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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

DigitAl56K Let's hope... (297 comments)

Let's hope that the logic to brick is in some piece of code that can be subverted via a custom OS build and not something close to the radio receiver.

Also: I will laugh really hard as soon as the blackhats release a tool to bypass security and auto-brick, and then someone heads to the nearest mall on a Saturday with a high-power radio.

2 days ago

2D To 3D Object Manipulation Software Lends Depth to Photographs

DigitAl56K A question on this (76 comments)

While those results look impressive, in some of the demos where objects are seamlessly moved around, how are they filling in the original background (or what looks like it)? The video largely explains how the model is textured, lit, environment mapped, rendered with shadow projection with calculated perspective and depth of field, but I didn't hear much about re-filling the background. I assume they're cloning or intelligently filling texture ala photoshop, or perhaps in all cases where they showed something being animated it was a new clone of an existing object into a new area of the photo?

about two weeks ago

Inside the Facebook Algorithm Most Users Don't Even Know Exists

DigitAl56K The real News Feed algorithm (130 comments)

if (session.timeelapsed() > 1800 || rand() % 3 == 0)

about three weeks ago

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

DigitAl56K Re:Back in the day? (502 comments)

Let's also not forget that back in the days of MS-DOS there wasn't a consistent audio API and if the game developer didn't support your card, integrated or otherwise, you were SOL. The only (buggy) standard was SoundBlaster Emulation, unless you had the $ for a Gravis Ultrasound.

To the original question, yes, discrete cards are still worth it if you have decent headphones and want a decent dac/amp to power them. If you're half deaf from years of loud music or your headphones/earbuds/speakers cost less than $100 you probably don't care.

about a month and a half ago

Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

DigitAl56K Re:Cali... (579 comments)

In Ca, it's a ticket if a car enters a crosswalk while a pedestrian is using it, no matter if they're on the other side of the intersection or not.

As a pedestrian in CA, LOL!

Cars almost always charge me while the walk light is on so they can get around the corner a few seconds faster. The cases where they don't are a rarity. I have been struck by a car doing this while the walk light was still on (not even counting down yet). Despite the fact that this happens nearly every time I cross the street I have never, ever seen anyone being pulled over for it, even when there have been police vehicles sitting in plain view at the other junction on the intersection.

This surprises me, because the city could print money doing this. Obviously they don't care. Oh, but jaywalking in the wake of someone getting hit and garnering publicity, that you will get a ticket for.

about 2 months ago

2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

DigitAl56K Bad! (619 comments)

a. Gas isn't too cheap in the US. If anything, it looks like commodities investors alone drive the price independent of supply/demand.
b. The cost should go on registration. As we keep getting cars that are more and more efficient (and even run on electricity), we'll charging road users very unevenly. If this was an emissions tax that might be okay, but I think it isn't (?).

about 2 months ago

TrueCrypt Author Claims That Forking Is Impossible

DigitAl56K Some of us have principles (250 comments)

Frankly, nothing could concern me less than making it work well with Windows. I am only interested in using it with an open source OS.

How awesome for you.

Some people believe that privacy is a right and work to ensure that as many people of possible have means of protecting that right. I say thank you to those people.

about 2 months ago

$10k Reward For Info On Anyone Who Points a Laser At Planes Goes Nationwide

DigitAl56K The TSA will fix this! (264 comments)

Just remove the windows from all planes, and install body scanners everywhere within a hundred miles of any route.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

DigitAl56K Re:Nexus 4? (259 comments)

Heh, I could be wrong on the LTE frequencies. Seems the ROW edition might fare much better there.

