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Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1182

I missed the part where he was shooting straight up.

If it's high enough that no one is going to run into it, he should have left it alone. It's not presenting any threat to him.

Self-defense is a right. Shooting at things that merely upset you is not.

Provide the angle of the gun to the ground is sufficient that nothing will be in the path of shot until it reaches its maximum height, than nothing can possible be struck at greater than terminal velocity.

Not strictly true. Two exceptions.

A shot fired parallel to the ground will have maximum velocity at its maximum height, and a shot fired at very slight elevation can have its vertical velocity cancelled while still remaining above terminal velocity. Granted, it would continue to slow while falling until it reached terminal velocity.

But for a guy shooting almost straight up---yeah.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1182

I missed the part in the article where he was shooting directly overhead. That is less stupid, but still pretty stupid.

If it's overhead and out of arms' reach, it's probably not posing a threat of personal harm or property damage---so why is he shooting in the first place?

Maybe if it's at/near ground level, the drone could conceivably strike and hurt someone. Higher than that, not so likely.

Firing at it is an overreaction at best. Plus, if it's illegal to fire a gun in residential areas then he should know it if he's a gun owner. He very obviously isn't going to get the self-defense exemption since there was no threat of harm.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1182

The FAA said not to fly drones above buildings at all, so even above 500 feet their behavior was probably not legal.

The legality of their behavior, however, isn't the only factor in determining whether discharging a gun is appropriate or legal.

There are lots of laws that can be broken without authorizing the use of a weapon in response.

Comment Re:Or... just hear me out here... (Score 1) 1182

There already is a rule. It's 500 feet.

Above 500 feet, it's treated like a public highway. Basically, you're allowed to be there as long as you're following the applicable regulations. There are a lot of rules, including extensive training requirements for pilots, but anyone can fly there as long as they follow the rules.

Below 500 feet, the air is yours. The Causby ruling stated there is both a public and a private airspace, and the FAA decides what happens above the boundary. The government can take easements like they can on the ground, and they have to pay for it when they do.

Obviously, FAA regulations require aircraft to give a certain amount of clearance to obstacles---this is why, for instance, a plane could never fly into your 501-foot building and claim it had the right of way. If the FAA decides to treat drones like all other aircraft, they wouldn't be allowed below 500 feet and would have to fly at least 500 feet above any obstacles.

So there have already been laws and court rulings on the matter. It's a question of the FAA stepping up and doing something with the power that has been delegated to the agency.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1, Troll) 1182

You're only right if hail and buckshot have the same density. And similar shapes. Different density, different shape = different terminal velocity. Their densities are different, therefore you are wrong.

Plus, it is possible for people or property to be struck before it slows to terminal velocity.

The combination of a fence line and ~5 neighbors seeing the drone mean he's in a developed residential area so he shouldn't be shooting unless there is a clear, urgent threat to his health and safety. A drone might be creepy and worrisome, but the correct response is not to start shooting.

Call the police or the FAA, and let them explain to the owner that drones are not supposed to be flown over buildings.

From TFA, the FAA says that drones cannot fly over buildings and that it's dangerous to shoot at them. So both parties are in the wrong---but only one guy acted dangerously, and that's the guy shooting things out of the sky in a residential area.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 93

Patent licensing fees should be returned (minus reasonable administrative fees) if the patent is overturned.

This really needs to be a law. Maybe put a reasonable 5- or 10-year limit on it so that a company isn't suddenly bankrupted by refunds for losing a patent.

Don't force the purported violator to prove the patent is invalid.

This makes it very difficult to enforce patents, especially for smaller companies. Now instead of being bought out by Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, or whoever has their wallet open, it is possible for those firms to steal an invention while burying the upstarts in legal expenses. Try to get a second round of venture capital with that baggage.

But because they're seemingly willing to give out patents for anything and the rate they're overturned

The computer revolution caught them a bit off-guard. Historically they tended to do much better, and the assumption of validity was justified. They are supposed to be fixing the problem, although I've not kept up with the details.

Comment Re:Raising questions about freedom of speech? (Score 1) 298

You're using "content-based" in a very loose and likely equivocal fashion.

The municipal authorities gave no indication they were concerned with the ideas he was expressing (which would make this a clear case of censorship).

Their statement was that a person with outstanding warrants cannot participate in a public event. I strongly suspect the city supports any and all sincere anti-violence messages like the ones this event promoted---but it simply will not issue a permit for an event involving a fugitive, regardless of other factors.

Comment Re:Proof of Security Risk from Portable Electronic (Score 1) 227

I made the distinction between necessary and sufficient measures for a reason.

It's not about making it impossible to steal data. There will always be at least one way. No one in IT security believes anything is perfectly protected. Maybe idiots, but there are idiots in every profession.

The purpose of security measures is to raise the bar on the time, effort, and skill required to steal data or halt services.

Organizations that need to secure a particular set of data will not make that data accessible via smartphones. Smartphones are networked and generally owned by employees, either of which is a show-stopper. The security issues with individual handsets and with GSM/CDMA just pile the shit deeper.

