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Comment Re:Hydro FTW (Score 1) 130

If hydro is available, why not use it? Nothing is perfect by any means, but once the dam is constructed, hydro is a relatively inexpensive source of constant, high quality electricity 24/7. A good example of this would be Paraguay/Brazil's Itaipu Dam.

If it were available, I'd definitely go hydro. However, in a lot of areas, it definitely isn't going to be possible.

Most likely, a data center would probably have to use a mixture of sources. Solar would definitely help take the edge off peak energy consumption (both in the energy machines used, as well as the energy used by the HVAC system to keep them cool.) Next to that, a wind farm (although not many areas in the US are good for this.)

If the data center is in a completely rural area, what might be one source, assuming the absolute stark terror of nuclear abates for a bit, using an on-premises thorium reactor (LFTR/MSR as a type as it can use more generated energy, as per the Transatomic ads... take them with a grain of salt) comes to mind. This would not just provide base energy for the data center, but also be an asset to the electric grid.

Of course, if fusion power becomes available, all the debate about energy becomes moot.

Comment Re:"Reset to factory settings" button (Score 1) 148

For a little bit more, I can get a pair of studio grade monitors and perhaps a subwoofer. No, they may not have Bluetooth or whatnot, but that is what a stereo receiver is for.

Of course, monitors are supposed to have a flat response across the board, but that is what equalizers are for, if one wants boominess.

  For a decent home system, speakers should have ports for audio, and that's it. Other equipment takes care of the other items. This way, no matter what upgrades to audio receivers happen, the speakers will always be usable. Adding electronics just means the component now is dated. For example, with 4K coming out, unless every component of a system is HDCP 2.2 compliant, you will wind up with blank video.

Of course, it is quite obvious that none of this should be connected to the Internet other than maybe the audio receiver which is used for streaming. Everything else, if a firmware upgrade is needed, should be done by a USB flash or a SD card. Ideally, another physical switch or button used so the flashing process requires someone to actually have initiated it.

Comment Re:"Reset to factory settings" button (Score 0) 148

This, in a nutshell.

I see this with computers. Someone has an issue with their desktop machine, they toss the old one and buy a new one. Phones? Instead of worrying about ROMs, they just toss theirs and buy a new one.

People are conditioned to buy something new when stuff breaks. The TV goes bad? Buy a new one, and make sure to get the Geek Squad warranty so it can be exchanged if it breaks.

Lets look at scenarios:

Scenario 1: The TV maker puts in an "oh shit, reset all", which reloads a "1.0" OS from a ROM, or at least some onboard flash with writing disabled. This costs money for them to have it, and support costs to tell the user to press these keys while turning on the TV.

Scenario 2: The TV maker just has their support tell customers they are hosed, and buy a new unit. Support costs are far less, since it is far quicker to tell someone to go to Best Buy than it is to hang on the phone. In addition, the TV maker makes a profit on a new set.

With Scenario 2 being more profitable, which would they go with?

Comment Re:Wait, what? You can see other peoples' wallets? (Score 2) 75

Very true. Blockchains definitely are truly proof of where the coins went. However, there are ways to launder BTC, such as tumblers, CoinJoin, exchanging for another currency and then back, and so on.

Because of this, BitCoin is still used for nefarious purposes, as the transactions may be 100% traceable, but once moved out of the BTC arena into another currency, that is where the trail can go cold quickly.

Comment Re:thinkpenguin, librem and eoma68 laptops (Score 2) 91

For home/SOHO usage, what also might help is adding a router and virtualization. The router ideally should be a small PFSense appliance with snort on it.

Virtualization helps because it keeps things isolated. Nothing is perfect (as in theory, the hypervisor can be compromised), but with a layer separating the desktop OS from the bare metal, and an active gatekeeper that can easily block stuff phoning home, this will help with mitigation.

For example, web browsing. Running the day to day browser in a VM [1] will go far in ensuring that a compromise via the browser won't go far. Since most browsers will sync bookmarks, a complete rollback to a known good snapshot every so often (Patch Tuesday, for example) will not waste much time.

Later companies/enterprises are a different story. However, they have a lot more tools, such as VDI, better IDS/IPS monitors, and so on.

On a side note, the parent poster has presented a good argument about why a desktop should be AMD. Definite food for thought.

[1]: Running the VM on a SSD will help performance out, otherwise the main OS and the VM will always be fighting for control of the drive heads.

Comment Re:Coming soon in Windows 11 (Score 2) 91

In companies, using a device like BlueCoat, or another, and dropping the root cert into AD for it to be auto-trusted isn't unheard of.

However, I'm seeing this being done more and more with adware. In fact, when helping to clean some infections, when I was doing a quick forensic check before saving documents and wiping the box, almost all the machines with adware/scumware had a root cert added, and all traffic going through some local VPN or proxy. This is of course fixable, but if this is done, who knows what other stuff is installed, so it is best to just save critical stuff and start all over.

There is one way around the WPBT install (which has been around for almost a decade, mainly used to reinstall LoJack for Laptops), and that is to install an OS which acts as a hypervisor (ideally a non-Windows OS which doesn't give a hoot about WPBT), then do the rest of your work in a VM. Of course, this makes gaming almost impossible, but it is a way to mitigate the damage that WPBT installed software is able to do.

