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Comment Potentially unlawful ? (Score 1) 88

I don't see how sending explosive devices in the post is lawful. The fact that the manufacturer believes there is a risk of fire is a clear indicator that these are dangerous items.

Worst of all, if one does catch fire in transit, the sender (not Samsung) will be liable for the consequences.

It's really disappointing to see a company like Samsung handle this so badly

The only sensible option is to return it to the point of sale for a refund. Failing that, people should be contacting Samsung so that they (and not the customer) are responsible for the safe packaging and transport of these devices.

Comment Playing both sides? (Score 1) 79

Interesting approach to the problem:

On one hand they are fulfilling their duty of care by disclosing this information to the public so they can make an informed decision; and

On the other hand they are protecting their shareholders by suggesting that the devices are safe and people can continue to use them.

It's a sad thing when the profit motive is put ahead of patient safety, however I suspect we will see a lot more of this as the 'Internet of Things' and 'eHealth' agendas collide on the desk of medical professionals who think they are experts but in fact are not.

Welcome to the impending risk of death by technology.

Comment Have the actual IoT devices been identified? (Score 3, Interesting) 69

Has anyone seen any lists of the devices that are being compromised?

It would be really handy to know what devices are actually at risk, so that people can tell if they need to take action. It sounds like whatever these devices are, they have somehow been exposed to the Internet (didn't we all disable UPNP years ago).

Maybe all the ISP's should grab a copy of the code and use it for scanning for vulnerable client devices and tell their customers to disconnect them before the ISP does it for them.

Comment Linux support is important for diagnostics (Score 1) 181

It's fair for people to come out and state that installing Linux on these devices is not a common use case, however what people often forget is that there are a number of tools that people use to diagnose PC faults or otherwise maintain their computer that are built on Linux boot media.

For example, Kaspersky make a handy rescue disk that you can burn to CD or install on a USB drive for performing offline scans of computers. If these Lenovo computers have crippled access to their SSD drives (intentionally or otherwise) then these tools won't be able to see the SSD and disinfect the computer.

You also have tools like GPARTED for repartitioning disks, DBAN for erasing disks prior to disposal, and I suspect there are a range of other useful rescue and recovery tools that rely on Linux as well.

By not allowing people to use these tools, it's likely that problems that could otherwise be fixed will only be repairable by doing full system erases and rebuilds, or returning the laptop to Lenovo for repair.

The fact that these computers don't run Linux on a 24x7 basis isn't the issue - its that when you need to boot them of Linux (installer, libe install, or revovery tools) the ability is not there.

I doubt it's a deliberate decision by Lenovo - however it does indicate that whatever design and manufacturing criteria they have for their products is not particularly well thought out, and doesn't speak well for the quality and utility of their other products.

Comment I learned to hate Pascal in University (Score 1) 515

I taught myself Z-80 assembler and BASIC at home.

I learned to hate Pascal at university

I learned C from the K&R book at home - and loved every bit of it.

Since I started working in IT I've learned whatever language I have needed.

Programming requires a level of aptitude, combined with interest and self motivation. Maybe when Teachers work out how to solve that problem they can move on to teaching computer programming.

I believe however that the increased interest in education (read the greed of educators to chase the latest trends to pull in the cash) will most likely demotivate students best left to themselves rather than bring out the best in them.

Comment How about Mystery Diner ? (Score 1) 105

I saw an episode of Mystery Diner where the guy in charge mentioned that he used a Stingray to intercept SMS messages between two staff who were suspected of stealing from their employer.

They showed the messages as captured - so either this was faked or private citizens can purchase and use Stingray's for spying on people.

And you are worried about Law Enforcement using them ?

Comment Beatup - RTFA (Score 1) 401

For those of you who did not bother to read the article:

"The flight from Geneva, Switzerland to Heathrow, Europe's busiest hub, is believed to have struck a drone, the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The plane landed safely following the incident, which occurred around 12:50 p.m. local time."

"British Airways said its engineers inspected the Airbus Group SE A320 airliner, found no damage, and cleared the plane to continue operating."

So, again we have people getting worked up over drones with no more evidence than we have on the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. Maybe we should get worked up about the dangers of Bird strike and stop people from keeping or flying birds near airports.

Comment Learning from past mistakes - or railroading ? (Score 1) 166

The past attempts to 'improve' the Slashdot user interface have mostly been epic failures. It makes sense that the owners have decided to test the water first before spending time and Karma redeveloping the mobile site.

Now I haven't (intentionally) used the mobile version (I have and I don't like it) and I can see why people would like something better.

However as the 'improved' version is not very well defined, is this a serious attempt to gather feedback beforehand, or is it laying the groundwork so that when the site is upgraded they can ignore all feedback and railroad it through?

The whole 'responsive web' message seems to be an excuse for web designers to jam a load of distracting moving elements in the user face so that they can't tell the difference between cheesey embedded advertising and actual content.

Personally I have found the mobile version of every site I have ever used to be rubbish - and I am concerned that Slashdot thinks that it can fit on a tiny screen. The strength of the current site is the volume of content it hosts (dupes and all) - and the problem with a mobile experience is that the damn screen will never be big enough.

If I could make the call - I'd suggest killing the mobile version.

Comment ESP8266 = NodeMCU (Score 1) 203

Look at the NodeMCU boards - basically an ESP8266 with the I/o broken out, and all the bits and pieces you need to program one up.

They have more than one I/O (you might be thinking of the real cheap version of the ESP8266 that is billed as a serial Wi-Fi adapter). You can pickup a NodeMCU board for under $10, and if you are really smart buy a copy of Neil Kolban's eBook on the ESP8266 - includes helpful hints on getting it up and running with the Arduino IDE.

Much cheaper than getting a Pi Zero and the bits you need (as if you can actually buy a Pi Zero anyway)

Comment Unconfirmed issue with dropbear implementation (Score 1) 35

The linked article states that:

"Note that it is unconfirmed if this backdoor account is reachable on a production device by an otherwise unauthenticated attacker"

Has anyone seen independent evidence that you can SSH into one of these devices with the password "remote_debug_please" ?

Comment Get some perspective (Score 1) 662

Ahmed took an old clock, repackaged it in a different enclosure, got it working and took it to school to show off

Sorry - but the worst label you could put on him is a designer - and having seen the Apple 1 I think he did a better job than Jobs and 'Woz when they were much older so get a grip.

If I cam across someone of his age doing what he did - i'd stop and happily give him some time and encouragement. There's every possibility that he could turn out something fantastic in his future - as long as the US education system does not beat his desire to tinker out of him. You really have to question the intellect and ability of the teachers who escalated this, and the police who thought handcuffs were justified.

Or has the USA reached such a low point that a balloon with the word 'bomb' written on it would spook everyone?

America - the rest of the world is ROTFLMAO over this

Comment Windows XP is also prevalent in medical devices (Score 1) 42

There is still a problem with medical devices running Windows XP Embedded.

What's needed is an industry standard on how to partition and isolate these devices, while allowing appropriate inter-system communications to occur. Then at least there is something that people can hold vendors to and drive the level of technical maturity in the right direction. The sad thing is that these companies are locked in the 1990's mindset, and unless there us a blowtorch applied to their feet they will keep on selling equipment to their customers that is technically obsolete.

Comment Vendors lie about FDA certification (Score 1) 42

The story that vendors spin their customers about FDA approval an security updates is untrue.

The main reason they put it out is that it helps reduce their costs.

If you read the FDA advice at and at

The key piece of advice is If manufacturers chose to use OTS software in their devices and vulnerabilities in OTS software can affect the safety and effectiveness of their networked devices, they have to act to keep their devices safe and effective.

Locking their devices away behind firewalls is great, but you should also provide copies of the above documentation to the vendor and ask them how they act to "keep their devices safe and effective". Make sure your legal staff are involved in asking the question, and see how quickly their advice changes.

Oh - and if you want bonus points in this - make sure that your purchasing people are across this issue and the question is asked during all procurement exercises, and that the contracts and specifications stipulate that the vendors are accountable for doing so.

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