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US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

stephanruby Re:track record (235 comments)

Now, generally im against no bid contracts, but this one makes sense.

Using Boeing makes sense. If Airbus was used, it would be more expensive because it would have to be stripped down and built back up again to make sure it was free from European listening devices. After all, if the US already does this to other countries with its presidential Boeing airplanes and Merkel's cell phone. It can't really complain when other countries retaliate and try to do the same thing back to the US White House.

4 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

stephanruby Re:Government Intervention (351 comments)

Two years ago, I was in France and the UK. 4G was still not really deployed.

And in France at least, many coffee shops had closed down their wifi hotspots, because they really didn't want to be bothered with getting a permit to have a public hotspot (yes, this was the doing of the copyright lobby apparently).

The net result is that people have less internet access than in the US, not more. It doesn't really matter if you have faster upstream speed, when most of your downstream users can't have access to it on their phone, or at coffee shops.

9 hours ago
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Snowden Documents: CSE Tracks Millions of Downloads Daily

stephanruby Re:Actually, it's part and parcel of absolute fasc (103 comments)

to identify the non-sheeples so that, when it comes the day they can pull people out to the street and carry out summary execution, they would know who to shoot

Makes me glad I'm a sheeple.

yesterday
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

stephanruby Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (416 comments)

This is what happens when your job is with the Justice Department and when you only talk to other people within the Justice Department. It's like an echo chamber on to itself. You and your colleagues evolve a sense of tunnel vision and anyone who suggests a stupid idea that will make the job easier for the Justice Department will be considered an absolute genius by his colleagues, thus increasing the incentive for coming up with even more similarly stupid ideas.

And no, the Justice Department is not the only organization guilty of this. This type of thinking can evolve in any type of organization or business sufficiently focused and sufficiently insulated from the market or the people themselves.

yesterday
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How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year

stephanruby Re:With a name like his (143 comments)

I sure hope his hack is free/open-source.

He's using Twilio. Twilio is not free for him (with the amount of phone traffic he's generating). Somebody has to pay for the service, whether the customer ultimately ends up paying for it, or the service is being monetized by advertisements, or a phone company decides to pay for the service as a value-added service that they pass to their own customers. The source code itself is nothing special. The idea itself isn't even new. This guy just happened to have entered a contest/hackathon sponsored by the FTC.

For white listing phone calls, google voice (integrated with Sprint) is actually pretty good. If you're looking to combine both white listing and shared black listing at the same time, there are many other startups that are offering that kind of service as well. With cloud services like Twilio or Voxeo, it's fairly easy for just one developer, or a small startup, to get into the telephony business.

2 days ago
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FCC Prohibits Blocking of Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots

stephanruby Re:Damn! (126 comments)

They outlawed Faraday cages?

No, the jamming in this case is active, not passive. Passive blocking would have blocked cell phone calls as well (which would put Marriott out of business if they did that, it's not like Marriott is operating zen retreats for its customers). I suppose the wording in the US law could be interpreted to mean that intentional passive blocking isn't allowed either, but this hasn't been tested in court yet. And again, this kind of blocking is not what we're talking about with Marriott International.

Faraday cages are built with mesh copper. They're prohibitively expensive to build because you can't really skimp on the copper. Because of this cost issue, don't expect effective Faraday cages to be built in movie theaters (or zen retreats) to enclose their audience. I mean, I'm sure some movie theaters will try to build very large and cheap Faraday cages for their audience, but don't expect any of those Faraday cages to actually work as intended if they skimped on the cost -- which they undoubtedly will.

2 days ago
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Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

stephanruby Re:Who eats doughnuts with the doughnut men? (461 comments)

Pasco said. 'There's no control over who uses it. So, if you're a criminal and you want to rob a bank, hypothetically, you use your Waze.'"

What about the non-criminals who want to know where the police are so they can get some help from them? Or what about the non-criminals who want to know when police officers are blocking a side of the road, or dealing with a traffic situation? If they really don't want to be bothered, they should just drive unmarked cars, make their phone numbers unlisted, and institute some kind of paywall for their official web sites.

Instead of removing information from Waze, they should just be adding information to it with their own api. They could transmit the gps location of their marked cars in real-time (like bus systems now do with the nextbus api). When responding to a call, they should just send the person who called a real-time update of their estimated arrival. And when there is a bank robbery, they should just flood the Waze api with virtual police officers everywhere.

