* Posts by Aleph0

112 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Oct 2007


North Korea using freelance techies to fund missiles and nukes


So, many DPRK coders work in DeFi

That explains a lot IMO, I wonder how many of the past blunders at crypto-bean exchanges were deliberate... "Sorry, there was a bug in a 'smart' contract of ours, all our customers' funds have been squirreled away" is an excuse I got tired of reading.

Web3: you might as well wire your money directly to Kim Jong Un.

Programming error created billion-dollar mistake that made the coder ... a hero?


Re: Worst code I ever saw...

"I know what's appearing on the screen even while I'm looking at the keyboard"

Lucky you, all too often I end up finding out that some poorly-written program (looking at you, SAS EG) has silently stolen focus from the one I was writing into, and when I look up from the keyboard a bunch of text that was supposed to be there is nowhere to be seen...

Icon is my reaction when I then think about how mumble-ty years ago I knew how to touch type...

Hardware makers criticized for eco double standards


Re: A matter

At 180 MB/s (average sequential speed of drives from 4-5 years back), writing 1 TB takes roughly 1.5 hours.

Now suppose you have to discard a 10 TB drive... That's why since a few years back most datacenter drives have been self-encrypting, and their secure erase functionality is implemented by simply resetting the encryption key, which is to all effect instant.

How I made a Chrome extension for converting Reg articles to UK spelling


"Biting the hand that feeds IT" dropped

Not entirely dropped but moved to the page bottom.

On that note I have another question, why does it say 1998-2022 when according to this article the site originated in 1994?

Google Japan goes rogue with 5.4ft long keyboard


Re: Checks date...

It took me a while to notice that in Japanese date style, 4/10 is 01/4 in reverse.

Also interesting that in the video for the cup-shaped keyboard, all the keys are kanjis for different kinds of fish...

Emissions-slashing hybrid trains to hit tracks in Europe


Blues train

> "Neither Hitachi nor Trenitalia has offered an explanation as to why they decided to call it the Blues train"

Trenitalia uses to name its regional train models after musical genres: in my corner of the woods I've spotted the Rock, Pop, Jazz and Minuetto ones.

As for why they've chosen "Blues" for this particular one your guess is as good as mine, although I suspect that it may reflect the feelings of the usual suppliers about losing an order of this size...

UK govt refuses to give up on scoring Arm dual-listing for London


Re: Get rid of that questionnaire

I have taken to uBlock and wrote a personal filter matching the CSS of its container <div>. Won't post the code here because I don't want to run afoul of moderation, but targeting its height of 500 pixels is working well so far.

Tesla employee: I was fired after sharing video of self-driving car crash


Re: Coincidence?

Destroy your AI models, and delete the data

Good. Now some authority with a spine should do the same to Clearview for its facial recognition model trained with dodgily-obtained data (photos scraped from social media). Though since they're pimping that service to law enforcement bodies around the world I won't hold my breath for it actually happening...

Chinese Go Association suspends player 'for using AI'


I suppose that he was caught doing numerous moves countering currently established game theory, moves that were revealed being advantageous much later in the game (so-called "divine moves"). Human players cannot usually think too many moves ahead in early stages of the game where complexity balloons exponentially.

Saving a loved one from a document disaster


Re: "decades past, when DOS was king and remote access" . .

Perhaps it's just me, but if I had to print something that seldom I'd accept the minor inconvenience of only turning on the printer as needed, rather than waste 1 kWh a week...

Dark-mode Task Manager unveiled by original's creator


Can only speak for Firefox as it's the browser I'm using. On Android one of the few extensions working on the recent versions is Dark Reader that enables an algorithmically-generated dark mode per site.

Since I prefer a more muted appearance, on the desktop I've written myself a userstyle that I'm using with the Stylus extension. Works with the pages I'm habitually reading (front page / articles / comments), some other ones that I rarely go to may well have gotten broken since my latest update.

