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Alibaba Face Off With Chinese Regulator Over Fake Products

jtara Re:What? (60 comments)

Hmmmm.... somehow I thought that knockoffs are legal in China? Maybe only if they knockoff another Chinese manufacturer? Maybe only if they sell it to a Chinese person?

Because otherwise, how can you explain why so many different factories make exactly the same product?

Now, legitimately, maybe IP-holders in China license multiple factories to make the same product, and then each factory sells the items directly from the factory, and pays a royalty to the IP-holder, but...


Still, my advice on buying from Alibaba I think still stands:

  • Go to Target. Walmart. Etc.
  • Find a cheap product you want to buy.
  • See if it's in the original box. If not, skip it. (Look at the overstock above. You might see the original case box.)
  • Get the name and address whatever details you can from the box
  • See if you can find it on Alibaba Direct.
  • For best results, match the factory
  • Buy it for 1/3 the price or less

You will PROBABLY get the same item.

But frergidiabout buying any kind of electrical meter with a yellow bezel. Fluke will have it stopped at the border.

9 hours ago

US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

jtara Re:track record (260 comments)

Why does it make sense? Because America?


And because when Syria takes over France.


Georgia Institute of Technology Researchers Bridge the Airgap

jtara Re:Old news (82 comments)

Very, very old news.

We did this circa 1971 in High School, Cass Technical High School, Detroit, Michigan placing an AM radio on the console of an IBM 1620.

There was a program you could load that would play a tune. But we would also just leave the radio there during normal use. We swore we could tell when the Fortran compiler was processing a FORMAT statement:

Bloop! Bloop! (pause) Bloop! Bloop! (pause) Bloop! Bloop! (pause) Brawwwww! Brawwwwww! Brawwwwww! Brawwwwww!

(The last bit is the FORMAT statement...)

In any case, it was pretty clear when your program was in an infinite loop, and so we used it for some debugging.

So, in 45 years, we've advanced to recognizing keystrokes. Good job, git!


FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

jtara Traffic pumping (94 comments)

How much of this, though, is due to abusive practices like traffic pumping?

There were hearings and talk of reform. Did anything every happen?

Is it possible that the reasons that long-distance calls (in or out) don't complete because they've been too greedy abusively-routing 900-calls and the like through these areas?

2 days ago

Apple Agrees To Chinese Security Audits of Its Products

jtara For what - to verify the Chinese malware? (114 comments)

Wait. Do you mean that Apple has just agreed to allow the Chinese to audit the Chinese-made iPhones that have Chinese malware that the Chinese put in to the iPhones that Apple is shipping from China to China? Next they will be wanting to audit the Chinese-made iPhones that have Chinese malware that the Chinese put in to the iPhones that Apple is shipping from China to the U.S. as well? Before or after the NSA interdicts the Chinese-made iPhones made in China by Chinese and shipped (via some secret stop-off) to the U.S.? Will they audit to make sure that both the Chinese and NSA-installed malware is still present?

about a week ago

Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

jtara Re:its a tough subject (661 comments)

because I am not anti vax, but i am pro choice. in that people should be free to do as they wish with their own bodies

That doesn't mean they should be free to endanger others with their bodies.

As long as they remain isolated, and do not go out in public that is fine. Where do these people get off refusing immunizations, and then sending their kids out infecting others? If you refuse immunization, you should not be able to participate in modern society - beyond the boundary of their four walls and a keyboard, anyway. PERIOD. It is too much of a risk to society.

Diseases that were eradicated within my lifetime are back, thanks to these idiots. Polio was eradicated in the U.S., for example. It was a scary thing, an awful, crippling disease. I was in the first lucky generation to get the sugar cube and not have to worry about it. Now it is back, because of some ass-hats that put their own religious beliefs aheads of everything else, including the safety and, yes, lives of others.

I would go so far as to call it a form of terrorism. At least it is the SAME attitude that is driving, for example, Muslim extremism.

So, maybe you aren't "anti-vax" yourself. But by supporting the "right" of others to kill in the name of their beliefs, you are supporting terrorism.

I saw the story the other day about the sect that refuses medical care altogether. They have this graveyard just packed with the kids that die at birth, 1 month, 6 months, 1, 5, 12... when they get some minor ailment. Just tape that graveyard off with biohazard tape, and corral the kids in there until they meet their inevitable fate, and make it clear to the rest of the public that they ought to stay away or they will get what their stupidity deserves.

I say require immunization certificates from the visitors, as well.

Of course, that is not practical. So, let's fix our public-health policy to remove these ridiculous exemptions that are bringing back eradicated diseases.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

jtara Static website frameworks - the sweetspot! (YES!) (302 comments)

And for Ruby fans there are Middleman and Jekyll (among others) with [favorite Ruby template system here].

In fact, you can mix and match templates from like a couple-dozen choices, (using partials) even in the same page. Write headers, footers, menus, etc. in Slim, body text in Markdown, head material (script and style links, etc.) in ERB etc. etc. etc.

Slim is great for fine-grained elements - it's got the wierd HAML-like syntax but without the stupidity of HAML. Takes some getting used-to, but perfect for the 2 to 10-line partials I write for table cells, list items, list containers, menu choices, etc. Markdown is great for writing text content that is actually readable in source form. sometimes you just want good-old ugly ERB.

I use Middleman for PhoneGap/Cordova projects. I want to throw things when I see people hand-coding Phonegap documents and then doing mass edits when they change their minds about structure or appearance! Use a damn SSG! Please stop the cut-and-paste madness!

I also use build tools like rake to make custom "pre-build" systems even when I DO have a framework. I've done this to create a family of similar mobile apps. Here's a presentation I did on it at Motorola AppForum 2014. The first half is probably of interest here. (The second half is way RhoMobile Rhodes-specific, and afraid it is lacking the audio - the first half is pretty understandable from just the slides.)

Large-Scale Multi-App Development Using Rhodes

While I don't typically create websites (I write hybrid mobile apps) this can also be a great approach for websites if you need to "brand" similar sites for multiple clients, and then each site wants somewhat different features. The above link shows how I created 6 form-filling data-collection apps with similarities but considerable different details, with something like 80% of the app code shared. The same techniques can be applied to websites.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

jtara Re:Choose a CMS you like (302 comments)

He already chose a CMS - just one with a stutter. (I thought it was a typo at first.)

I don't understand how he considers that "from scratch"...

about a week ago

Oracle Releases Massive Security Update

jtara Why users need Java today - scary! (79 comments)

Well, letsee, I'm a developer, I hate Java programming, I don't write Java, but I need to have it installed. Why?

- Android developers need Java, even if they don't write Java. Writing a hybrid app using, say, PhoneGap/Cordova, Rhodes, Titanium, etc? You need Java.

- Backup with CrashPlan? You need Java. CrashPlan is not alone here. Many similar programs need Java.

- Many other disk/file type utilities use Java. Pretty much any of those nifty applications that show you what's using all your disk space using graphics.

- I have a home automation controller (isy99i). It has a web UI, but that still needs Java. (You can use it in a browser or on desktop, but either way the UI uses Java.)

- Again for developers, way too many build processes that aren't Java-based seem to throw in one little part of the build process that uses Java. (That is, say, they use rake, Grunt, etc. I guess they had one developer who was in-disposable and that just couldn't go along with the program.

- Developer using Eclipse IDE? Or many other development environments that use a bundled Eclipse? You need Java. (I try to avoid these if at all possible, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

Do you see the scary thing here? Java is used by a lot of software developers, even if they don't program in Java. It's also used for a lot of backup and file utilities. Perfect vectors for mischief.

about a week ago

Oracle Releases Massive Security Update

jtara Which "those" are "these"? (79 comments)

"Twenty-eight of these may be remotely exploitable without authentication and can possibly be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password."


The original bugs, or the new security fixes?

about a week ago

Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

jtara Blue Cross is not what you think... (238 comments)

... at least in most states.

I grew up in Michigan. We had GREAT health care at little cost, thanks to the auto industry, and the non-profit Blue Cross organization that they used for insurance. Even if you did not work in the auto industry, everybody in Detroit had Blue Cross "cadillac coverage" at reasonable cost.

But they sold-out (metaphorically) and licensed their name to greedy, profit-making enterprises. In California, we have Anthem Blue Cross, a profit-making corporation, and about the worst anti-consumer company in the world. When I moved here, somehow I though Blue Cross was actually Blue Cross. What a mistake!

The first few years, it was much like the Cadillac care I had experienced in Detroit. Their PPO network was wide, they paid, they didn't quibble. It has gotten steadily worse. You throw money at them and get basically nothing, unless somebody at Anthem Blue Cross screws-up in their job of discouraging you from accessing services.

I've paid my bill, through my bank's bill-pay service, every month, on time. And I've gotten a cancellation notice, without fail, every single month. In fact, I even got one dated several days before the due date, before they changed the computer programming to print a fake date on the statements. This wastes customer's money mailing out thick cancellation notices every single month. It probably results is older patients with dementia double-paying bills. I am sure that they know that.

Every year, they violate various California insurance laws, the state Insurance Commission slaps them on the wrist over it, and they agree not to do that again, and provide an extended open enrollment period. (At least before Obamacare). And then they do it all again the next year.

Just don't.

I'm exploring a locally-based, non-profit health plan (Sharp - San Diego). Alas, these are scare as hen's teeth.

about two weeks ago

Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

jtara Drones for customer service and sales... (238 comments)

Can they send a drone with a customer-service or sales rep?

Because, for medical insurance today, you can reach nobody for either of these by phone, nor have an email or voice-mail replied-to either. You would think they would be at least somewhat interested in at least sales calls, but apparently they are so awash in profit that it just doesn't matter to them.

Companies used to have walk-in offices where you could camp-out if necessary.

I finally found a locally-based non-profit health plan where I was able to reach somebody - after a 1/2 hour wait on the phone. Now, a sales person will call me back in the next 24 hours - or so they say. This, at least, is an improvement.

And... (wait for it)... I was able to find out from the non-sales customer-service rep that they do, in fact, have a walk-in office where you can do business. You can pay your bill, pick up literature, or camp-out to talk to a representative. Apparently, they also make appointments. That will probably come in handy on February 14.

FWIW, the one I'm referring to is Sharp in San Diego. I know nothing about them other than the above, other than previous favorable experience with the Sharp-Rees-Steely Urgent care facility down the street, and reports from a friend who has one of their plans though his employer.

Now, will Google send an over-sized drone? Will Amazon set-up an appointment so that I can meet the sales rep that they ship to the closest 7-11 with Amazon Lockers? And will either of them pick up the phone - for anything?

I'm sure either can handle the online part of the experience.

(I love Amazon lockers!)

about two weeks ago

Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

jtara Javascript (647 comments)

You can declare variables. Or, not, and then likely get in trouble for it. I like that. (For teaching. ;) )

It can be used for something useful.

It is trending. It is starting to be used on servers and desktops, and so it is useful in almost ALL computing environments.

It is a gentle intro to functional programming languages. It is NOT object-orientated, though you can pretend that it is.

It's f*cked-up, but not nearly as f*cked-up as Visual Basic. I like that. (For teaching ;) )

I like mildly f*cked-up languages for teaching. It gives the student a taste of the real world, without forcing them to go along with the completely ridiculous choices adults sometimes make.

about two weeks ago

NSA Prepares For Future Techno-Battles By Plotting Network Takedowns

jtara Why bother with software? (81 comments)

Why bother with software tools?

If I were they, I'd just use the explosive devices they've almost certainly already pre-positioned.

We know that they've tapped in to quite a number of underwater fibre-optic cables, which is the reason that Google started encrypting traffic on their private fibre. Google originally made the incorrect assumption that dedicated fibre didn't need to be encrypted.

Since they went to the trouble to tap the lines, why would they NOT have left explosives after doing the surgery?

about two weeks ago

Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

jtara MINSWAN (Matz is Nice, So We Are Nice) (361 comments)

I want to see Linus and Matz in a room together discussing a technical subject. Has it ever happened? WHAT would happen? "Matz and Linus, sitting in a tree..."

It would be fascinating!

Matz holds a similar role to Linus, but for Ruby. He's the King of Ruby - the sole developer "in charge" for all the time since Ruby was invented. (And, of course, it's been accomplished with a great deal of support from others.)

Matz is Japanese, not American. I wonder how "nice" he thinks Americans are? (That was facetious, as we Americans generally don't get the "nice" moniker applied abroad.) I can tell you, though, that, generally we ARE nice to Matz, because Matz is nice to us. Funny how that works.

I met him only once, at RubyConf 2013, and just happened to sit in the section with his Japanese colleagues at the closing question/answer session. Damn, was everybody so NICE. And it seemed to have rubbed-off on everybody in the room. Sat in the goddamn nice section, and lived to tell about it!

One of the things that Matz is good at is realizing and then even apologizing for his mistakes. He was SO apologetic over prior revisions of Ruby garbage collection, and urged everyone to ditch his prior efforts and move on to 2.x.

He can be a little mean, though. But only a little, and with a smile. And it take a bit of urging from the crowd to get him to be a little mean. It's a little game that I think he and the crowed plays whenever he speaks somewhere. Let's see if we can get Matz to say something just a little not nice.

Ruby is as successful in it's space as Linux is in it's. So, I think it is fair to say that one can develop great open-source software while still being nice.


But - whatever works for you, in your particular working environments. One of my first jobs was for a small company (like 5-6 employees) and me and my boss (the company president) would close ourselves in his office to "discuss" technical details passionatly. The rest of the office would gather at the closed door to hear the ensuring shouting-match. We would hash it out, and then he would take everybody to lunch - and a "few" drinks - for the rest of the day - to celebrate the resolution of whatever. That worked for us because we knew there was no real animosity. It was like that cartoon where the fox and rooster (FogHorn LegHorn?) go at it all day, then the factory (farm) whistle blew, and they went off best of friends.

That style seems to work for the Linux community. Matz's works well for the Ruby community. (Rails is a different story - oy vay! At least historically - haven't followed the drama in the Rails community lately).

