* Posts by Drew Scriver

300 posts • joined 28 Sep 2017


You're testing them wrong: Whiteboard coding interviews are 'anti-women psychological stress examinations'

Drew Scriver Silver badge

My (Fortune 500) company now has a policy that states that panel interview is no longer acceptable. It unnerves the Millennials and Snowflakes too much.

We're wondering what will happen if we have a major incident with hundreds of stakeholders, engineers, managers, and executives on a conference call and they're expected to contribute live...

As the FCC finally starts tackling its dreadful broadband maps, Georgia reveals just how bad they are

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: fine the companies for gaming the metrics in their favour

It's not just the FCC. The Census Bureau's question on internet access lumps DSL in with fiber and cable.

Question 11

Do you or any member of this household have access to the Internet using a -

a) cellular data plan for a smartphone or other mobile device?

b) broadband (high speed) Internet service such as cable, fiber optic, or DSL service installed in this household?

c) satellite Internet service installed in this household?

d) dial-up Internet service installed in this household?

e) some other service?

Notice the complete absence of any speed indications or specifics. Apparently, gigabit Fios = gigabit+ cable = 1 Mpbs DSL.

Hughesnet's geostationary sat service, with its infamous data caps and 500-750 ms latency, would be considered the same as Starlink's LEO service.

And how exactly does one "install" dial-up service?

The FCC uses the Census data, and the next Census won't take place for another 10 years...

IBM job ad calls for 12 years’ experience with Kubernetes – which is six years old

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: And so it ever was.

"But yeah if you can at least get to the interview"

Not if you run into a qualified interviewer. Couple of gems from candidates I interviewed.


During a phone interview we thought we heard typing whenever we asked questions, so I suspected that we were interviewing Google rather than "John". My boss thought my suspicion was far-fetched, so I asked "John" a question in a specific way that would likely lead to the wrong Google result.

We heard typing again and I turned my laptop toward my boss. "John" read the first search result - verbatim! Since we weren't in the market for a narrator we kindly thanked him for his time and ended the call.


Another candidate claimed to be an expert in HTTP. Understood it inside and out, he said. So, I asked him to give me the meaning of some response codes. Difference between 301 and 302? He had no clue. I asked about 401. No idea. 403? "Eh - can't remember."

At that point I couldn't resist and I remarked that he seemed to have trouble finding the answers. He didn't get it.

Figured I'd ask him one more. 200?

"Eh - okay..."

I started to think that he might still redeem himself when he continued:

"eh - server error, I think."

If only he had stopped talking after "Eh - okay"...

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

Doing "something" may in some cases set the stage for repeating the very evil that it is claiming to object to.

Case in point is the removal of the auction block on a street corner in Fredericksburg, VA. No more will children be asking their parents (or school teachers) why a stone block is sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. No more will people be almost tripping over it and perhaps find out what happened on that very street corner not all that long ago.

And no more will people's consciences be troubled by visible reminders of an ugly past.

Out of sight, out of mind.

"Those who forget their history are bound to repeat it."

Dems take a crack at banning Feds from using facial-recog tech. Congress will put it on todo list after 'learn Klingon'

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Regarding Facial Recognition Systems

It's interesting that this legislative effort isn't bipartisan. As recently as last year both Democrats and Republicans banded together in their concerns about facial recognition.

Could it be that the DNC wants all the credit in light of their effort to shift all the blame for anything 'racially' charged to the GOP?

NPR headline: Facial Recognition Leads To False Arrest Of Black Man In Detroit

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Im not in the data set..

Who is "they" in "they won't have a picture of me"?

I'm willing to bet half my stash of TP that pictures of you have been stored on servers far and wide.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: A correction

Unfortunately, your finding out means that the percentage of people who understand the system in the USA has been increased by a measurable amount.

The vast majority of Americans have little to no knowledge of civics. That's somewhat curious as it's considered a requirement for voting - if you were not born a US-citizen.

