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Comment: Re:Boston Representing (Score 1) 392

by Phreakiture (#48917225) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

One of the local weathermen (in the Albany, NY area) was laughing last night over the fact that the four different predictive models they use had thrown four radically different outcomes, ranging from 0.5" to 21" for our area. It isn't even that there was an outlier amongst the models -- the outcomes were fairly evenly distributed. Looking at it right now, it looks like their in-house model, which predicted 0.5-3", was the correct one for this storm.

Now, that said, it generally looked like this was going to be south and east of us, and that NYC was going to get clobbered. It seems to me as though it just went a bit further east than originally anticipated.

Comment: Re:why the fuck (Score 2) 101

I don't see this as any different than any other MVNO deal. All four major carriers already have a number of deals with fifth-party carriers (e.g. TracFone, Cricket, StraightTalk, Republic Wireless, etc). and if Google wants to get into the MVNO business, then it makes perfect sense to sell to them. Why? Because if they don't buy from you, then they'll just buy from someone else.

MVNO deals produce less revenue per minute or megabyte than retail sales, it is true, but they also take a slice of the risk of dealing with retail customers off of the network owner and put it onto the MVNO. Think of it as bundling in reverse.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 290

by Phreakiture (#48859929) Attached to: Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

Taken from the manufacturer's website (emphasis added):

Wall Penetration

RANGE- R will penetrate most common building wall, ceiling or floor types including poured concrete, concrete block, brick, wood, stucco glass, adobe, dirt, etc. However, It will not penetrate metal. RANGE-R will generally penetrate up to one foot of wall thickness without adverse effects. While small metal objects embedded in walls (i.e. rebar, conduits, etc.) usually do not inhibit operation, a large enough metal object can impair operation. When this happens, the wisest course of action is to make more than one scan from different locations (move a few feet) for confirmation. If a porous wall is saturated with water, performance can also be degraded due to excessive absorption of the radar energy.

It seems a layer of sheet metal just behind the drywall would be a Good Thing. It may resolve some other problems as well.

Comment: Re:Don't forget there's always a workaround (Score 1) 179

by Phreakiture (#48823853) Attached to: Marriot Back-Pedals On Wireless Blocking

Bluetooth is also a possibility but I think it would be slower than USB.

I can confirm tha tyou are correct on both points: It works for this purpose, and it is slower than USB. It might solve the tablet problem, though. I say might because i haven't tried it, but I have tried laptop to phone via BT.

Comment: Re:Sorta related... the teletype machine (Score 1) 790

by Phreakiture (#48795129) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Lucky you.

About a year ago, I started getting fax calls to my phone at all hours of the day and night. Worse, they were from a large number of different sources. As if that weren't bad enough, most of these sources were international, leading to garbled CID, if any CID at all, making it impossible to put a block on them (the form to block a number wouldn't accept any numbers not of the US-standard NPA-NXX-XXXX format). It was fucking ridiculous.

Comment: Re:It's in the image (Score 1) 187

by Phreakiture (#48675619) Attached to: Human Eye's Oscillation Rate Determines Smooth Frame Rate

There has been a trend in the last decade or so for the shutter speeds to be faster, plus the heavy use of CGI has resulted in razor-sharp images where motion blur would have been better.

To demonstrate this, and that it spans genres, Blade Trinity and Drumline come to mind immediately. In the former case, the CGI was too razor-sharp when viewed in a cinema, and it made it difficult to watch. In the later, there are scenes where the band are performing in bright daylight, and the fast shutter speeds made the movement of the conductor's arms and baton look jittery.

Comment: Re:Easier way to stop wrecks (Score 1) 285

by Phreakiture (#48652483) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

This works until the city council sees the potential revenue strem form red light cameras. Then the cameras come, and the revenue stream doesn't materialize. Then they start ratcheting down the yellow-light hang time. Then away goes the delay you are talking about (which we have here in New York as well, except for very old lights at some intersections) and then you have a red-light trap.

The City of Albany, NY has just decided to put in red light cameras and then wrote up the budget based on the anticipated revenue. I have to drive through Albany to get to work, and I am grateful that I'm on the highway and not in the clusterfuck that this will very quickly become.

Comment: Re:Aerial or underground ? (Score 1) 516

by Phreakiture (#48466455) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

There's a second question that has to be asked as well. In some neighbouhoods, the electrical service is run through the back yards, rather than the front. This was done for obvious aesthetic purposes, but the side-effect is that it is exceptionally difficult to keep those lines maintained.

Then there's a third question: what is the level of the local infrastructure? 2400V? 7200V? 13.2kV? Single-phase or three-phase? While a 2400V single-phase neighbourhood can have more stable power than a 13.2kV three-phase one, the likelihood is the other way around because the 2400V wiring is probably older.

For the record, my neighbourhood is 13.2kV single-phase, above ground. It is not 100% problem free, but I would estimate it to be well over 99%, based on my desktop computer without a UPS rarely being found in a powered-down state.

Comment: Re:Evolution of payments (Score 1) 130

by Phreakiture (#48317377) Attached to: American Express Seeks To Swap Card Numbers For Secure Tokens

Perhaps so, however, there was no assumption in my model that the device was a smartphone, nor any assumption that it had any kind of connectivity. Your model requires it, while mine would still allow for the payment device to be a card if that is the user's preferred option.

There is also no reason why these two approaches couldn't be implemented on the same POS system.

Now, the obvious question is why am I not requiring it to be a phone. The answers:

  • You want to encourage participation from those who do not have smartphones, or even phones at all, because the magstripe cards they are currently carrying are now demonstrated to be a security disaster. Enabling them to use a smart card instead keeps the object familiar.
  • You want to allow for folks (like me) who do not want to give their credit card details to Google or Apple.
  • You want to prevent your carrier from dictating your options, something you can put safely out of their control if you can use a device other than your smartphone.
  • You want to have options that are less hackable . . . kind of the point. A contact card sitting in your wallet is powered down. Short of dissection, you can't hack something that is powered down.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl