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Comment: Re:use SMS (Score 1) 113

by rMortyH (#47570841) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Hardware/Software-Based Security Token?

We use custom scripts, that work very well. They're not very complex. We're SMSing through a third-party provider, which is not my first choice, but it is easy to manage.

This is not, of course, extremely secure, but with all the SMS management credentials kept completely separate, it's pretty good.

It gives us the 'something you have' and 'something you know' requirements. You need the phone. In a very well planned and determined attack they could probably get past this, but there are other measures in place, and it makes it hard enough that if they're that determined, they'll try something else.


Comment: The terms are switched! (Score 1) 326

by rMortyH (#46249285) Attached to: NSF Report Flawed; Americans Do Not Believe Astrology Is Scientific

'Astrology' means 'the study of stars'. When real scientists began to study stars, this term had already been taken over by crackpots.
So, they adopted 'Astronomy' which is the NAMING of stars, because the more correct term now meant something else.

So, really, astronomy should be called astrology, and astrology should be called bunk.

Comment: Your info has already been voluntarily given up. (Score 4, Informative) 341

by rMortyH (#43967079) Attached to: What Can You Find Out From Metadata?

Did any of these people stop to consider that CPNI data is routinely sold by Verizon and all other carriers unless they specifically opt out?

How many Americans who are complaining about this have opted out of the CPNI sharing clause of their contracts?

You are already giving permission, by not opting out, to your wireless and landline carriers to sell your metadata to ANYONE for ANY REASON, including the government, who may buy it on the open market just like anyone else. This data is seldom anonymized, and when it is, you can still search for specific characteristics to find the information of a specific person. And, any entity willing to pay for the information may have it, and it can be bought through a third-party data aggregator who will de-anonymize it and bundle it with plenty of other interesting facts about YOU.

How many people have actually read their terms of service? Have they gone through the arcane process of opting out of the voluntary sharing of CPNI data? (Every year, for each carrier?) Will they now complain that no one warned them? Did they expect their politicians to keep them informed? If the politicians had tried, would they have listened? They didn't care when this became the norm 10 years ago, and now suddenly it's intrusive?

This is what happens when you don't pay attention.

Comment: It would be nice if it worked! (Score 2, Insightful) 46

by rMortyH (#35856976) Attached to: Walking HECTOR Robot Inspired By Stick Insect

Did anyone else notice that it DOESN'T MOVE?

Nice 2:45 video with the usual pornography-inspired music track, but no movement. No 'Robot in action', just a disembodied leg on a treadmill.

Not to knock these guys too much, this is really typical of the robot industry right now. You go to a robot show or conference, and all the 'state of the art' robots are sitting there completely lifeless and no one has "permission from management" to turn them on.

Come on guys, if the industry is going to go anywhere you're going to have to ignore your lawyers and put the batteries in! Otherwise, how do we know you're not bluffing?

Comment: More Battery Capacity (Score 1) 260

by rMortyH (#31131478) Attached to: UPS Setup For a Small/Mid-Size Company?

      Most larger APC units have an external battery connector on the back. It uses an Anderson connector to connect an external battery pack. Also, you can chain battery packs, to have more than one. The external battery packs are expensive but they can be worth it for this very problem.

      There's also the DIY method for VERY long uptime!

      At my shop, in the locked cabinet, we have an ancient APC 1400 unit, with the batteries REMOVED, and two wal-mart deep-cycle marine batteries connected to the external connector. The batteries are 24-DC 12Volt, 75 amp hour batteries in series, for 24 volts. (grey connector) We disabled the beeper in the unit (with pliers... YANK) This keeps a rack with 7 computers up for several HOURS.

    This worked so well we decided to go one better! In the main closet, with extension cords running to the machines in the rest of the shop, we have a 3000VA APC unit. It has a 48 volt input (blue connector), not 24. On this sucker we put FOUR 27-DC 115 amp hour deep-cycle batteries, again from Wal-mart (best price, sorry) in series, connected to the back of the unit with the external connector. For these I got lucky and found a really nice set of cables.

    This sucker powers all the machines outside the rack, as well as some flat panels, and a desk lamp. (So we don't break our necks!)

    I was worried that the current would be too much for the charger, but I've run them down and back up again and they're fine. I guess the UPS units are made to handle two or so external battery packs, so they handle the lead-acid jumbos just fine.

    We've had these for a few years, and even had the same power outage here in SF that took out 365 Main a few years ago and had no problems. I need to do another plug-pull test, but our loads are not that high and we can get up to eight hours! Again, pull out the beepers or you'll pull out your hair.

    Some tips- You need nice, big cables to do this. Also, there are some code issues for large lead-acid batteries, so if you want to be completely legal buy the APC external battery units. If you buy at Wal-mart find some old dead lead batteries before you go or they'll charge you $9 core per unit. They really don't care if it's the same kind of battery, I traded in the old APC Sealed units for the marine batteries ten times as big! Unlike the sealed ones, the deep-cycles are spillable so be careful. I have never had them spill but if you tip them over they will probably spill some acid.

    Have fun!


P.S. If you want more info on this or pictures, you can email me (public account) at rich underscore humphrey at yahoo

+ - iraqis buy completely useless explosives detectors->

Submitted by rMortyH
rMortyH (40227) writes "NY times reports that a UK company is selling millions of dollars worth of 'exlosives detectors' to the Iraqi military which are nothing more than high-tech looking divining rods. They don't even have batteries. It is amazing that they would ever think this scam would work, and even more incredible that it actually did!"
Link to Original Source

+ - Old technology helped Madoff fool his customers ->

Submitted by JD831
JD831 (1497443) writes "This 3,000 word investigative feature looks how Madoff's isolated IBM AS/400 cranked out phony customer statements, trade confirmations and IRS 1099 to make decades of fake trades look legitimate. Only a handful of Madoff employees had access to the AS/400 on the 17th floor of the Lipstick Building in NY. So-called "baskets" of stocks were replicated across customer accounts using "essentially a mail merge" program, according to investigators. The story, based on interviews with two former Madoff IT employees and reams of legal documents, explores how how Madoff lulled customers to sleep with great looking statements and returns that were too good to be true."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:9V != 18W (Score 3, Interesting) 366

by rMortyH (#29369099) Attached to: Teenager Invents Cheap Solar Panel From Human Hair

True, this is false.

There's a picture of a multimeter, and a lighted bulb, but the panel shown is IN THE DARK! Unless it's on a totally different panel that is in the sun, it's way fake. And, as pointed out, 9volts is trivial, but 18 watts is actually really hard.

Also, the reporter is not energy-literate, but that's not a surprise.

I once showed an artist a calculator running on a lemon battery. Not knowing about CURRENT and POWER, she then went and proposed a project to a museum where a classic Gameboy would run on lemons, and they accepted it. Of course this would take a few thousand lemons! Luckily, it was an art museum, not a science museum. We ended up hiding double-A's inside some of the lemons. (We came clean to anyone smart enough to ask!)

I suspect similar shenanigans...

Comment: Have to keep it simple, try RELAYS (Score 2, Insightful) 364

by rMortyH (#28710787) Attached to: Low-Budget Electronics Projects For High School?

    I have some experience with this problem. You're right that microcontrollers are too advanced, everyone gets bogged down in the development tools. I also find that most types of IC and transistor circuits where you can't SEE what is happening don't really work out for most kids.

    A few kids will get really into it. The next group will 'sort of' get things to work by following the directions, but not understanding what is actually happening. The rest will just sit there while everybody else plays around. They won't even try.

    I have found that the basics like lightbulbs, batteries, and switches really get kids excited. They can see what's going on and they understand it and start building on it. Flipping a switch or pressing a button to make something happen is very empowering.

    Next, if you can get a hold of some nice relays, especially ones with clear housings, they are really useful for this. It's a switch that turns on another switch. They understand it. (especially with a DPDT knife switch to explain things) Try a reed switch and a magnet, controlling a bulb through a relay. (small switch controls big switch... They learn about current) Let them try the NC contacts. Show them a relay LATCH. Connect the coil through the NC contacts for a relay buzzer. Add a speaker across the coil for a louder buzz. Can you combine these and make a burgler alarm? Show them that a mechanical bell or buzzer is the same as the NC relay buzzer. Next, put a capacitor on the relay coil for a delay. They will UNDERSTAND all this and get into it. And they like the clicking.

    This lets them learn by using things they understand like switches and bulbs which are all doing things they can actually see. There are no black boxes at all. Also, a lot of kids want to ignore you and just play. With these parts, they can still make things happen and learn just by messing around. Can they get the relay to click? Make the bulb light up?

    I've taught a lot of workshops to beginners and most breadboard type stuff really just confuses them. It seems they have made up their minds in advance that this is something they can't do, it's too hard. With the knife switches, batteries, bulbs and relays, they got really excited. When we added the capacitor they really understood what those did. It seems that this is a necessary first step before you move on to 'black box' parts.

    Once you've gotten them there, the next thing is an optoisolator, which is really just a relay. Then they're comfortable with a DIP package, and you can proceed to the 555 and such with the ones you haven't lost. In the meantime, skip all semiconductors completely, except the rectifier diode, which they understand, and maybe the LED (with resistor already soldered on).

    As we get better at electronics it becomes more and more difficult to understand what it was like to not know anything about electronics. You try to explain a 555 or op amp and there are a thousand details that you're taking for granted without knowing it. The other person really can't get it without the details, which makes it very hard to teach the subject without losing people. This is why you should go for the basics as much as you can. Let them play in that safe zone and master it and build a foundation before moving on.

    Skip Ohm's law and the RC circuits and the math stuff for now. Let 'em turn things on and off. They'll get it.

    List: Knife switch, lever switch with roller, button. Reed switch and magnet. Buzzer, bulb, rectifier diode. Clear relays, at least SPDT, DPDT better. Capacitor that can hold the relay on for 1 sec. LED with resistor installed. Speaker with resistor inline (so it can go across the battery without blowing up) . Batteries to match all these (9V or 12V is easiest)

    Show them some examples and let 'em go nuts!

Comment: Re:still using one (Score 1) 181

by rMortyH (#28047443) Attached to: Investigators Replicate Nokia 1100 Banking Hack

THIS IS the Best Phone EVER!
    I have two. They're awesome.

    4+ years of continuous use,
    3 DAYS of battery on ONE HOUR of charge,
    NO features except a flashlight,
    EXCELLENT sound and reception.
    Tons of free chargers and headsets all over

    It's just a phone. It just works.
    They let me take it into secure places.
    I love it.

    The only bummer about this story is that now I'll have trouble getting replacements!


At least this only works with the European version...

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.