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Comment Re:Killer app, Driving you home from a bar! (Score 1) 295

Buying a $40,000 vehicle to save on $50 taxi rides doesn't seem to offer a good ROI.

Say you're right, that the self-driving car was $40k. According to Toyota's website, **BASE** price for a Prius is $24k. So, if you were even contemplating a new car purchase, you'd only really have to justify the extra $16k for the self-driving option.

$16k at $50/taxi ride is 320 rides that you'd have to eliminate for the feature to pay for itself. If you only use the self-drive feature when you're going out drinking, and go drinking one night per week, the feature pays for itself in 320 weeks. That's 6.15 years. (6 years, 8 weeks) -- Certainly not an unreasonable expectation of the car's useful lifetime. Last several cars I've had lasted > 10 years before they either died or were replaced for other reasons.

Comment Re:People torrent on their mobile phones? (Score 1) 36

Wouldn't it just point to their mobile phone instead, which is contracted to a real name and credit card / money?

Not directly. And in many cases, not at all.

A smartphone that has been connected to a WiFi network will default to sending ALL internet traffic over WiFi instead of the cellular network. So, it'll be just like your netbook.

So, if the RIAA/MPAA wanted to file a "John Doe" lawsuit based on torrent tracker records, they'd see that the public IP used on the connection was on the network owned by, say, AT&T. They serve AT&T with a subpoena, and find out that, at the time in question, that IP was assigned to "Mom & Pop Coffee Shop".

At this point, they either name the owner of "Mom & Pop Coffee Shop" directy in their lawsuit and call it good, or they contact them and demand records on who that IP was assigned to.... Records which probably don't exist. In which case, they'll probably say "fuck it" and name the coffee shop in the suit anyway.

The larger chains that contract to third-parties to manage their customer-pointing WiFi (like Starbucks) may actually retain those MAC address records (and email addresses, if their capture page collects them)

Comment Donate your old cellphones to charity. (Score 1) 89

US law requires that cellphone network carriers accept emergency calls, even from non-active cellphones. So if you turn the thing on and it can see a tower, you can use it to make a 911 call. No account, no contract, no cost.

Some charity organizations, like domestic abuse shelters, are giving out donated inactivated cellphones to people who don't have one of their own so that no matter where they are, if they get into trouble, they can at least dial 911.

A little quality time with your search engine of choice should turn up any number of places that you can take your old phones (preferably WITH chargers) to be donated. Hell, you carrier's local storefront probably has a dropbox. -- Just make sure you ask first whether they donate the working phones or just send the whole shebang out to the scrappers.

Comment Re:I don't know... (Score 1) 379

Having a built-in recovery routine in the bootloader can at least avoid a nasty trip for repair

The recovery environment doesn't have to be built into the bootloader. You just have to be able to bootstrap it via the bootloader. This is, after all, how Android phones work. (At least, on my HTC EVO)

Comment Re:whoa! that looks expensive (Score 1) 241

If you go to the company's website and actually look at the board and the better photos on the starter kit entry, you'll note that the cables are all standard 10-pin ribbons. In other words, the same kind of cables that are used for connecting serial ports to motherboards, but without removing one of the wires from the ribbon.

If something more Arduino-like is what you want, look at their Fez Panda-II. It's $39.95 and has Arduino-compatible headers.

Both boards are built around a 72 MHz ARM7 that just happens to have Microsoft's .Net runtime preinstalled. Don't want to use .Net? Rather develop for the bare metal? That's what the JTAG port is for.

Comment Re:The Univ. of Mich. has been doing this for year (Score 3, Insightful) 532

Some of us enjoyed our electives and are happy we took them.

An "Elective" is, by definition, not "Compulsory".

"You must take N credits worth of courses from X department/dicipline" qualifies as "Elective". You can pick and choose which specific courses you take.

"You must take the 'Race and Ethnicity' course" leaves you with no choice in the matter.

Comment Re:Possibly a non-jackbooted response (Score 0) 84

I just read the request you linked. What they're asking for is:

1. A temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that prohibits the Defendants (a) from using Coreflood to engage in wire fraud, bank fraud, or unauthorized interception of electronic communications, and (b) from running Coreflood on any computers not owned by the Defendants, by authorizing the operation of a substitute command and control server to give effect to the Court's orders;

2. A permanent injunction that requires the Defendants to uninstall Coreflood on any computers not owned by the Defendants and authorizes the operation of a substitute command and control server to give effect to the Court's orders; and

3. Such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

So, what they asked for was:

  • an order telling the people running the botnet to STOP THAT and to uninstall Coreflood from any computer it's on that they don't personally own,
  • AND permission to take control of the botnet, OSTENSIBLY TO
  • remove the Coreflood software from any infected computers it finds.

Maybe I'm just waving a tinfoil hat, but would you be surprised if, sometime in the future, it comes out that either

  1. The FBI took the opportunity to search the hard drives of any infected computer they find before removing Coreflood.
  2. The FBI never got around to actually removing the Coreflood software from people's computers and maintained control of their C&C server. or
  3. In a separate operation, the FBI actively went out to try to infect MORE systems with Coreflood to expand the impact of (a) and/or (b) above.

Comment NOBODY has died because of the reactor! (Score 2) 691

All of those people who died were killed by the tsunami or the quake. Okay, technically, there have been a VERY SMALL (like on the order of a few dozen) number of injuries and a few fatalities directly related to the reactors. But those were all among people who were actually *working in* the power plants.

Comment Re:Programmable CPU's (Score 1) 118

How does last year sound? Granted, it might be a while before they are commonly found on commercially available boards. And as others have pointed out, If you do it in *real* hardwdare, it will be faster than if you did it in an FPGA. This is more like a customizable coprocessor to the Atom. You could even use it to replace the motherboard chipset, conceivably.

Comment Re:You don't. (Score 2) 107

As was pointed out in the comment I originally replied to, if you allow your phone to interact with an Exchange server, you end up giving the Exchange admins the ability to do a LOT of things to your phone without your knowledge.

Including, erasing everything saved on the phone.

I am not willing to give up that level of control.

If I'm on call, or if my employer wants to replace my desk phone with a cellular one to make it easier to reach me, or they want me to be able to read and respond to email from my phone, I'm perfectly happy carrying two phones.

But if I'm on my own time and I'm not on call, the work phone goes on a shelf, and it may or may not get turned off in the process.

Comment Re:You don't. (Score 1) 107

Thankfully I do not have to read my company mail on my phone for a living. If I had to, I would have paid for one of those HTCs without giving it a second thought.

If the company you work for requires that you be able to read your email on your cellphone, they damn well be providing you a cellphone to do it with.

Comment Espionage Act of 1917 (Score 4, Informative) 919

Since you didn't include a link to the text of the act in question, here is the text of the Espionage Act of 1917.

Section 1, paragraph (e) pretty clearly applies to the person who leaked all of the documents in question.

Section 1, paragraph (d) MIGHT have applied to Wikileaks... EXCEPT for the fact that they provided the State Department with copies of all of the documents that had been leaked, prior to publication.

What's more, not only are they redacting the documents prior to publication, they're redacting the documents EVEN MORE HEAVILY than the declassified versions being published by the Department of Defense.

So, yeah. Granted, IANAL, but I'd say that doesn't apply.

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