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Comments

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Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)

schwaang Re:Mesh network in Montreal (124 comments)

I wonder if you guys have put any bandwidth preservation measures in place in case of a natural disaster than limits connectivity between the mesh and the outside. I'm thinking if a giant mutant beaver takes out a dam that fries nearby telcos, you don't want somebody on a Skype video chat using up the lone remaining Pringle can-to-mountain top link. But then, that's more of an issue for the Project Byzantium use cases than yours I guess.

PS -- please tell me you didn't create 68 slashdot accounts just to get that UID.

more than 2 years ago
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Ford and Bug Labs Shipping OpenXC Beta Kits

schwaang Re:It doesn't do all that much. (58 comments)

Since we're already talking about cars, I'll have to resort to a phone analogy.

The smartphone equivalent is that "all" this does is provide an API for smartphone apps to access GPS location, tilt sensor data, and battery SOC and drain rate. But really that's pretty huge in itself, it's enough to enable search based on location (be that Yelp, Opentable, or just Bing). It's enough to create crowd-sourced traffic maps, and it might even be enough to do Slashdot style moderation of nearby drivers.

But yeah I'd like the diagnostic info (much of which is going to be model-specific) and even more I'd like to write to the CAN bus to control non-critical stuff. And of course as an app writer I'll want to secretly upload your address book to my servers so I can sell it to information brokers and download targeted advertising. Oops did I say that out loud?

more than 2 years ago
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Ford and Bug Labs Shipping OpenXC Beta Kits

schwaang Can I finally implement the de-smellerator? (58 comments)

My first app would switch to recirculating air whenever I go near one of the local sewage treatment plants or enter a tunnel. (Or any rectangle I can define via a pair of GPS coordinates, and of course the smell map will be a downloadable crowd-sourced database.) Upon exiting the smelly zone the vent mode returns to whatever it was set to prior. Right now I have a subroutine running on base-brain to handle this task which works well for the frequently travelled areas. But if I forget when driving near that feed lot on I-5, I'm stuck with cow-shit air for *miles*.

So can openxc control things like the air vents? I'm thinking of the Prius which has a recirc button the steering wheel as well as the dash, so it's probably possible to plug into a bus somewhere.

more than 2 years ago
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Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers

schwaang Re:Audiophiles (468 comments)

For the record, anyone that pays $1100 for an HDMI cable should be mauled by angry weasels.

I'd say paying BestBuy $1100 for an HDMI cable *is* being mauled by weasels, so no problem there.

more than 2 years ago
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Mozilla Announces Long Term Support Version of Firefox

schwaang Re:ESR? (249 comments)

Yes, the Firefox team is finally going to release ESR after all this time. It proves that Mitchell Baker can be very unforgiving if you forget the safe word.

[I came all this way looking for an ESR joke. C'mon people, throw me a bone here.]

more than 2 years ago
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Messaging Apps, VoIP Already Eating Into Carrier Revenue

schwaang Re:Good for several reasons (225 comments)

But they have to make up for the cost of billing you for it somehow....

more than 2 years ago
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Chevy Volt Fire Prompts Safety Investigation For EV Batteries

schwaang Re:GM "protocols following the crash" would not he (225 comments)

No, you've confused the instructions for first responders with the instructions for the dealerships doing post-crash repairs.
Per a post elsewhere:

The Volt service manual documents what should be done to inspect the high voltage systems following a collision in Volume 2, section 11, page 332. After a collision as severe as in the side-impact crash test, the battery pack should be removed from the vehicle.

Still it's a good thing NHTSA is looking into this (while not picking solely on GM). After the Toyota unintended acceleration issue the US auto safety regulators looked bad because they appeared to have not paid attention to the early warning signs, and that ended up being bad for the regulator, the regulatee, and the consumers. Even if this turns out to be a total non-problem, it will help debunk fear-mongering against EV technology. IMHO.

more than 2 years ago
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SSL Certificate Authorities vs. Convergence, Perspectives

schwaang Re:So why do I trust the notaries? (127 comments)

Because:
    1) you could choose a notary run by someone you trust
    2) you could UN-choose a notary if you stop trusting it
    3) you can delegate the above to your browser maker or a plugin maker you trust, and not worry about it, just like you already do with the CA system. But *they* can do #s 1 and 2.

With the CA system you don't have have that flexibility in any practical sense.

more than 2 years ago
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US Student Loans Exceed $1 Trillion

schwaang Re:NO: its the corruption of taking future earning (917 comments)

It doesn't cost $23M/year to attend college only because banks don't expect students to repay a $24M/yr loan. However you'll notice that med students pay a lot closer to $23M/year than history PhD students.

The vast majority of students aren't saying "gee, $20K/year is too much, but I'm all in at $19.5K". They are simply applying for loans at whatever the cost, and if they get them they're in. It's a different twist on the free market dynamic you're imagining. The price is tied to what is lendable, which is determined by the banks based on how much of a students future expected earnings they believe they can grab. Schools are happy to go along for that ride.

As an aside on the relationship of school price to the actual cost of education, schools will claim (and feel) the need to pay competitive salaries to high level administrators and profs in demand. This is partly how the max the bank will lend is ultimately laundered into the "cost of education".

It's still greed all the way down.

about 3 years ago
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US Student Loans Exceed $1 Trillion

schwaang NO: its the corruption of taking future earnings (917 comments)

When large segments give up on college the prices will go down. They can only be as high as they are because people are willing to borrow (and others to lend) large amounts of money to pay for them.

This is the key misunderstanding here. It's not a "free market" question. It's ultimately a question of the same corruption that has infected other segments of our system. No matter how many students attend, all of them will have their future earnings taken. Tuitions will not drop in proportion to attendance, they will only rise or fall in proportion to the expected future earnings of their students.

Schools expect you will earn money, so they justify higher tuitions (which they then spend profligately on salaries and expansion projects while monetizing every aspect of the "academic" process). Banks expect you will earn money, so they lend in proportion. The banks and the schools have rigged the game.

about 3 years ago
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Moxie Marlinspike's Solution To the SSL CA Problem

schwaang Re:So now we have to pay Comodo *and* Verisign &am (189 comments)

What happens when there are two billion sites (like Moxie hoped) that all need to be queried once a day by every notary? Who pays those bandwidth bills?

In Convergence notaries do not poll those sites once a day or ever. Notaries only contact a server when there is a mismatch between what the client reports seeing and what's already in the notary's cache. That means the notary only contacts a site when the site has changed its cert.

more than 3 years ago
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Moxie Marlinspike's Solution To the SSL CA Problem

schwaang Re:Google Chrome: thanks but no thanks on Converge (189 comments)

Honestly I think you might have missed his point. A larger excerpt of the blog post:

Given that essentially the whole population of Chrome users would use the default notary settings, those notaries will get a large amount of traffic. Also, we have a very strong interest for the notaries to function, otherwise Chrome stops working. Combined, that means that Google would end up running the notaries.

There is some truth to that -- a performance concern leading to a privacy concern.

But given that the notaries are only queried for the very first contact to a secure site (browser uses its cache for future contacts), I wonder if he's overestimating the amount of traffic at the notaries and it's impact on the browser experience. Plus, as you pointed out, users can have their own notary lists like the anti-phishing ones, so if they don't want to trust Google they can pick non-Google servers.

Or Google could fund (perhaps in consortium) an external party to provide high-availability notaries that firewall Google from the privacy issues around notarizing Chrome users' https requests. Convergence can also use an intermediate proxy in order to hide the browser's IP address from the notaries it uses. So long as the default is to use a non-Google proxy to talk to Google's notaries, Google would be safe from privacy accusations on that front.

more than 3 years ago
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Mozilla Asks All CAs To Audit Security Systems

schwaang Convergence could copy Adblock Plus's list model (77 comments)

Average users could simply subscribe to a list of notaries like most users do with the filter lists for Adblock Plus or IE9's Tracking Protection lists. Someone trustworthy who cares maintains the "EasyTrust" list that most users will subscribe to, and the community of knowledgeable geeks keeps an eye on that and cries foul if it gets taken over by a Sith lord or something.

But hell, even if the default list is maintained by the browser vendor, it's still way better than and more agile in response to problems than what we have now.

more than 3 years ago
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Moxie Marlinspike's Solution To the SSL CA Problem

schwaang Google Chrome: thanks but no thanks on Convergence (189 comments)

El Reg has reported on Google's Adam Langley in reponse to Convergence. Langley says' he doesn't see including it in Chrome because users would never change the default notaries, and Google would have to run their own notaries in order to ensure performance. And that would mean a privacy issue for Chrome as it "phones home" every user's https requests to Google. [Doesn't Chrome already have some kind of anti-phishing Safe Browsing feature that does this anyway?]

However Langley was good enough to open the door to the possibility of future API tweaks that would allow a third-party Convergence extension for Chrome (Chrome doesn't currently have a way for extensions to sit in the SSL cert decision path).

more than 3 years ago
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Moxie Marlinspike's Solution To the SSL CA Problem

schwaang changes from Perspectives (189 comments)

From the talk, Convergence is based on Perspectives, with some updates:
- Once a client has confirmed a certificate through the notaries, it is cached locally. Future contacts for that site will not need re-notarization until the site's cert is changed. That way your browsing history is not exposed through your notary contacts very often.
- Contact to the notaries can be done through a trusted proxy over SSL, to protect exposure of your browser history.
- The user can choose one or more notaries, and choose to distrust any of them at any time.
- Each notary can use any backend validation method it wants. It could check certs stored in DNSSEC, it could use the existing CA system, the EFF will have one that uses their SSL observatory, etc.

more than 3 years ago
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Sluggish Android Tablet Growth May Give Microsoft an Opening

schwaang You're forgetting the enterprise market (269 comments)

I talking to an architect working in Beijing the other day. She said they keep an ipad in every room of their large office.

Tablets are going to catch on in the workplace, and the ones that lock down and integrate with corporate IT policies are going to be sold at profitable margins. HP could have aimed for that, but it's clearly in Microsoft's DNA. And clearly *not* in Apple's, despite the anecdote above.

more than 3 years ago
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HP Spinning Off WebOS and Exiting Hardware Business

schwaang Re:HP should have got on board w/ android (514 comments)

"What's under the hood" is still UNIX[...]

Indeed. It's *nix under the hood for iOS and android just as it is for webOS (sitting on a Linux kernel just like android, no?). This debacle is hardly a case of Betmax vs. VHS in the sense of objectively superior underlying tech losing out to non-technical market factors. The TouchPad simply fails to distinguish itself in the current marketplace *and* has no "tapes" available to play on it.

Now HP might have been able to hang on to a proprietary platform (webOS above Linux) and aim for a profitable niche: enterprises are going to be flooded with pads, and they are going to be more friendly and less price sensitive to units that lock-down and integrate with IT policies. Apple doesn't have a history of focusing on that, and android's openness will frighten any sensible corporate IT department.

more than 3 years ago
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HP Spinning Off WebOS and Exiting Hardware Business

schwaang HP should have got on board w/ android (514 comments)

Looking at their WebOS powered tablet at BestBuy next to the iPad2 and android units like the Galaxy Tab, all I can think is WTF, HP?
But thanks for buying my Palm shares.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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The Linux Driver Project Reports After One Year

schwaang schwaang writes  |  more than 6 years ago

schwaang (667808) writes "Just over a year ago, in a galaxy not so far away, Linux kernel hacker Greg Kroah-Hartman publicly offered free device driver development to any hardware company willing to take him up on it. With the legal backing of the OSDL (now The Linux Foundation), the Linux Driver Development Project was born. It's mission: to whittle away at the list of devices which do not work with Linux by providing that magic glue between a widget and the OS known as a device driver.

Today Greg K-H makes his progress report:

The Linux Driver Project (LDP) is alive and well, with over 300 developers wanting to participate, many drivers already written and accepted into the Linux kernel tree, and many more being currently developed. The main problem is a lack of projects. It turns out that there really isn't much hardware that Linux doesn't already support. Almost all new hardware produced is coming with a Linux driver already written by the company, or by the community with help from the company.
Fewer companies took him up on his offer than he expected, and some others were content to be educated about how to work with the Linux kernel community so that they could submit their own drivers. Clearly there has been progress on the graphics and wireless fronts, with and without manufacturer cooperation.

Is it time to lay the "Linux lacks device drivers" myth to rest?"
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Web hosting with a (free-speech) backbone

schwaang schwaang writes  |  more than 7 years ago

schwaang (667808) writes "Slashdot readers will recall tales of woe like these where web hosting services shut down websites at the slightest controversy over their content, prompting the EFF to tell GoDaddy to get a backbone.

Now from Jimmy Atkinson of Dedicated Hosting Guide comes Free Speech Hosting: 11 Web Hosts That Won't Dump You at the First Sign of Controversy.

Some cater to adult sites, others to political dissent, but all to free speech in some form or other. As Voltaire supposedly said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.""

Link to Original Source
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schwaang schwaang writes  |  more than 7 years ago

schwaang (667808) writes "The recent announcement by Linux Kernel Developer Greg Kroah-Hartman that "the Linux kernel community is offering all companies free Linux driver development" seems to have stirred up some interest as well as some questions (see the Slashdot discussion about the announcement here).

Greg K-H addresses some of the Slashdotters' questions and maybe even raises a few more in a new Free Linux Driver Development FAQ on his blog. An excerpt:

Q: Are companies really going to do this?
A: Yes, already we have received a number of serious queries from companies about producing Linux drivers for their devices. More information will be available later when details are firmed up.
"
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schwaang schwaang writes  |  more than 7 years ago

schwaang (667808) writes "While the US continues to hash out concerns over the Real ID Act, which aims to create a national ID by standardizing state driver's licenses, China Digital Times points out a story from Xinhua Daily News describing China's massive online ID database, which they sell will help prevent fraud. From the article:

Anyone can now send a text message or visit the country's population information center's website, to check if the name and the ID number of a person's identity card match. If they do match the ID cardholder's picture also appears, said the Ministry, adding that no other information is available to ensure a citizen's privacy is protected.

Completed at the end of 2006, China's population information database, the world's largest, contains personal information on 1.3 billion citizens.

Giving public accessing to the database is also designed to correct mistakes if an individual discovers that their name, number and picture don't match.
"
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schwaang schwaang writes  |  more than 7 years ago

schwaang (667808) writes "Advertising is an integral part of the Web, and its revenues make the likes of Google possible for all of us. But when PR firms promote products by pretending to be real bloggers, some think it crosses the line into unethical "astroturf". The Consumerist held a contest for best "Flog" of 2006. And the winner is... Sony for it's fake all-I-want-for-Xmas PSP blog (which Slashdot readers will no doubt remember). Runners up included Walmart and McDonald's.

And the award itself? Well, it's something you might find on on a fake lawn."
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schwaang schwaang writes  |  more than 7 years ago

schwaang (667808) writes "The UK Green Party says that Vista's DRM requirements will force many unnecessary hardware upgrades.

From the article:
"Future archaeologists will be able to identify a 'Vista Upgrade Layer' when they go through our landfill sites."

"There will be thousands of tonnes of dumped monitors, video cards and whole computers that are perfectly capable of running Vista — except for the fact they lack the paranoid lock down mechanisms Vista forces you to use. That's an offensive cost to the environment.

[from the riding-the-hype dept.?]"
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schwaang schwaang writes  |  more than 7 years ago

schwaang (667808) writes "Linux Kernel hacker Greg Kroah-Hartman, author of Linux Kernel in a Nutshell has posted an epic announcement on his blog:

"the Linux kernel community is offering all companies free Linux driver development. [...] All that is needed is some kind of specification that describes how your device works, or the email address of an engineer that is willing to answer questions every once in a while."

"If your company is worried about NDA issues surrounding your device's specifications, we have arranged a program [...] in order to properly assure that all needed NDA requirements are fulfilled."

"Now your developers will have more time to work on drivers for all of the other operating systems out there, and you can add "supported on Linux" to your product's marketing material."

This could portend increased device compatibility for Linux users, higher-quality drivers, and fewer non-free binary blobs.

P.S. nvidia this means you!"

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