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FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

dougmc Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (217 comments)

Current guidelines already include rc aircraft. The only difference here is 'commercial.' The FCC has guidelines for non-commercial use, but haven't done anything for commercial use.

And the "guidelines" they have for this non-commercial use of R/C planes that you're referring to says nothing of commercial or non-commercial use, and it's *advisory* -- not binding.

The FAA is basically just making up their rules as they go along, and they can't even bother to write them down so that people will know what the rules are. Instead, people get letters from the FAA saying that they're breaking the rules. Now, from that, people have sort of deduced what these unwritten rules are now, but it's still messed up.

Which is probably what prompted this ruling against the FAA ... they can't enforce laws that they haven't even made yet. (That said, they continue to try, and other courts may agree with them. But they could fix this by actually writing down their rules and making them official.)

about a week ago
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Comcast PAC Gave Money To Every Senator Examining Time Warner Cable Merger

dougmc Re:If this is not a bribery then I don't know what (133 comments)

But they didn't rule on if it was absurd or not. They ruled on if it was prohibited by the Constitution and other laws, and found the answer to be "no".

about two weeks ago
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Comcast PAC Gave Money To Every Senator Examining Time Warner Cable Merger

dougmc Re:If this is not a bribery then I don't know what (133 comments)

Comcast isn't quite a monopoly, and won't be even if they've merged with Time Warner. That said, the number of choices for cable/internet/phone to a specific person tend to be pretty small ... and sometimes the number of choices is one, but often it's two or three. For example, I live in the suburbs of Austin, and can get service from Time Warner, AT&T, Direct TV and Dish Network. Now, the last two are really only good options for cable and not phone/internet, but even so, there's still two choices for that. And Grande is available in some parts of town (but not where I live), and Google is coming too.

And that said, if enough people get pissed off at a true monopoly, the government has been known to step in and tear them apart. They certainly want to avoid that.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast PAC Gave Money To Every Senator Examining Time Warner Cable Merger

dougmc Re:If this is not a bribery then I don't know what (133 comments)

Indeed, our own dear supreme court asserts the view that this sort of activity does not even create the impression of impropriety...

No, the view that they asserted was that it did not violate the Constitution, not anything about the "impression of impropriety".

For the most part, the Supreme Court doesn't rule on if things are right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust -- they rule on if they're allowed or prohibited by the Constitution (or other laws, but most of the time they seem to work based on the Constitution.)

about two weeks ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

dougmc Re:Good for you. (641 comments)

Yet, there is nothing that will protect you against the amount of 0 days XP is going to be vulnerable to.

There's nothing that will protect you against the amount of "0 days" that Windows 7/8/2008/whatever is going to be vulnerable too either. That's what "0 days" pretty much means -- it hasn't been fixed because the people who would fix it have just learned about it, or not learned about it yet at all.

Now, granted, at least if a "0 day" hits Windows 8, Microsoft will probably make a patch for it after a while, where they won't for XP ... so it should eventually be fixed after it's hit "1 day" or "20 day" or "296 day" or whatever status where XP wouldn't ... but don't go thinking that keeping up to date on patches will stop "0 day" exploits.

about two weeks ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

dougmc Re:Good for you. (641 comments)

Not turning the box on would protect 100% of users but that doesn't make it a viable solution

So what?

That may not be a viable solution, but what he's doing is. He has a usable computer, more secure than most, that does what he needs it to do.

You aren't trying to claim that what he's doing isn't a "viable solution", are you?

And even if he did upgrade ... he'd probably still want to do all that stuff.

about two weeks ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

dougmc Re:Good for you. (641 comments)

... and yet his efforts will probably stop 99.9% of the crap that affects "modern" Windows versions with their clueless users.

Installing Windows 7 or 8 wouldn't make his job much easier or make his computer much more secure.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

dougmc Re:"Free" Windows (387 comments)

The problem is it has no real relationship to the Windows operating system that users relate to.

Actually, it does.

The Windows 8 "metro" UI is very similar to what the Windows phone uses (and that's the term they use, so it's why I used it.) And it gets a *lot* of flack on a desktop, and rightfully so -- as you said, it doesn't do windows (the ui feature) at all and each app is full screen. Which is great on a phone, but kind of silly when you've got a 23" monitor or two and all the app is doing is telling you the time.

But other than the Metro UI, Windows 8 is very like Windows 7, and indeed ... Windows 8 on a PC is likely acceptable for somebody familiar with Windows 7 if you install Classic Shell and never go into the Metro UI stuff.

Now, perhaps the government shouldn't have given Microsoft a trademark on that word, but that's not Microsoft's fault, and the PTO gives out lots of trademarks on generic words.

But if your biggest complaint about Windows 8 and the Windows phone OS is that Microsoft should have picked a better name ... that's high praise, indeed. Most others have much more significant complaints than the *name*.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

dougmc Re:"Free" Windows (387 comments)

did you ever try the Compaq iPaq?

Yes, I did.

It's been a long time, but I remember the interface being OK, but the hardware being what was wonky -- things wouldn't work after going to sleep and resuming, for example.

The Windows phone I have is way, way more functional than that thing ever was, however.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

dougmc Re:"Free" Windows (387 comments)

Windows on a phone works pretty well -- I picked up a Nokia 520 because it was $40 and why not, and it's actually quite decent.

The tiles based interface works quite well for a small device like that. I certainly don't like it on a PC with a big screen (or two), but for a little screen it works quite well.

