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Comment: Re:Where do you draw the line? (Score 1) 645

by BUL2294 (#46697027) Attached to: Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?
Those are the downgrade rights offered by Win 7/8 Pro to XP Pro (and even 2000 Pro). My post was about new PCs of the time, where the only OS available was XP as it was the only reasonable choice on that hardware. Remember that since Vista was such a dog on Atom hardware (only consumers of Atom at the time were netbooks) & given Microsoft's uncertain future for Windows 7 at the time (Microsoft was hoping it would pay off), XP Home was the only sane choice on 2009-2010 era netbooks. In fact, Windows 7 Starter was a stripped-down Windows 7 requiring lower hardware...

Comment: Re:I have a 1996 Taurus (Score 1) 645

by BUL2294 (#46684791) Attached to: Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

Comparing a physical device costing tens of thousands of dollars whose defects can cost the lives of the user versus a piece of software costing $100 or less whose defects cause inconvenience to the user totally makes sense!!!!!111

Really? So a $100,000 medical device, robot in a factory, or SCADA platform running a $100 copy of XP (well, $200 if Pro, less if XP Embedded) can't "cost the lives of the user"??? I wouldn't want to be in front of a dental x-ray machine with a copy of XP that is now sending spam or worse, being used to cause harm to users... Ever hear of the Therac-25 accidents of the mid-80s?

Comment: Re:Microsoft does not want kids coding... (Score 1) 226

by BUL2294 (#46684311) Attached to: Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?
Unfortunately, easier said than done. All of these have unbelievably steep learning curves to do anything reasonable. Ironically, my interest in programming started with my TI-99/4A in 1983-1985. I used to get magazines that would provide programs (that I'd spend an hour-plus typing in) to see how it works. I didn't really know the limits of that machine, so it was cool to see what I could do with it--and how I could change the programs to do certain things...

Unfortunately, with Dreamspark tools above, there's no "just start coding & see what happens". There's no really basic / for kids "how to make fun little programs with Visual Studio" that come with Dreamspark. I don't see a child using a $60 book from SAMS or Microsoft Press ("Learn Visual Studio in 24 Hours!") as 1) the books aren't aimed for them, 2) the cost to buy one is at a price point questioned by most parents.

iPads are even worse... You can't program for them on them (not that you'd want to attempt such a thing with the on-screen keyboard) and you need an expensive Mac to do so, tethered to your iPad. (So there's no immediate gratification...)

Kids nowadays see what their computers are capable of--by playing video games that test the limits of their PCs. Why write a little program that draws some lines when the child could play a video game that's much more visually stimulating & engaging???

+ - Comcast turning Chicago homes into Xfinity hotspots... 1

Submitted by BUL2294
BUL2294 (1081735) writes "The Chicago Tribune is reporting that, over the next few months in Chicago, Comcast is turning on a feature that turns customer networks into public Wi-Fi hotspots. After a firmware upgrade is installed, "visitors will use their own Xfinity credentials to sign on, and will not need the homeowner's permission or password to tap into their Wi-Fi signal. The homegrown network will also be available to non-subscribers free for several hours each month, or on a pay-per-use basis. Any outside usage should not affect the speed or security of the home subscriber's private network. [...] Home internet subscribers will automatically participate in the network's growing infrastructure, although a small number have chosen to opt out in other test markets." The article specifically mentions that this capability is opt-out, so Comcast is relying on home users' property, electricity, and lack of tech-savvy to increase their network footprint..."

Comment: How will they support 20+ year old IoT devices??? (Score 1) 62

by BUL2294 (#46382375) Attached to: Cisco Offers $300,000 Prize For Internet of Things Security Apps
Let's see... I'm going to trust that an appliance vendor, some of whom have yet to add an OS (Linux, Android, etc.) to their devices, will properly create the security for said IoT device? Cisco is clearly looking to become such a vendor, and I don't think they're prepared to deal with the consequences & unbelievably protracted support schedules--way longer than Microsoft's ~10 year lifecycle for Windows and Office. Ultimately, will my IoT fridge that I buy today continue to work properly 20+ years down the line or will it be pwned long before then? (I suspect the latter...)

The reality is that a company with no such device experience (e.g. Amana, Kenmore, etc.) may contract out the security portion of the firmware to Cisco, but will Cisco continue to support the device's security for decades to come? In reality, people don't replace their home appliances, HVAC systems, and security systems all that often... I doubt Cisco is putting out many security patches for their devices from 1994, or if anyone even has the experience (let alone the desire) to create patches today for Linux 1.1.x security holes...

Comment: Re:Training is allowed (Score 4, Informative) 135

by BUL2294 (#46361493) Attached to: NRC Expects Applications To Operate Reactors Beyond 60 Years
Except that nuclear reactors are, by regulation, among the most-documented entities on earth. From functionality to maintenance logs to upgrades, nuclear plants & their owners are extreme documenters--to decrease liability and meet government regulation. You don't hear stories of nuclear reactors in places like the US, Canada, UK, Western Europe, etc., with "documentation problems" or knowledge transfer continuity. (Pay people to stay to do an easy job & they will...) Sure, a part schematic may be on paper as opposed to stored electronically, but they'll have multiple copies onsite, a few copies at the power utility offsite, and at the NRC or other national nuclear regulatory agency--and everyone who should know where those copies are, do know... And that documentation would be designed so that anyone with the requisite engineering knowledge & skills should be able to read it...

Nuclear plants are not run like IT shops--and thank God for that...

