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Comment Re:It is amazing... (Score 1) 235

It's a amazing how many folks have a "Government is hiding something" default setting here. Who, without reading the background material, conclude that the Kansas Secretary of State is stonewalling with the "it's not legal to release this information" argument.

Under KS Secretary of State Kris Kobach, creator of the 2-tier voting system (you must provide proof of citizenship, e.g. passports to vote in state and local elections, but not in federal elections because federal law prohibits using that same type of restriction on the federal voting registration paperwork) I'd absolutely believe that he's hiding something. He's shown a history of official decisions that can at least be interpreted from the outside as motivated by politics more than the law, and if there's something squirrely going on with the voting machines I'd be unsurprised to see him working to keep it covered up.

Comment Re:False comparison (Score 1) 254

No, Microsoft added the Ribbon because product design internally is way way ahead of what you typically see released. I suspect that some of the folks working on the Ribbon design were looking ahead and expecting touchscreen interfaces at some point, though they may have expected them to be more stylus-driven instead of fingers.

Comment Is a false DMCA claim an act of LIBEL? (Score 1) 224

I don't think asking whether it's an act of Perjury is going to get you anywhere - is there a civil action you can bring for perjury?

On the other hand, in submitting a false DMCA notice against your videos the studio (or someone acting on its behalf) has claimed in writing that you have effectively stolen something of worth from them, and in so claiming they have cause you harm - your time in dealing with the false claim, possibly financial losses due to video removal, loss of reputation due to the claim, and (apparently) long-term damage even if their claim is proven unfounded in that just having a history of false claims against you can result in you losing the ability to work with a vendor (Vimeo).

I'd say that could absolutely be actionable.

Comment Re:Go after the owner/pilot (Score 1) 176

<blockquote>You're confusing "guidelines" with "laws" (or "regulations").</blockquote>

No, I'm not. I'm not talking about trying to get the police to go after them for violations of some Federal statute that they've never heard of, I'm talking about putting them on the defensive and getting them to back off of flying their drone over your house. Citing the guidelines is a good start on that.

And frankly if they're not flying it over your house then you just need to get over it.

Comment Go after the owner/pilot (Score 4, Interesting) 176

Going along with the wisdom that bringing a drone down may have some high costs associated with it and the associated recommendation of calling the police:

Be aware of the FAA's Model Aircraft Operations rules and recommendations ( and be ready to go after someone flying a drone around above you - in particular reference section 336(a)(2) of the laws linked on that page, the "community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization." If someone gets antsy when you're pissed off about their drone use, liberal application of the hammer of "Why are you violating the FAA guidelines on drone use? Whose community-based standards DON'T require that you avoid flying your drone above and around uninvolved people? Are you a registered member of that organization? What's their contact information and your membership information?" might be merited.

Depending on how things go you might actually get them ticketed for creating a public nuisance or something along those lines, and that's the kind of thing that can create a record that might be useful in the future.

Comment Silly string? (Score 2) 176

I wonder what a stream of Silly String would do - might be the best option of all, it probably wouldn't destroy or even crash it, but if it got into the propeller shaft area it'd gum things up enough to bring one down but the owner could still clean it out.

I can see the court case now "Your honor, he sprayed my drone with silly string!"

As for paintballs vs throwing things, paintballs don't actually mass that much, they're designed to splatter dispersing the impact, and they're not that dense. One of the animated GIFs in the article shows what looks like paintballs being fired at one but being slowed or stopped by the airstream from one of the propellers. A baseball isn't going to have the same problem, and if a propeller hits it the baseball isn't going to be sliced open and splatter.

Comment Garden hose (Score 3, Insightful) 176

Seems to me that a garden hose with a good high-quality nozzle may be your best bet. No questions about how close it is, no questions about using something dangerous, etc.

You still have the legal liability question, but I think the first thing to do on that if someone were to challenge you would be to subpoena any and all video, photo and GPS logs created by the person suing. Possibly (assuming you have a lawyer involved to write this up) with some sort of motion to compel or attempt to seize computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. along with flash cards, etc. to ensure that responsive materials weren't destroyed.

