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Comment Siri's networked? Spooky. (Score 1) 2

. I don't have an Iphone, so I only know what I've read online, but Siri's needing the network to be up creeps me out. This means in some sense Apple has access to your queries, and could do anything they want with the information. And how long before the gummint notices this and starts generating search warrants for it? Or just asks, and Apple instantly folds and turns it over?

. This is why I like my phones dumb.

Comment Hooking solar to the grid: maybe a problem (Score 1) 439

We installed solar panels a couple of years ago, and they've been a Good Deal. (Like, zero electricity bills four months a year. In New England. :-) But my jaw dropped when they explained that they won't work during power outages(!).

The base problem is you have to avoid putting juice on the grid when a lineman's up there thinking everything's dead. Not good. There are ways to avoid this (ask anyone who has a gasoline generator hooked to their breaker box), but presumably the vendors want to keep the cost down so far as is possible.

So there are two aspects that may come to bear. First, the inverter (takes DC from solar panels and converts it to AC for the grid) is rigged to shut down immediately if there's no grid power (and wait five minutes after it comes back to resume operations). Second, it must synchronize its AC waveform to accurately match what's coming in. (Things get wasteful if it's a little out of phase, and dangerous if it's a lot out.)

So what I'm going to ask the inverter manufacturer come Monday is whether the incoming waveform is used to decide whether we've got kosher grid power. If so, will these experiments cause the frequency to depart from 60.00 Hz enough to cause the inverter to turn itself off? If so, there'll be a lot of people with solar panels who'll be very upset with these changes.

Comment Re:Mains Frequency (Score 1) 439

Probably with the vast increase in small generators, wind, solar and hydro etc coming on to the grid, there is much more variation than with the old large base load generators.

Don't bet on it. Our solar panels' inverter reads the grid waveform and shapes its own to match, very closely.

Think about it—any variance between the two is, at a minimum, a pure waste of power, and if it's big enough it's real danger (as that wasted power starts to generate more heat than the inverter's heat sink can dispose of.)

Comment Sounds like Akamai (Score 2) 182

The patent's abstract (a bit long to quote here) sounds like Akamai's business plan.

The patent was filed in October 1997. According to the company's history Akamai's founders were finalists in a 1998 MIT competition. Given that these things don't take shape instantaneously, there's a fighting chance they've got some documentation of prior art that would shoot down this claim forthwith.

Comment Not too hot in the workplace, either (Score 1) 1

Back before the Internet was ubiquitous, when the War on Terror was in its salad days, a colleague was demonstrating how easy it was to find dodgy content. He found bomb-making instructions and printed them out.

Unfortunately, he didn't pick up the printout right away, someone else visited the printer and went non-linear. He was cleaning out his desk shortly thereafter.

Just goes to show that irrationality has attended the WoT from the start.


Submission + - Cellcrypt releases Android voice encryption app (computerworld.com.au)

angry tapir writes: "Cellcrypt released an application on Tuesday for mobile phones running Android that encrypts voice calls, addressing increasing concern that voice traffic over cellular networks could be intercepted with off-the-shelf equipment. Cellcrypt built the application after seeing an increase in the number of Android users, said Ian Meakin, Cellcrypt's vice president of marketing."

Submission + - Wisconsin considers forcing UofW off of Internet2 (chronicle.com)

Laxitive writes: In a set of surprise changes to the to a budget bill, the government of Wisconsin has included resolutions calling for UofW to return $39-million in federal grant money awarded to build out high-speed internet access in the state. From the article:

"The plan would also require all University of Wisconsin institutions to withdraw from WiscNet, a nonprofit network cooperative that services the public universities, most of the technical and private colleges in Wisconsin, about 75 percent of the state’s elementary and high schools, and 95 percent of its public libraries, according to David F. Giroux, a spokesman for the university system."

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