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Comment IoT - really ? (Score 3, Informative) 85

Does this device sound like an IoT gadget ?

From reading the article (yes - I know - and no I'm not new here) it's nasty piece of telephony hardware and more like a router than anything else. I know it's a current meme to thrash IoT as a platform but this is not a case of a programmer taking shortcuts on a feature constrained device, but rather a programmer or designer who is just dumb. This has been a problem long before the IoT ever came around.

Comment No such device - vapourware product (Score 1) 138

The idea behind these devices is that they are a cheaper version of the Raspberry Pi, however they are never available at the listed price. You can get the Zero's - as part of a bundle with a range of marked up peripherals you probably already have, so it's likely to be just another PR stunt.

If you are after a small, embeddable Linux+ARM device I'd recommend you forget the Raspberry Pi and get an Orange Pi Zero. They exist, you can buy them of AliExpress, and they work just fine.

Comment Canonical Certified Cloud Suppliers? (Score 1) 47

Is the next step the certification of cloud providers by Canonical?

They may be somewhat shy of naming vendors who are bastardising their product and compromising the security, updatability and maintainability of their pre-packaged images, but maybe another approach is for Canonical (and other Linux vendors) to come up with a certification model? That way if you play nice you get to use the logo, and if you lie you can be sued.

That way customers can quickly tell which vendors are more reputable than others.

The business model has been around for years and would help sort out the better vendors from the worse.

Comment Questionable behaviour by Shazam (Score 3, Interesting) 126

If they need the microphone to be on at all times, why do they provide a 'sham' feature that gives their users the impression that the microphone can be turned off ?

If the requirement to be listening permanently is reasonable, then surely their users would understand and accept this as part of using their application?

Comment Potentially unlawful ? (Score 1) 88

I don't see how sending explosive devices in the post is lawful. The fact that the manufacturer believes there is a risk of fire is a clear indicator that these are dangerous items.

Worst of all, if one does catch fire in transit, the sender (not Samsung) will be liable for the consequences.

It's really disappointing to see a company like Samsung handle this so badly

The only sensible option is to return it to the point of sale for a refund. Failing that, people should be contacting Samsung so that they (and not the customer) are responsible for the safe packaging and transport of these devices.

Comment Playing both sides? (Score 1) 79

Interesting approach to the problem:

On one hand they are fulfilling their duty of care by disclosing this information to the public so they can make an informed decision; and

On the other hand they are protecting their shareholders by suggesting that the devices are safe and people can continue to use them.

It's a sad thing when the profit motive is put ahead of patient safety, however I suspect we will see a lot more of this as the 'Internet of Things' and 'eHealth' agendas collide on the desk of medical professionals who think they are experts but in fact are not.

Welcome to the impending risk of death by technology.

Comment Have the actual IoT devices been identified? (Score 3, Interesting) 69

Has anyone seen any lists of the devices that are being compromised?

It would be really handy to know what devices are actually at risk, so that people can tell if they need to take action. It sounds like whatever these devices are, they have somehow been exposed to the Internet (didn't we all disable UPNP years ago).

Maybe all the ISP's should grab a copy of the code and use it for scanning for vulnerable client devices and tell their customers to disconnect them before the ISP does it for them.

Comment Linux support is important for diagnostics (Score 1) 181

It's fair for people to come out and state that installing Linux on these devices is not a common use case, however what people often forget is that there are a number of tools that people use to diagnose PC faults or otherwise maintain their computer that are built on Linux boot media.

For example, Kaspersky make a handy rescue disk that you can burn to CD or install on a USB drive for performing offline scans of computers. If these Lenovo computers have crippled access to their SSD drives (intentionally or otherwise) then these tools won't be able to see the SSD and disinfect the computer.

You also have tools like GPARTED for repartitioning disks, DBAN for erasing disks prior to disposal, and I suspect there are a range of other useful rescue and recovery tools that rely on Linux as well.

By not allowing people to use these tools, it's likely that problems that could otherwise be fixed will only be repairable by doing full system erases and rebuilds, or returning the laptop to Lenovo for repair.

The fact that these computers don't run Linux on a 24x7 basis isn't the issue - its that when you need to boot them of Linux (installer, libe install, or revovery tools) the ability is not there.

I doubt it's a deliberate decision by Lenovo - however it does indicate that whatever design and manufacturing criteria they have for their products is not particularly well thought out, and doesn't speak well for the quality and utility of their other products.

Comment I learned to hate Pascal in University (Score 1) 515

I taught myself Z-80 assembler and BASIC at home.

I learned to hate Pascal at university

I learned C from the K&R book at home - and loved every bit of it.

Since I started working in IT I've learned whatever language I have needed.

Programming requires a level of aptitude, combined with interest and self motivation. Maybe when Teachers work out how to solve that problem they can move on to teaching computer programming.

I believe however that the increased interest in education (read the greed of educators to chase the latest trends to pull in the cash) will most likely demotivate students best left to themselves rather than bring out the best in them.

Comment How about Mystery Diner ? (Score 1) 105

I saw an episode of Mystery Diner where the guy in charge mentioned that he used a Stingray to intercept SMS messages between two staff who were suspected of stealing from their employer.

They showed the messages as captured - so either this was faked or private citizens can purchase and use Stingray's for spying on people.

And you are worried about Law Enforcement using them ?

Comment Beatup - RTFA (Score 1) 401

For those of you who did not bother to read the article:

"The flight from Geneva, Switzerland to Heathrow, Europe's busiest hub, is believed to have struck a drone, the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The plane landed safely following the incident, which occurred around 12:50 p.m. local time."

"British Airways said its engineers inspected the Airbus Group SE A320 airliner, found no damage, and cleared the plane to continue operating."

So, again we have people getting worked up over drones with no more evidence than we have on the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. Maybe we should get worked up about the dangers of Bird strike and stop people from keeping or flying birds near airports.

Comment Learning from past mistakes - or railroading ? (Score 1) 166

The past attempts to 'improve' the Slashdot user interface have mostly been epic failures. It makes sense that the owners have decided to test the water first before spending time and Karma redeveloping the mobile site.

Now I haven't (intentionally) used the mobile version (I have and I don't like it) and I can see why people would like something better.

However as the 'improved' version is not very well defined, is this a serious attempt to gather feedback beforehand, or is it laying the groundwork so that when the site is upgraded they can ignore all feedback and railroad it through?

The whole 'responsive web' message seems to be an excuse for web designers to jam a load of distracting moving elements in the user face so that they can't tell the difference between cheesey embedded advertising and actual content.

Personally I have found the mobile version of every site I have ever used to be rubbish - and I am concerned that Slashdot thinks that it can fit on a tiny screen. The strength of the current site is the volume of content it hosts (dupes and all) - and the problem with a mobile experience is that the damn screen will never be big enough.

If I could make the call - I'd suggest killing the mobile version.

Comment ESP8266 = NodeMCU (Score 1) 203

Look at the NodeMCU boards - basically an ESP8266 with the I/o broken out, and all the bits and pieces you need to program one up.

They have more than one I/O (you might be thinking of the real cheap version of the ESP8266 that is billed as a serial Wi-Fi adapter). You can pickup a NodeMCU board for under $10, and if you are really smart buy a copy of Neil Kolban's eBook on the ESP8266 - includes helpful hints on getting it up and running with the Arduino IDE.

Much cheaper than getting a Pi Zero and the bits you need (as if you can actually buy a Pi Zero anyway)

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