Is your insulin pump safe?

•November 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I came across a thought-provoking article posted at The Register, regarding an IT security flaw in, of all things, an insulin pump.  Now, this isn’t just any pump, it’s a subcutaneous device manufactured by Medtronic.  The security flaw was discovered by McAfee Research Associate Barnaby Jack.  This flaw isn’t your typical slow down my PC or steal my credit card number variant.  The flaw has the potential, albeit small, to be life threatening!

The insulin pump is designed to communicate wirelessly with an external monitor which allows medical staff to both monitor the device and alter the parameters of the device so that dosages can be increased or decreased as needed.  From a patient perspective this is fantastic. Continue reading ‘Is your insulin pump safe?’


BlackBerry Pig, err, umm, Porsche P’9981

•October 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Pig wearing lipsickA friend of mine just pointed me to this Forbes story about the new BlackBerry Porsche P’9981.  Seems our friendly Canadian smartphone maker just can’t seem to help themselves.

Kudos to Porsche Design, the pictures on their site look really cool.  Remember, their involvement is industrial design not things like OS features or battery life so don’t knock them for taking on this project.  Personally, I’d like to see their influence on an Android phone.

Continue reading ‘BlackBerry Pig, err, umm, Porsche P’9981′

Alas, poor Yorick!

•October 22, 2011 • 2 Comments

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!”  Shakespeare’s Hamlet couldn’t have said it better.  “Alas, poor BlackBerry! I knew him, Horatio.

Continue reading ‘Alas, poor Yorick!’

Intel’s “upgradeable” CPU

•September 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here we have yet another probable marketing debacle.  Intel’s latest Pentium CPU will be “upgradable” by end users who purchase a special code to unlock features that are physically present in the processor.  The code comes with a $50.00 price tag.

The Pentium G6951 is a low-end CPU intended for use in systems in the range of $500 or less. A $50.00 upgrade represents a 10% premium on the price of the entire system.

What if Lexus sold you a car with an engine that had eight cylinders but they configured the on-board electronics to disable two of the eight?  If you wanted the additional power you could bring your car in to the stealership (pun intended) and pay an additional $4,500 for them to unlock the two cylinders.  Alternately, if you felt comfortable enough doing it yourself, Lexus would send you a code to enter in to the car’s radio, or something like that, to enable the two cylinders.

Perhaps Sony and Samsung should start selling high definition televisions that only display a maximum resolution of 720p but if you send them a check for another $200 they will unlock the television to display full 1080p.

How ridiculous is that?

I don’t see this as an upgradable CPU at all.  They’ve taken a product, intentionally deactivated some of it’s features, and then repackaged it as upgradable.

All they are doing is give the world-wide teen hacker population an afternoon project to break the code and then make it freely available on the Web.  Let’s not forget DVD Jon was a 16 when DeCSS was released.  Even Blu-ray’s HDCP has been broken.

Does Intel believe they are impervious to such efforts?  How long do you think it will take for someone to release code that will unlock these CPUs for free?  I have a three byte code that will eliminate the Intel upgradable CPU issue completely:

0x41 0x4D 0x44

World-Class (wûrld’klăs’)… A Working Definition

•September 2, 2010 • 3 Comments

The terms best-in-class and world-class are often used to describe the quality of a product or service.  Automakers refer to their vehicles as having best-in-class performance or gas mileage.  Cyclists are often referred to as being world-class athletes. Let us not forget the endless debates about who has the best-in-class pizza, Philly cheese steak, or burger.

Much like the differences between accountability and responsibility, most confuse the terms best-in-class and world-class.  These two terms are not the same.  They are not interchangeable.  Striving to build a best-in-class widget, team or process is good.  An even loftier goal is that of building world-class widgets, teams, or processes.
Continue reading ‘World-Class (wûrld’klăs’)… A Working Definition’

Orange Rhum — Perfection in a glass.

•July 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Anyone that knows me understands that I am as passionate about a good bottle of wine or cocktail as I am about any other subject.  I’ve decided to start to share some of my favorite wines and cocktails here (I’ve even invented one of my own but more on that in a later post).

A few years ago, while dining at one of my favorite restaurants, the manager introduced me to a special liqueur that has become one of my favorite digestifs.  I can honestly say there hasn’t been one person that I’ve introduced this wonderful elixir to that hasn’t also become a fan.

One evening, after dinner, I served it on the rocks to one of my guests.  He held up the glass and asked “What is this?”  “Trust me, just sip it,” I responded.  He took a sip, paused, held up the glass, then, longingly said, “This is perfect.”  (Thanks, Igor.)  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Continue reading ‘Orange Rhum — Perfection in a glass.’

We have met the enemy… again!

•July 2, 2010 • 6 Comments

My last entry was about the enormous security holes created by clear-text passwords and similar vulnerabilities as the result of bad IT practices.  I’d like to think I had great timing but by pure coincidence the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release the very next day related to the very same subject.

Seems our friends at Twitter just settled charges that it failed to protect consumers’ personal information.  Their site was allegedly hacked on two separate occasions in 2009 resulting in the hacker(s) gaining administrative control.

Continue reading ‘We have met the enemy… again!’

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