* Posts by USA IT, where it all started

23 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Dec 2007

Google can kill or install apps on citizen Androids

USA IT, where it all started

Humor transplant -Stat!!

I would have thought that at the Reg, where we routinely discuss renegade pay toilets as evidence of the ROTM, that you would recognize snarky humor when you read it. Still, despite your distaste for the analogy, I stand by the sentiment – I don't appreciate people doing evil things to show how easy it is to do evil things.

As for “the presumption that your choice of username was the reason for down-voting” - did you read the post I was responding too? It was solely him expressing his distaste for my choice of username. Perhaps I am mistaken – perhaps he just took the time to respond without down-voting – but I doubt it.

Now, on to the topic – I believe that you don't need your hand held. In fact, I am positive that this incident affected no one reading this site – because we all are competent enough to manage our own devices.

But the fact remains, there are plenty of people who aren't. And when their devices become compromised, it can affect the network – which we don't own. I don't blame Google (or even Apple, for that matter) for policing and removing maleware when it's found. Ultimately, the success or failure of their product will hinge on how well it works. If their network's performance is being hurt because of the proliferation and complacency towards maleware, then it hurts their product (and all of the other users of that product). To me, the ability to remote remove/install apps to devices isn't inherently bad. It's how that tool is used. So far, it's been used to clean up a root kit that affected (gullible) users. I have no problem with that. If it starts getting used in less justifiable ways, then I will most definitely have a problem with it.

USA IT, where it all started

Focus, Please.

Oh dear Lord! You're down voting because of my handle? I am well aware that the foundations for computers were laid by many, and not just in the US. But IT? Well, when computers started being built for business instead of government, they were built in the US – therefore, the first mainstream IT jobs were here too.

Meanwhile, I don't really see why my post got so many downvotes. Was it my name? England loosing to Germany (hey, we lost too)? Or perhaps I offended the Apple people or “white hat” hackers.

At least Mr. Gosselin voiced a valid complaint. His response expressed anger that Google fixed the problem without asking the customers. I understand this POV, but I still sympathize with Google. Look at Microsoft and IE 6. They've done everything they can to tell people to stop using it, and to upgrade to a new browser – and still people continue to use it. If we apply the analogy of immunizations, these “hold outs” prevent the group from achieving herd immunity. By their vulnerability, they become a vector for attacks and endanger the larger community. Google has a solution that doesn't require effort on behalf of the (often lazy or uninformed) end user. They can close an attack vector when they find it.

I'm not sure there is a “perfect” solution that will please everyone – but, to me, this isn't a bad solution. Now, if they start deleting things to stifle competition, or to respond to some take down notice (ala “1984” on the Kindle) then I would have a serious problem. But removing a root-kit from people who fell for a hacker's social engineering attack (“twilight” indeed) – well, I find it hard to be outraged.

USA IT, where it all started

Awww, did they un-install the Hacker's root kit? No sympathy from me.

In today's world, hackers and system attacks are inevitable. It would be irresponsible to not have a method to deal with them. Google's chosen method is this removal tool – and a corresponding tool that can patch the systems remotely or install other critical components. This method was effective, and demonstrates that Google can eliminate threats.

Keep in mind, this was a threat. It wasn't a case where someone wrote an app that competed with a Google app, and it was removed to limit competition (ala iPhone). This was a hacker who used social engineering tricks (standard hacker MO) to install a root kit on users phones. The app represented a danger to the consumers, and rightfully should have been removed.

Frankly, I am sick of these “white hat” hackers doing evil things just to prove how easy it is to do evil things. The excuse that it was for “good” or “demonstration” purposes does not excuse it in my mind. Imagine using that defense in a murder trial: “Your Honor, I only shot her in the face to show how easy it is to shoot a person in the face! You should thank me for revealing that vulnerability.”

Apple, the iPhone 4G, the cops and the click-tart

USA IT, where it all started
Jobs Horns

Not Stolen

My perspective is a bit different. Apple (representative) looses phone due to own incompetence. After the finder makes a (half hearted) attempt to return it, he determines it's abandoned property. He sells it to an interested party. That party publishes pictures of the phone, and then is asked to return it - it's returned. Summary: Apple looses phone, dude finds it, blogger pays to acquire it - then returns it free.

Frankly, if it hadn't been for the pantsing that Apple took, Gizmodo did Apple a service. They located and returned Apples misplaced property - at their own expense!

