Re: Noise Floor (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Does millimeter wave cellular broadband offer rural applications? on 2016-11-16 19:20 (#21VZF)

What would it look like once everyone starts broadcasting?
Very high frequencies have long been considered undesirable because they don't penetrate through or go very far around walls, trees & leaves, hills, curvature of the earth, etc. In fact they're greatly attenuated even by just the oxygen and light moisture in the atmosphere. Plus the millimeter wave band is extremely wide, leaving a big open space for everyone to fit-in without competing with each other. These features that makes them undesirable for one-way broadcasting of TV/radio and long-distance coverage, also makes them ideal for high-speed, short-range, two-way cellular communications, where people a mile away don't want or need to pick-up the signal at all.

Re: No numberpad for text? (Score: 2, Informative)

by in First US Android flip phone launched on 2016-10-16 04:20 (#1Y7ZZ)

Next question, which I didn't see answered in TFA -- is it going to be available not locked to Tracfone? Verizon is good here but my Verizon account is a lot cheaper than Tracfone.
Yes, probably locked for 1yr. HOWEVER, Tracfone has several services you can choose from. PagePlus is a VERY popular option right now, even among people not locked to Tracfone's network. Their $27/mo plan w/1GB looks pretty good, and you can go as low as $30/yr paygo plan for minimal usage, though $80/yr is a more practical minimum.

If your Verizon service is cheaper than that, they will probably NOT let you activate a smartphone on it.

Re: No (Score: 1)

by in Do you cover up the camera on your mobile devices on 2016-10-16 00:03 (#1Y7K0)

I don't think that's correct. While located in the same area, the proximity sensor that shuts off your screen is distinct from your camera. First Moto E had no front-facing camera at all, yet it has a proximity sensor:

Numerous phones with front cameras are similarly listed as also having proximity sensors, not just reusing the camera.

Re: No numberpad for text? (Score: 1)

by in First US Android flip phone launched on 2016-10-09 21:01 (#1XH7Q)

It's hardly "itty-bitty". The touch-screen alone is 3.5", which was considered BIG just a few years ago. The iPhone 4S had the same 3.5" screen size (circa 2012).

There's no bigger fan of (full QWERTY) hardware keyboards than yours truly (see: #3NZG), but I absolutely HATE T9 (text on 9 keys) input. Back when I had a phone with T9 as the only option, I simply didn't send texts to anybody, nearly ever. T9 has given us all manner of ugly, unwieldy "txtslang" terms we're only slowly getting away from (like "smthg"), as input was so cumbersome that learning a new shorthand language was quicker than both parties writing messages in full and proper English. The most primitive on-screen keyboards are superior to that nightmare.

The physical keypad could still be quite useful. Android has lots of games, and mechanical buttons with tactile feedback would be far superior to control by touching nondescript regions on a smooth screen. Perhaps also for controlling apps such as music players.

Re: Unintended consequences (Score: 1)

by in LinkNYC discovers the social problems of free Wi-Fi on city streets on 2016-09-24 02:29 (#1VTEB)

They clearly want people to use it (they could shut it off at a moment's notice), but they also don't want to bring the homeless problem out from the dark alleys and into the upscale public squares. Can't really blame them for that desire, but they are certainly at fault for designing big public systems without bothering to account for human factors, just like an architect failing to account for wind...

They also don't want everyone to cancel their home internet and just use the public WiFi, which is a common problem that should have been addressed by time-limits, throttling, etc.

Re: Is anybody surprised? (Score: 0)

by in California bill will cut greenhouse emissions – from cows on 2016-09-22 10:12 (#1VGJP)

Jerry Brown is elected governor and all kinds of crazy ensues.
So you're suggesting California was good and perfectly sane back when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the elected Governator of the state?

Re: Always have to ask yourself (Score: 1)

by in California bill will cut greenhouse emissions – from cows on 2016-09-22 10:08 (#1VKQP)

Who were the corporate sponsors for the legislators that put this through the state house in order for Brown to sign?
If you've got any facts to that effect, I'd love to hear it. However I don't see any use in vague speculation about possible sinister motives and actors...

The interested parties listed in the articles are environmental groups pushing for STRONGER restrictions, and dairy farming groups pushing back, which seems obvious. The sponsor of the bill happens to be a gay Hispanic man (whose parents were illegal immigrants), representing a depressed corner of Los Angeles (which notably lacks cows), and who doesn't appear to be getting significant money from any organizations that might be interested in this bill.

