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Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

harrkev Re:Big risks (178 comments)

No. No chance of security problems other than possibly having malware pre-loaded in a file on the drive. If you have auto-play turned off and format the card, it should be just fine.

Now, it is still likely that it is a fake. It might be very small, very slow, or die a very early death, but that would only endanger your data on there and not your computer itself.

You may be asking "Why is this the case?" The reason is that the "U" in "USB" stands for "Universal" A USB device could easily present itself as a hub with an Ethernet adapter, keyboard, mouse, and storage all rolled into one. Hell, it could even throw in a virtual MIDI keyboard, scanner, printer, and joystick if it wanted to. From what I understand, this is the crux of the security problems with USB.

An SD card, on the other hand, is strictly for storage. It uses an interface similar to SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface), and is, in fact, really SPI on some of the slower modes. There is no way for a SD card to pretend to be anything else besides an SD card. People have actually wedged WiFi interfaces into an SD form-factor, but you need drivers for those, which means that you need to either install the driver yourself, or the bad guys have to get the driver into Windows Update -- not likely in either case.

about two weeks ago

US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

harrkev Re:Dumb idea ... Lots of assumptions .... (697 comments)

Curtailing access to them means that some people cannot get them. That may be a problem...

People talk about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Great in theory, but is MUCH more problematic in practice. Mental illness is not binary -- it comes in various degrees and kinds.

Should a person who hears voices telling him to kill people be denied a gun? Probably.
Should a person who compulsively washes his hands be denied a gun? Probably not.

If a person is on anti-depressants be denied a gun? What if they stopped taking them (this could be good or bad)? What if they stopped taking them last week against their doctor's orders? What if they stopped taking them 20 years ago?

Suppose a person is dangerous enough to require having their rights to arms removed... Who makes that determination? Does it just take one psychologist? Should it take a board of 3 or 7 doctors? Should a judge be involved?

If the person gets better, how are their rights restored? Once again, who makes this determination? What are the criteria?

And suppose a person already HAS guns. Maybe they are a hunter, and love hunting. Because they are afraid of loosing their favorite recreation, they AVOID seeking mental help. Is that a great idea?

Suppose a woman has some mental health issues and is denied a gun. However, her ex has a criminal record for violent offenses and has threatened death against the woman. Should the then be allowed to own a gun to protect herself? If so, who makes this decision? How long would it take for this issue to go through the courts? Would she even live that long?

Seriously. just focusing on the guns is ignorant. Just saying "don't give them to lunatics" is easy to say, but much harder to do in practice. When there IS a school shooting, what is the first thing to happen? People show up to help, with guns.

about two weeks ago

US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

harrkev Re:Dumb idea ... Lots of assumptions .... (697 comments)

Amen. A much better way to reduce school shootings is to identify WHY kids want to shoot people. Maybe invest money in training for teachers to identify bullying? Maybe hire another counselor to talk to troubled children?

Given the rare nature of school shootings, you average kid has an approximately equal chance to be struck by lightning.

School shootings are tragic, but they are also rare. If you want to save a child's life, there are MANY better places where the money could be spent.

about two weeks ago

US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

harrkev Re:Dumb idea ... Lots of assumptions .... (697 comments)

You say that like stabbings and shootings are the same.
Guns weren't invented because they made killing harder.

So, if guns are banned, then the next step is to ban all knives, because school stabbings also kill people. OK. Knives banned, but people are still beaten to death. Time to ban baseball bats and golf clubs.

Seriously, for every gun used in a murder, there are over THIRTY THOUSAND that are NOT used in a homicide. Also, guns are used to PREVENT crime nearly a million times a year (about 800,000 by the middle-of-the-road estimates).

Grow up. Guns are not evil -- they are tools. If guns are inherently evil, then why do we give them to police and soldiers?

about two weeks ago

US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

harrkev Re:Wonderful idea. (697 comments)

then we just reschedule the exams for another day.

