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Comment SCADA Controllers - They Control Everything (Score 1) 57

Everyone is so scared of these invisible bad guys going after infrastructure, such as power plants, dams and water treatment plants.

Let's think of something even more important. Let's think Wonder Bread. A few lines of code, and *bam!*, you've shut down the production line on a factory that's used to churning out 10,000 loaves of bread per day. Do that for a sugar plant and see what happens. How about an operation that makes chicken and hog feed?

Everyone is so focused on the big stuff. Lemme tell you, if the bread plant even loses shuts down. Because it doesn't know how much of the product to make! Better to not make anything, and endure a temporary shortage, than to make too much that will go to waste.

You don't have to worry about the sewage treatment plant getting attacked, when there's not going to be anything for people to poop out.

Comment "Best Interest Of Customers" Not Exactly A Concern (Score 0) 74

This should come as no surprise. This is the land of sewer oil, melamine in baby formula and cyanide being stored next to high explosives. Granted, the government *is* working to try and improve things?

But seriously? When your populace believes it's an excellent idea to back up and finish off pedestrians when they hit them? It's going to be a very long time before anyone should trust you with anything at all.

Comment Will Never Be Used in the United States (Score 2) 39

US law requires that all oil collected by vacuum ships be brought to a processing facility, where 100% of all oil must be removed prior to the water being discharged.

During the Deepwater Horizon disaster, there were serious delays in the US accepting offers of help from the Netherlands and other nations. Most of them came with a price tag, but the Dutch offered three sets of Koseq Rigid Sweeping Arms for free. Because they were only 98% efficient, and they were initially refused.

However, common sense (and desperation) won out in the end, and we started accepting all the offers for free equipment that came in, including the Dutch offer.

Reference article

Comment It's Not A Tinfoil Hat When It's Really Happening. (Score 1) 272

The timing and purpose of this ban seems rather draconian, even for New Zealand. I mean, they pretty much just nuked any future independent movies from being filmed there, because it's going to be ridiculously expensive to secure permission to fly camera drones over public parklands. (You either close the park to the public, or get permission from everyone visiting on that particular day.) I suppose if they have the big bucks for a helicopter, that'll still be open.

But like I said, this seems ridiculously excessive. It makes no sense! It's a small, easily handled problem, and they just hit it with a pile driver. it really such a "small" problem? I guess the interpretation of how small it is, depends greatly on how much money you paid for your ultra-secret air-strip in the middle of nowhere.

With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in peopleâ(TM)s mind, the worldâ(TM)s super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session in Davos, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. "I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway," he said.

That's not Alex Jones or some other wooby-woo-woo-alien-Elvis-JFK-love-triangle website, that's The Guardian.

I imagine someone who paid $20 million dollars to have a D7 Caterpillar flown 50 miles into the middle of nowhere and carve out a secret airstrip would be pretty upset if some weekend drone pilot with a backpack and a mountain bike spoiled their little secret.

Comment For Future Reference... (Score 1) 191

1. Text messages can get through when voice calls will never get through. Even if you have zero bars, there's a good chance it will get through. Get some elevation if you can to increase your chances of reaching a non-congested cell.

2. If you happen to find a genuine payphone, international trunks may still be active, even if local and national ones aren't. Call a friend in another country, and ask them to relay messages to whoever you need. (I used this during 9/11 to bypass the damage in Manhattan. I called a friend in England, and he in turn was able to call my parents and let them know I was safe.)

Comment A Possible Reason? (Score 1) 95

So far, everyone seems to be missing one possible motive for Facebook to be doing this.

Now, "Sloppysock McBuckstick" has a verified debit card that says, "George McFly", associated with the account. Shortly after, Mr. McFly gets an email advising that their account is locked out for using a false name.

Comment Canary in the Coal Mine (Score 5, Interesting) 136

It is ever so slightly possible, that Paypal is sounding the alarm, here. Here's the key phrase...

"...but PayPal has advised that MEGA's 'unique encryption model' presents an insurmountable difficulty,"

It looks like Paypal fought to keep MEGA as a customer. But "somebody" put the screws to them, and forced them to break contract with MEGA.

That's no small thing. Corporate contracts are a bit more "customer friendly", and simply dumping a corporate customer isn't quite as easy as it is to dump people like you and me. MEGA could take Paypal to court with a valid argument over breaking that contract.

What are they going to say? What would be their excuse? "We don't like encryption."??? No judge would buy that.

Based on what we're seeing, Paypal's previous history aside, it sounds rather like Paypal got served a National Security Letter telling them to dump MEGA.

Comment Backups and Redundancy (Score 4, Informative) 133

I work for a major telecom.

These systems *do* have backups and redundancy.

The moment that cable was cut, the system will have started an automated load-shed and re-route at the OC-48 level and above. You'll see messages from the OC-192 trunks shifting to new routes, jumping to spares, and generally trying to route around the damage.

The problem, is that these are OC-192 links. The smaller circuits riding them, such as 10-meg ethernet, OC3, DS3 and DS1 do not get shifted around to available trunks unless they happen to be on the 192 that gets shifted. They're essentially along for the ride.

*IF*...(and that's a very big "if") the smaller circuit is especially critical and vital, then they can TRY to arrange a re-route and stuff it onto one of the alt-routed links. But that takes authorization from people in business suits that fly out to their weekend home in the Hamptons.

So yes. There are backups. If there weren't, this outage would have been international news, and not just a blurb on Slashdot.

Comment Re:1948 Ford 8n (Score 4, Interesting) 194

I've had the same experience with a 1954 Massey-Ferguson. I've never worked on a farm tractor in my life, only small engines and cars. Yet I could tell it was designed to be disassembled in the field.

All the panels were held on securely, but with a minimum of screws. 10 screws, and I had the entire engine cowling and side panels removed. The front debris screen was actually hinged by the cowling! The radiator was held on with two massive bolts, making it a cinch to remove, all right in the middle of the lawn.

Repair and reassembly was just as simple, and easily accomplished by just myself. I went from dead-in-the-field to full operation in about 2 hours, with nothing more than 1/2, 9/16 and 3/4 sockets and a flat-head screwdriver.

And again, I'd never worked on a farm tractor in my life. It was just that simple and intuitive.

"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek