After a long legal wrangle, some defendant-side attorneys have audited the source-code of Alcotest, the breathalyzer used in New Jersey DUI stops. Turns out it was programmed by muppets who don't know how to calculate an average and who throw out error messages by the dozen.
Like voting-machine vendors, breathlyzer vendors go crazy when defendants ask to have their source-code audited, claiming that there's a bunch of top-s33kr1t stuff in there that their competitors would steal. And, just like voting-machine software, breathalyzer software appears to have been written by squirrels dancing on the keyboard until they got something that would compile.
2. Readings are Not Averaged Correctly: When the software takes a series of readings, it first averages the first two readings. Then, it averages the third reading with the average just computed. Then the fourth reading is averaged with the new average, and so on. There is no comment or note detailing a reason for this calculation, which would cause the first reading to have more weight than successive readings. Nonetheless, the comments say that the values should be averaged, and they are not...
4. Catastrophic Error Detection Is Disabled: An interrupt that detects that the microprocessor is trying to execute an illegal instruction is disabled, meaning that the Alcotest software could appear to run correctly while executing wild branches or invalid code for a period of time. Other interrupts ignored are the Computer Operating Property (a watchdog timer), and the Software Interrupt.
SUMMARY OF THE SOFTWARE HOUSE FINDINGS
SOURCE CODE OF THE
DRAEGER ALCOTEST 7110 MKIII-C
We got one of these gadgets from The Lakeside Collection and it broke on the first use. It turns out the screw neck is made of the cheapest plastic known to man and is doomed to failure upon contact with anything harder than snow, such as ice, wipers, mirrors, roofracks, antennas, and so on. Worse, […]
It’s a very expensive wee gadget, the Teenage Engineering OP-1 [Amazon link; a used one from eBay is much cheaper]! Yuri Wong is an expert with its sampling and sequencing tools, and this video he uploaded is a fascinating illustration of how powerful and approachable they are. Download the mp3: https://gum.co/imadude [Logic Project download link […]
In the wake of this week's Motherboard scoop that the major US carriers sell customers' location data to marketing companies that sell it on to bounty hunters and other unsavory characters, Google has disclosed that they have told the carriers that supply service for its Google Fi mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that they expect […]
Want a career in web design? It’s true that these days, most anyone can throw up a page or two. But for true workhorse web design, you’ll sometimes need to match the platform to the project. Enter the Complete Front-End Developer Bundle, an educational grand tour around the best tools for the web. For beginners, […]
Things move fast in the world of social media, and they don’t slow down for marketers looking to make an impact. Whether you’re grabbing eyeballs for a major company or a local business, you’ll need to adjust your strategy for every platform. Don’t have a strategy to begin with? That’s where the Social Media Marketing […]
It’s a rude awakening for that rookie vacationer abroad when they try to plug in their gear for the night. Veteran jet-setters know that outlet shapes can vary wildly from country to country, which necessitates that most boring must-have for any world-traveler: A sackful of clunky power adapters. Awkward problem, elegant solution: The Twist Plus […]