Apples response to getting their phone back? To sick the police and legal system on everyone involved in it's being found and returned. Why? Because their ad department got scooped. Sorry, but that strikes me as viciously vindictive.

Heathrow security man cops perv scanner eyeful

USA IT, where it all started

Not an invasion of Privacy? Prove it.

I propose that they prove these things are not an invasion of privacy by having every single minister that voted for them, go through them. A set of photos should be made - one with them in the scanner, and one showing the scanners display. Then these pictures should be posted online for everyone to see. If they are telling the truth, then the scanner images will be blurry, useless images that reveal nothing. If not..... well, then we'll all know which ministers are "compensating for something".

Frankly, the reaction of this security agent to being scanned and having a co-worker see it (and comment on it) speaks volumes. She, a person who deals with the machines daily, is under no illusions about the Perv-o-tron.

Sarah Palin to testify in email hack trial

USA IT, where it all started

Seeing Russia from your backyard

Just for the record, Juneau Alaska (the capital) is further from Russia than London is from Russia (use the ruler on Google Earth). Can you guys see Russia from your backyards?

And Wasilia (SP's hometown) is farther from Russia than London is from Milan.

USA IT, where it all started

Officer! He stole my stolen goods!!!

We had a case over here where a drug dealer called the police to report that another drug dealer had stolen his weed. The police promptly arrested both criminals then had a good laugh. Imagine the stupidity of a criminal reporting criminal on criminal crime. Only the stupidest criminal in the world doesn't know how that's going to end.

Enter Sarah Palin. While breaking the law that expressly told her government business should be transacted on government email accounts, she has the audacity to complain when someone guesses her trivial password. The ironic thing is, this case will now enter into the public record proof of her crime.

Reporting and prosecuting this will cost her Far more than if she had not pressed charges. But, then again, no one has ever accused SP of being the smartest person.

Large Hadron Collider to fire up again next Thursday

USA IT, where it all started

Big SI prefix, Tiny total energy

“The LHC is designed to go still further to a blistering 14 TeV...”

Big woop. My .40 cal S&W generates 4.23 Zetta Electron Volts (4.23 10^23, or 4.23 Giga-Terra EV) impacts (155grain, 1205ft/sec=500ft-lbs).

Fact is, the LHC is a very cool, very sophisticated instrument, that may just give us some insight into the fundamental nature of the universe. But the energies it deals with are less than terrifying. So, fire it up!

PS – before someone points out the energy density, I know. The LHC puts that tiny amount of energy into an Ultra Tiny spot, resulting in extremely high energy density. Still, if by some strange chance the kooks have it right and the LHC opens a portal, I, for one, welcome the marauding hoards of Xen. After all, who wouldn't want to play a live fire version of Half-Life?

Airbus: We'll cancel crap A400M unless we get more £££

USA IT, where it all started

Fire's hot, no need to burn yourself to re-discover that.

I'm an American, but I'm no fan of how much money we spend on our Military. We pretty much outspend the rest of the world put together – and lots of that money is in research. Why in the world the EU would want to spend mountains of money to duplicate what already is for sale is beyond me. Frankly, take advantage of our folly, buy the excellent kit already on the market and laugh all the way to the bank. Spend the savings on helping your people - don't waste it re-inventing the (war) wheel.

WTF is this country called America?

USA IT, where it all started

My Favorite Canadian Joke

Q- Do you know what Americans think of Canada?

A- They don't.

Federal boffins: 'Giant invading snakes' will soon rule USA

USA IT, where it all started

Pity the snakes

These snakes don't stand a chance.

Years ago, I was an engineer in a manufacturing plant located in rural Arkansas. Somehow, two African Lions were released into the woods. The locals guessed that they had escaped a nearby animal refuge, but the owner of said refuge claimed that a person trying to give him the lions had abandoned them after he refused to accept them.

Either way, once it was known that there were lions loose in the woods, and the police were OK with the locals hunting them “out of season”, they only lasted a few hours. If you dig up news reports of the incident, the locals claim to be keeping their guns handy because they were scared there might be more lions on the loose. As a former resident of the area, I can tell you the truth was this: the locals were jealous of the hunter that got the first two, and they wanted their own trophy.

