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Submission + - DHS Drone Boondoggle (defenseone.com)

schwit1 writes: Spoofing is far from the only problem facing Department of Homeland Security and the way it gets drones to the border. In addition to giving grants to law enforcement agencies to purchase UAVs, DHS also has many of its own. Last year, the department's own inspector general declared that DHS drone purchasing program, which had spent $360 million since 2005 — $62 million in 2013 alone — was largely a failure.

DHS had taken delivery of 11 MQ-9 Reaper drones, unarmed but otherwise similar to the ones used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. DHS anticipated that the cost per flight hour would be $2,468, far lower than the actual $12,225. The agency was using accounting tricks to move the costs of pilots, equipment, and overhead off the books. Even the actual flights hours — 5,102 — were a fraction of the promised 23,296.


Submission + - Apple Won't Play the Numbers Game in Post-PC World

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Ian Douglas writes in the Telegraph that Apple has been talking a lot about a ‘post-PC’ world lately and although the iPad 2’s marketing materials talk about the size of the device, its weight and color, it shies away from giving any concrete figures for memory, camera sensor capacity, Wifi protocols or display backlighting systems, all trumpeted as selling points by their competitors. "This is what happens with mature technology," writes Douglas. "Although it’s the subject of deep study to some specialists and the experiences we have depends on their good work, we can’t bring ourselves to care about every little thing, the world’s too complicated." The truth is that the iPad is a lower spec device than a lot of the competition and Apple wants to compete on an intangible feeling: quality of experience. "They’ve defined a product category, now they want to define the language people use to describe it," says Douglas. "They know they won’t win on gigahertz and megapixels, and they know that in the end, as speeds and capacities move deep into ‘good enough’, people stop caring about those things anyway. We can expect far fewer numbers in Apple adverts in the future.""
User Journal

Journal Journal: Sprint, Walmart launch Common Cents mobile

As reported on Broad Band DSL Reports.com, Sprint and Walmart launch Common Cents mobile - You can call it 'Common Cents' or 'Boost' or 'Virgin' or 'Sprint', it is still not a great deal. Prepay Common Cents cellular at .07 a minute / per text still boils down to a $20/mo. bottom line, for some, since your minutes may expire monthly. Unused time and inactive phone numbe

Comment Re:China proably doesn't care. (Score 1) 74

The US population remains both connected to the internet, yet blissfully ignorant of any and all controversial politics in their country.

Stupid User Syndrome. Or is that Stupid Human Syndrome? Or apathy? I don't know, but too many people buy everything they're fed by a certain propaganda station. If we have internet access, yet remain blissfully ignorant, how can we expect the Chinese to do any better?

Comment Re:That's bright! (Score 1) 451

Thank you from all people who are not so lucky as to be perfectly healthy. I was born with a heart condition. Although I have a Ph.D. I am forced to work 4 days a week in a relatively easy job that doesn't pay very well (I'm a researcher at a university). I need regular checkups, medication, and sometimes a medical procedure. A friend of mine who is also from the Netherlands but has been living in the US for the past 6 years told me that if I was born in the US I would most probably have DIED long ago, thanks to the virtually non-existant heath care system over there. So please before you spew any more of your extreme capitalist crap try to think of other people who aren't as lucky as you are. But I guess by the total contempt you show for people who aren't as rich as you or haven't made it as far in the world as you did that will be near impossible for a self-centered arrogant person like you.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Is Technology Evil?

theodp writes: "The question of whether Goldman Sachs is evil prompts Robert X. Cringely to explore the difference between investing, which actually grows the economy, and trading, which simply relies on finding and exploiting inefficiencies in the system. 'Trading is a parasite on investing,' says Cringely, adding that 'technology has enabled outfits like Goldman to be such efficient parasites that they threaten the survival of their hosts.' It's troubling that faster computers and bigger pipes now allow the relentless application of small advantages that eventually suck profit out of the market. But what really frightens Cringely is that Goldman and others not only seem to be driven by unbounded greed, they also appear to be clueless about the implications of their work. It's time, Cringely says, for those who truly understand the complexity of our society to effect some sorely-needed change."

Submission + - Microsoft "security" strikes again.

An anonymous reader writes: In a resurgence of Microsoft's old philosophy of "Security? We don't need no security.", a URL was posted in multiple public forums that linked to an unsecured Microsoft web page advertising a free TechNet promotional subscription (a 1-year download subscription is normally priced at $349). This is not unlike the $99 promotional offer that occasionally appears, and was thought by many to be a one-time offer to try to counter the ever-growing threat from open-source Operating Systems. Users went to the URL (Microsoft's offer of service) signed up for the offer (acceptance of service at requested price), and were emailed a confirmation (Microsoft's acknowledgement of contract to deliver service). All in all, it appeared completely normal, except for the price, but it was a one-time promotion, so the price didn't seem all that strange.

After thousands of people signed up for the free TechNet service, Microsoft realized that an error had occurred. They eventually tracked down the URL and turned it off, or so they thought. It appears that Google's cache of the page caused the signup application to be executed, still allowing people to sign up. Eventually, Microsoft was able to turn off the application.

Now, we have thousands of people who thought they had signed up for a great deal (promotional) on a TechNet subscription, but Microsoft decides that the contract they had agreed to in the confirmation email is invalid. Of course, since the accounts are now invalid, they disable the accounts and blacklist the software keys.

As a result of this, Microsoft harvested thousands of names, addresses (some of them false) and email addresses. What have they provided in return? A contract that they immediately invalidated.

What was the cause? Another example of the excellent security that Microsoft will provide to your business.

Links of interest:


Hawaii Planning State-Wide Electric Car Network 255

MojoKid writes to tell us that Hawaii is planning on implementing a statewide electric car charging network. While the initiative seems to highlight the lower carbon footprint, Hawaii doesn't exactly seem like the ideal candidate for this initiative. One reader pointed out that perhaps a solar or wind power generation initiative might be a little better suited for the island state. "We have tons of wind and sun here that could be harnessed for electricity, but Hawaiian Electric Company has enough control over the government to block most wind and solar projects, and they make more money burning oil and diesel because the PUC lets them pass the fuel costs directly on to the consumer. Gov Lingle is taking all the credit, but if she actually wants to make a difference in oil consumption in the islands she needs to get large scale wind and solar projects pushed through first."

How to Search Today's Usenet For Programming Information? 230

DeadlyBattleRobot writes "I've been using Usenet searches since about 1995 to get programming information, sample code, etc., mostly for those standard APIs that are never documented well enough in the official documentation. At first I used dejanews, and now Google Groups (Google bought dejanews). Over the last few years, I've noticed a steady decline in the quantity of search results on programming topics on Usenet from Google, increasing difficulty with their search UI and result pages, and today I find I'm completely unable to get a working Usenet search on their advanced group search page. I'm used to searching on 'microsoft.*' or 'comp.*,' sometimes supplemented with variations like '*microsoft*' or 'comp*.' As an example, try to find a post from the 1996-1998 time period on 'database' in either the comp.* or microsoft.* hierarchies, and if you can do it, please show your search expression. There should be thousands of results, but I'm getting the result 'Your search — database group:comp.* — did not match any documents.'"

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