* Posts by ThinkingMonkey

40 posts • joined 12 Feb 2020

Snowden was right: US court deems NSA bulk phone-call snooping illegal, possibly unconstitutional, and probably pointless anyway


Re: What is the point of the court ruling ?

"they know the current administration won't do anything about it." Perhaps, but this article is about the NSA's shenanigans from 7 years ago, well before the current administration.

Hootsuite melts ICE deal after staff revolt: CEO vows not to divide biz like agents divided families at the US border


Re: Snowflakes

And I downvoted you for downvoting someone for using a term you don't like. And also, probably, for using the term "Right Wing Neo-Nazi".


Re: Sympathy for the devils

Yes, but once you remove the political anger from this argument, what's left is a matter of employees telling employers what they will and won't do. I'm not a tyrant but if I instruct my employees, that's the way it will be done. My employees are an extension of me. They are there to do things because I can't divide myself into a hundred parts to do it myself. I hired them to help me, not have a discourse between each other over whether to follow my directions or not. If my ethics and morals don't match yours, you're perfectly free to quit and start your own company where you may do as you please.

Typical '80s IT: Good idea leads to additional duties, without extra training or pay, and a nuked payroll system


Does "just-barely-out-of-the-80's" count?

The worst nightmare I ever ran into regarding backups was one which I had not been responsible for doing (which covers 98% of backup problems, I imagine, as to which you good fellows can attest).

I got dispatched to the home office of a restaurant chain here in the Southeast with complaints of "It won't work and we tried everything." I was suspicious that I was walking into a huge mess just from talking to the lady for 2 minutes on the phone but my boss had every confidence that I could dispatch with their problem in no time at all.

So I arrive. Their "server" was an aged 486 (which, admittedly, was perfectly capable of being a server back then) stuck under the lady's desk upstairs and their "backups" were done "automatically" by the system via writing to a DVD drive. All the quote marks indicate things that were not that they were named, naturally.

The problems: They told me it ran Windows something-or-another but it was Unix, it was crashed so hard the logs were not readable (HDD had only tipped 96% over, not dead as in really dead yet) so I had no idea where to even start with a fix, and thinking maybe this backup, which was run "every day" she told me, could help me with at least a start, after replacing the drive

They were re-writeable, there was 7 of them, rotated daily. I pulled the DVDs and put them one at a time in my laptop's drive and each was _completely_ blank. So I had to be the bearer of that most horrible news "Your data is not only gone, it's gone for good." Some other local tech vendor had charged them a princely sum for this useless "backup system".

Bright side, the owner, who had shown up during all this placed the blame 100% on them and not me (I was shocked at that part) and even though they didn't use us for their IT needs later, we did handle her and her husband's systems at home which paid better than that nightmare at the home office ever would have.

Digital pregnancy testing sticks turn out to have very analogue internals when it comes to getting results


Re: "Surly we can come up with a similar device with replaceable strips?"

Actually, all the magic happens on the glucose meter strip. Contrary to popular belief, blood gets nowhere within 100 miles (okay, 1/4") of the inside of the meter. I'm just noting that. I realize that you didn't say that it did. The meter itself just does a little computing and displays what the strip told it to say. Namely that the blood, which traveled by capillary action to a certain spot on the strip and reacted with an enzyme called glucose oxidase, produced gluconic acid. This is measured between two electric terminals (still on the strip) and that info sent to the meter which then determines the number to display to you, hopefully between 100-140 (used to be 90-120). - A fellow finger-sticker since 1990 :)

The Wrath of Amazon: JEDI wars rage on after US Department of Defense affirms Microsoft contract


Is that really your bottom dollar?

If Amazon could afford to provide their unmatched, spectacular service that is (at least) like, 11,000 times better than Microsoft's for "tens of millions of dollars less", why didn't they bid that the first go-round? It reminds me of those street vendors that ask 100 quid for a t-shirt, you say "I only have 2 quid." and he says "Okay, sold."

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope


Re: Now that's a title

In the military, in addition to having the most massive case of "If we can't make an acronym out of its name, we're not having it." you've ever seen, there's also the "It is required to have a "cool" name." syndrome.

I thought the same thing you did when I read the "combat computer technician" until I remembered that I had, many years ago, been an illustrious member of a "combat cargo" unit.

"What kind of highly trained black-ops, special-ops fellow are you anyway?", you say? We carried the big frozen boxes of food from the huge freezers below decks to the smaller cook's freezers up in the mess hall and also toted big boxes of mail from the helicopters that landed on the ships to the ship's mailroom. Real "combat cargo" type stuff, you know. I hope I don't get charged with revealing confidential military secrets now....

exiting the room walking backwards. Slowly.

