My experience with the Dell Venue 8 Pro

Let’s start with the ‘bad’ bit first before we come to the ‘good’ bit. As always I will be unbiased in my judgement, and I’m continuing to use the device so it can’t be ALL bad….

In a word – Nauseating. With an average of 4-5 ‘hang’s per day I was already getting sick of the device until this morning when it comes up with a smart ‘Hard drive not found’ message.

Wtf, I mean you can’t even open the device let alone fiddle around with the hard drive…. 2 reboots didn’t fix it so tried again after removing both the sim card and the micro SD – and it booted (finally).

For a device that costs 41K you expect it to be more stable than my HP Probook 4440 (which cost Rs 36K) – but I’m happy to note that my choice of HP is better any day. Specially since it’s never malfunctioned for a whole of 1.6 years now.

On the good side – it’s a stable (until it hangs, 4-5 times a day) device that allows me to check email, read newsletters, watch movies, listen music and generally remain engrossed in office work on-the-move.

Disk read speed is pretty quick, playing an HD movie at 8x rate (muted) while on a Skype call doesn’t even slow it down. Camera is below average for a 5 megapixel device.

Overall, I’d say give them a couple of years to get it right or go for the HP.

Open source suddenly insecure?

If you haven’t heard of the Heartbleed bug in the past month or so, and you use computers – you seriously need to refresh your knowledge. The fundamental concept of “Open source is good because so many developers contributed to it” has been proved to be a myth as of the 7th of April 2014.

A major vulnerability in the OpenSSL crypto library that’s thrown open ‘private’ keys to hackers – affects half a million of the internet’s web servers and possibly billions of internet users. And could affect transactions to the tune of billions of dollars – all for some FREE software??

May have been a better choice to spend on some quality.

According to wikipedia, an analysis on GitHub of the most visited websites on April 8, 2014 revealed vulnerabilities in many including Yahoo!ImgurStack OverflowSlate, and DuckDuckGo.[89][90][91] The following sites have services affected or made announcements recommending that users update passwords in response to the bug:

The Canadian federal government temporarily shut online services of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and several government departments over Heartbleed bug security concerns.[116][117]

Platform maintainers like the Wikimedia Foundation advised their users to change passwords.[113]

The servers of LastPass were vulnerable,[118] but due to additional encryption and forward secrecy, potential attacks were not able to exploit this bug. However, LastPass recommended that its users change passwords for vulnerable websites.[119]

The Tor Project recommended that Tor relay operators and hidden service operators revoke and generate fresh keys after patching OpenSSL, but noted that Tor relays use two sets of keys and that Tor’s multi-hop design minimizes the impact of exploiting a single relay.[15] 586 relays later found to be susceptible to the Heartbleed bug were taken off-line as a precautionary measure.[120][121][122][123]

Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet running at 100Mbps

In a funny turn of events we noticed one of the Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet points on our server (HP’s DL380 G8) was running at just 100Mbps. A closer look at the adapter settings showed no option for 1000Mbps / 1Gbps!!

Important to remember: All Broadcom chips have an “Auto” option that also includes 1000Mbps / 1Gbps – unlike the Intel NICs which say “Auto 1000Mbps” the Broadcom guys didn’t feel it necessary to mention ‘Gigabit’ except in the name of the NIC.

Swapping the network cable resolved this issue immediately. Next time when the office is painted, we need to remember to hide the good cables… else the dummies here use LAN cabling as a tie wire for the power cabling, and then smother the whole thing with a liberal coat of paint.

Happy May!

May day, MAY DAY! Yes it’s the first of May – and I’ve lost (sob, sniff) the whole of April. I was planning to post about my research, Doctor On Call, internet governance and a host of other things (including my needle phobia and 2 really cute chicks) but got tied up doing nothing.

Two cute chicks
Two cute chicks

I wonder, how did people look busy before computers… A mystery we’ll never solve.