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Comment Except that it is a gov employee's job (Score 1) 28

The Reducing Over-Classification Act of 2010 allows government agencies to pay cash awards to employees who accurately classify government documents consistently and avoid unnecessary over-classification of information that is not a threat to national security.

This sounds suspiciously like the "Bribing Wally" Dilbert strips from earlier this week: 1 and 2.

I mean seriously a law that says "we will pay you more money to not break other laws and do the job you were hired to do" speaks volumes about how messed up the US government is. Why not try something different, perhaps? Like, when a law is broken or a policy violated then the individual or people responsible are held accountable and administrative or punitive measures are taken. Clinton certainly won't do anything at all to fix that, and Trump only has a marginally higher likelihood (if only because both Republicans and Democrats hate him and will dig in like petulant children rather than work with him).

I really wish that it looked like there was a tenable solution to this, but it doesn't appear like anything will change meaningfully in any of our lifetimes.

Comment Well, at least we know there is an upper bound (Score 0) 98

...but with the rise of 4K and 8K capture, as well as 360-degree video and VR, high-end professionals need all the storage they can get their hands on.

At least we know that there is an upper bound. I seem to recall some computer guy a few years ago saying that 640K should be enough for anyone. So, once we hit that, we're good!

Comment Pascal, by chance? (Score 1) 241

a new Advance Placement course "will be offered in more than 2,000 U.S. classrooms this fall...the largest course launch in the history of the AP exam."

Are they still teaching Pascal for AP Comp Sci, by chance?

Now, get off my lawn!

Seriously, though, I don't remember anything that I learned my high school AP Comp Sci class (which taught Pascal), aside from discovering that I really enjoyed tinkering with computers to make them do different things.

Comment Re:Typical Microsoft acquisition result (Score 5, Interesting) 64

Can anyone think of a single MS purchase where the employees did well out of the deal, leaving out the original owner?

Not just MS. I know people who were at small or very small firms that were either directly or indirectly acquired by very large firms (e.g., IBM, HP, General Dynamics, etc.). Not a single one of those friends or acquaintances remained with new large parent company past a year or two. In every instance they mentioned how at first things seemed fine, be eventually the parent wanted to fully assimilate the new acquisition, which meant a loss of the old company culture, structure, etc. Invariably, there were pay cuts, removal of perks, reorganizations, office closures, relocations, and all manner of other changes that would definitely challenge the morale of those who liked the environment of the smaller company.

As far as I can tell this seems to be a potential problem when any large and established company acquires a significantly smaller and/or less established company.

Comment Re:If President Obama was really committed ... (Score 1) 49

You do realize that the single biggest complaint people have about the government is "overreach" and "too much government intrusion".

Hence why being open about something like this is so important. It helps people understand government actions that have the potential affect their privacy.

So this would just put another nail in the coffin, not to mention the republicans would use it as a cudgel to complain about "the democrats are against the police and due process".

In what coffin? So what if the Republicans will use it to browbeat the Democrats? The Democrats use plenty of real and invented situations to browbeat the Republicans. Welcome to politics. The truth is that many Democrats campaign on platforms relating to civil liberties, then don't come through. Just like lots of Republicans campaign on platforms relating to family values and then get caught having affairs or secret homosexual rendezvous in airport bathrooms. What's new about any of that?

Sadly we have a delicate situation that is best left to the courts because anything else is going to get politicized like mad.

If you think the courts aren't equally, if not more, politicized, then you are fooling yourself.

Let me ask you a question: have you ever personally known anyone who had to receive treatment for cancer? It is an ugly and painful thing. Sometimes people say "the cure is worse than the disease". However, you can't just let the disease take over; that would mean certain death. The situation with our government is like a cancer. Treating it will be very painful and not without risks. However, to give some part of the government a pass now because the opposition political party would take advantage of the situation if it were out in the open is disingenuous. Just like refusing to treat a cancer because other people would then know you were sick is patently absurd.

Comment If President Obama was really committed ... (Score 1) 49

The news organizations' lawsuit seeks information about the source of the security exploit agents used to unlock the phone, and how much the government paid for it. It was filed in federal court in Washington by USA TODAY's parent company, Gannett, the Associated Press and Vice Media. The FBI refused to provide that information to the organizations under the Freedom of Information Act. The lawsuit charges that "there is no lawful basis" for the FBI to keep the records secret.

If President Obama was really committed to running the most transparent administration in US history (remember, this was probably the thing he promised most frequently during his 2008 campaign), then he would order the FBI director to release the information without them having to be taken to court. But, I won't hold my breath. I'm just saying...

Comment Re:How does it contradict? (Score 1) 302

What large-corperation loving candidate is very likely to win the election and be in office next year to make that happen, hmm...

As both major candidates love large corporations (albeit different large corporations), could you be more specific? I say that because Apple is one of those companies that inhabits multiple spaces, some of which have been associated with the left and others which have been associated with the right.

Comment Re:Switched from Open to Libre... (Score 2) 137

Oracle's antics caused me to switch from OpenOffice to LibreOffice, not from any "GPL Purity" reasons (which I care little about) but from a reasonable suspicion that Oracle, being Evil, would soon do something I did not like.

Same here. It makes me think that the Java community would be better served if Oracle turned over stewardship of Java to ASF or even a new organization. I use OpenJDK for *nix, but as far as I can tell, support for OpenJDK on Windows is sorely lacking.

In fact, when I have to work on Windows, Oracle's ridiculousness with forcing the Java control panel to always turn on automatic checks for updates is maddening. I mean, I'm a programmer. I have to maintain control over the configuration of my development system. I can't have Java auto-updating itself because I forgot to turn off the stupid feature. I also recently had to set up a VM for Windows 10 testing and had a similar thought: if the system auto updates when it feels like, how do I know that my development configuration is stable? At least with a VM I can fire it up without a network adapter. But still, it shouldn't come to that.

Come to think of it, this is a pretty solid argument for staying as far away from proprietary commercial software and closed ecosystems as possible (just because they drop a source tarball on a website somewhere doesn't make it free software the proper sense).

Comment Re:Why should commercial be different from private (Score 1) 239

As well-meaning as this sounds, there is no escaping the fact, that the approach is utterly paternalistic. The government officials "know better", what's good for you, citizen...

This is wrong in principle.

You make a good point. However, it is also important to remember nearly everything the FAA does is actually about protecting others. Something may be perfectly fine for you, and to be perfectly honest if people want to be reckless and engage in self-destructive behavior, then I say let them. However, if someone's reckless behavior causes harm to another, then we have a problem.

For example, you might be able to drive just fine with a blood alcohol level of 0.10. However, most people cannot. Given the potential for considerable property damage and loss of human life, based on decades of experience, most jurisdictions have laws against it. If you want to sit in your living room and get blitzed, then go for it. However, if you think that it is OK to allow people to engage in reckless behavior where history and experience show a high likelihood of injury to innocent parties, then we will have to disagree on that.

Comment Re:Time to update firewalls. (Score 1) 87

Virtually all modern firewall/IDP systems have SSL decryption. Given that virtually all websites use SSL nowadays, it makes no sense at all to even have an IDP if it can't handle SSL traffic.

Until you run into an app/site that breaks, then you have to disable it (at least for that site/app). Like this: "Dropbox not working when Client DPI-SSL is enabled" (link)

The "problem" is that those SSL/TLS packet inspection approaches are the functional equivalent of a man-in-the-middle attack. Given how reliant we are becoming on SSL/TLS, it is no wonder that forward thinking sites and apps are taking measures to protect against that. Of course, those same measures defeat the good guys being able to protect against more sophisticated threats.

Comment Re:It's the OS that just keeps on giving (Score 2) 220

I think Obi-Wan even spoke of this: "I felt a great disturbance in the [Windows], as if millions of [webcams] suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

Obviously, he was speaking allegorically when he said those words, with the Force representing Windows and voices representing webcams. It makes sense if you think of it, with Gates and Balmer representing Palpatine and Vader having power over the dark side of the force (the new guy is Kylo-Ren), and the webcam is the modern "voice" we use to communicate. Yes, it all makes sense. Sadly, now it has come to pass.

Comment Re:Spoofing should work by whitelist (Score 3, Insightful) 113

Very true. However, this is one of the rare instances where there exists a solid and nearly complete technological solution (telecom is regulated and it would be entirely feasible to both fix the problem you describe and then implement the solution I described) to something that is social problem (people being deceptive and abusive over telecommunications media). If the problem doesn't get fixed then it is either because institutional inertia on the part of the telecom providers or because they think it would be more profitable to maintain the status quo.

Comment Spoofing should work by whitelist (Score 4, Interesting) 113

The group hopes to put in place Caller ID verification standards that would help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and to consider a "Do Not Originate" list that would block spoofers from impersonating specific phone numbers from governments, banks or others.

This is totally the wrong approach. It is why, for example, antivirus products tend to not work all that well. Instead, the phone company should not be able to legally allow phone number spoofing unless and until the entity that wants to spoof proves to the phone company that they or another legal entity they control is the legal owner of the number which will be displayed. I'm sure it will still be abused because people are sort of relentless in their desire to game the system, but it would be orders of magnitude better than what we have now.

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