* Posts by Eric O'Brien

22 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Mar 2007

EFF warns of 'one-way mirror' of web surveillance by tech giants – led by Google

Eric O'Brien

It's One Way GLASS, not mirror

When the reference is to invisible observers, hidden behind a mirror, I think the correct term is One Way GLASS. They can see you, you can't see them = "one way." All mirrors are "one way." Calling something a "one way mirror" is pointless (or senseless). A mirror is completely opaque. Ordinary glass is fully transparent... visibility goes both ways. Hence, normal glass is "two way" glass. On the other hand, ONE way GLASS is something special. See also "semi silvered" or "half silvered glass," which properly configured can offer transparency in only one direction.

TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

Eric O'Brien

Closest time?

For me, that phrase almost worked... It gave me: "what's the CLOSEST time of nearest supermarket?" Of course, the results didn't show me any closing times.

Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

Eric O'Brien

Re: Do you own it, or not?

You are mixing up the right to modify a car with the right to drive that modified car on public streets.

TP-Link abandons 'forgotten' router config domains

Eric O'Brien

TP-Link firmware update adds tplinkwifi.net

I also see at http://www.tp-link.us/download/TL-WR842ND.html#Firmware

For firmware update TL-WR842ND(UN)_V2_150514 published 06/09/15:

"(3)Added a new login domain “tplinkwifi.net” for web-based management and "tplinklogin.net" is still available;"

Which suggests to me that the IP address this domain points at is controlled by the router.

Eric O'Brien

Name Server in the Router?

I had assumed that these routers included a name server and that in that server "www.tplinklogin.net" and so forth pointed to So a request for tplinklogin.net should first resolve to the router's internal admin page. If so, the request would never get beyond the local network.

Does anyone know if this might be true? Or does anyone know if it is certainly false?

"tplinklogin.net" is indeend printed on the sticker attached to the bottom of my router (a TL-WR842ND).

In a terminal session if I do

ping tplinklogin.net

I get back

PING tplinklogin.net ( 56(84) bytes of data.

64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.265 ms

and so forth.

So it seems like my assumption is correct. Um?

Get outta here, officer, you don't need a warrant to track people by their phones – appeals court

Eric O'Brien

Re: You are free to do as we tell you

Speaking of electricity... when you have a smart electric meter installed by the power company, is the minute to minute tracking of your precise electricity use "information divulged voluntarily to a third party?"

Samsung Galaxy S7: Big brand Android flagship champ

Eric O'Brien

Re: "Parallax Distortion"

The tops of structures "tilting inward" has nothing to do with "parallax." It is simply perspective. The same thing is happening here as is happening when you view a straight roadway or railway track... the tracks seem to converge in the distance.

Keep the image plane parallel to the buildings and you won't see this effect. In other words, try photographing such a scene with the camera pointing at the horizon (not upwards),

Google tries to run from flailing robotics arm

Eric O'Brien

But those autonomous vehicle robots are not a concern...

So someone at Google / Alphabet was worried about "some negative threads about [Atlas] being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs,” but AUTONOMOUS CARS that Google is working hard to bring to our everyday life, which certainly qualify as "robots" and which certainly will "take human jobs" and will certainly do so sooner and in larger numbers than a humanoid robot are... not a PR problem.

James Woods demands $10m from Twitter troll for 'coke addict' claim

Eric O'Brien

See comment at Popehat


Opera Jon weaves a brand new browser

Eric O'Brien

Re: Promising, not there yet of course

To close the left panel, click on the widget at the lower left of the window. "Standard menu" ... click the "V" icon in the upper left. Is that what you're looking for?

Comcast sued for – you guessed it – allegedly SCREWING OVER CUSTOMERS

Eric O'Brien

Re: Sorry, I do not get it

A "check" should not reduce your credit score. An application for credit might, however.

