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Comment Oh Statistics! (Score 1) 490

I love how everyone is using these to blame jobs etc...


It is the first generation (I being in the one previous to that) that has never been more connected VIA the internet and various other pieces of technology than ever before. So people are surprised in a 6% change in physical movement? There is much less need for movement so there is less.

Second, is that the trend for sometime has been more and more urbanization. If you already live in an urban center there is also much less need for movement.

Anyway I am sure jobs, and economy factors into it as well, but it is far from the whole story.

Comment Neeto! (Score 1) 106

I always find it fascinating when modern science and ancient history collide. There have been a number of stories like this over the years as technology advances. It hits me in both my science and technology spot as well as being a fan of ancient history and trying to piece together things from so long ago.

That said when I read it I some how saw some bearded ancient historian crying in the corner as scientists take irreplaceable artifacts of the past, smash them, and grind up the remains for magnetic analysis. I don't *know* how they actually did it, but that's the image in my head.... :)

Comment Four points from a Canadian (Score 1) 134

1) BS

Firstly it should be pointed out that all the data that they have used in the past about how Canada is a haven for copyright infringement has been disproved. Multiple times. The numbers they use are largely made up, and have no real basis in reality. So them coming out again, with more of the same BS should be rightly ignored.

2) REP

As the first point alludes, their reputation for bending "facts" as it suits them really isn't doing their cause or reputation any favors. In addition, in Canada they once had an ally in the Conservative party, who tasked a Minister to draft a set of laws to curtail copyright infringement in Canada. However, once release it became very transparent, and easily discoverable, that those laws were drafted by the RIAA/MPAA, verbatim. Word for word. It was a bit of irony that the laws themselves might be considered plagiarism. Once this became clear, it was all swept away, and interfering in a sovereign nations law creation process isn't going to win over a lot of fans (or voters to whom politicians might care about).

3) Laws

Just because the US legal system is in shambles, doesn't mean Canada's have to be also. We have stronger privacy laws in Canada, and I think most people of all political stripes are proud of that fact. Considering how the RIAA/MPAA does an end run around the US legal system by suing "John Doe's" by IP address, then having the court held in some crazy place like East Texas where companies vie for citizens appeal, who always rule in favor of these creeps who force the release of personal information, then they drop all of those cases, and re-try them using said personal information in other states of residence seems more than a bit absurd.


Finally, all that said, Canada has taken real action in the protection of copyright infringement. About the only "haven" that I was ever aware of was ISOHUNT (not including those imported Asian physical CAM DVD's which you can find someplace which are horrible, and really small fry). For whatever reason the guy who ran it had it located in BC. He fought the legal battle against the government for a long time (10 years maybe?), but eventually lost and was forced to shut down. Later it re-opened again, now being hosted in whoknowswhereistan like all the rest of the sites out there, but that is hardly Canada's fault.

So in summary the RIAA/MPAA can shove it.

Comment Took? (Score 3, Interesting) 156

That is assuming he did it uniformly over a 20 year period, which is possible, but unlikely.

You would think they would have not only network but physical safeguards in place to prevent this. I see this as more damning of the NSA security procedure than anything else. Regardless of how you slice it, it is a massive amount of data to be able to go "unnoticed" for 20 years!

"Unnamed U.S. officials told the Washington Post this week that Martin allegedly took more than 75 percent of the hacking tools belonging to the NSA's tailored access operations, the agency's elite hacking unit."

Took? They don't have it anymore? Unnamed US officials could have better used the term "copied" I think (though not totally wrong I suppose).

Somehow I finished that sentence with, When reached for comment Martin said "the other 25% of the hacking tools were rubbish!" :p

Comment Convictions (Score 1) 105

I expect apart from the symbolic nature of the arrests they will have a pretty hard time actually getting any convictions.

