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Comment Re:Legal? (Score 1) 181

How does this get around wire-tapping laws...

Pretty easily actually....
First: bury it in layers and layers of fine print and legalese in the EULA, which, lets face it, no one actually reads.
Second: incentivization. Offers for free crap in the US sells crap quicker than ammunition sells in the middle east.
Third: Lobbying: sell it to congressional officials as a 'counter terrorism' tool, build in a back door for DoD/DHS and it'll be legalized in the annual defense authorization bills almost instantaneously.

Will it be abused? When hasn't a corporation and/or government entity abused something?
You tell me....

Comment Re:Static strap? (Score 1) 416

When you're in ohshit mode, that's the last thing you're concerned with. just rest some part of your arm on the chassis, don't shuffle your feet, wear rubber soled shoes, and roll on. I haven't used an ESD strap in years, I'm neck deep in broken systems all day, and have never fried anything from ESD.

Comment Tools (Score 1) 416

USB to serial adapter
console cable for each switch vendor you have
cable crimper
punchdown tool
Screwdriver sets: machinist, standard, phillips, torx, (dont get the one that just accepts multiple bits, they tend to fall under floor tiles and are never seen again)
socket set
pliers set
wire strippers
cheap netbook if you don't keep a laptop in the office (you'd be surprised what you forget when you're woken up at 2am and are still zombified when you hit the road)
Tile puller (if you have floor tiles)
spool of ethernet cable and/or several extremely long patch cables marked 'for emergency use only' (unless you're not worried a rat deciding you don't need those 200ft runs to your web cluster anymore)
cheap cable tester (keep the good Fluke tester locked up in your desk or something)
To prevent theft, paint it all with some fruity color or glitter paint or something and etch the company/department name with a boxcutter or exacto knife into everything you can. You can pick up some decent Craftsman hand tools at K-mart for decent prices. Crap tools only make the job harder and can potentially make the situation worse. It's bad enough you're already going to be in ohshit panic mode when something blows up in the middle of the night. If a tool you have to have breaks at midnight, you're just plain SOL until you can get a new one at 10am (or whenever the hardware stores open in your area)

Comment 'Walled Garden' Environments (Score 1) 573

What is your opinion on the 'walled garden' that Microsoft, Apple, and the collective of OEMs (software and hardware) that go along with MS, have force fed to businesses and mainstream users over the past 20 years and is there any real longevity/long term viability in the walled garden business model? I ask because of the lack of resistance from SW/HW vendors to MS's 'Surface' UI being instated across both the mobile devices and desktop/server (Windows Server 2012 also forces this UI).

Comment Re:Why I doubt driverless cars will ever happen (Score 1) 604

I maintain that you CAN'T really program morality into a machine

Actually, you can. The real question is who's morality and ethics will be programmed into the machine, and who will set these standards of morality?

This is an extreme example, but what was considered moral to Adolf Hitler is not necessarily what is considered moral by myself, and what I consider moral may not necessarily be what is considered moral by anyone else. If you program the robot to avoid a collision at all times, being flung off a bridge or sent headlong into a tree is exactly the outcome you have programmed into the car. It's called unintended consequences, not to mention that a sensor may go bad or misread something and you suddenly get thrown into oncoming traffic at 70mph for no good reason. There's just too many things that can go wrong with machines to completely take the humanity out of operating dangerous and powerful machines.

Personally, automation to this extreme is a very bad idea. I would rather smash into the bus and take my chances then be forced to commit suicide by being thrown off a bridge by a robot, and I'm pretty sure most would agree with me.

There are, of course, those that would rather see someone thrown off a bridge than risk a few bumps and bruises themselves.

Comment Re:odd claims about RFID (Score 1) 743

RFID chips don't work that way. They don't know their location.

Wrong, RFID chips CAN be and ARE used that way. As long as it is within range of a scanner operating at the same frequency of the RFID chip, they can be used as tracking devices. How do I know this? We use them where I work for that very purpose.

Comment Re:Statistics (Score 1) 199

First: I'm guessing that this is part of the 'Google Analytics" package already.
Second: at face value, this appears to be an attack on Facebook, whether direct or indirect (i.e. the 'like' and/or 'share' functions, and the analysis thereof)
Third: I'm not even sure that this is a proper patent (citing the aforementioned 'rounded edges' issue, which I also believe is an invalid patent) as it appears to be a reworded version of a relatively commonly used calculation, used to predict future. as well as analyze previous 'word of mouth' advertising effectiveness, applicable to both digital and real world environments.

Comment Re:Maybe I'm a bit biased, but .... (Score 1) 245

Micro-managing I.T. is almost never wise....

I agree with you, but in my experience (sysadmin/net engineer) I have seen that micro-management and obscene abuse of the IT department personnel has become the norm. It seems like upper management tries to make 'sport' out of it because they have nothing better to do outside of meetings other than make the few IT people who were dumb enough to stick around miserable.

source: My 2 person IT operation supporting 10k +/- users with a budget lower than that of a homeless person, where neither of us are truly qualified to do half of what we do (our net engi/sysadmin/sw dev degrees are from the University of Google, and my cohort and I are supposed to be [and were hired as] Test/QA engineers)

Comment Unreal Engine? LAMP? (Score 1) 246

Not so much programming as it is design, but It allows you to play with motion, physics, skeletal structures, geometry, environments, etc. It's cheap, and a helluva lot more fun than MSPaint. It could turn out to be a good stepping stone into game design. If you want to go strictly programming, I'd seriously consider introducing the kid to the LAMP stack. Linux and Apache are easy enough for a young kid to learn the fundamentals of, as he/she gets older, bring on the SQL and Python/PHP/PERL. Web applications are going to be the future for the foreseeable future, and Python isn't quite as daunting as C, C++ or C#.....

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