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Comment Re:One of the features is "always on" (Score 1) 129

The fact that the "Wake-up" command is Alexa which happens to be the name of one of the original web data mining firms seems like an unfortunate confluence. We may have crossed the privacy Rubicon with the mass acceptance of smartphones, but placing a cloud-connected device inside our homes to monitor all conversations is much too creepy for me.

Comment Still going.. (Score 2) 278

My most recent ones are the CFLs currently illuminating our apartment. They were all purchased in October, so. . . 9 months and counting... Shall I get back to you in the coming days, weeks, months, or years, when one (or all) finally do fail? Of course, when that does happen, I'll have already bought replacements, so my most recent energy bulbs will have lasted about a day at that point.

Comment Re:Great, another magic gun for hunting unicorns.. (Score 2) 24

You are correct. The reason why you are correct is key though. You can keep everything up-to-date, and lock down systems as tight as you want. But as long as any user has legitimate access to the system; there are weak links in the chain. If a user has access to the internet or a phone, they're susceptible to social engineering attacks.Email or web in particular, exposes the company to spear phishing attacks. Access to I/O ports or removable media devices creates a potential attack vector. Heck even without users who aren't highly security conscious, any hardware is a potential trojan assuming you haven't fully examined the code in every ROM of every motherboard, peripheral, router, etc. Every piece of software is also susceptible to 0-day exploits.

So despite all best practices, there'll almost always be low-hanging fruit for attacks. Conversely, any system sufficiently locked down to make them impenetrable not just by script kiddies, but by organized criminal enterprises or by foreign or domestic surveillance would also make it pretty much impossible to get any work done. So while doing your best to enforce basic security measures is a good first step, delving into the arcane and esoteric to further secure systems is still necessary if you wish to stay afloat in the arms race of cybercrime.

Comment Re:"Deployed" (Score 2) 211

The problem with your assessment is that you, yourself, referred to "MAD levels". So within the Cold War "USA vs USSR" context, those stockpiled warheads are utterly useless. Say Russia launched all their nukes toward the US,; the US would retaliate by launching all its deployed nukes toward Russia. So within about 30 minutes or so, most of the world's urban populations will be wiped out in a radioactive firestorm. Okay, so then the CIA spooks within Russia report that most of the Kremlin is now speeding off toward some previously unknown remote underground bunker in the Urals.

How much time do you think it will take to pull some of those extra warheads out of mothballs, arm them, load them onto a supersonic jet, fly them within range, and finally launch them at the suspected target? The warheads wouldn't even be close to getting out into the sunlight before the mushroom clouds appeared at the military base where they were stored.

Now in the post Cold War era, it's theoretically possible that the US, Israel, or other actors could launch a few tactical nukes against reactors in Iran, Pakistan, and/or North Korea, and then theoretically deploy enough stored warheads to replenish the supply to the level before the strikes. But you'll have to factor in the blowback these strikes would have on the global stage--particularly in China and Russia. and a full scale nuclear war might ensue shortly thereafter. If not, at least a huge build up on all sides would promptly commence and tensions would rise the world over to levels not seen since the Cuban missile crisis.

Comment Re:Graffiti drones (Score 1) 208

I was thinking more along the lines of a remake of Top Gun. Instead of the USSR, the villains are the tagging drones, and the heroes are now the removal drones. But most of the action revolving around dogfights between drones. The epilogue will show the train cars are all blown to pieces, but completely free of graffiti.

Comment Re:Germany vs. USA (Score 1) 208

We could reach a happy medium... Why not arm the drones with solvents and/or paint sprayers... They can immediately remove or paint over any exterior graffiti, which would destroy the appeal of tagging in the first place. Bonus.. they can tag the perpetrators too facilitating their identification, arrest, and conviction.

Comment Re:Time to start thinking (Score 1) 443

Yes, sounds great. But while you will be a hero/martyr amongst the tech crowd.. Think how this would play out in the corporate controlled courts, media, and the populace:

1. You violated the DMCA in reverse-engineering their IP..
2. With forethought and malicious intent, you modified their IP to cause innocent parties systems to be flagged as suspicious.
3. You "infected" computers and "hacked" networks across the country and around the world with this malware.
4. You knowingly caused widespread failure and shutdown of critical IT infrastructure, jeopardizing national security, disrupting commerce and businesses large and small leading to massive layoffs, mass panic, rioting, etc.