Nexus 5 specs:

        2G/3G/4G LTE

        North America:
        GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
        CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
        WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
        LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

        Rest of World:
        GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
        WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
        LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20

UK LTE bands (from Wikipedia):

EE: 3,7
Hutichson 3: 20,3
O2: 20
UK Broadband 42,43
Vodaphone: 20

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

DigitAl56K Re:Scotland? (259 comments)

She should buy a plan in Scotland. She will save money buying a Nexus 5 in the states. A) less sales tax, B) subsidized price thanks to Google Play.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

DigitAl56K Re:Nexus 4? (259 comments)

Yes, but Nexus 5 would be better due to proper LTE support. The USA Google Play version has the right frequency support for the UK networks (at least mine worked on T-Mobile).

Side: T-Mobile coverage in some areas is very poor there, not due to the phone. However, if you do use T-Mobile in the US on one of their $60+ plans when you visit Scotland you will get cheap voice, free texts and free data "at 2G speeds" free, which is handy and may save you buying a local SIM unless you need high-speed while you're there. (T-Mobile does let you upgrade your plan while visiting but the price to do that is ridiculous for some reason - more than you will pay back home per day, and you're still paying your bill back home too).

about 3 months ago

Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015

DigitAl56K Re:Any idea what's the motivation to remove START? (516 comments)

For reasons known only to them, they wanted phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops to all use the same interface. Since a start menu doesn't work well on a phone, they opted to remove it.

The reasons are obvious. Force 100% of your user base to use your app platform. To leverage your desktop users to maximum effect, force them to access desktop apps through the app platform interface also. Tell app developers you have x million users of your app platform. Profit from your app business ala Google and Apple.

Presumably the fallout from all of this is still $ positive in the long term.

about 3 months ago

Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015

DigitAl56K The motivation to remove Start... (516 comments)

... "oh look, Apple is making a shitload of Money from their app store. Google is also making a shitload of money from their app store. Let's make an app platform, and very strongly encourage as many people as possible to use it by making it a primary interface on the new version of Windows, giving as few concessions to naysayers as possible. We'll make $$$!"

about 3 months ago

The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

DigitAl56K Re:Is this a joke? (339 comments)

Oh and let's not forget with Comcast buying out TWC and talking more about metered/capped plans, it may in fact soon cost even more money if you want to watch too much of the content you've "bought" or rented, every time you watch it.

about 3 months ago

The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

DigitAl56K Is this a joke? (339 comments)

And if cloud services didn't disappear from time to time either all together or on legacy platforms, risk me losing access to content due to an account block on some other part of the providers service, rely on me always having a fast connection handy, allowed me to download the content in high quality and transcode it for all my devices, maybe that would be okay.

But they don't. So it isn't.

about 3 months ago

GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet

DigitAl56K Re:OnStar proves there's a market (216 comments)

the target customer, here, would be the same one that buys a 'smart tv' instead of using a computer and a tv monitor together.

note: there are more dummies in the world than smart guys. we are a tiny tiny minority in the world.

I bought a smart TV. It didn't cost much more than a regular TV - there are plenty in the budget category now. It has hassle-free built-in support for Netflix HD and Amazon Prime HD, both supporting surround sound. I didn't have to spend ages setting up a media PC, leaving it running all the time, showing other people how to use it, stuffing it into an already cramped space.

There's a difference between being a 'smart guy' and being judgmental to others just because you personally don't see the value in something.

That being said, I think smart TVs offer a lot more value to a lot more people than this offering from GM, for reasons many others have already posted.

about 3 months ago

Apple Can Extract Texts, Photos, Contacts From Locked iPhones

DigitAl56K Re:Surprised? (202 comments)

No, think of it this way: You don't understand what is and is not a "public forum". The "texts, contacts, photos and videos, call history and audio recordings" stored on your personal phone are not accessible in a "public forum", and Apple is somehow (allegedly) pulling these things from your device remotely (heaven knows why the security model even allows this to happen) at the behest of law enforcement.

Other than my personal information I don't care what people know or get from me.

What if people knew you were an idiot? Congrats, you just displayed it in a public forum.

about 3 months ago

Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

DigitAl56K Why blame the key type? (865 comments)

Those complaints resulted in roughly 21 million vehicles being recalled.

