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Daily Archives: April 8, 2024

San Francisco’s light rail to upgrade from floppy disks

The Register: “Those taking public transport in the tech hub of San Francisco may be reassured to know that their rides will soon no longer be dependent on floppy disks. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s director of transportation Jeffrey Tumlin told ABC that the city’s automatic light-rail control system is running on outdated tech and “relies on three five-inch floppy disks” to boot up. The reporter was holding a 3.5-inch disk in the broadcast, so may have just skipped the word “point”. The system is working just fine, but we know that with each year the risk of data degradation increases “It’s a question of risk,” Tumlin explained in a three-minute segment about the floppy replacement project. “The system is currently working just fine, but we know that with each increasing year the risk of data degradation on the floppy disks increases and that at some point there will be a catastrophic failure.” The agency noted that its system was installed in 1998, when floppies were still in common use and, er, “computers didn’t have hard drives.” That doesn’t exactly match reality, since hard drives were already very common at the time – here’s a tale from 1998 about drives sold at the time, in sizes ranging from 5GB to 16.8GB. That’s right: gigabytes! How would anyone ever fill one of those up? For the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to adopt floppies in that year would not be the first time organizations have acquired outdated tech and just kept using it rather than enduring the expense of an upgrade…”

Automated Large-Scale Analysis of Cookie Notice Compliance

USENIX Association Report (PDF) Analysing Cookie Notice Compliance – We show that 56.7% of cookie notices do not include an option to opt out of consent, that more than 65.4% of websites with an opt-out option collect users’ data despite explicit negative consent, and that 73.4% of websites do so even when users do not… Continue Reading

We were very wrong about birds

PopSci – A sticky piece of DNA is rewriting the story of avian evolution–and shaking up the family tree: “An enormous asteroid crashed into the Earth about 65 million years ago. While terrestrial dinosaurs like the famed Tyrannosaurus rex were wiped out, many avian animals really began to flourish. Considering that there are more than… Continue Reading

6 Ways to Identify Who an Unknown Caller Is

MakeUseOf: “Do you repeatedly receive unwanted calls from an unknown phone number? From vishing (voice phishing) attacks to random marketing calls, unexpected and unwanted calls are absolutely frustrating and a downright waste of time. However, if you receive multiple calls from the same unknown number, you may want to identify the caller so that you… Continue Reading

NIST Blames ‘Growing Backlog of Vulnerabilities’ Requiring Analysis on Lack of Support

Slashdot: “It’s the world’s most widely used vulnerability database, reports SC Magazine, offering standards-based data on CVSS severity scores, impacted software and platforms, contributing weaknesses, and links to patches and additional resources. But “there is a growing backlog of vulnerabilities” submitted to America’s National Vulnerability Database and “requiring analysis”, according to a new announcement from… Continue Reading