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Comment Re:Saturation (Score 1) 170

My tablet replaced a "netbook". I use a bluetooth keyboard with it, so it's basically a touch screen netbook. Like the netbook, it fills a useful niche between phone and laptop. Light weight, more portable than the laptop and still has a large enough screen to be comfortable.

My "smart" phone replaced a flip phone. while the screen is much larger than the flip phone's screen, the phone is still only useful for voice calls, text messaging and shopping lists. Also, the smart phone is awkward to use for voice calls without a headset. And it's too fragile to simply slip into my pocket; I need a protective case for it.

Over all, I'm happy with my 3 year old tablet. It's still serving me well and I plan to keep it until it dies.

Comment Re:Easily destroyed or disabled (Score 1) 263

I'm shocked at the idea that rent-a-goons get as much as $35/hr. It's more like minimum wage.

It's the agency that gets paid the $25-$35 per hour. The actual guards are paid min wage.

Part of the rest of the $25-$35 goes to employer paid payroll taxes. Another portion might go to employee benefits (but all the security guards I know work less than 30 hours per week, so don't receive benefits). Another portion of it goes to liability insurance (which is a big reason that the vast majority of guards are not allowed to be armed (though some are, anyway)).

By limiting the functionality of their robots to setting off alarms and recording activity, Knightscope reduces their insurance costs.

While these robots might not be as effect as human guards, they are more cost effective. If nothing else, they could enable a single human guard to cover the jobs of several, so any would be thief could still find himself facing an unpredictable human.

Comment Re:Tesla's Autopilot is in the "uncanny valley" (Score 1) 440

The answer to your question REALLY is- it is NOT legal. Not to allow the car to drive itself without your hands on the wheel.

Operating a vehicle - on public roads - hands-off is illegal. In fact, some drivers have been ticketed for taking their hands off the steering wheel while stopped at traffic light. From what I've heard, the traffic court judges have upheld this. Don't know if there has been any attempt to appeal, let alone successfully.

The testing Google and others do on public roads (technically) requires some kind of special permission.

Tesla's so-called auto-pilot is supposed to be "merely" a driver assist system. Anyone using it as an actual auto-pilot really is violating the law. As for what liability Tesla has, the courts will ultimately determine that. Of course, a ruling from the NTSB will strongly influence that.

This case seems, to me, to not be a good case. A human driver in full control may have not been able to avoid the collision. One could argue that the "auto-pilot" should have been able to, but, again, the system is supposedly "just" a driver assist system. This will likely be a very messy case.

And, unfortunately, Tesla is now in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Even if the NTSB rules the car was not at fault, an order to disable the system would be construed as an implicit admission that the car was at fault. And even if not ordered to do so, Tesla not disabling the system could be construed as arrogance. Either of which would hurt Tesla.

Comment Re:Non Stop Orwell (Score 1) 224

Specific to this story, all of their PERSONAL online activity turned over to some agency with the power to utterly destroy them.

Too late. Already happening. Yes, there is a lot of debate. But that's only for show. Along with some token actions to make it look like they are protecting the rights and freedoms of the people.

Comment Re:Have to give it to Apple..... (Score 1) 771

The "serious" audio industry used neither on modern equipment.

Serious audio is keeping up with the demands for more easily portable equipment.

A friend of mine has a Soundcraft portable mixer that has those 6.35mm connectors (and XLR connectors). And even some of Soundcraft's studio grade mixers still have 6.35mm connectors (again, along with XLR connectors).

Another friend of mine, who is a professional DJ, has a DJ audio dongle for his (10.1 inch) Nexus tablet. It has 6.35mm and 3.5mm connectors.

I have a Tascam mini digital recorder that has 3.5mm connectors for analog audio I/O. Easier to handle than a smartphone or small tablet. Better audio than even a pro-grade mic plugged into the headset jack. (Of course, an audio dongle and a pro-grade mic might be better quality, but would be even harder to handle than mic plus phone/tablet.)

Comment Re:Taking the Headphone Jack Off Phones Is User-Ho (Score 1) 595

"I wish my phone's screen wouldn't break so easily."

