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* Posts by Charles 9

3630 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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

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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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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Charles 9
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Re: Uh-oh...

One of the companies listed is Google. Last I checked, they DO have a ton of infrastructure investment. So much that they're trying to become last mile ISPs themselves.

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Watch out, Yahoo! EFF looses BADGER on sites that ignore Do Not Track

Charles 9
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Re: everything will start falling behind paywalls.

Everything you DO want to read sea or hear on the internet will start falling behind paywalls.

There. FTFTFY. It was right the first time, as I can speak from experience. More and more important and exclusive content is starting to get locked down.

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Charles 9
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Re: @BlueGreen @Terri Terrapin

Do you make any effort to systemically deal with ads?

Whether you do or now, the ad companies make every effort to systematically deal with people who systematically deal with ads. They employ broad ad-blocker-blockers and start having host sites and other legitimate domains host the ads, meaning if you block the ads you block the content, too. And with more and more exclusive (and perhaps even important) content being hidden behind these cookie minefields, it increasingly reaches the point of "Do You Dare?"

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Charles 9
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Re: Armor up

That may well be possible if you have an alternative, but I note you left out the key word exclusive. In this case, it's down to a take it or leave it. If you turn them down, you have to go without the offer since you can't get it anywhere else.

And it gets dicier when you're not talking about something cosmetic but important stuff like exclusive drivers, security patches, and so on. What if the only way to keep your system safe is to submit to the cookie minefield? (And yes, I've personally experienced such a dilemma for an old driver)

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Charles 9
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Re: What do you want for free?

No, it's a true dichotomy because the ONLY ads that matter anymore are tracking ads. All the dumb ad networks have since disappeared. And as for an explicit relationship, that's a loophole one could drive a lorry through. They'll FIND a way to make the relationship explicit, and then all bets are off.

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Charles 9
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Re: 3rd party cookies

I think Badger can also handle the FIRST-party cookies as well from sites that won't behave.

Thing is, how long before sites use cookie detectors and won't let you in until you accept them...ALL of them.

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Charles 9
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Re: Armor up

Especially since many sites, including some of the BIG ones or ones with exclusive content, are now employing ad-blocker-blockers of a very broad sort. Basically they won't let you see anything unless you open yourself up to the cookies.

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Charles 9
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Re: If they really want to 'badger them'...

Except that might be grounds for a suit. Perhaps a quick beep to the EFF and for every, say, 100 times they get a red flag, the EFF can send an e-mail to the admins of that website listing the violations. Of course, they'd also need to find a way to make sure it's not summarily filtered, but enough of them should start getting their attention. And the sites can't accuse the EFF of spam since each message is different and all the e-mails will be valid claims of misconduct.

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Australian government apps access smartmobe cams but 'don't film you'

Charles 9
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Re: Major overhaul needed

You're assuming every Android user encountering an unfulfilled intent can go to an App Store. If a phone is locked down, that may not be the case, meaning the app becomes less than useless: it becomes deceptive. THAT'S why most apps roll their own: because they don't trust the Intent system to work on anything but STOCK apps.

As for the premission issue, I'm thinking of a case where "ALLOW A AND B" changes into "ALLOW A" and "ALLOW C", where C replaces B but is not a direct analogue for B. So it gets complicated because a blanket case can't apply anymore. There's also the matter of "ALLOW A" changing itself slightly but significantly: altering its rules just enough that previous assumptions no longer apply. Then there's another matter: MANAGING all those permissions.

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Charles 9
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Re: Android app permissions

Except that network and GPS are ways to AUGMENT the compass, which is why most compass apps use it. Anyway, the network access is probably for the ads.

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Charles 9
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Re: Android app permissions

Thing is, if they lie, you can file a legal complaint of false advertising. And I want it compulsory, which is why I don't just want it in the description but attached to EACH AND EVERY PERMISSION. If a permission cannot be justified, it cannot be permitted, full stop.

And yes, it's a Hobson's Choice: put up with it or go without. The only other option is to go to Apple...which has conditions of its own. So if you want true privacy on a phone, you better be ready to do your own coding, because you can't trust anyone but yourself in that matter. And you better be prepared to be coding AGAIN when things change under the hood, which is why you can't have too granular a permission tree.

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Charles 9
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Re: That's exactly the problem

Remember, it's the DEVELOPERS who insisted on this model to begin with. If there was no difference between Android and the Apple model, the developers would've just stayed in Apple's walled garden. It's kind of a lose-lose situation. You either put up with them or you put up with Apple. No one else can compete with them, and anyone who can is going to play dirty.

Basically, yeah, you're down to a Hobson's choice. You either have to put up with it or just go without and lose the edge.

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Charles 9
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Many of the permissions have a reason.

Storage is to read media files and maybe outpug pmaylists.

Phone state is to pause on a call. SMS is probably similar.

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Charles 9
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Re: Android app permissions

Iwas thinking the same thing: a justification field for each permission.

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Charles 9
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Re: Major overhaul needed

Correction, as for point 3... Intents are usually only used when an app like Gallery is standard on Android. Things like barcode scanners can't be safely assumed to be there.

As for point 1, make the permissions too fine and you face a moving target as under the hood stuff changes from verdion to version, breaking lots of stuff.

IMO what needs to be added is a justification field for each requesyed permission: not just what you neef but WHY as well.

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Charles 9
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Re: Major overhaul needed

Point 2 was DELIBERATE, at the request of the devs. Otherwise, they would never have been tempted to leave Apple's walled garden.

As for point 1, there's a fear no third party app to, say, scan a barcode is installed and one csn't be added because the phone is locked down and the user isn't the owner.

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Charles 9
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Re: "Its specific responses to permissions sought"...

Odds are it is either e-filing documents like prescriptions or for barcode scanning. Both have legitimate uses and both need ths camera.

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Inventors: Feast your eyes on fuel cell tech that'll power up Internet of Thingies

Charles 9
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Re: Methane

It won't be adopted, I think. Using methane in a fuel cell is still carbon-positive. At which point, why not just combust the stuff?

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Google forges a Silver bullet for Android, aims it at Samsung's heart

Charles 9
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Re: Google doesn't own Android, its open source

But it's the SERVICES that make Android worth it. Without access to the Google Play Services and everything attached to it, what's the point? Last I checked, the only trusted supplier an Android device will accept (the one that's still allowed when "Allow Untrusted Sources" is unchecked) is Google Play. For the average Joe, Google Play is as important to the Android experience as the OS, and nothing we do will change that (Remember, you can't fix stupid).

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Charles 9
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It's not so much that anything's being removed but that Google's setting a VERY high bar for premium phones for the foreseeable future. Especially now in a more-security-conscious environment, getting first dibs on updates (and perhaps a guarantee on updates for as long as the phone can handle it as well) is going to be a selling point. It's going to make the likes of Samsung wonder if it's worth it to keep differentiating themselves anymore since not just their custom UIs but also their differentiating hardware means they can't just accept new versions of Android as easily as Google. EVERYTHING that's unique to them has to be tested and probably recoded with each new version. That's why there's a delay with manufacturers even for their carrier-free models. Since Google makes the final call on what makes a Silver phone, and as the article says, the specs are going to be very strict, which means there'll be no room for differentiation. And for the non-Google brands, differentiation is necessary for them to stand out. Otherwise, Google's brand will be what stands out, not theirs (Quick Quiz: Who actually makes the various Nexus devices for Google? See what I mean?)

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Charles 9
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No. Because the customizations depend on under-the-hood Android features that CHANGE from version to version. Take the notification bar. KitKat (v4.4) changed the code up there (for efficiency reasons), in the process breaking every notification customization to date.

So you see, they can't just make it a bolt-on because the bolt holes don't match each time.

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Charles 9
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Re: Well, it was only a matter of time......

TouchWiz is more than just a home screen. Especially at the high end, it has a lot of other things under the hood that influence the UI. It's also where carriers tend to insert their custom programs so that rooting and using an AOSP-based ROM means you lose their functionality (thus why I'm back on TouchWiz on my S4--only way to get T-Mobile's Visual Voicemail and WiFi Calling).

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Mozilla asks FCC to unleash the nuclear option on net neutrality

Charles 9
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Re: Agreed

The answer is simply: If your ISP is throttling you, change to one that doesn't.

Easier said than done. Many people are in captive markets where the only way to switch from an ISP is to switch to NO ISP. It's like the concession stand at a ballpark or theater. They can deny outside food for health reasons and then charge a mint for the food inside because it's the only source available.

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Super-heavy element 117 DOES exist – albeit briefly. Got any berkelium handy?

Charles 9
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Re: Start of the new chemistry?

It goes to the atomic arrangements. Noble gases are supposed to be the most stable because their proton and electron arrangements form complete patterns, but it kinda breaks down with Radon (it's supposed to be a noble gas, but it's radioactive).

Looking at the current periodic table, one hot goal right now seems to be confirming element 118. This is because it's supposed to be a noble gas, but because it occurs after Radon which is radioactive, it's hard to say just how it will behave. Any data on the matter will help to explain further whether or not atomic stability can still be maintained at such a high weight. Could also help to explain the Strong Force better.

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Charles 9
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That's supposed to be 115. That element is currently undergoing confirmation and is expected to be officially added (and named) pretty soon.

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Laser deflector shields possible with today's tech – but there's one small problem

Charles 9
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Re: Snails

The problem is that plenty of animals have found ways to enjoy their escargot in spite of the shell. Birds, for example, have their powerful beaks while racoons have learned to rap snails against rocks and the like to crack the shells.

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Charles 9
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What about for unmanned stuff such as a missile? Could this combined with spin and a highly-reflective coating provide adequate defense against interception by a laser system? This can have practical implications for things like shipborne defense systems.

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Thanks for nothing, Apple, say forensic security chaps

Charles 9
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Re: You can't simultaneously have good privacy and easy recovery of data.

Over and above the customer's wishes (as in "The Customer is Always Right")?

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Charles 9
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Re: solid state wiping

In this case, it's not zeroes. The flash is encrypted at the partition level, so it all looks like noise. The wipe wipes out the key needed to make it make sense, and it probably does this by putting a new key in its place.

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DeSENSORtised: Why the 'Internet of Things' will FAIL without IPv6

Charles 9
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"Then again, how often have you seen a non-technical user enter an IP address for an external site? I know some who don't even enter URLs."

Online gamers. Most small-time servers ONLY have IPs.

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Charles 9
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Re: As another no-nothing on the subject of IPv6

Is hex really that much harder? HELL YEAH!

At least with IPv4, there are at worst 12 digits (and note, they're all numbers). We deal with sequences of similar lengths when we negotiate the telephone system: which we have for decades. What real-world analogue is there to the IPv6 scheme?

IOW, IPv4 is within our comfort zone. IPv6 is WAY out of our league.

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Charles 9
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Re: Brandon 2 someone tell the NSA...

You missed the point of the post. He's saying the NSA would welcome IPv6 because it would make snooping EASIER because of the removal of the NAT layer. This means they can remove the step of bridging the inner and outer networks from their work of breaking through the firewall.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sir

Part of the problem with IPv4 isn't just the lack of public addresses, it's the lack of private addresses.

Private address space 10/8 allows 2^24 addresses within it. If there's a company that uses more than 16 million addresses within its internal network, I'd like to see it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Firewalls

I think the logic is that if anyone can break the IPv6 firewall between your home and the outer net, they can also break the IPv4 NAT router and create the necessary bridges between the networks.

So IOW, what you want is a dumb fridge, not a dumb network. Because in your scenario, it wouldn't matter if your fridge was using IPv4/NAT or IPv6; malcontents will find a way in either way.

As for the whole address space thing, I think people are MUCH more comfortable with IPv4 vs. IPv6 because IPv4 is--at worst--12 digits. That's not too much of a stretch from a telephone number: something we've been memorizing for decades. You can't say the same thing about IPv6 addresses unless they've been SERIOUSLY shortened, and then there's the matter of the letters; at least when telephone numbers use letters, they're used intentionally as a mnemonic.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bridging IPv4 to IPv6

The problem has never been IPv6 talking to IPv4. There's a reserved IPv6 prefix for IPv4 addresses. The problem has always been going the other way: an IPv4 site wanting to talk to an IPv6 site.

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Cuffing darknet-dwelling cyberscum is tricky. We'll 'disrupt' crims instead, warns top cop

Charles 9
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But on the other hand, some things are irreversible once committed (murder, for example, or destruction of a unique object), so the only satisfactory solution in that case is prevention; anything else is too late for the victim(s). So in that sense, we won't settle for less than prevention because the only way the victim is happy is if they don't get victimized.

So how do you reconcile the justice system with such a desire?

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Charles 9
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Re: I find this amusing...

OK. How about ANY encrypted traffic will be inspected and anything the plod can't decrypt (= trusted and vetted site) will bring the Men in Black. Then make every site I allow require image mangling and other anti-stego techniques such that anything that would get through would be extremely low on bandwidth: impractical for large applications.

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Charles 9
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Re: A better solution: better defences

Impossible. The ability to access it is ALSO the ability to break it. Because of this, there's no way to create a system that is BOTH intrinsically secure AND easy to use: they work at cross-purposes. The only real way to improve security is to make it harder for EVERYONE to get in, but once you do that, you make it more onerous for the user, and it is usually the intractable PEBKAC problem that is going to do you in in.

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