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Comment My last 3 android phones have had this feature (Score 0) 68

Taking and transcribing voicemail? My last 3 phones, all Android and going back at least four years, have had this feature. Is Apple really that far behind, that this feature comes out as News, and what's more, implies that they invented it?

Christ, does anyone editing this site actually keep up with technology?

Comment All your data r belong to us! (Score 3, Informative) 263

As another noted on the Red Site:

"We'll know everything* about you and we'll be snitching (including your BitLocker key) whenever and/or to anyone we think is in our interest to. Starting Aug 15"[1]

In particular, this is more than a little disturbing.

"But Microsoftâ(TM)s updated privacy policy is not only bad news for privacy. Your free speech rights can also be violated on an ad hoc basis as the company warns:

In particular, âoeWe will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary toâ, for example, âoeprotect their customersâ or âoeenforce the terms governing
the use of the servicesâ."

As with all things Microsoft, use at your own risk. Only now, the risks to you personally are higher than ever before.


Comment For all x, the military wastes millions on x. (Score 1) 154

The military has a huge budget that has to feed and entire ecosystem of contractors and subcontractors. Of course such a system is wasteful, and the scale of military spending is such that it's almost certainly true that the military wastes millions on peanut butter, on underpants, on shampoo, on frying pans and on snake bite kits. Name all the items in your junk drawer, and I bet that the military wastes millions on each of those kinds of things. Wasting millions on satellite capacity doesn't even sound that stupid in comparison. The real shocker would be to find something on which the military actually gets a good deal.

Comment Re:don't look now (Score 1) 35

I take it the point is to use the materials in space to first build something. Only once it's built will people actually come. The reason why our space programs are stuck in first gear is that we don't know how to build things in space from materials that are there. This will change soon, because many of the lessons of automated production techniques on Earth can be applied (with modifications) in space. The problem will be one of sourcing the raw materials from which to manufacture something useful. So that demand is perfectly predictable, and asteroid mining companies are now taking the baby steps they need to take to eventually satisfy that demand.

If you're wondering about what's worth making in space, there are many great ideas. Here is just one: A truly gigantic telescope mirror. It might actually be easy to do, because the factors that make mirror production on Earth so hard are not a problem in space. There is no need to worry about sagging, stress and all these other gravity-related issues. Space-built telescopes could get pretty darn big, The question is: what will they be made of? And the most plausible answer is: materials from asteroids. Like I said, that's just one example.

Comment Re:A more complete summary of the situation (Score 2) 581

The CEO states that "Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen."

Wow! Steve's gonna want some Tylenol after all the cognitive dissonance!

Yup! Double-plus ungood.

Comment Small difference between 28 hours and many weeks (Score 1) 20

If the current generation of solar powered drone stays up for more than a day, the next generation might stay up for weeks. Basically, what this shows is that we're pretty close to the threshhold where incoming photovoltaic energy over 24 hours matches the energy needs to keep the thing flying. Just a bit more optimization could mean that the thing takes in more energy than it uses, and then it can basically fly until something wears out. All kinds of interesting things then become possible.

Comment Re:absolute BS (Score 1) 242

I actually think this is great. After all, the patent expires in what, 25 years? I doubt a single engine will be built in that time, but forever afterwards, this idea in the public domain. Consider the alternative, if someone waited to patent this thing until applications were actually ready. Then the patent would prevent competitors from entering the market. But because Boeing hasn't waited, it has basically ensured that nobody will use patent law to put the brakes on innovation when we get around to actually making serious spaceships - which is what this propulsion system is obviously for.

Comment How much infrastructure needs to be there first? (Score 1) 99

Some people think that we should send someone to Mars as soon as possible, even if they can't do much before they return home. Simply leaving a human bootprint would be worth it. Others think that unmanned missions should first build up enough Martian infrastructure to support human "colonists" with a reasonable level of comfort. Only then should people be sent. Where would you put yourself on this continuum? What sort of activities should Martian astronauts be able to do before you would think the expensive trip there was worth it?

Comment Couldn't have happened to a nicer group of people (Score 5, Insightful) 95

Ah, schadenfreude. Seeing these jerks die by the sword they have wielded against the rest of us is just too satisfying.

I particularly like how it's come out that they were backdooring (and presumably screwing, or at least reserving the opportunity to screw) their own ethically-challenged customer base.

Really, it's not nice to take such delight in the downfall of others, but it just feels so damn good.

Comment Go back to school and learn to read (Score 2) 187

I'm unique - there are a dozen OS that I don't like. I don't complain about them, I just don't use them. You're like the majority of people. Really.

You are unique. Uniquely stupid and unable to pass basic reading comprehension.

The GP felt dismayed that Linus has drunk the systemd coolaid, and wants to switch to FreeBSD. I pointed out that not everyone has been taken in by the systemd nonsense, and that their are distros available that remain untainted, that if he wants to switch to *BSD I've found Dragonfly to be quite nice, but that there are a number of Linux choices he has available if he doesn't want to switch.

But go ahead and label that whining, since I don't love the excrement you find so appealing. And feel free to demand I spend my free time writing a competing pile of excrement for having the audacity to prefer existing init systems, such as those used by the *BSDs, and OpenRC, and to mischaracterize my contentment with OpenRC and other superior-to-systemd init systems as "doing nothing."

Feel free to say whatever nonsense you like. It reveals far more about yourself and other systemd astroturfers on this site than it does those of us who prefer the alternatives. And yes, it does reveal you as a bully as well as an idiot.

Feed Techdirt: Amnesty International Told That GCHQ Spied On Its Communications->

Amnesty International has been heavily engaged in fights against mass surveillance, recognizing that many of the people it communicates with need an expectation of privacy in their communications with the group. Last year, Ed Snowden revealed that the NSA specifically spied on Amnesty International and other human rights organizations. And, while Amnesty International was unable to gain standing by the US Supreme Court, since it couldn't prove that the NSA had spied on its communications, the story appears to be somewhat different over in the UK.

Last year a legal challenge was filed in the UK via the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) concerning Amnesty International. And now, the group has been informed that, yes, it was spied on by GCHQ in the UK.

In a shocking revelation, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) today notified Amnesty International that UK government agencies had spied on the organization by intercepting, accessing and storing its communications.

In an email sent today, the Tribunal informed Amnesty International its 22 June ruling had mistakenly identified one of two NGOs which it found had been subjected to unlawful surveillance by the UK government. Today’s communication makes clear that it was actually Amnesty International Ltd, and not the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) that was spied on in addition to the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa.
As you may recall, a little over a week ago, the IPT had ruled that the GCHQ had erred in holding onto emails too long -- but had named that Egyptian organization as the one whose emails were held. However, that's now been corrected to Amnesty International.

The actual email sent by the IPT basically says that GCHQ told them that the IPT made a mistake. What you won't see anywhere is an apology from GCHQ. Amnesty is rightfully incensed about the whole thing:

“How can we be expected to carry out our crucial work around the world if human rights defenders and victims of abuses can now credibly believe their confidential correspondence with us is likely to end up in the hands of governments?

“The revelation that the UK government has been spying on Amnesty International highlights the gross inadequacies in the UK’s surveillance legislation. If they hadn’t stored our communications for longer than they were allowed to by internal guidelines, we would never even have known. What’s worse, this would have been considered perfectly lawful.”
Both issues raised here are significant. The only reason Amnesty now knows about this is because GCHQ held onto the emails too long. If it had done its usual purge, then the IPT likely would never have revealed that, and Amnesty's communications would have continued to go on being compromised without anyone knowing.

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