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Comment: Re:I prefer a tablet for some things to a smart ph (Score 1) 297

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48925527) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

Yes, the portability is a very good thing. Using a cover with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard, I mostly use it like a netbook that has a touch screen. The touch screen allows me to include simple drawings with my notes and provides easy (2D) navigation of PDF "prints" of complex diagrams. Some things, I still need a full laptop, but most meetings, the tablet is much more convenient.

Comment: Re:It'll never happen (Score 1) 270

i..e. Sufficiently intelligent beings who have learned to travel faster than the speed of light would be totally uninterested in visiting low life forms such as humans.

"Sufficiently intelligent" does not necessarily imply the wisdom to not exploit the resources of solar systems inhabited by "low life forms".

(If there's perceived value in the resources. If not, we're probably safe from them. But we don't know what might be valuable to them. Even without "replicators", advanced material science could make our resources not needed or not worth the trouble. (Our current push to develop alternatives to rare earth metals is an example of trying to make something "not worth the trouble" to obtain.))

Comment: Re:It's just moving your trust to someone else (Score 1) 83

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48887709) Attached to: Data Encryption On the Rise In the Cloud and Mobile

You could always use several layers of encryption, written by different groups

Encrypting something already encrypted has to be done very carefully, otherwise the data is less secure, not more. In the widely known 3DES, which was used as an interim upgrade to DES before AES, the second encryption is actually done with the DES decryption function, while the first and third encryptions are done using the DES encryption function.

And when layering different algorithms, it is possible for the weaknesses of one algorithm to exacerbate the weaknesses of another algorithm. This requires understanding how the algorithms effect each other.

Also, to choose algorithms wisely requires understanding the weaknesses of the algorithms.

The vast majority of potential users of encryption will have to trust more than a few experts and other third parties.

Comment: It was the press coverage that was the disaster (Score 4, Insightful) 76

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48880981) Attached to: The Camera That Changed the Universe

Despite the slight change in the curvature of the main mirror, Hubble's images were pretty amazing. It was the press and the politicians that called it a disaster. Fortunately, that didn't prevent NASA from sending a crew to install corrective optics and a better camera.

Comment: Re:Limited power to change working situation... (Score 1) 348

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48857517) Attached to: Regular Exercise Not Enough To Make Up For Sitting All Day

Years ago, I picked up a $90, swing-arm monitor stand with keyboard tray. That holds my center monitor. When I'm doing routine documentation or coding, I can raise the monitor and keyboard and work while standing. My other 3 monitors can still be quickly consulted even while standing. Granted, I still have to sit for the intense multi-monitor design, debug or unit test sessions, but I generally need a break every hour while doing that. Most of the time, I'm switching between standing and sitting twice per hour.

Comment: Re:Not about mobile (Score 1) 489

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48851493) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

Touch makes sense for phones and tablets. It does not for laptops.

For laptops (and even desktops) whether touch makes sense depends on the application. I've seen, for example, medical apps that work well on laptops and desktops with touch screen monitors. I've also seen DJ apps that, while designed for mouse control, are easier to use with a touch screen. And where I work, the "Prototype Manufacturing" lab has switched all their monitors to touch screen monitors (keyboards and mice are still available, but a lot of the time, the techs use just the touch screens).

Comment: Re:Any experienced teacher already deals with this (Score 2) 388

Kids often know how to use something, but not how those things actually work.

In these days of "teach to the test", seems that too many schools don't care about the "how", so don't bother teaching it.

I was a very curious kid. So was my daughter. And so are my young nieces and nephews. Curiosity isn't dead, but does seem to be highly discouraged.

Comment: Re:But (Score 1) 640

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48803927) Attached to: Microsoft Ends Mainstream Support For Windows 7

I've grown to like the Start Screen and now prefer it to the craped and often poorly organized Start Menu.

I find it it easier to keep the Start Menu (and it's equivalent in LXDE/FluxBox/other in Linux) organised than anything like the Start Screen. Also easier to find less used programs. (I keep my most used programs in the "start menu" with less used programs in the cascades.)

Comment: Re:Airline anaolgy is incorrect (Score 1) 448

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48759391) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

Even so, PBS is under attack because of taxpayer funding through various means.

PBS and public TV stations in general (also public radio stations) have been under fire for many years, now. Government funding for public broadcasting has been declining for a long time. Public stations have been increasingly relying on viewer/listener support and other private funding sources. The 2 public TV and 3 public radio stations near where I live get over 90% of their funding through donations from viewers, listeners and other private entities. According to friends of mine in other areas, their public stations are similarly funded.

I suspect most public stations have been preparing for complete loss of government founding for a long time, now.

Comment: Re:Someone please aware me: (Score 1) 303

That is the first listed in the amendment: to be secure in their persons . That is how late 18th century English speaking people referred to personal privacy. Again, a matter of language, which keeps lawyers on all sides of court cases arguing over the meaning.

Your comment does highlight the concerns of the various people who wrote the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. On the one hand, some were afraid that not including rights would leave too much to interpretation. And others who were afraid that listing any rights would implicitly disparage/deny other rights that happened to not be listed. The compromise was to list some and state, via the 9th amendment, that the list was incomplete.

Comment: Re:Someone please aware me: (Score 3, Informative) 303

In the English language of the late 18th century, the 4th amendment to the US Constitution is an explicit right to privacy:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In the era, "effects" meant "possessions". Indeed, that meaning is sometimes still used, for example "personal effects".

Also, in that era, "papers" was the common term for documents, because documents were "stored" on paper, which, in turn, was often stored in filing boxes or cabinets. The fact that documents are now more often stored and sent electronically should not diminish or block them from 4th amendment protections.

As for bulk data collection, back then, they had a very limited - compared to now - concept of that. They did not (nor could they reasonably have) foreseen anything remotely like the what is possible now. But the 4th amendment is still applicable even though the wording is outdated.

(I will also mention the 9th amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.)

Human nature being what it is, people, including law enforcement, will, when it suits the purpose at hand, choose to narrow or widen their interpretation of the constitution (and other laws). Thus, lawyers will continue to endlessly argue over the meaning of each word, letter, punctuation mark, etc, of the constitution (and other laws).

Comment: Re:Hardware Security (Score 3, Interesting) 89

Your friend is most likely lying. The phones in the switch (specifically for QC) would only hear one side of the conversation. If you hear both sides, there was an echo issue (and the conversation wouldn't continue between the two parties).

If the speaker was connected to a local loop, then it would hear both sides. (While I agree it should not have been connected to a local loop, I would not be surprised if (occassionally) it was.)

Phones designed for use with traditional land lines have echo-suppression circuits. As do the equipment at the switching office. This was done to avoid the cost of a third wire and because using either earth or electrical ground was too noisy.

An old design:

A somewhat modern design:

Also, very early telephone designs did not have echo suppression. I have one that one of my grandmothers bought at an auction (a certificate of legal sale was included with the phone). In theory, it is compatible with the current land line system, though I have never tried it. It is very similar to this:

Moneyliness is next to Godliness. -- Andries van Dam