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BSG Prequel Series Caprica Canceled

Exp315 Themes too mature (602 comments)

This is sad news. I thought Caprica was even better than BSG, one of the best new SF-themed shows. Compare this to major network drivel like "No Ordinary Family", a cartoon remake.

My own opinion is that the themes in the show were too mature. They were aimed at viewers over the age of 12. Future writers are probably learning that lesson.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Patents Remotely Disabling Jailbroken Phones

Exp315 Prior Art (381 comments)

Huh? Didn't Slashdot publish a story just a couple of months ago about the same capability in the Motorola Droid? Maybe Apple's lawyers don't read Slashdot.

about 4 years ago

Alternatives To Paypal's Virtual Credit Card Service?

Exp315 Re:Visa Gift Cards (242 comments)

These gift cards are widely available for purchase everywhere, but there are many problems with them:

1. Fee to buy (usually about $3)
2. Balance is drawn down by "account maintenance" fees after 6 months and expires in about 18 months.
3. Restrictions on how it can be used for items such as restaurant bills (must allow 15% margin for tip?!!)
4. Can't be used in many places that a real Visa can be used

I can't see any good use for them. You'd be wasting your money for small online purchases.

more than 4 years ago

Electric Cars Won't Strain the Power Grid

Exp315 Misleading figures (438 comments)

How easily the misleading figures slide past and become accepted truth when nobody questions them. "The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets."? Hardly. Current 50" Panasonic plasma TV on calibrated power settings: 215.57 watts (source Your math is off by a factor of 2.

more than 4 years ago

Google Voice Opens To All

Exp315 Thanks, anonymous (185 comments)

On behalf of all us Canadian four-oh-three-ers. Do you think you could call a little more attention to that fortuitous glitch? Maybe Google didn't hear you.

more than 4 years ago

A File-Centric Photo Manager?

Exp315 Re:Use ACDSee, it'll do what you want (326 comments)

I like ACDSee, and I do appreciate the ability to export the database in xml format, but that's only really useful if you have other software that can read and use the xml data. I think many of the responders here in this thread are missing the original point, which is that it would be nice to store the extended data in the photo file itself so that it goes along with the photo file when you move it, and it should be in standard fields so that most other software can understand it. There is no single "best" solution out there for photo gallery or photo editing software - there are many different solutions with different advantages and disadvantages, and not much convergence happening yet. The practice of storing extended information in a separate proprietary database that can't be exchanged between software packages is a crippling weakness which makes uses unwilling to invest a lot of time and effort in creating the extended data. I did find a few packages in my own search that store extended information in the files, but they were expensive and had their own quirks and limitations.

more than 4 years ago

Life Recorder

Exp315 Experiment now (347 comments)

If you want to experiment with this on the cheap, you can get a sub-$20 mini-cam from many online sources that records VGA-res video and sound to a microSD card for about an hour on a battery charge (battery being the limiting factor at the moment). I often use mine as a dash-cam in the car (to provide a video record in case of a traffic accident), or as a sports cam. I've thought of using it to secretly record meetings or transactions where a future dispute might arise, but haven't done so because of legal concerns.

more than 3 years ago

Asus Promises 12-Hour Battery Life In New High-End Laptop

Exp315 And who can you trust if not Asus? (190 comments)

After all, their promises on the battery life of previous models have been so conservative!

more than 4 years ago

Kodak Wireless Picture Frames Open To Public

Exp315 FrameChannel has already made a change (185 comments)

In the last 15 minutes the RSS url field has disappeared from the FrameChannel Advanced Settings dialog box. What good this will do I don't know, since the main vulnerability is that anyone can enter an existing predictable RSS url.

more than 4 years ago

Kodak Wireless Picture Frames Open To Public

Exp315 Unique IDs are there, but unused (185 comments)

I have the Kodak W1020 10" WiFi frame. It does have a unique serial number which is available on the web interface. When I signed up for FrameChannel, I had to provide a 4-digit ID displayed by the frame (don't remember now what it was, or whether it was related to the serial number or the MAC address, and it can't be displayed again without re-initializing the frame). To connect to my Kodak Gallery online account, I had to provide the frame with my email address and password. To sign in to FrameChannel on the web, I have to provide a username and password. In the My FrameChannel Advanced Settings there is a 4-digit PIN number (purpose undocumented).

So, in summary, every bit of capability needed for security is there, awaiting a quick firmware update. It was just a bit of carelessness that FrameChannel didn't think hard enough about security in the first place. I'm willing to forgive this as long as they get together with Kodak quickly and issue a security update - it's a pretty new service, and they are still evolving rapidly. I certainly would never put any private/confidential photos on a web server of any kind. Anyone that does is naive to think it's secure. But I don't want morons defacing my frame contents.

more than 4 years ago

Adobe Flash To Be Top Hacker Target In 2010

Exp315 Preferred way to update Flash? (180 comments)

So how do we keep Flash updated, assuming that Adobe tries to keep it patched? Is there a better way than going to Adobe's website and downloading a new version and installing it manually?

more than 4 years ago

A Requiem For Saab

Exp315 Former Saab owner feels a bit nostalgic (438 comments)

I owned a Saab 900 for 20 years, and honestly it was a great car, if a bit quirky. For every weird design feature that didn't work (e.g., the famous ignition key on the floor between the seats, the gear-drive water pump on top of the engine in my model), there were others that did work (the huge hatchback, the alternator also on top of the engine).

