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Is Your Antivirus Made By the Chinese Government?

geobeck Instead of back doors... (196 comments)

Why not just make Symantec products such bloated resource hogs they slow down western computers, reducing US productivity as workers wait for their cursor to follow every mouse movement?

Um... How long has Symantec had ties to China?

more than 3 years ago

TSA Investigates... People Who Complain About TSA

geobeck Re:This is why profiling is so stupid (379 comments)

4) Nervous(perhaps because they are trying to do something illegal and murderous)

Lots of people are nervous flyers, and their apprehension starts to build as soon as they get to the airport. Profiling based on appearance (tough-looking guys who appear nervous, for example) doesn't work, either. A fear of flying is just as likely to affect a tough 35-year-old biker type as it is a frail 92-year-old lady.

What's more, if they decide nervous-looking passengers with a middle-eastern appearance are worth extra attention, that would probably be almost all of them. Anyone who looks remotely middle eastern probably feels like everyone in a uniform, every security camera, and half the Caucasian-American passengers are staring at them.

Behavioral profiling is an inexact science in the best situations; in a huge, hectic place like an airport, it's like playing roulette (but without the calming C-major chimes from the nearby slots).

more than 3 years ago

TSA Investigates... People Who Complain About TSA

geobeck Re:Well duh? (379 comments)

What nefarious character is going to draw attention to themselves when trying to get away with something evil?

Possibly one of the nefarious characters who show up on "America's Dumbest Crooks" or similar shows. According to news reports after the first World Trade Center bombing (1993 or 1994, I think - Ryder truck in the basement, no significant structural damage), the bomber tried to get his deposit back on the rental truck the next day--and used his real name to rent the truck.

The people who run terrorist organizations may be careful planners, but the people who they send into oblivion aren't always the sharpest scissors in the checked baggage.

more than 2 years ago

Why Google Should Buy the Music Industry

geobeck Re:Don't be evil (472 comments)

It's "Don't be evil, not don't buy evil.

more than 2 years ago

What Happens If You Get Sucked Out of a Plane?

geobeck Re: Mythbusters (OT) (327 comments)

I'm sorry, but Mythbusters != Science. Mythbusters == staged entertainment.

It's unfortunate that the mod type showing on this comment is 'Flamebait' rather than 'Insightful'. Mythbusters does a very good job of demonstrating that a 'myth' can be proven or disproved within a very specific set of circumstances on the one trial that they choose to represent their 'proof', but it only resembles science on an incredibly superficial level.

The best example I've seen in the last while (although I rarely watch the show) was trying to prove that an object launched backward off a moving vehicle, at the speed of the vehicle, will fall straight down. They designed a launcher that could propel a bowling ball at a consistent speed, then drove the vehicle at that speed and started their trials. They showed four failed trials before they finally achieved one where the ball fell straight down. Their conclusion was that they proved that an object will fall straight down when launched at the speed of the vehicle--despite four of the five trials they showed (and who knows how many others that were cut) disproving their intended result. They didn't even mention the concept of wake turbulence affecting the ball's path.

On the other hand, I wonder how much corporate-funded science resembles Mythbusters (in this respect) more than it resembles legitimate science.

more than 3 years ago

US Navy Close To On-Ship Laser Cannons

geobeck Re:Counter-measures (309 comments)

Also, lasers don't bounce back at the attacker they way they do in fiction.

The most effective reflective armor wouldn't attempt to bounce the beam back (the Wobbuffet defense). If you had highly reflective armor placed at a very low angle, the beam would strike a much larger area, reducing the concentration of energy in addition to reflecting it away.

