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Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

EmagGeek Re:Fuck this OUT OF MY PHONE (132 comments)

CTIA is not the government. If you don't want the kill switch, all you have to do is uninstall the app.

This is a 100% voluntary thing, and you don't have to keep it or use it if you don't want to.


Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

EmagGeek Use is Voluntary (132 comments)

From CTIA's site, it appears to be an addon software tool, NOT part of the O/S or hardware:

Each device manufacturer and operating system signatory of Part I of this "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment" agrees that new models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2015 for retail sale in the United States will offer, at no cost to consumers, a baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones that provides the connected capability to:

Remote wipe the authorized user's data (i.e., erase personal info that is added after purchase such as contacts, photos, emails, etc.) that is on the smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.
Render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user (e.g., locking the smartphone so it cannot be used without a password or PIN), except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user (e.g., "phone home").
Prevent reactivation without authorized user's permission (including unauthorized factory reset attempts) to the extent technologically feasible (e.g., locking the smartphone as in 2 above).
Reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible (e.g., restored from the cloud).
In addition to this baseline anti-theft tool, consumers may use other technological solutions, if available for their smartphones.

Source: http://www.ctia.org/policy-ini...


Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

EmagGeek Re:Structure vs Outcome (771 comments)

Yep. Intelligent, educated, gainfully-employed people are breeding much less because they cannot afford to do so. So much of their money is being confiscated and given to unintelligent, uneducated, unemployed, unproductive people to breed like bunny rabbits and create an overwhelming population of voters who will keep the power mongers in power.

2 days ago

Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

EmagGeek Re:Summary Fail (771 comments)

I wish I had some mod points to give you, because this is spot on.

2 days ago

How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

EmagGeek Happens in hardware, too (213 comments)

In a past life, I worked for a company that developed control hardware. I loved designing hardware and software, and I could focus on it. When the time came to build prototypes and manage BOMs and shop vendors for parts and all the niggly crap that surrounds actually building something, there were people who did that.

One day, all of those people were laid off, and we engineers had to start doing all of that work ourselves. Suddenly I was spending 20% of my time doing my job, and 80% on my time doing the jobs of all of the support people who got canned.

I didn't stay too long after that, and neither did any other engineer who was good enough to get a job during a recession.

2 days ago

How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

EmagGeek Re:Android ... (192 comments)

I have one in my car and it's awesome.

2 days ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

EmagGeek I mail them a check (383 comments)

I send in my pound of flesh yesterday.

Some third party companies accept credit and debit card payments on behalf of the IRS for a fee. I think you can also just put your routing and checking number on your 1040 form and they will debit your payment directly via ACH.

As far as filing, my accountant prepares the 50 or so schedules and forms that I need to send in every year...

2 days ago

The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

EmagGeek So why is this such a big deal? (146 comments)

Total lunar eclipses are a common occurrence, and almost always have the "blood moon" look from red light refracting around the Earth.

3 days ago

Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

EmagGeek Re:We have those in South Carolina too (324 comments)

I got pulled over for 87/70 in SC a few years ago and the cop was perfectly professional and didn't even lecture me or anything. Fine was $100 with 2 points.

5 days ago

GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

EmagGeek Did they name the director? (236 comments)

Did they name the director that ordered the two engineers to cover up the change? There's no way the engineers decided to do that on their own volition.

about a week ago

Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

EmagGeek Re:It's not a license to speed (324 comments)

Oh there's no question as to whether we have a justice system here. We do not, and have not in a looooong time.

about a week ago

Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

EmagGeek It's not a license to speed (324 comments)

It's the cops extorting money. It's not just speeding. This creates the appearance that, if you do not buy the membership, you'll be stopped and shown absolutely no mercy, and may even have charges trumped up against you - or otherwise be punished.

This is tantamount to soliciting bribes.

about a week ago

Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

EmagGeek Re:"Obamacare Enrollment"? (721 comments)

It's not sloppy or lazy language. It's deceitful language.

They know full well that there are not 7.1 million newly insured people who are previously uninsured, which is basically what Carney claimed in a press conference yesterday.

About 5 million of those people are those who had their policies canceled, and about 2 million are previously-uninsured/uninsurable people who signed up. The number of people who have actually paid, out of these 7 million, remains a closely-guarded secret.

about a week ago

New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

EmagGeek Re:I order you to be an unproductive country! (477 comments)

"How will those French IT workers live "the sweet life" when they are too poor to afford their wine and cheese since they are unemployed?"

