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Court Shuts Down Alleged $120M Tech Support Scam

lucm Small fish (116 comments)

Just change a few words and multiply the numbers:

Typically, consumers downloaded a free, trial version of the software. The business analysts always identified numerous suboptimal business processes, whether they existed or not. Consumers were then told that in order to fix the problems they had to purchase the paid version of the software for between $290,000 and $490,000. In order to customize the software after the purchase, consumers were then directed to call a certified partners network and connected to consultants who tried to sell them unneeded upgrades and tools. The services could cost as much as $500 per hour.

...and you get a typical SAP implementation scenario.

yesterday
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Former Police Officer Indicted For Teaching How To Pass a Polygraph Test

lucm Re:Well, I for one feel safer... (328 comments)

No it's not. Confidential is the lowest, and the easiest to get. Secret requires more background checks.

2 days ago
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Former Police Officer Indicted For Teaching How To Pass a Polygraph Test

lucm Re: Well, I for one feel safer... (328 comments)

If you consider that discussion trolling, maybe you need to do an internship on forums like reddit or 4chan.

2 days ago
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Former Police Officer Indicted For Teaching How To Pass a Polygraph Test

lucm Re:Well, I for one feel safer... (328 comments)

A clearance is not agency-specific. Some agencies and/or organizations have additional internal classifications but that's not the same thing.

2 days ago
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Former Police Officer Indicted For Teaching How To Pass a Polygraph Test

lucm Re:Well, I for one feel safer... (328 comments)

No. Top Secret is different, usually it comes from a direct sponsorship and requires a specific type of background check. It is not an extension of the lower clearance levels. It also expires much quicker.

2 days ago
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Maker Joe is a 'Maker' Sculptor (Video)

lucm Re:That's real art right there! (16 comments)

Expensive art is an investment, and it has become quite sophisticated over the years. In the 70s and 80s, people were buying art when they believed the value would go up over the next few years. Now, prospective buyers have to think about what people who may buy from them later on will think of their own potential buyers (etc.), because nobody is interested to be at the end of a buying chain and be stuck with an overpriced item. It's like the castle in the air theory on steroids - everybody knows that everybody else is in the business of buying to sell later, and the market goes nuts.

Not arguing against that, if you're referring to Monet masterpieces and its likes, but not the art any monkey could have done.

Modern art is like penny stock. Most of it is garbage (financially speaking) but a single hit can make you a fortune. A Monet painting is more like a blue chip. Low risk, low reward.

2 days ago
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Worldwide Aaron Swartz Day Memorial Hackathons This Weekend

lucm Re:Paranoid morons on slashdot: the obvious tells (76 comments)

In summary, you're bad at this, and should feel bad.

You should put this kind of summary at the beginning of your posts. Readers would immediately know that whatever comes next is garbage. As it stands, one has to read 2-3 sentences before giving up, that's not as efficient.

2 days ago
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Former Police Officer Indicted For Teaching How To Pass a Polygraph Test

lucm Re:Well, I for one feel safer... (328 comments)

They gave me a secret clearance and never used a ouija board or any other device, including a lie detector. Apparently they care more about people who missed a credit card payment than people who lie. Since most of the process is done without actively involving the candidate, I can understand that.

5 days ago
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Maker Joe is a 'Maker' Sculptor (Video)

lucm Re:That's real art right there! (16 comments)

It's like those people who can pay millions for a white canvas with some red paint splattered onto it, something that took the "artist" 1 minute to do. And the "Elitist" will see and read just about anything into the "could-have-been-done-by-a-3-year-old" works of "art", and the poor misunderstood artist can live a lavish life on the emperors new clothes, and his kids too.

It's a lot more complicated than that. Expensive art is an investment, and it has become quite sophisticated over the years. In the 70s and 80s, people were buying art when they believed the value would go up over the next few years. Now, prospective buyers have to think about what people who may buy from them later on will think of their own potential buyers (etc.), because nobody is interested to be at the end of a buying chain and be stuck with an overpriced item. It's like the castle in the air theory on steroids - everybody knows that everybody else is in the business of buying to sell later, and the market goes nuts.

