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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Slashdot comments indicative of the problem (1219 comments)

The patriarchy is crumbled and will die off with those that are 45+.

And you had me all the way up until you had to discriminate against me based on my age alone... :-)

Not all us 46-year olds are as bad as you think. Just so you know. Oh, and now you've had your say, get off my lawn, etc.

3 days ago
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Research Shows RISC vs. CISC Doesn't Matter

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:CISC - reduced memory access ... (159 comments)

Much of the later complexity didn't exist in the late 70s.

Yes, I should have said that I put RISC as beginning with Hennessy & Patterson's work, that became MIPS and SPARC respectively. So we're a bit later than that. And of course when I said "compiler" I meant "optimizing compiler". Basic compilation as you say, was not a problem on CISC, but everybody observed that the instruction set wasn't really used. I remember reading VAX code from the C-compiler (on BSD 4.2) when I was an undergrad and noting that the enter/leave instructions weren't used. My betters answered: "Of course it isn't, they put so much useless stuff in there that it's much too slow..." (Only they didn't use the word "stuff"...)

But yes, the x86 is perhaps more "braindead" than "CISC" from that perspective, I was actually thinking VAX and it's ilk as they were what "RISC" came to replace, since the x86 wasn't a serious contender for workstations/minicomputers when they entered the arena. It was strictly for "PCs", which were a decidedly lesser class of computer, for lesser things. If anything RISC replaced the MC68000 and similar in the workstation space. And even though that was CISC, it was of course a much nicer architecture than Intels ever were, or became.

3 days ago
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Research Shows RISC vs. CISC Doesn't Matter

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:It's a question that WAS relevant (159 comments)

The downside of having few registers in the ISA is it means the compiler may have to choose instruction ordering based on register availability or worse still "spill" registers to memory to fit the code to the available registers.

Yes, but the score boarding takes care of those spills as well. The processor won't actually perform them. But, whether they're visible or not, the compiler still has to optimise as if they're there in order to have a chance to wring out the maximum performance, so whether they're visible or not turns out to not mean that much in practice, rather, keeping them invisible isn't that much of a gain, as the compiler will have to assume that they're backed by invisible ones anyway and you'll take a substantial performance hit if they were ever to go away. (Which they won't as they take up next to no real estate today anyway.)

3 days ago
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Research Shows RISC vs. CISC Doesn't Matter

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:CISC - reduced memory access ... (159 comments)

Yes, simplicity of design was important, but the simplicity was to free up chip resources to use elsewhere, not to make it easier for humans to design it.

Well, yes. I think we're forgeting one of the main drivers for RISC, and that was making the hardware more compatible with what the then current compilers could actually fruitfully use. Compilers couldn't (and typically didn't) actually use all the hideously complex instructions that did "a lot" and were instead hampered by lack of registers, lack of orthogonality etc. So there was a concerted effort to develop hardware that fit the compilers, instead of the other way around, which had been the dominating paradigm up to that point.

Take for example the MIPS without interlocked pipe-line stages. That was difficult for a human assembly coder to keep track of, but easy for a compiler, and it made the hardware design simpler and faster, so that's the way they went. (In fact, the assembler put in no-ops for you to fix inject pipeline stalls in order for your code to make sense when you programmed it in assembly. That made the object dump show stuff you didn't put there which was a bit disconcerting... :-))

3 days ago
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Research Shows RISC vs. CISC Doesn't Matter

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:isn't x86 RISC by now? (159 comments)

CISC ISAs may have individual "complex" instructions, such as procedure call instructions, string manipulation instructions, decimal arithmetic instructions, and various instructions and instruction set features to "close the semantic gap" between high-level languages and machine code, add extra forms of data protection, etc. - although the original procedure-call instructions in S/360 were pretty simple, BAL/BALR just putting the PC of the next instruction into a register and jumping to the target instruction, just as most RISC procedure-call instructions do. A lot of the really CISCy instruction sets may have been reactions to systems like S/360, viewing its instruction set as being far from CISCy enough, but that trend has largely died out.

I know you say "current", but one of the original ideas behind RISC was also to make each instruction "short", i.e. make each instruction take one cycle, and reduce cycle times as much as possible so that you could have really deep pipelines (MIPS), or increase clock speed. Now, while most "RISCs" today, sort-of follow this idea, by virtue of the ISA having been made with that in mind in the old days, i.e. load-store etc. they're typically not as strict about it (if they in fact ever where). I guess the CISC situation is even more complicated, as they're "internally" RISC, and you can kind-a-sort-a treat them that way by staying away from the "heavy" instructions. That is if you can reason about what kind of time you're going to see from your micro-opped+out-of-order core anyway. The internals, and specifically the timing models have gotten even more complex than they already were. I don't know what your take on that would be?

3 days ago
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Research Shows RISC vs. CISC Doesn't Matter

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:isn't x86 RISC by now? (159 comments)

And, given that most processors running GUI systems these days, and even most processors running GUI systems before x86/ARM ended up running most of the UI code people see, didn't have register windows, no, they're not needed. Yeah, SPARC workstations may have been popular, but I don't think register windows magically made GUIs work better on them. (And remember that register windows eventually spill, so once the stack depth gets beyond a certain point, I'm not sure they help; it's shallow call stacks, in which you can go up and down the call stack without spilling register windows, where they might help.)

I remember reading research back in the day, that showed that register windows were orthogonal to any RISC/CISC considerations, i.e. they were about as easy/costly to implement in either architecture and they gave the same boost/or not, in either case. As you point out, in practice it turned out to not be really worth the trouble, and they died out rather quickly.

3 days ago
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HP Recalls 6 Million Power Cables Over Fire Hazard

lars_stefan_axelsson Re: 20 failures from 6 million power cords? recall (135 comments)

Generally the ones who have problems are the "vocal minority": that is, if you have problems, you are more likely to speak up, so if you're only seeing 20 / 13million, it could well indicate that the problem is quite limited.

Sure, I'm one of those. I raised hell, on a Swedish electrical/electronics forum... Didn't even bother to call HP. I assumed it was a one off, and what are they going to do anyway? Tell me to send the cable to them? (That's too much of a hassle) and give me a new one? (I could just grab a new one from one of the conveniently situated piles at work).

In fact, the usual rule, born out by science, when it comes to customer satisfaction here in Sweden (originally talking about large enterprises like TV/Radio) is that for every complaint you have 4000 people who are dissatisfied but don't bother to make contact.

Now, of course, a recall could still be warranted even if there were only 20 out of 6 million, since there shouldn't be any at all. Compare the Challenger disaster. That the O-rings had only been eroded through a third of the way, didn't really mean that they had a safety factor of three, since they weren't supposed to erode at all! Likewise, these cables weren't supposed to melt either, and by a substantial safety margin at that. If as many as 20 do, that means that there is a systematic error somewhere.

4 days ago
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HP Recalls 6 Million Power Cables Over Fire Hazard

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Not the PSUs? The actual cables? (135 comments)

With the limited info I have I would guess either a cheapskate manufacturer that tried to pass the wrong gauge of cable as the correct one or a crappy connection between a plug and the cable.

I have one of these cables and after having analysed it, we (the guys on the forum and I :-)) think its more an issue of "dirty" plastics. If they get, e.g. carbon in the plastics used for injection molding the plug, it will conduct a small current, which will lead to heat, which will lead to charring, which will lead to more conduction, and you have a vicious circle going. So just to be clear, it's the "Mickey Mouse" plug that plugs in to the PSU that's faulty, not the PSU as such.

In my own case, the cable finally conducted enough to trip the RDC on my house, and that's when I started investigating. Having confirmed the problem, I then remembered the time on the airplane across the Atlantic when my socket wouldn't stay on, or the time on the train when the whole side of my car kept switching off... I had inadvertently travelled the world, leaving darkness and despair in my wake...

Pictures of my measurements (and discussion, in Swedish I'm afraid). At 20mA, the cable developed 4.6W and my measured 80C (176F) is reasonable. I didn't really notice it before, since the powersupply gets quite warm as it is.

4 days ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:I love getting into strangers' cars (273 comments)

You have the same amount of "skin in the game", whether the man is driving a paying fare or giving a free ride to a friend.

No, frequency and other conditions are different. It's not an accident that you can bring your friends with you in your small aircraft with just an ordinary (sport) pilot license. If you want to take a paying passenger then you need a transport pilot license.

Same with boats.

Why are taxis different?

The wherewithal comes simply from experience --- not from a license.

And that's (drum roll) one of the conditions of a taxi (i.e. commerical) license in my country. Having sufficient experience that is. The license is there to (among other things) show that you have that experience.

about 2 months ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:I love getting into strangers' cars (273 comments)

And why must "higher level of skills" be a requirement â" even for the customers, who are perfectly satisfied with average level of skills?

Well, the customers are not the only ones with skin in the game. The rest of us have to share the roads with these "taxis" as well. The major reason that other commercial drivers (or air line pilots for that reason) isn't that they'll necessarily will kill their passengers, but that they will kill a bystander or other motorists. The rules for getting a bus driving license and a heavy truck driving license are the virtually the same, here in Sweden at least, and in one of those cases we're clearly not worried by the safety of the passengers.

It's the same at sea and in the air, if you want to transport paying passengers you have to show a higher level of competence. One reason mentioned in those cases is that you for example have to have the wherewithal to be able to stand up to a pissed off customer when you deem conditions to be unsafe, something that's more difficult (legally/financially) than when you have another passenger.

about 2 months ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Not convinced (176 comments)

To be fair, that was a smaller problem in telecoms. We never change anything, in any way, if we can help it. :-)

But I hear ya, and in the general case of course you're as right as can be.

about 2 months ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Not convinced (176 comments)

And also something I came to value when working in industry and developing both cli and GUI admin tools for telecoms equipment:

You can easily document, email and (to a lesser extent) talk about a cli. A GUI not so much. When you've tried to walk someone through finding the hidden option in a GUI over the phone for the tenth time you're ready to tear your hair out. With a cli you can just email some commands and that's that. Documenting a GUI invariably devolved to a lot of screenshots which makes any workflow tens of pages long, instead of ten lines of commands which you then have ample space to explain and comment on. It's also much easier to read and follow along as you're e.g. installing, than leafing through screenshot after screenshot.

about 2 months ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

It verges on astounding. I've read for years that Germany has ceded sovereign control of its land to Russia for natural gas, and that German citizens would freeze by the tens of thousands if Putin turned off the taps.

And that's largely still true as a matter of fact. HOWEVER, Germany relies less on Putin's gas than Putin relies on Germany's money for that gas. (I.e. the value of Germany's gas imports as a part of their energy expenditure is small compared to the overall hard currency income that Putin receives from selling gas to Europe). Hence we're witnessing the situation with gas used as a weapon against the Ukraine and Belarus, but not against Germany.

That's not to say that it won't happen. Just that it takes more will on the Russian side than what they've been able to muster so far. Don't for a minute think that it doesn't factor in the decisions of Frau Merkel when it comes to sanctions against Russia for their part in the Ukraine debacle though. We would probably be tougher from the European side if it weren't for that gas...

about 2 months ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

Oh, then I'm sure you'll find an insurance company that will cover the risk of Fukushima-style accidents. Oh wait, no you don't, because such an insurance would make nuclear energy totally uneconomic.

OTOH, the largest hydro electric dam failures have killed thousands (tens of thousands for the very largest) and you know what: They largest dams are typically insured "by the government" in the same way that nuclear is.

Now, you can actually buy hydro dam insurance on the open market, while that is generally impossible for nuclear, but they don't typically pay without bounds for incidental damage which is the major cost we're facing. Instead relying on government for that part, so while there is some difference, the scenarios are quite similar.

about 2 months ago
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Huawei, Vodafone Test Out Hybrid System That Combines LTE and GSM

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Everything should be done over WiFi (46 comments)

When they come up with a version of wifi that works over the dozens of miles that currently exist between me and my nearest tower, sure.

Range is one thing, and probably the easiest to fix (compare the failed WiMax attempt). However, there are other requirements that we make of the cellular system that WiFi also ignores, such as (off the top of my head): Hand over between cells in an orderly manner, service guarantees for voice calls, emergency service guarantees (even kicking out already ongoing call of lower priority), keeping track of where the mobile is in case of incoming calls, being able to do all this with mobiles that travel at high speed etc. etc.

When WiMax tried to solve the same problems, lo and behold, it didn't turn out any cheaper and simpler than the mobile systems and hence (as many of us predicted) it failed pretty miserably. Moving into the field dominated by telecoms it turned out that they already knew about how to do that well, and the WiMax people couldn't catch up (at least not cost effectively). The evolved 3G and 4G standards that were already in place, turned out to be much more successful.

about 2 months ago
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California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:So there's 100 or so unimmunized? (387 comments)

Just give it a rest already. You're spouting misinformation that's not helping anybody. But here we go again:

1. Never said flu shots had lots of egg in them, only that it's a risk factor, a well known one, with several allergic reactions to its name, though many/most people with an egg allergy can well tolerate a flu shot. The allergy is one of the reasons that there are now "egg free" flu vaccines available. Furthermore didn't say that most iatrogenically induced cases of anaphylaxis wasn't from something else. They are.

2. Re celiac disease. That's not the definition of an allergy. Your definition also fits other intolerances such as a bog standard lactose intolerance. But OK. If you won't believe me:

"Celiac disease differs from IgE-mediated food allergies in several important respects. Celiac disease is NOT mediated by allergen-specific antibodies including IgE. Celiac disease is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction where symptoms develop 48-72 hours after ingestion of the offending food which is in contrast to IgE-mediated food allergies where symptoms develop rather quickly (within minutes to hours after ingestion of the offending food)."

"Celiac disease does share some common features with IgE-mediated food allergies. Celiac disease is immunologically mediated, though not by antibodies. Celiac disease does affect only certain individuals in the population. And, most importantly, individuals with celiac disease must avoid the causative protein fraction, gluten, in their diets."

(from: http://food.unl.edu/allergy/ce...)

To reitterate. NOT AN ALLERGY! And if you can't get the basics right, why would anyone listen to you for any other advice when it comes to this area?

3. Wrong as well. But I'll let you do the googling.

4. The fact that RASTs are in general the most reliable are why they're used as a complement to all diagnoses of allergies. If you get a high response on a drug mediated allergy on a RAST test then it's very probable that you will respond negatively to that drug. But if you don't that's doesn't really clear you. There are relatively speaking fewer false positives, so they do have diagnostic value depending on the outcome. Now, since most people aren't allergic to anything, pure maths mean that doctors avoid them as they wouldn't make a very good screening tool. Once you get to an allergist though, you'll see them used a lot more. In general practice not so much.

5. Yeah, right...

about 2 months ago
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California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:So there's 100 or so unimmunized? (387 comments)

First of all, we were talking about drug and vaccine allergies.

OK, with you so far. Most of these aren't of course allergies against the vaccine as such, but to all the other components. (Flu vaccine being produced using chicken eggs being the most well known problem. They're often quite good at removing any traces of egg protein, but the process is by no means perfect, and for many sufferers getting the shot in a setting with emergency medical services to hand, as in "sitting on the chair right next to you" is often indicated. It's not for nothing that roughly 3/4 of all cases of anaphylaxis is iatrogenous.

Secondly, I specifically mentioned the different types of allergies possible INCLUDING the textbook example, celiac disease. Celiac disease absolutely IS an allergy, being a Type IV (delayed-type) hypersensitivity reaction which gives a specific set of GI symptoms in people who know they have the disorder.

No. Celiac disease is not an allergy per se. It is a specific autoimmune disease. One major difference between the two is that in autoimmune diseases the body's immune system attacks the body's own tissues, which is not a part of an allergy response. Allergies will not destroy your own tissues (though prolonged inflammation is of course no sinecure). Auto immune disease, (such as Celiac disease) will in many cases destroy tissue. In severe cases surgical intervention/removal of the tissue is indicated, and indeed loosing your intestine to the surgeons knife is a known complication of untreated Celiac disease. That's never the case with allergic reactions. (That's one difference, there are others).

The familial tendency towards allergy manifsts itself as asthma/atopy/allergic rhinitis, not with allergies to specific drugs or foods.

Never said it did. Read was I wrote again. What I did say is that allergic reactions in certain tissue has a hereditary component, i.e. respiratory vs. gastro intestinal. This connection is weaker though. In this case, the family had a supposed history of gastro intestinal involvement, so that's a point in favour of that hypothesis then.

Also you should know that the blood test (RAST) is absolutely worthless to determine if somebody is allergic to something if they have never been exposed to it before, such as for drugs.

Yes, and in this case the patient complained of symptoms after having taken the drug, which is an exposure. So what's your point? The main problem with these test are actually the opposite one. Just because you have been exposed and developed anti bodies that doesn't necessarily mean you'll have enough symptoms to qualify as "allergic" to that substance, especially when your counts of antibodies are low. Though, avoidance is currently thought to be indicated though there is currently a small but growing number of researchers that question this course of action. Time will tell.

Basic immunology such as that should have been covered in your general college biology classes

Ah! "There's your problem". We've moved quite a bit from what would be covered in basic biology. If that's what you're basing your understanding of allergies and allergic reactions on, you need to read up.

about 2 months ago
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After Non-Profit Application Furor, IRS Says It's Lost 2 Years Of Lerner's Email

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Yawn (372 comments)

Why are you trying so hard to convince yourself it wasn't wrong by hiding reality?

I'm not convinced it was "wrong". I haven't made up my mind one way or the other (it's not that big a deal for me). But, from what I gather, he stepped down himself as his position became untenable within the company, not really because of outside pressure. And when it comes to political speech, that wasn't really the issue as such as I understand it, but rather his opinions on the matter and that he hasn't changed them.

Now, if you're saying that it was all because of the purported/planned consumer boycott then I'd like to know more about that as that's not what I've gathered at all.

In either case, we don't agree on the definition of "retaliation". But I'm not sure what the "spade a spade" would add to that, as surely we're not hung up on the word as such?

about 2 months ago
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After Non-Profit Application Furor, IRS Says It's Lost 2 Years Of Lerner's Email

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:Yawn (372 comments)

Aha. Is it just a question of semantics? I just looked it up (Cambridge Dictionary) and they define "Retaliate":

to hurt someone or do something harmful to someone because they have done or said something harmful to you

I can't see how refusing to work for someone for having a diametrically opposed views to you would fall under that heading.

Now if what you're saying is that we should be very careful to not let that be used as a cover for McCarthyism, then I'm with you all the way. But on the other hand, saying that (for instance) a black person would have to work for an boss that's a currently card carrying KKK aficionado is also a bit much, and calling that refusal "retaliation" also seems over the top.

Or to take another example, if you voting for a political opponent because you don't like your congressman's stance on an issue, would that be "retaliation" as well? In some cases what views you hold are very pertinent to the discussion. That's why it's almost certainly wrong to black list the janitor for being your least favourite -ist of the day, but when it comes to the CEO we're in a different league altogether. No?

about 2 months ago
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California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

lars_stefan_axelsson Re:So there's 100 or so unimmunized? (387 comments)

There are at least two things you wrote which are generally medically incorrect.

Well, but then again you didn't fair much better...

First of all, having only a stomach ache after ingesting a drug is very unlikely to be an allergy. True (IgE/T-cell-mediated) allergies usually cause things like hives, throat/lip/face swelling, low blood pressure, and trouble breathing.

No. Not even remotely true. Most food allergies do not lead to such severe symptoms as you list. In fact, that list of symptoms are clear warning signs that an anaphylactic shock is imminent, and you should prepare yourself accordingly. Most gastro intestinal allergies are much milder in symptoms, and can actually be difficult to diagnose as a result. And furthermore, most people with food borne allergies do not have serious symptoms from the rest of the body, with their gastro intestinal tract feeling A-OK. It's the other way around (with the exception of skin involvement, that's usually a greatly delayed response though).

So no "tell tale symptoms" unless the allergy was severe. Most are not. Which is a good thing since about 5% of the adult population suffer from some form of food borne allergy.

True allergies are generally not heritable either, so the "my relative was allergic to X, so I can't take it" is nonsense.

Could be argued technically correct, but that's the worst kind of correct. In fact, the tendency towards allergy is strongly hereditary and the same major organs also tend to stay involved, i.e. a family with gastro intestinal issues tend to have that passed on, and a family with respiratory involvement tend to have that passed on. (This is a weaker tendency though, hayfewer in both parents could well lead to a food allergy in their offspring).

The exception to this is in people who have things like celiac disease who have a T-cell-mediated response to gluten in the medication which is an allergy

Nope. Celiac disease is not an allergy. Completely different part of the immune system is involved in that one. (Well, OK, not "completely", but different enough.) It's quite possible to be allergic to many of the wheat proteins without suffering from celiac diseas, and vice versa (though wheat protein allergy is uncommon, and an allergic reaction to gluten as such, without celiac disease si extremely uncommon.)

That said, you are correct that people reporting an adverse reaction to some immunisation (flu being typical) are mistaking the effects of adjuvant factors that are added to the vaccine to give it better punch. In fact, they're there to strengthen the immune response (which makes you feel sick). That's nott to say that you cannot be allergic to shots and what's in them. It's not for nothing that about 3/4 of all anaphylactic shocks happen at the doctor. They're the ones injecting stuff into you.

And also, due to the base-rate fallacy/class imbalance problem it is actually less likely that the grandparent is allergic to opioid than having any of the other well known reactions. Checking for that is as easy as getting a blood sample and check for antibodies (a test that has a fair, but not perfect record), so since knowing about an allergy of that nature could be very useful (lest one gets a shot of morphine during e.g. a car accident) getting that test done would probably be a good idea.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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ASSA Evo lock picked with a feeler blade

lars_stefan_axelsson lars_stefan_axelsson writes  |  more than 5 years ago

lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) writes "ASSA Abloy, the world's leading maker of locks and accessories have had several problems with their newest line of locks, the EVO 2000 series. Last in the line of woes is the demonstration that one can unlock them from the outside using only a cheap set of feeler blades. This news is of course extra embarrassing as the EVO line is supposed to be the most secure ever (e.g. by featuring a hook bolt that anchors the door to the frame instead of the usual sliding bolt) While a protective flap over the crack between door and frame would make this attack a lot less likely to succeed, it's still embarrassing that a major lock manufacturer would overlook such a simple flaw in this day and age."

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