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U.S. Gas Stations Vulnerable To Internet Attacks

Megane Re:Finally something I can comment on... (100 comments)

The thing is, unless the control system is set up to shut down the site (that "positive shut-down" thing is new to me), gas pumps (just like honey badger) don't care what the tank level is and will continue to dispense fuel until it goes dry.

I wrote code for automated gas station stuff back in the late '90s (6809 assembly code to talk to the pump and terminal; Gilbarco, Wayne, Tokheim and Schlumberger were the brands back in the day), and late one afternoon when I was on-site at a unattended station (we were testing cash acceptors), suddenly nobody could get gas. I was worried at first because I thought my code might have been the problem. Turned out that the tank of regular had gone dry, so you could only get premium. Because the site used "blender" pumps, you couldn't get mid-grade either. The pumps were apparently smart enough to know not to give you pure premium when this happened.

...which brings up the main point of having a tank monitor. It's not to tell the pumps or the unattended site control when the gas is empty, they know from the lack of product, it's to tell the company running the station when they need to send a truck out. So this is just as likely if not more so to cause an unnecessary truck roll.

4 days ago
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U.S. Gas Stations Vulnerable To Internet Attacks

Megane Re:price hack? (100 comments)

Yep, I worked on software to talk to gas pumps back in the late '90s. The gallons to price stuff happens entirely in the pump. The various prices are all sent to the pump in advance, and it knows which to use based on what grade button the user presses. It then reports gallons and price back when the hose handle is hung up.

You could possibly fool the system into turning on the pumps without the accounting system knowing, but there are low-tech odometers in gas pumps for actual gallons dispensed, and eventually someone will notice that the numbers don't match up, basically an inventory problem.

4 days ago
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Silverlight Exploits Up, Java Exploits Down, Says Cisco

Megane Re:Silverlight isn't long for this world (55 comments)

The configuration software for Harmony remotes uses Silver(b)light. I only tolerate that piece of crap because it has codes for things that I never had the remote for.

about a week ago
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Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

Megane Re: betteridge's law of headlines (489 comments)

So why the hell are you wasting your time slumming around here, shill-boy?

about a week ago
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Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

Megane Re:betteridge's law of headlines (489 comments)

...and I just replied to the wrong sub-comment. Thanks, Murphy.

about a week ago
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Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

Megane Re:betteridge's law of headlines (489 comments)

Murphy only applies to bad improbable things happening. Microsoft getting something right would be a good improbable thing.

As there are many somethings to get right, they'll always get a few of them right by accident, but nobody can remember what they did right in Vista and 8.0 because there was so much bad.

about a week ago
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Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

Megane Re:No thanks (562 comments)

the woman in the car next to you voted for Boehner

Nope. I am nowhere near Ohio. (Wait, he's from Ohio? Sheesh.)

about two weeks ago
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Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

Megane Re:No. (562 comments)

That's great when you can get the communication as text. It's another thing when it's only spoken, and could possibly have phonemes that are not identifiable or can be differentiated by most non-speakers. Would you be able do a "simple substitution" on people speaking a tonal language like Chinese to each other? And Japanese is really poor in phonemes, especially vowels, compared to other languages, which probably put them at more of a disadvantage than others would have been.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

Megane Re:Convenience stores have better video coverage (248 comments)

The "garbled footage" was a radio signal from the incoming first stage. Getting good communications from a vehicle during re-entry is a hard problem. And a GoPro (at least before this landing attempt) wouldn't have helped much because it would have been on the ocean floor along with the rest of the rocket.

And in the case of this particular landing attempt, it was before sunrise in heavy fog.

about two weeks ago
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Lost Beagle2 Probe Found 'Intact' On Mars

Megane Re:parachutes? (130 comments)

Maybe these guys failed to properly convert stone to kilograms.

about two weeks ago
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Lost Beagle2 Probe Found 'Intact' On Mars

Megane Re:parachutes? (130 comments)

Well, at least it seems the Entry/Descent/Landing engineers knew what they were doing. The "petal" system engineers, not quite so much.

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

Megane Re:2N2222 (314 comments)

They sell five 2N2222 in a 15 pack with five each of two other transistor types (probably 3904/3906). Since then I have lucked into well over a thousand 2N2222 transistors (technically PN2222 because plastic case), so I don't have to worry about that little thing anymore.

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

Megane Re:"and they may be bought for their assets." (314 comments)

Really the only innovative thing they did post-PC was the Tandy 1000 CGA mode. IBM's CGA modes were total crap.

Even the Tandy 2000 wasn't that great, since it was barely PC compatible, and as an 80186 machine, it would have had issues with the "unused" interrupt vectors that IBM used in the original PC.

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

Megane Re:Lost its way. (314 comments)

I think the canonical form is "You've got questions, we've got blank stares".

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

Megane Re:Obligatory Onion link (314 comments)

Here in Austin a few years ago, they were closing some less successful RS stores. One of them was near me. But one that was even nearer to me was closed too... because the strip mall management wouldn't move their sign up higher into a vacated higher position. (A highway had been recently upgraded to a freeway, seriously reducing visibility for that sign.)

And guess which store they left open? The one across the street from Fry's. WTF. Which is about as far away from me as my next closest Radio Shack, only in the opposite direction (that RS is in a far suburb city, and I rarely go that way).

about two weeks ago
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NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission May Not Actually Redirect an Asteroid

Megane Re:Just visit the damn Moon (73 comments)

So you can inflate your party balloons?

about two weeks ago
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How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

Megane Re:So much crap (324 comments)

So it's a place that all users have write access to, but it's invisible, so most users don't know that it even exists?

about two weeks ago
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How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

Megane Re:Application installers suck. (324 comments)

So what? The point is that Microsoft still hasn't.

about two weeks ago
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How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

Megane Re:Application installers suck. (324 comments)

You can (and I have), but it's only the exe. There is no provision to automatically keep needed data files (or DLLs) together with it. OS X has a directory attribute that says "present this to the user as though it was a single application file". You can right-click and "show contents" from a menu, but otherwise it just appears as a single draggable icon. When you double-click on it, it runs the executable contained inside.

about two weeks ago
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How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

Megane Re:Application installers suck. (324 comments)

Because, thanks to nonsense like the registry, installing an app into Windows is a non-trivial operation. So everybody uses one of two or three installer shells that all use that "wizard" mode where you have to click next ten times.

The sad part is that it is possible to make a trivial app that doesn't need to be installed. Putty does it, and I've done one before, too. But MS never came up with a "bundle" concept like OS X (I think it was in 9 as well) that presents a folder as through it were a single application, nor is there a default applications directory that multiple users can all access by simply dropping stuff into it. So if you've got files that need to tag along with the .exe (especially DLLs) or want the app installed for more than one user, you're stuck with installer hell.

about two weeks ago

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