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Comment: Re:Pointless (Score 1) 164

the firmware can be altered... they're not hardcoding that.

There's no danger at all in that, is there. I mean, people who want to bypass the factory programming that keeps their device from working by hacking the firmware.

Seems kinda like someone who bypasses the fuse in his electronic widget with a piece of tinfoil because it keeps blowing and he wants to use what he paid for.

Comment: Re:More ambiguous cruft (Score 1) 485

by Obfuscant (#48941527) Attached to: The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

Exactly. In order to become a scientist one generally has to become an expert in a highly specialized field that might not be the right field necessary to judge the overall impact of a technology on society.

I had a biology teacher in high school who set us all straight on what it meant to be "a scientist". It wasn't what degree you got from college, or even if you got a degree at all. It was how you approached the world and dealt with obtaining and handling data.

A scientist first understands the process of science. That's why people who try to dismiss non-climate scientists with a wave of the hand and the statement "you aren't a climate scientist", when the issue is how data are handled, are wrong. Any scientist has standing to say "you can't just throw out all the data that doesn't support your hypothesis and then claim you've proven it."

As for judging the impact on society, you're right. Science doesn't juggle political or social or even economic details, those are left to politicians or economists or sociologists. And right there you can see my view on political science, economics, and social sciences.

Comment: Re:Since when is AMT controversial? (Score 2) 170

by Obfuscant (#48936071) Attached to: FSF-Endorsed Libreboot X200 Laptop Comes With Intel's AMT Removed

So because you've never had a computer with AMT, AMT doesn't exist? That's some weird logic you have.

Didn't say that. I said I can't recall ever seeing it. Sorry the difference escapes you.

If your computer has WoL (most do) it has an "Active" network connection (as in a passive listening connection), even when you disable WoL, it's still listening, it just doesn't do anything.

It's hard to listen on an interface that has been shut off. Or on one that has been unplugged, which if you recall was what I suggested to deal with an always-on laptop network connection. Seems like I admitted they existed, which contradicts the words you tried putting in my mouth earlier.

I know what "wake on lan" is, and I also know that it is a BIOS setting to enable and disable it. Still, you can't "wake on lan" a system that isn't connected to a lan, now can you? That seems like a simpler solution if you are scared of the boogeyman turning your powered-down laptop back on. It's not like you have to crawl under the desk to get to the network connection when you unplug a laptop.

But using the simple solution doesn't allow for an "oh noes, the gov'mint can turn my laptop back on and monitor me, must buy a special laptop to be safe!" FUD campaign.

Comment: Re:What are the practical results of this? (Score 1) 427

by Obfuscant (#48935967) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

I believe Obama raised more money through smaller donations than Romney did, but even if not - he didn't appoint the Citizen's United faction to the SCOTUS.

He did not, and he would not.

And one-person-one-vote democracy doesn't work with one billionaire $100 million worth of speech vs 1 normal voter, 10 bucks.

You do realize that the Citizen's United case was specifically about a group of people trying to get around the "1 normal voter, 10 bucks" problem by aggregating many normal voters into many bucks, don't you? The only error CU made was in trying to buy airtime for an anti-Hilary movie. Otherwise, they were trying to deal with the very thing that you seem to be saying is a problem.

You're also implying that that billionaire is actually buying votes with his $100 million. In truth, his one vote counts just the same as my one vote and your one vote and everyone else's one vote. The true issue with "one-person-one-vote" is first to know that the one person has the right to vote before he is allowed and second that he only gets one vote. Requiring ID is the obvious solution. The same kind of ID that every citizen of many other countries is required to carry to get government services of any kind, and even many private services.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 98

by Obfuscant (#48935807) Attached to: Canada Upholds Net Neutrality Rules In Wireless TV Case

All parties are allocated the same budget for advertising, the only difference is that they each decide how, where and when to spend it as long as it's advertising (movies, TV, radio, print, Web) for themselves and no one else.

This would require closing the loophole already in the election funding laws where non-candidate organizations can buy ads. If all it takes to "bribe", I mean "donate" money to a candidate is to pay for ads to support him instead of him paying for them, then you've accomplished nothing except dipping into the taxpayer's pockets to pay for ads.

And if you close THAT loophole, you've essentially eviscerated the first amendment.

Tell me what you have done and what you are planning to do instead of shitting on someone else with half-truths.