Even if some ulterior motives were involved, the law can still be evaluated on its face without worrying too much about those side-concerns.

Re: Pluto (Score: 1)

by in Growing evidence supports the existence of a hypothetical Planet Nine on 2016-09-10 18:36 (#1TA4X)

My point was: we can't go back to exactly 9 planets. You'd be hard-pressed to write a criteria that includes Pluto without including Eris... And frankly, we'll probably find several even larger trans-Neptunian planetoids, in time.

Re: No (Score: 1)

by in Do you cover up the camera on your mobile devices on 2016-09-10 01:01 (#1T81Y)

I can't imagine an external device that would be able to work out the difference between desired and undesired signals from your phone.
You could make a tiny little $5 pocket signal detector with buzzer. When idle, you get only a brief little buzz every few minutes (or maybe entirely omit notifications for any transmissions that short). When a call is ongoing, or data is being transferred, buzz continually... That would raise the veil, giving people an idea of when their phone is sending data, and how much. If it starts going full-blast when your phone is sitting around in your pocket... a big red flag!

Of course you could do this pretty well in software, too. In fact the status bar icons show all cell/wifi xmit/recv activities on some few phone models. Or you can just pay attention to your battery consumption and get nervous when it suddenly lasts a fraction as long as it normally would, because either an app has started going nuts, or your phone is now transmitting a lot more often...

Re: From TFA (Score: 1)

by in SanDisk Connect offers tiny portable wireless flash storage for any mobile device on 2016-09-08 22:54 (#1T419)

when you connect to this device your internet connection goes away
The review mentions you can pair it with your home WiFi:

"Enter your WiFi network details, and this should make the Connect Wireless Stick available over the network – letting you access its storage and Internet at the same time."
and any apps you have that eat data in the background are now eating into your wireless data quota.
Android has a nice "Restrict Background Data" option I always use, which will stop those background updates whenever your internet access is via cellular.

Re: Pluto (Score: 1)

by in Growing evidence supports the existence of a hypothetical Planet Nine on 2016-09-03 18:53 (#1SKE9)

Eris is 27% more massive than Pluto. It even has one known moon. You can't have just 9 planets. It's either 8 or 10+.

Re: Or (Score: 1)

by in Transparent solar cells that could power skyscrapers on 2016-09-01 13:18 (#1S9HE)

Arizona is a sad case because libertarian fools run the state, and they refuse on principle to regulate and manage their natural resources sustainably, like adults.

California is a better model. Aquifers are recharged, usage restrictions are enacted, tiers are lowered, grey water is required for commercial landscaping, etc. Desalination is used to some extent as the technology gets cheaper, and tertiary treated sewage goes back into the water supply, creating a loop. Those last two offer a practically endless supply of water that can scale up to any population size.

Arizona could do all of this and would have ample water, but it's politically unpopular to talk about such things there, and they may need a harsh wake up call before the necessary reforms can be implemented.

But more importantly, even with that mismanagement, they're still doing infinitely less damage to infinitely fewer species than if people were developing old growth forests into cities and suburbs, or building just about anywhere else in the country, for that matter.

You have to keep in mind that there's almost NOWHERE with enough water. Forty out of fifty US states expect water shortages: . It's best to just accept that we can't stick a hose in the ground and pump enough water for everyone. Then we can move forward to practical management efforts, and it's doable everywhere, even the deserts. With California's jump-start on water management decades before anybody else was interested, I'm sure there are much wetter locales which will be hit much harder by droughts. Atlanta is one such example.

Re: Ummm... (Score: 1, Interesting)

by in How long before a self-driving car is hacked and "weaponized"? on 2016-08-26 15:07 (#1RQS7)

If you really think that chainsaws are as a big a potential danger as autonomous vehicles are, I have some wonderful seaside property in Arizona I'd like to sell you.
There are lots of wooden bridges out there. A chainsaw will allow you to sabotage such a bridge very quickly, with no visual indication from above. If you do so shortly before the scheduled passenger train comes through, it could be a mass-casualty incident more serious than anything a car could do.

Re: Ummm... (Score: 1)

by in How long before a self-driving car is hacked and "weaponized"? on 2016-08-24 07:32 (#1RF8P)

You seem to be talking about chainsaw *accidents*, versus *intentional* car sabotage. If you're inclined to cause a lot of damage with a chainsaw, you certainly can do so.

Ummm... (Score: 4, Funny)

by in How long before a self-driving car is hacked and "weaponized"? on 2016-08-23 01:29 (#1RB16)

Seems like asking "How long before chainsaws are weaponized". Both are pretty-close to a weapon in their regular form.

Free Windows 10 upgrades are over (Score: 1)

by in Windows 7 & 8 machines to get monthly "rollups", no choice in patches on 2016-08-19 02:07 (#1QZ17)

Will this include forced installs of Win 10 on existing Win 7/8 PCs?
Unless I'm mistaken, the free Win10 upgrades are now over. If you didn't accept it before now, you have to buy a copy at more than $100, and certainly won't find it hidden in Windows Updates:

From Microsoft: "the Windows 10 free upgrade offer ended on July 29, 2016."

Re: Rats (Score: 3, Informative)

by in Soylent CEO criminally charged for unpermitted tiny off-grid home on 2016-08-17 06:26 (#1QR9C)

those other shakes you mentioned are full of shit calories. (simple sugars)
Sugar is just carbohydrates. Your body needs carbohydrates, and in bigger amounts than any other nutrient. Those trying to convince you otherwise are ignorant or trying to sell you snake-oil. Dieting is a prime target for lies and fraud. Studies consistently show the various major diets all perform equivalent (within the margin of error), and weight gain or loss is directly proportional to calorie intake regardless of type and source.

Re: Star Trek (Score: 2, Funny)

by in Which fictional work will the future most resemble? on 2016-08-16 01:04 (#1QKY8)

in our utopia, we can build star ships and seek out our neighbors
...then blow them up!


Any more relevance? (Score: 1)

by in GRC Releases Program to Prevent Windows 10 Upgrade on 2016-08-06 21:31 (#1PQ4P)

Unless I'm mistaken, Win10 updates are no longer being pushed for free, so this program seems to be unnecessary.

Re: Looked into connected thermostat... (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in The Coming Internet-Of-Things Horror Show on 2016-08-06 17:23 (#1PPMX)

I should have been more specific... Humans and horses are the only animals who cool themselves by perspiration across all their skin, allowing extended physical exertion in temperatures much higher than their proper body temperature. This allows humans to run, non-stop all day, through Death Valley during the summer, as in the Badwater Ultramarathon, the kind of feat which would quickly have all other animals dropping dead from heatstroke. In fact primitive humans used this advantage to capture prey with persistence hunting.

There are many other different adaptations for high temperatures that other animals have, which we don't, but for high physical activity in very hot temperatures (with ample supplies of water) you can't beat us.

Entirely typical... (Score: 4, Insightful)

by in Olympics viewers overloaded with commercials during NBC Olympic Opening Ceremony on 2016-08-06 05:57 (#1PNCE)

"Opinionated fools on Twitter complain about something" isn't much of a news story. The extremely partisan blog with a lot of bile-spewing political comments is rather a cesspool, too.

Let's see the real story:
the first 40 minutes of the Opening Ceremonies included 14 minutes of commercials
Even those cherry-picked number are only a hair worse than every other ad-supported TV program in the US (~18 minutes of commercials per hour is typical), and sporting events are usually worse, getting extra commercial breaks wherever the opportunity presents itself. It wouldn't likely be any different on CBS, ABC, Fox, etc.

XP can still get updates (Score: 1)

by in America’s electronic voting machines are scarily easy targets on 2016-08-04 00:42 (#1PDXW)

Most of these machines are running Windows XP, for which Microsoft hasn’t released a security patch since April 2014.
For those who aren't aware, a simple registry change to any XP system will enable updates for an additional 5 years:


Re: Not a dupe (Score: 1)

by in Hackers attempt to extort thousands from a guy who jerked off in front of his laptop on 2016-08-02 15:22 (#1P8NV)

It's only news to you. This kind of thing has been going on for a very long time. Law enforcement has at least gotten much better at tracking down the criminals involved. There are innumerable people who have refused such demands.

It's so common there are even specific terms for this kind of criminal activity. Do a search on "internet extortion and cyber stalking" for a short list of just a few thousand incidents, or even the friendly portmanteau: "Sextortion". There's even a wikipedia page on the subject, dating to 2009.

That explains it (Score: 1)

by in AT&T raises data caps for U-Verse and GigaPower to 1TB per month on 2016-07-30 19:30 (#1P02E)

Ah hah! I'm betting Comcast got wind of this change, because that would explain why they just increased their cap to 1TB as well:

Re: url needs to be http (Score: 1)

by in Smart Stitches Coming to A Hospital Near You on 2016-07-30 19:24 (#1P02D)

Working fine on my desktop and mobile browsers.