We Americans have strict hunting laws because, without them, the hunters will completely eradicate the species being hunted. A common example is the passenger pigeon, but many states had local wildlife erased – deer, coyotes, wolves, bear, etc. Some of these states have “re-introduced” the species to their former habitats, but it's still difficult to keep the hunters from wiping them out again.

So to sum up, if these things become a nuisance (say, eating pet dogs) it won't take an elaborate plan to eliminate them. All it will take is for the police to pass the word that you can legally hunt them. The extermination would go even faster if you tell the hunters the snakes either a)taste good, b)make a good trophy, or c) put a bounty on the snakes.

Joke note: If you give the hunters a bottle of whiskey for every snake killed, the snakes might not last a week.

Hand grenade because the hunters used to use these to fish, and they would again if it was still legal.

Ammo rationing at Wal-Mart as panic buying sweeps US

USA IT, where it all started

Obama has bigger worries than your shooting hobby

Doug Glass,

There's nothing wrong with anything you said. Shot placement is king, and typically blood loss is what kills a shooting victim (except for the less common central nervous system hit). However, while it's true that it's better to hit with a .22 short than miss with a .454 Casul, it's better to hit with a .45 ACP than hit with a .380 Auto (AKA 9mm Kurz)..

I stand by my statement that many people have latched on to the energy figures in ballistics, to the exclusion of all else. Energy is NOT conserved in an impact, and while a 115grain 9mm traveling at 1350 ft/s has 465 ft-lbs of energy, much of that energy will be used to deform the bullet and will be lost in heat. How much heat? Well, 465 ft-lbs of energy is equivalent to 0.15 food calories – enough to raise the temp of a cup of water by just over 1 degree F. On the other hand, a 230 grain .45 ACP traveling at 900ft/s has only 414 ft-lbs of energy (11% less than the 9mm). However, when momentum is considered, we find the .45 has a full 33% more than the 9mm. And, as we all remember from physics class, momentum IS conserved in impacts. The wound channel left by the .45 ACP is sufficient to cause massive blood loss and rapid incapacitation – which is why many spec op groups use it. They are going to hit what they shoot at. They just prefer to hit it once, and not have a small zippy bullet continue on and hit what they didn't want hit.

Of course, all of this is a bit esoteric. The main thrust is that the more... paranoid... over here are buying up ammo based on fear. For the record, I voted for Obama. I don't think he's going to take our guns, or limit ammo. Messing with gun rights in the US is a sure fire (pun intended) way to loose office. Besides, Obama has MUCH bigger things to worry about. Like health care reform, winding down two wars, updating financial regulations, climate change, limiting nuclear proliferation, etc, etc. Which is why I say there will be a flood after this drought. When the rest of the American gun owners come to the same conclusion, there will be a glut of ammo, and too many people with too large a stock pile. Can you say supply and demand driven price drop?

Also, my local Walmart not only sells guns and ammo, they also sell liquor, wine and beer. Talk about one stop shopping!

And Lewis, nice post – for the record, shotgun barrels here are limited to 18” (minimum, not max). Also, you're correct in your assessment of US civilian firepower .vs the police or military. There isn't any comparison. Except for a few loonies who seriously believe that “protect us from the government” BS, the majority here own guns for three reasons, Hunting/Sports, Collecting, and Home Defense. In none of those cases do you expect to encounter an armored target. In fact, higher penetration becomes a negative in many of those situations, not a positive. So, the .45 is a practical choice in many cases, not just a sentimental one.

USA IT, where it all started

A flood will follow this drought

John 104,

For the record, .223 Remington and 5.56mm are Different cartridges. You can fire a .233 in a weapon chambered for 5.56mm, but the opposite is considered unsafe by SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Institute).


I know it's all the rage to consider only energy in stopping power, but an excellent argument can be made that the more important figure is momentum. Energy is calculated by taking Half the mass times the velocity Squared. This means that energy figures are Much greater for a smaller, faster projectile. Momentum, on the other hand, is calculated by simply multiplying the mass by the velocity. If you look at the two “Gold Standard” man stopper cartridges (ones with Many, Many one shot stops on record) we have the 230 grain .45 ACP and the 125 Grain .357 Magnum. By looking at energy figures, it's hard to imagine that the .45 works as well as the .357 – which can have almost Twice the energy. But when you compare momentum, you find that they are almost exactly the same.

Now, it's true that big and slow is easier to defeat with armor than small and fast, which is why when people face armored opponents they favor things like steel core 5.56mm rounds. However, against unarmored opponents, what a civilian is most likely to face, the .45 is very effective, with a reduced risk of over penetration. Which, is another reason the .45 gets chosen by groups like the FBI hostage rescue team.

As for the ammunition shortage, it's pretty tight over here. I went to pick up some 9mm and .45 (range fodder, not the good stuff) and had to go to three different shops to find it. I personally can't wait till the people settle down and stop panic buying – the price is inflated now and it makes practice an expensive endeavor :(

ROTM because what are we supposed to use to stop the inevitable machine uprising, harsh language?

Republican e-chief exits, denounces 'blog-flogging simpletons'

USA IT, where it all started


GOP stands for the "Grand Old Party", it's a US nickname for the Republican party - you know, the party that brought you 2 Bushes, 2 Wars and Global economic melt down.

Personally, I think he got scapegoated - the GOP act like their only problem was that they failed to get their message out on the web. I think the opposite is true. After years of Republican control of the house, the senate and the Presidency, the real message of the GOP was All to clear to the US.

DARPA seeks self-aware AI robot mega-tanks

USA IT, where it all started

Bolo's Birth

Ultra heavy armored and armed, autonomous main battle tanks – brought to you by the lowest bidder.

What could go wrong?

Ticketmaster and Live Nation forge unholy alliance

USA IT, where it all started

We hate them in the US too

Ticketmaster is currently under investigation here also. It seems that seconds after tickets go on sale, they are all sold - to a Ticketmaster subsidiary called "Tickets Now". Then if you wanted to buy tickets, you had to go to that site, which is essentially a scalper.

With the recent high profile shady dealings, this merger will receive quite a bit of scrutiny on our side of the pond. The previous administration would have rubber stamped it, but hopefully, the current regulators will do their job and regulate the industry to prevent the creation of an abusive monopoly.

(Skull and Cross bones - isn't that the Ticketmaster corporate logo?)

DARPA aim to make killer robots invulnerable to damage

USA IT, where it all started

What OS?

I don't care how strong/fault tolerant the hardware is, if it's running a buggy OS, it's far from unstoppable. A system error on one of these would give a whole new meaning to "fatal error".

BTW - I get the whole ROTM thing, but really, these are nothing more than flying hobby planes with guns. It's remote control - not autonomous. Frankly, we should be more scared of our tubby, doughnut eating gamer overlords - since they will be the ones pulling the trigger (from a safe, comfortable, remote location).

Copyright lawyers accuse 25,000 UK videogame filesharers

USA IT, where it all started

New Business Model

Hmm, sounds like a new business model – make a crappy game, ensure it is self contained and easy to copy, then assign a mid-level price to it. Wait for file sharers to put said crappy game on P2P networks, let it get copied for a year or so, then sue everyone involved for “lost revenue”. Never mind that almost no one would pay good money for your POS game – it has a price point and a number of copies – so you can calculate “actual” damages. Throw in some punitive damages and even a real dog of a game can turn a profit.

“A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.” Don Corleone, The Godfather.

UK employers sharpen job axe

USA IT, where it all started

Same over here

We get the same self serving double talk on our side of the pond. The business leaders whine and cry about how they need more people to go into the sciences, while simultaneously outsourcing science jobs as fast as they can. It's about supply and demand. They are trying to increase the supply to lower the value. On the demand side, they outsource the jobs, which lowers demand (and costs) while making remaining workers less valuable (more workers than available jobs – you want one, you work for less).

I don't know if you have this problem over there, but we also get the business groups using the “skilled worker shortage” whine as an excuse to get H1B visas – visas that allow skilled workers to be imported to fill science jobs for less pay. This is great for businesses, they fill the job for less, and the worker doesn't hold the visa – the company does. This last bit makes it nearly impossible for the worker to leave the job – nothing like a captive work force!

I'm with the rest of you, I will NOT be recommending a science career for my children. I will be steering them toward medicine or law. This may change if business starts valuing the effort and intelligence it takes to get an advanced science degree, but I'm not holding my breath.

US woman celebrates cloning of 'precious Booger'

USA IT, where it all started

Science getting into Religion's core business

It seems pretty obvious that the woman would believe in God, after all, cloning and religion serve similar purposes – both give you hope for life after death.

All life forms are predisposed to fear death, it's called a survival instinct. One of the primary reasons religion came about was to provide comfort to those who were dying, hence philosophical musings like “Death is not an end, it's a beginning”, or religious concepts like Reincarnation. Many religions have even developed a punishment/reward system that claims to reward the faithful with paradise, and punish the wicked with hell. Of course, since “dead men tell no tales”, we don't have any firsthand reports of whether any of this is true – all the people who know are dead! Intelligent men through the ages have pondered the mystery of life after death as it applies to religion, and several have come down on the side of religion. Consider Pascal's wager – The consequences of a religious person being wrong (dying and ceasing to exist) are far less than the consequences of an atheist being wrong (dying and being cast into hell) – therefore it is safer from a logical standpoint to be religious.

Anyway, cloning is science's answer to life after death. “Beloved pet gone? Sure religion can comfort you by telling you your pet is in a “better place” - but we can bring your pet back! Yes, it's not the exact pet – it doesn't have your old pet's memories and it's a puppy – but it's Genes are Identical. A clone is almost like a second chance, you can start over with your pet as a puppy and do everything just the way you want to.” A pitch like this is hard for a bereaved person to pass up.

To end with a bit of levity, here's an old joke. A rich man passes away, and leaves his dog in his servant's care. When the dog passes, the servant honors his masters wishes and brings the dog to the local parish priest for interment. The priest sadly explains that dogs can't be buried in a Catholic cemetery, as they aren't members of the religion. The servant then exclaims, “But my master has given me $25,000 to make sure his beloved pet was buried! What shall I do?” The priest's eyes light up, saying, “$25,000 to be buried? Why didn't you tell me the dog was Catholic?”

US man cuffed for executing lawnmower

USA IT, where it all started

Rage against the Machine

I can't believe no one has mentioned the ROTM angle! Clearly, this was a case of a brave human fighting against a vicious machine that was illegally conspiring to make his grass tall. Obviously, it was self defense, but now that he is caught up in the cogs of the "legal machine", our freedom fighter may just learn what Rage against the Machine is all about.

Seriously though, he's in trouble for discharging a weapon inside city limits (prohibited) and possession of a shotgun with a barrel less than 18.5" (VERY illegal). Had he lived in the sticks, and shot it with a legal weapon, we wouldn't be having this discussion - it really would be a case of his yard, his mower.

Baptist church in assault rifle giveaway

USA IT, where it all started

Mountains from mole hills

Mountains from mole hills. Everyone is making this out to be Way more important than it is – debating epic philosophical questions like the nature of God, religion, freedom, and the balance of power between the government and those governed.

What you guys are missing is this - in the US, shooting is a sport. We have a long tradition of formal and informal marksmanship competitions, and as all sports fans know, the tools make a difference. This is no different than if the Church had held a cooking competition and awarded the winner a set of Henckel knives. Yes, a loony or criminal could cause great harm with such sharp, well made knives (especially in the UK) but the winner of a cooking competition will probably use them for nothing more frightening than de-boning a chicken. Same thing here – the winner of the marksmanship challenge will get a new tool, which he will use for nothing more frightening than making well placed holes in paper.

I understand why this seems so foreign to people in the UK – you guys can't have weapons, so shooting doesn't exist as a sport. But keep in mind, where this church is probably located, shooting is THE sport. If Basketball was the most popular sport, they would probably hold a hoops contest with the winner getting new sneakers and an NBA ball. In other words, the church is appealing to the popular sport to attract the most kids.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled rants against all things American.

US TKOs Antigua in bizarre WTO arbitration decision

USA IT, where it all started
Black Helicopters


The last Americans to run an offshore Internet gambling site are cooling their heals in prison (BetOnSports PLC). The US DOJ just settled with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo – because they had the audacity to allow advertising for Internet gambling sites. News flash – offshore Internet gambling is illegal in the US, and Antigua was trying to exploit a loophole left in a really bad trade agreement. Essentially, Antigua wanted the right to do “business” in the US that if 'conducted' by a US citizen would get that citizen jailed. And none of this touched on the massive credit card fraud Antiguans were committing against any US citizen foolish enough to gamble in their unregulated, unlicensed “Internet Casino”.

So on behalf of the Evil Empire, I would like to send this message to Antigua: “Eat it”. Yep, that's right, copy all the movies, CDs, and software your 69,000 citizens can possibly use. But anyone who tries to take that stuff home, might find it's about as legal as when you leave Amsterdam with “kind bud” in your bag.