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Comment: There's only one way that that's a good idea (Score 0) 253

by Voyager529 (#47502861) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

It's only a good idea if they can negotiate a peering agreement with Verizon so that they don't end up getting the slow internet anyway...but then Verizon will be mad at them and try to get the internet on their side by writing a public nastygram, which might actually be a good thing because Verizon will find itself on the wrong end of the "Think of the Children!" argument.

Comment: Re:Backups (Score 1) 121

As so often, the solution is called "Backup".

Also you could not store your documents in the "My Documents" folder, make a folder on your C drive, store your docs, pics & important stuff in that. So if you do get cryptoransomed they will have done the wrong files.

That will only take you so far. With so many programs defaulting to the My Documents folder, it'd be annoying at best to have to point to c:\realdocs "because viruses". The user could point the "My Documents" folder to c:\realdocs, but now we're in the same boat again. Even if a user decided it was worth the hassle to deprecate the use of the system variable, c:\realdocs would still be accessible by the same user. From Windows' security standpoint, there's no difference between the user being attacked by ransomware, and the user adding a password to an Excel sheet. Thus, ransomware doesn't need root privileges to mess up a user's files.

Even beyond that, the next generation of ransomware wouldn't exactly need a foundational rewrite to go to %user%\recent and see where those files point to and encrypt all the .docx, .xlsx, and .qif files there. I'm sure that somewhere in userland, there's some indication as to where the Dropbox/OneDrive/Gdrive folders are, and encrypting all that stuff. Even less complicated would be to search all available hard drives for user generated file types. .dll files wouldn't be worth it, but .qbw files very much would be. Ultimately, trying to thwart an attack of this nature would be of limited success, because from the most literal of standpoints, the virus is doing nothing different than what a user would be doing.

Amongst the things that makes this kind of attack so successful is that very problem: if you're trying to prevent outbound traffic at the firewall, you've already lost, basically. How does security software distinguish. technically, between a cryptovirus taking a file hostage, and a user passwording a file with WinRAR and uploading it to SpiderOak? That, good friends, is a question that I pay ESET a nontrivial sum to discuss and determine.

Comment: Exposed Stats? (Score 1) 138

by Voyager529 (#47486065) Attached to: Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases As 'Free'

See. what I thought would be a useful stat to show would be "the average amount that those who spend, spend". In other words, if Google showed how much was spent on a given "freemium" app by those who spent >$0. This would give users a meaningful metric with which to decide whether it's worth it to attempt to use the app, because they could, on average, expect to spend that amount. If an app has a spending average of precisely $4.99, and the pro version costs $4.99, then it's fair to assume that users only pay for the 'pro' key within the app, and it won't nickel-and-dime all day. If $25 is the going rate, it's clear that the game is a skinner box and isn't worth it.

Of course, the bleeding obvious issue is that developers wouldn't be too fond of that number getting too high, which people would be less inclined to do once they have the feeling of going 'above average'.

Comment: Re:Don't ask; I'm not telling ... (Score 1) 381

by Voyager529 (#47475813) Attached to: Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

You should have offered to help.
For $200/hour + expenses.

Too cheap.

You're negating the value of the "plus expenses" part when paired with a little creativity...

"I'd never make it there in time to help you if I didn't rent that Aston Martin!"
"The only place to eat between my location and your office was Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I certainly didn't want to drive out of my way and delay this further!"
"The only laptop capable of handling that kind of process was the top-tier Macbook Pro...but I negotiated a discount on the iPad that I gave to the CEO in your name to ensure that you get full credit for leveraging the synergies!"

Comment: Re:Looks like a rock drawing to me... (Score 3, Informative) 45

by AlecC (#47473483) Attached to: Fossils of Cambrian Predator Preserved With Brain Impressions

I think the colour has been put on by the discoverers to highlight the high points and make the fossil easier to interpret. In the real world, the whole fossil is just rock coloured, as seem at the edges of the picture. I.e. you are tautologically right: the colour is mapping height.

Comment: Re:What is BSD good for? (Score 4, Insightful) 77

by Voyager529 (#47472495) Attached to: FreeBSD 9.3 Released

So I am honestly asking, what is BSD good for. I presently use CentOS and I am perfectly happy with it but for some reason BSD has a magical "hard core" allure. So what I should ask is: what excuse do I need to use it?

