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Comment Re:The Police Shouldn't Be That Worried... (Score 1) 40

Sure, those things are possible.

But large-scale tampering of rental vehicles, even with a lengthy delay, could have been done for as long as we've had rental vehicles available.

Nobody is going to look for a mechanical timer with small explosive device that is on the firewall behind the engine on a rental car, ready to sever brake lines. It'd be a nasty one, too: The more the driver pumped the brake pedal trying to stop, the bigger the fire would get.

But nobody's doing that.

That cars are digitally hackable instead of being purely mechanically hackable does not make them more of a target. The whole thing reeks of the current patent debacle, wherein patents are issues for routine and mundane things which are now somehow novel because it is done "with a computer."

Meanwhile, the hacks in TFA aren't even nefarious. They describe things like locking and unlocking doors, or remotely-starting an engine. Gosh, this is the same "hack" I have on my own car courtesy of the remote starter that I put in 7 years ago: All I have to do is add cell phone connectivity, and I can be in the news, too!

(Remotely stop engine, roll up windows, disable power, and double-lock the doors so there's no easy escape? Easy-peasy, even on my 20-year old car. It just takes a bit of wiring that nobody is ever going to check beforehand.)

Comment Re:The Police Shouldn't Be That Worried... (Score 2) 40


First, this is a complete non-story: Anyone with unfettered physical access to a motor vehicle (or any other machine) can do all kinds of nefarious things to it, whether digital or not. This fact is not news.

Second, the rental car companies have an excellent log of who has rented which vehicle. This should come as a surprise to nobody.

Third, the next renter is random (as far as an attacker knows), so it's impossible to target to an individual. Therefore, the only result could be pseudo-random chaos.

And an attacker seeking random-ish chaos would do better to attack cars in detached garages in noisy neighborhoods, because at least that doesn't leave a paper trail.

Just sayin'.

Comment Re:TFA, TFS (Score 2) 323

Emissions don't matter when it comes to the consumer end of such a fraud.

In the US, cars are certainly advertised as having certain efficiency and power ratings (normally expressed in terms of miles-per-gallon, brake horsepower, and torque in foot-pounds).

If the forced software upgrade happens (where "forced" means: if your car happens to be within twenty feet of a service bay and finds itself unattended for more than 3.2 minutes, it gets upgraded), which it will, these numbers are likely to change.

These ratings are also extraordinarily likely to change in a not-favorable way, else this debacle would never have been invented.

When this happens, it will be fraud. Or theft by deception. Or just plain-old theft. ("I paid for a car that had 140BHP, and I used to have such a car. Now I have a car with 100BHP because of your own dumb EPA mandate -- not my own dumb EPA mandate. Therefore, you stole from me.")

Please remember, AK Marc: If the car could've met its advertised performance figures and met EPA specifications, we would not be discussing this right now.

Comment Re:I'll play devil's advocate (Score 1) 126

You may have sensors to warn you that a brake (not "break") pad is thin. Brake rotors themselves can break (I'd not be surprised if Honda offers OEM cross-drilled rotors), which is an ugly situation. Rubber brake lines left uninspected for long periods can fail suddenly -- including the aftermarket rubber lines that are wrapped in stainless steel mesh. You may also have sensors that tell you that the brake fluid level is low.

My own car has all of these, though it only watches for thin pads on one wheel per axle.

None of this will help with an internal blowout in the brake master cylinder.

Meanwhile, I myself have (re-)installed hundreds of seat belts. It's easy to get it right, but that doesn't mean that it's hard to get wrong.

Comment Re:The Volkswagen scandal is a good thing (Score 1) 126

I have no citation, but I'll wager on the following: More people are killed working under their Hondas, than are killed by screwing with the battery in their Hondas.

"Deadly voltage" is pretty far down on the flow-chart of ways to get fucked-up working on a car -- even if the flowchart only includes hybrids.

Comment Re: 6 years (Score 1) 127

But you do realize that there are people using iPads and iPhones and (gasp) iPod Touch devices in professional music, don't you? Even live, on-stage.

So, no, it's not obvious that you wouldn't use a handheld computer ("phone") on stage. But nobody does that with Android devices because the audio latency is shit.

