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Comment Re:i.e. I think I can ignore the law if I want to (Score 3, Insightful) 176

How is this different?

Only the FCC can regulate the airwaves, much like only the FAA can regulate the navigable skies.

Now, this idea of it being physical trespassing if somebody doesn't comply is interesting, but this has come up before, such as what happened here.

Comment This reminds me this Napster article ... (Score 1) 394

This development reminds me of the things predicted this article from 2001. The article itself was written about Napster, but it's written in the vein of all the bad things that could happen *in the future* after Napster is gotten rid of, and the banning of analog inputs/outputs was a large part of it.

Now, his timeline was obviously way too fast, but moving analog headphone jacks would fit into his vision -- he does talk about the "hoarding of analog speakers", after all. (Which is kind of ridiculous, as ultimately, even a set of speakers with a digital interface ultimately has an analog speaker making the actual sound, but whatever.) If analog sound outputs do go the way of the dodo (Apple's move certainly doesn't take us there, but it could be the first step in a several decade process that does) ... then a complete DRM path like we're seeing with a lot of HD video now might actually happen.

In a similar vein, RMS The Right to Read dystopian short story (written about software and reading freedom rather than sound countent, but still similar) may actually be coming closer to reality, though he set his time frame further ahead -- 2096, 100 years in the future -- so we can't really say he predicted it or not yet.

Comment Re:Try it (Score 1) 91

Odd. I put coordinates into google maps all the time and it works fine if I just put "lat,lon".

And if I put "0,0" -- it takes me to a point in the Atlantic ocean where latitude and longitude are zero, what I'd expect.

Looks like google didn't add a fake island there, however -- but though the ocean does seem to be either less deep or more deep in the general area than the area around it.

Comment Re:18650 is a form factor (Score 2) 138

250 watts is a lot of power.

100 watts is enough to get a typical cyclist to around 15 mph on level ground. (Assuming 100% efficiency, which is overly optimistic, but not too far off for an electric motor.) Going up to 250 watts wouldn't increase your speed by that much -- maybe 23 mph? Mostly the extra power would be useful for hills.

If you keep your speed down to 15 mph (treat it like a bicycle rather than a moped) it would last a good deal longer, and of course by pedalling you can get a lot more distance.

Comment Want to be sure they got it? No iMessage. (Score 1) 157

iMessage *could* be fixed. If Apple would make messages go to every device that's signed on under that account and send it via SMS (and have the system throw out duplicates if needed), it could be decent.

But instead ... it only goes to one device, which may or may not be the one they're using. (Or maybe it won't even go to that one device.)

So ... ultimately, if you want to make sure that they get your message, you need to turn off iMessage, or at least not use anything that uses it.

Personally, I'm surprised that Apple screwed this up so badly and left it that way -- but yet, here we are.

Comment Re:And what's our suggestion to friends and family (Score 1) 79

I'm scared of my mother calling me one day telling me "I've lost every picture from all my life and a guy is asking me $10K to recover them".

Yup, this is a real, justified fear.

It's wise to not attempt to switch her to Linux -- she'd probably fight that (it's too different for most people without any real benefits for what they do), and it's not really a solution to the problem anyways.

Probably the best answer to this is to buy her a big USB hard drive and set up some sort of backup that she can run just by clicking on something, and drill into her head how important it is to 1) do the backup occasionally. and 2) leave the drive off when you're not doing backups.

Ransomware isn't the only concern. Hard drive failure and software crashes that erase the disk are others.

Alas, often it's only an actual loss of files that convinces people to take backups seriously -- and it's unethical at best to *fake* a loss of files (and then recover them all because you got "really lucky") so that's not really an option unless you're dishonest.

If you see her often and she doesn't mind, you could do the backups yourself and keep the drive yourself -- that way, when she calls you, you just say "That sucks! Fortunately, I backed up all your stuff last week ..."

Comment Re:With 32 gig usb sticks so cheap ... (Score 1) 154

I'm not even sure I'd be able to find 4GB or even 8GB drives in stores anymore.

Both are quite easy to find at the store, http://www.walgreens.com/q/fla...">even convenience stores like Walgreens.

2 GB ... that's hard to find, and I'd say that 4 GB is on the way out (but still easy to find). 8 GB ... that'll probably be around for a while.

In any event, I've got lots of 4 GB sticks around, and so I do appreciate it when an install image fits on one because I can just put the install image on it, label it ... and then use it as needed. A larger stick, and I might be inclined to erase it when I need to store stuff on it, but 4 GB ... that can remain install media forever and I'll not feel much need to re-use it.

So, when they decide that even 2 GB isn't enough, I hope they'll stop at 4 GB (well, a bit below it) rather than 4.7 GB or so (DVD size).

Comment Re:Peeping toms? No. (Score 1) 101

You know, the article actually explains why they said no laws were violated --

Blanchette said that it's not illegal to fly a drone over someone's property, but once it lands on the ground or the roof, it's considered an invasion of space.

