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Comment: Re:biocompatibility (Score 0, Troll) 47

by Sarten-X (#48183993) Attached to: 3-D Printed "Iron Man" Prosthetic Hands Now Available For Kids

So can you tell me what the long-term effects of wearing this $45 printed device are?

Is it weighted such that it pulls muscles awkwardly, causing pain after a few months of continuous use? Does the constant contact with skin cause any nerve damage? If worn during physical activity, does it create an additional risk of shattering or otherwise injuring the wearer or others?

Can you show test results indicating otherwise, even when the user may not have it attached properly? What resources are available so the user can be certain they're properly fitting the device?

Approved medical devices are expensive because they meet all applicable regulations, and have documentation to prove it. They've been reviewed and tested by experts in the field, who understand exactly what subtle problems to look for that are likely to cause harmful effects in the future. One of the primary principles of medicine is to do no harm. Can you assure patients that this 3D-printed model will be harmless?

Yes, you can buy a beat-up used car for $500. It will still accomplish the obvious goal of transporting you from point A to point B, but it's not going to be as good in the long run as a more expensive one.

Comment: Re:Yay :D (Score 2) 223

by Sarten-X (#48183487) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

Enabling the video camera or microphone won't actually help. You'd need both to determine if the user was actually using their phone, and the processing cost needed to perform that kind of recognition on a large scale would be so ridiculously expensive that it would undermine any additional benefit from the research.

Statistically, a user waiting 60 seconds before searching is uninteresting. It's an outlier, so the developers really don't care what happened. Far more useful would be an observation that 75% of users use the center enter key to submit queries, 20% use the mouse, and 5% use the enter key on the numeric keypad, combined with an observation that 80% of mouse users move the cursor around after a period of inactivity before clicking. To a design team, that means that the users' attention has shifted to typing, and they've forgotten where the mouse is. Perhaps the mouse should highlight in some way when it first moves...

Similarly, the actual content of searches doesn't matter from a UI perspective. If you're having trouble searching for something, it doesn't matter if you're looking for instructions to knit a sweater for a kitten, or the mixture used in the Oklahoma City bombing. On the other hand, the exact search text is useful to the folks developing the search engine, so they can put the most relevant results at the top of the list. Of course, the search engine team doesn't care about how long it takes the user to find their mouse cursor.

This leads to one of the most entertaining aspects of the whole privacy debate. Gathering data is easy, but proper anonymizing is hard. Practically speaking, the analysis of the gathered data is often easier than ensuring that data is anonymous. For example, there are certain combinations of ZIP code and state that identify as few as 30 people within the continental United States, so any data set that includes both ZIP code and state is probably not sufficiently anonymous. It's far easier to simply collect only what's needed for a particular team, and make sure nothing else can be connected to that record. One database records that somebody searched for "geriatric german grandmas spanking spanish men", and another knows that user submitted a search with a mouse, and perhaps another knows that the user is located in western Iowa. With no way to connect the records, the business need is fulfilled and the user's privacy is effectively safe... but the legal disclosure will still simply say that the company collects all those things, stirring up a nice panic.

Comment: Re:Storage is not same as GUI Design (Score 2) 325

by mlts (#48181129) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

For me, it isn't the Ethernet port, but the Kensington lock slot. It would be nice to be able to tie down a laptop when not in use, so it doesn't have to be in a rental car in a seedy area of town. Bonus points for a mechanism that deters opening if the lock slot is in use, similar to what the old IBM Thinkpads had.

Comment: Re:It's the OS, Stupid (Score 1) 244

by mlts (#48178577) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

Nail. Head. Hit. I don't want yet another Windows Tablet PC. I want a tablet, but with a docking connector where I can put the tablet in a stand (preferably a stand that has some type of locking mechanism so I can physically lock the tablet down [1].) Of course, a lightweight dock/port replicator would be nice as well, so one could use the laptop as a monitor and a BT keyboard/mouse, and the replicator would give access to USB ports and whatnot.