Boffins: It's EASY to make you GRASS YOURSELF UP for crimes you never did

Eric O'Brien

(Inexpertly) defending your actions to police - Bad Idea

The 'Do Not Talk To Police' video includes some good examples of ways that inexpertly "defending yourself" when talking to police can go Badly Wrong. Such as saying "I don't even own a gun!" ... "Did I say that a gun was used?" is the reply. Now you've put yourself in a bad place. ("Gee, why did I think he was killed with a gun? ...") You're on the defensive and go off on a tangent trying to explain how you came to say what you just did, when you don't exactly know yourself.

"Gun" was mentioned by someone other than the interrogating officer, somewhere else, where no audio capture devices were in operation. At trial, this other person (oddly) can't recall saying such a thing. Clearly the defendant (YOU) knew from first hand knowledge that a gun was used.

While you are stammering along trying to get out of that, you think of another reason why you are innocent, but in your telling of it some inconsistencies become apparent to the interrogator, which of course they let slide... no they do NOT.

Now you are even more worried and rattled than before and you resort to simply making something up (how could they know?) But they do know and now you are on the string for Lying to Police Officers. Gee, why would an innocent person do that?

Just keep your mouth shut!!

Boffins open 'space travel bureau': Come relax on exoplanet Kepler-16b, says NASA

Eric O'Brien

Re: Shadows on Kepler-16b

Exactly what I was thinking!

Boffins spy I in your little eye

Eric O'Brien

Details of photo studios found in reflections in old glass plate photos

I recall reading a few years ago that researchers had recovered "behind the camera" images from reflections seen in props and still life objects in (I think) glass plate negatives taken by photographers in their studios.

I haven't been able to locate this again. ;(

Coders are creatives too: Where's our love?...

Eric O'Brien

As many others

"No amount of training will *ever* get them beyond the basics. They just don't think the right way. They have learned it, but not understood it." ... I fear that a good percentage of the people of any "profession" might be described that way. Medical Doctors, Auto Mechanics, Psychologists, Massage Therapists, Dentists, Plumbers... a large portion of any group like that does fail to "have the necessary vital spark" for the discipline they've ended up practicing. You might not even notice the dimness until you've gone through a number of normal (mediocre) folks and then happened on someone whose level of skill stands out dramatically. Wow!

Beware of Macs in enterprise, security consultants say

Eric O'Brien

What if no Mac Server?

Is the weakness specifically in Mac OS *Server?*

That is, will things be OK if you have hundreds, or thousands, of Macintosh machines but NO Macintosh servers?

I saw aliens at Roswell, claims dead PR man

Eric O'Brien

LOTS of creatures here "look like us" :)

Earlier, LaeMi Qian wrote "Humanoid aliens? Again? ... What proportion of creatures on this planet resemble us physically?"

Completely skipping over the Roswell story here... but depending how you look at things, MANY creatures on Earth "resemble" humans (or us, them). For example, bilateral symmetry is pretty popular. A "face" is pretty common also (mouth, eyes, scent-detecting orifice...) Four limbs is a hot configuration also. (Mind you, most of us trot around on all of them at once...) Humans and zebras are actually very similar!

The "tube" design, where nutrition goes in the "front" end and waste exits from the "back" end is also a well-established approach.

Mind you, most vegetation and a lot of sea life don't fit the pattern. Indeed, we don't match well with starfish or carrots. However, neither of them are busy at work changing their environment. Making and launching space probes and such.

Snakes have a head, face, mouth, eyes, nose, ears... but lacking a way to reshape the world around them (and enough brains), they remain animals.

I don't know what an alien WOULD reasonably look like, but if the creature could not manipulate its environment, it's not likely they'd get into space at all!

If humans never made it, would a zebra have been the first Earth being on the Moon? Not likely, because with hoofs you do not build an industrial society.

I happen to suspect that whales and dolphins are VERY intelligent. But due to their physical "configuration" its not likely that THEY will be building space ships soon either.

So, while aliens that supposedly crashed on Earth would most likely NOT look like humans, they probably would look more like humans than starfish. Evolution-wise, you need to ask what is the benefit of radial, as opposed to bilateral symmetry. Many plants have radial symmetry. But they aren't building space ships either (at least, I haven't heard so).

An alien that is a "blob" is unlikely too: the same problem arises... how did they develop an industrial society? I could allow six legs rather than four, or something that normally uses all its limbs for moving around.

. . .

Hey everybody! Read some science fiction and get back to us. :)

Microsoft demos mind-bending photo app

Eric O'Brien

Very cool, but not really from MS

This is indeed very cool.

However, the technology (and technologists) appear to simply have been purchased by Microsoft. Buying someone else's innovation does not make the purchaser, themselves, innovative.

Other problem: the technology demo, at least, requires a minimum of Windows XP and (I think) IE 7. Oh: AND a really gnarly video card/GPU thingy. It won't work on my two year old vanilla Dell system.

My Macintosh is probably fast enough and the video card in it is probably up to snuff, but THIS computer won't work because... it's a Macintosh!

I don't too much mind the need for a powerful video processor... gee there are lots of things zipping around the screen in that demo! But the requirement of a Windows OS, running Internet Explorer suggests to me that development efforts are SEVERELY short-sighted.

What proprietary, closed, Windows OS/IE-embedded technologies are being relied on here? If you BEGIN building such awesome thing by relying on "special" features of Windows and the MS Browser, ever moving beyond that is going to be very difficult.

Microsoft waves in Minority Report-style computing era

Eric O'Brien

Vacuous demo there

I couldn't stand to watch the videos more than once but didn't the voice over say something like "live in a world of leisure where entertainment is king!" Yuck!

There were a couple of interesting things in there but what they showed over and over and over was moving, rotating and scaling photos. Have they nothing more interesting to show?

Anyone who finds the MS demos exciting, should most certainly take a look at "the real thing" at http://www.perceptivepixel.com/ -- there is FAR more conceptual depth shown there. And there are far more interface concepts than "drag with a finger instead of with a mouse." There are several examples of manipulating 3D structures, as well as using multiple fingers on both hands and having TWO people working at the same screen... either on their own objects or TOGETHER with the other person.

German cops will track G8 crusties by their smell

Eric O'Brien

Seems easy to monkey wrench

I don't support destructive protests, but this "scent bank" idea plus all the dog training must be costing quite a bit. And it seems the plan might so easily be disrupted...

What happens if everyone who thinks [dawn raids, very subtle] they might have, umm... been sniffed, trades 3 weeks of their dirty clothes with a number of grandmotherly protesters? Or collects 50 pairs of unwashed socks and distributes them for people to tie around their belts?

I wonder how much a radical shift in diet for a week, plus shaving all your hair (old scent in that, presumably) plus living in a different location for that week would change one's scent?

All the protesters dust their pants with cayenne pepper? Would a snort of that put a dog's nose out of commission for a few hours/days?

And so forth.

Lyrid meteors to sear Sunday's skies

Eric O'Brien


You perhaps allude to... Day of the Triffids?


Adobe edits the development cycle

Eric O'Brien

Same number of features?

"Some people feared this would mean fewer features. That hasn't been the case." I don't know how one might actually *count* features, but as an end-user of Photoshop I find the feature set of the upcoming CS3 to be pretty thin.

And this with a cycle time that's at least 30% longer moving from CS2 to CS3 than from CS to CS2. I count it to be about 24 months vs. 18 months.

There are plenty of possibilities for new features... it's not like there is "nothing more to do." I can only hope that this new approach to development will give us CS4 in 12 months, AND with some significant new features. :)

I wonder if the increase in the cycle time isn't because Adobe has gone to the "Suite" concept -- for each version of Creative Suite, aren't they aiming to rev ALL the products in the Suite? Products that are completed early must wait for which ever one takes the longest, right?