There's an app^H^H^Hentitlement for that.

about a week ago

Theo De Raadt's Small Rant On OpenSSL

EmagGeek Re:How about ... (301 comments)

He's just trying to be a bigger dick than Linus..

about a week ago



Apple Pulls Blockchain from App Store, Leaving Apple Users Walletless

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about 2 months ago

EmagGeek (574360) writes "Apple this week yanked a bitcoin app from its App Store, prompting an angry screed from the developer, who accused Cupertino of trying to squash a "revolutionary new payment system."

The move is mystifying, Blockchain said, because its app has been in the App Store without incident for two years and secured more than 120,000 downloads. "The only thing that has changed is that bitcoin has become competitive to Apple's own payment system," Blockchain said. "By removing the blockchain app, the only bitcoin wallet application on the App store, Apple has eliminated competition using their monopolistic position in the market in a heavy handed manner."

This move effectively bans Bitcoin on Apple devices, as Blockchain was the only bitcoin wallet app available in the iTunes store."

Link to Original Source

How do you convince an ISP to come bury cable in your neighborhood?

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about 3 months ago

EmagGeek (574360) writes "I live in a semi-rural micropolitan area that generally has good access choices for high speed Internet. However, there are holes in the coverage in our area, and I live in one of them. There is infrastructure nearby, but because our subdivision covenants require all utilities to be underground, telecoms won't even consider upgrading to modern technology. The result is that we're all stuck with legacy DSL (which AT&T has happily re-branded as U-Verse even though it isn't) as our only choice for wireline access.

There is a competing cable company in the area, also with infrastructure nearby, but similarly they are reluctant to even discuss burying new cable in our 22-home subdivision.

Has anyone been in this same predicament and been able to convince a nearby ISP to run new lines? If so, how did you do it? Our neighborhood association could really use some pointers on this because we hit a new brick wall with every new approach we try — stopping just short of burying our own cable and hoping they'll at least be willing to run a line to the pole at the end of the street and drop it into our box."

Cray-1 vs. AMD 7990, Then vs. Now

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about a year ago

EmagGeek (574360) writes "In 1976, a Cray-1 supercomputer cost $36M (in 2013 dollars) and could execute floating point math at 160 MFLOP. The supercomputer had a 5.2V power supply that delivered almost 800 amps to the circuitry. The machine was the size of a small Volkswagen and required a refrigeration system to dissipate the 4000 watts of electricity it took to run.

The fastest PC video card on the market today costs $1000 and can execute floating point math at 8,200,000 MFLOP, consumes energy at a rate of just less than 400 watts, and is about the size of a paperback book.

50,000 times faster, 1/36,000 the price, 1/10th the energy, and about 1/5,000 the volume. It's interesting how they had to solve the enormous power requirements of supercomputers at the time, and how they have continued to solve them over the years as power densities have increased."

Link to Original Source

Did Large Eyes Lead To Neanderthals' Demise?

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about a year ago

EmagGeek writes "Bigger eyes and a corresponding greater allocation of the brain to process visual information is the most recent theory about the reasons that led to the extinction of Neanderthals, our closest relatives. Neanderthals split from the primate line that gave rise to modern humans about 400,000 years ago. This group then moved to Eurasia and completely disappeared from the world about 30,000 years back. Other studies have shown that Neanderthals might have lived near the Arctic Circle around 31,000 to 34,000 years ago."
Link to Original Source

EFF Accepts Chair Endowment to Fight Patent Trolls, Funded by Patent Troll

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about a year ago

EmagGeek writes "In an astonishing piece of irony, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has accepted an endowment from billionaire investor Mark Cuban to fund a "chair to eliminate stupid patents." One might thing the EFF would have a good system for vetting potential donors for possible conflicts of interest, but apparently missed the fact that Mark Cuban, who reportedly owns a 7.4% stake in patent troll Vringo, is currently embroiled in several patent trolling lawsuits against the likes of Google and Target.

"In March, Vringo merged with Innovate/Protect, which is basically a patent troll. It ended up owning search-monetization patents from Lycos. It's using those patents in lawsuits with Google, AOL, Gannett, Target and IAC, according to a Vringo press release.

Suing Google over years-old patents that aren't being used is absurd. But that might be the appeal to Cuban.""

