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Comment Learning from past mistakes - or railroading ? (Score 1) 166

The past attempts to 'improve' the Slashdot user interface have mostly been epic failures. It makes sense that the owners have decided to test the water first before spending time and Karma redeveloping the mobile site.

Now I haven't (intentionally) used the mobile version (I have and I don't like it) and I can see why people would like something better.

However as the 'improved' version is not very well defined, is this a serious attempt to gather feedback beforehand, or is it laying the groundwork so that when the site is upgraded they can ignore all feedback and railroad it through?

The whole 'responsive web' message seems to be an excuse for web designers to jam a load of distracting moving elements in the user face so that they can't tell the difference between cheesey embedded advertising and actual content.

Personally I have found the mobile version of every site I have ever used to be rubbish - and I am concerned that Slashdot thinks that it can fit on a tiny screen. The strength of the current site is the volume of content it hosts (dupes and all) - and the problem with a mobile experience is that the damn screen will never be big enough.

If I could make the call - I'd suggest killing the mobile version.

Comment ESP8266 = NodeMCU (Score 1) 203

Look at the NodeMCU boards - basically an ESP8266 with the I/o broken out, and all the bits and pieces you need to program one up.

They have more than one I/O (you might be thinking of the real cheap version of the ESP8266 that is billed as a serial Wi-Fi adapter). You can pickup a NodeMCU board for under $10, and if you are really smart buy a copy of Neil Kolban's eBook on the ESP8266 - includes helpful hints on getting it up and running with the Arduino IDE.

Much cheaper than getting a Pi Zero and the bits you need (as if you can actually buy a Pi Zero anyway)

Comment Unconfirmed issue with dropbear implementation (Score 1) 35

The linked article states that:

"Note that it is unconfirmed if this backdoor account is reachable on a production device by an otherwise unauthenticated attacker"

Has anyone seen independent evidence that you can SSH into one of these devices with the password "remote_debug_please" ?

Comment Get some perspective (Score 1) 662

Ahmed took an old clock, repackaged it in a different enclosure, got it working and took it to school to show off

Sorry - but the worst label you could put on him is a designer - and having seen the Apple 1 I think he did a better job than Jobs and 'Woz when they were much older so get a grip.

If I cam across someone of his age doing what he did - i'd stop and happily give him some time and encouragement. There's every possibility that he could turn out something fantastic in his future - as long as the US education system does not beat his desire to tinker out of him. You really have to question the intellect and ability of the teachers who escalated this, and the police who thought handcuffs were justified.

Or has the USA reached such a low point that a balloon with the word 'bomb' written on it would spook everyone?

America - the rest of the world is ROTFLMAO over this

Comment Windows XP is also prevalent in medical devices (Score 1) 42

There is still a problem with medical devices running Windows XP Embedded.

What's needed is an industry standard on how to partition and isolate these devices, while allowing appropriate inter-system communications to occur. Then at least there is something that people can hold vendors to and drive the level of technical maturity in the right direction. The sad thing is that these companies are locked in the 1990's mindset, and unless there us a blowtorch applied to their feet they will keep on selling equipment to their customers that is technically obsolete.

Comment Vendors lie about FDA certification (Score 1) 42

The story that vendors spin their customers about FDA approval an security updates is untrue.

The main reason they put it out is that it helps reduce their costs.

If you read the FDA advice at and at

The key piece of advice is If manufacturers chose to use OTS software in their devices and vulnerabilities in OTS software can affect the safety and effectiveness of their networked devices, they have to act to keep their devices safe and effective.

Locking their devices away behind firewalls is great, but you should also provide copies of the above documentation to the vendor and ask them how they act to "keep their devices safe and effective". Make sure your legal staff are involved in asking the question, and see how quickly their advice changes.

Oh - and if you want bonus points in this - make sure that your purchasing people are across this issue and the question is asked during all procurement exercises, and that the contracts and specifications stipulate that the vendors are accountable for doing so.

Comment Usable in Australia (Score 3, Informative) 317

The specifications you list cite a maximum temperature of 43 degrees Celsius.

Now the maximum temperature for the majority of Australian households in summer rarely if ever reaches or exceeds that. There is a large amount of the continent where the temperature exceeds that - however its very sparsely populated (you are looking at the central deserts after all) and has minimal infrastructure anyway.

For the majority of the population (i.e. major population centres on the coast) it's quite reasonable.

Comment Off site backups are essential (Score 1) 446

Many years ago I went to a presentation on Disaster Recovery. One of the classic stories told was of an accounting firm that kept their backups on-site in a fire proof safe (the best they could afford). One day there was a fire. The safe was perfectly intact, and showed no signs of any damage that would have resulted in the contents being damaged.

Unfortunately the Fire Department Standard Operating Procedure was that every fire was suspicious until proven otherwise, and the site was declared a crime scene. Consequently the Business was denied access to the site for several weeks until the situation was resolved and the remaining building could be made safe.

By that stage enough of their customers had moved to another accountancy firm and they were unable to survive with the remaining customers despite being able to completely rebuild their IT infrastructure.

I'd suggest in your example you may want to consider some form of removable media (5 GB will easily fit on a dual-layer DVD) and keep the backups in a secure safe at another family members house in case of disaster. With backups that size you could make several copies and keep them at multiple locations. Alternatively, encrypt the backups and keep a copy at work.

Comment C++ - but look at C# as well (Score 1, Informative) 407

I'll admit I haven't seen much of Objective C (apart from on OSX) - while C++ is pretty much available on anything and anywhere. However I'd also recommend having a look at C#.

If you are not allergic to Microsoft products it's got a lot to recommend it:

Good frameworks

Available on Windows, OSX & Linux

Cross-platform tools like Xamarin (which as an interesting ecosystem for cross-platform mobile apps)

Comment Go easy on the OpenSSL guys ! (Score 4, Interesting) 79

The beauty of Open Source is that when issues like this are discovered, they are dealt with.

With a closed source product you basically have to trust the vendor to get it right, and to patch defects in a timely manner.

OpenSSL is a classic demonstration of one of the truths of computer programming - namely that good cryptography is HARD.

I just wish that the big players who use this in their products would support the developers - and make it a better outcome for all of us who rely on this product.

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