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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch and Historic Landing Aborted

melstav Re:Better to cancel rather than fail. (70 comments)

Looking at the incident strictly from the standpoint of the PR fallout that NASA received as a result, which do you think would have been worse?

about three weeks ago

65,000 Complaints Later, Microsoft Files Suit Against Tech Support Scammers

melstav Re:A more important issue... (246 comments)

Clearly, you never read the EULA, or even the Warranty statement.

Microsoft only promises that it will work as intended for the first 90 days after it's installed. After 90 days, if Microsoft decides to tell you to piss off, you're SOL, because the software is presented to you AS-IS.

During the warranty period, if you have a problem, Microsoft will, AT THEIR SOLE DISCRETION, either refund the money you paid for the software (if you actually paid anything for it. If it came preinstalled on your computer, you paid nothing for the software - the computer maker did. You have to talk to them) or they can choose to fix the problem.

If you're outside of the warranty period and you don't have an active support contract, Microsoft doesn't have to care about your problems at all.


  1. Win 8
  2. Win 7 home premium
  3. Win XP

about a month and a half ago

Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste

melstav Re:Good (200 comments)

Either that, or other countries will start exporting their nuclear waste to Japan. Probably some combination of both.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Desktop x86 Motherboard Manufacturers?

melstav Re:Intel (294 comments)

Did you know that Intel's chipsets include a very respectable ethernet controller? Have for a long time. Most motherboard manufacturers don't use them, though. For some reason, they'd rather bolt a suck-tastic Realtek controller onto one of the PCIe lanes, instead. Buying Intel-made boards is about the only way to get one that uses the on-chipset controller.... Unless you're going with an AMD CPU.

about 5 months ago

"BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

melstav Re:and this is news why? (205 comments)

The way those tools work is that they write a customized firmware image onto the controller. (or an EEPROM, or the start of the flash) This way, if you don't need the thing to impersonate a CDROM, that code doesn't get loaded onto the chip. Specifics about partition sizes, read-only settings, etc, get tacked onto the end of the appropriate image as a data block.

If the chip manufacturer released a firmware update to address a bug in a previous release, the same tools can be used to install the firmware updates. You just have to replace the packaged images.

But you don't HAVE to use the bundled firmware images. A little legwork (or disassembly of the bundled firmwares) will yield all you need to know to write your own firmware for the thing that does whatever you want it to. Frequently, like the MV6208, the controller is built around an 8051-derivative. ( ref: http://www.belinking.com/downl... ) knowing that, you can write your own custom firmware that enumerates as a second keyboard to try and run commands. Or whatever else you want to make it do.

about 5 months ago

"BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

melstav Re:and this is news why? (205 comments)

A typical USB stick or a webcam don't have hardware to permit firmware upgrades, even though the silicon inside could be theoretically upgradable.

How uninformed you are!

https://forums.hak5.org/index.php?/topic/8630-collection-of-production-tools-for-usb-devices/ is a discussion of "production tools" for USB flash drives.

These tools are specific to the controller in the flashdrive (chipsbank, micov, etc) and allow you to do things like change what size the drive reports itself as, load files onto the thing and make it behave as a read-only flash drive, load files on and make it behave as a USB CD/DVD-ROM drive with a disk preloaded, make it behave as a single flashdrive with multiple partitions, make it come up on the USB bus as a compound device consisting of any combination of the above.

My company uses these sorts of tools to distribute software on read-only flashdrives.

about 6 months ago

A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn't a Router

melstav Re:Price is reasonable - $35, not $90 (54 comments)

That's why it's important to actually read what they wrote instead of just stopping at the first "red flag" you come to.

Why flexible funding? We choose flexible funding because we want to give people a chance to contribute to the software as early as possible. The hardware part is already done and we have sold units to existing customers who were very happy about it. Specially for this campaign we made a new revision ready for mass production so we can sell it at an even better price than we already had in our shop: https://dptechnics.com/shop/?q...

They already have finalized hardware in production. They're not trying to fund hardware development and production. They've already done that. They're using indiegogo as an advertising channel and as a secondary storefront.

about 6 months ago

Making an Autonomous Car On a Budget

melstav Re:Just 2 models of Audi? (61 comments)

The steering wheel.

Most vehicles (if not all) being marketed for consumer road use have power steering. The standard (in the USA, if not globally) is to use hydraulics to help you move the wheels back and forth as you steer.

Those two models of Audi use electric motors to provide power assist, instead. That makes it MUCH easier to interface the control system.

about 7 months ago

Cops With Google Glass: Horrible Idea, Or Good One?

melstav Re:I'd say Great Idea (192 comments)

Sure there is. the thing has a USB port that's used for charging.

about a year ago

DEA Presentation Shows How Agency Hides Investigative Methods From Trial Review

melstav Re:Fruit of the poison tree (266 comments)

duckintheface didn't say it wasn't being used in court.

the statement was that it can't [LEGALLY] be used in court.

about a year ago

Microsoft Extends Updates For Windows XP Security Products Until July 2015

melstav Re:Oh great... (417 comments)

Dude. Some shit ain't going to get upgraded no matter how many times you taze that dead horse.

