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Comment Definitely script kiddies (Score 5, Interesting) 82

Of course it was script kiddies. Why in the world would any state-sponsored group show their hand and blow a single-use resource (the IoT botnet) to accomplish... absolutely nothing at all. Taking down some of the internet for part of a day at a totally non-strategic point in time, with totally non-strategic targets, isn't something any state would do randomly just for fun. This attack was large enough that it triggered many actions to prevent it from happening again. You have Chinese IoT chipset manufacturers doing recalls and patching their code. Pressure is being put on ISPs to help filter these kinds of attacks (it is quite obvious when some large percentage of your customers start engaging in some very abnormal network behavior all at the exact same time). Online providers like Dyn are learning and coming up with ways to prevent future attacks on their end. The only thing the attack accomplished was awareness. No state sponsored organization would have wasted their offensive attack resources like this.

Comment Developer machine (Score 5, Interesting) 518

Last year I shopped for a new dev machine (laptop). I decided to be open minded and consider the latest Macbooks as well. There were a few things that completely ruled them out for me, one of the biggest being that the keyboard did not have Home, End, PgUp and PgDn. I realize that there are chording / key combinations to do some of those things, but I already use numerous key combinations with those keys (like navigating to the end of a line vs the end of a document, selecting from the cursor to the end of the document, etc). Any laptop that does not include those 4 keys are totally out of the question for me for development use. Removing the ESC key is obviously, in my mind, yet another step in the wrong direction.

The ironic thing is Macs are pushed as productivity machines for professionals. That is one of the reasons they are supposed to fetch a premium price is because they aren't just "home" machines for the masses. Which makes the stupidity even worse because professionals use advanced tools that use keyboards for more than just typing words.

In case anyone wondered, the other primary hardware issue that eliminated the Macbook was the lack of a touchscreen (necessary for web development these days to debug and test touch interfaces to be consumed on mobile devices).

Comment Technology isn't advanced enough yet (Score 5, Interesting) 325

We still don't have the display technology to make a proper smartwatch. Until we have a watch with a display that is continuously on and active (such as a full-color e-ink display that's at least 30 FPS) that can operate for a minimum of 24 hours continuously on one charge, smart watches are going to be a severe compromise from existing watches (digital or analog). Only those that have use cases that really require them, or that want to bend over backwards to integrate them into their lives, will find them useful enough to bother with.

Look at digital watches. The first generation were LED with red glowing numbers, and they only displayed the time when you pushed a button, otherwise the battery would be dead within an hour. Does that sound familiar? Digital watches did not explode onto the scene until LCD displays matured, which were capable of actively displaying real-time data continuously for months on a single battery. That will be the technology that drives smartwatches - whatever display advancements need to take place to allow continuous full-color, real-time data display with a battery life measured in days. Until then, companies like Apple are putting the cart before the horse and using gimmicks like gestures and the like to try and switch the display on intermittently (and hopefully) when the user is needing to see it.

Comment Re:Taikonauts (Score 1) 265

I always thought this was so silly. In China, they do not call their space travelers Taikonauts. That's an English word. Why should we have different words for an astronaut based on their nationality? If we were talking about a garbageman, no one would bother making up a new English word for that occupation that is specific to each nationality. The whole thing seems like a backwards legacy of the cold war and the original space race, where we wouldn't dare refer to the competition using the same nomenclature used for NASA's astronauts.


DHS Warns of Mirai Botnet Threat To Cellular Modems ( 21

chicksdaddy writes from a report via The Security Ledger: The Mirai malware that is behind massive denial of service attacks involving hundreds of thousands of "Internet of Things" devices may also affect cellular modems that connect those devices to the internet, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning. An alert issued by DHS's Industrial Control System CERT on Wednesday warned that cellular gateways manufactured by Sierra Wireless are vulnerable to compromise by the Mirai malware. While the routers are not actively being targeted by the malware, "unchanged default factory credentials, which are publicly available, could allow the devices to be compromised," ICS-CERT warned. The alert comes after a number of reports identified devices infected with the Mirai malware as the source of massive denial of service attacks against media websites like Krebs on Security and the French hosting company OVH. The attacks emanated from a global network of hundreds of thousands of infected IP-enabled closed circuit video cameras, digital video recorders (DVRs), network video recorders (NVRs) and other devices. Analysis by the firm Imperva found that Mirai is purpose-built to infect Internet of Things devices and enlist them in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The malware searches broadly for insecure or weakly secured IoT devices that can be remotely accessed and broken into with easily guessed (factory default) usernames and passwords. The report adds: "Sierra said in an alert that the company has 'confirmed reports of the 'Mirai' malware infecting AirLink gateways that are using the default ACEmanager password and are reachable from the public internet.' Sierra Wireless LS300, GX400, GX/ES440, GX/ES450, and RV50 were identified in the bulletin as vulnerable to compromise by Mirai. Furthermore, devices attached to he gateway's local area network may also be vulnerable to infection by the Mirai malware, ICS-CERT warned. Sierra Wireless asked affected users to reboot their gateway. Mirai is memory resident malware, meaning that is erased upon reboot. Furthermore, administrators were advised to change the password to the management interface by logging in locally, or remotely to a vulnerable device."

