* Posts by jdb3

12 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jul 2018

Ahead of Super Tuesday, US elections face existential and homegrown threats


Re: Whatever Happened to Healthy Skepticism?

I think the key is "run this logic chain". A fair amount of people I associate with don't have that capability (or at least, don't chose to use it if they do). I will note that when I was growing up in the 70s/80s, the only logic courses I ran into before college were for math, and then "advanced" courses (mainly Pascal programming and the like).

For better or worse, I would say a substantial majority of people in the US (qualifying since I have no idea (unfortunately) what the average voter is in other countries) don't pay any attention to politics besides what they see online, or on major network news, at this point. Some of this is perfectly understandable - news in the last few decades has deteriorated into "what can we show you to get outraged about?" for the major networks, and online it's all about whatever can grab your attention more than ~1-2 seconds. So, with that influencing the majority of voters, you get the people we have now running the US (and have had for the past (x) years depending on your point of view).

My wife is slowly deprogramming someone she sees regularly not by arguing, but by showing news stories from a variety of sources saying what one party wants/doesn't want. This has been completely new to that person - they haven't seen fully 2/3 of it, and the other 1/3 was ignored until pointed out. That person has become more horrified every week by what one candidate is saying, because she is not only hearing what they say but being given the context/potential consequences.

For someone like me, my initial reaction is exactly the same as yours - why would anyone believe this for a second? The problem is that most social media users have been conditioned to believe everything they see, especially (and frequently only) headlines.

The International Space Station will deorbit in glory. How's your legacy tech doing?


This is a very strange comment. While the Random Capitalizing fairy has hit this ("School Bus"?), I find it interesting what you are saying.

Are you trying to say we have other people up there, just not ones that have been publicly acknowledged?

If "they" are keeping this all secret, that means they aren't sharing the research with NASA I would expect. Even if they share a bit, it's highly worth it to have a non-militarized, multi-country space station up there, as opposed to just ceding space to the military.

Billionaires see wealth double during pandemic as tech bros lead the charge


Re: ... would each get $100 or so.

Everyone seems to have ignored my first comment in the second paragraph - "this won't happen". The idea that we could get x$ from all the billionaires and then give it in the form of the local currency equivalent of $100 to every single person is ludicrous at best.

My initial comment was simply to say that it's easy to claim that $100 wouldn't make a difference when you make more than that a year, as I expect most people on here do. I know some people on public assistance that would love to get 100$ even as a one time payment to fix something or get help with issues.

The whole original idea from the article is something that anyone can look at and immediately see 'well, there is something wrong with that'. However, it says to tax the rich and give to the poor, so it's appealing because realistically speaking 1) the "rich" have a ludicrous amount of money, 2) there are some incredibly poor people out there, 3) no one likes the idea of poor people. So they use that to get donations.


Re: ... would each get $100 or so.

Not sure why this comment is getting downvoted. If you gave $100 dollars to anyone making nothing or very little, it helps. In the US, we're not at the point that it will significantly change anyones life, but in third world countries (ignoring the logistics of actually getting the money there and keeping it in the individuals hands...) it would make a huge difference.

It's all a thought experiment anyway, as everyone knows that it won't and couldn't happen. Increased taxes on someone who makes literally billions of dollars a year? Sure, would be nice, except that no one does - they gain 'value' through investments and companies. Bezos/Musk don't have a money vault that gets filled daily so they can swim in it...

This is all just a way to increase donations from people that can't afford it, by pointing out that people have ludicrous amounts of money so you should... make up for it by giving yours away? I really have never understood that argument.

IT labor rights group files complaint against HCL, claiming it's clawing back bonuses


You can always tell when a company is breaking the law - they specifically say "we follow all local laws" when asked about an issue. That translates into "we break every law we can get away with, until we get caught. Then we follow it long enough to escape prosecution".

This may just be a bit of an exaggeration... But that is sure the way I read quotes like "responsible corporate citizen known for its 'employee first' policies." From what I usually have seen, that's a good way of putting "employees are the first ones we let go when we want to get another solid gold car"

For a company that had 10B revenue, that's a crappy way to reward employees. However, I suppose they are no longer employees when they leave, so technically they can say the above with a straight face.

The pandemic improved the status of IT workers … forever


Anyone that has worked in IT for years knows that we are the janitors as far as Management is concerned... We get praised when we clean up after someone's stupid mistake, but as long as the data is flowing the idea is 'Why do we pay them so much for something that "just works"? After all, I installed (X game/malware) at home, and it was simple!"'

There are brief time periods where things are different, and the last few years are a good example. However, the only difference they see between employees and contractors overseas are that the accents make it harder to understand; otherwise they love saving money. We've been being praised (some of us at least) for the past 2 years, but that will end soon.

