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Comment: When it's useful info, people listen and heed (Score 2) 406

by Goldenhawk (#48142919) Attached to: Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

Some years back I had the pleasure of flying Qantas, the Australian airline. Since we left from LAX, we were subjected to the American routine anyhow. Despite already being a seasoned traveler, I clearly remember elements of the brief - because it was entertaining, not formulaic, and loaded with real useful information. For example, even though I am an aerospace engineer with Aviation Physiology training in a high altitude chamber for government test flights, this tidbit was news to me:

If you see those silly yellow masks fall down in front of your face, you may be tempted to help little Johnny put on his mask first. Here's the problem: we're cruising at 35,000 feet today. If the plane loses cabin pressure, you'll have about 12 seconds of useful consciousness left. Now how useful do you think you'll be to little Johnny if he's sitting there with his mask on and mom and dad are both unconscious? So do us all a favor. Be selfish. Put your own mask on first. Then you'll have plenty of oxygen to help the people around you wake up again from their little unexpected nap, just in time to enjoy the rest of the emergency.

Wow. I never knew that. I've NEVER forgotten it. Oh, and thanks, I don't need to hear it five or six times a year again to remember it either... so that's why I'm not paying strict attention...

Comment: Asymmetric eye prescriptions (Score 1) 550

by Goldenhawk (#47527447) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

I naturally have one 20-20 eye and one 20-200 eye (corrected with a single contact to 20-15), and I'm now 45 years old. When I asked about laser eye surgery maybe 10 years ago, my eye doctor said "NO. Don't do it. In a few years you'll appreciate that eye that's currently near-sighted." And I do. As I am slowly creeping up on the "arms too short" syndrome, I can still see closer with my nearsighted eye.

Comment: The K government is already planning to help (Score 1) 240

by cheros (#46386485) Attached to: MtGox Sets Up Call Center For Worried Bitcoiners

From the BBC:

"HMP Grampian will also have a dedicated unit for training prisoners for a return to work when they are released. The unit will include a telephone marketing centre."

The only problem I see that being in prison already makes trying to sign you up for a scam less of a risk for the operator, but I digress :)

Comment: EU companies may break the law by using US ISPs (Score 2) 115

by cheros (#46276799) Attached to: French, German Leaders: Keep European Email Off US Servers

EU Data Protection laws require a company to protect the privacy of the people it receives email from. Now the fallacy of the Safe Harbor agreement has become clear, using US providers means knowingly placing privacy in jeopardy.

Silicon Valley has a MASSIVE problem on its hands in this context: even if a US company WANTED to protect client information (and let's be honest, lots of them actually do), they are legally not in a position to do so. The biggest problem is that this is a legal issue, and that will take at least a decade to fix...

Comment: Re:England + "Math" = Insult! (Score 1) 112

by cheros (#46238573) Attached to: Can Electric Current Make People Better At Math?

Lets put some electricity through someone's head and see what happens, or, drink a Red Bull for the same effect.

Not *quite* the same effect - it depends if your specific brain makeup is susceptible to stimulants, for the same reason that speed, sorry, Ritalin doesn't work for everyone either. Cranial stimulation is a further development of neurofeedback, where instead of just waiting for a brain region to do its thing, they take the next step and actually prod it into action.

I wonder how much treatment is needed to "set" the trained brain switching behaviour. Standard neurofeedback is quite quickly visible as beneficial once you've hit the right spot, but to really lock in the new behaviour takes 20+ sessions - it's a bit like training muscles.

I guess using a bigger battery won't help :)

Comment: Re:hacks against contactless? (Score 2) 146

by Goldenhawk (#45849995) Attached to: How to Avoid a Target-Style Credit Card Security Breach (Video)

My American family spent about a week in Canada and never once had our card merely swiped - every single terminal was a push-click chip-n-pin setup. They looked at us funny when we said nobody in America uses them yet. But it still worked with our non-chip cards. So apparently while all the terminals are chip-n-pin, they don'all have to ACT like it all the time.

Comment: Re:It's true -- but only root can read them though (Score 1) 341

by cheros (#45829085) Attached to: Linux Distributions Storing Wi-Fi Passwords In Plain Text

If the attacker is already root, they have access to everything on your system anyway.

Not quite. Root access means a compromised single host. Access to a list of WiFi passwords means compromising all the WiFi networks the machine in question has been given access to, so you'd still want that encrypted.

