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Comment: Re:That's nice and all (Score 1) 363

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47870891) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

If you're driving in stop-and-go traffic, texting using your cell phone isn't quite as bad as if you're barreling down the highway at 70, 80, 90 or more miles per hour while texting.

As for differentiating passengers and drivers ... tethering is one possibility. Not electronic tethering, but literal physical tethers that connect the phone to the car and are short enough and positioned carefully enough (for the front seat, in the far corner of the dashboard from the driver above the glove compartment) where it will allow passengers to bring the phone to their ears but will not allow drivers to do so. Any phone that is physically tethered can make a call via the car's antenna; phones that aren't are blocked.

Now sure, drivers could probably try to attach extender cables to allow them to text while driving. And if a police officer sees an extender, they can pull the driver over, confiscate the cable (and possibly the phone), and fine the offender.

Comment: Re:Mixed arithmetic in Matlab (Score 1) 725

Do you really want this:

    A = ones(10000, 10000, 'int8'); % 10000-by-10000 matrix each entry of which is 1, stored using the 8-bit signed integer type
    B = 1; % double precision
    C = A+B;

to blow C up into a 10000-by-10000 matrix of doubles, requiring eight times as much memory as A?

There's also the question of false precision.

Comment: Screw the Streisand effect (Score 1) 116

I want to see them subjected to the Hood effect, named for the Attorney General of Mississippi.

As a coincidence, the headline of the current most recent "Latest News" item on the Attorney General's website is "Pontotoc Woman Going to Prison for Forgery."

Comment: Re:Legislating Technology (Score 1) 233

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47757135) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

I predict that as soon as a phone with the (undoubtedly standard) kill switch is released, someone will write a software program to reverse the locking. For good measure, that software program will probably also users to kill a phone remotely by spoofing the signal to make the kill switch program believe it's coming from the telecom company or law enforcement.

Unless there's a hardware component (say a physical key you need to insert into a slot on the side of the phone) the security WILL be broken quickly because the financial and bragging rights rewards for doing so are huge. If there IS a hardware component, the thief will likely turn mugger and demand the person's keys -- I suspect many people will probably put the key on their key ring.

Comment: Re:All electric grid control systems and networks. (Score 1) 117

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47749825) Attached to: Securing the US Electrical Grid

What about the havoc an extremely large nuclear device could cause on the power grid? According to this other Wikipedia article, "In June 2013, a joint venture from researchers at Lloyd's of London and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) in the United States used data from the Carrington Event to estimate the current cost of a similar event to the US at $0.6-2.6 trillion." To put that in perspective, the 2005 United States budget request from President Bush was only $2.4 trillion and the 2013 budget request from President Obama was $3.8 trillion.

Comment: Government bricking = bad. Script kiddie = worse. (Score 1) 299

I would be less concerned about the government doing this (because there are consequences to doing so -- the Streisand effect being one) than random script kiddies exploiting a vulnerability in the kill switch mechanism by sending a signal to every phone passing a certain point on the highway, for example, just because they can. Given that the government is pushing for this, you know it's going to be somewhat standardized (they wouldn't want to have to use a different process for Apple, Samsung, etc. phones) and so that standard code is going to be a prime target for attackers.

If this does happen, I give it a week or less before the system is compromised and someone starts using it for "entertainment" purposes.

Comment: Re:Basic Rules no longer free (Score 1) 203

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47710973) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

They are still free AFAIK. They also contain only some of the races and classes (dwarf, elf, halfling, and human for races; cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard for classes) and spells that are in the full Player's Handbook. The PHB includes races like dragonborn, half-elf, half-orc, and tiefling and classes like barbarian, bard, druid, paladin, etc. in addition to those from the Basic Rules.

Comment: Re:So ... (Score 1) 218

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47671881) Attached to: How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

Make the orbital facility completely unmanned. If you're worried about the delay in sending control signals to robotic manipulators with which researchers can perform experiments, send the researchers to the space station. If the orbital facility becomes contaminated, destroy it and let the heat of reentry sterilize the pieces or send it on a trajectory into the sun (which again will sterilize it.)

If it is just an unmanned experiment station, I wonder how small and how inexpensive we could make it.

Comment: Re:It's almost sane(really) (Score 1) 502

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47582281) Attached to: Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers

That is a completely irrelevant example. Were not talking about subpoenaing a foreign company or entity. We are talking about forcing companies operating in the US to turn over information that is in their possession (under there control).