Unlike similar things in the past, where things were sold to people to illegally access cable/satellite networks without paying fees, the boxes actually don't do a whole lot but provide hardware. They didn't write the software, nor host the access to the "illegal" content, so I am not sure what they will be convicted with. There is probably a provision about "enabling" activity, but at a certain point that would mean going after the TV makers for being able to play the content, the utilities for allowing said content to "illegaly" flow over their infrastructure, etc... There is a reason why things like Kodi boxes are "gray" market, I'd expect a lot of law would need to be interpreted and clarified before any actual convictions to take place. Perhaps this is the first salvo by the industry to try to establish precedent for future actions, though it very well could backfire on them. Though no doubt something like this will be tried in some favorable Texas court as they like to do in the weird US Judaical system.

Comment Soviet Pyrotechnics (Score 1) 156

"If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Reading the article about the Soviet experience with Venus there seemed a pretty heavy reliance on "Pyrotechnic charges"...

Soviet Project Manager: "Vere having a problem with abc operating under extreme pressure..."
Soviet Engineer "Have we blown it up yet? Ve could try blowing it up first..."

Also kinda surprised that things like pyrotechnic charges wouldn't accidentally go off under heat/pressure/corrosion.

Comment Precedent (Score 1) 245

As I recall when the FBI demanded a website hand over their encryption keys the owner printed it in binary on something like 10,000 pieces of paper... I believe he got in some trouble for that.

However if the FBI is going to only allow FOI requests by fax, well it will certainly open themselves up for some serious abuse when others do likewise and when questioned on it simply point to the FBI itself and say that it seems to be an excepted method for them...

Comment Institutionalized (Score 1) 198

Like like Red said in Shawshank Redemption some times people get Institutionalized...

It isn't so much a technical issue, but one of momentum, which is hard to change in anything but over a long time. Like MS, Oracle has been around and dominate for a very long time. Which means their install base is large. Which means a lot of things use it. Which means a lot of people are trained in it and familiar with it.

The difficulty is that IT shops have to maintain and support applications and databases. having to support more than one is costly. porting existing ones is costly. Training or hiring new staff is costly, etc...

So if you are a new organization, then sure you likely have the flexibility to easily review and select whatever fits your needs. However if you are an existing organization, which most are, and most of your infrastructure is already Oracle, well that is a pretty hard decision for an IT head to try and reverse and change.

However licencing things like this do take a toll, and you will find that organizations start to try to experiment supporting more than one, and expand upon it (we've been dabbling with MS SQL for a number of years now). It is easier to propose to executive management the additional expense and overhead when you can show the increase in existing licencing costs. Over time if Oracle isn't careful will find itself in trouble. However that is likely not anytime soon, so for now, the bean counters just count more beans.

Comment Duh. This has been true for years. (Score 1) 231

AV software for anyone that has had to use it for any amount of time can easily tell you that Windows Defender is the *only* AV software anyone should be using anymore. Back in the day, there were a number of products out there which I would call good. Now, probably due to increased pressure for more profits, subscriptions, and increased monetization of every aspect of their business I wouldn't want any of them. Not only are they all bloated resource hogs, they cause more problems than viruses they catch. I'd rather have the viruses as at lease you don't pay for those. I don't know how many times I've had to look at friends or family members computers to find that some commercial AV software was causing all sorts of trouble. Is Defender the best at finding viruses? I don't know, perhaps not, but I do not care. I'd rather something that provides most protection but isn't intrusive enough that it acts more less like what it is trying to detect and remove.

I'd say there is one little cravat to the above. I'm referring specifically to ANTI-VIRUS software. An awful lot (if not most nowadays) of "malware" might be better categorized as "Adware". There are a number of products out there that do a good job dealing with Adware. Most Adware of course targets your various browsers. I'd say as a rule there are a lot more of those out there in the wild than actual "viruses". Anyway I would use both, Defender for viruses, and another product more specifically focused on Adware.

For a variety of reasons years ago I used to run an unpatched Windows 7 machine. That things was like a virus trawler! At any rate I had a lot of opportunity to use a host of tools and software. Having a good firewall (and setup), not going to sketchy websites, or clicking on stupid things goes a long way by itself. However inevitably you'd get things that require clean up. As mentioned somethings worked better than others, and some were as bad as the viruses they were supposed to protect you from. With that particular system, I think one of the easiest (provided your are prepared) and certain things I didn't was about every years or so I would just wipe the whole thing clean, do a fresh install, restore files from backup. Get used to doing it a few times and it takes a few hours, and you can automate most of it.

Comment Abuse (Score 1) 834

Not only that abuse, but I recall the news getting a hold of a few stories (I believe one was in Alberta), where they were like indentured servants. They would be brought over, and immediately put into debt, even so far as to have housing where the employer was also their landlord (making sure they never get out of debt), with threats of eviction, deportation, etc... should anyone complain. Deplorable.

Comment Magic (Score 1) 834

Considering how many economists have correctly predicted anything in the last 20 years, how many times they absolutely got it wrong, how little the generalized economic theory seems to explain anything in actual empirical terms, it might as well be called Magic. I liken it to what just happened with the election and Trump. Sure there were a few people that seemed to say some correct things in hindsight, however just about everyone that was supposed to be an expert got it wrong (to big effect). Again, lots of things going on that were not really accounted for in their analysis, and assumptions made that turned out to be incorrect.

Though I think you last assertion is probably the most correct, in that it is horribly complicated now, and that many little things can have a very large influence on how everything behaves, so trying to apply grand economic theory on anything falls flat because none if it can take all the complexities into account.

Comment Re:About (Score 1) 834

"essentially uses the taxpayer as its benefits system"

I think this is the point that most people miss. The companies that pay so little are basically being subsidized by government programs. Some of the people complaining are worried about said companies raising prices to compensate for increased wages, which is a legitimate concern. However the point is they are paying either way, only though taxes. The real difference being that the way it works now, all that extra money goes to the company in profits, rather to the worker who could then presumably earn a living, pay taxes, and put more money into the system with increased buying power...

Likely the problem being politically that A) poor people don't vote in droves, B) corporations donate money to political parties to keep the status quo, C) many people don't seem to understand that they are going to end up paying regardless anyway, D) to a lesser extent the investors of said companies may find them a bit less profitable (though that last one is debatable depending on the spin offs of having a work force able to buy more things).

Comment Re:When will it change? (Score 1) 141

This. "core competency". From experience it is due to cutbacks or fiscal restraint and at the decision of management. They only want to spend on "Core" things. At one point I was more less refused promotion because my position in "IT" wasn't considered "core". In *many* occurrences I've had project funds rejected for upgrades, because they were not "core" to the business. Trying to tell a manager how functional the promoted workers that were considered "core" that use said systems, or how the business as a whole is going to function when those "non-core" systems fail is a hard sell. In most cases it isn't an abrupt change but rather a slow degradation of service as systems and support become more difficult to maintain. Over the years, you do get "tech debt" as the issues keep piling up, and in the case of positions, if they are not valued, then why stick around?

I know I was pretty shocked and offended when I was told my position wasn't part of "core" business (I also thought it was pretty short sighted and ludicrous), and knew the writing was on the wall with that manager and in that position. Fortunately it worked out moving to a business and position where it was considered "core".

As mentioned the system wasn't probably fragile to begin with. However any system will become so over time though neglect. I have no doubt that management due to fiscal issues did as you said. Which isn't necessarily bad, the whole system as a service when done right. However the other buzz word other than "core competency" than management loves to throw around (without seeming to understand or grasp the real meaning) is "Risk Management". Which basically means we're going to do things half-assed and accept the risk that it will bring to the table. Well that "risk" just materialized. What mitigation plans did they put in place, who is responsible for it in terms of lost revenue? I'd guess they don't have real answers for either of those questions.

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