2017: As The Hardware World Turns

The year is almost over, and now it’s time to look back on the last fifty-odd weeks. What happened in this year in hacking? 2017 will go down as the beginning of another AI renaissance, although we’re not going to call it that; this year was all about neural nets and machine learning and advancements resulting from the development of self-driving cars and very beefy GPUs. Not since the 80s have we seen more work in ‘AI’ fields. What will it amount to this time around the hype cycle? Find out in a few years.

Biohacking was big this year, and not just because people are installing RFID tags and magnets in their hands. CRISPR is allowing for Star Trek-style genome hacking, and this year saw in vivo experiments to enable and disable individual genes in rat models. Eventually, someone is going to get a Nobel for CRISPR.

We’re going to Mars, and soon — very soon — a SpaceX Falcon Heavy is going to either lob a Tesla Roadster into solar orbit or the Atlantic Ocean. We learned about the BFR that will take dozens of people to Mars in a single launch. Boeing and Lockheed think they can compete with the Elon Musk PR powerhouse. The Bigelow Aerospace inflatable module passed its in-flight test on the ISS, giving the space station a new storage closet. Even in space, amazing stuff is happening this year.

Is that it? Not by a long shot. This year has seen some of the coolest hacks we’ve ever seen, and some of the dumbest security breaches ever. Hackaday is doing awesome. What else did 2017 have? Read on to find out.

The State of Hackaday

As far as events, conferences, and contests, this has been a fantastic year for Hackaday. In March, we had three simultaneous unconferences in Chicago, LA, and San Francisco. In August, we hosted hundreds of eclipse viewings and shipped out thousands of eclipse glasses. We had a Sci-Fi contest. We challenged the Hackaday community to do the most with one kilobyte. In September, we hosted an unconference in London. All this time, we saw the world’s engineers mobilize for the Hackaday Prize, a competition to build something to change the world. And it all culminated in the Hackaday Superconference, a two-day extravaganza of hardware creation. The Superconference is the best hardware conference on the planet, bar none. Add in weekly Hack Chats, monthly, bi-coastal meetups, and everything else, and you can plainly see Hackaday has never had a stronger community.

Tindie is going gangbusters, with more products from thousands of hardware creators. Hackaday.io has hundreds of thousands of projects and users. We’ve never been bigger or more active. We’re even starting up an Open Access, peer-reviewed Journal Of What You Don’t Know.

While Supercons and Unconferences and Hackaday Prizes are great, there is another intriguing success this year. Our readership for North Korea is through the roof. Every year, we take a look at our readership numbers in places around the globe, and our North Korean readership has never been better. In 2014 and 2015, we were seeing only a few dozen views from the People’s Democratic Republic. This changed in 2016 with even more dozens. This trend continued in 2017 with a total of 156 views from Pyongyang. If these numbers continue, look forward to a viable Hackaday meetup in North Korea sometime in the next century.

Of course, we’re interested in more than just the views from North Korea. If you want to know more about the State of Hackaday, our Editor in Chief, Mike Szczys, gave a talk on the State of Hackaday at the Hackaday Superconference.

Magical Internet Money

This year, the price of Bitcoin increased from $3k to probably about $20k when this post is published lol nope nevermind. That’s great news for the early adopters. Back when I invented Bitcoin in 2006 (hey, that’s enough proof for WIRED), I couldn’t have imagined Bitcoin would be so popular.

The Great Wannacry of 2017

October 21, 2016, saw an attack on the Internet itself. A bunch of IP webcams trained the Low Orbit Ion Cannon on DNS servers on the East Coast. For some, the Internet was gone. The ‘S’ in ‘IoT’ stands for security.

This year, we got something even worse. The Wannacry ransomware got into a bunch of Windows computers and shut down the UK’s NHS. This was pure ransomware, asking for $300 in Bitcoin (which is now worth about $2500, and this was only six months ago who knows) before a computer would be unlocked. Yes, people paid up. It wasn’t for long, because a security researcher registered a domain that turned out to be a killswitch. The attacks are still ongoing, and a variant of Wannacry is messing around with computers in Chernobyl.

Who was behind Wannacry? For a few months, the best guess was “a state-level actor”, with guesses ranging from Russian hackers who are using some leaked NSA tools, Chinese hackers who are using some leaked NSA tools, to North Korean hackers who are using leaked NSA tools. Now we have an answer: it was those North Korean hackers using leaked NSA tools.

Oh great, everyone’s personal data has leaked

Equifax are morons.

Do You Like Apples?

