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Comment: Re:But can we believe them? (Score 3, Informative) 99

Why aren't phones generating their own keys when they're activated at the store? Burn a fusible link if necessary. This would be more secure _and_ cheaper for the carriers. Oh, because NSA has plants on the GSM committees?

No, because the subscriber identity is linked to the SIM card (it's in the name...),
and not to the phone. You can switch a SIM card into any phone (some simlock
issues excluded) and just keep going with your one subscriber identity.

Or put another SIM card in your phone and use a completely different one.
It's great when traveling.

It's a feature - it's even a "we actually want this" kind of feature.

Comment: Re:Company does exactly what it says it does... (Score 5, Informative) 619

In the past the end user can still opt to not see any ads, even if they comply with the "acceptable ads" policy. This would be news if they are making a change so that the end user is forced to see a given ad that the advertiser pays extra for, regardless of their extension settings.

They are not.

Comment: Re:Encryption chips? (Score 1) 378

by the_other_chewey (#48931043) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

If a card is stolen and known stolen, the owner can report the theft and the card is deactivated, whether or not it contains an "encryption chip". If the card is stolen and the owner does not know it was stolen, and the thief also has the pin, then they can use the card, whether or not it has an "encryption chip".

The "not knowing it is stolen" is the point: Magstripe cards can be trivially copied.

The chips do an actual challenge-response handshake with a secret that never leaves the
chip, and cannot be copied (at least not without decapping and some very high end lab gear,
thereby also destroying the card - which prevents the "swipe card through a copying reader
and hand it back" attack).

Comment: Re:Related - the clack of wheels on the tracks (Score 1) 790

by the_other_chewey (#48786275) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Guess you don't live in a cold part of the world in the winter, or where it can hit 35C+ in the summer. Around here in Canada, we use 30-50m segments that aren't welded because the tracks shrink and expand so much. Once the temps drop to -20C here, you can lose over an 3cm, and once it gets over 35C with the train's on them they can expand over 10cm causing them to warp off the bed.

Then that's a cheap bed and rail mounting, there's no technical reason for it.

I do live where it routinely gets over 30C, and -20C isn't unheard of (we hit it
two winters ago, and -12C was just last week) - and all rail on main lines is welded.
The expansion and contraction forces are completely dissipated by proper
mounting to the sleepers and go into the ballast, even at those temperatures.

Welding itself can only happen during "neutral" temperatures though, somewhere around 2C

Also: really, slashdot, no degree sign - not even using the HTML entity?

Comment: Re:Yeah and it does things your i5 cannot (Score 2) 197

You're actually incorrect. There's enough radiation to lock up computers in low earth orbit, including on board the ISS.

Not really, no. They run quite a lot of unmodified, off-the shelf, near-current-generation laptops on the ISS
(most new crews bring a couple of laptops and leave most of them them there, while only broken ones are
put in the "garbage trucks"). They don't run any worse than on the ground.

True, none of those is mission-critical as in "a failure will kill the crew", but some are experiment-result-critical.
The people designing the experiments apparently are fine with that, so it can't be that bad.

Comment: Re:The back slapping on this mission... (Score 4, Interesting) 197

. At least then the Saturn V launch rocket was being tested as well.

The early Apollo test missions were on a Saturn 1B

Yup. That's what I consider one of the craziest/most amazing aspects of the crazy-stuff-rich
whole Apollo program: The final Saturn V configuration (S-IC + S-II + S-IVB) had only two
unmanned test flight - in the form of full orbital missions, Apollo 4 and Apollo 6 (Apollo 4 was
also the very first flight for both S-IC and S-II). Both missions were complete successes
(and led to the discovery of lots of problems, including the famous "pogo oscillations").

There were plans for a third unmanned Saturn V launch, but they were running out of time, and
more importantly, out of Saturn Vs, so it was decided to make that launch Apollo 8 instead - the
first manned flight around the moon.

Nobody was really sure this would work...

Not a single Saturn V ever failed in a mission-critical way (Apollo 13 was a service module poblem).

Comment: Re:Name them like hurricanes (Score 2) 64

by the_other_chewey (#48465763) Attached to: The People Who Are Branding Vulnerabilities

Start alphabetically, and with a long list of random names (take randomly from US+other census data, or other large pools), and each successive vulernbility gets the next name from the list, no exceptions.

Not only did this work for hurricanes, this is actually how the US Government has decided on operation names for a while: How the US Army choses operation names

You should read the articles you link to. They used to use random names, but they don't anymore, for PR reasons.

"Just Cause", "Desert Shield", "Provide Comfort", "Northern Watch", "Desert Fox", "Desert Freedom", "Desert Storm", "Iraqi Freedom", "Enduring Freedom", ...

Really not that random.

Comment: Re:UPS (Score 1) 236

by the_other_chewey (#48453549) Attached to: What is your computer most often plugged into?

I just get basic APC UPSs and I've never had one cause me a moment's trouble. [...] You just have to test on occasion and replace batteries as needed because they WILL fail silently -- if the battery is dead, you won't know until the power goes out and your machine goes down.

That's what apcupsd is for. Acceptably easy to configure, and then it just works.
It'll warn you if the self-test considers the batteries too old and due for replacement.
Also, it'll do a controlled shutdown if the power is out for too long and the UPS is running
low - a feature I've tested but never needed, thanks to a slight UPS capacity overprovisioning.

Comment: Re:Deficit eating (Score 1) 323

by the_other_chewey (#48397665) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

The deficit they're talking about is around 1% to 2% of the annual production.

Right now, yes. The deficit they are talking about is 25%-50% of the annual production.

I can't see this working for more than a handful of years even under the assumption of large
stockpiles - "rolling reserves" attenuate the problem of age, but not the one of consumption.

Comment: Deficit eating (Score 1) 323

by the_other_chewey (#48397387) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate
How is this supposed to work? Are they just printing more cocoa beans?

I can imagine demand rising a lot, but unless there are huge cocoa reserves
somewhere (which I doubt in the case of a perishable) in the order of multiple
yearly harvests (global production seems to be somewhere around four million
tonnes), I can't see how this demand is going to be met with actual chocolate.

Comment: Re:RTGs not feasible for small probes (Score 1) 223

by the_other_chewey (#48388593) Attached to: Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

Pacemakers don't use RTGs, they use non-thermal radioisotope generators, like betavoltaics that harvest the current created by escaping beta particles.

That's only true for the Promethium-powered ones with a Betacel unit. I think the number of
actual thermoelectric ones still "in the wild" using Plutonium is about the same.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.