Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:fees (Score 2) 391

by jjhall (#49150993) Attached to: Verizon Posts Message In Morse Code To Mock FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling

It depends on your definition of a broadband provider is. In my area, outside of Boise, ID, we have a hand full of choices by a very loose definition. However when it comes down to it, there is only one, maybe two.

CableOne - Best option if you can get it. $60/mo for 30x2. Fast speeds (up to 75x5,) great service (especially with "business" plan) and decent coverage area in town. No enforced data caps on business plans, rate limits when caps exceeded for residential plans.

Century Link DSL - Second best choice, though speeds are nowhere near cable (most areas still get 1.5-7x768 up. A few select areas can get 40x5.) They are just as expensive as cable for the lowest speeds if you don't "bundle" with landline service. Typical telco customer service experience.

Digis - $40/mo for 5/1 speed. Wireless service, so not as stable as wired service.

Safelink - Wireless $25/mo for 1M/256 service, 10 GB limit. $100/mo for 15x2 service, "no limit."

Speedyquick - Wireless $40/mo for 1x1 service, "premium" account for $75/mo 4x1 service.

If you take the FCC's new definition of broadband internet (25x4 minimum,) CableOne is the only option with their most expensive plan unless you happen to live in one of the small areas here that qualify for CenturyLink's 40x5 service. Even if you relax that definition a bit and go to 10x1, you're still limited to CableOne, some CenturyLink areas, and SafeLink's $100/mo plan.

Comment: Re:Insteon vs x10 (Score 1) 189

by jjhall (#48797583) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

If you're on the same transformer as your neighbor's house, your X10 system is wide open to them too. Years ago when I was playing with X10, we had all of the lights in our house start randomly flashing at 2:00 in the morning. This happened a couple of times over a couple of weeks. Come to find out, our neighbors just had a new alarm panel installed and had a few false alarms as they worked the kinks out/got used to how it operated. One of it's features was to flash all X10 light modules when the alarm was triggered. Since it came set to house code A, and I used the same house code for the first batch of devices in my home, my lights were happy to obey the instructions it was sending out. Ultimately we left it alone as I figured I'd rather have some notification that something was going on next door.

If you aren't using a central controller/automation system, you just have a remote switch/dimmer for all of your lights. While handy, this is hardly "home automation" as the OP is asking for.

Comment: Put a sticker in the window (Score 1) 269

by jjhall (#48002831) Attached to: 2015 Corvette Valet Mode Recorder Illegal In Some States

Just put a sticker on the window, kind of like the "oil change reminders" that says audio and video recording is taking place in the vehicle. I haven't looked at this car specifically, but nearly every late-model car has a display in the instrument cluster or the radio/nav system. Make it turn red with the text "Valet Mode - Audio and Video Recording in Progress" and problem solved. If the valet doesn't want to be subjected to the recording, then he can get back out, tell the driver he'll/she'll have to park the car themselves.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 145

by jjhall (#47830239) Attached to: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard

Well my provider uses Google for their e-mail addresses, so if I really wanted to get one I could have and access it via Gmail.

My mother still uses dial-up Internet, primarily because she had a hard enough time getting all of her acquaintances (most of them aged admittedly) to get her simple address ( correct in their address books to begin with, and getting them to update it correctly to the new address would be a craps shoot. This is the biggest reason she still uses dialup, and will likely continue to pay $9 per month for it, despite a wireless bridge I'm setting up to her house a block away so I can share my broadband with her.

Thankfully 12+ years ago I was forced to change e-mail addresses 3 times over as many months due to ISP acquisition turmoil in my area, so I went to my own domain. It was rare for individuals to do that back then, but I have zero regrets, and it has made it very easy for me to switch ISPs subsequently. Amazingly enough I still get the "what is your new e-mail address?" question occasionally after a move.

Comment: Re:Chip and PIN (Score 2) 132

by jjhall (#47811087) Attached to: Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot

Well, for one I have to spend my time to submit a fraud report to my bank. If using my debit card, the money is gone until the fraud is confirmed. Second, I have to wait for a new card to arrive in the mail, then try to remember who I have set up on automatic payments using my old card. Call each one of them or visit their website to enter in the new numbers. The ones that I forget will possibly result in account suspensions, etc, until after the new number is entered. Fees may be charged, which most of the time will be waived but that again takes more time to deal with.

