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Submission + - Internet of Things endangered by inaccurate network time, says NIST (

An anonymous reader writes: Current standards of network timekeeping are inadequate to some of the critical systems that are being envisaged for the Internet of Things, according to a report [] by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The report says 'A new economy built on the massive growth of endpoints on the internet will require precise and verifiable timing in ways that current systems do not support. Applications, computers, and communications systems have been developed with modules and layers that optimize data processing but degrade accurate timing,'. NIST's Chad Boutin likens current network accuracy to an attempt to synchronise watches via the postal system, and suggests that remote medicine and self-driving cars will need far higher standards in order not to put lives at risk because, for instance, a self-driving car fails to distinguish between a plastic bag blowing in the wind and an obstructing pedestrian. He notes [] "modern computer programs only have probabilities on execution times, rather than the strong certainties that safety-critical systems require,"

Australia Mandates Microsoft's Office Open XML 317

littlekorea writes "The Australian Government has released a common operating environment desktop policy that — among security controls aimed at reducing the potential for leaks of Government data — mandates the ECMA-376 version of Microsoft's Office Open XML (OOXML) standard and productivity suites that can 'read and write' the .docx format, effectively locking the country's public servants into using Microsoft Office. The policy [PDF] also appears to limit desktop operating systems to large, off-the-shelf commercial offerings at the expense of smaller distributions."

Submission + - Sidekick data loss: Sabotage or dogfooding? (

" rel="nofollow">ozmanjusri writes: "Questions are being asked about a dramatic disconnect between Microsoft's management and engineering teams.

A somewhat inflammatory article by Appleinsider points makes claims that longstanding management issues and a culture of "dogfooding" could have been to blame for Microsoft's recent catastrophic client data loss. Interestingly, they also claim that there may be evidence that could suggest the failure was the result of a deliberate act of sabotage.

According to the article, an un-named source has stated that a pre-existing project group called "Pink" was operating independently inside Microsoft designing a Zune-phone. The Pink team took over the Danger acquisition, with disastrous results.

"When Danger was acquired, Pink was already a going concern but had no engineering staff. Microsoft discovered that Danger had unbreakable contractual obligations that meant they couldn't turn us into warm bodies working on Pink, so they staffed up internally," the source reported. "By the time Danger engineering became available to work on Pink a year later, innumerable bad decisions had already been made by clueless idiots."

The source also claims the Pink project was failing because of a management decision to include UMTS and CDMA phones in the same form factor, a technical nightmare."


MS Reportedly Adds 6 Months of Vista Downgrade 244

LiteralKa sends in a poorly sourced Reg story claiming that Microsoft has granted OEMs six more months to sell PCs using Windows Vista with the support to downgrade to Windows XP. OEMs can now offer such arrangements until July 31, 2009 — the previous deadline was January 31, 2009. The article claims as source "a Reg reader" without further details. Neither Microsoft nor any OEM has confirmed the rumor, and only a few scattered bloggers have picked it up.

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