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Comment Re:Treaspassing (Score 1) 376

I absorb your argument (on the placement of cables), and, in fact, agree with it completely. What I hadn't considered before replying initially is that you don't see this downtown which is right on the bay. Most of Miami's cables were put in place a long time ago. They didn't put them underground either because the technology wasn't available at the time or it was too expensive. Why do they still exist? Probably because replacing them with underground wiring would be too expensive.

I'm not from Miami and I honestly have never liked the city. I agree regarding how blighted the average street is. I live in a good neighborhood, one of the few where I don't have to worry about running into drug dealers, hookers and general thugs plus homeless people begging for money 2 blocks from a homeless shelter. This is not a city worth visiting. I'm only here for work. Miami is a cesspool.

Comment Re:Treaspassing (Score 1) 376

Oh and also the city of Miami Beach as well as the beach in Fort Lauderdale and all similar areas in south Florida (and probably all eastern sea side cities in Florida) are on what is known as the barrier island. It's basically a small width of land running up the eastern coast that ranges in width of 3 city blocks to 20 city blocks with the ocean on one side and the intercoastal waterway canal on the other side.

Comment Re:Treaspassing (Score 1) 376

Miami cannot place their electric cables or much of any cables underground because ground level is about 5 - 50 feet above sea level. I have a boat dock on the intercoastal canal in my back yard. I live in a city in Miami-Dade called Bay Harbor Islands (google it). I lived on the street Hendricks Isle. in Fort Lauderdale a few years ago which was literally a street and a island at the same time. We also don't have basements here for the same reason and puddle flooding is common during heavy rains and hurricanes. South Florida is flat, there are no hills and there are canals everywhere. This is probably a big reason why Ft. Lauderdale is the yachting capital of the world. Now tell me this is a safe place to put electrical cables underground. Hurricanes and tropical storms are common in south Florida. It's been a quiet hurricane season since 2005 and I've been surprised but I remember before 2005, we'd typically get hit with at least one hurricane a year. So yeah, underground wiring is a high hazard where I live. I remember where I grew up in Canada, just outside of Toronto and everything was underground but I understand why underground wiring cannot be easily run at sea level ground.

Comment Re:Treaspassing (Score 1) 376

You have some good points about why they would prefer to identify the drivers but in a state without front facing license plates, identifying the front of the car without the back just means they have a picture of you without actually knowing who you are or what car you were driving? I think that makes it pretty hard to actually identify who the driver is. I have not seen these front facing cameras in the same neighborhoods (or under the same jurisdiction) as the neighborhoods that have red light enforcement cameras. For example I have seen these front facing cameras all over Fort Lauderdale (I have family there and used to live there for a few years). Fort Lauderdale is part of Broward country, one county north of Miami-Dade county. I have also spotted a couple (literally only a couple) in Brickel village which is part of Miami-Dade just south of downtown Miami (some consider it part of downtown) these cameras are always mounted on the traffic lights facing the front of a car that only has a license plate if it's from outside of Florida. Now the red light ticker cameras on the other hand, which are actually newer as I have watched them appear in many spots all over the city of "North Miami" as well as on the northern part of US1/Biscayne Blvd in the city of Miami. These are pole mounted and produce a bright flash for every picture taken. Additionally there are intermittent street signs advising of red light enforcement where the red light enforcement cameras are. Anyways, my point being, if I was to run a red light where I see these front facing cameras, they will have a picture of my face and that is all of the identifying information they will have on me. They will not have a picture of my plate as it's inaccessible and I find it hard to believe they are off running photo matching on drivers license pics based off of these cameras but I could be wrong.

Comment Re:Treaspassing (Score 1) 376

Thanks for the info. Though I still have a few questions, I can google it when and if I want them answered. I don't plan to have a future in electrical engineering and plan to either stay with systems engineer or programming. Either way, while I don't completely understand your answer, it seems that you have demonstrated that you enough that I should accept it. Thanks.

