Wednesday Morning: If It Ain’t Baseball, It’s Winter

It may be sunny and 90F degrees where you are, but it’s still winter here. A winter storm warning was issued here based on a forecast 12 inches of snow and 35 mph winds out of the northeast off Lake Huron. For once, Marcy’s on the lee side of this storm and won’t be blessed with the worst of this system.

I’ll cozy up in front of the fireplace and catch up on reading today, provided we don’t have a power outage. Think I’ll nap and dream of baseball season starting in roughly five weeks.

Before the snow drifts cover the driveway, let’s take a look around.

Hey Asus: Don’t do as we do, just do as we say
Taiwanese computer and network equipment manufacturer Asus settled a suit brought by the Federal Trade Commission over Asus leaky routers. The devices’ insecurities were exposed when white hat hacker/s planted a text message routers informing their owners the devices were open to anyone who cared to look. Terms of the settlement included submitting to security auditing for 20 years.

What a ridiculous double standard: demand one manufacturer produce and sell secure products,while another government department demands another manufacturer build an insecurity.

Ads served to Android mobile devices leak like a sieve
Researchers with the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology presented their work yesterday at 2016 Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, showing that a majority of ads not only matched the mobile user but revealed personal details:

• gender with 75 percent accuracy,
• parental status with 66 percent accuracy,
• age group with 54 percent accuracy, and
• could also predict income, political affiliation, marital status, with higher accuracy than random guesses.

Still some interesting work to be presented today before NDSS16 wraps, especially on Android security and social media user identity authentication.

RICO – not-so-suave – Volkswagen
Automotive magazine Wards Auto straps on the kneepads for VW; just check this headline:

Diesel Reigns in Korea as Volkswagen Scandal Ebbs

“Ebbs”? Really? Au contraire, mon frère. This mess is just getting started. Note the latest class-action lawsuit filed in California, this time accusing VW and its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche as well as part supplier Bosch of racketeering. Bosch has denied its role in the emissions controls defeat mechanism:

…The company has denied any involvement in the alleged fraud, saying it sold an engine control unit to Volkswagen, but that Volkswagen was responsible for calibrating the unit.

The scandal’s only just getting going when we don’t know who did what and when.

Worth noting Wards’ breathless excitement about VW passenger diesel sales uptick in South Korea. But then Wards ignores South Korea’s completely different emissions standards as well as the specifics in promotions for that market. Details, details…

Splash and dash

Don’t miss Ed Walker’s latest in his series on totalitarianism and Marcy’s fresh exasperation with polling on FBI vs Apple. Wind’s brisk out of the north, bringing the first wave of flurries. I’m off to check the gasoline in the snowblower and wax my snow shovels.

8 replies
  1. harpie says:

    Rayne [this is the third time I’m trying this…weird stuff going on with my attempts to comment]
    Your response [10:18] at Ed’s post reminded me of a question that’s been in the back of my mind for a while: do you know why it was seen as [or purported to be] so necessary for the City of Flint to sign on with KWA [and leave DCSW], while Flint Township [with the rest of Genesee County] continued with them until the KWA pipeline came on-line?

    [trying without the link]

  2. Bardi says:

    Thank you for the info about South Korea and vehicle emissions. Recently read an article that Mercedes diesels engines did not scrub NOx at 50 F and below. A primary complain of the VW diesel and their uses in other brands was that during regular operation, NOx was not scrubbed, injecting up to “40 times” the regulated amount.

    • wayoutwest says:

      The report about the Mercedes diesels switching off emissions controls below ambient 50 F doesn’t make any technical or practical sense. What advantage for Mercedes would this modification produce? Better performance or economy in cold weather, if it would even produce that result, could be noticed by owners when compared with warmer weather driving performance.

      Perhaps Mercedes will respond to these claims soon and this mystery will be resolved. I could understand the necessity for this emissions system to remain off until the engine temperature exceeded 50 F and that there could be temperature signals crossed with the CPU reading ambient not engine temperature.

  3. bevin says:

    “I’ll cozy up in front of the fireplace and catch up on reading today, provided we don’t have a power outage. Think I’ll nap and dream of baseball season starting in roughly five weeks.”

    Same storm in Georgian Bay on the other side of Lake Huron. Same reaction too. Same vague worry about an outage. Different team, though.

  4. Rayne says:

    harpie (12:05) — That’s the billion dollar question. We know there was a last ditch effort by DWSD to keep Flint on their system, offering a rate cheaper than KWA, but it looks like it was completely ignored by the emergency manager and MI-Treasury. Why was it ignored?

    And I can find no records indicating anyone ever investigated connecting 30-40 miles north to Saginaw’s water system, versus build the KWA 60 miles to the east. I really think Mark Maynard may have been right about fracking, but it means Flint residents were being asked to underwrite fracking infrastructure without their consent — an inverse tax without representation.

    Bardi (12:49) — Thanks; I posted a bit last Friday about a lawsuit filed against Mercedes in New Jersey because of their BlueTec’s failure to work at low temps. Wish I knew more about South Korea’s emissions standards; it’s a shame they’re snapping up VW’s inadequate vehicles.

    bevin (1:03) — Phew, west side of Georgian Bay will be dreadful today. Probably even as I type this, maybe worst. Fingers crossed there’s no sleet with this system.

  5. harpie says:

    Thanks, Rayne. Why indeed? The (D) Assembly Speaker of NJ (Sweeney) and the (R) Governor (Christie) seem to be teeming up to take over Atlantic City, [the name Kevin Orr is coming up in relation to this possibility…he’s been involved there before], and there’s talk about the municipal water utility being AC’s only major asset..a while ago, I read that Sweeney’s brother is a lobbyist for the water company that would probably take over the municipal water utility. Also, many casinos have left, resulting in high unemployment, and the Borgata is refusing to pay taxes because of a previous “tax incentive” that they say was never received…who knows who signed that agreement.

    Also, I just read this excellent short history of “advise and consent” which I thought you and others might enjoy:

    Supremely Contentious; The Transformation of “Advice and Consent”; Meredith Hindley; Humanities [magazine]; Sept/Oct 2009

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