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Comment Been there. Didn't like it. (Score 4, Interesting) 71

I have a home in Indio, the largest city in the Coachella Valley of California. It's mostly known for Palm Springs and the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. It's high profile, but not large, Two companies own all of the local broadcast TV stations. One owns ABC, CBS, Fox, and Telmundo stations. The other has NBC and CW. I suspect that they own Univision, but I'm not quite sure.

That's it for diversity. We see the same news stories from the same reporters, often introduced by the same anchors. This is allowed because we are a "small market". The stations are all "low power" stations. I can watch the same news six times a day, if I really want to be bored.

I wonder if the two could soon be allowed to merge and reduce local coverage to one source. The new regulations might allow this. News coverage is already badly warped by mega-owners. How many subtly (of not subtly) news stories are ties to Disney movies on ABC stations? I see a LOT. How many commentaries are influenced and news stories perspectives "adjusted" for the corporate masters? I don't know, but I am sure it's a lot. This change is a very bad idea.

Comment Potato chips are a poor example (Score 5, Informative) 78

While people think potato and other "salty snacks" are high in salt, compared to many food, the sodium content is not high. Because the salt in all on exposed surfaces, the taste of salt is very strong. An ounce of Lays potato chips has 170 mg. of sodium. (Yes, I know most people eat more like 3 oz. at a sitting, so call it 510 mg.) Half of a personal sized pepperoni pizza (Round Table) has 860 mg. (and most people eat the whole thing for 1920 mg.). A Panera Chicken Frontega panini is a stunning 2050 mg. My favorite Chipotle barbacoa burrito is a whopping 2190 mg. And "whopping" makes me think of a "Whopper" which is only 1160 (with cheese).

So if you are looking for high salt foods, chips are not that bad, though I don't really recommend them for a healthy diet. It's other processed foods that really pack it in.

Comment Computers need rowa of blinking lights (Score 2) 467

I miss front panel debugging. Having a row of about 20 switches that allow you to modify memory and read out the program counter in lights as well as halt, step, examine, and continue the computer and step it through the program. I programmed vector graphics that way on a paper tape OS. You put lots of NO-OPs in so you could add instructions as you debugged. You really learned how the computer and the graphics worked.

I also liked core memory. You halted the system and turned it off. An hour or a week later, you turned it on and pressed "Continue" and you were right where you left off.

Comment Evereything old is new again (Score 1) 71

The idea of using photographic film for archival storage of digital data is not really new. In the late 1960s, IBM developed the IBM 1360 "Photostore" system to archive vast amounts of data. The 1360 was developed for the two Lawrence Radiation Laboratory campuses (now Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). The system wrote the data to silver halide film which was automatically processed and could be retrieved (after a few minutes to develop the film) in just a minute or two, depending on the retrieval queue length.

Only five systems were delivered as very few places had the need to store such vast amounts of data. The system could store 1 terabit (not terabyte) or 170 gigabytes of data (bytes on supercomputers of that era were 6 bits) "on-line" as well as unlimited off-line. IIRC, retrieval times for off-line data typically ran an hour or two.

I believe the Wikipedia article is wrong on some counts. The film was not on aperture cards, but was film strips about 3" x 1" which were stored in plastic cases that held a number of strips. You can see these at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, USA.

Comment Re:Comey? (Score 4, Interesting) 537

I worked at a secure facility for several years and had a high clearance for over 20 years. While I can't get into specifics, I am aware of several cases of people taking classified documents home with them, putting classified mail on an unclassified server, copying classified documents onto an external drive, etc. In one particularly bad case a modem was connected to a terminal on the classified network.

In all cases it was determined that the violations were either unintentional or without criminal intent. Usually it was to work on the classified data/documents at home in order to get some critical work done. All were punished administratively with no charges filed. I was not privy to he punishment though I know that in one case where the person was terminated.

The only case I am aware of that went to prosecution was a system admin who installed a private web server which was serving softcore porn (nudes) to some friends. The NY Times learned about it. He was terminated, fined, and perhaps given a suspended sentence.

Based on this experience, I would say not taking criminal action against Hillary Clinton was in line with many other cases.

Comment Colorado did it better (Score 1) 321

I attended middle school in the mid-60s back when it was called "Junior High School". We did study the Mercator projection, but mostly to demonstrate that a flat map was going to be distorted and always pointing out the huge Greenland vs. the tiny southern continents. We also got the example of how the flat projections make polar air routes look longer than more southerly routes. A globe makes this clearly wrong.

