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Feds Allegedly Demanding User Passwords From Services

jpstanle Re:Time to send out the papers... (339 comments)

What do a bunch of anarcho-capitalist lapdogs and religious nutjobs have to do with protecting the Constitution and defending Liberty?

about a year ago

FCC Considering Proposal For Encrypted Ham Radio

jpstanle Re:How about adding an exception to HIPAA? (371 comments)

Seems like it would be a lot more effective to just add an emergency comms exception to HIPAA.

That is essentially what they are proposing; not a crypto free-for-all, but allowing encryption in specific situations where it is essentially mandatory (HIPAA information, satellite control, etc). I actually think they should go further, perhaps allowing crypto as a matter of course in certain bands with plaintext station ID wrappers.

The great thing about ham radio is that we have stacks of old, analog, simple, reliable equipment and we can get a signal through no matter what.

Encryption on the other hand requries fancy radios and fancy computers and while we could probably swing it most of the time, situations could certainly arise where the smoke comes out of the fancy radio or the computer shits it's bits and we're left with an FM 2m rig or SSB HF rig and people are going to die if you don't transmit their medical info.

A $30 raspberry pi is pefectly capable of performing crypto. Any soundcard provides your ADC/DAC capable of any narrowband mode. In this day and age, digital hardware is cheap and plentiful... the flakiest and most unreliable part of any radio system is going to be the RF hardware, specifically the PA... Which you need for any transmission, analog or digital. Oh, and this idea that analog can get through RF conditions that kills digital modes is outdated; Given a particular bandpass channel, thanks to modern FEC like turbo codes and LDPC, a well designed digital system is more robust and resistant to noise and interference than analog. And there may be reasons to fall back to analog, but you never gave that up to add digital modes in the first place.


about a year ago

Inside PRISM: Why the Government Hates Encryption

jpstanle Re:Definitions. (457 comments)

Well, you could manuever a sniper into a position to shoot him. Or fastrope some riflemen from a helicopter to shoot and/or beat him senseless.

The problem with solutions like that, though, is they don't do any good helping to justify why you need billion-dollar weapon systems to fight a bunch of dirt farmers with Kalashnikovs and RPGs but no planes, helicopters, armor, or anti-aircraft capability to speak of.

about a year ago

What You Need To Know About Phone Unlocking

jpstanle Re:Isn't banning unlocking anti-competitive ? (321 comments)

Except the phone is "paid off" the moment it is purchased. We all know two-year contracts are effectively installlment plans for $600 phones, but at the point of sale, I own the phone outright. There is nothing in the contract about an installment plan. There is no "carrier lien" on the phone. If they want to have that leverage, then they can explicitly finance phones with secured debt the way every other industry does it.

And even in that case, there's not much leverage. I finance my truck, and the bank requires me to carry insurance and keep it legally roadworthy, but I am free to re-paint it, modify it, repair it, or smash it up with a sledge hammer "for that weathered look" if I feel like it.

about a year and a half ago

The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

jpstanle Re:No change, in other words (445 comments)

. . . [Y]ou might end up driving a car with a fancy in-dash computer system that's completely useless for much of the time you own it.

My first car had an AM radio, but I wanted FM, so I bought an FM converter for it. Car #3 had an AM/FM radio, but I wanted a cassette player, so I ended up buying and installing a radio with a cassette player in it. Car #4 didn't have a CD player, and I remedied that with a portable CD player and an adapter that slipped into the factory-installed cassette player. The current car has a radio with CD player and auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth, but I'm pretty sure it will be obsolete by the time I get rid of it.

Why would onboard computers be any different?

Because they are far, far less standardized and more integrated into the systems of the car itself than tradition stereo DIN head units.

about 2 years ago

Cyber Monday and Amazon's Online Dominance

jpstanle Re:Why Amazon? (174 comments)

Being able to avoid sales tax in many cases is certainly beneficial to online retailers, but anybody who believes that sales tax is the primary force moving retail transactions online simply has not been paying attention. If all 50 states suddenly started collecting sales tax on Amazon sales today, Amazon would take a hit, but they would not suddenly collapse.

about 2 years ago

Google Wants To Be a Wireless Carrier

jpstanle Re:Shut up and take my money (151 comments)

You might get slightly better deals with Google, but the additional privacy/tracking data that Google (and the US government) will have on people...internet and phone/voice history, voice call recordings and internet browsing history, all that data from one convenient source...scares me.

You say that like the existing mobile carriers aren't already doing that kind of bullshit. Remember Carrier IQ? Verizon/AT&T complicit in warrantless wiretapping?

about 2 years ago

US Air Force Scraps ERP Project After $1 Billion Spent

jpstanle Re:Ouch. (362 comments)

Oh wow, it gets worse. Oracle won this with a $88.5 million bid; what the hell took the Air Force so long to pull the plug with that kind of overrun?

What's an order of magnitude between friends. :p

Oracle is nobody's friend... And Larry Ellison doesn't even seem to try to hide it.

about 2 years ago

Is Non-Prescription ADHD Medication Use Ever Ethical?

jpstanle Re:No... and please PLEASE stop! You're killing me (487 comments)

Great. Tell me how I appeal to the DEA please.

Campaign to get your pro-drug-war dickbag congressman, or even your county sheriff, out of office? I know, I know, it's wishful thinking, but maybe if enough people overcome their own cynicism we can make for some incremental change?

about 2 years ago

Is Non-Prescription ADHD Medication Use Ever Ethical?

jpstanle Re:Of course (487 comments)

Hopefully, for you and many other folks, we won't discover some day that Adderall has an unforseen side effect (say like that miracle diet drug Fen-Phen)... As I understand it, Adderall basically a stimulant that works similarly to meth and coke in the body and (like Fen-Phen) has a potential for causing cardiac problems.

