I've been telling friends and relatives for years that submitting DNA samples to geneology databases is risky, and now we're seeing why. Courts are now deciding that law enforcement should have complete access to the databases. This sets a precedent that will, in short order, be used to justify use and abuse of this data by every law enforcement employee, government agency and elected official that asks for it.
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Monday, October 28, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019
You definitely need to click through the article's link and read the whole story.
And remember it the next time I say I'm coming home late from work because I needed to fix "one last bug before leaving the office".
Thursday, May 09, 2019
This is incredible news. Now that we have seen the process in a lab, hopefully it can be scaled up for use in a commercial desalinization plant. A cheap and low-energy technology would pretty much solve the world's fresh water supply problems.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
I've been saying some of this for some time now. Especially the first two. I listen to a lot of political news podcasts and people can't stop making insane claims that if Huawei sells a cell tower to Verizon that they will be able to listen in on every conversation and intercept every web session that crosses the tower (or in some more paranoid versions, over Verizon's entire network).
Even if they built in a "send all packets to China" feature, and somehow managed to turn it on without Verizon's NOC noticing that the amount of traffic has instantly doubled, how is this any less secure than using public Wi-Fi in a restaurant? The answer is that it isn't. Which is why every web site and Internet service that cares about security (including your banks, e-mail services and social media sites) use encryption - that little "s" in https: isn't just for decoration.
Sure, maybe the Chinese want to fill their servers with thousands of terabytes of encrypted spam so they can spend the next decade decrypting it in order to learn a secret that, by the time they decode it, will have been all over the New York Times for several years. But I think they have better things to do.
Those people who are likely targets of espionage already need advanced security, with or without 5G. The fact that Huawei makes some equipment used by your cell carrier doesn't magically give them the ability to decrypt all the traffic flowing through that equipment.
That having been said, I am opposed to Huawei selling equipment to the US or anyone else. Not because they're going to take over the world, but simply because they should be allowed to profit from decades of intellectual property theft and massive government subsidies. Level the playing field by taking those away and I'll be happy to let them (try and) compete against Ericsson and Nokia.
All of that now having been said, there actually is a national security threat from Chinese network equipment like that from Huawei and ZTE. Not that they can intercept the world's communications, but that they could turn it off. They could build a hidden kill switch into their products that would probably not be detected. If a war should break out between China and some other nation, they could trigger that switch, disabling their enemy's entire communication network. I think that threat is plausible and should be taken seriously.
Could Ericsson or Nokia build in a kill switch? Sure they could, but since they are not owned by any government, the odds of them doing it on their own or in response to a government request is far lower than products built by companies that are subject to control by a foreign and hostile government.
Monday, April 29, 2019
Qualcomm's developer network has published a Hello World demo application, but the procedure is for Windows PCs and I want to use Linux for my development platform. Qualcomm's SDK says that Linux and macOS are supported platforms, but any documentation resembling a tutorial is strictly Windows-based.
This blog post is the procedure I worked out for getting their Hello World demo working using a Linux PC to cross-compile the code and flash the Qualcomm developer board
Monday, April 01, 2019
In Googling for the definitions, I found that it is very hard to find definitions for most of these. As a service to my readers, here are all the line items from my contract, and the best explanation I've found so far for them. Some come from Verizon or from user-forum discussions I ran across. Some are based on my own intuition and understanding of wireless technology.
Corrections are welcome and will help to make the list more complete. I don't promise that it's all correct, but I hope people with specific knowledge will be able to help me improve it and make it correct.
Updated on June 4, 2015, based on reader comments. Thanks much!
Updated on April 1, 2019, based on the receipt we got when we upgraded one of our phones last July.
Friday, March 29, 2019
It's about time. Ever since the demise of public phone booths, we've needed a way to make a private call without renting office space.
Of course, now T-Mobile is going to have to deal with the problems that AT&T had with the classic phone booths - of homeless people living in them, drug addicts shooting up in them, etc. But maybe they have a solution in place for all this.
Update: It appears that the "Phone BoothE" was an April 1st joke, even though they announced it on March 29th. It still sounds like a good idea, though.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Sadly, this seems to be the absolute truth. Terrorists can bomb Israel and nobody cares, but if Israel fires even one bullet in retaliation, then they are condemned by the entire world.
You would think that after 60 years of this, Israel would stop caring what the world thinks. If everything you do makes the world hate you, then why should you even listen to them?