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US Nuclear Missile Silos Use Safe, Secure 8" Floppy Disks

DrBuzzo Do not confuse simple and low tech with unreliable (481 comments)

So old, simple, basic is not secure or reliable? The opposite is often true.

It's not antiquated if it works and gets the job done. It might lack features. It might not be the newest. That can be a good thing.

Imagine you have a light you want to turn on and off. You have two ways of doing this: one is a simple switch. You flip it, and electrical contacts come together. Flip it again, they move apart. There is no software, no operating system, no storage.

The other option is a "smart control module" which has a solid state relay that is triggered by a software-defined interface. You can turn the light on and off by giving it voice commands or you can go onto a web interface which lets you send commands to the module via wifi.

Which one of these light switches is more likely to not work properly? Which one presents a security risk? The one that is century old technology or the cutting edge one?

about 8 months ago

To Save the Internet We Need To Own the Means of Distribution

DrBuzzo Is this a proposal to make things worse? (338 comments)

When it says "We must own the means of distribution" is actually means "The government." The government may be of the people and may be influenced by the people, but it is not the people. This is a representative democracy, and it is imperfect. The government does things that most people dislike all the time. Simply put: We are not the government.

Right now, internet infrastructure is controlled by a limited number of companies. The internet backbones, for example, being extremely critical, are run by companies like Verizon, Quest AT&T, GTE.

Admittedly, that's a bad thing. But it would be even worse to monopolize them under government control. Then you have one and only one party running it and zero incentive to do so well.

Yes, the government is responsible for roads and bridges. That might explain why there have been a deadly bridge collapses in the past years. I mean, the roads in general are not monuments to excellent maintenance and management.

If you actually want to fix it, you need to increase competition, not decrease it. Allow more parties to more easily get into the market. But this is made very difficult by the regulatory structure... By the government. Yes, the government. Partially because they are being heavily lobbied by the existing network operators, but that's the thing about government: it does not tend to make fair decisions when there is a lot of money involved. It's inherently corrupt. 'Tis the nature of the beast.

about 8 months ago

JetBlue Launches Satellite-Based Inflight Wi-Fi

DrBuzzo Fast, yes, but also laggy (79 comments)

Yes, it has impressive speed. The unfortunate thing is that it's laggy. That's inherent to satellite internet. Very poor ping times are a result of the signal traveling to the satellite and back. Big downloads and streaming usually works well, but website surfing can be annoying because the browser has to wait after it requests to download every element for the data to be transferred. This can be made much less noticeable by pre-fetching some of the content before the last element is downloaded and by caching things like DNS communications. But for real time stuff like video conferencing, VOIP and gaming there is not much that can be done. I suppose it would depend on whether you will be doing that on a flight.

1 year,4 days

The Science of Human-Robot Love

DrBuzzo Kissenger? (88 comments)

Uh... I actually met the dude once in an airport and shook his hand, just because it was interesting to meet him. I didn't do anything rude like blow up about the Vietnam War or anything, and he was nice enough and all.

I just can't see why anyone would want to lock lips with him. Sorry. It seems very unappealing.

more than 2 years ago

China Begins Using New Global Positioning Satellites

DrBuzzo Re:What a (global) waste of money... (168 comments)

Yes. The US GPS system has never been the only game in town. If they want to add their own, fine, go ahead. I'd love to have more navigational systems that are publicly avaliable so that receivers could be more reliable and acurate. The European system is not going to be fully functional for some time. The Russian Glonas system has global coverage but is not nearly as acurate as the US system in most cases, but they are upgrading it now. They only started coming out consumer-level with combined GPS/Glonass systems a few years ago. If the EU, China and maybe india get in on this, we'll only have better navigation

more than 2 years ago

2012 and the Technology Blahs

DrBuzzo So? experts never see innovation coming (130 comments)

The thing about innovation is that it is, by definition, innovative, which means it's new and has not been done before. Hence, nobody sees it coming, because if they did, they would make it themselves.

I predict that in the next few years a product will come along which will change our lives, be enormously successful financially, spawn a whole subculture, become a cultural meme, result in a slew of spinoff products and accessories and make some people very rich. I should add that I don't actually know what this product may be, because if I did, I'd be patenting and selling it right now. However, it will happen, as it always has and will continue. Nobody will see it until it is here and then it will seem obvious.

This is as stupid as saying "I don't think there will be any surprises this coming year." There will be surprises, but if I knew what they were, they would not be surprising.

more than 2 years ago

Who 'Owns' the Google Driverless Car IP?

DrBuzzo Not A New Problem Or a Big Deal (129 comments)

Products are constantly being produced (including software products) that draw on previous research and development by other entities. These can include any number of research groups and organizations: Universities, government, private companies etc.

The iPhone's Siri is a recent example. It uses research from DARPA and from various universities as well as earlier work by apple and by various researchers in plain speech command. Actually, most software products are not entirely independently developed with zero previous research or concepts going into them.

So why is this any different?

If Google put together the end product then they own it. They own the final software. The only question is whether there are aspects of it which require royalties or licensing to third parties. Of course, this is not an uncommon thing to have with software. You might not even realize it, but when you buy a piece of software, there are often portions of it that are licensed from third parties, such as codecs, file format types and even interface elements.

It's an issue for Google's legal department. I'm sure they can handle it.

more than 3 years ago

Lightning Strike KOs Amazon, Microsoft EuroClouds

DrBuzzo Irony... (189 comments)

This is what is known as "cloud to cloud lightning"

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Overcoming Convention Hall Wi-Fi Interference?

DrBuzzo Blast through it with high gain antennas (251 comments)

It's likely there's a lot of wifi and other traffic going around. You can probably overcome it with enough gain on the antennas. Directional antennas are best. You can send a beam out that is much higher power than the standard antennas that come with the router. You can go all the way up to dish-style antennas but that is probably going to be rather large and probably overkill.

If you can place routers and access points at multiple locations that would help too.

My advice would be this: Get multiple antennas and connect each to an independent router. Have them arranged in a circle to give full coverage - one facing north, one south, one east and one west etc, OR even do 8 in a circle. Make sure the beam width is good for this application. You can also add some dedicated (possibly even higher gain) antennas to cover areas of importance (like one pointed at a balcony area, one pointed toward the entrance area etc.

I'd recommend some good Yagi or directional panel antennas.

You can also put high gain external wifi antennas on the client side, like using high gain USB wifi adapters. That works okay for laptops, but for things like ipods, that is probably too cumbersome, so more focus on the infrastructure side.

Amplifiers can work too, but don't expect them to make the difference alone. Antennas matter more and amplifiers will boost your output signal but won't make as big a difference with the return signal. So I'd say use amplifiers but also lots of high gain antennas.

Oh, and this may, by the way, make it harder for others to get a good signal from their own wifi, but that's not your problem.

And a couple of important things to remember:
Trying to outpower everyone else's network may come down to being a pissing contest, but that doesn't mean you can't win.
Brute force works. If it doesn't work, that means you're not using enough of it.

more than 3 years ago

FOX To Host New Cosmos

DrBuzzo Don't worry about it being Fox - (206 comments)

It's not a big deal. Fox is a media company with very broad focus. They air sports, The Simpsons and Family Guy (both of which took some shots at Fox News) and plenty of other things. Fox is part of Newscorp, which admittedly has some pretty conservative-leaning news coverage on their Fox News Channel, but that's not exactly the same as Fox. There's some level of independence to the station management. More importantly, for a major network, ratings are more important than ideology.

I expect it will be good. It won't have Carl Sagan. It won't be the same. Style will probably be different to some extent. It will be a new take, but with the same name.

I expect it will be good because I know Dr. Tyson and he's really about the perfect choice for this. He's a big skeptic and won't let it degenerate to anything less than inspiring and very science savvy content. He's the perfect man for the job.

more than 3 years ago

Mysterious Object Found In Seabed

DrBuzzo It's only 300 feet down (336 comments)

Pff... the damn thing is 300 feet down. Why hasn't someone just gone down and taken a look-see? That's not super-deep by technical diving standards. Of course, if they don't want to send anyone down, they could also drop a tethered camera or something. It just isn't that far down, really.

more than 3 years ago

Radio Energy Harvested With Inkjet-Printed Antenna

DrBuzzo Re:Can it power a cellphone? (164 comments)

No, no it can't. The power density of ambient RF energy is nowhere near enough to run even the basic circuitry of a phone. Sorry.

more than 3 years ago

Researchers Expose Tracking Service That Can't Be Dodged

DrBuzzo There are always ways to dodge it.. (173 comments)

There are always ways. It only depends on how much effort you want to put into it. You could use proxy servers to mask IP and change them frequently or even jump from one free wifi hotspot to another. You could repeatedly purge all your cache, cookies, history etc after every site you visit. You could use multiple computers. You could write scripts to send your browser clicking thousands of links and visiting thousands of pages to obscure the actual surfing behavior.

If worst comes to worst, you could travel across the country, nomadically roaming between random libraries, public internet terminals and wifi hotspots, each time using a different browser, operating system and site logins. Or you could just start using paper to get your information again.

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft Says Reinstall Overkill In Removing Rootkit

DrBuzzo Is reinstall ever overkill? (203 comments)

Reinstalling windows is probably the number 1 general purpose repair option for most software-based problems. As someone who has been fixing computers for a long time, I can tell you that if there is a problem with windows and it's not obvious at first glance, more often than not, it will save a lot of time to just back up the data you want to keep and reinstall windows. Whether or not you need to do a full-blown reformat is another thing, which of course, takes a bit longer.

