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Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again

illtud Re:At last. (214 comments)

For a long time, I've been hoping for an OS where, by default, the apps cannot access anything outside of their private areas.


about 3 months ago

Can the NSA Really Track You Through Power Lines?

illtud Chrono-location via mains hum (109 comments)

There was BBC story a couple of years ago about the Met police in London recording the frequency of UK mains so that they can analyse the mains hum from recordings and compare the fingerprint against their records to accurately place the recording in time.

about 7 months ago

How Dumb Policies Scare Tech Giants Away From Federal Projects

illtud As a public sector procurer in the UK (143 comments)

I don't do projects anywhere near the scale of the article's examples, but we have to follow EU procurement rules.

I sympathise with the companies that bid for our projects, we have to advertise our procurements over certain limits (around $150k) throughout the EU. We have to be specific about what we want before we start (fairly impossible for off-the-shelf software solutions without unfairly exempting some suppliers) so the suppliers (or their salesmen) have to spend quite a bit preparing bids. Most of them will fail, so the winner has to recoup the cost of failed bids in any bids they win, so the're always looking to add costs to the contract.

I understand the reasoning behind the rules (stop people giving contracts to friends/family/golf buddies) but we usually end up paying well over what you know a local company could deliver for if you went direct to them and worked through a more agile process with fair billing. Having to control the costs of evaluating hundreds of bids from companies across the EU usually means that you set up a PQQ process to eliminate most small to medium shops that would probably be much better value.

I don't have an answer to how the process could be improved, but it's not great from either side.

about 9 months ago

Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

illtud Beta comment (2219 comments)

Slashdot is the comments - nothing more.
For comments to work for me, I have to be able to filter at an overall score (I do 3+, mostly)
I want a way to click and see lower-rated replies to a post I see.
I value seeing the ID of a poster.
Beta font is way too big, and too much wasted whitespace.
For your beancounters - lower ID members are probably worth a lot more ££. None of those are here for the stories.
I control an IT spend of around $1M (not large I'd guess amongst lower UID ./ IT managers) and learn a lot from ./, but from the other contributors, not the stories. This is probably one of very few places I take note of see targeted ads, and sometimes I follow through. (check how many times I've declined the 'no ads' offering).
I imagine that you've looked at the bounce rate of a random new reader who expects a fun story site with big pictures. Fine if that's what you want, but I'd be surprised if the revenue from that (competing with every other similar site) would outweigh the loss of my kind of reader. And going with the beta as-is, you would lose me to whatever slashcode site wins the exodus.

Just saying, but I appreciate the chance to do so.

about a year ago

Senators Propose Bill Prohibiting Phone Calls On Planes

illtud Re:what? (513 comments)

Who modded this +5?

Even the summary mentions this possibility: if you make a 'silent zone' then the airlines will make this a premium option that costs more. I'm not commenting on the merits of the bill, just that pointing out that a comment suggesting something that's mentioned in the acutal summary (I haven't RTFL) shouldn't be modded insightful.

about a year ago

NYC's 250,000 Street Lights To Be Replaced With LEDs By 2017

illtud Re:I wish they'd do it here. (372 comments)

This town in West Wales (Aberystwyth) has already done this on main roads - not just the lamps but the posts and housings as well. The're a great improvement - I'm about 100 yds from the trunk (main) road here as I type and I have to look closely to see if they're still on. The new lights are very directional (no light pollution) and they have a much better spectrum if you're walking along the road and the illumination seems much brighter. They replaced low-pressure (orange) sodium.

I'm sure that replacing the posts (6m ish tall) cost quite a bit, and I don't know what the efficiency saving is, but the payback must pretty short-term as the Welsh government doesn't have money to burn. It's been a great improvement here.

about a year ago

The Hail Mary Cloud and the Lessons Learned

illtud Re:Low intensity ssh brute-forcing. (99 comments)

I'm just posting to say I haven't seen:

>... Plonk.

