Tuesday Morning: The Week’s Peak Crey

I cannot with the unexpected engagement picture in my Twitter timeline of news oligarch Rupert Murdoch and model Jerry Hall, on the heels of losing David Bowie and in the wake of El Chapo-Penn. Tell me this is the craziest it will get this week.

D-Day for Microsoft’s earlier Internet Explorer versions
In case you didn’t already know this, Microsoft is slowly killing off its Internet Explorer browser brand, beginning with the end of technical support for all but IE 11.

Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical supports and security updates. Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes, and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

Some organizations are still relying on older IE versions — a dicey proposition if other non-Microsoft browsers aren’t compatible with their systems. Get a move on, people.

OMG! Terrorists may use drones!
Hoocoudanode cheap and readily available drones might be repurposed by terrorists for flying IEDs. The breathlessness. Really. But wait, they can be stopped!

“The best defence against the hostile use of drones is to employ a hierarchy of countermeasures encompassing regulatory countermeasures, passive countermeasures and active countermeasures.”

I don’t know about you, but I picture the sky soon dark with counterterror drones, swarming like the air over a northern Michigan road in mayfly season.

Processor troubles
Intel’s Skylake processors run into problems with complex computing, freezing PCs. A BIOS update is being distributed as a fix. But this isn’t the only bug out there. Read this, especially this bit: “…CPUs are now complex enough that they’ve become too complicated to test effectively.”

Hmm. In other words, future shock has moved beyond consumers.

NPR interviewed VW CEO Matthias Mueller
I’m sure Porsche has been wondering what the hell they were thinking, tieing up with Volkswagen. Porsche’s top guy is now tasked with clean up after VW, and he’s struggling. Witness NPR handing Mueller a shovel, and watching as he just keeps digging.

NPR: You said this was a technical problem, but the American people feel this is not a technical problem, this is an ethical problem that’s deep inside the company. How do you change that perception in the U.S.?

Matthias Mueller: Frankly spoken, it was a technical problem. We made a default, we had a … not the right interpretation of the American law. And we had some targets for our technical engineers, and they solved this problem and reached targets with some software solutions which haven’t been compatible to the American law. That is the thing. And the other question you mentioned — it was an ethical problem? I cannot understand why you say that.

NPR: Because Volkswagen, in the U.S., intentionally lied to EPA regulators when they asked them about the problem before it came to light.

Mueller: We didn’t lie. We didn’t understand the question first. And then we worked since 2014 to solve the problem. And we did it together and it was a default of VW that it needed such a long time.

Somebody needs to explain the Law of Holes to Mueller.

Also worth revisiting the definition of crazy today. Carry on.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
28 replies
  1. martin says:

    quote”I don’t know about you, but I picture the sky soon dark with counterterror drones, swarming like the air over a northern Michigan road in mayfly season.”unquote

    Ha! Yeah, well the rednecks in the Manistee forest would love the target practice. Given the state gave out 700 THOUSAND deer tags last year, I’d submit these drones wouldn’t stand a chance of making it a mile.
    Oh, and speaking of the “roads” in the land that time forgot, if that’s what you call them, may have served stage coaches well, but Michigan state legislators need to drive a few in the heart of winter. Of course, they’re too busy fucking their colleagues in the back rooms of the Capital.

    • martin says:

      “Somebody needs to explain the Law of Holes to Mueller.”

      ps.. Yeah, well somebody needs to explain the Law of Holes to the Michigan Department of Transportation too. :)

  2. JamesJoyce says:

    “I don’t know about you, but I picture the sky soon dark with counterterror drones, swarming like the air over a northern Michigan road in mayfly season.”

    We have our communicators and tricorder apps. Siri has replaced Spock’s computer..

    I think what you are describing a scene from terminator..

    I guess folks forget Hal? I googled Hal.

    This is what I got?

    https://www.google.com/search?sclient=tablet-gws&site=&source=hp&q=hl&oq=hl&gs_l=tablet-gws.3..0i3j0i131l2.1482.2637.0.3222.2.2.0.0.0.0.133.232.1j1.2.0….0…1c.1.64.tablet-gws..0.2.230.YMZefR8ak6o#q=hal

    Irony?