And another evening (or two) to study.

about two weeks ago

Hackers Breach White House Network

harrkev Re:Stadtdaten macht Frei (98 comments)

That would be an improvement over the current one.

about a month ago

Hackers Breach White House Network

harrkev Re:The unclassified network? (98 comments)

Worrisome? Stop with the fear talk...

If somebody of a different nationality can make is past the border of the White House security, he deserves a path to have a legal account there. He needs the opportunity to prove that he can become a productive member of the White House network.

about a month ago

3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

harrkev Re:Easily done: (331 comments)

Well, since you asked:


Estimates over the number of defensive gun uses vary, depending on the study's population, criteria, time-period studied, and other factors. Higher end estimates by Kleck and Gertz show between 1 to 2.5 million DGUs in the United States each year.[1]:64â"65[2][3] Low end estimates cited by Hemenway show approximately 55,000-80,000 such uses each year.[4][5] Middle estimates have estimated approximately 1 million DGU incidents in the United States

I also love the "FOR THE CHILDREN" argument. To stop child porn, we need to outlaw all encryption. To protect our children from obesity, we have to outlaw fatty foods. Sheesh! Grow up!

Also, lots of children are killed by cars each year. Do you propose banning cars? How about a woman who scares off an intruder with her gun. Is her life and the lives of her children worthless? Put your agenda away and put on your thinking cap.

about a month ago

Brits Must Trade Digital Freedoms For Safety, Says Crime Agency Boss

harrkev Re:Leader quotation bingo (264 comments)

Same with guns. Venezuela enacted a complete gun ban with "gun surrender centers", with heavy penalties for anyone non-police/non-militia to own one. Now, gun crime is 1/1000 what it was a few years ago, and their gun bans are an example to the world of reducing crime.

Yeah. It works GREAT. Same old tired argument. If you actually ban all guns, then gun crime will go away. But then you need to ban fists, knives, ropes, poison, etc. I guess you COULD show up to the funeral of a person stabbed to death and proudly proclaim "You should be thankful that they were not shot to death." Let me know how well that works for you...


Venezuela is currently among the countries with the highest murder rates in the world.

And looking on that wiki page, the graph sure looks like murders are increasing. But at least less people are shot, right?

By the way, similar story in Australia. Harder to get guns. Murder has dropped, but violent crime overall has INCREASED in the last three decades. In the USA, violent crime and murder have dropped more than Australia during the same period.

about a month and a half ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

I'm actually unsurprised by the way it dropped - lead was removed from gasoline, and as a result you've had a generation of people grow up without lead poisoning. This lessening of brain damage means that people have better impulse control etc.

Exactly. If, instead of reducing lead, the government had simply banned guns, and we still had lead in gasoline and paint, how well do you think that would have worked out? With people still having behavioral problems, and using knives and baseball bats instead of guns, do you think that the 49% drop in the murder rate would have still happened. Thank you for proving my point. Crime is a symptom of a deeper problem, and guns are NOT the cause of the problem, they are just tools that criminals use, but they are used MUCH MORE by honest people.

So, in this case:

* Banning guns -- little effect

* Banning lead in the environment -- great effect.

There seems to be no movement within the gun owning community to put a lid on such nonsense, which is disturbing.

And what do you expect? The honest gun owners are very much AGAINST crime, just like all of the honest non-gun owners, but how are gun owners supposed to "put a lid" on crime. If I have a gun to defend myself, do you expect me to put on tights and be "Super Shooter Dude" running around saving the city by myself? Then I would be called a "vigilante," which is generally frowned upon. Wishing crime away won't make it go away. Disarming honest citizens will also not stop criminals.

Here are the facts:

1) Guns are common. Almost one for every person in America.

2) Gun crime is actually relatively rare. You just notice it more because it makes the news.

3) How rare or common gun crime is generally depends on how much poverty you have in the area.