Three reasons I personally can think of. First, NetBSD specifically is a fork intended to run on basically anything with a microprocessor. CentOS will run on x86 hardware, and in the form of Pidora and similar, runs on ARM. Try it on an Itanium or SPARC or PowerPC Mac, and things get a smidge more interesting.

Second, ZFS. Now cue those who believe that file system nirvana is found in btrfs or ReiserFS or HFS+, but I'm a huge fan of ZFS as a file system. If you're like me, you'll be using BSD in the form of one of its descendants, like FreeNAS or NAS4Free, where ZFS makes lots of other things much easier.

Finally, the license. I'm neither a programmer nor a recompiler so my use of BSD licensed software is essentially identical to my use of GPL software ('free as in beer', with the occasional bug report). For purists and programmers, there is a difference in what is and isn't allowed under the respective licenses.

Comment: Re:clean drinking water (Score 1) 89

by Technician (#47467237) Attached to: Harvesting Energy From Humidity

With electrolisis and a fuel cell, only the gas carried contaminates could possibly contaminate the drinking water. For quanity and qualityproduced, I'll take the solar solution. The distances traveled and the amount produced are both quite small. In the solar solution, the volume would be much greater and due to the recombining of gasses, much less likely to transport pathagens.

Comment: Re:Anyone have Cliff Notes? (Score 1) 128

There's actually an even dumber reason than that.

The RTG on New Horizons was a spare from Cassini. It was very much "use it or lose it" as finding more plutonium for a RTG is getting more difficult every day.

Oh c'mon, you're trying to tell me that *nobody* at NASA had the common sense to call a few Libyan nationalists and order some used pinball machine parts off of Amazon?

Comment: Re:Is this news? (Score 1) 78

Charged particles are not magnetic. The electric current caused by the electric current creates a magnetic field. Basic electrical magnetic property. There is a magnetic field because there is an electric current traveling through the atmosphere which does impose an electric charge on suspended insulated objects in addition to the induced electric current in conductors on and in the ground.

The amount of induced current is directly related to the rate of flux change producing an AC current provided one end of the conductor is grounded. At the low currents and large area of very long lines, this AC component is relatively low in relation to the DC current brought in at the poles seperated by our earth's magnetic field. A static magnetic field does not induce a current. A steady DC current does build high currents in long suspended conductors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E...

Even high voltage transmission lines are now protected by adding a resistor to the center tap of a 3 phase transformer to ground to limit induced current. The transformers already MUST have a ground refrence already due to the DC charging of the lines that would happen if there were no ground. This is why transmission lines never use Delta transformer to Delta transformer. One or both ends of a transmission line have a substation with a Y connection with the center tap grounded.

I know of one BPA line that is Delta to Delta, but in addition to this there is a 3 phase Y transformer to nowhere that only porvides the required ground for the line.

Grounding both ends with a low impedance ground is good for lightning strike protection, but bad in a geomagnetic storm. Ungrounded is bad for line charging and lightning protection. UTP network cable is ungrounded at both ends and are subject to high voltage charging in short lengths.
http://www.solarsystemcentral....

Comment: Re:Is this news? (Score 2) 78

The elevated lines between buildings are rarely protected from a build up of a static charge as routers and bridges were not built with this in mind. On the physical layer, both ends of the wire are terminated into an isolation transformer with no discharge path to ground. This is an installation design fault against the guy that designed the installation. Lightning protection is often a gas discharge tube for a lower breakdown voltage. A high current discharge through a protection device can produce a relatively high ESD pulse through the transformer into the tranciever chip resulting in corrupt data to failures. A link between buildings must include a bleed discharge path to prevent the build up of voltage on the wire, or a shielded wire with grounded shield should be used.

Engineers design systems. A good technician can make them work.

Comment: Time to apply science (Score 4, Informative) 78

Time to apply science to the problem. What is known, what values are involved, and what breaks down.

Long distance transmission lines have two problems when there is a relatively high atmospheric current. They are long conductors feeding transformers that are not designed to shunt large components of DC resulting in core saturation and high current. This is measurable. The first effect noticed was by the railroad when telegraph relays activated and sometimes burned out.

The voltage induced current has two components. 1 Some current was due to the current directly into the long wire. 2 Some current was due to ground potential changing due to high current in the ground.

How to protect? For ground potential issues, simple pairs of wires provide high common mode rejection. This is common with telephone circuits as protection from induced hum and noise from a noisy electrical environment. Overvoltage protection in the form of lightning arresters is the second protection. Most phone loops are relatively short reducing the ground voltage gradient problem to non existant levels. Long distance hops are by Microwave Relay or Fiber Optic, both providing protection from ground gradients and long pick up paths.

Shrink the scale to inside a home by comparison. All internal house wireing is orders of magnatude shorter than transmission lines, CATV, and phone lines. Small DC capible antennas result in very low current if exposed. The home is generally protected by gutters on the eves, mildly conductive building materials such as wood, brick, etc that are not insulated to very low leakage at high voltages such as the insulatin on transmission lines. Net result is the very small currents are shunted by the building itself. Go up on the roof during a geo storm and see if you have any static electricity issues. Probably not.

For homeowners, this is a non issue due to the lack of an effective gathering surface properly insulated to collect enough current to cause any damage. The collector is too small and the leakage path to ground is too high.

Comment: Re:verizon, comcast? (Score 4, Interesting) 81

I was stuck on Comcast when I upgraded from Dialup. Due to the games with non working services, I jumped ship as soon as Qwest offered DSL. Skype, VOIP via SIP, Google Voice/Talk, etc all working fine. I feel for those without the option. Comcast has been trying to win me back, but I'll take the slower DSL speed for everything working properly anyday.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 3, Interesting) 499

Many of the earlier SB cards were known for a fixed clock, regardless of what the software was set for. This limited clock rate was the issue of many complaints of those looking for full 20-20K without artifacts. Once this reputation was cast, the line was considered as consumer grade and not better. Same applied to bit depth. The driver would accept many settings beyond the 16 bit DAC. Other cards had higher clocks and bits, and testing for the card performance showed the true limits.

Link below shows some of the real testing on this card beyond just golden ears. Look at the frequency output of noise and note what is NOT reproduced. Then scroll down a look at the extended frequency response of the cards in the test. SB hit a wall way before the competition.

http://www.clarisonus.com/Rese...

Comment: Discrete? Yes. Creative? Not so much. (Score 1) 499

Now admittedly, I'm a bit bitter about a problem that's not really Creative's fault. I bought an Audigy 2 ZS for my laptop using PC Card...and then the next wave of laptops only came with an Expresscard slot. So, I ponied up again for an X-Fi card that fit the Expresscard slot...and then laptops stopped coming with those. Now I fully admit that Creative isn't to blame for that, but it is sad just the same. However, I digress.

I use my onboard audio for nearly all of my listening needs. My internal speakers are utter crap (I think one is blown, actually), and thus, even if Creative added all the super-duper offboard processing in the world, it wouldn't sound any better than what those speakers can pump. Adding a nice set of Sennheiser or Denon headphones, I can start to hear some of the MP3 sizzle in the 128kbps MP3s, and a handful of 192's, depending on the song and the encoder and settings used. Even playing video games, the difference between 'Good Enough' and 'X-Fi Good' never comes into play, because it's the nuts-and-bolts of the big picture that will make or break it in either direction - if the sound effects and musical score is good, the miniscule difference an audio chipset will make has nothing to do with it. If they're crap, a ZxR processor isn't going to change anything.

That being said, I still use offboard audio hardware on a regular basis. I use my Rane SL3 to DJ with Serato. Even if it wasn't a de facto hardware dongle to unlock the Serato software, there's no motherboard chipset that supports 2ms latency from end-to-end of the audio path. In other words, my SL3 can reliably take an audio signal from my turntable, translate it into speed and directional data, and send MP3 audio back out, in 2ms. Creative doesn't make hardware like that. The story is pretty similar for my Audio6 (which I use for Traktor) and my Connectiv (which I used to use for Torq and Deckadance, though it required closer to 5ms latency to be stable). I have a MobilePre USB that I use occasionally for XLR and 1/4" recording. These are niche products for niche purposes, but the fact that your local Guitar Center sells a range of these kinds of interfaces demonstrates that there's indeed a market for discrete audio hardware. Creative just doesn't make it.

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