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Comments

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How Apple's Billion Dollar Sapphire Bet Will Pay Off

plover Re:It's a design problem, not materials. (147 comments)

But it's ... it's not ... cool.

Apparently what is cool is to buy a gaudy plastic band to wrap around the edge to make up for this design defect, then bedazzle the shit out of it.

12 hours ago
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How Apple's Billion Dollar Sapphire Bet Will Pay Off

plover Re:Well. (147 comments)

Make it harder sells it better
Work 'em faster Apple's stronger
More than ever iPhone after
iPod works the Android over

12 hours ago
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Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

plover Re:Shame this happened (136 comments)

Thank you for your answer. There is almost no end to the FUD stream, and as I said, it's hard to pick out the signal from the noise.

4 days ago
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How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

plover Re:Look, there it is again! The "Internet of Thing (93 comments)

Many Interneted Thingies work fine on your own cloud. You can find alternatives that don't feed the big Googly database, but you have to shop carefully. Fitbit and Nest don't give you the option; but some of the home automation systems like Vera need no clouds at all.

4 days ago
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How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

plover Re:Real Names? (93 comments)

Password: hedgehog, no doubt.

4 days ago
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How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

plover Re:Will most consumers care? (93 comments)

Would you like your food data shared with your insurance company? How about your weight? Your BMI went above 22 this month. Not good, lower it or else. Your running? You didn't meet your jogging goals for the week. That's it, we're raising your health care premiums. That's a lot of beer you're drinking, and you put a lot of miles on your car, so it looks like we'll have to cancel your auto policy because statistically you're likely a drunk driver.

If you say "OK, share my data", it can go a lot of places you may not intend.

4 days ago
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Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

plover Re:Shame this happened (136 comments)

A lot of the animosity towards Monsanto comes from their overall behavior. Creating the terminator gene is first to mind. Next are the numerous allegations about misconduct: complaints that they do inadequate studies, they hire certain researchers expecting certain study outcomes, that they tamper with study results, and that they have bribed government officials. However, most of those reports come from the wacko anti-GMO crowd (who are really a bunch of anti-anything idiots), so it's hard to know if there's a shred of truth to any of the complaints.

The biggest gripe I have is their drive to produce pest- and herbicide-resistant crops. Every one of these is putting other farmers' crops at risk, because they're creating pesticide-resistant super-bugs and herbicide-resistant super-weeds. Those bugs and weeds don't limit themselves to Monsanto-seeded fields, they're natural organisms that spread, and those bugs are now attacking non-Monsanto crops, and the weeds are infesting non-Monsanto fields. Monsanto knew this was going to happen from the start of the program, they estimated it would take about 20 years for it to happen (it actually took less than 10 for the corn rootworm to evolve Bt resistance), yet they went ahead and did it anyway.

Had they focused their modifications only on creating high yield and high nutrition crops, instead of trying to fight the resistance battle, their overall agricultural activities would have been a lot more responsible.

5 days ago
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Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

plover Re:So much nonsense in terms (256 comments)

LED lamps do not put out nearly as much heat as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps. I have a (disconnected) 400W HPS that I could easily have cooked on the top of the reflector, and probably broiled meat directly beneath it. I replaced it with a 144W LED floodlamp, and now I can hold the operating heat sink in my hand; the glass lens pane on the bottom is at room temperature. I am no longer concerned about fire safety in my house.

One major difference, though, is I'm growing orchids, which require far less light than cannabis. I need only two 144W LED floodlamps to illuminate a 72 square foot area. The pot growers will cram as many 400 W lamps in a grow operation as they can, sometimes a dozen or more in a single small room, whatever they can draw from the circuit breaker panel. They'll keep a large external vent fan running year round, including the dead of winter, to keep the room from igniting.

If I were to grow pot, I'm sure I'd need a lot more light fixtures, but even a dozen LED lamps in the same room probably wouldn't risk burning my house down.