My girlfriend's mom got an iPhone 6, within 2 months, the screen had cracked under "gentler" circumstances than she treated her previous iPhone. Apple did replace it. By then, a new screen protector was available - made of the same type of glass. She got one of those, thus making her slimmer iPhone 6 as thick as her previous iPhone.

Seems the business getting the better part of the deal was the protector vendor. And Apple wants to go even thinner?

Comment Before Profiles (Score 3, Interesting) 103

Before FireFox had profiles, there was the MultiFox add-on. I used it. I liked it. It was easy to use. Unfortunately, Mozilla made a change that made it impossible for MultiFox to work, claiming the functionality was more properly implemented inside FireFox than as an add-on.

Unfortunately, it's taken far too long for Mozilla to do it.

Comment Re:C99 and C11 (Score 1) 208

It might not take off among hobbyists, but MISRA-C is very popular among developers of safety critical applications.

I would not say "popular", but we do use it.

Actually, "MISRA C" is not a language specification, rather it is a set of "best practices". The document states that the rules there in are guidelines and that it is expected that real projects will need to "violate" 1 or more guidelines to achieve practical, understandable and maintainable code. And that when such "violations" are made, they be documented and properly justified.

Unfortunately, some mangers insist on strict adherence to the MISRA rules. This leads to awkwardly structured and overly complex code as the developers work around the limitations imposed.

In a situation with sane management, we are able to maintain a reasonable balance and produce good, understandable and maintainable code.

Comment Re:Well, yes. (Score 1) 224

Isn't it a contradiction in terms, "privacy in a public space"?

Back when "no reasonable expectation of privacy in public" was first put forth, one could expect to be seen when in public, but, when talking quietly or whispering, would not expect to be heard by anyone more than several centimeters away. Even now, most people expect to not be heard from a distance, People expect that use of the advanced surveillance technology to be restricted to specific targets under a warrant. (If a private citizen used such equipment to spy on some one, they could be prosecuted for unlawful surveillance - even when the target was in a public place.)

By keeping the locations of the cameras secret, the FBI (and others) is creating ambiguity in an attempt to encourage people to assume the cameras are everywhere. This would then be used to argue that "a reasonable person should expect to be covertly recorded", thus lowering the threshold of "reasonable expectation."

Comment Re:Well, yes. (Score 1) 224

I remember a court case, several years ago, where some one was prosecuted for "indecent exposure" in a public park. The area the girl was in was surrounded by dense trees and bushes, so was not visible from outside the area. Except that there was a hidden security camera.

Authorities, after reviewing the tape, later, were able to identify the girl and get an arrest warrant issued. At the arraignment hearing, the girl's lawyer pointed out that the area she was in was completely secluded, so no one could have seen her except for the hidden camera. The lawyer then cited an earlier case where a woman on private property with a privacy fence had been successfully convicted because she was visible from the upper floor of a nearby apartment building that the woman could have seen.

The judge agreed that the girl had a reasonable expectation of privacy at the location where she was, then dismissed the charge. But, because the case was not appealed, there's no precedent.

Nevertheless, the same logic that applied to the hidden camera could be applied to use of binoculars and/or other telescopic and remote viewing/listening devices.

Whether a particular judge would accept that is a different question.

Comment Re:lawsuit (Score 1) 184

As I recall, a city in north central US tried to do this a few years ago because the existing ISP refused to upgrade their last mile infrastructure. The ISP sued the city claiming it would be "unfair competition" for the city to own the last mile infrastructure.

Also, a friend of mine in a different city joined a local co-op that was building its own last mile infrastructure. When they approached ISPs to offer service to its members over their infrastructure, all the ISPs responded that they would only do so if the co-op gave its infrastructure to the ISP. In return for being given ownership of the infrastructure, the ISP would apply a discount to the monthly bills of the members for as long as they had continuous service with the ISP. Also, the discount was not transferable. If the member moved, he could not take the discount with him, not could the new home owner take over the original member's service.

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