* Posts by Brian Miller

654 posts • joined 3 Jul 2007

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App for homeless says walking on water is the way to reach services

Brian Miller

Re: It is just me?

In Seattle, there's quite a few places where the homeless congregate to charge their phones. I don't know the approximate numbers of those who have a phone, just that a good portion of them do.

The real question is, was the data accurate? Were there actually local services that were not displayed?

Or is it an attempt to solve the homeless problem by getting them to swim to Tasmania, where the survivors will be eaten by Tasmanian Devils?

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Berlin takes down ‘for sale’ sign over top Nazi’s love nest

Brian Miller

Trash heap

Why nobody wants it:

"At present there is no heating, no running water, there is serious damage to the facades, the roofs are falling apart and inside there is a lot to do too," Moehring admits, saying renovation costs would be "considerable".

It's a heap, so of course the best option is to raze it. House refugees in it? No, that would not do because the conditions would be substandard. I'm sure that there are enough refugees who have the necessary skills to do the work, though. Actually, that's a great option for a lot of unused government buildings. (And why is the government so intent on building more when they have so many vacant?)

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If you want a USB thumb drive wiped, try asking an arts student for help

Brian Miller

Encrypted drives

A while back for grins and giggles I bought a couple of self-encrypted drives. Ones with keypads on them, so if I needed, I could use them with something other than Windows. The drives are slow. Sure, the manufacturers claim that the new models are faster, but there's a price to be paid for your data being encrypted before it gets written to the drive.

A problem with the Windows drives is that each of them wants to load a utility into Windows to access the data on the drive. So your Windows machine is going to wind up with a zillion utilities in it for all of those drives. And then what happens if your OS goes titsup? Bye bye bytes!

Currently both Windows and Linux have encryption for removable file systems. The user just has to be aware of them, and put them to use.

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US Navy's newest ship sets sail with Captain James Kirk at the bridge

Brian Miller

Re: Stabilty

And cost! The program so far is over $22 BEELION dollars, with the Zumwalt's "unit" cost nearly $4 BEELION dollars. Is this running Windows for Warships? "Captain, it's a blue screen!" "Quick, reboot the computer before we capsize!"

Never mind an iceberg, the Navy has Windows...

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Rounded corners on Android phones cost Samsung $548m: It will pay up to Apple after all

Brian Miller

Let's all patent prior art!

Ooh, I'm gonna patent art deco! It has lots of round corners!

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BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Brian Miller

BOFH and Agile methodology

This is the essence of "agile" "methodology." It's neither agile, nor is it a method nor the scientific study of a method. It's just a stupid "to do" list, and if it's put into a computer program, then it's a to-do list with blinky lights and extraneous stuff to fill out. In my last job, I have no idea how much time we spend on the to-do list instead of producing the product. The team was less than 10 people, yet it had three managers for it: a team manager, an agile manager, and a technical manager. Hello, anybody spot something blatantly wrong there??

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Cyber-terror: How real is the threat? Squirrels are more of a danger

Brian Miller

It's all about the blinky lights

If it blinks, then it's important. If it doesn't blink, it isn't important. That's why prevention against rodents gets zero funding, and non-existent cyber threats get lots of funding. Cyber threats mean blinky lights. Squirrels, not so much.

(When I worked at a giant Redmond company, a squirrel did, in fact, chew its way into a power conduit and take out the power to our building. The power was out for several hours.)

However, cybersecurity should be targeting data leaching by criminals. What's our success against that? From reading the news, not so much. A lot of the problem is with developers who don't care about security at all. I recently quit a job, where, really, the lead dev scoffed both at testing his software and implementing security. Yes, truly!

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Tech goliaths stand firm against demands for weaker encryption after Paris terror attacks

Brian Miller

Re: Why does this keep returning?

This keeps returning because politicians are usually too stupid or lazy to pay attention to history or science.

Could you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where politicians did pay attention to history and science? They might be paying attention to accounting math too, and wouldn't lose 2,000 data centers under the couch. No, they just might make 1984 look like a children's primer.

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How TV ads silently ping commands to phones: Sneaky SilverPush code reverse-engineered

Brian Miller

Surreptitious DMTF?

Why, of course advertising is driving what was once the sole province of spy agencies! If you want to block it, just wrap your mobile in a cloth to muffle the sound a bit. Or stop watching television.

Of course, the adware SDK could also listen for distinctive tunes instead of dog whistle sounds. That might take a little more processing power, though.

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Uncle Sam's IT bods find 2,000 data centers they FORGOT about

Brian Miller

Down the back of the couch, under the seat cushions, where else?

