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Comment This Is Not What People Should Be Up In Arms About (Score 3, Informative) 124

To my understanding the MagicBand has two RFID components. One is long range, battery powered, and is used for tracking a person in the parks. My understanding is they use the data to see where crowds go, what's popular during different times of day on which days, and when there's too much of a crowd, they'll put out distractions to get the crowd to move. The other chip is for short range stuff like room key, purchase transactions, and FastPass. This one can be read by a NFC reader and everything but the serial number is encrypted. Here's the thing, it's a privately owned theme park that can dictate within reason what goes on in their park. Don't like it, don't go and patronize. Simple as that.

I've read on a Disney enthusiast that people up in arms saying they'd be putting foil around their bands and honestly I don't know why they're paying Disney to go to the park if they don't like it. What people need to be up in arms about is the dwindling of our freedoms and the abuses of the law by our (US) government. No, people may get a little grouchy, but they just put up with it and let is slide. A private company with their private property doing something to better their product and people flip a shit when they have a choice to not participate.

Comment Re:don't connect everything to the internet! (Score 1) 191

They do need to verify that cards are correct, so they do need some internet access, though they could do it over the phone.

Well, i guess they will still need to rethink the security of this.

Seems to me they readers only need to communicate with a computer in the store, then that computer could do the verifying. Might be a little slower, but would probably be a lot more secure.

Target's communication with CC Networks (Visa, MC, Disc, Amex) don't need to go over the internet. They either connect to a Front End Processor (FEP) via a private network, function as their own FEP with direct links to the Networks, or own their own FEP as a subsidiary company. As big as they are, I'd expect it to be one of the latter two. While working for a Merchant Acquirer/Gateway that wanted to become a FEP, our expensive ($10k/mo) test connection with MC was a direct private link and obviously encrypted.

That being said, Target's servers that cache CC numbers are probably accessible by some means from the internet. Heartland Payment Systems (IIRC they are a FEP) CC data breach in 2008 was a result of a targeted attack and poor security. The head DBA received some malware on his laptop. Because the account he logged in with had full DBA privledges to the DBs, the attackers were able to leverage his compromised laptop and permissions to download millions of CCs (full card data). Beyond better anti-malware detection and layered IDS, the full card data should be difficult to get in the clear for any person and should be stored encrypted on the DBs. Encryption devices exist that stand between the DBs and the full encryption key is never accessible by one person; we had one that would literally self destruct if someone tried to physically open the box.

Comment No EMV, not going to be useful by 2015 (Score 3, Informative) 222

I hear they're working on one that's EMV compatible, but there's no point in releasing sometime in 2014 what they've proposed now as Chip+PIN/EMV will be rolled out en-mass in the US. The networks (Visa, MC, AMEX, Discover) are starting a liability shift and most will go into effect in Oct 2015:
What this means is the liability of any card fraud that occurs after that date with be moved to the entity that hasn't implemented EMV. That includes the card issuing bank, the merchant acquirer (the entity that the merchant uses to process cards), and even the merchant itself if they refused to update their terminals or POS systems. If fraud does occur and everyone is up to date with EMV, the procedure is the same as it is today supposedly.

I personally have my reservations about the system since there have been a string of compromised terminals in the past and the banks incorrectly blamed the card holder because the system was "fraud-proof" according to them. Hopefully those shenanigans don't happen in with US banks as this rolls out.

Comment Re:A generation trained out of wearing watches (Score 1) 365

I guess I fall into this category. I use to wear a Casio DataBank calculator watch. This not only told time, but I used it for calendar items, reminders, and kept a phonebook. Later I moved to a PDA (Handspring Visor) for this and additional functionality; the watch on my wrist broke and I found I didn't really need it. My phone eventually supplanted the PDA as my main timepiece as it was synced with an atomic clock and I didn't need to maintain the time; pulling my phone out of my pocket was a tad inconvenient to check the time, but was tolerable. Obviously the PDA and phone were converged into a smartphone.

