Tech’s over-reliance on the internet is a preventable national security issue

What would happen if the internet suffered a prolonged and serious outage, reason irrelevant (cyberattack, zero days, P = NP with a simple and fast algorithm, solar superstorms, major vendor compromise, AWS KMS shredded from attack or mistake, total BGP meltdown, take your pick), but we still had electricity, gas, mail, mostly functioning government, and …

Debloating Windows 10 with one command and no scripts

Recently, I had to set up a Windows 10 computer for one specific application in a semi-embedded use case. Anything else that Windows does or comes with is unnecessary for this. While there are plenty of internet scripts and apps for de-bloating Windows, I have found the easiest (and little known) way to debloat Windows …

Open Question: How will Apple keep sideloading in Europe?

I saw the news by Bloomberg (a questionable source) about how Apple was getting ready to comply with the European Digital Markets Act, at last, by allowing sideloading among other things. However, this quote caught my eye: If similar laws are passed in additional countries, Apple’s project could lay the groundwork for other regions, according …

Nobody agrees what “Right to Repair” actually means

Right to Repair: Almost everyone supports it, it will make our devices more repairable, but if you look closely: the definition of what Right to Repair actually is and entails constantly changes based on who you talk to. Note: This table is an oversimplification of their definitions of R2R and does not include all necessary …

My unlawyered opinion on why AI will legally survive in the US

In the past few months, there have been a surge of AI projects that allow generating images and text: These AI programs are amazing – but they were also trained with publicly-available material; and the owners of that material almost certainly did not opt-in to having their material used for AI training, and have occasionally …

Remote attestation is coming back. How much freedom will it take?

Remote attestation has been a technology around for decades now. Richard Stallman railed about the freedom it would take in 2005, A Senator presented a bill asking for the required chips to become mandatory, and Microsoft prepared Palladium to improve “security” and bring remote attestation (among other things) to the masses. Then it all fell …

The dangers of Microsoft Pluton (updated)

In upcoming Intel, Qualcomm, and AMD processors, there is going to be a new chip, built-in to the CPU/SoC silicon die, co-developed by Microsoft and AMD called the Pluton. Originally developed for the Xbox One as well as the Azure Sphere, the Pluton is a new security (cynical reader: DRM) chip that will soon be …

A Beginner’s Guide to Blu-ray Player Firmware

The world is full of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and they all run their own firmware – software that isn’t meant to be updated often, if ever. It’s often Linux-based, often insecure, and often a quickly-hacked-together mess with the goal to get it to work and then immediately ship, regardless of how maintainable or …

This weekend, I had some fun and fixed a Blu-ray Player

Recently, I’ve come across an interesting conundrum: I’ve been paying for Disney+ which is $7.99/mo. and we’ve still been renting some other movies, but I’ve been wondering how long this would go on. We watch a lot of the same movies a lot, so if I just bought all the movies we watch… that would pay off …

The Lockdown Browser is not very good at locking down

I’m taking my second semester of classes at Inver Hills, and in my Chemistry class, we have this awful piece of software called the “Respondus Lockdown Browser.” It’s job is to lockdown the computer so you can’t use other programs, prevents copy-paste, and in theory prevents cheating. I understand the motivation. Cheating is a scourge …