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The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

UnderCoverPenguin Re:I prefer a tablet for some things to a smart ph (279 comments)

Yes, the portability is a very good thing. Using a cover with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard, I mostly use it like a netbook that has a touch screen. The touch screen allows me to include simple drawings with my notes and provides easy (2D) navigation of PDF "prints" of complex diagrams. Some things, I still need a full laptop, but most meetings, the tablet is much more convenient.

yesterday
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The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...

UnderCoverPenguin Re:It'll never happen (202 comments)

i..e. Sufficiently intelligent beings who have learned to travel faster than the speed of light would be totally uninterested in visiting low life forms such as humans.

"Sufficiently intelligent" does not necessarily imply the wisdom to not exploit the resources of solar systems inhabited by "low life forms".

(If there's perceived value in the resources. If not, we're probably safe from them. But we don't know what might be valuable to them. Even without "replicators", advanced material science could make our resources not needed or not worth the trouble. (Our current push to develop alternatives to rare earth metals is an example of trying to make something "not worth the trouble" to obtain.))

yesterday
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Data Encryption On the Rise In the Cloud and Mobile

UnderCoverPenguin Re:It's just moving your trust to someone else (83 comments)

You could always use several layers of encryption, written by different groups

Encrypting something already encrypted has to be done very carefully, otherwise the data is less secure, not more. In the widely known 3DES, which was used as an interim upgrade to DES before AES, the second encryption is actually done with the DES decryption function, while the first and third encryptions are done using the DES encryption function.

And when layering different algorithms, it is possible for the weaknesses of one algorithm to exacerbate the weaknesses of another algorithm. This requires understanding how the algorithms effect each other.

Also, to choose algorithms wisely requires understanding the weaknesses of the algorithms.

The vast majority of potential users of encryption will have to trust more than a few experts and other third parties.

about a week ago
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Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

UnderCoverPenguin Give the option to change it (809 comments)

I want my fake engine noise to sound like a Jetson's flying car.

about a week ago
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The Camera That Changed the Universe

UnderCoverPenguin It was the press coverage that was the disaster (76 comments)

Despite the slight change in the curvature of the main mirror, Hubble's images were pretty amazing. It was the press and the politicians that called it a disaster. Fortunately, that didn't prevent NASA from sending a crew to install corrective optics and a better camera.

about a week ago
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Regular Exercise Not Enough To Make Up For Sitting All Day

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Limited power to change working situation... (348 comments)

Years ago, I picked up a $90, swing-arm monitor stand with keyboard tray. That holds my center monitor. When I'm doing routine documentation or coding, I can raise the monitor and keyboard and work while standing. My other 3 monitors can still be quickly consulted even while standing. Granted, I still have to sit for the intense multi-monitor design, debug or unit test sessions, but I generally need a break every hour while doing that. Most of the time, I'm switching between standing and sitting twice per hour.

about two weeks ago
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Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Not about mobile (489 comments)

Touch makes sense for phones and tablets. It does not for laptops.

For laptops (and even desktops) whether touch makes sense depends on the application. I've seen, for example, medical apps that work well on laptops and desktops with touch screen monitors. I've also seen DJ apps that, while designed for mouse control, are easier to use with a touch screen. And where I work, the "Prototype Manufacturing" lab has switched all their monitors to touch screen monitors (keyboards and mice are still available, but a lot of the time, the techs use just the touch screens).

about two weeks ago
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OpenBSD's Kernel Gets W^X Treatment On Amd64

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Very disturbed by tag "writeorexecute" (84 comments)

When C syntax was developed, the designers tried to limit the use of glyphs to those represented in 7-bit ANSI character code, which does not have a codepoint for "circle-plus" nor for a lot of other glyphs used in formal logic and in math.

about two weeks ago
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OpenBSD's Kernel Gets W^X Treatment On Amd64

UnderCoverPenguin Re:most of you will pretend you understand (84 comments)

But, really, it should be: !w || !x so that read-only, no-execute access is also valid.