Two of my favorite Saab stories:

Someone once described the design of the Saab 900 as "it's as if you described a 4-wheeled Earth vehicle to a bunch of Martian engineers, and they tried to replicate it from your description".

I don't know if it's true or not, but there was a news story that a bank robber tried to carjack a woman's Saab 900 as she was getting into it outside the bank, but couldn't figure out where the ignition key went in and was forced to abandon it.

more than 4 years ago

Lotus Teases With a Fuel-Agnostic Two-Stroke Engine

Exp315 Re:10% improvement isn't that much (269 comments)

Flex fuel engines are the norm for new cars in Brazil now (meaning gasoline/alcohol, not diesel). But there's a flaw in this picture: Drivers quickly discover which fuel is cheaper and offers a longer range (gasoline), and that's what they use exclusively. So in practice the advantage is more theoretical than actual.

more than 4 years ago

Google Analytics May Be Illegal In Germany

Exp315 So block it (241 comments)

I use Ghostery (the Firefox add-on) that shows you what trackers are loading with the page and lets you block them individually. There are plenty of other options if you want to block tracking cookies.

more than 4 years ago

Toyotas Suddenly Accelerate; Owners Up In Arms

Exp315 Re:Carmakers lie (1146 comments)

Yes, it's true that BMW and many other auto makers set the speedometer to read high. It provides a safety margin for inaccuracies such as tire wear, winter snow tires, changing to tires with a slightly different size/profile. It is possible to set the computer to read correct speed though - it's one of options that dealer service centers can change. I should mention that although the speed reads too high on my BMW with the factory stock tires, the odometer is dead on (both compared to GPS).

more than 4 years ago

News Content As a Resource, Not a Final Product

Exp315 Pay for analysis, not news (156 comments)

I think this raises a very good point about what's wrong with the free online news services today. A lot of the content is just wire service stories and corporate/government press releases passed along virtually unchanged by the news source you are reading. (This happens to be particularly noticeable in Canada, where the high U.S. content of the stories republished by Canadian news media tends stands to stand out more, e.g., misleadingly quoting statistics that apply to the U.S. economy rather than the Canadian economy, or mentioning a product or service that isn't available in Canada). My reaction after reading these stories is that the newspaper or reporter whose name appears on the article has done no homework or analysis at all. Even with my limited knowledge I can tell that some of the content is misleading or wrong, or that only part of the story has been told, or that it is presenting a slanted viewpoint without comment or counterpoint. What I want my news source to do is to give me the rest of the story - what wasn't said in the press release, what's the history behind it, what's the counterpoint? I would pay for that. I do pay for in-depth weekly news sources like the Economist or New Scientist because they do a whole lot better job even when the cover the same news (e.g., when New Scientist reports on the latest scientific "breakthrough", they usually add reaction comments from a couple of experts in the field, who may give cautious endorsement or mention limitations or doubts about the results which weren't in the press release reported by other media.)

more than 4 years ago

Nokia Releases Linux Handset

Exp315 N900 = N810 with GSM + smaller screen (484 comments)

This is the long-awaited phone incarnation of the N800/N810 Linux/Maemo tablets. It's similar to the N810 in having the slide-out keyboard, built-in GPS, and micro-SD slot. I've been using the N800 for the last 2 years, and while I like it as in internet tablet, I'm not sure I would like it so much as a phone. Some reasons: - The tablet is cheap and not tied to a contract, so possible to forgive many faults - Tbe tablet has a bigger screen (4.3" vs. 3.5"), which makes it more practical for browsing and ebooks - Lots of Maemo Linux software available, but mostly amateurish/undocumented/90%-complete quality - User interface is not nearly as smooth as iPhone, particularly the web browser - Most programs can't rotate, designed for landscape mode only

about 5 years ago

Encryption? What Encryption?

Exp315 Removable media a better option? (500 comments)

This whole problem has arisen because people are storing everything on a single hard drive now instead of using removable media as they did in the past, e.g., with floppy disks. Removable media makes it easy to take your sensitive data away and hide it. Removable media can be encrypted. And if you have multiple units, you can plausibly claim that you forgot the password to that old disk because you don't use it every day (a claim that's hard to make about your main hard drive).

more than 5 years ago



Exp315 Exp315 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Exp315 (851386) writes "Remember those stories that surfaced last year that defense contractors travelling to Canada had received Canadian coins with embedded radio transmitters in them? Apparently the coins used some kind of advanced nano-technology, according to initial reports. Well, it turns out that the "advanced nano-technology" was the anti-wear coating on the red poppy centres of the special coins released by the Canadian mint for Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day). The coins looked so unusual that it raised some suspicions! .20070507.wspycoins0507/BNStory/National/home"


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