Archive | June 4, 2003

Woo-hoo! 100 Mbps wireless! The air will cook!

US Robotics Claims 100 Mbps. “US Robotics offering proprietary 100 Mbps + speeds in new “Turbo” 802.11g gear: The explanation that they’re placing all the speed on a single channel doesn’t make any sense, of course. They’re limited by channelization, so they’re increasing the symbol rate in some way, which certainly would decrease distance because of issues of reflection in OFDM (or whatever the Texas Instruments underlaying chips are doing at 100 Mbps — PBCC?). More interesting is a $250 product they plan to ship in July which has the Linksys WAP54G features (AP, point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, client) but also can act as a repeater for relaying signals. It’s unclear whether it can be a bridge and an AP simultaneously….” from Wi-Fi Networking News

Trustworthy Computing strikes again

A flaw in IE6 that requires a patch to Windows Server 2003 is rated as “moderate” with the logic that servers would rarely need a browser. Oh, come on! Too funny!
Update: Okay, that’s overstated. It turns out that IE on Win2K3 ships in a highly secure mode not vulnerable to the patch’s target. However, the security mode may need to be downgraded in order to access some content, so the threat is still there.
Windows Server 2003 gets first patch. “Microsoft says the flaw’s details are a positive sign for “Trustworthy Computing,” despite the embarrassment of releasing a patch barely two months after the OS launch.” From CNET

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature?

I’m not sure I’d tick off a guy who blogs under the nom de plume of Ernie the Attorney. Here’s his story: It’s raining inside my car – I wonder if that is the sign of a major design flaw?. Well the drought finally ended last night, and it looks like we got about 2 inches of rain.  I know this because I measured the rain collection in my BMW X5’s center console cup holder.  So how could I be so stupid as to leave all four of my windows and the sun roof open during a major downpour?

Believe me I didn’t.   Here’s what happened.  Last night, during the rain storm, the car spontaneously lowered all of the windows and opened the sun roof.  Really. 

And this is not a design flaw, or a bug.  It’s a feature.

Here’s how it works: BMW makes their ignition keys so that you can wirelessly lower the windows to your car by holding down a button on the key.  It takes a good 30 seconds of holding to open all of the windows, but you can do it just by holding down that button.  Obviously, the problem occurred not because of a key button being held down, but because of some stray electrical signal in the car’s vicinity (perhaps from the electrical storm).

So I asked the service manager (after I explained this problem, which apparently has occurred before) if he could disable the “feature.”  He said “it can’t be done.”  I asked him if he thought it was a good idea for a car to be susceptible to opening all of the windows because of some freak electrical activity in the car’s vicinity.  He made an effort to understand my point, but obviously I’m biased.  He said most people like the ability to open the windows with their key.  So he didn’t think there was any sort of design flaw.

Oh, and any damage that might have occurred won’t be covered by the BMW warranty.  Remember, guys, this is not a bug it’s a feature.  And a mandatory feature. 

So what if, while parked outside a downtown restaurant, the car decides to open all the windows and invite a few thieves to get inside and poke around, where they can find the valet key and drive away?  (hint to the thieves: bring a bathing suit)

I can’t wait to talk the boys from BMW NorthAmerica and commend them on their fine engineering.  I am definitely going to ask them what frequency their key system operates on. 

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.