re:P2P phone not a bad idea (163 comments)

Unless you've got some magical routing protocol up your sleeve, yes it is a bad idea.

The way I understood it, you basically piggbacked on top of the existing infrastructure. So I set a base station up in my house connected to the internet, and so did you. When I was at home, my phone used my station direct to any endpoint I wanted, when I was near your house, it used your station direct to any endpoint. If I wasn't near any, it didn't work. Works in theory if you get enough users, but who covers highways, restaurants, and office buildings? Dropping cell rates have really undercut the market for this, spotty service makes sense when you are unlimited for $20/month vs 400 minutes for $80, why put up with the spotty unreliable nature to save $20/month over today's "good enough" plans? Trying to bounce calls handset to handset would be a mess, but the overlay model is simple and effective in most situations.

more than 3 years ago
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Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required?

ePhil_One Re:Things have changed. Get over it. (429 comments)

I'm not going to make a steakhouse-quality dinner using stew beef, I need to drop some coin on good ingredients.

Just as stew beef would make a lousy steak dinner, most quality steaks would make for lousy stew because they lack connective tissue to dissolve into "lip smackin gelatin". And the best ingredients poorly prepared will still come out poorly, whereas good technique can raise cheap ingredients to gourmet fair. Not all movies need to be works of art, sometimes well paced fun is all it takes

But yeah, Transformers 2 sucks on all levels...

more than 3 years ago
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Judge Declares Mistrial Because of Wikipedia

ePhil_One Re:Personally... (558 comments)

Look up the term 'Jury Veto' or 'Jury Nullification' ... most judges and prosecuting attorneys won't even mention this but we have this right as secured by the Supreme Court.

Yes, in this way popular, good looking people can be rightfully excluded from complying with the law. Judges should make a point of telling juries the can ignore the law and render verdicts based on their "gut" instead of "the law".

Finally we can put an end to this "Tyranny of the Law" and get back to a Dark Ages-like Anarchy. I'm going to start drawing up plans for my new Barter Town, complete with Thunderdome!

about 4 years ago

Submissions

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ePhil_One ePhil_One writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ePhil_One (634771) writes "The major phone companies; Cingular/AT&T, Sprint, and Qwest; have begun blocking access to a free conferencing service. The service is FreeConference.com and their FAQ has details (Read #4, "I received an email recently concerning number blocking by some major phone carriers. Is this a legitimate issue from your company?"). This seems to be a pretty egregious offense. Now, I'm not beyond seeing this as a publicity stunt (I've used them often and have AT&T as my Long Distance carrier without incident), and I have seen no replies posted from any of the cariers either way. But its a potentially important issue that should get out there as soon as possible if true, and if not the "dot com" needs to see this stunt backfire in a very loud way."

Journals

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BayTSP is Spamming

ePhil_One ePhil_One writes  |  more than 6 years ago For those not aware, BayTSP is a P2P network tracking company. Today I was surprised that my Help desk recieved what I would consider "Spam" from them, the following letter:

Subject: BayTSP Email Verification. Please Reply

Greetings - BayTSP is conducting its quarterly verification of email addresses. We would like to confirm that this is the correct email address for correspondence regarding copyright infringements regarding your organization. The favor of a reply confirming this, or (in case the email address is incorrect) a correction would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your cooperation. Regards, Compliance Dept. BayTSP

Leaving aside the business these guys are in and how they accomplish it, does this qualify under the CAN-SPAM act as spam? It appears commercial, since they are building a database of email addresses for commercial purposes. I assume they've trolled the DNS WHOIS records for the email, which I believe is another violation by my understanding.

These guys have been pushing flakey and ineffectual tech since 1999, but it seems they may have crossed a line here.

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