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Comment Re:Because it's unnecessarily complex (Score 1) 206

My phone has intrinsic value as a small computer. My credit card does not - it's just magic numbers on a two cent piece of plastic. If I lose the card, I call the company and get them to issue me a new one essentially for free. If I lose my phone, I get to go plunk down $700 on a new one.

I'd rather carry cheap, disposable things that don't cost me a huge amount if I lose. Plus, again, I don't want my ID or my payment methods to run out of battery.

Comment Because it's unnecessarily complex (Score 4, Insightful) 206

I fail to understand why I'd want to pay with my phone.
A) Cash never runs out of battery, and the merchant can always verify it's valid without a network connection
B) Credit cards never run out of battery, and there's a backup process for when the terminal can't call home to momma (although imprint machines scare anybody under 30 if they have to use them...)
C) Mobile OSs are subject to security holes that are being actively pursued
D) I have to carry a wallet anyway. Drivers license, health insurance cards, *cash*, etc. So what does it gain me?

Seriously, this is the standard "wouldn't it be cool if your smartphone could..." sort of thinking, without pondering if it's really better to do those things with a smartphone.

Comment Never understood it (Score 1) 163

Personally, you almost couldn't pay me enough to live anywhere in the Bay Area. I mean sure, there's some number at which I could put up with it for a couple years and then retire elsewhere, but it's crowded, expensive, and I find generally unpleasant. I dread any time I have to go work in SFO, SJC, or OAK. About the only place I'd want to live in CA is out along the eastern edge - think Inyo County - or maybe anywhere north of Redding (east or west).

Then again, I generally loathe humanity other than a small group that I call friends. I like my space - open roads, clear skies, high speed limits, and enough property that I can keep my neighbors at least a quarter mile in any direction.

At the end of the day - and it has been this way since two decades ago when I was fresh out of college - the most important thing to me is living where I want. I'm flexible enough that I can find work that meets my salary needs. I've never understood the appeal of the Bay Area, and I probably never will.

But hey, if folks all want to be there, it keeps them from moving closer to me.

Comment Re:Two choices (Score 2) 765

Likewise - I've seen this in a number of companies, regardless of if they know where you're going or not. If you have access to what they consider trade secret IP (despite either having developed it or worked on it for years), I've seen friends get shown the door within minutes of giving notice. However, those companies have always paid them for those two weeks, they just didn't want them to have access any longer.

Comment Re:Better to stick around... (Score 1) 765

I have to agree - if you work for a big company and don't have anything lined up, never quit. If you just do your job half-assed and play along with them having performance reviews, putting you on an improvement plan, making marginal improvements in some areas and failing worse in others, wash-rinse-repeat, you can drag on employment for years by surfing the process.

Then again, I echo the words of others - don't screw over coworkers and friends you respect, or a company that's always treated you with respect. Wheaton's Law absolutely applies at the office.

My coworkers would know, because I'd give them two weeks notice or more so they wouldn't feel screwed over and so they could make an orderly transition. My management may not be privy to such information depending on how they'd been treating me lately. That said, I have no intention of leaving my current position for the foreseeable future.

Comment Public Wifi no more or less secure (Score 3, Insightful) 143

[quote]to share sensitive information over public Wi-Fi connections, which are notoriously insecure[/quote]

I've never understood this whole idea - anything sensitive should be going over an encrypted connection anyway. Who cares if some idiot sitting next to me in the coffee shop can sniff it? He can't make heads or tails of it anyway. In the case of a MITM attack set up in the wireless gateway, the certificate validation / host key / other host validation protocols should fail. Adding a VPN connection adds layers of defence, but something that's highly unnecessary for most individuals and data.

Otherwise, I'm probably just browsing sites that don't require logins or any other information from me - in which case, again, there's nothing secret or proprietary there and I don't care if I get sniffed.

Comment Re:When I carry old printed maps... (Score 1) 263

I still *carry* paper maps on the road with me, but I very rarely ever use the darn things anymore. They're heavy, bulky, and having a blinking GPS dot that says "your dumb ass is right here" is rather handy sometimes.

I have my tablet loaded with MAPS.ME, which is quite possibly the most awesome mobile application ever. It allows you to download all the datasets for anywhere you'll be (which are based off the OpenStreetmap dataset), such that you have very finely detailed maps at any zoom level with absolute certainty you aren't dependent upon a data connection. Unless you're carrying detailed local maps as well as large scale stuff, my electronics have you beat by a mile on #2.

#1 has never been a problem for me. #3, yeah, I'll give you that one, but on a 10" tablet, it's not bad.

Comment Re:Time for a game of russian roulette ^ 2 (Score 1) 152

Actually, I'd give him a choice - ten identical doors. He gets to use an unmodified ADE651 to pick which one to open. Nine out of ten have real (big) bombs mounted under the door frame. The remaining one has nothing. We give him an option at sentencing - he can either do life in prison, or pick a door and possibly go free. If his device works, that shouldn't be an issue at all.

