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Comment Re: It's ok if you don't want it (Score 1) 124

Work will set you free. Which is only true of traditional chores. Ain't no Amish on SSRIs.

Lack of SSRI prescriptions may be more about culture, genetics, and a tradition of avoiding commercial health insurance than anything to do with "traditional chores".

Recent studies have found that Amish mental illness is greatly under-diagnosed, and the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County have a lower incidence of mental illness than the general population, but a much higher incidence of bipolar disorder, Bipolar disorder is treatable, however social attitudes within the community and a general distrust of the medication-based management of psychiatric diseases mean that Amish won't take SSRIs no matter how much they need them.

Comment Re:Privacy costs too (Score 1) 124

Smart devices usually don't work without an internet connection and without registering on manufacturer's website. Then they will collect all your usage data.

Also this makes you dependent on the manufacturer for the rest of the life time of the device.

That is not necessarily true. Yes, cheap smart devices are tethered to their cloud service provider. Zigbee, Insteon, UPB and Z-Wave devices don't even require a TCP/IP network, much less Internet connectivity. You just have to be a smart consumer.

Comment Insteon is NOT inherently dependent on cloud (Score 1) 124

Don't forget that they'll stop working when the manufacturer goes bust and their 'cloud' server goes away. Or when Amazon's 'cloud' goes down again. Or when the manufacturer stops supporting them and shuts down the 'cloud' server that controls them.

Most residential Insteon deployments use controllers which are not cloud based, and all Insteon devices support local linking (e.g. you can associate a light switch to a motion detector simply by pressing a button on one, then the other -- no app required, no cloud service involved.

It is possible to deploy Z-Wave without relying on cloud services, you just need to choose your controller carefully. You can also purchase a local programmable controller which speaks multiple protocols, so you can use local REST calls to control Insteon/Z-Wave/Zigbee/etc.

Comment Re:Cut the power (Score 1) 71

Or they could just as easily cut the power to the house. Who here actually remembers to put their home alarms on a UPS?

Higher end home alarms (systems which are installed by a technician, and monitored by a central station) include a hefty lead-acid backup battery good for at least half a day, and often with immediate reporting to both the panel and monitoring station when the alarm switches to battery power, and also when battery charge runs low.

Comment Better than having secret rules (Score 2) 498

I'd rather have them publish a list of requirements and acceptable characters than find out when I hit 'submit' that certain characters are not acceptable as part of a password, or have a form that accepts 16+ characters then tells me my password is too long.

Worse than that are the systems which silently truncate at a set length, or at the first unacceptable special character. Or which truncate at password creation, and handle logins with a different parser...

Comment Re:Self-fulfilling Prophecy (Score 1) 314

How were you middle class without any savings?

Outside of the "upper middle class", middle class Americans on average have minimal liquid savings -- they might have an IRA and some home equity, but almost no "savings".

If you look at how student aid is calculated, the formula expects a 4-year degree program student to spend nearly all student assets on tuition -- Student assets disclosed on FAFSA reduce eligibility for need-based aid by 20 percent of the net worth of the asset, each year. Any savings a student has, and 5.64% of the parent's non-IRA savings, is counted towards the "Expected Family Contribution" (EFC) each year.

I had savings when I first enrolled in college. To pay my first year's EFC, I wiped out my savings account and drew my checking account down to the minimum "no fee" balance.

Comment Re:Self-fulfilling Prophecy (Score 1) 314

If you are middle class you can't get financial aid.

If you are upper middle class, your aid options are very limited, regular old middle class can get some financial aid. Our family income was smack dab in the center of "middle" class for Chicago metro area, but I qualified for a few need-based financial aid programs.

I attended IIT, a moderately expensive private research/tech school, and I received a Federal Pell grant, a subsidized (Stafford) loan, and made up the rest from the Federal Work-Study program, and of course wiped out my personal savings account. If I had instead attended University of Illinois at Chicago, a public research university, I would have received a full scholarship -- based primarily on my test scores, not on need.

