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Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

jaa101 Almost Beyond Living Memory (211 comments)

The saddest part about this is that soon, probably, we'll live in a world where there's no living memory of what it's like to walk on another world. Armstrong and his successors are no longer young and none of the projects to return to the moon or to go to Mars look likely to happen quickly enough. Who in 1972 would have thought that they were watching the end or an era instead of the beginning? I don't think anyone's made it past 1000 miles up since then.

about 2 months ago
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Eyes Over Compton: How Police Spied On a Whole City

jaa101 Re:Is it really much more than goes on already? (190 comments)

This system is going to see plenty of things that aren't "in public", even without peeping in windows. What is your expectation of privacy in your backyard? Could there be a constitutional up-side in the US though? Maybe everyone will be able to have their cases thrown out due to the warrantless surveillance conducted on them prior to their arrest.

about 5 months ago
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Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

jaa101 Re:Perjury? (306 comments)

Do we know this is the result of a DMCA request? Doesn't Youtube give studios like Sony an interface to take down what they want? So then it's back to being as annoying as hell but not legally actionable in any way :-(.

about 6 months ago
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Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

jaa101 Tried Before; Doesn't Work (364 comments)

This was trailed years ago in Melbourne Australia. As you approach the lights signs advise driving 60, 50, 40, etc. as appropriate but sometimes, show no speed. Drivers quickly learn that this means they need to speed to catch the lights ... so they do. Police don't like this so the trial is killed. There's no way to show legal speeds in a way that drivers can't figure out when it's best for them to speed. This can't work until we're all driving automated vehicles that set their own speed.

about 6 months ago
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Microsoft Launches Office For iPad: Includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

jaa101 Re:As usual, Outlook is conspicuous... (184 comments)

I find the iOS mail and calendar apps work well enough with Exchange. Apple may have resisted having Outlook present as a competitor to these core apps.

about 6 months ago
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Finnish Police Board Wants Justification For Wikipedia's Fundraising Campaign

jaa101 Finland is in the EU (252 comments)

If it's the police initiating this then they must feel it's a criminal matter and so extradition becomes a possibility, and Finland is part of the EU. If they want to play hard ball then Jimmy might have to cut down on visits to Europe because, once he's there, it will be European courts who get to decide who has jurisdiction.

about 7 months ago
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Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March

jaa101 Plasma: better picture, worse choice (202 comments)

It's clear to me that plasmas give better quality image but I still choose LCD. The plasma issue of burn-in is the main worry but they're also more power hungry and heavy too. Plasmas easily beat LCDs for black levels, colour accuracy, response time and viewing angles but LCDs are good enough. Even if my kids didn't spend hours playing video games I know somehow there would be burn-in and then I'd want to buy a new set ... which is just a waste. Plasma being the losing technology is not all down to marketing.

about a year ago
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Elon Musk Making a Working Version of James Bond's Submersible Car

jaa101 Cars Float, Submarines Sink (91 comments)

The fundamental engineering problem here is that cars float and submarines sink. Ballasting that car with enough weight so it's close to neutrally buoyant will ensure it performs nothing like a sports car on the road. This is the kind of issue that made lead acid batteries such a great choice for submarines in the first place.

The best approach is going to involve minimising the volume where water is excluded, i.e., ensuring that as much of the vehicle is flooded by water as possible when it dives. At least, as a sports car, the interior is very small so they may have a chance of making it work.

about a year ago
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Dropbox Wants To Replace Your Hard Disk

jaa101 Re:Latency, latency, latency! (445 comments)

Just because a file is shared with Dropbox doesn't mean that accesses involve a network round-trip to their servers. The files are still stored locally (on an SSD if you have one) and only synchronised when a change is made on another machine. Dropbox is not the same as a Windows "network drive" over SMB/CIFS or Linux NFS.

about a year ago
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Texas Poised To Pass Unprecedented Email Privacy Bill

jaa101 Re:This shouldn't be necessary (262 comments)

