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Comment Security (Score 2) 467

In the MS-DOS / floppy disk days, you had far more security. Your entire operating system was write-protected, and you could make a copy of it, and test that copy, all in less than 10 minutes.

These days, you can't even clone your hard drive and have reasonable assurance that all your apps will work without being re-authorized.

Comment No, it's the hour in the middle you can skip (Score 4, Informative) 395

I watched the movie in question online a few weeks ago, I got bored and skipped an hour in the middle, and honestly don't think I missed anything important. I can't possibly imagine having to wait though the ever so slow plot line in a movie theater with no other distractions available.

Comment The whole internet... (Score 1) 197

Examing the nature of searches that take place at our boarders gives a hint of the strategy the US is using to weed out terrorists. It is apparent that the US government hasn't figured out:
1. It is possible to have multiple social media identities
2. The entire Internet is ISIS territory
3. Harassing people who want to enter the US is bad for business

Given the near total spectrum surveillance that we know the US has over the Internet thanks to Snowden, I'm surprised things are so ham-fisted. There are much better ways to do this, I hope (and it's all I can do, because of secrecy and lack of accountability) that the balance is more towards using this capability for good, and less on stalking ex's and personal gain.

Comment I do have a phone (Score 1) 174

I have no "instant message" clients on my pc, but I do keep a cell-phone in my pocket tl allow a select group of people reach me, even when I'm making gears at work. It's a widely adopted standard, already in use by over half of humanity. Isn't that good enough?

For everything not so time-critical, there's email.

Comment Government run program (Score 1) 274

This is one of the times I think the EPA could do a lot of good by picking a site out west, setting up a furnace and simply grinding and melting these down to then refine out the lead and other metals. They should run it themselves, not contracting it out, and accept all CRTs and e-waste that make it to the loading dock, for free, no questions asked.

Comment A VLF maser? (Score 2) 69

Right there, in the Wikipedia page for the project, in list of main scientific findings (#3), is that it can be used to generate ELF (extremely low frequency) signals in the range of 0.1 Hz by modulating conductivity of the ionosphere to the already present DC flow from the solar wind. I once did the math, and concluded that this would result in turning the ionosphere into the VLF equivalent of a MASER, and the power flow there is on the order of a Terawatt (if I recall correctly). ..I believe this is what Tesla was attempting to do with his huge transmitter at Wardenclyffe.. A few megawatts could generate about a gigawatt of VLF if done right.

Converting that VLF back to usable power, on the other hand... I have no idea how that would happen.

Comment LEDs detect light already (Score 2) 33

There obviously aren't many hardware hackers watching this thread, but I just wanted you to know that LEDs also function as photodiodes... back in the 1990s I breadboarded an alarm circuit that used a bi-color LED, with the green as an emitter and the red as a detector, to sense a reflector from a few feet away. I'm fairly certain that you could probably do interesting things with this knowledge and an arduino... like make a device that has a lock that has an single LED as it's heartbeat output, and its unlock input, with a matching keychain, for example.

Comment No, it's the Operating System, silly! (Score 1) 148

Analogy time: Imagine homes with no Circuit Breakers. Any short circuit anywhere could burn down a house. Lawyers and lawmakers arrive on the scene and declare that everything you want to plug in needs to be short proof. Every product has to be certified not to burn down houses, no matter what failure happens. The designers of even a simple lamp can end up being charged with murder, and as a result nobody really wants to use electricity.

We have circuit breakers, which limit the amount of current to be supplied to an appliance. If you have a special big appliance, like an air conditioner, you have to use a special circuit to supply it with power. Circuit breakers serve to limit the side effects that are possible when you use electricity.

There is no analogous circuit breaker in our widely used operating systems. When you run an application as a user, ALL of your authority is given to the program, and you have to just hope that it does the right thing. There are systems which do place limits on the side effects of a program when you run them, and they are even user friendly and fairly easy to understand.

It's up to us to start to use operating systems that have the ability to limit the side-effects of programs. One example is the Genode project. There is also the perennially late GNU Hurd

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