* Posts by Brian Miller

879 posts • joined 3 Jul 2007

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Make America, wait, what again? US Army may need foreign weapons to keep up

Brian Miller
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Re: Military-industrial 101

Things like WiFi and spread-spectrum signalling came out of rapid-frequency shifting systems put on our stealth bombers that would resist jamming and tracking.

Quite sorry, but no. Austrian actress Hedy Lamar invented spread-spectrum technology. Yes, a movie actress, whose U.S. patent was awarded in 1941. She was finally awarded for her inventions in 1997.

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Brian Miller
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Beware the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

The military procurement system is based on waste. If there is no waste, then corruption can't be sustained. The procurement model isn't geared for getting the most bang for the buck, but to move money in a system of under-the-table deals. The Pentagon spends money, and then makes up excuses for its expenditures.

Sure, it would be nice to have sensible military spending. Unfortunately, we get things like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, $165 billion over budget.

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Trump's 'cyber tsar' Giuliani among creds leaked in mass hacks

Brian Miller
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You were expecting somebody competent??

All of the political appointees are exactly that: political, and appointed. If somebody competent gets into a position, it's through sheer accident, not by design. You'll never see this: "Wanted, proven BOFH for national position. Responsible for all government computer security."

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Mozillans call for new moz://a logo to actually work in browsers

Brian Miller
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Re: Searching for "moz://a"

Put it in quotes, and then it becomes a search term. And moz.com comes up at the top in the results!

After that, comes all of the rebranding hits, including the stupid bugzilla entry.

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General Electric plays down industrial control plant vulnerabilities

Brian Miller
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LAN party!

Yeah, the hacker needs to be on the LAN. And they are!

"In order to steal our stuff, the thief must enter the front door..." No, really? The glass door that's off its hinges, that one?

Well, it's either going to be hackers or squirrels, and the squirrels have the lead.

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Avaya files for bankruptcy

Brian Miller
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Re: Sympathy? Not a lot here

@RatX, @Pirate Dave:

Why not use an open source solution for VOIP? There's Asterisk and FreeSWITCH, and both have plenty of support, including paid support. I've load tested FreeSWITCH to 1000 sessions, and it worked quite well.

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Seagate hauls out fat form factor throwback hard drive

Brian Miller
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I remember those Fujitsu Eagles! I worked on them. However, they weren't as loud as the old Maxtor 5-1/4" drives. Remember those spinning up and initializing? weeeeEEEEEP! ... weeEEP! ... weEP!weEP!weEP!weEP!weEP!weEP!weEP! You could hear that initialization from across the room with all of the HVAC blowing, it was so loud.

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Amazon asks for spectrum to try out IoT networking gear

Brian Miller
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Re: "What else do you Tx at 20mW somewhere between 868MHz and 900MHz?"

It also falls within the UHF TV frequencies, too. And honestly, I'm surprised that they are even asking the FCC. IIRC, 100mw power or less is supposed to be unlicensed in the US. I'm guessing that the FCC will say yes.

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Sysadmin chatbots: We have the technology

Brian Miller
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Command line of a different font

This really isn't impressive. It's just some limited parsing, like what you get with Gherkin, which is what Cucumber uses for running tests. It's a command line of a different font.

There are plenty of projects for this sort of thing. It's nothing revolutionary, and hardly evolutionary. Somebody has gone and stuck it in a chatbox interface, so now some wag might call it AI. Just like Nadella is doing right now.

Just because a CLI gets dressed up with speech recognition, etc., doesn't mean that it isn't a CLI. Commands get processed, states get saved, blah blah blah, it's all been done before. You don't need "deep data mining" for a script to grep some logs and run through some branches. Sure, it can be called that, but that's not really what it is, is it?

I would rather have a CLI and good GUI status than have to have a talk with Alexis or whatever other silly "AI" that's been propped up.

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Putting the 'Port' in Portal: Old-school fan brings game to Apple II

Brian Miller
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Devil

On a watch, next

To assembly, and then onto a watch! I used to write 6502 from memory. Yes, those were the days. Now, of course, a watch is far more powerful than my VIC-20 or C-128, and it would be so fun to port something that takes hours to play in such a small package.

And then so many fanbois would be killed while playing the game...

I'm not evil. Really, I'm not. I'm just accelerating Darwinian evolution. It's for the future of the human race. Really...

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US Marines seek more than a few good men (3,000 men and women, actually) for cyber-war

Brian Miller
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"There's no cyber MOS"

No, really? And you want to keep people after training? Of course you do. I imagine things might have change a wee bit when I was in, the computer MOS were overloaded, and then after training they sat around in California, going whale watching. After three years, then you could start to be allowed to touch the actual computer systems.

For computer hackery, us guys in Signal would buy our own gear, and have fun. The guys in the actual computer MOS were busy looking good, because that's all the command emphasized. Seriously, they were all about polishing their brass and shoes, and looking good in very frequent inspections. My brother went airborne to actually use his skills, because there's too few people smart enough to program a computer and nuts enough to jump out of an airplane.

Will the USMC fulfill their recruitment goal? Eh, doubtful. It's a hard sell, even recruiting from other branches of the services.

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Shadow Brokers spew Windows hack tools after exploit auction flop

Brian Miller
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"most of which is detected"

Mostly harmless...

So most of it is detected. Which means not all of it is detected. And there's the rub: while Kaspersky, et. al., will be going through all of it to make sure it is detected, there will be others who will be changing it into a form where it won't be detected.

Cat and mouse, etc.

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Asteroid nearly gave Earth a new feature, two days after its discovery

Brian Miller
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What if it had hit?

No possible impact site mentioned! Gee, it would have been interesting to find out where it might have hit. Which is safer: northern or southern hemisphere? Which city should be buying asteroid insurance?

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Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

Brian Miller
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Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

AFAIK it's higher and you will only survive if you are under medical supervision anyway.

Well, the data comes from WHO. Yes, I do agree, the hospital wards will fill rather quickly.

As far as a fast-spreading disease goes, dengue is tops right now. And that's still controllable.

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Brian Miller
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Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

It's not simply the number of guns, but also how many have enough ammo. Plus, the electricity is going to go out at some point. Also, fast or slow zombies?

The "study" assumes that the transmission is faster than the black death, and the black death was transmitted by (flea) bite, bodily fluids, and airborne droplets, i.e., sneezes. Once the zombie plague reaches a threshold of being noticed, everybody with any kind of sneezy illness will be quarantined.

If the electricity goes out, then the U.S. gov't has estimated that 90% of the population will not survive one year. That's just without electricity. So you betcha the power plants will be cordoned off.

I would guess that the main problem would not be from the zombie plague itself, but from stupid people panicking and messing everything up. Even with Ebola, the human race would survive that handily, even if there was no containment or vaccine for it. Ebola is only about 50% fatal. Rabies is usually fatal, but there have been survivors. A contagious, airborne rabies is more likely than zombies.

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Cache flush: AI poker bot to compete against top players in tourney

Brian Miller
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Real Turing test, please?

I want to see the outcome of a real Turing test, what was specified by Alan Turing. I.e., a room full of people trying to figure out not if the person behind the door is a human, but the difference between a woman, a man pretending to be a woman, and an AI pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman.

Then for the bonus round, two of the people will be mental patients, and one AI. Yes, the AI will have to successfully pass itself of as a loony.

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Netgear unveils world's easiest bug bounty

Brian Miller
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But you have to buy their products...

I moved away from Netgear over a decade ago! I'd have to buy their products to go after this bounty program, and I don't want to! (Yes, I could hack my neighbor's WiFi, but that's supposed to be a no-no.)

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Russia to convicted criminal hackers: 'Work with us or jail?'

Brian Miller
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Spammer and physicist?

So this is what happens when a physicist goes bad. And he still has enough personal conscience to choose a penal colony rather than be a tool of the state? Amazing.

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Put walls around home Things, win $25k from US government

Brian Miller
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Didn't Norton just secure world+dog from IDIoT devices?

Strangely, there's no sarcasm alert icon.

The Norton Core router supposedly scans incoming traffic for malware, etc., and can even put IDIoT devices on their own network segments. I have a router that supposedly does the scanning, and never once has it flagged any traffic as malicious. It has stopped at least a few non-infected sites from functioning, though.

I can see how a sophisticated home WiFi router could keep traffic from different SSIDs away from each other. However, the device itself isn't running a vulnerability scanner, which would be an asset. If the IDIoT device can't pass the vulnerability scan from the router, then it definitely shouldn't be allowed to access world+dog, or anything else on the local network.

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Banned! No streaming live democracy from your phones, US Congress orders reps

Brian Miller
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New Go Fund Me campaign...

At $2500 per repeat offense, I'm sure constituents will stump up some spare pocket change for continued coverage.

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Puny galaxy packs a big punch: A gazillion joules' worth of radio bursts

Brian Miller
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Joke

Like they said, it was...

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."

And now we have scientific evidence!

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Dotdot. Who's there? Yet another IoT app layer

Brian Miller
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Almost as bad as the artist who for a while wasn't known as Prince

At least ZigBee is using ASCII characters for their new name, instead of a peculiar glyph.

