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Comment Patent Trools - WiFi License Fees (Score 0) 347

Seems to me the easiest solution would be to send a letter stating that your small business network is based around a PowerLine / Ethernet solution and does not use WiFI and therefor you are not in violation of any such patent. If this is an actual company /business and they demand to see your network, ask to see the court order and show them the couple of computers that you have recently cabled together with a PowerLine solution. Just my two cents,

Comment Can A Regular Person Repair A Damaged Hard Drive (Score 0) 504

Some good advice has already been given but I will recap: first attempt to salvage any data that is wanted. Best way to do this is to remove the failing (failed) hard drive and try to place it in an external (USB/Firewire) case, whatever you have handy or can purchase or borrow from a geek friend. Connect this external drive to a know working system and see if the failing drive can be accessed by the working system OS. If you can see the folders/directories on the suspect drive, quick copy the data that is critical (to you) onto free space on the working system or DVDs or flashdrive, etc. Second, an oldie but a goodie and a personal favorite is "Gibson's SpinRite" hard drive repair utility. Over the last 25+ years since SpinRite ver 1.0" (now latest is 6.0) it has saved or brought thousands of hard drives "back from the dead", either to working condition or at least working long enough to recover critical data from them before they went belly up for good. SpinRite can be run on a regular basis to monitor the "health and status" of your hard drive as it ages. If SprinRite can't bring it back then you need professional help but be prepared to spend big bucks (thousands of dollars). Most of us don't want our data back at that expense, but for a company to recover their bookkeeping records, employee files, etc. the expense might be justified. If your hard drive makes no noises (doesn't spin up/power up, or load the heads out onto the drive sectors) then try the PCB board swap if you can locate the exact same drive type. Removing the drive platters (unless your home has a "clean room") is a losing proposition as the platter will become contaminated by dust or dirt and be damaged further. I have found at least 80% of the time I am able to read a drive once I have removed it from its native platform and into some external enclosure that I can connect to my laptop. I have move laptop hard drives into one of my laptop (either a SATA or EIDE) depending so that I can boot up my SpinRite CD and investigate the problem drive. SprinRite will even work on MAC/Apple formatted drives if they are removed from the Apple device and installed into a Intel desktop or laptop for troubleshooting. This is not a "plug" for the SpinRite product, just saying what one of the best "tools" I have in my toolbox besides a torx screwdriver set. I cut my teeth on Steve Gibson's "SpinRite" and Peter Norton's "Norton Disk Doctor a.k.a NDD) back when both companies started. Sadly only Steve Gibson is still standing these days. That's my two cents.

Submission + - Mandatory FaceBook Account Creation For Site Access

taichibabbo writes: I have been noticing a disturbing trend lately. I have visited a number of new sites to inquire for further information concerning a product or service. I am greeted with a request to enter my user name and password to enter the site or register for an account. This is a sad trend that has been going for years already, but what I am seeing recently is the "change" to enter your "FaceBook" username and password or register for a "FaceBook account" if you do not have one.
This requirement to have a "FaceBook" account for access seems to smack of a conspiracy forming.

Comment Forced To Lobby For A 56-Bit Key Over 64-Bit Key (Score 0) 279

Following the comment: "As a historical data point, DES was apparently hard for even the NSA to crack so they deliberatly limited the DES key size from the original 64-bits, to the final 56-bit (although the NSA apparently lobbied for a mere 48-bits)." Sometimes there are "other" not so apparent reasons for the seemingly senseless choice of a certain odd number system. There was a 54-bit code used during WWII very successfully by field agents. The so called "Solitaire" system relied on two persons being able to have access to a 54 card playing deck (counting the jokers) or if both parties agreed a 52-bit code (minus the jokers). There is a reference to this and other cryptographic systems, both real and contrived in a book titled "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephensen. The main plot of the book is rather weak but the author manages to mix an amazing amount of cryptographical facts and details that occurred in and around WWII, Benchley Park and the beginnings of NSA while it was still located on Pennsylvania avenue.

Comment NSA Building US's Biggest Spy Center (Score 0, Interesting) 279

I am shocked at the lack of facts that the general public holds about the NSA, cryptography, encryption and the state of the art of decryption today. If I had worked for such said Agency for 27+ years (which I absolutely didn't). In various fields, such as cryptography and the construction of the massive "brute force" systems used to break specific codes of interest (which I didn't). I would say the following: NSA truly has better and more important functions, like providing near-realtime intelligence to commanders in the field. This precludes listening in on each and everyone's personal telephone calls (land lines or cells), their e-mails and facebook pages. It's super computers are keep quite busy with the ever increasing amount of "raw" intel that floods back from the "field" to the Ft. Meade complex. Let's say that I retired back in 2004 (which I couldn't have done since I didn't really work for the Agency) but if I had I would have left knowing that breaking AES -128 and AES -256 encryption was child's play, that the Agency had abandoned 4096 bit keys years earlier in favor of "quantum encryption" which didn't really remain "unbreakable" all that long, so it also had to be abandoned. As for the person who thinks encryption was invented solely for "banking" and "something else". I would invite that person to visit the "National Cryptologic Museum" site at I am sure some of the information presented there although old a.k.a. de-classified for public consumption is still very compelling and interesting. Encryption and decryption history goes back quite a ways in history, long before modern banking systems came to be.

Comment Best Wi-Fi Skype Phone? (Score 0, Offtopic) 289

Bendodge, Can't say I am really qualified to answer the Wi-Fi part of your quiestion. I have gone the really low budget route with "MagicJack", hey I hear all of the laughter. But $19.95 a year is hard to beat, if you can live with a few shortcomings like: having to have good to great Internet connection (read bandwidth), have an extra computer or laptop that can stay online 24/7/365 (I own 4 laptops not counting my wife's Apple PowerBook Pro, which I can't touch for fear of death). That said, being the father of two college grads, one word always comes to mind, "cheap". Most college folks want the most bang for the buck, simply because they usually have to make that buck do the work of two bucks most of the time. So I found this link: which I feel offers some of the best deals on some of the cheapest and not so cheap deals around plus links to the manufactures site for more info. Some of the brands I've never heard of because they are popular Skype phones across "the pond" but are now available here so should be considered. The Wi-Fi Phone for Skype SO-20 by IPEVO , for around $129 seems to be good alternative to the Belkin that is panned by almost everyone so far. Just read about 20 reviews from owners of the IPEV SO-20 and without exception all loved the call quality, easy of use and connection (even to secure connections). Again all owners complained about the same to shortcomings; no speakerphone and short battery life (needed to be recharged every 24 hours). Other than those two issues all were very satisfied with their units. Well, thoses are my two cents, good luck at your new life in college. Regards, John

Comment Can't Fault AVG Free - But I Use Comodo Internet S (Score 1) 896

I currently use Commodo Internet Suite (Free Version) and ThreatFire (Anti-Malware) concurrently. And since I tend to be very paranoid, I will update and run malwarebytes on full scan mode maybe every two weeks. I started with AVG 0.9 way back when and still recommend the free edition to anyone who asks me for a good "free" anti-virus suite, I also recommend running an additional resident anti-malware program concurrently.

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