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Ask Slashdot: Open Hardware/Software-Based Security Token?

GrpA Re:use SMS (113 comments)

Ugh, you people are so stupid... neither of you work in the wireless industry.

1) SMS can be intercepted, hacked, etc : false. White it's certainly possible for someone working at the wireless company to send fake SMS messages directly from the MSC, they can't see them, and if they can't see them, neither can a malicious entity. The only way you see a SMS message in transit is if you are participating in a MITM attack against the device, in which you would be emulating the wireless carrier at the time of the message's transmission.

Ever heard of "Malicious Number Porting"? Who needs to intercept SMS when your telco will do it for you?

SMS provides poor security...


about 2 months ago

Australian Electoral Commission Refuses To Release Vote Counting Source Code

GrpA Nothing to see here, move along. (112 comments)

This is ridiculous. The Australian government has already sent the software to Russia for peer review, and they determined that it worked perfectly during the Crimean referendum.

I see no reason why the code should be further made public.It could only lead to compromise.


about 2 months ago

UN to Debate Use of Fully Autonomous Weapons, New Report Released

GrpA Fraught with danger... (180 comments)

Taking such action really is a bad idea. An autonomous killing machine could be as complicated as as a military drone with hellfire missiles or as simple as a car loaded with autonomous weapons designed to engage any anything that move, with a GPS pre-determined route and self-driving capability, sitting like a mobile minefield in an abandoned house long after the occupants have left, waiting to be activated.

I think the appropriate course of action would be to feed international condemnation of such tactics until they are treated with ruthlessness by the international community against any involved in use of such weapons, for any infraction. Just like the use of chemical weapons should have been...

Autonomous weapons are far more frightening that WMDs... And nowhere is safe.

Then again, I wrote a book on the creation of a universal standard for determining if an autonomous weapon could be trusted with the decision to kill, so perhaps I am somewhat hypocritical there.


about 4 months ago

Electric Stimulation Could Help You Control Your Dreams

GrpA Re:40 hz of current? (138 comments)

if 40Hz of current can elicit lucidity, imagine what 40 MHz of current would do !

Or better yet, 2.4 GHz,,,, You'd dream you were the Internet -

Well, I'm tired today so I might go get a few amps of sleep...


about 4 months ago

ARIN Is Down To the Last /8 of IPv4 Addresses

GrpA Re:Hmm... (306 comments)

Nat'ed IPv6... No one will use direct allocations. IANA says you can't own them anyway, so what's the point?

FC00::/7 is all I ever see lately.


about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Often-Run Piece of Code -- Ever?

GrpA Just my guess. (533 comments)

Based on the number of graphics cards out there, the high repetitive nature of their application and the fact that that's all they do, it's probably something related to them. I thought of supercomputers running very small recursive routines, but they usually have a limited lifetime and older computers aren't fast enough and haven't continued to run in any event.

Graphics though? I'd guess something in a very common graphics card would probably be in the scale to achieve the title of most-run code.

Though if you had allowed assembler, I'd have gone with nop, nop, jump -2.... In all of it's forms. It's not uncommon in older systems that run entirely off of interrupts to use this as an "idle loop" that just waits for the next interrupt so that the interrupt handler can get on with the job of code execution. Many embedded systems use this.


about 8 months ago

Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

GrpA Re:There must be a very good reason... (579 comments)

It's not quite that simple. What has happened ( and is happening ) here in Australia is that those who can afford the considerable up-front costs of solar are doing so, and are getting close to not paying for power. In some cases, they are actually making money from exporting back into the grid. This is somewhat due to a stupid government rule that means they get overpaid, but that aside, it's only the wealthy and middle-to-upper class users who can take advantage of it.

Because utilities are trying to maintain profits, it's not as simple as saying "well, they get more power and just resell it" - They are still paying for infrastructure and stuff to the people who have lots of solar, but who don't consume electricity enough to cover the costs of that infrastructure.

So as a result, their biggest customer base becomes low-income earners, who can't afford to pay for solar and who can't afford to carry the infrastructure costs for wealthy people either. The result is that the ability of the power utility to increase charges is suddenly curtailed because the less wealthier customers can no longer afford to support them.