Truth Table for this expression:


  X | F | T
_W__|___|___
_F__|_T_|_T_
_T__|_T_|_F_

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Any experienced teacher already deals with this (388 comments)

Kids often know how to use something, but not how those things actually work.

In these days of "teach to the test", seems that too many schools don't care about the "how", so don't bother teaching it.

I was a very curious kid. So was my daughter. And so are my young nieces and nephews. Curiosity isn't dead, but does seem to be highly discouraged.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Ends Mainstream Support For Windows 7

UnderCoverPenguin Re:But (640 comments)

I've grown to like the Start Screen and now prefer it to the craped and often poorly organized Start Menu.

I find it it easier to keep the Start Menu (and it's equivalent in LXDE/FluxBox/other in Linux) organised than anything like the Start Screen. Also easier to find less used programs. (I keep my most used programs in the "start menu" with less used programs in the cascades.)

about two weeks ago
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Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Airline anaolgy is incorrect (448 comments)

Even so, PBS is under attack because of taxpayer funding through various means.

PBS and public TV stations in general (also public radio stations) have been under fire for many years, now. Government funding for public broadcasting has been declining for a long time. Public stations have been increasingly relying on viewer/listener support and other private funding sources. The 2 public TV and 3 public radio stations near where I live get over 90% of their funding through donations from viewers, listeners and other private entities. According to friends of mine in other areas, their public stations are similarly funded.

I suspect most public stations have been preparing for complete loss of government founding for a long time, now.

about three weeks ago
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FBI Says Search Warrants Not Needed To Use "Stingrays" In Public Places

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Someone please aware me: (303 comments)

That is the first listed in the amendment: to be secure in their persons . That is how late 18th century English speaking people referred to personal privacy. Again, a matter of language, which keeps lawyers on all sides of court cases arguing over the meaning.

Your comment does highlight the concerns of the various people who wrote the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. On the one hand, some were afraid that not including rights would leave too much to interpretation. And others who were afraid that listing any rights would implicitly disparage/deny other rights that happened to not be listed. The compromise was to list some and state, via the 9th amendment, that the list was incomplete.

about three weeks ago
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FBI Says Search Warrants Not Needed To Use "Stingrays" In Public Places

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Someone please aware me: (303 comments)

In the English language of the late 18th century, the 4th amendment to the US Constitution is an explicit right to privacy:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In the era, "effects" meant "possessions". Indeed, that meaning is sometimes still used, for example "personal effects".

Also, in that era, "papers" was the common term for documents, because documents were "stored" on paper, which, in turn, was often stored in filing boxes or cabinets. The fact that documents are now more often stored and sent electronically should not diminish or block them from 4th amendment protections.

As for bulk data collection, back then, they had a very limited - compared to now - concept of that. They did not (nor could they reasonably have) foreseen anything remotely like the what is possible now. But the 4th amendment is still applicable even though the wording is outdated.

(I will also mention the 9th amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.)

Human nature being what it is, people, including law enforcement, will, when it suits the purpose at hand, choose to narrow or widen their interpretation of the constitution (and other laws). Thus, lawyers will continue to endlessly argue over the meaning of each word, letter, punctuation mark, etc, of the constitution (and other laws).

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Discover SS7 Flaw, Allowing Total Access To Any Cell Phone, Anywhere

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Hardware Security (89 comments)

Your friend is most likely lying. The phones in the switch (specifically for QC) would only hear one side of the conversation. If you hear both sides, there was an echo issue (and the conversation wouldn't continue between the two parties).

If the speaker was connected to a local loop, then it would hear both sides. (While I agree it should not have been connected to a local loop, I would not be surprised if (occassionally) it was.)

Phones designed for use with traditional land lines have echo-suppression circuits. As do the equipment at the switching office. This was done to avoid the cost of a third wire and because using either earth or electrical ground was too noisy.

An old design: http://www.epanorama.net/circu...

A somewhat modern design: http://www.epanorama.net/circu...