Comment Re:Treaspassing (Score 1) 376

The "amps" have nothing to do with it

You may be right. I am not an electrician but from what I have read, I know that amperage is a measure of the amount of electric charge passing a point in an electric circuit per unit time. Again, I am not an electrician so you may be right but to me it seems like this means it's a measurement of how much of the 110 volts my body would receive in the time frame of a shock.

I also know that when I have had to purchase industrial power wiring before that the wire gauge had to be proportional to the amount of amperage I would be passing through the wire as too many amps over an inadequate gauge could result in wire failure and present a fire hazard. Again, I'm just basing this off of items I've read and my experience purchasing industrial electrical wiring. I am not an electrician so please feel free to correct me.

Oh! I also just remembered fuses too. A traditional fuse is a piece of wire in a vacuum sealed glass container where the wire is designed to melt and break if too many amps pass through it. Circuit breakers cut off the electricity if too many amps pass through but I'm under the belief that fuses and circuit breakers exist so that in the event that excessive amperage is pulled through either one, it shuts off the circuit to avoid the fire hazard that can result from sending more then X amps through a wire designed to carry no more then X amps. Now if higher amps are responsible for melting wire as they pass through it then lower amp alternatives would be, it seems to me that higher amps would more likely cook you more thoroughly then lower amps would but I'm just guessing.

I'm open to any and all information and clarifications on this. I'm curious about how the measure of amps relate to the safety of a circuit and how relative potential damage based on the amperage used would be.

Comment Re:Treaspassing (Score 1) 376

It's called a removable battery and virtually all cellphones have one

When I referred to people who don't carry a cell phone, I didn't think I really had to get into details here. My post was informative about a lot of information that you're average reader doesn't know. I think we'd be pretty hard pressed to find someone old enough to read who wouldn't consider removing the battery from the cell phone to disable tracking but your post seems almost like you're trolling. It's not so much that you recommended another method but in a measly sentence you seem like you're stating a riveting alternative in a condescending manner.

Anyways... I already discussed the untraceable cell phone aspect of the situation but kudos for mentioning another method that cell phone triangulation can be averted.

Comment Re:Treaspassing (Score 5, Interesting) 376

My guess would be a three-letter-agency, in the "war on (terror|drugs|communism|whatever)"

My guess would agree with you because...

