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Comment Do most users ignore the app security warnings? (Score 1) 286

I recently wanted a battery monitor app, and I was appalled that most of the apps in the store wanted access to my location, email, text messages, etc. Obviously there's no reason why a battery monitor app needs any of this.

At least Android warns you about that before you install the app; on the iPhone the only warning you ever get is about location. Given how many of these apps seem to have good ratings, I guess most people just don't care.

I tried one battery monitor app that did not present privacy warnings, and it basically worked, but it sucked the battery flat in less than an hour. Apparently it was written to run continuously, rather than periodically. I guess for now you don't get a good battery monitor without giving up your privacy.

The security warnings would be much better if instead of just being warnings, the user had the option to install the app but deny it access to the things you don't want it to use (the way location works on the iPhone).

Comment Re:ordered one a few days ago (Score 1) 463

Based on the specs of the closest off-the-shelf laser from Nichia (probably the same laser die in a different package), it appears that the lowest achievable output will be somewhere between 150 and 300mW, still too high to be used safely as a laser pointer. Nichia makes a 455 nm diode that can run at 5-10 mW, but it costs $3000.

Comment ordered one a few days ago (Score 1) 463

though I'm rather skeptical that they'll really be able to deliver what they've promised.

If they really do, the first thing I'll want to do is take it apart and change the current limiting, to get it down to 5mW, so that it can be used safely as a laser pointer.

I don't need a 1W blue laser, but I haven't found any 5mW blue lasers for under $200.

Comment Re:No fly list is a dumb idea (Score 1) 300

If the government tells an airline that they are not to let me fly, and threatens the airline with revocation or non-renewal of licenses needed to operate, then yes, they are forbidding me to fly. The fact that an intermediate party (the airline) is involved doesn't alter that.

Aside from violating my (unenumerated) right to travel by air, it violates the Privileges and Immunities clause. That they add names to the NFL arbitrarily with no legal process and that there is no provided means of getting my name removed from the NFL violates the Due Process clause.

The government has absolutely NO rights whatsoever. The rights belong to the people. The people have granted the government limited powers to impose restrictions on the people's rights. The government routinely exceeds the limitations of those powers, and one of the functions of the courts is to provide a means for the people to attempt to rein in such abuses.

Comment Re:No fly list is a dumb idea (Score 1) 300

Of course the government does things all the time that they don't actually have the power to do. That's no surprise. Thanks to the Constitution (as amended), we have legal recourse, and can at least attempt to rein in the worst excesses.

The Supreme Court isn't always willing to let them get away with everything on the basis of the interstate commerce clause. U.S. v Lopez 514 U.S. 549 (1995) is an example of the court recognizing that a broad interpretation of the interstate commerce clause would effectively remove all limitations on government power.

Comment DLink DIR-825 rev B (Score 2, Informative) 344

Although not marketed for open-source use the way the Linksys WRT54GL was, the DLink DIR-825 rev B seems like a great choice. It is supported by many of the third-party firmware distributions (I use OpenWRT), has an Atheros MIPS-based CPU that runs at 680 MHz, simultaneous dual-band Atheros WiFi which has good open source support (no binary blob driver needed), detachable antennas, gigabit ethernet, and isn't too expensive.

Much though it pains me (as a former Ubicom employee) to say it, I would recommend avoiding the earlier DIR-825 rev A which uses a Ubicom processor. Although Ubicom now offers some kind of Linux SDK, as far as I know there is currently no third-party firmware that will run on the DIR-825 rev A. The hardware revision is on the label of the package, and also the rev A and rev B look somewhat different, so if you buy a DIR-825 at retail you can easily ensure that you get the rev B. I suspect that most of the major online retailers probably have exhausted their inventory of rev A by now.

Comment Re:No fly list is a dumb idea (Score 2, Insightful) 300

Sorry, but there most certainly *IS* a right to travel by air. It is one of the unenumerated rights, protected by the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The government can only deny us this right if they have a power to do so, granted to the government by the people, by means of the Constitution. I am not presently able to find the section of the Constitution that gives the government the power to deny the people the right to travel by any particular means.

Note that the right to air travel does not compel any other party to help me to exercise this right. I can't demand that United give me a ticket; the right simply guarantees that I can negotiate a contract with United to pay them to transport me, or to purchase (or build) and fly my own plane. If the government wants to deny me that right, they have to have a specific power to do so. The government does not have the power to arbitrarily deny rights just because it suits their purposes to do so. That is a key difference between the US government and most governments of the past (and even many of the present).

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