Yeah, it's the ZigBee Cluster(-fsck) Library. "ZigBee allows devices to last for years on a single battery." Now, would that be a size 10 button battery, or would it be an Optima yellow top?

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Drones will be able to carry 120GB footage of you in the shower if Seagate has its way

Brian Miller
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Facepalm

Well, most people don't pay much attention to Wang these days. Upgrade to something else, then hang that out the window.

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Kaspersky fixing serious certificate slip

Brian Miller
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Re: Which is in error, the first or the last line of the story?

The original forum post was on Nov 1st, and the fix was on Dec 28th.

Hello, El Reg, timely articles are good! It doesn't make sense to post an article about news that's two months old, about a problem that's been fixed.

(Personally, I disabled the Kaspersky certificate replacement "feature," because replacing the certificate means that the browser can't check if the original certificate changes.)

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Routine jobs vanishing and it's all technology's fault? Hold it there, sport

Brian Miller
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Production economy, no consumers

There are only so many trades for a person to seek employment. Lineman, electrician, pipe fitter, things like that. Of course, eventually those will be done by machines as well. After all, how does anyone think the Deathstar was built? Union labor? Nope, it was all machines. "It's a small moon." And it was 3D printed using synthetic steel.

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Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush

Brian Miller
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Devil

Re: Incredible (Talking Toilet Paper!!)

Yes, your toilet paper will have artificial intelligence, so that it can sense what you are doing, understand it, understand what it is and its place in life, the universe, and everything, -- and then converse with you about it.

"EEEWWW!!! What are you DOING to me?!?! Why, oh why this, creator! This person is using me to wipe their ass! No, no more! Please stop at once and set me free from this cursed existence! Let me be free -- from your stinking, smelly shite!"

Whereupon you drop it in the bowl. And it's that same way, with every single square.

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Uh-oh. LG to use AI to push home appliances to 'another dimension'

Brian Miller
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More power, more speed, more ...

Stupidity!

There is something called "fuzzy logic," which is not about AI or learning, but how to use good logic to deal with fuzzy data sets. Unfortunately, this is being equated with AI and "learning." I'm guessing that the device is going to "learn" the layout of your room, so that's "deep learning." As opposed to shallow learning, which means that the device learned that it's been turned on.

Now that we have yet more power to throw into a system where there shouldn't be a processor in the first place, we are getting the "intelligent house." These little robot vacuum cleaners don't clean with even the power of a good hand-held vacuum, and they don't empty themselves out after they are done. The "intelligent" fridge, washing machine, and heat pump are not much more efficient than the non-intelligent variety, with the same fundamental hardware improvements.

But what we will have are more appliances that send out UPNP requests, and open ports on the home network. This will mean bigger botnets, because good security takes effort.

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Android tops 2016 vuln list, with 523 bugs

Brian Miller
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Cyanogenmod: not tested, or no vulnerabilities?

Possibly Cyanogenmod (now Lineage OS) hasn't been tested in some time, but one vulnerability for 2012 is not bad.

Yeah, I would feel better if my phone ran OpenBSD.

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Top-Secret-cleared SOCOM medics hit in 11GB govt database leak

Brian Miller
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Encryption, please?

"Oh, I need to work on this at home, so I'll just hang it out here in the open where I can get at it..."

Once again, if the data had been encrypted, this wouldn't be a problem. But personally, seeing a hand-written list of programs, user names, and passwords, just doesn't fill me with confidence.

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Elon burning to get Falcon back on the launchpad

Brian Miller
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Re: Oxygen is not flammable

While oxygen by itself is not flammable, I'm guessing that something else, like the resin in the composite lining, is flammable when it's in an oxygen-saturated environment. So the friction from the wrap breaking would create enough heat that, coupled with LOX all over, would then ignite the resin, which would turn it all pear-shaped.

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‘Artificial Intelligence’ was 2016's fake news

Brian Miller
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Re: Not only... but also

But IoT isn't fake news. We have had a number of exceedingly annoying DDOS attacks due to the Insecurely Developed Internet of Things (IDIoT). That's really very real, and not fake news. These things are going into all sorts of places where you don't expect them. Door bells? Children's toys? Watches with WiFi? Dog collars? Cat toys? And of course cameras and DVRs.

Not fake. Really nasty, and usually stupid.

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Brian Miller
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Re: But in 2017 it's real news ?

It's replacing 34 workers, at a cost of $1.7 million. This would be the same as paying 34 people $50,000 per year. After installation, the machine has a maintenance contract of $128,000 per year.