Brit IT firms wound up by court order after fooling folk into paying for 'support' over fake computer errors


What bothers me the most about this sort of case is the clear indications that no one has the inclination to finally solve this issue. Yes, there will always be scammers and victims. However, it seems that (for the most part) these people get away with a slap on the wrist, and (as has already been commented) just chuckle and immediately do it again.

There should be (at the least) a multi-phase approach -

1) If you're convicted at that level, you can't work in an IT related company. Period. If you try, you get fined, and then jail.

2) Phone companies need to provide ACTUAL numbers when calling. If it is coming from overseas, don't just pass along a domestic phone number - block it.

3) Get banks to resist these scams too - my credit union already blocks transactions over 100$ online (unless it's Amazon, unfortunately) until I can verify that it is real. Expand this to say "you're sending 50$ to an overseas company that is a suspected scammer - do you really want to do that?"

I've not seen any of these happen. I know it's not easy, but something has to happen. I'm getting really tired of all the calls I get, especially the broken ones that start as one scam, then after it doesn't get a response, switches to another one to go to my voicemail. Separately, I'm sure the amount of money these scammers get is ridiculous. If that can be cut in any way, it's worth doing.

Ok, proceed to tell me why I'm completely wrong.

To stop web giants abusing privacy, they must be prevented from respawning. Ever


Wow, that was an... interesting piece. I notice that it is very lacking in details on how we could actually accomplish this. Are governments supposed to have teams continuously watching corporations, inside their networks, to make sure they aren't using those evil 'algorithms'? And, of course, which government? China would be the best example here, in that it makes a point to monitor every social media network, automatically delete everything that it doesn't like, and uses it for it's own purposes instead.

Furthermore, as has been repeatedly said countless times, once you develop a technology it is extremely hard to stop everyone from using it. Do I think that Facebook is a horrible time suck at best, and malicious to boot? Yes. Do I think that Amazon and Google between them know much more than they should about everyone? Undoubtedly. However, say you get them to delete all history, and somehow manage to keep them from creating more. (Short of shutting them down and destroying all of their data centers and backups, I'm not sure how this could be done, but lets continue.) Tomorrow, Fazgool will be created, which will start doing the exact same thing.

This is an extremely 'bumper sticker' sort of idea - break them up and stop them from doing it again. In the reality we are in, I expect you could break them up in some fashion, but it will be impossible to stop it from being recreated without the sort of draconian measures that would make the Internet non-usable.

So you locked your backups away for years, huh? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Brute, Force and Ignorance


Re: Too cold to boot

Just for contrast - I was starting out as a computer support tech in the mid-90s (Windows for Workstations 3.11 running on MS-Dos 5.x). Went to a support call in our HR department, this 'critical' PC wasn't working. After talking to the end user, found out that it wasn't really that critical, and that in fact they just wanted it taken away.

So, unplug it, take it back to the shop to see what it really is (they didn't know, and it was a typical 1990s beige box). First of all, find out it's a 286 that someone assembled at home (as far as the other staff was concerned, anyway...) Secondly - there was this mysterious power cabled device in one of the bays, that was way too small to be a disk. It turns out that it was a small heater, specifically designed to sit in a 5.25" disk bay, to make sure that a hard drive was warm enough to start.

The saddest part in my opinion? The hard disk it was supposed to warm was gone by that point! So they effectively had a PC acting as a heater plugged in under this desk for at least 4-5 years... I really wish now that I'd kept that device just to show it off.

Since the FCC won't act, Congress finally moves on robocalls by passing half-decent TRACED Act


Re: Reboot

Because, contrary to what almost every media outlet (on both sides of the political spectrum) is showing, the impeachment isn't the main activity in the House. Personally, I think it's a legitimate activity, but they also have plenty of time to pass other bills that Mitch can sit on.

European Commission orders mass recall of creepy, leaky child-tracking smartwatch


Is it just me, or is that a horrible acronym for this system? At the very least, they could have stuck with 'RAS-NF' or even 'RASNF'. 'Rapex'? That's just wrong.

2FA? We've heard of it: White hats weirded out by lack of account security in enterprise


Well, of course

This isn't going to be a popular answer, but of course there isn't that big an uptake on 2FA.

There are a lot of businesses where you don't have every computer user sitting in an office. In the place I work at, roughly 80% of the users don't have work issued cell phones, either. So, you're going to have to sell management on having their production users (most of which send emails in all caps, when they can even figure out how to use email...) being issued a key fob or something similar, which they have to keep track of, and then read (and key in a code) in potentially low or high light environments.

My guess is that we'd have to buy ~50 of them every month at best for replacements, and we'd have a steady stream of angry people coming by to pick them up.

We already get enough push-back on password strength rules; there's no chance in the slightest that we would get this passed.

In an ideal world, sure, everyone would be an expert and know about the value of this, and how to use it. In my world, not happening.