Comment Re:Will this hurt UK's movie industry? (Score 1) 81

I'm replying to myself because I got modded down for a thoughtful, straightforward post about a legitimate scenario, and two of the replies make an interesting assumption. I said nothing about moving production to the USA from the UK. If anything they would move to some other country that is advanced enough to have the required infrastructure, but a government that will side with the producers in order to bring income to their country. I think the Asian market is ripe to start taking this kind of business. They have very large film industries already, and human rights are not something most are known for.

Comment Re:There is an old saying in business (Score 1) 181

I would say there are more people interested in an ever-changing movie database so they can watch movies they haven't seen or movies they haven't seen in a long time, as opposed to your preference that Netflix simply "maintain their current movie collection". They only have finite money, and they learned the very hard way what happens when they increase their rates. So the only choice is to rotate movies and TV shows in and out of their collection.

Comment Will this hurt UK's movie industry? (Score -1) 81

So you have a movie filmed in the UK, during which an accident occurred that was avoidable, and that fact alone cost a fortune (shooting was delayed, and it's hard to tell what kind of damages they paid Ford to keep him on board). Now you have the government stepping in and levying a very large fine against the production company on top of everything else. I'm sure this will prompt film makers to have second thoughts about filming in the UK, especially on sound stages like the one involved which can pretty much be done anywhere. I'm not suggesting it was wrong of the government to fine them, I'm just saying that surely it will be something that movie producers will be considering in the future when they decide where to do their shooting.

I also can't help but wonder if the very large fine was the result of the popularity of the movie involved and the amount of money it made.

Comment Re:Too much thin phones and thin batteries (Score 2, Interesting) 121

The last batch of "fixed" phones that have caught on fire have not even been in use. The last few caught fire during the night when hooked up to a charger. They seem to be catching fire around 4 - 5 AM, which assuming the phone was plugged in at midnight of before, should be after the battery is fully charged. So at first blush it would seem the batteries are being overcharged. However, the phone that caught on fire on the airplane was apparently not in use or plugged in. In fact he said he had turned it off and then the fire began.

My hunch is the batteries are being damaged during the charging process, and once that occurs it's just a ticking time bomb before the layers in the battery come into contact and cause a big exothermic chemical reaction. Often it happens right away, but sometimes not until some other physical factor triggers it.

The original batteries that Samsung thought were the problem probably weren't manufactured quite as well, and thus they simply manifested the overcharging problem more easily. The other manufacturer's batteries in the "fixed" phones have slightly better manufacturing, and thus they can simply stand up to the overcharging abuse a bit better, and since it didn't manifest in Samsung's testing, they assumed it was purely a problem with the other batteries.

Comment Simulation (Score 5, Funny) 66

This is great news! The information density with these 1 nanometer transistors should be such that I can simulate simulate the universe with enough accuracy for sentient beings to eventually come into existence. Eventually they will advance sufficiently enough to question whether or not they are in a simulation, and they will begin efforts to test how accurate my simulation is in order to determine its existence. Then, just when they discover that the simulation is flawed in some way, and thus detectable, I'll pull the plug and start a fresh simulation.

Comment Ruin it for the rest of us (Score 2, Interesting) 150

Let's hope this doesn't lead to the typical FAA overreaction and banning of the use of any electronics in flight until they can spend years deciding that it's safe. Like how WiFi devices were going to start causing planes to drop out of the sky. And somehow cellular communication is still suspect (or at least it's suspected that it will result in a reduction of Airline revenue if people can use their own data and make calls in-flight using the standard cellular network).

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