Re: Looked into connected thermostat... (Score: 1)

by in The Coming Internet-Of-Things Horror Show on 2016-07-30 12:11 (#1NZ5P)

62 deg F all the time. That's the coldest I can stand for long periods with just a sweater, wool socks and a blanket to cover my lap. Any colder and my face / hands freeze. I can't ware gloves while using my PC and have no desire to spend 8 months of the year wearing a face mask/scarf.
You should try a much heavier sweater... I know you're concerned about your face and hands, but keeping your core warmer will keep your extremities warmer, too.
in the summer you kept the AC on and never left your house because it was over 100 deg F and you'd get heat stroke,
Millions of people live and work (outside) in areas where temperatures vastly exceed 100F. See: #1NA1N... If you're healthy, and dressed properly, it's no problem. Humans and horses are better suited to high temperatures than any other mammals.

Re: Looked into connected thermostat... (Score: 1)

by in The Coming Internet-Of-Things Horror Show on 2016-07-29 13:22 (#1NW4D)

My preference is only to keep a house as minimally warm/cool as mechanical concerns allow... i.e. Heating is always set at 50F (10C) so that pipes don't freeze, and cooling is always set at 85F (30C) so that electronic equipment doesn't overheat (goes for pets, too). With that methodology, there's no benefit to even basic programmable thermostats.

I don't see the benefit in maintaining a temperature closer to 70F (21C) for human comfort, as it's necessary to dress appropriately for outside temperatures, anyhow. Going inside/outside repeatedly, with a huge temperature differential, is very uncomfortable. Instead such a "comfortable temperature" tends to just cause headaches, hot flashes, etc., and causes a more time-consuming burden of dressing/undressing when entering/exiting.

Now, if I had the opportunity to design my own home, I'd spec it with insulated pipes (among many other things) so that they wouldn't freeze even in very low interior temperatures. Then maybe I'd have incentives and a practical case study to find the lower limits of human comfort and this concept. But until that time, those high/low temperatures are the limits whether the building is occupied or not, eliminating the need for any changes throughout the day (or week).

I am sympathetic to the wife/girlfriend factor, as well as the need to manage humidity (condensation, mildew and mold) in some areas, and with some (usually, poorly-insulated) homes, but I can still usually make this concept work well-enough.

Re: how is this a step forward (Score: 1)

by in Serious limitations In Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Iris Scanner on 2016-07-29 12:52 (#1NW1N)

Ideally you use an iris (or fingerprint) scan as one part of two-factor authentication.

Somebody who finds-out your password isn't likely to have your iris handy, and somebody who can borrow your iris or finger isn't going to also know your password.

Re: What about the upcoming 'AV1' codec? (Score: 1)

by in Free VP10 video compression standard benefits from HEVC licensing troubles on 2016-07-10 19:34 (#1KWZG)

It wasn't easy to squeeze so much info down into a short summary, without either making it overly technical and incomprehensible to a general audience, or losing so much that the significance isn't obvious. So quite a bit was glossed over or only hinted at.

It should be said that the WebM project also had several large supporters, yet VP8/VP9 decoding only made it into a tiny amount of hardware, products and services. Google was also slow about making YouTube videos available as VP8/VP9. But they did make progressively more headway in software and standards, so it's a hopeful sign that so even more major organizations are interested this time around. Perhaps this dual standardization process, making it no longer just a Google's own codec, will lead to the wide adoption the WebM project was working and hoping for.

Re: Confusion? (Score: 3, Interesting)

by in Walmart, Home Depot suing Visa, MasterCard over not allowing use of chip+PIN on 2016-06-23 08:32 (#1J3RM)

That's the catch-all term used when someone doesn't want to change something. People are accustomed to signing, so asking them to enter a pin is a change. Anyone who deals with the public knows there are a few who are unable to follow the simplest instructions, and will get frustrated when any routine in their life is changed.

It costs some money to include a flier in each monthly bill explaining the change. And any changes will cause a little bit of slow-down when phased-in, but it is actually the retailers who will bear the slow-down who are DEMANDING this change.