Reinstalling windows is the equivalent of "try moving the antennas around" was on an old tv with bad reception - it's the first thing you try and it usually solves the problem.

more than 3 years ago

Army Psy Ops Units Targeted American Senators

DrBuzzo Would never work (391 comments)

Psy Ops requires your subject to have a reasonably developed brain and functioning mind. US Senators lack this and therefore would be immune to this type of thing. The Army should have known better.

more than 3 years ago

Creative Uses For Extra Drive Bays?

DrBuzzo Removable HDD Readers, displays or Ports (366 comments)

Check out some of the removable hard drive readers on this site:

They have SATA readers that do not even need a caddy. You can just pop a "naked" sata drive in and read it. These days drives have gotten so cheap (and many of us have so many extra ones lying around) that they can be used as removable storage. They have IDE drive readers too. Usually the drive needs to be mounted in a caddy for those. Of course, IDE hard drives are more or less obsolete, but some of us still have a pile of them that are still perfectly good.

Of course you can add extra ports too. USB hubs, firewire ports etc etc. If you want a lot of configuration, check out this site: http://frontx.com/

You can build your own combination of USB, Firewire, audio, video and other ports. It's always handy to have some extra USB ports and also it's nice to have things like a headphone port or even something like an ethernet port or a video-in port.

Finally, extra drive bays are great for adding additional information displays to your computer. There are a number of LCD, LED and VFD displays out there. The VFD displays look pretty nice. They can display anything you want - stuff like CPU load, system temperatures and upload/download speeds. They can also display RSS feeds or, if you use the PC for media it can display song titles, video file names or television channel information.
Here are some examples:
http://www.matrixorbital.ca/products/pcbayinserts/ http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/caseaccessories/imon-ultrabay http://www.xpcgear.com/a2331media.html

more than 4 years ago

Last Roll of Kodachrome Processed

DrBuzzo If this is not the last left unprocessed??? (359 comments)

This may be the last roll manufactured, but it may well not be the last out there waiting for processing. It is not terribly unusual for old exposed film to be found unprocessed and occasionally, when processed it reveals something of great importance. The photography teacher where I went to high school had bought some vintage camera equipment at a flea market and discovered an exposed film roll in it, which, when developed, turned out to be images taken by a World War II air crew of a B-25.

This is not entirely unique. George Mallory's body was discovered in 1999 on Mount Everest. There is great speculation as to whether he reached the summit before Sir Edmund Hillary, but died coming back. He had brought a camera with him, which may still hold the evidence of whether he had reached the summit. It was not found on the body, but it is believed it may have been carried by his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, whose body has not yet been found. If the camera is ever found and the film has remained intact it could put to rest the debate.

There are other examples of "found films" such as photographs from S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 discovered decades later.

While these examples were not Kodachrome, there are likely undeveloped Kodachrome films still waiting to be discovered. If Kodachrome processing is ended and the techniques and equipment are lost, then it will be impossible to recover the images of a "found film," regardless of how important they may be. Someone could find negatives clearly showing the grassy knoll area at the very moment of the Kennedy Assassination. Someone may find film taken of the Hindenburg the moment that flames erupted from the tail area (something not captured on any known film). Someone may well find any number of other photos or movies of extreme historical importance. However, if they are on Kodachrome, we will never know what is lost.

more than 4 years ago

Infants Ingest 77 Times the Safe Level of Dioxin

DrBuzzo Re:so..... (343 comments)

The reason nobody starves and the average person does not need to spend most of their disposable income feeding themselves. A lot of people are overweight, but given the alternative, it ain't so bad.

If you think they're "low quality" you might want to actually look at the safety record and the general quality versus both history and less industrial areas of the world.

more than 4 years ago

MIT Says Natural Gas Best To Lower Carbon Emissions

DrBuzzo Well, yeah, the gas industry funded it! (284 comments)

This is ridiculous. Look at the report and every step of the way it's unabashedly pro-gas as being the next wonderful thing. It doesn't stop to consider that gas prices are highly volatile, that most gas is now imported from Canada and glosses over the difficulties inherent to "unconventional sources" of gas.

it makes the claim that natural gas is perfect for making renewable energy feasible. At best, that's an oversimplification. At worst, it's a way of getting gas generation without anyone objecting to the economic issues, supply problems (which it makes seem non-existent) or other issues.