Amphetamine salts were first synthesized in the 19th century, and have been used therapeutically since the 1930's. They are among some of the most well understood and thoroughly studied drugs in use. Many instant-release ADHD meds have been around so long that they have been generic for DECADES. Yes, they have a tremendous potential for cardiac complications and other significant side-effects, but we've known about that for half a century. The chances of unforeseen side effects of amphetamines suddenly coming to light are about as likely as suddenly finding out that aspirin causes brain tumors.

about 2 years ago

Is Mobile Broadband a Luxury Or a Human Right?

jpstanle There is a pretty wide disparity between... (332 comments)

There is a pretty wide disparity between "Luxury" and "Basic human right."

I'd hardly call indoor plumbing, 99.9% uptime electricity, or interstate highways to be "basic human rights," but they're pretty much essential for an modern, industrial society/economy.

about 2 years ago

Scottish Scientists Create World's Smallest Smart Antenna

jpstanle Re:That's not an antenna. (91 comments)

I am also an RF engineer, and that was my first thought too: This is far too small to be any kind of steerable/smart antenna array. I don't know if there is some crazy, cutting edge hocus pocus out there, but I've always understood that antenna arrays need at least 1/2 wavelength spacing between elements. Same thing for diversity/MIMO antennas. At 2100 MHz, that's roughly 6cm. For 700LTE, we're talking 20+ cm. You're getting 2 elements in a mobile handset at best... good for maybe 3dB of gain over a single element?

Fancy smart antenna arrays probably have a strong future in base station towers, but mobile handsets are just too damn small.

As far as antenna efficiency goes, I was under the impression most handsets used (notoriously inefficient) electrically short microstrip antennas? You certainly can make an antenna arbitrarily smaller than a half-wavelength, it's just going to have very low radiation resistance and not be very efficient.

about 2 years ago

To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets

jpstanle Re:Can't agree more (1651 comments)

Actually, BMX stunt cyclists and serious downhill mountain bikers tend to wear full-face motocross helmets precisely because bicycle helmets provide crap protection. As far as cost and practicality, they're really not that heavy or awkward (watch what freestyle BMX guys can do wearing them) and a quality, name brand DOT certified motocross/dirt helmet can be had for under 100 USD.

Hardcore speed/fitness guys will never wear them because they're poorly ventilated and hot compared to bicycle helmets, but due to my experiences as a motorcyclist, if I were riding a bicycle in a busy urban environment with a lot of automobile traffic, I'd choose to wear a motocross/dirt style helmet.

about 2 years ago

US Particle Colliders In Need of Funding

jpstanle Re:Crisis? (133 comments)

When it comes to cutting edge particle physics research, "We can still do useful work here," sounds like a pretty compelling case to me.

about 2 years ago

In Wake of Samsung Verdict, HTC Does Not Intend To Settle

jpstanle Re:How is it even possible to innovate these days? (286 comments)

In the United States, there is no such thing as a "trade dress patent." Trade dress is a legal concept that is related to both trademark and design patents, but it is certainly not a type of patent.

As far as the rounded rectangle thing goes, look up D504889. All you need to do to violate that patent is make an "electronic device" that kinda looks like that (a flat rectangle with rounded edges), no need to involve trade dress at all.

about 2 years ago

The Mathematics of 'Legitimate Rape' and Pregnancy

jpstanle Re:Something's still strange, though... (1469 comments)

Ah, well I stand corrected then. But it raises a new question for me: over what metric is the "1 in 30" rate measured? Per incidence of intercourse or what? It couldn't possibly be over an indefinite period of, right? Way more than 3.3% of women trying to conceive eventually get pregnant.

about 2 years ago

The Mathematics of 'Legitimate Rape' and Pregnancy

jpstanle Re:Something's still strange, though... (1469 comments)

I'd wager a guess that this perceived anomaly has to do with the likely scenario that women engaging in or anticipating consensual sex are far, far more likely to be using one or more forms of birth control than the rape-victim population as a whole.

more than 2 years ago

HP Hires Ex-Nokia Exec, Spins Off WebOS, Reportedly Returning To Tablets

jpstanle Re:What is going on at HP? (128 comments)

I cant help but think that HP are just stumbling around in the dark doing things at random in the hope that something pays off.

Choosing actions at random seems wiser than what HP are actually doing, as random actions have a non-zero probability of being beneficial. Instead, what HP seems to be doing is deliberately shooting themselves in the foot over and over again, in the hopes that more bullets will heal their injuries.

more than 2 years ago

Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked To Find Evolution In Biology Tests

jpstanle Re:Another perspective (1218 comments)

How the fuck is this modded +4 informative?

The US Constitution - as amended - just prevents requiring you to belong to a particular religion to hold elected office.

What are you smoking? The establishment clause of the first amendment pretty clearly prohibits preference of one religion over another.

It doesn't prevent teaching about religions. In practice, the education system doesn't prevent this either in most cases. You only face resistance if you teach about the predominant religion. You can teach about Greek and Roman mythology, American Indian beliefs, Mayan beliefs, Inca beliefs, Egyptian beliefs, and certainly Muslim, Hindu, or other far Eastern beliefs of the modern age. You can talk some about Mormons and their trek west. Just label it cultural diversity training or lump it in with geography and you're golden. Just don't teach about Christianity or someone will get you fired.

That's an exaggeration - but not a very big one.

Uh, pretty much any high school curriculum for a European history class reads like fucking timeline of Christianity. You know, the late Roman empire and the Vatican, Martin Luther, the Anglican church, Puritans, and all that jazz?

more than 2 years ago


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