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Comment Re:Forced Upgrades? (Score 2) 665

I agree, the UI needs to settle down. I loved the mobile version until they forced the supposedly "awesome" bar to be always-on. a developer recently said it's gotten crazy as well. http://www.webmonkey.com/2012/07/firefox-developer-everybody-hates-firefox-updates/ I've used FF since it was Phoenix, but now I'm trying out Chrome, Dolphin, and Opera.

Comment It's not so much the VTOL i'd be concerned with (Score 2) 249

But bump and runs can screw you over. Any aircraft that is in any kind of collision needs to be inspected for airworthiness, especially if it involves the engine or prop. You don't want to lose power at 1000m after all.

So the jerk who backs into you in the parking lot and drives away without a word could really screw you over. The article doesn't say much other than the rear prop folds up, so maybe it has a really good cage around that?

Comment I was thinking of buying a copy... (Score 2) 373

I loved having a set as a kid. Not so much to look up information, but to randomly peruse and get a general idea of what is important in the world. Wikipedia has a "random" feature, but I feel more likely to get some Manga cartoon reference than the article on Hadrian's wall. Now that I have kids, I wanted them to enjoy them as well, without burning out their eyes on computer/TV screens any more than they already do.

Then I saw that a new set is something like a thousand dollars, and even 10 year old used sets are quite expensive. Perhaps the printing quality warrants that kind of a price, but I wonder they couldn't have tried to do it cheaper before dropping that part of their business model altogether.

Or, this might sound like blasphemy to Britannica, instead of fighting Wikipedia, they could join them by collaborating on articles and cut down costs that way. Provide some needed quality photography to Wikipedia, and get something in return?

Comment Um, no, that's a BAD idea (Score 4, Insightful) 46

The problem is not necessarily with Siemens. Industrial controls in general are not inherently meant to be accessible over large networks. They're designed to run reliably as they are, not with patches and updates. This applies to anything from Siemens/Fanux/Rexroth/Allen-Bradley/Mitsubishi to Cognex cameras to ABB/Fanuc/Kuka robots, or any little bastardized system in between.

Why not? Well, there is a ton of weird, unique software that runs on industrial controllers. They run some really embedded HMI (Human Machine Interface) software on top of, say, XP Embedded, or even NT4 or Win2k or some Linux flavor, or WinCE. If you start throwing out patches to those systems, there is a very very good probability that at some point, the system that you are updating will fail due to the update. Heck, Siemens updates regularly break its own software, much less Windows patches. If you try, and screw things up, you're forced to revert to some old dated backup or Ghost image stored in a filing cabinet on a CD-R or server if you're lucky. If you're not lucky, you call the vendor in to fix your broken system. Hopefully they are competent enough to have a backup from their last visit 6 years ago, and work from there, losing all your work in the meantime. So, you have machine downtime of hours, days, or even weeks if you're not lucky. How much does downtime cost? It depends on how many systems you took down, and the product. Conservatively, anywhere from $5,000 to $1,000,000 per hour.

What to do? You obviously can't push out patches. But, there is a lot of good that comes from monitoring machines, their productivity, uptime, faults, etc, remotely. By taking these systems off of an internal network, you also lose productivity in efficiency losses. So, you're forced to be the High Priest of IT and lock down a network like no other. No outside USB sticks, manufacturing firewalled off from the rest of the plant, and all kinds of restrictions that make users angry. It sucks, but it's possible. Unfortunately, small time manufacturers with their one part time learn-on-the-fly IT guy probably won't do it right. Perhaps this is where the DHS can come in to help, in the name of national security?

Comment What I'm wondering (Score 1) 286

As an American who travels for work, I am curious how this works when I'm in, say, South Africa or Uzbekistan. Verizon still (for now), offers an Unlimited Data plan in the US, which can be extended to an Unlimited International Data plan. If I couple this International Data plan with this app, will I or will I not be able to make Skype calls from other countries?

Seriously, this can be a godsend if I'm out of the country for months at a time. I just don't want to change my phone and incur all charges if it doesn't pan out. Ironically (or not?), Verizon employees are the least knowledgable when I ask this.

Comment Re:absolutely, do it yourself, fool (Score 2, Insightful) 258

wacky routing rules

This is absolutely necessary. I'll asplain why.

A Unconnected Internet would be a pretty much by definition a lucrative honeypot for those who you are trying to keep out. As such, it'd be the most targeted network imaginable, with any entity (China Iran Venezuela, N. Korea, Cowboy Neal, al Qaeda, IRA, Libya..) that would possibly want to damage infrastructure a super huge easy target. Since it's a "separate" network run by the internet-incompetent government, it's going to be vulnerable once access is had. So, you're going to have people bribed to plug in USB sticks to Siemens controllers (see previous /. story). So, we'll need to find out where attacks are coming from, and not allow any kind of anonymity on this super-trusted network. Therefore, since we'll need uber traceability, we'll need some crazy routing.

Perhaps not. I just think that this sort of network, if made wrong (most likely), would be a detriment to security, especially with civilian access.

Comment Patent death would be fine, but... (Score 3, Informative) 435

Monsanto is probably best known amongst the slashdot crowd for their patent litigation regarding gene patents

As for the weeds that show resistance, they've been known to exist for quite some time. Some weeds naturally react weakly to Round Up, and it's been common practice to include a quart/acre of Pursuit or some other chemical. It's a pain to deal with, but it's not impossible.

Comment Re:Are you really worried that much about Facebook (Score 2, Insightful) 451

if you don't put anything private on Facebook, then your privacy won't be compromised by it.

So, if you don't put up your real name, don't "friend" anyone, don't comment to anyone, don't join groups, and don't play games, you've removed all potentially private information. Oh yeah, you've also removed all usefulness at the same time.

Personally, I am not a facebook user, as I've never had any inherent trust of the company and Zuckerberg in particular. I'd like to say Google would do better, but with the uselessness of Buzz, and Schmidt's recent comments about privacy being only necessary if you're hiding something, I'm not counting on them either.

So, I'm waiting for an alternative to come around.

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