So outright lies told by a candidate about himself cannot be countered by facts from the opponent, and are thus more acceptable than half-truths someone says about the other guy. Hows that "Hope and Change" working out?

Comment: Re:Since when is AMT controversial? (Score 1, Informative) 170

by Obfuscant (#48935771) Attached to: FSF-Endorsed Libreboot X200 Laptop Comes With Intel's AMT Removed

It's not controversial. it's just it's another computer in your computer that's running Non-Free Software(tm). So they get rid of it and thus they have a computer that is Completely Free Of Proprietary Software.

And also Completely Free Of Full Remote Management capabilities.

I have a bunch of servers that all have iDrac or other management connections, and it sure is a lot easier to talk to a malfunctioning system when there is a dedicated remote console server. I've had people go wild using memory resources on some compute servers to the point that memory management is killing parts of the operating system. Parts that are required to remotely log in. Dedicated remote management means I can get a console to at least identify the problem (scrolling "killed" reports, e.g.) and then reset the system, without having to go find the physical system I need to poke.

I can't recall a single laptop I've had that has an active network connection when it is off, so how would someone use this AMT on a Lenovo laptop to turn one back on to do anything to it? If you don't want remote access to a laptop that's turned off, unplug the network cable. Set a password on the remote access. End of problem. I call FUD on this fear.

Comment: Re:The "definition of broadband" did NOT change. (Score 1) 427

by Obfuscant (#48935677) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Any government that requires leaders to spend huge amounts of money to be elected isn't actually a democracy.

The filing fees for local offices are rarely more than a few hundred dollars, if that much. That's a paltry sum that the government requires to run for office. If you can't get a group of your supporters to donate that much, then it is unlikely you'll get enough votes to win anyway.

Now, the "$400,000" your local city leader friend told you "it costs" to be elected is really what HE spent on it. It isn't what government required him to spend.We have almost an entire city council here in this city that spent nothing more than the filing fee for their offices.

Of course he spent his money because he wanted to get his message to people so they'd vote for him instead of his opponent, most likely. Well, effective free speech requires money. That's a fact of life. If you're an unknown candidate, then it will cost more to get enough name recognition to win. That's also a fact of life.

Comment: Re:LOL (Score 1) 98

by Obfuscant (#48935585) Attached to: Canada Upholds Net Neutrality Rules In Wireless TV Case

So if you sold cellular data service, you wouldn't be able to also sell a video streaming service. That's how electricity and natural gas is sold in most places.

I'm sorry, what? I've never lived anyplace where the electric or gas companies didn't maintain the delivery infrastructure and sell the electricity or gas it carried. Most places?

The closest I've seen is where the electric company will allow you to pay MORE for electricity that is provided by another company over their wires. In Oregon, we have three or four "greener" energy providers you can select, and every one of them costs more. Competition? Ha.

Now, there is a "public" utility south of here that does the electricity, but they, too, both maintain and sell. Being public would seem like they're more "customer" oriented, but there is currently a battle going on over smart electric meters. A lot of the public doesn't want them because they are skeered of the radiation but the company is still installing them.

That is, your phone calls used to require a dedicated line(s) between you and the call recipient - a line you had total and exclusive access to for the duration of the call. ... Now we're switching more to a VoIP model where voice traffic is sent as data packets over shared pipes,

The last mile always has been dedicated, if perhaps a bit shorter than a mile today compared to copper pairs from the CO. Telephone service has for a very long time been multiplexed/shared over common pipes once it got off the dedicated wire. That's still true for VoIP.

The main difference is that the switching system is not mandated by where the distant end of the dedicated line ends under VoIP. You can buy VoIP from several companies and that data will traverse the dedicated line where your copper POTS wire rant to one CO owned by your telecom provider.

Comment: Re:How will it work? (Score 1) 164

by Obfuscant (#48934229) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

It will simply refuse to keep flying forward.

Simple solution then: spin the quad 180 degrees and fly backwards. Unlike RC fixed wing aircraft, just because you can see the ass end of the quad doesn't mean it is flying away from you.

Geofencing is something that has been around a while and it's actually quite a good feature if you want to hand the remote to someone's kid or something to play with. Then they can't fly it away.

There is a significant ethical and technical difference between an optional setting on a UAV that doesn't let it fly more than X distance from "home" and a mandatory prohibition on flying anywhere within 10,000 or so locations programmed into the device by the manufacturer.

Not only is the latter a huge amount of data to store (controlled airspace around airports is often not just a circle X nm from ground to class A (18,000 feet), it can be an inverted wedding cake with cutouts or extensions), but it will require constant updates. The glass cockpit systems I fly require an update every 45 days (I think it is, I am not the one doing them) for legal reasons. And this will be done for the $100 quad you buy from Walmart? Nonsense.

That still leaves the ethical question of whether people like sjbe get to tell everyone else what they do and don't need to be able to do and thus what they do and don't have any right to do.

Comment: Re:kinda illegal already, by a rule referring to a (Score 1) 164

by Obfuscant (#48934057) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

The FAA and the ARRL (American Radio Relay League - amateur radio) work closely together and the ARRL is even responsible for first line enforcement.

That is complete nonsense. ARRL has no enforcement authority for anything, either with the FAA (why would it?) or the FCC (which is what I think you meant.)

The ARRL is a VEC (volunteer examiner coordinator) which gives them a pipeline into the ULS (uniform licensing system) database for licensing, but they have zero enforcement function. They aren't a frequency coordinator so they don't even get authority to resolve interference issues.

The ARRL can notify hams of alleged rule violations all they want (through the OO -- official observer -- program), but they cannot demand a response nor can they tell hams to stop doing anything. They cannot show up on a ham's doorstep demanding access to the "station" or its records. They have no more power in that area than anyone else -- including your next door neighbor. They're a lobbying group when it comes to regulation of amateur radio. That's all.

Comment: Re:What are you planning to do? (Score 2) 164

by Obfuscant (#48933381) Attached to: Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

I'm merely responding to the fellow who seems uncomfortable with the notion of making a product intentionally unflyable in restricted airspace.

My backyard, despite being within 5 nm of an airport, is NOT restricted airspace and there is no danger to any White House or manned aircraft. You don't know what "restricted airspace" is, so stop flapping your gums about what is and isn't safe within it.

This "mandatory update" from DJI is patent bullshit, as is the argument that trained knowlegable pilots must be protected from killing people in major airliners by making the product non-functional in certain places.

For the record, I fly both manned and unmanned aircraft and know for a fact that there are safe places to fly quads that are within controlled airspace, which is much more common than restricted airspace -- where there are also safe flight areas.

Comment: Re:That'll stop the terrorists! (Score 1) 235

by Obfuscant (#48919505) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

It isn't up to politicians to think about what they're proposing. It's up to the people they serve to agree or disagree with it.

I can't tell if you are being sarcastic here or not. You think it is better for politicians to pass all kinds of nonsensical laws without thinking about them, and then let the people go to court to get the laws overturned? (Just disagreeing with a law doesn't stop it from being a law, you actually have to do something based on that disagreement. Just voting your rep out also doesn't remove the laws he voted for.)

Are you seriously suggesting that it was better for the Patriot Act to be passed into law without serious thought (or the DOMA, or the DMCA) and then have a lot of people disagree with the law?

Comment: Re:I have a simple legitimate solution to the prob (Score 1) 180

The assets of the company do not vanish instantly as the stock price drops.

The value of the company drops as the stock price drops, and the stock price drops as soon as it becomes obvious that customers are all cancelling their service.

Once we have 51% of the vote we can vote in a new consumer friendly board of directors to fire the current executives.

And as you're getting all the little people to buy this 51% over a three year period, large companies who would love to take over the areas served by Comcast are buying stock at the same bargain-basement rates you are. They can afford it. The people you want to buy stock are having to cancel service so they have enough money to buy stock. You'll never make 51%.

I can safely predict, if you cut the price of a share of Comcast today by 50% TW would be tendering a takeover offer before COB. They'd be fools not to, and you just don't have the money to compete with them.

It has the worst customer service and only maintains it function by being a monopoly.

So why hasn't another company come in and taken all the customers away from them? Because as much as you hate them and think their service is bad, too many other people just don't care. They get service, they pay their bill, they watch their programs. That points out that you are likely to get less than 0.1% of the customers to follow you in your cancel service/buy stock plan, which would turn a three year plan into a 3000 year plan.

1st question. You don't upgrade during the transition you upgrade after. Just the roughly 2 billion they paid in dividends could be put to use.

If they have no customers they have no dividends, and they have no cash flow to upgrade after the transition. Maybe you don't understand how the stock market works, but when you buy 51% of a company's stock the money doesn't go to the company, it goes to the people who owned the stock. Where do you get the money for all this upgraded hardware when nobody is paying for the service? You expect the stockholders to dump more money into the company when they've had to cancel their service to be able to afford what they've already bought?

2nd Tv is already dead is is all out IP bandwidth.

TV is hardly dead, and I have no idea what you mean by anything after that.

The last mile doesn't have to be fiber coax is just fine.

You don't have to buy out Comcast to get that. We've got that here. Fiber backbone, coax to the house. Nobody had to cancel service or buy stock.

Also I don't want them to magically maintain a company with no customers, I want the executives fired and the middle management fired and rebuild a customer centric customer own utility.

And your method of getting to the firing of the executives was for people to cancel their service and buy stock. Three years of no subs will definitely require some magic if the company doesn't go under in that time.

It not a pipe dream it a well worn business model.

Sure it is, but not by your means of getting there. You get there by getting the investors together and buying the working company. You don't try to drive the company into the ground, buy the remnants, and then claim success.

It would take a fortune to rebuild Comcast as a "customer owned utility" once you kill it off over a three year period. And now there's a question that needs another answer: how much stock must someone own before they can get service from their customer-owned utility? It sounds like getting service from this new company would be a very expensive proposition. Or you don't mean "customer owned", you mean "owned by people you think care enough to run things the way you want them to."

3rd Lessig Nader is a joke.

Those are the names you promoted as being the new bosses. I think it is a joke, too.

4th it doesn't have to go completely bankrupt, all we need is 51%.

And three years of no customers because they're all buying stock instead won't result in a bankruptcy. Sure. You'll never make it to 51% because TW will buy out Comcast just for the franchises long before your three year project is complete, and the faster you're able to buy stock as the price drops, the sooner the TW buyout will happen. If TW doesn't buy it all, smart stock fund managers will see fire-sale prices for a company they know will rebound eventually and they'll be buying the stock in large blocks. They won't share your concern for customer service, they'll be bottom-line guys looking for ROI. That may mean selling off the markets to some other large cable company and liquidating the original company, since by the time your three year plan is over, the only real assets will be the franchises.

But you'll never get everyone to drop service and buy stock, so it's a pipe dream anyway. It's also a failed thought experiment, so it's not even a nice pipe dream. A pipe-nightmare for the remaining customers -- those who haven't given up cable because they want the live and local services and are now paying exorbitant prices as the fixed costs are shared among fewer customers.

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 461

by Obfuscant (#48918467) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

I suspect traffic circles ("roundabouts") would be a great solution

In my state, traffic circles and roundabouts are two different things that appear nearly identical but operate differently. For example, in a roundabout traffic in the circular roadway has the right of way over traffic trying to enter. In a traffic circle exactly the opposite is true: traffic in the circle has to yield to traffic waiting to enter. Sounds stupid, but that's the law. I treated a traffic circle like a roundabout one fine evening and wound up with a hefty ticket.

Comment: Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (Score 1) 180

As opposed to only getting to hear the ones paid for by the elite ruling class?

You have it 100% backwards. Under the current system if you've got enough money to pay for an ad, you can do that. (With the exception of certain ads that applies to all.) If you can get people together to pay for your ads, you can do that. Citizen's United kept that possible. (CU wasn't a new thing, it reiterated an existing concept called "free speech" even for people who are members of a group.)

Under a public campaign financing system where ads are paid for by the public and money is limited to those who have met some popularity contest, all you'll get to hear are ads from those who the "elite ruling class" have decided pass the test. Independent voices will go away because they won't get the money authorized to buy ads. Unpopular opinions are not wanted and must be silenced.

I'm sorry if all you listen to today are the ads paid for by the "elite ruling class", but my radio and TV carry all kinds of ads from people who haven't passed the popularity contests during campaign season. Yes, I'd love it if there was a prohibition on this seemingly endless stream of nonsense from people I know are lying (feel free to apply that to whichever party you think it applies to), but I realize that it only lasts a couple of weeks and that any "solution" to the problem would be worse than the problem it's trying to solve. Perhaps that's because I understand that the First Amendment isn't there to protect speech that is popular, it's there for unpopular speech.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein