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Comment: Re:and this is news why? (Score 1) 205

by melstav (#47582109) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

The way those tools work is that they write a customized firmware image onto the controller. (or an EEPROM, or the start of the flash) This way, if you don't need the thing to impersonate a CDROM, that code doesn't get loaded onto the chip. Specifics about partition sizes, read-only settings, etc, get tacked onto the end of the appropriate image as a data block.

If the chip manufacturer released a firmware update to address a bug in a previous release, the same tools can be used to install the firmware updates. You just have to replace the packaged images.

But you don't HAVE to use the bundled firmware images. A little legwork (or disassembly of the bundled firmwares) will yield all you need to know to write your own firmware for the thing that does whatever you want it to. Frequently, like the MV6208, the controller is built around an 8051-derivative. ( ref: ) knowing that, you can write your own custom firmware that enumerates as a second keyboard to try and run commands. Or whatever else you want to make it do.

Comment: Re:and this is news why? (Score 2) 205

by melstav (#47575819) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

A typical USB stick or a webcam don't have hardware to permit firmware upgrades, even though the silicon inside could be theoretically upgradable.

How uninformed you are! is a discussion of "production tools" for USB flash drives.

These tools are specific to the controller in the flashdrive (chipsbank, micov, etc) and allow you to do things like change what size the drive reports itself as, load files onto the thing and make it behave as a read-only flash drive, load files on and make it behave as a USB CD/DVD-ROM drive with a disk preloaded, make it behave as a single flashdrive with multiple partitions, make it come up on the USB bus as a compound device consisting of any combination of the above.

My company uses these sorts of tools to distribute software on read-only flashdrives.

Comment: Re:Price is reasonable - $35, not $90 (Score 1) 54

by melstav (#47550357) Attached to: A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn't a Router

That's why it's important to actually read what they wrote instead of just stopping at the first "red flag" you come to.

Why flexible funding? We choose flexible funding because we want to give people a chance to contribute to the software as early as possible. The hardware part is already done and we have sold units to existing customers who were very happy about it. Specially for this campaign we made a new revision ready for mass production so we can sell it at an even better price than we already had in our shop:

They already have finalized hardware in production. They're not trying to fund hardware development and production. They've already done that. They're using indiegogo as an advertising channel and as a secondary storefront.

Comment: Re:Just 2 models of Audi? (Score 5, Informative) 61

by melstav (#47323577) Attached to: Making an Autonomous Car On a Budget

The steering wheel.

Most vehicles (if not all) being marketed for consumer road use have power steering. The standard (in the USA, if not globally) is to use hydraulics to help you move the wheels back and forth as you steer.

Those two models of Audi use electric motors to provide power assist, instead. That makes it MUCH easier to interface the control system.

+ - How AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast are working together to screw you->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "AT&T is buying entire legislatures to rewrite the laws to allow them to become a fully unregulated company with no wholesale obligations, creating a de-facto monopoly. They can (and likely will) use it to squash or hurt wireless competitors as well, as they're permitted to favor their own subsidiaries with the network built and created over a hundred plus year monopoly, and Comcast is fully on-board because they'd like to split the market created when all their competitors are dead."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Your copy of the guide must be really old. (Score 1) 115

by melstav (#45627199) Attached to: First Images of a Heart Injected With Liquid Metal

The entry for "Alpha Particles" was updated from "Harmless." to "Mostly Harmless." quite some time ago. Because it is... AS LONG AS the emitter is *OUTSIDE* the body.

An alpha particle is going to steal electrons from the first molecule it comes in contact with, and become a helium atom. If you're exposed to alpha radiation from the outside, it's going to hit and react with the layer of already dead skin cells called the epidermis.

So yes, as long as you don't swallow, inhale, inject, or otherwise insert the alpha-emitting radioisotope, you're probably going to be just fine.

Comment: Re:Would this apply to an Australian? (Score 1) 130

by melstav (#44944505) Attached to: FDA Will Regulate Some Apps As Medical Devices

The fact that Google Play is run by an American company is not the issue.

Whether or not your app is available to be downloaded in the US is. Because you're importing your app into the US to be used by Americans.

But that's a side issue. EVEN BY AUSTRALIA'S STANDARDS your app likely qualifies as a medical device. If you're not already registered with the Ministry of Health as a medical device manufacturer, I would highly recommend contacting someone to confirm with them whether your app should be regulated under Australian law, and whether you're breaking the law by distributing it (or allowing it to be distributed) in Australia without registration.

And then do the same thing with every other country your app is downloadable in. Because every country's regulations may be somewhat different.

Comment: Software is not special just because it's mobile. (Score 3, Interesting) 130

by melstav (#44944383) Attached to: FDA Will Regulate Some Apps As Medical Devices

DISCLAIMER: I am, (among other hats) a software developer for a medical device manufacturer in the United States.

Seriously, people. The FDA's stance has *ALWAYS* been that if something has a medical purpose or is an accessory to a medical device, then it *IS* a medical device, even with software. See: Guidance for the Content of Premarket Submissions for Software Contained in Medical Devices, dated 2005.

For the purposes of this document, we refer to devices that contain one or more software components, parts, or accessories, or are composed solely of software as “software devices,” including:

  • firmware and other means for software-based control of medical devices
  • stand-alone software applications
  • software intended for installation in general-purpose computers
  • dedicated hardware/software medical devices.
  • accessories to medical devices when those accessories contain or are composed of software.

This guidance applies to software devices regardless of the means by which the software is delivered to the end user, whether factory-installed, installed by a third-party vendor, or field-installed or -upgraded.

So, yes, apps with a medical purpose are medical devices, just like any other piece of software.

Which means they *ARE* subject to the "Obamacare Tax" -- Which is *NOT* a "sales tax" to be paid by the consumer. It's an "income tax" to be paid by the manufacturer / developer.

This also means that if your app is categorized as a medical device, you (the developer) have to register with the FDA as a device manufacturer, which costs a couple thousand dollars a year, and means that every few years, the FDA sends someone out to review your quality control system, which includes your testing methodologies, what complaints you've received and how you've handled them, how you document your development process, etc.

AND what your software does determines what kind of medical device the FDA calls it. And the kind of medical device determines whether you are required to get the FDA's permission before you distribute it. (even if you distribute it for free) And yes, applying for that permission costs money, whether it's approved or not.

And, by the way: Each country makes its own rules about what makes a medical device and what you're required to do to be able to legally distribute it in that country. And in most countries that includes software.

Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.