Re: So dry (Score: 1)

by in Grid-scale battery based on train cars and gravity on 2016-06-16 01:51 (#1HBD7)

Maintenance is not free, land is not free, having parallel tracks requiring weed control, etc.
Maintenance on a rarely-used train would just be a few hours once per year. Land is extremely cheap a couple hours outside of most any city, and the grid has no problem moving power that distance with minimal loss. Train tracks sprawling across the planet seem to be just fine without active weed control...
Would be slightly impressive if the train cars actually went somewhere and transported something useful, like water.
I they were hauling water up-hill, then unloading it, you'd completely defeat the purpose of this system. A water pump would surely be more efficient, anyhow.
Smarter electricity use and a better grid, capable of transferring power from where it is produced to where is it needed, would do the same more robustly, and probably cheeper too.
Energy storage like this is very much a critical feature of any smart grid. Wind and solar power aren't necessarily producing the most power when demand is highest, and peaking plants have always been very expensive.

Businesses and the public have been largely resistant to changing their energy use patterns. Perhaps the notification and metering technology isn't there yet, or perhaps the incentives aren't significant enough, but either way, controlling "electricity use" doesn't seem to be a viable alternative.

Re: I grew up with tapes (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Tour the very last audio cassette factory on 2016-06-16 00:30 (#1HB83)

There were numerous stand-alone CD recorders which would allow you to record to disc linearly just like an old cassette tape recorder. They weren't popular because being able to mix, edit, etc., on your PC before recording, as well as record bit-exact (audio or data), make copies, and record faster than real-time were such huge benefits.

Plus CD-Recorders were expensive, just like cassette recorders were when they first appeared. Now you can get dirt-cheap CD burners, but nobody wants them... Everybody has moved on to solid-state audio recording with microSD cards or similar if they still have a need to record at all (most don't, and just "download" audio already digitized).

Re: An innocent question (Score: 1)

by in Houses able to float being developed to address flooding on 2016-06-09 23:12 (#1GPV2)

One thing that comes to mind is maximum height... The homes in question will be 2-stories plus a basement. If built permanently on 13ft tall piles, that would make it stand taller than a 4-story building.

Re: Gibson is no security researcher (Score: 1)

by in GRC Releases Program to Prevent Windows 10 Upgrade on 2016-06-06 15:29 (#1G9YQ)

Any idiot can do a random password generator, which is why you can find thousands of them. It's practically the next step after writing a "Hello World".

Here's a quick random password generator for *nix:
head -c 56 /dev/urandom | base64
Over-hyping some trivial and mundane program is just what GRC always does.

Gibson is no security researcher (Score: 1)

by in GRC Releases Program to Prevent Windows 10 Upgrade on 2016-05-22 14:09 (#1EM3F)

GRC has no "security researchers". It's practically a one-man operation, and Gibson is just a loud-mouthed twit with no security experience. He's been widely denounced by actual security experts. Just see the controversy around his Windows XP SOCK_RAW and WMF bug/Windows backdoor claims. And his most popular work, the "SpinRite" app, is just a load of snake-oil he's managed to con a decent number of people into paying for...

The old is gone, but there are still several sites dedicated to exposing his fraud, mistakes and lies over the years:

A better solution (Score: 1)

by in New identity theft scam being used by online stores to get photo ID on 2016-05-21 01:05 (#1EG1K)

Retailers aren't allowed (by credit card companies) to bill your card until the item has shipped. If you find a store is doing that, for ANY reason, you should contact your issuing bank, and challenge the charge. After multiple people do that, the credit card company will see the misbehavior isn't just a one-off billing mistake, and will revoke their license. The company will no long be able to accept credit card payments.

Personally, I don't buy from random websites I know nothing about... I usually find retailers via Froogle, Pricewatch, or similar trusted aggregator, which means I have someone to complain to and can at the very least get them delisted if they are dishonest.

Since this story is just one person's anecdote, with no link to a source, don't expect it to ever get published the front-page.

Re: Fuel cell plane for zero emission flying (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Fuel cell plane for zero emission flying on 2016-05-19 16:54 (#1EAQ1)

Fuel cells have conversion efficiency double that of a turbine, so your 6x volume figure is immediately down to 3x...

My next thought is of methanol... A popular fuel for fuel cell forklifts. More dense and decidedly renewable.

Re: So dry (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Grid-scale battery based on train cars and gravity on 2016-05-03 03:26 (#1CK09)

The reservoirs used for hydro power are very enviro-friendly indeed; they hugely benefit wildlife,
That's really not true. There's a huge amount of information out there on the environmental damage dams cause, like driving salmon and other species to near-extinction. It's been a cause célèbre in recent years to destroy old and unnecessary dams everywhere that is remotely practical.

