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Comment: Slashdot LOVES cell phone tracking (Score 1) 150

by evilviper (#48215365) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

I don't know what it is, but slashdot editors just LOVE the hell out of cell phone tracking. I mean, there has probably been a story or two on the subject before now:

Everyone go out and find all the cell phone tracking stories you can, and submit every one to /. They love it when you do that!

Comment: Re:It's all about the data prouction rate (Score 1) 124

by dissy (#48215267) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

An awful lot of work is still done in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. No need to embed a 5 GB video just because you have the space.

*noob voice enable*

Well no, I take a screenshot of the video, which is then embedded unscalable in an excel file, which I paste into a word document, which I then send in a mime encoded email to the entire company directory.
I mean, this is the internet after all, it's not like some form of file transfer protocol exists or anything!

Comment: Re:backup for 911 (Score 1) 115

by evilviper (#48215259) Attached to: Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

What are the odds your family isn't all on a single cellular carrier, making you unable to take advantage of such redundancy?

Verizon and Sprint are compatible, while AT&T and T-Mobile are compatible. And with them all switching to LTE, it's likely they will all be mutually compatible in a few more years, when manufacturers start selling multi-band LTE phones.

Most every post-paid cellular plan includes voice roaming. Even if you're not paying for roaming normally, when you dial 911, all restrictions are dropped, and your cell will connect to any available tower from any provider that it can.

Comment: Re:I delete things when I'm done using them (Score 2) 124

by dissy (#48215225) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

I delete things when I'm done using them

1) Many of my things I either desire to use for many years to come (a video download I paid for), or am required to keep to cover my ass (taxes, logs, most data at work due to policies, etc)

2a) The cost of more storage space is almost always less than the cost of the time to clean up files that could be deleted. In the context of work this does depend heavily on exactly who made the data and their rate of pay / work load - but I've noted the higher up execs and managers tend to be the worst hoarders as well as of course the highest rates of pay. Most of the lower techs on the shop floor don't even have access above read-only to the network storage here, though that is far from universal everywhere.

2b) Yes there are other people whos time is not as expensive, but no one other than the datas owner/creator can know 100% what needs to stay vs what can go (and sometimes even the owner/creator chooses wrong.)

3) After deleting/archiving data, the chances of you needing it in the future are typically higher to much higher than the chances you are really done with it.

4) For the small number of times you really are done with it (like, totally and fur sure), the amount of data that gets deleted is generally such a small percentage of the whole that, while still a good thing to do, doesn't really help much with the problem at hand - freeing up a lot of space for future needs.

I never run out of disk space.

You either have too much free storage space, not enough data, or possibly both :P

Comment: Re:Legal expectation of objective privacy (Score 1) 150

Of course there can be no reasonable expectation that if you step outside your home then someone walking past won't see you, any more than they have a reasonable expectation that you would not see them.

However, technology lets us do a lot more than we naturally can, sometimes in very asymmetric ways, and potentially with very different implications. Saying we can't/shouldn't consider how much we want to regulate behaviour using those technologies is a bit like saying someone could climb up a ladder and peer through a small gap in the curtains at your daughter's bedroom window but we shouldn't do anything about it in law and your kid has no reasonable expectation of privacy when she gets changed at night. I think most reasonable people would disagree with that premise and think a law saying peeping Toms are unwelcome was appropriate.

So this is a chicken and egg situation. As a matter of fact, the law today may not provide for as much privacy protection as people like me would like it to, but saying that the law shouldn't provide those protections because today it doesn't so you have no reasonable expectation of protection is a circular argument.

Comment: Re:Yeah but ... (Score 1) 116

by radtea (#48214881) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

This is a general problem with the way people infer origin dates from sparsely sampled distributions:

The earliest anatomically modern human fossils date from about 195,000 years ago, and people often say on this basis that anatomically modern humans appeared about 200,000 years ago, which is statistically illiterate at best.

Maybe people in the field know better, but I've seen an awful lot of claims like this and even in the semi-professional literature there seems to be a strong tendency to assume origin dates based on "date of earliest discovery plus a bit", which is just the wrong way to do it.

Comment: Re:No chance (Score 0) 456

by ultranova (#48214541) Attached to: The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll

queue the tumblrina's with "just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's not real"

Which is false, that's exactly what it means. A random internet meanie saying something that bothers you is kind of like letting a barking dog hurt your feelings. =/

A barking dog might not hurt anyone's feelings, but one that's growling and running at you is a legitimate cause to assume you are in danger and react accordingly. Lots of trolls aren't saying "your mom's fat", they're saying "I'm coming to kill you in your home at Hummingbird Line 1".

