* Posts by AutomationGeek

42 posts • joined 7 May 2013

F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen on IoT: If it uses electricity, it will go online



If your bread has RFID in the packaging the toaster can read that, maybe not all the time but it will work enough to make it worthwhile.

However I hadn't thought about a camera - this could come and the AI to detect what you're toasting will follow.


Re: IoT vs Users

RFID, coming to your house soon.

Most users probably keep their bread near the toaster so there's a good chance the toaster could see what they are using.


Re: IoT vs Users

They can buffer the data and send later. When the buffer is full, then the machine could stop working, or make you call an engineer to check why the vendor isn't getting "their" data.


The vendors will drive IoT

Consider a toaster with IoT connection. Now add an RFID reader and assume that bread vendors add RFIDs to each loaf.

RFID is not in every slice of bread yet but I keep my bread close to the toaster so I think it could read it...

So, as a toaster vendor, now I have usage data I know exactly how cheap to build my toaster so that it lasts just longer than the proscribed "warranty" period, ie the length of time that most consumers keep their toasters for before replacing them, and as a result can save on my manufacturing costs, of course I would do that.

Other ideas include using the toaster data to deny warranty claims for misuse, optimise energy usage, maybe combine with other data to market upgrades and promotions (yes make a deal with the bread vendors) - I can think of lots of reasons why this will happen. And that's just toasters.

Robot cars probably won't happen, sniffs US transport chief



"there’s no [driver] in the world that's ever going to be smart enough to anticipate all the potential circumstances this [driver] is going to encounter"

New booze guidelines: We'd rather you didn't enjoy yourselves


Re: other everyday activities that people understand are not completely safe, yet still undertake

Leading cause of death in males aged 5-49 is suicide (see http://visual.ons.gov.uk/what-are-the-top-causes-of-death-by-age-and-gender/).

Then I looked for statistics on whether alcohol is related to suicidal feelings and found that yes it is, see http://alcoholrehab.com/alcoholism/binge-drinking-increases-suicide-risk/.

Maybe reducing alcohol consumption is a good thing.


Re: No safe level of drinking

I just gave up pork. Pigs are intelligent animals and I feel sorry for causing them undue pain and suffering. Same for goats. No problem with sheep, cows, chickens or ducks. Although cows may be off the menu for environmental reasons...

Air-gapping SCADA systems won't help you, says man who knows


I prefer to use a vacuum for extra insulation.


Re: Excellent

"There is no reason a public utility or any industrial system needs to be linked to the outside world via the public internet."

Yes there is. Most organisations want to use the data away from the site so it has to be connected and in many cases the end-use is on a device that has Internet access, eg a laptop or an iPad. Many sites are unmanned which is a big cost-saving for the organisation but means they must be connected and allow remote control as well.

Of course you could run in a secure networks, employ security guards, have high fences and guard dogs but unless you're a nuclear facility where the stakes are very high it is unlikely you could justify that. And if the end-use device is on the Internet, which invariably it is, then there is a potential for a breach.

You say I mustn’t write down my password? Let me make a note of that


XKCD has the answer in more ways than one

I think we all forgot https://xkcd.com/538/



Actually breaking a password made up of a sentence containing several words is straightforward - random letters, numbers and non-alpha characters are much harder. Can't remember where I read that though...

BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans


License fee money well spent

Am I the only person here who gladly pays the license fee? Maybe not, I don't have time to read all 200+ comments...

Apple's iPad Pro: We're making a Surface Pro WITH A STYLUS over Steve Jobs' DEAD BODY


Must resist

So shiny!

Samsung’s consumer IoT vision – stupid, desperate, creepy


Brainstorming here....

Lights come on when I go into a room and it's dark enough, go out via an app or when I leave the room - saves energy.

Adaptive lights change brightness at different times of day and based on ambient conditions - better living conditions.

Lights that come on when I'm not in so that it looks like I am - security.

Fridge/freezer knows what I have bought, can warn me when something goes out of date - safety - and can suggest menu choices based on what I have and how long I want to cook for, also generates shopping list (or arranges a delivery automatically) - convenience.

Thermostat in every room along with occupancy detector to heat that room - convenience and energy saving.

Washing machine that reads clothes and performs appropriate wash/dry cycle - convenience and energy saving, especially if coupled with sensors that can detect how dirty they are.

Appliances that "'phone home" to allow wide-scale co-ordination of cycles - energy saving.

