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Comment I rooted my Kindle Fire a few days ago (Score 3, Interesting) 103

The instructions were brand new and horribly incomplete at the time, but it was fun to hunt down all of the pieces to the puzzle on an environment I was completely unfamilar with. I was mostly interested in learning more about the Android platform, and also to enable Google's Android Marketplace and other Google apps.

I unrooted the Fire (so that Amazon Video on Demand would continue to work), and used the Marketplace to download a better video player app (MX Video Player) and a number of decent games. I didn't go with the Dolphin browser or the GO Launcher for my defaults. (Not that I'm excited about Amazon's launcher.) So basically, I have what acts like a stock Kindle Fire, except I've got Android Marketplace access. I think that combination makes this a winning device. I'll still purchase from Amazon when it makes sense, but I'll go to Google for selection.

The only significant snag I've seen so far is that the pop-up menu bar onto the Kindle Fire slightly confuses apps by a number of pixels about screen size or placement. Some apps will chop off the top of their app's display. Of course, others will use the bottom of the screen for their own menu bar, leaving you with scant pixels (in landscape mode) to hit their buttons. That, and a few apps like the VLC Direct player seems to get me into situations which lock my Kindle from time to time, so I mostly don't use it.

At least when I download Marketplace apps, I can delete applications now and now worry about them haunting my 'cloud applications' screen forever. If I download Angry Birds Free, and then pay for Angry Birds (and remove the free version), do I really need to see two different Angry Birds icons on my device forever, Amazon? Well, I asked, and you apologized that I couldn't delete it. You hinted that you may allow this in the future, and you gave me a $5 credit for my inconvenience. You're not so bad.

Anyhow, rooting and installing the Amazon Marketplace is a little bit of a bumpy road, but it seems to be totally worth it.

Comment I don't care about SCADA. Vulnerabilities, I do. (Score 3, Insightful) 92

SCADA? I don't care about. Not directly. But the problem is that once the government says, "These aren't vulnerabilities or security holes. These are design issues." The problem is that you've set the example, and other software vendors are going to follow.

Example: "The denial of service attack against your application is not a security vulnerability, it is just a design issue that everything locks up for a while if it gets an incoming packet, and tries to resolve the IP address against its authoritative DNS server while that is DNS server is offline. We only do security fixes on old products / old releases. Sorry."

"Design issue, not a security vulnerability" is not a distinction you want easily drawn. Others will follow a government example if it is an easy out.

Comment Changing their principal rationale to political? (Score 4, Interesting) 1040

Please see their original report and press release. Here are some quotes from the August 5th press release:

"The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy."

"Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act. "

Their explanation didn't suddenly switch to political. It was there all along, yet so few pundits chose to focus on it.

Comment The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (Score 4, Informative) 235

I still remember the day the HP sales/technical team came on-site to give us a presentation. Flashy videos with Carly Fiorina's new vision of the future. And a bright tomorrow with a new CPU line... out with PA-RISC and in with Itanic. Their sales team looked at each other nervously as we expressed our evaluation of the arrangement as a failed vision. It didn't take them long to figure out that dumping their in-house CPU to go with the Itanic would doom them to irrelevancy. And it did.

Now the Itanium itself is sinking from irrelevancy. It took too long. This chip was a disaster. Glad to see it go.

Comment I blame (the lack of) security options (Score 4, Interesting) 350

Google Wave was only useful to me if I could trust 100% of the participants in the Wave. Yes, yes, there is a roll-back to undo damage. Not good enough.

If I had a group of Internet participants, that absolutely wasn't the case. There was no in-between. Either you trusted someone and they could do almost anything, or you didn't. And damage was extremely easy to do. There wasn't anything else that I could find, like moderator pre-approval.

Public groups were too much trouble under Google wave. A group of students collaborating on a private assignment? Not so much.

Comment Re:The part of the story you're missing... (Score 1) 144

Support from Garmin support:

--- On Tue, 2/10/09, wrote:

Subject: Re: Disable tracklog RECORDING feature in Garmin Nuvi 255w (KMMxxxxx)

Dear [AtariDatacenter],

Thank you for contacting Garmin International. Unfortunately you will have to clear the trip log manually.

With Best Regards,

Jonathan P
Product Support Specialist
2nd shift-OCC
Garmin International
913-440-8280 (fax) Att: Jonathan P

Original Message Follows:

Form Message
Knowledge Job Ticket:
Knowledge Session Log URL:
Disable tracklog RECORDING feature in Garmin Nuvi 255w
Message Body:
I see that there is a feature to hide the tracklog. There is also a feature to erase the current tracklog. If someone is concerned about privacy, is there a feature on the Garmin Nuvi 255w to make it simply not write the tracklog information out, so it doesn't need to be regularly erased?
On the Road
nuvi Series
nuvi 255W
General Question
Full Name:
[Atari Datacenter]
First Name:
Last Name:
Email Address:
[my email]
United States

Comment Re:The part of the story you're missing... (Score 1) 144

Wow. Lots of poo-pooing. But partially my fault.

A clarification (since there are so many Garmin models): the Garmin Nuvi line is what I had in mind. That would be the line that is aimed at automotive market (which related to the topic). Sample models would be 260, 265, 780, 255, 200, 205, and all the widescreen variants.

There is no way to turn of tracking on these standard automobile models. Someone mentioned the 60csx, which is a handheld unit and not aimed at the automotive market. Same with the GPSmap60csx.

