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Obama Proposes 30-Day Deadline For Disclosing Security Breaches

StandardCell How about a law preventing SSN use for credit/ID? (125 comments)

Of all the laws that hasn't been put forth that is most sorely needed in the market, it's a law to prevent private companies from using SSNs for ID numbers, customer identification and credit granting. How many people have had to spend thousands of dollars and years in court trying to get their identities back and repair the damage to their credit because they know a name, DoB, address and SSN?

about two weeks ago
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Learn Gate-Array Programming In Python and Software-Defined Radio

StandardCell Not a fan of procedural languages syntax for HDL (51 comments)

Folks who do development with Python should be wary of using too many procedural definitions for algorithms, even if they can be converted to hardware. Main reason is the size of the state machines and data paths, and the efficiency of algorithmic implementations in hardware, as even the best synthesis tools need to be constrained for reasons of design frequency and implementation size (hence synthesis pragmas). Granted, the hardware has gotten much more powerful and yes I know Python has object-oriented elements, but the idea of inherent concurrency and expressed versus implied data path are the trickiest things about designing hardware with languages that most people use procedurally. My other concern is supporting formal verification tools to check that Python = Verilog netlist for RTL->gate. For us more experienced hardware folks, I wish there was more emphasis on VHDL or Verilog straight-up even with open source tools.

That said, it's great to see Chris getting this project off the ground. It'll be very helpful for the SDR community and I hope we see lots of good things come of it.

about three weeks ago
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Ontario Government Wants To Regulate the Internet

StandardCell An overregulated province anyway... (184 comments)

Ontario is so overregulated that actions like this are practically ingrained in the culture of bureaucrats.

The government has a monopoly on all liquor sales. You aren't even allowed to buy certain cough medicines unless there is a licensed pharmacist on premises, even though while they're busy in the back you can just grab the stuff off the shelf. All stores MUST be closed on certain statutory holidays even if there are people willing to work those days, and the store is fined heavily if it opens anyway.

All of this is, of course, theatrics designed to garner the perception of an effective government while the Ontario government debt has risen by a third or $90B over the last five years alone. And they're worried about regulating foreign OTT services? I predict spectacular failure as it has been for the longest time in the province.

about 5 months ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

StandardCell But you only have so many dollars... (197 comments)

...so who is going to pay for this extra feature vs. what we've got today? Are people even going to care if they hear in three dimensions versus on a single plane? Most people aren't because most people don't care about surround sound in the home, and most people can't tell the difference between even 5.1 and 7.1.

about 5 months ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

StandardCell Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (197 comments)

Again, you highlight the key argument here: how is the incremental cost justifying the incremental benefit? 3D did the same thing and I doubt the theater owners ever recovered their investment.

P.S. Thanks for your comments. They're very enlightening.

about 5 months ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

StandardCell Re:Won't work in most rooms (197 comments)

...and if Aureal had this 15 years ago, where's the money and why bother? Or is it like 3D that keeps coming back every few years as a fad only to go away again?

You're 100% right - all this has happened before, and all this will happen again.

about 5 months ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

StandardCell Re:Betteridge's law (197 comments)

You work for Dolby and want an Atmos mix of Dark Side of the Moon originally produced and mixed in an inherently planar format? What is there to actually gain? If it's just to take the original stems and mix them, the sound mixer is going to do that anyway before it's released. In fact, for most people, they will never use this feature and it will be a waste of bandwidth at a time when streaming media is quickly becoming a margin business and the vast majority of media is consumed in really poor environments with really poor reproduction equipment. As a mezzanine or mastering format, sure. For publishing? Not so much.

The ".1" is supposed to be the low frequency effects channel. Are you saying that a bandwidth-limited LFE has any other position in the EIA/CEA-861 speaker configurations? Do you even know WHY it is called a ".1"? (Hint: the channel is LPF'd)

More importantly, who cares when you need extra hardware? Most people don't buy A/V receivers and extra speakers, and what few are out there are improperly configured just as the article says. I can't see how one issue should be conflated with the other.