Last year, Apple started to suck. Between the introduction of laptops with dedicated emoji bars and completely neglecting users who need a lot of RAM and a fast CPU, it seems the Macintosh division at Apple is slowly dying. 2017 saw a slight reversal of the trend with the introduction of the iMac Pro, the stopgap Mac until someone can figure out how to cram discrete graphics cards into a trash can. Is everything terrible in the giant circular spaceship? No, not at all; there’s an iPhone with a Kinect that makes animated poo.

No, seriously, is Apple dying? 2017 saw the stupidest login bug ever. Anyone could log on as ‘root’ with no password. The fix for this exploit broke file sharing. It’s time to have a discussion: right now, MacBooks are issued to every junior dev without thinking, and now it may be time to reassess this practice. What is the solution? Last year, Microsoft announced there would be a Linux ‘shim’, and now PuTTY won’t exist in a few years. Let this sink in: Windows is becoming a better development environment than OS X. How do you like them apples? Fan of Linux? Good news, it only took five years to fix a bug in Wine.

The Great Hope Of Consumer Electronics

About a decade ago, everyone wanted one of those new, huge, fancy LCDs. 3D TV came and went, and now a 42″ TV that would have cost thousands a few years ago now sell for $300. VR was going to be the next big thing. That’s getting there, but it doesn’t look like VR is going to have a huge impact in the near-term. The same goes with drones, and self-driving cars aren’t there yet, despite what Elon will tell you. This year, CES had far too many ‘home robots’ — anthropomorphized bits of plastic with a camera and a display. Nobody wanted them.

As a saving grace to the consumer electronics industry, there was one product that everyone latched onto this year: Alexas and Google Homes and Apple HomePods. What are these devices? Far-field microphones with a somewhat beefy CPU connected to the Internet. The cool versions have a display and a camera. These are the must-have bits of consumer electronics right now.

I don’t know if Nineteen Eighty-Four was dropped from 8th grade English class a few decades ago, but there is a problem with these Intelligent Personal Assistants. They will be hacked eventually, and anyone will be able to listen to the Internet-connected microphones you set up in your home. Believing otherwise is rejecting reality. No, we don’t know how Amazon has made hackers love the Alexa, but nevertheless, people are installing Telescreens in their homes. The popularity of these devices is befuddling and concerning. It’s like no one believes elections can be hacked. They can, and in under an hour. Security just went right off the rails this year, but don’t worry, you can add a headphone jack.

2017 In Tools And Hardware

What did this year give us in tools and hardware? Prusa’s four-color extruder is finally shipping, as is the Mk. 3 upgrade. The Monoprice MP Mini V.2 is out (and it’s great), and the MP Mini Delta is ramping up production (it’s great and it’s super cheap). The Anet A8 is a capable printer if you value your time at zero, and we’re slowly getting to the point where anyone can have a 3D printer on their desk if they want to. We’re actually getting to the point where these desktop printers aren’t annoyingly loud with some fancy stepper drivers.

3D printing is in a weird place. Shares of SSYS match the curve of the Hype Cycle, and slowly, very slowly, 3D printers are becoming mainstream. There’s still a lot of work to do, from 32-bit controller boards, to the perpetual promise of cheap resin printers, but we’re getting there. Soon, a 3D printer will be as common as the drill press in the home shop.

By far the most interesting innovation in 3D printing this year was the Infinite Build Volume printer. We first saw this at the Midwest RepRap Festival in March, designed by [Bill Steele] as a quick, hacky proof of concept. Basically, it’s a printer with a conveyor belt bed rotated 45 degrees to the rest of the machine. Blackbelt 3D quickly came out with their own implementation, and Printrbot teamed up with [Bill] to create the Printrbelt. Do these machines exist in the wild yet? No, not really, but it’s the most innovative 3D printing thing we’ve seen in years.

The Glowforge is finally shipping, but only to buyers who have popular YouTube channels, it seems.

Now that 3D printers are slowly creeping into the mainstream, it’s time for the Maker Market to find a new product to capitalize on. Next year, it’s going to be all about laser cutters. The Glowforge is finally shipping, which means the largest crowdfunding campaign ever (or at least it was two years ago) is finally starting to bear fruit. Dremel is introducing a 40W laser cutter next year, although there’s no price or availability date, so you shouldn’t care. The Dremel might have a cool radiator for liquid coolingbut other than that, there’s not much to speak of.

