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Comment: Re:Almost impossible (Score 1) 324

by ponos (#49158689) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Ebanking often depends on two-factor authentication. Furthermore, this is exactly the kind of situation that would rapidly generate enormous publicity. Do you think that people losing thousands or millions are not going to notice? A firmware trojan in that situation would be very short-lived. Everything is possible, of course, but I would be more inclined to think industrial espionage or three-letter agencies, where this kind of "weapon" is likely to be used with discretion and over a long time.

Comment: Almost impossible (Score 1) 324

by ponos (#49157771) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Firmware is usually not signed. Furthermore, I am not even sure that most drives support reading the firmware. Overwriting with a "fresh" firmware might also be impossible, since I assume it happens through vendor extensions of said firmware. A malicious version could be able to thus protect itself.

In the end, such an elaborate scheme is probably directed towards very high value targets. I don't think this is the kind of trojan that runs out in the wild. I could be mistaken, though.

Like you, I do wish it becomes more secure in the future. If anyone has a list of vulnerable targets (brands, models etc), I would be interested to know.

Comment: BitDefender renewal (Score 1) 467

by ponos (#48892435) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

I would just like to mention a rather dubious automatic yearly renewal I got with BitDefender. Although I normally wouldn't mind being given a reminder, in that case I only discovered the item in my VISA card statement. Annoyingly, they didn't even apply the discount that was running at their website at that moment, so I was charged something like $89 for a product that was selling $49 or so.

Anyway, be sure to check this if you are running or planning on buying BitDefender.

Comment: Fundamentally not secure (Score 2) 186

by ponos (#48845063) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can I Trust Android Rooting Tools?

I had the same thoughts when I tried installing CM on an old Android device. In the end, the platform was never meant to be secure or really open to user scrutiny. I suppose with a considerable amount of effort you could achieve some sense of security by inspecting all major components, but if you are inclined to invest a considerable amount of effort, then you probably want much better security and are looking at the wrong place. Phones/tablets are fundamentally insecure, and this is probably by design.

Comment: Re:Quarterly forecast (Score 2) 153

by ponos (#48780287) Attached to: Fewer Grants For Young Researchers Causing Brain Drain In Academia

I don't really think that is true. Just read Science and Nature on a regular basis. Lots and lots of new insights and discoveries by mostly US centers. It can and should be better - we're on a Red Queen type journey and much of our problems can be solved either by dropping us back into the Bronze age or moving forward understanding our world and how to live in it. Standing around staring at the scenery isn't going to get society very far.

Although I don't doubt for a second that US centers produce first-tier research, I am also inclined to believe that publishing in Nature is far easier when you come from a big US center. So, it is, in a way, a self-sustaining situation. Friends who have been to famous US centers (Dana-Farber, NIH, MIT), find it far more difficult to publish when they come back to Europe, and that is even after having established connections around the world.

With respect to TFA, I would just like to add two parallel phenomena that possibly contribute to the apparent "lack" of funding for young scientistis:
- Research is becoming exorbitantly expensive, therefore grants are more likely to be big and only distributed to the people at the top. Funding twenty young researchers with 100k is unfortunately much less productive than funding a big consortium with 2M because the barrier of entry (equipment, regulatory overhead etc) is very high.
- The PhD "inflation" means that today a scientist is considered senior/lab head after one and maybe two post-docs. It used to be that after the PhD someone would get a tenure-track job and the associated funds. Today this step occurs at a later age. Naturally, researchers under 35 are seen as "beginners" while a hollywood star or athlete is seen as a veteran at age 35. Such is life for the modern scientist...

Comment: Time to buy vinyl? (Score 3, Insightful) 169

by ponos (#48740207) Attached to: How Long Will It Take Streaming To Dominate the Music Business?

This economy baffles me. I rent a house, lease a car, subscribe to a Adobe software, pay-per-view TV, stream music, and play online-DRM games and god knows what else. The day I stop having income, I don't own a thing. I am not by any means going back to the age of carrying chunks of gold on my person, but I get the impression property is quickly being replaced by service in too many aspects of our living. Although practical and convenient, this can only amplify the financial insecurity of the middle/lower classes.

Well, if the shit hits the fan, I can always listen to my vinyl collection.

Comment: Re:Not really missing vinyl (Score 1) 433

by ponos (#48611507) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

I'd generally agree about the quality of the speaker, but even in pure mathematical terms a piano is a very complex instrument with hundreds of moving parts and multiple configurations (pedals, chords etc). In fact you can connect most electric pianos to a hifi of your choice, but I don't think it's enough. I would try this, but I don't have a high-end speaker handy ;-)

Comment: Re:Not really missing vinyl (Score 3, Insightful) 433

by ponos (#48595193) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

If it were that simple, we could also completely emulate any instrument like a piano or a violin. Electric pianos can do wonders (I own one) but they can't copy the real thing (which I also own). The point is that a turntable is, in that sense, a complex transformation, like an instrument. You may like it or hate it, but it isn't that simple to emulate.

That being said,I'm sure people have mentioned the simple pleasure of actually owning stuff (instead of a virtual license to some bits on some server). Vinyl has that.

Comment: The list of features is quite telling... (Score 3, Insightful) 250

by ponos (#47991307) Attached to: GNOME 3.14 Released

The Gnome environment has a direction. One that does not interest me. Things like "multitouch" are clearly not important to me, but all three users using Gnome on their tablets might care. I am even more surprised to see the new "Weather app" up in the list of exciting new features. The hours I spend daily looking at the weather forecast will now be much more pleasurable.

Anyway, I really want to like Gnome but don't see anything that matters to me. Linux Mint and the Cinnamon environment seem more suited to my needs and, I suspect, to the needs of the "typical" linux user. In a parallel universe where Apple fans decide to use Linux, Gnome will be there for them.

Comment: Re:Local voice recognition (Score 1) 253

by ponos (#47974387) Attached to: Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

You really don't get it. The vendors want that data; it's not a burden for them to be processing it on their servers.

Sending everything I say to a server far away is a good reason not to use voice recognition on my phone. Then again, I already send my unencrypted voice over the network when I speak to someone. How hard would it be to implement some decent encryption? Hardware-assisted encryption is already commonplace.

When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.

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