If you're using a Chrome-based browser I hear that they can directly store and apply user CSS modifications, so it's possible to roll your own. I agree that first-party support would be nicer, though.

Microsoft to block downloaded VBA macros in Office – you may be able to run 'em anyway


Re: I'm missing something

At least at my company, every document downloaded from our own file shares is marked as coming from the Web and thus insecure as far as Office is concerned, just because the path is of the form \\server.companydomain.tld\share\folder\file.ext, and the setting "Mark network documents as safe" is forgotten as soon as you close the program. Disclaimer: I'm not in IT, just a lowly user trying to do my job, so I don't know how much of it is due to Windows / Office themselves vs. some idiotic group policy enacted by my company.

Problem is, at least in Excel the Safe Mode is as useful as a chocolate teapot since you cannot sort, filter, or even just widen the cells. The numbers in the spreadsheet you just opened are too big for the default column width? Too bad, either exit Safe Mode or stare at cells after cells of ######## ...

Privacy Shield: EU citizens might get right to challenge US access to their data


Re: F'ing useless bandaid

It will surely help the lawyers fund their second yacht. Form the point of view of the user, you get to spend lots of money only to be said in the end "Sorry not sorry, national security trumps all, ktxbye".

Even if you can prove your data has been accessed, otherwise you have no standing to sue in the first place...

Attack on Titan: Four Japanese Manga publishers sue Cloudflare


DNS Servers

Well actually here in Italy around Christmas all ISP DNS servers suddenly stopped resolving mangadex.org, one of the main manga scanslation hosting sites (unaffected by this latest lawsuit because it uses another CDN, not Cloudflare's) likely due do some court order instigated by some local licensor. Oh well, that finally got me to pull that long-forgotten Raspberry Pi out of its drawer and install a PiHole on my LAN...

Note: I'm a staunch supporter of the manga industry – I purchase around € 100 of local editions montly, and sometimes digital Japanese editions that I don't usually even bother to download because I just want to support the authors with my money – but sadly for some of them there's zero chance of ever being licensed abroad. And I'm not even talking about hentai, just risqué stuff...

Icon: response from the ISP upstream servers.

Fugitive mafioso evaded cops for two decades until he was spotted on Google Street View

Black Helicopters

Odd, I thought Google Street View blurred faces... Does this mean that law enforcement gets to see the unredacted images?

Sweden asks EU to ban Bitcoin mining because while hydroelectric power is cheap, they need it for other stuff


Re: I second that request.

I'd also ban the trading of cryptoassets and conversion to regular currency, as each transaction uses a ridiculous amount of energy. And most users don't care how carbon-intensive the energy required to process their payment is...

Icon: burning coal

The ideal sat-nav is one that stops the car, winds down the window, and asks directions


Re: Saab

Depends on personal inclinations I guess, for me personally I don't want a joystick entering by body either...

James Webb Space Telescope completes its voyage to French Guiana


Re: Shipping Label

Uh, bigger than I thought, 4.38 Wales in Reg units... Bigger that Ireland, about half of Great Britain.

Like all equatorial regions it looks smaller on maps.

How not to train your Dragon: What happens when you teach an AI game sex-abuse stories then blame players


Re: I

No, fiction about $thing doesn't necessarily normalise $thing. Think about Agatha Christie and murders, for example.

IMO just because something rubs some (most?) people the wrong way isn't a sufficient basis to ban it, unless a crime was involved in its creation. I'm sure the arguments being parroted against CP fiction were the same that were used against LGBT fiction...

Ex-US intel, military trio were cyber-mercenaries for UAE, say prosecutors


Re: it does not make much difference to me.

Yes, if that Lori Stroud thinks that foreign persons are fair game whereas targeting USians never is, she's implying that a foreign government cannot ever have a lawful motive to investigate any US person.

Some countries have a worldview that their their citizens are all angels while abroad...

You want us to make a change? We can do it, but it'll cost you...


Re: Screw-up?