    What happens in the future, is predictable, given history. Seems war still drives innovation for man, to kill his brother?

    http://youtu.be/pTE4K9usRBY

  3. bloopie2 says:

    I got yer counterterror drone; see link below. This one shoots a net (à la Spiderman) to capture another drone. I can only wonder how long before there’s one large enough to capture a human – Obama can drone-capture those ‘terrorists’ rather than drone-killing them and all those nearby. I wonder if the FAA will let me register one of them, so I can “play” with my friends. And it’s from a Michigan state university, so it’s all done with EW’s tax dollars, to boot! Welcome to the future.
    .
    http://gu.com/p/4fm4x/sbl

  4. lefty665 says:

    How could anyone tell Microsoft dropped technical support for IE?
    .
    Skylake is another product of Intel Israel. There’s every reason to expect bigger backdoors, enhanced OOB and AMT for remote access by Haifa as well as Ft Meade even while powered down. Now that’s technical support. Wonder how that works for the ones NSA buys?
    .

    • orionATL says:

      another microsoft-is-just-another-dumb-bureaucracy story.

      i like to keep my computers clean.

      4 or 5 years ago i ran into an exceptionally irritating piece of adware on my main computer. it was the equivalent of, in fact may have been one of the first, supercookies. eventually, i traced the entity that made it to a small israeli computer “advertising” company (can’t remember the name). i learned from the internet how to get rid of the damned thing, and i also learned that this company had moved to redmond, washington and was a business partner of microsoft’s.

      i’m trying to remember if this little software gem might not have been connected with some version of ie.

      • lefty665 says:

        Hi Orion, Your computer isn’t clean if you’re running Intel based hardware, and the newer the hardware, the dirtier it is. Look at out of band (OOB) for powered down remote access, AMT and Vpro for profound intrusiveness. AMD does not set you free, but it is less tightly coupled.

        • lefty665 says:

          Oh for the editor….
          .
          To be clear, last sentence above should read: AMD cpus do not set you free but are less tightly coupled. In addition, they have far fewer hardware hacks baked into the silicon.

        • orionATL says:

          thanks. i had no idea intel had this reputation. i’ve built all the desktops in our house for yrs and never used an jntel chip. why. mostly because amd is cheaper. because i’m an against the flow type. and because my naieve sense of computer chips was that amd was more innovative than intel. do you remember when cpu’s cooking themselves was such a deal that there were all these gyro gearloose cooling devices on top. my recollection (quote possibly faulty) was that amd dealt with this problem quicker and better than intel. wasn’t this where dual-core and then quadcore showed up?

          right now, since tablets are the future (though i’ll never be without a desktop, if only for photos), my big problem is how to get away from the all-surveilling eye of google and downloads from google playstore

  5. lefty665 says:

    Not reputation, fact. Ask the Google about OOB, AMT and Vpro. There’s also some Intel marketing stuff for IT departments touting how they can access, encrypt or brick stolen computers, among other things. That makes what to brick a policy decision by whoever has access.
    .
    Each iteration of Intel CPUs gets more hacks built in. Worth reading about Intel’s design operation in Haifa too. Lots of Israeli intelligence community ties. Bright folks, but I wouldn’t bet they had our best interests at heart.
    .
    Some of the AMD CPUs of Intel P4 vintage didn’t have thermostatic throttling, so they really would scorch mobo earth if the fan quit. You’re right, AMD & Intel both had to quit going faster and start parallel processing on multiple cores for higher performance. Smaller screens helped too, Skylake uses a 14nm screen, amazing. You’re right on coolers too, I’ve got a couple of old fans that would cool a Chevrolet.
    .
    Seems like about half the tablets use Intel processors so it’s not a slam dunk escape with those devices either. Dunno what’s in the other phone/tablet CPUs for processor comm integration, but expect they’re closely coupled too.

    • orionATL says:

      ” I’ve got a couple of old fans that would cool a Chevrolet.” :)

      and not just the fan blowing air. a radiator too. some of the really serious cpu coolers were water cooled. that’s when you knew for sure intel and amd had reached a limit.

        • orionATL says:

          i hadn’t heard that but it makes sense. i wonder how in the world they cooled the original vacuum tube computers for gov?

          • scribe says:

            Put them in a vacuum, then ran the liquid-cooling system in metal-to-tube contact with the tubes.
            .
            What heat didn’t transfer by conduction was transferred by radiation to the liquid-cooling system.
            .
            Or so I recall being told by a guy with >30 patents to his name who helped build the first one (working for a contractor under contract with an unnamed government agency almost certainly the NSA). He was an expert witness in one of my cases about 20 years ago.

            • lefty665 says:

              Hadn’t heard that, interesting approach. Some were regular old air conditioning, unusual for the day, and in large amounts. They were forerunners of the ubiquitous Blazer units still in use today.
              .
              Here’s a description of cooling in the Cray 1, some similarities to what you’re describing but with ICs instead of tubes:

              “Cray’s designers spent as much effort on the design of the refrigeration system as they did on the rest of the mechanical design. In this case, each circuit board was paired with a second, placed back to back with a sheet of copper between them. The copper sheet conducted heat to the edges of the cage, where liquid Freon running in stainless steel pipes drew it away to the cooling unit below the machine.”
              .
              NSA’s Cray 1 is on display in their museum just outside the gates at Ft. Meade. You can go look at it along with other interesting bits of crypto history.

            • P J Evans says:

              Some of them didn’t have special cooling systems. They were used as part of the heating systems for their facilities. (The SAGE computers were used that way, I understand, and in at least one place they had to install a heating system when the computer was retired.)

            • orionATL says:

              fascinating history..

              that technology met the demands of the moment, but then the tubes and their cooling system were gone, replaced in the blink of an eye by transistor based systems,
              replaced in turn by integrated circuits, then replaced by million-billion transistor silicon sheets. what’s next?

              technology moves too damn fast in “the modern era”. i can’t keep up. help :)

  6. orionATL says:

    i have been so irritated by google’s grip on android products that i forgot to consider its cpu. guess i’m going to have to buy chinese and hope they’re short of translators :)

    thanks for lots of interesting info.

  7. scribe says:

    Re: drones.
    .
    #4 birdshot (diameter about .13-.14 inches) should work admirably well. If called upon to opine, I’d prefer 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 ounces (lead) over a max dram equivalent charge, i.e., a turkey load. Should be good out to 50 or 60 yards.

    • orionATL says:

      why not 22 caliber hollow points with superminiaturized guidance systems designed to sense air turbulance :)

      • scribe says:

        1. The 22 will carry too far. Safety, you know.
        2. The vast majority of people are just not good enough with a rifle to pull off a stunt like that. Shotties work much better. More appropriate for flying targets, too.
        3. 22 ammo is still in short supply, thanks to The World’s Greatest Gun and Ammunition Salesman Evah (that’s Obama to you).
        4. No one makes the kind of guided bullet you’re hypothesizing about.

        • orionATL says:

          not only carry too far, but what if with my brilliant bullet-as-missle air turbulence detection guidance system was not well-tuned and mistook a neighbor’s fan in the window at night for a drone?

          lawyer time big time :).

  8. Evangelista says:

    There being in this thread tech-talk re: remote access and operations of wireless devices, I wonder if anyone has any experience with attempting to cell call 911 when being routed through decoy cell access? Can it be done, or does the insertion block access for the decoy spoofing, not being the phone ID-queried? I’ve had experience being decoy routed, which causes abnormalities, pauses, clicks, double-connects, etc., and failures to handle confirmations when the phone’s or SIMM’s ID is back-queried (causing this is a way to affirm you’ve over-wound some acronym enough to get special attention), but I never call 911, so I wonder if decoy-access would block 911s, or be blocked by 911 calling-device-confirmation systems being confused by the spoof? Anyone have experience, or knowledge?

    Another way to identify probably being spoof-access routed, sometimes, is abnormal call-dropping, especially serially, which usually indicates a spoof-access-point operator fishing for phone contacts, his/her forcing call-drops being to instigate tries to next and next and next numbers. Imagine, for a fun example, being shadowed by DHS, FKGBI, local parking-enforcement patrol, whoever, having an emergency and trying to call for help, doctor, partner, EMT, 911, anyone, with your shadow agent killing your calls, to get next numbers, or trying to push to a number he/she is yearning for: Agent: “Come on, asshole, call al-quaeda! We can’t be wrong on this one…” In a different place and time it could be a novel fiction, but in this present United Surveillance State of America, where the only thing they can’t take away is our gallows-humor (at least if we don’t let go of them) fiction is the new reality.

  9. Evangelista says:

    Post Script:

    In the Mathias Mueller v. NPR, EPA, USA, et al, exchange I have to side up with Mueller:

    To be accused of ethical fault by that lot? To be faulted for lying by the Nation of Lies and Liars?

    undoubtedly Mueller was floored. Who in the United States does not lie? how about the EPA’s ten percent alcohol for “environmental responsibility” program? Ten percent alcohol lowers the volumetric efficiency of fossil-fuel gasoline by near to twenty percent, making twenty percent less power in carbureted engines, reducing fuel mileage by twenty percent in computer-contorlled (output maintaining) fuel injected engines, so that for “environmental responsibility” you burn eleven gallons of fossil fuel, plus one gallon of alcohol, where without the “environmental responsibility” you would have used only ten of fossil-fuel (and avoided the alcohol makers’ using fossil fuel base for fertilizers, to run tractors (where high-sulphur is allowed) and to wort and then distill the alcohol, after fermentation, which releases green-house gas carbon-dioxide).

    Hell, even NPR lies, including knowingly, to conform their news to the ‘National Norm’. i know it’s unbelievable, but I’m not just theorizing conspiracy; it’s true, honest (which means I’m now unAmerican).

    • Rayne says:

      Evangelista — We can go around and around about which countries are legitimate based on their track records of ethical norms, but there’d be virtually no country standing. We just watched the world meet in Paris and perform a massive fucking circle jerk about climate change, and every single EU country lied about their intentions because they have been lying about complying with their own damned emissions standards in their own backyards. We don’t need their cars here if they can’t meet our emissions standards. It’s no skin off our noses since all of the vehicles sold here in the U.S. under VW brand amount to less than 4% of the market.

      You can bet, based on Germany’s notoriously protectionist practices, if U.S. automakers did not comply with their laws when selling into the EU, they’d kick our asses to the curb. Opel as a subsidiary of GM might be an exception *if they are using Bosch’s ECUs.*

      • Evangelista says:

        Rayne,

        And most of the VW 4% US market share are “made in USA”, mostly in Tennessee as I recall. It gives them protection against US protectionist legislations, removing economic incentives from banning “foreign manufacturers”. The Japanese do the same, including making some GM models for GM here, who has been doing most of their manufacturing in (and garnering their profits in) China for a number of years.

        Personally, I perceive all ‘anti-corruption’ ‘regulation’ and ‘legal sanctioning’ to be purposed to forcing the corrupt corporations to share some of their winnings with the equally corrupt government owned regulation industry. Essentially the old gangster shake-down routine, a cost of doing business in a particular gang’s ‘turf’ part of a city. In the US. or Germany, UK, France, Belgium, etc., when the local Regulator Man comes around, you got to pay. The only difference is that with a government gang there’s got to sometimes be some publicity, some posturing and flexing and threatening, lawyer-goons muscling around, to put on some show for the people.

        Where would we be without the world of philosophy to retreat into, where we can contemplate relevant conundrums, such as: “In A Land of Liars, Where All Is Lie And All Lie , Are Lies Lies, Or Are They ‘Liars’ Truths’ And So Truths?

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