This is known as the "Solar Power Death Spiral" - because the more that the costs go up for the remaining market, the larger the adoption rate of solar and, again, it's the wealthier part of the remaining market that makes the move first.


And yes, it is very real and the utilities are terrified of it... It's not a threat to electricity generation or other things - it's a threat to profits and to the utilities ability to incrementally charge for their costs with a customer base no longer able to pay for it. Sure, greed is a huge factor, perhaps the only real factor, but the utilities will defend their market vigorously. The likely solution is that they will change their charging model, where you end up paying an "infrastructure cost charge" regardless of whether you use power or not, and a usage tariff on top of that. This will redistribute the cost again and make solar uncompetitive. And they will quite likely make "opting out" illegal too... So expect to pay an "infrastructure cost charge" even if you don't have a connection to the grid, so long as it's possible to connect where you are.

That's how they did it in Australia with water, except they also made water tanks illegal in parts of Australia before drought and dwindling infrastructure became such a constant problem.


about 9 months ago

Cyanogen Mod Raises $23 Million Funding All Set To Become Major Android Player

GrpA Re:Mediatek - the new dominating chipset... (133 comments)

LoL! I did say bleeding edge with emphasis on the bleeding. And the older models supported multi-band 3G as well. This is the result of moving to a modem chipset for that model that only supports 2100 and it's generally considered a poor move. ( Same circuit board as the cheaper F2 model but a different modem chip ). It also has problems in 3G, but for those who can use it, we're hopeful that moving to Cyanogenmod will get the problems out of it. In the mean time, check out their forum if you want details of the problems their users are getting.

But overall, it's still a pretty positive move and will be the first Mediatek 6589T chipset with native Cyanogenmod. Only a fool would rush in at the moment, but there's no shortage of us fools on their support forum. :)


about 9 months ago

Cyanogen Mod Raises $23 Million Funding All Set To Become Major Android Player

GrpA Mediatek - the new dominating chipset... (133 comments)

This is why a lot of us are buying the Faea F2S already - it's going native Cyanogenmod and fully open-source with factory assistance, now that Cyanogenmod and Faea have teamed up and released the F2S source code.

Given that something like the F2S only costs around $250 and has pretty much every feature that the current bleeding-edge phones have, it's going to be interesting to see how this affects the other phones on the market.

Mind you, emphasis on the bleeding there. It really is at the edge of technological development - and isn't the sort of phone you buy if you don't enjoy tinkering, frequent reboots and weekly flashing the firmware :)


about 9 months ago

Sci-fi Author Charles Stross Cancels Trilogy: the NSA Is Already Doing It

GrpA Re:Maybe his novel wasn't so novel (208 comments)

This is true, but it's unfair to generalize all Science Fiction in this way. It doesn't really matter if what you write about is plausible or even possible. It doesn't even matter if it's already happened. A good story doesn't need to be completely fictional to work, because the strength is in the story you tell, not the technology in the world you've created.

As a writer of science fiction myself, having originally set most of the developments in my story to occur and mature over the next century, I was surprised when told that my book was being used as a technology primer for the military to explain the level of technology development of existing applications with respect to virtual world military testing and AI development.

I don't see this as "Well, there's no point writing this anymore, because I got it right" - I see this as more "I'm glad I got it right and now I can concentrate more on plot development in subsequent stories and less on the technology".

And just because what I write is based on factual technology, it doesn't mean it isn't science fiction. The exact genre is "Technothriller" but it's still science fiction. :)


about 9 months ago

Airgap-Jumping Malware May Use Ultrasonic Networking To Communicate

GrpA This has always been known... (265 comments)

Why do you think network security engineers always have headphones on? They're not listening to music, they're packet-sniffing.


about a year ago

Is Choice a Problem For Android?

GrpA Somewhat lacking in logic. (361 comments)

The problem that the PC faces is giving consumers too much choice....

Clearly that hasn't worked for the PC, or it would be the 100% dominant platform, rather than just the 99% dominant platform...

And for PCs the be able to run OS-X, Microsoft or Linux operating systems? Clearly wayyyy to much choice...


about a year ago

In Praise of Micromanagement

GrpA There is only one way to effectively micromanage. (136 comments)

You can tell me what to do, or how to do it, but not both... This is a lesson most micromanagers forget. The truth is that there is no such think as effective micromanagement. By it's very nature, the project that micromanagers run can never grow bigger than what can be achieved by a single person. They are limited entirely by that person's ability and intelligence, and people with either of those two attributes usually realize it well enough to leave micromanagement alone.

Micromanagement, while sometimes necessary, is anything but effective. Any good manager will always realize this and will usually step out of the micromanagement role very shortly after taking it on.

The exceptions to the rule are always companies where the intended outcome *is* for the company or project to never grow further than one person can manage it. Sometimes ( eg Apple ) - this is the desired outcome - to remain small and very narrow in focus. Generally, though, that goes counter to modern business principles.


about a year ago

Myst Was Supposed To Change the Face of Gaming. What Is Its Legacy?

GrpA Re:Probably because it was a sort of mediocre game (374 comments)

This is something I agree with. It did feel like a "graphic adventure" game, but the puzzles were made somewhat frustrating. I might have enjoyed the puzzles if they were something I could have played with outside of the game.

I never quite got into myst. Being a FPS player from far earlier than Myst ( Ultima Underworld ) - the openness of a vast free-form 3D world had already demonstrated far greater appeal, but only on the PC platform. The Mac was, at that time, very poorly supported and had none of the games that the PC players were experiencing at that time.

As such, I recall the "excitement" of anyone who had a Mac and could play Myst and while the graphics were pretty for the era ( look at the old screenshots ), the gameplay wasn't very exciting and took too long. Still, people played it, because those of us who had CD rom's needed something to show others that was different to the floppy-loaded games of the time. And at the time, it really was "eye candy".

The 7th guest was similar ( we used to call it the "7th guess" because of the guesswork in solving puzzles ) and arguably more enjoyable, but the concept of being alone in a 3D world was probably recaptured beautifully by the game "portal" which introduced a dynamic element to the puzzles, so if anyone is looking to what happened to games like "Myst" and "Riven" and "The Seventh Guest", they finally came of age in "Portal" in my opinion.


about a year ago

How Long Can the ISS Last?

GrpA Why not use it as a site to build the next one? (112 comments)

It would be nice if they could use the existing one as a site-office to begin building an even bigger one with a longer life expectancy. Use better materials, a piece at a time, and start building a replacement.

14 years isn't far from now. So what then? Start from scratch again? Seems a shame when they could begin stockpiling for the next generation and have it well underway by the time it comes to decommission the existing ISS.


about a year ago

US Killer Robot Policy: Full Speed Ahead

GrpA Re:Completely insane... (202 comments)

In the US, the Three Laws of Robotics would be as complicated as copyright laws.

Unfortunately someone owns the copyright on the "Three Laws of Robotics" so we can't use them unless we pay the licensing fees.

It is possible to create practical tests for autonomous killing machines. Primarily, you create them human then evaluate their capacity to do the right thing in combat situations. However, AI are still a long, long way from meeting that goal. Such ideas are not covered by copyright, but CC.


about a year ago

3D Printers Shown To Emit Potentially Harmful Nanosized Particles

GrpA Where this research should have gone... (180 comments)

Yes, smoke sometimes curls from the printhead. No surprises there. Usually, there's not much, but hey, ABS chemicals aren't exactly a health-product.

What I would have liked to have known though is whether the use of covers ( eg, stabilising temperature and keeping the workpiece enclosed ) make any difference.

There is actually benefit to using covered printers, so it wouldn't be that difficult to add some filters to them would it? It's an entirely practical approach too, since plastic fumes are always worth avoiding.

And the use of less emotive terms for smoke would have been nano-appreciated.


about a year ago

J.K. Rowling Should Try the Voting Algorithm

GrpA The difference between Best and Bestseller (128 comments)

If you want the "Best" books, just use Amazon's "Best Products Based On Reviews" feature.

