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Comments

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Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

plover Re:Earthshaking (121 comments)

Very interesting! I'll check with one of the old-timers to see if they remember if there were a lot of fiber failures after the flood. I'm wondering if they just blanked replaced everything afterwards to avoid the future maintenance problems.

Thanks!

yesterday
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Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

plover Re:The human side of the story (121 comments)

Perhaps you don't understand how governments and large corporations structure themselves in order to save money: they use contractors instead of employees for exactly that reason.

Regardless of the disaster scenario, employee/employer rules stipulate they have to pay their employees during the time when they're normally expected to work, even if they can get no productive work from them. If they have extended downtime due to fire, construction, etc., They would have to lay off the unused workers, which means paying unemployment benefits. Contracts, on the other hand, can be written so they can be paused or terminated at will. It's up to the contracting firm to manage the pay when they're "sitting on the bench", and most of those contracts provide no compensation for periods of non-work.

On the flip side, when you are hired as a contractor, you explicitly sign up for those risks. Even though it may look like a regular job, it isn't. It's a contract.

The human side of the equation was carefully measured and surgically extracted back when the government decided to use contractors instead of employees. Employees cost too much.

yesterday
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Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

plover Re:Earthshaking (121 comments)

When the Chicago loop flooded in 1991, the Marshall Field's State Street store was impacted. Being the headquarters for the Marshall Field's chain, they had their data and networking centers on the tenth floor. Their network topology was a hub and spoke affair, and the State Street store was the hub. The operators continued working in the building the entire duration of the flood. They had to wade through water on the ground floor to reach the stairs to climb the 10 stories to work. The electrical bus normally feeds from the lower levels, but when power was cut the computers and routers had to be kept running, so the generator on the roof was fired up. The generator was not dedicated to the computer systems, and powered the entire building. The operators said they saw the water boiling around the electrified bus.

I don't know if all that was actually true, but I do know that throughout the entire flood and recovery, the chain experienced no network outages. The fiber optic cables carrying the data had no problems being immersed, and all the terminations and transceivers were in the data center on the tenth floor.

yesterday
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Nightfall: Can Kalgash Exist?

plover Re:Stability (84 comments)

Couldn't an already evolved planet be orbiting a star that is traveling, and is then captured by a multi-star system?

Assuming that evolution has produced other forms of life in many systems around the universe, it makes sense that it's done so on stars that have then had their travels altered. And yes, there are all kinds of problems. During the transition, would the evolved planet remain a safe distance from the other stars in the cluster? Would any of the life on it survive as it changes to the new orbit? I don't imagine much life would survive on Earth if we had to make a pass as close to the sun as Mercury, but it's possible a few microbes would make it and evolve again in another billion years.

2 days ago
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AP Computer Science Test Takers Up 8,000; Pass Rate Down 6.8%

plover Re:Minimum wage (117 comments)

It seems to me they're trying to offer a career path to a group of people who could use additional options.

If we assume that attributes that make for good programmers (design skills, intelligence, etc) are equally distributed, there are a lot of really smart people (that could become programmers) out there that have something blocking their opportunities.

Things like bias, culture, and upbringing play a huge role. Earlier this year my step-niece (age 21, working on her bachelor's degree) was told "you're far too pretty for all this school, you should just find a nice man and marry him." These exact words came out of her grandmother's mouth. That's what these kids grow up with.

I firmly believe that part of the reason my son has been so successful is that we never expected anything less from him. He knew from kindergarten onwards that college was simply the next school after high school. His decision was "where", not "if". That's far from true in a lot of families or for a lot of kids.

Part of what Gates and Zuckerberg are trying to do is get the message out to these kids. If they don't hear from someone who says "you can certainly do this", they might never try.

2 days ago
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Household Robot Jibo Nets Over $1 Million On Indiegogo

plover Re:iHAL9000 (61 comments)

I thought it was a Nabaztag. Not much different, except no ears.

2 days ago
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Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

plover Re:Whoah (77 comments)

Don't worry, some jackass will find a way to screw it up. Look for a bought congressman to insert language that makes it illegal to change batteries, or to require the screen to be etched with the date of unlocking, something that will make it suck. Then look for gridlock to kill it anyway.

2 days ago
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Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

plover Re:Sad (162 comments)

The vandalism in question is coming from someone who has access to a congressional staffer's computer, not necessarily a member of congress. This could be anyone from a member of congress to a teenage page to the 12-year-old nephew of a congressman's chief of staff to an intern to a night watchman. Apparently, there are about 9000 people with regular access to the machines in this address range. Given a sampling of 9000 people, how many are going to be as impolite as an internet troll? That there is at least one uncultured moron in the crowd is not particularly surprising.

Yes, it's sad that anyone would either sink to this level, or fail to grow beyond it. It's just not surprising.

2 days ago
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Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

plover Re:I take offense! (162 comments)

Have a little respect for the man!

I already have about as little respect for the man as I possibly can! How much less do I need to qualify under your guidelines?

Or is that an unknown unknown?

2 days ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

plover Re:Bullshit (198 comments)

Since the city is still going to have to tie into someone's top tier backbone to carry their traffic to the rest of the world, they'll still likely have to route it through Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, or some other provider's network, and the NSA's taps are on those top tier providers. I also don't know if a city would fight against a National Security Letter any more or less than any other provider, so they would still never tell you about a tap. But at least they could go in claiming to start from the moral high ground: "Support Cleveland's new city-wide Internet service - We Have Never Tapped Anyone's Data (only because we haven't been asked.)"

2 days ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

plover Re:FCC does not make laws (198 comments)

Since when does the FCC have the power to "preempt" laws?

Since their founding. Your city cannot pass a law permitting the operation of a 200kW tower broadcasting white noise at 2.4 GHz. It's why the FCC exists.

3 days ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

plover Re:Bullshit (198 comments)

I have to say something on Comcast's defense here. I have never had bad customer service from them, and I've had cable through them for a very long time. Do I pay through the nose? Yes. But they answer the phone when I call, they get a service guy out to my house in hours, not days, and they hit their promised windows. The technicians are competent, and they're friendly: "hey I've got a 1TB DVR in my truck, if you want I can swap out your old 200GB DVR, you'll get a lot more hours of storage."

I have had no problems with Comcast's customer service. (That said, I haven't had to cancel my service with them for about 25 years, and haven't had to go through the horrors of talking to a "Customer Retention Specialist".)

3 days ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

plover Re:Bullshit (198 comments)

Actually, communities tend to run infrastructure remarkably well. Look at water systems. When is the last time you were in a location with city water, turned on the tap, and nothing came out? (Assuming you weren't cut off for lack of payment, of course.) Towns know how to keep the water flowing. If a town is without water for a period of time, it makes national news. (Yes, there are developing nations that do not have potable water coming out of their taps. The US is not one of those nations, and this is a US topic.)

Governments are not incapable of running such a program, and they are not inherently guaranteed to suck at it.

Now, is this different because it will require tech support? Sure. Are cities prepared to deal with the calls, the service interruptions, the network attacks, etc? The cities that are asking are going into this eyes wide open. The FCC is not mandating that cities must carry their own networks, they are simply being asked to rule on a non-competition clause that unfairly prevents the city itself from providing said competition.

I think the biggest problem the cable companies face is that cities now know exactly how much it costs to run a network, and it's nothing like the extortionate rates the cable companies are charging today. If the city has a competent manager leading the project, and good engineering staff, they will deliver fast data along with great customer service at a price that is not only going to be competitive, it's going to dominate. Everyone wins, except for the shareholders of the cable companies - and as they've been winning for a couple of decades already, my sympathy for their plight is not exactly overwhelming.

3 days ago
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Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities Increase 100%

plover Re:Surprise! (137 comments)

Samzenpus has always been a crappy, insecure editor who doesn't adhere to journalistic standards of integrity.

Color me unsurprised.

He's always been shit, and most of us keep reading as the site of last resort for nerd stuff which survived a long list of crappy, untrained editors who don't adhere to standards.

Piece of crap.

Slashdot has long since demonstrated they couldn't write a decent article if Rob Malda's life depended on it.

In fact, some day I home Anonymous Coward's life does depend on /..

See what I did there?

Go read The Fine Article before spouting your nonsense.

4 days ago
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AirMagnet Wi-Fi Security Tool Takes Aim At Drones

plover Re:Battery lasts for only 12 minutes (52 comments)

You don't have to be flying in order to serve as a rogue access point. Just land the drone near the target and hack from there. Besides, you'll attract a lot less attention if you're hiding the machine on the victim's roof.

5 days ago
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AirMagnet Wi-Fi Security Tool Takes Aim At Drones

plover Re:Makes Perfect Sense (52 comments)

I think this is almost entirely a publicity stunt. It's easy to detect the manufacturer's OUI, and they're already selling a device that examines WiFi traffic, so why not add a signature for the Parrot? It costs them almost nothing, and it's kind of attractive in a faux-nerdy marketing person way. The salesman can use it to joke with the CIO when he's trying to sell them. The engineers will roll their eyes. but the executives will think they're doing something useful.

The real question is if detecting R/C signals is worthwhile. Parrot's WiFi control is only one of many possible protocols they could use on the 2.4 spectrum, and there are many other bands available to R/C owners. If R/C is a real threat, they need to detect them all. Otherwise, their existing software to detect rogue access points is probably more important than identifying specific toys.

Regardless of the technical merit, I think the marketing value is probably more than valuable enough to keep the rule around.

5 days ago
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A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

plover Re:So (194 comments)

NoScript or Ghostery already block AddThis. It's just JavaScript.

about a week ago
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A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

plover Re: So (194 comments)

Noooo! Don't mention /etc/hosts, lest you summon ... him.

about a week ago
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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

plover Re:Isn't this Apple's entire shtick ? (290 comments)

All components have a cost, including the software. Let's say LG can include CrapKeyboard 1.0 for free, and GoodKeyboard 3.7 for $0.05/unit. Guess which one they're going to include?

Yes, phone pricing is broken down to that level. The cost of the supported software is a lot higher than the cost of the no-longer-supported software, because they're still paying the developers to support it. As long as CrapKeyboard used to work at least halfway decently (and it must have, because it was in the old production line), throw it in there.

It's a pretty simple explanation, actually.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Smithsonian Releasing 3D Models of Artifacts

plover plover writes  |  about 8 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 10 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 2 years 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 4 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  |  more than 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  |  about 6 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  |  about 6 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  |  about 5 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  |  more than 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  |  more than 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 9 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 9 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  |  more than 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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