* Posts by K. Adams

396 posts • joined 5 Sep 2008

Page:

Record flight is step toward HYPERSONIC SPACE AIRSHIP

K. Adams
Boffin

@annodomini2: "...colossal, mile-wide Dark Sky air/spaceports..."

Well, they're talking about platforms that are a "mile wide." Not sure this relates to the gas envelope, or the platform itself, but if airship history is a guide, the human-habitable section of an airship tends to be quite a bit smaller than the envelope.

So, for sake of argument, let's conclude that the gas envelope is "a mile wide," and is shaped like a thick disc, or an extremely oblate spheroid.

This means that if the sun were shining perpendicularly on the upper surface of said photovoltaic envelope, there would be (at minimum) about 0.785... square miles of incident area:

-- -- A = pi (r^2) = pi * (0.5 mi ^ 2) = 0.785398163 square miles

-- -- -- -- (It's a "mile wide," which means 0,5 mile radius.)

(Probably more, since the "top" of the envelope "disc/spheroid" would probably have a noticeable curved "bulge" in the middle, increasing surface area, but to keep things simple, we'll presume it's perfectly flat.)

0.785... square miles translates into 2.034... * 10^6 square meters:

-- -- 0.785398163 square miles * (2,589,988.11 square metres / square mile) = 2,034,171.9 square metres

Let's subtract, say, 7% of that area to factor for zones that can't be used for solar collection (seams between cloth sections, cabling, envelope expansion control bladders, etc.) and we're left with about 1.892... * 10^6 square meters of photovoltaic area:

-- -- 2,034,171.9 square metres - 7% = 1,891,779.87 square metres

If each square metre produces just one watt of power, our photovoltaic balloon-disc generates almost 1.9 **megawatts** of electricity at its relative "high noon" point, well in excess of the 200 kilowatts needed to drive a VASIMR engine.

So, the problem isn't available power; rather, it's the weight of everything else that goes into getting that power to the ion drive, like cabling, control systems, and other-and-sundry components.

Making a cloth photovoltaic envelope that generates the necessary amount of electricity isn't the issue. It's getting that power to the engine in a manner that still allows enough lifting capacity for useful cargo...

K. Adams
Go

That's why El' Reg needs to get started on NICOLE...

Nascent Integrated Cloth Orbiting Lighter-than-air Envelope.

K. Adams
Boffin

"...either using fuel cells or batteries, solar panels can't do the job..."

Not sure that statement holds water...

Companies are already developing photovoltaic fabrics that allows for the creation of flexible, cloth-like gas envelopes/structures that can generate (at least a portion of) their own electricity.

For example, a company called ShadePlex, LLC in Toledo, Ohio, has developed a process that binds thin-film solar cells to architectural fabric:

-- -- http://www.shadeplex.com/products.html

Other organisations are developing solar fabrics where the fibres of the fabrics themselves are photovoltaic in nature:

-- -- http://dvice.com/archives/2009/07/solar-fabric-yo.php

I would think that a monster-sized, orbital, semi-rigid, lighter-than-air vessel would have a gas envelope with enough surface area to make the use of solar fabric a reasonably practical solution.

Fujitsu busts K super through 10 petaflops

K. Adams
Terminator

Nice piece of kit, but what I want to know is...

... where does Japan get an extra 10 megawatts to run the thing, when major metropolitan centres like Tokyo need to disconnect customers on hot days, because of capacity constraints since the March 2011 earthquake knocked a bunch of Fukushima's reactors off-line?

(Although, I suppose a major research centre like RIKEN could have its own power supply, separate from the main grid. Does anyone here know if that's the case?)

Behold: The Gecko-robot wall-climbing tank!

K. Adams
Pirate

But then there'd be no excuse...

... to sue the geckos, would there?

Obama man: 'Global internet surveillance skyrocketing'

K. Adams
Big Brother

"The private sector has a reponsibility to defend personal freedom..."

Sure. I'll phone the RIAA, MPAA, IFPI, and CTIA, and get 'em going on that straight-away...

Google dumps + from Boolean search tool

K. Adams
FAIL

+FAIL

That is all.

New RAM shunts data into flash in power cuts

K. Adams
Go

Sounds like a winner, if it works as advertised on the tin...

Seems this would go a long way toward making instant-on-hardly-ever-need-to-reboot computers and devices a reality.