It takes into account momentum, average and weighted reviews and they even do a pretty reasonable job of removing most fake reviews ( eventually ).

It's also genre-specific with a much larger sample than the OP uses... This is far more important to me as an author ( "Turing Evolved" - #1 Best Technothriller on Amazon, December 2012 to May 2013 - 4.6 average review ) because despite being #1 in the "best" list, the book only sells about 200 copies a month.

In comparison, there are a lot of best-selling technothrillers that don't even rank in the top 100 best list.

Science fiction books tend to have a very small, specialized market and most publishers won't even touch them now. On the other hand, JK Rowland's books have a very wide appeal and many fans. People don't read a book because it's the *best*. They read it because it has a story they want to read, and if it has wide popularity, sales will increase, because it doesn't require such a narrow.

But if they are looking for a very narrow genre? Then they can look for the "best" as a guide - it's far more useful than using the bestselling lists.


about a year ago

Why Are Japanese Men Refusing To Leave Their Rooms?

GrpA Re:Sounds like my kid (770 comments)

If his actions and limited motivation are a result of his autism, then I really feel for you, because there is almost nothing you can do to force him to change. I'd guess that the only action that does work is to slowly introduce small change (eg, give him tasks that he can complete readily easily ) until those tasks lead him to desensitise to whatever is keeping him from changing. If it's related to money, then it sounds like you've already taken a good first-step.

Perhaps you can get him into trading things online? Get him into the idea of buying and selling. It's not all that different to a game when you think about it and the often-difficult parts of being self employed ( paperwork, accounts ) are things that autistic natures often lend themselves to. Help him with some small amount of stock to sell, and an online shop (eg, eBay) and a little support in business skills and he might take off?

My own autistic son wants to have a toyshop one day, so that's in the back of my mind as a way to get him started. He's quite capable and through a lot of work and early intervention programs, he lives a pretty normal life, but I worry about how he will do when he gets a job.

If you can help him find something that his autistic tendencies make him want to do, he'll easily outperform normal people in that role and do it perfectly.

I wish you the both the best and hope you can help him find something he really wants to do -


about a year ago



India wants copyright to last 356 years.

GrpA GrpA writes  |  more than 5 years ago

GrpA (691294) writes "The Taj Mahal was completed in 1653 by emperor Shah Jahan. That was three hundred and fifty six years ago. Now in a move that would make US corporations proud, the Indian Embassy in Bangladesh is attempting to impose Copyright Restrictions on the famous monument to love after Bangladeshi director Ahsanullah Moni unveiled a US$58 Million replica so that Bangladeshi's who can't afford to travel there can visit the famous monument. I know the egyptians were a little touchy about the pyramids, but isn't it time that people stopped confusing copyright with government sponsored greed? Otherwise I think I might have to copyright my Genes so that my ancestors have a right to posess them."

Osama Stunt Embarasses APEC

GrpA GrpA writes  |  about 7 years ago

GrpA (691294) writes "The Chaser's War On Everything, possibly best known previously for their booking flights under the names Terry Wrist and Al Kyder have been arrested at the APEC Summit for what could be one of the most audacious stunts yet performed by the team. Their latest work involved them driving a fake motorcade through the restricted APEC Summit zone, with Chaser "Chas Licciardello" emerged from the vehicle dressed as Osama Bin Laden, embarassing security forces that were guarding world leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President George W Bush. I guess our current world leaders haven't learned from lessons of the past. "

Bioshock users seem to have DDOS'd 2KGames

GrpA GrpA writes  |  about 7 years ago

GrpA (691294) writes "Bioshock users seem to have overloaded 2KGames servers , with users angry and blaming the problem on everything from a lack of 2KGames foresight to DRM. What looks like a several months old patch is available on the Web Archive but installing it means setting up a webserver to resemble the 2KGames website. Whatever the reason, the servers aren't running, people can't install the game without it and users are getting a bad taste in their mouths at the moment."


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