How many of these recalls would not have happened if the manufacturers listened to their own internal reports saying that the parts had problems? We can subtract GM's most recent 2.6 million for a start.

Nice try, trying to blame the key type.

about 4 months ago

XP Systems Getting Emergency IE Zero Day Patch

DigitAl56K Why Microsoft won't abandon those users (179 comments)

Why should they continue to spend money to support an ancient OS that no one is buying any more? They're not receiving any new revenue for it, so why should they continue to support it?

They are absolutely receiving revenue for it, just not directly. These users are part of the Windows total addressable market. Developers choosing to write applications and looking at which platform to choose look at this number. 30% of the Windows userbase comes from XP. If Microsoft upsets these users by letting rampant malware trash their systems, a chunk of these people may switch to e.g. Apple. Oops! Now we have more cross platform or Apple-native apps being developed because there are more users there. Microsoft does not want this to happen.

about 4 months ago



Websites Still Failing Basic Privacy Practices

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "Do you ever find it surprising that large companies still can't get down the basics of privacy and security on the web? Today I went to enter a competition from Duracell to win a Nintendo Wii by filling out an online form that requires entering your full name, address, and date of birth, and then proceeds to submit it via an unencrypted HTTP POST. The ultimate irony? The message at the bottom of the page that reads,

"Trust is a cornerstone of our corporate mission, and the success of our business depends on it. P&G is committed to maintaining your trust by protecting personal information we collect."

Which websites have you found to be lacking in their basic privacy practices?"
Link to Original Source


MEDUSA Ray Gun Creates Voices In Your Head

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "NewScientist is reporting on a US company, Sierra Nevada Corporation, that is ready to produce a crowd-control device which uses microwaves to heat the tissues inside your head so rapidly that the shockwaves resulting actually create sound. The device is named MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) and can be targeted using broad or narrow beams. From the article:

MEDUSA involves a microwave auditory effect "loud" enough to cause discomfort or even incapacitation. Sadovnik says that normal audio safety limits do not apply since the sound does not enter through the eardrums.

A member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois in Chicago who has also worked on the technique has commented that while feasible, attaining the necessary volume might involve power levels that could cause neural damage.

It is estimated that a demonstration version could be built within a year."

Link to Original Source


AVG 8 Causing Trouble For Web Analytics?

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "The Register is reporting that AVG 8 includes as part of its anti-virus scanner Linkscanner, technology acquired by the company that scans results from popular search engines including Google, Yahoo!, and Live Search before you visit them. This apparently has resulted in traffic for some sites to increase by as much as 80%, confusing web analytics because real visits may not have increased at all. Approximately 28% of AVG users worldwide are now using AVG 8, so this problem has plenty of scope for growth.

How will analytic services react to the effects of prescanning, and what benefits does prescanning hold over real-time transport scanning? Further, even if prescanning protects your computer does it ultimately pose a risk to your personal security? In May Slashdot informed us that the FBI had raided homes of people who had merely clicked links to illegal pornography. When your computer is automatically clicking search results for you maybe you had better be careful what search terms you use."

Link to Original Source

US to employ overhead spying domestically

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "The Washington Post reports that, "The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon" and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has said that "Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement". Last year CNET reported on at least one county in North Carolina already using a UAV to "monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air — close enough to identify faces".

Discovery Channel's Future Weapons has provided insight into numerous UAVs, including the Fire Scout, Global Hawk, Predator 2, and the Dominator, their coverage of the Predator 2 particularly demonstrating surveillance and tracking capabilities of these units.

According to DefenseNews the US Air Force just announced the purchase of 28 Predators as part of a contract awarded to General Atomics. The US Air Force has just begun running ads on cable TV as part of their "Above All" campaign that feature the UAVs (sorry, no online video yet).

Initially, it appears that the administration plans to leverage conventional satellites for domestic surveillance purposes.