Still need a way to save and restore CPU state info, though. I'm surprised that Intel and AMD haven't come out with processors that do that yet (i.e., contain a bit of flash so they can write state info to solid storage in case of a power failure)...

Still, the pieces are beginning to fall into place, looks like.

Lenovo aims to seize PC crown within 3 years

K. Adams
Facepalm

Ditto...

I ordered a Lenovo ThinkPad L420 for my niece as a graduation gift.

I couldn't get the unit shipped to work (since we also use Lenovo, I didn't want to risk the confusion), and I didn't have anyone at home to sign for the package, so I had to get the laptop shipped to an alternate location.

I couldn't use my parents' address, because my niece was often at my parents' house, and helped with whole-house cleaning and such, so sending it to "Grandma and Grandpa's place" wouldn't work, either. I finally decided to have it drop-shipped to my Aunt's house.

Everything was going great until the Lenovo website told me I needed to put an "authorised third-party drop ship address" on my credit card.

OK, no sweat; I'll just call my bank (a very large and well-known outfit, at least where I live), and ask them to add the info to my card. Bank says "sorry, we can't do that; we don't have fields for that in our system." So I asked them to put the info in the general customer service "call notes," which they were happy to do.

I then called Lenovo back, and had them re-instate my order, and told them to contact my bank and have the bank provide them the the call notes (which explicitly authorised the bank to release the info contained in that particular note). Unfortunately, Lenovo's sales reps wouldn't do that, because the "authorised third-party drop-ship address" verification is supposed to be automatically handled through the credit card payment system. Since my bank didn't have a formal place in its account database for "authorised shipping addresses," the purchase wouldn't go through.

It took a conference call between my bank, a Lenovo sales department manager, and myself to crow-bar an override into the sales/ordering system to get the unit shipped.

Despite the pain, the end result was worth it: I eventually took possession of a beautifully-crafted piece of custom-configured hardware, and prepped it for presentation to my niece at her graduation party...

OPERA review serves up a feast for physics geeks

K. Adams
Boffin

Yup... And travelling at c(vacuum) for 733 meters takes about 2.445 microseconds:

(733 metres) / (0.299792458 metres per nanosecond) = 2.44502482 microseconds

... A much larger interval than 60ns.

And even if c for the experiment's reference frame was somewhat slower, because the neutrinos were travelling through the Earth's interior (including the atmosphere) for part of the trip (and not a true vacuum), the time to traverse those extra 733 metres would still probably be a lot larger than 60ns.

Man 'drinks 2 pizzas' before skidding off road

K. Adams
Pint

@Lee: "Already done: beer. Both a snack in a beverage form and a beverage in snack form."

Only if it's a proper Stout; most other beers aren't "chewy" enough... :-)

K. Adams
Facepalm

Don(n) Adams...

"Missed it by **that** much...!" (Holds thumb and forefinger about 3/4-inch apart.)

Pumped-up radio telescope seeks new moniker

K. Adams
Pint

TADA!

Tri-axial Adaptive Directional Array!

(Sponsored by Yahoo!)

;-)

K. Adams
Holmes

HORATIO

Huge Orientible RAdio Tri-axial Interferometric Observer

US telcos agree to warn users before they bust their tariff

K. Adams
Thumb Up

"Americans who travel will also get ... notifications when roaming rates kick in."

That will be a boon for those live, work, or vacation on the southern shores of the Great Lakes (especially Lake Erie), where favourable atmospheric conditions combined with very calm waters at certain times in the summer (heat-wave-esque days with no wind) occasionally make some cell phones forget they're in the US, and cause them to latch onto a tower in Canada instead. (This has happened more than once to various friends of mine.)

International roaming charges, especially those garnered while your feet are still on your own home soil, suck big time...

Verizon users must 'opt in' for privacy

K. Adams
Stop

It's not Verizon anymore...

... It's "Phorizon."

Ubuntu's Oneiric Ocelot: Nice, but necessary?

K. Adams
Linux

Odds are, Mint will be migrating...

... to the freshly-forked MDE (Mate Desktop Environment, a fork of the GNOME 2.3x branch):

-- -- github: Mate-Desktop-Environment:

-- -- -- -- https://github.com/Perberos/Mate-Desktop-Environment

Personally, though, what I would like to see is to use the GTK+3 framework and associated semantics (back-end process-to-process message passing, etc.) to create a GNOME 2.3x look-alike/work-alike. GTK+3 is a much more streamlined and modern development framework than GTK+2; I just don't like the way it's presented via Gnome Shell (or Unity, for that matter).

K. Adams

"... support for 10.04 (an LTS) is for 3 years (i.e. until April 2004)."

Typo fix: April 2010 + 3 years = April 2013, not April 2004.

Also, LTS support for 10.04 Server extends until April 2015.

Hubble snaps dark matter warping spacetime

K. Adams
Alien

My God... It's full of stars!

And galaxies! And other stuff!

Gulf scheme reveals BlackBerry SWP tap-cash support

K. Adams
Facepalm

"It isn't clear which RIM handsets will be able to use the system..."

Probably not many, if RIM's network keeps falling over...

US White Space XML blueprints emitted

K. Adams
Boffin

It sounds a lot like...

... "DNS for White Space."

It would be cool, though, if they would implement it in a way that was actually similar to (secured) DNS, so that the requesting/querying device didn't need to go directly to a top-tier "root server" to get a list of available White Space channels (frequency ranges).

The additional redundancy created by additional "White Space Spectrum Availability Protocol" (I just made that up) caching servers would go a long way toward ensuring that your node doesn't suddenly find itself lost in the woods without a map, so to speak, if one of the spectrum availability list providers falls over.

The caching servers would be made read-only (from a client perspective, since updates can ONLY be provided by one of the registered White Space database maintenance companies) and multi-homed (i.e., it gets data from a primary provider, then falls back to a list of secondaries if the primary isn't available).

A new record type would be created and implemented in the real DNS protocol that would provide information regarding the address of the nearest WSSAP caching server. A WSSAP-compliant access point would then query a local DNS server, and ask it for the DNS server's preferred WSSAP caching server. The info would be passed by the DNS server back to the device, which would then query the WSSAP server(s) listed in the DNS reply.

Would you let your car insurer snoop on you for a better deal?

K. Adams
Big Brother

Over here, West of The Big Pond...

... Progressive Insurance (based in Ohio) is already doing something like this. It's a policy add-on option called "Snapshot," and in most cases, it can be used to calculate a discount, but not raise your prevailing rate (the state of Rhode Island being the one exception, where the data can be used to raise your rate by up to 9 percent if Progressive doesn't like what it's seeing). Of course, you must abide by Progressive's Terms and Conditions, which are obviously non-negotiable.

Personally, I wouldn't use it, even if I were a Progressive customer. There are enough Big Brothers looking over my shoulder already; I don't need another one...

Virus infects killer US air drone fleet

K. Adams
Holmes

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back..."

Seems to me they're looking in the wrong place, then.

It could be that the malware had the capability to attach itself to the system firmware via a BIOS (or EFI) flash operation. Case in point: Trojan.Mebromi, which was recently discovered running around China:

-- -- The Register: Malware burrows deep into computer BIOS to escape AV

-- -- -- -- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/14/bios_rootkit_discovered/

Personally, I've always thought that PCs, Laptops, Servers,and other BIOS/EFI-based devices should come with a "flash inhibit" switch or jumper that disables BIOS/EFI updates at the hardware level. Granted, this is something that Joe Average Non-Techie User would likely never use, but could be a boon for system admins and technicians trying to secure company assets...

Here come hypervisors you can trust

K. Adams
Boffin

Might be all for naught, if the processor manufacturer forgets...

... to turn the internal debugger off:

-- -- The Register: 'Super-secret' debugger discovered in AMD CPUs

-- -- -- -- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/15/amd_secret_debugger/

Note that the above article references a feature specific to certain AMD processors; I have not heard as to whether Intel CPUs contain the same feature.

However, if someone DOES manage to stumble upon a hidden - and still functional - debug mode in an Intel processor that implements the aforementioned "trusted compute pools," then the security protections the hypervisor trust model brings to the table may not amount to much if an attacker can manipulate the CPU at an even lower level...

Can general relativity explain the OPERA neutrino result?

K. Adams
Boffin

Minimised, yes. Completely "cancelled-out," no...

Unfortunately, there's this big rotating gravity-encumbered ball called the Earth which needs to be taken into account...

This is all because of a phenomenon called "frame dragging," in which a rotating mass is seen to pull the local space-time tensor around with it in the direction of its rotation. It is the frame dragging effect (also known in loftier scientific circles as the "Lense–Thirring effect") that causes the orbit of an object revolving around the rotating body to undergo precession, in which the apogee of the orbiting object advances slightly in the direction of the central body's rotation.

The magnitude of the effect is very small (one part in a few trillion for any given rotating mass/orbiting object system, although for hyperdense rotating bodies like neutron stars and black holes, one part in a few trillion could still be quite significant), and thus difficult to detect. Even so, the effect is thought to be very real, and scientists spent a lot of time and effort trying to isolate it experimentally (the most famous being the lavishly expensive "Gravity Probe B" mission).

Users shut down Italian Wikipedia to protest Wiretapping Act

K. Adams
Big Brother

Double-quotes in the wrong place...

Given the way Italy's going with its new-fangled regime of journalistic repression,

-- -- Freedom of "communication" is guaranteed under Article 21 of Italy's constitution.

should probably be rewritten as

-- -- "Freedom" of communication is guaranteed under Article 21 of Italy's constitution.

(with appropriate quotey hand gestures thrown in for emphasis)...

Mozilla to Firefox users: Ditch crashtastic McAfee plugin

K. Adams
Thumb Down

"...were memory hogs that had a tendency to crash all on their own..."

I've had very little trouble with any version of FF since version 3.6.16 or so; I've certainly experienced far more issues with Chromium and Safari than I have with the 'Fox. IE 8 and 9 are reasonably stable if you uninstall (or don't install) the raft of crapware that comes with most PCs these days. Can't speak for Opera; never used it much.

I will admit that Firefox's RAM usage has always been on the high side, but it's got a bit better with 6.0.x, and 7.0.x uses even less...

Boffins place living creature under control of brain chip

K. Adams
Pint

"RAT a2E"

Very sublime; worth a free pint, at least... :-)

Logitech fined for bogus bug-busting keyboard ad

K. Adams
Stop

Wrong kind of virus?

Seems like they're stretching their anti-malware claims a bit too far...

Facebook wants to poke politicians 'who share our goals'

K. Adams
WTF?

"Political Action Committees are a peculiarity of the US political system..."

Not at all...

Every government is targeted by various "outside committees" of one kind or another.

It just depends on where you draw the line between "Political Action Committee" and "Corrupt Organisation with Improper Government Influence."

For the US, PACs are both a blessing and a curse:

-- -- They're a blessing because they allow companies to engage in legislative dialogue in an effort to protect themselves from job-killing over-regulation and government red tape.

-- -- They're a curse because they allow companies to engage in legislative dialogue in an effort to free themselves from appropriate regulation and proper oversight.

Oz Territory terrorized by MUTANT CANE TOADS!

K. Adams
Holmes

Brought to you by...

... the dedicated researchers and staff of InGen, Incorporated.

NASA to trial laser-powered space broadband

K. Adams
Boffin

Faster, but probably not as robust...

Since laser beams live (predominantly) within the IR, near-IR, optical, near-UV, and/or UV realms of the electromagnetic spectrum, they are much more likely to be subject to divergence or obstruction by changing atmospheric conditions.

This would probably make deployment of laser-based ground stations in areas with frequent and variable humidity/cloud cover and changing particulate pollution levels impractical in most areas on Earth. Such installations would be best deployed in the rarefied atmospheric conditions of Cerro Pachón in Chile or Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

I expect that any spacecraft that rely on laser-based broadband communications will probably still be equipped with radio transceivers as a fall-back option...

Ford spins pop-out anti-prang door shield

K. Adams
Stop

That's a great idea, until...

... the mechanism traps someone inside his/her disabled and burning vehicle.

Microsoft faces fresh antitrust probes in Ireland and Spain

K. Adams
Alert

The Inquisition...

...

Let's believe

The Inquistion

Look out Steve!

We're on a mission

To protect the peeps

...

All those contracts

We're gonna shed some light

All those EULAs

Gotta twist 'em right

And make an offer

That it can't refuse

(That Microsoft just can't refuse!)...

NASA: Beam me up some power, Scotty

K. Adams

Where are Chris Knight and Mitch Taylor...?

They'll get it sorted out...!

NASA unveils its chosen Shuttle successor

K. Adams
Facepalm

Correction: RD-170, not RD-180

Er... That should have been RD-170, not RD-180. Hit the wrong digit there...

The RD-170 is the 4-chamber version, w/ 7.55 meganewtons thrust at ground level. The RD-180 is the 2-chamber version, w/ 3.83 meganewtons thrust at ground level.

For comparison, the Saturn V F-1 engine is a single-chambered unit, and produced about 6.75 meganewtons thrust at launch.

K. Adams

Adaptation

Well, a not insignificant portion of Apollo's tooling was adapted to work with the Shuttle, so one could presume that doing the same thing in reverse would also work.

Besides, just because we would be using the Saturn V blueprints as a starting-point, doesn't mean we would end up with a 1969-era Saturn V in the end.

The C-130J SuperHercules, for example, is designated as a "C-130" series cargo plane by the manufacturer (Lockheed Martin) and the US Department of Defense, but is structurally and mechanically quite a different animal from its earlier brethren, despite its similar outward appearance and being based on the design of its immediate predecessors.

I can already think of a couple things I would do to "modernise" the Saturn V. For starters, I would replace the venerable F-1 first stage engines with enhanced RD-180s. I would also try to find a way to use some of the kerosene fuel to provide pressure to operate the engines' gimball actuators, eliminating the need for separate (and payload-weight-consuming) hydraulic fluid tankage.

K. Adams
Facepalm

If they're going to (stupidly) pass on SpaceX, why not just build...

... an up-rated Saturn V, then?

They were heavy, reliable workhorses that also, like Musk's kit, had kerosene-based first stages.

I'm sure the blueprints can still be found at Boeing, stuffed in a filing cabinet (or two) somewhere.

"New designs, new materials, [and] new technologies" aren't necessarily the best way to go about things, especially when it involves strapping your arse to the top of a large container carrying a couple million kilograms of rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen.

Keep it simple; use what works. Musk (and by extension, SpaceX) gets this. The Big Players don't...

Securo-boffins call for 'self-aware' defensive technologies

K. Adams
Alert

CPE 1704 TKS

"The only winning move is not to play..."

LOHAN to suck mighty thruster as it goes off, in a shed

K. Adams
Boffin

"...the full size ... engine [isn't] necessary, the smallest ... would test ... just as well..."

Not necessarily...

Depending on the thermal output of the igniter, the volume of the ignition/combustion chamber, and the surface area of the fuel against which the igniter rests, a lot of the igniter's heat output could end up in effectively "empty space," or dissipated across too large a surface area (of the fuel grain), and therefore not be usable in triggering ignition.

Thus, in this case, the closer you can get to a full-scale test, the better.

K. Adams
Coffee/keyboard

Keyboard

That is all...

IBM’s Jeopardy super hired to search healthcare data

K. Adams
Big Brother

Wow, this is scary, but not because of the RoTM factor...

Read the opening sentence again. Twice. You seeing what I'm seeing?

-- -- -- IBM has signed a deal *** with health insurance provider WellPoint *** to use Big Blue’s Watson question-and-answer system to *** help doctors decide *** what’s wrong with you...

I envision the conversation going something like this:

-- -- Insurance Adjuster: "Well, Doctor, wha'd'ya think about patient 656-5827B?"

-- -- Doctor Livingstone: "Based on symptoms, obstructed or dysfunctional gallbladder; suggest surgical removal followed by post-operative enzyme level monitoring and dietary changes"

-- -- Insurance Adjuster: "Watson, your analysis of patient 656-5827B?"

-- -- Watson: "Simple stomach ulcers and/or gastroesophageal reflux disease; suggest treatment with standard course of generic proton-pump inhibitor medication and stress-reducing lifestyle changes."

-- -- (Insurance Adjuster thinks: "Watson's diagnosis is cheaper; we'll go with its recommendation.")

-- -- Insurance Adjuster (out loud): "OK, we'll pay $75.00 per month to cover acid reflux control prescriptions. If 5827B's condition doesn't improve within 90 days, we'll revisit the case. Next..."

Now, if Watson's diagnoses were 100 percent filtered through the patients' doctors before they landed on the desks of the insurance adjusters, I wouldn't have a problem with it; I believe that Weak AI like Watson can go a long way toward helping doctors make the right call the first time around.

But that isn't what's going to happen. Instead, the insurance companies will use Watson's capabilities as a hedge against doctors recommending expensive but effective cutting-edge treatments for their patients, and steer them toward more prosaic and less costly solutions.

Laptop batteries made of jelly invented

K. Adams
Go

Cool! Now all we need to do is mix this tech...

... with the all-exits-no-waiting, get-'em-out-the-door-right-now properties of graphene electrodes, and we ought to be able to build a storage cell that can discharge (and, more importantly, charge) a lot more quickly than run-of-the-mill LI-ion and Li-poly cells.

What would you call such a hybrid, fast-charge/fast-discharge, electrolytic power storage cell? A "battacitor?" Or a "capattery?"

Not sure where such a device would end up on the energy density scale, though... (In other words: "Would it be able to store and move enough electrons to be practical?") Any electrochemist types among El Reg's readership who could enlighten us?

Ice Cream Sandwich Android out 'by November'

K. Adams
Flame

I don't care what you call the latest-greatest...

just release the @%&#! source to Honeycomb, already!

Battery deal points to thinner, lighter iPad 3

K. Adams
Facepalm

"...make them any thinner, they'll become transparent."

Or fold in half at an inopportune moment, in a manner for which they weren't designed...

Graphene photocells could mean hyper-speed internet

K. Adams
Boffin

Rare-earth replacement...

I was just thinking the same thing.

It seems that graphene films can be fairly easily synthesised by chemical vapour deposition onto copper and nickel surfaces (which are arguably not "rare," relative to the "rare-earth metals" sense), then transferred onto any substrate suitable to the task at hand:

-- Nature: Category - Nanotechnology:

-- -- Roll-to-roll production of 30-inch graphene films for transparent electrodes:

-- -- http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/v5/n8/full/nnano.2010.132.html

-- Nature: Category - Paid-Access Article - Abstract:

-- -- Large-scale pattern growth of graphene films for stretchable transparent electrodes:

-- -- http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7230/full/nature07719.html

Combine an efficient method of constructing large-scale graphene sheets with a working MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical System) fabrication line, and we really could be on the way toward constructing those ultra-strength cables needed to build a practical Space Elevator...

'Devastating' Apache bug leaves servers exposed

K. Adams
Alert

"The behaviour when compressing the streams is devastating..."

-- Egon ServerAdmin: There's something very important I forgot to tell you...

-- Peter SiteDeveloper: What?

-- Egon ServerAdmin: Don't compress the streams.

-- Peter SiteDeveloper: Why?

-- Egon ServerAdmin: It would be bad.

-- Peter SiteDeveloper: I'm fuzzy on the whole "good/bad" thing. What do you mean, "bad"?

-- Egon ServerAdmin: Try to imagine all our servers as you know them stopping instantaneously, and every service running on them crashing at the speed of light.

-- Ray HelpDeskDispatcher: Total service denial!

-- Peter SiteDeveloper: Right, that's bad. Okay. Allright. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon...

AES crypto broken by 'groundbreaking' attack

K. Adams
Boffin

"... by writing the ... message as a [holo] ... pattern then shining a ... laser through [it]..."

@AC 11:12GMT: Interesting method...

However, I think we'd need to build viable quantum computers before such an attack could be viable.

The problem lies in computing the path that an individual photon took while traversing the film. Due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, you can undoubtedly determine where the photon originated, and where it ended up when it reached the other side, but would probably not be able to track its course while in transit, unless you etched the interference pattern into some sort of material that can act as an optical trap, and can find a way to examine the states of the atoms within:

-- -- Harvard University Gazette: Researchers now able to stop, restart light

-- -- -- -- http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2001/01.24/01-stoplight.html

Cool idea, though...

Android app logs keystrokes using phone movements

K. Adams
Boffin

@Jedit: "... a lot of games apps would be completely shafted."

Not sure I follow... How so?

I'm sure the keypress event processor could be written so that when an app is requesting purely textual input (i.e., such as a web browser pointed at a bank's login page), the motion and optical sensors are turned off, but when the keyboard is being used for non-confidential input in conjunction with motion events (such as during a game), the sensors remain on.

The disadvantage to this method (selective disarming of sensors during keyboard use) is that you're removing a side-channel attack at the expense of introducing API feature that needs to be heavily debugged to make sure it can stand up to code injection/redirection attacks.

K. Adams
Boffin

The obvious solution, then...

... would seem to be to turn off accelerometers, gyroscopes, and (optionally) cameras after the first keypress on a device's (virtual or physical) keyboard, then don't let the sensors reactivate for, say, the first 500ms to 2 seconds after the last-registered keypress.

Since passwords, social security numbers, and other ID-oriented strings are likely to be entered quickly, because of the advantage of "muscle memory," it's improbable the device would encounter long delays between the keypresses used to enter often-repeated data. Therefore, a 1/2-second to 2-second delay in re-enabling the sensors should suffice to reduce the input inference score to 5 percent or less, depending on the length of the string being entered.

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