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Comments

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Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad, Causing Airport Evacuation

MichaelSmith Re:No he didn't (214 comments)

Thinking about this on the train this morning I reckon you could get close by using Doppler sensing sonar along a corridor with one way doors at each end. A Doppler shift which indicates somebody going the wrong way would disable both doors until humans sort it out. It could probably be augmented with a camera based system. There would inevitably be false positives from kids darting around, etc but you wouldn't have to shut down the terminal.

yesterday
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Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad, Causing Airport Evacuation

MichaelSmith Re:LAX has this solved. (214 comments)

(we assume most people aren't complete morons in Australia).

Did you _see_ the results of the last election?

Touche.

But in our defence, only 32% of people voted for the Libs, the remaining 13% was made up of the various national parties. The 5% that got them over the post were due to dodgy preference deals.

But realistically the dregs of Labor weren't getting back in to office.

2 days ago
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Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad, Causing Airport Evacuation

MichaelSmith Re:No he didn't (214 comments)

How about one of those big fans they use for indoor skydiving, but oriented horizontally and pointed away from airside.

2 days ago
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Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed

MichaelSmith Re:I still don't get this. (302 comments)

I found a nokia at a tram stop once. It was just the internal structure and battery, but a bit of hunting around in the gutter revealed the case. It had been dropped on the road and repeatedly run over. I snapped the lot together and found the most frequently dialed numbers (parents in Malaysia, not calling there to say I had found their daughters phone smashed on a road in Melbourne). Called her boyfriend and he arranged for me to drop off the phone. Very strong bits of gear, Nokias.

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

MichaelSmith Sloppy typing in javascript (729 comments)

Pass the wrong type of object to a javascript library. The library happily accepts your crud, passing it through 14 levels of function calls and then says something useful like "a is not a function".

about a month ago
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Saturn's F Ring Is Now Three Times As Wide As During the Voyager Flybys

MichaelSmith Re:Watch out for (41 comments)

I should be safe in Eastern Aus. We could get a new inland sea out of it.

about a month ago
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Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

MichaelSmith Re:Yeah hand signals (289 comments)

Consider this scenario. I am merging right to make a right turn.

  1. Indicate right
  2. Wait for a car to give way
  3. Merge one lane to the right

This doesn't work with automatic cars because they don't understand hand signals. Instead I just have to merge and hope the overtaking cars are going to give way. If this behaviour becomes common, people will start merging without indicating in the expectation that automatic systems will take care of the resulting conflict.

about a month ago
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Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

MichaelSmith Yeah hand signals (289 comments)

I ride a bike to work and I indicate for right and left turns as well as stopping under some conditions. I doubt that the systems on a (semi) automatic car will understand that.

about a month ago
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Brown Dwarf With Water Clouds Tentatively Detected Just 7 Light-Years From Earth

MichaelSmith Re:Moons? (85 comments)

Could that body have been... The Earth? The same thing happens whenever I try to look at Paris from Australia.

about a month ago
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Brown Dwarf With Water Clouds Tentatively Detected Just 7 Light-Years From Earth

MichaelSmith Re:Moons? (85 comments)

Its clearly a trap.

about a month ago
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Brown Dwarf With Water Clouds Tentatively Detected Just 7 Light-Years From Earth

MichaelSmith Moons? (85 comments)

I wonder if it has any Earth sized moons. Maybe one close in could be kept warm(ish) by tidal heating.

about a month ago
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"MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

MichaelSmith Re:good (364 comments)

Maybe she will pop up elsewhere.

about a month ago
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Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

MichaelSmith Re:not hard cosmic radiation (117 comments)

Plenty of biological material was left on the surface in jettison bags during the apollo missions. Its going to be interesting when those bags get retrieved. In fact I wonder if it justifies a sample return mission right now.

about a month and a half ago
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Wheel Damage Adding Up Quickly For Mars Rover Curiosity

MichaelSmith Re:Poor material choice (162 comments)

But the wheels aren't failing. The skin on the wheels is failing but the wheels will work fine with structure alone.

about a month and a half ago
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Yahoo To Add PGP Encryption For Email

MichaelSmith Re:The private key would have to be handled locall (175 comments)

JavaScript virtual machines have no security between applications. Any script can replace the javascript API at run time, messing with other code running in the same window.

about 2 months ago
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Yahoo To Add PGP Encryption For Email

MichaelSmith Re:It's a TRAP! (175 comments)

Any proposal in which users hand over their private keys to a third party (such as a webmail provider) should be assumed to be done with the blessing of, or at the request of, law enforcement or intelligence agencies

Where did it say in there that users would hand over private keys to a third party?

At best they would give the keys to software provided by Yahoo and running in their browser. Law enforcement could compel Yahoo to provide a backdoor to that software or they could compromise the encryption in the browser. Unlike java, javascript has nothing to stop code from a different source interfering with other code running in the browser.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Android web browser can not upload files

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 3 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "I have an android phone and wrote a photo blogging application so that I could upload pictures directly from the phone. When I finally got around to testing from the browser on android the <input type=file> tag turned into a message Uploads Disabled. So I googled around and found this hilarious bug report which unfortunately confirms that Android can not upload files."
Link to Original Source
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Aus internet filter delayed for election

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "Australian communications minister Stephen Conroy has delayed the planned implementation of internet filtering until 2011. The likely reason for this is to neutralize it as an issue in the 2010 election, which is expected to happen before October. Interestingly Optus, Telstra and iPrimus have pledged to block child-abuse websites voluntarily but the article doesn't say how they plan to do that."
Link to Original Source
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Transport ticketing system as job creation

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "Screw ups in the new Melbourne ticketing system are so common they aren't really funny any more but this one almost had me ROFLing.
Staff at the firm making myki have had to manually add one cent to 87,261 cards so that they can be used on Sundays, when seniors are entitled to free travel. The myki system requires all users — even those getting a free ride — to have a positive balance on their card. 'This exercise took several weeks and was carried out by existing myki customer service staff...."

