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Comment Bad Guys Clone Version (Score 3, Interesting) 69

I just finished reading another article about counterfeit goods from China. Not just fashions, but sophisticated technical gear. Common sense should tell us that there is a black market for cell phone simulators that are sold to bad guys instead of government. It is hard to imagine how many of those things are hiding near FBI headquarters, the White House, NSA, and local law enforcement.

I'm sure that government could design phones immune to sniffing, but outside the military they probably don't. Given the FBI's record with handling email technology, I expect that a secure phone engineered for the FBI would weigh no less than 50 pounds. Government and law enforcement uses the same brands of phones as we do.

On a similar theme, I saw an article about a European device that alarms when it detects encrypted radio transmissions nearby of the kind used by their police. It could give warning of an impending raid.

Comment How quickly we forget Y2K (Score 1) 154

If the heyday of Y2K remediation, I helped set up a push of a SOE to 275,000 distributed PCs in a weekend. It went off without a hitch. Management was happy, but the cries of thousands of employees who lost all their personal files and documents were ignored.

If you are willing to be heavy handed and brutal, you can accomplish miracles. Surely there is no news in that.

Comment Re: Solar rarely enough for the whole house (Score 2) 299

I can't resist bragging. We live on a sailboat. We have 200w of solar. Our electric use use is 0.6 kWh per day. 80% of that goes to our 12v refrigeration system. Is this a hardship? No, we live a luxurious life.

I confess, a big part of the secret is that we sail north in the summer to avoid the need for air conditioning and south in the winter to avoid the need for heating.

What is good for utilities is good for homeowners too. Investments in energy conservation have a much higher ROI than investments in electric production, delivery or storage.

Comment Cruising Sailors (Score 4, Interesting) 52

I am a blue water sailor. I, and many others like me, would be happy to carry an ADS-B reciever onboard. That is, provided that it draws very little power, and that it gathers data unattended without my active intervention. Statistically, I think cruising sailors would cover a large fraction of the ocean areas of the globe. I believe the probability of a sailing vessel being within 200 miles of MH370s final flight path would be almost 100%.

The caveat being that I can not transmit the data to the Internet until the next time I reach shore and I can find someone who will let me plug in a USB device. That could mean a delay of months up to a year.

Would non-real time information be valuable? Thinking of the MH370 case, the answer must be yes. Not matter what the delay, the information is still valuable to someone. We could also record AIS signals that many vessels already transmit. I receive AIS from up to 40 miles away.

The idea could be etended to (symbolic) notes-in-a-bottle. A million floating ADS-B recorders would eventually reach shore, and some of them may have their data extracted and transmitted, then thrown back into the sea. Would that be worthwhile? Hard to say.

Comment 6502 orgasms (Score 1) 113

Memories of programming with the 6502 instruction set are so delicious that the only comparable thing to compare it to was my first orgasm.

I actually first did it on a General Electric GEPAC computer in 1966. It had an almost identical instruction set to the 6502, but with 24 bit words. Hip programmers expressed themselves in octal in those days.

Comment No radios needed. (Score 2) 172

The Summary says "Now kick that up to the electric company level, and give them a radio network that tells them which electric provider to get electricity from at what time to get the best (wholesale) price"

That's crazy. There are already organizations called Independent Systemm Operators (ISO) that run real time auctions to do thst function. They have been operating since the 1990s. No radios are needed. They have had high reliability communications methods for many decades.

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley