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Chinese Government Moves To Crack Down On Puns

mendax Confucius say... (156 comments)

Woman who fly upside down have hairy crack up.

The Chinese government can bite me now.

about two weeks ago
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The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

mendax A fate worse that death (528 comments)

I'm not a big fan of Sony (although I like their electronic products because of their high quality) or big companies in general. However, a breach of this size could literally destroy the company if the amount of information that leaked yet to be revealed is even worse than what has already been revealed. The litigation nightmare this could cause in the US is appalling in itself but that could just be the tip of the iceberg because of all the corporate secrets that are now out in the open (or will be).

about two weeks ago
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Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

mendax Diaries (523 comments)

My diary is written on paper and in longhand. It's the ultimate in keeping my innermost thoughts away from those who should not know them. It's immune from PRISM and the other NSA civil rights atrocities.

about three weeks ago
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Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

mendax Stupid, stupid, stupid (523 comments)

There is a definite cognitive connection between writing by hand and brain function. For example, I am a better writer when I write by hand. Furthermore, I enjoy the task better because I can to make the cursive squiggles. I use a fountain pen which makes it even more enjoyable. But then I am a luddite. I write letters by hand and put them in the mail. I do it partially because I write prisoners but I also have regular correspondents. It's much better than e-mail.

about three weeks ago
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Firefox Signs Five-Year Deal With Yahoo, Drops Google as Default Search Engine

mendax Yahoo? It lives? (400 comments)

Well, given that I haven't used Yahoo for anything except yellow pages (and even that rarely) for ten years, I ask the question:

Will Yahoo even survive the five year run of this contract?

about a month ago
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Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

mendax Missing Cowboy Neal option (349 comments)

Ebola suffers should be required to keep Cowboy Neal happy. If that is not satisfactory, they can get to know my evil back cat, Satan with a fur coat.. Hmmm... maybe that's not such a good idea. I am very fond of my evil cat.

about 2 months ago
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The Future of Stamps

mendax Re:Give it another decade - the problem will solve (131 comments)

if you have an invoice or legal paper you can send deliver it yourself, you can send it by private held company like TNT, UPS, whatever but only when you send it via Polish Post (national operator) it gets so called the power of postal stamp. Legally if you choose the right delivery type it is valid as delivery in court. Such postage is still deeply embodied in legal system and I think it has some merit.

Exactly. In the U.S., many federal and state laws assume that the United States Postal Service will be there. Furthermore, the day the item is postmarked is, for most legal documents, considered to be the day the court receives it. Thus, if you have to have something filed by a certain date, you can delay (like most people do) and wait until the absolute last minute, run to the post office, and get a manual postmark put on the envelope, the only way you're going to get a guaranteed legible one in the U.S. Furthermore, courts rely upon the postal service to deliver legal mail. Federal courts allow you to file legal paperwork (as well as get copies of it) online and some state courts are slowly moving in this direction, but there will always have to be a way to get a piece of paper to someone who is a luddite or, is in jail or prison and does not have access to the Internet, and vice versa, since Americans have a constitutional right to access to the courts.

about 2 months ago
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The Future of Stamps

mendax Re:Is there a fake stamp blackmarket? (131 comments)

I've wondered about that myself given that the stamps the post office uses today look like some of the Christmas and Easter Seals I remember putting on greeting cards as a kid. As I recall from some discussion I had many years ago, the postage processing machinery actually does not know exactly how much postage is on the envelope. All it really knows is that there is some kind of stamp there and that it has not been canceled. I'm not sure how metered mail is processed but there must be a reason why the post office would prefer that metered mail not be mixed in with stamped mail.

So, the answer is probably "yes", you could fake stamps but if you did how much money would you really save by doing it? You'd be better of running off some tens and twenties on the local Kinko's color copier.

about 2 months ago
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The Future of Stamps

mendax Re:What future? (131 comments)

I doubt it, at least not anytime in the near future. Stamps do have some interesting and necessary purposes for existence.

I write people in prisons. While some prisons and jails have e-mail systems in place through which you can write an inmate and, in some cases, the inmate can write back (Federal prisons being the best example of this) these are usually funded by a "tax" paid by the inmates in some way. For those inmates who don't want to use such services or cannot (California prisoners being one in that they don't have access to such systems), U.S. mail and stamped envelops are the only way to go. So, as long prisons don't have some other inexpensive way for inmates to communicate with those on the other side of the razor wire, stamps are here to stay.

