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Comment: Re:Problem traced (Score 2) 47

by plover (#47437271) Attached to: Chinese Hackers Infiltrate Firms Using Malware-Laden Handheld Scanners

The "scanner" portion of these devices is typically an embedded system that drives a hardware sensor, and speaks USB out the back side. You could probably open one up, solder a cable to the right points on the scanner board, and you'd have exactly the simple and transparent scanner you requested.

But because the business wants a truckload (no pun intended) of functionality out of these scanners, they need it to have more capabilities. First, it needs to be on the network, or it won't give them any benefit. Next, it needs to be multi-tasking so it can display alerts, etc. Its primary task may be to inventory the stuff coming off a truck, its other tasks may include assigning work items to line employees, displaying alerts on the supervisors' screens, punching the timeclock for breaks, and possibly even employee email. To a lot of businesses, a browser based interface lets them run whatever kind of functions they want, without the expense of continually pushing a bunch of apps out to a bunch of random machines. So taking all that together, embedded XP is one (bloated) way of meeting all that.

So while the scanner itself is simple, it's the rest of the hardware in the device that was infested with XP and other malware.

Comment: Re:Alternate use for this technology (Score 1) 146

by Trepidity (#47434271) Attached to: DARPA Successfully Demonstrates Self-Guiding Bullets

That would require some target-identification, while this is just target-tracking. You point at a target and shoot, and the system makes sure the target is hit. Now it could avoid any target you try to shoot at, but that would be a bit silly: a good way to make sure all your bullets miss is to just not fire them!

Comment: Re:It's only fair (Score 2) 133

They're scared of Aereo because it will just increase the number of people cutting the cord with traditional media vendors. They want to keep the $80/month entertainment tax rather than let people have a $20/month alternative.

Normally you would expect broadcaster to not mind where their royalties come from, except that most of the broadcasters are owned by the cable companies.

Comment: Re:Wait a minute... (Score 1) 153

by Darinbob (#47433927) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

It sounds funny, but with many over the counter remedies there is a gradual increase in danger. Ie, if you take too much aspirin you get intestinal irritation and bleeding that gradually gets worse as you take more. With acetominophen/tylenol you go from being fine to being hospitalized very quickly. Even one or two tablets beyond the "do not exceed" on the label is very dangerous. Yet most consumers take the "do not exceed" numbers as the proper dosage that they should be taking.

Comment: Re:And good luck asking for APAP-free medicine! (Score 1) 153

by Darinbob (#47433851) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

That's the thing, doctors just don't know this stuff. Even with acetominophen they don't realize how dangerous it is, and only by studying mortality records at hospitals were people discovering a major connection. Even more bizarre is the association between "Tylenol" and "safe", so that parents have overmedicated their children thinking that nothing can possibly be wrong with such a safe medicine.

Comment: Re:Wait a minute... (Score 1) 153

by Darinbob (#47433797) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

It IS a very dangerous drug which. Ironically it became successful as the "safe" alternative to aspirin it is much more deadly. A huge problem is with children's versus infants dosages. There have been decades of delays getting accurate dosage information onto the bottles. The fiction that this is a safe drug is being actively maintained by the major manufacturer's like Tylenol. It was only considered safe in the early days because so little information was known about it.

We're not talking about just anything that can potentially be harmful if you use too much, but which is *deadly* if using only a slight amount above the listed maximum daily dosage. Children die from this every year. Irritation of intestinal lining from aspirin is minor in comparison to irreversible liver damage.

Comment: Not any more. (Score 1) 468

I do not use onboard computer DACs. Never found one that I liked.

Yes I am insanely fussy about sound quality compared to most folks.

It used to be that I would get a sound card in order to get digital sound out. SPDIF so I could run it through a nice external DAC (typical good ones cost about $1K and up.).

Nowadays that isn't needed any more. Integrated sound almost always comes with SPDIF out, and most external DACs have USB capability. So I don't need sound cards to get the sound into my DAC these days.

Comment: better map link (Score 4, Informative) 79

by Trepidity (#47428477) Attached to: SpaceX Wins FAA Permission To Build a Spaceport In Texas

If you can't read the scaled-down map reproduced from the report in the linked blog post, you can either look on p. 54 of the PDF, or else here's the site on OpenStreetMap. It appears it's not just that they're being given permission for the launches, but also that they're being given use of the land: the approved launch site is Texas state-owned land in Boca Chica State Park, which they'll be allowed to construct a facility on, and use for a certain number of days/year.

Comment: Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (Score 2) 199

Yes there was the feeling that pulling out would cause the deaths to be in vain, however it was pretty clear to many that there was no practical hope of "winning" and that it would just kill more people (of which the Americans were just a small fraction).

The draft is really what got us out of it. People did not like that their children were dying because of a unlucky draw at the draft office, and yes there were a lot of rich kids unable to get out of service. Today it's different because most of those volunteer soldiers are poor (or not even citizens) and so don't register very high on the concern list of politicians.

"Be *excellent* to each other." -- Bill, or Ted, in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

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