The original article said nothing of "peeping toms" -- that assumption was added later.

In any event, it sounds like the video was showed to them during business hours rather than at 3am.

Also, if they really didn't want to do anything, they wouldn't say this --

Agawam Police said that if something like this does happen again to the DiCioccio family - or anyone else in town - contact them immediately. They don't want anyone to be put in this uncomfortable situation again.

Sounds to me that they'd like to do something. That said, if they were able to investigate while the guy was still flying maybe they could find evidence of "peeping tom" activities, if that was actually happening. (It's unlikely, since this would do such a poor job of it, but it's not entirely impossible.)

In any event, given that it's probably one of their neighbors -- they may seem him flying again and get to ask him about it.

Comment Peeping toms? No. (Score 1) 101

A 19-year-old woman called Massachusetts police about a drone peeking through her second-story window at 3 a.m. -- and was told no laws had been violated.

Um, no.

If you click through the stories, this is the one that's being referred to. There's even a video.

But here's the thing ... all the video shows is a flashing light. You can't even hear it. I imagine her eyes were better than her cell phone camera at night vision and so there was something there, but there's no evidence whatsoever of it "peeking through her window" here. There's not even any evidence that it had a camera.

If that was a quadcopter and it was close -- it was a tiny toy one, and the tiny ones that have cameras have cameras that are even crappier than the one in her phone. So if it was taking pictures -- they're probably just as revealing as the one she took of it, and there's no evidence that pictures were taken at all.

And going even beyond how crappily the cameras work at night, this guy made a video showing how close you have to be to see anything -- and he's doing it with high end gear and it's daytime except when he uses the *really* expensive non-hobbyist multicopter with an IR camera. He has to be really, really close to even recognize somebody with his high end gear -- like ten feet away, close enough that it wouldn't be stealthy at all.

If the police said that no laws were violated, what they probably really said is that "there's no evidence that a law was violated". Simply having it over your yard doesn't break the law, just like a 747 flying over your yard doesn't break the law. Actually doing peeping tom stuff -- *that's actually against the law*, but there's no evidence that happened. Also, the article says nothing of "peeping" -- that was added by the other article, and then it got upgraded to "peeping tom" by the /. story.

I occasionally fly mine at night around my house. Not usually at 3am because I'm asleep by then, but 10pm, sure. Usually it's to test some repairs or something that I did. If it has a camera, there's no point in hooking it up or turning it on because the images will look like the video in the article, and I'm not there to take pictures anyway -- I'm to test something or just toodle around. There's nothing nefarious about it.

But all in all ... I don't see evidence of anybody doing any peeping tom stuff here.

Comment Re:Why conceal it? (Score 1) 740

The advantages of GMO food are usually to the producer or the farmer rather than the final consumer of the food.

That said, there's a few exceptions -- the Arctic Apple that doesn't brown so easily, the reduced carcinogen (all potatoes have acrylamide which is suspected to cause cancer) "Innate" potatoes, Golden Rice that provides vitamin A, etc. Since there's a difference (an advantage) to the end user, these things are indeed labelled voluntarily, because they're believed to be better.

But as for the seed that's sold to the farmer, absolutely, it's labelled. The farmer knows exactly what he's buying, and he knows why he's paying extra for it -- because for his purposes, it's better. (If it wasn't, he wouldn't buy it.)

But the end product, what he sells? It has no practical difference from the non-GMO variety, so there's no reason to label it as different except as a "scarlet letter" to be pushed for by the people who want to make their non-GMO foods look better than the the GMO varieties. Of course, they already have a label for that -- "organic" -- though to be fair, "organic" means more than simply non-GMO. (Though there are some non-GMO labels they can voluntarily use as well if they want.)

In any event, the organic certification allows crops altered with mutagenisis -- where things are treated with radiation or mutation inducing chemicals and they see what happens, and if they like it they keep it -- which always struck me as far more scary than anything involving transgenics which is much more controlled, but hey, our ruby red grapefruit, that's organic, even though it was made with mutagensis and not tested anywhere near as much as something made with transgenics, because of ... reasons.

Comment Re:Why conceal it? (Score 1) 740

Farmers buy seeds from Monsanto and other companies because those seeds provide benefits that are more than worth the cost. Period.

Monsanto may have some unethical business practices (though to be fair -- I've never seen any real evidence of this) but the same can be said of any large corporation. And from what I can tell, Monsanto's most unethical business practice that's actually true (they're accused of a lot of things that aren't true) seems to be that they make seeds and don't give them away for free.

Comment Re:Why conceal it? (Score 1) 740

What are the medical dangers from eating or not eating a kosher or halal diet? None.

If you wanted to bring in an analogy of kosher or halal food, the appropriate analogy would be the people making kosher or halal food pushing for a mandate that all non-kosher/halal food be labeled.

Of course, they aren't doing that, and they aren't telling people (with no scientific evidence) that non-kosher/halal food is untested, dangerous or causes cancer or something either.

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