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Right-to-repair name and shames terrible tech • The Register

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Six right-to-repair advocates assembled on Friday morning to present’s second annual Worst in Show Awards, a selection of the “the least private, least secure, least repairable, and least sustainable gadgets at CES.”

In a presentation streamed on YouTube, author and activist Cory Doctorow presided over the condemnation session. He said that he has been attending the Consumer Electronics Show for decades and vendors will gladly enumerate the supposed benefits of their products.

“But what none of those people will ever do is tell you how it will fail,” said Doctorow. “And that’s kind of our job here today, to talk about the hidden or maybe not so hidden and completely foreseeable failure modes of these gadgets.”

Kyle Wiens, co-founder of iFixit, gave the new Mercedes EQS EV the award for the worst product in terms of repairability. Showing a slide of the warning screen the car presents to its driver, he said, “You cannot open the hood of the car. It is locked, warning of accident, warning of injury if you open the hood. Mercedes’ perspective is, ‘Hey, this is an electric car. There’s nothing the owner needs to do under the hood of this car.”

Wiens said this is not the first time Mercedes has gone down this road, noting that a few years ago the company removed the dipstick from its C-class vehicles, arguing that only an authorized technician should change the oil.

“So this is everything that is wrong with the future,” he said.

Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, gave the award for the worst privacy to the Sengled Smart Health Monitoring Light.

“This is a light bulb that is supposed to be monitoring your health, but really is monitoring the humans in the room,” explained Cohn.

The idea, she said, is that the device can track your sleep, heart rate, body temperature, and can do so all over the house if multiple units are used.

“These are one of these things where …some people are like, ‘we can do this thing now let’s find a need for it’ and then I guess the need for it was in case grandma falls down,” she said. “Of course, grandma has all sorts of other ways to tell you that she’s fallen down, that are really only about surveilling her and that she can control as opposed to this one, which is outside of grandma’s control.”

Cohn said the idea that you need your light bulb to monitor your heart rate is just creepy, weird, and unnecessary. And what’s more, she added, it’s not clear what happens to the data the device gathers, where it gets stored, and who has access to it.

NFTs at a price

Nathan Proctor, national campaign director for public interest non-profit USPIRG, bestowed his disdain on Samsung’s new NFT Aggregation Platform.

“One of the beautiful things about the digital age is that the marginal cost of sharing and making copies of things is pretty close to zero,” he explained.

“But there are just some people who have a hard time rolling with that kind of sharing. So we are so used to value that’s derived from scarcity that we have to inject scarcity into the digital world where it’s totally unnecessary and serves no purpose other than to create uniqueness, for things that are actually truly not unique.

If you don’t know what an NFT is, I am honestly jealous of your life

“This brings me to my selection for the worst in class for the environment,” Proctor continued. “Samsung’s new TV NFT aggregation platform, a way to buy, sell and display your NFT artwork from your huge ginormous OLED Samsung TV.”

“If you don’t know what an NFT is, I am honestly jealous of your life,” he said. “But let me explain poorly, because there’s no way to actually explain it without boring you to death. It stands for Non-Fungible Token and it’s a piece of digital media with some kind of permanent, non-transferable marker attached to it, which kind of confirms it’s, you know, been attributed to you in some way. It’s basically a way to create scarcity for digital images that would otherwise not have that as part of their existence.”

NFTs, Proctor said, are sold on markets as if they were collectibles, “sort of like a Beanie Baby craze for crypto tech bros – if Beanie Babies required massive continual energy consumption on a warming planet to remain corporeal.”

They’re bought and sold, he said, using Ethereum, noting that one researcher recently calculated that an artist selling two pieces of artwork used 176 megawatt hours of electricity, creating greenhouse gas emission equivalent to 21 years of average US household energy use.

Paul Roberts, founder of, cautioned that since he hadn’t had hands-on time with the products he considered, the award he bestowed is speculative. Nonetheless, he chose industrial equipment maker John Deere’s fully autonomous 8R tractor, not because of known vulnerabilities but because of the way the company engages with the security community and the inevitability of bugs in the software governing such a complicated machine.

“Any company that makes any software, let alone again, multi-ton robotic equipment with … millions of lines of code is going to encounter security problems,” he explained. “Cybersecurity issues and vulnerabilities are just a byproduct of how much code you write. So Deere, like every other device maker, is going to encounter security issues and vulnerabilities, some of them very serious.”

The issue for Roberts is Deere’s corporate security culture, which he contends is insufficiently responsive to the research community. He points to the disclosure in April last year of vulnerabilities that allowed security researchers to penetrate the company’s corporate website and operations center website.

“Deere’s response to this has been lacking. It really boils down to what I would consider security washing. They launched a bug bounty program with HackerOne, they sent their CISO out on a press tour and talked about how seriously they take security,” he said.

