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Comment: Re:Start with an erroneous *world view* ... (Score 1) 181

by vtcodger (#49463045) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

but take into consideration that the army has autonomous vehicles right now that drive offroad constantly.

Well, no. They don't seem to. They're talking about autonomous vehicles And there is at least one far enough along for photo shoots. But it's often a long way from capability demonstration to proven capability. Not to mention that there may be some significant differences between the appropriate method for an autonomous APC to deal with a couple of cows in the road and the same situation in a Fiat Panda.

Comment: Re:Why is the cloud not a solution (Score 1) 442

> If you just encrypt the data before sending it to the cloud, nobody in their sane mind would waste resources decrypting it (specially for such low hanging fruits).

Same's true of an encrypted sd card or USB stick under the liner in the trunk of your car. And the data transfer rate to put it there is a lot higher than a typical internet connection.

Comment: Re:Never (Score 1) 181

by vtcodger (#49457213) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

> And early results will show reductions in vehicle fatalities ...

And accidents in general. It's extremely unlikely that autonomous vehicles will travel over the speed limit (when the actually know what it is) follow too closely except in some unusual and hard to detect road/weather conditions, or fail to notice vehicles that have managed to find their way into "blind spots". There will still be accidents when front wheel bearings seize, etc. And initially, software and hardware bugs are going to kill and/or maim a few people.

The fact that courts will probably assign liability to the creator of bad code, is probably going to come as an unexpected surprise to a software industry that is used to blaming all their problems on user ineptitude.

No, I do not know what will happen to US police forces when traffic tickets cease to be a reliable source of revenue.
I imagine they will think of something.

Comment: Re:Never (Score 1) 181

by vtcodger (#49457173) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

> Nice try, but we're already seeing it in consumer^Wautomotive-grade cars.

Might want to discuss OBD-II diagnostics with your mechanic. Be prepared to hear a LOT of profanity -- especially wrt On Board Vapor Recovery system "errors".

That said, the mechanical stuff generally is pretty reliable with a few notorious exceptions like GM's ignition switch problems. The software? It's not that complex I think. And it still sort of sucks much of the time.

Comment: Re:Never (Score 1) 181

by vtcodger (#49456451) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

The irony here, of course, is that you're the one assuming the programmers making these systems are egomaniacs who don't take any exceptional cases into account and never test for them.

You seem to assume that's not an accurate description of many programmers and even more of their managers. And in any cases, the bugs that one needs to worry about with physical devices like cars probably largely fall into the "Well shi.... Who could have guessed the damn thing might do that? catagory."

Comment: Re:Start with an erroneous *world view* ... (Score 1) 181

by vtcodger (#49456431) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

No reason that autonomous vehicles can't handle most unpaved roads eventually -- after decades of development and a lot of "incidents" -- some amusing, some tragic. And a LOT of lawsuits incidentally. Unpaved rural roads that are well maintained are fairly common in rural areas of the Eastern US. They really aren't much different from urban and suburban surface streets except for more washboarding, more washouts, more livestock in the road, no curbs, and perhaps fewer potholes. Poorly maintained unpaved roads are possibly going to lead to an issue of the car telling the occupants, "You want to continue down this purported 'road' feel free, but you're driving it, not me."

That said, I think fans of autonomous vehicles vastly underestimate the difficulty of navigating anything other than expressways or the variety of unusual and hazardous situations that need to be dealt with maybe once a year or once a decade even on expressways. 99.99% reliable and capable is great. But if the other .01% puts one in the hospital or morgue many folks are going to be a tough sell. Keep in the back of your mind that the automotive industry has yet to master even the comparatively simple problem of designing intelligent braking systems that work worth a damn on ice and snow even after decades of trying.

Comment: Re:Nobody Wins (Score 1) 155

by vtcodger (#49381575) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who's Going To Win the Malware Arms Race?

> It is going to get to the point where the only viable solution is a trusted sandbox. It will be something along the lines of a TPM chip to make sure that the OS image / boot loader has not been compromised, combined with a white listed set of applications and trusted content sources.

Maybe .. But seriously, it's not clear that this point that a trusted sandbox is actually achievable even in concept, much less in practice. Nor is it clear that anyone other than some classes of users who are forced by law or employer dictate to use a trusted system actually would do so. No or very restricted email, social networking, etc.

I think that the fact that banks and merchants appear to be unable to secure their transaction flows despite having strong financial incentives to do so ought to give one pause about the securability of anything -- or, at least, anything networked.

Comment: Re:More of the same (Score 1) 155

by vtcodger (#49378901) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who's Going To Win the Malware Arms Race?

Barring some sort of radical change in priorities that causes the market to accept zero new features for, oh, a (human) generation or more, while vendors put out bugfix releases, 'winning' certainly isn't going to happen by doing conventional stuff; but harder.

Pretty much says it all. The population of exploitable software, design, and hardware bugs is clearly quite large, and is unlikely to decrease much as long as "capabilites" grow and grow and grow.

We live in a world dominated by wishful thinking then wonder why it is insecure.

Comment: Re:The future is now. (Score 1) 155

by vtcodger (#49378449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who's Going To Win the Malware Arms Race?

but don't use it much out of fear of malware

Actually, I think that they don't use their PC much because it's slow, clunky, and doesn't work very well. The number one complaint I hear from those forced to use Windows is that it takes forever to boot.

Not that malware might not be number one if users had a clearer understanding of what it is.

Comment: Re:Two options (Score 1) 466

by vtcodger (#49143771) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem

I just happen to have a drawer full of Compaq Conturae. Neat little machines for their time. Haven't done anything with them for years except run automobile OBD diagnostics every year or two to find out why the Check Engine light is lit THIS time. And even that was superceded a few years ago by a USB OBD2 reader on a netbook. I pulled one of the Compaqs out and find that if has a Linksys EC2T Ethernet card in its' PCMCIA slot. I'm sure that WFWG 3.11 will do ethrnet file transfers given an appropriate driver. Maybe such a card can be found on eBay or some such. I think I recall that I had an early version of Slakware running on one of them at one point. No X windows -- too slow to be useful, but the console was OK.

Another possibility is to remove the hard drive and connect it to another machine. It's been a loooooong time, but ISTR that it's just a bog standard 2.5 inch IDE drive and I think they still make adapters that should work with it.. I seem to recall that access to the drive was not all that difficult, just removing a few screws and separating the case. But It's been 15 years or so and it might be harder than I remember.

Comment: Re:stone tablets (Score 3, Interesting) 251

by vtcodger (#48919535) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

I looked into the reliability of CDs a decade or two ago. The consensus back then was that the lifetime of writable CDs (as opposed to the plastic disks with mechanically stamped pits) was unknown, but probably somewhere in range of a few years to a few decades. Worse, to avoid royalty issues, every CD maker used a different proprietary dye layer with different characteristics. Back then, it was far from a sure thing that a CD written on one drive could be read back reliably on a different drive even before the disk aged for a few years.

I'm not saying that CDs aren't suitable for storage, just that one probably ought to do some research about longevity before committing to their use as an archiving medium.

Really, same's probably true of any media other than punched cards.

Comment: Re:Not so sure about this... (Score 2) 252

by vtcodger (#48738375) Attached to: The Missing Piece of the Smart Home Revolution: The Operating System

> I wouldn't call ethanol "a mediocre fuel".

Ethanol has low energy density and doesn't burn efficiently in a conventional engine. It's true that it burns slowly and thus can be used in a high compression engine. But then you can't burn gasoline or gases like methane, propane, etc in that tengine. As produced and used in the US it's pretty much a fiasco.

(But it's OK to drink in moderation if you're so inclined).

Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.