Of course, you might also look into the options of very low-powered (to avoid widespread damage, for safety, and for size) HERF guns. "Really, it just fell out of the sky! What the hell was the pilot doing dropping that thing on us? He could have hurt someone!"

Comment Agreed re: Windows Phone (Score 1) 200

I agree - if I could get even credible substitutes for some of the apps I use regularly on Android, I'd switch over with no complaints.

There are elements of Windows Phone that are actually very nice and that I miss on Android - I actually like the tiled interface on a phone screen where I loathed it on a PC. The ability to have variable-size tiles showing information means that I can fit everything nicely onto a single non-scrolling screen with easy access to all of it.

Comment To activate, you MUST upgrade not clean install (Score 1) 187

I downloaded and created a 64-bit install DVD for a test system which had Windows 7 Pro 32-bit because I was planning to switch it over to 64-bit anyway. Obviously this requires a clean install.

Turns out that to activate, you MUST do the upgrade from an activated Windows 7/8/8.1. Apparently that will register the hardware signature for the activated Windows 10 on Microsoft's servers. After you've upgraded to Windows 10 that way, you can then go back and do a clean install if desired - because that hardware signature is known it'll activate on its own after the clean install, or at least that's how I found it described.

I was just glad that I had the Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-bit ISO handy - I ended up reinstalling that, activating (had to call in, when they offer you the smartphone option, TAKE IT), never even installing updates, then installing the upgrade immediately.

Comment Things worth noting (Score 1) 272

First and easy to miss given the title, Part 101 applies to UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, under 25kg) and RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircraft, over 25kg). Drones just happen to be the currently trendy version, but it applies to all sorts of model aircraft. It's also not new - this has been in the works for months so those interested in it shouldn't be particularly surprised.

Second, the "license" (Part 102) is an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate and in addition to the fee requires applicants to "provid[e] evidence they have conducted adequate risk assessment and developed a risk management plan." This does not strike me as all that unreasonable.

Organized flying on private land is still perfectly viable (e.g. a flying meet - it's private land, if someone shows up who doesn't want UAVs around, the owner/organizer can request/require that they leave the private land). Casual flying in public parks, etc. becomes more of a problem, but serious flyers who've bought or built good rigs are also more likely to be folks who can pony up for the Part 102 license. Links to a bunch more information and the actual CAA rules are here:

Comment Adding how much weight? (Score 1) 80

"Those are some nice hinges there. Be a shame if something happened to them."

Portable external monitors have been around for some time, with USB power and connections though some may have HDMI or VGA inputs available. They're not terribly expensive, the cheapest 1920x1080 I saw on a quick look is under $160 for a 15.6" USB-powered one from ASUS but there are other manufacturers. 720P ones are available for under $100.

If you have an appropriate tablet, there's also some software that will let you use an Android or (I think) iOS device as an added monitor either via WiFi or USB connection. My easiest and cheapest external monitor would be an old Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ with CyanogenMod on it - 1920x1200 on a 9" screen connected via USB, and I suppose I could try to fabricate a mount for my laptop to hold it...

Comment Industrial accidents happen (Score 5, Interesting) 342

The regular safety measures weren't in place because they were installing the systems, so most likely they had people working on different things and someone started testing their piece without realizing it was already connected.

The more significant thing from a Slashdot point of view is that Financial Times writer Sarah O'Connor tweeted about it yesterday which coincided with the release of the new Terminator movie and it blew up into a somewhat inappropriate (someone did die) Twitter storm of SkyNet jokes.

Comment Regulatory approval issue? (Score 1) 219

I suspect that this is a regulatory issue related to the fact that they treat those cards as field-replaceable items. Since almost all of the cards used are going to be wireless adapters linking into the built-in antennas, they may only be whitelisting cards for which they ran testing.

I got burned by this trying to switch someone with cheap ThinkPad Edge systems over to 5GHz - turned out those cheap systems were sold with no choice of wireless, so the whitelist was very short. We ended up replacing some network infrastructure instead.

Comment Re:*Please* don't use the old-style keyboard light (Score 1) 219

Not sure what they're doing on the current line, but my T430 has 4 levels: off, low backlight, high backlight, screen-mounted light.

I use the backlit options all the time, don't think I've ever done much but blow past the overhead light though.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?