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Comment Re:Patriot (Score 1) 196

They should look for someone that believes in the US Constitution as it was written, not re-interpreted.

So someone who believes the Federal government should only be involved in national defense, and not in education, environmental protection, labor protection, farm subsidies, health care, retirement funding, communications (including Internet), roads and highways, regulation of banks and the market, etc.

Feature creep or cherry-picking the principles you feel are worth defending. Pick your poison.

Someone appalled at how the CIA has been allowed to run amok and trample all over the freedoms guaranteed by that document.

Actually the CIA for the most part isn't bound by the Constitution. The CIA's mission is to protect American interests abroad, where the Constitution doesn't apply. The corresponding TLA organization who operates within the U.S. is the FBI. One can argue that from a moral perspective the CIA should be operating abroad by the same principles they are purportedly defending at home. But there's no such legal requirement. And mathematically that seems to be an ineffective strategy (tit for tat turns out to be one of the best strategies in the iterative prisoner's dilemma, whereas always being nice consistently results in being taken advantage of).

Comment Re:Samasung's ToS what a joke (Score 2) 100

This particular exploit doesn't require an Internet connection. And the fact that it was for a Samsung TV probably has more to do with the prevalence of Samsung TVs (most bang for the coding buck).

Any device with a microphone attached to a computer that's always left partially powered on could be hacked to do this. Previous leaks have pointed to similar malware for phones. It's just that TVs are easier to hack since they're frequently left unattended (and people like you think they're safe if it doesn't have an Internet connection), while phones are carried on the person. You're a fool if you think the risk is limited to a single company's products

And I'm not even sure the microphone is necessary. If the computer can measure the voltage on a speaker wire, a speaker can be used as a (poor) microphone. Conceptually they are the same thing. A voltage moves a physical membrane to produce sound. Sound moves a physical membrane to produce voltage.

Comment Thought experiments are good (Score 4, Interesting) 169

Thought experiments are how you come up with an idea that nobody has thought of before.

Back in the late 1980sI was on an email discussion group for Traveller (a sci-fi RPG). Someone asked why hydrogen fuel (for fusion) was stored as water aboard ships. Someone answered that water stores hydrogen atoms more densely than hydrogen gas, and the energy needed to chemically break off the hydrogen atoms off of water was trivial compared to the energy you could get from fusing them into helium. That spawned a discussion about whether there were other molecules which stored hydrogen even more compactly. Methane (CH4) was an obvious choice - 4 hydrogen atoms per non-hydrogen base, compared to just 2 for water (H2O). But eventually we settled on ammonia (NH4) because it's liquid at room temperature and wouldn't require pressurization or cryogenic storage in a vehicle sharing space with a life support environment for humans.

It's totally useless info right now (and probably the next few decades). But it's something that will be important in the future.

Comment Competition isn't any better (Score 3, Informative) 84

1. Your location is transmitted to Google, together with surrounding wifi settings. They do this with a popup that appears whenever you turn on GPS, it asks you if you want to improve location accuracy, in actuality it's tracking the surrounding wifi spots and matching them against the GPS location your phone records. The dialog is written so you think you need to say yes to get GPS to work, but you can say no and GPS still works.

You can thank Apple and the government for that. Apple did (does?) exactly this to develop their initial WiFi map data. They rolled out an update which collected location and nearby WiFi SSID data from people's iPhones and uploaded it to Apple, and buried the fact that they were doing it in the iTunes installation process. Once they got this data by using every iPhone owner as an unpaid hotspot locator, they dumped the Skyhook WiFi map they had been licensing.

Google developed their WiFi map by adding WiFi SSID sniffers to the cars they were driving around the world to take Street View pictures for Google Maps. Someone at the EU claimed they were recording more than just SSID. Google said that was ridiculous, self-audited their collection software, found a developer's setting hadn't been turned off and that they had beent collecting more than just SSID, and self-reported themselves to the EU. The EU and US governments promptly sued and fined them for it. Apple OTOH got off scott free. So Google stopped collecting the WiFi SSID location data collection themselves, and just copied what Apple was doing - lifting the data straight from people's phones.

2. Google Play Store, if you try to disable or remove this, it will remove every app you installed from the playstore at the same time. Google play store provides Google with your credit card linkage, and real id, to the location and search surveillance it does.

So maybe they should be like Apple and make it impossible to remove the Play Store?

At least they give you the option to not use the Google Play Store if you don't want to use it. You can use an alternate store like Amazon. Or if you're really paranoid you can just sideload everything directly from your PC. Good luck doing that with the competitors.

