Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Noteworthy anime

The last episode of Parasyte the maxim aired yesterday and what a ride it was...  And a pretty satisfactory ending.  If you haven't seen this series, it's highy recommended.
Another series that's coming to an end is Death Parade,   which had some really great moments.

In April, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited blade works starts again.
I'm curious about Seraph of the End, from Wit Studio (you know, the guys from Attack on Titan)

Finally saw When Marnie Was There, the latest Ghibli movie (and the first without involvement of Hayao Miyazaki).  If you liked the bittersweet tone of The Secret World of Arrietty, you're going to like this movie a lot.  Ghibli takes animation to near perfection.  You actually forget you're watching an animated feature.  I was really impressed both animation- and story-wise.

Also following:


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Alexion deal with Belgian government got public

In Belgium there's yet another controversy about Soliris  the trade name of Eculizumab, a drug from the firm Alexion.
Soliris is a orphan drug, effective in the treatment of two rare, life threatening diseases:  PNH (paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria) and aHUS (atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome).   "Typical" HUS is the result of a e-coli infection and is 10 times more common than the atypical variant, which has genetical causes.

In 2013 the media picked up a sad story:  little Viktor, a 7 year old child, suffering from a rare genetic disease (aHUS) was deprived from a miracle drug which could save his life.  Belgian's health system (considered one of the best in the world)  did not reimburse  a whopping € 234,000/year.  
There were lot's of ethical questions about Alexion's lobbying techniques.  They indirectly manipulated the parents. Even Pharma.be, the trade organisation for pharma companies in Belgium, condemned the practices and got into a legal quarrel with Alexion.
There was a lot of public pressure on  Laurette Onkelinx, then health minister to negotiate a deal.  They came to an agreement but the terms weren't made public.  

In 2014  another aHUS patient, the 15 year old Elias, shared a movie on Facebook explaining his situation.  Because he got a kidney transplantation and a more latent form of aHUS, other terms apply.  

Belgian government has yet again to negotiate with Alexion.  And perhaps not entirely coincidentally  someone has leaked the one page (!!!) agreement from 2013.  It seems Belgium got a poor deal:  a 5% reduction to a non negotiable price.  Sources speak of a blackmailish situation.     

This will be a really tough case for the current health minister Maggie De Block.  Let's hope for Elias sake everything will be ok.

Of course, the traditional not so effective kidney transplants and dialysis also cost a lot to the community.  Pharma companies take a lot of financial risks to develop orphan drugs.  Governments already recognise this and have special legislation for companies doing this research.  

As far as I can lookup, the Soliris patent expires in 2020.     

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

VMware not complying with GPL?

I've always had the utmost respect for VMware.  A true visionary company.

That's why it really saddens me to hear this multi-billion company does not want to comply with the GPL and is sued by Christoph Hellwig, a German kernel hacker.

If you don't like the license, write your own code.  It's not that your licenses come cheap.   Shame on you, VMware!

Read more about this here:

http://sfconservancy.org/news/2015/mar/05/vmware-lawsuit/
https://fsf.org/news/conservancy-and-christoph-hellwig-gpl-enforcement-lawsuit
https://sfconservancy.org/linux-compliance/vmware-lawsuit-faq.html
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/05/vmware_sued_for_gpl_violation_by_linux_kernel_developer/

Thursday, March 12, 2015

EquationDrug: Kaspersy describes yet another APT

After Turla and Regin, this is yet another very advanced APT with dozens of plug-ins.

https://securelist.com/blog/research/69203/inside-the-equationdrug-espionage-platform/

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Beertasting 5 feb 2015



Olivier, a  colleague of mine organized a beertasting for us (off working hours of course :-) ).
He did a 2y course "biersommelier" so he obviously knows a lot about the subject.

This was his selection:
As I had never tasted Chimay Dorée it was quite interesting.  Most of the other beers are well known but the tasting was aimed at beginners.

Chimay Dorée 

  • Alcohol: 4.8 % ABV
  • origin: Brewery Abby Notre-Dame de Scourmont - Route Charlemagne, 8, 6464 Baileux (CHIMAY)  BELGIUM

Troubadour Blond

  • Alcohol: 6.5 % ABV
  • origin: Brewery The Musketeers BVBA, Tramstraat 8, B-9910 Ursel Belgium

St Feuillien Tripel

  • Alcohol: 8.5 % ABV
  • origin: Brewery St-Feuillien SA , Rue d'Houdeng 20 - 7070 Le Rœulx - Belgium

Gouden Carolus Ambrio

  • Alcohol: 8.0 % ABV
  • origin: Brewery Het Anker,  Guido Gezellelaan 49, B-2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Rochefort 8

  • Alcohol: 9.2  % ABV
  • origin: Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy, B-5580 Rochefort

Sint Bernardus ABT 12 

  • alcohol: 10% ABV
  • brewing type: quadrupel, dark
  • origin:  Brewery Sint Bernardus,  Trappistenweg 23, 8978 Watou, Belgium
  • price: € 1.90/ bottle incl deposit (qualidrinks, prices 2 jan 2015)

Did you know every 1000th bottle,  the abbot at the label winks at you? (thanks for the info, Harri)

Wall of shame: Seagate NAS has a nasty unpatched vulnerability - Freak attack


Seagate put extremely old versions of Linux software on their "business NAS" line and refuses (or is incapable) to fix the issue.

People should avoid using this hardware or put the box behind a firewall.

https://beyondbinary.io/advisory/seagate-nas-rce/

We seriously considered buying one of these things last year...

Freak attack
And thanks to the US government we have yet another serious SSL problem....

http://gizmodo.com/freak-attack-a-dangerous-security-flaw-caused-by-us-go-1689331567
All Windows versions are also vulnerable!