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Comment: It is not high enough to see 340 miles (Score 1) 165

by Alain Williams (#48620903) Attached to: Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

How far you can see depends on how high you are. At 10,000 feet the distance to the horizon is 122 miles, so 380 miles is over 2.5 the distance to the horizon. As for the word ''everything'' - what does that mean ? When they are that far away what they can see will be limited.

I think that someone is trying to bamboozle the senators who will be voting the funding for this.

Comment: Re:US Government to Microsoft (Score 1) 192

Exactly - I was wondering if this is all for show ... convince us Europeans that our data on servers in Dublin is safe from prying eyes in the USA. Once we stop worrying then it will be business as usual, but the heat will be off from the USA. Unfortunately: once suspicions have been raised, those who really care will not forget, so welcome to private pictures of cute pussies and of illicit love letters, but the stuff that they really wanted will, often, be located elsewhere.

Comment: They need to update their web site (Score 4, Interesting) 51

by Alain Williams (#48516967) Attached to: Samsung's Open Source Group Is Growing, Hiring Developers

I needed to replace my printer recently, I looked around for something that would work with CentOS 6 and the price of ink per page was reasonable. I was looking at a Samsung one - no mention of Linux; by the time that they replied to an email (10 days later) I had bought an HP multi function printer. So: they lost a sale because they could not be bothered to document what they had done.

The HP web site was excellent, each model of printer and what was supported by a wide variety of Linux distros. Unfortunately: I could not make it work, the support people said that it was a s/ware fault and then refused to do anything about it: https://answers.launchpad.net/hplip/+question/255970

I sent the HP printer back and then bought a Brother printer - no problem, worked once I downloaded the driver.

Comment: Re:What about long-term data integrity? (Score 0) 438

by Alain Williams (#48463051) Attached to: How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

No, you do not have to write large amounts of data to break the drive - you can break it by causing one block to fail - an important block. On a file system one of those heavy write blocks will be: the super block, the index to the free list, the transaction log; in a database it is going to be parts of the index. All these blocks will have writes many more times than most of the file/file-system. These blocks are also the really important ones. Damage one of these and you don't lose data, but you lose the ability to access it.

Comment: Re:Where do you fill up? (Score 1) 293

If one were to buy one of these, how would one proceed to fill up? Would it be a viable transportation option for a road trip?

Chickens and eggs; no_demand/not_viable to build hydrogen filling stations until there are enough cars -- people will not buy cars that might leave then stranded far from a hydrogen filling station. The (interim) solution has got to be dual fuel - a car that can run on either hydrogen or petrol. I don't see this as impossible, both burn a fluid to generate heat. If there are tax incentives on hydrogen (ie no/little fuel tax) then the number of these things will grow.

Petrol: note to those in the USA: I mean whatyou call 'gas'.

Comment: Analogies from elsewhere (Score 1) 231

by Alain Williams (#48353745) Attached to: Canadian Police Recommend Ending Anonymity On the Internet

Look at other parts of life, where do we require that someone cannot be anonymous (warning I am a Brit, things may differ where you are)

If you publish something, eg a newspaper, a handbill, a poster (on a wall), these should all have the name of the publisher on them. This seems reasonable, you are saying things that many people will hear/read. If it is libelous then the person being defamed should be able to seek correction or sue you.

If you sell something: the name of the seller should be known, so that if it is not as advertised the purchaser can seek redress.

If you read a newspaper, handbill, wall poster then it is reasonable that you do so anonymously.

If you buy your lunch or a new shirt, you do not need to say who you are. (Large purchases, maybe)

If you talk to a friend in the street or on the train then you do not need to tell those around you or fellow passengers who you are.

So: does this mean the loss of a/c on slashdot ? If you are libeled by an a/c what redress should you have (if any) ? These are the sorts of questions that should be debated. But the loss of privacy in everything - 'No', the loss of privacy in some situations 'Yes'.

Note that you not liking something that someone says is not the same thing as being libelous - if you really smell, get a bath don't sue me for saying so!

Comment: This is why religion survives ... (Score 2) 282

by Alain Williams (#48340695) Attached to: When We Don't Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

when presented with the lack of evidence of religious assertions or evidence that contradicts a belief: they will deny what is going on or branch out on some tangent.

Few people are really objective and will cling to all sorts of positions rather than change their minds.

Comment: Much cheaper than in the UK (Score 2, Interesting) 334

by Alain Williams (#48340065) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Where petrol costs ~£4.60 per US gallon =~ $7.30. About 60% of that price is tax, take away that tax you get about $3.

I do not like expensive petrol, but I do realise that we need to cut the amount of carbon based energy that we use - climate change might not affect me, but it will my kids.

Comment: Re: Ethics (Score 1) 321

Why the flying hell would anyone not put a strong password on something that's constantly streaming video of inside your house?

The product manual probably does tell the owner to set a password, but most people do not read the manual as most people do not read an EULA before clicking to say that they agree to it. The vendor might be able to make setting a password one of the set-up steps, but if they did they would greatly increase the number of support calls that they get when people forget them. Even if users set passwords: most of them would be trivial or the same one that they use for this on-line banking.

Comment: Not a simple carrier of bytes ? (Score 3, Interesting) 81

by Alain Williams (#48330115) Attached to: EFF Hints At Lawsuit Against Verizon For Its Stealth Cookies

If Verison is fiddling with the packets going back & forth does it not lose its 'data carrier' status and become one with the end user ? So: if Disney/... sues an end user for downloading it's lastest film: then Verison should be part of the lawsuit as well and liable to pay Disney for the ''theft of its IP''.

.Verison cannot have it both ways, it either copies bytes and the user is 100% responsible or it fiddles with them and so is aware of the content and is thus vicariously liable for any wrong doing.

Comment: What about the Linux drivers ? (Score 1) 111

I my old printer died (low usage so the ink jets clogged - Brother). I bought an HP Officejet since HP claimed that in worked with RedHat 6 (I run Centos 6 which is the same thing). The only support available have admitted a ''something wrong going on in the code'' and and go quiet when I asked when they would fix it a week ago.

In a couple of days time I will return it to where I bought it and buy something from a different manufacturer.

I hope that they will provide better drivers that do what they claim for this 3D printer.

An authority is a person who can tell you more about something than you really care to know.