Link to Original Source

Firefox with NoScript Defeats Wikipedia Blackout

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about 2 years ago

EmagGeek writes "So, just for kicks this morning, I loaded Wikipedia to see what the blackout looked like. I saw that the content loaded before a black cover page was added, making it obvious they were just using a script to cover the content after it loaded. So, I enabled NoScript for Wikipedia and voila! I can now see English Wikipedia during the blackout."
Link to Original Source

What's a good Tablet/App Combination for Note-Taki

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

" rel="nofollow">EmagGeek writes "My wife recently started back to school to finish her 4-year degree, and one of the things that we've been considering is procuring for her some kind of tablet that would enable her to take notes in class and save them electronically. This would obviate the need to carry around a bunch of paper, and could even be used to store e-textbooks so she doesn't have to lug 30lbs of books around campus.

At minimum, she would have to be able to write freehand on the tablet with a fine-point stylus, just like she would write on paper with a pen. We've seen what we call those "fat finger" styli and found that they are not good for fine writing.

Having become frustrated with the offerings we've tried so far, I thought I would ping the Slashdot Community. Any suggestions?"

Strategic Domain Choices Yield 20GB in Misdirected

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

EmagGeek writes ""Two researchers who set up doppelganger domains to mimic legitimate domains belonging to Fortune 500 companies say they managed to vacuum up 20 gigabytes of misaddressed e-mail over six months.

The intercepted correspondence included employee usernames and passwords, sensitive security information about the configuration of corporate network architecture that would be useful to hackers, affidavits and other documents related to litigation in which the companies were embroiled, and trade secrets, such as contracts for business transactions."

-- All the more reason to make sure you buy every typo for your domain as well."

Link to Original Source

iPhones found secretly tracking users' locations

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

EmagGeek writes "Apple devices appear to be tracking their owners' locations and storing data about people's whereabouts without their knowledge, according to a report posted Wednesday on a site called iPhone Tracker.

The unauthorized surveillance started in June 2010, when the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system was released, according to two researchers who say they discovered a hidden tracking file and posted it out of concern for users.

Apple has not responded to the allegations."

Link to Original Source

Researchers discover new turbine drive method

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about 3 years ago

EmagGeek writes "Recently Ephemeral Chimera Laboratories (ECL), specialists in commercialization efforts for novel and radical technologies, announced they are in the process of commercializing a radical bioelectromechanical power system that promises to end energy dependence worldwide. ECL’s novel BB/CB-DERS combines a biological organism with electromechanical energy-harvesting technology to deliver what may eventually become a major source of energy for home and industry once the company has completed its efforts."
Link to Original Source

9th Circuit: Gov't can track you in secret w/ GPS

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmagGeek writes "Even Time Magazine Online thinks that it's scary that "Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements."

"The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant."

I guess if you can't afford to put gates and access control around your property, then you have fewer rights than those who can."

Link to Original Source

Measuring Proficiency in the Engineering Workplace

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmagGeek writes "The current and most common paradigm for reviewing employee performance seems to be the standard annual review of accomplishments against the employee's goals and objectives for the review period. In my company, compensation is determined mostly by the outcome of the goal and objective review. However, titles and ranks (and therefore promotions and career advancement — or ending) are determined by a completely separate set of criteria, among them being engineering expertise. We do not currently have an established way to objectively measure employee proficiency, so I was curious if you've experienced being rated for your engineering proficiency, and if so, how was that accomplished, and also whether you have been promoted or demoted or received an adjustment in compensation as a result of it."

Researchers Create 4nm Transistor with 7 Atoms

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmagGeek writes "University researchers have created a transistor by replacing just seven atoms of silicon with phosphorous. The seven-atom transistor has very hopeful implications for the future of quantum cryptography, nuclear and weather modeling, and other applications.

"The significance of this achievement is that we are not just moving atoms around or looking at them through a microscope," says Professor Michelle Simmons, a co-author of a paper on the subject that is being published by Nature Nanotechnology. The paper is entitled "Spectroscopy of Few-Electron Single-Crystal Silicon Quantum Dots".

"We are manipulating individual atoms and placing them with atomic precision, in order to make a working electronic device," elaborated Simmons. "We have replaced just seven individual silicon atoms with phosphorus atoms. That is amazing exactness"."

Link to Original Source

Apple recalls iPad due to counterfeit capacitors

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about 4 years ago

EmagGeek writes "SEATLLE (AP) — Apple today recalled all of its new iPad tablet computers after learning that it had been sold thousands of counterfeit components that could cause short circuits in the device. A spokesperson for Apple, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "we learned Monday that many of our iPad devices were failing factory test with short circuited capacitors. Upon further research, we discovered that we had received the components from an unauthorized vendor, and that those components were not genuine."

The spokesperson said there could be a delay in the delivery of iPads to many customers for several months while the recalled units are repaired, and that it was very important for all iPads to be returned for repair, because the components could explode if short circuited.

He would not say whether the recall would need to be extended to other Apple products, such as the popular iPod, iPhone, and iMac line of personal computers."

Link to Original Source

US Government Bails Out Tesla Motors

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 4 years ago

EmagGeek writes ""The Obama Administration will lend Tesla Motors $465 million to build an electric sedan and the battery packs needed to propel it. It's one of three loans totaling almost $8 billion that the Department of Energy awarded Tuesday to spur the development of fuel-efficient vehicles. Tesla has long been counting on the loan to help it build the sedan it unveiled in March and had been in discussions with the agency for about nine months. It had sought $350 million to retool a factory to build the car and $100 million to manufacture battery packs and drivetrain components.""
Link to Original Source

DARPA Creates Remote Controlled Insects

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

EmagGeek writes "Attempts by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create cybernetic insects (hybrids of biological and electronic bugs) have yielded ultralow-power radios to control the bugs' flight and a method of powering those circuits by harvesting energy, according to research that will be reported this week at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC)

Electrodes and a control chip are inserted into a moth during its pupal stage. When the moth emerges the electrodes stimulate its muscles to control its flight.

This is creepy beyond all belief. I expect a run on bug lights any day."

Link to Original Source

The Most Advanced Robotic Quadruped on Earth

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

EmagGeek writes "BigDog is the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics family of robots. It is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog's legs are articulated like an animal's, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight.

This thing looks truly amazing. I can think of a number of uses for a robot such as this, including search and rescue, hostile package delivery, and more. Let the SkyNet tags fly!"

Link to Original Source

Man Sues Time Warner For Having To Rent Cable Box

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

EmagGeek writes "Matthey Meeds, a real-estate agent, was so irritated about having to pay the monthly rental fee that on Tuesday he filed an antitrust suit against Time Warner Cable and its 84 percent owner, Time Warner Inc. The suit alleges that, by linking the provision of premium cable services to rental of the cable box, the companies have established illegal tying arrangements.

"Time Warner's improper tying and bundling harms competition," Meeds' lawsuit states. "Since the class can only rent the cable box directly from Time Warner, manufacturers of cable boxes are foreclosed from renting and/or selling cable boxes directly to members of the class at a lower cost."

I pay Comcast over $25/mo for my two DVRs. I'd love to just be able to buy them or build my own. I can't wait to see how this unfolds."

Link to Original Source

Superconducting Power Grid Launches in New York

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

EmagGeek writes "There is an article in IEEE about a new superconducting power grid that was energized in April in New York State. The lines operate at 138kV and are cooled to 65-75K to maintain superconductivity. These lines are run underground and can carry 150 times more electricity than copper lines of the same cross section (the article didn't say if they meant current or energy). The project is funded with taxpayer dollars through the Department of Energy."
Link to Original Source

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 7 years ago

EmagGeek writes "According to a CNN Article, "Experts argue that if the United States is to remain competitive with other countries in the engineering field, it will have to find better ways to encourage women to join the profession." Apparently, the quality and competence of an engineering class has more to do with its gender composition than the quality and competence of the students.

From the Article:

Women received 18 percent of the 78,200 engineering degrees given out in 2003-04, the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Education. That's the same percentage as in 1998 and only slightly more than the 16 percent in 1996."



Measuring Proficiency in the Engineering Workplace

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

The current and most common paradigm for reviewing employee performance seems to be the standard annual review of accomplishments against the employee's goals and objectives for the review period. In my company, compensation is determined mostly by the outcome of the goal and objective review. However, titles and ranks (and therefore promotions and career advancement - or ending) are determined by a completely separate set of criteria, among them being engineering expertise. We do not currently have an established way to objectively measure employee proficiency, so I was curious if you've experienced being rated for your engineering proficiency, and if so, how was that accomplished, and also whether you have been promoted or demoted or received an adjustment in compensation as a result of it.


Why Kyoto is Unfair

EmagGeek EmagGeek writes  |  about 8 years ago

At the end of this missive is a list of countries that have commitments under Kyoto. Countries not on this list, including China and India, are completely exempt from any restrictions whatsoever. China, which has a standing army greater than 1 million, and the technology to build enough nuclear weapons to wipe our little country off the face of the planet, and plans to graduate over 600,000 engineers from its universities annually, is somehow a "developing" country. If you think jobs are moving to China and India quickly now, just imagine how fast our jobs would disappear when energy becomes three times as expensive here.

Also note that China is the number-two emitter of CO2, second to the US. How is it fair that the country next-most responsible for emission of greenhouse gases must do nothing to lower its emissions (or improve worker conditions, or human rights, or protect intellectual property, or......) ? I guess the world is afraid of threatening the economy of China. Well, the Kyoto has a provision that blames countries based upon their emissions over all of time. This provision is specifically designed to target the United States and ONLY the United States. The US was the first country to truly industrialize, and was thus the first to start increasing its emissions of industrial gas.

According to the information from the US DOE, China's energy-related usage produced 3,541 million metric tons of CO2, while the U.S. produced 5,796 million metric tons.

Under Kyoto, Annex I countries may trade greenhouse gas "certificates." A country that doesn't emit all of its allocated greenhouse gases may sell their certificates to other countries. I wonder how much deeper in debt we'll have to go to pay the bill? We expend our energy supporting the world economy by being huge consumers of everything. What will happen to the world economy when we have to also pay the bill for expending that energy? The world will essentially be charging us for the privelege of sending them all of our money in the first place... and we won't be able to produce anything here because of the restrictions that would make it prohibitively expensive to build factories.

Kyoto has the right idea - but miserable execution. ALL countries should be included in the requirements, developing or not. Indeed, developing countries might just select alternative fuel sources in the beginning rather than take the cheap oil (cheap because we couldn't buy it) for now and have to convert later. I think it would be far more effective for developing countries to start out using carbon-cycle fuels rather than fossil fuels. Good habits start in infancy, can't teach an old dog new tricks, and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, though, Kyoto doesn't differentiate between CO2 emitted by carbon-cycle fuels and fossil fuels, so even if a nation did switch to ethanol that came from atmospheric CO2 in the first place, it would still have to count that toward its quota.

Also specifically unfair is the provision that requires the countries listed below to pay for and install industrial gas-cleansing equipment in the developing countries (all countries NOT on that list). How can we be expected to afford the cost of doing so - going into China, to whom we are already sending all of our jobs and our money - and paying for their industrial cleanups?

The correct implementation would be for Kyoto to preempt any country from restricting the implementation or research in alternative energy. Currently, we cannot build new nuclear plants because of the anti-nuclear movement, and we cannot build more refineries for alternative fuels because of the environmental movement (funny how they play both sides here). Injunctive relief in these areas is paramount to exploring alternative sources of energy.

I have the privelege of working with several Indians. From first-hand accounts, I can tell you that gasoline in India is filthy - full of sulfur. They say the air reeks of sulfur in Bombay and Bangalore. Smog is horrific there, only exacerbated by the intense heat and monsoon humidity. On a clear day you can see - a couple of miles. They have no environmental laws to speak of, or very few. No catalytic converters. No industrial pollution controls. They may emit far less tonnage of stuff, but the stuff they do emit, sulfurs, NOx, CO, etc, is far worse that the stuff we emit, which is predominantly CO2. They make their gas from the heavy crude because they have no incentive to do otherwise.

Kyoto certainly has a noble goal, but it is not written with the best interests of the global economy in mind. It selectively benefits the worst polluting countries while penalizing countries that already impose strict emissions controls and develop the cleanest energy technology.

Anyway, on to the list of countries that will have to pay the "we're successful and you're not" tax to the world's worst polluted developing countries. Notice the near-complete absence of just about any country south of the Equator. Australia and New Zealand are the only two.

Annex I Countries
Annex I countries are the 36 industrialised countries and Economies in Transition (EIT*) listed in Annex I of the UNFCCC. These countries have taken emission caps - regulatory devices that set a ceiling on emissions that can be released into the atmosphere from any one country within a designated timeframe.

In May 2005, the following countries were considered Annex I parties:

Czech Republic
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

Countries that have signed the Kyoto Protocol have the right to participate in the Conference of Parties (COPs). Since the Kyoto Protocol came into force in February 2005, so-called COP MOPs (Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol) were introduced, which may only be attended by representatives of those countries that have also ratified the Protocol, i.e. not, for instance, by Australia or the United States.

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