This isn’t exactly breaking news since it happened almost two months ago, but I found in interesting especially since it happened here in Austin and I didn’t hear anything about it at the time. A “hacker”, and I use that term loosely both because the current definition has been twisted away from its roots in the hobbyist and free software movements, and because the term implies creativity, of which this guy didn’t use much, broke into a computer system and used it to brick over 100 cars here in Austin.
Omar Ramos-Lopez was arrested in the affair after police traced the activity to his AT&T IP address. Ramos-Lopez was laid off by local auto dealer Texas Auto Center, which uses a system called PayTeck to remotely disable cars if their owners fall behind on payments. He was able to access the system using a co-workers account, and went through their database name by name changing records, disabling cars, and setting off alarms along the way.
The final showdown is under way in our first-ever Gadget Freak of the Year contest. Who will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show? It's up to you, dear readers, to tell us.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.