Hacker Bypasses GE's Ridiculous Refrigerator DRM

Found on Vice on Thursday, 18 June 2020
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Earlier this year, we brought you the sordid tale of the GE refrigerator that won’t dispense filtered water unless consumers pay extra for “official” filters from the company.

For reference, third-party filters cost as little as $13; GE filters cost $55. I’m gonna go ahead and call this a “hack,” because they’re bypassing an artificial software lock to circumvent DRM, which is, at least in spirit, a hack, and a cool one at that.

Why would you even buy a fridge that locks you down to overpriced replacement parts?

Germany will require all petrol stations to provide electric car charging

Found on Reuters on Sunday, 07 June 2020
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The move could provide a significant boost to electric vehicle demand along with the broader stimulus plan which included taxes to penalise ownership of large polluting combustion-engined sports utility vehicles and a 6,000 euro subsidy towards the cost of an electric vehicle.

“Internationally this puts Germany in the leading group of battery electric vehicle support.”

Even with Superchargers it will take way longer than filling your car with gasoline. Petrol stations are an emergency charging place at best; charging needs to happen at the endpoints. Unfortunately, his plan is very useful for politicians to say "we are doing something".

Tesla on autopilot crashes into overturned truck

Found on Taiwan English News on Monday, 01 June 2020
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A Tesla crashed into an overturned truck on National Highway 1 this morning, and the driver said the car was on autopilot at the time, according to reports in United Daily News, and Liberty Times today, June 1.

Video footage of the accident showed the truck driver standing around 25-30 meters behind the overturned truck attempting to warn drivers, but as the Tesla approaches at full speed, the truck driver is forced to stand aside.

So you have cars which can read speedlimit signs, but cannot see a huge truck?

Canceled Dyson electric vehicle boasted 600-mile range per charge

Found on Digial Trends on Tuesday, 19 May 2020
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Codenamed N526, Dyson’s electric SUV weighed 2.6 tons and could fit up to 7 people. Its top speed was 125 miles per hour, and it could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds.

A more impressive statistic for the scrapped vehicle was its 600-mile range in a single charge.

Anybody can make bold claims to attract attenion. What counts is what gets delivered; and that is nothing in this case.

The Rise of The (Coffee) Machines: I need assistance. I think I'm running Windows. Send help

Found on The Register on Sunday, 17 May 2020
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Typically found dispensing tea, hot chocolate and whatever the message box is obscuring - we're betting it's "coffee" – the machine would normally bring blessed respite, through automation, to those in need of liquid refreshment.

The begging for help is therefore not entirely surprising, although an upgrade to Windows 10 might turn that coffee into an altogether different variety of frothy, brown liquid.

Why would anybody even just remotely consider putting Windows 7 on a coffee machine?

Three things in life are certain: Death, taxes, and cloud-based IoT gear bricked by vendors

Found on The Register on Monday, 04 May 2020
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On 29 May, global peripheral giant Belkin will flick the "off" switch on its Wemo NetCam IP cameras, turning the popular security devices into paperweights.

Suffice to say, many Wemo NetCam users are pissed off. El Reg reader Gerard said: "Why are only those with a warranty given a refund? There is nothing wrong with the webcam. It is working fine."

Great PR desaster for Belkin. Consumers will think twice before buying other products from them again.

Coming Soon: Open-Source Blueprints for a Tiny Nuclear Reactor

Found on Popular Mechanics on Saturday, 07 March 2020
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A mechanical engineer-turned-tech entrepreneur has plans to, well, empower people around the world to build their own 100-megawatt nuclear power reactors.

Smaller reactors like this one have purported benefits in safety and regulatory time, but that’s only true if the rigorous testing required of a nuclear solution ends up in their favor, and that itself will still take time.

Just imagine all the protesters gathering around them.

Simple Systems Have Less Downtime

Found on Greg Kogan on Thursday, 05 March 2020
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As a former naval architect and a current marketing consultant to startups, I found that the same principle that lets a 13-person crew navigate the world’s largest container ship to a port halfway around the world without breaking down also applies to startups working towards aggressive growth goals.

There’s no question things will break along the startup journey, just as surely as they do on a ship crossing the globe. However, if the onboard systems are simple, those issues won’t leave the startup drifting helplessly in the middle of the ocean.


Hackers can trick a Tesla into accelerating by 50 miles per hour

Found on Technology Review on Friday, 21 February 2020
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The researchers stuck a tiny and nearly imperceptible sticker on a speed limit sign. The camera read the sign as 85 instead of 35, and in testing, both the 2016 Tesla Model X and that year’s Model S sped up 50 miles per hour.

Tesla has since moved to proprietary cameras on newer models, and Mobileye EyeQ3 has released several new versions of its cameras that in preliminary testing were not susceptible to this exact attack.

So every time a bug is found, you're supposed to either have parts of your car replaced, or just buy a new one? When such cars get more common, such pranks will increase.

“I was just shaking”—new documents reveal details of fatal Tesla crash

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 15 February 2020
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The case attracted wide attention because Banner had engaged Tesla's Autopilot technology. Not only that, the circumstances of Banner's death were almost identical to the first Autopilot-related death in the United States: the death of Josh Brown in 2016. Brown was also killed when Autopilot failed to stop for a semi truck crossing in front of him on a Florida highway.

The momentum of Banner's Model 3 carried the vehicle far down the road—apparently so far that Wood didn't see it when he got out of his truck. Wood says it was only a few minutes later, as he saw the lights of emergency vehicles in the distance, that he realized the awful truth.

Maybe some day it might be possible for a car to drive automatically, without making any mistakes; but it's just not worth it. If you do not want to drive, use public transport.