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76  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Am I the only person that has a real big problem with software like this? on: October 04, 2013, 02:15:56 PM
I'm not a parent, but I have been a kid.

It seems to me that the development of any child travels through a world where different types of treatment are appropriate at different times. The youngest kids don't have the understanding of the things that populate the world, nor the thinking skills, to be able to make proper decisions on their own. As they age, they may know what's right, but not have developed the confidence to implement that knowledge. Later on, maybe we want to let them try their independence, but still be there as a safety net if things go wrong.

So I think that for small children blockers are appropriate, just as I keep my gun safe locked. It's too easy to do the wrong thing.

And toward the older end of the spectrum, perhaps we don't want to actively interfere with the child proving to himself that he can do the right things. But maybe it's still helpful to know what situations he's running into, in case there's a need to explain to him. Those animal snuff flicks, or something, certainly warrant a conversation with the kid, even when he has the normal reaction of revulsion.

Many kids have the wherewithal to ask their parents, or someone, about such experiences. Others don't. I'm reminded of a favorite song, "Silent Cries" by Fates Warning. The first two verses go like this:

Quote
Born to an air of apathy
Indifference shapes a fragile mind.
Questions formed at an early age
Beg answers unasked
Silent cries

Behind curious eyes resides
A child who cannot speak.
Silent cries

Years find a mind alone whose
Questions flow too deep for words.
Covered in a shroud of silence
Watching the world go by
Silent cries
77  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The issue of Ad-Blocking in our browsers. on: October 03, 2013, 04:13:35 PM
As others have said, it's the annoying ads that are the problem.

I run AdBlock Plus in my browsers. But I've disabled it for DC, and for some other sites. I don't object to ads as such, and indeed, when they're topical, they can even be useful.

But ads that interfere with my usage are the problem. Animated ads that demand your attention still are common. My wife uses Chinese pages all the time, and these frequently look like someone vomited on them; I've added dozens of custom rules to ABP for her.

At a minimum, if you don't allow the ads to detract from the experience of the web page you've worked so hard on, then I'm willing to go along with it. But when you let the ads try to invade my experience, then I don't want to allow that.
78  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Hating on new Google Maps on: September 30, 2013, 05:01:43 PM
Surely I'm not the only one that hates the new design of Google Maps. Let me count the ways that I hate it, and see if anybody's found good solutions to these problems with it:

  • Slow to load - it takes quite a while, even on a fast (e.g., 20Mbps) connection, to load up the page
  • Slow to interact - the page just doesn't feel snappy, at least in Firefox
  • No multi-stop direction - I can only find a way to get directions from point A to Point B; I can't see any way to go from A to B to C
  • Hideous links - to send a map takes a huge, opaque URL, but I can always use bit.ly or something to fix that
  • Did I mention that it seems really slow?

Any other problems Google should be addressing?
79  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The fun of installing custom router firmware (tomato, dd-wrt) - an introduction on: August 08, 2013, 02:51:20 PM
the most useful setting in Tomato that I think every router firmware should have is the one that lets you set it to reboot itself in the middle of the night every day

I've been running DD-WRT for about a year, and I've had the router up for months at a time with no ill effect.

Does anybody out there have a pointer to a Tomato versus DD-WRT comparison, to help decide which I should use?
80  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What is safer for data -- a hard disk or a blue ray disc? on: July 08, 2013, 01:37:52 PM
I've *read* lots of stuff about limited lifespans of DVD-R (and by extension, I guess) BD-R discs. But in practice, I occasionally read archives from 10 years ago without problems.

I prefer to do this via hard drive for really big amounts of data, because chopping up the archives, and figuring out what's on what disc, is a big pain. Actually, I just bought a cheap large drive for an additional backup of my photos and documents, when I move in a couple of months - I'm worried about what a hot moving truck will do to hard drives, so I'll carry this one with the real crucial stuff with me.

Continuing to argue with myself... setting aside the life of optical bits versus magnetic bits, there's also long-term questions of form factor. My bet is that you'll have a device that can read optical discs longer into the future than you'll have a device that accepts the kind of interface on your hard disk. I mean, CDs and DVDs have been around quite a long time, and readers are ubiquitous. But if you had your data on an IDE or (some kinds of) SCSI hard drive, and you'd have a much more difficult job trying to find a reader.

MWB1100 reference parchives (like PAR2) above, which is one way to add redundancy so that small failures are recoverable. Another approach, if you're using optical discs, is to use DVDisaster. This is essentially the same thing as PAR2, but it's hidden outside the file system for transparency, and operates against the entirety of the disc image.

81  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: June 27, 2013, 01:31:10 PM
I'm ashamed to say that Menendez, the guy trying to blackmail Ecuador, is my ass of a senator.

For the American people, this is also adding insult to injury. This punishment doesn't only hit the Ecuadorian people, it also hits Americans. Not only are we being spied on, but in the government's fight for its authority to spy, it's also now forbidding Americans from purchasing products that they want (or forcing us to pay higher prices).

Menendez either (a) doesn't understand economics well enough to understand that in trade both sides profit; or (b) really does view this as a war of the US government against the American people. Personally, I think it's likely that both are true.

I'll be writing him another letter, this time saying not only that isn't PRISM and other domestic spying unacceptable, but that the necessary remedy is, at a minimum, the repeal of USA PATRIOT and of the AUMF.
82  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty... on: June 26, 2013, 01:08:21 PM
All the foregoing conversation about Pres. Obama's changing tune, and attributing that to (implicitly) hidden powers from the military-industrial complex doesn't explain *all* of the changes of tune. Sure, you can get mileage on the secrecy/warring/detention front, but what of the others.

We were promised an end to the federal govt's prosecution of marijuana growers, where allowed by state law. But in fact, Pres. Obama has stepped up enforcement operations.

We were promised better transparency. For example, all bills would be posted to the Internet for 72 hours before the Pres. would sign anything. That got thrown out on day #1, literally. For another example, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than *any* administration *ever* in history.

Lobbyists weren't going to have any place near the White House, yet the Obama administration contains more than we'd ever seen in the past.

These are not issues that powerful elites in the area of our defense and security apparatus should have more than a peripheral opinion about. I don't buy that the President's hand was forced in these cases (particularly the ones where the promises were broken *immediately*). Therefore, I can't buy your explanation for the cause of the changing tune.
83  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 26, 2013, 12:51:32 PM
^^^ Wraith's post above is one to put into your scrapbook.
84  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 26, 2013, 09:50:51 AM
Two mind-numbing articles by Paul Craig Roberts:

I'm afraid you're crossing the line into partisan politics.

I agree with the overall conclusion you're presenting here. But, bad as the situation that they describe is, these articles do contain untruths and exaggerations (I won't enumerate them, because I don't want to dig deeper into the political quagmire). Presenting things in this manner undermines the effort in the long run: it gives the bad guys the opportunity to rebut trivial details while ignoring the big picture, and it robs us of (some of) the moral high ground.
85  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: June 25, 2013, 11:33:55 AM
If Snowden is caught and brought to trial, here's what I think the next move ought to be:

Snowden should claim that everything he said previously was a lie. And there's no law against telling lies to our enemies, right?

To make its case, the government would need to prove that the stuff Snowden said really was true, thus forcing the government to admit, at the very least, the truth of Snowden's claims.
86  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 21, 2013, 08:17:36 PM
Or we could do what Aerosmith was/is still singing about....'Eat the rich'.

Lightweights. Do it the right way, with Motörhead:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwtaIT-HR1c" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwtaIT-HR1c</a>
87  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 21, 2013, 08:50:56 AM
More worth reading:

http://antiprism.eu/
Quote
We are appalled to learn of the unprecedented surveillance of Internet users worldwide through PRISM and similar programmes. Blanket surveillance capabilities such as these, especially when implemented without citizens' scrutiny, seriously threaten the human rights to free speech and privacy and with them the foundations of our democracies.

...

Maybe Europe can help us out. If their business won't work with us because of objections to spying, maybe our business will put enough pressure on the government to dump the spying.
88  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 20, 2013, 06:42:14 PM
But here's the rub...when voting someone out...who steps in to fill the void?

That is the question, is it not?

I think a possible answer is: anybody else.