Eventually I found having to pull my phone out of my pocket more and more inconvenient to not only check the time, but see what it was binging and vibrating about. I now have a smartwatch (Pebble). I have my phone setup to only alert my watch about mostly important things that I should read and potentially get my phone out for. My watch will alert me on a text message or work e-mail and I can read that message to determine if I need to pull my phone out and respond. I don't have it alert me about Twitter or FB and I just ignore that noise from my phone. I don't have a home phone either and sometimes my cell is upstairs; seeing who's calling on my wrist let's me determine whether it's worth running up stairs. My phone is also my media player and my smartwatch lets me change tracks or stations without taking my eyes off the road.

I'd say the smartwatch or some wearable companion will become more mainstream as time goes on. I believe our phone will also be our main computer for work and pleasure. Many phones today support keyboard and mouse via BT or USB and also have HDMI out. Motorola tried with their Lapdock and had a great idea that's poorly executed. Current devices mirror what's on the main screen, but one can currently RDP to a desktop or server and have a full desktop environment. There're initiatives like Ubuntu to provide a full desktop experience when docked while having a more appropriate familiar interface for just the phone's screen.

Comment Re:Pebble seems fine (Score 1) 365

Android user here. Can confirm it runs great on Android.

I'd hazard to say it is even more functional on Android unless I missed something with iOS. There's an app in the Play store called Pebble Notifier. It takes any of the notifications from the status bar and send to Pebble. One can pick and choose what apps they want to alert to Pebble. So even though an app doesn't support Pebble, one can get notifications from that app. Very uselful. Probably the one feature I miss in Android that's available for iOS users is the ability to accept an incoming call.

There's another app that will change the lock screen when Pebble is out of range or its BT turned off. It'll change it from a swipe to unlock to PIN to unlock. When setting the PIN, it'll lock the phone as well so security is enforced if someone makes off with it while it's unlocked. When Pebble reconnects, security is changed back. Much more convenient and I have the peace of mind that there is at least some security if someone steals my phone. I hear this can be done with Tasker and that's an app I'm planning on trying out to make my phone even more automated and customized to my daily use.

Comment Re:I have a Pebble and it's best suited to my need (Score 1) 365

I forgot to mention, that I truly love the simplicity of it. It doesn't have a bunch of background processes unnecessarily running in the background unlike my phone. Battery life is nice. I average 8 days on a charge. With light weeks (only a few alerts), I've managed 11 days. This past week was a busy week and lasted 7 days which hadn't happened since old firmware from 6-7 months ago. Turning BT off will make it last even longer. In the future, they're suppose to enable BT 4.0 Low Energy which should extend the batter life when coupled with a phone with BT 4.0 LE.

Comment Re:Had a Sony MN2 briefly; problem was VERY famili (Score 1) 365

Check out Pebble. Part of what I like about it is it's simplicity. As long as it's in range, it will receive alerts. Not in range, it still tells the time with any watchface, There're apps like a stop watch, timer, or even snake that works without the phone; exiting one of those apps kills it and the process doesn't run in the background. If it looses BT connection, it will reconnect without intervention. I use this as a security method to change my phone from a swipe to unlock to a PIN to unlock; it locks the phone the moment it's out of range and returns the security when it is.

Comment I have a Pebble and it's best suited to my needs (Score 2) 365

Full disclosure upfront: I am an early Kickstarter backer for Pebble. I do try an not let that make me biased in this comment.

My requirements in a smart watch are the following:
-Fully customizable watchface which can be displayed at all times (it's a watch; I shouldn't need to do anything just to see the time)
-Battery must last more than a couple of days. The longer the better. A whole week is a good start.
-It must be able to be fully submersible in water so I may shower and swim without any care
-The band must either be made of a durable fabric that is easily cleaned such as nylon or user replaceable in available sizes (skin condition)
-It needs to be able to provide useful alerts with contextual text to alleviate the need to pull my phone out of my pocket or run to it's location
-Further interactive functionality with my phone is a bonus

Why I prefer the Pebble:
The Pebble is by no means the perfect smartwatch. It even has a manufacturing flaw that I doubt will ever be addressed (rainbowin display in the sunlight). That being said, it ticks all of the above boxes. My phone is either in my pocket, near by, or on the charger up stairs. When ever I get a text message, phone call (Caller ID with the option to send to voicemail), e-mail, IM, meeting notification, reminder, or any other alert of my choosing, it displays on my watch. Through a 3rd party app, I can choose what app alerts to send to my watch. If I get too many alerts from an app, I can just have it not send to my watch. In many cases I get an alert that I just need to read and not respond to. When I'm on-call for work, I can see who's calling and whether it's worth running up stairs to my phone or getting out of bed to answer. I can also change music tracks or stations from my watch and they don't need to directly support Pebble either. In the car, I can change without taking my eyes off the road. Doing the dishes, I can change without getting my phone wet or it be near the sink.