Of course, the problem would be that you now have a powerful laser beam aimed at an angle into the air--less concentrated than it was, but still enough to damage any of your planes that may be in the area.

more than 3 years ago

Kinect Revolutionizing Robotics

geobeck I, for one... (83 comments)

I, for one, welcome our cheap, 3D-sensing, X-Box playing, Johnny 5-worshiping overlords.

more than 3 years ago

Thin Client, Or Fat Client? That Is the Question

geobeck Re:Performance (450 comments)

I studied this issue in the early 00's. The company I worked for had delayed buying any new client hardware to the point where we had administrative users on nine-year-old Dells and AutoCAD users on five-year-old machines. So of course we needed to buy new machines for everyone, and we wanted to find the cheapest solution. Well, management wanted the cheapest solution; users wanted to get some work done, rather than waiting until lunch time for their computer to log in.

In our case, including licensing and server upgrades (which were minor, because we had excess server capacity due to a shrinking company), it would have been cheaper to use a thin client system--but only for the administrative users. AutoCAD was not supported in a thin client environment (is it, even today?), and our service technicians absolutely hated using Citrix to access the ERP system. (Logging into the west coast from China, Germany, or even the midwest was ridiculous, waiting half a minute for your cursor to move across the screen.)

I finally managed to convince my boss, who loved the thin client concept, that because of remote users and AutoCAD users, it was best for us to kill off our Citrix system altogether. The power users got fast new workstations, the administrative users got shiny new PCs, our server room was leaned out and less prone to overheating, and everyone lived happily ever after--until the company folded 18 months later due to incompetent management.

more than 3 years ago

Why Don't We Finish More Games?

geobeck Myst Uru (341 comments)

Does anyone remember Myst? Great story, superb graphics (navigating through stills to provide high res scenes), and great use of Quicktime mini-windows for animation in the days before full 3D rendering. I finished that game many times.

Then came Riven. Five CDs full of that immersing world, and a storyline better and more complex than the first. I finished that game quite a few times as well, even though it was much longer.

By the time Uru: Ages Beyond Myst came out, other companies had begun producing fully rendered 3D universes that were as good or better, but I bought it because it was a Myst sequel. I played through the first part, solving the challenges, then picked up the expansion packs.

When I got to the last part, there was a challenge I couldn't figure out. After spending hours going back and forth through the section, trying to find what I had missed, I gave up and went to a walkthrough site. There it was revealed that, in order to progress further, I had to stand in one place for exactly fifteen minutes and catch a pebble that was dropped from a mechanism. I couldn't just leave and come back in approximately 15 minutes though, or the pebble would time out and leave me stranded for another 15 minutes.

I don't know whether the game creators were trying to enforce some sort of RSI break to compensate for the carpal tunnel syndrome their games may have induced, but I felt cheated. Every other part of the series to that point I had solved myself, but how could anyone be expected to figure out that solving this last challenge required standing around doing nothing for as long as many games require you to complete an entire level?

I turned off the game, uninstalled it, and have not played anything from those game developers since.

more than 3 years ago

US Marine Corps Bans Social Networking Sites

geobeck Re:YRO (202 comments)

Restrictions on mobile devices are probably in order as well:

PFC Campbell is approaching the insurgents camp.

PFC Campbell is just a little downwind. They can't see a thing.

PFC Campbell this is going to be good, they have no idea we're here!

PFC Campbell is that a Blackberry that insurgent is holding?

PFC Campbell ohshit

more than 5 years ago

Analyst, 15, Creates Storm After Trashing Twitter

geobeck OT nit-pick (381 comments)

...I hate it when the media has such a hay-day over something...

I used to think it was just my ex who misused this expression, but it seems to be everywhere these days.

The media had a field day with this article.

Newspapers were the medium of choice back in their heyday, before television news became popular.

Heyday refers to the time when something was especially popular or prevalent. A field day is what you have when you're able to enjoy something tremendously for a short time.

more than 5 years ago

Rhode Island Affiliates Banned From Sales

geobeck Re:I fear that pretty soon... (532 comments)

Okay, I know what the OP means now. I would think twice before going through a private sale that used the Amazon portal.

