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Comcast Sued For Turning Home Wi-Fi Routers Into Public Hotspots

supersat Re:I am by no means a fan of Comcast... (291 comments)

Yep. The DOCSIS standards used in the US give you a little less than 40 Mbps downstream per physical 6 MHz channel. Higher-end DOCSIS 3 modems can bond up to eight channels together.

IIRC, your speed is artificially limited by the modem, which is configured remotely by your ISP over SNMP. People used to hack their cable modems to remove the bandwidth limits, but the cable companies started cracking down on them.

about a week ago
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Comcast Sued For Turning Home Wi-Fi Routers Into Public Hotspots

supersat I am by no means a fan of Comcast... (291 comments)

... but their Xfinity Wifi Hotspot program, if implemented correctly, shouldn't cause customers any real harm.

What I believe happens is that your modem gets virtualized into two modems/routers. Cable Internet is already based on shared broadcast signals, so in terms of bandwidth it should be identical to adding a second, mostly inactive cable modem somewhere in your neighborhood. Since the 2nd modem is virtualized, it should not affect your transfer rates or bandwidth quotas.

This second modem is connected to a second, virtual router, with its own SSID. Unless there's a vulnerability in the router (which is possible), users of the Xfinity Wifi Hotspot should not be able to access your network, use your IP address, etc.

Available bandwidth could conceivably be reduced, due to more packets in the air, but WiFi is already unregulated and subject to additional interference. Increased load on the modem/router could theoretically reduce your bandwidth as well, although probably not by any noticeable amount.

The best claim is based on increased electricity usage. However, the additional energy needed is probably negligible. Here is a link to a blog post about the increased electricity costs, where they conclude it's about $8 per year in the mid-Atlantic area -- if it's being used. Comcast could give everyone a $1/mo credit for enabling the Xfinity WiFi Hotspot, completely eliminating the issue.

about a week ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

supersat They are playing with fire (700 comments)

It looks like they are trying to hide behind their EULA, which says that "Use of the Software as a driver for a component that is not a Genuine FTDI Component MAY IRRETRIEVABLY DAMAGE THAT COMPONENT." But there are reports that this new driver is being delivered via Windows Update, which presumably doesn't show you this EULA.

Microsoft would be wise to pull this update.

about 2 months ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

supersat Re: Another reason to use VPNs... (363 comments)

I believe there's some evidence that Comcast intercepts DNS traffic for non-Comcast IPs and redirects it to Comcast's DNS servers.

Also, I doubt it matters whether you use their DNS servers or not--they can inject traffic into any TCP stream.

about 3 months ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

supersat Another reason to use VPNs... (363 comments)

... is to avoid your ISP from injecting their own ads into web pages, like Comcast does. I would not be surprised if some ISPs tried to block VPN access just so they can mess with your traffic.

about 3 months ago
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ICANN Offers Fix For Domain Name Collisions

supersat TL;DR: (101 comments)

127.0.53.53 will be returned when a collision is detected. AFAICT this means when you query DNS for a non-existant 2nd level domain in one of the new TLDs.

about 4 months ago
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Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

supersat Re: Well at least they saved the children! (790 comments)

Tips received from private companies or individuals are not subject to the same constitutional limits on evidence, provided they are not being paid by law enforcement. This is why CrimeStoppers exists.

about 4 months ago
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Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

supersat It's not just Google... (790 comments)

Microsoft has something called PhotoDNA which scours Bing, Outlook, etc. for child porn. I believe they also make it available to other companies. In fact, given the difficulty of getting images to train on, I wouldn't be surprised if Google was using Microsoft's PhotoDNA technology.

about 4 months ago
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Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs

supersat This should be the FTC's responsibility (140 comments)

The FTC seems like they have the right tools to tackle net neutrality, whereas it's not clear that the FCC does. For example, they could declare that ISPs letting certain peering links saturate to unreasonable levels without disclosure is an unfair and deceptive trade practice. If a customer purchases Internet access, they expect equal access to all of the Internet. They could also declare that cable franchise monopolies interfering with competing video services (like Netflix) is an anti-trust violation.