Yes, Prime Minister, rewrite the Computer Misuse Act: Brit infosec outfits urge reform

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: The law is fine and doesn't need changing

One of the problems is that customers currently have no recourse if they find (or suspect) a vulnerability and that companies care very little. How about a branch manager of one of the top-3 banks in the USA who had never even heard of PCI-DSS...? Or one of the top-10 banks I called to report that it was possible to gain access account holders' accounts - only to be told that they had no process for escalating my findings to their Cyber Security department?

Worse, if a customer suspects an issue they don't have a legal means to dig a little deeper to see if their data may in fact be at risk.

To compound the problem, some companies go to great lengths to hide their problems rather than to address them. Remember the bank (!) that formally asked (forced?) Qualys to disallow the public from running an SSL-test on their main domain because it kept returning an "F"?

I would propose three actions as part of fixing the general security legislation:

1) A (government) clearinghouse/database where the public can report issues. Reports are to be automatically made public after x days, or at the very least it should be public where the company is failing. Receiving even general flags like "PCI-DSS violation, OWASP-violation, NIST-violation, unpatched systems, runs EOL-software", would most likely spur companies into action.

2) A (government) agency where members of the public can register themselves, report suspected issues and be given clearance to investigate (within white-hat boundaries) a specific issue.

3) Make executives personally liable for breaches that are the result of demonstrated decisions to do due diligence. That should all but eliminate those instances where people "on the floor" are flagging an issue only to be rebuffed by the corporation.

Facebook accused of trying to bypass GDPR, slurp domain owners' personal Whois info via an obscure process

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: What do you think it is about

It's been like that forever.

Try explaining to people that commercial television is NOT about showing entertainment, but that their main goal is to show commercials.

People believe that the programming is interrupted by commercials, when I fact it's the other way around.

Oh - and people complain about the commercials. A lot. But yet it doesn't compel many of them to stop watching...

Having grown up in Europe (where it was illegal to interrupt programs for commercials) I was fascinated to find out that a show that lasted 25-35 minutes would take 45-60 minutes to watch in the USA...

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: What do you think it is about

While I share your experiences regarding sales reps selling non-existing features, I have seen enough to assume that this particular rep was right about how much can be deduced from all the aggregated data.

The data is there, the tech is there, the incentive is there. Motive, means, and opportunity.

Occasionally we get to see a glimpse of how much 'they' know - usually when authorities use it to solve a crime.

One of the axioms in the (marketing) industry is that they (or at least their systems) know you better than you yourself do. Unfortunately, they're right.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: That’s not the answer that’s going to work for us.

Hmmm.... good point.

I'm afraid I read the article while trying to pay attention in a Zoom meeting. Looks like the meeting won.

I'd down-vote my own comment if I could, but El Reg won't let me...

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: That’s not the answer that’s going to work for us.

This isn't about you. The answer has proven to work just fine for the vast majority - and that's good enough for Facebook.

The people who really care about it already don't have a Facebook account, and they probably never will.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: What do you think it is about

Years ago I was in a meeting where a sales rep from Gigya painted an interesting scenario. It went something like this.

Imagine you're in the car with three friends. It's hot and you're getting hungry. There's a McDonald's coming up and you pull into the drive-thru lane. You're greeted by name and you're told your order is ready - for all four of you. It's exactly what everyone would have ordered...

The system would know who was in the car (based on mobile devices), how far they'd traveled, when they had last eaten, what they had eaten, how much longer they had to drive, what the weather was like, what everyone liked and disliked, what everyone would order based on the weather, past patterns, habits, the destination, the group they were with, and so forth.