Comment: Won't they hit the ISS on a future orbit? (Score 4, Insightful) 52

by Goldenhawk (#45483303) Attached to: ISS Astronauts Fire-Up Awesome 'Cubesat Cannon'

Won't they circle back around and hit the ISS on a future orbit? I'm no rocket scientist, but I recall the idea that anything that departs from a given point in orbit will cross it again, and two objects leaving the same orbital point will both cross it again.

Maybe solar or atmospheric drag is enough to alter the cubesat orbits, and I know the ISS orbit is raised periodically, but since they were launched FROM the ISS by expelling them, instead of having a propulsive system, both the ISS and the cubesats left a single point in space and ought to converge there again.

I'd welcome an explantion from a real rocket scientist.

Comment: Re:I think they understimate the cloud (Score 2) 292

by cheros (#44729933) Attached to: Lockbox Aims To NSA-Proof the Cloud

Yawn. Yet another tech answer to what isn't a tech problem to start with. I suspect there will be gazillions more coming your way over the next few months because all the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs want to milk that market before people realise they've been had: IT IS NOT A TECHNICAL PROBLEM.

For a US based company it is 100% pointless to install any defence mechanism if some random official can walk in and ask for corporate data - the owner has to offer the data., unlocked.

For any organisation outside the US, it should simply ask the question: what are the chances that a US based organisation will NOT have a backdoor in its technology if such can be legally prescribed? As you have seen with Lavabit and Silent Circle, there are in principle only two ways forward: comply, or close shop. I leave you to note the clear risk in using security products from those who provide security products who have not closed down yet. Note: I'm not stating that all US sourced security products HAVE been provided with a backdoor, merely that it is legally possible to force the suppliers to implement them.

Eventually, someone will realise the real risk to the US economy: it's a profound lack of trust. This will take decades to fix, mainly because it involves a fight to either repeal those emergency laws or introduce some independent transparency and supervision. Meanwhile, whole swaths of Silicon Valley people will continue to sell what is at best privacy theatre, but which also risks becoming nothing more than security theatre as well.

Because backdoors and security do not combine very well.

Comment: Re:First always on wifi, now force fed cloud print (Score 1) 135

by cheros (#44359563) Attached to: Google Launches Cloud Printer Service For Windows

Funny, that was about the first thing I thought too.

Wrt your other complaints I could, of course, observe that other platforms offer a much finer granulation of access control, even AFTER installation, but we still have to acknowledge that being asked is better than not being asked at all, as was the case before..

Comment: Wrong country.. (Score 1) 168

by cheros (#44146099) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Explaining Cloud Privacy Risks To K-12 Teachers?

I gather from your use of the "K-12" term that you're in the US (keep that in mind when you ask such questions).

Your challenge is that you're up against several decades of brainwashing to make you (and parents) believe that your privacy isn't worth anything that that it's somehow bad to insist that the state and companies respect the rights they signed up to when they accepted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (actually there's also such a thing as the right of the child, but both Somalia and the US declined to underwrite that - don't know enough about that to draw a conclusion).

You see, this is the origin of the term "free" in "free" services - all you need to give up is some privacy. So it's not free, you pay with your privacy. What is interesting is that the worst offenders have managed to turn the debate on its head.

You don't have to defend your right to privacy. It's yours, and it's supposedly inalienable. Those who want to invade your privacy have to explain themselves.

Bonus argument for parents: personal details on sites tend to be one programming mistake away from disclosure. Your guiding principle for providing anything to a 3rd party on the Internet is that it is equivalent to giving it to your worst enemy. What's worse, the Internet doesn't forget - this means you're giving information to enemies you haven't even made yet..

Comment: Re:None of them (Score 2) 391

by cheros (#44083465) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Most Secure Browser In an Age of Surveillance?

The OP is right insofar that a browser is only one part of the chain of events that ties an identity (and associated habits) to you. Even when you use something Firefox or Opera in so-called "private" mode, your traffic still originates from the same point, creating a common item between things that happen (and BTW, you should set your browser to be something else than the default "OS + browser ID").

The expensive way to address that is to route your traffic via some privacy proxy. The expensive way to do this (used by most VIPs and privacy conscious celebrities) is to use specialist companies which map this traffic via VPNs to any part of the planet. The cheap way to do this is by using Tor, but it would be decent of you to then keep your Internet use as much as possible to text as other people are paying.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown