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Comments

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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses

OzPeter Re:Photographic law precedence (194 comments)

If a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, peeping tom laws already say you cannot look or take photos.

Tell that to the paparazzi. There is a whole industry devoted to finding public locations where you can spy on celebs, and then using the longest telephoto lens needed to get the shot.

2 days ago
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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses

OzPeter Photographic law precedence (194 comments)

From TFA

Two City Council members today will unveil a draft ordinance that would make it a crime to use a drone to film, audiotape or photograph people on their private property without their consent.

Which basically goes against well established photography law that basically says if you can see it from a public location then its fair game.

OTOH I'm not sure how you can reasonably legislate pics taken from drones. Do you now define a private location to include the airspace above it? But what if I am in public airspace, yet high enough to see over a wall?

2 days ago
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Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

OzPeter Re:Truly sad (358 comments)

Honestly, just substitute "bus" for any other mode of transportation. Go out on a limb and consider the greater possibilities.

There will always be something/someone that this will not affect, great. Maybe you living in a nuclear bunker with a sophisticated air and water filtration system, good for you.

What about the people at risk?

Apparently Facebook's expertise is needed here as well

2 days ago
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Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

OzPeter Re:Truly sad (358 comments)

It's everyone's problem when some person in Liberia, is now scared for his life and flees without knowing he is carrying the virus. In 48 hours he might be sitting next to you on a bus!

Ha! Ain't going to happen.

I live in a suburb in the US with ZERO public transportation options. Not only that I won't pass them on the street either as there are no frickin' sidewalks as well.

2 days ago
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Transparent Fish Lead to Stem Cell Research Breakthrough

OzPeter Re:Yeah, Yeah (33 comments)

a breakthrough from studying transparent zebra fish? I'll believe it when I see it.

I see what you did there.

No, you didn't see it

about a week ago
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Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

OzPeter Re:Not Sports (39 comments)

This, along with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc., etc., are nothing more than big business. When players are bought and sold, the "team" with the most money normally wins. I'm very much in favor of seeing elite competition, but all of the chest thumping by teams like this is meaningless.

I have a saying "Sport is something you do, entertainment is something you watch"

But what is even more criminal is all these teams that have all that money to spend on their players, still force cities to build them stadiums and training facilities, or they threaten to walk. That is is a racket, plain and simple.

about a week ago
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Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

OzPeter Re:All that money... (39 comments)

And I still have to turn it off after a couple minutes because it's putting me to sleep.

So right there bro. That's why I'm drawn to the NFL. That is just so exciting to watch in comparison. The anticipation of spotting the 15 minutes totality of the ball actually in play over a three hour game is so addictive. That really keeps me on the edge of my seat every time. Its like an extended "Where's Wally?" game right there on my TV. /sarcasm

Haters going to hate no matter what.

You don't like the sport, then turn it off. No one is forcing you to watch it, and no-one is saying that you have to like it.

about a week ago
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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

OzPeter My local library (165 comments)

My local library doesn't just have books.

It has:

Books (well yeah)
Magazines
Newspapers
Audio Books
DVDs
Meeting Rooms
Events
Internet Access
Printers
Photocopiers

In general it is trying to position itself as a local community resource

Somehow I can't see all of that being replaced by a Kindle, and thats without even going into what limited selection of titles the Kindle will have.

about a week ago
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New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

OzPeter Great timing (161 comments)

I've just started reading Robogenisis, the sequel to Robopocalypse. And you pull this shit on me?

about a week ago
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Microsoft Research Brings Kinect-Style Depth Perception to Ordinary Cameras

OzPeter Re:Doesn't the kinect use an ordinary camera? (31 comments)

This system is very different. The Kinect has a deep field of view, but all the demos show this working in a very short range. I haven't yet read the paper, but I'm wondering if that's the point of the IR.

From watching the video my understanding is that they illuminate the subject with a fixed IR source and map the drop off of the reflected IR in 2D space and then interpret that drop off as a depth map of the object they are looking at. Which looks surpassingly accurate for the sort of use cases they demonstrate. They also point out that this technique is not a general purpose 3D system.

about a week ago
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Microsoft Research Brings Kinect-Style Depth Perception to Ordinary Cameras

OzPeter As predicted in Better Off Ted (31 comments)

At the very end of the video it describes how the system is tuned to skin albedo. The only problem with this is that various races around the world have different albedos - which does have a real world effect in photography when trying to expose correctly for skin. In the video they mentioned training the system on the user, but all users shown in the video were white - so I can't say how well it would work for non-whites. But in general I am impressed with what they have done.

Back in 2009, in Better Off Ted episode 4 "Racial Sensitivity", they developed a security system that had issues with skin albedo and not detecting (from memory) dark skinned people - which resulted in all sorts of hijinks for the African American employees

about a week ago
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DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

OzPeter Re:I can't change my fingerprint (383 comments)

I can change my password anytime if I think somebody copied it. I cannot change my fingerprint or retina. There is no way I'm giving random webshops or google my biometric data.

Given that your current password is not stored in plain text (hard to keep a straight face when typing that), I'd assume that your retinal password would not be stored as a plain image file as well.

Instead I can imagine that a hash of your retinal image is stored as your password, and that you can update your retinal password by rescanning your eyes and generating a new hash, which you can authoritatively tell the server is now your new password. Thus when the server is hacked and your retinal password compromised, you can generate a new one.

Note that I am not a security researcher and have no idea if what I just said is pure BS or not. However I would hope that people who ARE security researchers have already thought about these aspects.

about two weeks ago
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Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

OzPeter Re:For comparison (267 comments)

This is roughly the equivalent of blocking Windows Vista. Vista was released in 2007 (January) as was Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard 2007 (October)

And my desktop Mac is stuck on Snow Leopard because Apple decided that my hardware can't run any OS-X later than that, regardless of the CPU being capable of doing it.

about two weeks ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

OzPeter Not unheard of (442 comments)

Seinfeld was in the $600,000 to $1,000,000 range (depending on the actor) back in the late 90's

about two weeks ago
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Inside the Facebook Algorithm Most Users Don't Even Know Exists

OzPeter I like to dick with FB (130 comments)

Yes I have a FB account (for various reasons) but when ever I get the chance I always flag ads as being sexually explicit with the hope that it wastes more FB resources than they gain from me. Yeah, it may not actually do anything, but it keeps me happy.

(Likewise I also report unsolicited emails from major companies as spam)

about two weeks ago
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Robotic Suit Gives Shipyard Workers Super Strength

OzPeter Re:Only geeks... (125 comments)

would consider lifting 30Kg to be superhuman.

And from TFA the target is 100kg Try lifting *that* more than a few times and see how you go.

I feel sorry for you that the amazing super-strength exoskeleton capable of lifting 1000 kg, and able to run all day didn't just spring into existence at the snap of your fingers. It really must be tough living in that fantasy world where research and development don't take time and resources.

about two weeks ago
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Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

OzPeter Re:Obvious (163 comments)

Combine the two, and you have fully autonomous highway driving under regular conditions. You just have to fool the sensor, and sensors are easy to fool.

Yeah, but I'd be worried that the cruise control would punt the car into a corner at a rate at which the lane centering couldn't compensate. You really need a bit more smarts for simple autonomous driving scenarios.

about three weeks ago
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Getting Back To Coding

OzPeter Re:IDEs are for wimps (240 comments)

Once in a blue moon I try a GUI editor (like gedit, geany) or an IDE (like Eclipse or Netbeans), and I always find myself going back to vim, because everything else slows me down

What I would very much want is a fucking GUI editor for Android apps, because editing XML files from scratch is getting on my nerves.

So you dislike GUI's but secretly desire one?

I'd posit that your anti-IDE/GUI experience is based around tools that don't meet your needs, and your XML editing desires show that you are looking for tools that meet your needs.

I'd also posit that having the right tools would make you much more productive than bare bones editors (compared to a fully fledged IDE)

about three weeks ago
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Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

OzPeter Re:Good Thing (195 comments)

What other uses of energy do you disapprove of?

Obviously not /.

about three weeks ago
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Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

OzPeter Re:Hold on here, boy! (195 comments)

First of all, here in Georgia, we are a State in the US of Fucking A!

Secondly, what the fucking Hell does Athletic shoes have to do with Bitcoin?

Pity that they are talking about the country in Eurasia and not the US state. Or that when the state of Georgia seceded from the US it referred to itself as the "Republic of Georgia".

Methinks you should pay more attention to the world around you.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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I am Slashdot

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  about 6 months ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "I submit stories. I read stories. I add comments. I moderate comments. I am the reason that there is ad revenue.

I am Slashdot.

(please propagate the "I am Slashdot" meme in anyway you can)"
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The Inside Story Of The World's Biggest 'Battery'

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  about a year ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "With 24 gigawatt-hours of capacity, the Bath County (Virginia) Hydro Pumped Storage Facility is one giant sized storage battery that is the largest in the world. The Inside Story Of The World’s Biggest ‘Battery’ And The Future Of Renewable Energy talks about its operation, where pumped storage fits into the mix of power generation and the challenges they expect in the future. Also see this youtube video for another overview of the facility.

Disclaimer .. I have nothing to do with any of these websites .. I just drove past the place on the weekend."
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$1b Ghost town to be built in New Mexico

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 2 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported in the Brisbane Times, construction of a $1b Ghost Town is expected to start in Lea County near Hobbs, New Mexico this year. The town is the brainchild of Pegasus Global Holdings and represents its Center for Innovation, Testing & Evaluation (CITE) and will be modeled after the real town of Rock Hill S.C. From the Brisbane times article:

The point of the town is to enable researchers to test new technologies on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life. For instance, while some researchers will be testing smart technologies on old grids, others might be using the streets to test self-driving cars. "The only thing we won't be doing is destructive testing, blowing things up — I hope," said Brumley (senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings).

Also from the that article:

Brumley said plans are to break ground on the town by June 30. The initial development cost is estimated at $US400 million, although Brumley estimates the overall investment in the project to top $US1 billion.

"

Link to Original Source
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Robot bird perches on human hand

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 2 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported in The Age and also directly from Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign researchers have demonstrated a robot bird that can fly down and perform a soft landing, such as perching on a human hand. From the the Age's article

"The ability to perform perched landings on a human hand endows our robot with the ability to operate around humans," says Aditya Paranjape, a post-doctoral scholar working on this project. The project is based on Paranjape's PhD thesis and journal articles written with Soon-Jo Chung, an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Illinois who is also working on the project."

. Video of the robot performing various landings can be seen on youtube at: First Successful Perching on a Human Hand by a Robotic Bird Airplane"
Link to Original Source

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War driving puts on a uniform

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 2 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported in The Age and from the Press release as a part of National Consumer Fraud week, the Queensland Police are going war driving in order to identify insecure WiFi setups. from the press release "The War Driving Project involves police conducting proactive patrols of residential and commercial areas to identify unprotected connections. Police will follow this up with a letterbox drop in the targeted area with information on how to effectively secure your connection". While some people may like having an open WiFi AP its interesting to see that the Police also feel that "Having WEP encryption is like using a closed screen door as your sole means of security at home. The WPA or WPA2 security encryption is certainly what we would recommend as it offers a high degree of protection""
Link to Original Source
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Re-programming the thermostat

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 2 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported in WA Today, Tony Fadell of iPod fame has been using Nest Labs to design and build a thermostat that learns how you live in your house by following how you manually change the temperature. Once you have taught it how to behave (How the Nest learning Thermostat learns), it then can schedule temperature changes that suit your lifestyle, and help you cut down on energy costs."
Link to Original Source
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Rent an iPad for inflight entertainment

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 4 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "Jetstar will be trialling the renting out of pre-loaded iPads as a form of inflight entertainment instead of the the more typical seat back video system. No word in the article on how or if they will handle wi-fi connections, but interestingly it does mention that they will be usable during takeoff and landings — something that will be sure to spark lots of discussion regarding planes and modern electronics."
Link to Original Source
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Volvo demonstrates automated car breaking

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 3 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "Back in 2009 slashdot ran a story about Volvo working on a crash proof car that used radar and and automated braking (http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/01/02/159210/Volvo-Introduces-a-Collision-Proof-Car). Well a few weeks ago they demonstrated their S60 car with full auto braking. One small problem, it rear ended the truck it was meant to avoid. Fortunately (or perhaps smartly) no driver was in the car, so no one was injured. The failure of the demonstration was blamed on "one or more of the car's sensors had been "fried" before the demo, caused by the car maker fast-charging the S60's battery after discovering it was flat.". After seeing that I am not sure which is worse — that Volvo failed to properly run a demonstration of a new technology (and did not have a backup car ready), or that the said technology can easily be damaged without anyone noticing that it no longer works.

[note to editor — yes I deliberately said "breaking" in the title — its a joke, see]"

Link to Original Source
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Airport full body scanners not so secure

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 4 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting a story out of Manchester, UK of how an Indian actor claims he was asked to autograph printouts of his full body scans for two female security officers. If true, then this makes a mockery of the official claims that scans will be deleted immediately after they are performed. How long before copies of printouts of celebrities' scans start appearing on websites devoted to security porn?"
Link to Original Source
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Flying cars .. get yours now

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 4 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "Flying cars (or more rightly "Driving Planes") are just around the corner. The Terrafugia website is hosting several videos detailing some of the test flights performed in the last 6 months. The site also suggests that the initial delivery will be in 2011 — just in time for the end of the world when the Mayan calendar rolls over!"
Link to Original Source
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Ploughing carbon into the ground

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 4 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "A wheat farmer in Australia has eliminated adding fertilizer to his crop by the simple process of injecting the cooled diesel exhaust of his modified tractor into ground when the wheat is being sown. In doing so he eliminates releasing carbon into the atmosphere and at the same time saving himself up to $AUD500,000 that would have been required to fertilize his 3900 hectares in the traditional way. Yet the crop yields over the last 2 years are on at least par with his best yields since 2001. The technique was developed by a Canadian, Gary Lewis of Bio Agtive and is currently in trial at 100 farms around the world."
Link to Original Source
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What to do with a free XBox 360 Pro?