Incidentally, because I write to prisoners I learn all sorts of things about life there. Since prisoners are not allowed to carry money, they use a barter system to buy and sell things. There are four kinds of currency in jails and prisons in the U.S: ramen noodle soups, instant coffee wrapped up in sandwich wrap, cigarettes (if they are permitted), and postage stamps. Think of the economic depression that would occur in the prison economy if stamps disappeared!

about 2 months ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

mendax Re:Already gone (304 comments)

I wish it were the case in California. I bugged our bedroom with my iMac. I set it up so that it looked asleep so she would not suspect that I had a hidden sound recording program running. It caught the first ten minutes of the blow job before the program reached its limit, but that was all I needed to confront her on it. Unfortunately, California has no-fault divorce so I had to pay alimony even though I had the goods on her. I will never get married again without a prenuptial agreement that is rock-solid.

about 2 months ago
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FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

mendax No problem.... (580 comments)

All future FBI agents will be blind and tone deaf.

about 2 months ago
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The flying car I'd like in my garage first:

mendax This is a stupid question (151 comments)

After all, any car (and pigs) with sufficient propulsion do fly. Landing is slightly more difficult, however.

about 2 months ago
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My toy collection is ...

mendax Childhood toys (209 comments)

I still have many of my childhood toys, mostly stuffed animals. I still have Wally the Walrus. I was not quite 2 years old when I got him and he instantly became my favorite. I'm decades older now and I still get emotional when I see him. I'm still a little boy at heart.

about 3 months ago
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A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

mendax Re:My father is a retired corporate pilot . . . (112 comments)

But the Flight 191 incident is due to American Airlines maintenance crew not following McDonnell-Douglas's procedures in removing an engine, using a forklift to aid in remounting it and in the process damaging the mounting bolts. It had nothing to do with the design of the plane. The DC-10 had a couple problems due to design problems, these were fixed, and it became a very safe airliner. If you look at the early history of the Boeing 707 or the DC-8 you will see that these planes were much scarier.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices

mendax STD's (610 comments)

Other reactions include rapper, Tyler, The Creator, saying that having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was like waking up with a STD.

Well, given that I listen pretty much exclusively to classical music, finding the new U2 album on my iPhone (if I had one) or on my Mac in iTunes would be more like waking up and seeing that my ex-wife's sister is in bed with me. Ewww....

But on a serious note, this behavior by Apple is very unpolite, regardless of whether the album is pushed onto one's phone, computer, or cloud account.

about 3 months ago
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Steve Ballmer Authored the Windows 3.1 Ctrl-Alt-Del Screen

mendax Flying chairs (169 comments)

I think Windows 8, that perverse boot sector virus, ought to have updated the BSoD to show a video of Steve Ballmer throwing a chair across a room. No doubt he's done that a few times in his office as the BSoD popped up.

about 4 months ago
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Oregon Sues Oracle For "Abysmal" Healthcare Website

mendax Re:H1-B and outsource are responsible for this (212 comments)

The contractors governments often do business off-shore the work and that is one of the reasons why the projects are so shitty. But there are other reasons. Government agencies don't operate in the same way businesses do. For example, the requirements documents are NEVER frozen. Some reptilian politician gets a burr up his ass, writes some new regulations, and *POOF* the requirements have to be changed and any code already written has to be either dumped or changed to reflect it. Also, when the law changes, as happens way too often, the same problems occur. Every coder here knows what happens in these situations!

about 4 months ago
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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

mendax Re:Libraries are one thing Amazon is not (165 comments)

The fact that the public library is an actual place is important. Libraries are not just places to get information. They are sometimes positioned to be social centers of communities, places for those without Internet access to get that access, a quiet place to avoid the hustle and bustle of life, a place to meet friends, a place to hold a meeting, a place to do homework and study, and so on and so on. Libraries have long since been simply a place to get the latest novel or some old classic.

about 4 months ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

mendax Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (246 comments)

In the UK there is pretty much nothing that can hurt you by way of flora and fawna (bee stings and bramble prickles aside).

I seem to recall running into (literally) some poison ivy (or something resembling it) in the remains of Sherwood Forest off the A1 (I think) on a visit to the UK many years ago. I didn't think it grew in the UK but my skin said otherwise. It's a bit worse than having to deal with bramble prickles.

about 4 months ago
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Russia Cracks Down On Public Wi-Fi; Oracle Blocks Java Downloads In Russia

mendax Embargo emshmargo (254 comments)

It would be interesting if this "embargo" lasts any length of time. Given the importance of Java in today's IT world, it would be interesting if our colleagues in St. Petersburg would produce another clean-room implementation of Java. But it'll never happen. All trade embargoes are leaky. Consider, for example, Kim Jong-il, the North Korean un-leader, and the iMac on his desk. That certainly wasn't bought at the local Pyongyang Apple store

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Why Movie Streaming Services Are Unsatisfying — and Will Stay So

mendax mendax writes  |  about 9 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "A New York Times op-ed reports:

A team of web designers recently released an astonishingly innovative app for streaming movies online. The program, Popcorn Time, worked a bit like Netflix, except it had one unusual, killer feature. It was full of movies you’d want to watch.

When you loaded Popcorn Time, you were presented with a menu of recent Hollywood releases: “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “12 Years A Slave” and hundreds of other acclaimed films were all right there, available for instant streaming at the click of a button.

If Popcorn Time sounds too good to be true, that’s because it was. The app was illegal — a well-designed, easy-to-use interface for the movie-pirating services that have long ruled the Internet’s underbelly. Shortly after the app went public, its creators faced a barrage of legal notices, and they pulled it down.