Hell, I've still got SunOS 4.0 in production.

1 year,16 days

First Images of a Heart Injected With Liquid Metal

melstav Your copy of the guide must be really old. (115 comments)

The entry for "Alpha Particles" was updated from "Harmless." to "Mostly Harmless." quite some time ago. Because it is... AS LONG AS the emitter is *OUTSIDE* the body.

An alpha particle is going to steal electrons from the first molecule it comes in contact with, and become a helium atom. If you're exposed to alpha radiation from the outside, it's going to hit and react with the layer of already dead skin cells called the epidermis.

So yes, as long as you don't swallow, inhale, inject, or otherwise insert the alpha-emitting radioisotope, you're probably going to be just fine.

about a year ago

FDA Will Regulate Some Apps As Medical Devices

melstav Re:Can the FDA regulate free software? (130 comments)

You are correct. If it is distributed in the USA, and it crosses state lines, the FDA has jurisdiction on it. EVEN IF IT'S FREE.

about a year ago

FDA Will Regulate Some Apps As Medical Devices

melstav Re:Would this apply to an Australian? (130 comments)

The fact that Google Play is run by an American company is not the issue.

Whether or not your app is available to be downloaded in the US is. Because you're importing your app into the US to be used by Americans.

But that's a side issue. EVEN BY AUSTRALIA'S STANDARDS your app likely qualifies as a medical device. If you're not already registered with the Ministry of Health as a medical device manufacturer, I would highly recommend contacting someone to confirm with them whether your app should be regulated under Australian law, and whether you're breaking the law by distributing it (or allowing it to be distributed) in Australia without registration.

And then do the same thing with every other country your app is downloadable in. Because every country's regulations may be somewhat different.

about a year ago

FDA Will Regulate Some Apps As Medical Devices

melstav Software is not special just because it's mobile. (130 comments)

DISCLAIMER: I am, (among other hats) a software developer for a medical device manufacturer in the United States.

Seriously, people. The FDA's stance has *ALWAYS* been that if something has a medical purpose or is an accessory to a medical device, then it *IS* a medical device, even with software. See: Guidance for the Content of Premarket Submissions for Software Contained in Medical Devices, dated 2005.

For the purposes of this document, we refer to devices that contain one or more software components, parts, or accessories, or are composed solely of software as “software devices,” including:

  • firmware and other means for software-based control of medical devices
  • stand-alone software applications
  • software intended for installation in general-purpose computers
  • dedicated hardware/software medical devices.
  • accessories to medical devices when those accessories contain or are composed of software.

This guidance applies to software devices regardless of the means by which the software is delivered to the end user, whether factory-installed, installed by a third-party vendor, or field-installed or -upgraded.

So, yes, apps with a medical purpose are medical devices, just like any other piece of software.

Which means they *ARE* subject to the "Obamacare Tax" -- Which is *NOT* a "sales tax" to be paid by the consumer. It's an "income tax" to be paid by the manufacturer / developer.

This also means that if your app is categorized as a medical device, you (the developer) have to register with the FDA as a device manufacturer, which costs a couple thousand dollars a year, and means that every few years, the FDA sends someone out to review your quality control system, which includes your testing methodologies, what complaints you've received and how you've handled them, how you document your development process, etc.

AND what your software does determines what kind of medical device the FDA calls it. And the kind of medical device determines whether you are required to get the FDA's permission before you distribute it. (even if you distribute it for free) And yes, applying for that permission costs money, whether it's approved or not.

And, by the way: Each country makes its own rules about what makes a medical device and what you're required to do to be able to legally distribute it in that country. And in most countries that includes software.

about a year ago

Google Argues Against Net Neutrality

melstav Re:Don't be evil (some of the time) (555 comments)

I can see the argument that if you're limited in any way as to what you can do with your connection then it's not strictly neutral. I disagree with it completely, especially if the connection was sold under a "residential, not publicly accessible" contract. If this were about what content I could access via that connection, or how traffic from different providers / protocols is prioritized, THAT would be a neutrality issue.

If your connection is behind a NAT (carrier grade or otherwise) where you're sharing an IP with multiple other users, that's going to prevent you from being able to run a server that can accept connections from the outside world. -- unless your ISP adds rules to their router to ensure that certain ports on your connection are always available to the outside world. And if you want access to the standard ports (80, 53, 443, 25, 22, etc) they have to ensure that "your IP" is unique, at least among the subset of customers that want that ability.

Carrier grade NAT is only necessary because of widespread refusal (including among carriers) to adopt IPv6. But even without NAT, I still wouldn't have a problem with the ISP saying you can't run a server on a residential connection. Because IP space isn't the only limited resource in play.

about a year and a half ago


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