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Comment As tasers become more and more common, (Score 1) 163

I expect to see criminals starting to wear chain mail. I'm sure modern techniques could make it quite light and easy to use, especially since it doesn't need to stop bullets or blades. All it needs to do is prevent the taser darts from penetrating so deeply that the chain mail can no longer short them out. Then most of the taser current should pass through the armour instead of the victim's flesh. I suspect victims might feel some pain, and perhaps even a lot of pain, because of the imperfect electrical connections between links in the mail; but I think enough current would be diverted around nerves and muscles to prevent the truly debilitating effects normally associated with electroshock weapons.

Comment Something you have, something you know (Score 5, Interesting) 428

It's been said countless times here. Requiring both a fingerprint and a passcode would have protected phone owners from this fishing expedition.

As for the greater ramifications of the unprecedentedly broad warrant that was issued, well, I'm glad I'm not a US citizen and don't live there. And I'm increasingly reluctant to travel there as well, precisely because of things like this. America has become a scary, scary place.

Comment Re:Just say no. (Score 2) 105

The last thing I want (well, one of the last things I want), is for Google or anyone else to have one bit of information about me than they absolutely must have. This is why I give fake names, addresses, and phone numbers to 95% of the online 'accounts' that I have. Unfortunately, it is getting harder and harder to 'opt out' of sharing information. The defaults of almost every application is to grab everything and beam it home to the mother ship. Even when you tell it NO, many will keep bugging you until you say yes. Every 'upgrade' will reset the defaults and if you are not paying attention, you are screwed.

I second this. I NEVER give my phone number or real name to any service I'm not paying for, and I'm very careful about info I give to services I DO pay for. Google may have my cell number because I have an Android phone, but it's not associated with my account in any public-facing place AFAICT. And Google doesn't officially have my real name. I'm sure they know it just because they're Google - but my Gmail account is under a pseudonym, and I don't use it except to the extent necessary to use Google Play. So again, the association probably isn't available to casual hackers - they'd have to get deeper into Google to make the association, and that's beyond my control, short of becoming a techno-hermit.

I also don't update apps immediately - I wait to see what others have to say in the reviews. Sometimes I don't update at all: as far as I'm concerned, in the Android ecosystem it's often a saw-off between patching old vulns and introducing new ones. I don't have location enabled, and WiFi, Bluetooth, and Data are turned off unless I'm using them. And I run a firewall. I have no illusions that these things make me either secure or anonymous, but I do try to make it a little harder for the carrion to pick clean the bones of the mostly-dead carcass of my privacy.

Comment Re:This will backfire! (Score 3, Insightful) 218

Samsung just joined Sony on my "Do not buy" list.

Samsung joined Sony on my 'forbidden' list when they started pushing out Smart TV firmware upgrades that had non-optional advertising built in. So I'm not surprised in the least by their recent attempt at censorship.

Comment How far America has fallen (Score 4, Insightful) 331

The campaign for the highest political office in the land is based on cheap shots, empty hyperbole, and crass corruption. Talk about bread and circuses! The presidential race IS a circus; not even a classy one like Cirque du Soleil, but rather a seedy low-rent carnival sideshow. There are disquieting similarities between this election and any given episode of Jerry Springer or Maury Povich. I suppose that's fitting, given that one of the 'contestants' really is a reality show star, and now the other one is taking her cues from him. When I think about the situation I'm torn between sadness and disgust, and end up feeling both. Yuck. Is this really how things are done now, in what arguably used to be the greatest nation in the world?

Comment Re:Because Windows Sucks (Score 2) 267

...I find that the software available from the repos is surprisingly good /and/ is not laden with "appeal to the lowest denominator" graphics nonsense (virus scanners on Windows with animations to demonstrate to the user that it's "doing something" as a particularly egregious example). This nonsense is rife throughout the "windows universe of valuable things."

This, exactly. Just today I was doing some work for my old boss and had to use an old Windows laptop. I kept being interrupted by Norton telling me what a wonderful job it was doing, and Windows asking me if I wanted to disable some IE6 plugins to speed things up - and I wasn't even using IE at the time. It was such an annoying, distracting clownshow, reminiscent of a young child starved for attention and saying 'look at me!'. I've been spoiled by Linux - it (mostly) does what I want, it stays out of the way, its automatic update process is very polite and graceful, and I can do everything I need to do, including schematic capture and PCB design. I truly feel sorry for those who have no choice but to use Windows on an ongoing basis.

Comment Does anyone ever stop to wonder (Score 1) 41

Why are so many public schools such hellholes that administrators feel they need to take such measures in the name of "student safety"? If the argument is that the problems in schools originate outside of the schools, then mightn't the schooling of previous generations bear at least some of the blame? And a related question - why do so many schools have cops on duty?

Might there be a fundamental flaw in public education - one that goes back to the inception of American public schools (pdf) and was based on an insufferable level of presumption that was explicitly stated at the time?

When you start to come to grips with the overwhelming evidence that public education was designed to extend immaturity, foster dependence and obedience, and ensure a qualified labour pool, then it's no surprise to find that school boards and the CIA might share common goals and methods.

Comment Car analogy (Score 1) 213

Geo-blocking movies is like geo-blocking automobiles, and it makes about as much sense. Can you imagine a car dealer or rental agency telling you "sorry, your car won't work in the following geographic areas"? Geo-blocking is all about artificial scarcity, and if it was being done between US states it might even be treated as collusion. But since it's an international thing, the law says it's OK. Movie watchers beg to differ.

Thanks to the Internet, the world is now a very small place; when a movie is released, it's usually all over the world within hours, regardless of rights-holders wishes and fantasies to the contrary. So content owners can continue to tie the hands of companies like Netflix, and Netflix and the like have no choice but to honour the content owners' wishes. And the stricter the enforcement of geo-blocking is, the more Netflix users will resort to torrenting, or stop watching altogether. Either way, the industry is shooting itself in the foot - it has people willing to pay to watch a movie, and it's telling them to fuck off.

If cars were geo-blocked there would be a brisk business devoted to unblocking them, even though it might cost quite a bit of money. The equivalent for movie fans is a torrent site - except torrented movies can be had almost for free. I expect a rise in torrenting among non-geeks who would rather spend their money on legally obtained movies, if only someone would put out their hand and take it.

Comment Re:What. The. Fuck. (Score 1) 200

Perhaps it was about the journey and not the destination? If you follow the link you'll see that he was using a network scanner and other tactics to coax it into working that suggest his motivation was curiosity. He's not an average consumer, he's a tinkerer/hacker.

Good point. I have to wonder, though, if he bought the kettle knowing he was facing a major integration effort, or if he just wanted a cuppa. The article doesn't make that clear.

Comment Re:100% content free (Score 5, Insightful) 183

...T-Mobile NL complains about having a music streming service (such sa Spotify, Deezer, Soundlcoud, Apple Music, whatever) that does not count towards the data cap ...this is a good example on why this might seem as "going too far" in their scope: it is affecting their marketing.

Exactly. The practice that T-Mobile wants to implement would be anti-competitive vendor lock-in. If my service provider says its own music service doesn't count against my data cap, but other services do, then that's blatantly against Net Neutrality. Either there is neutrality, or there isn't - just as there is either discrimination, or no discrimination. There is no middle ground on this issue. If T-Mobile wants to launch a music service, let it compete on equal terms with ALL music services on ALL providers' networks. The Dutch have it right, and the rest of the EU should be following their lead, not vice versa.

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