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Comment IBM did this decades ago (Score 1) 143

IBM has/had key patents in this area for decades, and offered wireless office networking from ceiling-mounted LED lamps about 30 years ago. Some of those patents were apparently used in the first wireless PC keyboard--for the PCjr (aka "Peanut")--the second version of which was actually a very nice wireless keyboard. I'm assuming IBM's patents in this area are what kept other optical wireless keyboards and networking gear off the market. -bernieS

Comment Boomer the Dog is a Brilliant Engineer (Score 2, Interesting) 18

The brilliant phone phreak Joe Engressia (RIP) legally changed his name in NYC to Joybubbles (no last name, just Joybubbles.) So why can't Boomer Matthews change his name to Boomer the Dog? It's really important to him (no joke) as was Joe's strong desire to be Joybubbles. Who does this hurt? The judge who turned down Boomer's request own had a specious argument -- the name change would constitute a threat to public safety! "Consider the following example," Judge Folino wrote, "Petitioner witnesses a serious automobile accident and telephones for an emergency medical response. The dispatcher on the phone queries as to the caller's identity, and the caller responds, 'This is Boomer the Dog'. It is not a stretch to imagine the telephone dispatcher concluding that the call is a prank and refusing to send an emergency medical response." Of interest to Slashdot readers, Boomer is a brilliant radio engineer, and one of few people who is practiced in the dying art of the precision cutting and grinding of quartz crystals for use in electronic oscillators. He's also a great guy personally if you ever had the good fortune of knowing him. -bernieS

Submission + - HOPE Conference releases API for its RFID badge (

aestetix writes: 2600 Magazine's HOPE Conference, occurring July 16-18 in New York City, has released a public API for its OpenAMD badge, following the earlier announcement of Julian Assange of Wikileaks as its keynote speaker. This API will allow novice to intermediate developers to create their own applications before the conference to integrate with the badge system.

Submission + - Defendant refuses to provide voiceprint sample (

bernieS writes: Interesting case where where the defendant refuses to speak in court because her voiceprint alone could be incriminating evidence. I vaguely recall reading about a similar case where a defendant refused to give a voice sample, but don't know how that was decided. The Feds can already compel you to submit your fingerprints. And a DNA sample (Adrian Lamo.)

Maybe her prison cell is being bugged to record her talking in her sleep or to her cellie? Or maybe her attorney-client conversations are being illegally wiretapped (Manuel Noriega). The Feds have demonstrated time and again they're willing to break any rule in order to win a prosecution.

Comment Some cellsites broadcast their location (Score 1) 90

I have an older CDMA handset that can be put into test mode by entering **DEBUG and Send, which then displays (among many other things) the nearest cellsite's Latitude and Longitude. It's not the exact handset location, location, but it is useful data. Google's HTC handset is GSM, not CDMA. Do GSM cellsites broadcast their location?

Comment Re:Lie to me! (Score 1) 439

The Pennsylvania criminal statute on wiretapping provides an exception if the communications being recorded is of someone committing a felony. But that seems like a muddy exception. What if the DA decides not to prosecute the person you believed was committing a felony? Or if the recorded person is found not guilty or is let off for some other reason? It seems like you're on the hook then. What if two parties in PA surreptitiously record each other, each one successfully trying to get the other to admit they're doing felony wiretapping by recording the other? Do they both get off? -bernieS

Submission + - When your backhoe cuts "Black" (Top Secret (

bernieS writes: "The Washington Post describes what happens when a construction backhoe accidentally cuts buried fiber so secret that it doesn't appear on public maps--and what happens when the Men in Black SUV's appear out of nowhere. Apparently, the numerous secret fiber and utility lines used by government intelligence agencies are being dug up with increasing frequency with all the increased construction projects in the DC area. It's amazing how quickly they get repaired!"

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