Your defense: "Well they did it first! And it was actually their code which shut everything down!" again will be supported by the techies and many fringe groups. But to everyone else, you'll simply be known as "the {wo}man who destroyed the internet!" Expect the popcorn you planned to munch when the SHTF will be buried in shit too!

A better solution in this case is just to be passive, or subversively active in supporting them. Don't shout from the rafters like we did for DMCA, SOPA, PIPA, et al.. Let the RIAA spend billions greasing legislators' palms and on shaping popular opinion of what a good and important step this is in protecting the media industry. We can help with the legislation, "Any system flagged for piracy will be immediately block the user from accessing the internet. However, a daemon will continue to run, searching the flagged system for any and all identifying information and sending it to the legal and RIAA authorities to facilitate prosecution." We can help them with their spin, "Don't let the music go away. Register it today!"

They can steamroll it through Congress, Declare the .mp3 age is over and install the most odious rootkit DRM scheme ever devised! The shit will still hit the fan, but this time, all the blame will fall squarely on the MAFIAA's shoulders. Ironically, their defense would have to be something like, "The tech industry should have realized this will be a problem and raised objections!" To which our response will be, "You mean like when we spoke out about all those other schemes and laws you tried to shove down our throats?"

Comment I've got it! (Score 1) 273

I've got the perfect 3d-printed device that will stop wars, infighting, greed, jealousy, and so forth! It's a tall and wide-jawed set of calipers At its center point, there's a long and razor-sharp blade attached to a spring-loaded release mechanism. Simply press the calipers against whatever item is contested as belonging to two different people and depress the plunger. Behold! a precisely even split of a cupcake, pizza, or whatever else the kids or roommates are fighting over,

First World Problems, I hear you scoff?? Not so fast! Eliminate this sense of perceived injustice amongst middle-class brats, and they'll be less likely to grow into the folks wanting to invade other lands for their natural resources and exploitable citizens. Surely Gandhi would have approved of that! Still think this idea still only directly benefits self-entitled Westerners? Imagine how useful this device would have been for Solomon when he was dealing with those ladies fighting over a baby!

Comment Re:There your country goes... (Score 1) 501

I got it! We can flee en masse to Canada as refugees! No wait. Too many of the folks who distrust our political system are the paranoid paramilitary types, -- They'll simply invade Canada and rename it "Patriot Land",

My apologies to Canada, but if it's any consolation, it'll leave an even larger percentage of the morbidly obese, reality-show fanatics behind, making the US look even more like Idiocracy. I suppose we can both then seek asylum in Mexico.

Comment Re:Just how much storage capacity would one requir (Score 1) 621

Perhaps, but It wouldn't necessarily need to capture every single bit of data being transferred. The titles of the movies you stream from Netflix could be collected, but the stream itself ignored. Ditto for the eBook you bought, the MP3 album you downloaded, the game you pirated, etc. Or put another way: The only time your personally created video of your cat is collected by the feds is when you upload it to your site, YouTube, Facebook or whatever. Every time that it's liked, re-tweeted, emailed, hotlinked, or otherwise used elsewhere, It's more or less recorded as "At [TIME/DATE], mianne viewed phantomfive's cat video obtained at prior {TIME/DATE]." I have no way of knowing how much bandwidth/storage that would entail, but I would guess it'd be a much more modest scale from nnn MBs/min to nn GBs/min.

Comment Re:I could be wrong but.... (Score 1) 179

Right now, people are indeed making comparisons to 1984, absurd as they might seem. Indeed, a common sentiment expressed this past week is that it was tough, but that we're tougher and should celebrate! When, since at least the mid-20th century, have men not used metaphors about sports cars to describe attractive women? Admittedly there isn't much talk these days about the Rhythm Pigs. But I can say with certainly that most males have always seen attractive women as objects of sexual desire and conquest--whether such women are an important authority figure in their lives, a supermodel whom they've never met and never will, or even a "lady of the night." It is a sad fact, but some men become too obsessed with women leading to very tragic endings.

So except for the spy cameras on the street and the references to James Paul Koncek, I must say that '1984' is very relevant to the modern world in which we live.

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