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Comment: Re:Criminal liability ... (Score 1) 78

Do you live in the United States? It's considered practically a constutitional right here to be able to get a credit card online, or order a cellphone and service (which requires a credit card) online. Or to be able to call a 1-800 number and get a new La-z-boy delivered on credit terms.

Comment: Re:Criminal liability ... (Score 1) 78

I disagree. If you create a system of monetary punishments, they'll simply get insurance to cover those. What's needed is criminal liability for negligent data security, WITH PRISON TIME. If we can jail a hacker, we can also jail the doofus who put a Post-It on the company datacenter door saying "key is under the mat". This sort of thing is never, ever going to go away. It's one of the prime reasons why I think forced electronic health record sharing is an incredibly stupid idea with an enormous downside and no upside for the individual. Yay it lets people datamine, but that doesn't help individuals - it helps research projects.

Comment: It must be a day ending in Y! (Score 1, Flamebait) 159

by larwe (#49740641) Attached to: Huawei's LiteOS Internet of Things Operating System Is a Minuscule 10KB
... because there's yet another open-source operating system for Internet of Desperate Hopes for New As-Yet-Unsaturated Markets devices! At this point, you could probably install a light bulb in every socket in your home, with no two light bulbs using the same "universal" OS, radio technology or communication protocol. We don't need /new/ projects like this, we need most of the ones currently in the market - including all the proprietary bullshit ones like Apple's PrisonKit - to die.

Comment: Re: Obvious (Score 1) 350

You know, I'd be curious to see what a high-end antenna design CAD package would do if you asked it to create a patch antenna for the FM band, or even better for the AM band. You could likely use it as a thermal blanket to keep warm around the paraffin lamp during the putative emergency situation we've been discussing.

Comment: Re: Obvious (Score 3, Informative) 350

The antenna matching is obviously crude, but what it amounts to is a butterfly net to catch the signal instead of just holding out your hand and saying "here, butterfly". My comment about antennas was more related to the earlier poster's talk about how you'd have to degrade the cell antenna to enable FM reception. You wouldn't use a single antenna for this anyway, cellphones have multiple antennas properly matched for Bluetooth, GPS/GLONASS, WiFi and cellular (often more than one cellular antenna too). So IF you were going to enable FM reception, you'd add an antenna, BUT that antenna would be almost useless which is why approximately nobody does it. (If you override the app warning with some tweakery, you can sometimes pick up extremely strong stations just with leakage into the frontend, no actual antenna. But it's basically useless).

Comment: Re: Obvious (Score 4, Informative) 350

Even phones that have the FM feature enabled don't have an internal antenna, because it would be too small to be useful. FM band is very roughly 100MHz (actually below that). Do the math of what a quarter wave antenna looks like at that frequency. That's why phones that support FM require you to have earphones attached;-they use the cable as the FM antenna. Ironic that this story surfaces at the same time as Norway announces an analog FM sunset date. Probably in ten years there won't be any FM stations in first world countries at all.

Comment: Got a leftover cellphone? (Score 1) 263

Mount it where you need your "webcam". There are free webcam apps for Android (and probably for iOS - none, that are any use anyway, for Windows Phone). As long as you don't need PTZ, these are actually really good. You can port forward through your router and remote control them too - turn flash off and on, etc. And they do support uploading JPEGs. I have an old Galaxy S3 keeping an eye on my back yard.

Comment: Must be a day ending in Y (Score 1) 36

by larwe (#48593239) Attached to: OpenMotics Offers Open Source (and Open Hardware) Home Automation
... because there's a group advertising that it's launching an open-source home automation control platform/protocol/widget. And naturally this is going to be the One Protocol To Bind Them All, there will be a grand unification (about as likely as North and South Korea unifying tomorrow, by the way). The world does not lack "universal" or "open source" HA control protocols and products, it lacks manufacturers willing to support them, or even open their own control systems to support them. If there was such a thing as a truly universal protocol implemented by everybody, then manufacturers of hardware would be totally commoditized and competing solely on price/feature points. As things stand today, manufacturers profit by locking their hardware and software to work only with overpriced accessories and licensed "friend companies", and also by selling compulsory monthly service fees. Oh, and that's not even counting the fact that approximately five people (and all hipsters, at that) actually care about home automation. Home automation is, always has been, and always shall be just five to ten years before going truly mainstream.

Comment: Re:Read Slashdot (Score 1) 479

by larwe (#47982347) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?
The PhDs I worked with didn't know how to do what they were hired to do, because they lied about their abilities to actually do anything practical. Let me take one really simple example: PhD is tasked with implementing over-the-air firmware downloads for a product (there's complexity there, I know it sounds like an intern job, but there really was work to do). Said PhD was told to verify the CRC of the downloaded file for integrity purposes before attempting to flash the device. How did she do this? She downloaded the file (note: said download included, free of charge, a meta-file including a CRC of the known-good data on the server). She CRC'd the data she'd downloade, then CRC'd it again, and proceeded if those two CRCs matched. This is the kind of bullshit I've had to deal with when working with PhDs. Everything practical is left as an exercise for the reader - the PhD is focused on his/her higher calling, or whatever. As a manager of a team that needs to deliver practical implementations of well-understood technology, I don't need that. See also: Dunning-Kruger effect, which I have seen vigorously at work in the minds of PhDs.

Comment: Re:Read Slashdot (Score 1) 479

by larwe (#47978997) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?
I can't agree more with this commenter. After having to live with bad hiring decisions, and then making a couple of my own, I have made a firm resolution not even to consider a candidate with a PhD. That's an instant decline, right there. *EVERY* single PhD I've worked with has been an insufferably bad organizational fit, and almost all of them have ultimately been terminated (after being on a PIP). The remainder have been moved out into satellite offices to work on sinecure projects. In fact, I was musing about this just the other day after another incident, to the point where I was going to post to my social media accounts a call for someone - anyone - who works in a real job (i.e. making a product for profit, not working at an academic institution) - to pipe up and tell me that they have a PhD on their team who is useful and effective. As for your comment about your PhD being in an esoteric and useless field - this is essentially a tautology.

Comment: Better yet, store it "nowhere" (Score 1) 502

by larwe (#47581249) Attached to: Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers
Better still, web-based companies with datacenters in many jurisdictions could store your data in a completely distributed fashion, where it isn't possible to retrieve the original without access to all (or at least several) of the servers. So they could subpoena all the data held in the US, and the UK, and Australia, and all the other surveillance states, but without a copy of the complementary data in Switzerland and Belize and on a pirate barge in the middle of the Pacific, they won't be able to reconstruct what you actually have stored up there. Better yet, if they contract with third-party storage providers wholly resident in those other countries, the US (for example) would have zero basis to subpoena those other companies - they are not "doing business" in the United States.

It's not an optical illusion, it just looks like one. -- Phil White