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Comment Re:Save Your Time (Score 3, Insightful) 113

If the article weren't so badly written, poorly organized and incoherent, I'd suspect it to be the product of a machine -- albeit one hampered by a bad software patch. Anyway, if you replace 2020 with 2040 or 2050, some parts might have some merit. It may provide a bit of insight into the nature of the run_before_you_can_walk "thinking" that will likely precede Silicon Valley's next crash.

Comment Re:Not a hard and fast rule... (Score 1) 281

fuzzyfuzzyfungus' argument sounds plausible and I mostly agree with it. But I'd point out that even if the project is a large number of mostly unrelated problems, throwing a bunch of resources at it will probably introduce more than a few dependencies between "solutions" that would not have existed with fewer folks and more time.

Those will have to be sorted out.

Also, no matter how much parallelism, one manages to find, the eventual completion date will be the sum of the times required to complete the longest chain of dependent activities. It's unlikely that it will be obvious which those are ... except maybe in retrospect. Most problems tend to look vastly simpler ... in retrospect.

Comment Re:Translated (Score -1) 451

Hmmm. Don't drive much on snow and ice do you? When coming down a hill with a stop at the bottom, you really want to come to a complete stop at the bottom. You don't want to smack into whatever traffic may be out on the road you are stopping for. Especially if it is a snow plow. And you'd like to keep the car on it's normal side of the road pointed in the conventional direction. Safer that way. The best way to accomplish that seems to be to be to lock all four wheels and use the steering to control direction while the vehicle slowly slithers to a stop. Except that doesn't work with ABS. Don't believe me? You're welcome to try the hill opposite my driveway come our next big snowstorm -- probably in a few months, but in Northern New England, one never knows.

Maybe it's old primitive ABS that's a problem. Well, the Camry I drive IS 16 years old. But my wife's two year old Hyundai does the same thing.

Not what you've been told? Let me let you in on a secret laddie. Marketing people sometimes misrepresent (i.e. lie about) vehicle capabilities. Since they are rewarded for doing so, I suspect it is unlikely they will change their ways any time soon. (Actually, it's been well known for decades that ABS works well on dry roads and OK on wet ones, not too well on dirt and poorly on ice,snow, gravel)

Comment Re:Translated (Score 2) 451

I suppose that it'll be a net plus since most driving is done on OK roads and not everyone pays as much attention to other vehicles as one might hope.. But I agree with you. The poorer the driving conditions the less well ABS works. In heavy snow, having the wheels lock up more or less at random and not stay locked makes directional control when stopping really difficult. Not that driving more than a few mph on ice or in heavy snow is usually all that great an idea. But it IS annoying to have the car go out of its way to make an already difficult task harder.

Comment Re:Cars like pc's/phones/tablets (Score 3, Insightful) 417

I think the issue is when this shit comes with your car it isn't obvious how you uninstall the crap.

Exactly. The problem is what we might call the UI bottleneck. If the vehicle has 48 features and I loathe 45 of them, I still have to fight my way through 48 confusing, often poorly identified, controls in order to use the three functions I like/want/need. If it's not a tool I use all the time I may well give up before I find the control I'm looking for. Or worse, I may turn on some incredibly annoying "feature" whose Off button is hidden behind some improbable sequence of actions identified by more or less incomprehensible icons that look like squashed grasshoppers or overturned ice-cream cones.

Comment Re:Why car info tech is so thoroughly at risk .. (Score 1) 192

I don't think you understand how hard it is to write secure software. It's really, REALLY hard. If it were easy or even moderately difficult surely Windows would be -- after a decade of regular security patches -- be exploit proof.

OTOH, trying to write more secure software, probably won't do any harm and might do some good.

Comment Re:Why car info tech is so thoroughly at risk .. (Score 5, Interesting) 192

It's all kind of baffling. We have decades of experience that tells us that writing secure software is very difficult and that patching insecure software is expensive, inefficient, and largely ineffective. So the response -- and not just in the auto industry -- is to constantly add more questionably necessary complex hardware and software (Why do I need digital air time pressure indicators that do not work properly to replace $2 mechanical pressure indicating Schraeder valve caps?) and then express surprise that the result is vulnerable to digital attack.

Folks. I don't know how to break this to you. The "solutions" that don't work on the internet, with financial stuff, with dating sites, etc probably aren't going to work in cars either..

What will work? Nothing most likely. But minimizing attack surfaces by air gapping systems that don't need to talk to one another, making ROMs read only with a physical programming switch, banishing anything that looks or works like javascript, abandoning the odd notion that over the air updates can't -- by accident or hijacking -- simultaneously brick millions of vehicles might help. The result would be clunky and sort of mid-20th centuryish. But it might be moderately secure.. And implementing it might free up resources to deal with the inevitable similar problems in the rest of the digital world.

Comment Re:"after gaining administrative or physical acces (Score 2) 57

Serious Question: Is it ever going to be possible to secure systems that allow firmware to be updated by a remote user?

Isn't it likely that at some point we're going to have to face up to the reality that many things we find to be extremely convenient simply aren't compatible with the notion of security?

Comment Re: Do what everyone else does in this situation (Score 1) 233

Get mostly linux machines for the mainstream work, and get a few windows systems for the jobs that really need windows.

vnc seems to work acceptably to allow a unix machine to control a process running on a Windows XP machine. As does rdesktop I believe. I imagine that one or the other or something similar will work with a more modern (i.e. probably even more obtuse) Windows version. Files can be transferred with Samba.

That would be a pain to set up and to make cleanly accessible to an untrained user who is probably pretty overwhelmed with all the other stuff he or she is trying to learn. But it's probably technically feasible.

Comment Re:IPv6 shortcomings? (Score 4, Insightful) 595

It isn't (and never was) a question of capabilities. It is a question of cost. Most decision makers at every level from individuals on up to CEOs view IT (correctly BTW) as an expense, not a corporate treasure. The IP6v train left the station without the capabilities required to make eventual I{Pv4 replacement cheap and easy -- backward capability and NAT. Lots of people tried to point out that was a mistake. It was done anyway, and the same folks that didn't understand why it was a mistake still don't seem to understand why it was a mistake.

Compared to the average business or public organization, our home setup here is not very complex at all. But we still have about two dozen devices whose software would need to be upgraded in order to change from IPv4. to IPv6. And we'd probably have to buy some new kit because some of the routers and software probably have flawed IPv6 implementations -- if they have IPv6 at all. And, of course our ISP is IPv4. Assuming they can/will deign to talk to us using IPv6 it's a safe bet that "upgrading" would cost us more time and money.

And what do we get from all that? IFAICS all we get is the capability to expose all the digital devices in the house to external hackers. Why would we want to do that? Much less spend time and money to do that?

It'll most likely be a long, long time before IPv6 completely replaces IPv4.

Comment Re: .txt (Score 1) 200

Yes text handling for non-ascii characters can be surprisingly maddening to work with. (Wasn't UTF-8 supposed to fix that?). Problem is that wrapping txt in some more elaborate format like HTML often doesn't make the problem go away. With apologies to Jamie Zawinski It just means that now you have two problems.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.