4) Criminals will not obey laws. That is why most mass shootings happen in "gun-free zones." I guess a guy who wants to kill a bunch of people is also willing to ignore a "no guns allowed" sign. Whodathunk?

I do not know what the solution is, but I do know what it isn't. Don't forget the famous quote:

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

More gun laws will just serve to greatly inconvenience honest people, and do little to stop the real criminals.

By the way. I am not a "prepper" or a "survivalist." At least not much. I have been through a couple of hurricanes. I know what it is to be completely without power and water for a week or so -- and it is not fun. After any disaster it may take the government a few days to a week to come to your rescue, so you need to be prepared to meet your own needs for up to a week. That is just common sense. I am not preparing for the end of the world.

In my case, I just want my children (yes, I have children) to know and love the freedoms that I grew up with. And, if some scumbag wants to attack one of my daughters, I plan on teaching them how to defend themselves. I would rather have a scumbag wind up being shot than one of my daughters wind up being raped. I also do not like people telling me what to do for NO GOOD REASON. There is a speed limit on the roads -- that makes sense, so I happily obey (well, mostly). I believe in being nice to other people. But, telling me that I cannot own a rifle when I have not hurt anybody and have no plans to hurt anybody is just plain stupid.

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

Perhaps the declining rate of crime in the US is due to the declining rate of gun ownership

Oh. One more thing. The homicide rate in the US has dropped by 49% from its peak a few decades ago. Are you going to claim that gun ownership has dropped by 49%?

I bet the 49% drop in the homicide rate is a complete surprise to you. It must frustrate your attempts to live in fear.

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

An awful lot of "ifs" in your conclusions regarding the comparative crime rates between Australia & the US. I will note that you still have a lot of room to make up in the murder rate.

Perhaps. This is a complicated issue. I do not run around and claim that banning guns will make the sun always shine and make flowers sprout on every street corner. If you would actually look at the graphs that you can make yourself from the data on Wikipedia, you would find that the correlation between (more guns == less murder ) is actually rather weak.

Let me put it this way, if gun laws actually made much of a difference one way or the other, then all of Chicago would have roughly the same murder rate. However, that is NOT the case. Some areas (the poorer ones) can have several shooting deaths in a weekend, while other areas of the same city, with the SAME LAWS can go murder-free for multiple years. Why is this? Clearly, the laws are not the only thing to consider here.

Let me put it another way... Some people claim that Chicago's crime problem could be improved by making guns harder to get in other states, because guns are imported from elsewhere. However, guns are very readily available in Wyoming, and yet that do not have anywhere near the same problems. If availability of guns == more murder, then why are these other states not having the same types of problems since the guns are locally available. If somebody at Chicago points their finger at Montana and say it is their fault, that is pretty stupid when Montana has no problems.

And as to Australia, they have a totally different economy, different history, and a somewhat different social social structure. DO you think that those things might make a difference? Russia has very few guns, but a murder rate about five times higher than here. I could point to there and say "see, PROOF that banning guns leads to more crime," but then I would be a liar because I am over-simplifying a very complex topic.

Perhaps the declining rate of crime in the US is due to the declining rate of gun ownership

Perhaps, perhaps not. If YOU want to take away MY rights, then you might want to have a bit more proof than "perhaps."

You have a situation where a declining number of ammosexuals are stocking up on guns, driven by fear & paranoia that someone is coming to take them away.

You are not paranoid if they really are out to get you. Somebody really DID come and take them away (or at least most of them) in the UK and in Australia. At lease one US Senator has stated that they would like to take them all away.

Finally, some more real numbers here... The USA had 8,855 firearm murders in 2012. There are an estimated 270,000,000 guns in the USA (this is the lower figure of the estimate). That means (assuming one gun per murder) that 0.003% of the guns in America are used in murders. Yes, 1/300 of one percent. Wow, sure sounds like a problem to me.

