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Comment: Stockholders come first, security isn't important. (Score 1) 205

by kbonin (#47318671) Attached to: The Security Industry Is Failing Miserably At Fixing Underlying Dangers

Working in this industry at several giant companies, the view is simple - the company works for the stockholders, the stockholders demand ever higher returns, and NOTHING the company does is nearly as important as increasing the short term stock price. So what money is spent on R&D will be spent chasing new "shiny" features and the absolute bare minimum level of security and bug fixes required to "continue leveraging the brand". In the mean time, the business will focus on increasing the productivity of its remaining workforce, and continue to look for new ways to innovate through outsourcing, off-shoring, right sizing, acquisitions, virtual workforces, and anything else that looks good on paper for short term gains while not requiring hiring new FTE (Full Time Engineers), at least domestically.

Comment: They haven't changed, read your licenses.... (Score 1) 742

by kbonin (#46317009) Attached to: "Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

Few examples:

MSDN lets you download software to develop and test against. I need to test some Microsoft software on various cloud providers. But before I do, I think I'll take a peek at my license agreements:
    "Qualified MSDN Cloud Partners. To run software on third party shared servers you must:" ... "Deploy your licenses only with Windows Azure Platform Services or Qualified MSDN Cloud Partners."

Does your company / marketing dept. want to put a Windows Logo on your product? Check your license, you might have to dumb down your Android or iOS version to get it approved.

It goes on, and on... Yes, most companies ignore these, but they are still in the agreements. At its heart, Microsoft hasn't changed yet.

Comment: Re:Netflix (Score 1) 215

by kbonin (#44936375) Attached to: Apple Offers Refund To Stiffed Breaking Bad Season Pass Customers

While I won't argue about the convenience of Netflix (for movies and shows that appear there, once they do do appear), since I don't spend a great deal of time watching TV, its more practical for me to take my money that would otherwise go to Cable and/or Netflix and buy movies and TV shows on DVD or BD. That way, while the fine print does state that I'm only licensed to use the "video device" for personal non-commercial private viewing, I do have a growing library of insured high quality digital copies I may watch immediately anytime I want that cannot be revoked or disappear in an annual licensing negotiation, nor count against the steadily more constrained bandwidth available in most of the US. And someday when the courts uphold that the DMCA anti-circumvention clause may no longer invalidate the "space shifting" precedent, I'll be able to legally rip it all and have a legal mobile digital library of same content. (I know, I can dream...)

Comment: Re:Design != manufacture capability (Score 4, Insightful) 395

by kbonin (#43840109) Attached to: Chinese Hackers Steal Top US Weapons Designs

Yes, but manufacturing processes are often also obtainable documents. Any company who has set up good process control around their manufacturing lines has probably documented almost if not everything needed to recreate their subset of the secret sauce. Due to subcontracting these constitute a more distributed set of targets, and probably have local IT staff better capable of locking down their small networks than a megacorp oursourcing model would, but its probably all still there...

Comment: Re:Cost / Benefit issue... (Score 2) 441

by kbonin (#42019115) Attached to: It's Hard For Techies Over 40 To Stay Relevant, Says SAP Lab Director

Having spent about 10% of my career in embedded, I would agree that domain knowledge is of far higher importance in the embedded world. The knowledge base for tool chains and platforms needed to write production quality code on most embedded platforms is significantly than most desktop / server / web app worlds...

Comment: Cost / Benefit issue... (Score 4, Interesting) 441

by kbonin (#42018815) Attached to: It's Hard For Techies Over 40 To Stay Relevant, Says SAP Lab Director

Writing as someone coding professionally since the early 80s, in project teams sizes from 3 to 10k, and at the highest primarily engineering position I can achieve without becoming a non-coding manager (Systems Architect)...

As engineers age, they may gain experience, but productivity does often drop. We also have those pesky families and/or work-life balance goals. And an unfortunately repeating pattern for engineers is reaching a point where they now think they know everything they need to, and learning grinds down, sometimes to nothing. If they only work on legacy code that might be OK if no innovation is required. Domain knowledge is difficult to quantify the value of, and varies greatly by organization and project, and I would argue that all seniors should work hard at making sure this is clearly documented AND passed down.

Most companies are happy to keep a few older experienced engineers around to try and direct teams of young high productivity programmers (no family / life, willing to work 60-100 hour weeks) and attempt to mentor them to make less mistakes. Increasingly these teams are in low cost regions, most commonly India.

I would begrudgingly agree that in most cases, in terms of a cost / benefit analysis of 'value to the organization / stockholder', which is what really matters, this is true a statistically significant percentage of the time.