Not only that, but if the police could try to crowdsource the effort of looking for bank robbers, child abductors, or the obvious-looking drunk drivers, through Waze instead of overburdening the outdated the 911 system, that would help them prioritize and weed out most of the false positives in real-time.

3 days ago
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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

stephanruby Re:Urban legend? (306 comments)

That's the problem with government conspiracies.

They don't make it into the mainstream media until the government declassifies it, or until someone is prepared to become a traitor and defect to Russia to lend some credence to the story.

3 days ago
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Secret Service Investigating Small Drone On White House Grounds

stephanruby Re:Quadcopter (146 comments)

...if you were wanting to cause some commotion.

Or it could just have been an accident. I know I've lost the control of my drone before. In my case, it was because I had the toggle on for absolute control, so no matter how much I would twist and turn my tablet -- it would keep on going the wrong way.

And please don't tell me you wouldn't take a drone to Washington DC. Taking pictures or videos with a small drone is awesome (assuming you don't lose control of it while doing it). It lets you take shots from unusual perspectives and it differentiates your pictures and videos from the millions of boring pictures and boring videos already taken of the same monuments.

3 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

stephanruby Re:Nice troll (577 comments)

Like everyone else reporting on this story, it completely misses the point...

Notice that this story is a repeat with always the same theme. It always includes a critic of Google going after Microsoft as well.

It's not just a troll posting this, it's most likely a paid troll doing it.

3 days ago
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A Call That Made History, 100 Years Ago Today

stephanruby Re:Done without negative feedback (51 comments)

Does this mean that Alexander Graham Bell made the very long range call to his assistant in 1915, but that until 1927 it was just a bunch of garbled noises that no else but the assistant could understand?

Hopefully, AT&T will jump on that expired patent. It would be nice if AT&T allowed its cell phones to do the same thing by year 2027

4 days ago
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Bomb Threats Via Twitter Partly Shut Down Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport

stephanruby Re:Other than the obligatory security theatre... (110 comments)

... just what would the fighter escort hope to accomplish?

Radio frequency jammers may be, in case the bomb is remotely detonated. I actually don't know.

I don't know if fighter jets are equipped with them, but I can tell you that some helicopters have them. That's what the secret services uses to block cell phone frequencies and other types of frequencies when the President is traveling around.

5 days ago
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Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

stephanruby Re:Make Yourself Known (65 comments)

OK, I've always wondered who actually has ever bought anything from Skymall. I mean, we've all looked, but who has actually done the deed?

Does Skymall include the tax-free liquor? If so, yes, depending on the country I was going to.

Otherwise, no. At least not when I was flying into California. Even with the $3.30-$6.60 tax surcharge per wine gallon, I can still get my liquor much cheaper at Costco than I can get aboard the plane, or at the tax-free duty shop.

5 days ago
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'Never Miss Another Delivery' - if You Have a TrackPIN (Video)

stephanruby Re:Solves a different problem I'm not sure exists? (85 comments)

An acquaintance of mine took this concept of hospitality even further, since he usually ships packages every single day from his residential home (which is probably not even permitted because of zoning regulations).

He transformed his garage into his shipping station. He also put out a nice kitchen table and some chairs in the garage with fresh brewing coffee and visibly home-made muffins on the table itself, along with take out coffee cups in case the delivery person doesn't have time to sit down.

If you really want your delivery person to accept your cup of tea, he has to see that a fresh pot of tea has already been made, and he has to think he's not interrupting you, or putting you out (for actually saying "yes" to an offer, which sometimes are just made out of ingrained politeness instead of real intent).

Also, don't expect every delivery person to accept your cup of tea. Some people are just shy, or really too busy in that particular moment, to be able to accept anything.

5 days ago
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Made-In-Nigeria Smart Cards To Extend Financial Services To the Poor

stephanruby Re:It's about time! (40 comments)

That's a good catch. I stand corrected.

5 days ago
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Made-In-Nigeria Smart Cards To Extend Financial Services To the Poor

stephanruby Re:It's about time! (40 comments)

For the President's Goodluck sake (yes, Goodluck is actually his real name)...

And why is that noteworthy?

Must everyone have the same kind of names used where you live?

Yes, my previous post could have been written a little better.

That being said, semantic ambiguity happens all the time, even where I live.

