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US Supreme Court Case on Toner Cartridges

Posted on March 30th, 2017 at 22:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


You Should Care about the Supreme Court Case on Toner Cartridges.
The verdict could have consequences on practically any purchased product.

[PC printer manufacturers make most of their money selling toner & other ink
systems, often at ridiculous high prices.

Various 3rd party outfits sell apparently identical ink cartridges for much
less money.

I turn in my used cartridges to a recycling outfit, which refills them, with
much lower cost to me than buying the printer manufacturer cartridges.

The printer manufacturers want to put a stop to that competition, make you
use theirs exclusively, then they can jack up the prices even more.




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NASA fireworks

Posted on March 30th, 2017 at 22:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


A security patch, applied by IT staff at NASA, caused an equipment shutdown
and subsequent fire that destroyed spacecraft hardware.

The fire lasted 3.5 hours, unnoticed by anyone because the security patch
had shut down the fire alarm systems.

[The news media blame the fire on the security patch. Inspector General
finds more significant faults. The Space Agency has lost track of its
equipment needs. AWM]

This was not an isolated incident, of bad consequences of networking
hardware, without good management of the equipment’s dissimilar needs..

“Vulnerability scanning used to identify software flaws, that can be
exploited by an attacker, caused equipment to fail and loss of communication
with an Earth science spacecraft during an orbital pass. A chilled-water
heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system was disabled—which
caused IT equipment reliant on it in one of NASA’s data centers to be shut
down after temperatures rapidly rose to more than 50 degrees centigrade.

Here is the IG Feb-8 report, on above challenges:

[Many industries grew with industrial control mechanisms not designed to be
networked with computer systems vulnerable to malware, hacking etc. They
don’t have good firewalls or any cyber security protections, but in the
interests of cost savings, critical infrastructure industrial systems are
being included into computer networks, often without adequate thinking to
protect all the devices in a cyber security risky world. US’s Space Agency
is one of those industries. Before networking the industrial control
hardware, there were personnel familiar with its maintenance needs. If you
drop those people from the payroll, you are making your outfit more
vulnerable.. AWM]

[Registration required]

Lots of NASA operations get connected to the cloud, without upper management
awareness, nor approval, due to lack of good cyber security..

Here’s IG Feb-7 report on that:

NASA is also involved with IoT.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley reported, in 2007, that $ 1.9 billion in
hardware was stolen, thanks to hackers into NASA.

That’s a significant portion of NASA’s annual $ 13 billion budget.


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  1. I am not an IT genius but isn’t it normal protocol to test patches on machines not connected to the network? Also, would someone send NASA information on how to use VLANs?

UK government says Apple ‘cannot get away with’ unbreakable encryption following terrorist attack

Posted on March 30th, 2017 at 22:13 by John Sinteur in category: News


British Home Secretary Amber Rudd – in charge of police policy in the UK – has told the BBC that Apple ‘cannot get away with’ apps that offer unbreakable encryption following last week’s terrorist attack in London.

Rudd was speaking after it was revealed that Khalid Masood accessed WhatsApp two minutes before ploughing through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a rented car, killing three of them, before fatally stabbing a police officer guarding the Houses of Parliament.

She described end-to-end encrypted messaging as used by WhatsApp and Apple’s Messages app as ‘completely unacceptable’ …

It is completely unacceptable, there should be no place for terrorists to hide. We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other […]

In this situation we need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp. 

Rudd continued with a confused statement in which she referenced Apple directly.

If I was talking to Tim Cook, I would say to him that this is something completely different. We’re not saying ‘open up,’ we don’t want to ‘go into the cloud,’ we don’t want to do all sorts of things like that. But we do want them to recognize that they have a responsibility to engage with governments, and engage with law enforcement agencies when there is a terrorist situation. We would do it all through the carefully thought-through, legally covered arrangements. But they cannot get away with saying we are a different situation. They are not.

So, er, that’s clear.

Oh bloody idiots, when do they grow up. Step out of the “Something must be done, this is something, therefore it must be done” mindset and think for a second.

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  1. I’m surprised they didn’t throw in, “Think of the children!”

  2. I can’t wait until all of these brainless politicians have all of their data hacked and posted on the Internet for all to see! Oh boy! I’m getting a big box of popcorn for this one!

The Scrapping Of Internet Privacy: Something We Can All Hate Together

Posted on March 30th, 2017 at 20:44 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Hansard – Committee 28/02/2017 Parliament of Australia

Posted on March 30th, 2017 at 14:11 by John Sinteur in category: News


Senator ABETZ: I have just got a very quick brief topic, a matter that was brought to my attention by a staff member of Finance. What is the protocol with flying flags in the Department of Finance and in the foyer?

Ms Huxtable : I might have to take that on notice, but we would adhere to the government guidelines in that regard. I believe I have someone here who may be able to help you.

Mr Hirschfeld : We follow the protocols set by the flag protocol unit in PM&C.

  Senator ABETZ: Flags that are associated with political campaigns or active community campaigns, are they flown in the foyer from time to time?

Mr Hirschfeld : I do not know whether it is my position to determine whether or not something is a political campaign.

  Senator ABETZ: That begs the question: what is the protocol about flying flags in government buildings and on this one for the Department of Finance?

Mr Hirschfeld : The PM&C protocol specifies flag protocols for the flags that are flown outside the building.

  Senator ABETZ: Outside the building; not inside the building.

Mr Hirschfeld : Not to my knowledge, but we can check that.

  Senator ABETZ: Not for the official foyer. So, in that case, if it is not the PM&C guidelines, who determines the guidelines? Can anybody from the public plant a flag in the foyer of Finance? I assume that is not the case, so somebody must have that heavy duty.

Ms Huxtable : I think there are no protocols as such in respect of the inside of the building, but clearly it would be a matter for the executive board in terms of what happens inside the building.

  Senator ABETZ: Surely the executive board meet to determine what flag is to be flown in the morning?

Ms Huxtable : The executive board do meet very regularly on a range of issues. I cannot say that I can recall any sort of flag issues ever being raised at board meetings. As is the normal arrangement, we meet fortnightly.

Senator Cormann: And I can say that nobody has ever raised any flag issues with me. I am not aware of any flag issues. If there is any concern in relation to flag issues, it might have been useful for it to have been raised.

  Senator ABETZ: The Finance staff member who raised it with me is concerned because they imagine that it would not be the minister making that determination but possibly the head of the department or somebody else within the department. To cut to the chase, the rainbow flag was on display in the lobby, which, believe it or not, some people see as an activist flag for a particular cause in relation to the issue of whether or not we should change the legislation on marriage. Some people support that cause; others do not. I was just wondering what the protocol was within the Department of Finance because if that is allowed then one imagines the Marriage Alliance banner should be flown equally. Ms Huxtable?

Ms Huxtable : I did not say anything.

  Senator ABETZ: I know you did not say anything, but I saw the way that you reacted to that. If you allow one side of a debate then you need to allow the other side. That is why I sought to determine up-front who was responsible for making these determinations. It looks as though we do not have anyone. Can you take on notice: who is actually responsible? With whom does the buck stop? Who makes the actual decision as to what flags are flown? For example, when the Israeli Prime Minister was in town, I understand we did not see the need to fly the Israeli flag in the foyer of the finance department. Who makes the determination as to what flags are exhibited or flown in the foyer from time to time?

Ms Huxtable : I think I have already made the point that, in terms of what is inside the foyer, that would be a matter for the executive board. I can certainly raise this issue with the executive board at their next meeting, and we can discuss a way in which we can make this decision in the future.

  Senator ABETZ: If you could provide with a copy of the relevant minutes of the executive board that made the determination in relation to the flying of this particular flag, that would be very helpful.

Ms Huxtable : I will seek to do that.

  Senator ABETZ: Thank you. For what it is worth, by way of some slight humour on this issue, you realise this particular flag is the flag of the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, which has declared war on Australia. Senator Cormann, you would understand they did the same as Prince Leonard of the Principality of Hutt River and this is now their official flag. It is the flag of a hostile nation, if we are to believe them, having declared war on Australia. I dare say that was not the reason it was flown.

  Senator McALLISTER: I think he is no longer king.

Senator Cormann: Last week, it appeared his son had taken over; that is right. Senator Abetz, as the secretary has indicated, there will be a flag inquiry, and we certainly do not like to be—

  Senator ABETZ: You have flagged an inquiry?

Senator Cormann: Yes, a flag inquiry. It is certainly not the government’s intention to fly the flags of hostile nations in any of our official buildings.

  Senator ABETZ: Very good. That is a start.

Senator Cormann: We will make sure that there are no flags of hostile nations anywhere in any government building.

  Senator ABETZ: Excellent. The other thing is to ensure that there are no flags that are identified with certain political campaigns that might upset members of the staff of the finance department. Thank you.

  Senator McALLISTER: I would like to come back to the NBN Co and the loan that has been announced, provided to the NBN Co on commercial terms.

Although, technically speaking, he is right, it should be noted that he’s so consistently anti-gay it would not surprise me one bit if he was spotted having a wide stance one of these days. There is really only one reason to think about gay people that much. For the best way to bother him on this issue  someone needs to agree with him and very seriously say they need to appoint an ambassador to the nation to apologize for the affront.

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  1. On the subject of the rainbow flag (that threat to public order and decency, I’m shocked to say 🙂 I heard that Gilbert Baker has died.

    Sad news.


Posted on March 30th, 2017 at 8:04 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Rare photo of the UK leaving the EU.

Posted on March 30th, 2017 at 0:05 by John Sinteur in category: News

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