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Comment: Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score 1) 64 64

And there lies the error in your assumptions. You assume that because you have seen X that most are X. That is not statistically or scientifically valid. In fact, it is irrational.

You are also wrong about your statement about connecting to the electric company. This further demonstrates your lack of knowledge. You're talking through your hat. We are utility connected.


So I'm wrong for speaking from experience, but you are right because you speak from experience. I can tell you with absolute certainty that in my entire country you can't hook anything up to the grid without it having been inspected and signed off by a qualified electrician, and they generally won't even consider DIY installations for liability reasons.

Comment: Re:You can still buy Windows 7? (Score 1) 80 80

Yep, software resale is legal in the EU, so you can buy used Windows licences. Of course, you can probably just get them for free at the local rubbish dump... Maybe that's why Microsoft stopped printing the key on the stickers for OEM copies. Can't recycle them if the machine is dead and won't give the key up.

In places where resale isn't legal Windows 7 costs the same as Windows 8 and Windows XP. Microsoft keep the price the same of the lifetime of the product, it's never discounted.

Comment: Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score 1) 64 64

I have no certifications nor do I need them. It is something that most people could do. How to do plumbing, electric, etc is all on the internet and in books. Most people are intelligent enough to follow the step-by-step instructions and do it. They may or may not have the creativity to come up with the plan to start with but once they have the plan they could do it. I extensively documented how we built our house. There are lots of other articles and books out there about how to build your own house.

I've seen a fair bit of amateur wiring, and I can assure you that most people are not capable of safely wiring up a house. In any case, without certification the electricity company won't let you connect to the grid, so you are reliant on what you can produce.

So, nice work, but not very practical.

Comment: Re:IoT is unsecurable (Score 1) 64 64

You can create a secure base OS that runs on low cost ARM, for example, and then have a limited, sandboxed application layer. Think browser plugins - they can do a lot, have network access etc. but are executed on a virtual machine (Javascript) and with heavy sandboxing, with masses of security protections in place.

The problem with emebedded system is that you often can't remotely update the OS, or if you can manufacturer's won't bother. You can limit the damage from exploits to things like information leaks (heartbleed style bugs) or DOS, but those are bad enough.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 161 161

Sadly the same siren call to be nice to our enemies is being heard again, on the core assumption that their priorities and values are essentially similar to our own. Once you remove that assumption - which is certainly NOT evidenced by the history of Islam on which Iran seeks to model its behaviour - you are forced to conclude they are a very dangerous country.

But the assumption seems to hold up. Look at the history of Christianity. Crusades in the middle east, murdering Muslims, raking in massive wealth in the process. Was that the middle ages or the last few decades?

So actually, the goals of America seem to be pretty similar to what you (wrongly) suppose the goals of Iran are. Your mistake is assuming they think the same way you do.

Khomeni in 1942 argued: 'Islamâ(TM)s jihad is a struggle against idolatry, sexual deviation, plunder, repression, and cruelty. The war waged by [non-Islamic] conquerors, however, aims at promoting lust and animal pleasures. They care not if whole countries are wiped out and many families left homeless. But those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [Godâ(TM)s law].... Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless.'1

Sounds a lot like the rhetoric from US politicians about bringing democracy and freedom to the whole world. Read it again. "A struggle against non-Christian values, plunder, repression and cruelty. The war waged by non-US conquerors, promoting puritanism and sub-human behaviour. They care not if whole countries are wiped out and many families left homeless. But those who study democracy and freedom will understand why the US wants to bring them to the whole world."

Bush even called Iran part of an "axis of evil", and then invaded two of the other countries on his list.

Comment: Re:Quantum HDD (Score 1) 98 98

That kind of thing is pretty common with embedded systems. You have code that has been tested and otherwise works, except for this one bug. Much of it is probably ancient, with new bits tacked on as time goes by. You are terrified of breaking something by making changes, so you do a hack like this that makes minimal changes. A proper fix could cause even more problems.

Comment: Re:Stuxnet (Score 1) 161 161

The real legacy of Struxnet is to have opened the way of a cyber cold war. It's now acceptable to attack other country's infrastructure with cyber weapons. It's like sending your spies to blow up their bridges. Everyone knows who did it, but can't bring them to justice, so will just retaliate in kind.