I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but IS the data under Microsoft US's control? Or is the data on a computer under the control of Microsoft Ireland (which I'm guessing is a separate corporation, if for no other reason than tax purposes) to which they've granted Microsoft US certain access? If the latter, could Microsoft US be forced to use the access it's been granted by another corporation to access information owned by that other corporation to grab the data for the US government?

What's Microsoft's corporate structure look like, and does the DOJ have a different answer for that question than the IRS?

Comment: Re:See, I would have... (Score 1) 63

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47565251) Attached to: EA Tests Subscription Access To Game Catalog

So when/if they extend this to PC, I predict the fee will be $5 per month or $30 per year for SecuROM versions or $500 per month or $3000 per year for non-SecuROM versions. That way they can say that they heard their customers and are offering non-DRM versions of their software. When no one subscribes for the more expensive service, they can drop it and claim "We tried, but no one wanted the non-DRM version! Back to DRM for us!"

Comment: Re:Adam West (Score 1) 701

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47500961) Attached to: Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

Redirecting funds and materials from Wayne Enterprises R&D for his own pet projects. Or to put it more bluntly, embezzling.

I'm more curious about how he ensured that the construction workers who build the Batcave and brought in all the heavy equipment (especially the Bat-Computer) kept their mouths shut. Sure, Wayne would have paid them well for their discretion, but surely SOMEONE would have bragged "Yeah, well I helped build the Batcave!" after getting too drunk one night. Or is there a pile of bones at the bottom of the Batcave that ensure the workers' silence more completely than money?

Comment: Re:C'mon. The tubes analogy really is a good one. (Score 1) 110

by Hotawa Hawk-eye (#47406661) Attached to: YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

The "information superhighway" analogy isn't perfect, but I think it is close enough to correct to be a useful analogy while being familiar enough for laymen to understand.

You can think of the Internet like our system of roads. There are major interstate highways; these are the backbone of the Internet, with many lanes of bandwidth. Smaller highways connect to the major interstates; these are run by your ISPs. Even smaller roads lead from those smaller highways to your home. When you send an email or type the address of a website into your browser, that message is broken into small pieces (say small enough to fit in a motorcyclist's pocket) that are carried along the roads, highways, and interstates to the destination of the email or the computer that hosts that website. If one of those small pieces gets lost, the destination computer sends a message back asking the sending computer to send another copy of that piece.

At the interchanges between the interstate and the smaller highways and the smaller highways and roads, there are stop lights, yield signs, signs describing how to get to certain destinations, and other traffic control mechanisms. As a road becomes saturated with messages on motorcycles, the "highway patrol" will tell messengers to wait their turn before proceeding onto the road, or to take a detour to another less congested road. By detouring messages to different roads, messages can still get through even if one road is busy, damaged, or blocked by censorship.

The principle of "network neutrality" or "net neutrality" is that all the motorcycle messengers on a road are treated the same. But some ISPs have noticed a lot of messengers wearing the Netflix logo on their jackets traveling their highways, and so want to restrict how many Netflix messengers travel on their highways for free at the same time. [While I use Netflix in this explanation, this could also affect other companies that send lots of messengers along the Internet.] Their plan for "fast lanes" is to set up a toll booth on their highways, and if too many Netflix messengers want to go through at once they'll have those messengers wait in line. Alternately, Netflix could pay them to set up an "EZ-Pass" lane to the highway; if Netflix is willing to pay a higher toll, the ISP will let those messengers pass through the tolls more quickly. Opponents of the "fast lane" plan worry that if an ISP has many EZ-Pass lanes for various companies, it will result in messengers whose companies DON'T have EZ-Pass (like small start-ups that can't affect the EZ-Pass) being stuck at the tolls for a long time while their competitors' messengers fly through unslowed.

Another possible solution to the problem of congestion on the Internet would be for companies to make the interstates, highways, and roads broader so they can carry more traffic. In the real world, we can't always expand roads with more lanes because of existing buildings lining them or other constraints. In the Internet, those land-availability constraints don't really apply (though there are a few other constraints.) However, one constraint that exists both for real-world roads and for Internet roads is that expanding roads with more lanes costs money.

1 + 1 = 3, for large values of 1.