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 4 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "Last week I won an XBox 360 Pro, however I am not a gamer and after looking at the current MS offerings I am not tempted to become one.

But I am in the market for a Media Center PC that I can use for streaming TV shows off the 'net as well as general web browsing and displaying the video through the HDMI port. With that in mind I again looked at MS and saw that they seemed to have positioned the XBox as an adjunct to a separate Windows Media Center PC and not as a stand alone unit (which is not what I want). So once again I did some more research into the XBox homebrew scene and discovered things like Xbox Linux. But after reading that site it is apparent that MS is trying to beat down the homebrewers and I am left wondering how much hassle it would be to go down that path.

So my question is how should I re-purpose my XBox? is it worthwhile doing the Homebrew/Linux option (and can anyone share any experiences)? Are there other ways of re-purposing the device that I haven't considered? Or should I just keep it boxed up as a Christmas present for a favourite nephew?"
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Getting better cellphone reception

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  about 5 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "I currently have cellphone service with T-mobile and I get great coverage everywhere I go — except for in my own home. Their coverage website indicates that I should get reasonable signal strength at home, but in practice I only get about 1 bar and that can drop to zero depending on which side of the house I am in. This is very annoying given that my cellphone is my work phone. So I have been looking around for solutions to my problem.

Switching to AT&T might be a solution as that way I can keep my GSM phone, but their website also indicates that I should get about the same level of signal strength as I get with T-mobile. I am not too trusting about that, but I will be trying to track down a friend with AT&T and invite them over to see what actual signal strength I can get. My current phone is a Motorola Razr V3, but I am wondering if a newer phone might have better receiver sensitivity. And the third possible solution would be to install a cellphone booster — which is a big unknown.

So I am looking for recommendations/experience with each of these options:
  1. Switching from T-mobile to AT&T
  2. Getting a newer phone
  3. Installing a cellphone booster
"
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Microsoft loses patent case to tune of $US331 mil.

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 5 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported Microsoft has lost a patent case relating to copy protection and has had a $US331 million judgement awarded against them. The case was brought by Uniloc, which sued Microsoft in 2003 for violating its patent relating to technology designed to deter software piracy. From the article (with my emphasis):



"Richardson's patent, one of many under his name, relates to work he did in the early 1990s and covers a software registrations system that allows software makers to create try-before-you-buy versions of their work.

Once users buy the software they get a registration key that unlocks the full featured version of the software.

Uniloc claimed Richardson showed a copy of his software to Microsoft in 1993 but Microsoft did not license it, instead developing its own almost identical version and incorporating it into its products from 1997 or 1998.

Microsoft said that its system works differently from Uniloc's and that Uniloc's patent was obvious.""
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How should I increase my billing rates?

OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  about 6 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "Last year I formed a company for the sole purpose of sub-contracting to another larger company, and for the last 14 months I have working exclusively for that larger company. At the start of the process I set my contract rates based on the level of salary I wanted, number of hours I wanted to work and additional overheads such as business and health insurance. The number I came up has given me a quite a healthy income, but I have come to realise that I have undervalued myself by a considerable amount. In fact rates double what I currently billing would not be unreasonable in my field of work. As I now know what I am really worth in the market I would have no problem telling a new client what my rates are, but the question is how should I approach my current (and main) client? There is currently no formal contract between myself and them and thus no set rates, I do the work and invoice them, and they pay weekly. So should I just announce to them that as of some date I will be raising my rates to $$, or should I sit down with my main contact and try and feel out their response to a rate increase? And does the lack of a formal contract worry people, and should I use a new contract as the mechanism of increasing rates?"
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OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 7 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "The Age is reporting that Google has set up a group for developing humanitarian projects around the world. Details can be found on Google.org

From the article: "The ambitious founders of Google, the popular search engine company, have set up a philanthropic group, giving it seed money of about $US1 billion and a mandate to tackle poverty, disease and global warming. But unlike most charities, this one will be for-profit, allowing it to fund start-up companies, form partnerships with venture capitalists, and even lobby the US Congress. It will also pay taxes."

So do we like Google again?"
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OzPeter OzPeter writes  |  more than 7 years ago

OzPeter (195038) writes "In light of the Maryland election, Princeton's Centre for Technology Policy has released a paper on the security risks of the Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine. From the summary: "For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates." and "We have constructed working demonstrations of these attacks in our lab." As a foreigner I can't even begin to understand how the USA can allow such systems to control their elections. It seems the only possibilities are negligence or explicit fraud — and I don't know which is the worst possibility."

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