Cover photo
Robert Quattlebaum (darco)
Works at Nest Labs
Attended DigiPen Institute of Technology
Lives in San Jose, CA
4,263 followers|545,996 views


"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." — Benjamin Franklin, November 11th, 1755

There will be more terrorist attacks. And at least some of those terrorist attacks will be coordinated via tools like iMessage and WhatsApp. It's not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. This wouldn't be because these specific hypothetical terrorists are smart and know to use encrypted tools: If they were smart they wouldn't touch a smartphone for coordinating such an attack.

Even so, I do not support a back door for law enforcement, for three reasons:

* Engineering practicality: It is a very difficult problem to solve in such a way that does not lead to abuse. Once this infrastructure is in place, it is only a matter of time before it starts being used inappropriately.
* Legal practicality: The makers of these devices do not control what applications can be installed or run on their devices, which would allow actual secure communication. Also, would it cover systems like OpenPGP? What about devices without cellular radios, like laptops? Do they get backdoors, too? If not, why not?
* Practical effect: Even if law enforcement has these capabilities, and even if 100% of terrorist attacks were coordinated using iMessage, there is no guarantee that they would be able to prevent all terrorist attacks. In any case, if such laws are put into effect, the terrorists will find other, more secure, ways to coordinate. Attacks will still happen.

The bottom line is that I have seen no evidence that such capabilities significantly improve our security, and, as a free society, we have a great deal to lose by implementing them.

And when we implement these things and people are still dying, what's the next move? What's the next liberty that we will be called upon to sacrifice at the altar of security? Those who care about the 2nd amendment, take note.

These terrorists want to turn us into the very thing we once feared: a George Orwell novel. Turns out it wasn't the Russians we had to worry about: it's ourselves. With the help of the terrorists, we will all run into the loving embrace of Big Brother's protection—and lose everything we hold dear in the process.
Add a comment...
Just ordered a Glowforge... We'll see how it turns out.

If you'd like one, too, you can use this link and get $100 off:
Glowforge is a 3D laser printer: a new desktop tool that uses laser cutter/engraver technology to shape wood, leather, fabric & more at an amazing price.
Caleb Boucher's profile photoYagnesh Revar's profile photo
Add a comment...
The following interesting article came to my attention via +james woodyatt:

"... Objects fail, and sometimes behave unpredictably, but they aren’t strategic, they don’t choose their behavior dynamically in order to fool you. Matter isn’t evil."

"But that was before. Things now have software in them, and software encodes game-theoretical strategies as well as it encodes any other form of applied mathematics, and the temptation to teach products to lie strategically will be as impossible to resist for companies in the near future as it has been to VW, steep as their punishment seems to be. ... The software driving your car, tv, or bathroom scale might comply with all relevant privacy regulations, and even with their own marketing copy, but it’ll only take a silent background software upgrade to turn it into a discrete spy reporting on you via well-hidden channels (and everything will have its software upgraded all the time; that’s one of the aspects of the Internet of Things nobody really likes to contemplate, because it’ll be a mess)."
Jesse Coombs's profile photo
Thank goodness I'm an optimist, especially when it comes to people. Otherwise this would be depression fuel.
Add a comment...
While this is definitely an interesting story in its own right (how many submarines are sunk in time of war by a malfunction of their toilets?), it's also an important lesson in the importance of user interface design. This high-tech system had some requirements:

"A specialist on each submarine received training on proper toilet operating procedures. There was an exact order of opening and closing valves to ensure the system flowed in the correct direction."

And as this article details, the consequence of getting this order wrong could be spectacular and catastrophic. In general, it's important that in any system, doing something disastrous should be hard: normal operation should be obvious and straightforward (especially if it's something that's going to be done in a high-stress or time-critical situation), and any abnormal operation should require that you explicitly override safeties and tell the system "yes, I really know what I'm doing and mean to do this."

If flushing the toilet can only be done safely by a single (non-redundant!), highly trained individual aboard your submarine, and if anyone other than this person – including, in this case, the combined efforts of the Captain and an engineer – cannot do this without causing the entire ship to sink, then you are doing your design spectacularly wrong.

Via +Lauren Weinstein and +Tim Johnson.
From drones to AKs, high technology to low politics.
53 comments on original post
Thomas Gahr's profile photo
Add a comment...
Damn that's a sharp looking pressure suit.
Jon Nebenfuhr's profile photoAdrian Clavijo's profile photoman noo's profile photo
Cue the Queen/Bowie song...
Add a comment...
It'll do for now. 
Add a comment...
Hosting company not responding to support emails. Begin emergency backup...!
Add a comment...
Have him in circles
4,263 people
kusangtmg x's profile photo
Benjamin Matten's profile photo
Azu Ranit's profile photo
darlin german carrasco alamo's profile photo
Michael Munsie's profile photo
Cindy Dame's profile photo
Houssem Nouira's profile photo
Aleksey Oblozhko's profile photo
Karim Kaled's profile photo
So cool!
Disney Research: Coloring Books Will Never Be The Same Again.
Join the Simple Science and Interesting Things Community and share interesting stuff!

