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* Posts by Charles 9

3818 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Charles 9
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Re: EMP briefcase

I don't know if that's going to work. See, you forgot about the speakers, which emit EM as a matter of course (speakers rely on electromagnets to work), so it wouldn't be unheard of for the components in the boot to have EM shielding so they don't interfere with each other. Plus there's the matter of having an EMP device compact enough to fit into a briefcase.

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Charles 9
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Re: Household gear

What makes the audio-bomb cars so annoying isn't the music but the bass. They're literally blasting the air around them, shaking everything around them (exactly the intention—gotta be loud to be proud). So I don't know how you can cancel out what's basically a miniature concussion blast without either (a) doing the same thing back to them as anti-noise or (b) having so much insulation you would be too bulky to move practically. Much easier to prevent their sale and use (of course, in the US, that goes into freedom of speech issues).

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Charles 9
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Re: Platforms

Connecting social media together, I use google+ for pictures, my friends use snapfish, FB, and other services, why can we not pool across platforms, why do i have to download and upload,

Because they're competing against each other. Collaborating as you describe is like giving information to "the enemy". Never gonna happen as it would be against each company's fiduciary duty.

I have outlook for skype, google for android, whatsApp, lastFM etc etc why can i not manage my contacts in one place and have a single list of contacts with duplicates removed in all accounts.

Again, because they're competing against each other. That includes Google who's in the best position to unite the contacts, but since some of the apps you list are competing against Google...

Defo want a laptop i can use indoors and out where the battery lasts a full working day.

Depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to play movies on it all day, you'd be talking a battery so big it feels like you're back in the days of the suitcase computer. It's physics dictating this; live with it.

Defo want a phone with just an OS and let me decide what SW to install

You can rule out Apple and Google, then. We can pray for Sailfish, but then again, while Linux has made ground in the backroom, there still isn't a consumer-level Linux distro that can penetrate the mass market. Thus why Microsoft is still in control. IOW, the only companies that can penetrate that market can't be trusted to keep it clean.

If i buy a VW and Apple have shoehorned in their media services, i want use my Android phone in said car not an iPad and vicsa versa.

Only way around that is to not buy a VW. If Apple and VW have a contract, you have to take that into consideration. The contract makes it a Hobson's Choice: Take It Or Leave It.

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Charles 9
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To answer #8, YES. For the money Google makes for rich contact information, you couldn't pay them enough to stop. Plus there are genuine benefits to their crowd-sourced data (traffic maps, et al). So it's basically a deal with the devil with no way around it.

As for the permission, remember it's YOUR phone but it's THEIR app. And they wouldn't have published the app on Android without that level of control. The only way you're going to change the game is to basically make the Android app permission model toxic by either defecting from Android altogether or sticking to ONLY stock apps: not downloading anything. Are you prepared to go the long haul?

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Fuel for jets DOES grow on trees

Charles 9
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Re: Nah.

So if they have family across the ocean, they propose to just leave them to their fate and never visit them (because ANY form of transport to meet them will be fuel intensive, be it ship or plane)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

I thought the three rules of thermodynamics were (1) You can't win. (2) You can't break even. and (3) You can't quit.

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Charles 9
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Re: And the cost, in energy terms

Trying to learn more about it. Now, if the plant can be grown in land otherwise unsuitable for food crops, that's a potential boon. A smaller footprint on arable land at least opens the way for some give and take. I'm also particularly interested in the yield: particularly the average final product yield for a given area of land used to grow it.

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Charles 9
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But the article didn't completely answer the question. There are no hard numbers being bounced around. If you, for example, take one hectare of this plant through the fast pryolysis process being proposed, just how many liters of useable fuel will result? Because let's face it; flying is pretty fuel-intensive, to the point that weight is a constant consideration in terms of flightworthiness.

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Senate decides patent reform is just too much work, waves white flag

Charles 9
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Re: What happened to Principle and Common Law?

No, they just played the game to and used the rules themselves to change them. That's the thing about sovereign power: ultimately, the rules are only what you make it. Or as someone put it, "Ink on a page."

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Charles 9
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Re: @Charles 9 - You want to reform?

It when they're under considerable pressure to keep up quotas or they get their budget slashed FURTHER. Put it this way, when you're faced with the prospect of being downsized down to just a yes man (or worse a yes-machine), and you're faced with a mountain of applications, all of which has to be done today, what choice do you have?

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Charles 9
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Re: You want to reform?

You realize the USPTO is one of the most understaffed bureaus in the American Executive Branch? If they're rubber-stamping stuff, it's because they lack the resources (both time and money) to do much else. And they STILL get chewed out no matter what they do. Frankly, a position in the USPTO is probably one of the more thankless positions in American government.

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Charles 9
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Re: ... !!! ...

Anyone interested in returning to Congress next January, that's who. These businesses are powerful enough that they can ruin any campaign that goes against them. Campaign restrictions don't bother them, as they have enough shills and shells to conceal their actions and enough palm grease to make anyone else turn the other way.

About the only way something serious will get done is if it hits a crisis level: as in people DIE as a result.

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Why are Fujitsu and Toshiba growing lettuce in semiconductor plants?

Charles 9
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Re: Can you even grow...

It would take a different setup than your usual kit, but there's not much preventing you from hydroponically growing potatoes and other root crops.

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Apple haggles with ISPs for fast lanes to its own websites – industry guru

Charles 9
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Re: Net Neutrality is a weird one

That's what I was trying to argue in my post above. It's a question of private rights vs. public fairness. Where do you draw the line?

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Charles 9
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Re: "...where private networks connect to public networks."

Public/private as in "Can anyone use the connection or not?" As in a privately- vs. publicly-owned company. Google's network is mostly private: for Google's use only. Meanwhile, consumer ISPs are by definition public.

Usually, a service open to the public is subject to fairness laws and such to prevent extortion and scalping. Now, where it gets interesting is when a private (for one's use only) net connects to a public one (that anyone can use).

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Charles 9
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I think where things get complicates is where private networks connect to public networks. Take Google. It has a private network through which most of its information flows. Google tries not to pass the data onto public ISPs until as close as possible. IOW, Google has its own backhaul, but to actually reach the users it still needs to interact with the last mile. Similarly, I think Netflix has contracted out a backhaul connection but still needs to negotiate with the ISP concerning use of the last mile.

Is Apple facing the same situation: trying to connect already-provisioned backhaul to the last mile? If so, how does this fit into the net neutrality debate given most of the networks involved are privately owned and operated. Where's the line between content segregation and overregulation of private not-for-lease lines?

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No such luck: Apple, Samsung say peace talks are off – way off

Charles 9
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Re: Not Cool

Besides, the costs of the lawyers are amortized over the millions of devices each company sells. They SOUND expensive until you compare them to their annual revenues (making it a case of millions vs. billions). For them, lawyers are simply The Cost of Doing Business (tm), and in relative terms not that big a cost at that.

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Net neutrality foes outspent backers by over three to one – and that's just so far

Charles 9
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Re: Similar but slightly different

The US knows that all too well. Infrastructure to the sticks is costly because the US is so damn big. Ever wonder why there are so many local monopolies when it comes to network infrastructure? It was because monopolies were the ONLY way to get SOMEONE to actually care about reaching them all the way in the Middle of Nowhere(tm).

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Charles 9
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Re: Monopoly & regulatory capture vs. Competition

The thing is, there has to be incentive to actually build rival last mile infrastructure. England is not that big a country, so building out to the rural areas isn't as great a stretch. But in the US, you can be hundreds of miles from any community of note. At these distances, communities couldn't GIVE the last mile away because there was basically a first mile, a last mile, but nothing in between. So ANYONE who wanted to reach that community basically had to built the entire linkup from scratch. The costs involved pretty much meant the only way to do it AT ALL was through sweetheart deals.

PS. It's not just cable where you see this last mile problem. Natural Gas is not available in my neighborhood because there's no existing infrastructure and not enough people interested in it to make the infrastructure investment worthwhile.

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Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why

Charles 9
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Re: So it's not just me?

I bet it's more the case that, whatever they did, borked BOTH the system AND the fallback at the same time. Failsafe Failure, IOW. When Murphy REALLY doesn't like you, no precaution you can make will save you.

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Charles 9
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Re: The schadenfreude has reached a new level of intensity with this

The Bloomberg model, IOW.

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Intel shows off tech bubbles, low-power yacht racing and... a DIRECT solar charger

Charles 9
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Well, at least give Intel props for coming up with a better solar power regulator. It's the kind of tech that can raise tolerances for the kinds of solar cells one can use and can potentially reduce the rollout costs as a result. May not be enough to take us breakeven, but I still call it a step in the right direction.

As for low-power PCs, that's becoming more a plus these days. But it does raise some questions, such as, "What about research into sweet-spot computing that can both crank out serious performance while still avoiding excessive power draw?" Now, I understand physics puts a hard limit, but I personally wonder how close we are to the theoretical limitations of an optimal power/performance ratio.

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Game of Thrones written on brutal medieval word processor and OS

Charles 9
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Re: backups

A hardcopy would be tricky to restore in the event of a loss of data. As for floppies, they're becoming a dying breed. One possible solution could be a Compact Flash interface, since the pinout of CF actually mimics IDE. Doesn't have to be too big, just large enough to allow a backup to the CF "hard drive", then it can be stashed and swapped for a second CF. Someone mentioned CD-R, and there is a suite of CD-Recording tools. Combined with a CD-RW drive, this is another possible backup avenue, though I think there can be longevity issues with both drive and media.

