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* Posts by Charles 9

3467 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

FCC waves big fines at political robocallers

Charles 9
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Re: Stop the threats

The trouble is that phone calls, especially of a political nature, run smack into the First Amendment. In terms of freedom of speech, political speech tends to be given the freest reign. At this point, there is a VERY fine line between legitimate campaign calling for tens of millions of Americans and spam, and it likely keeps moving. That's probably why the FCC is taking what may be seen as an excessively careful approach, lest they fire back with claims they've been denied their rights under the Constitution.

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Samsung's new Galaxy S 4: iPhone assassin or Android also-ran?

Charles 9
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A further update. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 600 (the 1.9Ghz quad core) will be in the American version of the S4. The 1.5GHz big.LITTLE Exynos processor will be in the international version. This introduces other considerations. The Snapdragon is faster while the Exynos is supposed to be more efficient. Plus there are questions about the frequencies that will be used in the different versions of the phone.

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Charles 9
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Re: Meh

I think the situation is that we've reached something of a plateau in terms of phone functionality. They can already do so much, and as you've said, many people are content with the functions their phones possess, but many might jump if something very innovative and practical came along. But right now, no one can see what that new killer application can be. Even Apple, long reputed for being able to drive hordes to some new feature, suffered a rare misfire. So, if APPLE can't find the killer app in the current generation, then perhaps the best one can hope for is to throw a few things and see if something sticks. The S 4 has a lot of things in it. Perhaps someone can make something useful out of it.

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Charles 9
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Need to play with it first.

Battery life under use is something that is difficult to gauge without experience, since architecture and design can have a role in battery usage. We do know that the battery is rated at 2600mAh, which for a phone is decently beefy (to go bigger, you normally end up at the Notes or at phones with non-replaceable batteries--the Notes and some of the fixed-battery phones can do over 3 Ah).

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Charles 9
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I've been gathering more news about the S 4, and an interesting one I've read is that reaction back home in South Korea has been...less than flattering. So I'm of a mind to see if there will be competition to it in the coming months. Does anyone have an idea if anything comparable to this from the likes of other companies is on the schedule sometime this year? I am patient enough to wait if competition is coming soon.

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Charles 9
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Since Home screens are customizable, the basic belief is that if you access an app often enough, you'll have the inclination to drag the app from the drawer to the home screen of your own volition. In this case, "smart" may not be desirable since some people are sticklers for their particular form of organization. But in other areas, favorites lists and so on do show up from time to time.

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Charles 9
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Re: Some features I'm excited about

"MicroSD slot - This is a pet peeve... Manufactures charging more for higher capacity because there is no expansion option"

Actually, the plan is that Samsung will charge more for higher capacity AND still offer the SD Slot. Oh well. At least you can pick and choose and still build up later.

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Charles 9
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Re: You have my attention.

Have to wonder, though, if they'll support the capacities out of the box. Since the big hurdle (exFAT support) is already licked, I would hope so, but you never know.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sounds great

You're talking to one. I did it for a three-week stint, and it worked out nicely, and despite a number of international calls and texts (not to mention a generous data allowance) the final damage wasn't all that significant.

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Charles 9
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GLONASS was cheap to add in.

I believe they use compatible setups, making it easy for GPS chipmakers to add in GLONASS support. It basically boiled down to "Why the hell not?"

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Charles 9
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1) None of them start with a K.

2) Google is an American company, and Key Lime Pie is a well-known American dessert. Has anyone given thought to what'll be the next name? Lemon Meringue Pie, perhaps? Probably just Licorice...

3) At least Samsung gives recent adopters some slack. My Tablet 7.0 Plus was upgraded to ICS eventually. I think we'll see the SIV's move on up in due time. It'd be best to give the pie a little time to cool in any event to avoid biting into a hot spot. I'm sure as soon as it comes out we'll see work begin on CM11.

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Charles 9
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Re: Different bands for different markets - how awful

In any event, they're trying to be as accommodating as possible. The GSM and HSPA radios are each quad-band and the LTE one is hex-band, and you can usually find some overlap between areas. Even for my T-Mobile G2 (aka HTC Desire Z), I was pleasantly surprised to find an overlapping HSPA+ frequency in the Philippines at 1900MHz. 900MHz is being included in the US frequency list for HSPA(+) and both 900 and 1800MHz are supported on EDGE. Hopefully, the LTE radio will make room for some common international bands.

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Charles 9
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Re: What I'd like to see...

I'm also grateful that Micro USB has become the standard charging method. It makes getting a USB battery brick more versatile.

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Charles 9
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Re: High dissatisfaction

If I do get an SIV, i'll definitely be getting it unbranded (otherwise, I'll hold off). I can tolerate TouchWiz and I'll see what apps they offer. If I'm not satisfied...hopefully Samsung will be lenient on those who buy the phone unbranded and make it easy to reflash it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sounds great

Sensible travelers would swap SIMs upon arriving and use a local prepaid system (pay for a short stint, use it, then toss it away as you leave). Rates may vary, but they're likely better than international roaming.

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Charles 9
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Re: Different bands for different markets - how awful

I understand the feeling, but it's pretty much the best we can do. Compactness demands pretuned antennae. Besides, a software radio isn't sensitive enough.

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Charles 9
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You have my attention.

My 2-year-old phone is starting to feel long in the tooth with today's apps, so I have the itch to switch. I was turned off the HTC One because you can't change the battery or use SD. This one is ticking all the marks so far: current Android, high res (I still have good eyes), power, battery can be removed, even SDXC support (from the 64GB claim). I plan to jump later this year, and so far this is the one to beat.

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New nuke could POWER WORLD UNTIL 2083

Charles 9
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Re: Recycling of ideas

But does it SCALE? Let's see this happen at 500MWe. IIRC that's about 1GWt. That's a lot of energy to render safe without any assistance.

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Charles 9
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Re: What about the oil barons??@Tom Welsh

And if fission takes off, there's even work under way to use spare nuclear power to produce synthetic hydrocarbons. The US Navy's interested because it means carriers have to pack less fuel each time they refit. If they can pull it off, the oil companies will probably be paying more serious attention to nuclear power since it could actually disrupt their bread-and-butter industries.

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Charles 9
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Re: Nice, but still just a fancy kettle

The problem is we lack an efficient industrial-scale way to convert thermal energy directly into electricity. The steam turbine process is three-step (heat->chemical->mechanical->electrical), but in the hundred-plus years since then we've yet to produce anything better. The closest we've gotten at this point IIRC is the Seeback thermoelectric engine, but it's less efficient and more expensive at scale than the turbine process and has issues of its own.

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Charles 9
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Re: low carbon energy source?

If you can produce gigawatts of baseload (read: steady) electricity strictly from renewables, I would love to see it. Otherwise, it's nuclear (fisson/fusion) or bust.

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Charles 9
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Re: Better PR spin...

You'd think the Nevada delegation would be all over this. No more need for Yucca Mountain or the like, after all.

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Charles 9
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Re: Recycling of ideas

Because, at the time, most of the reactors that used spent fuel were designed to ALSO produce high-purity nuclear fuel: the kind you need for WARHEADS. This and other Generation IV reactors, OTOH, are designed to consume the fuel as completely as possible: leaving probably only reactor poisons that by their nature aren't much good for any kind of fission reaction regardless of their purity level.

That said, I'm getting a feeling of "too good to be true" out of this reactor design. Many people claim "fail-safe" designs, but can they be conclusively proven? I'd be more interested in their work if they can substantiate their claims of utility and safety.

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CCTV hack takes casino for $33 MILLION in poker losses

Charles 9
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Re: No Laws Broken?

You could probably get illegal wiretapping on the books, but casino cheating isn't normally in the books as a crime, especially if they don't involve the instruments of the game (in this case, the cards). Still, as happened here, the casino is perfectly withing their rights to tell a cheater to get out and stay out. Happens all the time, and casinos usually pass around blacklists between each other to help keep them in the loop about cheats who might try to find new haunts.

Still, given the sophistication involved here, I would (pardon the pun) place my bets on an inside job.

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Deja vote: Iran blocks VPN use ahead of elections

Charles 9
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Re: Activists already have a workaround...