Coloring books capture the imagination of children and provide them with one of their earliest opportunities for creative expression. However, given the proliferation and popularity of digital devices, real-world activities like coloring can seem unexciting, and children become less engaged in them. Augmented reality holds unique potential to impact this situation by providing a bridge between real-world activities and digital enhancements. In this paper, we present an augmented reality coloring book App in which children color characters in a printed coloring book and inspect their work using a mobile device. The drawing is detected and tracked, and the video stream is augmented with an animated 3-D version of the character that is textured according to the child’s coloring. This is possible thanks to several novel technical contributions. We present a texturing process that applies the captured texture from a 2-D colored drawing to both the visible and occluded regions of a 3-D character in real time. We develop a deformable surface tracking method designed for colored drawings that uses a new outlier rejection algorithm for real-time tracking and surface deformation recovery. We present a content creation pipeline to efficiently create the 2-D and 3-D content. And, finally, we validate our work with two user studies that examine the quality of our texturing algorithm and the overall App experience
13 comments on original post
Adrian Clavijo's profile photoSubrahmanya Somayaji M's profile photoSlađan Lukšić (sladluk)'s profile photoDarius Carlton's profile photo
This is the cool stuff I look forward to seeing with AR.  Super awesome stuff
Add a comment...
The secret service seems to be acting more like a bunch of frat boys than the elite and discrete security force I always thought they were.

Here's to hoping they are now at rock bottom. It can't get any worse, right? I hope?
“Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Assistant Director Edward Lowery wrote in an e-mail.
Add a comment...
Presumably you'd have to do a little more than just press "deorbit now" to deorbit. The button is ominously boring to look at for what is presumed to take place after pressing it.

Accidentally pressing the "deorbit now" button sounds like it might just ruin your day.
Crew Dragon will be a fully autonomous spacecraft that can also be monitored & controlled by on board astronauts and SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, CA.
2 comments on original post
Kiki Jewell's profile photoAnder Holmwood's profile photoRobert Quattlebaum (darco)'s profile photo
oh, I didn't even recognize that as a button. I thought it was a label. :P
Add a comment...
Hmm... Amazon Dash has a built-in microphone (used in the setup process). If you could change the firmware, it seems likely that you could also turn the device into a wireless listening device.

Possible exploit vectors include: When the device checks into the service upon button press, and when the device is being set up through the audio stream.

While the microphone pairing idea is convenient (works with every cell phone), an approach I would have been much more comfortable with would have been a photodiode and flashing the screen. They could have drawn an outline of the dash button on the screen where you set the button on top of and it then flashes the appropriate part of the screen to communicate with the button via the photodiode.

This is much more secure than using audio for the setup process, and probably a tad cheaper. The only downside is that it would take longer to pair: 60 bits a second is about the maximum you could expect. In reality, you'd probably need error correcting codes as well, so you'd probably get closer to 30 bits a second in a practical implementation. For about 60 bytes of pairing information that would be around 16 seconds. Not horrible, but not quick, either.
Kevin Groce's profile photo
Add a comment...
So... This happened
Travis Owens's profile photoKevin Groce's profile photoSteve Conklin's profile photo
Have him in circles
4,263 people
kusangtmg x's profile photo
Benjamin Matten's profile photo
Azu Ranit's profile photo
darlin german carrasco alamo's profile photo
Michael Munsie's profile photo
Cindy Dame's profile photo
Houssem Nouira's profile photo
Aleksey Oblozhko's profile photo
Karim Kaled's profile photo
Software Engineer
  • Nest Labs
    Embedded Platform Connectivity Engineer, 2013 - present
  • Apple Inc.
    Display Systems Engineer, 2007 - 2013
  • Crystal Dynamics
    Art Tools Engineer, 2005 - 2007
  • Voria Studios
    Co-Founder, 2002 - 2005
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
San Jose, CA
Valdosta, GA - Bellevue, WA - Sammamish, WA - Redwood City, CA - Campbell, CA - Beech Mountain, NC
Maker of Things
My full name is Robert S. Quattlebaum.

I live in San Jose, California. I grew up in a small city in south Georgia called Valdosta.

My amateur radio call sign is N6DRC.

Bragging rights
Original author of Synfig, Made the ybox2 kit, Did some cool stuff with Christmas lights, Doing lots of Internet-of-Things stuff, Built a 3D printer, Looking for the next project
  • DigiPen Institute of Technology
    Science of Real-Time Interactive Simulation, 2000 - 2002
Basic Information
Looking for
Friends, Dating, A relationship, Networking
Other names
Robert Quattlebaum (darco)'s +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Gmail thinks my PGP-signed or S/MIME-signed emails are spam - Google Pro...

Google Product Forums > Gmail Help Forum >. Categories: Fix an issue or problem : Managing Settings and Mail : Mac : Other Browser (please s

Nest is moving again. And again.

A look back at where Nest Labs started - a leaky garage in Palo Alto - to where we are now.


We're Nest, makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat.


Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software

Finally, A Watchable Version of Dora

As a parent, I am constantly forced to use television to distract my children for brief (extended) intervals so that I can work (play video


Pants are Optional.

Missing Hiker Huddled With Cat

To survive almost a month in cold.

Technical Notes: Desktop Drives in a RAID

Desktop Drives in a RAID. I read a post today that reminded me of something I've seen far too often, and something that I was guilty of

Look at this exploding copper wire » BuildLounge

Look at this exploding copper wire. Categories: Electricity,; Explosions. by Mark. I know, this looks like just another light painting doesn

STM32 Toolchain on Mac OS X « curious

STM32 Toolchain on Mac OS X. Here is a quick start to getting an STM32 toolchain built on Mac OS X with Mac Ports. You'll be able to com

Siri Meets Eliza |

Siri Meets Eliza. Since I got my iPhone 4S, I've been intrigued, fascinated and alarmed by Siri's fast-growing capabilities. I thoug