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"Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Phreakiture Re:Boston Representing (396 comments)

One of the local weathermen (in the Albany, NY area) was laughing last night over the fact that the four different predictive models they use had thrown four radically different outcomes, ranging from 0.5" to 21" for our area. It isn't even that there was an outlier amongst the models -- the outcomes were fairly evenly distributed. Looking at it right now, it looks like their in-house model, which predicted 0.5-3", was the correct one for this storm.

Now, that said, it generally looked like this was going to be south and east of us, and that NYC was going to get clobbered. It seems to me as though it just went a bit further east than originally anticipated.

3 days ago
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For New Yorkers, Cablevision Introduces a Wi-Fi-Centric VoiP Network

Phreakiture Re: so doing what i have been doing for years (43 comments)

This was kind of what I was thinking. Interesting idea, but Comcast's price is too high when you consider the existing competition.

3 days ago
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For New Yorkers, Cablevision Introduces a Wi-Fi-Centric VoiP Network

Phreakiture Re:Massively overpriced (43 comments)

It means the same thing as a high-definition TV antenna -- nothing.

3 days ago
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Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

Phreakiture Re:why the fuck (101 comments)

I don't see this as any different than any other MVNO deal. All four major carriers already have a number of deals with fifth-party carriers (e.g. TracFone, Cricket, StraightTalk, Republic Wireless, etc). and if Google wants to get into the MVNO business, then it makes perfect sense to sell to them. Why? Because if they don't buy from you, then they'll just buy from someone else.

MVNO deals produce less revenue per minute or megabyte than retail sales, it is true, but they also take a slice of the risk of dealing with retail customers off of the network owner and put it onto the MVNO. Think of it as bundling in reverse.

about a week ago
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Illinois Students Suspected of Cyberbullying Must Provide Social Media Passwords

Phreakiture Re:Bullshit (323 comments)

More importantly, if this is a violation of TOS, does that not mean that demander, if using said credentials to log in, is violating the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, and committing a crime?

You fool! Don't you realize that the CFAA only applies to us mere mortals?

about two weeks ago
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Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

Phreakiture Re:In other news... (290 comments)

Taken from the manufacturer's website (emphasis added):

Wall Penetration

RANGE- R will penetrate most common building wall, ceiling or floor types including poured concrete, concrete block, brick, wood, stucco glass, adobe, dirt, etc. However, It will not penetrate metal. RANGE-R will generally penetrate up to one foot of wall thickness without adverse effects. While small metal objects embedded in walls (i.e. rebar, conduits, etc.) usually do not inhibit operation, a large enough metal object can impair operation. When this happens, the wisest course of action is to make more than one scan from different locations (move a few feet) for confirmation. If a porous wall is saturated with water, performance can also be degraded due to excessive absorption of the radar energy.

It seems a layer of sheet metal just behind the drywall would be a Good Thing. It may resolve some other problems as well.

about two weeks ago
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Marriot Back-Pedals On Wireless Blocking

Phreakiture Re:Don't forget there's always a workaround (179 comments)

Bluetooth is also a possibility but I think it would be slower than USB.

I can confirm tha tyou are correct on both points: It works for this purpose, and it is slower than USB. It might solve the tablet problem, though. I say might because i haven't tried it, but I have tried laptop to phone via BT.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Phreakiture Re:Sorta related... the teletype machine (790 comments)

Lucky you.

About a year ago, I started getting fax calls to my phone at all hours of the day and night. Worse, they were from a large number of different sources. As if that weren't bad enough, most of these sources were international, leading to garbled CID, if any CID at all, making it impossible to put a block on them (the form to block a number wouldn't accept any numbers not of the US-standard NPA-NXX-XXXX format). It was fucking ridiculous.

about three weeks ago
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Human Eye's Oscillation Rate Determines Smooth Frame Rate

Phreakiture Re:It's in the image (187 comments)

There has been a trend in the last decade or so for the shutter speeds to be faster, plus the heavy use of CGI has resulted in razor-sharp images where motion blur would have been better.

To demonstrate this, and that it spans genres, Blade Trinity and Drumline come to mind immediately. In the former case, the CGI was too razor-sharp when viewed in a cinema, and it made it difficult to watch. In the later, there are scenes where the band are performing in bright daylight, and the fast shutter speeds made the movement of the conductor's arms and baton look jittery.

about a month ago
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Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

Phreakiture Re:Easier way to stop wrecks (285 comments)

This works until the city council sees the potential revenue strem form red light cameras. Then the cameras come, and the revenue stream doesn't materialize. Then they start ratcheting down the yellow-light hang time. Then away goes the delay you are talking about (which we have here in New York as well, except for very old lights at some intersections) and then you have a red-light trap.

The City of Albany, NY has just decided to put in red light cameras and then wrote up the budget based on the anticipated revenue. I have to drive through Albany to get to work, and I am grateful that I'm on the highway and not in the clusterfuck that this will very quickly become.

about a month ago
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Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

Phreakiture Re:Hi-Res Image? (150 comments)

Agreed. The image on that page reminds me of all of the PowerPoint slides that have been introduced with the words, "I know you can't see this, but . . . "

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

Phreakiture Re:Aerial or underground ? (516 comments)

There's a second question that has to be asked as well. In some neighbouhoods, the electrical service is run through the back yards, rather than the front. This was done for obvious aesthetic purposes, but the side-effect is that it is exceptionally difficult to keep those lines maintained.

