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  • Senator demands answers about Pentagon's warrantless spying on Americans

    sdw2001 said:
    "the DIA had adopted the belief that the rules didn't apply to commercial data that the government purchases"

    Scary to imagine how many *other* laws are broken using this exact form of mental gymnastics.
    Well, the thing is that they are probably correct.  Not many gymnastics required.  If it's commercially available product, they can probably use it.  Whether or not it could be used in a criminal trial is another matter.  I'm not saying I agree with it.

    That being said, the government is prohibited from using a private company to do that which it is not allowed.  Let's say the FBI wants to tap your phone, but doesn't want to get a warrant of any kind. They can't hire Bob's Phone Tapping service to do it for them.  Of course, they get around this by using things like national security letters and the FISA court improperly.  
    I think you’ve just explained why this is still most likely illegal as it is not specified whether or not the information had to be sourced prior, merely that a warrant is needed when surveilling US citizens. 
  • Zuma launches combined AirPlay 2 smart speaker and ceiling light

    Combined light/speaker systems aren't a new idea, but I've always found them a curiosity to who the buyer might be.

    • It takes the audio system from a space where there is ample room (living area) and places it somewhere there typically isn't (ceiling cavity.)
    • It costs more than having the components separately, while also sacrificing audio quality.
    • It takes two personal decisions (lighting and sound system) into a single product - I daresay one or the other won't be correct for many, even if they did like the idea of a combined unit.
    • They typically will have the large ceiling voids needed to fit these, but not the desire to have a combined system (because that space allows for the easy roll out of a wired system.)
    • The product cost is again way more than the individual parts, while sacrificing control to not-always-perfect wireless protocols.
    Then there are other curiosities, like syncing them to play in unison or binaural playback. The lack of homekit support (it's 2021 already) and as alluded above, the temperamental nature of wireless audio.

  • Compared: Apple AirTag vs Tile Pro and Chipolo One Spot

    A head to head test of the devices would be interesting.

    I say this because the reddit thread about the AirTags launch included a lot of comments from aggrieved Tile owners telling their experience with Tile, some interesting and often repeated points included:

    The app:
    • Wouldn't find lost items on the "Tile network", even when a phone was open, running Tile in the foreground and physically near the lost item
    • Upon launch the app pings through all Tile products, freezing out the user until complete, many of which timeout entirely. Leaving the user waiting minutes just to select the Tile they want to search for.
    The hardware:
    • Often drops the connection, effectively making the item unfindable 
    • Clunky hardware despite being at this for years
    • Most options don't include replaceable batteries, after a year they turn into waste
    • Still only using BT, despite many other complementary technologies being available
    Now Apple comes in with a product that is comparably priced, includes a user replaceable battery, includes useful technologies like NFC and UWB to provide better finding and recovery features, then also providing a significantly more stable BT implementation, with a network that ensures user privacy and protection against stalking.

    And the likes of Tile think this is anticompetitive.
    forgot usernameBeatspscooter63Xedjony0watto_cobra
  • Tile bemoans Apple AirTags launch, raises antitrust concerns

    Tile is such an odd entry into this discourse. Their entire argument seems to be that Apple shouldn't be able to enter a market because they develop the operating system. (Raising the question about every other software and hardware product Apple have.)

    I mean, wouldn't Apple entering the market be *good* for competition. Especially if any company can also make a comparable device under the FindMy framework?

    I think the real issue here is that a lot of people have tried Tile and found it doesn't live up to their advertising, like a lot of BT trackers, they seem to fail at staying connected.

    Also Tile didn't pioneer the field, they weren't even close to being the first. In fact the LE specification for Bluetooth had already earmarked this as a potential use case.
    george kaplann2itivguypulseimagesStrangeDayssphericchaickajony0watto_cobragilly33
  • FBI foils one-man plot to blow up Amazon data center

    Just a reminder that if the leader of a country demonises the tech industry, some people will act regardless of whether or not that is a sensible or correct thing to do.