"Sierra Club California does not support any proposal that provides funding for the construction of new dams or surface storage in California."

"2014 was a monumental year for dam removal projects. A record-setting 72 dams were removed across 19 states, restoring hundreds of miles of river, and last year’s Patagonia-produced film DamNation raised even more awareness about the environmental impact of defunct dams that block salmon and other fish from their upriver breeding grounds."

Providing big watering-holes for wild life in the Nevada desert is not necessarily an environmental benefit at all. Instead it can bring in more large wild life, which should not naturally be there, which then displaces and kills the native desert species. And destroying dozens or hundreds of square miles of land and habitat by flooding it is never going to be looked on as environmentally friendly. Those kinds of projects tend to be supported by hunters, rather than environmentalists.

Re: Great but (Score: 3, Insightful)

by in More efficient new LEDs now available, over 200lm/W on 2016-04-22 08:31 (#1BD0F)

You can get CFLs and LEDs for $1, and screw them into the same E27 / A19 fixtures your old lightbulbs used. If you've opted for different fixtures and bulbs, which don't work well, that was your own mistake, and irrelevant to the lighting technology. I expect most people were smart enough to avoid that trap.

Re: Motives (Score: 3, Informative)

by in More efficient new LEDs now available, over 200lm/W on 2016-04-21 05:49 (#1B8H1)

Actually, LED bulbs handily surpassed CFLs years ago. Now a 60w equivalent (800lm) LED uses 9w, while CFLs never got better than 13w for the same output. That's 30% more efficient.

Note that I'm using the inexpensive $1.75 generic Lowes LED bulbs (60w equiv) with 2-yr warranties, for reference. There certainly are still less-efficient older LED bulbs on the market, as well as some that are more-efficient.

40w equiv (6w) LEDs are similarly inexpensive and more-efficient than their CFL counterparts.

However, what I like most about LEDs is that they work great at even lower power levels, too. CFLs below 40w were candelabra base with long, slow warm-up times and relatively poorer efficiency. Similarly, incandesent efficiency was on a curve, so 60W bulbs had DOUBLE the lumens output of a 40W bulb. But with LEDs you really can scale that down as far as you want. No longer is a 40w bulb the lowest-power practical choice for smaller rooms, closets, etc.

It also helps greatly that LEDs do fine in the cold, and can be switched off/on almost unlimited times, making them a great optionin refrigerators, motion sensors, etc., where CFLs don't really work at all. After all, hot bulbs in your refrigerator is about the worst waste of electricity imaginable.

Re: Motives (Score: 1)

by in More efficient new LEDs now available, over 200lm/W on 2016-04-20 11:13 (#1B574)

There are innumerable (not very reliable) sources which spout that LED streetlights are more efficient. Obviously that's not based on facts. The information likely comes from the companies wishing to sell their new products, and it appears they come up with the claim in part by somehow comparing LEDs to non-LPS street lights, which are really only used in a tiny fraction of circumstances, where more color accurate light is required. In addition, they seem to use more-focused optics in new LED streetlights to compare to unfocused LPS lights, and generate more desirable numbers that way. They often also tout how much energy can be saved by enabling a motion-detection mode, which LPS isn't suited to, but I'm not aware of any municipalities who have done so, as there are significant practical drawbacks.

The comparison can get a little bit more confusing because LPS lights dim a bit over their lifetime, so slightly weaker efficiency numbers can be determined if one is so inclined. But as for reliable sources, the best I've heard is that, with twice the longevity of LPS, the reduced maintenance costs of LEDs can make up for their higher up front costs.

But back to your question... I have no doubt many people believe that LED streetlights are more energy efficient than existing LPS lights. BUT I would certainly expect much better of civil engineers, and due diligence from even non technical personnel. They merely need to compare the listed specs like power consumption, between the various options, before recommending or approving a major purchase... But feel-good measures, and green-washing, are sadly all-too common.

Some benefits (Score: 1)

by in Ransomware that knows where you live on 2016-04-13 03:18 (#1A5RN)

Hhis could be a GOOD THING. Spam exists because there are users stupid enough to click on the links to buy Viagra and whatnot. Similarly, there was little consequence for employees who fell for phishing e-mails and infected their who company network.

Now, being out $600 every time you do something so stupid, is sure to be a painful lesson for those who still haven't learned proper e-mail/internet security. That's right, ransomware could potentially END SPAM.