For years. As in 15, at least. Wow.
Note that this is judgement-neutral, I'm just saying 'hi' to once-familiar term, this is judgement-neutral!

about a year ago

Stephen Colbert and the Monster Truck of Tivos

illtud This is new? (85 comments)

We've been doing this since 2007 (digitally) at the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. We have a licence to keep for the nation any broadcast TV that we recieve that meets our collection policy. We've been doing it on SVHS (and earlier technology) for decades before. We probably have an order of magnitude fewer channels than they have (UK Freeview - 50 TV & 24 radio) but scaling up the number of channels we keep in the buffer (two weeks) before programme selection wouldn't come close to the pricing mentioned in some of the comments here. We keep the full MPEG-TS as transmitted (so can use the raster subtitle streams if necessary) and ingest them into our Fedora-commons digital repository. We're moving to a version that OCRs the subtitles for improved resource discovery - at the moment we only use the EPG which we convert to our own metadata standard.

We use a commercial system, Imagen from Cambridge Imaging Systems, to capture and select, then our own workflows for technical characterisation, metadata transformation and ingest, but you could use MythTV or some other to buffer two weeks of the entire UK terrestrial output for a lot less than is being mentioned here. We will have a youtube-like interface (but with transcription searches from the subtitles) to search the tens of thousands of recordings that we hold, and it will incorporate digitised material from our own unique collections of film and video.

I'm sure that the BBC or other similar national broadcasters have monsterous systems that eclispe ours or The Colbert Show's - the system we're using was originally designed as one massive PVR for UK universities to try to save resources and share recordings amongst campus users rather than have each student download each progamme to their dorms (and uni storage).

about a year ago

Patent Infringement Suit Includes Linking URLs In an Email

illtud url in email from '94 (124 comments)

Late to the party, but I've got plenty of email from 1994 with urls in them, eg:

From XXX Thu Sep 29 15:57:01 1994
Subject: Re: your mail
To: XXX@XXX.uk (XXX)
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 1994 15:57:01 +0100 (BST)
X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.4 PL23]
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Length: 197
Status: RO

> What is the URL for the worldwideweb server on XXXX?


Illtud XXX...

I understand that the patent may cover automatic downloading of the url, and I don't have any html-formatted email from 1994, but nobody had html email clients then, thank ghod.

about a year and a half ago

The Amish Are Getting Fracked

illtud Re:I think he's dealt with other orthodox types (367 comments)

However, for whatever reason, the Talmudic interpretation has decided that electricity is fire. I'm not sure why, but that is what the orthodox churches teach. So, you aren't allowed to operate electric devices on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath), in particular your oven. Well that's pretty damn inconvenient in the modern world... So they find all kinds of "loopholes". You can get ovens that have timers longer than 24 hours. You set them up the day before, and they'll heat up (and down) at the prescribed times.

My oven (Bosch) has a 'sabbath' mode. I guessed it was something to do with this, but was suprised to see it in the manual - that's a pretty small share of their customer base that they've accounted for in their programming.

about a year and a half ago

Repo Man Director Alex Cox Plans To Edit Next Film With OpenShot

illtud Moviedrome (105 comments)

Alex Cox's work as a director lives on, but for UK cinophiles of a certain age, he's also remembered for his 'Moviedrome' series where he introduced TV sceenings of films (BBC2 sunday night, IIRC) with a pre-screening commentary. I certainly watched many classics for the first time on Moviedrome, and many films which weren't available on VHS or highly unlikely to be screened anywhere else on TV.

about 2 years ago

Repo Man Director Alex Cox Plans To Edit Next Film With OpenShot

illtud Re:Probably not the last B&W - but theatre onl (105 comments)

IMX is intra-frame only, and supported by ffmpeg. ffbmc is better (and easier) at it. It's a flavour of MPEG2.

about 2 years ago

British Library To Archive One Billion UK Websites

illtud Clarification for posterity (89 comments)

I'm pretty late to this story, but let me clear up some misunderstandings for posterity's sake:

Disclosure: I've been involved in this effort for at least ten years, I'm head of ICT for one of the UK Copyright Libraries (National Library of Wales), and this story goes way back to the Primary Legislation passed by the UK in 2003, and we've been working on the practicalities of this since before that legislation was passed.

* Yes, Internet Archive and others have been archiving web sites for many years. We're using their software for capturing.

* We've been collecting and archiving web sites by agreement with the web publishers for years via the UK Web archive project.

* What's different here is that the secondary legislation has been passed (in March) that has given the UK copyright libraries the mechanism (agreed with publishers) to extend legal deposit to digital publications, which includes websites.

* This gives the legal deposit libraries the right to add to the national legal deposit collections (the collection of all published material for the UK) digital publications, including ebooks, ejournals and websites.

* Until the 6th of April 2013, we did not have the right (under normal copyright law) to take a copy of websites without permission. Previously we had to request a written agreement from each website we archived to take a copy - obviously this does not scale very far.

* Under the new legislation, we will be taking periodic copies of the entire .uk domain and other websites in other domains which fall under the regulation (territoriality has been difficult to define, as you may imagine).

* The difference between us and the Internet Archive is intended to be that given the status as a national collection, the material that we collect is intended to be available in perpetuity. Our print collections go back centuries, and the intention is that the digital material we collect now will also be available in centuries to come. You can read about the distributed redundant storage here.

TL;DR : this is a legal thing, not a technical thing, and it's about a lot more than websites.

about 2 years ago

Bezos Expeditions Recovers Pieces of Apollo 11 Rockets

illtud Re:I'm glad somebody is doing it (119 comments)

Newspaper archives. Presumably there would have been plenty of newspaper coverage (or ads) for the tour. If NLNZ don't offer remote access to in-copyright newspaper archives, then they probably have an enquiry service that can look it up for you if you can't pop in to search them yourself. I'm assuming that there are indexed newspaper archives, but the enquiry service should be able to find our for you even if they have to flip pages themselves, your National Library is pretty good.

about 2 years ago

The Power of a Hot Body

illtud Re:Matrix (161 comments)

Termites nest have a strict regulated temperature (like 1 degree Celsius strict) without any ventilation or air-conditioners.

Termite nests have great ventilation!

about 2 years ago

Electrical Grid Hum Used To Time Locate Any Digital Recording

illtud Re:Great... (168 comments)

submitter here. In my original submission I made this point too. Editor obviously thought that wasn't worth mentioning.

more than 2 years ago

Electrical Grid Hum Used To Time Locate Any Digital Recording

illtud Re:Dupe (168 comments)

Submitter here. I saw the dupe in firehose - it wasn't posted at the time I submitted, and I didn't feel it picked up on the important part of the story - ie the time location of any recording.

more than 2 years ago

The Scourge of Error Handling

illtud Re:third option: callbacks (536 comments)

jQuery.ajax(url, {
success: function(data, textStatus, jqXHR){ ... },
error: function(jqXHR, textStatus, errorThrown)) { ... }

No return, no exception, the programmer decides how to handle it.

What is success/error here if not handling return values??

more than 2 years ago



Mains hum used to time locate any digital recording

illtud illtud writes  |  more than 2 years ago

illtud (115152) writes "Heard this on BBC Radio 4 last night, and I'm not sure what to make of it. It appears that the Metropolitan Police in London have been recording the frequency of the mains supply for the past 7 years. With this, they claim to be able to pick up the hum from any digital recording and tell when the recording was made.

I know the mains drifts in frequency, but I'm sceptical about a couple of things and I wondered if /. readers could help:

Does it really drift enough within a typical length of a recording for you to be able to fingerprint it from the frequency history?

Is the frequency totally constant across the UK grid?

If this is on the level, then hats off to them, I'm very impressed, and also surprised that they've publicised it. Note to future kidnappers — make your ransom tape outdoors on a battery operated device!"

Link to Original Source

DHS will ow vets UK air passengers to Mexico, Canada, Cuba

illtud illtud writes  |  more than 2 years ago

illtud (115152) writes "From April, EU passengers flying to Mexico, Eastern Canada or Cuba will have to submit their details at least 72 hours before boarding to the Department of Homeland Security for pre-flight vetting (as all passengers to the US have had to do for a while). If they find against you, you're not getting on the plane, even though you're not going to the US.

The Independent's (UK quality newspaper) has the story here:http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/planning-a-trip-to-canada-or-the-caribbean-us-immigration-may-have-other-ideas-7584912.html"

Link to Original Source


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