The credit card companies need to fix this, and chip/pin is not the answer. It should solve retail store card theft, but as online purchasing becomes more and more popular, chip/pin will do nothing to combat it. We need a rotating pin device, similar to PayPal and World of Warcraft uses, and tie that number to the authorization. That number/pin combo would be useless for future transactions other than follow-on transactions to/from the same merchant for subscription or refund purposes. That way when a card number is compromised it is useless since the attacker won't be trying to get more money for the original merchant. Instead the card issuers just tout "$0 fraud liability!!!11!!!1!" to the consumers and pass the buck off to the merchants. Chargback fees from merchants are a profit center for card issuers, so why would they want to fix the problem?

Comment: Re:It true !!!! (Score 5, Insightful) 711

by jjhall (#47155543) Attached to: Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

My wife and I have had "smartphones" (starting with Palm and the older Windows Mobile) for pushing 10 years now. We'd had Android phones for about 4 years, then we switched carriers in October. My wife decided she wanted to give an iPhone a try. I have an iPad for work, and she liked how it worked. She liked it for a couple of weeks, then the limitations started to get in the way. No external storage. Certain apps not available that she wanted. Settings she wasn't allowed to change such as default apps. In March we got her a new S4 and gave the iPhone to my daughter. 6 months is all she could stand being locked into Apple's walled garden. She didn't realize how open the Android system is in comparison to iOS.

If anything, I think Cook has it backwards. People go in looking for a smart phone and get sold an iPhone instead. If people are looking for an iPhone and walk out with an Android device I think it is more likely because of the price difference from an entry-level Android vs. an iPhone. It is very doubtful that they don't understand the difference with all of the marketing and hype surrounding both platforms. That or Apple is seriously underestimating the cognitive abilities of its customers, which is insulting at best.

Comment: Strange take on the matter (Score 1) 1198

by jjhall (#47113441) Attached to: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

He makes some good points. I can only imagine what a real-life "Laura" would think of an "Urkel" constantly stalking her. She shouldn't have to put up with that. To come out and say it is all men's (and more specifically "nerds'") fault for perpetuating this attitude of entitlement is absurd. Nearly everybody has had a crush on someone and has been rejected. There are respectful guys that just chalk it up to incompatibility between two people. There are nice guys that take that rejection and use it as an opportunity for introspection to see their own flaws. There are assholes that chalk it up to feeling entitled and that the woman should have given in. Then there are the mentally ill who go on a shooting spree. Lumping all "nerds" in to basically the last two categories, or enabling of them, is flat out wrong.

While (thankfully) I don't know of any women who have gone on shooting sprees because they were rejected, I do know women who fill all of the other categories. Women who feel entitled to date any man they want. Women who think a man "must be gay" if he doesn't date them. Women who write songs about sabotaging a man's vehicle because he went out with another woman (yes cheating, but that still doesn't justify the vandalism, Ms. Underwood.) And yes even some women who have murdered men because they were rejected, just non on a spree.

This is a mental health issue clearly. This is not a misogyny or misandry issue. Men can be assholes, but so can women. Love-scorned people of both genders have committed horrible acts against others.

To top it off, the article is factually inaccurate. The statistics he mentions are out dated. Newer studies are showing that victims of rape and domestic violence are closer to equal when divided by gender, not the 8 out of 10 numbers he used. The newer numbers take under reporting into consideration where men are discouraged from reporting, cases where by definition of local law men can not be raped, etc.

My heart really does go out to the families of the women, and men, that were killed or injured by Elliott Rogers. We need to stand together as men and women to do something about it and work on the real cause. The kid was mentally ill. He happened to be a misogynist asshole, but that that didn't cause him to go kill people.

Comment: It's about time! (Score 1) 626

by jjhall (#47049877) Attached to: Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

All I have to say on the subject can be summed up with one word: Good!

Speeding is a BS racket anyway. Speed alone never hurt anyone contrary to what the current ad campaigns say. Excessive speed for the conditions and/or vehicle is the problem. Someone going 85 in a 65 MPH zone on a straight freeway with light traffic on a bright sunny day isn't going to magically cause an accident. Someone doing 45 in that same 65 MPH zone on a rainy day in heavy traffic could kill someone.

I've always thought there needs to be a definite separation from the funds from traffic tickets to the agencies and municipalities that enforce them. Traffic fines should not be a profit center to fund anything, except maybe better driver's education (or more mandatory classes for habitual offenders) to reduce the infractions. Our police departments are supposed to be there for our protection, to serve us. They aren't supposed to be revenue collectors for alternative taxes. I hate seeing police officers sitting somewhere running radar/laser speed checks when they should be out patrolling to reduce overall crime.

Automating the majority of our transportation infrastructure will allow us to let the police focus on what they should be focused on, and if we get to cut some fat from the departments in the process so be it.

Comment: Re:Late on all fronts (Score 1) 210

by jjhall (#46894377) Attached to: Target Moves To Chip and Pin Cards To Boost Security

I remember reading a magazine article (possibly even an ad) years back with some company touting this exact technology. It went so far as to mask the card number itself or even allowing selection of multiple card numbers based on the buttons. Sadly I never saw anything past that initial piece.

Comment: Re:Late on all fronts (Score 1) 210

by jjhall (#46894357) Attached to: Target Moves To Chip and Pin Cards To Boost Security

No, but according to the Smartcard Alliance's FAQ (, the transaction will contain signatures proving the card is genuine, the correct PIN was used to access the chip, and "Third, even if fraudsters are able to steal account data from chip transactions, this data cannot be used to create a fraudulent transaction in an EMV or magnetic stripe environment, since every EMV transaction carries dynamic data." So while it doesn't include a key fob or rotating key the user must enter, it sounds like it implements it on a virtual level, thereby accomplishing the same goal. If the card data is intercepted, it is useless for future transactions.

Comment: Re:Late on all fronts (Score 2) 210

by jjhall (#46881259) Attached to: Target Moves To Chip and Pin Cards To Boost Security

It isn't the merchants dragging their feet. Chip and Pin has not been available to merchants in the US. The thing most people don't realize is that credit card fraud is a profit center for Visa/Mastercard/etc. Do you think Visa is eating the cost of a fraudulent transaction to cover the "$0 Fraud Liability" they offer to their customers? Of course not. It goes right back on the merchant. Now the merchant is out their merchandise, out the money they would have received from the sale, and they are hit with a fee (that goes to Visa) for the chargeback. Have a massive breach like Target? Now there are big fines to pay to the card companies on top of it all.

The entire security of the credit card system is based on keeping a 16 digit number secret. That same 16 digit number you have to share with everyone you give money to. Making it TONS more secure would be cheap and easy, and most merchants are already set up to handle it... A simple rotating PIN that is only valid for a length of time is all it would take. Have merchants run all transactions as Debit, and give the customer an app on their phone (or even a periodic SMS with a new PIN.) The card companies could use the fraud liability as an incentive to use the system. No rotating pin? $1000 fraud liability. Monthly? $500. Weekly? $100. Daily? $25. Rotating PIN app or new SMS after each transaction? $0. This would also secure online purchases as well.

Every time I see a story relating to credit card security, I laugh to myself over how much more secure my World of Warcraft account is than my credit card accounts.

Comment: Bad choice in name (Score 2) 88

by jjhall (#46653161) Attached to: Amazon's Fire TV: Is It Worth Game Developers' Time?

I knew the Fire TV name sounded familiar, and now I remember why. FyreTV is a set-top box for streaming pr0n delivery that advertised years ago in the back of Maxim magazine. I'd forgotten about them until Amazon reminded me, and am actually surprised to see they are still around. I wonder if Amazon will be forced to change the name of their box due to trademark concerns?

Comment: Re:nope! (Score 1) 496

by jjhall (#46650161) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

I think it comes down to where the line is between utility and distraction. When driving, do you really need to see the independent pressure of all 4 tires, or just a warning if one of them falls below a certain threshold? I've not seen a (personal) vehicle in the last 20 years with a vacuum gauge. Most newer cars no longer have battery voltage/charge gauges, replaced with a "low voltage" idiot light. What utility is there to the driver knowing what the battery voltage is, vs. being alerted when there is a battery issues that needs to be resolved? I'd argue none, a "pull over and check your shit under the hood" is sufficient for everyday use.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to get that raw data, especially when trying to diagnose an issue. When the car is in park, it would be awesome to switch to a diagnostic display on the dash to see individual tire pressure, charge rate, actual coolant temp, manifold pressure, etc. Some of that is available now through the OBD port. I have a OBD-II to Bluetooth dongle that I use with an app on my smart phone. It lets me read the diagnostic codes, and can display (and more importantly log) real-time sensor data. It is very handy when trying to figure out an issue. I can start the app on my phone, and it starts saving sensor data to a CSV file every second. I can then go try to reproduce the issue, then I have all of the sensor data to determine the cause. I can't see tire pressures with it, but I think that is just a limitation of the car's computer, and may be available on some vehicles, I don't know.

I also agree that you should be able to set the warning threshold for certain sensors. Tire pressure is a good example. Some people run a different tire pressure than recommended. This can be for a multitude of reasons, such as aftermarket tires with a different rating, different climate/road conditions, or hypermiling. It would be great to be able to adjust it so your idiot light isn't on constantly when running 3 PSI lower than "factory" or having a false sense of security when a tire is actually 3 PSI low, but because you're running 5PSI high normally it isn't detected.

It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.