I answer a lot of questions in some jQuery forums, and I sometimes get called out for not being nice. Interestingly, those who do seem particularly not-nice in doing so. I might suggest that somebody "begin at the beginning", "review the basics of blah-blah", "show us what you tried", "don't ask us to guess", or throw up a picture of Karnac and The Envelope, and suggest that "we are not mind-readers" to illustrate that point, and they will then get VERY offended (and offensive) in a disproportionate manner. In other words, butt-hurt.

Well, sometimes, I am not nice, particularly to people with no personal initiative. We are not there to write your application for you or do your class homework. We are not there to replace the basic books on Javascript and jQuery that you should have bought. We are not there because you cannot bother to read the docs or use the jQuery Learning Center. We are not there to implement the impossible assignment you accepted on some renta-coder site without any clue as to how you might do it. We are not there to teach you PHP (and that PHP doesn't run in browsers), or to explain one more time that no, you cannot lock users into not being able to navigate away from your malware or porn advertising page.

Sometimes I wish I could just tell them to RTFM. But I sense that's an unacceptable response there. It's web front-end, it's not the Linux kernel. You have to be at least a little nice.

Sometimes people get butt-hurt over basically nothing. The other day, somebody came along with a vague, clueless question, and one of the regulars gave him a slightly snide remark and at the same time I gave a more detailed guess at an answer (but also slightly snide) response. By the time I finished my response, OP had already said something like "oh, snap!", and implied something about the other responder's mother.

I told him I was from Detroit, and could play Dozens with him any day and win, but wouldn't. (and linked to the NSFW Wikipedia article explaining that game from my boyhood to explain WTF the guy was talking about.) I told him I'm OG and left it at that. He had to have the last word, and so had to make a fool of himself spelling out the popular meaning. "Oh my god, you just admitted you are an Original Gangster".

That's right, dude. Been programming since 1971. I'm OG. Did you think I meant something else? But... AND I'm from Detroit. From well south of Eight Mile Road. I let him think what he wants. Hasn't been back. Don't come around Linwood and W. Chicago, you might just take a recursive function to your cerebral cortex. (To clarify, haven't been back in 25 years, and I'm pretty sure that's an empty field.)


They both can work. Nice is nicer. If nice works, why not be nice? Just don't be so nice that it's mis-interpreted as "I agree with your stupid idea".

about two weeks ago

FCC May Permit Robocalls To Cell Phones -- If They Are Calling a Wrong Number

jtara Re:Wrong direction (217 comments)

Why are *any* robocalls allowed?

They aren't - at least in California. The law here requires a human caller to verify that the consumer wishes to hear the message. A human needs to talk to the call first.

There are some exemptions - for political campaigns, emergency services, prior relationship (robe-call from your pharmacy that your order is ready) etc.

about two weeks ago

Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

jtara This is dangerous to society (784 comments)

Good lord. I was riding busses all over Detroit at that age...

EVERYBODY walked to/from school alone or with their friends. There was a crossing guard at the major street closest to the schools, and "safety boys" and "safety girls" at other corners. (For street crossing.)

EVERYBODY just walked to the playground to hang out.

EVERYBODY just rode their bikes around the neighborhood, alone or with their friends.

Yea, I was bike-jacked, once. That's the only thing that ever happened. Period. My friend George's mother drove around until she found them, and made them give it back.

Today any of the above would get a call to the cops and a visit from Child Protective Services? And I suppose George's mother would be in jail...

Times have changed? Yes they have. We had riots back then (1967). Hasn't been a good riot in the U.S. since Rodney King. Maybe back then cops had more important things to worry about than imagining a pedo behind every tree. Like provoking riots... (before you make assumptions, I am caucasian.)

The commercial strip a block from our apartment burned. I was at my grandparents outside of the city, as I was every summer, so I did not experience it directly. When I returned that fall, we had moved to a different part of the city. Nothing changed about my freedom. I still walked to school, to the playground, rode my bike, rode the busses around the city. Thank God, my mother had a rational bone in her head.

Might bad things happen to unsupervised kids? They might. At statistically-small numbers. I think something more damaging happens when kids are arbitrarily restricted, at statistically-higher numbers.

Something bad might happen to a few kids left unsupervised. Something bad happens to ALL kids when they are taught, from an early age, that they are not allowed to be free, and taught that the world is a dangerous place that you should be overly afraid of.

about two weeks ago

Uber Suspends Australian Transport Inspector Accounts To Block Stings

jtara Re:Uber/UberX (299 comments)

They were basically just passing leading to licensed drivers

Leads, not leading, sorry.

Just want to make sure nobody thinks the drivers were fabricating stained glass or setting type in the off-time.

about two weeks ago


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