5 days ago
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Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site

plover Re:Enh as much as I dislike Oracle... (161 comments)

Oracle consultants were in the midst of the mess, they saw the failings, they repeatedly reported to the state that the project was going off the rails, and yet they still managed to cash their paychecks.

Had the consultants actually threatened them with "either you hire a professional to do the systems integration or we're off the job," and had they then removed themselves from the failing project, they'd be 100% blameless. But they didn't walk away, they just wrote some CYA memos and collected their money.

Oracle gets to take as much blame as anyone for their mess.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

plover Re:Nonsense (293 comments)

Hes not saying "dont do that", hes saying "dont be an obnoxious obstacle when this stuff comes up." Tell them theyre doing it wrong, if they insist, fulfill the request to the best of your ability, and make sure you have records of where you told them they were doing it wrong.

That would be fine if it were true, and if it were the end of it. But it's not. The enablers take over. If the bad ideas aren't stopped early by facts, their owners proceed down whatever path they've concocted, and the further they get without objection the more convinced they are that it's the correct path. An enabler will not tell them they're on the wrong path; or they'll say it once, but never correct them again for fear of losing their job (only a blocker says "you're still on the wrong path".) Without honest feedback about the mistakes being made, you can go a long way before realizing that you've led yourself astray.

One big problem is the belief that all problems can be stopped by governance processes. Therefore, all these processes are designed to be a form of change prevention. The idea is that by preventing incorrect changes, you avoid risk. But a process cannot distinguish between an incorrect change and a valuable change until after it has executed, so it must slow them all down equally. A process also handles the unknown poorly - it is designed to handle only certain changes, and everything else is awkward or not streamlined.

Change approval processes also encourage lies. When someone has to get a change through a process, they will tick whichever checkboxes will get them through the process with the least amount of effort, struggle, or paperwork; they will not voluntarily tick the box that ensures a microscopic review of their change, even when it may be appropriate.

Worse than all of the above, governance processes are hugely inefficient in that they're after the fact: create a large pile of changes, try to deploy it, then wait around days, or weeks to learn only then that the changes aren't approved. The feedback from governance is so late that the developer has long moved on to other tasks. Stakeholders get their changes in months instead of minutes.

Another sign the process is off the rails is if the disapproval is issued due to failure to follow the process, not with problems in the task being attempted. Too many failing processes leads further around the vicious cycle of process 'improvement', that then creates a process to follow the process, inserting delays into the delays. (Yo, dawg, I heard you like process, so I put process in your process...)

If you ever want to read a story about how bad process can get in the real world, read Red Plenty by Francis Spufford. He tells an interesting tale of just how far the Soviet Union's bureaucracy went, including goofiness such as one process that valued a machine by weight. The more modern machine that doubled production weighed less than the older machine it replaced, therefore the older machine was more valuable, and the budget rules that ensured progress did not permit replacing a more expensive machine with a cheaper machine.

Instead of after-the fact governance process, strive for continual, automated testing, starting with Test Driven Development. Have a repeatable method for delivering products that have quality built in from their very design. Once you've established the trust, you can minimize the processes. Something else valuable is a fail-forward philosophy: if you acknowledge that bugs will happen no matter what ("Failure is always an option"), you can often survive by putting in place the ability to recover from defects within minutes by being able to push out new patches. So instead of trying to avoid all risk by using a big process, you can get away with minimal process by accepting a little risk. This is a great approach because everything moves fast, especially the delivery of benefits.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

plover Re:Nonsense (293 comments)

"Yes men", or "enablers" as you call them, are the root cause of the out-of-control bureaucracy problem.

Management wants desperately to have processes that can be followed by minimum wage desperate people. They want to believe that they're incredibly smart and insightful, and that their knowledge of their business is so absolute and perfect that a process is easily applied to every situation. The enablers then create the real problems by saying "yes, we'll make this work," when they are actually lying. The problems then get worse, because the enablers also feel that every status report must be green, otherwise their process is not as perfect as they said it was.

The transparent lies breed more processes to control the mistakes that never seem to get fixed, despite the change review board processes. Nobody ever questions the process, because they'd be seen as a blocker. Change becomes impossible, because the middle-management process owners who have been lying "yes" will lose their jobs if their process is removed.

The process explosion reaches critical mass as each failed process begets two more to control it. The business goes into a death spiral of bloat and inefficiency.

Everything is painful. The smart middle managers flee early, leaving only the enablers behind, and they refuse to see or acknowledge any problems. The loyal people have their jobs turned into paperwork and outsourcing. With luck, the board will recognize the out of control costs, and bring in a lean outsider. An organization this bad off may need to fire 50%-90% of the people. Or the board may go the wrong direction, and outsource the whole damn mess, further eroding their ability to change.

This philosophy has caused more damage to business and productivity than any other idea, ever.

Avoiding this is simple, in theory. Tell the truth, and don't be afraid to change your mind if shown evidence that you're wrong.

about a week ago
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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

plover Re:Specialized Pieces (355 comments)

He had a space shuttle model that he put together one time, and as far as know it still remains in the shape of the space shuttle. It didn't grow dinosaur engines, it didn't have wooden castle doors, it never had gears and shafts and pistons protruding from the wings, it just stayed a space shuttle model. The castle, on the other hand, was sometimes a tube, sometimes a fort, and sometimes a box, depending on what he was playing.

He's now 25 years old, and I don't suppose he's all that interested anymore. However, he's probably not too far from having a kid of his own to take it apart and remake it in the shape of a zombie tractor ninja robot.

about a week ago
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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

plover Re:Matches. (355 comments)

What happened to playing with matches?

The problem is that it's all the frickin' strike-on-box junk nowadays. Good old fashioned strike-anywhere matches are getting harder to find. You have to dig deep through grandma's junk drawer to find a box, and then you still have to sneak them out to the garage to see which of grandpa's mysterious cans of fluids are the most flammable.

about a week ago
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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

plover Re:You can't use technology to raise children (355 comments)

I saw a video on Youtube titled "A magazine is an iPad that does not work." It featured a 1-year-old child tapping images on a magazine, expecting something to happen, and being somewhat frustrated that nothing does. There's a kid who may never throw a ball in his or her life.

Now I'm trying to figure out if that actually matters or not -- I certainly don't see ball-throwing as a necessary skill for life anymore, it's now strictly a form of recreation. We're no longer hunter-gatherers, we don't have to climb trees to get fruit or throw spears at boars to eat meat. We may be missing out on a lot of the experiences in the world by avoiding such activities, but we don't truly need them to survive in this age of McFood, Amazon, and Farmville.

about a week ago
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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

plover Re:Specialized Pieces (355 comments)

The best Lego set we ever bought for my son was a castle set at a garage sale. It didn't have instructions. He just put together pieces and made castles, they didn't have to look like anything pre-made at all.

Had I been more forward thinking, I would have thrown away all his Lego instruction sheets and booklets.

about a week ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

plover Re:That micro-floppy (275 comments)

I think he drawing showed a miniaturized typical computer of the era primarily because the artist wanted it to be recognizable as a computer on the wearer's wrist. A drawing of a Pebble would have shown a smooth featureless slab; it would also have been hard to represent an RF data connection replacing physical data transfers, even if such things had been envisioned 33 years ago. (Although not impossible: Dick Tracy comics showed lightning bolts coming from the "2-way wrist radio" back in the 1950s.)

about a week ago
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Saturn May Have Given Birth To a Baby Moon

plover Re:Can I be the first to say.....? (71 comments)

"I felt a disturbance in the gravitational force, as if thousands of tiny particles coalesced into a single moon and were suddenly silenced."

about a week ago
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Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

plover It's OK for Apple but not Microsoft? (575 comments)

Apple doesn't support more than one version of iOS. If you want to fix a problem with 6.1.2, you get to go to whatever version is current (7.1). You don't get to go to 6.1.3, you don't get to go to 7.0.5 or 7.0.6, you go to 7.1. Your choice is "upgrade or don't."

about a week ago
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Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

plover Re:Keep the shells (307 comments)