Should make great pay-per-view.

Comment Re:No one with a clue thought it would be illegal (Score 2) 85

Wish I had mod points, I'd bump you up. Nobody actually thought the FCC was going to make hacking your router illegal. It's outside their jurisdiction anyway as long as it doesn't change the electromagnetic emissions. The reality is that the easiest way for a manufacturer to assure compliance is to sign the firmware and lock the hardware to that signature, effectively preventing any firmware modification. If anybody thinks manufacturers are going to take the intentional hard road in the design just so a tiny subset of their customers can go in and modify things, you're nuts. Effectively the FCC is still boning us all.

Comment Re:This is the threat...? (Score 1) 213

Honestly, if somebody ever got annoyed at me for not fixing a bug on a schedule that conflicted with my priorities without even offering to compensate me, I'd tell them to shove it. That's not a threat, that's an opportunity to educate them on the value of my time and how little of a !#$% I give about their whining.

Sure, there's some nights I'm just sitting around watching TV and being useless, but those nights are much rarer than they used to be. If they'd like to re-prioritize an evening or two of my time, they can drag out the checkbook. Otherwise, I'll address their concern when I get around to it. My feelings aren't hurt if they want to switch to some other project as a result, because I understand the cost of converting and then hoping the guy over there is more agreeable than I am...

Comment Re:I'd do it (Score 3) 602

There's a line between intentional sabotage - aka telling them to delete the working filesystem - and induced incompetence.

I worked for a small company many years ago (as in about 20 years ago, during college). First there were pay cuts, then paychecks started to be late, and eventually creditors started showing up... So basically I knew I was screwed, but I figured if I quit, there was no chance at unemployment. Let's just say anything done in that last month wasn't exactly quick or robust. The firmware written in those last days pretty much skipped any error checking, met only the barest of requirements, had total crap for comments, etc. Plus, half the time I was sitting there, the programmer/debugger was hooked to one of my projects rather than theirs. As long as there was code on the screen and I was cursing at some board, nobody still there could tell if I was working on their stuff or mine.

Showed up one day to a locked door and the place cleaned out. My old boss - the owner - called me one day when he tried to sell the technology to another company. Couldn't make it work for the demo and wanted my help. Since I hadn't seen more than 25% of my pay in the last three months, I offered to help for some additional compensation up front. Went in, screwed around for two or three hours, and then declared that something must have gotten fried or jostled when they hastily packed up the place and fled in the night. Basically, unfixable, sorry, and if you want me to repair the hardware it's going to cost a lot more.

The real answer is that if you want code to run, you should probably burn it onto the EEPROMs before putting them in the product. But hey, with little financial incentives, there's virtually no end to the problems I can't solve.

Comment We're Officially Doomed (Score 4, Insightful) 956

I've actually been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and I've come to the conclusion that this is really how America ends. Wallowing in its own stupidity, locked down by the authorities because we're afraid of everything we don't understand (which is everything, due to ignorance), and decrying any interest in something other than pop culture as suspicious.

When I was a kid some forty years ago, it was still possible to learn, make, see, and do things without nine layers of security clearances and being met with "you can't do X because terrorists/drugs" at every turn. Now, the only reasonable explanation for why you're interested in something is because you do it for work. And because some company makes you do it for money, now it's suddenly okay. Building anything with wires sticking out that beeps? Terrorist.
  Learning chemistry at home? Terrorist or maybe the next Walter White. Interest in trucks/trains/planes and not a truck driver/engineer/pilot? Terrorist. Interested in power generation/distribution but not a power EE? Terrorist. Interested in computer security research? Cyberterrorist! Aiieeee! I could go on and on and on here...

Hey wait a minute - you know how most of the good people in those fields got there? Because it's what interested them before they did it as a job. In the past, there were always ways to learn about these things, particularly as a kid. Folks willing to show you around, show you what they did, explain how things worked, and sometimes let you help. I can't tell you the number of things I got to try out as a kid that would now get somebody fired and probably grilled by some three letter agency. But it's because of those experiences that I'm a successful electrical engineer today who loves it as both his profession and passion. I didn't just pick a job off the list, say "that looks good and pays well", and then decide to spend my life doing it. The folks I know who did that have already washed out and gone looking for something they enjoy more.

The next generation is boned. Their curiosity about things is being actively destroyed when its met with suspicion and investigation rather than encouragement or better - "Ssh, don't tell anybody, but put this hard hat on and come with me..." This is just one example.

Yeah, there's definitely a racist problem here as well (it *IS* Texas, folks...), but I think focusing on that is missing the real point. It's not just non-white kids. The powers that be have taught us to regard everything with suspicion rather than curiosity. Yet I ask you - how many kids have you seen today who are terrorists vs. how many have you seen who need to learn about the world and figure out what they want to do with their lives?

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