It completely ignores nuclear energy, writing it off as "too expensive" with little or no actual accounting for the real costs of both building and operating nuclear plants. It presumes the cost of nuclear energy will remain the same, never going into the fact that new reactor technology is being developed. Yet, at the same time, it grants natural gas the benefit of the possibility of improved technology. It never considers the cost breakdown of nuclear and the fact that regulatory changes can dramatically impact the overall cost.

It proposes increased CNG use while ignoring the energy density and transportation issues.

You would think, based on this, that natural gas is the be-all, end-all of fuels and is damn near perfect in every way. While it is lower carbon than coal, and slightly lower than oil, this is absolutely not the case. Effectively, this focuses on only the best aspects of gas and only the worst of nuclear and every other energy source. it uses the best case for gas and worst case for all others

Now, this should not surprise anyone: the major funding for this came almost entirely from the gas industry, who has recently been using heavy PR to cultivate a much "greener" image than it really is entitled to. The major funding and supporting agency is "The American Clean Skies Foundation." This foundation is funded almost exclusively by Chesapeake Energy corporation - one of the largest natural gas producers in the US. YES, THAT'S RIGHT - THIS WAS BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY A GAS COMPANY

more than 4 years ago

Mysterious Radio Station UVB-76 Goes Offline

DrBuzzo Any confirmation on this? (336 comments)

Er.. I've got a shortwave receiver somewhere that I can dig out, but currently no antenna at my current residence so... anyone else checked this?

I noticed the link on this is to the site "Above top secret" which is not a very reliable source of information.

more than 4 years ago



Can a UMPC also be a primary cell phone?

DrBuzzo DrBuzzo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DrBuzz0 writes "I remember back in the early days of PDA/Cell phone combinations you had to decide whether you wanted a cell phone that also had some half-assed PDA functions or a PDA which also worked as a cell phone (although poorly). Eventually it got to the point where the form factor was refined enough that you could have a device that could do all the things you want a PDA to do while at the same time being a reasonably good phone in terms of size, interface and so on.

Now I'm wondering if there are any UMPC devices out there which are both a full-blown X86 PC but can still be a reasonable primary cell phone for general calls and that sort of thing. Most of the ones I've seen look just slightly too large to make for a good all-purpose cell phone

(Btw: I live in the United States, so at least for me it would have to be compatible with the systems in use here.)"

Link to Original Source

Top Ten Things Enviornmentalists Need to Learn

DrBuzzo DrBuzzo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DrBuzzo writes "This list was posted on my blog not too long ago and has received a lot of attention including being posted on several other blogs such as Gia Milonovich's blog, a Wall Street Journal "Green Ink" blog and two other newspaper blogs. It has also generated a lot of discussion,

It is addressing the enviornmental groups which are becoming increasingly mainstream but are also not addressing some of the largest problems environmentally and are concentrating on issues which have a low return on investment or which have are highly unrealistic. This offers a reality check and a question about priorities."

Link to Original Source

What is spent fuel anyway?

DrBuzzo DrBuzzo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DrBuzzo writes ""Spent fuel" from nuclear reactors has been a hot issue recently. A lot of money has been spent on the controversial Yucca Mountain project in the US for disposal of spent nuclear fuel. But do you know what spent fuel is? What it is composed of? Here's the lowdown on what its made of and what is dangerous and what is not. An in depth analysis of the component elements and isotopes which make up the spent fuel rods and what can potentially done with it."
Link to Original Source

Germany has a dirty dirty seceret

DrBuzzo DrBuzzo writes  |  about 7 years ago

DrBuzzo writes "Germany is ruled by a coalition government headed by the "Green" party. The party has taken a hard-line stance against nuclear energy, planning to close all reactors. They have championed environmentalism and spent more money than any other country on wind and solar energy. The "renewable" energy program in Germany is touted as an example of how a country can transition to solar and wind energy.

But there's something they don't talk about: Coal. They're not only keeping open coal plants, they're building them! Yes, nearly every major coal plant in Germany is being expanded, some rank amoungst the largest in the world and burn 80,000 tons of coal PER DAY. And new carbon-caps are being considered for everything from home heating to airlines, but the coal plants? They're exempt. Another related article here: http://depletedcranium.com/?p=239

Does that sound green? It's not green at all. It's a dirty filthy secret they don't want to talk about..."

Link to Original Source

Randi's $1 Million Challenge: Magic Urine

DrBuzzo DrBuzzo writes  |  about 7 years ago

DrBuzzo writes "James Randi has been in the news recently over his offer of a million dollars for proving the paranormal by an agreed protocol. While the Pear Audio offer did not pan out, here is one who took the challenge all the way to the preliminary test. The applicant claimed to have the ability to make a person urinate by the power of God. The agreed procedure: To make the director of the foundation pee his pants during a 15 minute test. It was videoed for the record and the test was done to the protocol given. But no, he did not pee his pants. Details here!"
Link to Original Source


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