Cheap.

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Flight simulator sets fire to airport

Brian Miller
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Hardware was Next

Yep, another one of those magnesium cases catching on fire and burning through the floor. Maybe they should retire that old Next gear, and use a use a mobile phone. Oh, wait, the Samsung Note 7 didn't work, either...

(Samsung Note 7 sitting on a Next machine?)

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Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

Brian Miller
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Re: Dangerous toys...

(No, I haven't driven JD. It was IH and Ford.) The equipment I used didn't require advanced tools to be fixed, and some of the equipment was, in fact, welded up from scratch. A couple of the tractors were new almost 20 years before I was born, and they were still going strong.

Repair.org has a relevant article about this topic. Read down to the part where it mentions the $100K+ transplanters sitting idle.

There's things that I can appreciate needing a technician, and then there's things that many people can do with diagnostic equipment and not-so-advanced tools. I simply view it that the manufacturers should not have a total lock on repairing the equipment. Farms are infamous for the injuries people sustain there, so I can appreciate the concern for liability. However, the vast majority of the injuries come from equipment that is operating properly.

The local papers have also had various articles on the same problem. Equipment with simple problems can't be repaired locally. Not advanced problems, simple things that can be remedied without advanced tools.

Since farms are businesses, at some point the operating cost of a problematic piece of equipment means that it's going to be sitting idle, and that means money down the drain. And if money keeps going down the drain, then the farm goes out of business.

(Everybody else) Combines: Typically individual farmers don't own large combines. The combines are owned by combining crews, who come in and cut the wheat when it's ready. So when these break down, yes, it's a lot of money for them, and a big dent in their schedule.

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Brian Miller
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Re: diodesign: RXD Vs TXD

DUB package is a "gullwing-8" package.

The RXD and TXD pins are labeled from the controller's view, not the transceiver's view. Yes, cutting TXD is horribly simplistic, because it's connected to the engine controller. (link)

I have no idea what chip Ken Tindell referenced, but I do know that Canis Automotive Labs was started up this past August (link). Why El Reg is using this company as a resource, I have no idea. I can't even find a website for them. Yes, Mr. Tindell made a cute quip, but that's all it is.

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Brian Miller
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Boffin

Re: In terms of farmers -- Drive a tractor??

As possibly one of the few people who post on El Reg who have driven a farm tractor, being able to make repairs in the field is essential. This is not about something being an inconvenience, it's essential that the equipment can be repaired out in the farm field without bringing the tractor into the dealership.

When a tractor breaks down in the middle of the field, it is not something that you can just hook a tow truck to it and off you go. These machines are huge beasts now, much larger than the IH I used in the late 70s. It's a major job to get the tractor off the field, and then loaded on the back of a very big trailer, then brought in to replace just a sensor. That's a lot of money, it's a lot of down time. No, the dealers don't stock the parts.

This isn't about drag racing a tractor, or tuning the timings, or any of that. This is about getting the stock equipment working again.

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US cops seek Amazon Echo data for murder inquiry

Brian Miller
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Re: Interesting...

A microphone in every room, listening 24x7, all connected to a service you don't control. What could possibly go wrong?

You mean like the typical cell phone, which is switched on, has an active microphone, and is within voice distance of the typical user?

"OK, Google..." or "Hey, Siri..." is normal, but "Alexa ..." is strange? Anything that has a microphone on it and a network connection is a possible spy in your home. The Echo made news simply because this is the fist time that the cops think that it may contain relevant information. I would love for Amazon to say, "here you go, no problem," with a big fat blank sheet of paper, because the device really doesn't have anything on it. Like everything that's spoken in the range of its microphone.

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Energy firm points to hackers after Kiev power outage

Brian Miller
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Re: Why is the substation connected to the internet?

Why? Because there's too much data for a modem connection, and it's too expensive or inconvenient for dedicated lines.

Hooking things up correctly to world+dog+hackers has been established for a long time. Unfortunately, as is seen repeatedly, e.g., Bangladesh, a numpty was having fun with the wires. Firewall? Don't need it. VNC with no password? No problem. Rules for iptables? We don't need no stinkin' rules! Again and again and again, it's the same thing.

Yes, there is more than enough talent and knowledge to fix the problems. However, applying it is its own problem.

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Virgin America mid-flight panic after moron sets phone Wi-Fi hotspot to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7'

Brian Miller
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Re: This leaves open all sorts of pranks!

The WiFi Pineapple is too large. I was thinking of something like the HiLetgo board, or a serial to WiFi transceiver just to pop up a signal with an ID. Put it into a garage door opener, and there you go.

