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Curiosity Rover Arrives At Long-Term Destination

ian_mackereth Awww! (33 comments)

Rover gets to his forebber home!

about 2 months ago
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Why Speed-Reading Apps Don't Work

ian_mackereth Re:Many methods to speed reading (92 comments)

So, there should be a fairly strong correlation between reading speed and IQ, assuming that there's no other factors like dyslexia or lack of access to reading material early in life?

Has that been tested?

Of course, practice is a big determinant in reading speed, and it's a feedback loop. I know people who read slower than they can talk, and they find reading for pleasure to be a foreign concept.

about 7 months ago
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Google Floats Balloons For Free Wi-Fi

ian_mackereth Re:In the end? (115 comments)

From Google's page:

A parachute attached to the top of the envelope allows for a controlled descent and landing whenever a balloon is ready to be taken out of service.

about a year and a half ago
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Smartphones Driving Violent Crime Across US

ian_mackereth Re:Typical criminal scum... (204 comments)

Thankfully, this AC is smarter than most petty criminals.

I witnessed one iPhone theft, a snatch and run from a bus. The owner set off after the thief but quickly returned to ask the bus driver (me!) to call the cops as the thief had a machete, and the phone owner very sensibly valued his skin more than the phone.

However, instead of just walking into the night before Security and the cops arrived, the thief went to the nearby train station. The security guards there, having been warned by my radio call, promptly apprehended the idiot and he's now doing time for assault with a deadly weapon. Oh, and for theft of an iPhone...

Think about the value of the stuff you carry around with you. If you're a man, maybe a nice watch, maybe some cash in your wallet (but less and less these days) and... your expensive smartphone. A woman might add some jewellery to that list, but probably not much day to day. So what else is a thief going to steal? Especially because there's less point in breaking and entering these days, since the old standbys of VCRs or DVD players are now worth almost nothing, and big-screen TVs are hernia producers!

about a year and a half ago
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US Unhappy With Australians Storing Data On Australian Shores

ian_mackereth Re:LOLWUT??? (386 comments)

Funny how Americans think that since breaking Enigma helped them win the WW2 so much, they are entitled to have the same advantage over the wole world now.

Umm... that movie where US troops secured the vital Enigma machine wasn't actually accurate. It was the Brits who stole the intact Enigma and the brightest of the Brits who cracked the code and, to a large extent, helped them win the war. (OK, having a whole lot of US planes and bombs and ships and tanks and stuff to DO something with the intercepted data was also quite significant, but the intelligence side of things was all down to the Poms.)

more than 2 years ago
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RFID Fingerprints To Fight Tag Cloning

ian_mackereth Re:full clone (59 comments)

well, they'll just have to clone that parameter too. Unless of course the industrial process used to create the tags makes each one of them a bit different, hence defeating the identification in the first place.

Yes, the individual nature of the devices is the whole point of the exercise.

No, that doesn't defeat the identification, it allows/enhances it. It means that, unless the copier can decrypt the data and encrypt with a new fingerprint, the fingerprint parameter on the copied device won't match the value generated by the reader using the physical characteristics.

about 5 years ago
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RFID Fingerprints To Fight Tag Cloning

ian_mackereth This is nothing new (59 comments)

This sort of physical characteristic fingerprinting has been done for years on magnetic stripe cards and EEPROM smartcards, so this is nothing new in theory, just in what physical characteristics are being measured.

In mag stripes, the magnetic remanence of the strip is different from card to card, in EEPROM, differences in the voltage levels and speed of reading of the cells are used.

The general principle is that it's no point having unbreakable crypto if the data can simply be copied to a new medium. Consider a card (of whatever type) that stores monetary value for public transport or photocopying or whatever: Put $100 on it and copy the data, not knowing which bits are what. Copy that data onto a heap of cards bought with $5 of credit on them and sell them in the grey market for $50 each and pocket the profit.

With this sort of technique, though, part of that encrypted data is a fingerprint based on the physical characteristics of the original card. The new cards will generate a fingerprint in the reader that doesn't match the original, making the copies invalid.

Sure, if you can crack the encryption, this method is useless, but that's not the point. Crypto can be pretty good and costs more than a cheap reader/writer to break to duplicate cards/RFIDs.

about 5 years ago
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eReader.com Limits E-book Sales To US Citizens

ian_mackereth Historical (182 comments)

The publishing business has always been set up in regions.

An author sells rights to publish his/her work to different publishers in different countries, and there's often either legal protection or trade agreements to prevent parallel distribution of editions from other regions.

So, a book might be published by Doubleday in the US but by Pan MacMillan in Australia, and the major book chains in Oz wouldn't carry the Doubleday version (some specialised genre bookshops might.)

This is almost certainly Fictionwise/ereader just catching up with the requirements placed on them by the publishers who provide their ebooks, possibly because the B&N purchase put them above the radar a bit more.

more than 5 years ago
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Best Wi-Fi Portable Browsing Device?

ian_mackereth Re:Older Palm Pilots (426 comments)

The TX has a reasonable battery life, especially given that your wi-fi access is likely to be in short and sporadic bursts, not 'always-on' like a cellphone.

The screen's the same res and similar size to an iPhone and the built-in browser's adequate, or you can run Opera Mobile for a few more bells and whistles.

Oh, and it apparently can be used for other stuff like movies, MP3s, addresses, tasks, ebooks, etc., etc.!

more than 5 years ago
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New iPhone Apps Help Drivers Beat Speed Traps

ian_mackereth Re:Radio stations did something similar before (330 comments)

This is common practice in Australian cities' radio stations.

The police originally complained and lobbied to prevent it, but then a clever top cop in Melbourne started getting his troops to call in reports of radars all over the place.

Not so many as to completely invalidate the system, just enough to make drivers who took the warnings seriously to think that there were ten times as many speed traps on the road as there actually were, and drive accordingly!

about 6 years ago

Submissions

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ian_mackereth ian_mackereth writes  |  more than 8 years ago

ian_mackereth (889101) writes "The protestant work ethic I grew up with has obviously 'stuck'

When I get mod points, I feel a real urgency to use them. Even when I'm busy and it's really not convenient to spend much time doing more than skimming, I'll make the time to read at -1 and reward posters who I think deserve it.

A call to metamoderate is less compelling, but I still feel guilty if I ignore it for more than a visit or two.

Responsibility sucks! 8-)}"

Journals

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Work ethic

ian_mackereth ian_mackereth writes  |  more than 8 years ago

The protestant work ethic I grew up with has obviously 'stuck'

When I get mod points, I feel a real urgency to use them. Even when I'm busy and it's really not convenient to spend much time doing more than skimming, I'll make the time to read at -1 and reward posters who I think deserve it.

A call to metamoderate is less compelling, but I still feel guilty if I ignore it for more than a visit or two.

Responsibility sucks! 8-)}

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