I suspect that the application worked on the assumption that in that file there couldn't be duplicate records for the day since it was overwritten each time, but now that assumption was no longer valid and the modification caused unintended consequences downstream.

Yes I know the saying about assumptions; as for myself I'd have some check in place anyway, just in case the same transaction was received twice on consecutive days...

This way up: James Webb Space Telescope gets ready for shipment after final tests


Pretty pictures

Don't think so, the most stunning astronomy pictures released so far have often been in false colors (usually they do H-alpha as red, visible light as yellow and UV/X-rays as green/blue).

Similarly with JWST they'll simply map three bands of infrared to three colors; and of course nothing bars them from doing composites of JWST, HST and terrestrial observations as needed, so on the whole I'm pretty sure we'll continue to see new colorful astronomy pictures, just with many more pixels.

Live, die, copy-paste, repeat: Everything is recycled now, including ideas


"Madonna's bra cups" on his shoulders is a charitable way of putting it... All I can see is two poop emojis.

US boffins: We're close to fusion ignition in the lab – as seen in stars and thermonuclear weapons


Re: Self sustaining

For me too, and in that definition inertial confinement fusion is nigh-impossible to make self-sustaining, because the engineering problem of transferring energy from an exploding discrete packet of fuel to the upcoming ones isn't exactly trivial...

Leaving aside the fact that even once you achieve ignition (i.e. output energy > input energy), you're not even halfway there; given that the fusion energy mostly leaves the reactor in the form of heat, and in existing power stations the conversion efficiency is typically around 30%, to get power out to the grid you need your fusion reaction to output at least 300% of the energy used to start it...

Faster .NET? Monster post by Microsoft software engineer shows serious improvements


1.07 MB for a "Hello World"?

And in the best case... Am I the only one thinking it's a little wasteful?

Okay these days the emphasis is on reducing developers' time instead of resource consumption, but for such a size the program better write itself in under a millisecond.

Private cryptocurrencies make lousy national currencies: International Monetary Fund


That's by design

If you can easily transfer such large sums out of your account, so can a scammer that has compromised your credentials or has "persuaded" you (e.g. with the proverbial $5 wrench) to initiate such a transfer. Sadly many regulations that appear nonsensical to an outsider have an historical reason in some horror story...

So – at least at the bank I work for – large outgoing amounts are flagged, and a second pair of eyes (i.e. usually the branch manager) has to manually authorize them after having checked with the client that everything is in order, because once the funds have left your bank there's little that can be done to reverse the transfer.

BTW when I paid for my current car the 30k euro transfer got through in ~30 minutes. I had already told my branch manager that I would be doing such a payment, and luckily the car dealer also had an account at my bank, so no clearing was needed.

Ad tech ruined the web – and PDF files are here to save it, allegedly


Re: The Register print version next!

Still supported IIRC :)


(note case sensitive on "Print" )

Not only is Hubble back online after outage, it's already taking photos of the cosmos


Re: Life without the shuttle

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle), you're off by nearly an order of magnitude... 211 billion $ program cost / 135 missions makes a cool 1.56 billion $ per launch.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra: Strong effort from an entity-lister, but your tiny child hands may struggle

Black Helicopters

Re: Chinese Boogyman

Personally I'm not worried about the short-term spying. What I'm thinking about is – given China's aggressive foreign policy of late – if the situation with Taiwan or another of their neighbors degenerates and it comes to an all-out trade war with embargoes (to say nothing of an actual conflict), what's to stop the CCP from ordering all Chinese phone makers to ship a tainted firmware that bricks all phones with the Play Store installed (i.e. all those out of China)? Okay, in such a situation having a new £649 doorstop would be the last of our problems, but it doesn't help either...

That said, I'm not giving Western companies a free pass either, given what's happened post-9/11 where the telcos were basically all eager to help the US govt in the "war on terror".

Some of those companies routinely ship unauditable blobs as firmware updates. In case after some other such event the US govt informally asks companies located there to ship malicious updates, we can perhaps expect Google and Apple to tell them to get stuffed. Qualcomm? Intel? Much less so IMO.