I personally don't mind software that an OEM wants to have installed with Windows, especially drivers for NICs and core items which are difficult to just fetch and download. However, the ideal would be to have an install/recovery image of Windows on a read-only flash partition, ideally with the ability to boot more than one Windows edition (so a machine that initially came with Windows 7, got upgraded to Windows 10 has the option to boot and install from either.) At the minimum, the user should be prompted and given the option to install each signed package, or just decline everything.

Comment Re:No LEDS (Score 4, Interesting) 491

e-Ink displays on more devices would be useful in general. For example, on a home router, it could display the initial password on it, and with a button or two, have minimal configuration done (set the IP), so it can have the rest of its configuration done via a web page (or SSH.)

For external devices like a home NAS, it can show a snapshot of what is going on every so often (5-10 minutes), as well as show that there is an issue with a downed drive or fan. Even external hard disks could benefit, since the display could show SMART status, or number of writes for a SSD.

For a time back in the 1990s, every device had a LCD readout that had verbose info on it. The computer case showed what was going on via POST. The monitor (CRTs, at the time) showed resolution and refresh rate. Printers showed stats like how much toner/ink was left in real time. Even tape drives showed how long until they needed cleaned, what density and blocksize was in use, and the capacity of the cartridge. If those displays could come back as e-Ink items, it would be quite useful.

Comment How about Kensington lock slots and keylocks? (Score 2) 491

For laptops, how about Kensington lock slots? Computers are not cheap, and it would be nice to be able to chain it down to a desk without having to either go with a laptop cage, lock it in a drawer, or use some slapdash method like a piece of metal between the hinges.

For desktops, I'd like to see real keylocks return. Not the crappy round-key cheapie type, but the real 5-6 pin Medeco locks that IBM used on their PS/2 machines. The keylock in front would be a soft-switch to the OS to disable all HID devices and blank the screen (so someone plugging in a USB keyboard or mouse would still be locked out.) The keylock in back would keep the case from being opened without leaving obvious damage. Combine this with some type of cable, and it will help ensure the desktop stays put.

Of course, it might be nice to have a fiber optic cable that each end plugs into a set of S/PDIF slots. If the cable is cut or unplugged, it acts as an intrusion sensor, and immediately hard-powers off the machine. This way, if a machine is physically grabbed, the data is protected.

Comment Re:That's easy (Score 1) 491

Bingo. The Internet caught the big content providers by surprise, back in the 1990s. For a while, there was a war between computers (and AOL/CIS) versus TV set top boxes on what would provide the interactive media coming into households. Fortunately, in that case, the good guys won. However, that was a battle, and it is a war, and if we don't resist it at every turn, we might just find that all our computers wind up as locked down consoles. Great for the 0% piracy rate and ensuring constant revenue streams for quarter figures. Not great for the users because you don't know who or what is spying on you, or if the backdoor reserved for the maker now just got old on the black market, and is now being used for botnets.

People need to vote with their feet. Never buy a phone without a bootloader that is easily unlocked. Do not buy consoles, which one has zero control over.

Comment Re:This is why we need alternative energy. (Score 1) 149

We also need batteries with higher energy density per volume, and it would be nice if MPPT charge controller prices go down (where the most expensive part is likely the inductor coil for the buck/boost charging.)

Batteries would change everything. If a stable, long-life battery that holds even an order of magnitude less than what gasoline stores in unit volume, this would fundamentally change the structure of the power grid.

Comment Re:To the former TrueCrypt developers (Score 1) 42

Agreed. I also have nothing but respect for the TrueCrypt forum members as well, which had some highly intelligent discussions.

What TrueCrypt brought to the table which few other programs do is the cross platform compatibility, where I can have a TC container created on a Linux box able to be opened and used on a Mac or a Windows machine. There are other utilities like FreeOTFE, but TrueCrypt was well maintained, and the hidden volume functionality is quite useful, especially for someone on a business trip who travels abroad.

I'm hoping VeraCrypt is able to keep up TrueCrypt's legacy, because TrueCrypt definitely has a niche that few other products can fill. There are commercial products like BestCrypt [1] and DriveCrypt which have similar functionality, but TC has been audited, and the source code has seen scrutiny.

[1]: Jetico's BestCrypt is a good commercial product. Before TC, this is something I used for containers as well as FDE.

Comment Re:What about 802.15.4 and similar protocols (Score 2) 29

I just want to see a way to implement either a file-level sharing (think Samba/CIFS/NFS), or block level sharing (think iSCSI) over BlueTooth. No, it won't be extremely fast, but for computers with no ports on them like the MacBook, tablets, and smartphones, it would give the ability to access mass storage without needing to piggyback onto Wi-Fi.

This not just would allow drive access, but a backup mechanism that isn't dependant on the cloud, and if done right, decently fast, with security an ingrained part of it via BT pairing.

Comment What does one gain from a "smart" TV anyway? (Score 2) 148

Other than an "enhanced advertising experience", and perhaps viewing some web content, what does a smart TV actually give as a service? Especially if one has a set top box from their provider, or something like a Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, or a HTPC. At best, I can see the TV streaming Netflix as a feature... but with all the data sent back, it isn't worth the privacy invasion.

Of course, if the TV can't work unless it has Internet access, it will go back to the store -stat-.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.