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Comment Re:What the hell? $600K? (Score 1) 52

Just the accounting you'd need to sell the thing to the government would cost you $100K. Oh, and you'd have to pay yourself or someone else to take part in the bidding process or apply for the granted, and that has to be recouped as part of the sale cost. Er... you were planning on paying yourself for your time, weren't you?

Also, there's a big difference between building a prototype from junk you scrounged and building a reproducible product. When you build a product the second copy should be exactly the same as the first but cost less. Duplicating a one-off prototype exactly usually costs more. Why? Proof of concept prototypes are cheap because you make them with surplus stuff you have lying around or can buy for fractions of a penny on the dollar. You can be opportunistic. The problem is any particular set of opportunities (e..g the $10,000 assembly you picked up at auction for $50) aren't reproducible.

I had a colleague whose first job out of school was writing up a detailed specification for a prototype midget submarine a defense research lab built for the Navy. The Navy was pleased at the low cost and so they wanted to be able to build a second one just like it. Well it turned out that a second one would have cost a hundred times as much they'd have had to pay manufacturers to reverse engineer stuff or start up production lines. It was one of the pointless, futile tasks you dump on newbie engineers before you know you can trust their work.

Comment Re:Basic Journalism... (Score 3, Insightful) 65

That's an asinine argument. Other people who should do it don't do it, so I won't do it either.

Wikileaks won't do it because Assange is a chaos-monger posing as a crusader. Wikileaks should do curate its leaks because when you possess information you act responsibly with it, e.g., don't expose people it is about to identity fraud.

Comment Re:Alternate Headline (Score 1) 57

With HDDs you could access individual sectors and zap em as appropriate. With SSDs that's not the case. Everything is logically mapped by a controller and you have to trust it to do a secure erase properly - either resetting the encryption key or filling every block (even the ones used for over-provisioning) with 0s.

It's been a long, long time since you could do that. All modern HDDs do sector remapping behind the scenes, whatever written to a sector the disk later identifies as wonky and remaps is untouchable. Only secure erase will overwrite every sector, it predates SSDs by many years.

Comment The 90s called and want their cyberspace back (Score 2) 31

Remember when tech pundits were talking like the Internet would transcend to become it's own nation that people would emigrate to and live in? Well shit turns out we still live in meatspace with countries and laws. And surprise, surprise so does our data. The cloud is just the new buzzword for the same concept without the people. I suppose companies will try to go jurisdiction shopping, but I doubt they'll succeed. The governments of the world will set requirements for dealing with their citizen's data and you'll either comply or get in legal trouble, like the EU's "right to be forgotten". Yes, it means data on the Chinese might stay in China but it might also mean data on US citizens stay in the US. Would you really like them to swap? Or do you just want to fulfill the NSAs wet dream that all data on everyone in the whole world go through the US? Seriously, for most of us local data is a good thing.

Comment Re:Apropos of nothing... (Score 1) 52

Apropos of nothing... Just how hard is it to disable one of these $600,000 mobile golf carts? For example, can a high powered rifle pierce any of the antennas, control electronics, or motive hardware? Would an IED be sufficient? And having done so, what dangers might the recovery team face?

The US got massively superior firepower if they can just locate the enemy. And they won't be medics in a hurry because he's bleeding out. Taking out one of these would be announcing to the world here I am, come kill me. And you got them to reveal themselves without putting any soldiers at risk. And if they're plagued with hit and run attacks they can set an ambush of their own like a hidden sniper covering the patrol area or a squad that'll cut them off from behind. And you could probably make dumb decoys for a fraction of the cost for the enemy to waste their time on if they actually start attacking them.

Sure, some of these might be destroyed but what would be the cost of human patrols, with their armored vehicle and high end gear? If the enemy has high powered rifles and IEDs they could do damage to non-drone equipment and injure or kill soldiers too. Ultimately it's a matter of resources, if the US can get them to waste their sniper rifles and IEDs on non-human targets it's pretty much a win no matter what. It's dead soldiers that zaps the will to fight, the military industry and their lobby will make sure money is not a problem.

Comment Re:So make it equally first amendment to block the (Score 2) 140

So make it equally first amendment to block them. My phone line does not have to accept every call made to it.

This. I should be able to set up a "EULA" on my phone, my mailbox, my email account and whatever else communication channel I have indicating what forms/groups/types of contact I will accept. Anyone wishing to contact me would have to self-certify that they belong to a category I'll accept. Then you can make it an offense to lie, just like on immigration forms.

Comment Re:What's with all the cheap video cards? (Score 1) 40

Car analogy time:
Someone who only cares about performance? We call those race drivers. Someone who only wants a solid car to drive often? Taxi driver. Car enthusiasts/nerds will probably have some oddball car polished and styled in top condition and spend an inordinate amount of time keeping it that way. That said, most of them don't want a broken transmission. It's not the sort of thing you casually tinker with, it's very basic functionality that has to work. Fixing it yourself would be very nerdy but it's for a special few. I have the feeling OS/driver issues are the same for computer nerds, most want that part to work so they can be nerds on a different level. It's not exactly like a kernel panic makes me want to be a kernel developer...

Comment Re:Keep changing the subject (Score 3, Insightful) 153

My favorite part is the money laundering scheme, though, where big donors would cut a big check split to each state party allegedly to help down-ballot candidates, but was then instantly wired right back to the national party and then used for pro-HRC ("#ImWIthHer") ads and HRC fundraising. This dodges the FEC donation limit requirements.

Comment Re:Enough already (Score 1) 153

1. I don't think Trump had anything to do with this.

2. This whole "it's teh ruskies!!!11!!" fear mongering is a retarded distraction.

3. I think it's obvious if Putin's thinking ahead to who would be better for him in office, it's Trump. Trump would join with Putin against ISIS, as opposed to Hillary who would bomb Assad and establish a no-fly zone over Syria which would bring the US into conflict with Russia.

Comment Re:Motive (Score 1) 153

Because inside dirt on everyone who might be the next president of the US is always useful? If I were the Russians I'd hack everyone. I would be shocked if they didn't try to hack the RNC, too. And I bet we're hacking them.

That said, the evidenced this hack came from the Russians is circumstantial, and there's no evidence it was a state actor.

Comment Re:Government or hired? (Score 2) 153

But what Trump has actually said about Syria and ISIS is that 1. toppling Assad was a bad idea because he was keeping the jihadis in check and 2. thinks a no-fly zone over Syria is dumb because ISIS doesn't have planes and there's no reason to antagonize Russia as they drop their million dollar a pop bombs on ISIS.

Putin's no good guy but he's on the right side of the fight against Islamic jihad. I would think he'd want Trump in power because Trump will join with Putin against ISIS, unlike Hillary, who destabilized Syria in the first place by arming the moderate beheaders and seems far more concerned with toppling Assad than beating ISIS.

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