Behave yourself, citizens."

Link to Original Source

How do you securely change your e-nationality?

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "Being a foreigner in the US has its ups and downs. One of the downs I face stems from the music industry's obsession with territory restrictions. Not only am I unable to purchase certain UK releases online despite being able to import CDs, but I also can't listen to most of the webcasting radio stations near my home because they've had to implement IP->Geo lockouts. This leads to a cultural disconnect for me that the Internet really ought to solve. If you've ever graced the forums of an online music store you have likely seen dozens of users around the globe with similar complaints, and in general the only solution is to find an open proxy in another country to bypass the artificial barriers.

Unfortunately many open proxies are not intended for medium-high bandwidth applications, and may be unknowing victims of malware designed to sniff and steal information. Are there any reputable secure and/or trustworthy commercial proxy/tunneling services designed to provide end-points in specific countries?"

When will smart phone plans become affordable?

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DigitAl56K (805623) writes "When my old no thrills voice-only handset finally began giving up the ghost last week I decided it was time to join my colleagues and jump on the smart phone bandwagon. Mobile IM, web, GPS and music downloads all beckoned. Then I totaled up the cost of my new wireless plan. Ouch!

The offerings from the leading US wireless providers are incredibly expensive. A typical voice plan coupled with basic personal Blackberry service can easily cost over $100 and depending on the network other basic features push the monthly rate higher still. Limited or unlimited messages, M2M messages, and night or weekend calling often cost extra. Users buying handsets advertised as having GPS may be unpleasantly surprised to find additional monthly service subscriptions are required to use all or some parts of these services, such as voiced directions. In the end you're likely to pay more for a cellphone with basic smart phone functionality than you do for digital TV and high speed Internet combined, even without high-tech features like GPS included, and most of the service agreements although offering unlimited data for what are clearly multimedia-enabled devices prohibit medium-high bandwidth applications regardless.

How long must we wait for todays smart phones to become the norm and for some level of sanity to take hold in wireless plan rates?"

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DigitAl56K writes "Star Wars fans rejoice! Four years after their original fan film saw them picking up light sabers and taking to battle, Ryan Wieber and Michael Scott have published RvD2. The choreography and attention to detail strongly rival the best efforts of Lucasfilm, as does the sound track.

A low resolution version of RvD2 is available on YouTube, and an HD version (429MB) can be downloaded from DivX Stage6. You can also order the original soundtrack and "Making of" videos via, as well as donating to their projects."

DigitAl56K DigitAl56K writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DigitAl56K writes "Brian Transeau (BT) is a pioneer of the electronica genre who helped to define trance in the early '90s. His career is diverse with a background in classic music and long history of film scoring, but it is arguably his pursuit of using new technology in music that distinguishes him as an artist. He's a recognized master of audio synthesis and engineering, he writes his own software instruments and effects, and he's famous for his live shows — which he often plays real-time from a laptop computer.

His latest album, This Binary Universe, is released on CD+DVD and mastered in DTS digital surround, accompanied by visuals ranging from CGI to watercolors produced by artists who participate on deviantART. One track on the album is written entirely in Csound, a synthesis scripting language and renderer where the instruments, effects, and score are composed using only a text editor.

BT is currently on tour with electonica veteran Thomas Dolby. The shows not only feature visuals from the album rendered live, but also artwork from members of deviantART local to each area, and a full surround sound audio environment.

The DivX Stage6 team interviewed BT to discuss his career, latest album, use of technology in music, mathematics in music and in nature, and more. We also asked him how he feels about people who download music. The response was both interesting and honest, and gave significant insight into the ethical views of a real artist, as well as dispelling some of the common myths around the effect of piracy on artists large and small.

The complete interview is available from the BT channel on DivX Stage6, including the video for track 4 from his album, entitled "1.618" after the golden ratio, in DivX HD with MP3 Surroud."


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