Appliances that monitor usage and can arrange for repair/service - convenience, reduced downtime.

Windows 10: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE to Microsoft's long apology for Windows 8


In place upgrade works fine and it was free

What's not to like?

The Internet of things is great until it blows up your house

IT Angle

This won't affect me

My iron has one setting, on or off. So does my washing machine. Also, my oven is electric.

Top 10 SSDs: Price, performance and capacity


Misses the point

The slowest SSD is faster than the fastest rotating hard disk. It used to be that the number one upgrade was more RAM, but now I would recommend an SSD to replace at least the system drive in any computer.

Old, slow laptops can be revitalised with an SSD. I have a refurbished Dell D630 (approx five years old) with an SSD that outperforms an Alienware laptop with a rotating hard disk (at least for desktop applications, the Alienware still wins on graphics performance).

Yes there is a price issue but for most people 240/256 Gb will be enough to run the OS and store several Gbytes of data. Actually if you prune your data 120 Gbytes may be enough, there's always removable media to fill the gap. If you own a laptop, the SSD is a much more rugged solution and likely will last a lot longer than rotating media. For those on a budget with a desktop, use two drives, SSD for the OS and critical applications and a hard disk fior data.

Honestly, once you use an SSD you won't want to go back.

Good god, where will the new storage experts come from?


Re: You sound like a Lord of the Manor from the 1920s

Ah, but if you switch from owning to leasing you can shift costs to somebody else's budget and make a better bottom line leading to a bonus for "saving money"

Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls coding' campaign


Not a feminist

Can we start by stopping calling them girls, they're women!

Wiki agrees, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl.

Apple SOLDERS memory into new 'budget' iMac


Apple Doesn't Care

I propose the notion that anyone commenting on this, or even reading the comments, is not Apple's target market and anything we say or do will not influence Apple at all.

Beer icon because it's Friday evening...

How practical is an electric car in London?


Re: @ecofeco

According to Wikpedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_gallon_equivalent) Ethanol has about 66% of the energy of petrol (or gasoline as they call it). So the tank would need to be 50% bigger for the same range.

The problem with Ethanol is the energy used to produce it and the fact that it uses farmland that would be better used for growing foods. Recent price rises in some foods can be blamed on the rush to grow crops for Ethanol instead of for people [citation needed].

Anyway, wouldn't you rather drink the Ethanol? Watered down with suitable flavouring, of course!

Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?


Re: Devil's advocate says...

Walmart in the USA already insist in every supplier using RFID. Their savings come from simpler product tracking.

The consumer's savings come from a hassle-free life, less waste, reduced risk from eating out-of-date food, etc.

I for one welcome our new Internet-connected Fridge overlords...

London commuter hell will soon include 'one card to rule them all'


Why the Milton Keynes-bashing?

I live near Milton Keynes, I assure you that the areas within the grid-lines are far from sterile. It's a great place to live and work and there are many opportunities for leisure activities. Even the broadband speed is starting to improve as the old cable TV system starts to be upgraded...

It's Google's no-wheel car. OMG... there aren't any BRAKES


Re: full marks to subeditor for clickbaiting

Technically it's one less wheel...


I welcome our new wheeled, brakeless overlords...

Did someone do this joke already? Sorry if so...

No sign of Half-Life 3 but how about FOURTEEN Steam Machine makers?


Shut up and take my money!

See title

The only way is Office: UK Parliament to migrate to Microsoft cloud


Re: Hmmmm

I'm sure whoever is negotiating the contract will include a fair price increase clause, oh wait it's the UK government we're talking about.


Re: What could go wrong

How about Pa$$w0rd? It meets complexity requirements including mixed case, mixed alpha and numeric and non-numeric/alpha. But still only 8 characters so you can remember it without writing it down on a post-it note stuck on the monitor/laptop.

DEATH-PROOF your old XP netbook: 5 OSes to bring it back to life


And an SSD really helps if you can get one to fit, also makes the unit more shock-proof.


Re: Alternatively....

If the first second-hand amchine fails, just buy another one. Better still, buy two to begin with so the spare is available straight away.

It's the '90s all over again: Apple repeats mistakes as low-cost tablets pile up


Re: What are Apple known for?

Forgot the unboxing experience, Apple boxes alone are amazing.

Shallow, me? Maybe.


Re: What are Apple known for?

Agree, I was blown away by the MacBook Air (2011 model), iPhone 4 and iPad minis' solid construction and lightness. Then in use there are many little details, like the MacBook Air's high quality keyboard and trackpad, the iPad mini's great battery life, the breadth and quality of apps for all these devices. Same with the AppleTV (yes the hockey puck device is no big deal, but this is hidden under the TV so who cares), just feel the quality of the remote and the responsiveness of the menu.

There are issues, the iPhone and iPad minis' lack of file system is my biggest issue, but I can live with that when the hardware and day-to-day operation is this good.

Hackers induce 'CATASTROPHIC FAILURE' in mock oil well


Costs of downtime drive behaviour

The high cost of downtime (as much as $10 million per day) mean that these companies are well aware of security risks and are doing all they can to minimise these. Additionallty, recent disasters like Deepwater Horizon have shown how expensive a real event can be.

Hypothetically, you could connect to an industrial controller and write directly to the datatables to make the system do something it shouldn't, but this is almost never possible in practice due to multiple layers of security, including physical access security as well as computer security.

In fact, most systems are bolted down so tightly that you can't easily do your job. I worked on one system where we couldn't install any software on the client's computer because they themselves didn't have administrator access and their security consultant wouldn't let anyone else have access besides their own team. I also remember another case where a client's security team implemented security so tightly that they locked themselves out of the system and had to re-install from a backup...

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2013: Windows struggles in Boot Camp


Re: Oh, not this hoary old chestnut again.

Just because you can install Steam on a MacBook Air doesn't mean that all games will run on it. I just sold my MacBook Air because it could "only" play Portal and Left for Dead 2 and many other games wouldn't work (Dirt, Crysis...).

And can we stop going on about screen resolution? It is what it is and my eyes can't make out these new high-resolutions anyway, so I'm not interested.

Confidential Microsoft brief: 'We're TOAST if we fight Google on price'


Re: The other way to compete on price ...

Yes, either compete with a high price (and maybe add value, perceived or otherwise, eg Mercedes, Rolls-Royce motor cars) or join the race to the bottom with the lowest price. Microsoft want to stay out of the latter for as long as possible.


Re: Well doh!

A confusing price strategy is one way of locking a customer in, the customer will think it must be difficult to change so they stay with the incumbent provider. At least until the customer realises that this isn't the case, then they move as soon as they can, so it's a risky strategy.

Microsoft: Half of all organizations will use 'Facebook-like' tools


Re: Yammer-schammer

Actually it's the "sales-and-marketing drones" who stand to benefit the most from this technology. Sharing information about clients and sales tactics is a great way to increase knowledge amongst the team and increase sales in future. It also increases motivation and involvement and provides a forum for quick resolution of problems.

For engineers and programmers, it's less useful as we're generally working on a few (or one) long-term project. And generally we don't need the social interaction that the sales-and-marketing drones require.

The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Thumb Up

Explains a lot...

Finally I know why watching pictures at the cinema always appear blurred to me...

IT staff clamouring to pay for their own BYOD kit, says survey


Re: Yeah, right

I work from home, so I already pay for my chair, also the desk, the carpet it sits on, the room it's in, the electricity it uses, the lighting and heating. I also use my own two (large) monitors rather than the tiny one supplied by the company. I don't see any of this as a problem. I save hours commuting each week so the saving in time and fuel more than compensates. And no I'm not skiving, I'm available to work well before and long after office-based colleagues have arrived at or left the office which is very important when dealing with client in other countries. Security is covered with a VPN and multiple log-ins with no access to very sensitive data, although most of our client information is all in the cloud anyway (SFDC). I do still get a salary, and this is performance related, so there's no incentive to slack off.

IT Angle

Re: I wonder...

Terms and conditions of employment are a HR responsibility, not IT. In practice most contracts of employment will have this. If not, they should. Or you could be working for a very small company where trust is more mportant. Or the employer could be incompetent, in which case maybe you shouldn't be working there...

Streaming music works for us, say US and UK indie labels


News just in, music biz just like any other

I mean, I do all the work but my boss takes the credit, and his boss in turn, up to the CEO and then to the shareholders. So why should the music business be any different?

On the other hand, why don't all the musicians join up and form their own streaming/online sales platform? I can always go independent as a consultant...

Google hit by building automation security FAIL


Hack what, exactly

So I could hack the BMS and, I don't know, maybe make it uncomfortably warm for a few people?

I know in Skyfall the baddie blew up MI6 HQ but in reality a BMS doesn't allow that much control.

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