Comment: Re:If you're dumb enough to use IE when banking... (Score 3, Funny) 93

by BUL2294 (#46348437) Attached to: IE Vulnerability Exposing Banking Logins, Spreading Rapidly
Well, you might not have a choice depending on your OS version...

XP, 2003 - max is IE8 (not affected)
Vista, 2008 - max is IE9 (affected, presumably most used version)
7, 2008R2 - currently at IE11, but many users still using IE10 (affected) since IE11 came out in November for this OS
8, 2012 - only supports IE10 (affected)
8.1, 2012R2 - only supports IE11

Exxon Mobile CEO Sues To Stop Fracking Near His Texas Ranch 317

Posted by samzenpus
from the hoisting-with-his-own-petard dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Exxon Mobile's CEO Rex Tillerson's day job is to do all he can to protect and nurture the process of hydraulic fracturing—aka 'fracking'—so that his company can continue to rake in billions via the production and sale of natural gas. 'This type of dysfunctional regulation is holding back the American economic recovery, growth, and global competitiveness,' said Tillerson in 2012 of attempts to increase oversight of drilling operations. But now Rick Unger reports at Forbes that Tillerson has joined a lawsuit seeking to shut down a fracking project near his Texas ranch. Why? Because the 160 foot water tower being built next to Tillerson's house that will supply the water to the near-by fracking site, means the arrival of loud trucks, an ugly tower next door, and the general unpleasantness that will interfere with the quality of his life and the real estate value of his sizeable ranch. The water tower is being built by Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp., a nonprofit utility that has supplied water to the region for half a century. Cross Timbers says that it is required by state law to build enough capacity to serve growing demand. In 2011, Bartonville denied Cross Timbers a permit to build the water tower, saying the location was reserved for residences. The water company sued, arguing that it is exempt from municipal zoning because of its status as a public utility. In May 2012, a state district court judge agreed with Cross Timbers and compelled the town to issue a permit. The utility resumed construction as the town appealed the decision. Later that year, the Tillersons and their co-plaintiffs sued Cross Timbers, saying that the company had promised them it wouldn't build a tower near their properties. An Exxon spokesman said Tillerson declined to comment. The company 'has no involvement in the legal matter' and its directors weren't told of Mr. Tillerson's participation, the spokesman said."

Comment: Re:Umm safety? (Score 1) 305

by BUL2294 (#46299687) Attached to: Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't
Ummm, nope... In Ohio (as of a few years ago), the only "safety inspection" for personal vehicles checked to ensure that a vehicle purchased out-of-state matched the VIN # on the title. Illinois has no safety inspection whatsoever for cars & light trucks/B-Trucks. (B-Trucks used to have them until 1984; commercial vehicles excluding light pickup trucks still have annual safety inspections; vehicles in Chicagoland & the IL portion of St. Louis have emissions testing). At the other extreme, states like New York & Texas have a very thorough safety inspection. In some states, "safety inspections" are really nothing more than compliance checks, checking things like window tint.

Comment: Re:So, will a 2005-era routers get a firmware upda (Score 1) 264

by BUL2294 (#46294965) Attached to: Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks
But you bought an off-the-shelf PC in 1998 with standard components. I'm talking about a (mythical) fridge with unique components, unique software, unique drivers, etc. Sorry, but an IoT device will likely never run more than a "+ 0.1" version higher of an underlying OS & related software ("+ 0.2" for Linux)--given track records of manufacturers working on old products. They won't open source everything for fear competitors would use it competitively against them. To add, even if they did open source the whole IoT fridge, you're assuming that someone would actively pick up the project... Simply open sourcing something & dumping it on the Internet doesn't mean anyone's actively interested & working on that project.

Comment: Re:So, will a 2005-era routers get a firmware upda (Score 1) 264

by BUL2294 (#46291061) Attached to: Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks
I agree with you, in theory. In practice, however, nobody is fixing bugs/security holes in obsolete platforms. Let's say the IoT existed in 1994 & you bought a new Kenmore IoT fridge running Linux 1.x. Fast forward to 2014--who today is doing anything with the Linux 1.x kernel? Nobody--including Kenmore support engineers. Your fridge was pwned probably 15 years ago...

Comment: Re:So, will a 2005-era routers get a firmware upda (Score 1) 264

by BUL2294 (#46290993) Attached to: Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks
It's not a question about warranty or even availability of replacement parts, it's a question about opening themselves up to extremely long support schedules, something they have never had to do before. If I call an appliance repairman for a 40 year old fridge, he'll likely be able to find the right replacement part... But that model no longer holds true in IoT. Look at cars (at least in the US)... Auto manufacturers have taken on the responsibility that all of their past models could face a recall, even 15+ years after the fact. (NHTSA still opens cases for cars sold in the '90s). The same would have to be said about Internet-connected devices--specifically household appliances.

The problem is that we're talking about operating systems, web hosting software, network stacks, databases, device drivers, etc., that would need to be supported for, easily, 20+ years. Think back to 1994--what software that existed then is supported now??? NONE. So, imagine you buy in 2014 an IoT refrigerator full of the latest & greatest Android 4.4.x and/or Linux 3.13.x FOSS software--what sort of support would you expect for any of that in 2034??? Would you expect Amana, GE, Kitchenaid, Electrolux, Miele, Kenmore, etc., engineers to be fixing Linux 3.13.x kernel security holes in their 20-year old appliances? FOSS or not, as a consumer, I would expect that appliance to continue to work & not get bricked by malware that was deposited remotely...

The person who's taking you to lunch has no intention of paying.