Lasers are the next big thing, and in a shocking turn of events, China isn’t keeping up. The ubiquitous K40 laser cutter still has crappy electronics, a weird, spring-loaded engraving bed, and a mechanical design that doesn’t make sense. It is the best way to get a laser cutter for under a grand, though, and there are now real electronics boards that work with the K40. Will 2018 be the year some factory in China realizes they can move a massive number of laser cutters by making a few simple changes? One can only hope; the ROI on a $4000 Glowforge doesn’t cut it for me, but a $1000 K40 does.

Late last year, we saw the introduction of the RISC-V in real silicon. The HiFive1 from SiFive is a big-O Open ISA, previously only available in Verilog. This year, it’s a real chip, and that’s just awesome. Arduino announced a RISC-V, ESP32, WiFi, Bluetooth, Arduino thing, but who knows what’s happening with that. What’s really impressive is the announcement of a RISC-V SoC. This will be a processor about as powerful as what you would find in a phone based on the Open RISC-V ISA. It’ll be released in 2018, so keep your ears to the ground for this one.


Looking Forward

What does 2018 have in store for Hackaday? More of everything. We now have an Open Access journal, we’re going to roll with another Hackaday Prize, and we’re looking forward to events in Europe. 2017 was great, but thanks to our community, 2018 will be even better.

28 thoughts on “2017: As The Hardware World Turns

  1. Who cares about a bug in Wine? Only gamers and fools use it, there are plenty of native solutions for all else, or by golly, like me you can write your own code to talk to that esoteric chinese computer controlled bench equipment – they all more or less copied the tektronix protocol anyway. Or build your own gear and control it via something like an ESP8266, as I also do.
    Why would I want to be compatible with a malware magnet? Even MS now has a code editor for linux now, it’s not as nice as sublime-text, but they’re getting there.

    1. Photoshop! Outside of gaming it’s all about Photoshop.

      Personally I’m happy with Gimp but my graphics needs are NOT very sophisticated. Other than occasionally resizing or maybe slightly re-arranging a graphic I just don’t have many needs in that area so I don’t even know what Gimp is capable of vs what Photoshop is. But… I do know people who do graphics all day; graphics designers, photographers, etc.. they will not even let Photoshop slip through their cold dead fingers. I would not be surprised to see some of them set up trust funds to keep their subscriptions active long after they have shuffled off their mortal coil.

      I was interested in knowing, is this because Photoshop actually provides them with something they need or are they just all zombified by Adobe’s marketing? (you know, like Apple users) I attempted to find out by asking my wife (a photographer) why she NEEDS Photoshop. She started listing off features that I just never had the need to find out about. I couldn’t say if she had a point or if Gimp or some other free piece of software would do the same or better because I had never even though to try such things nor can I imagine a scenario where I would. That conversation wasn’t getting very far.

      Then… she told me the REAL reason she HAS to have it. There is a big ass community around Photoshop! Most of those “features” she was making my eyes go blurry with… they aren’t actually part of Adobe’s product at all! There is a huge community built up around sharing and/or selling scripts to make Photoshop do things. It’s not unlike the communities that build up around large open source projects except maybe a higher percentage of scripts are sold rather than shared freely.

      Now I still don’t know what the important differences are between Photoshop and Gimp but I am positive that Gimp can also be scripted. So… the next time Brian goes on one of his pro Eagle tirades consider Photoshop as an example of what can happen when a community builds it’s castle on the shifting sands of a commercial product and beware!

      1. My personnal experience with Photoshop here, I do not use it professionnally. Here’s my reasons for sticking to Photoshop :
        – Painless installation (even on Linux+Wine)
        – Unified workflow with other Adobe products (Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, etc.)
        – Camera RAW workflow
        – Consistent and (relatively) intuitive UI across Photoshop versions
        – Industry standard (yep, that’s a chicken and egg problem, but when you have to send file to a printing facility, chances are they only have Adobe software on their computers to test your files…)
        – Big community : also a chicken and egg problem

        Here are what I do not love about Photoshop :
        – Subscription-only software
        – Not available (natively) on Linux and BSD
        – Badly coded : on macOS there’s still Carbon code lying around for the UI

