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Comment: Re:backup for 911 (Score 1) 109

by evilviper (#48210307) Attached to: Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

In FIOS areas, it's no longer possible to get a POTS landline. You can get a phone service over FIOS, but it's subject to wall-power being available, and you're using the same E-911 system as normal VoIP or cell phone services, anyhow. It's the FCC that's to blame for me not having a landline.

Also, there's no reason cellular 911 service shouldn't be ultra-reliable. There are 4 different nationwide carriers in the US. What are the odds that all 4 of them will have ALL their overlapping cell towers in an area knocked-out? That does happen, today, but ONLY because the FCC pussied-out on requiring them to have backup generators in each cell tower, and lets them just keep a few backup batteries in there for short power outages.

And if some event damages the fiber-optic line to my house, there's no chance I'm fixing it... At least with a cell phone I have the option of climbing onto higher-ground and trying to get a signal from a more remote tower, or even just SMS texting emergency services (coming real-soon-now) and hoping.

With ad-hoc WiFi in cell phones, people may soon be able to self-assemble into their own wireless network that spans whole cities, after a disaster knocks-out all other local service. Try that with your land-line.

Comment: Pre-mapped environments are a dead end (Score 3, Interesting) 133

by fyngyrz (#48209057) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

The only way a car can be designed to safely self-drive is doing it just the way we do: by creating a local, up-to-date mapping of the surrounding area in real time and working within that representation with sufficient skill to respond to anything that might appear.

Pre-existing environmental mapping simply cannot keep up. Construction, pets crossing the road, wild animals, falling rocks, pedestrians, vandalism of road signs and traffic indicators and lane painting, washouts, drunks, heart attacks, stinging insects, oversize loads swinging around traffic lights and signs, special transports, some guy at the side of the road madly waving a hand-printed sign that says "BRIDGE IS OUT!"... the list of unpredictable effects upon the local driving environment seems almost endless -- and keep in mind these things can occur in combinations of more than one type and more than one incident. Often suddenly.

Further, if the car is smart enough to be capable of updating the environmental map in real time and deal with any combination of changes, then it's already smart enough to maintain a completely dynamic local mapping and doesn't need a pre-existing mapping for anything but gross navigational purposes (route planning) and even that can require the vehicle to adapt.

Contrariwise, if it isn't smart enough to maintain a full local environmental mapping, then it is inherently unsafe.

Someone(s) at Google didn't think this one through.

Comment: Re:The good news (Score 1) 521

by Obfuscant (#48209051) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.
Except Dish didn't brick just pirate hardware. They bricked my personally owned Dish network box about fifteen minutes after I called up to cancel service. My personal property, which I should have been able to sell to someone else so they could get Dish service if they wanted it, useless. It would be exactly like Comcast bricking your personally owned cable modem scant minutes after you cancel their service, preventing you from selling it to someone else to use with their cable provider.

Comment: Re:Government Dictionary (Score 1) 227

by Obfuscant (#48208965) Attached to: Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals

Words like "entrapment" do not change definitions,

Words change meaning all the time, and you cannot predict which ones will or will not in advance, dude. See what I did there? I used a word which has changed meaning.

But it doesn't matter if "entrapment" WILL change meanings, you've already shown that it has multiple meanings, only one of which should be covered by a law against entrapment. I thought that would have been clear when I used your own list of definitions to show you that.

The court ruling dictated that a certain segment of society (The "State") does not have to abide by the same rules as everyone else in society.

This is a completely different issue than what I replied to, which was your claim that the law should not define the words it uses, it should use common usage definitions. But in any case, no, that's not what the court said. It is not illegal for the police to entrap you, but it is an affirmative defense against the charge they have entrapped you into.

If you can not comprehend why two forms of justice are not possible in a "Free" society shame on you.

Since I wasn't talking about this mythical "two forms of justice", just the part where you claimed that legal definitions should be based on the standard dictionary, you're just resorting to ad hominem when you got caught with your pants down. Yep, I called you a nutter, but that wasn't part of my argument why you were wrong. I went ahead and said explicitly why you are wrong. I'm sorry you didn't comprehend that.

and yes we have had brief conversations previously where you demonstrate an adolescent level of dialogue.

You're projecting, now.

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 1) 72

by drinkypoo (#48208807) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Founder Demos Touchscreen Display For DIY Kits

but you can't really run a temperature controlled fan stoker for a BBQ pit from a tablet either, which

Of course you can. There's lots of ways to do that, including hacking into the audio hardware. I'd probably just use an old phone though, and not a whole tablet. You don't need that much screen for that job. Most devices have some GPIO on board, which can be used with some effort, but using the audio hardware is much easier. Use one of the many phones with USB OTG, and connect up a cheap MCU to do the USB-to-GPIO work.

Comment: Re:After whast happened to Odroid-w, why? (Score 0) 72

by drinkypoo (#48208791) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Founder Demos Touchscreen Display For DIY Kits

rPI is Not an open hardware project and never claimed to be.

Nonsense. They claimed to be generally open, hardware and software. Then it was pointed out that important parts of the software were so closed you couldn't even use them. Eventually it was opened up enough so that you could use them, but all the important parts except the interface (which was originally closed) remain secret sauce. They also claimed to use all documented interfaces, but provided inadequate documentation for the display and camera connectors for a seriously long time as well.

They absolutely claimed to be promoting an open platform originally. They also made lots of other claims they never came through on, like that they would release Android for the device.

All the hacking people are using it for is welcome, but wasn't what they were going after in the beginning. You can't just copy other peoples closed source hardware.

Yes, you can, unless it's patent-protected.

Comment: Re:The good news (Score 1) 521

by Obfuscant (#48208779) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

You can buy FTDI-branded serial converters from mainstream vendors, there's no need to buy Chinese copycat crap.

And you can buy Chinese copycat crap from mainstream vendors, too. So what does the customer do? He walks into Fry's, sees a USB to serial adapter on the rack, and asks a Fry's droid "is this Chinese copycat crap?" The Fry's droid is going to know? I've asked such people what the chip in such devices is (so I can avoid Prolific) and most of them have zero clue. They wouldn't know how to spell FTDI if it was written on the box. So what do they say? "Why no, sir, we don't sell Chinese copycat crap here." And you get a bricked adapter when you plug it in.

I've done this same thing with other devices, notably firewire cards where I want only Agere and never VIA or whatever. I've asked, and then had to open the box and sometimes pull the firmware version sticker off the chip to see ... because the sales people have no clue what's inside the magic boxes, they just know the magic boxes are great and good and you should buy many of them.

Comment: Re:Not right (Score 1) 521

by drinkypoo (#48208765) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Car analogy: If you bought a Frod, and took it to Ford Dealer and they put in a Motorcraft Oil Filer that damages your FROD because it isn't a Ford, is Ford Responsible because all you cared about was the Frod Car was cheaper on eBay?

but this is Ford installing a Motorcraft oil filter which was designed not to open if it was connected to a Frod, not one which just happens to not open in that condition. There's a massive difference there, and the difference is one of intent.

Comment: Re:FUD? (Score 1) 521

by drinkypoo (#48208751) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

From the article, the fakes are not bricked it is just their device ID is changed to 0. FTDI are simply saying this isn't one of our chips so we won't let it work with our driver.

Or your OS, which will refuse to deal with the device, assuming that it has failed or is otherwise exhibiting bad behavior.

Those manufacturers that include fake chips will end up with a lot of returns and might reconsider using fakes.

Most of those manufacturers will just close their doors, change their name, and open them again, and the users will end up contacting FTDI, or just giving up.

Comment: Re:Sure, blame FTDI (Score 1) 521

by drinkypoo (#48208735) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Ok, so the cloners copy the design (that FTDI paid for),

Reverse engineering for the purposes of interoperability is critical to scientific development. Here in the USA, it is an activity which is explicitly protected.

steal the VID (that FTDI paid for),

It's not theft, because they're not depriving them of it.

and then by clear intention, use the FTDI driver (that FTDI paid for),

The user uses the FTDI driver.

and you say FTDI started a war?

Yes, but a war on users, some of whom deliberately set out to buy FTDI hardware. They won't make that mistake again.

Really? Good for FTDI. The supply chain will get purged of the counterfeit material faster this way then any lawsuit could.

That's probably true. However, they're going to have a whole lot of lawsuits coming their way in response, and those lawsuits will be from users of their chips.

Comment: Re:On the other hand... (Score 1) 521

by drinkypoo (#48208683) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

No, it's because if they release a firmware that just refuses to work, the people that made these fakes will just release hacked drivers, based on FTDI's.

No, they won't. If they were prepared to do that, they would be doing it already. They're not even distributing drivers in most cases, and it's left as an exercise to the user to download it, or the manufacturer of the device which uses the chip to include it. They're counting on not getting busted for the copyright violation of marking FTDI on top of the chip, and not risking getting busted for distributing the driver.

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