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Comment: Re:DoJ zone of lawlessness (Score 4, Interesting) 431

by Ancil (#48926369) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Osama bin Laden managed to hide in plain sight for 6 years by doing something similar.

The basic approach of senior Al Qaeda figures was to use laptops but never connect them to the internet. Everything was based on thumb drives, which were moved around by trusted couriers. You couldn't plant a mole in there, because they basically didn't trust anyone they hadn't known for several generations.

He was eventually tracked down because his most trusted courier was on the phone with a friend being pestered about what he was doing, and the CIA happened to be listening.

Comment: Re:Baumgartner took too much credit (Score 4, Insightful) 175

by Ancil (#48225045) Attached to: Computer Scientist Parachutes From 135,908 Feet, Breaking Record

I like this new one, seems to have been done for the right reasons.

What exactly are "the right reasons"?

I'm being serious. Is there some sort of "right" or "noble" reason to spend all this money jumping from slightly higher than the last guy who spent a lot of money?

Am I missing something here? Off the top of my head, the only reasons which come to mind are "extreme wealth" and "boredom".

Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 322

by Ancil (#47624641) Attached to: With Chinese Investment, Nicaraguan Passage Could Dwarf Panama Canal

Shipping tonnage and water displacement are two very different things. Tonnage refers to cargo, and because it determines a lot of fees and taxes, the industry has been "tinkering" with it for centuries:

Tonnage (ships)

For a good explanation of the Panama's post-expansion capacity, see:

The New Panamax

Comment: Free Money (Score 1) 482

by Ancil (#46893343) Attached to: Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?

The answer's pretty simple: Lots of people go more than 24 billing cycles before they upgrade their phone.

Some people just forget. Some people are waiting for a particular phone. Some people don't even realize they CAN get a new phone.

I worked with a guy who was paying Verizon a standard, subsidized phone rate. He was using a 4 or 5 year old flip phone. No kidding. I literally had to bowbeat this man into getting a new phone.

This is free money for the carriers. Heck, the last time I had a subsidized phone I kept it for 27 months. I was waiting for the Nexus 4 to come out, and it just wasn't worth the hassle of switching carriers or SIM chips to avoid 3 months of "overpay".

Comment: Re:What are the questions? (Score 2) 313

by Ancil (#46119571) Attached to: Half of US Nuclear Missile Wing Implicated In Cheating

An attitude like yours ensures that we get shit people in the military, not people who care to do a good job.

I'd say it's the military's "up or out" policies which keep lousy workers in the military.

Forcing 10 or 15 good, competent E4s to muster out because there were only 5 promotion slots available this year is insane. Most organizations will do almost anything to avoid high turnover in their employees.

Comment: Where are the ChromeBoxes? (Score 5, Interesting) 139

by Ancil (#44833431) Attached to: Here Come the Chromebooks, As Google and Intel Cozy-Up On Haswell

The Chromebooks look nice for certain situations, and I've been tempted to pick one up.

But why haven't there been any good ChromeBoxes?? I have unused monitors and keyboards sitting around, and there's plenty of cases which need a larger screen and a real keyboard.

If you can sell a full notebook with LCD, keyboard, and battery for $199, where is the $49 Chromebox?

Samsung's efforts have been a complete joke. Over $300? Really? Dell sells "real" computers for less. With Windows, even.

Supposedly the new Chromebox from ASUS is based on Intel's "Next Unit of Computing". That thing starts at about $200 with no RAM.

If Roku can sell an ARM box capable of decompressing Full HD streams for $49, why can't Google get one to run ChromeOS?

Comment: Why Datacenters? (Score 1) 109

by Ancil (#44181117) Attached to: Underground 'Wind Mines' Could Keep Datacenters Powered
How about an alternate headline:

Underground 'Wind Mines' Could Keep Electrical Grid Powered

Or is this electricity somehow only usable by data centers? In the same vein, couldn't you also store excess production from nuclear plants or coal generation this way?

Is electricity no longer fungible?

Comment: Re:Samsung image tarnished with Android (Score 1) 107

by Ancil (#43242787) Attached to: Poking Holes In Samsung's Android Security

Never ever ever buy a smart TV.

TVs should be beautiful and dumb as dirt. They should be like a computer monitor: turn on when they sense a video signal. That's all the smarts they need.

Seriously, why would anyone ever want to build things like Netflix streaming and who-knows-what-else into a TV? What happens next year when you want to switch to Amazon's service, or Google's, or Apple's, or...? And your TV doesn't support it? What, buy a new TV??

You think a TV manufacturer is going to be Johnny On The Spot updating and patching last year's $3,000 "smart" TV which they don't even sell anymore? What's in it for them, exactly?

What if their search UI is worthless or they decide half of the guide screen should be targeted ads? What will you do about it? Buy à whole new TV?

Listen, friend. Buy a $99 blu-ray that streams from your provider of choice. Or better yet, a used Xbox 360. Buy a 3rd gen Roku box. Here's the good part: in 2014, if it doesn't meet your needs anymore, you're out a hundred bucks. No need to buy a new TV.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"