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Comment Will banning even work? (Score 1) 77

Amazon's naive to think that banning incentive-driven reviews will make them go away. Of course they'd like to think that all vendors will transition to Vine, but more likely they'll just go underground - when they're not marked, readers can't adjust their interpretation based upon the information, nor can they be studied statistically. Vendors will also get suckered into participating in underground paid reviewing, increasing their real sales costs, and run the risk of losing the invested money when they get caught.

There's been several comments about "co-mingling" of products. I'd agree that we, and Amazon, should be concerned about that, too. Amazon could address the co-mingling issue for reviews that are connected to a purchase by identifying the vendor associated with that purchase, just as when products are lumped together, the reviews have a notation as to which of the several products are reviewed. Amazon needs to go even further, and separate the star rating average by product and vendor as appropriate. Probably, it would help identify poor vendors more quickly.

Comment Re:Don't buy these--they WERE wonderful (Score 2) 180

I'm speaking as the author of one of the top-rated reviews on Amazon for the WRT-54GL soon after it came out. My review cited the availability of open-source firmware for the device as the main reason for buying it, and its compatibility with the earlier WRT-54G v2-v4 devices that had enough available memory bringing on firmware with greater features than the design had with the stock software.

However, that review was written December 2, 2005, and more than ten years have passed. Now, if you want a low-cost router that runs open source software, I'd instead recommend the ASUS RT-N12, which is more than 30% cheaper, uses a 50% faster processor, all-black exterior, adds 802.11n at 300Mbps, and runs Tomato by Shibby firmware just fine.

Submission + - Panama Papers: data leak exposes massive official corruption

An anonymous reader writes: Truly Breaking News — A data leak, this time from legal firm Mossack Fonseca that has incorporated 300,000 entities across the world, has had a massive leak of data, exposing official corruption that will have far-reaching effects on governments around the world, including Iceland, Russia, Argentina, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine, specifically including: Mauricio Macri, president of Argentina, Bidzina Ivanishvill. ex PM of Georgia, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, PM of Iceland, Ayad H. Allawi, ex PM of Iraq, Ali Abu-Ragheb, ex PM of Jordan, Hamad Jasim J.M. Al-Thani, ex PM of Qatar, Sheik Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, HRH Prince Salman, King of Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Al-Nirghani, ex-president of Sudan, Sultan Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, Pavlo Lazarenko, ex-PM of Ukraine., Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine.:

Submission + - Financial Leaks: The Rich, The Powerfull - Not You (

the monolith writes: The week is getting off to a good start, but not for some. The German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, has gone public on a year-long investigation originating from an anonymous 11.5 million document, about 2.6 terabyte, windfall. It is being hailed as 'The Panama Papers', originates from a Panamanian legal company called Mossack Fonseca, involves past and present national heads of state, offshore companies, tax havens, fake share transactions, and a ski resort.

The news outlets have been lining up for a grand revelation, and there are planned TV documentaries planned over the next few days. The BBC is planning a Panorama special on the story, 7:30pm Monday 4 April, and I am sure that there will be coverage elsewhere (censorship allowing, that is).

Given the story, and the immensity of the revelation, it is only a matter of time before the movie rights and book deals will roll over the truth. In the mean time, how is your nation's reportage on this story working out for you?

Additional story links from the BBC

Comment Re:$7500 federal income tax credit (Score 2) 161

Reserving one of these cars now increases the likelihood that your car will be eligible for the $7500 tax credit. As I understand it, this credit only applies to the first 200,000 qualifying vehicles sold by a manufacturer. At last estimates, Tesla sold about 100,000 or so vehicles which leaves about 100,000 credits left.

I reserved mine last night. The deposit is fully refundable. At the very least, I think I've got a shot at getting the federal credit.

It's not a bad deal.

Note that only US sales count against the 200k limit. Based upon some knapkin-scratch computation (I got to an estimate of 175k by end of 2017), the 200k figure (assuming 50% of sales are in the US and 50% annual sales growth) seems likely to be hit about the end of 2017, which is when the Model 3 is supposed to start shipping. It's not a sure thing, as sales over the next two years may be depressed by the Model 3 announcement (as iPhone new model expectations depress sales of existing models), and Telsa has been at least a little late in first shipping of each new model. I'd estimate that if you don't get an early order of the Model 3, you're not likely to get the 7.5k bonus rebate from the US, unless Congress (hah!) sees fit to extend the program.

Comment Public Hotspot software (Score 1) 92

This kind of application desperately needs to include hotspot software that does a VPN over SSL or TLS (https security layer, relying on PKI). An ideal platform for doing this would be for email providers to add VPN for internet access alongside the SSL/TLS links they already operate for IMAP/POP3/SMTP, as it provides for some level of user authentication and traceability. There's also existing standalone VPN hotspots, but incorporating VPN into email would help make VPN ubiquitous.

Submission + - ISIS use of TrueCrypt, and origins of TrueCrypt software

craighansen writes: While previous articles have suggested that burner phones and not encryption were the primary mechanism for ISIS-linked operations in Europe, a New York Times article describes tell-tale signs of the use of TrueCrypt software by ISIS operatives. A further New Yorker article discusses the origins of TrueCrypt software in E4M software authored by Paul Le Roux, who was arrested by the DEA in 2012 and became a cooperator with the federal government for years, resulting in dropping support in 2014 for the software until a security audit completed in 2015 considered the possibilities of back doors or other security faults. Nevertheless, documents released by Edward Snowden in 2013 indicated that the NSA was having difficulty cracking TrueCrypt absent external breaks.

Submission + - Using Adblock Plus to Block Ads is Legal, Rules German Court (

An anonymous reader writes: Using Adblock Plus to block ads on websites is legal, a German regional court has ruled. The suit, brought by the company behind the leading German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, is the fifth such case to be decided in favor of the makers of the software, who are based in Germany. The court in Munich also ruled that the "Acceptable Ads initiative," a scheme that requires larger companies to pay for their ads to be whitelisted by Adblock Plus, is acceptable under German law. "To the contrary, said the court, users have the right to block those or any ads, because no such contract exists," Adblock Plus's Ben Williams writes. "Additionally, the judge ruled that by offering publishers a way to serve ads that ad-blocking users will accept, the Acceptable Ad initiative provides them an avenue to monetize their content, and therefore is favorable, not disadvantageous, to them."

Comment Re:RAID, let them fail (Score 1) 145

Or if you're using Software RAID on Linux, just do a resync weekly. Which will also read every sector on every drive with the bonus of making sure that all drives report back good information.

Most hardware RAID cards have a similar feature to check the array for errors.

mdadm already does a "checkarray" starting at 00:57 on the first Sunday of each month by default. See /etc/cron.d/mdadm

Comment Re:Not very useful. (Score 1) 145

Your 3TB Toshiba drives are way better than the 3TB Seagates (ST3000DM001) - Backblaze had a cumulative failure RATE of 28% - that's 28% failed per year. In my experience, they are ALL going bad before their third year of use. Backblaze has taken them all out of service, and mine are now paperweights. I do concur with Backblaze that most of them showed SMART failures before they died.

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