The fact that an application doesn't need to natively support Pebble is a big plus. Any smartwatch needs to have an accompanying SDK and should leverage the existing APIs from the phone's OS to be able to integrate. Another cool thing I've got working is my phone security goes from a simple swipe to PIN requirement to unlock whenever my watch is out of range or the BT turned off; if someone happens to pick up my phone and walk off, it will lock with the PIN regardless if the screen is on and they're using it. Lastly a cool feature I should mention is I just need to flick my wrist in order for the backlight to come on so I can see what it says in the dark or use as a low light short range brief flashlight (I do this about once a week).

I have looked at the other smartwatches out there (here's a good list) and all of them had something missing or a poor attempt from my required list. Features like being able to take voice memos, use it as a headset or speakerphone, take pictures, and have a full color touch display are nice, but not one of my requirements. I'd wager the simplicity of physical buttons is better on a smartwatch than a touchscreen since one doesn't need to look at it to execute a command; a couple of examples would be glancing at an incoming call and dismiss it or changing tracks without looking.

I think the Galaxy Gear is a cute initial attempt from Samsung, but they have more work to do. Only getting text messages on the watch is silly. I don't need to be told I have a new e-mail since my phone already did that; let me see at least a snipet of the e-mail to determine if it's worth my time. I'd say Samsung has more work to do to open it up to other apps and phones not built by Samsung within the past year.

Comment Haven't Seen This With LED Monitors Yet. (Score 1) 532

I'm able to see the flicker of 60Hz and perhaps a little higher than that. I'll get some massive eyestrain too if I sit at a CRT monitor with a 60Hz refresh. At 85Hz I can rarely see the flicker if I concentrate and it's relatively comfortable. Higher than 85Hz and it's much better.

I'm sitting in front of three LED backlit LCDs and they're not flickering at all. The LEDs stay on. All of my smartphones with LED backlighting haven't flickered either. The wife just got a new phone with an AMOLED display and I do see some flicker on occasion. I do see it with LED brake lights on most cars; a few of them only flicker with parking light brightness and then don't flicker at the brake light intensity.

I think jones_supa needs to change monitor manufactures.

Comment Why no hobbies? (Score 1) 299

There're a lot of fun things that can positively to your mental and physical health. If I had extra time, I would try and learn a few trades like blacksmithing and wielding. There're a few languages I'd like to learn. There're some musical instruments that I'd like to learn as well. We were designed to work and play outside, not sit at a desk for hours on end. People that do stuff regularly outside generally are healthier from the activity, vitamin D production, and breathing some fresh air.

Start a side business that doesn't directly compete with your employer if your downtime isn't still on their time. If you do go this route, structure your company in a way that removes you from any liability; you may need to find a good lawyer for that since there're other good lawyers that are adept at legally seizing the company owner's assets that aren't related to the company. A former colleague of mine started a site that he sold fantasy and reproduction props from. He didn't maintain any inventory and just dropped shipped from suppliers. He'd advertise his side on a couple of enthusiast forums that he engaged in and also did SEO work on his site to get at the top of Google results. He said he spent one hour a day working on fulfilling orders with the suppliers, answering e-mail, SEO, and engaging the community. He ended up with about $2k/mo in profit.

If you're not interested or can't do that, try finding a fun video game. I suggest the X series from Egosoft. Those games are a blackhole of time. The latest one is X3: Albion Prelude.Each new release has gotten better and you really don't need to play the previous games in order to play the current one, however the back story from the previous games is interesting and explains WTF. You can still read the plot on Wikipedia IIRC. Another option is to play some MMO. Grind away and sell virtual wares for real currency.

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