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Comment: Obligatory bear joke... (Score 1) 408

Having worked in the past in law enforcement and in security systems I would sometimes tell people this joke:

Two guys are camping when they hear a bear outside the tent. As one guy starts putting on and lacing up his shoes, the other says, "don't be silly, you can't outrun a bear."

The other guy responds, "I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you."

Each little bit of security makes you just a tad "faster" then your tentmate. Lock your doors. Lock your windows. Get a dog. Get an alarm.

But realize the time delay with an alarm. Someone kicks for a while at your door and finally breaks it in at which point the alarm activates. They dash in and ransack the place and split - usually in a minute or two - sometimes less. Meanwhile the alarm system calls the alarm company who calls the police dispatch and gives them the info. You have probably passed 60 seconds already. Then the call goes out to the officers - assuming they are available and there aren't higher priority calls on the board. Car accidents, robberies, and many other events take precedence over alarm calls which are typically 95+% false. Unless the officer just happens to be right around the corner, it is another couple minutes till they arrive. And these are best-case numbers. The burglar is usually long-gone when the officers arrive.

Don't forget that the bad-guys don't respect life or property. They rip earrings out of ears. They smash windows and wreck dashboards to get a $150 stereo they can fence for $10 (if that). Or, in the case of a good friend who had upgraded his alarm, added security locks on the windows, installed lights and more, they simply backed their pickup across his front lawn and through the french-doors and proceeded to throw whatever they could get in 30-seconds (hundreds of CDs, stereo, TV and other easy to move stuff) into the truck and sped away.

In that vein, a safe may protect your goods but put you at risk for a home invasion (http://xkcd.com/538/).

As others have said, insure, encrypt and archive (off-site).

BTW, good neighbors are great. I ended up following two of the four burglars that hit my neighbor's house. Cops surrounded the block they ran into and eventually let the dog bring one out when he refused to come out on his own. Recovered all the property as well. When our friend's car down the block was damaged in a hit-and-run it was a neighbor who provided the plate and description. We are organizing a neighborhood watch and working to catalog the available security cameras on the block at which point we will probably get the city to put up a "video monitoring in force" sign at the ends of the block.

Comment: Compliers?!? You got compliers? (Score 1) 230

by linuxwrangler (#46880643) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

I remember my first assembly class when we toggled in our initial few programs directly at the front panel of a PDP-11. (Not even really assembly at that point but direct machine instructions.) The paddle switches were in colored groups of three leading to the only really use for octal I have ever encountered: you could get very fast at reading octal and setting the switches with your index/middle/ring fingers.

Comment: Re:Phones yeah (Score 1) 227

by linuxwrangler (#46685123) Attached to: Nanodot-Based Smartphone Battery Recharges In 30 Seconds

For cars any fast-charge battery doesn't remove the *ahem* "current" stumbling block but rather *moves* it.

Tesla's fast-charger claims a 4-hour recharge on a charger pulling 16.8kW and a charge will get you rougly halfway from San Francisco to LA - a trip easily made on a tank of gas.

To match a gas-station fillup you would need to transfer that amount of energy in about 5 minutes requiring a supply of a touch over 800kW. At 600VDC - the voltage used by BART - your cables would *only* need to carry about 1,300A to the car. By my reading, this means approximately six "strands" of 0000 wire per conductor or a dozen for a two-conductor cable. That cable will weigh approximately 6-pounds/foot plus an undoubtedly hefty plug and it will still get pretty warm during charging as well as being enormously attractive to copper thieves.

But since the fuel-powered vehicle gets 2-3 times the range on that refueling a more realistic comparison requires you to at least double the above numbers to reach refuel-time/driving-range parity. If they don't double the range on the electric vehicles then you need double the refuling stops with the attendent increase in number of "pumps" or stations. The required energy needs to get to the vehicle somehow.

When I pulled into Costco to fill up there were 20 pumps all with cars at them. Even if only half were actually fueling, the station would need an 8,000kW feed before even factoring in burst and safety-factor requirements.

To make matters worse, most people refuel in the daytime when electric loads are highest. Of course this is offset somewhat by the fact that daytime is when solar is available.

Overall, high-speed recharge for cars may bring as many or more problems than it solves, especially when the battery-swap alternative allows for load-leveling, for leveraging the ability to purchase at the cheapest or most environmentally friendly times, for eliminating the need for an owner to worry about large battery-replacement costs and potentially even for returning power to the utilities at peak-demand times.

+ - Judge Throws Out FAA Regulations On Small Drones->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "In 2011, Raphael Pirker used a small powered glider with a camera on board to take aerial photos of the University of Virginia's campus for a client, and was fined $10,000 by the FAA. Now an administrative law judge has thrown the fine out, because the rule he violated was outlined in an FAA "policy statement," which is "not binding on the general public." In other words, the agency in its rush to regulate drones ignored its own rule-making process. The FAA has vowed to come up with formal rules on drones that will pass legal muster by the end of the year."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Serious sample bias (Score 4, Informative) 390

by linuxwrangler (#46113105) Attached to: IE Drops To Single-Digit Market Share

The statistics are "collected from W3Schools' log-files..." So an English-language site for people interested in web development is now considered an accurate proxy for browser usage? I think not. Predictably, the results are way out of line with, well, pretty much everyone:

http://www.netmarketshare.com/...
http://gs.statcounter.com/
http://www.w3counter.com/globa...
http://browsermarketshare.com/
http://clicky.com/marketshare/...

Comment: The law is vague (Score 1) 1010

At least the current law in California. Most of section 498 deals with diverting from "utilities" though it may be considered "personal property" and fall under another theft section.