        1. This is my own experience of GIMP on openSuse (currently Suse Leap 42.2 & KDE 4.86 with GIMP 2.8.18 on an HP xw8400 Workstation with 2 x Dual Core 5150 @2.66Ghz & 16Gb DDR2)
          – Painless installation (even on Linux+Wine)
          # Painless installation (even on Windows!)
          – Unified workflow with other Adobe products (Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, etc.)
          # Unified workflow with Inkscape (Illustrator replacement) & Scribus (InDesign replacement)
          – Camera RAW workflow
          # Camera RAW workflow
          – Consistent and (relatively) intuitive UI across Photoshop versions
          # Consistent and intuitive UI across GIMP versions, plus a plug-in to make the Menus & Shortcuts match PhotoShop, and Single Window mode to make it look like PS.
          – Industry standard (yep, that’s a chicken and egg problem, but when you have to send file to a printing facility, chances are they only have Adobe software on their computers to test your files…)
          # For about 4 years, I produced a broadsheet sized “newspaper” for a Residents Association, which was printed by a professional printer. I used GIMP & Illustrator to prepare graphics, and put it together with Scribus. The workflow was so easy that I was able to teach some complete computer novices to do some of the graphics work. The printer asked for PDF when I offered either that or PostScript. I used Pantone colours and we were very happy with the results. I use GIMP myself to process photos for print or web. I learned PhotoShop, Illustrator & InDesign nearly 20 years ago, and moved to GIMP, Inskape & Scribus about 10 years ago and have not looked back. I am now retired, so couldn’t afford Adobe anyway. My brother, who is a product & packaging designer has got fed up with Adobe’s business model and is converting to Open Source after trying out GIMP 2.8 on Windows 10..
          – Big community : also a chicken and egg problem
          # Big community producing plug-ins and filters, including an Animation plug-in. The most important thing to note is this is the tool used by WETA for mattes and compositing on the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movies, amongs many others.

          And for your last 3 points:
          – Subscription-only software
          # Free Software!
          – Not available (natively) on Linux and BSD
          # Native installs available for Linux, Windows & OsX
          – Badly coded : on macOS there’s still Carbon code lying around for the UI
          # Can’t really speak to this, but since 2.6 it seems to be really solid, and 2.8 has been really easy to use.

          My view on this is that “industry standard” is a myth. This is like arguing about which pencil is best and saying that you should only use Brand A, because that is the “industry standard”! If you are an expert on Adobe, can afford the price and work on Windows computers, then by all means stick with PhotoShop. However, if you have cost worries, or want to use OSX or Linux, then you should at least make the effort to try the latest version of GIMP.

          1. You made me install GIMP :) It has been at least two year since the last time I launched GIMP.

            I had a few trouble using GIMP layer system. All layer transformation happen on the whole layer, not on the non-transparent zones of the layer, which is weird. I did not find any triming function for layers, but I guess there is one.

            RAW processing was not built-in (Fedora 25 here), so I installed Ufraw. The UI was very responsive (not the case at all when I try to import RAWs in Krita), and I could do 90% of what I usually do in RAW pre-processing. Ufraw lacks de-noise options so I tried GIMP’s de-noise filter, but the results were not acceptable at all. Still, I don’t need de-noise that often so I could deal with that.

            I tried GIMP and Inkscape integration (basically copy/paste, which I use all the time because it allows me to not export every single assets from a document), well it worked from GIMP to Inkscape, but not the other way around.

            About Adobe software being an “Industy Standard”, that’s what some of my friends (professionnal photographers and designers mainly) told me. My only experience with professionnal printing services (for sticker printing) : I’ve only been offered .AI and .PSD templates. Inkscape and GIMP know how to import those formats, but I have not guarantee that the import process is accurate (PSD specs are not available*, so it depends on the quality of GIMP’s reverse engineering), so that the data I will send to the fab’ will be usable both for me and for the fab.

            Thank you for the suggestion about Gimp plugins, I will try to find some documentation about that.

            *Yes, Adobe has some PSD format documentation laying around, but lots of features like Smart Objets are not documented :(

  2. “either lob a Tesla Roadster into solar orbit or the Atlantic Ocean” Or hit one of the poles of Mars to test his plan for heating up the planet by covering the white CO2 ice with kicked up red dust.

    1. “Or hit one of the poles of Mars…”

      That sounds like an awful idea!

      If some scarce microbial life were found to be native to Mars I would be all for protecting it. But… if there was also a VIABLE terraforming scheme then I think a second home for Earth’s complex life (including humans) is better. If it kills the native microbes then that is a shame but life goes on. Of course.. it might just give them an opportunity to thrive and evolve that they never would have had without human intervention so I wouldn’t write them off immediately.

      But…

      A half-assed idea that is unlikely to create a viable environment for Earth life and yet manages to exterminate Martian life (if it exists). WTF! That’s a terrible idea!

      If 100% of the Martian polar dry ice was evaporated would that be enough to do the job? I’m thinking not.