The handset manufacturers are where Microsoft was in the 80s and 90s---everyone wants their product, and no one knows it's important enough to demand security. So they churn out broken crap for everyone to buy as soon as their contracts are up. Sooner or later there will a reckoning, and the security will get better. I'm waiting for a worm to knock an entire region offline for ATT/Verizon/Sprint---maybe then security and good design will matter enough.

Comment Re:Proof of Security Risk from Portable Electronic (Score 2) 227

Most PED policies refer to personal devices, not company-issued equipment.

User-owned and -managed equipment is inherently risky. We have no auditing capability, no logs, no expectation of reasonable firewall/browser/services configuration, and no access if we suspect the device is compromised or misused.

Granted, you have to be pretty draconian to reduce the likelihood of data exfiltration from your users. But it's at least possible with company-owned assets. Properly configured, only IT will really be able to get anything sensitive out, and adequate auditing will ensure that collusion is necessary to succeed at it.

If you need to prevent data from leaving a network, your task is essentially impossible if personal devices are allowed or the network is not isolated. Granted, these are not sufficient measures---a lot of other things are required---but you need to eliminate personal PEDs and control organizational PEDs quite strictly as one of the first steps.

Comment Re:Tail lights are wrong (Score 1) 549

Brake lights should be a "progress bar" style light, showing how hard the car is decelerating.

Terrible idea.

Both road conditions and tire/brake wear cause changes in braking capability. In addition, different vehicles have different stopping distances even under ideal circumstances.

A progressive braking light will take longer for the driver to process and will be impossible to interpret precisely. This goes double when auto manufacturers each develop their own custom brake indicators, since the shape, size, and fill rate will be wildly inconsistent from one model to the next.

Better to give a simple heads-up and let the driver's built-in spatial reasoning determine the rate of deceleration. We're pretty good at judging this sort of thing instantly.

Comment Re:I call BS (Score 2) 184

For a RAID1, most RAID controllers (and software RAID implementations) will absolutely read from all devices so as to service the read ASAP.

For distributed parity forms of RAID, you inherently have to read from all devices.

The problem is guaranteed with distributed parity raid; the controller will have to wait for the slowest disk to complete the read. Both reads and writes will be limited to mechanical disk performance levels.

With a RAID1 mirror set, you can get a performance improvement on reads since the SSD would presumably service all of them. Writes will still be delayed by the mechanical drive(s).

In addition, most RAID controllers do not support mixing drive types. Most of them don't even recommend mixing drive speeds (e.g., don't even mix 10K and 15K RPM drives). So you are proposing a whole new product essentially, and the expected gains are quite minimal.

Rather than investing in new tech with questionable benefits, implement an existing solution. You can choose to setup a hot sync, cold sync, or backup device for a standard SSD array that is well-tested and performant.

Comment Re:At the same time (Score 1) 323

Windows XP was the first consumer operating system to incorporate multiuser capability and reasonable security measures. But its security is so primitive compared to modern versions of Windows that it really does not belong on a network anymore.

On one hand, corporate networks regularly face threats that were not common when XP was developed. With the persistence of pass-the-hash and Kerberos attacks, Windows needs better authentication and authorization. These requires changes to core OS functions, and the new stuff is not being ported back. Kerberos armoring (MS implementation of FAST) and claims-based authentication are the long-term solutions to these particular issues, but neither technology is present in Windows XP.

On the other hand, users require application sandboxing and sane OS defaults at home. Since most applications expect default settings and most Windows users are incapable of making informed security decisions, you have a serious problem when the defaults are not good enough for typical usage. Windows XP suffered from inadequate defaults at launch, and SP3 only slightly improved the situation.

My opinion: Windows 7 / IE11 are the minimum requirement for a networked MS PC. Enterprises really should be running Windows 8, but public reaction to the UI pretty much killed that OS.

Comment Re:Deadmans Switch (Score 1) 288

A dead man's switch triggers if the operator becomes unresponsive. This script is an entirely different beast---it triggers when the operator or another party *changes* something.

Combining it with a wrist strap is better but still not equivalent. It may work similarly 95% of the time, but it still requires conscious effort for the operator to engage the protection. It will not work if he is asleep or unable to respond quickly enough. A true dead man's switch will trigger without any operator action whatsoever after it is armed.

A true dead man's switch disables the equipment in the absence of active operator involvement; it requires the operator to take constant action, or else it will trigger. The proposed device is merely a quick shutdown tool and a basic anti-tamper measure.

As an example, if the operator were pinned to his desk immediately and unable to move, a dead man's switch would trigger while this device would not. Same thing if he were shot in the back of the head. If operator death does not trigger it, it is definitely not a dead man's switch---literally or figuratively.

Comment Re:this already exists (Score 1) 288

They cannot cut your hand off, but they can compel you to swipe your finger to unlock a device. This differs markedly from disclosing passwords or encryption keys, which is considered self-incrimination and is therefore protected.

The Supreme Court has ruled on both scenarios. While the distinction may seem moronic to those of us familiar with technology, it is, nonetheless, the law. Biometrics are legally inferior as a means of protecting data.

"What people have been reduced to are mere 3-D representations of their own data." -- Arthur Miller