According to the sales rep, the only reason McDonald's wasn't doing this yet was because it would be disconcerting to many people. But the technology already existed - and that was more than five years ago.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses... but not your H-1B geeks, L-1 staffers nor J-1 students

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

H-1B workers tend to be the ideal tech employee, at least from management's perspective:

- They don't complain

- They don't ask for raises

- They aren't looking around for other jobs

- They typically don't ask for promotions

- They're dependable

- They're predictable

- They don't argue

- They carry out the work exactly the way they're told to

- They cost less

- They're steady workers

The incumbent President of the United States of America ran now-banned Facebook ads loaded with Nazi references

Drew Scriver Silver badge

I do not know if this is necessarily the case, but I do know that quite a few people on the left have a soft spot for Stalin, Mao, Che Guevara, and others.

- The founders of the BLM-movement have stated that their economic views are based on Marx, Stalin, and Mao.

- A high-placed official in the Obama administration stated at the time that her heroes were Mother Teresa and Mao Zedong.

- One of Obama's press secretaries adorned the walls in his house with Soviet labor posters.

- Left-wing event tend to feature people with placards and T-shirts with the likeness of Che Guevara.

- Flags/posters are not uncommon on the walls of Democrat officials.

- Democrat campaigns frequently feature Soviet/Socialist imagery and slogans.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Yes - it's a concern. But issues exist in both camps.

While the symbolism may indeed point to some level of fascist involvement, couldn't it just as likely be ignorance or coincidence?

Remember the when a UK shoe manufacturer introduced a sneaker/trainer called "Zyklon"? Also, Americans tend to be pretty callous about Nazi-references. I was rather shocked when I attended a summer camp in the US and they sang a campfire songs in different mock-accents while using gestures. You guessed it: with the German accent the heels came together, a Nazi salute was given with one hand and with the other hand a fake Hitler-mustache was formed.

Even today it is not uncommon in the workplace to hear somebody being called the "office Nazi" - usually referring to a person who goes by the book. When I asked why they thought "office Nazi" was acceptable but "office klucker" was not they didn't quite get the point.

When a recent political campaign employed overt Communist symbolism/verbiage and many supporters sported T-shirts and flags with the likeness off Che Guevara the media were silent.

Some of the more prominent forces in the current protests are openly advocating for Communist ideas (based on Lenin, Marx, and Mao), the demise of the nuclear family, the marginalization of fathers, and segregated communities based on "race". You'd be hard-pressed to find any reports about this in the media. I also found it puzzling that one of the prominent speakers at George Floyd's funeral has openly made antisemitic remarks.

The (Democrat) governor of Virginia apparently had his picture taken years ago while either dressed up as a "black man" or as a KKK-member. He has admitted that he is in the picture, but he can't remember whether he dressed up as the former or the latter... The current Democrat presidential candidate made some rather disparaging racist remarks when he ran back in 2012.

While I do believe that a possible effort from the official Trump-camp to reach out to fascist groups should be examined, it would be prudent to extend the same level of scrutiny to all parties.

What troubles me is that both sides are quick to point out how terrible the other side is - and that they're both right.

It's a mess. I'm not optimistic that it will improve.

To boot, John Adams (one of the Founding Fathers, first Vice President and second President of the US) stated that the US Constitution is "wholly inadequate" to govern what the US have become since it was written for a "righteous and moral people". To be sure, I believe that re-writing the Constitution in today's climate would be far worse than keeping the current one, but Adams' statement does explain part of the problems we're facing.

C is for 'Careful now', D is for 'Download surprise': Microsoft to resurrect optional Windows 10 updates as 'Previews'

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Refunds for repairs?

My dad (who is old enough to have been on sentry duty on the East German border during the Cuba crisis) is rather computer-challenged.

Last week he called me in a panic because he couldn't print anything. I remoted in and lo-and-behold: the items were leaving the print queue as if they had been printed. Scanning worked fine on this three-in-one Brother. Status and ink levels were reported accurately.

He really needed to print some documents so he took the computer and the printer to a computer store. They're now up to €39 and they're apparently re-installing Windows - even though I had called them ahead of time to alert them of the Microsoft update issue.

I highly doubt Microsoft will reimburse my dad for the costs he incurred due to their ineptitude, though.

Google isn't even trying to not be creepy: 'Continuous Match Mode' in Assistant will listen to everything until it's disabled

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Paranoid

Very good point about a heat signature without a digital beacon being suspicous.

Sounds like we need to step up getting people diagnosed with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) - before not carrying a mobile phone is considered a prima facie offense...

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Oh mighty one...

They already have a name that labels them as omnipresent and omniscient.

It's spelled "G-o-o-g-l-e".

And don't forget that that they dropped "Don't be evil" from their code of conduct...

Drew Scriver Silver badge


People who think everything they don't pay for in hard currency is free will opt in for anything they fancy.

That'd be virtually everyone.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

They've been here before...

Remember the WiFi SSID slurp they did back in the day? It was essentially war-driving mounted on the the Google Streetview cars.

By the time they got caught and finally had to destroy the data they had been able to build their own second-generation SSID database and no longer had a need for the original dataset.

It's not unlikely that they'll use the collected data from Continuous Match Mode (say, as an AI/ML set) and then purge the data once its served its purpose.

As Uncle Sam flies spy drones over protest-packed cities, Homeland Security asks the public if that's a good idea

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Flying body cams?

In light of the propensity of some police officers to abuse their authority, maybe it's time to outfit them with drones they must deploy before even getting out of their vehicle.

Although, they'll probably 'forget' to activate the drone occasionally.

For the record, I am a Euro-American. But I'm still concerned about policy abusing their power against me. That's partly based on personal experience with inept, under-trained, power-hungry officers and partly based on experiences other people have shared.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: You asked my opinion about drones...

They're expecting no more than 2,000 responses, or 0.0012% of registered voters. Or 0.001% of adults in the USA.

Worse, I'm afraid they'll be right about that.

According to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DHS-2019-0057-0003:

- Frequency of Collection: One per request.

- Average Burden per Response: 20 minutes or under.

- Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 2,000.

- Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 660.

Oh crap: UK's digital overlords moot new rules to help telcos lay fibre in sewer pipes

Drew Scriver Silver badge

The ISP jokes will be in the gutter...

Imagine the jokes on tech support calls.

Customer: My connection is incredibly slow.

Agent: Yep, it stinks. It's totally in the gutter.

Customer: I think you're charging too much. I smell a rat.

Agent: Quite possible. We'll have to send a crew down to take care of that.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Maybe in the UK, but certainly not in the USA. Remember Google fiber popping up through the pavement?

I'm pretty sure I've seen fiber cable going straight into the soil in Europe as well when I was there this earlier this year.

After IBM axed its face-recog tech, the rest of the dominoes fell like a house of cards: Amazon and now Microsoft. Checkmate

Drew Scriver Silver badge

And El Reg runs an ad for an iris-scanner with the article...

I'm reading this at work, where ads are not blocked.

The ad at the bottom of this article (for me, at least) is for a "touchless, fast, accurate" iris scanning system...

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Not quite equivalent

We'll all be wearing face masks for the next year or so anyway. Wonder if that's what the brass at MS, Amazon, and others were thinking too.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: I guess they will buy from China

That article doesn't contain any accuracy percentages other than those from Clearview. Too bad Wikipedia doesn't provide a way to show what edits were made to an article, and by whom...

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: BTW: How did that work out?

Even though Darwin referred to a "common ancestor", he left ample room for different lines to have developed that could be considered independent.

Although various ideas about 'races' (developed along different evolutionary lines) were already present before Darwin boarded the Beagle, he became a catalyst for their furtherance.

As such, the notion that some groups are more advanced than others did not originate with Darwin, but his concept of the "hierarchy of man" did bolster them.

Many school textbooks well into the 20th century espoused clearly racist ideas. Many (implicitly or explicitly) referred to Darwinism as the source.

Even trusted sources like the Encyclopedia Britannica espoused the superiority of certain 'races' over others.

Here's an interesting article that provides an insightful survey of racism in textbooks:


Disclaimer: I have not yet had time to verify the veracity of its claims.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: @Def - Yeah but

Red is out, too. As an example, consider the controversy regarding the name of the Washington Redskins (American Football) team...

Fedora, by the way, may also be problematic. In some countries it's a symbol of old men who drive too slowly. Other cultures regard it as a fashion attribute, but some gangs have adopted it to make a statement.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: BTW: How did that work out?

Zwarte Piet. Or "Black Pete", if you will.

However, I don't think it's as easy as pointing to ZP/BP and concluding that they're all racists. Not everyone who supports the tradition believes that people are inherently superior or inferior based on their 'race'.

Having said that, I am troubled by those who support ZP/BP without reservation even though it has become quite clear that a growing number of people equate it with racism.

I wonder how many of the Dutch are wondering why in the world some groups in the USA hold on to the Confederate Flag, but yet would take to the streets to defend the tradition of ZP/BP.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: BTW: How did that work out?

You listed those countries in jest, right?

I happen to be quite familiar with some of those countries, the Netherlands in particular, and I can tell you unequivocally that racism* is very real there.

*Racism is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race (Merriam Webster)

On a side note, racism is bolstered by the logical conclusions of the theory of evolution. Thanks, Darwin.

City of Los Angeles sued for tracking rental scooter rides – that's the rideshare company's job says EFF and ACLU

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Trust us - we're the government

This news breaks just in time to bolster the case governments can indeed be trusted to not use COVID-19 tracking devices for any purposes other than to fight the pandemic, and to stay within the bounds of the US Constitution.

Singapore to distribute wearable contact-tracing device and won't rule out making it compulsory

Drew Scriver Silver badge


I might believe a government that claims that it's not a tracking device if the devices are not registered to an individual. After all, if the only purpose is to check proximity to a known COVID-19 patient this could be done wholly separately from PII.

Given the (scant) details it looks like I don't have to worry about whether this eventually will be used to track people and to see its application extended beyond COVID-19. It's a given.

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

Drew Scriver Silver badge

The definition of "smart", according to Webster's Dictionary

1) to be a source of sharp, local, and usually superficial pain, as a wound.

2) to be the cause of a sharp, stinging pain, as an irritating application, a blow, etc.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: "........to solve a problem that didn't exist in the first place."

The secret that the manufacturers won't tell you is that only one gets to be smart: either the customer or the appliance. But not both.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Never understood this

We were given an old clothes dryer* when we were just starting out. It was almost 30 years old at the time - and that was over 20 years ago.

It has two dials: one for the timer and one for the temperature (high/low). All parts can be fairly easily and inexpensively replaced by anyone who is moderately handy. Over the years I have replaced the belt and a few pulleys.

It runs just as well now as it did 50 years ago. Sure, it's ugly and it has a few rust spots. But it'll probably last another couple of decades.

Now that's SMART as well as WISE, in my book.

By the way, it uses no more electricity than a new dryer.

*Clothes dryers are common in households in North America.

Hoverbikes, Hyperloops and sub-orbital hijinks: Yes, the '3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions of Travel' are coming soon

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Hyperloop documentation says 28 passengers per pod.

Some of the major train connections in Europe stop for less than 120 seconds. Subways stop for far shorter periods.

It seems to me that planes have a far lower efficiency as far as passenger-per-hour is concerned.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

The limit of 192 pph (passengers per hour) seems low. If the system would load/unload more like a hybrid between a subway system and an amusement park ride I would estimate the pph-limit to be much higher.

Found some interesting data (from Hyperloop):

- Estimated cost of Hyperloop between Los Angeles and San Francisco is $6B. Compare to estimate of $68B for conventional HSR.

- Capacity is estimated at 840 passengers per hour.

For $6B a piece you could even build multiple Hyperloops and increase the capacity that way...

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Virginia is building a 'high speed' rail project between Washington, DC (capital of the USA) and Richmond, VA (capital of Virginia).

High speed: faster than a car can get you there during rush hour (think traffic jams).

Top speed: 60-90 miles per hour (96-144 km/h) - frequent stops are planned.

Duration of the trip between Richmond and DC: TBD - even though they've already starting laying the tracks...

As far as I know Hyperloop was not considered. Even though construction has already begun, one would think that this option should be on the table.

Looks like VA is finally entering the 20th (sic) century!

How to fix the global slowdown in broadband rollout: Redefine what broadband means

Drew Scriver Silver badge

No definition of "broadband"?

Seems to me that this whole UN initiative is a costly, shiny pool of hot air.

I just read some of the reports. They look great and are available in a lot of languages. However:

- I can't find a single reference to what constitutes "broadband"

- The only concern seems to be the cost per Gigabyte of data (per month). Who cares if it takes someone a full month to download that GB?

Lots and lots of stuff in the plan about equality, economic opportunity, disparity, and so forth. But no actionable definitions as far as I can tell.

Seems to be similar to the FTC in the USA, which defines speed without addressing data caps.

Or the US Census, which lumps in 1 Mbps with 1 Gbps fiber.

Or the notion that if broadband is offered at a single address in a US Census area that entire area is considered to have access to broadband.

As the US maybe gets serious about coronavirus-tracking apps, Congress wakes up to the privacy risks

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Location data has no use for contact tracing

Valid point, but tapping into existing tracking would mean the authorities would miss out on this perfect excuse to start tracking everyone themselves...

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Location data has no use for contact tracing

Very good point, but I expect the trackers would argue that they also want to be able to warn people who have not been in direct contact but still shared the environment.

If someone with COVID-19 has been in the produce department they could have sneezed all over the apples, for instance. Those apples could be purchased hours after the patient has left the store...

Have I Been Pwned breach report email pwned entire firm's helldesk ticket system

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Nothing to do with HIBP...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I can tell this has absolutely nothing to do with HIBP.

It's about an injection vulnerability in this helpdesk software that this guy's company chose to use - nothing more.

Facebook to save US users from ads bought by foreign state-controlled media

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Interference

Quick - name a country that welcomes foreign governments trying to influence its elections.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Ads?

I haven't been able to log in for years - FB is suspicious of my lack of logging in frequently and requires that I provide them with a copy of my driver's license to prove my identity.

Based on what I'm hearing about FB I'm not missing anything worthwhile so I'm happy with the status quo.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Facebook is a right-wing propaganda machine

Right-wing is generally equated with conservatism and left-wing with liberalism/progressiveness.

From that perspective it would be hard to argue that FB is right-wing. I'm curious as to how FB could be labeled right-wing.

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: Facebook is a right-wing propaganda machine

You mean voters ought to actually seek out information before they cast their ballot?

Most of them wouldn't even be able to identify who would succeed the president in the event both he and the VP were to be incapacitated, what the role of the SCOTUS is, explain the difference between the Senate and the House, what the branches of government are, and so forth.

People generally vote on emotion, not on fact.

It's curious - if a foreigner want to attain the right to vote in the US he or she will be required to study civics and take a test. If they don't pass they don't get to become a US citizen - and thus can't vote.

The vast majority of Americans would fail this (fairly basic) civics test if they had to take it...

'Beyond stupid': Linus Torvalds trashes 5.8 Linux kernel patch over opt-in Intel CPU bug mitigation

Drew Scriver Silver badge

Re: El Reg faux pas

Original page:


Drew Scriver Silver badge

El Reg faux pas

The stock photo El Reg picked for this article is a rather poor choice, me thinks.

To borrow some verbiage from the article's headline: "Beyond stupid".



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