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Comment Re:E-Cigs as Infection Vector (Score 1) 151

Contrary to what the mass media says sometimes, they do not use water vapor.

They work by boiling propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine. These have a much lower boiling point than water.

Directly inhaling boiling water from from an inch-long metal pipe wouldn't let water vapor cool, and would cause nasty burns.

Comment This isn't really a new thing. (Score 1) 174

Lossy codecs typically have two major stages -- the lossy parts (e.g. dct while throwing out some component frequencies, motion prediction, etc.) -- followed by lossless entropy coding (e.g. Huffman in JPEG) to further compress the resultant data.

These compression algorithms just decompress the lossless part of the process and then recompress it with a more efficient lossless algorithm. On decompression, it then recompresses with the standard algorithm. In some cases (e.g. JPEG) you can keep a copy of the Huffman table that lets you recompress the data into a bit-accurate copy of the original file (you can include a small bit of extra information to make sure any remaining metadata matches up exactly).

The MacOS compression software StuffIt did this years ago.

Comment Re:Extended battery (Score 3, Interesting) 313

In my experience, Mugen makes the best extended batteries (both in size and performance).

Of course this is not useful if your phone does not have a replaceable battery (e.g. iPhones). But in general any popular phone with a replaceable battery will have extended batteries made for it. You just put the extended fat battery in then use the provided replacement back panel that includes an enlarged area to hold the new fat battery.

I *always* get this for my phones because I get sick of having to remember to charge them.



New Privacy Concerns About US Program That Can Track Snail Mail 66

Lashdots writes: A lawyers' group has called for greater oversight of a government program that gives state and federal law enforcement officials access to metadata from private communications for criminal investigations and national security purposes. But it's not digital: this warrantless surveillance is conducted on regular mail. "The mail cover has been in use, in some form, since the 1800s," Chief Postal Inspector Guy J. Cottrell told Congress in November. The program targets a range of criminal activity including fraud, pornography, and terrorism, but, he said, "today, the most common use of this tool is related to investigations to rid the mail of illegal drugs and illegal drug proceeds." Recent revelations that the U.S. Postal Service photographs the front and back of all mail sent through the U.S., ostensibly for sorting purposes, has, Fast Company reports, brought new scrutiny—and new legal responses—to this obscure program.

Comment Re:Major /. faux pas (Score 1) 55

"noise during takeoffs and landings"? I've been on plenty of airplane flights, from a Cessna up to a 747, and on none of them have I ever noticed noise from flaps. I don't get the whole fuel-savings bit, either. That's kinda the point of flaps--increase lift at lower speeds, with a corresponding increase in drag. When you're landing, your engines are running at reduced power anyway, and when you're taking off, the flaps don't stay extended for very long--just the first few minutes of flight. Now, if you told me they were making wings that could alter the thickness of the airfoil or the length of the wing in-flight, I'd be interested.

Comment You keep using that word.... (Score 1) 281

I'm going to go out on a limb and point out that neither Samsung, Apple, nor Google would give a rip if they DID get the rep for slowing down obsolete stuff intentionally. Each one has a long history of engaging in planned obsolescence activities and spiking performance metrics anyways, so doing a combination of the two isn't exactly something to be avoided by them. As for liabiliy? They've gotten away with Planned Obsolescence unscathed so far, what is this liabiliy you speak of?

Comment Re:Well, sort of. (Score 1) 109

Wow, lots of flapping e-peens here. Please note I specificaly mentioned at the SUBSTATION for a reason. Anyone that thinks that a substation has anything at all to do with generation, please go away: while there CAN be generators at substations, if one's in use at the substation, the chances of there being enough current to do a TV interview anywhere within the substation's reach are vanishingly small, they typically call times when substation generators are active "brownouts". One of the bits of equipment at a substation, however, IS an isolation transformer, specificaly designed so asynchronicities induced downstream of the substation don't propagate back up the line to the generators and blow them out, even if an embedded signal had to be such a gross change that it affected the base 60 Hz signal (if you're dealing with 50 Hz power, again, go away, because all 50 Hz operators also have their own intelligence agencies that are decidedly NOT the NSA). Typically, you won't see even a need for that with embedded signals that are extreme-order harmonics of the base 60 Hz (6 kHz is an off-the-cuff example), which is what the entire point of an embedded signal IS: a signal that doesn't effect the existing signal in any negative fashion (you're still going to want the embedded signal to not travel upstream though, so you can actually use differing embeded signals for different substations, or the whole "locate the mook" thing falls prety flat, you already know to within a 20-block area if you can figure out which specific substation to inject the signal to)

I should apologize for one bit here: I really should have inserted a paragraph break before the "As for the hum..", apparently many of the flapping e-peens thought that TEMPEST was somehow interconnected with the inserted signal (it's not). There's an entire career path in the US Navy dedicated to the fact that individual electronic devices react in increasingly individual ways to data (EWs, if you must know) as they get older, and with multiple devices in the area to get signatures from, you can easily determine which devices are being used and from that and a general knowledge of where the devices may be, you can get a location on them. In fact, NCIS ACTUALLY PORTRAYS AN EW SPECIALIST, it's literally on your TV every week. So while TEMPEST can't really be used in real-time (well, it can, but a SLQ-25 isn't really manportable), it can certainly tell you if you have the right spot

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