3. You cannot remove the required google account and keep the apps you installed.

Well duh. Without the Google account, the apps have no way of knowing if they were installed after being legitimately purchased, or if they were pirated. The Achilles heel of online software distribution is confirmation of licensing. Either Google does it, with the side-effect that removing the Google account disables the apps. Or every app developer out there including the one-person shops has to run, operate, and maintain their own licensing server 24/7/365.

4. Android now INSISTS on a telephone number for Android device registrations.

? My Android tablet didn't. You sure this isn't something the cellular carriers have added to Android phones?

6. Did you agree to backup the phone? That pester message that pops up regularly that you can't tell "no never' to? You just gave Google the password to every wifi network and business server you ever used. Compromising a lot of data.

Everyone does this. Google is the only one who lets you see what they've collected on you, and gives you the option to delete it if you wish.

Comment AKA IIABDFI (Score 1) 380

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Actually, a couple decades ago, I don't think most people would've minded since "update" was generally synonymous with "new features". But the last 15-20 years has seen a marked increase in the number of software updates which removed functionality. i.e. Stuff you could do previously, you couldn't do anymore after an update. That's led to people taking a defensive attitude towards software updates - unless the update delivers a crucial security patch or necessary feature, they'd rather not risk it and prefer to stick with the tried and true. Feeding developers mildly useful but not earthshattering ideas just gives them an excuse to shove an unwanted update down users' throats.

Comment Re:Looking forward to Microsoft's response (Score 1) 49

all Microsoft really wants is to minimize the amount of Win7 support they have to deal with

I really don't understand that reasoning. Microsoft has a fairly consistent support schedule. Mainstream support for a bit more than 5 years (feature and security upgrades). Extended support for 5 more years (security updates only). From a support standpoint, it makes no difference to them how many people are still using Windows 7. They've already committed to supporting it til 2020.

The more likely explanation is that the processor restriction is just a way to coerce users who've already paid for a Windows 7/8 license to pony up again for a Windows 10 license. And for the kickbacks they receive from advertisers who pay for data harvested from Win 10 users. It also trains users to accept subscribing to software instead of buying it outright, since if they could "subscribe" to Windows they wouldn't have to pay for a new copy of Windows 10.

Comment Re:Users lie. (Score 2) 168

The problem isn't that users are lying. It's that one time in the 3 years they've worked at that company, the computer was slow because it was receiving an update in the background at the same time that a hung browser session was eating up 99% of the CPU cycles. The computer worked fine 99.99% of the time. But to the user's mind, that 0.01% experience is evidence that the computer isn't fast enough and needs to be replaced.

Comment Re:Economics is hard (Score 1) 168

It probably just looks that way to you from the employee side because you overlook everything that the company does buy for you, and concentrate on the few things you want/need but the company hasn't bought yet.

From the employer's viewpoint, the cost to hire an employee is typically 1.5x to 3x the employee's salary. 1% is roundoff error.

Comment Re:But Why? (Score 4, Informative) 128

The internet back then was mostly dialup. Even most schools would exchange email/news with each other via automated dialup at night when phone rates were lower. Consequently, most of the Internet traffic was store-and-forward. You sent an email, your mail server dialed up your school's computer and delivered the mail to them. The school's computer would hold it until night, when it would dial out to the main university in the area and deliver your mail. The university computer, being a minor hub would dial out more frequently, so after say an hour it would dial out to the man hub in the region and deliver your mail.

The main hubs were the ones with always-on dedicated links to other major hubs. They were the ones which got the class A subnets. It made sense because then they could then parcel out the IP addresses to the minor hubs and spokes as they saw fit, and thus DNS resolution could always be handled locally (and thus immediately). For those of you who weren't on the Internet back then, because data was mostly being transmitted as store-and-forward, email typically was only slightly faster than postal mail (usually took a few hours to days to reach someone on another continent), and DNS changes could take up to a week to propagate through the entire Internet. So being able to resolve DNS changes locally quickly was a big deal.

Comment Re:Lights on vs someone being home (Score 1) 288

It if was actually productive, evolution probably would have made it available to us without drugs.

this is just post-hoc evolutionist talk. "if telepathy or esp would be productive I am sure evolution, god, whatever, would have made it available". Except not. Evolution does not make things available, the mutations are random.perhaps not enough time has passed for evolution to sort it out. Perhaps, in the future LSD will be naturally produced by the body.

Comment Just change who pays for the textbooks (Score 0) 123

The problem right now is the entity selecting the textbook (the school/professor) is not the entity paying for the textbook (the student). Since the schools aren't the ones paying for the textbooks, they don't give a damn how much they cost.

Just pass a law requiring schools include the textbook(s) in the price of taking the course (included with tuition). Do that and you'll see schools tripping over themselves to cut textbook costs in every and any way possible.

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