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Comment: They don't really mean what they are saying.... (Score 1) 220

by mark-t (#47762277) Attached to: Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"
"...customers will have the ability to buy as much data as they want"

Because taken at face value, that comment means that they should be offering customers as much money as they need to get all of the data that their customers want. After all, if a customer don't have enough money to pay for it, then they don't really have the ability to buy it, do they?

Comment: Reasonably, how long would a solar eclipse last? (Score 2) 45

I can easily envisiion a situation where an entire moon is plunged into shadow as it orbits a gas giant. This would, I presume, cause temperatures to fall for the duration of the eclipse, and if it lasted too long, I can imagine that such a regular occurrence would likely make the moon inhospitable to life as we know it, even if it is the right distance from the sun to support liquid water, and even if it had an appropriate gravitational pull and atmosphere.

Comment: Re:Steering wheels are nice, but... (Score 1) 442

by mark-t (#47760201) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels
Yes... so there would have to be a statistically measurable difference between accident rates from people who have automated cars vs people who drive them manually. This will take quite a long time for enough data to be collected to have statistical significance with respect to the actual number of automobiles that are on the road.

Comment: Re:Legislating Technology (Score 1) 223

by mark-t (#47758797) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch
That's only applicable if the key is the same for each and every device. The key itself can still be set uniquely for each device, and put into an eeprom circuit that is built into the device's hardware, and not changeable simply by swapping out any IC's that would not also amount to basically swapping out the entire innards of the phone. In the end, the only useful component of such a bricked phone would be its casing... making theft unprofitable, and when it's common enough, hopefully discouraging such theft from occurring in the first place.

Comment: Re:Legislating Technology (Score 1) 223

by mark-t (#47757775) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Unless there's a hardware component (say a physical key you need to insert into a slot on the side of the phone) ....

What about having to physically enter a passcode on the device's keypad? The locking itself can be in software, but that locking software can easily be hardcoded onto the silicon, and not something you can bypass with any software technique.

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 223

by mark-t (#47756781) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch
The Android app does not lock the phone, it erases it. The phone itself would still be usable once you replace the sim card. The point of the law is to make the theft of protected cell phones unprofitable by requiring that the functionality be embedded into the device itself, and make the phone unusable for anything beyond making an emergency call, or using the keypad to enter in the appropriate unlock code.

Comment: Re:Legislating Technology (Score 1) 223

by mark-t (#47756593) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

I'm sure competent hackers will immediately find ways around this stupid "Kill Switch" idea.

I would assume that reversal requires physical access to the phone, and also the manual entry of the correct password into the device itself, the password being one that is created by the user (initially randomized at manufacture, the default code for it being on a small slip of paper that comes with the phone when you buy it brand new). Since each password attempt would have to be manually entered, there is no viable way to expedite cracking such a phone, and I would imagine that most people even trying to do so would probably quickly abandon the attempt. And if the point of the law is to simply make theft of cell phones unprofitable, I think it would probably succeed.

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