Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Comment You're naive. (Score 2, Interesting) 411

Didn't make enough money, pure and simple. ANECDOTE FOLLOWS:


Bought a 1959 Chevrolet Apache 31 pickup truck in 1978. Motor blew up within fifty miles and I replaced it with a freshly rebuilt 235 L-six motor. Brand new.

Guy at the California Emissions Control Testing Center (actually, a major auto-repair shop which shall remain nameless here) say's "There's no smog control cannister on this truck. Can't pass it." I had to argue with him and make him look up the concept of a grandfathered vehicle, same thing that got me out of no seatbelt tickets later - but I digress. Mechanic dude, clearly unhappy that he can't sell me over a thousand dollars of unnecessary work to retrofit a PCR and catalytic converter on my Chevy, finally insists on probing the exhaust pipe.

His probe didn't even wiggle. Read around zero. Guy now insists that the probe is broken and he can't smog certify my truck. Another hour of arguing gets me the shop manager who's going to prove they can't smog my truck by probing his. Lo and behold! the needle obediently shows his truck is a filthy (yet legally compliant) pig. My truck, OTOH, still reads essentially zero - hey, it was essentially a brand-new, properly installed and tuned small-block six-cylinder engine.

Finally (after several more dirty looks and argument) I get my truck smogged in the state of California.


Any questions about why states do the smog control inspection thing? Anybody here still gullible enough to think it's actually to protect the ecology?

Comment Half the comments here are based on a fallacy. (Score 1) 96

People here are assuming that this is intended to be a consumer technology. It isn't.

First, it takes a specific, intentional, not free step to implement this. Unless the manufacturer of a given device thinks security will be important enough to its customers to warrant a self-destruct they're not going to incorporate this. It's not like hardware manufacturers are thinking "Oh what the hell - consumers won't mind if our widget costs more than the competition's, let's build in an auto destruct and use Majel Barrett-Roddenberry's voice" or even "we can blow 'em up the day after the warranty runs out and defy everyone to prove our product isn't just plain crappy."

Second, it isn't fully tested yet. They're incorporating stresses into a component whose durability must now be examined - as previously noted, some highly specialized applications might benefit from a "failure before compromise" behavior, but most won't. Will these things spontaneously shatter five years after manufacture? Can this be triggered by anything other than the designed mechanism? Be a shame to have these things fail every eleven years because of sunspots, after all.

Finally, this is not the only tamper-resistant technology ever created. I can recall many items of military hardware which incorporate operationally similar safeguards, and it deserves remembering that the people who want to learn military secrets often have the resources to do ridiculous things like manually reassembling a three-dimensional puzzle consisting of thousands of nearly microscopic pieces. Combine this with our existing technologies and you end up with an incredibly effective tool . . . that's tool, not solution. Like anything else of security (and especially military security) multiple layers are the only possible approach. Multi-layered security includes physical security, information security, and resource security. This technology could serve as part of a tamper-deterrent system.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.