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Comment: Re:most lego's are a rip off (Score 1) 352

by v1 (#46773153) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

I have NO idea how many lego sets I had. IMHO the "junk" of the sets were the windows, people, wheels, the stupid closed minded stuff. I preferred the raw blocks, mainly the 2x4 and the longer ones that were in such short supply. I mad some amazing things, including a box with a door locked by three tumblers, that required its lego key to open. (if it had been glued together, naturally)

I also had dominos and blocks, two capsula sets (adding a switch, motor, and wires to the mix), an old and a new girder n panel set (kinda meh), tinker toys (also meh), and later a number of assemblable toys like a little battery powered toy boat I had to wind the motor (dc windings) on, a ball clock, crystal radio, and by age 10 two electronic design experimenter (150 and 200 in 1's). I did a LOT of building when I was growing up. (though a good deal of it started going toward electronics by the time I was a teen)

Kids need a shot at that sort of play when they're growing up. It's not going to be for everyone, but this whole culture of "stick an ipad in his hands" by default is just a shame. Ikea is going to go out of business by the next generation, nobody will be able to assemble any of their furniture!

I was just talking with a friend of mine, father of my godson, about the possibility of getting him into arduino. Wow, he's gonna be NINE this December, and he doesn't have anywhere near the head-start I did. I did manage to inspire him with a variety of art supplies which he loves, and got him several of those assemblable bots from radio shack last year, trying to get him a good start and taste of things that he finds he has an aptitude for. It's not just building things, kids need to get exposure to a variety of things as early as possible, so they get their feet wet with essential flexible skills like buidling, as well as getting a taste of variety to see what they really enjoy.

But being able to make things, that's such a basic, universal skill. It's one that every kid should get heavy exposure to, in a format they can enjoy excelling in.


Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft 109

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the wither-wintel dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "The Wintel cartel appears to be well and truly dead, as Intel chases after ARM with grim determination into the rapidly growing world of Android tablets. 'Our mix of OSes reflects pretty much what you see in the marketplace,' the company's CEO said, a nice way of saying they see more potential growth from white-box Chinese tablet makers than from Microsoft Surface. Intel managed to ship 5 million tablet chips in the first quarter of the year, although plunging PC sales meant that company profit overall was still down."

Comment: Re:Wich only serves to further (Score 5, Interesting) 84

by v1 (#46715835) Attached to: Stung By File-Encrypting Malware, Researchers Fight Back

WHY is it okay for Symantec to do this?

The more relevant question to ask is "Why DID Symantec do this?" A more interesting question would be "Why did Symantec break the law?" They didn't do that, but the answer to all three is the same.

"because it helps them make money".

In this particular case, the fear of ransomware helps Symantec sell their product. So a researcher doing something to combat ransomware hurts Symantec's business. So they do what they can do, to protect their profits. In this case, it's even legal for them to do it. So it's a no-brainer.

You simply have to expect this sort of behavior from any big business. There's no point in being confused or shocked by it.

A month from now they will be able to make a new press release, "Two months ago security researchers dealt a blow to ransomware, protecting users and devaluating our product. Today, we're pleased to announce the ransomware developers have made the necessary fixes to their code outlined in our recent publication, and once again, Symantec is your only defense against ransomware!"

Comment: this is NOT dangerous (Score 1) 402

by v1 (#46646493) Attached to: NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

Danger implies risk. Risk implies different possible outcomes.

If we send a meatbag to mars, they're not coming back before they spoil. There's only one possible outcome. It's not risky OR dangerous. It's guaranteed lethal. So now that we've gotten that out of the way, lets continue with the booking please? (and I wouldn't mind signing up myself, but I rather doubt they'd take me)

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 41

by v1 (#46521827) Attached to: Judge Tells Feds To Be More Specific About Email Search Warrants

I'm sure if they were publicly asked if such a whitelist exists, they would deny it. And they would be lying. The first group that inspired the creation of the list is the list of state senators. Those were built into the system from day 1, I'm sure 100% of them are on the "always fly list". And then a few of the uppers in the NSA landed on the list due to travel etc, and raised hell, and got themselves added to the list by internal means. And it just snowballed from there as someone says "well if we're adding sensators and ourselves, who else would be a good idea to keep the heat off us?" Judges, celebs, secretaries of state, governers, union officials, and other powerful people added thereafter. I bet the list is well into the ten thousands by now.


Is Analog the Fix For Cyber Terrorism? 245

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the security-through-obsolescence dept.
chicksdaddy writes "The Security Ledger has picked up on an opinion piece by noted cyber terrorism and Stuxnet expert Ralph Langner (@langnergroup) who argues in a blog post that critical infrastructure owners should consider implementing what he calls 'analog hard stops' to cyber attacks. Langner cautions against the wholesale embrace of digital systems by stating the obvious: that 'every digital system has a vulnerability,' and that it's nearly impossible to rule out the possibility that potentially harmful vulnerabilities won't be discovered during the design and testing phase of a digital ICS product. ... For example, many nuclear power plants still rely on what is considered 'outdated' analog reactor protection systems. While that is a concern (maintaining those systems and finding engineers to operate them is increasingly difficult), the analog protection systems have one big advantage over their digital successors: they are immune against cyber attacks.

Rather than bowing to the inevitability of the digital revolution, the U.S. Government (and others) could offer support for (or at least openness to) analog components as a backstop to advanced cyber attacks could create the financial incentive for aging systems to be maintained and the engineering talent to run them to be nurtured, Langner suggests."
Or maybe you could isolate control systems from the Internet.