Google's diversity strat lead who said Jews have 'insatiable appetite for war' is no longer diversity strat lead

Big Brother

Re: Free speech is fine

I'm cool with people disagreeing with my views, less so with them wanting me fired from my job for something I may have said decades ago.

Good luck the social footprint in my actual name is essentially zero...

Hero to Jezero: Perseverance, NASA's most advanced geologist rover, lands on Mars, beams back first pics


Gentry Lee

When spotting the name in the article, I got curious about whether he was the one who used to write books with Arthur C. Clarke, and it turns out he is.

Icon for the Ramans :D

There's no Huawei on Earth we're a national security threat, Chinese giant tells US appeals court


Re: Huawei will this end?

> Extensive reviews of its kit in Europe turned up no threat


Who's going to scrutinize all future firmware updates from Huawei before deployment? I wish those making that argument would keep in mind that any manufacturer that can update its equipment in the field has effective root on those systems.

I for one am already uncomfortable with Google and Qualcomm having root on my smartphone; no way I'm going to entrust potential admin rights to a Chinese entity that can be simply told by its government to ship malicious code to hardware deployed the world over.

That goes not just for Huawei and ZTE, but for any Chinese brand IMO. At least with stuff built in China but designed in the West, the code signing keys should rest firmly in the headquarters of Apple/Nokia etc. (at least until they outsource their software too)...

Japan’s COVID-19 contact-tracing app hasn't warned users of encounters with carriers since September


Re: Info request

IMO those apps – unless they're mandatory – have the inherent problem that the only people likely to install them are those who tend to follow health authorities' guidance (mask, distancing, avoiding crowds and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation...) and so are not getting the disease in the first place.

It's those thinking "COVID is no big deal" and going about their lives and usual that end up getting infected, and then it's too late to install the app; wonderful tech as smartphones are, they cannot go back in time to collect the Bluetooth IDs from the phones of all the people they interacted with in the week or so that the owner was pre-symptomatic (but still contagious)...

US Department of Homeland Security warns American business not to use Chinese tech or let data behind the Great Firewall


Re: Surely

Yup, the microchip won't work correctly until at least version 3, so we're good until SARS-Cov-4 arrives.

Adiós Arecibo Observatory: America's largest radio telescope faces explosive end after over 50 years of service


Re: Not too surprised


Looks like the Russian one is still operational, and at 600 meters its diameter is larger than both Arecibo or FAST. However having a ring geometry its collection area is not comparable with those other two "dish" radio telescopes.

Try to avoid thinking of the internet as a flashy new battlefield, warns former NCSC chief


Re: Technically correct...but missing the point entirely.

Perhaps I'm naive, but if those hackers are really state-backed can't they just ask their employers for a passport in a different name if they want to go on vacation? It's not like facial recognition has such a good record...

Microsoft warns against SMS, voice calls for multi-factor authentication: Try something that can't be SIM swapped


All well and good until you're the one that needs to make a call.

My dad has a similar attitude as yours; a couple of years ago while he was doing odd jobs alone he had a nasty accident that left him unable to reach somewhere with people, and it took us until his expected return time to realize that something had happened and rush him to the hospital; suffice it to say, he nearly lost his leg for the delay in treating the injury. If only he had had a mobile phone about him...

You'd think he'd learnt his lesson but no, he still goes around without a phone (but with a limp now). He says at 80 he isn't about to change his habits.

Japan testing sandwiches that discount themselves as they age


Re: Simpler alternatives

Rat, of course. Cutting the tails if they're feeling posh.

Now I'm wondering about them adding ketchup and/or mustard...

Kick Google all you like, Mozilla tells US government, so long as we keep getting our Google-bucks


Re: Erm

In the case of governments, there are usually avenues to appeal such decisions (unless you're deemed a national security risk). In the case of private entities like Google, if they decide to stop doing business with you for any reason, you're SOL.

