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Comment The rat race continues.. (Score 2, Insightful) 322

The question is can anything be secure in the long term if an attacker can monitor the conversation between alice and bob 24/7? Sometimes a bit of obscurity can go a long way. Good luck trying to sniff my shielded network cables. Yes, I've heard the tempest stories but I'm jumping to the conclusion that those techniques are only available to big $$ governements institutions and are not used by the random drive-by hacker (yet..)

Comment The real problem is OPC... (Score 2, Informative) 116

These days everybody runs on Windows XP. No problem there; XP machines can be made secure. The real problem is this quote from the report: "We have performed penetration testing on OPC, which is a central component in process control systems on oil installations.". OPC protocol is based on DCOM. And most people want to do DCOM via a network to remote platforms. That is where the problems start. DCOM is horrible. There are solutions: Matrikon makes a good tunneler program for example, other SCADA and DCS vendors also do tunneling of OPC via safer methods than DCOM over a wide area network.

Conclusion: the report has some good points, the summary in the above link is FUD.

Disclaimer: I work with DCS's (also on remote oil platforms) for a living...

Comment Youtube to the rescue (Score 1) 617

For anyone that has an interest in understanding why the evil empire introduced the ribbon look at this video (and the next 8 segments..) . As it turns out Microsoft did think about the problem of stuffing more and more options into menus and came to the conclusion that they could not continue any longer this way.

Personally I think that the OO menu's are a little bit better organized so there is no need to go to a ribbon style yet. Except to imitate MS and that is not a good enough reason.

Comment Give me an alternative... (Score 1) 394

I've got 10 years of emails in .pst files. I use that as my personal knowledge base. Copernic desktop search is used for indexing those emails, it kicks all the other search tools in the balls. X1, MS desktop search, Google desktop, they are all not quite there yet.
The Outlook calendar function is also vital but can be migrated to something else much more easily. Not so the emails. Until I have something with which I can migrate my emails into a more sensible format than pst files and have a kick-ass search tool Outlook is not going anywhere.

Comment Re:lack of vision. (Score 4, Insightful) 170

Not industrial grade, a bit scaled down for home use. But it has to last much longer than an average personal computer. I expect my fridge to last 15 years, the water boiler at least 20, the wall sockets and wiring in the house will probably last 50 years.

Right now 99% of all home automation equipment are gadgets. Yes they do work for the first 1 or 2 years, but after that? Who knows...

And then you are stuck with a not-quite working semi-autonomous robot house that will make bad decisions based on wrong sensor inputs. And there are enough bad Hollywood movies on that subject already.

Comment lack of vision. (Score 5, Insightful) 170

As someone who earns his money in industrial automation it amazes me how limited these home automation firms think. They want me to buy multiple sensors each with only one I/O point on them??? They want me to buy plastic toy-like stuff that breaks if you push the contact a few thousand times? And then there is the matter of future-proofing: in 5 years time nobody will be able to read the sensors anymore that you bought because "everybody" is on the new standard. What about spare parts for existing stuff, are they expecting me to rewire the house each time they come up with a new platform? Not a chance.

Then there is software: Windows XP, maybe with .net, was a valid choice for building the interface when the company designed it a few years ago but I expect my light switch to last at least 25 years.

These days you can run an oil refinery with a touch of a button and keep it running for 20 years with available spare parts. And you can get data in & out of that system in any format you want. Show me the same on a scaled down version for my home and I'll start installing it...

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