Comment: Re:RadioShack's business model (Score 1) 423

by v1 (#46408909) Attached to: RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

Well, the recent adoption of arduino was a good effort, but probably too little, too late.

And right now their markup on arduino products is pretty unpalatable. They're selling things for quite a bit above MSRP. The first thing that does is drive people to buy from places like MCE that are still quasi-retail, but online only. (where RS is likely headed) But then once you're online you realize that $65 Mega2560 that you found at MCM for $50 can actually be had in generic form (Funduino 2560) for $16 with free shipping off ebay, as long as you're willing to wait 3 weeks for it. And then Radio Shack falls back to it's "I need this today" store of desperation only. You did buy one mega from RS, but you will never buy another one from them because now you have four more knockoffs at home for the price of one more locally. While "local desperation" is a valid market, it's not a good one to rely on for too much of your volume.

I still go there somewhat frequently because I'm too impatient for my own good though.


Australian Company Claims Laser-Based Quantum Crypto is "Unbreakable" (Video) 84

Posted by Roblimo
from the when-you-positively-absolutely-need-to-keep-your-crypto-key-to-yourself dept.
The QuintessenceLabs website doesn't mince words when it comes to self-promotion. It boasts that they are "The world’s first company to harness the quantum properties of lasers to herald a new generation of data security." InvestCanberra says, "the defense and security policy and procurement centre of Australia is the natural location for large conglomerate defense and security corporations and specialist cyber security, advanced communications and radar, ICT and surveillance businesses alike," and goes on to list QuintessenceLabs as one of several "locally headquartered companies that have grown into internationally successful organizations."

Here's another statement taken from the company's website: "QuintessenceLabs is the first in the world to exploit a new generation of quantum cryptographic technology which enables unbreakable, secure storage and communication of sensitive information through the generation of an ultra-secure cryptographic key." Unbreakable? That's a strong boast. Is it true? And even if it's only partly true, your upper management may call on you to explain (and possibly implement) laser-based quantum security, so you need to know what it is and how it works -- and whether it's something your company (or your client companies) need.

Comment: Re:RadioShack's business model (Score 0) 423

by v1 (#46399711) Attached to: RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

The sad part? One of the absolute best presents I ever had as a little kid was that 120-in-one electronics lab kit they used to sell

And the 200-in-1 that I got a year after the 150. That was 100% responsible for my interest in electronics today. My how far the Shack has fallen. I remember back in the days, going out to the local RS in KCMO with my breadboard and pencil/paper with schematics, buying parts, over to the table to work on it, back over for a few more things I needed nextâ¦. now it's so hit-and-miss. I can think of more parts they've stopped carrying than parts they DO carry. Walls of 5pk's of resistors turned into a single pull-out drawer with maybe 15 varietyâ¦.


Study: Half of In-App Purchases Come From Only 0.15% of Players 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the pay-5-slashbucks-to-continue-reading-this-summary dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever seen a goofy microtransaction for a mobile game you play and wondered, 'Does anyone actually buy that junk?' As it turns out, few players actually do. A new study found that only 1.5% of players actually spend money on in-app purchases. Of those who do, more than 50% of the money is spent by the top 10%. 'Some game companies talk openly about the fact that they have whales, but others shy away from discussing them publicly. It costs money to develop and keep a game running, just like those fancy decorations and free drinks at a casino; whales, like gambling addicts, subsidize fun for everyone else.' Eric Johnson at Re/code says he talked to a game company who actually assigned an employee to one particular player who dropped $10,000 every month on in-app purchases." Meanwhile, in-app purchases have come to the attention of the European Commission, and they'll be discussing a set of standards for consumer rights at upcoming meetings. They say, 'Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved.'

What Would You Do With the World's Most Powerful Laser? 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the popcorn-house dept.
sciencehabit writes "This week, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California announced an important milestone on the road to achieving ignition, which could lead to producing controlled fusion reactions here on Earth. But NIF isn't just about harnessing the energy of the stars—it's about learning how stars produce their energy in the first place. In fact, pushing matter to extreme pressures and temperatures lets scientists explore all sorts of unanswered questions. At the annual meeting of AAAS in Chicago four physicists sat down with Science Magazine to discuss NIF's basic science potential and what experiments they would do if they had the laser all to themselves."

Comment: Re:Force them to warrenty whole unit.. (Score 1) 526

by v1 (#46206307) Attached to: Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

Hardware that allows software to easily damage it is designed wrong. If your OS crashes, it can basically do anything Murphy's Law dictates, within the bounds of what the hardware will try to humor it on. Hardware has to be designed to protect itself against flippy software because it's gonna happen from time to time. I'm not saying that all hardware needs to be 100% software-proof, but it needs to be, within reasonable limits. The sound hardware blowing out your speaker cone because your software tried to turn the volume up to 1e+15 is a hardware/firmware issue that should be covered under warranty.

Comment: Re:Vive la difference! (Score 1) 457

by v1 (#46167747) Attached to: Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps

Police do not get to keep the money they collect. None of that money is allowed to go back to the police department.

In my city, the Chief of Police drove around for several years in a red ferrari, seized from I believe a drug dealer. They had it sent into the shop to retrofit a light bar, radio, etc into. It's difficult to say what exact maneuvers they went through to pull it off, it might have been a not-so-public public auction or something.

Wish I still had a pic of it to share. It was an interesting sight to see. You can see similar things nowadays though looking at some of the hopped up police cars that run on the autobahn, looks about the same. Sort of like this, only it was red and the light bar was a lot wider: (and they didn't bother to write "police" across the side)

Administration: An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. -- Ambrose Bierce