But like Napster in the late 1990s, Popcorn Time offered a glimpse of what seemed like the future, a model for how painless it should be to stream movies and TV shows online. The app also highlighted something we’ve all felt when settling in for a night with today’s popular streaming services, whether Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, or Google or Microsoft’s media stores: They just aren’t good enough."

Link to Original Source
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Apparent Theft at Mt. Gox Shakes Bitcoin World

mendax mendax writes  |  about 10 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting that Mt. Gox, the most prominent Bitcoin exchange, 'appeared to be on the verge of collapse late Monday, raising questions about the future of a volatile marketplace.'

'On Monday night, a number of leading Bitcoin companies jointly announced that Mt. Gox, the largest exchange for most of Bitcoin’s existence, was planning to file for bankruptcy after months of technological problems and what appeared to have been a major theft. A document circulating widely in the Bitcoin world said the company had lost 744,000 Bitcoins in a theft that had gone unnoticed for years. That would be about 6 percent of the 12.4 million Bitcoins in circulation.'

Maybe the U.S. Dollar isn't so bad after all."

Link to Original Source
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Spying by N.S.A. Ally Ensnared U.S. Law Firm

mendax mendax writes  |  about 10 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting that '[t]he list of those caught up in the global surveillance net cast by the National Security Agency and its overseas partners, from social media users to foreign heads of state, now includes another entry: American lawyers.

'A top-secret document, obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States. The disclosure offers a rare glimpse of a specific instance in which Americans were ensnared by the eavesdroppers, and is of particular interest because lawyers in the United States with clients overseas have expressed growing concern that their confidential communications could be compromised by such surveillance.

'The government of Indonesia had retained the law firm for help in trade talks, according to the February 2013 document. It reports that the N.S.A.’s Australian counterpart, the Australian Signals Directorate, notified the agency that it was conducting surveillance of the talks, including communications between Indonesian officials and the American law firm, and offered to share the information.'"

Link to Original Source
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Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A.

mendax mendax writes  |  about 10 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting, 'Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country’s most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the National Security Agency’s networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.

Using “web crawler” software designed to search, index and back up a website, Mr. Snowden “scraped data out of our systems” while he went about his day job, according to a senior intelligence official. “We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,” the official said. The process, he added, was “quite automated.”

The findings are striking because the N.S.A.’s mission includes protecting the nation’s most sensitive military and intelligence computer systems from cyber attacks, especially the sophisticated attacks that emanate from Russia and China. Mr. Snowden’s “insider attack,” by contrast, was hardly sophisticated and should have been easily detected, investigators found.'"

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Warrantless Surveillance Challenged by Defendant

mendax mendax writes  |  about a year ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting that a "Colorado resident charged with terrorism-related offenses challenged the constitutionality on Wednesday of a 2008 law allowing the National Security Agency to conduct a sweeping program of surveillance without warrants on American soil. The challenge — the first of its kind — could lead to a Supreme Court test of the program.

"At the same time, a Federal District Court judge in Illinois ordered the government to show a defense lawyer classified materials related to the national security surveillance of his client. No defense lawyer has apparently ever been allowed to see such materials since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was enacted in 1978.

"Together, the two actions are significant developments in efforts to obtain more judicial review of the legality of surveillance conducted on domestic soil for national security purposes amid continuing fallout from leaks about N.S.A. wiretapping by Edward J. Snowden, a former agency contractor.""

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Russia Plans to Extend Edward Snowden's Asylum

mendax mendax writes  |  about a year ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting, "Russia plans to extend its offer of asylum to Edward J. Snowden beyond August, a Russian lawmaker said Friday at the World Economic Forum.... The lawmaker, Aleksei K. Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of Parliament, hinted during a panel discussion that the extension of temporary refugee status for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, might be indefinite. “He will not be sent out of Russia,” Mr. Pushkov said. “It will be up to Snowden.”"
Link to Original Source
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Russia Issues Travel Warning to Its Citizens About United States and Extradition

mendax mendax writes  |  about a year ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times reports that the Russian government is warning its citizens to not travel to countries that have an extradition treaty with the United States, noting that "detentions of Russian citizens in various countries, at the request of American law enforcement, have become more frequent." The article reports the Russian foreign ministry as saying,"Experience shows that the judicial proceedings against those who were in fact kidnapped and taken to the U.S. are of a biased character, based on shaky evidence, and clearly tilted toward conviction.""
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Warrantless Cellphone Tracking Is Upheld

mendax mendax writes  |  about a year ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting, "In a significant victory for law enforcement, a federal appeals court on Tuesday said that government authorities could extract historical location data directly from telecommunications carriers without a search warrant. The closely watched case, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is the first ruling that squarely addresses the constitutionality of warrantless searches of historical location data stored by cellphone service providers. Ruling 2 to 1, the court said a warrantless search was 'not per se unconstitutional' because location data was 'clearly a business record' and therefore not protected by the Fourth Amendment.'" The article pointed out that this went squarely against a New Jersey Supreme Court opinion rendered earlier this month but noted that the state court's ruling was based upon the text of the state's constitution, not that of the federal constitution."
Link to Original Source

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