Firefox maker Mozilla axes a quarter of its workforce, blames coronavirus, vows to 'develop new revenue streams'


Hard to believe...

Mozilla had 1,000 employees? Doing what? I've been a die-hard Firefox user pretty well since Day One but have been a little disillusioned with some of the "improvements" lately ("magnifying" address bar, anyone?) and a whole, whole lot disillusioned by them dropping Thunderbird. Yes, they certainly did. Phrase it however you want such as their excuse that "We are going to disentangle the technical infrastructure." but that's like saying "You're not fired, but you can't work here." Anyhow, what have the other 998 employees been doing lately?

Legal complaint lodged with UK data watchdog over claims coronavirus Test and Trace programme flouts GDPR


Re: Conspiracy time?

"They [Apple] really don’t want your personal data so they don’t have to waste their time handing it to the FBI."

Maybe Apple doesn't particularly WANT your data but they do hand it to the FBI.

Small excerpts from their "Legal Process Guidelines" PDF:

1) "Apple will provide content in response to a search warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause."

2) "Apple has a centralized process for receiving, tracking, processing, and responding to legitimate legal requests from government, law enforcement, and private parties..."

3) etc.

BoJo buckles: UK govt to cut Huawei 5G kit use 'to zero by 2023' after pressure from Tory MPs, Uncle Sam


We shall not suffer our citizenry to be spied upon!

The U.S. has some huge balls to accuse somebody of spying 2 days after the articles were printed outlining the move by the government to allow FBI surveillance of web users data (presumably via ISPs) and without warrants. Add to that the actions of the illustrious NSA, who has people pulling their laptops apart and looking with magnifying glasses to see if any suspicious-looking chips are present and we have a populace who's so used to being spied on, they don't give one rat whether Huawei joins in.

Tales from the crypt-oh: Nvidia accused of concealing $1bn in coin-mining GPU sales as gaming revenue


You win some, you lose some.

The investors "gambled", lost, and now want their money back. Wouldn't we all love to be able to sue Las Vegas for our money back? Bad example, perhaps, but still. The only way for that way of thinking (If I win at handsome odds, I want the money. If I suffer a loss or at least not gain what I thought I would, I want my money back.) to be 100% fair would be that if the investors, upon investing in a later-wildly-successful venture, were only paid back what they invested, with perhaps some pittance of interest.

Now there's nothing stopping the PATRIOT Act allowing the FBI to slurp web-browsing histories without a warrant


Re: Please... can some TLA

Will someone PLEASE dox Trump's tax records before these people's heads literally explode? You know how he gets the opposition to want something they never even realized they wanted? By saying he's not going to reveal it.


Re: VPN?

You lump together child porn and beheading videos? Though I'm nobody's judge, you seem to really hate videos of beheadings. They're horrific, yes, but child porn level horrific?

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer


When customer descriptions go high and right...

About 25 years ago the computer repair shop where I worked would be very busy after thunderstorms. Lightning running in on electrical wires, phone lines, etc. Using the decidedly unscientific yet highly accurate "sniff test" (simply smelling near the power supply fan), it was pretty easy to tell if a computer's woes were due to being burned by what I call a "power surge".

A day or two after one such storm a lady brought her desktop computer in, I gave it the "test" and told her it was at least a burned power supply, possibly much more. In many cases, the "surge" didn't go inward past the power supply, though. Surprisingly, she said that was not possible. I said what do you mean it's not possible. She said it couldn't have gotten "power surged" during a storm.

I asked her what gave her that idea. She replied that it was because the computer was "underground". I was dumbfounded. I asked her what "underground" meant and she said "It's in the basement". When I pointed out that it STILL had to be plugged into the wall and power could STILL run in on the lines, despite being "under ground" she got a little red-faced and said "Just fix it.". So I replaced the power supply, tested it, it worked fine and everyone was happy.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother


Good thinking

And while we're at it, I propose the immediate cessation of referring to when the sun is out as "light" and when it is down as "dark". Negative connotations, and all that.

Australia to make Google and Facebook disclose ranking algorithms and pay for local content


Many newspapers may have shuttered but some are fine

Our two local newspapers, which cover 3 or 4 small towns and couple of medium sized cities, one of whom I favor and the other I do not, are flourishing.

Both have been around for at least 40 years and are doing as well as ever. They both have interesting, original content. About as many advertisements as any other actually-printed-on-paper newspapers.

There's a HUGE reason I think they are both still going strong: Neither have an online presence. No website for either. Not even classified sections. So needless to point out, there's no way Google or anyone else can scrape their content. And neither are large enough for said scrapers to bother scanning and OCR'ing the content to turn it digital.

So 2 key factors, I think; they have great content (more often than not, anyway) and are not susceptible to the problems mentioned in the article.

