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Comment Just a matter of time for tower data and Stingers (Score 1) 114

It looks the court is pretty consistent with rulings that would require a warrant before using your cell phone like a gps. I think there are still cases working their way up the courts for the tower data. For stingers, someone would have to get one into court in the first place.

Unfortunately, cops still recreate a chain of evidence to conceal their 4th amendment violations ( ) and we'll need to make that itself into a crime to put a stop to it.

Comment Self-install Alarm (Score 1) 327

Look on-line for places that sell the same kind of fire/burgler alarms that are usually installed by alarm companies to homeowners. Personally, I bought an "ELK M1" along with a receiver that picks up signals from the Honeywell/Ademco alarm sensors and panic buttons. The programming model for these is a bit arcane, but they are rugged and reliable.

You can set up a smoke detector to automatically call a monitoring center (less than $10/month) and have them send the fire department and you can similarly use all of the standard burgler or adult-panic-button features to call police and medical help. This is all very configurable.

For your child, you can program the child's "look at me" button as a "Non Alarm Zone" so that it doesn't trigger the alarm immediately but causes the system to call you (or text you or email you) or take whatever additional action you want. (In my case, I also added a Universal Devices controller that does even more automation stuff).

You also may consider having the child's button trigger an actual panic alarm after buzzing for a while in the house. So, if the child hits the button and neither you nor your wife cancel it, professional help would be called.

Many of these systems are very configurable and a good monitoring center can have special instructions for different alarms (call house, then call you, then call help). They are a pain to program (designed for non-programmers) but surprisingly flexible.

Comment Distinct IP address per site required for SSL (Score 2) 396

Most non-SSL sites use a single IP address for multiple sites and the actual hostname portion of the URL is not known until the GET request.<br><br>Assuming that we want IPv4 to continue to work, a mechanism to permit an SSL certificate to secure a group of sites would be needed before more widespread use of SSL for non-commerce/non-login sites would be practical.<br><br>Essentially, if a server hosts 30 domains, the server's certificate would need to have a certificate of its own and that certificate would have to be signed by EACH of the 30 domains. That is tricky and would require revision of HTTPS. You would probably have to have the server initially use its OWN unsigned/self-signed certificate to establish an SSL connection, have the browser specify the hostname, then have the server return a signature record that uses that hostname's certificate to sign the fingerprint of the server's SSL certificate. Once the browser confirms that the appropriate CA signed for the hostname and the hostname signed for the server, then it could continue the request (and cache the server's fingerprint).<br><br>Google should get cracking on this new HTTPS handshake first.

Comment Lack of feeder routes + get people out of cars (Score 1) 333

California has no feeder routes. Even in areas where a train seems to be available, by the time a passenger manages the connections at both ends and adds in the wait time for even the most on-schedule service, train is MUCH slower than driving. If someone is to spend an hour (or two) getting from their origin to downtown LA and another hour (or two) getting from downtown SF to their destination and pay for parking and car rental, the train has to beat a car by at least 4 hours to get used much.
The Courts

Submission + - EFF To Ask Judge To Rule Universal Abused DMCA

xSander writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a federal judge in San Jose, CA to rule that Universal abused the DMCA to take down a video of a toddler dancing to a Prince song.

The case in question, whose oral argument will be Tuesday, October 16, is Stephanie Lenz vs. Universal, a case that began back in 2007. Lenz shared a video on YouTube of her son dancing to "Let's Go Crazy" on a stereo in the background. After Universal took the video down, Lenz filed a suit with help of the EFF to hold Universal accountable for taking down her fair use. The court had already decided that content owners must consider fair use before sending copyright takedown notices.

Comment Basic applied math questions work well (Score 1) 672

I hire embedded programmers. If they graduate from a university and can't apply basic algebra principles, that is a pretty good indicator that they cut and paste and memorize. I don't ask them puzzles, but I do ask them to take a real-world phenomenon and turn it into an equation. If, knowing its (constant) speed, starting time, and starting position, you can't express the position of a train as a function of time, you can't program either.

Some people call those "puzzles"

Comment They don't have those problems AT THE MOMENT (Score 4, Interesting) 328

they will

Young people (most of Google's employees) think they are indestructible.

I daresay that I am in better financial shape than 80% of Mr Schmidt's employees including those my age and I fully expect to keep innovating and being paid well for it until I am in my 60s and due to retire.

I cannot be certain that I will be OK financially at that point.

* Medicare may be a shadow if what it was
* The social security I paid into on the majority of my income for the last several decades (while the "investor class" paid on little of their income) may be gone
* The major corporations that committed to a pension may have shoveled the liability onto a disposable successor
* Medical insurance may become unattainable
* I could get disabled by the negligent act of a corporation with little or no compensation (Tort "reform") and get wiped out financially

It is time to realize that us 99%-ers are really in this together even if most of us are too busy working to join the protests.

Comment Mosso - Rackspace's VPS (Score 1) 375

You set up an account, then use their control panel to choose a base distribution and create VPS instances. You configure the machine and pay for only what you configure. You can create a machine, log in as root and manage it. If you try a machine and blow it away a few days later, you just pay for the days it was running.

I've used them for several years and they are very reliable.

Comment For a surprising reason, I almost hope he loses (Score 1) 775

For every AP High School teacher at risk of being accused of being hostile to religion, there are hundreds of elementary school teachers actively pushing their own religion on all of their students regardless of that student's own religion or that of their family, holding it up as the one true religion, and inviting the class to ridicule and torment any student whose religious beliefs diverge from the teachers' own majority religion.

Perhaps in ruling against Corbett, the courts would "put the fear of god" in these can't-tell-the-difference-between-public-school-and-sunday-school teachers. If so, I could live with making the AP High School teachers guard their words a bit more carefully while they try to make their slacker students think.

Comment Hiring Manager Here... (Score 3, Interesting) 651

I've recently had openings for well-paid EE/CS interns at a top-tier company. These are INTERN positions that pay in the "$37000-$47000" range and frequently lead to permanent positions that start at twice that and rise rapidly from there. I rarely see a single candidate who is, as you classify, a "native born anglo-saxon american". When I do, I rarely see one who can follow basic logic and apply algebra to a simple problem. The interview is usually essentially over in the first 20 minutes.

Of the last 2 interns I hired, one happens to be a product of the US education system and the other falls in the "Indian/Asian" category. I can give one a permanent position. The pay is the same regardless of which one I choose. If I choose the non-citizen, I am in for a whole pile of extra paperwork to get his labor certification done.

There is no comparison on the performance level. (The hours are identical -- interns work exactly 40 hours per week) Even though I will wind up with a whole pile of paperwork, I am hiring the non-citizen. I'd rather have to do the paperwork than have to teach the kid who grew up here all of the things that his parents and teachers should have taught him over the years.

Face it. I need to hire people who know how to do stuff. In the last 20 years or so, we started to produce kids that don't know how to do anything. Personally, I think it was around the time that parents started to buy kids nice cars rather than helping them get a heap of junk out of the classifieds and lending them a set of tools.

There is a part of me that would rather hire my fellow Americans. Too bad I can very rarely find qualified ones. That pains me.

Comment Actually, It is that complicated (Score 1) 198

It tracks all of the changes. If a train left Paris at 12:06pm on Jan 12, 1936 and averaged 60mph all the way to Moscow, you can't tell when it arrives in Moscow just by knowing the timezones now and the length of the track. You need to know what the timezones were at the time. And, you need to know exactly when they changed -- especially if they changed during the journey.

Comment RTFR (RTF Ruling) (Score 1) 438

The court (outside the dissenting opinion) clearly made no distinction based on the amount of information stored on a smartphone and did not address the use of the phone to break in to systems outside of the phone itself. I hope, possibly in vain, that the latter would require a warrant. Read the ruling at

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.