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Comment Re:Faulty sat? No problem... (Score 1) 187

I presume you're talking about RAIM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Basically if your GPS receiver can hear more than the minimum (4 satellites usually) at once, the simultaneous equation solutions are overdetermined. This makes it possible for software to detect and ignore outliers in the solution set.

I heard of a GPS failure back in the mid 90's that caused the entire Los Angeles area CDMA cellular network to stop working - because US CDMA (as opposed to UMTS CDMA) is exceedingly sensitive to timing errors. This particular satellite went for a while sending a time that was off by exactly 12 hours. This totally borked the equation solutions (for the GPS system used in CDMA cell towers) and caused the entire CDMA airlink to go non-functional.

I was working for AT&T Wireless at the time and was asked to study this and ensure that our GPS timing equipment could not suffer this kind of failure. Our two vendors both implemented a form of RAIM - i.e. T-RAIM (where the T stands for "timing") which allows for detection of outliers, so that it would be immune to a single defective satellite.

Comment Re:Sue - Sue - Sue! (Score 2) 187

Read the Michael Crichton novel "Next". It tells a (fictional) story about bad actors "owning" the DNA of someone. I believe it is rooted in truth (most of Crichton's novels are moralistic and focused on some social or technical issue), and the gist is that a company "owned" a person's DNA because tissue removed from his body became the legal property of the hospital where it was removed (in the papers he signed prior to surgery). I may have not gotten this exactly correct (been a while since I read it), but that was my takeaway.

Good novel, too.
 

Comment Re:If Apple owns the patent (Score 1) 133

That's a fair point. It very much feels like patent abuse to obtain if the sole purpose is to deny the technique to competitors ...

Pardon me for being Captain Obvious here, but that is exactly what patents are intended to do! Patent confers intellectual property rights to the patent holder. What that patent holder chooses to (legally) do with those rights is completely up to the holder.

Haven't you ever heard the conspiracy theories about stuff like Goodyear buying the patent for a 100,000 mile tire? Or GM buying the patent for a 100 mpg car? Or the best yet, the Gubment buying patents to keep technologies out of the private sector?

Remember, before you say "pshaw!", I did qualify all of these as "conspiracy theories." The best conspiracy theory is one that is unprovable, yaknow.

Oh, and I do agree with your conclusion. Apple could be trying to keep this out of the hands of other "less ethical" companies (you know, ones that do no evil...)

Comment Yes PLEASE! (Score 1) 110

Lately I have become so frustrated with my Nexus 7 updating (and becoming essentially useless until update completes) that I am seriously contemplating getting an iPad mini just to escape Android! The only things I do with it are read Kindle books and play mahjongg. I do NOT need Google apps updated on a daily basis. Most of them I don't even know what they do!

Comment Re: Running kismet on a laptop (Score 5, Informative) 152

One of the Part 15 rules is about not interfering, and clearly that's not working out so well.

I don't believe the FCC cares about Part 15 devices interfering with other Part 15 devices. From the rules:

CFR 47 Part 15.5

(b) Operation of an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator is subject to the conditions that no harmful interference is caused and that interference must be accepted that may be caused by the operation of an authorized radio station, by another intentional or unintentional radiator, by industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) equipment, or by an incidental radiator.

(boldface is added for emphasis)

In other words, a Part 15 device that interferes with another Part 15 device is cool, since Part 15 devices are offered no protection from interference, intentional or unintentional.

The law is written so that Part 15 devices are not allowed to interfere with licensed devices.

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