  1. 1) If this was a police or city camera, it likely wouldn't have been placed that high up since the lower the camera is, the easier it would be to view the license plate. The higher it is, the greater the viewing angle and the slimmer the image of the plate the harder it becomes for a program to correctly distinguish the important features. Well... this applies to police looking at license plates at least. Automated tickets for running red lights and speeders. I suppose there are possible reasons why the city could have placed them up there and in doing so wanted them as high as possible (I can't think of why they would want them at all but I guess it's possible) but see the reasons below for why I don't think the city would have done this either.
  2. 2) If this was a police or city camera, it wouldn't have needed to be placed "in the electric space" on the pole for electricity. The electric space doesn't mean it's the only spot for power on the pole. It means it's reserved for transporting massive amounts of electricity and it's reserved at higher place on the pole so that it doesn't become a hazard to less informed telco and cable company workers. It's dangerous and you don't want anyone near it who isn't fully trained in it. Now a camera doesn't even require a wired connection for communication. We have them all over where I live (Miami and Fort Lauderdale area), you see them all of the time on lights, on the highway, etc, and they all have antennae on them for wireless communications. These cameras can receive power and communicate equally at lower levels (when it's this small level of height difference). The police or city would have no reason or want to place them that high for technical purposes. If the cameras are not wireless equipped or they need a faster connection then what the wireless can provide (high def, high fps over long range wireless from many devices simultaneously) then they would still be in the proper zone for cable or telephone links in that zone. They have everything they need in that zone on the poll.
  3. 3) If this were a police or city camera, the power company would have already known, would not have dismounted it and would not have brought it to the police.
  4. 4) The police and city would both admit that it belongs to them if it did. It would not be a secret. They have so many bureaucratic policies that they are not allowed to go through some move like that and not inform the public when they did. I remember in a town a grew up in when the police started using cruisers marked as taxis to trick drunk drivers into not thinking it was police, making it easier to follow them without being noticed, etc, I don't remember the details but it was in the paper with a statement from the police about it. Government, at least at these basic levels, are not allowed to keep any secrets. They are required to inform the public (if your city has cameras, try it, ask the police and they will tell you it's theirs).
  5. 5) The police and city don't install cameras! They don't have a camera installation department. They don't want or need one. They contract this out. This is a one time roll out. They install the cameras and then they are installed. They wouldn't have a pre-existing camera installation department and if they know that they will have no practical use once the cameras are installed then they wouldn't create this department just to have to disband it soon thereafter. They contract this out to qualified individuals who are familiar with these polls and understand what zones it's allowed to be mounted in.
  6. 6) A properly done installation will leave details of the installation at the location. What I mean is these boxes that are mounted on the polls will say something like "Property of Comcast Cable, for problems call 1-800-555-7264" or something like that. It serves to notify people on the pole whom is responsible for which equipment and where to call if work has to be done which will affect said equipment. Anyone who works on utility poles is aware of this and knows exactly what it looks like. Your local telephone installers, cable TV installers, etc. They see it all the time and it's likely on the outside of any utility type box connected to your house (phone demarcation point?). The electricity company would have seen the identity information and would have called the responsible company first before removing it even if it was in the wrong zone. They would have most likely removed them all (because they don't want an unlicensed technician in the high voltage area) and charged it to the responsible company but they also would have notified them initially in the event that there was anything they needed to be informed about that could present unknown danger (policies everywhere for government big businesses, especially utility companies).
  7. 7) If this was placed there by a criminal then the police would not have said that they returned it to the owner. They would have stated that it was illegally placed and that they are conducting an investigation or that they had arrested someone. If doing an investigation adding "if you have any info, please call us, blah blah blah". The investigation part would be because he'd want his department informed if anyone has seen anything suspicious or know anyone who could have done it. If they had made an arrest, well it makes them look good. Additionally it's informing the public that if you know someone who spends too much time playing with cameras, keep it to yourself, it's not him. Additionally the police can simply say no comment and will if they have no comment to make. Police are trained on how to handle the media, what you can say, what you can't say, that you can walk away, etc. For the chief himself to say we returned it to the owner means pretty much that he did return it to the owner and when asked who the owner was, he said 'no comment'.
  8. 8) When Andrew McMahon, the superintendent at Massena Electric Department, said "whoever put it there had taken a chance with electrocution", he was excessively understating that. Dropping a toaster in the bath tub can kill you and were referring to, at most (in North America), 110 volts at 20 amps. That is the most going through you're averager home electrical socket (NEMA 5-20R outlet). Some exceptions can be made such as the home dryer which would be 250 volts at 30 amps (NEMA 14-30R outlet) and the home oven range which would be 250 volts at 50 amps (NEMA 14-50R outlet). Now imagine all of this power summed up for your whole house ...if you want a accurate number for how many amps your house has, sum the amps listed on every switch of your circuit breaker (or fuses if you have em) and then imagine this number multiples to many surrounding neighborhoods. The amount of electricity up there is astoundingly deadly. It's also not protected in all of the same ways your home is. What I mean is you have all of these simple plugs and outlets around your home and you know better then to touch the metal while inserting a plug into an outlet. The equipment in the electrical area of the utility poles is designed for technician access and not resident access. These means it's designed for servicability access for licensed technicians. It's designed to to expose everything easuly so that the properly qualified professional working on it will not be obstructed for the repairs he has to make. If this machine was installed by some local "hacker" who wanted to spy on his neighbors then they would have found his cinder of a corpse laying next to the pole instead of cameras installed everywhere. If he was trying to connect a camera to the power of the lines on the utility pole and he was somehow successful at making the connection without cooking himself on those wires, the camera would have immediately shorted and most likely caught fire from the amount of power being passed through it. If it was installed by a former (or current) electrical engineer for the electrical company, he would have known that they would have been immediately detected and removed. The police and the city (and the contractors they use) know not to go tampering around in the infrastructre level capacity of the electrical company. They know how dangerous it is. The people who installed these cameras are well informed professionals but this was done outside of the scope of the electrical company or at least outside of the scope of the average electrical company workers who had dismounted the camera and returned it to the police. Either one of those options reqiures some big names from the "three-letter-agency".
  9. 9) As I mentioned above, we have these cameras all over Miami and Ft. Lauderdale and something else I just realized, when they are installed by the city/police, I have never seen one on a utility pole (and having an inquisitive mind for my own environment, I make a point of looking for out for what others don't notice and aren't interested in). I see these installed along the highway on very high concrete polls. The height is ok for this purpose since the point of the cameras is to guage traffic conditions. The cameras I've seen taking pictures of peoples license plates Miami are also on their own polls. I've noticed cameras in Ft. Lauderdale and the odd spot of Miami that look like video cameras mounted on intersection traffic lights. I haven't thought to look for an answer but what I find strange about these is that they are perfectly positioned to inspect the front of a vehicle as it passes through the intersection but Florida license plates are only one plate mounted on the rear of the vehicle. I'm actually not sure what these intersection lights are looking for. The ones I've seen which look for red light runners are separate ones on their own dedicated poll. There is a bright flash for the camera as it takes the picture. The two camera types are distinctively different from what I've observed and by not being able to even see the license plate that goes through it, still not sure what the traffic light mounted cameras are for.

