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Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 2) 34

by nurbles (#48777885) Attached to: Forget Stuxnet: Banking Trojans Attacking Power Plants

As for power plants, most of them (if not all) are still operated manually using hard buttons. The only connection there is to the plant is connection to the monitoring of sensors.

That is becoming less and less true as hardware and software evolves and possibly as industry's comfort level increases. I'm not sure that is a good thing, but I've worked with some systems that have software that could potentially trigger plant trip if the software determines that a dangerous enough condition exists. That is probably a good thing -- unless someone is dumb enough to connect that software to a network and allow it to automatically update.

After all, none of us have ever has an operating system update cause any troubles at all, right? ;-)

Comment: Inconceivable! (Score 5, Insightful) 34

by nurbles (#48777833) Attached to: Forget Stuxnet: Banking Trojans Attacking Power Plants

Any company that has a SCADA system that is allowed to automatically install any sort of update needs new management. I write software for industrial SCADA systems (many of them nuclear, but some not) and absolutely NONE of them have any form of automatic update enabled. That goes for the operating system platform, even anti-virus packages (when they are used) must be manually updated after the update has been tested in a sandbox lab system. Even a well intentioned update may disrupt a SCADA system's operation, so why would anyone in their right mind allow a SCADA system or the operating system it runs on, or any other software running on the same machine automatically update itself? Sorry, but that's just insane.. At best, SCADA systems should have a one-way data flow (preferably on a serial link with the receive line physically CUT) but none of them should accept input from outside their physically controlled environments.

Except for toys and things like that.

Comment: Bad Geography (Score 2) 47

Full disclosure: I lived at Patrick AFB in the 1980s, in Cape Canaveral for the 1990s and have lived in Rockledge (20 mi South of Titusville) since 2000. But I don't work in the space industry.

Apparently the author of the linked article can't read a map (or GPS). Titusville is just over 9 (yes, NINE) miles DUE WEST of the VAB and just over 10 miles North-West of the main cluster of NASA admin and misc buildings, Titusville is only 20 miles NW of the waters outside Port Canaveral.

As for the reduction in unemployment from about ~13% to ~6%, it appears to be almost entirely from population loss rather than any form of job growth. One of the ex-NASA folks I was talking to believes that the private space companies are bad for the area because they bring their own people from out-of-town to work their launches instead of hiring experienced locals. I don't know if that's true, but everyone else I ever knew that worked at the space center moved away after everything shut down.

Comment: Vanishingly Small Portion Stolen? (Score 1) 622

by nurbles (#48131475) Attached to: The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

I have zero data to back this up, but...

I believe that a much larger portion of the pictures shared through/stored on the types of services that were breached are stolen. The thing is, most of them are innocuous and/or of non-famous people so they are discarded and/or not reported by the news outlets. I suppose if an underage kid took some nude selfies that got shared AND someone who recognized the kid saw them, then they MIGHT report it, IF they weren't too embarrassed about where they found 'em!

Comment: With so many streets *NOT* done yet... (Score 1) 40

by nurbles (#43811713) Attached to: Google Takes Street View To the Galapagos Islands

...Google has apparently decided to abandon parts of the world they they find boring in favor of exotic locales.

For example, Google covered most of the primary and a few of the secondary roads in South-Eastern New England. Then they stopped. YEARS ago. I can see every back alley and dirt road in some parts of the world, but nothing except satellite views of places where I grew up (SE New England.) I know New England can be boring, but it is at least as much a part of Google's home country as San Francisco, so why is it so neglected in Google Street View?

I love the exotic locales in Street View, too, but sometimes I just want to show people what the places I grew up looked like.

Comment: Re:Avionics (Score 1) 369

by nurbles (#43273387) Attached to: FAA Pushed To Review Ban On Electronics

Thank you. My contention has always been that, if these devices had ANY possibility of effecting aircraft systems, then the "BAD GUYS" would obviously be ignoring the rules and not only leaving them on, but programming them to screw up aircraft. Frankly, I don't believe the "BAD GUYS" are as stupid as the people propagating this malarkey. Though the "BAD GUYS" might be trying to design purpose built devices that look enough like cell phones, laptops, etc. to that they could be smuggled onto an aircraft and "affect it."

