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Comment: Re:So? (Score 2) 53

by plover (#47711519) Attached to: Your Phone Can Be Snooped On Using Its Gyroscope

I'm going to assume most phones already have actual microphones, so how does this add any additional kind of insecurity? I'm going to assume most phones already have actual microphones, so how does this add any additional kind of insecurity?

Apparently the sound from your mic and the echo from your gyroscopes were both parsed by your speech-to-text converter. I guess it works better than we thought!

Comment: Re:not true at all (Score 1) 124

by plover (#47711485) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

When you look at the technical advancements in agriculture, they're composed of small features integrated in to (or bolted on to) existing equipment. You don't need a new tractor, you just need to mount a GPS receiver and a database onto your old one. A processor no bigger than a cell phone can do lots of that. Adding electrically operated valves to an existing fertilizer or pesticide spray system? Again, very small. It doesn't have to auto-steer, it just has to know where it is, and where it's been.

The makers don't have to build the tractors, they just want to improve them.

Comment: Re:Blame them, not Heartbleed (Score 1) 48

by plover (#47711413) Attached to: Heartbleed To Blame For Community Health Systems Breach

I realize reading the article is considered bad form, but if you read it you'd learn they think they were breached sometime between April and June. Heartbleed was announced in April. That's somewhere between zero to two months. Lots of big shops have a monthly patching cycle, and you don't just drop every patch into a mission critical system the day it arrives.

Comment: Re:It's not like they've had 5 months to fix it... (Score 5, Insightful) 48

by plover (#47711369) Attached to: Heartbleed To Blame For Community Health Systems Breach

They said they think they were breached sometime between April and June. Heartbleed was announced in April. The window was zero to two months, not five.

And it's not that data security is a low priority, it's just that it may not be as high a priority as network availability. This is health care, where problems in communication might affect patient outcomes. "Hey, sysadmin, Doctor Green couldn't respond to his page last night, and the patient died as a result." These are the kinds of arguments that are thrown at the IT departments at every health care provider. Whether or not we consider them rational or valid is irrelevant.

So in that backdrop, we might try to understand that they probably don't just slam in every patch that the vendor has to offer, at least not without a giant process circus. I would guess that they have a patch intake process, where they have to run the patch by some engineering team that evaluates the nature of the patch, and devises some kind of testing plan to execute in their lab environment. They then have to pass it to the testing team who will set up and execute the patch process in the lab, document all their findings, and then turn the patch over to the production network team. They'll put it on their list, and they'll have their own manager who says "whoa, why are you security guys rushing to slam this patch in to my border router? Let's slow down and think about this one."

I could easily see it taking a month in a big, regulated corporate environment.

Comment: Re:Pretty obvious (Score 1) 114

by plover (#47709447) Attached to: Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo

There are the ethics of the money collected, but that can be fixed. I'm more concerned about the inequity of the penalty. If I had to pay a $300.00 fine for a red light violation, it would be slightly annoying. If my unemployed neighbor had to pay $300.00, he'd fall further behind on his rent, or possibly go hungry. Conversely, if I had to unexpectedly sit in jail for a day, my projects would suffer, my employer would have no sympathy, and my job might be at stake; while my neighbor would simply wait out his days with little else of consequence. So if I know the penalty is monetary, I can afford to run the occasional red light. If we know the penalty is to serve time, my neighbor might run a red light just to get three squares.

How to best create a fair penalty is a difficult proposition.

Comment: Re:not true at all (Score 2) 124

by plover (#47706775) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

And thus this is likely yet another solution without a problem.

No, I think the desire here is for it to be Open Source. Current agricultural tools are proprietary, where you pay a ton of money for the special GPS receiver, arrays of sensors, a database of moisture, fertilizer, and yield readings, continuously variable spray systems, auto-steering systems, and everything else.

The current systems are brilliant: they can reduce fertilizer usage by 60% or more by applying the proper amount of fertilizer on the areas that need it. This reduces cost, excess chemicals, and greatly reduces polluting runoff. They also measure how much water the crops need, and adjust irrigation accordingly. And in a greenhouse, they can even measure and control the light.

But all of that is not all that difficult to solve, apart from the hardware. Makers are getting pretty good at producing open source hardware for a lot of smaller things; and there is a desire to get open source solutions in the hands of the developing nations.

So I think there's a lot of problem out there that this could yet solve.

Comment: not true at all (Score 5, Insightful) 124

by Trepidity (#47705121) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Businesses across the globe have been innovating for decades, while farming has been using techniques that have been handed down from centuries ago.

That's not true at all. Maybe in some hobby farms, but at a large scale (which is where most food actually comes from), farming in 2014 is nothing like farming in 1914. Modern agribusiness is highly automated, which is why the proportion of the U.S. population engaged in farm work has declined from about 30% to about 2%, while food production has increased.

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