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FCC Boosts Spectrum Available To Wi-Fi

flatulus Time for a Pedantic Rant (73 comments)

Wi-Fi is not a wireless communications standard. IEEE 802.11 is the wireless communications standard. Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance - and industry trade organization. They do publish interoperability agreements and offer "certification" (required to use their trademarks on products), but these should not be confused with the IEEE wireless communications standard.

(rant done - going back to reading now...)

about 4 months ago
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FCC Boosts Spectrum Available To Wi-Fi

flatulus 23 years later and we get it! (73 comments)

I'd like to take a moment to memorialize a pioneer in this pursuit that probably none of you ever heard of. The name is Jim Lovette. Jim worked with me at Apple in the early 90's. He was a heart-and-soul devotee to the democratization of RF bandwidth for high speed data communications. With Jim's leadership, Apple drafted a petition to the FCC, known as Data-PCS. This was a proposal to allocate spectrum in the U.S. exclusively for use in data communications (as opposed to "voice only" which was the vogue at the time). The Data-PCS petition caused a lot of excitement, but did not result in anything earthshaking as an outcome. Still it started a movement of which this latest step is a grand one in the pursuit of "computing devices talking to each other" being equally important to "people talking to each other." Jim (and our team) were also early promoters of wireless LAN, which we all know today as WiFi. The IEEE 802.11 committee had just formed. Apple's early foray into wireless LAN preceded the availability of IEEE 802.11 (aka WiFi) products, and never made it to market. Apple chose instead to introduce their first wireless LAN products as 802.11b (11 Mbit/sec) WiFi. And over 20 years later, look what it has become?

Jim passed away in 2002, leaving us with a legacy of which few outside the cloistered Wireless LAN industry would even know he contributed so much. Thank you, Jim.

about 4 months ago
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Moore's Law Blowout Sale Is Ending, Says Broadcom CTO

flatulus Exponential growth (267 comments)

Moore's Law is an expression of exponential growth. All we are seeing is the logical conclusion of applying exponential growth expectations to a real world finite resource (i.e. the fact that atoms have an essential finite size). See Wheat and Chessboard problem for reference.

about 8 months ago
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For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives

flatulus It's TLER -- Re:Warranty isn't the only factor (270 comments)

"... but also, the firmware is different. They claim that drives intended for the consumer / SOHO market spend a lot of time retrying marginal reads before declaring an unreadable sector and sparing it. They say that SAN-class drives limit the retry time, because the array controller handles it more efficiently, since it has the big-picture view."

What you are describing is known as TLER or "Time Limited Error Recovery" (the Western Digital name for it, at least). See TLER

about 8 months ago
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U.S. Judge Grants Apple Injunction Against Samsung Galaxy Tab

flatulus Re:I'm confused (498 comments)

R'd the F.A. I don't see anywhere it says that a design patent is not a patent.

OTOH, there is USPTO which disagrees with you when they say:

"A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

There are three types of patents. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. ... Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant."

Note the three types: design, utility, and plant. Design is most assuredly a type of patent.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Future of Standing/Walking Workstations?

flatulus Re:Treadmill desk (204 comments)

I built one of these as well, except I added an extension arm off to the side and mounted the control panel on the extension. Otherwise, same outcome.

Now, if only I would use it...

more than 2 years ago
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Boeing Hydrogen Powered Drone First Flight

flatulus Re:The Hydrogen Luddites (160 comments)

Hydrogen will win the end, we just don't know how yet...

Wow - that is a "faith based" point of view if ever I've seen one.

more than 2 years ago
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Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition

flatulus Re:So.... (828 comments)

So police are all armed in the pursuit of killing as many citizens as possible?

more than 2 years ago
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Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition

flatulus Re:So.... (828 comments)

The solution is obvious, but not yet available.

We all simply need to carry phasers - set to "stun".

If only...

more than 2 years ago
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Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition

flatulus Re:So.... (828 comments)

I'll take a "shot" (pun intentional)

Think of it this way: I'd much rather a suicidal person put a bullet in their own brain pan than to have them swerve into incoming traffic (in which "me" == "incoming").

more than 2 years ago
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Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition

flatulus Re:So.... (828 comments)

For me a baseball bat works well.

Really? How many intruders have you scared away with your bat? Disabled any with it?

Or is it more likely that it works well in making you feel safe, even though you have never actually had to wield it in self-defense?

Could be either way, so I'm not saying you're full of crap. But from what you actually said, I don't have any evidence one way or the other...

more than 2 years ago
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Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition

flatulus Re:So.... (828 comments)

I once read the ACLU's position on gun ownership. The ACLU took STRONG pro-positions on things like freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, etc.

On 2nd Amendment, their website stated what was in essence "no position pro or con" (my wording - it's been a while).

In other words: "On some parts of the Constitution, we are Bold as Eagles! On the 2nd, we are Slippery as Weasels...."

more than 2 years ago
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Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition

flatulus Re:So.... (828 comments)

Kellerman and Reay: "Protection or peril? An analysis of firearm deaths in the home." N.E. Journal of Medicine, 1986

Has often been quoted as asserting that one is 43 times more likely to kill themselves or someone close to them than to kill a criminal in self-defense (somewhat paraphrased, but then that's the way it's been stated zillions of times by anti-gun types).

Of the 43 times factor, 37 was suicide.

In all cases, someone had to die to be part of the statistic (scaring or warning away, or even *wounding* an assailant got zero points in this study).

If you take out the suicides and just go with being 6 times more likely, one should then compare this to other ways one might die at home. I did this once (using CDC statistics), and gun deaths were trumped (don't recall by how much, but it was more than a few percent) by FALLING DOWN! (e.g. the stairs).

Try the math - at the least it would be amusing. And it might be enlightening.