A darknet is simply an encrypted network where access is severely limited on the basis of trust. Only those who have the proper credentials can enter the net, and it's called "dark" because, by design, you only open the net to those you trust. It's widely rumored that criminal elements like child porn traffickers use darknets to pass their stuff around without anyone outside being able to determine what's being/

Freenet experimented with the idea in an earlier version, to try to get around LEOs getting into the network to sniff things out, but it found that its network really needed a lot of people to make it work and have made the darknet feature strictly an option now. Besides, against an authority who deigns ANY encryption to be suspicious, Freenet would have trouble regardless of its settings.

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Charles 9
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Re: shock

Wanna bet he's got a puppet protege waiting for that situation?

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Charles 9
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Re: "[s/When/If] the ports open again..."

I was thinking about that, too. I would think, the way they describe it, they basically put any encrypted traffic (or anything resembling it, like unidentifiable gibberish) up against a whitelist, and only approved address/port combinations are let in. By my reckoning, TOR, i2p, even Freenet would be blocked. Getting anything more than small bits of information through that would probably take some serious thinking.

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Gnome cofounder: Desktop Linux is a CHERNOBYL of FAIL

Charles 9
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Re: after installing Xubuntu wouldn't turn on the built-in screen

Because the systems I was working on did not recognize Boot from CD/USB. And one laptop I was using was so old it had USB *1* ports and a broken CD drive, making boot from CD useless. PLUS the installation ended up different from the live CD session for some wacko reason.

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Charles 9
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Re: Fragmentation

"Fascinating. Every time I have tried commercial software in the last decade, this is what I've been missing. You know for the last 10 years you simply install a Linux onto a normal computer and it runs with full hardware support no drivers to install, no configuration to be done, the base system simply works and you even get a browser."

For many people, the experience has been quite different. At least one piece of hardware wouldn't work, and it's usually a deal-breaker. I can list a few personal examples. A Dell laptop that after installing Xubuntu wouldn't turn on the built-in screen (incompatible nVidia drivers--both free and non-free). A plug-in USB video capture device that was only recognized half the time. A Bluetooth dongle that worked fine in Windows but fell flat in an older Ubuntu.

Getting a Linux distro to work 100% out-of-box usually called for well-recognized hardware and a dash of luck, IME.

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Charles 9
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Re: Fragmentation

Then Open Source will never win.

The masses aren't interested in evolution and constant improvement. They just want the (expletive) thing to work, first time every time. Turnkey simplicity. They want OS's that intervene only when they HAVE to; otherwise, they stay out of the way and let people do their work.

In other words, constant evolution clashes with ease of use, and the masses prefer the latter.

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Retailer challenges Visa penalty fees in data security dust-up

Charles 9
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Re: Legacy

And for smaller retailers, they may actually lack the capital to perform the compliance upgrade. Taking away from the marketing budget could hurt them in the fact of competition from big-boxers like Dick's and Sports Authority. So they're caught in a Devil's Dilemma. They're contractually obligated to do it but can't afford it.

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Multimillionaire Brit games dev wants your cash for Shroud of the Avatar

Charles 9
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Re: multimillionaire seeks funding?

"No; not if you pasue to think about it. The way we traditionally do business is that if a turkey is released, nobody buys it and the company take a loss and maybe go under. With kickstarter, you can deliberately release a turkey, send out all those 'free' copies to people who paid in advance, then pocket the cash and laugh. It is NOT good for quality. Furthermore, the free-for-all way it operates positively encourages scam artists."

I will admit there's a bit of "caveat emptor" involved (check what you're funding), but to elicit donations for a much-desired project and INTENTIONALLY respond with a turkey? In today's era of social media? You'd be inviting a Twitter Storm...for starters. The phrase, "You'll never work in this town again" springs to mind.

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Charles 9
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Re: multimillionaire seeks funding?

"I agree, but I have to wonder; do we blame businesses for seeking free cash when they're legally beholden to their shareholders to reduce costs and risk wherever possible, or do we blame the fools handing over their money with no strings attached to already rich companies/entrepreneurs?"

No strings attached? When it comes to games, barring a cheap donation, the most common reward for your contribution is a copy of the finished product. Sorta like a very long pre-order, IOW, so they just get your money a little early and use it to help actually develop the game. Less of a gamble that way, and both sides win. They get an advance on the production and you help to ensure the end product actually appears.

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Charles 9
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Re: multimillionaire seeks funding?

"Yes, but investors and partners share the risk and also the reward. Any discount in the Kickstarter price over retail really doesn't account for the high risk of nothing ever appearing."

The Kickstarter policy is that you don't get charged until the fundraising period closes, and ONLY if it makes the goal. I should know. I helped to Kickstart the Carmageddon reboot, and I only got charged when the Kickstart period closed (after beating its fundraising goal by a comfortable margin).

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'Wireless charging' in Galaxy S4 will betray Samsung's best pal

Charles 9
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Re: May the best technology win

But whether it was a SIGNIFICANT factor can be questioed. Playboy produced their soft porn on Betamax, and there were studios that hedged their bets. Besides, any porn that was only an hour long could take advantage of Betamax's full-quality recording mode. Truth is, though Sony didn't like it, they couldn't control the distribution of porn since they had no say in the tapes once they left the factory. And according to statistics, porn sales and rentals weren't exactly the meat and potatoes of the rental industry. It helped, but the biggest lineups were the mainstream films. The big factors that won the war for VHS were easy availability and bigger spools (feature films could fit a VHS at full speed but had to use half-speed on Betamax). Plus the quality bonus of Betamax was lost on the typical 80's TV (especially in the US where the usual link was through the RF connector). This might have been a strike against V2000 as well--"good enough" won out.

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Charles 9
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Re: Crikey

I think the point was that the phone could charge while still doing something useful (like being the car's GPS unit) without having to dangle wires all over the place.

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Charles 9
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Re: May the best technology win

Technologically, Betamax was superior. Unfortunately, only Sony and Sanyo made the devices then because Sony's licensing terms were too strict. VHS came out ahead because JVC was more open to licensing, so more companies could jump in. Also, the VHS cartridge was larger, enabling it to fit more tape (twice as much if memory serves me right). This enabled feature-length films to fit even when recorded at top (Super Play--SP) quality. In contrast, top quality for Betamax (B-I, IIRC) only allowed for an hour, so feature films had to use the lower-quality half-speed mode.

PS. Rumors that the porn industry helped turn the war remain just that--rumors. Most experts agree licensing and VHS's larger cassette size seized the day.

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Charles 9
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:Since I actually know a couple of people who swear they can "feel" wireless networks..."

See if you can challenge their belief. Take them to a room that's secretly a Faraday cage (or just a very VERY dead wireless zone) and see if they can correctly call it.

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Oklahoma woman cuffed with loaded .22 in pork holster

Charles 9
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Re: Here' Some REAL News: The PORK BOMBER

Okay, I get it, but what I was really looking for was a woman showing one can bring a bomb onto a plane or whatever via a dildo. Nothing short of a strip search (like what the jail was doing) would bring it out, and if the woman was sufficiently kinky, you wouldn't even know it in her step. As the only way to find it would be to stomp the US 4th Amendment to the ground (as a strip search without GOOD reason would be considered unreasonable--not to mention trending sexist and therefore discriminatory), this could get the security theater hawks to wring their hands and realize, "You'll lose. What'll it be? The dildo bomb or Big Brother?"

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Pwn2Own: IE10, Firefox, Chrome, Reader, Java hacks land $500k

Charles 9
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Re: Surface Pro

I'd have been more impressed if someone used an IE exploit to pwn and jailbreak a WinRT Surface tablet.

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BRITAIN MUST DECLARE WAR on Cervinaean menace

Charles 9
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Re: And can I pop in a vote

I believe the boar detractors are referring to the risk of Trichinosis. Wild boar are known for carrying the Trichinella parasites, which are usually passed on by eating raw/undercooked meat. IIRC deer (herbivores) aren't the type to acquire Trichinella while bears and pigs (omnivores) can and do.

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Japanese password protector floods screen with hoax cursors

Charles 9
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Re: Easy to defeat.

