When Engineers Lie

Twenty years ago, when I was writing Accidental Empires, my book about the PC industry, I included near the beginning a little rant about how good engineers were incapable of lying, because their work relied on Terminal A being positive and not negative and if they lied about such things then nothing would ever work. That was before I learned much about data security, where apparently lying is part of the game. Well, based on recent events at RSA, Lockheed Martin, and other places, I think lying should not be part of the game.

Was there a break-in? Was data stolen? Was there an unencrypted database of SecureID seeds and serial numbers? All we […]

By |June 9th, 2011|2011|100 Comments

Til death do us part: Sony and the credit card companies

Remember, after the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, those stories about wallets filled with money being found and turned-in to the authorities, still stuffed with cash? That’s one positive aspect of Japanese culture, but does it also make them too trusting? Sony’s loss of first 77 million customer records and now another 24.6 million suggests that may be the case. A society with low crime rates and comic book criminals screams of unsophistication, which was confirmed for me this week when I heard from a reader who is a payment system auditor. He looks inside Japanese institutions and often doesn’t like what he sees.

“For whatever reason (low crime […]

By |May 2nd, 2011|2011|51 Comments

Sony may be clueless in PSN hack

Sony’s huge PlayStation Network (PSN) has been down for a week now following the theft of ID and credit card data on some or all of the gaming and video entertainment network’s 77 million customer accounts. Readers have been asking for comment but I stay out of these things unless I have something new to contribute. That something finally comes a week into the crisis as gamers begin to wonder why the network is still not back in operation and speculate on what this all means to Sony? It’s a huge loss of face, if course, but beyond that the damage to Sony is minimal. And the upside for PSN members, […]

By |April 28th, 2011|2011|59 Comments

It's a Sony

The machine pictured here is a Sony XDCAM EX, a 1080p tapeless HD camcorder.  It is a so-called “prosumer” model that lists for $7800.  I bought a pair of these cameras (new in the box) at the beginning of July to use for shooting this summer’s Startup Tour.  Many video professionals think these are the best HD camcorders you can buy for under $20,000.  The video is stunning — clearly network-quality or, indeed, feature film-quality.

If only they both worked.

The cameras came from  Abel Cinetech in New York City and we paid about $14,000 for the pair. The cameras worked fine for a few weeks until one froze-up in Boulder, CO.  We couldn’t get the camera […]

By |August 31st, 2010|2010|176 Comments

Is Blu-Ray a Failure?

blu_ray_300pxThere was a minor flap in tech news last week when the CEO of Activision, a huge video game company, called on Sony to drop the price of its PlayStation 3 game console, suggesting that if Sony didn’t follow this advice Activision would consider withdrawing support for the game platform altogether.  I hardly expect Activision to withdraw its PS3 support, nor do I expect Sony to dramatically reduce the price of systems that have already effectively dropped 20 percent or more in Sony’s top market, the U.S., because of the weak dollar. To the astonishment of hard-core gamers, in fact, I’d suggest that this little drama has nothing to do with game sales or games […]