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Comment: This incident seems fishy (Score 2) 165

by swb (#48916383) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

The NY Times' article on this said a "government employee" (no name, no affiliation) had come forward to claim the drone and said he was flying it recreationally and that the Secret Service had interviewed him and said that all evidence indicated this was the case.

This seems odd -- who flies a drone recreationally in the vicinity of the White House at 3:30 AM? Or anywhere in DC for that matter. And a government employee? If you were a government employee, wouldn't you generally choose to avoid flying your drone around ten zillion government buildings

Why was he identified as a "government employee"? How likely is that the Secret Service is going to just accept a "oops, my bad" explanation?

Something about this seems off.


Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive? 150

Posted by timothy
from the but-with-8-tracks-you-can-still-lose-7 dept.
An anonymous reader writes What would be the best media to store a backup of important files in a lockbox? Like a lot of people we have a lot of important information on our computers, and have a lot of files that we don't want backed up in the cloud, but want to preserve. Everything from our personally ripped media, family pictures, important documents, etc.. We are considering BluRay, HDD, and SSD but wanted to ask the Slashdot community what they would do. So, in 2015, what technology (or technologies!) would you employ to best ensure your data's long-term survival? Where would you put that lockbox?

Comment: Re:Success! (Score 0) 60

by bill_mcgonigle (#48915879) Attached to: FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

Until the fines are set to a level to remove all profit and THEN put a punishment on top, large business will continue to flout the law because it's more profitable.

You're absolutely right on the theory, but then take the next step to recognize that it's the purpose of government to ensure their profits and help them take money from us (in addition to the FCC taking money from us directly and giving it to the telco corporations).

This is evidenced by these fines never having been at a level such as you describe and, more recently, the move to no-plead agreements between prosecutors and corporations. You'll be shouting from your wheelchair in a retirement home that the government should increase fines on corporations to be proportional to their income, unless the fundamental bases of the system are changed.

Of course, if you do something wrong on the scale of millions of dollars of damage, you go to prison. If a corporation does something similarly wrong, they pay out some pocket change. Because "corporations are people, my friend."

Comment: How about a shotgun? (Score 2) 165

by swb (#48915537) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

A shotgun firing light shot (like #9, commonly used for skeet) can powder a clay target but quickly loses energy.

Where I used to shoot clay targets they had a duck tower, basically a target thrower mounted on tower of 25' or so. You'd shoot the targets from various stations around the tower. The idea was to simulate shooting flying ducks, so everyone shoots up at a steep angle.

Back out front of the clubhouse you would occasionally hear pellets hitting the metal roof of the building and once in a while feel one hit you. It felt like someone had tossed a small pebble in the air, almost not noticeable. The max shot they allowed was #7.5 target loads which is what we used on games with the most distant targets like the duck tower. #9 was better for skeet because of the short ranges and larger shot pattern.

I know people who have been hunting pheasant (relatively more powerful loads, like #4 shot) and been downrange of other hunters and hit by shot loads fired into the air. I forget what the distances where, but they described it as feeling like a light rain.

Comment: Re:Cam-tastic (Score 1) 125

by swb (#48914147) Attached to: DEA Cameras Tracking Hundreds of Millions of Car Journeys Across the US

Do you think some kind of IR strobe would work? Strobing fast enough to keep the auto-contrast/brightness from being able to keep up?

I also wonder if you couldn't borrow some of the technology from those laser light shows where they can "draw" on the side of a large object. I wonder if its possible to adapt the scanner technology to basically "paint" an object behind you with IR illumination

The only thing I would worry about is if any/many squads have IR cameras linked to displays visible within the squad car. The guy whose car is lit up in IR like Las Vegas is gonna get pulled over and harassed no matter what, and unless your build is so clean it can't be detected and can be easily and transparently disabled, they will drum up some kind of "defeating law enforcement technology" charge against you.

Comment: Re:We don't all live in the USA. (Score 2) 291

by swb (#48912883) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

I think the problem is you can't pack up a whole economy and move it.

If your wealth is dependent on the US domestic economy and it tanks because of civil unrest, a lot of wealthy people will be unwealthy before they can even reconsider relocating.

There's also the question of "what is money?" and are you really rich still if you have to convert your money to another currency with a different local buying power, especially if your native currency dives or is sinking when you try to convert it.

There's also the question of competition for safe overseas havens; if the availability is limited, you're now competing with just the rich, so unless you're elite rich, you may lose out altogether.

And what kind of haven are you expecting? A self-sustaining kind of pre-20th century British estate of farms and light industry? At the end of the day it sounds like a mash-up of a Ralph Lauren ad with survivalism.

Comment: Re:There's a whole industry based around Elite Pan (Score 1) 291

by swb (#48912841) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

I seem to remember reading something about the risks of the low profile merely wealthy, people who aren't famous or especially politically connected and whose wealth is never-work-again kinds of money but not Glided Age, family dynasty wealth and isn't tied to control of a specific corporation or revenue-generating entity.

Apparently they are targeted at many levels because they have limited options for their liquid assets. They're at risk from being ripped off by their investments, at risk from embezzlement, targeting by the IRS for tax problems, even possibly targeted by crooked cops and politicians.

When I'm fantasizing about winning the hundreds of millions lottery, I sometimes wonder how someone like me with little understanding of "real" money would structure the money so that it would be harder to get ripped off. Like hiring multiple investment advisors for chunks of money, hiring auditors to check up on the investment advisors and various lawyers kept independent from each other, all of it designed to be a series of checks and balances.

After a while, I can see where the paranoia comes from. It's kind of like being a dictator who has several security services he uses to spy on the others, hoping that it breeds enough insecurity to keep them all more or less honest.

Comment: Re:You know... (Score 3, Informative) 31

by bill_mcgonigle (#48911117) Attached to: Getting Charged Up Over Chargers at CES (Video)

Every dollar store sells USB wall chargers

Speaking of that - maybe everybody knows this already but it had escaped my attention - I was getting annoyed that my phone charges very fast with the Samsung charger/cable but rather slowly with the well-rated 2A charger I bought off Amazon.

The issue was my dollar-store cables. Long story short, there is 28/28 gauge wire inside cheap cables and the resistance means they can only pull 500mA. The electronics at both ends are smart enough to figure this out. What you need is a
28/24 cable and then you can get a fast charge.

I'm using Galaxy Charging Current Lite to measure my existing USB cables and tossing the ones that can't handle at least 1.3A. This helps with my over-stuffed box of USB cables too.

Comment: I wonder if they're still updated (Score 1) 273

by swb (#48908635) Attached to: Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

I wonder if any of these plans are still being updated, even if it's only by some guy in a basement office someplace.

Obviously China is still of interest, but most of them are extremely unlikely, although you wonder if there are times where it gets thought about. France after the attempt on De Gaulle or the possibility of a left-wing revolution in 1968, maybe even about Marine LePen. Mexico might warrant some kind of what-ifs around a failed state status. Germany and Japan are occupied by US forces now, but maybe there's some political theorizing about a populist/nativist Japanese party gaining power. Germany seems like the worst candidate, with the only situations I can imagine revolving around a collapse of the Euro and some kind of German administration of European economies, which seems unlikely.

Comment: Re:That's a lot of lifetimes (Score 1) 58

by swb (#48908195) Attached to: "Once In a Lifetime" Asteroid Sighting Monday Night

Yes you can see shooting stars nearly every night but this flyby is maybe worth missing a little sleep if you have the gear and diligence to be able to see it.

Call me a cynic, but if you can't see it with the naked eye, is it really that interesting?

I'm sure it's maybe a big deal for people with telescopes and greater than average interest in astronomy, but for people not in that category it seems like it would just be one more flash of light through a telescope.

Comment: Re:"A hangar in Mojave" (Score 3, Informative) 38

by Bruce Perens (#48908157) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

That's actually what it's like at "Mojave Spaceport". Hangers of small aviation practicioners and their junk. Gary Hudson, Burt Rutan, etc. Old aircraft and parts strewn about. Left-over facilities from Rotary Rocket used by flight schools. A medium-sized facility for Orbital. Some big facilities for BAE, etc. An aircraft graveyard next door.

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