I'm not saying it was one of the "three-letter-agency" but I think we've pretty much ruled out police, city, criminal, "hacker" and everything else I can think of. I'm still open to any other suggestions on who else could have done this. P.S.

What PI wouldn't find the answer to the question "did this car go down this road between these dates" unworthy of a small disbursement from their client's expense account fairly frequently?

I really don't think a private investigator would have these installed all over the city. I mean really? Leave evidence everywhere of a task that would have cost you a lot of money to implement knowing it would be disabled and confiscated during it's extensive investigation of a "terrorist" spying on local residents? No, but even if that was the case, a lot of my above points reming on why this wasn't done by an investigator either.

P.P.S. I find this an odd thing to do by most "three-letter-agency" too since, from what I read on /., it's perfectly feasable to track a cell phone via tiangulation to a distance more accurate then GPS. Now I don't know how extensively this is implemented yet if at all but if it is then I imagine the "three-letter-agency" would prefer that a to camera license plate tracking. Right off the bat it wouldn't require image rognition and OCR (Opitcal Character Recognition) in order to identify a plate (I've seen hackers do this with Python and OpenCV) which would be more prone to false positives then say cell phone triangulation which should never be able to inaccurate give you the data of someone elses location. Additionally, through cell phone triangulation, you're not just identifying a vehicle, you're identifying person or people in the vehicle and from what I understand, cell phone triangulation, in it's current state, doesn't require special equipment to be turned on and setup in order to work nor is it limited to just one instance at a time but instead it can run constantly keeping constant maps of many different devices. Possibly even all of the devices (residents) within range of three towers which is pretty much anyone anywhere in a town or city these days, even small little towns.

Now the debate in question that I read was whether cops can use cell phone triangulation without a warrant so if it is under negotiations of whether or not cops can use it at all without a warrant then I don't see the police springing to set up new camera spots if they may have access to unfettered maps of all residents movements next month. The only reason I can see a "three-letter-agency" is if they are looking to track people that they know would not carry a cell phone, perhaps because they understand the geo-location abilities of it and how it can be used to track them. FBI vs. mafia (do they still exist)? NSA vs. Terrorists? White House pilot project town before national deployment like the UK? I'm just guessing here. I listed a lot of reasons why it would not be any of a lot of the preconceived notions but those aren't guarantees either. I honestly can't confirm or deny it is the police or it isn't the police or it is a "three-letter-agency" or it isn't a "three-letter-agency" nor can I really say it is or isn't anyone else at all.I guess all I've done is play the devils advocate. Sorry :-)