5 days ago
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ISPs Removing Their Customers' Email Encryption

lucm YANAL (245 comments)

This is one of the most irritating thing in IT. People think they can figure out law, accounting, fiscality, politics, marketing or diplomacy by using what they perceive as "common sense".

Here is the thing. All those disciplines are a gray area by nature, and the right answer is largely a matter of professional interpretation. Can you put that number in that column? Can you consider that such or such situation has caused actual damage to someone? There's no compiler to tell you if this is right or not, there's just people navigating a fuzzy field armed with their experience and knowledge. They live in a world where two people can have opposite opinions and be both right at the same time.

Anyone with a background in applied disciplines like IT or engineering is trained to look at things with a problem-solving angle. That's a great attitude, but unfortunately it sometimes make people overestimate their grasp of concepts that are outside of their area of expertise. It's a lot like those artists who have it all figured out (war, terrorism, pollution, crime, poverty). Case in point: this "enlightened" feedback from Ben Affleck during Bill Maher show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Don't be that guy.

about a week ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

lucm Re:So let me get this straight. (458 comments)

I'm sure there is a vast middle ground between the Rainbow Coalition and the KKK, but for some reason "tolerant people" appear not to see it that way.

Stop pretending that you are not a phony liberal, put your iPod earbuds back on, and go back to listening to MSNBC.

about two weeks ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

lucm Snooze time (458 comments)

This reminds me of the anarchist scare in the 20s. The communist scare in the 50s. The nuclear holocaust in the 60s. Then the "Japan invasion" in the 80s. Then the death of the American manufacturing economy in the 90s (which is still the world's largest, believe it or not). Then the IT outsourcing to India in the 2000s. Etc.Etc.

The only constant in this culture is people who claim it's about to collapse.

about two weeks ago
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Judge Says Public Has a Right To Know About FBI's Facial Recognition Database

lucm Re:No it doesn't (79 comments)

That's why Linux is so dangerous and is never used for mission-critical systems.

about two weeks ago
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Worldwide Aaron Swartz Day Memorial Hackathons This Weekend

lucm Paranoid morons on slashdot: the obvious tells (76 comments)

You obviously have no experience working in the public sector. "The government" is not an organized entity with a secret agenda. It's a tapestry of independent organizations with conflicting interests managed by people with little or no incentive to implement the short term policy established by whoever is temporarily in charge as dictated by the random lobbies that got them elected.

The fact that you mention GCHQ leads me to believe that you are from the UK, because nobody outside that tiny island gives a shit about your local, watered-down version of an intelligence service. I wasn't even sure about the right order of the letters in that acronym, I had to double-check your post. That should tell you how meaningless they are. If it was not for James Bond movies nobody in the world would even know that you have spies. It's like if some dude from Italy was to come here and start spewing paranoid garbage about AISE hiring people to brag about spaghetti on Yahoo Answers. (Yeah, I had to google "italy intelligence agency" to find the name for that one).

In any event, I guess believing that "the government" is posting on Slashdot to shape public opinion is a security blanket for you. So keep up denouncing random people as shills of The System if that makes you happy. In the meantime I'll definitely look up that other conversation you mention because that's immensely fascinating; if you don't see me replying in that thread it will be because your points are too strong and convincing.

about two weeks ago
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Worldwide Aaron Swartz Day Memorial Hackathons This Weekend

lucm Re:Paid shills on slashdot: the obvious tells (76 comments)

If you really think that people who disagree with you are paid by a mysterious "employer", your life must be full of suspense and mystery. I envy you.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

lucm Re: Hadoop (147 comments)

I'd actually say that I consider the MapReduce only focus as a limitation of Hadoop, but the fact that so many other tools have been built on top and so many things integrate is definitely a huge asset in its favor.

Most of the tools built on top of Hadoop use HDFS (the Hadoop filesystem) and no Map Reduce at all. I think you are a textbook example of someone who learned Hadoop by using HortonWorks and therefore has no idea what are the various underlying moving parts.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

lucm Unlikely scenario (147 comments)

In SSIS (the ETL tool that comes with SQL Server), the default isolation level is serializable. People often use SSIS to stage data and/or feed a denormalized data warehouse.