How about killing two birds with one stone? Stand the zombies in a circle, and fire the rounds at them. Count the number of dead zombies. Now you've got an approximation for Pi AND a bunch of dead zombies. Win-win.

about two weeks ago
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Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

plover Re:Until warp drive is invented... (292 comments)

Of course I meant ubiquitous global communications. I will spend time in the morning talking with a co-worker in India, during the day I may attend an on-line meeting being held in Arizona, then the evenings chatting with a friend in New Zealand, and not think twice about where any of them are, other than to make sure I'm not calling them at an inopportune time. This kind of communication (and at no incremental cost!) has been around only for the last decade or so.

There will still be plenty of room for more research; and some will be revolutionary. We are just seeing the tip of some really cool advancements in fields as diverse as biotech, farming, and AI. The patent office is a long way from closing their doors.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Smithsonian Releasing 3D Models of Artifacts

plover plover writes  |  about 5 months ago

plover (150551) writes "The Seattle Times reports "the Smithsonian Institution is launching a new 3D scanning and printing initiative to make more of its massive collection accessible to schools, researchers and the public worldwide. A small team has begun creating 3D models of some key objects representing the breadth of the collection at the world's largest museum complex. Some of the first 3D scans include the Wright brothers' first airplane, Amelia Earhart's flight suit, casts of President Abraham Lincoln's face during the Civil War and a Revolutionary War gunboat. Less familiar objects include a former slave's horn, a missionary's gun from the 1800s and a woolly mammoth fossil from the Ice Age. They are pieces of history some people may hear about but rarely see or touch."

So far they have posted 20 models on the site, with the promise of much more to come."
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Why iFingerprinting Makes You Legally Unsafe

plover plover writes  |  about 7 months ago

plover (150551) writes "Mark Rasch, an attorney specializing in privacy and security law, has taken a look at using the iPhone's fingerprint access to protect your privacy. He believes that you can sometimes be compelled by a court to provide your password to unlock an encrypted file, depending on the circumstances. But you can always be compelled to provide your fingerprints, and that the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed there is no Fifth Amendment protection against it. That means if you lock your phone with only a fingerprint, the government will almost certainly be able to compel you to unlock it. If you lock it with a passcode, there's a chance you can refuse to provide it under the Fifth Amendment.

The new iPhone 5s’s biometric fingerprint scanner can actually put consumers (or merchants, for that matter) in a worse position legally than the previous four-digit PIN. In fact, the biometric can open the contents of a consumer’s phone and any linked payment systems, accounts or systems—including contacts, email and documents—less legally protected than the simple passcode. This is because the law may treat the biometric (something you are) differently from a password (something you know).

"

Link to Original Source
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FinSpy Commercial Spyware Abused By Governments

plover plover writes  |  about a year and a half ago

plover (150551) writes "The NY Times has this story about FinSpy, a commercial spyware package sold "only for law enforcement purposes" being used by governments to spy on dissidents, journalists, and others, and how two U.S. computer experts, Morgan Marquis-Boire from Google, and Bill Marczak, a PhD student in Computer Science, have been tracking it down around the world."
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Iran Admits Stuxnet Impacted Their Nuclear Program

plover plover writes  |  more than 3 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this article in the Guardian,

Ahmadinejad admitted the worm had affected Iran's uranium enrichment. "They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts," the president said. "They did a bad thing. Fortunately our experts discovered that, and today they are not able [to do that] anymore."

"

Link to Original Source
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Jury awards $1.5 million to Capitol Records

plover plover writes  |  more than 3 years ago

plover (150551) writes "In the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case that never ends, a Minneapolis jury has awarded Capitol Records $1.5 million dollars.

Thomas-Rasset is expected to appeal and it the case could wind its way to the Supreme Court."

Link to Original Source
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Ars Technica Forums Abused by Phishers

plover plover writes  |  more than 3 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Some Ars Technica members received phishing attempts purporting to be from SunTrust this morning. Here's the posting on the Ars forum explaining what happened.

