The fundamental problem with these IoT devices is - LINUX. They all run Linux, which is a full operating system capable of loading and running applications. I have nothing against Linux as an operating system, but it's inappropriate for an embedded system whose job is to run one and only one special application for ever. Just why a thermostat needs the ability to change its application program remotely escapes me. I can see the attraction of Linux to people who are too lazy, or too incompetent, to write their own embedded drivers the way we did when things were designed by competent engineers, but they should at least put in some security to detect unauthorized program changes and refuse to load them.
Whether the vans work or not, the troubling part is the authority they've been given. It comes from the Investigatory Powers Act, or as informed people call it the "snooper's charter", an allegedly anti-terrorist law. Proof, if any were needed, that when a government says "terrorists" it really means citizens who may deprive it of a nickel's tax.
If a firmware update bricks a device, you can blame it partly on incompetent programmers, but in reality the blame falls on incompetent management for rushing something out without proper testing.
Such problems are not unknown in companies founded by hot shot engineers. They seem not to know the limits of their own competence, and they just can't keep from interfering with the engineering department. This makes for an atmosphere where mistakes - the boss' mistakes - are covered up. Nobody dares draw attention to them and they're fixed, if at all, behind the scenes and undocumented. If Quality Assurance knows anything about it, they know better than to draw attention to the cause of a problem, and that often means it doesn't get reported.
If I were Page, I would have fired Fadell just for the bricking, never mind the business performance.
In a piece of trivia completely unrelated to the current controversy, Elton John and his spouse were almost the first couple to take advantage of the UK same-sex marriage law. Tony Blair attended the wedding.
Actually he probably does understand it, as a direct result of this experience and the settlement between Microsoft and the US Government. I recall the FBI used to fulminate about how Skype's unpublished and unbreakable encryption was making the world safe for pedophiles and drug dealers, but since Microsoft bought Skype they seem to have stopped worrying about it. Interesting.
More than 20 years ago a small cable company in Florida - in Sanford, I recall - offered its subscribers a la carte, along with an extremely innovative video on demand service that you could pause and rewind. It only existed a couple of months until pressure from Disney, which owns ESPN, forced them to abandon the idea. You had to take the whole ESPN/Discovery/other crap bundle or you could have nothing.
Around the same time, or shortly before, I recall a bill going through Congress that attempted to rein in the cost of cable. I waited with anticipation, but when it passed my cable company (Time Warner) found an innovative way to increase my basic cable bill by about 10% for exactly the same content.
It was Congress that altered copyright law to extend it to things as trivial as your wife's grocery list. Congress removed the necessity to file for it. The act of scribbling it down creates copyright. This comment is copyright. Thanks, Congress.
"Legislating from the bench" means you do not agree with what Congress told you to do, so you do not enforce Congress's law. Your definition is better known as "jury nullification".
As for copyright extension, I'm not aware that the late Sonny Bono was a member of the judiciary. I always thought he was a second rate singer who went into politics after his wife dumped him.
Yer right guv. Move along, nothing to see here. Everything's on the square with the Metropolitan Police. They treat every case "Sine Favore" these days. Learned their lesson, they did, with that business in 1977 - lot of people sweating, I can tell you, but only 13 went down. Thirteen, that's a bloody disgrace. Never happen again, no sir. The Manor takes care of it now.
Right, it's about trade and business (and taxes, of course). The US is no paragon in that area. The problem is that Europe doesn't have the kind of business environment in which a company like Google or Facebook could be formed and grow the way it can in the US. There's a reason America is full of expatriate European entrepreneurs.
The gaming industry argues that allowing these modifications would “undermine the fundamental copyright principles on which our copyright laws are based,”
Oh really. Last time I looked, copyright was an agreement between the author and the public that in exchange for a period of exclusivity, the work would become available free to the public. The industry is welshing on its side of the deal by ensuring that the work will never be usable in the public domain. It seems remarkably cynical for the ESA to claim that relaxing the rules for users would be "undermining the fundamental copyright principles" when the industry itself is so blatantly violating them.
I remember the Osborne with great affection. The screen was way too tiny, but I liked having all the ports available on the front, where they were accessible, instead of round the back where the marketing department thinks users want them. The other Osborne innovation was bundled software - it came with a whole suite of applications, which was a first and a powerful inducement.
My O1 was truly portable, because I had a battery pack. This was like a leather lunch box that weighed 20 pounds and put out 120V DC, so you just plugged the computer into it like a wall socket. It was a "D'OH" moment for me when I realized that switch mode power supplies work equally well on AC or DC.
"Keep in mind, of course, that the state that owns Cubatabaco is a communist nation"
I fail to see how the political party running their government is in any way relevant - we don't seem to have a problem doing business with odious regimes at the other end of the spectrum. Cohiba always has and always will mean Cuban cigars. Everyone knows that the Cohibas you can legally purchase in the United States are a cheap counterfeit, and illegally imported real Cohibas have always been at a premium, but this is a case where an idiot in a hurry could be genuinely misled. The trademark should revert to Cuba.
"Freedom of Information Act. Three harmless words. I look at those words as I write them, and feel like shaking my head 'til it drops off. You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it."
Those are former PM Tony Blair's words, speaking of himself in his memoir, and bitterly regretting that he allowed the FoIA to pass under his administration. When this is the attitude of people at the top, it's hardly surprising if the henchmen pick it up and run with it.
That's a very good question. This affair is really the business of the State of Nevada, not the Federal Government. One supposes they were concerned about losing a nickel's tax. However, the FBI does seem to have a hard-on for Nevada. I recall that almost the first application of the Patriot Act was the FBI using it to investigate whether a local Las Vegas politician was receiving favors from a strip club.
Y'know, as a consultant, almost every one of my clients makes me sign an NDA (non disclosure agreement)promising Draconian penalties if I disclose their valuable secrets to a third party. Yet when I offer them my public key and ask for theirs, they look at me in blank surprise. They have no concern about sending their valuable secret drawings and business plans in plain text on unencrypted email.
So I guess innocence isn't about having nothing to hide. It's about being completely fucking clueless.