Someone claiming that an analytics tool is causing locks in SQL Server does not know what they are talking about. The most recent BI engine from Microsoft (Tabular) does everything in-memory, and with the older one, which is OLAP-based, data is typicalled moved out of SQL Server and into a SSAS cube.

There's the possible scenario of someone deciding to use ROLAP; feeding a cube from a live production database. But if someone took pains to setup that kind of thing and yet used a locking isolation level, then he should not complain about it on Slashdot, he should RTFM.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

lucm Re:Analytics + mssql = fail (147 comments)

I've seen it lock tables even on only reads causing other processes to be terminated.

That's because someone who does not understand how the product works has configured a serializable transaction isolation level. I would suggest to RTFM but maybe you need to start with the basics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I...

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

lucm Re: Hadoop (147 comments)

Because that kind of setup works mostly for highly specialized requirements, such as processing ad clicks or log files. That's totally different from a data warehouse, where you store a lot of data with the idea that users can do a bit of exploration and analysis on their own using client tools like Excel, Tableau or MicroStrategy.

There's 3 kinds of setup for Big Data:

1) Massively parallel processing, such as AWS Redshift or Google Big Query (or IBM Netezza if you have money). Those are regular databases on steroids and they let you query data on your own. Redshift is basically a huge multi-tenants Postgres cluster.

2) MapReduce, such as AWS EMR. This is more or less a clunky kind of ETL where you need to code every single question to which you want an answer. It scales well on the volume side (because of Hadoop distributed file system) but it is extremely tedious to implement and offers zero self-service capabilities for data analysts beyond what is hard-coded in your setup. The ETL language from Apache, Pig, is very basic - for just about everything you need to fire up Eclipse and write Java code. There are a few SQL frameworks that can sit on top of Hadoop, but none are blazing fast or immensely reliable, and for the most part with those SQL solutions it ends up being a cheapskate alternative to a proper DW.

3) Machine learning, such as Spark or Mahout (also based on Hadoop file system). Those also require extensive programming and typically won't offer clear answers, they are mostly useful to find trends or patterns. It's all the rage right now with "data scientist", just like MR was all the rage 3 years ago and did not really stick because it's too clunky. Again this is a scenario where you know what you are looking for, because you have to "train" your system for specific tasks.

HortonWorks is an all-inclusive Hadoop setup that includes most of what is needed for #2 or #3, but since AWS and Azure offer for pennies a totally scalable Hadoop environment, in my experience HortonWorks is for companies who want nothing to do with the cloud or for total newbies who want to see what is that Hadoop thing. But it does not offer the benefits of letting you learn what are the moving pieces because it comes all configured.

So unless you have a very specific set of reports of indicators and a shitload of data, the only serious answer is to keep doing what BI people have been doing for decades: build data warehouses and use a decent front-end that includes a flexible reporting platform and self-service capabilities (such as OLAP). And only if you have tons of data should you even bother with Big Data products, as none of those are cheap. Redshift is in the $1000-$5000/TB/year range. For a large organization that's nothing, but for some guy trying to start a vague BI initiative that's expensive.

When it comes to non-Big Data BI (i.e. something to setup on a few servers at most), the options are the following:

1) SQL Server and its built-in BI suite, or Oracle and its built-in BI suite. A bit expensive but very flexible. Not ideal for self-service unless you have experienced DBAs.

2) Any RDBMS + IBM Cognos or + SAP BusinessObjects. Expensive but you can define data universe then let users build their own reports. Ideal for self-service and for situations where you don't have a full time DBA who can write queries or build OLAP cubes.

3) A patchwork of FOSS: MySQL, Mondrian, Jasper, Talend, etc. Free but not integrated so it requires a bit of work.

Big Data != BI. It just means that you have more data that you could process on a regular database cluster. Even with social networks, ads and blogs, I haven't seen that many situations where this is truly needed.

about two weeks ago

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