Another problem with your analogy is that a dog barking at you doesn't affect how any dogs you might meet in the future interact with you. On the other hand, humans take their cues about how to behave and even how to think from their environment. A random internet meanie saying something that bothers me makes the ideas they expressed seem more acceptable to anyone who hears him, thus shifting the culture into a direction I don't like. That's how propaganda (and brainwashing) works: if people hear something repeated often enough, they start accepting it as truth, or at the very least accept it as something the group believes and thus they must at least pretend to least they get excluded, no matter how absurd it might be.

So, whether the Internet is a magical wonderland outside of reality or not, and whether people using it have or should have the emotional sensitivity of rocks and the willingness to be virtual punching bags, it doesn't matter, since the crap you take on others there will stink up reality too. And that means its going to stop, the only question being whether it stops because people stop acting like crazy assholes, or because all the crazy assholes are busy making Bubba the Prison Rapist an insanely happy man.

Comment: Re:Put away the tinfoil hat and turn your radio of (Score 1) 150

Worrying about this does seem a bit silly, given that it's trivially avoided by turning off WiFi and that by flying you're already participating in one of the most surveilled activities anywhere on the planet. I mean, this is a field where for some reason a lot of people just accept behaviour like strip searches (of the virtual and/or physical variety) and/or pat downs that would get the patter classified as a sex offender under normal conditions and/or pretty much arbitrary confiscation and examination of any property they're carrying with them, not to mention all the pre-travel details you have to provide for checking against who-knows-what databases.

However, the argument that when you're out in public you don't deserve any privacy needs to die. The law in most places may not have kept up with technology and its implications, but this argument is about as sensible as "if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear".

Arguing that the historical privacy situation (if you're out in public, someone you walk past can see you) is like today's privacy situation (you're monitored by numerous cameras and sensors, using unknown automated recognition technologies, connected to unknown databases for future reference by unknown parties for unknown purposes) is a bit like arguing that the historical situation with carrying weapons (if the other guy has a sword in a dodgy area, letting you carry one yourself as well is reasonable) is like today's (where if you replace "sword" with "dirty bomb" then the results are on a rather different scale when someone abuses the system).

Comment: Re:Wake up America ... (Score 3, Insightful) 76

Wealth is created by the production of goods and services, not by "keeping people busy". So if we can produce more, with less labor, that is a good thing.

It's good for those who get to fire workers and pocket their wages as profit, yes. It's bad for those workers who now have to make do with miserly unemployment benefits, and demonized for it by both their former employers and peers. It's bad for the remaining employees, who get worse pay and more crap due to fiercer competition for the remaining available jobs. And it's bad for everyone once there's enough people getting the short end of the stick that they'll just grab it and beat their masters to death with it.

Then you fix the imbalance.

You can't, because the culture won't allow that. Any attempt to either narrow the income gap or make it possible for the unemployed to live an independent middle-class life will be instantly declared "socialist", and rightly so. Automation is fundamentally incompatible with capitalism, or at least a version of capitalism where people are expected to "earn" their income by working. Just look at how much hate "welfare queens" get, despite that being the only alternative to busywork that doesn't result in social collapse.

Basically, a post-industrial society will either unconditionally pay its citizens their upkeep with no strings attached, be a more or less horrible dystopia where that upkeep comes with submitting to arbitrary rules like taking drug tests or doing pointless busywork, or collapse in a violent uprising. And I think we all know which one Americans will never, ever, under any circumstances allow their neighbours, even if that means denying it to themselves.

It's a pity, really. Once upon the time American Dream was a plot of land, since that's what it took to be independent. Then it became a pot of gold, because again that's what it takes to be free from having to bow to your local Count von Bastardessen to get food. And now, with everything getting automated, everyone could have their virtual plot of land - their share of the automated manufacturing resources, granted in the form of citizen pay - but that's not going to happen. But perhaps the developing countries will take note, and avoid the collapse ahead of us.

Comment: Re:Abu Dubai???? (Score 3, Insightful) 76

And we all know neither Abu Dhabi nor Dubai are in Canada. I don't know why it was necessary to point that out.

He didn't say they aren't in Canada, he said they aren't Canada. Basically, he thinks Canada is unlikely to sabotage or spy on the US but someone in Middle-East might get ideas. Which is a valid concern and deserves consideration.

Comment: Re:Tesla wasn't the target, it was China (Score 1) 239

by ultranova (#48213135) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

But we're not there yet, not even close really. Maybe close in time until it's possible, but not close in capability now.

Sure it's possible, it just requires a larger percentage of vehicle weight to be made of batteries. But it's pointless to lug these extra batteries around day-to-day. So, put them into a battery trailer. You could make these rentable and swap them along the way, or perhaps use the batteries on the trailer first, leave it to charge as you continue with just the car, and pick it up on your way back.

You could also extend the idea to freight carriers, since trailers spend considerable time sitting at the depot waiting for a pickup. Why not use that time to fill onboard batteries? True, you lose some weight capacity, but you save on fuel, many cargoes are limited by size rather than weight, and logistics warehouses tend to be large, flat-rooted structures - ideal for solar panels, which become cost-effective when combined with large storage capacity.

Comment: Re:The good news (Score 1) 643

by plover (#48213045) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Look at how counterfeiting laws work for money. If you pay with a $100 bill in a smokey bar at night and get a $20 counterfeit bill in change, and don't realize it until the next day, you're out the $20. If you try to spend it, you're actually committing a felony - it doesn't matter if you printed the phony bill yourself, or if you just accepted it as change and are passing it forward. It also doesn't matter if you realize it's counterfeit or not, although the Secret Service agents may agree to give you a pass the first time you try to spend phony money if you claim you didn't realize it was counterfeit, and cooperate completely.

However, currency counterfeiting laws are very specific to money. Let's look at product counterfeiting, which works similarly but probably without the felony charges.

If FTDI discovered a container of devices with counterfeit chips was en route, they could tell Customs, who would order the contents of the container to be destroyed once they arrived on the dock. This would be a problem for the shipping company, who accepted the devices for shipment and never delivered them, so they would have to pay out an insurance claim. The insurer then has to deal with the liability by going back to the shipper and saying "hey, your devices were destroyed by Customs, I had to pay out for failing to deliver the goods." I expect the shipping companies deal with this all the time, though, and have a contract clause that absolves them of insurance liability in this case. In this case, the supplier is out the money. Their recourse would be to go back to the manufacturer and ask for their money back. Maybe the manufacturer will honor the request, maybe they won't.

If FTDI discovered a shipment of devices with counterfeit chips already went to MicroCenter, they would call the Secret Service, who would contact MicroCenter and MicroCenter would have to pull them off the shelves and destroy them, leaving MicroCenter without the money. Their only recourse would be to contact their supplier and say "hey, you sold us counterfeit goods, we want our money back." Maybe they'd get their money back, maybe they wouldn't. It's a risk.

So FTDI has now found a way to destroy a consumer device. As above, the consumer is similarly out of luck. Their recourse is to go back to MicroCenter and say "hey, this adapter, it's broke." Maybe they'll get their money back, maybe they won't. It's a risk. MicroCenter might eat the losses, or they might go back to their supplier, who might go back to the manufacturer.

In every case when the counterfeits are discovered they are destroyed, leaving somebody without the device and without the money.

I think FTDI may have a pretty solid legal ground for behaving like this, even though it's always a crappy experience to the person who got stuck with the phony. The main difference is that FTDI is doing this without asking the Secret Service to investigate the counterfeits first.

Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 1) 347

by khallow (#48212919) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real
I apologize for that. I note though that Dr. Storms baldly asserts the claim that there are hundreds of such experimental attempts, a bunch of which are alleged to be successful with "large amounts" of power/heat produced (using his own book as sole reference). I can grant the former, since the attempts are public record. The successes though? I have to see more solid evidence of these than I've seen so far.

For example, the most successful experiment to date (Andrea Rossi's nickel-based LENR fusion) involves an experimental setup with plenty of opportunity for fraud and deception.

Meanwhile the experiments that Storm details are so marginal, that they attempt to determine the presence of fusion based on trace element analysis or correlation of high noise observations (like the ratio of estimated energy production to helium production). Reproducibility remains a huge problem throughout this work.

Don't get me wrong. Cold fusion most likely happens naturally just due to quantum tunneling. The whole point of these experiments is to create contrived situations where the quantum tunneling resulting in fusion happens far more often (many orders of magnitude more often, perhaps hundreds of orders of magnitude more often). Even if we are to eventually have highly successful cold fusion widely used for energy production and other uses, we'll still transition through this murky region of uncertain experimental evidence.

And it's worth noting here that despite whatever the American Physical Society or the US Department of Energy has said about cold fusion in 1989, research continues. They aren't really in the way now. I don't expect conservative, perhaps hide-bound institutions to embrace every new concept that comes along, even if in theory, that's their job.

Comment: Re:On the other hand... (Score 1) 643

by ultranova (#48212603) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Class action against the offenders, not those who defend their propriety IP.

So now corporate imaginary property rights trump my physical property rights. What's next? Biotech companies demanding anyone who's body contains patented genes pay them royalty to be allowed to continue living?

I truly hope you're a paid shill.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson