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


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Comment Re:"Advanced battery technology" is a flashlight b (Score 1) 160

I see that the Tesla battery pack weighs 1,200 pounds. Reducing weight greatly improves efficiency, handling, braking, and acceleration, meaning lighter weight is all around better. It seems a bit wasteful of weight and materials to have 7,000 metal casings around 7,000 tiny batteries, connected with thousands of connections, rather far fewer larger cells. I'm surprised they don't use perhaps 24 or 100 larger cells instead, thereby eliminating thousands of unnecessary casings and connections.

There are a number of reasons.
1. 18650 cells are the cheapest per kWh, significantly so.
2. The smaller cell size helps with thermal management. It's easier to deal with the heat from using the batteries the smaller they are. There have been problems with airlines that use larger cells with them catching fire.
3. Power capability is actually higher with smaller cells. For a car with the acceleration of a Model-S, this is important.
4. Due to the amount of R&D into the cell, which is the most common LiIon cell in the world, weight and volume wise it's at least as energy dense as anything else, extra casing or not.
5. The connections aren't actually that big of a deal, most of the batteries are simply end-to-end.

Comment Re:Is this really as typical as it seems? (Score 2) 113

New technology market deployments go in stages, including the following:
  1) The underlying technology becomes available and financially viable. The window opens.
  2) An explosion of companies introduce competing products and try to capture market share. They are in a race to jump through the window.
  3) There is a shakeout: A handful become the dominant producers and the rest die off or move on to other things. The window has closed.

We've seen this over and over. (Two examples from a few decades back were the explosions of Unix boxes and PC graphics accelerator chips)

IoT applications recently passed stage 1), with the introduction of $1-ish priced, ultra-low-power (batteries last for years), systems-on-a-chip (computer, radio peripheral, miscellaneous sensor and other device interfaces) from TI, Nordic, Dialog, and others. It's in stage 2) now.

In stage 2) there's a race to get to market. Wait too long and your competitors eat your lunch and you die before deploying at all. So PBHs do things like deploy proof-of-concept lab prototypes as products, as soon as they work at all (or even BEFORE they do. B-b ) They figure that implementing a good security architecture up front will make them miss the window, and (if they think that far ahead at all) that they can fix it with upgrades later, after they're established, have financing, adequate staffing, and time to do it right - or at least well enough.

So right now you're seeing the IoT producucts that came out first - which means mostly the ones that either ignored security entirely or haven't gotten it set up right yet. Give it some time and you'll see better security - either from improvements among the early movers or new entrants who took the time to do it right and managed to survive long enough to get to market. Then you'll see a shakeout, as those who got SOMETHING wrong fail in competition with those who got it right.

If we're lucky, one of the "somethings" will be security. But Microsoft's example shows that's not necessarily a given.

In this case, though, the POINT of the product is security, so getting it wrong - visibly - may be a company killer. (I see that, in the wake of the exposure, the company is promising a field upgrade with this issue fixed in about a month. If it does happen, and comes out before the crooks develop and use an exploit, perhaps this company will become another example for the PHBs to point at when they push the engineers for fast schlock rather than slow solid-as-rocks.)

Comment Re:The HELL they can't! (Score 1) 74

Being in the industry, the reason I was given was (1) the electrolyte is very expensive right now

Vanadium pentoxide (98% pure was about $6/lb and falling as of early Oct and hasn't been above $14 in years) and sulphuric acid?

and (2) investors need a demonstration of return.

Always the bottom line. B-)

Comment And I bet everything seemed hunky-dory in Rome.... (Score 1) 202

...before it was sacked. Some folks see weakness and irresolution growing in the western world. They see barbarians like ISIS rising up to fill the vacuum left by the west's loss of confidence- and they see dark ages coming again. If nothing is done, the new dark age may be 50 years out, or they may be 20 years out. (And certainly dark times have arrived for real in parts of the middle east.)

Civilizations rise because they have insights, standards and practices that are superior to those around them. Those civilizations fall when they take their position for granted, and think those standards and practices are 'mean' or 'outmoded.'

Comment Re:Source Code (Score 1) 48

The ransomware gets its name from the fact that the "DecryptorMax" string is found in multiple places inside its source code.

They distributed the source code with the ransomware?

Or the strings in the source code ended up generating strings in the object code and something like the "strings" tool found them.

Comment Re: Because backups are important (Score 1) 48

We can only assume they are too cheap, lazy or distracted with other things to keep frequent backups.

Or they think they ARE keeping backups, because they ARE - on a different part of the same disk, using automated processes provided and touted by the vendor - but the ransomware disables the tools and deletes the backups. Oops!

There's a difference between "backups" and "adequate, off-machine, backups".

Comment Looks to me like an oversight. (Score 1) 48

Why would you need a random .png from the Internet? Can't they just keep whatever part they need (header?) as part of the binary?

I'd guess:
  - The authors wrote the tool to use enough of the start of an encrypted/clear file pair to generate / sieve the key and deployed that.
  - Some used discovered, after the tool was deployed, that the invariant header of a .png file was long enough that any .png file could function as the "clear" for any encrypted .png (or at least that many unrelated pairs could do that.)

I'd bet that, if the authors had thought there was a nearly-universally-present file type the ransomware would chose to encrypt, with a large enough header to pull off this trick, they'd have included a canned header and the option to use it in the tool.

Comment The HELL they can't! (Score 3, Interesting) 74

That's something conventional flow batteries can't do.hat's something conventional flow batteries can't do.

The hell they can't. Industrial-scale Vanadium Redox flow batteries are doing that right now, in utility companies, and have been for a couple years. (In New Zeeland, if I recall correctly.)

I think the reason they're not more widely used already is that they're under patent protection, the company is small, and its owners don't want to license the technology or dilute their equity, so the supply is limited to their ramp-up and funding sources.

Comment Re:battery vs capacitor (Score 4, Insightful) 74

When does the battery become capacitor?

When the voltage across it is directly proportional to percentage of charge.

And they already did, many years ago. That's what "supercapacitors" are: Electrochemical cells where the charge is stored by migrating, but not ionization-state-changing, ions in a solution (rather than by migrating electrons within two conductors (one metal, the other metal or conductive liquid) separated by an insulator, as in a conventional or electrolytic capacitor, or ionization-state-changing ions in the cells of a conventional battery,where the voltage only changes slightly with state of charge until nearly full discharge.


Creator of Relay On BITNET, Predecessor of IRC, Dies (blogs.com) 34

tmjva writes: Jeff Kell passed away on November 25 as reported here in the 3000newswire. He was inventor of BITNET Relay, a predecessor of Internet Relay Chat using the REXX programming language.

In 1987 he wrote the following preserved article about RELAY and here is his obituary. May this early inventor rest in peace.

Comment Re:Can't Carbon be nuclear? (Score 1) 351

Details matter. You are looking to build a fusion reactor, and this reaction is far more difficult than the DT reaction that the fusion community is focusing on.

They're also working on the substantially harder p-B reaction (which only has a trace of neutron output due to impurities/side reactions). That's substantially harder (and worth it!) but still not in the ballpark.

If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.