Also, very early telephone designs did not have echo suppression. I have one that one of my grandmothers bought at an auction (a certificate of legal sale was included with the phone). In theory, it is compatible with the current land line system, though I have never tried it. It is very similar to this: http://oldphoneman.com/images/...

about a month ago
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Startup Helps You Build Your Very Own Picosatellite On a Budget

UnderCoverPenguin Re:How much is the launch? (21 comments)

TFA claims US$20000. It also stated that http://www.50dollarsat.info/ was launched on a Russian Dnepr-1. Presumably as one of several secondary payloads

about a month and a half ago
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Ford Ditches Microsoft Partnership On Sync, Goes With QNX

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Great. More touchscreens. (233 comments)

Nothing like saying "You have a tape player, that is what you have, that is what you get, you can't upgrade"

Actually, I got that when I bought my current car, new, from the dealer. I got the version with the 4 cyl engine and the "comfort option package". When I asked to upgrade the CD-only radio to one with both CD and tape, I was told that that was only available for versions with the 6 cyl engine. I then said "Well, you have replacement units for service, why not just "service" my radio by replacing it with the better unit?" They said the OEM does not allow them to do that.

Admittedly, it would have cost more than buying an FM adapter (which I did) to use with a portable tape player, but would have been a lot less hassle.

about a month and a half ago
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Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:No (545 comments)

Note, that employers can deduct hours from your vacation pool for less than either 8 hours a day worked, or 40 hours a week, can't remember which, but they can't dock your pay if you are exempt

Many of the people I know who work for other companies are exempt from overtime pay, but do get docked pay for less than 40 hours per week (or 80 hours per 2 weeks). Vacation time is only used for pre-arranged (and approved) time off. Sick hours are only used when they call in sick - before their normal start time.

For me, the time short goes against my "sick hours" before it goes against my vacation hours.

about 2 months ago
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Do you worry about the singularity?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:No, it's not even possible (181 comments)

unthinking acceptance of whatever we are told by professors, "science advisors", and people in white coats carrying clipboards.

Unfortunately, a large and growing number of people have gone to the opposite extreme - unthinking rejection. And not just of science, but intelligence in general. How long before the "Examination Day" scenario is upon us? (http://education.ky.gov/school/documents/examination%20day%20by%20henry%20seslar.docx)

about 2 months ago
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Do you worry about the singularity?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:No, it's not even possible (181 comments)

i doubt we will create true ai in my lifetime

Doesn't have to be "true AI" to be very disruptive - or to create problems for us carbon based intelligences.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Citizen Science: Who makes the rules?

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  about a year ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "At MakeZine, David Lang talks about the some of the legal issues around a planned, amature science "expedition", as well as some other amature science projects.

In the not too distant past, most science was amature. Over the past 20 or so years, society has been making it harder for amatures to do real science despite the technical costs falling. With the recent upswing of the "maker movement", amature science has seen an increase as well, but is running into an assortment of legal issues.(An exception is astronomy, where amatures continue to play important roles. Of course, astronomy doesn't involve chemicals or other (currently) "scary stuff".)

Can amature science make a come-back? Or are the legal obsicles too entrenched?"
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Review: Sintel

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  more than 4 years ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "Last night, I watched Sintel (sintel.org). Technically, it was a beautiful showcase for Blender. The models and animations were very well done. The fight and chase scenes were excellent. I think the movie can stand on its own among professionally made short movies of similar style and genre. Story-wise, the plot was weak and predictable. Also, the end of the final fight was too bleak and disturbing for the likely audience. Spoiler: I think the ending would have been better if the woman had been killed by the dragon. Unfortunately, I don't have the skill needed to re-do the ending myself."
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Stage 1 works perfectly, Stage 2 fails to seperate

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "In the 3rd launch of Falcon 1 (http://spacex.com), the first stage, with the latest version of the Merlin engine, works perfectly. Unfortunately, the second stage failed to separate. (http://www.spacex.com/updates.php) Hopefully it was only a minor setback, despite the huge cost."

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