[1]: It is too bulky, but I'd say the PowerBook Duo dock was one of the absolute best designed docks out there. The laptop was closed and was inserted like a large VCR tape, and locking it was trivial (since it used an active motor to dock/undock.) Maybe something similar for a tablet.

Comment: Re:It's the OS, Stupid (Score 1) 244

by mlts (#48178543) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

When I saw the iPad, I was assuming it would be the top tier tool for music production, with the ability to handle a lot of virtual sliders. However, in a lot of cases, it only can act as an interface. Can it run ProTools with all the extensions, as well as physically handle the license dongle that some stuff has? Not really. iOS keeps the apps so far away from the device's facilities that a musical application as high end as ProTools or Logic Pro would not be usable.

For music production, a hybrid tablet would be great, especially with Thunderbolt as a way to attach hardware cards. I can see a mini studio that would configured around a device like this, where the device resides in a horizontal cradle and can function as a real time mixer, synth, DAW, and other realtime tasks.

Comment: Re: It's the OS, Stupid (Score 1) 244

by mlts (#48178427) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

Technically, it sits on a Mach/XNU kernel, with a BSD userland.

If you want a kernel that has an unbroken heritage, the only mainstream OS out there that would have that would be Solaris, which was formerly a BSD kernel, but switched to a AT&T SVR4 kernel. AIX also started out from AT&T code, but went with an odd mix of BSD and AT&T userland items.

All and all, kernel heritage is one thing, but consider the application first. Would someone use QNX for a large-scale database cluster? Not really. Would one use AIX for a realtime microcontroller that has to check a sail switch every 500 ms, and then turn a valve off to a propane line if the sail switch shows not enough air? Not really. There are a lot of UNIX variants (and there were far more in the past... even Dell had their own SVR4 UNIX), so choose the best tool for the job.

Comment: Re:how do SSD's compare to HD's? (Score 2) 106

by mlts (#48178359) Attached to: iFixit Tears Apart Apple's Shiny New Retina iMac

AFAIK, the jury is out on that fact. SSDs -tend- to be more predictive due to how they wear out. However, I've not seen any definite comparisons that state that a SSD will have a life longer than a HDD.

There is one limiting factor with SSDs: Once the electrons escape the gates, that's it. No recovery is possible unlike HDDs which the magnetic domains can be present indefinitely. So, as an archiving medium where data is stashed, it isn't very good, unless the media is constantly checked and the data moved periodically.

The a good thing to do with an iMac would be a decent SSD... as well as an external drive appliance with RAID 1, or a volume with software RAID that is similar.

Comment: Re:Uh, we already went through this (Score 1) 78

by Sarten-X (#48178163) Attached to: Robot SmackDowns Wants To Bring Robot Death Matches To an Arena Near You

Back when BattleBots was the thing, I considered building one... but you hit on all the major problems, which were only slightly less intractable back then.

To have any chance of making it past preliminary trials, the robot would have to be somewhat successful. That ruled out most of my creative designs. Even making a boring spinner still would have cost a hefty portion of my paycheck, and the required workspace wouldn't have fit comfortably in my apartment. Transporting the thing would have presented more logistics challenges, and even if I'd solved those, the time and hassle to build something just to be torn apart was a pretty steep expense.

Fighting robots is not an everyman's sport. It's a more modern fox hunt.

Comment: Re:"repeatable independently verifiable reproducti (Score 1) 339

by mlts (#48174139) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

How will it be leaked, is the question. Usable energy is money, pure and simple, and a disruption will get people with trillions of dollars at their disposal to hide the info, especially anyone in any energy industry. Someone who doesn't get it out far and wide will be 86-ed quickly, similar to the guy back in the Roman times who discovered aluminum, and was promptly killed for it, making a metal too good for mankind to have.

I'd probably say, it would be impossible, once the device gets past the first person. Someone comes up with a working free energy [1] source, as soon as they show it to someone, the inventor is pretty much dead.

[1]: Realistically working... like in the kilowatt to megawatt range. Some gewgaw powering a millivolt LED for a few seconds doesn't count.

Comment: Re:"repeatable independently verifiable reproducti (Score 1) 339

by mlts (#48174125) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

A patent will just be violated, and completely ignored. Keeping it secret is the way to go, similar to Heinlein's Shipstones. Place a tamper-resistant box at the client's location, set a meter to charge by the watt-hour, and be done with it. Someone tries breaking into the box, it completely obliterates anything inside showing how it works, or just does a big kaboom, Outer Limits, "Final Exam" style.

On a large scale, build it right on top of a natural gas well. Even though the well is completely empty, nobody will know that and power is power. Done right, one can just use an electric resistance heater to blow hot air out a smokestack so it looks like some combustion is happening. Another option is to use a decommissioned nuclear reactor, pump out some heat to make it look like something is going on, and nobody would even know or care that the electricity came from atoms squeezed together as opposed to blown apart.

Comment: Re:Heavier than air flight is impossible (Score 1) 339

by mlts (#48174103) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

I'm reminded of a contraption I've seen used to restore batteries to a usable state via short, high voltage sparks (basically a crude desulfation cycle.) It was called the Bedini SSG... essentially a spinning wheel of whatever size one wants, some magnets around it, and supposedly gave more energy than it took in.

It is just a crude way to try to spark crud off of the plates in a battery, or offering "free" energy? I lean towards the former, but it is an interesting experiment, and apparently does work to get batteries usable again.

Comment: Re:needs internet connection to work (Score 1) 124

by mlts (#48174079) Attached to: Facebook 'Safety Check' Lets Friends Know You're OK After a Major Disaster

Problem is that the Safety Check assumes FB knows where you are. I have that switched off, either via iOS's allow/deny access to the GPS, or on Android since permissions are all or nothing, XPrivacy feeds it a random place each time.

For example, One of three things will happen if I eat a twister while RV-ing:

1: I'm dead.
2: I'm injured (hopefully the SPOT device or phone works.)
3: I'm OK enough to start sending texts and FB posts out with pics of the mess.

If I'm dead, it won't be that long before it is found out. Injured, similar. The benefits of getting asked if I'm OK don't outweigh the fact of being being tracked via location 24/7 and having that info handed to whomever feels like buying it.

Comment: Re:20 million out of 50 million stolen? (Score 2) 59

by mlts (#48174053) Attached to: South Korean ID System To Be Rebuilt From Scratch After Massive Leaks

Going on a limb here, why not replace the national ID system with a bunch of decentralized CAs that sign certificates with a piece of data. For example, a user would have some cryptographic token. This could be a smartphone, a card, a USB keyfob, a SIM card, or something similar.

Then, the state would add a signed entry with the person's name and photo to the key as a certificate. The actual public key is not affected. It just gets a cert attached that can be deleted by the user just like a PGP/gpg cert.

With this in place, the state can add a series of certs if they are true:

User is a citizen.
User is 18+ years of age.
User is 21+ years of age.

This way, when a cardholder goes to a bar, the bar has a reader that shows a signed picture, perhaps the name of the user, and the signed fact that the user is of legal age. No other information needs to be shared. Not citizenship, not anything... just who the user is, and that they are legal (doesn't matter what their age is as long as it is above the drinking age). No cert, no booze.

Another example is a NGO use. A university signs a certificate that the key's owner has a diploma from them. When getting vetted for a job, this means that the employer knows that the applicant has a degree, but other info isn't given.

Done this way, here is what the criminals can attack:

1: The CA. If it is a distributed service, damage done can be minimized, as opposed to having everything in one basket.

2: The actual card or token. This is a solved problem. SIM card hacking on LTE networks is minimal, satellite piracy is nonexistant, and there isn't any such thing as pirated software on the XBox One. Even things like CAC/PIV cards are very rarely broken.

3: The user (yes, applies.) However, this can be dealt with through means in place.

4: The PKI. Using different algorithms (so a document is signed by multiple keys of RSA, ECC, and something quantum-factoring resistant, and hashed with multiple algorithms) will bring some robustness.

So, there can be a national ID system, but if it is based on a PGP-like web of trust that is decentralized, it can be quite secure, but yet extremely protecting of privacy.

Any given program, when running, is obsolete.