Comment Re:What is the incentive to the uploaded? (Score 1) 279

Because they're cheap. Because they're genuine thieves, with no love for the arts. Because these are the same people who show up at your house, smoke all of your dope and drink all of your drink, and still expect you to fix their watch/car/computer for free the next day, even though they ate all of the leftovers out of the fridge while you were asleep AND put the empty jar of hamburger dill chips back in the fridge as if nobody would notice. (I wish I could make this stuff up, but I'm really not creative enough.)

I've got an expansive collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays. Sometimes I pirate something, but only a proper HQ rip. Sometimes I pirate something, and then buy a copy on disc because the film was just That Good. (And I hate HC Korean subs, so that's straight out.)

Many of my films were bought on a whim: I'm walking through the store, and I see a film I wanted to catch, and *plonk* it goes into the cart.

Many of the films I pirate are unavailable on DVD or BR or even mail-order Netflix, because of age or unpopularity or asshatery.

But again, if the film is very new and I want to see it, I'll pay the $9/head or whatever it is, buy the popcorn, smuggle in some sodas (sometimes "adult" sodas), risk bed bugs, and enjoy the show on a screen which is far more encompassing than I can afford, and with a sound system that -might- be a little bit lesser than my own.

Movies are fun, but if nobody ever spends a dime on them, they'll either be subsidized completely by product placements or die. And I, an honest thief, don't want to see either of those things happen.

I'm also not going to consume all of your inebriates and leave a lonely jar of pickle juice in your fridge, either.

But some people do. The mind boggles.

Comment Re: 6 years (Score 1) 127

I was doing low-latency audio on Linux with machines barely a tenth as powerful as my quad-core Android pocket computer over a dozen years ago.

It's a solved problem. Except, somehow, it's not.

The mind boggles.

Or maybe Android is just inherently fucked: A proof-of-concept that should never have gone mainstream, but which instead should have been studied and learned from as a laboratory curiosity. (Like Plan 9, for example.)

I just bought my lady-friend a new Nokia 635 phone that runs some manner of Windows. It's smooth like butter compared to my Samsung Galaxy S5.

The Nokia was $40, shipped, and has no contract.

My S5 was $750, off-contract, in June of this year.

And maybe -- just maybe -- the little Nokia is able to be so cheap and smooth because it runs native binaries, instead of a hacktastic JVM clone which should produce native machine code that works just as well as a real optimizing C compiler, but just never seems to be able to actually accomplish that.

Brb, my S5 is sluggish. Maybe I should run fstrim on it again because Android still hasn't gotten that part right -- even though it was allegedly fixed a long time ago in 4.3.

I've been on /. long enough to realize that nothing is easy, especially when neglects to learn from the past. And I've been using Android long enough to realize that Java still sucks for user-interactive tasks, just as it has for about the past twenty fucking years.

I remember when I had a first-gen iPod Touch when it was still a hot ticket (got it "free" from Netgear as a rebate for a switch I bought at work). A few months or a year later, VZW begins their DROID push, and not long after that I got myself an OG Motorola Droid. The Droid had clearly superior basic hardware: 4x the RAM, a better CPU, a better GPU. It was a flagship device for both Motorola and Google as it was the first to run Android 2.0.

And Google's own gilded 3D app, Google Earth, was vastly smoother and more responsive on the plainly-inferior and physically smaller iPod.

There's no excusing this shit, unless the excuse is "because Linux and userland JVM instead of native binaries on FreeBSD-based Darwin," and that's just more evidence that Android is an experiment that should never have left the lab.

Yeah, nothing is easy. I get it.

Comment Re:The Volkswagen scandal is a good thing (Score 5, Insightful) 126

So let me get this straight: Because big batteries are dangerous, they shant be sold to mere mortals.

But a mere mortal can go up to the counter and order a set of brake pads, lines, and calipers. A mere mortal can buy a replacement seatbelt. A mere mortal can buy a set of ball joints, suspension bushings, tie rods, and/or control arms.

A bad installation of any of things things can result in death.

What makes batteries so special?

(And before anyone says something about "potential energy," let me remind you that in most states folks are also allowed to pump their own gasoline into their own cars.)

(And nevermind the fact that big/dangerous batteries are widely available ell over the place. Just not, apparently, at the Honda parts counter.)

It is not every question that deserves an answer. -- Publilius Syrus