It seems that many users received phishing attempts to Ars only email addresses this morning. We're working on it and will update this post when we find something out.

We believe that our previous forum provider has some exploit that allows people to send messages to private email addresses through their servers. Every report we've seen has originated at one of their web front ends. If we are correct, your email addresses have not been compromised. It's obviously pretty bad to be getting phishing attempts forwarded through someone else, but not quite as bad as if an email DB had been jacked or something.

We have emails out to them. There's a chance we won't hear back for a couple of hours since they're on pacific time, but we're doing what we can.

That's got to be one stupid phisherman to try phishing from the members of Ars Technica."

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US Admits Most Piracy Estimates Are Bogus

plover plover writes  |  about 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this article on Ars Technica, the GAO admitted that the estimates of the impact of piracy have no basis in fact.

After examining all the data and consulting with numerous experts inside and outside of government, the Government Accountability Office concluded that it is "difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts."

"
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Senate Votes to Replace Aviation Radar With GPS

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "The U.S. Senate today passed by a 93-0 margin a bill that would implement the FAA's NextGen plan to replace aviation radar with GPS units. It will help pay for the upgrade by increasing aviation fuel taxes on private aircraft. It will require two inspections per year on foreign repair stations that work on U.S. planes. And it will ban pilots from using personal electronics in the cockpit. This just needs to be reconciled with the House version and is expected to soon become law. This was discussed on Slashdot a few years ago."
Link to Original Source
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Do your developers have local admin rights?

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "I work as a developer for a Very Large American Corporation. We are not an IT company, but have a large IT organization that does a lot of internal development. In my area, we do Windows development, which includes writing and maintaining code for various services and executables. A few years ago the Info Security group removed local administrator rights from most accounts and machines, but our area was granted exceptions for developers. My question is: do other developers in other large companies have local admin rights to their development environment? If not, how do you handle tasks like debugging, testing installations, or installing updated development tools that aren't a part of the standard corporate workstation?"
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Wal-mart Hacked in 2006, Details in Wired

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Kim Zetter of Wired documents an extensive hack of Wal-Mart that took place in 2005-2006. She goes into great detail about the investigation and what the investigators found, including that the hackers made copies of their point-of-sale source code, and that they ran l0phtCrack on a Wal-Mart server.

Wal-Mart uncovered the breach in November 2006, after a fortuitous server crash led administrators to a password-cracking tool that had been surreptitiously installed on one of its servers. Wal-Mart’s initial probe traced the intrusion to a compromised VPN account, and from there to a computer in Minsk, Belarus.

Wal-mart has long since fixed the flaws that allowed the compromise, and confirmed that no customer data was lost in the hack."

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Ex-CIO Blames Microsoft For Security Breach

plover plover writes  |  more than 5 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Hannaford is a grocery store chain who lost 4.2 million credit card numbers earlier this year as a result of a security breach. Their former CIO is directly blaming their use of Microsoft as the reason they were breached.

"None of the breach was anything related to Linux. All of it was Microsoft."

Asked whether he believed that Microsoft is less secure because it's truly less secure software or whether its overwhelming marketshare makes it a cyber thief target, Homa said it was the other way around. Microsoft's marketshare is not what attracts so many attackers. "Microsoft is so full of holes. That's why it's still a target," he said.

"
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Hannaford's CIO Blames Data Breach on Microsoft

plover plover writes  |  more than 5 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Hannaford is a grocery store chain who lost 4.5 million credit card numbers as a result of a security breach. Their former CIO is directly blaming their use of Microsoft as the reason they were breached.

Homa has become a fan of simplification in battling security. "We used a lot of Linux," Homa said. "None of the breach was anything related to Linux. All of it was Microsoft."

Asked whether he believed that Microsoft is less secure because it's truly less secure software or whether its overwhelming marketshare makes it a cyber thief target, Homa said it was the other way around. Microsoft's marketshare is not what attracts so many attackers. "Microsoft is so full of holes. That's why it's still a target," he said.

Would he counsel other CIOs to avoid Microsoft like the plague? "That's what I'd do. If you limit your exposure to Microsoft, you're going to be in a more secure environment," he said, adding that Microsoft's philosophy is decentralized, forcing IT to manage more points. That means more license fees for Microsoft and more potential security gotchas for the CIO. "Hence, you see my aversion to Microsoft."

"

Link to Original Source
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plover plover writes  |  more than 7 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this Star Tribune story, police, with the court's permission, attached a GPS tracking device to a suspect's motorcycle and tracked his activity to the site of a theft. On Monday the thief pled guilty and was sentenced to five years."
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plover plover writes  |  more than 7 years ago

plover (150551) writes "
Wearing a blue suit and a tight smile, the fed faced his audience.
And this wasn't just any audience. It consisted of 300 potential offenders, rounded up on Tuesday so Jon Dudas could lay down the law to them.
In this Star Tribune story, Jon Dudas, the director of the USPTO was speaking to an elementary school assembly of second through fifth graders. So instead of "students" or "kids", it's now acceptable for reporters to refer to them as "potential offenders"? This is plus ungood."

Journals

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PC Invader Costs Ky. County $415,000

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago The Washington Post is reporting a complex hack and con job resulting in the theft of $415,000 from Bullitt County, Kentucky. The story is fascinating, and is filled with detailed information regarding the theft.

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Warner Music about to sing a new tune?

plover plover writes  |  more than 6 years ago Warner Music Group's CEO Edgar Bronfman sounds like he's publicly acknowledging what we've known all along: consumers like the iPod, the music business has changed, and that the music industry was wrong to attack their own customers. Might this speech mark the start of the end of the insanity?

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Game time!

plover plover writes  |  about 7 years ago Thanks to this posting, Rupert and I are now playing a game: Find the highest Google maps route distance to great circle distance ratio.

Rupert started it with this:

Fairbanks to St. Petersburg.
Great circle distance: 3,840 miles
Google directions distance: 9,631 miles
My score: 2.508

I answered by stretching his route slightly: Kantishna Station, Alaska to Skarsvag, Norway. It's a pretty long journey no matter how you look at it.

Google's route: 10,411 miles
Great circle distance: 3,141 miles
It has a score of only 3.315, but it'll take 34 days to make the journey!

This one seemed like a good North American entry:
Google's route
gets a score of 3.7.

But North America is tricky. Just about every goat and Jeep trail is mapped, and we Americans cannot abide straight lines that aren't paved. Rupert's still managed to find some good ones: Route to distance gives a very respectable 5.6.

I've headed over to the Balkans, where the maps are usefully short on detail. Here's my latest entry. Lecce, Italy to Tirane, Albania: Route to great circle.

1267 km by Google, 216 km straight arc. Score is 5.866.

It's kind of a pain because you have to snarf the lat/lon from Google's URL and adapt it to the great circle calculator, but it's fun to exploit holes in Google's map coverage.

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YASS - Yet Another Story Submission

plover plover writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Wearing a blue suit and a tight smile, the fed faced his audience.
And this wasn't just any audience. It consisted of 300 potential offenders, rounded up on Tuesday so Jon Dudas could lay down the law to them.

In this Star Tribune story, Jon Dudas, the director of the USPTO was speaking to an elementary school assembly of second through fifth graders. So instead of "students" or "kids", it's now acceptable for reporters to refer to them as "potential offenders"? This is plus ungood.

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On the date of my birth:

plover plover writes  |  about 8 years ago helicobacter has launched a /. meme. Go to wikipedia and type in the month and day (no year) of your birth. Pick out three interesting events, two births and a death, and post them in your journal.

EVENTS:

  • 1986 - Halley's Comet is visible in the night sky as it passes in its 76-year orbit around the sun.
  • 1962 - Ranger 3 is launched to study the moon. The space probe later missed the moon by 22,000 miles (35,400 km).
  • 1802 - The U.S. Congress passes an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol; eventually this becomes the Library of Congress. It's a geek thing.