Let's put this in perspective. There are approximately 230,000 sexual assaults per year. The approximate number of males in this country is approximately 150 million. This means that approximately 0.15% of all males perpetrate sexual assault (assuming all assaults are committed by males and no male commits more than one assault). So, the average male is 47 times more likely to commit sexual assault than the average gun is likely to commit a murder.

Also, compare this with motor vehicles. The average car is also four times more likely to cause a death than the average gun is to commit a murder.

Maybe all men should required to keep their male parts under lock and key, with the key provided by a police officer if sufficient need is demonstrated? Maybe every male should go through a background check or have his manhood removed? Furthermore, concealed carry of your manhood would be illegal in California and Illinois.

This sound absurd, but you want to talk about is 30 times more absurd since the average male is 30 times more likely to commit sexual assault than the average gun is likely to commit murder.

So, please, take a deep breath and realize that guns are NOT a threat to you. It is the CRIMINALS that you have to worry about. An honest citizen, even if you gave him 20 guns, would not harm you unless you were trying to harm him. Please stop the fear. Wolves have teeth about the same size as a golden retriever. Yet should your fear of wolves require pulling the teeth out of all dogs?

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

More bad facts. I posted this elsewhere, but I will repeat it for you, in an abbreviated form...

Go to this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Copy the state name, gun ownership and either gun homicide rate or overall homicide rate (your choice) into a spreadsheet. Then, make an X-Y scatter plot, and add a "trend line." Congratulations! You can now see that it looks almost random (little coorelation), but the coorelation that is there shows that more guns tend to indicate less homicide. See Washington DC? Fewest guns, but by far the most murders! That region is a major outlier, so delete that row entirely. The negative coorelation still exists!

Now, the next time you see a study that shows that guns cause crime, ask yourself how they selected their data to confirm their biases. Rest assured, I did not manufacture the data on Wikipedia, and as far as I can tell it is not biased.

And, in my post on Australia, did you notice that their overall violent crime rate is INCREASING? And if the US trends continue, we will probably achieve parity with them in a few decades with respect to murder, but have a MUCH lower instance of overall violent crime. By the way, did you happen to notice that their homicide rate was also much lower than ours BEFORE they started grabbing all of the guns? No, I didn't think so. Well, this means that crime might just be more complicated than having access to guns -- hard to imagine, I know. I would imagine that economic factors are a LOT more relevant to crime than gun availability. I know, you are simply afraid of guns, and are looking for any excuse to get rid of them, even to the point of putting on blinders to most of the data, instead cherry-picking the data that supports your conclusions.

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

And yet... one country is going the RIGHT direction in overall total violent crime, and the other is going the WRONG direction.... Try to spin it any way you want it. The trends in the numbers speak for themselves...

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

so clearly being awash with guns is not doing anything to reduce crime.

Major logic fail. Austalia almost banned guns, while in America, more and more guns continute to be sold. Our murder rate drops MORE, and our overall violent crime rate drops, while theirs goes up.

Here is a challenge for you, if you dare.

Go to this page:

This article is a list of the U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The population data is the official data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The murder rates and gun murder rates were calculated based on the FBI reports and the official population of each state.

Now, copy and paste the table into your favorite spreadsheet. Delete all columns except for the state name, gun ownership rate (percentage), and either "murders" or "gun murders" (rate per 100,000) -- your choice, the graphs look pretty much the same. Then, select the two numerical columns and make an X-Y scatter plot. Next, select the group of little dots and add a linear trend line (how you do this will vary depending on the spreadsheet you use). You will notice that as gun ownership goes up, gun murders goes down. Washington DC has very LOW ownership rates, yes has a LOT of crime. Let's throw that little area out. Delete the "District of Columbia" row. The trend is still inverse, but less so. You now have generated your own PROOF that more guns does NOT equal more murder (or gun murder, depending on the column you chose). Congratulations.