Doing that runs the risk of a false negative because convincing-enough fake cursors will start to foll the user and result in mistakes. Put it this way. Since the user has to be able to distinguish the real cursor from the fakes. Anything the user does can be observed by a suitably-trained over-the-shoulder observer. They can observer different motions of the cursors, catch the user's mouse movements out of the corner of the eye, and so on.

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Charles 9
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Easy to defeat.

Since they HAVE to know when the actual click takes place, and since click events can be recorded (macro recorders use this function), I suspect screen reader malware will just wait for actual clicks and then attach EXIF data to the pictures that happens to contain the coordinates of the actual mouse cursor at the point of the click. As for the over-the-shoulder observer, a little training should enable someone to distinguish the random motion of the fake cursors from the more-directed motion of the real one.

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Microsoft about-face: Office 2013 license IS transferable now

Charles 9
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Re: With every move Microsoft makes...

I'm personally drawn towards XFCE rather than those two (I personally it comfortably middle of the road). My plan is to migrate to Xubuntu. But I've come to recognize that, for the most part, it's a matter of taste. Cinnamon (which is GNOME-based) is more lightweight than KDE, but then that means KDE comes with more stuff. Each has its fans and detractors. Given the choice, I would say give each one a spin via a live booter and see which one suits you better.

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Charles 9
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Re: With every move Microsoft makes...

Even on Windows, it is improving considerably. As long as your demands aren't too complex, it'll do. Though it does get dicey if you handle MS Office docs on a regular basis.

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DOJ gives T-Mobile - MetroPCS merger the nod

Charles 9
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Re: "If its not that great, why did they try to buy it?"

Sure there is:

"Because it's not that great ON ITS OWN, but when combined with our existing network, the resulting combined network can become greater than the sum of its parts."

The main reason AT&T wanted T-Mobile was to get more towers they could convert to LTE. Now both companies have to move more slowly due to lack of infrastructure for AT&T and lack of capital at the T-Mobile end.

At least this merger doesn't shake up the current wireless picture too much. The big boys are still on top, but now two of the smaller boys come together to become more of a player.

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Penguins, only YOU can turn desktop disk IO into legacy tech

Charles 9
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Re: Computer Architecture 101, huh?

Well, memory mapping is nothing new in the modern PC. Ever since the Peripheral Control Interconnect came along, we've been memory mapping on the PC. Video memory is mapped; the 64-bit memory architecture specifically provides for a peripheral memory map (because they figured no one would reach 2^63 bytes of actual RAM in the processor's lifetime--we're hanging around 2^36 at this point, so it's probably a safe bet). Mapping a few gigs of flash memory should be easy enough to do; the trick would be to do it smartly, but the flash controller can probably handle the messy details given a well-defined specification.

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Charles 9
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It can't be as simple as that. After all, using memory-mapped Flash also means you have to make sure it recognizes it as nonvolatile. Furthermore, the kinds of IO operations you would do as a memory map would be different from those you would as a disk analogue. The way chunks of memory are manipulated would have to be adjusted (you'd want cell-sized blocks ideally). If you use an advanced NVRAM that can be addressed even up to byte precision, then perhaps you'd want to block your IO operations into bus-aligned blocks the CPU can shuffle most easily. We have to realize there's more that needs to be handled behind the scenes than just throw the app into a memory-mapped flash array, and given that things can change from implementation to implementation, we need to allow for a little more time to shake things out.

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

Charles 9
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Re: Another simple solution.

Simple countermeasure. Make the booth only large enough to fit one person comfortably. Trying to drag an unconscious person into such a booth would probably be impractically crowded and take too much time (and time is the robber's worst enemy--the longer you take the more likely you're spotted). It would also help reduce the odds of the rubber-hose treatment. Even if approached mid-transaction the ATM might auto-lock the booth in that time, meaning the perp would have to perform something very violent to get in--and risk downing the victim before he completes the transaction.

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Charles 9
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Re: "blood flowing through"

I suspect you can't use flow because blood flow can vary depending on heart rate.. A flow check might throw a false negative if you happen to use it just after a brisk jog or because you're in a hurry and nervous (both would raise the flow rate).

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