Of course, most of the time comments like this are merely the result of a HR directive to cull expensive engineers to reduce payroll and make room for more low cost region 'resources', driven by a suit that doesn't understand the full value of their older engineers. Unfortunately we live in a world where most important decisions are made by MBAs without a clue. Older engineers must learn to make sure the layers above them understand their real value to the organization.

Comment: Re:Domestic Drones w/ ADS-B transponders = trackab (Score 2) 223

by kbonin (#41830841) Attached to: More Drones Set To Use US Air Space

I would imagine that if this evolves it will end up having constraints attached to it along the lines of the prohibitions on retransmitting or relaying information from other protected radio frequencies. While there are useful reasons to translate and distribute general flight tracking information, I'd be willing to bet that either these services are forced to omit law enforcement transponders altogether, or there will be automated gag orders on such sites regarding to drones under certain circumstances such as pending activity (selective availability on drone tracking data?)

In any case, I would imagine that if you want accurate local drone data you'll have to collect it yourself.

As others have now posted this is possible on the cheap: RTL-SDR software over DVB-T dongles based on Realtek RTL2832U (supposedly as cheap as $20) provide a receiver, and GNU Radio with gr-air-modes gives you decoded ADS-B data streams on a decent PC.

Comment: Domestic Drones w/ ADS-B transponders = trackable (Score 4, Interesting) 223

by kbonin (#41829849) Attached to: More Drones Set To Use US Air Space

If domestic drones will be allowed in domestic civilian airspace as long as they carry active ADS-B transponders, then there are a number of receiver+software packages that would enable them to be tracked by anyone with some tech skills.

Google "ADS-B receiver", one example:

Comment: Re:Government roads (Score 4, Interesting) 244

by kbonin (#41567229) Attached to: We Don't Need More Highways

I read the linked paper, and while interesting, it typifies one of the critical flaws in the extreme Libertarian model - there are a set of cases where for-profit private enterprise is a bad solution, such as where it is not practical to provide an reasonably large number of easements to setup competing infrastructures. Where constraints exist that facilitate natural monopolies, history has shown that it IS in the public interest to preclude predatory practices, as unchecked for-profit private enterprise will always seek maximum return on investment, leading to predatory practices. While it is true that modern government bureaucracies have demonstrated themselves to be extremely inefficient managers of infrastructure, they are arguably better than an unchecked predatory monopoly. Legal mechanisms like the Sherman Antitrust Act, while anathema to an extreme Libertarian, have proven highly valuable in the past. And circling back to the original point, given the critical nature of roads, and the time period required to execute a a negative feedback cycle through the legal system, I personally believe that unfettered privatization of all roads would be a good way to grind a modern civilization to its knees.

Comment: Re:Waste of money, go Mars Direct (Score 1) 186

by kbonin (#41464777) Attached to: NASA Mulling Earth-Moon L2 Point for Mars Staging Station

I understand the argument, and frankly I agree. However, given the political nature of the non private space programs, I also believe that other than a real push to Mars, the US program is destined to remain like the Shuttle and ISS - little more than jobs and pork delivery. Think of how little science has been accomplished by STS and ISS programs, and few actually reusable components other than the STS RS-25 and SRB, which are still restricted to US government program use.

If we fund a moon base or Lagrangian station, we're basically out of public money for space and stuck on this rock.

Going to Mars will not only inspire people again, it gives us somewhere we shortly place self-sufficient humans to live, which is far more important long term to the species. Publicly fund a Mars Mission and private money will quickly follow you there. You want a 'space faring society', Space X is a better program to orbit, Bigelow has something interesting to put there, and programs like VASIMR are exploring how to move us out further.

Comment: Waste of money, go Mars Direct (Score 5, Informative) 186

by kbonin (#41462265) Attached to: NASA Mulling Earth-Moon L2 Point for Mars Staging Station

Anyone who thinks this is a good idea to get to Mars needs to read Zubrin's "The Case for Mars" or read up on the "Mars Direct" approach. All this talk about moon bases or staging in orbit or at an Lagrangian point originates in NASA designing the Mars mission via lots of committees, in which various teams and [sub]contractors got to insert dependency on their pet projects. Mars Direct presents a very well thought out and fully vetted approach, nothing but politics at this point is standing in the way - if NASA as an agency was still primarily interested in space exploration instead of pork disbursement and fiefdom preservation, and Congress had to provide slightly longer term budget commitments with less constraints and strings atached, we'd already have a permanent presence on Mars.

"Our vision is to speed up time, eventually eliminating it." -- Alex Schure