Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment "From the makers of Pippin..." (Score 0, Troll) 129

Apple is so tied-up in giving you what they want to give you, that they have no interest in giving you what they want. Even as a TV console - can I play videos from a USB stick? Can I play via my computer without some convoluted iTunes tie-in? Can I get content from places other than the iTunes store? The answers to all these (at least historically) have been "no" - they're selling you their dream of "streamlining your experience" by doing everything as controlled by them - through them. They can't even build a decent TV-box - and now they want to be a game-console, ignoring everything about how gamers play and insisting on their rules/their way? The utter arrogance...

Comment Re:I'm a HW engineer, I understand firmware fine. (Score 3, Informative) 177

(I am an embedded systems engineer - so I understand it quite well). What might not be evident is that the people that build these routers (often/usually) don't design all the chips in them. i.e. they're made by other companies. The datasheets are available to others. People do this like crazy all the time. There was just an article the other day on how people modified the firmware in a WiFi router radio component to create a WiFi jammer.

Comment Re:Firmware is not software (Score 5, Insightful) 177

Just because YOU don't understand it, it doesn't mean that there are a LOT of people that do and would. I'm not knowledgeable enough to personally audit open-source encryption software like GPG and OpenSSL, but I'm glad it's open-source so others who are more knowledgeable than me can scrutinize.

Comment Licencing, and the new "SDR" (Score 1) 242

I can see the logic here - the FCC regulates the airwaves be licencing the devices on them (*OR* licencing the operators, in the case of ham radio). The rule is, devices must be approved an may not be modified. (Those withe ham licences can build and/or modify, because THEY are required to force the rules, whereas with a licensed device the device itself must "enforce the rules").

I don't think the FCC is arguing that they don't want people's own distribution running along side a WiFi device, but rather, as WiFi chipsets become more "Software Defined" - rewriting the code in them is essentially the same as "modifying the radio".

The best analogy are the RTL HDTV over-the-air capture dongles for software defined radios. Guess what? They're generic radios which only do TV decoding via software - so people write NEW code and suddenly you can use them to do (and I dare say ANYTHING) that any sort of radio receiver could ever be made to do.

This is okay (and legal) with a receiver - they just don't want to to happen with transmitters. What would happen if anyone could do anything they want on the airwaves?

The counterargument is going to be "but they're not cracking down on MODIFYING the radio - just leaving the radio OPEN to being modified". This is expressly prohibited (and has been for a very long time) by the FCC - long before software-defined stuff. Lots of devices like Family-Band radios (and other licensed transmitters) are REQUIRED to be manufactured with things like "non-replaceable antennas" - which make user-modifications more difficult, because they are prohibited (unless done by a [ham] licensed operator).

Comment Re:Not exactly new or news... (Score 1) 168

That's not the point. Having a machine verifiable proof of a correct filesystem which would protect itself in a "crash", is still subject to problems beneath it, or problems other than "crashes". There are other filesystems that can do this (without the "machine verifiable proof" - and they are vulnerable in real-world scenarios- not because they "lack the proof" - but because there are a zillion other weak links in the chain).

Comment Re:Not exactly new or news... (Score 1) 168

No. It's not. You think [your favorite bank] puts all their financial data on a plain 'old off-the-shelf [Insert brand here] and assumes that it'll all be good? They use multi-million dollar systems which do mirroring, integrity checking, verification, etc. "High-end" storage and filesystems systems do things like verification and checking at multiple levels (end-to-end, drive, block, filesystem, array, etc) so a $100 disk drive doesn't corrupt data and take down a $100 billion dollar bank. As for the apocalypse scenario - yep - they need to account for that too. That's what "Disaster Recovery", snapshotting and [long distance] asynchronous replication are all about. Reality speaking - an errant nuke or natural disaster can't take down a $100b bank - it can't even loose track of a single [large] transaction.

Comment Not exactly new or news... (Score 2) 168

No specifics. This has been done a million times with journaling filesystem (and block layers) - no idea why this is better or different. But what about disk failure? But what about data loss? But what about (undetected) data corruption (at the disk)? What about unexpected power hits that could drop a disk or tear a write? Not even going to get into snapshotting, disaster recovery, etc. There's a lot more to this than "surviving a crash".

Comment Define "CS" (Score 1) 131

This irks me in general - but there is a difference between having a "Computer Class" in kindergarten and studying "Computer Science". The analogy is that when we sew, we use fabric, but there is a difference between a sewing class and a the study of "Material Science". Learning how to do math on a spreadsheet or report on a word processor is learning how to use and work with computers, but is different than teaching or learning "computer science" - just as learning how to drive is not learning "automotive engineering".

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.