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Comment Re:Audio (Score 2) 111

Interference seems to be a big problem with Bluetooth. There are certain intersections in my city where the signal craps out while crossing the street; certain sections of the train and bus routes, and other places where music simply stutters or dies. I assume there's a local point source of interference to blame in each of those areas. I ended up fixing the problem by shelving my collection of Bluetooth headphones and going back to using wired headphones. The sound quality and reliability are far superior, and the wire just isn't a problem. I'm also not careless enough to ever have dropped my phone in water, so that's never been a real issue for me, either.

So while Apple said "everybody just use Bluetooth", it was obvious they never have. I'll be hanging on to my older iPhone for quite a while yet.

Comment Not cracked (Score 3, Interesting) 55

So they have an MD5 hash, but don't know what value hashes to it. They have no idea if it's a 10 character '1234567890' password or a 64 character string of random bytes. They also know that it's not a string that Google has already found and cached. The only clue they have to go on is the existing backdoor they found that turns telnet on, which uses 11 random ASCII characters as the secret. But 11 characters are almost out of reach for brute force password testing. If the person who put the backdoor in applied only the same amount of thought to the secret password, that would still be a monster to attack with brute force.

So I disagree that it's a matter of time. I think it's a matter of defeating it in another way, such as having Wireshark running when someone who actually knows the password types it in; or uncovering a wikileaked document that contains the secret backdoor password.

Comment Re:Analyzing a car purchase over 1 year? (Score 1) 36

That "5 of 12 were ineffective" carries the flawed implication that the device is filled with magic pixie dust that should somehow be 100% effective. Cell phone signals vary all over the place, by technology, by topography, by carrier, and were never designed to be perfectly interceptable by a man-in-the-middle box. Detecting them properly also requires some skill on the part of the operator. The fact that the machine yielded some signals that were actually intercepted by these techno-rookies is fairly remarkable.

This "story" is batting 0 for 3. Automobile capital expenditures aren't amortized over a single year. Police investigation money isn't invested on a value-per-conviction basis (anyone remember the fiasco that was ticket quotas?). And not all investigative tools produce fruitful results 100% of the time. Given just the evidence in this story, I'd say the Virginia police were more effective with the DRTbox than the typical MuckRock journalist is with a keyboard.

Submission + - International Authorities Cooperate To Take Down Massive 'Avalanche' Botnet

plover writes: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Eurojust, Europol, and other global partners announced the takedown of a massive botnet named 'Avalanche', estimated to have involved as many as 500,000 infected computers worldwide on a daily basis.

"The global effort to take down this network involved the crucial support of prosecutors and investigators from 30 countries. As a result, five individuals were arrested, 37 premises were searched, and 39 servers were seized. Victims of malware infections were identified in over 180 countries. In addition, 221 servers were put offline through abuse notifications sent to the hosting providers. The operation marks the largest-ever use of sinkholing to combat botnet infrastructures and is unprecedented in its scale, with over 800 000 domains seized, sinkholed or blocked."

Submission + - Not one, not two, but three undersea cables cut in Jersey (

An anonymous reader writes: Sometime before midnight Monday (UK local time) a ship dropped its anchor and broke, not one, not two, but three undersea cables serving the island of Jersey in the English Channel. Jersey is part of the Channel Islands along with Guernsey and some smaller islands. These things happen and that’s not a good thing. The cut was reported on the venerable BBC news website. For the telecom operators in Jersey (JT Global) this wasn’t good news. However looking at the traffic from Cloudflare’s point of view; we can see that while the cable cut removed the direct path from London to Jersey, it was replaced by the backup path from Paris to Jersey. The move was 100% under the control of the BGP routing protocol. It's a relief that there's a fallback for when these unpredictable events happen.

Comment Re: Don't give him ideas (Score 2) 555

I guess you missed the entire point of what I said. Parents with terminal diseases - you can't just ignore those calls and if it's an emergency or there's a new caregiver on duty you don't know, the call could be from numbers or area codes you don't recognize. You can't just silence the phone and figure you won't be getting an important call.

I alluded to that before - guess you didn't read that part of the response.

Comment Re: Don't give him ideas (Score 2) 555

I can't put on a whitelist doctors that I don't yet know in case she ends up in the ER. There were also times when someone, like a substitute caregiver, would call and their area code was someplace away from us because they still have the same cell number from before they moved. I made a reference to this in my post.

Comment Re: Don't give him ideas (Score 4, Insightful) 555

Some of us cannot turn off our phones at night. I had to deal with my Father dying of leukemia for 3 years or so, then an over-anxious Mother who was having panic attacks and then we found she was developing Alzheimer's. For 10 years, I had to be on call 24/7 because I never knew what would happen or if that out-of-town phone call was a friend or an EMT or someone calling on their cell phone to tell me she needed help or was in serious trouble.

It must be a wonderful privilege to live in a world where it's easy to imagine not having to be on call 24/7.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 139

May I recommend a thermostatic mixing valve? It lets you keep your water heater very hot, but delivers the hot water mixed with cold water at the set point of the valve. You can then run a separate pipe from the water heater to appliances that need the very hot water, such as the dishwasher or washing machine. It also delivers more water than a regular water heater set to a safer temperature like 120F, effectively extending the capacity of a water heater by 20% or more.

I wouldn't recommend you plumb the very hot water directly to the tub, as the risk of scalding would be too great.

Comment Re:Of course they have malware (Score 1) 161

When I set out to help her make it run faster, I didn't anticipate that it would be that difficult, or take that long. I thought I could just uninstall one or two things and she'd be fine; but the machine was running so badly that each thing I uninstalled was followed by an equally slow reboot in hopes that would fix the problem. The worst offender turned out to be the free McAfee "security" suite. Learning that I needed to download a McAfee Consumer Product Removal Tool, wading through their equally frustrating web site to find and download the damn thing, and actually running it took a surprising amount of time.

I actually thought finding all the the right device drivers for the brand new hardware would be so hard as to not be worth the hassle. I was very wrong.

Lesson learned, though. Next time I'm going to pull the "Geek Squad virus repair" trick and just reformat the drive.

Comment Re:Of course they have malware (Score 4, Informative) 161

Ever take a Lenovo Windows 8 machine out of the box? The shovelware that encumbers it boggles the mind. It took me three hours to scrape that crap from my sister's brand new machine. Given the performance of the machine before and after, I'd go to court today and testify it was legitimately infected with malware.

Ironically, for that much work at my rates, Office Depot would be undercharging.

Comment That was kind of the point (Score 4, Insightful) 457

Heinlein didn't picture a "Service guarantees citizenship" society just to have it whitewashed away by today's PC standards. Any reboot that ignores the societal aspects may as well be filmed by Michael Bay, and just go straight to CGI exploding aliens; it won't be true to the book in any way.

Comment Re:Neat that it's possible, but insignificant (Score 1) 181

You're entirely missing the point. Sewage comes out of EVERY part of the country. Local micro-refinery stations (not entirely unlike local water treatment generally) could be turning that into a usable product with less effort than paying foreign despots to ship it to you from around the world, obviously.

Unfortunately, today's crude oil refineries are physically big, ugly plants that produce nasty smelling (and toxic) pollution. Boiling liquefied crude is already bad enough; imagine boiling sewage (hint: amplify the smell of a feedlot and picture it traveling about 10 miles along the ground.) Fractionating towers for petroleum are tall, ugly beasts because they need to be; they have to be on a large area, with lots of storage tanks, and they need round the clock lighting and security. Nothing about them is appealing, nobody would let you build one in their back yard. There's a reason nobody's built a new oil refinery in the last 30 years.

I can imagine that an existing refinery could retrofitted to handle the material; but I can't imagine that they could build micro-refineries near cities.

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