Finally: I've heard Atmos in the theaters. Unless the content is specifically produced to take advantage of height speakers, I stop caring about it very quickly since my other senses are also being inundated. This means most of the movie. Who knows how much money a theater operator has to spend to put this stuff in and if they'll get a single dollar more for it from the audience. Same thing happened with 3D and boy did these guys take a bath.

about 5 months ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

StandardCell Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (197 comments)

That isn't cinema Atmos, but consumer Atmos. There's a difference, especially in the way it's carried. If you doubt me, analyze the HDMI connection to the A/V receiver versus what is in a DCI-compliant box. Basically, there's a 5.1 or 7.1 channel bed and extra objects for the effects in 3D, but far fewer objects and the channelized mix is all you get. In a true object-based reproduction environment, the objects are all that should be used and that's not what's there.

about 5 months ago
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Auditors Release Verified Repositories of TrueCrypt

StandardCell Re:So, about those changes... (146 comments)

That was part of my little joke but of course that's all cynicism on my part at this point.

The only truly reliable idiot-proof encryption method is a one-time pad where you commit the key to memory or parts of it among more than one person. Not that practical compared to a mountable volume or full-disk encryption like the old TrueCrypt, but everything has a price.

about 7 months ago
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Measles Outbreak In NYC

StandardCell Public statement by the original study author (747 comments)

The best way to handle this is for the original author of the paper that started this anti-vaccination mess, Andrew Wakefield, come out and give a public statement indicating that:

1. Apologize for the fact that his study was flawed, and explain why.

2. That no other study has established any material basis in any respect for a link between autism and vaccines or their components.

3. The original funding for this supposed research was made by lawyers who were attempting to find reason to litigate against vaccine manufacturers.

4. That many people will now die of diseases that were nearly eradicated a mere 15 years ago similar to smallpox a few years before it was eradicated.

Put that as a public service announcement on every major TV and radio channel, and online as well, as widely as possible. Show pictures of what happens when people don't vaccinate, particularly to children, the elderly and immune-compromised individuals (e.g. transplant saved his/her life, now they die). Have him make this appeal over and over again until people get this.

Even if we don't get to 100%, we owe it to everyone around us. The public health costs are staggering, and the stupidity is mind boggling.

about 10 months ago
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Google Chairman on WhatsApp: $19 Bn For 50 People? Good For Them!

StandardCell Re:Startups Aren't Really Job-Creators In Practice (303 comments)

Aggregating $19B in wealth in the hands of 50 people plus a handful of investors is indeed not the way to create jobs. It slows down the flow of money within the broader economy. I'm sure those $20M homes in Woodside and Los Altos Hills and Seacliff are worth every penny.

These megadeals also have the effect of creating a startup lottery environment where anyone can put together a ten page business plan and the "trend du jour" and try to make out like bandits. This is what led to the first dotcom crash and will also eventually lead to the second crash at some point. Anyone who makes an alternative to this content with having the user watch ads in the background every ten app starts will murder Whatsapp because $0 is cheaper than $1.

I think it's also important to note that Eric Schmidt wholeheartedly approves of this deal because I suspect he thinks it's to the ultimate detriment of Facebook, and a blessing \for Google in some ways. Much like unbridled immigration is to existing workers in this country for his business.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Bruce Schneier Be Trusted?

StandardCell ...and it's come to this, hasn't it? (330 comments)

I guess people's paranoia with the NSA revelations have been difficult to swallow. Now everyone is slowly becoming suspicious of everyone else.

Anything is possible I suppose. To me, it was no surprise really. I do have to say that, having worked with individuals in the security community, the primary focus really is the safety of our way of life at the hands of those who would subvert it.

The problem comes when those of less character use the government apparatus for control, political or other purposes. It's the same reason police and military need to be kept separate - one enforces the rule of law, and one protects against enemies. When those lines are blurred, history has demonstrated repeatedly that individual rights suffer. The degree to which this happens is the degree of the moral compass of those at the helm of this extremely powerful surveillance apparatus.