As a French person living in the US who gets his news partly from American news broadcasts, I have actually been made fun of by other French people for referring to our former French prime minister as Edith Croissant (just like the crescent shaped pastry, instead of Edith Cresson, which was/is actually her real name).

5 days ago
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Made-In-Nigeria Smart Cards To Extend Financial Services To the Poor

stephanruby Re:It's about time! (40 comments)

Hopefully this will make it a lot easier for those Nigerian princes and military widows to transfer those millions of dollars to me. I keep giving them my bank account info, but I'm still waiting.

I know you're joking, but the answer is a huge "No".

Take this sentence for instance which at first didn't make any sense to me:

Import tariffs heavily skewed to the advantage of imported finished cards would have made it difficult for local manufacturers to compete on cost

Apparently here, the President is patting himself on the back for having increased the import tariff to such a high level, that it has become impossible for foreign manufacturers to compete on cost. Wow! This President must be some kind of genius or something.

Not only, this new bolder protectionist strategy (which is even bolder than the previous protectionist strategy) is bound to propel Nigeria to new financial heights, but the President has zeroed in the banking industry's own dirty little secret. In banking, it's not the loans/investments, interests, or fees, that make the money. It's actually the manufacturing of the little plastic cards with a little bit of silicon in them that is the real cash cow of the banking industry.

For the President's Goodluck sake (yes, Goodluck is actually his real name), I sure hope that the WTO never catches onto his bold and unfair protectionist strategy over those little plastic cards with a little bit of silicon in them. President Goodluck may actually kill himself, if he ever found out that the WTO was against him when it came down to those little plastic cards.

5 days ago
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China Cuts Off Some VPNs

stephanruby Re:Well (215 comments)

risks will be mitigated through things like usage of local services that aren't blocked in China, providing the necessary support to users in EU and so on.

You're probably right. That being said, all my developer friends in China use VPNs to access things like Github.

I know there are alternatives to Github, but really this is becoming an annoyance for them. It's not like they're artists or political activists, they're just using paid VPN access to get their job done and/or viewing the occasional Hollywood movies.

That's an entire class of people that were already pacified. There was nothing for China to gain by doing that. Blocking the free VPNs should have been more than sufficient.

5 days ago
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Google Just Made It Easier To Run Linux On Your Chromebook

stephanruby Re:But is that what people are actually doing? (169 comments)

Actually, no. Most people use Crouton in developer mode. That means they run Chrome OS side-by-side with their preferred Linux variant.

It's less risky that way. Because if you replace Chrome OS completely with your own Linux distribution, you'll probably lose the small amount of free Verizon data that comes with it for three years, or the 10-fingers touch support, or the very high resolution support, that may come on some of those newer Chromebooks. Because don't believe what the Ubuntu guys say, they may claim to have designed Unity to be a touch interface, but Unity is actually just as awful for people with actual touch screens.

That being said, running in developer mode carries its own set of risks. If a Verizon repair person ever opens my Chromebook, or one of my nephews opens it, they'll probably just wipe everything by mistake (because in developer mode, the first instructions that pop up is that you should wipe the device to get out of developer mode by pressing the space bar. Yes, thanks a lot Google for having that feature, I'm glad I don't have kids thought. This means I only need to hide my Chromebook Pixel when my nephews are visiting).

And don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind wiping my Chromebook if I only had Chrome OS on there, but I've had to wipe my Chromebook so many times to get the linux environment on Crouton just right for Android development purposes, the next time I have to do it, I might have a complete melt down.

about a week ago
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'Never Miss Another Delivery' - if You Have a TrackPIN (Video)

stephanruby Re:Solves a different problem I'm not sure exists? (85 comments)

Exactly this. I can't get delivery companies to do more than sprint to the door, hang a card and sprint back to their trucks. You pretty much have to be standing on your front lawn and tackle the guy to actually get your package. If you wait for a knock or the bell to ring it's too late.

That's only because you don't have a fresh pot of coffee and a plate of freshly baked cookies waiting for your delivery person. If receiving/sending packages is even slightly important to you, you have to start treating your delivery person like Santa Claus once in a while.

After all, why do you think he doesn't take the extra twenty seconds it requires to actually deliver your package? It's probably because he has to make up for the lost twenty minutes he already spent drinking coffee and eating cookies at my place.

about a week ago

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