When I sell things, I prefer to use Craigslist and keep it local. No shipping hassles, and the transaction happens face to face, in cash, so you're not worrying about electronic payment mishaps.

more than 5 years ago

Rhode Island Affiliates Banned From Sales

geobeck Re:I fear that pretty soon... (532 comments)

I generally trust Amazon more than I do the small fry sites they 'affiliate' with.

What exactly do you mean? When someone clicks on one of the recommended books on my Amazon affiliate page*, they are taken to where they can buy the book directly from Amazon. I don't handle any of their transactions, or ship any books; all my affiliate page does is give me a commission on any book that a visitor to my site may purchase if they access through the links on my site. There's no additional 'trust' needed.

*which I am not going to link here, because that would be affiliate link spam. My site is in my sig if anyone wants more information on responsible products.

more than 5 years ago

US House May Pass "Cap & Trade" Bill

geobeck Re:Cap & Trade = Energy Rationing (874 comments)

Actually, I think he meant to say that taxes would not go up 95% for Americans.

more than 5 years ago

Beamed Space Solar Power Plant To Open In 2016?

geobeck Re:Human Size Ants (512 comments)

What do you mean? An African or European swallow?

more than 5 years ago

Beamed Space Solar Power Plant To Open In 2016?

geobeck Re:In Space (512 comments)

Hell hath no fury like a pollen scorned.

You mean 'scorched'.

more than 5 years ago

Reporters Find US Gov't Data In Ghana Market

geobeck Re:Contracts (154 comments)

They should lose their contracts for failing to wipe the data off the hard drives.

What's so ridiculous is how easy it is to destroy data without investing in ultra-super-duper-mil-spec data destruction software. When I destroyed hard drives for my old company, I'd pull out the drive, take it down to the shop floor, and watch as one of our fabricators put a 1/2-inch hole through the platters with a drill press. It's theoretically possible that an expert who really, really wanted our data could have read something from the partial platters, but I guarantee that none of our drives ever showed up in use anywhere else.

And with the old IBM death stars, pretty much any possibility of data recovery was eliminated when those glass platters shattered inside the case as the drill went through.

Of course, this technique requires you to have a drill press or a good, sturdy hand drill somewhere on your site, but I think Northrop Grumman could afford one of those.

more than 5 years ago

Print Subscribers Cry Foul Over WP's Online-Only Story

geobeck Re:long-form reporting...deep investigative report (96 comments)

I stare at Excel just about all damn day.

The last thing that I want to do when I get home is stare at a screen for the 40 minute it takes to read an article that is as long as this one.

Of course not. And there's no way you'll stare at Slashdot long enough to read through the deep investigative long form reporting we get here...

more than 5 years ago

Man Attacked In Ohio For Providing Iran Proxies

geobeck Re:Waiting for it... (467 comments)

The Government does not grant rights! The government is granted rights by the people...

I think it's a semantic difference, but for all practical purposes, the freedom to exercise rights depends on who has the power to decide whether or not rights can be exercised.

In a western democracy, the people have a great deal of power. Even the most powerful, corrupt government can only do so much to erode those rights, as we're seeing in the USA right now. In a totalitarian society, whether or not certain rights can be exercised is controlled by the rulers - as long as their rule remains stable.

And the rulers don't have to be selected by the people of that country. If a stronger country invades a weaker country, the rights of the conquered people are determined by the outside force that invaded them.

more than 5 years ago



geobeck geobeck writes  |  more than 7 years ago

geobeck writes "Sixteen-year-old Robert Santangelo, who was sued for file sharing when he was eleven, is fighting back. His suit claims that the recording industry has "engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud the courts of the United States", and accuses them of antitrust violations and extortion.

Robert is not the first Santangelo to be sued. In 2005, the recording industry sued his mother Patti, but dropped the charges when it became apparent that she didn't even know how to turn on a computer. His sister Michelle, now 20, is on the hook for $30k in summary judgment charges because she did not respond to a similar suit filed against her."


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