“But in reality, there’s very little to show for that. The bug bounty program exempted hardware from the types of things that researchers were invited to to scrutinize. They’ve had 100 reports since it launched but only 40 are resolved, so they’ve got 60 unresolved issues sitting in the queue.”

Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of, revealed that the Community Choice poll for Worst in Show also went to John Deere, noting her organization is fighting the company in every state legislature to make its products easier to repair.

“It’s nice to see that the broad public is getting the message that allowing one giant union-busting, profit-taking rapacious ag tech company to corner the market on how we get our food and then just turning them loose to do whatever they want with the machines that are necessary is probably not the path we need to a better future,” Doctorow observed before presenting his pick for the overall Worst in Show: Lenovo’s new ​​Smart Clock Essential with Alexa.

“This is a device that you put next to your bed, that if you make an unintelligible random sound, turns on and starts listening to everything you say,” Doctorow said, pointing to the work of security researchers who have looked into the data captured by Amazon’s smart speaker system and the company’s use of contractors who review captured audio to assure transcription quality. “And that just feels to me like one of those things that right out of the gate we should be able to spot is not something that we want in our homes.”

“We are long overdue in this country for federal privacy law with a private right of action, the kind of thing that might discipline one of these companies and you know, here we are…here’s the example of why we need firms to go beyond self regulation and to be regulated by democratically accountable lawmakers that think about the public interest.” ®

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Angharad Yeo: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Comedy

Voice Of EU



I am a child of the internet. I was always drawn to computers and tech, and used to beg my dad to bring us to his office on a weekend so we could use the high-speed internet to play Neopets games. As I got older it was all MSN, MySpace, Paramore fan forums, Tumblr, Twitter and now TikTok. I want nothing more than to zone out and look at my little pictures.

One of my favourite things about the internet is that it allows you to see everyone’s best joke. The moment in their life where they were at their absolute funniest – whether it be because they had a moment of brilliant wit or because they got pulled through a panel roof while practising for a high school play (I assume).

The internet has rotted my brain with the following content. Please now allow it to rot yours.

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The Pandemic Years have (and continue to be) difficult for everyone. Who among us has not, at one time or another, needed to just explain themselves by saying: “It’s mental illness, innit?”

2. Perfect burger

When I showed this video to my fiancee, she flatly said: “I like how absurdist it is.” That’s her code for, “I don’t get it, but I’m happy you’re happy.” And I am happy. Look at how confident and brave this burger is – ready to take on the world, come what may. I wish to be the burger.

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I have been to court precisely once because I inadvertently got in a cop’s way and he was grumpy about it so he booked me. The penalty was dismissed but not before I cried in front of the judge trying to explain what happened because I was so stressed out. Court is a daunting place and I simply cannot imagine walking in there with any level of irreverence. However, I’m extremely glad there are people who simply do not care, will say whatever damn thing and then an internet angel turns them into TikToks.

4. Turtle choir

This tweet is made all the more majestic by the vaguely threatening Sylvanian Families-style profile picture, on a Twitter account named @bigfatmoosepssy.

5. Trying coffee with pasta water

Climate change is slowly turning the Earth into a barren ball of pain as Mother Nature smacks us for being extremely bad. Even though individual responsibility for climate change isn’t enough to turn the tide, I still applaud those who try. Twitter user @madibskatin woke up in the morning and decided to be the change she wants to see in the world, tastebuds be damned. One could argue that it’s pretty obvious that pasta water isn’t going to make a good coffee but like my dad says as he puts pineapple juice in his coffee: “If no one tries it, how will we know? What if it’s secretly good?”

6. Soaring, flying

If you look closely, this video is actually a metaphor for the ways in which we attempt to break free from our circumstances, yet are entirely at the mercy of them.

7. You cannot trick me

This may be a parody Twitter account, but the spirit of Gail Walden speaks truths. There is no victory sweeter than that which is gained on thine enemy’s own soil.

8. Self-deprecating jokes

Humour is a coping mechanism. I am coping.

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Dairy products are delicious. Ice-cream? Revolutionary. Cheese? Life-changing. Whipped cream on a pavlova? Essential. But milk? Disgusting. It’s not a drink, it’s a stepping stone to greater things.

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I am absolutely 100% not at all lactose intolerant (I promise) so I don’t relate to this video at all (not even a bit).

Angharad Yeo is the host of Double J Weekends, 9am – midday, Saturdays and Sundays.

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F5 cuts revenue 2022 forecasts amid low network chip stocks • The Register

Voice Of EU



The artist formerly know as F5 Networks – it moved to plain old F5 in November – is clipping revenue forecasts for fiscal ’22 by $30m to $90m because it can’t source enough specialised chips to produce systems.

The continued impact of the shortfall was outlined in F5’s Q1 results to 31 December and subsequent earnings conference call, during which chief exec François Locoh-Donou opened up on the challenge of suppliers cancelling orders because they can’t meet demand.

“As a result of persistent strong system demand, our systems backlog continued to grow in Q1,” he said. “Over the last 30 days, suppliers of critical components that span a number of our platforms have informed us of significant increases in decommits.

“These came in the form of both order delivery delays and sudden and pronounced reduction in shipment quantities. The step function decline in components availability is significantly restricting our ability to meet our customers’ continued strong demand for our systems.

“Like others in the industry, we are seeing worsening availability of specialized networking chipsets. Within the last 30 days, we have learned that deliveries for 52-week lead time components or at a year ago have been pushed out and that our expected quantities have been reduced.”

Group turnover grew 10 per cent year-on-year to $687m in F5’s Q1, fuelled by a 47 per cent leap in software to $163m, 2 per cent in services to $344m, and 1 per cent in hardware to $180m.

“Our software transition continues to gain momentum,” said Locoh-Donou, adding later in the earnings call: “While we are solely disappointed that supply chain challenges have gated our ability to fulfil customer demand for systems in the near term, we are more confident than ever in our position, our strategy and our long-term opportunity.”

The backlog grew by 10 per cent so the sales pipeline is looking healthy, said the exec, who was at great pains throughout the call to tell analysts: “It absolutely is a supply issue. And the revision we’ve just done to our annual guidance is 100 per cent linked to the supply issue.”

For the year, F5 now expects sales to grow 4-8 per cent ($610m to $650m).

“The issue with our supply chain has deteriorated steadily. And last year, we were not able to ship the demand, which is why our backlog grew so much during the year.

“Things have been getting worse. And at the beginning of our fiscal year, when we were doing the planning for this year, we actually took into account the number of decommits that we were getting from various suppliers and a situation that was already very tight on a number of components.”

He said in the past month it was seeing more than 400 cancellations from suppliers, “and we were running about 30 per cent less than that even just a month ago – the situation is quite unprecedented.”

In a bid to ameliorate the supply situation, F5 said it is working to design and qualify replacement parts – which may improve thing in the second half of the year. It is also trying to pre-order more components.

F5 is confident that it will not see orders cancelled. “The demand we have is very real. Our lead times, unfortunately, have gotten progressively worse over the last five, six quarters, but we haven’t seen any increase in order cancellation, and we don’t expect to see that going forward,” Locoh-Donou stated.

Supply chain problems with silicon components have been hitting companies in the IT industry and beyond for multiple quarters now, and networking vendors are no less vulnerable.

Last year, Arista warned that lead times for key chips were extending out to 60 weeks, twice what would be expected before the pandemic. Both Arista and Juniper announced they were being forced to bump up prices in November, while Cisco warned its buyers and investors that supply chain issues were likely to persist for several months more, although it expected to see some improvement in the situation for Q3 and Q4, taking us into the second half of 2022. ®

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Cork data centre equipment maker Edpac acquired for €29m

Voice Of EU



Munters, a Swedish air treatment technology company, will use the Edpac acquisition to expand into the European market.

Irish data centre equipment manufacturer Edpac has been acquired by Swedish company Munters in a €29m deal.

Based in Carrigaline, Co Cork, Edpac manufactures cooling equipment and air handling systems for data centres in the European market, with additional sales in the Middle East, South America and Asia.

For Munters, which has significant operations in North America, the acquisition is an opportunity for it to expand in the European market. Once complete, the deal will see the transfer of Munters’ technologies and engineering capabilities to Ireland.

“The European data centre market is a prioritised segment for Munters, and the acquisition is a significant step in our growth strategy,” said Klas Forsström, president and chief executive of Munters.

Forsström said that Munters’ experience in the North American market will provide Edpac with “opportunities for further profitable growth” by collaborating on “technology development and establishing unified processes”.

Edpac has two manufacturing facilities in Ireland – Newmarket and Carrigaline – and employs around 150 people in the country. Currently a manufacturing partner for Munters, Edpac sees approximately 7pc of its revenue come from the sale of Munters products.

In the financial year ending April 2021, Edpac reported net sales of €17m and earnings before tax of €1.7m. According to The Irish Times, Edpac managing director Noel Lynch has led the company since it was bought from its Swiss parent in 1991.

“We are excited to welcome Edpac to Munters. Edpac brings an attractive, differentiated customer base and high-quality products,” Forsström said, adding that Edpac’s operating model “is a perfect match with Munters ways of working.”

Founded in 1955, Munters aims to create energy efficient air treatment technologies for customers in a wide range of industries. Listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, it employees 3,300 employees across 30 countries – with annual sales exceeding 7bn Swedish krona in 2020.

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