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Comment: Poor comparison... (Score 5, Interesting) 59

by Mister Transistor (#47910999) Attached to: New Data Center Protects Against Solar Storm and Nuclear EMPs

A "Carrington-level" event nowadays would most likely be much less disruptive, as back then all the early radio and spark gap stuff was well under 50 MHz, which is where almost all of the natural noise winds up in the spectrum. Ever notice, for example you can hear your shaver motor on an AM radio but not an FM one. This is not due to AM vs. FM, (well, it is a little) but mostly due to the fact that AM is about 1 MHz and FM is about 100 MHz, well above the "static line" around 50 MHz.

It would take a much stronger signal than back then to cause the same level of disruption. Not saying that can't happen, but modern radio communications are quite a bit more robust than they were back over 100 years ago.

Comment: Re: 999 (Score 1) 582

Normal people don't speak hex. User number A00 would be too confusing in most cases.

Remember stuff like this needs to be cop-proof. I used to design software for their dispatchers to use, and they aren't super intuitive with computers for the most part, like most of the other cops unless it's specifically part of their job. A lot of things had to be dumbed down so they could use and understand it easily.

No insult is meant here, it's just they are very busy with their jobs and having to be familiar with many different tools and systems; radio, weapon(s), forensic stuff, etc. so the amount of time they have to invest in training and learning about new tools has to be balanced among many competitive things they need to be current on. Plus, in an emergency situation, they want tools they don't have to expend a lot of extra thought on how to use.

Hence, anything designed for them to use has to be reasonably fail-safe, intuitive to use, bulletproof and easy to understand to be successful. My software was used for over 10 years by several local departments, so I'd consider that a success.

Comment: Re:Great one more fail (Score 1) 582

All good points - yet another point of failure, as others have pointed out.

Plus, there is the more tinfoil hatty aspect of this too - How nice and easy to use a directed EMP to disable any such weapons (presumably of the bad guy only). Nice to be able to mass disarm a whole crowd of them if "necessary"...

Comment: Re:Windows 8 app store? (Score 1) 188

by nwf (#47777103) Attached to: Microsoft's Windows 8 App Store Is Full of Scamware

Developing for any device (successfully) would be difficult without a device, regardless of platform. You can get iPod Touches fairly cheap on eBay. You do, however, need to pay Apple $99/year to be an iOS developer, however. But for that, they'll distribute all your apps for no additional charge (assuming your app is free.) Android development tools are free, but you pretty much have to have a device to do anything. Their "simulator" is worthless.

Comment: Re:DVB Tuners (Score 1) 81

by Mister Transistor (#47638477) Attached to: Add a TV Tuner To Your Xbox (In Europe)

That is a newer generation of the same thing, but if you notice they decode DVB-T2, which is High-Definition. The cheap RTL dongles decode about 3 MHz of spectrum space which is enough for a Standard-Definition DVB signal, but not enough for HD. The newer ones that do DVB-T2 have a wider chunk of spectrum space they translate, wide enough for an HD signal. In the US, an ATSC or "digital TV" High-Definition signal is about 6 MHz wide, for reference.

These newer generation dongles must have internal improvements that allows them to grab a bigger hunk of RF spectrum. The professional SDR devices that cost upward of $1000 can grab much larger chunks of spectrum, some can do 20 MHz wide swaths of RF.

Comment: Re: DVB Tuners (Score 2) 81

by Mister Transistor (#47638431) Attached to: Add a TV Tuner To Your Xbox (In Europe)

Your point is? The Xbox acts the same as a PC. The host (PC or Xbox) runs software that tunes the device and then decodes the compressed MPEG video when they are in DVB mode so you can watch TV. I was also pointing out that they usually have an additional non-MPEG mode that makes them a generic IQ type SDR, and this device may also have a "hackable" aspect to it.

Comment: DVB Tuners (Score 5, Informative) 81

by Mister Transistor (#47637087) Attached to: Add a TV Tuner To Your Xbox (In Europe)

USB DVB tuners have been around for a while now and are amazingly cheap. Like $9.99 cheap. Besides receiving compressed DVB signals, most of them also have a general-purpose tuner mode for broadcast, etc. reception, and they make dandy Software-Defined Radios (SDR) that can tune from 50-1000 MHz or more, and translate an entire 3 MHz segment of the RF spectrum for software decoding.

The cheapest ones are based on the RTL-2832U tuner chip. They are a cable-TV tuner IC coupled to a USB soundcard IC internally. Check out for more info. The PC software to receive radio is free, mostly open source and quite sophisticated, rivaling several-thousand dollar conventional radio packages. Check out and for a couple of the many software packages out there. Cool stuff!

Comment: Re:Problem solved! (Score 1) 207

Wow. Just wow. I have to wonder how much money they stuffed up that guy's ass to write that "review". My God, there wasn't that much gushing at Spindletop!

Kind of makes you wonder if the "leak" wasn't deliberate. It would be hysterically ironic if the DHS investigation proved THAT out...

"Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!" -- Looney Tunes, "What's Opera Doc?" (1957, Chuck Jones)