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Comment: The important bit (Score 5, Informative) 338

by BillX (#47725897) Attached to: FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

This has nothing to do with "banning municipal broadband" today, and everything to do with not granting a power at the Fed level that would let a future FCC in 1-2 election cycles do exactly that.

FTFA:

"If the history of American politics teaches us anything, it is that one political party will not remain in power for perpetuity. At some point, to quote Sam Cooke, 'a change is gonna come,'" Berry said. "And that change could come a little more than two years from now. So those who are potential supporters of the current FCC interpreting Section 706 [of the Telecommunications Act] to give the Commission the authority to preempt state laws about municipal broadband should think long and hard about what a future FCC might do with that power."

Arguing that municipal broadband networks could discourage investment by private companies, Berry said, "Itâ(TM)s not hard, then, to imagine a future FCC concluding that taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband projects themselves are barriers to infrastructure investment. So if the current FCC were successful in preempting state and local laws under Section 706, what would stop a future FCC from using Section 706 to forbid states and localities from constructing any future broadband projects? Nothing that I can see."

Comment: Re:What kind of fish? (Score 1) 180

by BillX (#47700979) Attached to: Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives

They can be delicious if prepared correctly. The main problem with carp is the pin-bones all through the flesh - you can't just split them down the middle, peel out the skeleton and enjoy, so many folks give them a pass. They're also a fairly thick fish, and with those bones it's not really practical to fillet them, so cooking them through without overcooking some part can be tricky. Slow smoking works great - a slab of smoked fish is basically finger food anyway and usually pinched off in small pieces, so it makes the bones less of an issue.

Comment: Re:good intentions? (Score 1) 135

by BillX (#47683027) Attached to: The Man Responsible For Pop-Up Ads On Building a Better Web

Ads were not an original part of free web hosts' user agreements during much of the the Web 1.0 bubble (only the usual "we can change this agreement whenever we like" clause) - and in the area where a static 468x60 banner was the gold standard, few could have forseen the evilness that was the popup ad. (Disclaimer: I tried Geocities and Angelfire circa 1997. Angelfire at the time appeared to be a medical transcription company that happened to have some server space left over.)

Comment: Re:Quick rule of thumb (Score 1) 561

by BillX (#47668885) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

I know a couple radfems and social justice, professional victim types, and use a very similar test for the stuff they are always parroting: I call it the Black People test. Replace every occurrence of "men", "white straight males", etc. with "black people" and re-read it. If posting the revised copy under your name would get you fired from your day-job, it fails the test.

Comment: Twist on a very old idea? (Score 2) 89

by BillX (#47463981) Attached to: Harvesting Energy From Humidity

While the "water droplets spontaneously jumping off superhydrophobic surfaces" effect is interesting in itself, the mechanism of stripping charge from those droplets as they leave the apparatus sounds like a variation of the Kelvin water-drop energy harvester from 1867. In this case, rather than charge separation via the cross-connected cups, electric-double-layer charge-separation occurs between the droplet and the hydrophobic surface, causing the two to come away similarly unbalanced when the droplet jumps away.

Comment: Welcoming and inclusive (Score 1) 238

by BillX (#47463903) Attached to: Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+

"For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place..."

Neither here nor there, but this is the kind of language companies usually use just after being spanked for discriminatory-like* practices.

* "Can't have my name attached to a post about controversial topic X in the current political climate whilst keeping my day job -> excluded from the service -> more controversial ideological groups more excluded -> discrimination!" ...I wonder if someone's trying to scratch up a case to this effect...

Comment: Taggant vs. any other digital signature scheme (Score 1) 51

by BillX (#47373963) Attached to: IEEE Launches Anti-malware Services To Improve Security

While I'm admittedly not an expert in cryptography or trusted computing schemes in general, I don't see how this differs on a technical level from numerous other code-signing schemes with a central certificate authority (CA) (and its chain of delegations) blessing "good" code and revoking such blessings. Well known examples include Securicode / Windows Driver Signing, the anti-consumer bits of UEFI, etc. Can anyone shed some further light on how this is different?

As with other such systems, it assumes the existence of a benevolent authority that cannot be hacked, the cooperation of all packer vendors, the cooperation of all packer *users* (who are not malware authors)... and all packer users who *are* malware authors never hearing of it.

The only main difference I can see (and its potential downfall for its purpose) is that end-users don't pay for certificates. While that's great for end-users (driver signature enforcement in x64 Windows versions is pretty close to extortion IMO), this seems to break down for any packers that are not a licensed commercial product where an explicit, one-on-one packer-vendor to packer-user relationship exists. This excludes any freeware and open-source packers*, where any schmuck can just download and run it (and even modify it) without key exchanges or other communication with its author.

Conversely, if any old schmuck can obtain a fresh signature at any time ("it's free!"), what's to stop any old schmuck from doing exactly that? The stipulations that the system is free to both end-users and packer vendors, bankrolled entirely by A/V vendors out of the goodness of their hearts, suggests any background-checking that occurs as a condition of generating a signature can't be very exhaustive.

* While the IEEE materials refer to the proof-of-concept running on "a modified version of UPX", a well-known F/OSS packer, this almost certainly has to do with the ability to quickly bodge this feature in due to easy source code access, and very little to do with whether the actual author of UPX is complicit in or aware of the system, or whether this scenario can possibly work in the real-world for open-source packers with anonymous downloads.

Comment: Re:Probably not (Score 2, Interesting) 198

by BillX (#47347303) Attached to: Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

Still does. I just bought, and then returned, a Moto X after discovering that Motorola's "unlock your bootloader" page is a sham. Tried it on a brand-new, retail, unlocked device and got "Your device does not qualify for bootloader unlocking" . The better part of an hour going round in circles with their tech support and they are unable (or unwilling) to even state the criteria that would, theoretically, make a device "qualify".

(An aside: While most companies might claim unlocking or rooting a device "could" void the warranty, it's usually with a wink and a nudge as long as the device is factory-restored before RMA'ing or at least not obviously bricked. A couple have software tamper flags that can likewise be reset. Motorola, on the other hand, uses the device serial # to generate and return - by email - a bootloader unlock code, and immediately blacklists the device for warranty service the moment they do so, whether you actually use the code or not.)

Comment: Re:Spy glasses? (Score 2) 58

by BillX (#47330143) Attached to: The Military Is About To Get New Augmented Reality Spy Glasses

Heh. For our military this seems very counterintuitive. AFAICT the push in recent years has been toward anything that reduces unnecessary cognitive loading in heated situations, and frees up their tactical senses (eyes & ears) generally. At my day-job a recent project was a tactile display vest specifically to replace voice and hand-arm signaling, keeping soldiers' eyes and ears free for other matters. Basically a dense array of vibrotactile drivers (like what makes your phone buzz) that can display messages on the skin, which is basically "unused bandwidth" thus far. Blocking vision with AR, and in a very obvious way, seems counter to this trend.

Comment: Re:Autoimmune disorder... (Score 1) 350

by BillX (#46995435) Attached to: Canadian Teen Arrested For Calling In 30+ Swattings, Bomb Threats

Another popular option is to route prank calls through a Deaf relay service (TTY). Whatever you type, the operator HAS to repeat it to the called party. This gets around voice identification - even more relevant if the callee is someone who knows you or you pull this shit regularly.

A friend discovered a new employee at his work was doing this, and got his cell # somehow. We had lots of fun with him.

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