Then there's a third question: what is the level of the local infrastructure? 2400V? 7200V? 13.2kV? Single-phase or three-phase? While a 2400V single-phase neighbourhood can have more stable power than a 13.2kV three-phase one, the likelihood is the other way around because the 2400V wiring is probably older.

For the record, my neighbourhood is 13.2kV single-phase, above ground. It is not 100% problem free, but I would estimate it to be well over 99%, based on my desktop computer without a UPS rarely being found in a powered-down state.

about 2 months ago
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NSA Director Says Agency Shares Most, But Not All, Bugs It Finds

Phreakiture Re:That sounds nice... (170 comments)

Alright, fair enough.

about 3 months ago
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NSA Director Says Agency Shares Most, But Not All, Bugs It Finds

Phreakiture Re:That sounds nice... (170 comments)

Not sure why you're currently modded redundant as I came to say pretty much the same thing.

That sounds like something Yogi Berra would say.

about 3 months ago
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American Express Seeks To Swap Card Numbers For Secure Tokens

Phreakiture Re:Evolution of payments (130 comments)

Perhaps so, however, there was no assumption in my model that the device was a smartphone, nor any assumption that it had any kind of connectivity. Your model requires it, while mine would still allow for the payment device to be a card if that is the user's preferred option.

There is also no reason why these two approaches couldn't be implemented on the same POS system.

Now, the obvious question is why am I not requiring it to be a phone. The answers:

  • You want to encourage participation from those who do not have smartphones, or even phones at all, because the magstripe cards they are currently carrying are now demonstrated to be a security disaster. Enabling them to use a smart card instead keeps the object familiar.
  • You want to allow for folks (like me) who do not want to give their credit card details to Google or Apple.
  • You want to prevent your carrier from dictating your options, something you can put safely out of their control if you can use a device other than your smartphone.
  • You want to have options that are less hackable . . . kind of the point. A contact card sitting in your wallet is powered down. Short of dissection, you can't hack something that is powered down.

about 3 months ago
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American Express Seeks To Swap Card Numbers For Secure Tokens

Phreakiture Re:Evolution of payments (130 comments)

  • Merchant advises me of the total.
  • I give him cash equal to or greater than the total.
  • He gives me change equal to the difference between the total and what I gave him.

Now, if you want an electronic approach, how about this:

  • Merchant advises me of the total.
  • I take a device, could be a card, could be a phone, whatever, and authorize an amount. Optionally, this may (i.e. should) involve the entry of a passcode of some sort. This should be entered into my device, not the POS terminal.
  • I connect the device to the POS terminal (could be a plug, slot, wireless, NFC, whatever - not important).
  • The POS terminal assembles a transaction record consisting of time, date, merchant ID, terminal ID, amount, sequence number. It passes this to my device.
  • If the POS terminal and my device agree on the amount, my device will add my account number to the transaction record, and then cryptographically sign the record.
  • The signed transaction record is passed back to the POS terminal and sent to the processor.

If the amounts don't match, no signature, preventing overcharges. If the transaction is replayed, the merchant ID, terminal ID and sequence number collectively will function as a transaction ID and it will be recognized as a dupe. If any of the transaction details are altered, the signature doesn't match. If the vendor tries to do two transactions at once, the device won't sign both without me reauthorizing. If the vendor wants or needs to validate off-line, the signature can be checked using the device's certificate, the signature of which can be checked with a cached CA cert.

Now, because this approach is agnostic as to whether the device is a card, dongle, phone or whatever, and whether it plugs in, taps or even just flashes a QR code on a screen, I can see the approach being adapted to both bricks-and-mortar and on-line purchases. The only thing I can think of that we do with our credit cards now that might be tricky in this system would be recurrent payments, but those could be handled by pre-authorizing a year's worth of transactions or something similar.

about 3 months ago
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"Car Talk" Co-Host Tom Magliozzi Dies At Age 77

Phreakiture Re:Don't understand (82 comments)

Yeah, and I heard that in Tom's voice as I read it.

about 3 months ago
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"Car Talk" Co-Host Tom Magliozzi Dies At Age 77

Phreakiture Re:News for nerds? Yes, in fact, it is. (82 comments)

Yes. I was actually really interested in the one where they had ten envelopes that collectively held $1000, and the puzzle was to figure out how to distribute the money between the envelopes so that you could select any whole-dollar amount by picking the right combination of envelopes. The solution, of course, is to think in binary. That's pretty nerdy.

about 3 months ago
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Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Phreakiture Re:Good luck with that. (558 comments)

Yes, this is akin to saying that they accept no major credit cards, but that they will happily accept applications for a store card.

about 3 months ago
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Tesla Teardown Reveals Driver-facing Electronics Built By iPhone 6 Suppliers

Phreakiture Re:Value (158 comments)

TFH says it was built by Foxconn, but TFA does not. TFA says it was built by a third party like the way Foxconn builds for Apple.

about 3 months ago

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