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Comment Re:Maybe it's a bad idea to have a "smart grid" (Score 2) 97

Maybe that is so in the US. In Europe, "Smart Grid" technology embodies the whole thing i.e. right the way up to transmission level.

Power systems are highly interconnected and operate in real-time. There's relatively little economic benefit in just making the last mile "smart". The big wins come when the whole supply chain is smart, enabling real-time pricing, despatch, outage management, etc.

Even if this technology starts out by being deployed at the last mile, it *will* end up influencing and/or controlling the higher level distribution and transmission systems. So it's important to get the security right at this stage. Otherwise we'll end up with millions of insecure nodes out there and no way to actually gain any genuine benefits from the technology.

Comment Re:These numbers don't make sense. (Score 1) 450

You may have a 50 amp service. So might your neighbours. But if you and all your neighbours actually pull 50 amps at the same time for any significant duration, the local transformer or supply cable WILL fail. It's not designed to do that.

No electricity system on earth is designed to provide the maximum rated supply to everyone. It would be ludicrously expensive.

To keep the costs down, certain assumptions are made about the diversity of the demand (i.e. you almost certainly don't need 50 amps all the time). The existing system was designed to fit with those assumptions. Electric cars change the demand pattern, resulting in localised overloads in certain circumstances.

Comment Re:I don't understand this.. (Score 1) 166

Uh huh.
If you check your history, you'll find that America's economic power prior to independence (and right through to Edison's era) was *founded* on ignoring the copyrights & patents of other nations. Guess what? Americans may not have invented everything you think they did.
America was a developing nation once. Try sticking that fact into your neat economic hypothesis.

64-Bit Flash Player For Linux Finally In Alpha 172

Luchio writes "Finally, a little bit of respect from Adobe with this alpha release of the Adobe Flash Player 10 that was made available for all Linux 64-bit enthusiasts! As noted, 'this is a prerelease version,' so handle with care. Just remove any existing Flash player and extract the new .so file in /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins (or /usr/lib/opera/plugins)."

Comment Re:They all write the same stupid article..... (Score 2, Insightful) 450

And that, my friend, is the most eloquent argument I've read in a while for avoiding anything from Microsoft at all costs.
Thank you for your honesty.

No matter how much they might pretend otherwise, when a company's core value becomes "It's all about the shareholders; fuck the customers!" then there is very little incentive to purchase anything from them. Doesn't matter if it's cheap. Heck, doesn't matter if it's good.

If your sole aim is to screw me, why would I even consider talking to you?

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 462

Physical or absolute separation of the various networks is a good idea in theory.
In practice, separation is exceptionally difficult to maintain:
  1. There's always non-critical data to collect. Long term trends, maybe some environmental data, some trial project for some new tech. This stuff is (quite rightly) kept away from the mission critical networks and usually goes over the internet.
  2. The mission-critical guys then find that this non critical data is useful/relevant to what they do. Maybe it's just a weather forecast, something like that. So they end up having access to the non-critical information. It's usually too hard/too expensive to make intangible data sources available through the mission-critical systems (changes are expensive and you don't know what the benfit is until you try it...). So, they'll get access in informal ways. It starts with printouts, then a "separate" screen in the control room, then maybe an info display on their main screen and before you know it, you've started to breach the separation. Still, nothing too disastrous at this point.
  3. The next stage is that this extra information proves so useful that the idea of automation comes in. "Hey, look: if we merge this data source with this data source, we can have the system make a decision for us and it'll ease the workload of the mission critical people". At this point, you've now got mission critical data and other data all routed into the same decision box, running *unsupervised*. No-one really knows what's going on (in real time) and this is where the hackers can start to play.

I'm not sure what the solution is. The message is "Don't rely on separation to protect you." It *will* be breached. The day-to-day business processes in a utility will take care of that...

Comment Re:DC power line is the only economical way (Score 1) 412

Maybe. Your argument is fine if there's nothing you need to supply with electricity any place between the two end points.
Transmission systems usually need to provide tap-off points along the way - something that is difficult and/or expensive with DC.

There's no major bias or ignorance involved; when DC is cheaper, they use DC. It's just that in the majority of cases, AC is the most appropriate solution.

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 1) 412

Agreed. But nuclear is somewhat useless without a fairly large electricity transmission system. You've gotta get rid of all that energy somehow.

Nuclear plants are only happy working 100% day and night. You can't just turn these things up & down like a coal plant.

It's like the problem of managing wind power, only reversed...


Submission + - Kaspersky: Govt snooping doesn't go far enough (

Barence writes: "Eugene Kaspersky has told PC Pro that governments should be monitoring the internet activity of their citizens more closely. The security firm boss, who was educated at the KGB-sponsored Institute of Cryptography, said that monitoring "the internet so closely would be a positive step" and that "the [UK] Government is not a Big Brother which wants to watch everyone — and taxation is not high enough to have such a budget.""

Submission + - Apple sues Wiki, Wiki sues back ( 1

Random BedHead Ed writes: "When BlueWiki posted documents about reverse engineering the iTunesDB format used on iPods late last year, Apple demanded that the content be removed, citing the DMCA's prohibition on circumventing copy protection. BlueWiki removed the content, but yesterday they filed suit against Apple seeking a declaratory judgment that the discussions did not violate the DMCA. ZDNet quotes EFF's Fred von Lohmann, who says that this is an issue of censorship. "Wikis and other community sites are home to many vibrant discussions among hobbyists and tinkerers. It's legal to engage in reverse engineering in order to create a competing product, it's legal to talk about reverse engineering, and it's legal for a public wiki to host those discussions." More info on the EFF's website."

Submission + - Home Office asked Phorm for legal advice (

nk497 writes: "Emails released under the Freedom of Information Act have shown that the UK Home Office asked Phorm for help deciding if deep packet inspection behavioural advertising systems — such as, say, Phorm — were indeed legal. After the pair decided changes to an advice document, a government official asked Phorm: "If we agree this, and this becomes our position do you think your clients and their prospective partners will be comforted?"

An opposition MP called the email exchange "bizarre" and suggested the Home Office sought help either because it doesn't understand the technology or because it wants to use it, too."


Submission + - Phorm strikes back at 'privacy' critics

Wowsers writes: As reported in the The Telegraph newspaper.

The Phorm company that intercepts and amends web pages users request (for now just adverts) is hitting back at critics, with Phorm's chief executive setting up a website against two leading critics of Phorm whom he describes as "privacy pirates". Both men deny allegations including the claim that they could be supported by Phorm's rivals.

The Chief Exec. thinks Phorm's potential competitors are spreading lies about the content manipulation system. The reality is, people value their privacy, and can see the system as dangerous to full blown government system amending content of web pages on-the-fly for their advantage.

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