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Comment Re:How can FTDI not figure out how to do it? (Score 0) 268

What FTDI is doing is insane.

Yes, FTDI does have a problem with the crap clones, but inserting things into people's data streams is NOT, in any sense, a proper response. It's slightly less insane than BRICKING people's hardware (their previous solution), so I suppose it's a step up, but it's still completely nuts.

Refusing to work with non-FTDI hardware would be perfectly reasonable. Log messages if you have access to system logging facilities (I'm pretty sure drivers can log to SYSTEM log in Windows).

But mess with people's data? That's insanity. You NEVER mess with people's data. ESPECIALLY when the data belongs to someone who probably has absolutely no idea what the hell is going on.

They are once again breaking things that don't belong to them. With any luck this will backfire on them just as badly as last time. I'm hopeful that this time Microsoft will get in on the act and beat them soundly around the ears so that they stop this shit.

Comment Is Microsoft liable here? (Score 1) 268

Given that they've chosen to work with a vendor who has been known to transmit malware via windows update before (the bricking incident), is MS in any way liable at this point for not properly controlling their partner's access to Windows Update?

I hope no one gets hurt, but I actually hope someone big loses money and starts filing lawsuits over this. I'd love to see where they manage to pin the bill for damages.

Oh, and to anyone who doesn't think this kind of thing can be damaging: I know of at least one medical device (a thermal-management device that cools or heats the patient) which has a 'USB' output that consists of an embedded FTDI chip and a USB B port on the device.

Fortunately that data stream isn't generally used for making clinical decisions - it's mostly used by researchers trying to collect data. But one can imagine the havoc this kind of move is going to have on those data sets. Hopefully that device company didn't get any fake FTDIs in their supply chain.

Comment Annoying (Score 2) 330

As much as I like laughing at idiots, I'm not sure that letting them know it's bullshit is in anyone's best interest. Every bit of money and manpower they devote to finding shit that doesn't exist is money and manpower that's not killing everyone else.

In fact, the RIGHT approach to this would have been to seed the marketplace with various government agents leading the bad guys on in their hunt for this mcguffin.

Remember folks: DON'T educate the bad guys. Don't tell them what they are doing wrong - it's counterproductive to make them smarter.

Comment It Depends... (Score 1) 118

As usual.
My company uses Bacula for all our server backups, and it works pretty well, once you beat the configuration into doing what you want.
Some things about Bacula that I've noticed:
1) It's scheduling is more than little rigid. I'm not using it on desktop PCs for that reason (the PC pretty much needs to be there when Bacula wants it to be, or you miss that backup cycle. As near as I can tell, anyway).
2) Trying to configure the retention times for Bacula is NOT for the faint of heart. Get someone to help you. It's goofier than it should be.
3) Bacula thinks of all backup media as tapes. You can make it use disk (which is REALLY convenient for frequently accessed backups), but it still treats it like a bunch of tapes.
4) If I understand correctly, the Windows backup client software isn't free anymore.

For my PC backups both at home and at the office, I'm using Burp ( (I'm using the 1.4.40 stable version).
Burp is REALLY easy to configure, and when a backup is missed due to the PC being off at that moment, it just figures it out when the thing comes back on line.
It's capable of continuing an interrupted backup.
One possible downside, depending on your setup, is that Burp DOES NOT DO TAPE.
It does backups to disk. That's IT. If you need tapes, you need to go elsewhere.

I'm really fond of the easy-to-configure nature of Burp, but of course my needs match it's limited capabilities very well.

Both are in active development.
If you try to use Bacula, see if you can find someone experienced to help you. I don't know that I'd have ever gotten that thing working correctly on my own the first time.

Comment A nice low number (Score 4, Interesting) 93

That low ransom makes it REALLY easy for the business to justify just paying them off, instead of spending the time to deal with the problem in a different way. It's even small enough that a lower level manager who doesn't want to get fired for having screwed up and let this happen might pay it himself to keep from looking bad, which means that no one else in the organization might be informed.

If the malware can get enough traction, it could still bring in the big bucks over time.

Comment OK, Now I might believe the company... (Score 3, Insightful) 92

Didn't actually intend anything nefarious. Just the usual over-reaching language by a lawyer who doesn't really do anything that matters.

You'd think that after all these bad-pr-because-our-lawyers-need-muzzles incidents, companies would hire someone to keep an eye on the lawyers. The amount of time, effort (and therefore money) they spend cleaning up these messes isn't small.

Comment Some of their tech might have uses (Score 1) 120

If their beam-steering is actually something new and quick, then it might have applications elsewhere - medical ultrasound is a pain in the ass partly because the tech has to fool around a lot to get a good image. If you could steer the beam and do the ultrasound equivalent of auto-focus, you could make some ultrasound studies quite a bit faster and therefore easier on the patient.

But in a Starbucks? Forget it. Install 5V USB outlets on every table and call it a day instead.

Comment They aren't trying to get free labor (Score 1) 602

They are trying to get the employees to decline the severance package. If you make the severance nasty enough, the employees turn it down, and you don't have to pay it - which looks even better on the bottom line.

Just a theory, obviously, but I'd be willing to bet that's what's going through someone's head.

Because if the bank execs actually tried to force one of these people to come back and help, their own internal security people would probably get together with the insurance company and beat the execs up and stuff them in a closet - there's things more likely to cause you trouble than forcing a disgruntled ex-employee into the office, but it's really got to be at the top of the list.

Comment Re:And the problem is? (Score 2) 174

From the Business Insider article:
"stopped using its signature finger-prick blood test on all but one of its more than 240 blood tests at the request of government regulators who are looking into the company's technology"

That sounds to me like the FDA doesn't think the right paperwork has been filed, and have told them to lay off till they clear up the proof that it works.

Note: that does NOT mean that the FDA doesn't think it works. The FDA seldom has a clue themselves unless there are wide-spread complains - the onus is on the manufacturer of the device to prove that it does what the manufacturer says it does. And this looks to me like the FDA doesn't have enough paperwork yet to be convinced.

As to the composition of the board: There's nothing inherently wrong there, but when dealing with the FDA, having people who've already been through the process of approving something can be helpful. But there's also plenty of consultants who can help a company through that maze, so it's really not that big of deal in my mind.

Comment Re:Wah wah... (Score 1) 100

With regards to syncing via Dropbox:
It's not quite as spiffy as having the passwords stored on the far end of the wire, but I use DropSync on my Android devices, and I keep it's 'sync on change' feature activated (whenever a file changes locally, it gets pushed to the Dropbox ASAP), and then run the Dropbox client on windows boxes and it's been great. You will have some lags between Android devices (DropSync has a timer to control how often it checks for stuff to download), but Windows is pretty much instant, as the Dropbox client is always in contact.

One big advantage to using the replication rather than keeping everything remote is that if I hit a spot and my phone can't get a net connection, I've still got all this stuff stored locally, so I'm not out of commission just because I'm out of contact.

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