I remember a couple decades back the University Police in Berkeley were beset by complaints about loud late-night music constantly blairing from a boom-box operated by a homeless guy in one of the parking structures. "Disturbing the peace" is a tough sell and he didn't ever get the clue till they started arresting him for stealing electricty from the university since he was plugged into an outlet there.

I've always thought back to that case and wondered if I'm at risk when I charge my laptop from a wall outlet at an airport or coffee shop.

+ - Failed software upgrade halts transit service

Submitted by linuxwrangler
linuxwrangler (582055) writes "San Francisco Bay Area commuters awoke this morning to the news that BART, the major regional transit system which carries hundreds of thousands of daily riders, was entirely shut down due to a computer failure. Commuters stood stranded at stations and traffic backed up as residents took to the roads. The system has returned to service and BART says the outage resulted from a botched software upgrade."

Comment: Re:Let's see. . . Data Center in Dry Climate. .. (Score 4, Insightful) 241

by linuxwrangler (#45071287) Attached to: NSA's New Utah Data Center Suffering Meltdowns

Works for Switch in Las Vegas. Cold in winter and cools off at night so 70% of annual hours they can pull in ambient air through filters. Evaporative cooling, whether direct or to cool the hot-side of a refrigerated system, works best in dry climates but it's only used to improve efficiency as they can run fine with air-cooling albeit at much higher power costs.

I'm still surprised at the number of places that think cooling is optional. We had equipment in a Sacramento data-center that had plenty of backup electricity for servers but couldn't run the AC in a power outage. The SLA only had provisions for exceeding 80-degrees for more than something like 90 or 120 minutes. *Ahem*, cold-comfort when a dense data-center can blow through 100 in minutes without AC.

UC Berkeley had a widespread power outage about a week ago. The main campus data center had power but, you guessed it, couldn't run cooling and had to "gracefully" shut down most of the core systems while watching the center breach 100F.

But I agree with your base assumption - really bad planning and/or execution on the power systems.

+ - NSA's new Utah Data Center Suffering Meltdowns

Submitted by linuxwrangler
linuxwrangler (582055) writes "NSA's new Utah data-center has been sufferering numerous power-surges that have caused as much as $100,000 damage per event. The root cause is "not yet sufficiently understood" but may is suspected to relate to the site's "inability to simultaneously run computers and keep them cool." Frustrating the analysis and repair are "incomplete information about the design of the electrical system" and the fact that "regular quality controls in design and construction were bypassed in an effort to fast track the Utah project.""

Comment: Responsible use (Score 1) 190

by linuxwrangler (#45040091) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Time To Regulate Domestic Drones?

As with many activities, people who break the already existing rules mess things up for everyone.

I was at the exciting finale of the America's Cup out on the pier with something like 10,000+ people watching the boats race to the finish line shadowed by three helicopters providing video coverage. So what does some dope do? Launches his quadcopter from the middle of an outdoor crowd and flys it out over the finish area. What part of "away from populated areas" and "away from aircraft operations" did this idiot not understand?

Comment: Suspiciously accurate (Score 1) 272

by linuxwrangler (#44845537) Attached to: It Takes 2.99 Gigajoules To Vaporize a Human Body

It is ridiculous to use "roughly" and "2.99" in the same measurement. Seriously?!? A professor informed my engineering class that adding extra decimal places implied that that level of precision was known and/or required. It is at all plausible that the variability in the "average" human body is less than a one part per thousand?

Sounds a lot like Karl Marx when he took material costs in "round numbers", "assumed" costs for spindles and rates of waste, arbitrarily "put" wear and tear at 10% and "supposed" a value for rent then somehow, miraculously, calculated that surplus value equaled 153-11/13%

Kudos to Scientific American for being sensible enough to say "about three."

Comment: Excessive penalty for the team (Score 1) 190

by linuxwrangler (#44757543) Attached to: Team Oracle Penalized For America's Cup Rules Violations

I've been watching almost every race and photographing them as well (http://www.flickr.com/photos/97903173@N03/collections/72157634780455306/).

The technology is amazing. Not only the boats but also the stuff that Stan Honey has cooked up for the live-view on TV (http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/audiovideo/the-augmented-reality-americas-cup)

Banning/penalizing the actual participants in the cheating is fine. But the America's Cup World Series was a warm-up for the real events and designed primarily to give the crews experience and to promote the sport throughout the world so the 2-race penalty makes no sense to me. It's sort of like finding a couple baseball players used a corked bat in the pre-season so you nullify the teams first 20 wins in the regular season.

Comment: It's not so simple... (Score 3, Insightful) 209

As others have pointed out, the original story is very out-of-date and ignores the fact that the policy has been in-place for a long time.

Privacy vs. public access is not completely black and white. Just a few issues that could be reasonably debated (not on the Interwebs, of course, where no reasonable debate occurs) are:

Should firefighters be rescuing people and fighting fires or d*cking around with their GoPro to get cool Youtube videos?

As medical responders, what about HIPPA? Does a person have the right to call for help secure in the knowledge that the rescuer won't be spreading helmet-cam footage of their nude mangled body across the Internet or news?

I see some similar issues with radio traffic and release of 911 recordings. While I enjoy checking the local goings-on with a scanner I wonder if "...respond to 1234 Main Apartment 3 for a 34 year old female suicide attempt via overdose..." is broadcasting just a bit too much personal medical info.

And don't get me started on search-warrants. The cops *love* to issue press-releases about all the stuff they have recovered even though nobody has been charged or convicted. A couple bricks of .22, a Playboy and the pills from your doctor are "drugs, pornography and thousands of rounds of ammunition" by the time it hits the blotter. It just a bit too much power to smear someone's reputation without trial for my taste.

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