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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How do I disable a radio credit card?

Keybounce writes: So, like most of you, I recently got a new credit card with a chip in it. I was not worried about that — I know the chips are harder to copy and counterfeit.

But I recently discovered that the card is also a radio card — swiping it near the screen caused an message to show up on the reader. In this case, it told me to use the chip reader instead — but this means it has an active radio signal, and could be "hacked" — stolen by someone with the right device.

How can I prevent this? Is there anything I can do that will disable the radio signal and still leave the chip functioning?

Submission + - Ask slashdot: What's the best wireless headset for around $50-$75

Keybounce writes: What are good wireless headsets for around $50-$75?

This may seem strange, but the truth is, trying to find good descriptions of headphones is hard enough, let alone actual product reviews. The one that I found, that looked promising, turned out to only be stereo over a wire, and was mono over bluetooth.

1. Stereo audio playback.
2. Microphone (can be mono)
3. Wireless.

Desired: Sits on top of ear (so I can still hear the world around me)
Slightly negative: Envelopes ear.
Absolutely not: inserts inside ear.

Submission + - Might flight 370 just be an emergency landing?

Keybounce writes: I was watching CNN today, and they were talking about flight 370. While discussing the auto pilot, transmitters, and emergency procedures, I came up with a simple idea.

Is what happened consistent with the simple idea of a cockpit disaster that destroys the transmitter, and triggers a need for an emergency landing?

If you need an emergency landing, you make a course change for the nearest reachable large-enough airport, and normally send a "Mayday" — but if you can't transmit, you can't transmit.

Would the course change correspond to a "nearby" airport for a plane over the middle of the water?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What's a safe way to name files for sorting? 5

Keybounce writes: I plan on using numbers in filenames to make sure that things sort properly. I'm aware that some systems will sort as 9_file.txt, 10_file.txt, 11_file.txt; while others will do 1_file, 10_file, 11_file, 2_file.

But I'm curious about other things. Is 0 always going to sort below 1, or will it sort after 9 in some locales / languages / operating systems? Are A-Z guaranteed to exist and be usable everywhere?

At the moment, I'm planning on sticking to three digit numbers, from 111 to 999, at the front, and not use any 0's; while I'm pretty certain that will work, I'm told that this is excessive and unwarranted; that I'm being paranoid.

So how much freedom do I have in getting filenames that are sortable in a dependable way, for all locales, for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows? (And does this still work if I expand to other platforms?)

If it makes a difference, this will be in a java-based system.

Submission + - Scary: Detecting or preventing abusive devices (

Keybounce writes: This isn't "new"; but it's getting scarier.

Small computers that can run a wifi stack are small. Tiny. Getting even cheaper with their power requirements.

This blog post indicates that kettles can — and *DO* — contain computers that want to infect your home network.

With a little thought, there is no clear end in sight. We know that batteries are fairly big compared to the rest of the computer, and there's no reason not to think that the inside of an "AA" battery might be a smaller power cell and a computer.

And it's not just wireless. Heck, any USB device — and this is old now — can be given "free" power to run a wifi. As much as a USB device can do all sorts of things by pretending to be something else, consider what can happen with a USB device that doesn't lie about what it does, just sends information off elsewhere? That USB memory stick you found doesn't have to attack your computer, it just sends copies of what you put on it to someone else over any open wifi it finds — such as your trip to the coffee house.

And where does it end? Right now we have smart inventory control tags — in the future, those can be strong computers. That might either be data gatherers, or outright compromised.

How can this be detected?
How can this be stopped?

As far as I can tell, there's no good way to detect, any "security" has to start with "don't plug anything into your computer" (apparently, not even a cable is safe), and the only hope of "stopping" this would be to have the entire US government's court and law-enforcement system get involved — as in, make this sort of thing illegal.

After all, illegal activities by corporate businesses for private gain always generates appropriate penalties, fines, and jail time for the people involved, right?

So what can end users do? Anything? Nothing?

Submission + - Ask slashdot: Dandelions: What's the best removal? How safe are herbicides? 1

Keybounce writes: I have a lawn with lots of dandelions. Right now, it's heavy with grass, but we are looking at putting thyme in as a drought-resistant ground cover, and we have dogs. So whatever we do cannot poison the ground, and I do not want to add any poison to the ground water from watering my lawn.

I have tried doing research into 2-4-d, but what I've seen seems anything but balanced and fair: claims that the EPA relies on private, non-peer reviewed research supplied by chemical companies, or tests on rats which, apparently, have genes that de-toxify toxins (which would make toxicity studies on rats pointless). Or, stuff from the EPA or pesticide/herbicide groups that give it glowingly safe reviews.

And the scariest thing of all: Apparently, even with that controversy, 2-4-d is considered one of the safer herbicides.

It also doesn't help that what I've seen on farming forums says that if you can get enough into a dandelion taproot to kill it, then you've got enough to affect grass, flowers, or other plants.

I'm also concerned with the whole "resistant weed" issue of any sort of pesticide/herbicide/antibiotic.

What's the best way to remove dandelions? Is there a good way to choke them out (thyme, apparently, will once it gets established, but that will take 3-4 years and it's not clear that it even can get established if the dandelions are there first).

I have tried to do the research on this, but frankly, I'm now well past anything I can make sense of.

Submission + - Current state of wireless mice security? (

Keybounce writes: "Many years ago, a brave soul asked if there were secure wireless mice and keyboards. But this was far enough in the past, that very few answers — and no good answers — came back.

What is the current state of security — both preventing an eavesdropper from hearing your keys and mouse activity (imagine tracking where you are moving the mouse and where you are clicking), and preventing someone from injecting mouse/keyboard activity into your days behavior?

Incidentally, are wireless displays "real world" yet?"

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