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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:That's nice and all (363 comments)

If you're driving in stop-and-go traffic, texting using your cell phone isn't quite as bad as if you're barreling down the highway at 70, 80, 90 or more miles per hour while texting.

As for differentiating passengers and drivers ... tethering is one possibility. Not electronic tethering, but literal physical tethers that connect the phone to the car and are short enough and positioned carefully enough (for the front seat, in the far corner of the dashboard from the driver above the glove compartment) where it will allow passengers to bring the phone to their ears but will not allow drivers to do so. Any phone that is physically tethered can make a call via the car's antenna; phones that aren't are blocked.

Now sure, drivers could probably try to attach extender cables to allow them to text while driving. And if a police officer sees an extender, they can pull the driver over, confiscate the cable (and possibly the phone), and fine the offender.

5 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Mixed arithmetic in Matlab (725 comments)

Do you really want this:

    A = ones(10000, 10000, 'int8'); % 10000-by-10000 matrix each entry of which is 1, stored using the 8-bit signed integer type
    B = 1; % double precision
    C = A+B;

to blow C up into a 10000-by-10000 matrix of doubles, requiring eight times as much memory as A?

There's also the question of false precision.

about two weeks ago

MetaFilter Founder Says Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To Scotch Review

Hotawa Hawk-eye Screw the Streisand effect (116 comments)

I want to see them subjected to the Hood effect, named for the Attorney General of Mississippi.

As a coincidence, the headline of the current most recent "Latest News" item on the Attorney General's website is "Pontotoc Woman Going to Prison for Forgery."

about two weeks ago

Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Flip the switch (247 comments)

So would you want to know kung fu, turn on god mode with IDDQD, or simply request "Computer, arch."

about three weeks ago

Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Agreed (115 comments)

Hmm ... John de Lancie in the next Bond film as the gadgeteer for the CIA, with whom MI6 partners on a mission of importance to both agencies? I'd see that.

about three weeks ago

California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Legislating Technology (233 comments)

I predict that as soon as a phone with the (undoubtedly standard) kill switch is released, someone will write a software program to reverse the locking. For good measure, that software program will probably also users to kill a phone remotely by spoofing the signal to make the kill switch program believe it's coming from the telecom company or law enforcement.

Unless there's a hardware component (say a physical key you need to insert into a slot on the side of the phone) the security WILL be broken quickly because the financial and bragging rights rewards for doing so are huge. If there IS a hardware component, the thief will likely turn mugger and demand the person's keys -- I suspect many people will probably put the key on their key ring.

about three weeks ago

Securing the US Electrical Grid

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:All electric grid control systems and networks. (117 comments)

What about the havoc an extremely large nuclear device could cause on the power grid? According to this other Wikipedia article, "In June 2013, a joint venture from researchers at Lloyd's of London and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) in the United States used data from the Carrington Event to estimate the current cost of a similar event to the US at $0.6-2.6 trillion." To put that in perspective, the 2005 United States budget request from President Bush was only $2.4 trillion and the 2013 budget request from President Obama was $3.8 trillion.

about three weeks ago

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

Hotawa Hawk-eye Government bricking = bad. Script kiddie = worse. (299 comments)

I would be less concerned about the government doing this (because there are consequences to doing so -- the Streisand effect being one) than random script kiddies exploiting a vulnerability in the kill switch mechanism by sending a signal to every phone passing a certain point on the highway, for example, just because they can. Given that the government is pushing for this, you know it's going to be somewhat standardized (they wouldn't want to have to use a different process for Apple, Samsung, etc. phones) and so that standard code is going to be a prime target for attackers.

If this does happen, I give it a week or less before the system is compromised and someone starts using it for "entertainment" purposes.

about three weeks ago

Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Basic Rules no longer free (203 comments)

They are still free AFAIK. They also contain only some of the races and classes (dwarf, elf, halfling, and human for races; cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard for classes) and spells that are in the full Player's Handbook. The PHB includes races like dragonborn, half-elf, half-orc, and tiefling and classes like barbarian, bard, druid, paladin, etc. in addition to those from the Basic Rules.

about a month ago

How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:So ... (218 comments)

Make the orbital facility completely unmanned. If you're worried about the delay in sending control signals to robotic manipulators with which researchers can perform experiments, send the researchers to the space station. If the orbital facility becomes contaminated, destroy it and let the heat of reentry sterilize the pieces or send it on a trajectory into the sun (which again will sterilize it.)

If it is just an unmanned experiment station, I wonder how small and how inexpensive we could make it.

about a month ago

Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:It's almost sane(really) (502 comments)

That is a completely irrelevant example. Were not talking about subpoenaing a foreign company or entity. We are talking about forcing companies operating in the US to turn over information that is in their possession (under there control).

I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but IS the data under Microsoft US's control? Or is the data on a computer under the control of Microsoft Ireland (which I'm guessing is a separate corporation, if for no other reason than tax purposes) to which they've granted Microsoft US certain access? If the latter, could Microsoft US be forced to use the access it's been granted by another corporation to access information owned by that other corporation to grab the data for the US government?

What's Microsoft's corporate structure look like, and does the DOJ have a different answer for that question than the IRS?

about a month and a half ago

EA Tests Subscription Access To Game Catalog

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:See, I would have... (63 comments)

So when/if they extend this to PC, I predict the fee will be $5 per month or $30 per year for SecuROM versions or $500 per month or $3000 per year for non-SecuROM versions. That way they can say that they heard their customers and are offering non-DRM versions of their software. When no one subscribes for the more expensive service, they can drop it and claim "We tried, but no one wanted the non-DRM version! Back to DRM for us!"

about a month and a half ago

Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Adam West (701 comments)

Redirecting funds and materials from Wayne Enterprises R&D for his own pet projects. Or to put it more bluntly, embezzling.

I'm more curious about how he ensured that the construction workers who build the Batcave and brought in all the heavy equipment (especially the Bat-Computer) kept their mouths shut. Sure, Wayne would have paid them well for their discretion, but surely SOMEONE would have bragged "Yeah, well I helped build the Batcave!" after getting too drunk one night. Or is there a pile of bones at the bottom of the Batcave that ensure the workers' silence more completely than money?

about 2 months ago

YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:C'mon. The tubes analogy really is a good one. (110 comments)

The "information superhighway" analogy isn't perfect, but I think it is close enough to correct to be a useful analogy while being familiar enough for laymen to understand.

You can think of the Internet like our system of roads. There are major interstate highways; these are the backbone of the Internet, with many lanes of bandwidth. Smaller highways connect to the major interstates; these are run by your ISPs. Even smaller roads lead from those smaller highways to your home. When you send an email or type the address of a website into your browser, that message is broken into small pieces (say small enough to fit in a motorcyclist's pocket) that are carried along the roads, highways, and interstates to the destination of the email or the computer that hosts that website. If one of those small pieces gets lost, the destination computer sends a message back asking the sending computer to send another copy of that piece.

At the interchanges between the interstate and the smaller highways and the smaller highways and roads, there are stop lights, yield signs, signs describing how to get to certain destinations, and other traffic control mechanisms. As a road becomes saturated with messages on motorcycles, the "highway patrol" will tell messengers to wait their turn before proceeding onto the road, or to take a detour to another less congested road. By detouring messages to different roads, messages can still get through even if one road is busy, damaged, or blocked by censorship.

The principle of "network neutrality" or "net neutrality" is that all the motorcycle messengers on a road are treated the same. But some ISPs have noticed a lot of messengers wearing the Netflix logo on their jackets traveling their highways, and so want to restrict how many Netflix messengers travel on their highways for free at the same time. [While I use Netflix in this explanation, this could also affect other companies that send lots of messengers along the Internet.] Their plan for "fast lanes" is to set up a toll booth on their highways, and if too many Netflix messengers want to go through at once they'll have those messengers wait in line. Alternately, Netflix could pay them to set up an "EZ-Pass" lane to the highway; if Netflix is willing to pay a higher toll, the ISP will let those messengers pass through the tolls more quickly. Opponents of the "fast lane" plan worry that if an ISP has many EZ-Pass lanes for various companies, it will result in messengers whose companies DON'T have EZ-Pass (like small start-ups that can't affect the EZ-Pass) being stuck at the tolls for a long time while their competitors' messengers fly through unslowed.

Another possible solution to the problem of congestion on the Internet would be for companies to make the interstates, highways, and roads broader so they can carry more traffic. In the real world, we can't always expand roads with more lanes because of existing buildings lining them or other constraints. In the Internet, those land-availability constraints don't really apply (though there are a few other constraints.) However, one constraint that exists both for real-world roads and for Internet roads is that expanding roads with more lanes costs money.

about 2 months ago

TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Incoming international flights (702 comments)

One example: a person flying from India to a destination A in the US has a short stopover in a different US city B. Are they going to be rescreened before boarding the flight from B to A? Maybe, maybe not. [Let's say someone breaches security and forces EVERYONE to be rescreened.] If they had to run from the gate where their flight from India to B landed to make their connection from B to A, they may have a dead battery (India to the US is a pretty decently long trip, I've heard) and may have had no opportunity to recharge it.

about 2 months ago

Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:E-mail? (346 comments)

Don't put anything in an email that you wouldn't put on a postcard. If you MUST email sensitive information, encrypt it before sending -- the encryption is the envelope.

about 2 months ago

Baton Bob Strikes Back Against Police That Coerced Facebook Post From Him

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:lol mimes (203 comments)

how does a mime have a "verbal altercation"?

Sign language.

about 2 months ago

Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Interesting... (119 comments)

From the article, "City officials said the first units in Boston will be funded by Cisco Systems, a leader in development of smart city solutions, at no cost to the city."

As for why Boston got them first, rather than other cities around the country, my guess would be because they're a local product. "The high-tech benches were invented by MIT Media Lab spinoff Changing Environments, a Verizon Innovation Program."

about 3 months ago

IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Fox News? (682 comments)

The IRS guidelines on how long businesses should keep tax records for at least 2 or 3 years, in some circumstances (not involving filing a fraudulent return) they recommend up to 6 or 7 years.

The Internal Revenue Service -- Do As We Say Not As We Do.

about 3 months ago



California Senator Yee (Brown v. EMA) indicted on corruption charges

Hotawa Hawk-eye Hotawa Hawk-eye writes  |  about 6 months ago

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) writes "California state Senator Leland Yee, known for sponsoring the law banning the sale of violent video games to minors that was overturned in Brown V. Entertainment Merchants Association, was indicted by the FBI on public corruption charges Wednesday morning. According to the article, targets of the early-morning raids in this case are expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon."
Link to Original Source

"A Memory of Light" To Be Released January 8, 2013

Hotawa Hawk-eye Hotawa Hawk-eye writes  |  about 2 years ago

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) writes "Tor Books has announced that the release date for the final volume in the Wheel of Time series of books, A Memory Of Light, will be January 8, 2013. [Barring a Mayan apocalypse, of course.] The fantasy series, started by Robert Jordan and continued by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death, will span 15 books and over 10,000 pages."
Link to Original Source


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