Someone else asked how you convert the hidden garmin log to a useful format. It is an XML file called "Garmin/GPX/current.gpx". An very small sample of (personal) data in my unit. Yes, Google Earth can import the whole file and show you all the recorded trip information.

BTW, if I was a law enforcement officer, or a lawyer, a Garmin Nuvi would be a prime target for a search or subpoena.

(greater/less than symbols changed so that they are not interpret as HTML)

[trkpt lat="36.038740" lon="-95.858903"][ele]222.20[/ele][time]2009-10-29T16:57:40Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.042936" lon="-95.859010"][ele]224.12[/ele][time]2009-10-29T16:57:56Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.047925" lon="-95.859132"][ele]223.64[/ele][time]2009-10-29T16:58:15Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.052912" lon="-95.859232"][ele]214.03[/ele][time]2009-10-29T16:58:34Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.057339" lon="-95.859322"][ele]220.76[/ele][time]2009-10-29T16:58:51Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.062054" lon="-95.859349"][ele]226.05[/ele][time]2009-10-29T16:59:09Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.067054" lon="-95.859362"][ele]225.57[/ele][time]2009-10-29T16:59:28Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.070989" lon="-95.859362"][ele]222.20[/ele][time]2009-10-29T16:59:43Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.075946" lon="-95.859369"][ele]226.05[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:00:02Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.081213" lon="-95.859372"][ele]217.40[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:00:22Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.083537" lon="-95.859033"][ele]218.36[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:00:31Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.086452" lon="-95.858473"][ele]221.24[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:00:43Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.088155" lon="-95.858393"][ele]218.84[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:00:50Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.090343" lon="-95.858698"][ele]215.95[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:00:58Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.093297" lon="-95.859247"][ele]207.30[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:01:09Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.095859" lon="-95.859524"][ele]201.53[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:01:19Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.097290" lon="-95.859562"][ele]204.42[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:01:26Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.098406" lon="-95.859619"][ele]206.82[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:01:34Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.098967" lon="-95.859507"][ele]207.78[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:01:40Z[/time][/trkpt][trkpt lat="36.099055" lon="-95.859468"][ele]207.78[/ele][time]2009-10-29T17:01:41Z[/time][/trkpt]

Comment The part of the story you're missing... (Score 1) 144

If you've got a halfway modern Garmin GPS, you have already been collecting the very data that this project is working for. What? Your GPS is logging you without permission? Yes. (Garmin probably got some legalese somewhere to cover their tracks.)

The Garmin GPS has a facility to show/hide your 'trail' (which is based on a time/location log of your travel). I believe it also has an option to reset that log. (Or, at the very least, you could USB mount its storage device and clean out the log file.) But even if you erase the log file, it will automatically repopulate your travel log, with or without your permission. There is no built-in option to prevent this behavior.

In short, a Garmin GPS *is* a GPS tracking device that your willingly put inside of your own vehicle, and is ready to report your travel history at any time.

I have personally verified this information with Garmin's technical support. You cannot disable GPS logging. Could be a plus for this project, though.

Comment The underyling cable company problem (Score 1) 334

The real problem with the cable companies (and, unfortunately, even their competitors) is that they've stuck with their legacy monopoly model of service. Their objective isn't to give you want you want. Their objective is to sell you the packages they create.

Here, I just picked up cable service again and got the DVR from my cable company. It is littered and strewn with tons of junk channels. And I mean truly junk channels. I believe I marked over 200 channels to be skipped in the interface.

Of course, you can't say no to the cable company. When you mark 200 channels to be skipped, they still show up in the electronic program guide, cluttering it so much that it is really hard to use. But each channel that you see that you don't have is a selling opportunity.

This explains why they have not one, but three different channel numbers, scattered throughout the channelspace, for their on-demand service. (In addition to all the PPV channels, the porn channels, sports channels, special event channels, etc etc.)

Even when I pay for a huge package of channels that I don't want, they still manage to take away my ability to remove the ones I don't want.

Thanks, Cox. You've gotten better, but you still don't serve me. You make me serve you.

PS: Yes, I'd be happier if I abandon their DVR offering. Even after all these years, and all the revisions, it still isn't made with the end-user in mind. So very sad. Now if I could only pay for only the channels that I want.

Comment Re:Palm keeps falling flat? (Score 2, Insightful) 300

Yeah. I've done a few of the Palm PDAs over the years, starting with the Palm Pilot Pro. Back then, those things were cutting edge, lots of software, lots of support. You looked at the device and you knew it had a future.

It just seems like, since then, the company has had high goals, but has been on a behind-the-curve downhill slide ever since.

I now look back with regret on my decision a little over a year ago to buy a Palm T|X. Little third party development these days. Almost no vendor support on the built-in software. And yet, somehow, these are still selling today for $250-$300?

Sadly, it only performs the following functions for me to today:

1. MP3 player
2. Notepad
3. Emergency wifi web browser

Palm only has one shot left, IMHO. They need to put something out there, and it needs to be WOW.

If this isn't a Killer OS, then it'll be the OS that killed the company.


Submission + - Does your automobile GPS keep a log file on you?

AtariDatacenter writes: I recently connected my Garmin Nuvi 205W to my computer and discovered that it maintained an ongoing log of my position at regular intervals. Their customer service confirms that there is no way to permanently disable the tracking feature. All you can do is manually clear out the travel log on a regular basis. Is it a breach of customer's privacy expectations for their automobile GPS to be storing logs on them? Is the legal profession aware enough to start using these in civil or criminal cases? Could someone remotely pull the data from bluetooth capable models?

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