This "guns are so dangerous" meme is a fabrication when viewed statistically. Every death is a tragedy. But tragedy happens a lot, and guns are not the majority of source of tragedy (notwithstanding tyrannical dictatorships, genocide, etc.)

more than 2 years ago
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Apple, Google: Battle of the Cloud Maps

flatulus Don't you get it? (179 comments)

The reason they don't make it easy to download an entire map has nothing to do with storage or bandwidth. It has to do with *tracking*.

Location Based Services -- Since we know where you are, we can suggest you turn right and have a pizza at the restaurant that pays us to steer customers their way. etc... etc... etc...

Google has a talent for fooling people into thinking that they are offering all these great FREE services out of the goodness of their corporate heart. On the contrary, those services are very profitable, and the way they accomplish all that money making is by knowing a WHOLE HELL OF A LOT about YOU.

Anyway, it's up to you folks. But don't bitch about not getting the whole free map thing - now that you understand why it is not in Google's or Apple's or Microsoft's (or fill-in-the-blank-megacorp-giving-away-services) to provide them.

That's my $37.00 worth (I'm old and that's about what 2 cents used to be worth when I was a wee one)

more than 2 years ago
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AT&T Microcell Disassembly; Security Flaws Exposed

flatulus Re:Ask Slashdot "how to spoof GPS" indoors. (82 comments)

Bingo - I posted on this earlier in this article (different sub-thread).

GPS is used to discipline the radio's oscillator to about 2,000 times greater precision than your garden-variety oscillator. This is NOT part of any serial port protocol. It is done with a dedicated logic signal, generally emitting one pulse per second.

Bad things will happen if the radio doesn't get rock-solid timing on this input. Like drifting out of your assigned RF channel and splattering on neighbor cells - oh and more important to you, having those neighbor cells splatter all over yours. Takeaway - everybody loses.

And then the lawsuits...

more than 2 years ago
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AT&T Microcell Disassembly; Security Flaws Exposed

flatulus Re:Improved Roaming (82 comments)

Hold your horses!

Yes you can probably come up with hacks to make it possible to user your box out of the "legal" area. Here's things to keep in mind:

1) AT&T may very well be watching the IP address from which your box is connecting into their cellular switching center. While nowhere nearly as accurate as GPS, they can certainly tell that you're in the Chicago area with your box, while your service is registered in Seattle... They could stop you cold on this.

2) The timing issue, while not so much a concern to you, the (agreement violating) user, it does have consequences. We are not just talking about "oh, it's 3:15pm, give or take a second". The timing they are talking about is actually "frequency accuracy". (you know, frequency and time are conjugate transforms) These devices have very strict frequency tolerances (used to be +/- 0.1 ppm when I was working on this technology, may be somewhat more permissive these days). GPS is the "gold standard" for disciplining your radio's local oscillator, and makes it easy to achieve the required tolerances. Bypass the "true GPS" accuracy with a hack, and your box's radio will drift out of channel. This may cause interference to surrounding (well behaved) radios, and may cause your quality of (cellular) service to suck as well.

3) There are legal reasons why AT&T ties the operation of your box to your "registered location". If you operate the box "elsewhere", you may very well be operating in a geography where AT&T has no license for that band. Now, AT&T can be held liable for violation of license. Think they're gonna take the rap without taking you down too? Even if so, enough of you "tinkerers" pull this shit and you can count on new criminal penalties being written into law - just for you!

So as fun as it might seem, may I caution you to find something else to hack? It won't make the world a better place if you "develop" these workarounds...

more than 2 years ago
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Australian WiFi Inventors Win US Legal Battle

flatulus The patent appears to be based on OFDM and coding (193 comments)

If you go read the patent, (US patent number 5,487,069), it appears that what they invented was an amalgamation of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex modulation, combined with a healthy dose of forward error correction, and a HUGE dollop of "in this case, and in that case, and in a score of other possible cases", such that one way or another, you're caught in the net. IMHO this is a well-written patent that would be quite difficult to avoid.

OFDM was quite the rage in the early 90's when this patent was filed. CSIRO's good fortune was that they happened to be working in an application area which saw phenomenal success (in monetary terms), and they got their patent application filed "just in time" (11/93) to be ahead of the pack. OFDM is the basis for 802.11a and 802.11g. It's probably also used in 802.11n, but I'm less familiar with that variant.

Also, FYI, OFDM is the basis for both WiMax and LTE.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding an IT Job Without a Computer-Oriented Undergraduate Degree?

flatulus Re:I did it - ( it's about reputation ) (504 comments)

This post sums it up.

A degree is reputation. It tells someone who doesn't know you from Jack that you accomplished something, and that what you accomplished is being acknowledged by someone (entity) that you *do* know.

Obviously, having a degree is always preferable to not having a degree, all other things equal. But it is just the first rung in the reputation ladder. Once you have been hired and work a while, you must demonstrate that you can produce, and do so with quality and in a timely fashion, and your peers/superiors will be happy to spread the good news. Even better, they will invite you to join them at other companies after they move on. After a while, who remembers whether or not you had a degree?

Spoken by someone who has been professionally developing software (communications/networking/real-time/OS) for nearly 40 years - with no degree.

Oh, and how do you get that first job without a degree? Beg! (it worked for me )

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding an IT Job Without a Computer-Oriented Undergraduate Degree?

flatulus Sarcasm alert (504 comments)

He was being sarcastic - doh!

more than 2 years ago
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Business Cards the Latest Internet Casualty

flatulus General Magic (243 comments)

While at Apple in the early 90's, I suggested this concept to the person in charge of developing what became the General Magic handheld product. My concept was exactly what Bump is today. General Magic mutated it a bit, calling it "Kiss and Tell".

If I had a nickel for every conceived invention....

more than 2 years ago

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