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Comcast exec says wired broadband customers should pay-as-they-go

Charles 9
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Re: Gouging

Ahem, not all phone companies have the means to switch from copper to fiber. About the only two in the US you hear about are Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (uVerse). Some of the cable companies also take this approach with fiber to the node, allowing them to divide neighborhoods and such into smaller nodes that provide more bandwidth between them.

Thing is, sometimes the problem isn't the last mile but rather a different mile: something in the backhaul. That's the kind of problem rural communities have: sorta like trying to connect two four-lane highways with a rickety one-lane bridge. PLUS there's the matter of linking up distant cities since any weak link along the line slows everything along it.

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Charles 9
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"The amount of steps you are taking on the street are not monitored (perhaps) either, nor are obese people charged more on the tube."

The tube doesn't do that because they charge by distance traveled: just another way to meter. And airlines WILL charge you for a second seat if you're too fat to fit in one.

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Charles 9
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Re: Extreme Price Gouging, Extreme Nonsense

They feel they can get away with this because the internet is "different" than cable TV was. No cable company EVER charged consumers for "how much" they watched TV, but somehow feel they can get away with this. It will be more profitable than anything these monopolists have -ever- done before.

That's because, until now, the content was never personalized. It was broadcast, in the sense that the same streams were sent to everyone, even in the digital age. Right now, television is trying to negotiate the tradeoff point: what streams should be broadcast vs. unicast. Broadcast is more efficient if lots of people are watching it because you only need to send one stream for all of them while unicast works out for less-watched content because it's not always being watched so you can swich the allocation to something else as the need calls for it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Comcast Bites!!

Google did that because most of the YouTube content flows through their (completely) private net. The public-private interface is the thing Google negotiates so ISPs only have to worry about the part that flows over their own pipes and not having to worry about backhaul.

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Charles 9
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Re: Common Carrier will nip this in the bud.

You assume the problem is that the carriers are cornering the last mile. For many places, especially in the sticks, communities couldn't give away the last mile because there was still the matter of connecting the last mile with the first mile...which at the time wasn't built, either. Many of the sweetheart deals were the only way to get better-than-dialup to these places at all.

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Charles 9
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Re: Gouging

DSL is has an easier time of it because you can more easily increase the backhaul.

DSL has its problems, too: namely switching offices. Even in a city (some would say especially in a city due to issues of existing infrastructure), distances that are just fine for POTS don't cut it for DSL (DSL can only go so far before the signal's too weak, and you can't go as the crow flies). For that, the only solution may just be a new switching office, which raises location and rewiring specters of their own.

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Look out, FCC: R.E.M., Aerosmith, Jello Biafra, 57 others join net neutrality crusade

Charles 9
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Re: Maybe the quotes need more context

How can you go with a competitor in a CAPTIVE MARKET? Most places only have one (two if you're lucky) broadband provider of any substance. It's like trying to find an alternate source of food in a place like a stadium: you simply can't.

PS. And most of these captive markets were the result of Hobson's choices: captive markets were the only way to get IN the market; otherwise, they'd remain disconnected due to the extra infrastructure that needed to be built just to reach them.

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Charles 9
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Re: I wonder

But don't those agreements have breakout clauses if the traffic gets too imbalanced (something Netflix would know about)?

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Charles 9
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Re: I wonder

Scandinavian countries are relatively small. Geography plays a role in bandwidth costs, especially backhaul which is always metered.

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IETF plans to NSA-proof all future internet protocols

Charles 9
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Re: But all the snoops'll do is

But how do they stop detectors for such being built and distributed through networks outside their control such as foreign countries, TOR, i2p, Freenet, and the like?

Heck, given the level of paranoia, what's stopping the gov from requiring an exploit vector be planted in every single piece of a vital piece of hardware (like a video or network card) that's traded in the US? A ubiquitous hardware exploit with direct memory access would be about as good as the NSA types could get it: OS-agnostic and impossible to get around. Some of the mobile paranoids say that's how the NSA taps your mobile conversations: not at the OS but at the radio chip.

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Charles 9
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Re: They'll never beat the spooks

Or a saboteur.

Or simply enough knowledge of the protocols that they can perform side channel attacks. Put bluntly, there's a demand for efficiency in data transmission. But in doing so, you necessarily make your data more unique compared to everything else and easier to identify. It's like a line of balls rolling down a rack. You have a choice. You can make your ball a unique shape or size so you can easily pick it out when it comes along, but then anyone else can do the same. Or you can make your ball the same size and shape as the other balls. They can't pick them out, but then neither can you. Pick your poison.

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Now that's PROPER SCIENCE: Boffins teach robo-arm to catch flying beer bottle

Charles 9
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Re: Maybe it will soon...

Tennis balls are easy to curve because their felt surface is rough and uneven, making it easier to create air turbulence, much as reverse swing bowlers like one side of the ball to look (quoting a commentator) "as if a dog's been chewing on it."

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Charles 9
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Re: Catch unconsciously?

No, because that STILL implies use of the brain. Reflexes don't have to go through the brain.

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Charles 9
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Re: What's "ultra fast"?

Pretty safe to assume "beyond fast" can be qualified as "beyond any human capability to perform the feat."

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Charles 9
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Re: Catch unconsciously?

No, unconsciously is the correct word, though not in this case to mean "while unconscious (ie. asleep)" but rather "without exerting conscious thought to the task", like what happens in a reflex.

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Charles 9
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Re: Impressive

I'd be more impressed if it could react to the scenario in which the handle never comes in reach, meaning the only way to catch the racket is by the rim, just as we have to sometimes react to a less-than-optimal situation and fall back to just finding some way to grab it. Or with the bottle, determining that it might be best to hesitate or else the hand will grab the half-full bottle in a position best left uncaught: upside-down.

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Sony bosses will return bonuses as firm preps for BILLIONS in losses

Charles 9
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Re: No focussing on the customer then?

ONLY if they also provide a remote that allows for switching between ANY of those aforementioned inputs with a single press. I can cycle all day, but many others aren't used to the idea and get lost trying to figure out which input they need to be on when they just want to watch the news.

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Anti-theft mobe KILL SWITCH edges closer to reality in California

Charles 9
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Re: Already have it

"And, by law, Apple would be prohibited from doing it unless specifically authorised to do so by the phone's owner."

Not even a gagged order from a secret court? There's a way around EVERYTHING if you're a government.

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Charles 9
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Re: Half the problem @Charles 9

I'm talking Faraday-proof in the sense a nicker would just stuff the phone into a Faraday bag. Without radio reception, how's the phone supposed to receive the killswitch signal before it's rooted and retooled to not respond to the killswitch?

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Charles 9
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Re: @shovelDriver

The reason you start in California is that, because it's the most populous state in the nation, anything you do in California tends to ripple for the simple reason that it's easier to abide by California's tougher standards universally than to have two lines.

Here's two words that spring to mind: "California Emissions".

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Charles 9
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Re: Half the problem

"In reality, like all the prototype iPhones that were stolen, almost half (44%) were left behind somewhere like a bar, a bus or at work and only 11% were actually taken off the victim's person according to a survey conducted by mobile security outfit Lookout."

Hmm? I've heard of incidents where the owner was killed and the ONLY thing taken was their phone. Statistical outlier or not, that's pretty extreme in my book just to nick a phone.

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Charles 9
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You're assuming they don't have the ability ALREADY.

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Charles 9
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PS. To anyone who thinks this is a way for the government to get a backdoor inserted into your phone...

What makes you think they don't have such a mechanism ALREADY?

Plus, as others have said, there are other ways to stop cell phones in their tracks: taking over the towers, radio sniffing for picocells, etc. Once all networks are down, the plods can just round everyone up and take the phones physically. Plus this has the advantage of also picking up non-networked devices like dedicated cameras. Look what happened in Iran. Not much communication once the towers went down, eh?

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Charles 9
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Re: Half the problem

Plus I'd be interested in seeing a killswitch system that was Faraday-proof.

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London cabbies to offer EVEN WORSE service in protest against Uber

Charles 9
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I don't know about London, but some cab companies (particularly in the US where taxi services are usually private and compete with each other) have wised up and set up their own Web systems for requesting services. They can use GPS both to track the cabs and the hails, the hail knows where their cab is and how much longer they have to wait, and no matter what the address, a cabbie will know just where to go (plus the hail can check the route and note it's fair--it need not be shortest if it's avoiding traffic).

If not for the rumors I hear that London cabbies intentionally take roundabout routes, I'm surprised they haven't decided to fight fire with fire and wire up the cabs.

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FCC MUST protect net neutrality to preserve AMERICA, say Google et al

Charles 9
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Re: what about Googles own private internet

As long as it's a closed private intranet, that's their business. Hook it up to the Internet at large, though, and we'll need to talk.

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Charles 9
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Re: Problem is monopoly bound setups

The only problem to your problem is there was a reason for those monopolies in the first place. NO ONE wanted to reach them OTHERWISE. For many small towns and rural communities it was a Hobson's choice. Getting all the way out to the boonies like that took some serious money that may not be recoverable, so anyone who made an offer demanded a sweetheart deal or it was no deal at all. Even now you have to wonder if anyone else would bite if rural monopolies DID come to an end. There are plenty of places in the US where the norm (if any) is the old-fashioned POTS modem (DIALUP, IOW).

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