If we just keep throwing out any bum that won't follow the rules, I hope they'd learn that *we* are the masters, and get their acts together. After just a few cycles, things would get better.

I'm not sure that's true, but I think it's worth trying.
89  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 20, 2013, 01:55:45 PM
This isn't about party.  It's about the whole government.  And unless we can/are willing to throw them all away and start over

wraith, I don't know your party affiliation, and it's none of my business. But whatever it is (assuming you have one), are you willing to vote entirely against that party to ensure that the jerks who perpetrated these things are kicked out?

And will you be willing to vote in that other guy even if his platform is anti-[your favorite sacred cow]?

And will you be willing to do so one year, or even three years from now, when you've cooled down a little (and maybe even forgotten)?
90  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 20, 2013, 11:51:47 AM
I think it's reached the point where the only way to get the message across is to seriously consider impeachment proceedings and removal from office 

(trying to walk a thin line separating this from partisan politics...)

The only way that would work is if a really large portion of the electorate were willing to put their foot down and say "No. You've done something bad. You can't be in office anymore.".

But we've been through crises before. What always happens is that once they get into the voting booth, they actually decide that even though the guy from their party did a bad thing, they still must support him, because the alternative is to let the guy from the other party get into office. And there's no doubt that the other party is outright evil, and must not be allowed into office at all costs.

What's not actually admitted here is that this sort of logic in voting is giving your own party a license to just one unit of evil better than the other party.

If you're not willing to stand up for right versus wrong, then you are what's enabling the problem! Put partisanship behind you, and start voting for demonstrated ideals and against actually observed wrong-doing.
91  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 19, 2013, 01:26:38 PM
it's not a party thing.  Even if Romney had gotten elected, the same would be going on.

No doubt. I didn't mean to make it partisan, the GOP would no doubt have similar measures, although I think the way they'd try to frame the discussion would differ. But they'd sure as heck be doing it -- after all, it was GWB that got this round kicked off.

Like I said, this wasn't intended to be a GOP/DEM thing at all, but rather a "look how absurd the guy at the top is, trying to justify this nonsense with obvious double-talk". I would have said the same thing regardless of what party he came from.
92  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 19, 2013, 12:15:45 PM
Thought y'all might appreciate this.
[attach=#]
93  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 17, 2013, 01:16:26 PM
A good Q&A with Snowden

Quote
Edward Snowden Q and A: NSA whistleblower answers your questions

The whistleblower behind the biggest intelligence leak in NSA history answered your questions about the NSA surveillance revelations

http://www.guardian.co.uk...n-nsa-files-whistleblower
94  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ministry of Truth - Washington Post changes wording in its archive about PRISM on: June 17, 2013, 01:09:54 PM
Honestly, I'm not particularly concerned about this. I see post-hoc editing of news stories all the time, as the need for corrections comes to light. I'm a little put out that there's no notation on the page saying that a change occurred -- I see such notes frequently. But I don't get the idea that there's anything unusual going on due to what the article reveals.
95  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 15, 2013, 09:10:35 AM
Uncle Sam can't demand to know where you're spending your cash. And if he does you can always refuse to answer. But your credit card company and bank are very accommodating when Uncle comes calling and asking for information.

Not to disagree, but to show how this operates in the real world:

Quote
Nacchio alleged that the government stopped offering the company lucrative contracts after Qwest refused to cooperate with a National Security Agency surveillance program in February 2001.

That claim gains new relevance these days, amid leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden that allege widespread domestic surveillance by the NSA.

Back in 2006 Leslie Cauley of USA Today, citing multiple people with direct knowledge of the arrangement, reported that shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks America's three largest telecoms signed contracts to provide the NSA with detailed call records from hundreds of millions of people across the country.

Cauley noted that Qwest's refusal to participate "left the NSA with a hole in its database" since the company served local phone service to 14 million customers in 14 states.

From USA Today (emphasis ours):

Quote
The NSA, which needed Qwest's participation to completely cover the country, pushed back hard. ...

... the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government.

Nacchio's legal concerns about the NSA program at the time mirror those of civil liberty groups today.

http://www.businessinside...acchio-and-the-nsa-2013-6

My conclusion from this is that the government accomplishes this not only (or even primarily) through legislative means, but through financial coercion. Our government has grown so large that servicing it alone is major part of many industries. If you want to stay in business, you've got to go along with the government's wishes. And because this isn't a legislative problem, I don't see how legislation can be a cure for it. The only cure I can see is to neuter the beast: take away its strength. And the way to do that is to shrink it, so it's no longer the 800-lb gorilla that can push everyone around.
96  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 14, 2013, 08:41:55 PM
Does your definition of "private sector" also include those companies that are contracted by

No. The fact that they're acting as agents of the government makes them an extension of it. (Fake corporate shields shouldn't allow private companies to hide from view, nor should the government be allowed to hide that way either.)
97  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 14, 2013, 07:52:12 PM
Data mining, for fun, surveillance, and profit...

Two crucial differences are that
  • in the private sector it's pretty much impossible to put together a database as comprehensive as what the government can gather by force
  • if you talk about the data collection of the private sector, you're not in immediate danger of becoming a non-person
98  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Legitimate app breaks popular encryption - EFS, BitLocker, TrueCrypt ... on: June 13, 2013, 11:51:39 AM
that I keep thinking back to that famous XKCD strip that points out how most of what gets suggested to make passwords "more secure" does little other than make them difficult for humans to use and remember.

I'm following this approach now. To generate the pass phrases, see http://passphra.se/

In using this, I've been stunned at how many web sites (a) don't allow spaces in passwords, or (b) enforce silly maximum lengths on passwords.
99  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 13, 2013, 11:05:19 AM
I don't like it any more than you do. But I do understand why people are being more guarded in their speech.

Today, much of our speech is instantly accessible from anywhere on the planet. And the artifacts of the speech are permanent.

Back when we were kids, it was virtually impossible for somebody to say something that could be heard outside his immediate vicinity. Some national newspapers (NYTimes), or regional TV and radio, had broad audiences, but they weren't broadcasting our speech. Today, I have trivial access to a multitude of channels for disbursing my thoughts globally, and indeed, much of my communications are through these channels.

And if I slip up and say something bone-headed, the evidence is there for everyone to see. Back in the day, speech evaporated into the air. But today there's a permanent record.

So it used to be safe to assume that there would be no repercussions. But today, the way we communicate has created ample means for those in opposition to hear what we say, and it's easier for them to find as well.
100  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 13, 2013, 09:12:16 AM
Even in my own peer groups I've noticed a much greater reluctance to engage in certain wordplay and widespread self-censoring of certain words or phrases precisely because there's concern about something said being taken out of context.

Yes, but this isn't usually regarding subversive speech, but misunderstandings about "slurs". For example, a coworker recently told me that one of her first memories of me was when I was discussing something in a meeting and used the word "niggardly".

In airports, though, the need to self-censor seems to be quite extreme. When going through the security check in particular, I've been conditioned to believe that I'd better keep my mouth shut, as any possible misinterpretation of my words will be used against me.

However if there truly are no supporters of that side (which I highly suspect - But have been wrong before) of the discussion ... Then A. we have in a microcosmic fashion proved my theory, and B. afforded some breathing room for the threads safety here.

Unfortunately, I have some evidence refuting your theory. It appears that public opinion overall is much less clear than within this community.

Quote
More than half of Americans approve of a former intelligence contractor’s decision to leak classified details of sprawling government surveillance programs, according to the results of a new TIME poll.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said the leaker, Edward Snowden, 29, did a “good thing” in releasing information about the government programs, which collect phone, email, and Internet search records in an effort, officials say, to prevent terrorist attacks. Just 30 percent disagreed.

But an almost identical number of Americans —  53 percent —  still said he should be prosecuted for the leak, compared to 28% who said he should not. Americans aged 18 to 34 break from older generations in showing far more support for Snowden’s actions. Just 41 percent of that cohort say he should face charges, while 43 percent say he should not. Just 19 percent of that age group say the leak was a “bad thing.”

Overall, Americans are sharply divided over the government’s use of surveillance programs to prevent terrorist attacks, according to the results of the poll. Forty-eight percent of Americans approve of the surveillance programs, while 44 percent disapprove, a statistical tie given the poll’s four-point margin of error.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com...rosecution/#ixzz2W6bGw8xe
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