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels


Re: These are wheely gweat!

User serviceable? For Apple products? Surely you jest, my good man.

Signal sends smoke, er, signal: If Congress cripples anonymous speech with EARN IT Act, we'll shut US ops


Land of the Free (emphasis on 'free')

But in the US we are free, dammit! Free, I tell you!

Australian state adds AI number plate readers to GPS tracking of corona-quarantine busters


in came the real name

Incorrect, good sir. It is China Virus but may also be referred to as Wuhan Virus. You are referring to its scientific name, a language < 0.1% of us speak. ;)

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much


some parts of America are infinitely worse

Yes, world, come and join us in the U.S. where our freedoms are unparalleled. We're famous for it. Heck, all the warrant-less cell phone-tapping, e-mail searching, traffic camera snooping, Internet traffic capturing, etc. isn't all that bad, once you get used to it.

White House creates 'Team Telecom' to probe whether foreign telcos should be allowed near US networks


To make sure all our communications are secure...

Similarly to what I just posted on another article, the cynicism caused by (evidently) old age caused me to read "Its job will be to advise the FCC on the law enforcement and national security implications of foreign telecom companies..." as "...to ensure that no communications by the private citizens of this country could be or shall be spied upon by any agency whatsoever...except ours."

Something something DANE cook: Microsoft pledges to wrap its email systems in secure anti-snooping protocol


Re: Let me see if I understand this...

Agreed. I well know that part of my thought process is tainted by excessive cynicism due to my old age, however, I read "Office 365 will finally get DNSSEC-based protection *later this year*" as "As soon as we have been notified that U.S. spy agencies have well and properly cracked DNSSEC and DANE."

If you use Twitter with Firefox in a shared computer account, you may have slightly spilled some private data on that PC


Say it ain't so!

So people logging into the same computer with the same username and password can see each other's data? No way!

For the past five years, every FBI secret spy court request to snoop on Americans has sucked, says watchdog


However, they DO promise to do better in other areas

The never-ending demands from the FBI, and really the Justice Department in general, for companies to provide back-doors into any and all encryption "will be utilized ONLY when proper permission from judges has been sought and given." So there. They promise to really, really do it by the book this time. For anyone unfamiliar with the FBI's hate of encryption, Google for (several years ago) the FBI Director at the time having posters placed in Internet cafes suggesting that anyone seeing anyone else using Tor or encryption should immediately report it. Since criminals are usually the people using Tor and encryption apparently.

Personally, I was not put on this Earth to ease the jobs of law enforcement. I would never knowingly hinder it, obviously, so yes, I am 100% for every single terrorist act that's foiled but not at the expense of my own security and privacy. For example there will probably never come a time when instead of walking to my mailbox out by the road, I ask my neighbor to open it and read it to me over the telephone. "I don't have anything to hide, but I don't have anything I want to show you, either."

Indie VPN WireGuard gets the Torvalds seal of approval with inclusion in Linux kernel 5.6


Re: VPN subversion

"Yup, we're all "terrorists" now, hacking the planet from behind the Iron curtain of encrypted tunnels, spreading our subversive agenda."

Or at least that was the opinion of a certain former U.S. FBI director, anyway.

He printed up posters to be placed in Internet cafes and the like with a call to react thusly: (paraphrased, but not much) "If you see a person using VPN or Tor, please report it."

What was to be done with the "evil hacker", once discovered, wasn't clear. Asked a lot of questions, I imagine.

UK Information Commissioner OKs use of phone data to track coronavirus spread


Maybe so, but...

Once that can of worms is opened it'll be hard to close. It's strictly for public health reasons now but once the public has gotten a taste of the government "tracking" your phone, and decided "Well, that really wasn't so bad.", there'll be two then three then a dozen reasons why "Just for the good of the public, generally speaking." the government tracks phones for more and more reasons. And the anonymized data will slowly go by the wayside, too. They'll know exactly, precisely who you are and who everyone in your contacts is. The government, especially here in the U.S., has proven many, many times over that they cannot be trusted.

'Nobody's got to use the internet,' argues idiot congressman in row over ISP privacy rules


Shaking my head slowly and sadly...

I never thought I'd live to see the day the U.S. was such a laughingstock to the rest of the world. I'm embarrassed. Completely and overwhelmingly embarrassed. And my tax $, taken completely against my will, pays these people.

Looming ventilator shortage amid pandemic sparks rise of open-source DIY medical kit. Good thinking – but safe?


Is it just me or...?

Being as how dumb I am (my ex-wife told me so), I can't be the only person who has thought of this: One thing articles like this never mention is that while toilet paper and every other thing in shortage right now could seemingly be cured by the companies just going into Massive Production mode is that they are still businesses.

For example, the medical equipment companies are surely hesitant to ramp up too much too soon because who wants to be responsible for tens of millions of pounds/$ worth of ventilator equipment stuck in warehouses somewhere when the virus doesn't produce as much hospital overflow as predicted?

Oh-so-generous ransomware crooks vow to hold back from health organisations during COVID-19 crisis


Hoping crooks do the right thing?

"To expect bad men not to do wrong is madness." - Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

Latest bendy phone effort from coke empire spinoff Escobar Inc is a tinfoil-plated Samsung Galaxy Fold 'scam'


Where can I get one?

So the bottom line is that even though they seem to be shipping on kind of a "lottery system" (girl in a bikini throws a shipping label into the air and if it lands on your package they send it) there IS a chance, however small, that I can get one?

That shiny gold foil is too much to resist. And Escobar's actual brother? Get oudda here!!

Departing MI5 chief: Break chat app crypto for us, kthxbai


Re: oh, so you're using encryption

One of our illustrious former heads of the FBI years ago once had posters on the wall in Internet cafes in the U.S. that anyone seen using TAILS or any other obviously "suspicious" OS should be reported to a certain hotline. True story.

Admins beware! Microsoft gives heads-up for 'disruptive' changes to authentication in Office 365 email service


Outlook? For email?

So you learn something new every day. I thought Microsoft stopped development of Outlook in 1989 or so ;)

Maryland: Make malware possession a crime! Yes, yes, researchers get a free pass


What's the problem here?

I'm not sure why the title of the article says "Make malware possession a crime!" sarcastically because in the article it spells out that the proposed legislation seems to want to punish "intent to use" the ransomware in a malicious way more so than "possession of malware".

For example, in some states if you're caught driving around suspiciously in a neighborhood late at night and the police search your trunk and find certain things, you can be charged with what is called "possession of burglary tools". While these normal tools, crowbar, big screwdriver for prying windows, etc. are nothing more than that, normal tools, the suspicion of the person's intent to use said tools for malicious purposes is the problem, not the tools.

Your hard drives were riddled with NSA spyware for years


"...since, well, the 1960s"


The real police state started (well, when it became "We are the police and we'll do what we want and we don't give a fuck if you don't like it" anyway) right after the terrorist attacks 9/11.

I personally had a couple of run-ins. Once when during a basic, routine traffic stop (I was speeding a little) a lady friend got her purse dumped and searched, I was pulled from the car and handcuffed "for my own safety" (what a load of shit), the trunk lid was popped, and the whole car and our persons were thoroughly searched, much to my verbal (thought polite) objections.

I talked to a defense lawyer friend of mine soon after, intending for the cops involved to at least get an ass chewing from the chief, and he said I should basically just get used to it. (WTF?) They had new search and seize powers granted to them after 9/11 and could basically strip search you on the side of the road without a warrant, if they so pleased.

And I served 11 years in the United States Marine Corps, supposedly protecting U.S "freedoms". What an idiot I was.


Re: but the '...w.dll'

Yes, Microsoft MAY not have known about it but MS has been suspected for years (please don't make me google for the papers, but I will), along with Google and a few other MAJOR players, to have "cooperated" with the NSA when asked to supply backdoors and other types of access. Apple famously refused the FBI. Not to say the NSA doesn't have complete access to Apple products but publicly Apple said "No way". The others didn't make it public but they were caught in various ways giving up user data just because they were asked for it. All this in the name of "National Security" and the "War on Crime".

Dual screens, fast updates, no registry cruft and security in mind: Microsoft gives devs the lowdown on Windows 10X


Re: Dual screen?

You have posted a direct contradiction, sir. You said "We don't all like the same thing.", to which anyone would naturally agree, then immediately said "...operating systems are my daily workbench, not my place where i relax." Well, for many, it's NOT their daily workbench. It's the place where they relax.


Niche as in really niche. It's just the usual "If we promote it 'til it's blue in the face and manufacture 20 million of them it'll become standard, right? And seeing as how we invented it, we'll be so rich the banks won't even be big enough to hold our money." thinking.

Aw, look. The UK is still trying really hard to be the 'safest place to be online in the world'


Re: Inevitable

Yes, but whilst you would probably consider CrazyShit a shitshow (no pun intended), I happen to like it. Thus the very bottom-line, highly distilled reason that censorship of things on the Internet is not easily accomplished. You don't like stuff I like, I don't like stuff you like, and it goes on endlessly...


Like, sites are pretty easy to shut down if you don't like them, right?

There's much that I don't like. Unfortunately for me, people have a right to do what they want regardless of my disapproval. Sometimes we win, though. Look at how easily we shut down that one site I really, really can't tolerate known as The Pirate Bay. Oh wait...


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