Climate change: 'Right to repair' gathers force

Found on BBC News on Wednesday, 09 January 2019
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The European proposals refer to lighting, televisions and large home appliances.

At least 18 US states are considering similar laws in a growing backlash against products which can’t be prised apart because they’re glued together, or which don’t have a supply of spare parts, or repair instructions.

Manufacturers say the proposed rules on repairability are too strict and will stifle innovation.

If repairs by third parties is so bad for manufacturers, then just set the minimum warranty to 10 years. This will fuel the innovation: of products that last long. However, the manufacturers won't be happy about this either.

Nokia 9 leak shows off all five rear cameras

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 03 January 2019
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The rear camera setup features seven holes housing five cameras, with the extra two holes used for an LED flash and what looks to be a sensor cluster. For the first time, a video from MySmartPrice gives us an idea of what all of these cameras are actually supposed to do: it promises the phone will take "5 simultaneous shots," which will result in "10x more light captured" compared to a regular camera sensor.

How do you know that a telephone is at the end of it's evolution? It gets stuffed full of gadgets that have absolutely nothing to do with what it is meant to be.

Hot tub hack reveals washed-up security protection

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 25 December 2018
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Thousands of hot tubs can be hacked and controlled remotely because of a hole in their online security, BBC Click has revealed.

Balboa Water Group (BWG), which runs the affected system, has now pledged to introduce a more robust security system for owners and said the problem would be fixed by the end of February.

It said it was working with more than 1,000 owners in the UK and others globally to set up a system of individual usernames and passwords to secure the online controls.

It said it had previously opted not to do so because it had wanted to "allow for simple and easy use and activation" by homeowners.

You can't say BWG made an empty promise. Access to it sure is "simple and easy". It won't take too long before being an offline device will be a feature helping sales.

IBM Embraces Knative to Drive Serverless Standardization

Found on eWEEK on Wednesday, 12 December 2018
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Serverless computing, also often referred to as functions-as-a-service, enables organizations to execute functions without the need to first provision a long-running persistent server.

There have been multiple efforts in recent years to enable serverless models, often using containers as the core element.

"Serverless" just sounds like another buzzword.

'Outdated' IT and old computers found in Welsh schools

Found on BBC News on Monday, 10 December 2018
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It added many schools are using old computers and are struggling to afford the latest equipment.

Current qualifications are outdated, with some a decade behind the latest digital developments such as smart phones, iPads and smart watches.

While technology should be taught at schools, it should be done so without locking students down to products from a single supplier, like iPads.

The Fax Is Not Yet Obsolete

Found on The Atlantic on Sunday, 25 November 2018
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Fax, once at the forefront of communications technologies but now in deep decline, has persisted in many industries. Law-enforcement agencies remain heavily reliant on fax for routine operations, such as bail postings and return of public-records requests. Health care, too, runs largely on fax. Despite attempts to replace it, a mix of regulatory confusion, digital-security concerns, and stubbornness has kept fax machines droning around the world.

Fax may have a role in their offices, but it shouldn’t be the be-all-end-all of communication, even if there are reasons it has persisted. In these cases, the fax shouldn’t die because it’s old-fashioned or retrograde, but because people’s safety and comfort, and even their lives, still rely on a sheet of paper inching out of a machine, awaiting notice.

There are still valid reasons for using them to transmit data, and if it is only a second communication channel to transfer a password.

Solid state of fear: Euro boffins bust open SSD, Bitlocker encryption (it's really, really dumb)

Found on The Register on Monday, 05 November 2018
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Basically, the cryptographic keys used to encrypt and decrypt the data are not derived from the owner's password, meaning, you can seize a drive and, via a debug port, reprogram it to accept any password. At that point, the SSD will use its stored keys to cipher and decipher its contents. Yes, it's that dumb.

Unfortunately, the pair also note that some popular data encryption systems, including the BitLocker tool Microsoft uses in Windows 10, do not use software encryption for SSDs and rely on the drive's vulnerable hardware encryption.

That such an absolutely stupid design that it makes you wonder if it was not planned like that all along, seeing how much the government hates encryption and always calls for backdoors.

Yale users locked out of homes after 'smart' home app crashes

Found on The Inquirer on Sunday, 14 October 2018
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Users of Yale's so-called 'smart' locks were trapped out of their homes for more than 24 hours following after the company's smartphone app went to Borksville.

Yale blamed an "unforeseen issue while carrying out unplanned network maintenance", but claimed to have resolved the problem on Friday morning. However, users still claim that notifications - such as whether an alarm has been armed or disarmed - aren't coming through.

While the app was down, customers complained of being 'stuck' in their homes, while others were forced to wait outside until the problem was fixed.

Oh the sweet irony. Nothing would have happened if clients would have just stuck to something so very old-fashioned like mechanical locks with keys; but no, even unlocking your door has to be "smart". Now imagine someone would find a way to remotely brick all those locks...

Apple Watch’s new auto-911 calls after falls may tumble into legal trouble

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 29 September 2018
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If the Apple Watch detects that the wearer is "immobile for about a minute," it begins a 15-second countdown. After that, the Watch will contact emergency services, which often can use mobile phone data to locate the wearer. (Apple says that the feature is automatically enabled for users who have entered their age into their profile and are over 65.)

In other words, if police are alerted by an Apple Watch of a possible injury, they do not need a warrant to enter a home under the "community caretaking" exception to the Fourth Amendment. This is the notion that law enforcement officers can enter a private space if they reasonably believe that someone needs emergency assistance.

Good idea, but a full blown failure. At least they could have made it soo wearers should have to set up who to notify; but as always, Apple thinks it's knows better than you.

Woman says Galaxy Note 9 burst into flames inside her purse

Found on New York Post on Sunday, 16 September 2018
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Samsung’s highly touted and supposedly fireproof Galaxy Note 9 cellphone spontaneously combusted inside a Long Island woman’s purse, she charges in a lawsuit.

She stopped using the phone and put it in her bag. Suddenly, “she heard a whistling and screeching sound, and she noticed thick smoke” pouring from her purse, she alleges.

You could call it tradition by now.