Indonesia’s black-market phone prevention plan bricks a whole bunch of handsets


What about roaming?

I get that travelers landing at their airports will find their own handsets have become wifi-only? Or have the authorities exempted foreign-registered SIMs from the scheme?

Okay now in the after-Corona it's not the right time for tourism, but when it's possible to travel again I think I wouldn't mind a week or two in Bali...

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets


Excel only does that incrementing while doing autofill, not copy/paste. Granted, one can inadvertently invoke autofill with a clumsy mouse drag, but the Undo command is there for a reason, isn't it?

China slams 'dirty' America's 'clean network' plan, reminds world of PRISM snoop-fest exposed by Ed Snowden


China holds plain-vanilla U.S. Treasury bonds. Those are bearer and fungible, i.e. the U.S. can't selectively default against a holder they don't like, not without reneging on their whole debt.

Mozilla doubles down on anti-tracking tech: It'll be tougher for wily ad-biz cookie monsters to track Firefox


Re: Time-based cookie clearing

Exactly that, the add-on is Cookie AutoDelete. Works a treat, you just have to extend the auto-clean timeout a bit (otherwise things like reCAPTCHA don't work as well) and whitelist the sites you log on to like the Reg.

Firefox 79: A thin release for regular users, but plenty for developers to devour


Re: The snag with a four-week release cycle ...

Obviously yes, #1651800 in bugzilla.mozilla.org.

Result: fix optional, priority 3 (think it's the lowest one). Perhaps my fault for not being able to explain why breaking longstanding computing paradigms is a problem...

Hilarious was the first comment after triage, that basically amounted to "you're saving your own files wrong"


Re: The snag with a four-week release cycle ...

Ha ha... Try downloading a file and (when the dialog pops up asking which filename to save to) using a filename with double spaces.

Since time immemorial, file system operations either succeed or not (giving an error message like "cannot save for $reason"). Now Firefox has a third mode of operation, "I'm gonna save the file, but with a different name"... I wonder how it passed their tests.

USA seeks Moon and Mars nuke power plant designs ready to fly in 2027


Re: Height

There aren't very many such places I'm afraid, and even those don't get you totally uninterrupted power in all seasons (TIL the Moon has seasons).

Moreover, if you get there and find that some other nation has already put a permanent installation in place, the Outer Space Treaty prevents you from interfering i.e. putting your own solar panels next to theirs...

Butterfingers who don't bother with phone cases, rejoice: New Gorilla Glass 'Victus' tipped to survive 6ft drops


Re: Is dropping your phone common?

To me it happens a couple of times a year, in autumn when I start wearing jackets again. At six in the morning I pop the phone in my jacket's pocket, bend down to lace my shoes, and out the phone slips... Admittedly at that point the fall is just from 50-60 cm, but I reckon that with my luck it's best to take no chances so I bought a custom TPU case at the same time as the phone.

I've only managed to break one phone, a Nokia 808 Pureview (the last all-European phone from the hardware to the OS, and one of the first actually good cameras on a phone) to answer what turned out to be a spam call while I had both hands occupied. At the time the model had been out of production for a year, original replacements were no longer available and so the repair shop fitted a knock-off screen without the polarizing layer. So in the end even after paying for the repair, in a few weeks I still had to get a new phone because the display looked like crap.

After all those years I still miss that phone...

Japan plans massive national tech modernisation program


Hanko stamps

Wondering if they're thinking of doing away with those stamps they use in place of signatures.

Always thought of those hankos as a massive security issue, whoever steals (or compels the owner to hand over) them can legally sign everything in the owner's place. Like giving away your card and PIN to a mugger but worse...

NASA delays James Webb Space Telescope launch date by at least seven months


Obligatory XKCD


NY Attorney General warns Apple, Google to police COVID-19 tracing apps in their souks – or she will herself


Re: tracing apps

Ah, I think I've received the same message... Download location seems to be at TotallyLegitApps.ru .

I'm sure nothing can go wrong with that.