BIRTHS:

  • 1961 - Wayne Gretzky, Canadian hockey player, coach, and team owner.
  • 1918 - Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian dictator (d. 1989.) I only picked Ceausescu because I remember how much the Romanians enjoyed executing him.

DEATHS:

  • 1997 - Jeane Dixon, American astrologer (b. 1904.) And she never saw it coming!

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Merry [Christmas|Hannukah|Kwanzaa|Yule|.*] to you!

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I just wanted to wish all of you well this holiday season. I know some of you aren't religious folk (neither am I), but that won't stop me from hoping for happiness for you now and in the coming year.

And money, too. Yeah, I may as well wish for something practical for you all while I'm at it.

So have a happy new year and I hope you get money! :-)

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Another submission: this year's Ig Nobles have been awarded

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago Here's the text I submitted. It's probably already been submitted, but hey, they're likely to publish at least one of them (and if Zonk has anything to do with it, they're likely to publish ALL of them! :-)

The BBC is reporting on this years winners of the Ig Noble awards, honoring science achievements that "cannot, or should not, be reproduced". For example, this years winner for Medicine was the inventor of Neuticles, rubber replacement testicles for neutered dogs.

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Submitted an interesting story

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago Here's my submission:

In the story Hacker Hunters, BusinessWeek Online documents how the Secret Service turned a member of the ShadowCrew and was able to arrest dozens of the members of the phishing ring.

From the article: "Law enforcement officials are often loath to reveal details of their operations, but the Secret Service and Justice Dept. wanted to publicize a still-rare victory. So they agreed to reveal the inner dynamics of their cat-and-mouse chase to BusinessWeek. The case provides a window into the arcane culture of cybercriminals and the methods of their pursuers."

I thought it was a fascinating read, anyway.

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Another submission, and it's not a dupe!

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago This is the text I submitted under the heading "Vex, a New Robot Kit available at Radio Shack Soon"

While Lego Mindstorms are fine for creating autonomous toy robots, there's still a lack of kits for constructing larger, sturdier do-it-yourself remote controlled robots. Enter Vex, an Erector/Meccano-style robotics construction kit. According to PCMagazine, (beware, popunder ads) Radio Shack is set to roll these out to consumers beginning in May. No computer control (yet) but they sure look fun!

So, if the story gets rejected, you still might want to check them out. I can't wait!

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Another midnight, another submission

plover plover writes  |  about 9 years ago Best Buy to Eliminate Rebates

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (free registration required,) "In response to customer complaints, Best Buy, the world's largest electronics retailer, promised today to eliminate mail-in rebates within two years."

Can it be that we're finally nearing the end of one of the most hated marketing ploys of all? What is the world coming to?

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I'm hopeful about this submission!

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago This one is actually news.

plover writes: Because of Congressional legislation passed quietly in 2003, the Air Force Space Command will no longer distribute space surveillance data via NASA. There was supposed a three year transitional period where the data was to be made available via a NASA web site, but earlier this month their transitional server went down hard, and NASA has decided to not rebuild it. (It was scheduled to be shut down on 31 March 2005 anyway.)

The only way to obtain satellite data now is by signing up with the official Space-Track website. Part of the agreement to obtaining data from their site is that you agree to not redistribute their data.

Of course, amateurs are still free to redistribute their observations, including those of classified satellites.

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Another rejected story prepared

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago Well, I keep trying. Here's the latest scoop.

According to Reuters, the chairman of Apex was arrested in China. Chinese officials have confirmed the arrest, but have not made the charges known yet. A supplier recently came forward revealing Apex owed them $4.3 million, and fraud charges are suspected. Apex is a maker of inexpensive DVD players that are widely known for the ablility to turn off their region codes.

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New submission prepared for rejection

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago This one was titled "SCO sales tanking?"

The SCO Group reported their fourth quarter income on Tuesday, and according to The Register, this quarter's earnings are down to $10.08 million, compared to $24 million last year. Their licensing revenue is virtually non-existant, at only $120,000 compared to $10 million to Q4 in 2003. Darl's statement to stockholders began by reporting 'Fourth Quarter achievements demonstrate continued progress at SCO.' I guess progress doesn't imply direction...

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Quick, a story that hasn't been rejected yet

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago I submitted this story this afternoon.

'Researchers are saying that caffeine withdrawal should now be classified as a psychiatric disorder' states Sid Kirchheimer at WebMD. In this article he examines a new study that shows caffeine withdrawal produces symptoms that render a person so dysfunctional that it should be classified as a psychiatric disorder. (The article also takes great pains to say "don't panic.") Caffeine withdrawal is nothing new to me, but having it ranked as a "disorder" does trouble me a bit.

Lets see if they can set a new land-speed record in story rejection...

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Another story submission (quick before it's rejected)

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago NewScientist.com is running a story that NASA is going to use two helicopter stunt pilots to catch a sample capsule that will be ejected by the Genesis spacecraft. Genesis has been collecting solar gases for the last couple of years, and the scientists need to retrieve it quickly to preserve the samples.

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Story submission (not rejected yet)

plover plover writes  |  more than 10 years ago Here's the scoop I submitted:

The New York Times is running this story (privacy violations required) discussing the new trend towards global movie premieres, and how this model leads to less piracy. Finally, the movie studios are trying something intelligent to combat piracy, rather than lawsuits.

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plover plover writes  |  more than 10 years ago The new sig,
John
Karma: Fair and Balanced (mostly affected by a Fox News lawsuit)

is in honor of Fair and Balanced Day on the Internet (August 15th.) which I found from this link from BoingBoing.

The story is Fox News is suing Al Franken over the title of his new book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right." As if anybody who watches Fox News would a) read Al Franken ANYTHING; and b) be literate enough to actually read at all. None of those people have enough neurons to connect the two anyway.

I think the whole thing is a Fox marketing ploy just to get their slogan out. It's certainly the first time I've ever even heard that they have one.

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Obituary column

plover plover writes  |  more than 11 years ago JADNT, AT&T Globalyst S40, 1995 - 2002.

We are saddened to announce the passing of JADNT, whose electrons were returned to a lower energy state on Friday, October 25, 2002.

JADNT was a workhorse server. It began life as an evaluation candidate for an enterprise server, but was replaced early on as it was recognized as too small to perform the required duties. It was moved to its home in JADs cubicle where its dual Pentium Pro horsepower was quickly put to use in reducing compile times. As the software it supported was obsoleted, it took on other tasks where it quietly but efficiently monitored the status of other machines, provided a historical development platform, and constantly served up a variety of utility tools and command scripts.

JADNT fought bravely in its last few remaining hours, the spindle of drive 4 noisily attempting to cooperate with the SCSI controller's pleas to spin, while drive 1 was attempting to recover from a massive bit hemorrhage induced by a power failure on Monday evening at 5:30.

Tuesday morning, technicians attempted to perform an organ transplant. The donor S40 had been removed from life support and kept in storage for over a year, but by the time the drives had been removed and brought to the fourth floor it was too late to save the ailing JADNT. Both weakened drives had lost motor control leaving JADNT in a BIOS coma, gasping for a boot sector. On Friday morning, accompanied by faithful friends, the decision to pull the plug was made.

We will all fondly remember JADNT's famous lizards, and are saddened at the senseless loss of such data as troops.mov, the immensely useful and popular swiper and even its network attached Handspring cradle.

JADNT is survived by CDGU5, D2094REG2010 and JAD2K. It was preceded in death by CAMELOT, JOHN0S2 and 4680JAD. An open case viewing will be held throughout the weekend. Interment will be next week in a closet on third floor, where it is hoped that its RAID cage may some day help restore health to other Globalyst S40s.

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I now have a better sig

plover plover writes  |  more than 11 years ago It won't get our company's IP address banned, either, Rupert.

John
Karma: Excellent (mostly affected by bribing CowboyNeal)

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