Comment I remember activists had a cause (Score 1) 193

This is getting ridiculous. I remember back in the day where activists actually stood for legitimate principals and hackers were more concerned with security and knowledge then backing the latest BS hippy political agenda. Ok. I'm sure that still happens but this as well as a lot of things making the news recently isn't a great example. A bunch of pathetic wannabe activists protesting apple for the treatment of employees at Foxconn. WTF is this supposed to mean? Employees at Foxconn are employees at Foxconn. They don't get paid by Apple because they don't work for Apple. How in the hell should Apple be responsible for how a third party treats it's employees? Apple is a customer of Foxconn and that's it. I'm not saying the employee conditions at Foxconn shouldn't be questioned but why aren't other Foxconn customers like Cisco and Acer being held equally responsible by the activists. No Cisco and Acer shouldn't be held responsible either but neither should Apple. If anyone should be held responsible it should be Foxconn and if you feel that for some reason you want to hold some higher party responsible for a lower parties actions then next on the list would be the Taiwanese government for allowing these working conditions but even still how about holding the employees responsible among all else because they continue to work there despite the conditions. Foxconn isn't the only electronics manufacturer in Taiwan and don't quote me but rumor has it there may be a bunch there (this would be the point where I make really wide eyes, raise my eyebrows, have my lips parted without my mouth gaping open and shake my head at you like you're an idiot). OMG WTF RLY??? You're saying people can work for other electronics manufacturers in Taiwan besides Foxconn? Why yes, I most certainly am. Just about everything with an integrated circuit in North America and probably the rest of the world has very high probability of coming from one of the many many many electronics companies in Taiwan so if employees at Foxconn really did feel that abused because of where they worked then they would apply at one of the hundreds of other companies in Taiwan that do the exact same thing. Why don't you all grow up and find something more reasonable to protest and hack?

Comment Re:Why not support CDMA? (Score 2) 272

Well it (probably) means that they will have to search elsewhere for the CDMA firmware through with apps like cyanogenmod, which I use, I imagine they have the current one in archive but any tweaks and future releases of such might be difficult to find. On the other hand, they may just be able to pull a live one from a working phone and use that. On yet another hand, they may run into some licensing issues themselves if they make it publicly available. I'm doing a lot of guessing on this comment so don't take it too literally but I imagine that worst case scenario, something will work out that everyone will be happy with. I mean people can still jailbreak their iPhone no matter how hard Apple tries to stop them and I imagine that Cyanogenmod will have a process much much simple and easier then any Apple fan boy trying to jailbreak their iPhone.

Comment Re:Why not support CDMA? (Score 5, Informative) 272

Google is just handing over Verizon's & Sprint's customer bases over to Apple, Microsoft and others?

Good Thing you added a question mark because this doesn't mean Google is handing anything over to anyone. Google and Carriers are still more then welcome to use CDMA technology all they like and are free to do anything they want with the phones as long as all the licensing requirements of all the software they use are met. Google removing CDMA from the developer pages is not the same thing as Google saying that the android license and therefor anyone using the android software is now restricted from using CDMA and it can no longer be used because that is not what it means. It means Google is having issues complying with certain licenses by posting the CDMA specs online and therefor they have simply taken it out of the open space where anyone in the world is now able to access it but carriers like Verizon and Sprint and Manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, LG, etc, etc will have no problem obtaining the resources and permissions to develop and implement the CDMA functionality and I'm willing to bet that Google will not only make it easy to load this functionality in a modular way which will ease integration but I also bet that will be aiding with the design and development to these companies to make sure it's done. Don't misinterpret Google taking CDMA from the open developer pages as meaning anything even close to saying Google is not going to allow CDMA on Android phones anymore because one example I can think of already is Sprint, a CDMA provider, has the contract to deploy Galaxy Nexus phones as soon as the exclusivity rights for Verizon finish. People shouldn't jump to conclusions so quickly based on a gross over simplification of what is actually being said without taken a moment to read it thoroughly and make an effort to understand the real implications of the actions. Hope this answers your question.

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