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Comment Operating the old EBS equipment (Score 2) 271

I would guess a good percentage of the Slashdot community worked in college radio (seems the nerdly thing to do). But for those who didn't, let me tell you about the old Emergency Broadcast System...

The radio station DJs were taught to take the EBS equipment in the studio very seriously. Our studio was located in an actual fallout shelter... thick concrete walls and no windows... we even had the cool fallout shelter sign outside the door. If one needed to take shelter from nuclear fallout there was plenty of vinyl to keep you company but not much else. The space was tiny.

We had to know the procedures for handling both an automatic EBS test (triggered at random times) and a manual test which we performed weekly. More importantly we had to know the procedure in the event of an actual emergency.

The automatic test would just happen randomly in the middle of your show any time of day or night (I don't recall how frequently this happened). My normal broadcast would get hijacked by the EBS equipment (which was connected to the transmitter) and the alert system would begin broadcasting the test message, followed by the tone, followed by closing message. After this test we had to manually reset the EBS equipment by pressing a button (or power cycling the damned thing) in order to regain control of the local broadcast from the studio.

The manual test was performed weekly by the DJs (we did it at 6AM on Monday). I'd play a cart with the opening message, "This is a test..." and then I'd have to press a button on the EBS to play the tone. It tested the system's ability to interrupt my broadcast. At the end of the tone I hit the reset (or as previously mentioned, power cycled it) and then played a second cart with the closing message "this concludes a test of the Emergency Broadcast System..."

In both test cases I had to log the time of the test (or risk going to FCC, bang you in the ass, prison??).

If the message turned out NOT to be a test I was to tear open the special red envelope hanging by the equipment. Sadly, I never got to do this. The envelope contained a codeword. One would compare the code transmitted to the EBS with the code in the envelope. If it was a match there were further instructions in the envelope which remain a mystery to me (although someone once told me that since we were a small station we would likely be instructed to shut down our transmitter while stations with more kilowatts would be instructed to boost their signal).

Comment Re:Commercial interests would love fixed IPv6 addr (Score 1) 293

Can you imagine the personal information gathering and targeted advertising you could do with fixed IPs?

Imagine how much Google and Apple could compile... the targeted ads they could send you... the lists they could make available for sale to advertisers...

This would be fantastic. I prefer ads to be targeted to my interests. I find it to be much more useful than random ads for things I do not care about.

Comment Re:Pick up a phone? (Score 3, Interesting) 439

I had a cablecard installed in my Tivo Premiere within days of calling Verizon with no hassle at all.

I have the same setup as you and can tell you there is a hassle. The cablecard Verizon Fios installed on my Tivo Premiere has one way communication. That means if I want any of the On Demand services I have to also keep my regular Verizon cable box (and pay the monthly rental fee). On Demand is an important part of the service as there are a ton of free movies and free replays of network and cable TV shows. Not all of this content is matched by the services on the Tivo alone.

Take for example one of the premium channels (HBO). With the Verizon cable box I can watch any of the HBO movies or series on demand. I cannot do this with the Tivo. I would have to plan ahead and record everything my wife might want to watch. And I am no mind reader.

Comment Re:Education begins where vocational focus ends. (Score 1) 338

The idea of creating your own college major reminds me of puzzle master Will Shortz. He spoke in an NPR interview about creating his own major at Indiana University. His major was enigmatology... the study of puzzles. And now he is the greatest puzzle master of all time. It takes a special mind and tremendous passion for something to pull this off. When I was 18 the best I could have come up with was majoring in skirt chasing or beer bong engineering.

Comment Why Upgrade Windows XP at all? (Score 3, Insightful) 496

I cannot imagine a situation where I would recommend to a company that they use money and resources to upgrade a Windows XP box to a newer OS. What a waste of time.

When the XP box reaches end of life you replace it with new hardware and put your ready to go Windows 7 image on it. Duh.

The Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 path seems even more unlikely. Chalk this article up as an academic exercise, not a real world scenario.


The Man Who Owns the Internet 369

Tefen writes "CNN Money posted this story about Kevin Ham, who has made a fortune gobbling up lapsed domain names and has recently launched a lucrative business partnership with Cameroon, the country which controls the .cm TLD. Since 2000 he has quietly cobbled together a portfolio of some 300,000 domains that, combined with several other ventures, generate an estimated $70 million a year in revenue."

Submission + - Hack My Son's Computer, Please

An anonymous reader writes: Jennifer Granick of Wired News writes in her blog, "Can an elderly father give police permission to search a password-protected computer kept in his adult son's bedroom, without probable cause or a warrant? In April, a three judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said yes. This week, the son's attorney, Melissa Harrison, an assistant federal public defender in Kansas City, will ask the court to reconsider the panel's ruling. At stake is whether law enforcement will have any responsibility to respect passwords and other expressions of user privacy when searching devices which contain the most sensitive kinds of private information."

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