about 5 months ago
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Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs

supersat Re: They aren't looking for public comments (140 comments)

The problem is that the FCC has limited regulatory power unless it reclassifies Internet access as a telecommunications service, which is considered the "nuclear option." Prior attempts to enforce neutrality have been thrown out by the courts. At this point, to do anything meaningful they'd probably have to involve Congress... And I bet you can figure out how likely that is.

about 5 months ago
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Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job

supersat Re:Counter-suit (272 comments)

... except Amazon is based in Seattle. While his location wasn't disclosed, I would bet it's in the Seattle area. Hopefully this case will shut down some of the non-compete clauses used in Washington State...

about 5 months ago
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Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

supersat Intel once made ARM processors... (230 comments)

For a while they had their XScale line of ARM processors and SoCs. I think one of the dumber moves they've made was to sell that line of business off to Marvell in 2006 and go "all-in" on x86 before they were ready.

about 6 months ago
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Comcast: Destroying What Makes a Competitive Internet Possible

supersat Re:Comcast doesn't care (227 comments)

It doesn't really matter where you are; there is no real competition in the US broadband market. Sure, DSL exists, but old copper lines can't handle nearly the bandwidth that coax can. I live only a few blocks away from the CO, but due to the age of the wires, I could barely get 1.5 mbps.

about 7 months ago
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Researchers Find Easy To Exploit Bugs In Traffic Control Systems

supersat Re: Easy peasy (50 comments)

Part of the trailer shows a TI SmartRF 802.15.4/ZigBee sniffer. It's probably unrelated to the traffic prioritization signals.

about 8 months ago
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FCC Orders Comcast To Stop Labeling Equipment Rental a Service Fee

supersat The box is pretty much mandatory (97 comments)

The summary says it's "a converter box that allows cable subscribers with older televisions to receive digital channels," but now that the FCC allows cable companies to encrypt ALL channels, it's pretty much mandatory. Sure, you might be able to convince them to give you a CableCARD for your compatible TV, but I've heard that they make it difficult to get.

about 8 months ago
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Russian State TV Anchor: Russia Could Turn US To "Radioactive Ash"

supersat Re:Have we said the same thing? (878 comments)

In Capitalist America, news agencies control the state!

about 9 months ago
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Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance

supersat Also required in Oregon (304 comments)

This was required in Oregon when I was in high school. I was amazed to discover it wasn't mandatory everywhere.

about 10 months ago
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Wine On Android Starts Allowing Windows Binaries On Android/ARM

supersat ARM executables? (140 comments)

What about ARM executables? Windows RT ships with most of the Windows utilities ported to ARM, as well as Office and .NET.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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MPAA admits to math error in college piracy study

supersat supersat writes  |  more than 6 years ago

supersat (639745) writes "Well, well. It looks like college students aren't responsible for nearly as much piracy as the MPAA previously calculated. A 2005 study concluded that college students account for 44% of piracy losses, but the MPAA now admits that number is more like 15%. Meanwhile, Educause estimates that campus networks only account for 3% of piracy losses, since many students live off campus. One can hope these new figures will disuade Congress from imposing new regulations on campus networks."
Link to Original Source
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Computer glitch halts Seattle fireworks

supersat supersat writes  |  more than 6 years ago

supersat (639745) writes "At the stroke of midnight, Seattle's fireworks show ground to a halt. The source of the problem is reported to be a corrupted file that wasn't checked until the last minute. After two reboots, the fireworks had to be detonated manually. And yes, one blog commenter, claiming to have worked on prior shows, said that the shows run on Windows."
Link to Original Source
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supersat supersat writes  |  more than 7 years ago

supersat (639745) writes "As previously reported, renowned computer scientist Jim Gray has been missing at sea since January 28th, 2007. Now, with the coast guard abandoning their search, a large effort was made to acquire satellite images of the search area, taken Thursday morning (February 1st). With the help of many individuals, Amazon has now made those images available for the world to comb through, using their Mechanical Turk system. Somewhat ironically, Jim Gray was also involved in the creation of Microsoft's TerraServer, the precursor to Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth, and others.

So, what are you waiting for? Help find Jim Gray!"

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