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Comment Re:Where is the service? (Score 1) 133

I've had taxi drivers tell me they didn't want to go where I wanted to go. They're taxi drivers not slaves.

Maybe they think there'll be a bad traffic jam where I'm going and they won't make as much money. Or they're finishing their shift soon and want to be in a different area when they do. Or they want to head to another area which they think will make them more money.

Comment Re:Ouch! (Score 1) 330

Not only that, but if the airlines are sharing more than e.g. the last 4 digits of the credit card info, they're probably in violation of PCI (Payment Card Industry) regs and could have their ability to take payments that way suspended.

That would be a lovely data stream for identity thieves to intercept.

Comment Special situation only (Score 1) 24

This is a solution to a very special problem - one program with cryptographic code running in a VM, and a hostile program running in the same VM. There are some crypto algorithms which can be broken if you can submit keys to them, and watch how long they run or what cache misses they make. This is very tough to do in the real world.

It also comes up for crypto modules which do DRM for content owners. There, an attacker can watch the signals and interfere with the operation of the crypto unit to slowly extract its internal keys. That's a real threat to DRM systems.

This isn't for general purpose computing.

Comment Doing it the hard way (Score 4, Interesting) 280

A 79-cent plastic water pistol filled with cyanide* is even more lethal, and just as easy to get past security.

Sure, the assassin will likely die from the cyanide too, but what are the odds of him surviving long with a one-shot gun anyway?

*(and sealed to prevent premature leakage; substitute other poison of your choice)

Comment Extruder-type 3D printing just sucks (Score 4, Informative) 185

Extruder-based machines aren't a very good technology. The fundamental problem is that you're trying to weld a hot thing to a cold thing. Welding metals that way produces flawed joints, and soldering that way produces cold solder joints. Heating the build platform helps a little, but once you've built something of any height, the heater is too far from the action. Some of the machines have better temperature control of the build area than others, but they're all rather flaky. TechShop has tried four different brands, and they range from mediocre (Replicator2 ) to useless (the Up).

The UV polymerization machines seem to work quite well. The high-end machines produce consistent results and don't need to be watched while running. They're still slow, though. The Form1 printer may get there, if they ever really ship the thing in quantity. The ship date has slipped from April 2013 to October 2013, even though their Kickstarter funding was way oversubscribed. They also charge $149/liter for their custom resin. (I suspect that resin for 3D printers is going to be a similar racket as ink for inkjet printers. The stuff isn't inherently expensive; a slightly different formulation is routinely used for making printing plates, where it costs about a quarter of the price.)


Google Science Fair Finalist Invents Peltier-Powered Flashlight 170

GTRacer writes "Ann Makosinski, a Canadian student competing in Google's Science Fair, submitted a flashlight which uses temperature differentials to power its LEDs. Her long-time interest is alternative energy because, '[she's] really interested in harvesting surplus energy, energy that surrounds but we never really use.' Using Peltier tiles and custom circuitry, her design currently runs for 20 minutes or so and costs $26. A win at the September finals in Mountain View and/or outside investment could fund further development."

Comment Re:But technicians shouldn't lie. (Score 1) 775

"... an electric car is emission free, it's a lie, it's a big, big lie.

Fine. Let's do an experiment. Ulrich (or you) can lock himself up in a garage with the non-electric car of his choice, I'll do the same (different garage) with the electric car of my choice. Then we'll let the motors run for a couple of hours. Winner is whoever walks away afterwards.

Now, electric power production may not be emission free (depending on the source), but the car itself is (not counting trivial vapors from lubrication etc). Ulrich shouldn't lie.

Comment Art is in the eye of the beholder (Score 1) 33

Not reproductions of robots from famous works of fiction.
Not models of actual robots used in real life.
Not functional in any way.

This looks like something a young kid would build with some super glue and a box full of electrical fittings and cabinet hardware from Home Depot. What's next, bleach bottle pigs?

Comment SELinux isn't claimed to be secure (Score 1) 407

SELinux isn't claimed to be secure. NSA's defensive side, the Central Security Service, created it because they wanted application developers to start writing applications that would run under a mandatory security system. Once all major applications could run under SELinux, it would be possible to swap out the Linux kernel for something smaller, with far less trusted code.

That didn't work out. Not enough applications were redesigned to run under the tight restrictions needed to make most of their code untrusted. A good example of commercial developer incompetence in this area is Matlab, which won't run with SELinux enabled. So Matlab's official instructions tell users to turn SELinux off. There is no justification for Matlab requiring security privileges.

There is also a new "backdoor" to SELinux in Linux installed recently to support a competing "security" package.

Comment Son of the "company store" scam. (Score 1) 1103

Yes, this is a son of the old "company store" scam. I just looked at the California Labor Code section on this:

212. (a) No person, or agent or officer thereof, shall issue in payment of wages due, or to become due, or as an advance on wages to be earned:
(1) Any order, check, draft, note, memorandum, or other acknowledgment of indebtedness, unless it is negotiable and payable in cash, on demand, without discount, at some established place of business in the state, the name and address of which must appear on the instrument, and at the time of its issuance and for a reasonable time thereafter, which must be at least 30 days, the maker or drawer has sufficient funds in, or credit, arrangement, or understanding with the drawee for its payment.
(2) Any scrip, coupon, cards, or other thing redeemable, in merchandise or purporting to be payable or redeemable otherwise than in money.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), if the drawee is a bank, the bank's address need not appear on the instrument and, in that case, the instrument shall be negotiable and payable in cash, on demand, without discount, at any place of business of the drawee chosen by the person entitled to enforce the instrument.

So California law prohibits the "company store" scam - employers can't pay with a "gift card" that doesn't convert to cash. And if they pay using a bank, the check or card must be cashable, without fees, at any branch of that bank. The problem is ATM fees for off-network ATMs, which have become a huge profit center for banks.

If the card is from a bank with a huge number of branches and lots of ATMs, it may not be too bad. If it's from some second-tier bank, it's a rip-off.

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