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Comment Makes Sense (Score 1) 139

PIA's generally discuss the technology or system in terms of how it would be used by the agency. For the FBI, this would likely include different operational scenarios, and certainly how drone data would be used in investigations. I can understand that such information would reveal strategies and tactics. As long as is has oversight by somebody (a point of discussion, I know) I'm fine with it being marked For Official Use Only (FOUO).

Comment Re:What's wrong with so called postal zone dump (Score 1) 60

They actually already do "postal zone dumps" in the United States, in that the front of every single piece of mail sent through the Post Office is imaged and put in a database for law enforcement. They've been doing it for some time.

I had no idea this was being done.

Comment Great hobby, essential to get ethnic programming (Score 5, Informative) 219

I've been running FTA receiver setups in the US for about a decade, so my data comes from that. My own setup uses 3 dishes (one with multiple satellites), and I operate two others at different locations. I have relatives in Europe who've been doing this for longer, and it's very easy and common over there. It's pretty rare in the US. I started because some family members wanted to receive ethnic programming in their own languages and I love to experiment. It requires some practice to set up and aim, but is very doable and doesn't have to be expensive. You can get started under $300US. Take a look at Sadoun in Texas. He also has a lot of information for beginners.

You'll need a dish (typically 90cm), somewhere with a view of your selected satellites to plant it, an LNB to go on the dish (Low Noise Block Amplifier, the actual "antenna"; the dish is just a reflector), a bunch of RG6 cable leading to your TV, and a receiver.

Before buying all this, take a look at the various satellites and channels available to you, and pick a starting satellite. You'll need to be sure that you have a clear line of sight to the "bird". A great site for this is lyngsat. In the US I suggest starting with Galaxy 19, which has several hundred channels on it.

Summarizing the rest, plant the dish, aim, and scan with your receiver to program the channels. You can get all sorts of things regularly, and occasional "wild feeds" that aren't intended for public consumption. There's also encrypted video, which is either pay TV, private company channels (like Ford, etc.) or network backhauls.

Later on you can get into multiple satellites, either with multiple LNB's on one dish, multiple dishes and a switch, or a motorized (!) dish. They're all fun.

It's a lot of fun, and can be a great intro for kids to electronics, radio reception, satellites, orbital mechanics, space, etc.

Comment Jobs did marketing and spin, and very well at that (Score 4, Insightful) 433

Steve Jobs is FAMOUS for deriding products/features not currently delivered by his company, followed by releasing exactly those features some time later when the market is ready for HIM. (iPod with video, for example.) His strength of personality (and strong products) let him get away with it repeatedly, and few observers ever held him to task for it. The problem with the iPad Mini is that he wasn't around to push it through with his charisma. Clearly it was in the works before he died, and I doubt anything "in the works" would not be known to Jobs.

Comment Pay me (Score 3, Insightful) 228

I love it, go for it Zuck! This is clearly a preview of a roll-out to the general user base, where anyone, including advertisers, has to pay a user to send them messages (unless they're already accepted as a friend). This is great! Monetize advertisers (FB takes a transaction fee), and incentivise users to accept advertising an their own terms. I bet the next version of this will include topic and interest filters, so you can discount the fees on things you might actually like to hear about, and raise them on the noise. I'd only charge $0.50 to hear about a tech item, but $100 to hear about a Justin Beiber concert. Works for me, where do I sign up?

Comment Re:Well, at least they have artists in Iran (Score 1) 183

The SAVAK were a lot of fun for the population. And they had help from the CIA. The educated and wealthy classes liked the Shah, as their life was good under him (at least until the country ran out of jobs for them). The poorer, less educated citizens mainly got the boot, if they interacted with the regime at all. Since the US and Britain put the Shah on the throne, those countries weren't loved by the rebellion. And yes, I think Khomeini made a mistake letting the student rebels put the embassy hostages between him and the West. Iran has been on the short end of that stick ever since.

Submission + - New study shows Universe still expanding on schedule 1

The Bad Astronomer writes: "A century ago, astronomers (including Edwin Hubble) discovered the Universe was expanding. Using the same methods — but this time with observations from an orbiting infrared space telescope — a new study confirms this expansion, and nails the rate with higher precision than done before. If you're curious, the expansion rate found was 74.3 +/- 2.1 kilometers per second per megaparsec — almost precisely in line with previous messureents."

Submission + - The CIA and Jeff Bezos bet $30 million on quantum computing company (

An anonymous reader writes: The CIA's investment fund, In-Q-Tel, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have invested $30 million in a Canadian company that claims to build quantum computers, reports Technology Review in a detailed story on why that startup, D-Wave, appears to be attracting serious interest after years of skepticism from experts. A spokesman for In-Q-Tel says that intelligence agencies "have many complex problems that tax classical computing architecture", a feeling apparently strong enough to justify a bet on a radically different, and largely unproven, approach to computing.

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