Comment: Re:Think business, not technology (Score 1) 64 64

As a real engineer let me explain how it works. Both of you are a bit off.

Even if you hire security engineers, they will be overridden by the need to add marketable features and reduce support costs. If it's too hard to set up, if it can't do what the competitor's product can do, security is irrelevant and will be at best an afterthought.

In practice, they won't hire security engineers with that $500k, some manager will spend $5k on PR making them out to be the victims if they are hacked, and the rest will be his bonus for that quarter. It works too - look at Apple. Crap security leads to many people's private photos being posted to 8chan, they claim to be the victims of "sophisticated and targeted hacking" (reality is they didn't rate limit login attempts or use captchas) and the exodus of users from iCloud doesn't happen.

Comment: Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score 0) 64 64

To be fair, that's not something most people could do. Presumably you have the relevant certifications for installing electrical wiring and plumbing, hooking up to the networks etc. Not everywhere has a cheap supply of stone, or even allows stone buildings to be built.

I'm not suggesting what you did wasn't great, it is, but it's just not a very useful comparison for most people.

Comment: Re:$450 Million (Score 2) 81 81

That is 1/4% If you routinely find 1/4% of your annual household revenue in your couch not doing very well.

Damn it, I moved all the cushions, took the covers off, lifted the whole thing up, and then out of frustration took an axe to my sofa. All I found was 28p in change, a marble and some cat vomit. I really suck at mining my sofa.

Comment: Re:E-book prices (Score 2) 81 81

The fact that you can't resell digital content (at least, not easily) is why Steam has to have regular, massive sales. Players were used to buying games at full price and then trading them in for a good fraction of that back. They were used to picking up used copies for a fraction of retail price, especially for older games.

Steam even mimics the experience of visiting your local game shop periodically and discovering interesting stuff in the bargain bin or used. They have flash sales, very limited time only, aimed at impulse buys and people waiting for some price threshold.

Digital content has to be cheap because it's worth much, much less than physical content due to lack of resales. Publishers are trying to prevent resale of physical copies now by having one-time use codes and DLC tied to the console, but consumers are pushing back by demanding lower prices. It isn't clear which side will win out yet.

Comment: Re:e-book prices HAVE been too high. (Score 1) 81 81

My local library lends out ebooks now. Some DRM schemes allow lending to friends. There is always piracy too. If you charge too much, people will find other ways to read books. Particularly if your book is aimed at teenagers who don't have much money, you need to account for that.

Comment: Re:They are looking forward (Score 4, Insightful) 161 161

There are around 600 churches and nearly 400,000 Christians in Iran. If they were really interesting in attacking "infidels" they would start with them.

Iran considers the US a rogue state that illegally invades its neighbours and murders innocent civilians. Any way you frame it, they are not entirely wrong about that. Once you strip away the propaganda it's easy to see how they have quite legitimate security concerns.

+ - UK's National Computer Museum Seeks Repairmen for BBC Micros->

tresho writes: 1981-era 8-bit BBC Micro computers and peripherals are displayed in a special interactive exhibit designed to give modern students a taste of programming a vintage machine."We want to find out whether people have got skills out there that can keep the cluster alive as long as we can," said Chris Monk, learning co-ordinator at the organisation.

Owen Grover, a volunteer at the museum who currently helps maintain the cluster of BBC Micro machines, said they held up well despite being more than 30 years old. The BBC Micro was "pretty robust", he said, because it was designed to be used in classrooms. This meant that refurbishing machines for use in the hands-on exhibit was usually fairly straightforward. "The main problem we need to sort out is the power supply," he said. "There are two capacitors that dry out and if we do not replace them they tend to explode and stink the place out. So we change them as a matter of course." General maintenance on the machines includes replacing keys that stick and the occasional component that fails. Thankfully, he said, there were few custom-built components in the machine so getting spares is easy. Harder-to-obtain parts are cannibalised from broken or faulty machines the museum has in its stores.

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God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"