In fact, the only real problem I had with the OS is that there aren't many apps available compared to iOS and Android.

about three weeks ago
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Is Weev Still In Jail Because the Government Doesn't Understand What Hacking Is?

dougmc Re: No. (246 comments)

Snooping on plaintext is not snooping at all.

That's a pretty creative position.

So if I pick up another (analog, wired) phone in the house and listen to somebody else's phone conversation, that's not snooping? It certainly used to make my sister upset ...

How about if the government adds some wiring to listen to these conversations back at the phone company? That's not snooping? (Hopefully they had a warrant for it, but that's another matter.)

Now, if my sister was talking in pig Latin rather than plain English, would *that* elevate it to snooping? Does it matter that I can decrypt pig Latin without additional hardware in realtime as long as the data rate is relatively low?

about 1 month ago
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FBI Has Tor Mail's Entire Email Database

dougmc Re:The government = zombies (195 comments)

I'm not sure your analogy really works here.

If the humans were well baricaded in a place and they remained safe there from the zombies ever after ... it wouldn't be a very entertaining movie.

about 3 months ago
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Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

dougmc Re:Laws to protect us from drones? (78 comments)

There's a huge difference between "it would be hard to find out who to charge with a crime" and "it's legal".

And yes, if a object crashes into your house and damages it, the owner or operator is probably liable for the damages. This is not specific to unmanned aircraft -- it applies to manned aircraft and even to things like cars or errant golf balls too.

In any event, I'm no lawyer, but my advice would be to not fire at aircraft flying above your property, no matter how low they may be, how justified you may feel you are or how unlikely you think it is that they could prove it was you. A smarter plan of action would be to call the police if it's causing a problem.

about 4 months ago
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Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

dougmc Re:Laws to protect us from drones? (78 comments)

It's not. Those permits were a joke, possibly literally.

And even if that city says it's OK because you have a permit, that won't override the state or federal laws that prohibit firing at aircraft or destroying other people's property. (It might override local ordinances against discharging of firearms in city limits, for example, depending on how it was written and what the local laws are, however.)

about 4 months ago
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Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

dougmc Re:No regulations required, just permissions (78 comments)

That law was a joke. At best it would protect you from municipal ordinances against shooting at unmanned aircraft, but would do nothing to prevent state or federal charges, or a civil lawsuit.

The FAA has a strong interest in keeping people from firing weapons at aircraft, and some city in Colorado isn't going to override that.

about 4 months ago
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Intel SSD Roadmap Points To 2TB Drives Arriving In 2014

dougmc Re:5x price differential at any time (183 comments)

I notice that flash is currently goign for about 50 cents a GB and disk about 10 cents.

The $0.50/GB for flash is for the very cheapest SSDs available, and only when they're on a good sale. More likely is $0.75/GB on the low and, and it goes up from there.

As for hard drive prices, the lowest is a good deal cheaper -- you can find 3 TB external drives for around $100 now if you wait for a sale, so that's $0.03/GB. Of course, the prices go up from there, and enterprise level drives are a whole lot more.

(One thing I don't understand, is now external drives are cheaper than internal drives. The external drive is a case around an internal drive -- so you'd expect it to cost more, not less, yet they've been more ever since the floods ...)

about 4 months ago
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How Silicon Valley Helped the NSA

dougmc Re:Strange (163 comments)

This fascistic "only following orders" mindset really needs to be nipped in the bud. America understood that it was unjustifiable in the 1940s, but it's their first refuge now.

America learned that it was unjustifiable only in the very, very most extreme cases in the 1940s.

If your commander orders you to put a bunch of people into a room and fill it with cyanide gas and you do it ... you might be held accountable for that years later, maybe. (i.e. only if your side loses the war, and you're one the folk they can track down and extradite.)

But if your orders don't involve killing innocent, unarmed, non-threatening people in cold blood -- America expects you to do what you're told. And really, even if your orders do involve killing innocent, unarmed, non-threatening people in cold blood -- you're expected to do what you're told too.

If your military commander orders you to do something, and you don't do it -- bad things happen to you. Now, there is a small chance that years down the road the courts will vindicate you if you decided not to murder a bunch of people -- but if all you did was protect somebody's right to privacy? Yeah, you're going down.

I do agree, the mindset has issues, but our military commanders expect their orders to be carried out, and dissent is only tolerated in the most extreme cases (cases that should never happen, as such orders should not be given.) But if the order is to tap some phones or sniff some networks ... if you refuse to do it, well, you'll get fired and they'll get somebody who does. And you won't be vindicated in the courts, you'll just be blacklisted to some degree in trying to find new work.

about 5 months ago
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How You Too Can Be Shut Down By the Feds For Flying Drones

dougmc Re:I am a pilot... (195 comments)

No, there is no official definition of "drone". The FAA uses different terms -- they don't call them drones. The media calls them drones (often incorrectly), but the FAA has more specific terms that they use.

about 6 months ago
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How You Too Can Be Shut Down By the Feds For Flying Drones

dougmc Re:I am a pilot... (195 comments)

That said: This hasn't been a problem. I know of no cases of RC to full sized aviation mid-airs.

Here's one for you.

I imagine they happen with some regularity at places where R/C and manned aircraft share the airspace -- for example, at Torrey Pines before R/C use was banned (not sure what the current status is.) Of course, nobody was arrested in those incidents and I don't even know that there were any injuries -- but there were some collisions.

about 6 months ago

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