      1. Don’t worry, he can’t. At least not legally. There are international treaties covering space travel and exploration. No one nation (never mind a corporation) can claim a planet or moon as their own fiefdom.

        1. First, I don’t remember anyone talking about him claiming Mars as his own. If he wanted to put billions into making Mars more habitable just for the benefit of humanity while still allowing whoever wants and is able to go there then he wouldn’t be claiming it.

          You might have a point regarding treaties if you mentioned the ones against weapons in space. He might be able to argue around that. The only real difference between a weapon and a tool is intent right? It’s not a bomb it’s a ‘pole warming device’. Or, if that fails to impress the Earth’s nations maybe he could launch bomb components in separate rockets and only assemble them on the surface of Mars far from where they can be any danger to anyone on Earth. Or maybe he can convince the governments of the world to make an exception for him because he would be trying to do something good for humanity. Or maybe he can just be sneaky.

          Second, I’m pretty sure any treaties against owning property in space are going to disolve very quickly the first time somebody is actually prepared to break ground on a base. So long as SpaceX considers any colony it creates to be US soil I bet the US government would be happy to oblige in a bit of paper shredding.

          Third, treaties regarding the claiming of land are only as relevant as the signers ability to enforce them. The US hasn’t left low earth orbit in over 40 years nor has it’s government or people had the will to try. No one else ever has! IF Mr. Musk did manage to build SpaceX to the point it can go there and Mr. Musk did set up his ‘fiefdom’ who is he going to have to surrender to? Marvin the Martian?

          I think this is all kind of academic though because I am not convinced that SpaceX or Musk can actually do all of this.

      2. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was only a couple degrees before the CO2 would start it’s natural runaway greenhouse process until Mars had only water ice at it’s poles and a nice thick CO2 atmosphere. Without plants you would still need an oxygen mask, but no pressure suits any more. The trick is that you have to do it in one season, because the next winter the dust gets covered by a new layer of bright white CO2 ice. Elon was thinking about 100 or so nuclear explosions just above the Mars poles to kick up enough dust, which is less than the stockpiles we already have and not too far above the transport weight of a fleet of very big Mars rockets.

        I also like the (very old) idea about adding a dozen or so superconducting rings across Mars surface to create an artificial magnetic field. The amount of material and energy to make that all work well enough to deflect most of the cosmic radiation was surprisingly near manageable orders of magnitude. It helps that Mars is quite a bit smaller than Earth.

        1. You seem to be talking about the temperature required to melt the poles. I was talking about the quantity of CO2 needed to produce that thick atmosphere. Sure, you could melt the poles but would it be enough? I find it hard to believe that there would be enough frozen CO2 in the poles to create a thick atmosphere around the whole planet.

          Also, even if you did get the temperature and pressure right how do you maintain the temperature? If you want a breathable atmosphere you need to start stripping the carbon out of some of that CO2 which is going to bring the temperature back down unless you have more CO2 still frozen or otherwise sequestered and release it as needed.

          Perhaps the idea is to just skip that part and have a planet where one can at least go outside in regular clothes but still need an oxygen mask. I’m not sure that would even work because all that newly melted water is going to start absorbing the CO2 thinning out the atmosphere and turning your new ocean acidic.

  3. “Late last year, we saw the introduction of the RISC-V in real silicon. The HiFive1 from SiFive is a big-O Open ISA, previously only available in Verilog. This year, it’s a real chip, and that’s just awesome. Arduino announced a RISC-V, ESP32, WiFi, Bluetooth, Arduino thing, but who knows what’s happening with that. What’s really impressive is the announcement of a RISC-V SoC. This will be a processor about as powerful as what you would find in a phone based on the Open RISC-V ISA. It’ll be released in 2018, so keep your ears to the ground for this one.”

    Even though it’s all about the Benjamins, Western Digital’s work promises to move things quite a bit.

  4. Permit us to ‘hack’ the time of year to something more scientifically and engineering-ly logical. *insert hacking noises* It is only the new year in a few days and subsequently only 2,018 by way of conditioning – so perhaps we can hack-recondition a solution – especially since it seems makers all want to make clocks and more clocks – endless clock making!!! Spring is resolution of Winter which was also recognized as harvest, the bounty for humans. Winter is miserable and the absolute worst logical time of the year to celebrate change. Join me in celebrating the New Year on 20-March. The year…well…if it is not obvious to ancient Egyptians, is ridiculous. Here is a suitable replacement after 20-March: 4,547,724,018. http://tvmiller.com/otc/ If you hack clocks to OTC and make use of them, we can recondition our sensibilities and evolve. Thank you for your time.

    1. I’m kind of with you but not quite. If you are going to give us a ‘reasonable’ year then I’m not sure what the age of the Earth has to do with it. I’d go for the age of the universe instead. I would say the new year is 13,799,049,018.

      Here’s where this is coming from:

      We will probably never nail down the exact date of the big bang. So.. if it’s useful to do so… we might as well fudge it a bit. Google tells me the current estimate is 13.799 Bya. But… even if we made the year officially that… nobody wants that many digits especially when even when writing about distant history the first several digits will always be the same. So.. people will abbreviate. That’s ok, I remember people referring to the year as 80 this or 90 that all the time up until y2k. We all still knew that a 19 belonged before it by context.

      But… with all those zeros in there the obvious abreviation for the new year would be 18 right? So what would one use when talking about dates pre-y2k? 7989xx? I don’t think so! That is still too long to catch on! So.. we need a year number where the years one is likely to talk or write about can easily be described by only changing the rightmost digits.

      Mostly when we talk about dates in the past we are talking about human history. Our species goes back between 1 and 2 million years depending on where you draw the species line but not so much our society. According to Wikipedia humans began exhibiting modern behaviors about 50k years ago. So what does that look like? …50018. Ok, we are getting better but there are still 5 digits to change when describing anything before what we now know as the year 2000.

      That’s ok though because I am sure that 50k was also a heavily rounded estimate. Why not just call it 49k? So.. add the age of the universe estimate, 49k and 18 and we get 13,799,049,018. Perfect! 1999 becomes 13,799,048,999. At least for the next 982 years that could be abreviated 8999. Now we can describe dates before y2k with only 4 digits, the same number we all grew up with!

        1. Sure but the idea was to eliminate arbitrary calendars that are based on some cultures mythology or when some specific culture started counting time and go with something more scientifically justifiable. @Vije Miller went with the age of the Earth and @Elmer went with the age of the universe. I like the latter because we are talking about counting time and time is part of and began with the universe.

  5. I don’t think that the U.K. has gotten all of the malware tamped down.
    My junk-gmail acct still gets a fair amount of spam, from UK addresses, out that looks like the “long lost friend” or response to some misdirected photos.
    For some reason the name “Sarah” seems to remain popular for the long lost friend/neighbor.
    the latest trick seems to be a spam shot that purports to be a confirmation of your registration in an “alternate lifestyle” (to put it diplomatically)
    In an effort to get an emotional reaction and a click on the link.
    …interesting what it says about their assumptions ( or rather statistics for reaction?) of our personal life.

    Just stay calm and flag as spam, then delete! ;^)

    1. It’s easy to fake return addresses. You’ll get spam from U.K. addresses or people you know even if all malware in the U.K. was eliminated or your contacts were never infected.

    2. What’s funny, is how many of them that get caught in the spam box, show a string of addresses that appear to originate from the African continent then skip to the U.K. before landing here in the USA. Almost like they want it to be trapped in the spam filter (?).
      Anything in this particular account is generally a one time chat, so anything following , is Always & Absolutely regarded as suspect.
      I’m a firm believer in multiple mail accounts and keeping the usages matched pretty closely.
      A phone call can verify anything (odd looking) on the “friends” acct.

      I always appreciate anyones remarks here. It helps me not fall quite so far behind the world. :^P

      P.S. IF we ever loose Adobe reader (I still like Foxit Reader)& Flash video, I’ll need a new handle!

  6. NK was actually big in hacks this year, hacked together some nukes and an intercontinental missile that can reach anywhere and sub-launched missiles too.

    Not going to buy into that they were behind that wannacry re-occurrence though, not because it’s not possible, but because I really can’t trust the ones claiming it was and it could just as easily have been the damn Turks or Russians or Chinese or Ukrainians or Czechs or some middle-eastern types or a few other ‘actors’, in no particular order of likeliness.
    Also you forgot to mention that paying in that last pop up of wanacry did not work, people didn’t get the release they were hoping for if I recall correctly. And also they just used the old existing wannacry as base if I’m not mistaken, so any script kiddie could have done it and no ‘state actor’ was needed.

    But enough about that nonsense, what I miss in this roundup of Brian is more on the drones (apart from one super brief one word mention in one line), the drones had a presence and so did the laws that came and went and came back.
    And drones (of all kinds) are still fun for hardware hobbyists and I see some market in that subject in the future.

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