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Comment Re:meh (Score 1) 79 79

What do you mean "locked to a single platform". I admit that I haven't tried it, but they give away the source code to VS 2015.

I don't think having access to the source code to VS 2015 is going to allow anyone to compile VS for any non-Windows platform. Not unless you have a few million man-hours available for porting and redesign (since much of the functionality present in VS wouldn't even make sense outside of Windows)

Comment Re:Suburban thinking (Score 2) 543 543

The technical problems you mention have obvious solutions.

Not enough roof space on a high-rise to supply power to all of its residents? No problem, just put the solar panels somewhere else instead. Wires make it easy to move electricity from one place to another.

Need more power when the sun isn't shining? That's a bit more expensive to solve, but the solution is obvious -- generate excess power in advance and store it in batteries, so that it is available when you need it. The cell phone, laptop, tablet, and electric car markets are all driving the costs of battery storage down to the point where this will soon be economical to do at scale.

Comment Re:How big is a "solar panel"? (Score 5, Informative) 543 543

I'm kind of wondering where they would all go.
If each panel was a square meter, that's 193 square miles of solar panels.

193 square miles is 0.006% of the surface area of the United States.

Or, if we wanted to only put the solar panels on existing residential roofs -- there are currently about 6184 square miles of residential roof space in the USA. (ref)

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 614 614

Oh, wait, you didn't need to pass a test for that.

I'm just trying to think how that would have been possible. I think back then there was a medical exception you could plead for. I didn't. I passed the 20 WPM test fair and square and got K6BP as a vanity call, long before there was any way to get that call without passing a 20 WPM test.

Unfortunately, ARRL did fight to keep those code speeds in place, and to keep code requirements, for the last several decades that I know of and probably continuously since 1936. Of course there was all of the regulation around incentive licensing, where code speeds were given a primary role. Just a few years ago, they sent Rod Stafford to the final IARU meeting on the code issue with one mission: preventing an international vote for removal of S25.5 . They lost.

I am not blaming this on ARRL staff and officers. Many of them have privately told me of their support, including some directors and their First VP, now SK. It's the membership that has been the problem.

I am having a lot of trouble believing the government agency and NGO thing, as well. I talked with some corporate emergency managers as part of my opposition to the encryption proceeding (we won that too, by the way, and I dragged an unwilling ARRL, who had said they would not comment, into the fight). Big hospitals, etc.

What I got from the corporate folks was that their management was resistant to using Radio Amateurs regardless of what the law was. Not that they were chomping at the bit waiting to be able to carry HIPAA-protected emergency information via encrypted Amateur radio. Indeed, if you read the encryption proceeding, public agencies and corporations hardly commented at all. That point was made very clearly in FCC's statement - the agencies that were theorized by Amateurs to want encryption didn't show any interest in the proceeding.

So, I am having trouble believing that the federal agency and NGO thing is real because of that.

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 614 614

The Technican Element 3 test wasn't more difficult than the Novice Element 1 and 2 together, so Technican became the lowest license class when they stopped having to take Element 1.

The change to 13 WPM was in 1936, and was specifically to reduce the number of Amateur applicants. It was 10 WPM before that. ARRL asked for 12.5 WPM in their filing, FCC rounded the number because they felt it would be difficult to set 12.5 on the Instructograph and other equipment available for code practice at the time.

It was meant to keep otherwise-worthy hams out of the hobby. And then we let that requirement keep going for 60 years.

The Indianapolis cop episode was back in 2009. It wasn't the first time we've had intruders, and won't be the last, and if you have to reach back that long for an example, the situation can't be that bad. It had nothing to do with code rules or NGOs getting their operators licenses.

A satphone is less expensive than a trained HF operator. Iridium costs $30 per month and $0.89 per minute to call another Iridium phone. That's the over-the-counter rate. Government agencies get a better rate than that. And the phone costs $1100, again that's retail not the government rate, less than an HF rig with antenna and tower will cost any public agency to install.

You think it's a big deal to lobby against paid operators because there will be objections? How difficult do you think it was to reform the code regulations? Don't you think there were lots of opposing comments?

And you don't care about young people getting into Amateur Radio. That's non-survival thinking.

Fortunately, when the real hams go to get something done, folks like you aren't hard to fight, because you don't really do much other than whine and send in the occassional FCC comment. Do you know I even spoke in Iceland when I was lobbying against the code rules? Their IARU vote had the same power as that of the U.S., and half of the hams in the country came to see me. That's how you make real change.

Comment Re:Can email service providers do more? (Score 1) 58 58

For it to work in a corporate environment, it must be mandated by the company so that everyone does it, everyone must have a client that supports it, keys must exist and be distributed

Of course in a non-corporate/general-email environment, all of those things won't happen (or at least, not all at the same time), so there is a big chicken-and-egg problem if we require all of that. Fortunately, I don't think we need to require all of that.

then can everyone rely on an unsigned message being invalid

I don't think it is necessary to rely on an unauthenticated message being invalid. An unauthenticated message is just that -- unauthenticated. It might be valid or invalid. If it's something important, the "unauthenticated" flag is an indication to the user that he should verify the message's authenticity using other means (e.g. by calling the boss and asking him about it).

If your boss forgets to sign a message telling you to do something and you ignore it, you better have a company policy backing you up.

You wouldn't ignore it, you'd call the boss (or email him) and ask him if he really send the message you received.

And hopefully the boss would almost never "forget" to sign an email, because all of his emails would be automatically signed simply as part of the act of sending them from his regular email account.

That puts it in the realm of a social problem, not a technical one. And it does not solve the problem of external sources of email that don't sign anything being the alleged source of the email asking you to "click here" because your train reservation has changed and you need to pay a bit extra.

True, you can't fix stupid. But you can at least make it easier for people to see a difference between a known-authentic email and an email of unproven origin.

Comment Can email service providers do more? (Score 2) 58 58

It seems like relying solely on peoples' good judgement to figure out which emails are legitimate vs which ones are phishing spam (or worse, spear-phishing spam) is asking for trouble.

I can imagine email service providers using cryptographic signing techniques to assist the email client in reliably identifying which emails are definitely coming from their boss (or at least, from their boss's legitimate email account) vs which ones are unauthenticated and could have been written by anyone.

With that implemented, after a few weeks people would grow used to seeing the happy green "sender authenticated" sign at the top of each email from their boss, and if an email came in purporting to be from the boss, but with a big angry red "WARNING -- UNAUTHENTICATED MESSAGE -- MAY BE FRAUDULENT" (or whatever) sign at the top, they'd be less likely to hand over the company jewels without first confirming the email's validity.

Does something like this exist? If so, it seems like it's not widely used. If GMail/hotmail/yahoo could agree on a method and then start implementing it by default, I think that would go a long way towards reducing the effectiveness of email phishing attacks.

If you have to ask how much it is, you can't afford it.