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Comment: Re:Yes it should ship! (Score 2, Insightful) 97

by Dan East (#47553777) Attached to: Samsung Delays Tizen Phone Launch

Apple didn't come from behind in the smartphone market. They created the market. Microsoft and Blackberry had the bulk of the market share, both based on old OSes that had been stagnant for quite a while with no real innovation. Blackberry didn't even offer a touch screen device yet, and Microsoft's could hardly even be used without a stylus.

Apple introduced revolutionary new hardware - capacitive based multitouch technology - which IMO was one of the primary reasons for the success of the iPhone. The other was an OS UI built from the ground up for touch interface. That was a knockout combination.

So no, Tizen doesn't have much chance unless they can bring revolutionary advancements, either hardware or software, like Apple did (and they brought both at the same time).

Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 1) 212

It sounds like this transformer had its center tap grounded and was the path to ground on one side of a ground loop as the geomagnetic field moved under pressure from a CME, inducing a common-mode current in the long-distance power line. A gas pipeline in an area of poor ground conductivity in Russia was also destroyed, it is said, resulting in 500 deaths.

One can protect against this phenomenon by use of common-mode breakers and perhaps even overheat breakers. The system will not stay up but nor will it be destroyed. This is a high-current rather than high-voltage phenomenon and thus the various methods used to dissipate lightning currents might not be effective.

Comment: Don't get too happy (Score 1) 77

by cpt kangarooski (#47537873) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

This bill actually does very little. The DMCA is written very broadly, and has been commonly interpreted as to prohibit cell phone unlocking. Because Congress, in the 90s, when they enacted the stupid thing, was aware that the DMCA could go too far, but didn't want to be cautious or have to keep reexamining the law itself, they gave authority to the Library of Congress to add exceptions to it in specific cases. The process for these exceptions is that every three years, anyone who wants an exception has to plead their case. If found worthy, they get an exception. But the exception only lasts until the next rule making session, three years hence. Then it has to be reargued from scratch or lost.

Two rule making sessions ago, the Library of Congress found that cellphone unlocking was worthy of an exception. But in the most recent rule making session, they did not find it worthy, and the exception was lost; it went back to its default state of being illegal.

This law could have amended the DMCA to permanently allow cellphone unlocking. Or it could've directed the Library of Congress to always find that cellphone unlocking is allowed. But it does neither of these.

Instead it only reinstates the rule from two sessions ago for the remainder of the current session. Next year it will have to be argued again, from scratch, to the Library of Congress, or lost, again. And even if argued, it can be rejected, again.

This is less than useless. It's only a temporary patch, it doesn't even have an iota of long term effect (the rules don't take precedent into account, and this doesn't change it), and we've wasted all this effort getting it instead of something worthwhile.

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Confusing things together (Score 4, Informative) 194

by Dan East (#47507099) Attached to: A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

The research paper discusses two entirely different things: Canvas fingerprinting, and "Evercookies & Respawning", which are two entirely different things. Canvas fingerprinting is just another method of trying to determine which browser the user is running, by looking at differences in the way the canvas renders text and the like. "fingerprinting doesn’t work well on mobile" because of the homogeneous nature of mobile devices - 90% of iOS devices are running version 7.1, for example, so they are all using the same web browser version and rendering code, thus they are going to draw canvas fingerprints exactly the same. Nothing in the research article says anything about canvas fingerprinting being used to track people.

Now the other topic "Evercookies & Respawning" is about tracking users. That is using multiple storage vectors to try and keep users from deleting cookies. For example, using tiny hidden Flash apps which have their own caching, actual cookies, HTML5 persistent storage, embedding unique identifiers directly in the HTML so when the cached page is pulled up the identifier is once again active.

So at this point canvas fingerprinting isn't about tracking, but browser identification. The leap to "A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting", as described in the Pro Publica article:

A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites, from to

First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it.

Well that's completely wrong - the bold text should read "this type of tracking, called Evercookies & Respawning". The persistent tracking has nothing to do with the canvas fingerprinting. It's mainly due to Flash (which also explains why it too is ineffective on mobile devices).

Comment: Re:Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47485313) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes


You make it sound like starving people are getting fat too.

If they are becoming obese, the particular individual has a surplus of caloric intake, if only for this year or month. This is not to say that they have proper nutrition. So I am not at all clear that the fact that there is obesity in the third world is confounding evidence.

Comment: Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47480445) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes
For most of the existence of mankind and indeed all of mankind's progenitors, having too much food was a rare problem and being hungry all of the time was a fact of life. We are not necessarily well-evolved to handle it. So, no surprise that we eat to repletion and are still hungry. You don't really have any reason to look at it as an illness caused by anything other than too much food.

Comment: Re:Wait for it... (Score 2) 752

by Dan East (#47478657) Attached to: Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

Actually, the FAA told US airlines not to fly over Crimea, because in April Russia claimed they controlled air traffic over that airspace. The FAA told US planes not to fly there because it was a convoluted, disputed mess which could lead to accidents. It had nothing to do with risk of being shot down, and that area does not (or did not until today at least) cover the area over Ukraine where this flight was shot down. That flight path would not have been restricted by the FAA.

To understand a program you must become both the machine and the program.