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Brian Miller
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Devil

Re: This leaves open all sorts of pranks!

I'm just not saying anything, I'm just not saying anything... Wasn't there, didn't do that, you didn't see me, I was verifiably over there, it looks like any USB stick to me...

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'DNC hackers' used mobile malware to track Ukrainian artillery – researchers

Brian Miller
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Re: Interesting

I'm very surprised about smart phones being allowed at all, even normal mobile phones.

It's normal to have some personal electronics around the battlefield. It's one thing to tell a person to keep their phone off, and another for them to actually do it, especially when they are using them to support the operation. The question is, will they commence disinfecting the devices, or scanning for them on their own?

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Don't pay up to decrypt – cure found for CryptXXX ransomware, again

Brian Miller
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Re: Why doesn't

A while back the company admin sent out an email admonishing people to not click on Windows update links sent to them in email. In the example, everything was simply wrong, and I'm still amazed that people fall for that stuff. (Like program1.exe is a self-extracting file containing a.exe, blah blah blah)

No, they don't back things up, and no, they don't know how to restore it, and yes, they click on everything.

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Snapchat coding error nearly destroys all of time for the internet

Brian Miller
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Re: I have a suggestion...

D-Link settles dispute with 'time geek'

Yes, it's good corporate netizenship to provide more NTP servers.

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Sayonara North America: Insurance guy got your back when Office 365 doesn't?

Brian Miller
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Uptime dependent on user configuration

Once upon a time, when working for a large cloud provider who is a shade of 0x0000FF, I noticed something when setting up the systems: the service uptime is dependent on how the user provisions and configures their hosts. You have to configure hosts in separate regions, with the data replicated between them. At least two, preferably three regions. Oh, and you're billed for the data transfered.

So there you have it: your expenses are x3, plus data transfer. Now you're safe from somebody mis-configuring a switch and blacking out a region, and all your money are belong to them.

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China gives America its underwater drone back – with a warning

Brian Miller
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Mushroom

Stop worrying and love the bomb!

"China will continue to be vigilant against the relevant activities on the U.S. side, and will take necessary measures in response."

Ready ... set ... nuke!

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MH370 hunters call for new search of extra 25,000km2

Brian Miller
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Re: Scary - DaLo

But the battery still goes out, the dye dissipates, and then it becomes a little bit of flotsam bobbing about in the ocean.

There is no "radio reflector," it's a radar reflector, and those are not all that large. For a radar reflector to be useful for locating a craft's crash location given an ocean of area, it would have to be significantly large, probably larger than the wing piece that was washed up on a shore.

Whatever happened on the airplane, none of the emergency signals were activated. Big mystery, that.

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Why don't people secure their IoT gadgets? 'It's not my problem'

Brian Miller
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Re: Toothbrush defects

The problem is people don't understand that what they bought is the server-grade hardware of yesteryear, stuffed into a toothbrush, a toy bear, or a toy doll. Sure, it would be good if while getting the CE or UL rating the same agency passed it for basic security checks, too.

For my IoT web camera, I have to sequentially upgrade it for each patch to the current version. I can't skip a patch on it, or it won't recognize the next set of firmware. No, it doesn't check in at the manufacturer's site and just do the right thing. It has more than enough memory and storage, but they just didn't bother with that.

No, Ma and Pa Kent aren't going to go all BOFH on any of their devices. It came in a package, it has blinky lights, and it mysteriously connects to the phone and/or the computer. Electricity is mysterious and magical, let alone an ARM chip the size of my little fingernail that puts a Cray-1 to shame.

On the other hand, that IoT thing is being used by my boss, and it doesn't have good security...

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Ham-fisted: Chap's radio app killed remotely after posting bad review

Brian Miller
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Before the law was passed ...

What was HRD Software doing? Usually the support people do things according to a script. It isn't too often that they start screwing with the customers just for fun.

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Elon Musk wants to get into the boring business, literally

Brian Miller
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Lair in Orgegon

Musk can go boring through Boring, OR. Don't worry about finding it, it's the redundant road sign: "Boring Oregon City"

Don't worry about super heroes finding it. They'll be off somewhere exciting, like Los Angeles or New York.

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It's round and wobbles, but madam, it's a mouse pad, not a floppy disk

Brian Miller
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It disappeared...

A place where I worked had PCs with two 5-1/4" disk drives. Every once in a while, I would get a call that a user had inserted a floppy disk in the drive, but it couldn't be read. In fact, the floppy disk had vanished.

Yep, right between the two floppy drives. Again, and again...

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