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Comment: Re:E-mail client? (Score 4, Insightful) 81

by PTBarnum (#49773141) Attached to: Attackers Use Email Spam To Infect Point-of-Sale Terminals

In a small business, the owner/manager may well be sitting at the POS terminal to help customers, but also doing other business tasks in between. It would be great if they had different computers for this, but there may not be space/budget for that.

In a larger system, there might be general purpose computers sitting on the same network as the POS system without proper firewalls between them. So the malware hits a general purpose system first, then uses that platform to attack the POS.

Comment: Re:Largest known? (Score 1) 72

The light from the most distant objects we see has travelled about 13 billion light years to reach us. During the intervening 13 billion years, the expansion of the universe means that those objects would now be 46 billion light years away. So which number you use depends on how you want to define the size. I like the 13 billion number because it doesn't depend on any definition of simultaneity.

Source: http://www.space.com/24073-how...

Comment: Re:This video is not available due to geographical (Score 2) 94

by PTBarnum (#48840771) Attached to: Ridley Scott Adapts Philip K. Dick's 'Man in the High Castle' For Amazon

I hate geographic restrictions also, but you are taking a very narrow definition of "unavailable" that defies common usage. If there is no legal way to acquire something, it is not available. The fact that this is a choice Amazon is making and could make differently does not change the fact that it is not currently available to you.

Comment: Re:About 4x beyond current production. (Score 2) 260

by PTBarnum (#47513787) Attached to: Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

I looked at http://www.amsc.com/pdf/PM3000...

The spec sheet claims "power density of up to 130 W/in. (7.9 W/cm)"

But I also see:
Dimensions 38.2in*19.8in*18.7in = 14100 in^3
AC Power 690V * 750A = 520000 VA
Density: 37 VA/in^3 (also an upper bound on W/in^3)

What is the justification for the 130 W/in^3 claim?

Comment: Re:Tracking Needs to be Illegal (Score 2) 189

by PTBarnum (#45895509) Attached to: Carmakers Keep Data On Drivers' Locations From Navigation Systems

Getting a signature on a piece of paper is a bit impractical in the internet age, don't you think?

Would this prevent sites from counting how many visiters their site received? How about the number of visiters using Comcast? How about the number of visiters using Comcast in Dallas? The number of visiters with IP 142.14.8.63?

Would this mean that Amazon's fraud team would have to shut down, because they look for suspicious pattens of activity? For that matter, would credit card companies be able to do fraud analysis on your purchase history? Would they even be able to send you a bill?

The right to be forgotten is a good goal, but there are a lot of messy details to be worked out.

Comment: Re:Obligatory note: the USPS is intentionally brok (Score 1) 258

by PTBarnum (#45393623) Attached to: US Postal Service To Make Sunday Deliveries For Amazon

As I understand it, for regulated services USPS is not allowed to offer any negotiated prices to any company. Sunday delivery is presumably an unregulated add-on, but for normal weekday package delivery Amazon has to pay the same prices as any other shipper. One way Amazon gets around that is by using their own trucks to move packages as close to the consumer as possible, then mailing the package only a short distance. The post office can also unofficially rebate money by doing joint advertising.

Comment: Re:Sunrise (Score 4, Interesting) 545

by PTBarnum (#45312663) Attached to: A Plan To Fix Daylight Savings Time By Creating Two National Time Zones

Of course if we start schools later, parents will want their work schedules later too. And if we do that, stores will need to adjust their hours to accomodate both employees and customers, and evening entertainment will probably want to start later. Coordinating all of that sounds tricky, so what if we just get together and chose an arbitrary date on which we will all start things an hour later?

Comment: NSA doing its job (Score 1) 242

by PTBarnum (#45181393) Attached to: NSA Hacked Email Account of Mexican President

Spying on foreign governments is pretty much the job description of the NSA. Spying on domestic communications is something they get away with, spying on foreign communications is what they were created to do.

I imagine the Mexican government will be publicly shocked to learn these details, but their counterintelligence teams have likely privately detected and thwarted other US hacking attempts.

Comment: Re:Covering butt (Score 2) 125

by PTBarnum (#44589349) Attached to: Amazon Forbids Crossing State Lines With Rented Textbooks

Oddly enough, computers are not typically good at making complex judgement calls, like determining whether or not a given product is "food" under the arcane definitions in various cities, counties, and states. That requires a person to research the product, research the law, and apply the latter to the former.

Years ago, before Amazon changed to supporting sales taxes, there was an effort by several online retailers to negotiate with states to create a uniform set of taxable categories, so products could be classified once, and only the tax rate would be variable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Regrettably, this effort did not succeed.

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