Apparently the trick in progress here is that people already gave their email to someone else, namely their service provider. The legal logic is that this borks their expectation of privacy, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katz_v._United_States from 1967. One might hope SOTUS will revisit their decision in the light of the current state of technology but until they do you're stuck relying on legislative protect rather than constitutional.

about a year ago
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Can Google Base Ads On E-mails Sent To Gmail Accounts?

jaa101 Re:Google is covered here. (171 comments)

For copyright purposes both physical and electronic mail is the property of the sender or, more precisely, the author.

about 2 years ago
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Skydiver Leaps From 18 Miles Up In 'Space Jump' Practice

jaa101 Not Really Freefall (Physics Lesson) (192 comments)

Freefall strictly speaking means 9.8m/s/s which, after 228 seconds, multiplies out to 5000mph. That's an order of magnitude more than Baumgartner's speed. Wikipedia explains:

"The example of a falling skydiver who has not yet deployed a parachute is not considered free fall from a physics perspective, since they experience a drag force which equals their weight once they have achieved terminal velocity (see below). However, the term "free fall skydiving" is commonly used to describe this case in everyday speech, and in the skydiving community."

Still, terminal velocity for a human at sea level is about 120mph which is 4.5 times slower than the quoted 536mph. Taking the square root gives an atmospheric pressure 2.1 times less than normal which translates to him popping the 'chute at about 25,000. Actually he had a pressure suit which would probably slow him down so it could have been higher than that.

more than 2 years ago
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Asteroid Will Make Close Pass To Earth

jaa101 Re:JPL impact risk table (119 comments)

Since we can predict the next (2013) close approach very accurately we're very confident it will be a miss. Therefore that approach doesn't rate a mention in the table.

The trouble comes in that, while we know the 2013 approach distance will be greater than 0km from the surface (>6400km from the centre) there's still some uncertainty. The earth is massive and the close approach will cause a relatively large change in the orbit of DA14. The size of the change is inversely proportional to the square of the approach distance. Thus even a small uncertainty for 2013 results in a large uncertainty for subsequent approaches. Celestial billiards at work.

more than 2 years ago
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In Theory And Practice, Why Internet-Based Voting Is a Bad Idea

jaa101 Everyone Must Understand the Voting Process (218 comments)

In my view an important property of any ballot is that the great majority of people must be able to understand the whole process. That's the only way for people to have confidence that there's a reasonable chance of detecting and preventing rigging. It also rules out pretty well any form of electronic voting. Internet security involves very serious maths that very few people can handle.

Around here we still write numbers in squares on pieces of paper and drop them in the ballot box. It works. The cost is tiny compared to the cost of government. I just can't see the advantages of more automation being worth the risk.

People might think it weird that an IT guy would have this luddite view but I think, on the contrary, I'm better placed than most to know what could go wrong.

more than 2 years ago
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New Horizons: One Billion Miles From Pluto

jaa101 Re:The Vertically Challenged Planet (135 comments)

You do realise they do course corrections? Yes, the maths they do is neat, especially when they need to take relativistic effects into account. There's a limit to how accurately the spacecraft can set its course so they plan to fine-tune multiple times during a mission.

more than 2 years ago
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Symantec Looks Into Claims of Stolen Source Code

jaa101 Re:Offshoring (116 comments)

It doesn't sound like this falls into the offshoring category to me. Since the military is involved I guess they demanded the source to assure themselves that there were no backdoors. It doesn't seem an unreasonable step for any government (even/especially in the US) to take before using your software in a security context.

The fun is in considering what recourse Symantec has. If they didn't have some really expensive penalty clause in the non-dislosure agreement that will have been involved here they'll be kicking themselves right now. They'll also be wishing they gave themselves some way to identify the source of the leak. Their smart move would have been to insert some minor changes, e.g., to indentation or comments, to make each version released to third parties unique and therefore traceable.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Proposes Fix For E-Voting Attack

jaa101 Give Up and Go Back to Ballot Boxes (111 comments)

I propose that, for the people to trust their democracy, they must be able to understand all aspects of the voting system. This rules out pretty well all automated systems, especially computers with cryptography and hashes. Just go back to people writing on paper and ballot boxes.

Sure counting the ballots by hand is expensive but it's tiny compared to the cost of travel and time for the voters. The risk of serious, undetected fixing of results can't be eliminated with automated systems.

more than 2 years ago
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NASA Satellite Falls Back To Earth; Landfall in Canada

jaa101 Okotoks Video A Hoax (62 comments)

The Christian Science Monitor appears to have been taken in by the hoax posting of a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OfWgu5jk5g) supposedly showing reentry near Okotoks. Looks like the video was posted too early to be legit. UARS is definitely down but nobody seems to know exactly where yet.

more than 2 years ago
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Magnetic Pole Shift Affects Tampa Airport

jaa101 Re:Happens all the time (317 comments)

I'm guessing that the runway numbers give the magnetic bearings for the runway in both directions in degrees divided by ten. If so they should always add up to 36 so maybe you mean 10-26 became 09-27.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Athlete injured as (claimed) hacked drone filming race falls to ground

jaa101 jaa101 writes  |  about 6 months ago

jaa101 (627731) writes "The owner of a drone, which fell and reportedly hit an athlete competing in a triathlon in Western Australia's Mid West, has said he believes the device was "hacked" into."
Link to Original Source
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Facebook Won't Take Down Undercover Cop Page in Australia

jaa101 jaa101 writes  |  about 2 years ago

jaa101 writes "Facebook has refused a request from Australian police to take down a page with details of undercover police vehicles saying saying it cannot stop people taking photos in public places. The original story is at http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/facebook-page-reveals-details-of-unmarked-police-cars/story-e6frf7kx-1226499939251 (paywall) but it doesn't give a link to the relevant page which seems to be at https://www.facebook.com/pages/VIC-Undercover-Police-Cars/131769163636069?ref=ts&fref=ts . This page for the state of Victoria has 12000 likes but a similar page for the state of Queensland has over 34000 at https://www.facebook.com/pages/QLD-undercover-police-cars/173981759325151?ref=ts&fref=ts and there are other Australian pages too."
Link to Original Source
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Assange asylum / electronic bracelet link

jaa101 jaa101 writes  |  about 2 years ago

jaa101 writes "A late-night visit by the security contractor who maintained the electronic bracelet around Julian Assange's ankle was one reason why he decided to seek political asylum in the Ecuador embassy in London."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Pushes Skype with Windows Update

jaa101 jaa101 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jaa101 writes "Came in this morning to find many of our corporate boxes sporting shiny new Skype installations. Looks like they've been pushed by Microsoft. We have a WSUS server so the administrators of that may have overlooked something. There's discussion at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-GB/winserverwsus/thread/74a93b2b-e820-40ef-a45d-2815b57d164e with Microsoft claims that they only pushed if there was a Skype installation there already ... and refutations. Maybe our SoE had something in it that fooled the updater but the affected machines had nothing like a working Skype.
Was Microsoft running short of Skype supernodes? I guess it's likely to slow down Windows machines with unwanted services and use plenty of unwanted traffic for both home and corporate users. And these will be people who haven't agreed to the Skype ToS! We're using XP but probably Vista and 7 are affected too. Please Microsoft, release a new update to remove these unwanted installations."
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Australian ISP's Copyright Win

jaa101 jaa101 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jaa101 writes "Medium-sized Australian ISP iiNet has won a copyright case against the major movie studios. Local studio Village Roadshow was joined by 33 others, including the US majors, in arguing that iiNet was not doing enough to stop its users pirating content. iiNet may have been chosen as a target big enough to set an example but small enough to beat. Today's victory was on appeal in the Australian Federal Court, confirming an earlier ruling a year ago that was won with costs."
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