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Comment: Re:FDE on Android doesn't work as of yet (Score 2) 84

by AmiMoJo (#49170615) Attached to: Google Backs Off Default Encryption on New Android Lollilop Devices

It's starting to be built into some mobile flash controllers too. It's already pretty standard on SSDs for computers. On most you can't choose the key yourself, only make the SSD generate a new one with a disk erase command. Some drives support OPAL v2 (called eDRIVE by Microsoft) that lets you use your own key, and is supported by Bitlocker. In benchmarks there is only a 1-2% loss of performance from enabling it.

Comment: Re:Armegeddon for indigenous marine life. (Score 0) 168

by AmiMoJo (#49170607) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

It's the lesser of two evils. Nuclear kills a lot of wildlife, especially in Europe where we have seen some serious dumping of hot water into rivers and lakes during heat waves. They kill a lot of birds too. Coal is obviously pretty bad. Gas is dangerous to extract and kills plenty of birds. Fracking it is even worse.

No system is going to be perfect, but given that we need electricity and every way of generating it has some environmental cost it makes sense to choose one of the least damaging options if possible.

Comment: Re:Lower risk (Score 1) 168

by AmiMoJo (#49170595) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

If, on the other hand, you measure risk as the likelihood of a cataclysmic failure, then nuclear is pretty damn safe.

Not really. Over the years we have had six civilian electricity generating reactors go into meltdown, which is about 1.3% of the total ever built. A 1.3% failure rate is pretty high, especially considering that the cost of such a catastrophic failure is extremely high. Of course that's just counting meltdowns, if you include all the other things that can lead to dangerous releases of contaminated material or make the reactor inoperable the failure rate shoots up.

I'm sure you would argue that newer ones are safer, but there are still a lot of Fukushima era plants in operation. Even the newer ones don't address some of the issues we now know of, and are having to be revised. I've heard some people argue that we really have got all the possible failure modes covered now, but that's what they said last time.

Comment: Re:Thought it was already the norm abroad (Score 1) 65

by AmiMoJo (#49170511) Attached to: Will you be using a mobile payment system?

All the competing systems became compatible years ago. For example Japan Rail had Suica, but the Metro had their own system (was it Edy? I forget). After a short time you could use either card on both, and on the buses and in convenience stores.

The "stored value" model where you load the card up with money before hand is nice, the only down side being that on some of the cards you can only use cash. Suica is like that, unless you also have their credit card. The other down side is that if you lose the card you lose the money on it (the card isn't tied to you, you can buy one in cash and there is no registration etc. so no way to recover funds from a lost one), and you can have up to 20,000 yen on most of them.

Comment: Re:Why is the hardware so complex/expensive? (Score 1) 143

They started out with an Arduino. Any project that starts with an Arduino and then claims it will easily transition to a custom design has a high probability of failing. Anyone who knows how to do that wouldn't be using an Arduino to begin with.

Comment: Re:Storage (Score 2) 168

by AmiMoJo (#49167275) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

The grid is bigger than one coal plant. They want to build a few of these, and they can control the timing somewhat by delaying the release of water for a few hours.

Demand and supply already varies by more than these lagoons will provide over the course of a few hours. Somehow the grid copes with it. It's a solved problem.

Comment: Re:Obligatory (Score 1) 93

by AmiMoJo (#49163709) Attached to: Ikea Unveils Furniture That Charges Your Smartphone Wirelessly

In fact one of the competitors has already agreed to become Qi compatible, so basically given up and started concentrating on just delivering turn-key solutions rather than its own standard that no-one uses.

Qi is the only one anyone uses or cares about. The others had the dubious "advantage" of requiring a two-way link between the charger and device, exchanging serial numbers and other data. The public justification was to allow charging money for the service, but it was marketed to business as a way to track devices (and thus people) using your "free" chargers.

Qi has already won, fortunately.

Comment: Re:Not actually batteryless (Score 1) 109

by AmiMoJo (#49163677) Attached to: Ultra-Low Power Radio Transceiver Enables Truly Wireless Earbuds

I've wondered about the legality of crystal radios in the past. People who live near transmitters or overhead power lines have tried to harvest some of that power in the past, and been threatened with various forms of legal redress. Theft, interference, all sorts of stuff.

On the other hand crystal radios are apparently fine. Installing a big metal fence that blocks your neighbour's mobile phone and FM radio reception is fine (as long as it doesn't spoil the view). The neighbours also knew when I was playing with my model train set because that used to interfere with their TV reception.

I could get an ordinary set-top TV antenna, connect a simple energy harvesting circuit (resistor and some Dickinson doublers to produce a useful voltage) and run a small LCD clock from it easily enough. Am I stealing their radiated energy, or is it a really great way to power remote sensor nodes?

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 229

by AmiMoJo (#49163635) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

Just install an FTP server. I never bother plugging my phone in any more (wireless charging). When I want to copy some files I just open the FTP server app up and send them over wifi. Full access to the device's filesystem, no root required.

Having said that, when I did use a cable in the past I could access all files on the SD card over MTP, so maybe your issue was due to a vendor specific implementation. I know that Samsung's was a bit different to the stock Android one.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 229

by AmiMoJo (#49163617) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

Back in the day when it was a choice between 8GB and 16GB a lot of shops were selling "16GB" devices that were actually 8GB on-board and an 8GB SD card. Most consumers didn't care, they never used the SD card slot anyway or even realized it was there, and they were getting a "16GB" device for much less than the official retail price due to memory upgrade rip-off pricing.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 229

by AmiMoJo (#49163609) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

It likely means it feels more robust and well made. I have an S5, and while it is a good phone, the plastic cover makes it feel a bit cheaper and flimsy.

Ironically the exact opposite is true. If the case is made of good quality plastic it will be more resistance to scratching and damage than metal/glass, and much more resistant to permanent bending or cracking when flexed. As the iPhone 6 demonstrated, metal is not a good material for things that get stressed for long periods of time in people's pockets. Oh, and don't forget that making the metal case part of the antenna probably isn't a good idea either.

Metal is little more than decorative anyway most of the time. It adds little to the rigidity of the phone and can't be used too extensively because it will interfere with the various radios inside the device, Glass looks nice for about five seconds before it gets covered in fingerprints and cracks far too easily. Plastic is flexible enough to withstand being dropped.

High quality, built to last smartphones are made out of good quality plastic. Expensive crap marketed as a fashion accessory is made out metal and glass. Sadly it looks like Samsung has decided to join Apple in making overpriced, weak phones that sell for 2-3x the price of everyone else's.

"Nature is very un-American. Nature never hurries." -- William George Jordan