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The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant

gerf Re:Jurisdiction (173 comments)

Either way, there's a precedent. I've kept location services off on my phone, and now I've turned them on. I realize GOOG or others might use them, but the convenience factor has tipped the scales for me, for now.

about 3 months ago
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Siphons Work Due To Gravity, Not Atmospheric Pressure: Now With Peer Review

gerf Re:Actually it's both. (360 comments)

It's not atmospheric pressure, it's internally induced pressure due to buoyancy differences, which are normally created due to gravity and a connection that is rigid enough to withstand the internally induced pressure. If you have a closed system of two non-rigid containers connected by a rigid body, then the fluid will try to flow in the direction of its buoyancy. Helium balloons connected internally by a straw (even a curvy one) would try to fill the higher balloon, right?

So yeah, he's right that in the absence of gravity, a normal siphon will not work. But, if you took that siphon system on the ISS and put one end outside in space, and one inside, you'll have a siphon-like effect due to air pressure. Likewise, if you take two balloons of water with a rigid connector and submerge one in a pool of Hg, then that "siphon" will work against gravity. :D

about 4 months ago
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WhatsApp Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users

gerf Re:Not really true (116 comments)

Given these rates of increase, I fully expect 10 Billion active users by the end of the decade, and the stock price should reflect that.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Can I Prepare For the Theft of My Android Phone?

gerf Re:Physical security? (374 comments)

"Cellphone theft is a huge problem here in South Africa" is an understatement. Theft and rape are so common in SA that it's just appalling. Forth percent of women in SA will be raped in their lives, and 1/4 men admit being rapists. I think stolen cell phones are the least of their worries... http://www.frontpagemag.com/20...

about 6 months ago
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HTML5 App For Panasonic TVs Rejected - JQuery Is a "Hack"

gerf Re:Boycott (573 comments)

They may as well have added animated tiles as links for articles, and it wouldn't be much worse.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Cloud Service On a Budget?

gerf Re:I'll be the one to say it... (121 comments)

There are compression plug-ins for servers. He'll need a server on site as a buffer in case of a hiccup to the cloud at the very least. But if he's putting in a server, he can just do it all himself anyway.

about a year ago
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How Africa Will 'Leapfrog' Wired Networks

gerf Re:Wireless sucks (183 comments)

And it's cheaper, with Cell C competing against MTN and the likes, and winning. Prices have come down drastically since I've been there, to the point of making my Verizon plan look uncivilized.

about a year ago
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Workers at Chile's ALMA Telescope Strike Over Working Conditions

gerf Re: Apples to Apples. (274 comments)

I'm non-union and involved in installing new machines in a union business. They require us to hire union people to do the installation while we are restricted to supervision. So they do indeed do that.

As for higher wages across the board? Unions these days are pretty self-serving, even amongst their own. Thus you get two-tier wage levels or even three or four tiers in some cases. The older guys won't vote in lowering their $30/hr operator wages, so they cut more from the new guys who aren't voting yet, who end up getting around $14/hr with minimal increases.

1 year,4 days
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Xerox Confirms To David Kriesel Number Mangling Occuring On Factory Settings

gerf Re: Frightning photocopier (163 comments)

Actually, the CIA did bug copiers for a while. This exploit has nothing to do with that kind of exploit.

1 year,18 days
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FTC to HTC: Patch Vulnerabilities On Smartphones and Tablets

gerf Re:Bad summary. (111 comments)

And I'm still waiting on my ICS update for the Incredible 2 on Verizon. So while the Thunderbolt got ICS, some phones did not.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I De-Dupe a System With 4.2 Million Files?

gerf Re:CRC (440 comments)

doublekiller does it all for you, and it is free. gnore small files that often have false positives, select which folders to scan, and match hash and/or size and/or file name.

about 2 years ago
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Panetta Labels Climate Change a National Security Threat

gerf Re:Then build more nuclear power plants (397 comments)

I'm not an Obama supporter, but he has decreed that the navy use a certain percent if renewable fuel over the next few years.

more than 2 years ago
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Flying Car Makes Successful Maiden Flight

gerf It's not so much the VTOL i'd be concerned with (249 comments)

But bump and runs can screw you over. Any aircraft that is in any kind of collision needs to be inspected for airworthiness, especially if it involves the engine or prop. You don't want to lose power at 1000m after all.

So the jerk who backs into you in the parking lot and drives away without a word could really screw you over. The article doesn't say much other than the rear prop folds up, so maybe it has a really good cage around that?

more than 2 years ago
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After 244 Years, the End For the Dead Tree Encyclopedia Britannica

gerf I was thinking of buying a copy... (373 comments)

I loved having a set as a kid. Not so much to look up information, but to randomly peruse and get a general idea of what is important in the world. Wikipedia has a "random" feature, but I feel more likely to get some Manga cartoon reference than the article on Hadrian's wall. Now that I have kids, I wanted them to enjoy them as well, without burning out their eyes on computer/TV screens any more than they already do.

Then I saw that a new set is something like a thousand dollars, and even 10 year old used sets are quite expensive. Perhaps the printing quality warrants that kind of a price, but I wonder they couldn't have tried to do it cheaper before dropping that part of their business model altogether.

Or, this might sound like blasphemy to Britannica, instead of fighting Wikipedia, they could join them by collaborating on articles and cut down costs that way. Provide some needed quality photography to Wikipedia, and get something in return?

more than 2 years ago
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Researcher Claims Siemens Lied About Security Bugs

gerf Um, no, that's a BAD idea (46 comments)

The problem is not necessarily with Siemens. Industrial controls in general are not inherently meant to be accessible over large networks. They're designed to run reliably as they are, not with patches and updates. This applies to anything from Siemens/Fanux/Rexroth/Allen-Bradley/Mitsubishi to Cognex cameras to ABB/Fanuc/Kuka robots, or any little bastardized system in between.

Why not? Well, there is a ton of weird, unique software that runs on industrial controllers. They run some really embedded HMI (Human Machine Interface) software on top of, say, XP Embedded, or even NT4 or Win2k or some Linux flavor, or WinCE. If you start throwing out patches to those systems, there is a very very good probability that at some point, the system that you are updating will fail due to the update. Heck, Siemens updates regularly break its own software, much less Windows patches. If you try, and screw things up, you're forced to revert to some old dated backup or Ghost image stored in a filing cabinet on a CD-R or server if you're lucky. If you're not lucky, you call the vendor in to fix your broken system. Hopefully they are competent enough to have a backup from their last visit 6 years ago, and work from there, losing all your work in the meantime. So, you have machine downtime of hours, days, or even weeks if you're not lucky. How much does downtime cost? It depends on how many systems you took down, and the product. Conservatively, anywhere from $5,000 to $1,000,000 per hour.

What to do? You obviously can't push out patches. But, there is a lot of good that comes from monitoring machines, their productivity, uptime, faults, etc, remotely. By taking these systems off of an internal network, you also lose productivity in efficiency losses. So, you're forced to be the High Priest of IT and lock down a network like no other. No outside USB sticks, manufacturing firewalled off from the rest of the plant, and all kinds of restrictions that make users angry. It sucks, but it's possible. Unfortunately, small time manufacturers with their one part time learn-on-the-fly IT guy probably won't do it right. Perhaps this is where the DHS can come in to help, in the name of national security?

more than 2 years ago
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Doctors Recommend Against TV For Kids Under 2

gerf As compared to... (210 comments)

Back in the day, parents would keep kids sequestered in playpens so that parents could get chores done easier. While TV is probably not the best answer, is there ever a good answer to distracting kids so you can do laundry, make food, take a shower or other necessary tasks?

more than 2 years ago
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Skype Officially Available For Android

gerf What I'm wondering (286 comments)

As an American who travels for work, I am curious how this works when I'm in, say, South Africa or Uzbekistan. Verizon still (for now), offers an Unlimited Data plan in the US, which can be extended to an Unlimited International Data plan. If I couple this International Data plan with this app, will I or will I not be able to make Skype calls from other countries?

Seriously, this can be a godsend if I'm out of the country for months at a time. I just don't want to change my phone and incur all charges if it doesn't pan out. Ironically (or not?), Verizon employees are the least knowledgable when I ask this.

more than 3 years ago

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