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Comment Re:Accountability (Score 1) 185

The databases in question hold information such as driver licenses, car registration, criminal histories,warrants, missing persons, etc. In Ohio the main law enforcement database is LEADS which also ties into national criminal justice databases, Access to LEADS is regularly AUDITED. People who misuse it are routinely prosecuted. These databases are very important to public safety. You can never prevent misuse, but you can hold users accountable for their use of the system.

Maryland has METERS, which ties into NCIC, and is similarly audited. People are punished for misuse of METERS, sure. But that isn't the only database. Counties and municipalities have their own records and document management systems, which have confidential information in them, often in greater detail than METERS- full police reports without redaction, calls for service, and so on. Implementing auditing at this level is a hard sell with the shrink in state/local funding and manpower. And let's be real, having strict audits of these databases is just not going to be a high priority for a lot of agencies. So I guarantee you that, if you look around, there are many agencies that have no auditing in place for their internal databases that hold confidential information. Hence the potential for abuse. I'm not surprised that this is such a widespread problem, not at all, despite strict controls that exist for the state databases that tap into the national criminal database.

Comment The Surface Pro, stiff competition for the iPad? (Score 0) 279

Hahahaha... ahahaha! How much did Microsoft pay for this? If anyone has ever spent any significant time with a Surface Pro, as well as an iPad, they would know that these devices aren't even in the same league. My organization has deployed some of the original Surface Pro's, and some 3 Pro's, and, combined with the stillbirth that is Windows 8, these devices are absolute dogs. I think my favorite part about them is that the official dock's video output only works intermittently. Well, that, and the fact that we've seen a failure rate of the Pro 3's of about 30%. I'm not Apple fanatic, not by a long shot, but the iPad just generally works, and it's easy/simple to use. The iPad is also not designed for the same thing the Surface Pro is. It's a pure consumption device.

Comment This shouldn't have been such a big deal. (Score 1, Insightful) 1083

Who cares what happens between consenting adults? This issue has been blown way out of proportion by religious fundamentalists in the US (mostly Christians). No one is forcing anyone to get married, merely extending that right (and the associated benefits) to all couples. No, the sky is not falling.

Comment Re:Minecraft itself is a phenomenon, but (Score 1) 330

How long is your "long run"? 5 years? 10? I know Minecraft has had some pretty serious legs on the NPD sales charts, but will MC merchandise be relevant for long enough to recoup that investment? It just seems to me like Microsoft is getting on board late in the game, and that they overpaid.

Comment Re:Well at least they saved the children! (Score 1) 790

You would think so. In a way, it's lucky that they don't. Google could use a similar technology to the one that some digital forensics software does, which actually analyzes the pictures themselves. Basically, an algorithm matches the percentage of pixels that fall in certain color ranges and matches them to known illegal images. It's not a home-run like an identical file hash, and requires human intervention, but we have had some success with it in instances that involve a very large number of files.

Comment Re:Because of the Limited Lifespan? (Score 2) 202

Have you ever owned a Plasma? They die... all the time. I had 3 plasmas die in as many years. I've had the same LCD for 7 years now. Every time I go over to someones house and their TV has a giant glitchy white or black stripe running down the screen I know they have a plasma. I'm sure there are some success stories but when even the $7k+ luxury models have higher failure rates, that technology needs to die.

That's funny, I just pulled a plasma off of the wall yesterday at one of our remote offices (getting rid of local workstation/security camera display). It was an old ED (480p) display TH-42PHD5UY, model year 2002. This thing still works just fine. Additionally, Panasonic has, in the past, scored pretty well for TV reliability. Yes, the black/white stripe is a (rare) plasma-specific failure. LCDs have their own failures, like bunches of dead pixels in the center of the screen. I'm not sure why you were modded "5, Interesting". We can all post anecdotes about how something is reliable or unreliable.

Comment The "best" product didn't win. (Score 3, Interesting) 202

At least by the metric of visual quality. Plasmas have pretty much led LCD TVs in that arena for the entire period where both technologies competed from the same screen size/price range. This includes the 2013 model year HDTVs- Panasonic's VT-series plasmas were consistently rated as the best-quality displays by most reputable reviewers. Now once you start looking at other elements, like LCDs requiring less power, not being subject to burn-in, better peak brightness, and so on, the competition becomes closer, but I would have liked to think that pure visual quality would have kept Panasonic in the market at least a while longer.

This is pretty much the end of another display technology. Panasonic and Samsung were the last two plasma manufacturers targeting the mid- to high-end display market with their own panels.

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