Comment Too many bad analogies (Score 1) 66

This tool provides only a bunch of analogies for tech jargon, but many are not good.

An API to a turnstile??? Not really at all useful to most people. The "Cinderella" one for 2-factor authentication is better, but still leaves off the most critical requirement that the 2 factors be of different nature. Generally this means two of: Something you know (password), something you have (token), or something you are (biometrics)

I keep seeing claims for 2-factor that are only having more than one of "something you know" which is not real 2-factor. (Cindrella's slipper is, though.)

Comment Re:Fail fail fail (Score 1) 68

First, CODEC is short for coder-decoder. Whether it is done in hardware or software, any tool which performs the function of accepting a digital stream in a specified format and outputting it in a different digital format is a CODEC. H.264 is not quite a codec, but any software or hardware that accepts a data stream in a digital format and outputs it into another is a codec and H.264 is usually called a codec because it describes a a standard for taking a raw video data stream and compressing it into well known encoding. The actual input my be any most anything as long as the decode part of the codec can understand it.

Actually, CODEC took the old, analog/digital domain term "modem" (modulator/demodulator) and moved it into the all digital domain, keeping the order the same.

Not too long ago software was too slow to implement a real-time audio codec at a reasonable price, so most people assumed hardware when you talked about a codec. By not long ago, I mean beck in the 1980s. (Yes, I'm old.)

Comment Re:Use a Local Not a Remot Passwords Manager (Score 1) 415

LastPass encrypts the passwords using a local master password with AES. The encrypted passwords are stored both locally and in the cloud. If the network is down, your passwords are available from the local copy, but, since you might have updated the data from another system, it will always attempt to update the data from the cloud nd fall back to local. The master password never leaves your system and unencrypted passwords don't either.

Plus, it runs on most everything; Linux/Unix, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS. It's a bit clunky in how it does passwords for apps on iOS, but works well with Android apps. I use in on FreeBSD, Android, Linux, and Windows.

Comment Re:Fighting it is evil (Score 1) 310

Cell phone repair is tricky, but not even approaching impossible. As a former electronics tech (about 35 years ago), I was able to disassemble, repair, and re-assemble my Galaxy S4. It really was not difficult and, with a service manual, would have been trivial. Soldering and de-soldering surface-mount devices and tools to do so are required, but those are hardly impossible to obtain.

More importantly, the law is more about letting independent servicers, who are likely more skilled than I, to have the information and parts to repair the devices.

The battery argument is pretty bogus. It takes no service information to get a battery to over-heat. A service manual only reduces the risk.

Comment Re:Turnabouts fair play (Score 4, Insightful) 68

If Apple wants Banks to cooperate by opening their payment network to iPhones , Apple must open up the iPhone NFC to mobile wallets from Banks. A competition commission cannot say its anti-competitive for incumbents to block Apple Pay but its not anti-competitive for Apple to not allow access to the NFC chip in an iPhone.

Apple's system explicitly collects NO extraneous information on transactions. Banks hate this as they had seen mobile device transactions as a chance to collect a lot of valuable data. Sellers also hoped to build added piles of marketing data that Apple Pay won't provide because its design simply does not have access to it..

Comment Re:Open primaries (Score 1) 136

California has open primaries and they generally seem to be working.

The result has been the election of more moderate and FAR more independent candidates. The are more moderate because the main-line party candidate (both parties) tend toward the extremes of their parties. More independent because the parties have poured vast resources into the main-line candidates and the moderates don't feel at all beholden to them, even though they generally host similar positions on most issues.

Comment Re:It'll never happen (Score 4, Interesting) 136

My state (California) voted in term limits many years ago and we have come to regret the unintended consequences. The problem is that 4-6 years is not long enough ot learn to deal with the entrenched interests. The result was that lobbyists, who are around much longer, became invaluable "helpers" to the large number of newly elected and inexperienced legislators and ended up effectively running the legislature. Their influence, always a concern, grew tremendously.

Now the term limits have been eased (also by popular vote) and it is hoped that this will help. We'll see in 5 or 6 years

Comment Mid-end? How can the middle by an end? (Score 4, Insightful) 23

I hate really stupid terms and mid-end is really stupid.

You have an array of products and the most expensive and least expensive are hi-end and low end. All the rest are not "end"s. Mid-class or mid-line would work, but let's not start using such an oxymoronic term as "mid-end".

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