I'm not sure how many true boy scouts are really left running the show up there, but I do know this: the more paranoid we get, the more we lose. All of this need not come to pass in this way. One of the most important things I learned in my time in this world was "trust, but verify" and it rings true today. You can still trust the message that Bruce Schneier has. We have to, for otherwise we will be consumed by our own paranoia. But to verify is probably the most important point. That's where openness and information sharing in the spirit of open source is paramount and what will lead us to the proper conclusion on this matter.

about a year ago
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Security Community Raises $12k For Researcher Snubbed By Facebook

StandardCell Nice effort, but sets a bad precedent (95 comments)

Obviously the large corporate machinery at Facebook has caught and chewed up some very nice researcher, and the community once again comes in to right the wrong.

The problem is, by third parties paying him, it sets a precedent for rewarding Facebook's bad behavior. Make no mistake - the same idiots that refused the payout and who whitewashed it by claiming a ToS violation will be the same ones watching this effort and wondering how much more they can get away with.

Ultimately, this is bad business practice for Facebook because this strategy will devolve into grey hats and black hats going for the jugular every time, and less white hats trying to do the right thing. Or maybe this just means people will realize on their own what I keep telling them - avoid using Facebook wherever possible. That will, unfortunately, be found out the hard way during the next big publicized data breach.

about a year and a half ago
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Why PBS Won't Do Android

StandardCell Android is a poorly managed ad and content discove (331 comments)

I work with all sorts of developers of media apps in the big media companies, and I can tell you that Android media player fragmentation across versions is utterly horrific. The support just for media stacks across versions has changed so much, and the DRM so utterly buggered up, that companies such as VisualOn and Nexstreaming have essentially stepped in and built an entire media stack in software that bolts into any built-in decoders in the hardware, and provides streaming media frameworks as well as optional DRM. PBS, being publicly run, can't afford licensing these frameworks wide-scale app deployment at the app level nor afford the development cost of dealing with every version of Android. Using HTML5 is even worse due to lack of full screen playback standardization and codec chaos. Remember that Android is ultimately an OS that is best for ramming ads and redirecting you to Google and friends content properties. That's the mantra over at Google corporate, just like Windows is at MS. Developers have enough to do their silly pop games and social apps and bringing people into the Google App Store and Google Play with well-integrated Google ad network support. Sadly, I'm too cynical to be surprised about PBS' problems here. iOS is much better - HLS encode the content, send to the CDN origin server, point the API at the m3u8 URL, and you're basically done.

about a year and a half ago
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DARPA Creates 0.85 THz Solid State Receiver

StandardCell Gain AT 0.85THz, *NOT* gain OF 0.85THz (84 comments)

Article summary is incorrect.

Sorry, EE major and I get annoyed reading this kind of thing...

more than 2 years ago
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Nationwide Test of the Emergency Broadcast System

StandardCell IPAWS and Common Alerting Protocol solve this (271 comments)

FEMA and the FCC had a big display for a solution to this problem at this year's National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. The system is called IPAWS or Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. It augments traditional broadcast-based EAS infrastructure with IP-based infrastructure and mobile using the Common Alerting Protocol. The FEMA guy told me that this is an ongoing effort to integrate all these systems but that it is recognized and it will take a few years, especially on integration with over-the-top content delivery. The press release is here: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=52880

more than 3 years ago
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Apple's iOS 4 Hardware Encryption Cracked

StandardCell They didn't crack the crypto, just the security (208 comments)

Folks have a hell of a time understanding the difference between security and cryptography, and the misleading sensationalist headlines don't help.

Cryptography is merely the study of hiding and unhiding information. It doesn't secure information. Security is about securing information from unauthorized access. These guys attacked the security of the device, probably through the protocol or through insecure hardware.

If the crypto itself (probably AES-256) had been broken, the NSA would have had some big problems on their hands due to the fact that the same crypto is used in the publicly-available Suite B algorithms.

more than 3 years ago
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Doctors To Patients: First, Do No Yelp Harm

StandardCell Report them to College of Physicians / Dentists (581 comments)

Any time someone gets one of these, report the doctor or dentist to their appropriate professional organizations, and claim that you felt coerced to sign this in order to get care. If enough of these are sent, this practice will stop. That, and post a review of that practice to Yelp and give them the requisite goose egg rating.

Also, doctors and dentists are asking patients to sign binding arbitration agreements. Be VERY wary about this, as functionally it is much worse than limiting public commentary.

more than 3 years ago

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