Never mind "losing" a server in a wall or boarded up closet, Uncle Sam is losing warehouses of machines! Is the Ark of the Covenant in there, too?

Look, it's simple. If you can't find the XP machines, stop issuing them IP addresses. The users will find you soon enough.

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US govt just can't hire enough cyber-Sherlocks

Brian Miller

Public vs private sector wages

Top pay with FBI, $78K. Expedia, $140K, or more.

FBI: Washington, DC. Expedia: Bellevue (a bit east of Seattle).

FBI: Onerous hiring process. Expedia: Good on the interview? Can you start next week? How about this week?

FBI: Bunch of suits and a bunch of paperwork. Expedia: Did you know they have an alcohol-friendly culture? Why bother with the pub when if it's not on your floor, it's already on someone else's floor?

Personally, I like doing things like catching crooks. But I don't want to move to the east coast, and take a pay cut and have my living conditions reduced to poverty.

So OF COURSE they can't get people to help them. There are plenty of people who would do it, and do it well, but the FBI is simply too stuck in their own rut to break out and give some thought to what the potential employees might want.

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F-Secure makes SENSE of smart home IoT insecurities

Brian Miller

All your lightbulbs are belong to us!

The problem is that some user goes and puts an IOT thing in the house, and then deliberately exposes it to world+dog. For instance, there are many IOT IP cameras that people have exposed, and can be easily found. At my home, I don't expose IP cameras, because I just can't bring myself to trust the vendor's software build. If I actually did, then they would be isolated on their own VLAN, with appropriate rules. Yes, I have commercial equipment at home, because it's just not that expensive now.

The people that F-Secure is targeting for their product are the numpties. These are the people who never change admin passwords, etc. So very likely the people who most need something like this will never buy it, because it's too expensive. When a "home router" can be had for under $20, why should the numpty pay more?

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CAIDA publishes latest 'net topology kit

Brian Miller

Why not use BOINC?

The BOINC project could do this for them for free, instead of an astronomical $8,000, based on a hideous price of $68 per unit.

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Drones are dropping drugs into prisons and the US govt just doesn't know what to do

Brian Miller

Drone cannon

Jam them with a directed radio burst. Some of the drones can be hacked in flight, too. How about directional pinpointing to nab the drone operator?

All of this is just basic radio opsec, something the military has mastered for decades.

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AMD sued: Number of Bulldozer cores in its chips is a lie, allegedly

Brian Miller

Once upon a time...

(not so) Long ago, CPUs came without a FPU. That's right, you had to buy a separate chip for all of that floating point math. When I worked on the Celerity mini computer, the 1260 model could have two processor boards in it with, get this: one integer coprocessor, and two floating point coprocessors. Yes, that's right, there were three Weitek coprocessors per CPU!

And of course, there were Weitek coprocessors for 386 and 486 CPUs, too.

So: does a lack of a FPU coprocessor for each CPU mean that people were ripped off? If I had bought one, I wouldn't feel ripped off unless I was doing a lot of scientific work. The real question is, how flexible is the execution scheduling? For instance, say there are two processes that do heavy FP math. If they wind up on the same Bulldozer module, is the chip (or OS) smart enough to put them on different modules, or are they stuck on the same module?

If someone were doing heavy FP and expected 16 FPUs for 16 cores, then I would say there were ripped off. Otherwise, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

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World's most frustrating televised Linux install just got more frustrating

Brian Miller
Joke

No, you're both wrong. It's a disturbed installation.

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If MR ROBOT was realistic, he’d be in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and SMELL of WEE

Brian Miller

Re: Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

"I particularly love the ones who can stare at a screen of hex and infer something important for the plot from it (beyond 'oh look, a bunch of hex')"

Depends on what you've been doing. When I hand-compiled 6502 and 8086 assembly code, I could do that! Of COURSE someone can do that, because it took HOURS to compile the machine language program by hand, laboriously looking up things in the manual. You started memorizing things just by repetition. I can still do that to some degree, too. Hint: Look for 90 90 90 sequence, as that's a NOP to get the code onto a boundary, and then it's allocating stack space, and on into the code.

I love machine language.

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Crash this beauty? James Bond's concept DB10 Aston debuts in Spectre

Brian Miller

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang wannabes

Oh, come on now, can any of the Bond cars measure up to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? (Yes, Ian Flemming wrote both books!) The Bentley was promising, but the rest of them just really don't make the grade.

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So, what's happening with LOHAN? Sweet FAA, that's what

Brian Miller

Re: Use a water-powered rocket!

Ah, but surely there is a liquid that won't freeze at those temperatures. It's only -70°F, and there are commercially available antifreezes that work down to -84°F.

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Brian Miller

Use a water-powered rocket!

Since the lads at the University of Cape Town have a water rocket that ascends to 830m (2,721ft), why not use that instead of the rocket engine? I can't possibly imagine that the authorities would have a problem with that as a propulsion system.

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Brian Miller

Spanish Explosives Factory

Why not try and enlist the help of a Spanish explosives factory? You might find a sympathetic ear.

The other alternative is try various other countries for the launch. Maybe Mexico? Other countries in central and south America? How about Africa?

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LOHAN ideas..

Brian Miller

Use a water-powered rocket!

It was in the news recently that the lads in South Africa launched a water rocked up a half mile. Since LOHAN is having problems launching due to using a standard rocket motor, why not launch with a liquid-gas motor instead?

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Anthropology boffins solve 9,000-year-old headless body cold case

Brian Miller

Post-mortem decapitation

According to other articles, the deceased was decapitated after he died. Apparently the tribe decapitated everybody, not just the ones they killed for trophies.

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As McAfee runs for US President – we ask a crucial question: Will Reg readers back him?

Brian Miller

Re: I would rather drive a nail through my foot

Yes, I'd gladly vote for him!

Right after he drives a nail through his foot!

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Mind-blowing secrets of NSA's security exploit stockpile revealed at last

Brian Miller

PDF with scans of a paper document

Well, it's so good to see that the NSA is still using typewriters. I wonder what their repair bill is.

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In redneck heaven, internet outages are the American Way

Brian Miller

Re: Spade fade

Well, there's 0, 00, 000, and then 0000. Of course bird shot wouldn't sever a cable, but I can take down trees with slugs and 000.

The cables are well within the range of the larger shot sizes. I don't expect that "shotgun fade" is usually a problem, in that most of the time the rednecks are smart enough to like electricity, etc. (Doesn't stop some of them stealing downed power lines, though.)

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BOFH in mugnificent return to Cash'n'Carrion

Brian Miller

T-shirts, please!

Could you see it in your hearts to bring back the O'Really shirts? Mine are becoming a bit worn.

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Big Brother in SPAACE: Mars One picks first 100 morons to suffocate, er, settle on Red Planet

Brian Miller

Perfectly safe!

They aren't going anywhere. All of this is hype for a TV show, and it doesn't have to be backed by actual science because no science is required to stay on the planet and grab some ratings before everybody gets bored and switches to something else. Remember, Survivor wasn't about surviving. The producers can write whatever fiction they want. The fact is that nobody is going to Mars being funded by some advertising. El Reg's playmonaut has a better shot of going to Mars than any of these "contestants."

Speaking of which, why not send the playmonaut to Mars?

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Latest menace to internet economy: Gators EATING all the PUSSIES

Brian Miller

Well, the last time I read about an alligator munching on someone (but not on a cat), the whole person was found in the gator. Nothing was left for later.

Now, Dundee's comment would be correct: that's not a croc! Of course, he'd still have to step lively.

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Saudi govt pauses flogging dad-of-3 for Facebook posts – after docs intervene

Brian Miller

Laws like Hammurabi wrote, or ad-hoc?

What is with these "crimes?" Are these laws being made up ad-hoc? "Oh, we decided to reconsider your sentence. Conjugate the verb 'to go'." ... "Wrong! Another five years."

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FBI fingering Norks for Sony hack: The TRUTH – by the NSA's spyboss

Brian Miller

Paging Dr. Evil, paging Dr. Evil...

Your cake is ready, sir!

Really, what other analogies could have been used? Evil mixed candies? Smörgåsbord of villainy?

And if you are weird or creepy, you're on the watch list for evil people!

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Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

Brian Miller

A good use for TOR

Raif Badawi should have run his websit through TOR. Maybe that wouldn't have helped in the long run, as I don't know how many resources the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice would have thrown at it to track it down.

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Sony cuff-puter to do one thing smartwatches can't: Give you DAYS of hot wrist action

Brian Miller

Pebble?

Really, that sounds a lot like the Pebble. Runs for a week before bothering you to be recharged, not a lot of compute power, but it's handy. But I don't know if I'd want a wrist bracelet. (Manacle?)

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Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

Brian Miller

Re: IT angle? Who cares?

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway." —Tanenbaum, Andrew S. (1989). Computer Networks.

So in this case the boot would be filled with 64Gb micro SD cards. A bit on the high latency side, but what the hey, it's still better than any cable service, and served up with far more panache!

I'm getting a V8 swapped into my Jeep, but that's got nothing on a sports car that can handle a full tank engine!

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Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER

Brian Miller

Just use a Live CD

There are so many good Linux distros running on a Live CD that it's just silly not to do it if you are worried about Big Brother and spyware and all that. For heaven's sakes, the CD can't be altered, so there's a guarantee of no spyware between boots. It's not that hard to do a different bit of clicks to open a different program to edit the same document.

And if you're really paranoid, stop using the stupid computers! Use paper, and the solitaire cipher.

Really, the "privacy bods" need to recognize that there are better solutions than useless scanners.

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'Most advanced mobile botnet EVER' is coming for your OFFICE Androids

Brian Miller

Plugging in phones to computers not allowed at Amazon

Amazon has a policy that forbids people plugging in their phones to any Amazon computer, and they're quite upfront about it. As in, "plug it in, get fired."

From the Lookout blog: "NotCompatible.C operators do not use any exploits that we know of and instead rely on social engineering tactics to trick victims into completing installation of the malware. One observed spam email informs the user that they need to install a “security patch” in order to view an attached file."

So it sounds like, "Here's your attached system update. Plug in your phone, and put it in developer mode. Thanks for joining our botnet!"

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Simon's says quantum computing will work

Brian Miller

Why bother?

With ASICs, FPGAs, GPUs, and eye-popping networks on a chip, will quantum computers really amount to anything? Either it's going to be too late, or else it's going to be too expensive for anything actually useful, except by Big Government and Big Corporation. Really, does anyone expect a quantum computer priced like a PC?

By the time a quantum computer will be breaking encryption written today, the art of encryption will have moved beyond what would make that quantum computer practical. And no, it wouldn't be cheap enough for crims to purchase to crack our online transactions.

I predict the obvious: bad implementation and practices are our biggest problem. Always have been, always will be. "Passwords? We don't need no stinkin' passwords!" "Encryption? Uh, I saw a movie with that in it."

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Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm

Brian Miller

Harshing their mellow!

Oh, the pain, the horror! To be told that weak anonymizing protocols don't count for much! Tor should have a FAQ about how many ways its anonymity can be countered. It doesn't matter how many times the packet bounces around Tor's echo chamber, there are only so many entries and exits.

Tor is broken. Time for better protocols, where source and destination are anonymous, despite the fact that everything is in a big glass fishbowl!

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Who will save Europe's privacy from the NSA? Oh God ... it's Google

Brian Miller

Google is the best hope? Aw, sh...

"Google has more information on the people of the planet and more influence on the people of the planet than all of the governments combined." -- Andrew Greig, founder and CEO of Vizzeco.

He likens Google to the Borg. Actually, it sounds like the Borg and the dark side of the Force. "Don't be evil." Uh huh.

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NASA floats million-dollar airship prize for 20-20-20 vision

Brian Miller

Quick, El Reg, go for it!

Now is the time to leverage all of the wonderful expertise gained with the intrepid Plamonauts, and go for that prize!

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TORpedo'd dev dumps Doxbin files after police raids

Brian Miller

Tor = broken!

There are a lot of "secret" services which are essentially broken by design. The Tor service can be decloaked if one rents sufficient temporary capacity, and then makes a lot of requests to the site in question, and the analyzes the traffic on the captive Tor nodes. Eventually, the server that you are after lights up in the statistics, and you've got them.

Tor nodes can be evil, too, dumping malware on the files being transfered. Thus when feeding traffic back to someone, you can drop into the stream some exploits to easily track the user's computer.

The only way that a service can be effectively hidden is if it exists on multiple nodes, and move around of its own accord. There was a research paper about using the logic in the Game of Life to keep nodes alive, and give a stable user experience.

And what was doxbin? A blackmailing service! Kind of like an evil Wikileaks.

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Mystery Google barges TORPEDOED by US govt: Showrooms declared death traps

Brian Miller

Shouldn't they have seen this coming?

There are so many capable maritime consulting companies available, I don't see why they weren't hired to do the job right the first time around. Really, does Google really have a need to burn money stupidly like this?

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EU cyber-cop: Dark-net crooks think they're beyond reach (until now)

Brian Miller

But TOR *IS* broken

Let's see, what do we need to do? Establish a bunch of "evil" TOR exit nodes? And how much do "cloud" servers cost? And there you have it.

But Silk Road 2.0 was broken through normal infiltration, and nothing else. ("Yeah, I'm a crook! I'm wearing a mask and carrying a crowbar." "Want to be a sysadmin on my evil site?") And then the Feds went on to do routine surveillance, which is something they are very good at.

Personally I'd really like to see the "sellers" serve time. Really, offering contract killing? I would so love to see crap artists like that in the slammer.

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Ericsson boss sticks a pin in Google’s loony Loon bubble

Brian Miller

Not a panacea

Network access is not a panacea. Never has been, never will be. Yes, it can be good for some things. But it won't change the ox cart! If a third-world country's rural population is running at ox cart speed, no amount of network access is going to change that. The ox only moves just so fast.

The Internet made a difference in the first world countries because we already had networks, we were moving at the speed of trains, planes, and automobiles, and we had been doing so for quite some time.

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Can you really run your business on a smartphone?

Brian Miller

Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

The phone will get to the Exchange server if it is allowed outside, i.e., like https://your.mail.server.com. Then just specify that you're connecting to it. As for the POP3 mail, some clients will allow you to just read what is currently on the server without downloading it. In the POP3 protocol, downloading and deleting the mails are separate operations.

It's not really a question of whether you can run your business on a phone, but how well it can be done. After all, not long ago paper and pen was how business was done, and we got by.

If one must do a good bit of typing, then a Bluetooth keyboard is the only way to go. Your productivity can only be severely hampered by thumb-typing or correcting all of the errors in voice recognition. Also, you will be zooming in and out of those documents a lot. Unless you have a big magnifying glass in front of your screen like in Brazil or Twelve Monkeys, your eyes can only resolve just so much, and you'll be trying to look at how something is laid out, and then trying to edit that. Not fun.

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DR LIPS warns: DON'T KISS that NEWT - it's got FLESH-EATING PLAGUE

Brian Miller

What steps to take?

What are they going to do, forbid all travel to north and south America? "Sorry chums, we love you, but you'll have to be isolated to save the newts." And the frogs, and whatever else this fungus loves to eat.

And then the fungus will mutate and eat us.

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How to get $542m from Google: Dress as a SPACEMAN with dayglo dancers – Magic Leap

Brian Miller

Collect garden gnomes, something else, PROFIT!

Interesting how they didn't show anything that actually had to do with wearable computing or computers. Fur suits and cue cards just doesn't cut it.

The first wearable computers we had were those little things from Sharp, the PC-1500, etc. OK, more like stuffable in a coat pocket, but close enough. The next thing that really caught on, and is still sticking with us, is the "mobile phone," with more screen resolution than a desktop monitor.

Since "augmented reality" is sure to be a larger distraction than texting, I'm sure that this will result in more Darwin awards (or runners-up or honorable mentions).

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Australian spookhaus busted for warrantless tap of own phones

Brian Miller

But it's still two blokes in a shed...

Look, everybody knows when ASIO makes a phone call because they have to move the wombat off the phone. In order for the other bloke to not listen in, he has to hold a koala on either side of his head to muffle out the sound.

At least they're better off than the Tasmanian office, where they haven't ever made a phone call because there's a Tasmanian Devil on top of it.

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I didn't invent Bitcoin! Send Bitcoin to help me fight this slur – Dorian Nakamoto

Brian Miller

Wasn't there a Bitcoin fund for him?

IIRC, there was a Bitcoin fund for him, as a "thank you for making Bitcoin or sorry that you got fingered by idiots at Newsweek" set up for him. I suppose that's not enough for waging battle against Newsweek, though.

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Greedy datagrabs, crap security will KILL the Internet of Thingies

Brian Miller

Industry has had IoT for quite a while

You do realize that industry, i.e., big machines and such, has had IoT for some time, right? It's just that nobody has made a big deal about it. Industry does have quite a lot to monitor, from the tire pressure in dump trucks to all kinds of factory processes. But it's an intranet, for local use only, security breaches aside.

Yes, I have IP cameras, but I don't open my network to the outside. That's part of the sensible nature of security, is to not expose what doesn't need to be exposed. So what about the fridge? The fridge isn't supposed to nag, it's supposed to report what's in it when you're at the store, trying to remember what's in it. You do realize that the alternative is to write things down on a slip of paper, right?

Look at all of the things that we use remotes for today. You realize all of that's IoT, but without the internet, right? I remember when a friend of mine, madly obsessed with remotes, had them all lined up on his coffee table, and then he wanted to turn off the telly. But that didn't work, because he'd grabbed his calculator instead. (It was hilarious watching him mash that red C/CE button!)

So what it comes down to, do we need industrial control for the home? Maybe a bit, but that's all there is, really. Old thermostats need to be replaced with something a bit better, but mainly because the old ones stick a bit, and don't turn off the heat when they should. But it's not because we want the heat only when the electricity is the cheapest.

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