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

It turns out that you're a clueless consumer of wingnut propaganda. Sucks to be you or anyone exposed to your worse-than-ignorant derp.

So, what other crimes are the "libs" focusing on? More people are murdered with knives than evil black rifles. Why isn't there a push to make knives illegal? The same goes for people beaten to death. The simple fact is that people who want much tighter gun control are reacting out of fear, and not using any sort of logic.

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

But now compare the violent crime rate.

Australia had a big gun-grab back in 1996. I want to know what effect
this has had, so I will start at 1995.

**Australia, 1995**
Population - 18,100,000
Murders - 321
Attempted Murder - 301
Manslaughter - 30
Robbery - 16466
Assault - 101149
Sexual Assault - 12809
Kidnapping - 469
Total Violent Crime - 131545
- - - - -
Murder, per million - 17.73
Violent Crime, per million - 7267.68

**Australia, 2010**
Population - 22,300,000
Murders - 260
Robbery - 14,582
Assault - 171083
Sexual Assault - 17757
Kidnapping - 603
Total Violent Crime - 204285
- - - - -
Murder, per million - 11.66
Murder, change from 1995 - 34.3% decrease
Violent Crime, per million - 9160.72
Violent Crime, from 1995 - 26.05% INCREASE

Yes, read that again. Murder dropped by 34.26%, but overall violent crime
is **up** by 26.05% For every life saved, an extra 312 people were the
victims of violent crime..

Wow, WHAT a slam dunk! Sign our country UP for some of that!

During the SAME period (1995-2010), here are the USA trends.
Murder - 42.6% down (compare to 34.3% down in Australia)
Violent crime - 43.5% down (compare to 26.05% UP in Australia)

Austalia, 1995 numbers.

Australia, 2010 numbers.
I used 2010 becaise of this note:
2011 figure does not include information from Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. Therefore, the assault figure **cannot be compared with those prior to 2011**

USA figures (spot-checked, and the numbers were very close to FBI estimates.

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:By all means (264 comments)

Cops should have always on wearable cameras and tech that wirelessly streams to servers. Who watches the watchers? We should all be watching.

Not a good idea for privacy reasons -- not the privacy of the police, but the privacy of the public. Do you think that the footage should be available for the officers who responded to the suicide of Robin WIlliams? That serves absolutely no public good. The footage should be available and published in the event of a fatality caused by the police or accusations of police misconduct.

about 2 months ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

harrkev Re:Parole? (264 comments)

We need a points system, like many states have for the drivers license, with different offenses and injuries having different point values. This way, a "non-violent" offender who has managed to damage the lives of thousands of people can be seen to be worthy of a very public execution, to demonstrate to everyone - good and bad alike - that society doesn't want this behavior, and excises it like cutting off a wart.

So, the president of companies who use or promote DRM will be drawn and quartered? After all, they have inconvenienced hundreds of millions of people. I like this plan. What about the guy who invented the "pop-up ad?" What should his punishment be?

about 2 months ago

Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

harrkev Re:Performance (183 comments)

Want to kill off the desktops? Find something with better display and user input.

How about the same display and user input. Have you not heard of USB and HDMI? A laptop can be easily connected to an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor. I do this all the time! Since even a relatively low-end computer is more than good enough for most tasks, there is really little down-side to this approach. The extra expense is justified because you can carry it with you.

about 3 months ago



Next Star Wars greenlit, to star George Takei

harrkev harrkev writes  |  about a year and a half ago

harrkev writes "Straight from George Take's facebook page. I hope this isn't an April Fools joke:

Friends, I am thrilled to announce that I'll be starring in the Star Wars reboot directed by JJ Abrams. I'll be playing Master Ceti Maru, a member of the Jedi High Council. The new film, entitled "Star Wars: Galactic Empire," is greenlit and will begin filming sometime early next year. It is truly a moment for The Star Alliance. Thanks to all my fans for their decades of support."

Link to Original Source


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