Re: Telegram Service End Was NOT Kept Quiet (Score: 1)

by in Cincinnati Bell to shutdown telegraph service, dating from 1800s on 2016-04-01 13:23 (#190CG)

Re: Prime has me hooked (Score: 1)

by in Amazon increases free shipping minimum order to $49 on 2016-03-24 16:02 (#185VX)

people ordering everything online shipping at flat rates or weight only has led to overloading the shipping network.
There is no limit to "the shipping network". They can easily hire more employees, build more processing facilities, etc. You can easily see the interstates aren't so clogged with trucks that one more couldn't be added. And the decline of coal in the US has left railroads with plenty of new extra capacity they haven't been able to fill.
various companies now.charge by weight and size.
There's nothing new about that at all. "Flat rate" shipping has and always had quite a few strict restrictions on weights and sizes.
The Australians have been calculating postage this way for a couple of decades.
As have all the US shipping companies, for as long as I can recall...

Re: Obama's phone security (Score: 1)

by in Obama popularises phone fetishizing on 2016-03-19 03:00 (#17K92)

I'd also add that physically entering a residence to look through papers, leaves an obvious trail that is difficult to hide. Electronic devices don't leave obvious traces when someone, like the FBI, has decided to trespass, so it's infinitely easier to secretly surveil someone, possibly without court oversight.

Everyone knows the FBI is lying, bald-faced. They are perfectly capable of breaking into the terrorist's iPhone in question, but instead choose to use this opportunity to gain more legal authority to compel Apple, and other companies, to give them easy access they can use whenever and however they decide to do so. There is no way to prove to a piece of software whether you are authorized by a legitimate warrant, FISC, secret national security letter, etc., or not.

As I recently wrote on the old site:

The US was founded upon fear of an excessively powerful central government, as the British crown was seen massively abusing their power. So strong protections were built-in that weakened law enforcement for the benefit of civil liberties. There have always been other systems of government that are slightly more effective at catching or prosecuting criminals, but Americans knew, for hundreds of years, those trade-offs weren't worth it.

The limiting of government power was so ingrained that the US seems to be the only major nation without a state broadcaster. Outside the US, everybody in the world knows the VOA, but they are NOT allowed to operate inside the US at all. We believed the ability of the current government to directly influence the electorate, was too much power and control to give to our representatives, and settled on allowing only operation on foreign soil, with aggressive protections against even incidental domestic operation.

A warrant, today, gets the FBI exactly the same information it did 50 years ago... They can tap and record all the calls that occur after the warrant is issued, get a log of all previous calls that were made, etc.

Computers have made US law enforcement lazy. They expect they can get a warrant and will automatically be handed an archive with the contents of ALL of your communications for the past several YEARS. The information they got with a warrant decades ago is no longer good enough for them, and they're going to insist on the power they've gotten accustomed to, and refuse to allow privacy to make a comeback.

Remember, it was only a year ago that the entire contents of your phone were siphoned off by the police whenever you were pulled over just for speeding. This was done under the laws that allows them to look for weapons in the vicinity that you might be able to reach for, and which got extended to allow into evidence incriminating documents that just happened to be found in the process of searching for weapons.

And what did the police do with their gigabytes of all your personal information they siphoned off your phone? Maybe look for patterns of terrorism and drug dealing? No. Why they instead thought it would be a good idea to look for any nude photos you might have, and share them with their friends. Hooray for law enforcement keeping us all safe!

The San Bernardino case is pretty damn obviously worthless, too. The FBI has already FAILED to protect the public. The shooters already carried out their attacks, and were shot dead. FBI and Homeland Security failed miserably to identify them as threats, despite there being ample publicly available information to identify them as ISIL sympathizers. It's the same story as the 9/11 attacks all over again. Homeland Security had MORE INFORMATION than they were able to process and deal with, yet they use attacks as a lame excuse to expand their power, their budget, and get access to much more information, which again, they don't have any hope of being able to process in a timely manner.

Homeland Security has become better and better at revealing details after the fact, but is still useless at identifying individuals who pose a threat before they can carry out their plans to murder people. Apple unlocking iPhones for the FBI is more of the same... It won't possibly help identify future threats, it'll just be a little bit more information the FBI can publish about their past.

This was settled back in the early 90s with the PGP case. Code for encryption programs falls under the constitutional protections of freedom of speech. A new federal law or court ruling cannot override constitutional rights. Without the overwhelming support needed to pass a constitutional amendment (which nobody believes the US Fed can possibly hope to manage these days), they can't legally stop the export of software, including encryption, from the US.

This is the trick PGP used many years ago to get around export restrictions, and they were eventually successful in court:
Export Regulations only covers software in electronic form (e.g. on disks, or via the Internet). PGP 5.0i, on the other hand, was compiled from source code that was printed in a book (well, actually 12 books - over 6000 pages!). The books were exported from the USA in accordance with the US Export Regulations, and the pages were then scanned and OCRed to make the source available in electronic form.

This was not an easy task. More than 70 people from all over Europe worked for over 1000 hours to make the PGP 5.0i release possible. But it was worth it. PGP 5.0i was the first PGP version that is 100% legal to use outside the USA, because no source code was exported in electronic form.
First amendment rights favor Apple on the opposite side of this issue, as well. The EFF supports Apple, on the basis that forcing Apple to cryptographically sign software for the FBI under court-order, is tantamount to the government compelling a person to say something, against their will.

It's a shame Homeland Security has gone so far the wrong way. Part of their purview is to help IMPROVE our domestic security against attack and interception by foreign governments. Under a cloud of public suspicion, the NSA improved DES back in the early days of encryption. They added trusted features to Linux and released SELinux to the public. etc. Now they're all about destroying what they used to build, as they have decided their own power to domestically spy is more important than the security of the nation against foreign adversaries. I suppose without a strong and looming existential threat from a nation-state like the USSR, we all too quickly forget our own disturbing history of government abuse, and lose our sense of priorities.

The fact the former CIA and NSA direct Michael Hayden is outspoken in his opposition to the FBI's request, should be a clear indication that the FBI is making our country less safe as they overstep their authority.

Re: Wow (Score: 2, Funny)

by in High speed internet is destroying neighborhoods on 2016-03-04 23:21 (#161RK)

Here in Aus we can only afford for one company in the entire island to do this work, badly: the NBN! Trying to install a fibre network in AU since 2009 (and failing big time!)
Never underestimate the bandwidth of a kangaroo pouch full of hard drives, hopping across the outback...

Re: Fines (Score: 3, Insightful)

by in Brazil detains Facebook VP after he failed to give up user data on 2016-03-02 22:19 (#15T35)

You need look no further than what happened with Wiki leaks, to see the kind of painful embargo a large country like Brazil could use against an uncooperative foreign website like Facebook:

Re: Point of reference (Score: 1)

by in Amazon increases free shipping minimum order to $49 on 2016-03-01 19:36 (#15NRM)

I placed 91 orders in 2015, 'mkay? I care a lot about 2 days vs 7 days. I use Prime Video all the time. So it is a huge bargain FOR ME.
Your numbers made me curious, so I checked on mine and Amazon reports I placed 123 orders in 2015, and that's a bit lower than the previous year. All this without paying a cent for Prime, and depending on free shipping.

Of course, without a dollar figure, this isn't too revealing... One $1 item can count as an order, and Amazon often splits up a single cart into multiple orders.

I will be curious to see how the increased threshold for free shipping affects their sales this year.

Re: Point of reference (Score: 1)

by in Amazon increases free shipping minimum order to $49 on 2016-03-01 19:21 (#15NPR)

Walmart is closing stores and emphasizing online ordering these days.
Walmart is only closing 3 percent of its US locations... A tiny figure. And that's after a building boom, where they were putting new Walmarts EVERYWHERE. 66 percent of the store closures are their "smallest-format [convenience] stores called Walmart Express". Nearly all (95 percent) "of the stores set to be closed in the U.S. are within 10 miles of another Walmart." There are 4 Walmarts within just 12 miles of my location. And as I said, ordering online doesn't preclude picking up your online order in-store, for free. Not to mention the many other retailers with lower free-shipping thresholds.

Re: Point of reference (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Amazon increases free shipping minimum order to $49 on 2016-02-29 09:17 (#15FSB)

$50 happens to be the cutoff for Walmart online, too.
Walmart also offers free $0 in-store pickup on ALMOST anything you can order online. No such option with Amazon.

Target is just $25 for free shipping. Sears/Kmart is at $35. is still $34 to get free shipping.

Of course many 3rd party sellers listed on Amazon have free shipping included in the price, with no minimum order size, but Amazon commonly sells the item much cheaper, if they have it available at all.