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+ - FTDI drags consumers into an IP war: updates drivers, bricks devices->

DeathToBill writes: According to Hack-A-Day, about a month ago FTDI released a new driver for their venerable USB-to-serial bridge chip, the FT232. This driver was pushed out to Windows systems via Windows Update. Unbeknown to, well, everyone except FTDI, the driver included an update to the terms and conditions, including the text, "Use of the Software as a driver for, or installation of the Software onto, a component that is not a Genuine FTDI Component, including without limitation counterfeit components, MAY IRRETRIEVABLY DAMAGE THAT COMPONENT." Now, your average slashdotter might see that warning on a license agreement and think, "Ha ha, yeah right," but this driver update is a bit... special. It uses small differences in the behaviour of counterfeit chips to detect them, then reprograms the chip's USB PID to 0 — preventing any operating system from loading a driver for the device and very effectively bricking it.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Wind Industry (Score 5, Interesting) 310 310

1. From inside the base of a wind turbine tower in rural Inner Mongolia province, China. Or, alternatively, from a caravan in the middle of a forest in Eastern Finland in the middle of winter - minus 30 C outside.

2. While nearly frozen to death (see 1b).

3. Wrote a program from? Or wrote a program for? The latter is probably a Danish PLC which I will not name here. It has an in-house OS with an in-house executable format which is based on ELF, loosely enough that none of the standard ELF tools work on it. A serial console is the only debugging interface available. An actual debugger is out of the question. All debugging output is truncated to 20 characters. The thing has a 100MHz CPU and all floating-point math is done in software (no FPU). Its reaction to almost any programming error is to hard reboot (and "programming error" here includes calling printf with any but the most basic formatting string). Perhaps most frustratingly, when it hard reboots it claims to write a stack trace of the faulting code; about 4 times in 5, this is truncated to some extent, often to only the first function in the stack.

4. A Windows programme to drive EtherCAT IO modules from a standard Ethernet socket.

Do I win?

Comment: Re:"By Mistake" (Score 1) 711 711

Can you feel the self-awareness failure yet? Cook generalises about millions of users, but he's not the one at fault here; the commenter asks a question about one person (Cook) but apparently now he's "generalis[ing] about millions of people."

Fool boy, see me after class.

Comment: Re:From many points of data (Score 1) 772 772

No, you don't get to say, "That would seem to be an important factor in scientific literacy," in the face of the data - that's just assuming your conclusion. The point of the article is that this is not borne out - people who don't believe that evolution explains the development of species are nonetheless equally scientifically literate in all the other areas of science.

Comment: Re:From many points of data (Score 2) 772 772

Um, you've just ignored the data in front of you - the data collected shows no correlation between "someone's inclination to believe religion over science" (ie their position on the evolution v creationism debate) and scientific literacy. There is no value in that measurement - it has no predictive power of the scientific literacy.

Comment: Re:Untested? (Score 2) 1198 1198

I wondered about this. If being untested is a problem for methods of execution, how exactly are you ever going to have a usable method of execution?

I'm sure those opposed to the death penalty like it this way; methods of execution are not usable until they've been tested and they can't be tested because they're unconstitutional. Ergo, we can't execute anyone. But the same legalistic argument presented many times above applies to them, too; the constitution does not forbid capital punishment, only cruel and unusual punishment. If you want to get rid of capital punishment, you need to change the constitution, not try to game the legal system to get what you want without the due process of changing the constitution.

In practice, failures in system development, like unemployment in Russia, happens a lot despite official propaganda to the contrary. -- Paul Licker