If any of these devices are capable of effecting aircraft systems than NONE OF THEM should EVER be allowed on a plane. (And no plane so susceptible outside RF should be allowed to fly, either.)

Comment: Re:Like houses??? WTF?? (Score 1) 432

by nurbles (#42761657) Attached to: Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?
If we're looking for truly robust designs, shouldn't software engineering be like spacecraft engineering? Or at least like the engineering done to build things like the SR-71? Automotive engineering is a MUCH better analogy than home building, but there are an awful lot of BAD vehicles not only designed, but actually built, sold and on the roads.

Comment: Re:not worse (Score 1) 89

SCADA systems don't need to be on the internet to get infected. I thought I read that Stuxnet got in via USB drive. If a SCADA system's software is EVER updated/enhanced and/or there is any way to load new software to it, then it can be infected. The infection may require a human agent to infiltrate a facility and physically access a machine, but if there's a network then that only needs to be done once.

Comment: Canaveral? (Score 1) 143

by nurbles (#42480417) Attached to: Legislators: 'Spaceport America Could Become a Ghost Town'

My old boss was always telling me "not to re-invent the wheel" when I was designing and writing my software...

There's a fully functional, well established spaceport about 20 miles from where I live in east central Florida. It seems to be largely unused these days and it has a huge safety range already established as well (i.e. the Atlantic Ocean.) Perhaps those folk should consider moving their operations here instead of building their own.

If they choose to stay there, I wish them better luck than we had lobbying to save Spaceport.Florida.

Comment: Crash during boot (Score 2) 102

by nurbles (#42252467) Attached to: Google Sync Clobbers Chrome Browsers

I'm more surprised that every time I BOOTED Windows there was a Google Chrome crash message box presented. I can assure you that I was never given an option about having Chrome start with Windows and I most definitely did NOT added Chrome to any of my start up stuff. So in addition to showing that actual humans work at Google (well, at least a few) this also exposed the fact that installing Chrome installs something (that may claim to BE Chrome) that normally runs silently every time Windows is started. Maybe some of you knew about it, but it was news to everyone I've asked.

Also, I've been bit by Firefox's sync feature, too, when one of the machines had a problem and trashed all of my settings, bookmarks and add-ons the sync feature decided to propagate THAT to my other machines instead of using sync to fix the broken one. One would think that, if it was smart enough to detect that those things were corrupted, it should have used sync to get good copies, NOT to share the corruption. Heh... Maybe there's an ex or future politician writing code for Firefox, eh?

Comment: Re:MS Surface problems (Score 2, Insightful) 403

- too expensive

Compared to what? a 64GB iPad (3rd generation) is $649 and a 64GB Surface tablet is $699, but the surface comes with a cover that includes a stand and a keyboard AND a customized version of Office. Both will run anything you can find in their App Store -- granted, Apple's has a bit more at the moment, but that could easily change. So, to me, the Surface seems more like a bargain than the iPad.

- too confusing (it's obvious that the iPad won't run Mac OS X apps, it's not obvious that the RT Surface won't run Windows apps)

Obvious to who? When I first saw an iPad I expected it to share apps with a Mac. At least the Surface will do that, since the Win8 desktop can also run things from the App Store. I don't know Apple, so the Mac may be able to access the App Store, too, which would still leave the Surface as a better bargain because of the included extras (heck, it even has a full-sized USB port -- does Apple ever use standard ports or devices?)

- too late

Too late like AMD getting into the PC CPU market? Too late like Android coming out after the iPhone? With the Microsoft behemoth behind it, Surface may stand an actual chance. Unlike the Zune, which no one really wanted to begin with, a significant number of people have been looking/searching/waiting for an alternative to the Apple-dominated tablet market. Personally, I'm happy with my Xoom, but I can easily see the appeal of Surface for large number of people who grew up on Microsoft-based systems.

A bit of disclosure: I dislike Apple because I seem to be incapable of using things without thinking about what I'm doing FIRST and even attempting that makes Apple products much more difficult to use. I dislike Microsoft because, as a developer for [mostly] Microsoft-based software for the past 30 years or so, I've felt my life was controlled by their whims on changing OS and compiler features. I don't like Windows 8 because my desktop is *NOT* a phone or tablet and I think it is wrong to assume all devices benefit from the same interface -- that is just plain dumb thinking.

Nothing happens.