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Comments

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Staples: Breach May Have Affected 1.16 Million Customers' Cards

plover Re:One number to breach them all (76 comments)

I can only think the reason it hasn't been fixed is because fraud makes the banks money and they love seeing stories like this.

Well, you would be very wrong. Fraud costs both the retailers and the banks money. The real problem is that issuing new chip cards would cost the banks more than the fraud. Not only are the cards about a dollar more expensive each, and they still have to be re-issued about every three years, but the systems that inject encrypted keys into them, and store the keys on their databases, are very expensive. Banks are notoriously cheap when it comes to spending money that won't make them money.

The other reason EMV hasn't rolled out across the U.S. is that millions of retailers have about 12 million old credit card terminals spread across the country, and most are owned by cheap store owners who don't like being told they have to spend money to replace them. Most retailers have been dragging their feet, not wanting to make an expensive change. But the new members of the breach-of-the-month club are mad about the insecure systems they've been forced to use, and are now championing the rapid switch to EMV instead of fighting it. The smaller retailers are also impacted now, and are no longer resisting.

The irony is that EMV readers for the small retailers are far, far cheaper than the old terminals, and the rates for using new companies like Square, Intuit, and PayPal are much lower than the typical old bank rates for the old credit card readers.

11 hours ago
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Staples: Breach May Have Affected 1.16 Million Customers' Cards

plover Re:I think it's about time... (76 comments)

I think it's about time we implemented some sort of single use credit card system.

That's how Chip and PIN works. Your account number is still fixed, but your authorization to spend from it (your PIN) is encrypted by the chip, and is valid only for a single transaction. There are still kinks with non-electronic transactions, but those can be solved.

Look for it to be all over the US by October of next year.

12 hours ago
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

plover Re:Marijuana is still illegal everwhere in the US (453 comments)

Supply, demand, taxes, and regulations all combine to control the prices. If people are willing to pay X, and you're selling all your product, why would you reduce prices? All it would do is lower their profits; if they're even making any.

My guess is there are a lot of hidden factors, like big insurance costs. Most insurance policies have an exemption so they don't pay out if you're doing something illegal. This means they may have to self-insure, or find a company willing to take on the risk of a federal bust - and that likely isn't cheap. Maybe the state has a tax rate designed to keep the costs high to minimize chronic abuse. Maybe the costs of physical security are high. Likely all of the above will continue to keep prices very high.

yesterday
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

plover Re:Dry Counties? (453 comments)

It's harder to carry a trunkful of "gambling" back across the border to sell to the people back home.

Pot is a noun. Gambling is a verb.

yesterday
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Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

plover Re:Meaningless (172 comments)

I'd love to be able to publish these statistics for our organization, (I'd estimate we have close to a quarter million drives in the field) but there is a big hurdle in the way: legal liability. If I was to say something negative about Western-Sea-Tachi drives, their lawyers might call our lawyers, and we could easily spend a million in court fees.

The thing I think would be interesting is that we have a completely arbitrary mix of drives, based on drive availability over the last 6 years or so. We also have a mix of different service companies who replace the drives in our workstations. Our contract is such that we don't control the brands, or even the sizes, as long as they meet or exceed our specs. As a service organization, they're responsible for picking the cheapest option for themselves. If our spec says "40 GB minimum", and they can't get anything smaller than 500GB, they'll buy those. If 1TB drives are cheaper than 500GB drives, they'll buy those. And if we're paying them $X/machine/year for service, they can do the reliability decisions on their own, so if they think some premium drives will last two years longer than stock drives, they might be able to avoid an extra service call on each machine if they spend $Y extra per drive. I expect these service organizations all have their preferred drives, but that's not data they're likely to share with their competitors on the service-contract circuit.

2 days ago
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Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

plover Re:Man, am I old ... (172 comments)

I don't take pictures for "posterity", or for people who outlive me. I take pictures for me, and my family, for now. While I only have thousands of total pictures, (not 10,000 per month) I can still find the pictures I want on my hard drives. So when I die, if some future grandchild wants to trawl through those terabytes in the vain hopes of finding a good picture of a great-great-grandparent they never met, why should I care? What difference would that make to me, today, in how I choose to save or discard photos?

2 days ago
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In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

plover Re:Implementation not the technology. (153 comments)

When will it be learned that choosing the right methodology for a given project is the best way to go.

It comes to understanding the methodologies. What makes each effective? What are their weaknesses? Do you have enough good people who can execute them?

Waterfall is often appropriate, especially when it comes to physical world engineering, or for software products that cannot and will not be changed. Agile is great when you are committed to fully automated testing, have a committed stakeholder who is an active participant, and can deploy on demand for low cost.

But many clients now expect instant updates like they experience with their iPhone apps, and it's very difficult to deliver like that with waterfall. Agile is the answer, but for legacy projects that lack adequate testing, it's a big challenge to migrate to agile, and requires the business be put on hold while the developers clean up their technical debt. Most businesses can't afford such a shift.

3 days ago
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In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

plover Re:Mod parent up. (153 comments)

Following Best Practice (ie. ITIL), you would start questioning at the organizational and process-level, before even beginning to consider technology.

That way is also not a guarantee of success. If management is implementing their imagined-perfect new organization structure, they are often blind to the problems they are creating, believing the problem lies with the underlings who "aren't trying hard enough", or "don't believe in the vision."

3 days ago
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In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

plover Re:In IT, remember to wash your hands (153 comments)

Beware of Fad Versus Functional

What's so IT-specific about this maxim, that it warrants being on Slashdot? A slow news day?

Not a damn thing. As a matter of fact, the original HBR story referenced in the TFA is not about IT at all. And TFA could have been written by Captain Obvious, except it's not nearly as clear.

3 days ago
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Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

plover Re:Traffic Furniture (593 comments)

Traffic calming measures have been common for quite a few years now. But I think that Sherman Oaks could take this one step further.

Traffic furniture rearranging.

Every day, get the road crews out there to move some barriers around randomly: dead ends in the middle of some block, random one way signs, maybe just drop a wrecked car in the intersection where the off-ramp exits the freeway. Reprogram traffic lights to introduce 10 minute delays. Make Waze's advice to be worse-than-worthless to the average driver, and just maybe they'll give up on your city.

4 days ago
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Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

plover Re:Hmmmm ... legality? (138 comments)

That depends entirely on the jurisdiction. In some US states, the price marked is the price that must be honored, or the shopkeeper can go to jail. The merchant doesn't get to claim "computer glitch", because there were so many glitches people could no longer tell them from bait-and-switch tactics. So the laws were passed in favor of the consumer, and if the merchant's computer systems aren't up to the task, it's not the problem of the general public.

Doesn't matter if you think it's fair or unfair, it's the law in those places. I think Massachusetts, Michigan, and California all have some flavor of this, with Massachusetts being the most stringent.

4 days ago
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"Lax" Crossdomain Policy Puts Yahoo Mail At Risk

plover Re:You are ignorant. (49 comments)

Because Flash still works on many old browsers. YouTube wants to serve as many people as they can, and want to avoid as many technical issues as they can. They know there are many people who got something working five or more years ago that haven't upgraded their browsers to anything that can display HTML5.

5 days ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

plover Re:Umm, I thought your country promotes freedom? (1049 comments)

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on that point. The virus has no "motive", it has only the genetic predisposition to achieve successful reproduction. The humans, on the other hand, have the motive of protecting society, and the responsibility to do so safely. We may be less than perfect on our implementation, but "do no harm" is at the top of the list. The virus does not have any such interest, and death of the host is a perfectly acceptable outcome for a virus.

Do I mistrust the humans doing the vaccinations? Generally not in this country today, but in pre-AIDS Africa, forced vaccinations there were a terrifying prospect. Army units traveled the rivers by boat, and they would stop you to see your vaccination papers. If you weren't vaccinated, they jabbed the needle in your arm on the spot. They'd ask the next person for papers, and would jam the exact same needle in the next guy's arm!

If our programs were that badly run, I'd not only agree with you, I'd take up arms myself. But they're not.

Here, vaccination programs are stellar successes. Polio? Smallpox? Gone, thanks to strong vaccination programs. And most vaccinations are administered by private clinics, who can be sued into oblivion for making any mistakes. They take care with each patient. I trust them.

about a week ago
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3D Printer Owner's Network Puts Together Buyer's Guide

plover Re:but which markets? (62 comments)

I had the same question, so I read the article, then browsed their site. I found out the site is a service that offers you the ability to upload an .STL file, pick a nearby guy-with-a-printer, send it to him for printing, then drive over and pick it up an hour later. So the guide is basically a survey of hundreds of hobbyists who are turning over a little cash by operating their machines.

The market then, is still the "interested hobbyist, enthusiast, or specialized craftsman", and not "average guy who just wants to click the "3D Print" button in his browser and have it spit out plastic trinkets."

about a week ago
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Facebook Offers Solution To End Drunken Posts

plover Re:No thanks (134 comments)

Actually, I wasn't trying to be funny or snarky. I do know some people who would take it as a challenge to drunk-post every day; I also know people who sadly couldn't post any other way. And yes, I don't see Facebook voluntarily deleting data on anything their subscribers do.

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

plover Re:Stay away from you? Why? (1049 comments)

Vaccines are not 100% effective. Many are only 60-70% effective. Or maybe he's allergic to the vaccine components and can't get vaccinated from the particular virus you're spreading that you could easily have prevented.

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

plover Re:Umm, I thought your country promotes freedom? (1049 comments)

I'd agree with you except for one very small detail. A virus pierces your cell walls without your permission. And you shed viruses on other people without asking them for their permission. It's not a choice anyone makes, it's simply a fact of how viruses replicate.

If there was any practical way to stop the process prophylactically, without requiring you to get a shot, I'd say go for it. Wear a giant condom over your body. Sit in the "unvaccinated section" of a restaurant, or a bus. But really, those other solutions just aren't practical or even very effective. Vaccines are.

Allowing people the freedom of choice is effective at protecting society only when enough people arrive at the rational conclusion. But too many people confuse decision making with rhetoric-spewing actors and pandering politicians, and they confuse the "right to avoid vaccination" with the mistaken idea that "vaccines are some kind of government plot and should be avoided". And it's now getting so bad that the rest of us are no longer safe in their presence.

As a society, we pass lots of laws that infringe upon our rights: we don't each have the individual right to murder other people, or rob them. We don't have the right to drive drunk; even if we haven't hurt anybody, as a society we've agreed we don't like the risk. Well, I don't like the risk that unvaccinated people pose to me, and I don't think anyone has the right to run around shedding potentially lethal microbes when an effective preventative solution exists.

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

plover Re:Big Whooping cough deal (1049 comments)

My son has had whooping cough twice in the past, two years in a row. He was vaccinated against it. As was most of the schools that were sent home for a week because of it. Clearly the vaccinations against it don't work in my child.

I took the liberty of adding the words that were missing from your anecdote. You're welcome.

I expect you should be pushing hard to ensure all the other children in your child's school are vaccinated so the herd immunity can help prevent future infections in your family. You've gotten lucky twice that your son wasn't seriously harmed, it would be truly tragic if he got it again from some deliberately unvaccinated child.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Supervalu Becomes Another Hacking Victim

plover plover writes  |  about 4 months ago

plover (150551) writes "Supervalu (NYSE:SVU) is the latest retailer to experience a data breach, announcing today that cybercriminals had accessed payment card transactions at some of its stores.

The Minneapolis-based company said it had "experienced a criminal intrusion" into the portion of its computer network that processes payment card transactions for some of its stores. There was no confirmation that any cardholder data was in fact stolen and no evidence the data was misused, according to the company.

The event occurred between June 22 and July 17, 2014 at 180 Supervalu stores and stand-alone liquor stores. Affected banners include Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy."

Link to Original Source
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Smithsonian Releasing 3D Models of Artifacts

plover plover writes  |  about a year 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 a year 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  |  more than 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  |  about 4 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 4 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 5 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 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  |  more than 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 8 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 8 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 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 12 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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