Geez guys write a loop. Learn some perl. Or fix the original requirement."
Link to Original Source

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The Wifi AP names people use

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "I code on the tram, going to and from work and I noticed that there are a lot of wifi access points along the way. So one week I made it my job to write an automatic scanner which runs from a cron job every minute during commuting times. My backup script pushes the new AP names to my web server and you can read it on line.
It is a mixture of the straightforward, naive and funny, with a few pop culture references along the way. The first column in the file is the number of access points with that name. The second column is the AP name, in brackets to pick up white space."

Link to Original Source
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Could the Mono Lake arsenic prove there is a shado

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "Scientists think that there might be arsenic based life in Mono Lake, California. If it shown to exist such life could have evolved independently from our own, or it could have forked from ours at a very early stage."
Link to Original Source
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Look out for paragliding terrorists

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "Intelligence sources are reporting that south Asian terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba has purchased 50 para gliders from suppliers in Europe. This article in the Indian Express discusses possible attacks in India using this novel vector, but other targets can't be ruled out.

One possibility would be to use a high building or terrain to fly right over perimeter security at a public event. Para gliders can use convective lift as well, but the pilot needs to be experienced. The article discusses suicide attacks so this may put a limit on the sophistication of the flying involved."

Link to Original Source
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MP horrified by altered bin Laden pic

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "The FBI has apparently used elements from a photograph of Spanish member of parliament Gaspar Llamazare to help compose an age advanced image of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The FBI says:

"FBI special agent Jason Pack said a forensic artist had been unable to find suitable features from the FBI's database of photographs and used a picture from the internet instead.
"The forensic artist was not aware of the identity of the individual depicted in the photograph," Mr Pack said, adding that the image would be taken off the FBI website."

Mr Llamazare is not happy about his face being used in this way and has complained to the US Embassy in Spain."

Link to Original Source
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Nine containers of PETN punctured in Nth Carolina

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "A major US port was shut down after nine containers of "highly explosive material" were accidentally punctured, officials said, urging that part of the city be evacuated.

The accident happened around 4:45am (local time) when a forklift punctured the imported containers during offloading in Morehead City, North Carolina, Mayor Jerry Jones said.

The chemical involved was pentaerythritol tetranitrate, known as PETN, he said, adding it was "highly explosive, but not airborne"."

Link to Original Source
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US Army files found on second hand MP3 player

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "A New Zealand man who bought a second hand MP3 player from a store in the US found it loaded with the names and personal details of American soldiers, as well as a mission briefing and information about equipment.

Chris Ogle says he will return the unit to the US Defence Department if asked, and that it never worked as a music player anyway.

A slightly different version of the story is available from TVNZ."
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MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 7 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "More than a year ago a former member of the Australian Defense Force set up a web forum for ADF members. Recently the site was blocked by the Department of Defense, presumably as part of routine workplace filtering. The interesting bit is that the the head of the Australian Army, General Peter Leahy wants the block removed. In the process he blames the "geeks" in the DOD for filtering the site, though I, for one, am not taking that personally. From his perspective a geek is probably anybody not in the ADF."
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MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  about 8 years ago

MichaelSmith (789609) writes "The Mars Rover Opportunity is now only 45 meters from the rim of Victoria Crater. The rovers navigation camera has taken a great picture of the interior of the crater. NASA seems keen to drive the rover into Victoria to do some geology but by the look of it I think they will be unlikely to be able to drive out."

Journals

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One openmoko phone still available

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I bought a five pack of GSM-900 openmoko phones. One I am keeping (very happy now that I am running OM.2009). Three I have sold to other people. The price for the last phone is 336.42 Australian dollars. That is exactly one fifth of the price I paid for the pack, including GST and customs charges. The price includes shipping within Australia.

This phone is unopened, still in the original packaging.

Please reply here if you are interested.

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Anybody want to split a five pack of openmoko phones in Melb

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 5 years ago As my sig says, I am interested in buying a pack of five openmoko phones ans sharing them with other people. This journal article is here so people can communicate with me about it.

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Technocrat.net shutdown

MichaelSmith MichaelSmith writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I am the person who posted with the userid smithm and display name "Michael Smith" on technocrat.net

After Bruce shut the site down I sent him an email offering to take over the domain name. He indicated that he doesn't want to sell it.

I am interested in setting up my own site. In theory an online community can be very cheap to run. You can do it on google groups for example. But being a software guy myself I have a few ideas for how to build a system. I want to use the Mercurial DSCM as a backend and build it around individual user web logs with RSS gluing them together.

I am of the view that discussion sites should almost never be edited. Mercurial has features which make it easy to see changes in revision history, which is why I want to use that tool.

I have a few projects on the go over Christmas. I am closing my co-lo and installing a server at home. The web log software is project number two over the holidays.

If you are interested in hearing more about this project, please leave a reply.

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