Comment Secure and Available:related, yet not synonymous (Score 1) 146

"Secure" and "Available" are related but not synonymous.

It is possible to have a system that is secure against data exfiltration, but still susceptible to intentional corruption. I'm not saying this is necessarily true in this case, but it is certainly a possibility.

Fear of data leakage is just one of many reasons why a black market will continue to exist, even with "medical" and decriminalization. There's still a social stigma against pot and THC users (stronger in certain areas and cultures than others). I still want to see Obama reschedule it, not so much because I care about the legal status of marijuana, but more because it would really piss off Mike Pence.

Comment Re: Never saw this coming (Score 1) 168

The chips from Sensory date back to around 2010, at which point they were all of two bucks each. I don't recall which Android phones do or do not have chipset based hotword detection, but suspect that it's all but ubiquitous these days.

The iPhone 6/6S build "Hey Siri" recognition into the same co-processor (really a subprocessor as it's part of the M9 CPU) as the step counter and other always-on features, so even when sleeping it is always checking the stream from the microphone for the hotword.

This reduces power consumption significantly, and only starts spooling audio to a buffer in RAM after the hotword is detected. Once the possible command is in RAM, some phones will at least attempt to do speech recognition locally, while others always ship the audio buffer up to a cloud service for analysis

Comment Re:Never saw this coming (Score 2) 168

You got an android phone? It has the ability to listen when the phone is off to hear you say "OK Google".

When the phone is off? Either you are confusing "locked" or "asleep" with "Off", or intentionally spreading FUD.

Most newer Android phones implement "OK Google" hotword detection using hardware, meaning that a dedicated low-power chip listens for the hotword to wake up the audio processor, but is not constantly recording audio to storage in order to analyze it for the hotword.

Amazon Echo and Apple products have their own mechanism for hotword detection. Some of these do record a continuous multi-second rolling buffer, others do it in a dedicated chip. It's not just a Google thing. In any case, the always-on listening buffer isn't stored, but some devices will upload what it thinks is a query or command, an audio stream containing all the audio after it detects the hotword.

So I guess the moral of the story is that if you are being strangled in a hot tub, you could do worse than yelling "Hey Siri! Call the police!" with your final breath.

Comment Ignores the ulterior motive of traffic stops (Score 3, Interesting) 311

This ignores the unspoken policy that traffic stops are not always about enforcing traffic law and collecting small fines, but rather the police want that interaction with the driver so they can fish for bigger violations. Traffic stops are "pretext stops", a loophole to get around the 4th amendment.

Running your plate and taking your ID isn't about making sure they assign points to the right person, but also about looking for wants and warrants. Getting you to roll down the window and talk to the officer isn't really about checking whether you smell like booze or pot, or seem nervous. There is no right to remain silent when an automobile is involved., and traffic stops are one of the most productive ways to find and arrest people with outstanding warrants.

Comment Re: How can this work with European smart cards? (Score 1) 181

... we all have to have mag stripes on our cards as well just in case we ever go there. I never go to the USA, so the mag stripes on my cards are entirely useless other than for skimmers. Does anyone know of any UK banks which offer a "I am never going to go to North America so please send me a card with a blank mag stripe" service or even a "I sometimes go to North America so please send me two cards, one with mag and one without" service?

In the time that it took you to type that post, you could have erased all the mag stripes on all your credit cards. It doesn't take much -- a strong magnet will do it, or you could just use a bit of fine sandpaper to physically remove the stripe.

Comment Re:Home Server (Score 1) 183

I haven't kept track, but ISPs used to shit bricks if you tried to run a home server (without paying for a business class connection). Their (somewhat legitimate) reasoning was that home servers were more likely to be hacked and used for things like anonymous e-mail relays for spam.

For the most part, American ISPs have backed down from this, and block inbound only for TCP/25 and the high-risk Windows ports. A few block port 80.

For just accessing your home network for the purpose of automation, there are plenty of workarounds to get past ISP blocking, they really don't care if you run a "server" that is only ever accessed by two iPhones, one for you and one for your SO.

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