* Posts by John Sturdy

482 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

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Repair store faces hefty legal bill after losing David and Goliath fight with Apple over replacement iPhone screens

John Sturdy

Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

There are things in common between buying Apple and buying Gucci, including that cheaper alternatives will do the job just as well.

John Sturdy
WTF?

Worse than expected, but that's just a detail

The simple way round this is not to buy Apple.

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

John Sturdy
WTF?

Correcting the problem

One product I worked on had a reasonable level of swear-words in the assertion strings (that could pop up when something happened that shouldn't be ****ing possible). Someone decided this needed cleaning up in case a customer saw it, and entered a task into the tasks database "Kick the shit out of <product>". WTF because that kind of phrase was involved.

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

John Sturdy
WTF?

But its "always-on" anyway!

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

John Sturdy

It still doesn't look good for air travel

Putting the 737 Max back into service could cause another massive drop in bookings for the airlines that use it, particularly now that Covid-19 has got people used to not flying. I certainly wouldn't take the risk myself, until they've been flying for a couple of years without accidents. And I presume they have to get approval from each country they fly over, and find pilots who're prepared to fly them. I think the most sensible thing to do would be to rebuild them all as an earlier model of 737; and the second-best would be to use them for cargo only, between coastal airports and flying only over the sea.

BoJo buckles: UK govt to cut Huawei 5G kit use 'to zero by 2023' after pressure from Tory MPs, Uncle Sam

John Sturdy
Trollface

Re: So...

I think there may be room for someone to make some money out of these idiots, by buying up sunscreen wholesale, adding an unusual colourant with a pseudoscientific explanation, and selling it as 5G protection cream.

Home working is here to stay, says Lenovo boss, and will grow the total addressable PC market by up to 30%

John Sturdy

Re: Market +30% = wages -30%

Companies with enough sense to do that probably wouldn't have got the PHBs in the first place!

Wanna force granny to take down that family photo from the internet? No problem. Europe's GDPR to the rescue

John Sturdy

Re: Seven years

I wonder whether the idea is that the kids' mother doesn't want it to be seen that she didn't look after one of her kids for seven years?

Far-right leader walks free from court after conviction for refusing to hand his phone passcode over to police

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: And the moral of this story is ...

I suspect that having the real cards in your pocket isn't good enough if they really want to get you for something; leave them behind, or post them to yourself.

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

Re: No love for CORAL 66?

I heard rumours when I was a student (early 80s) that there was an optimizing FORTRAN compiler that produced code that ran so fast it to two STOP statements to stop it! (Or maybe there was a bug in its implementation of STOP.)

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: One would have throught...

It's not only how close, but also how long they are close for.

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

John Sturdy

Surely that should be .netrc?

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

John Sturdy
WTF?

How much will it help?

I suspect that fruitcakes like these will interpret the bans as confirmation that there is a "truth" that the elites are suppressing.

However, it might reduce the number of borderliners added to their cause.

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

I splashed out on a Keyboardio, and love it

When my previous split keyboard (membrane inside, although a reasonable feel) wore out from full-time use, I treated myself to a Keyboardio Model 1 (the production run has now sold out, but they're building up to a run of a new model: https://shop.keyboard.io/). The design, and the build quality, are both excellent. The layout takes a bit of getting used to, but it is very comfortable to use. The firmware is open-source (the hardware is Arduino-compatible); I haven't tweaked mine yet but I probably will sometime.

My favourite keyboard feel of all time was probably an old IBM29C cardpunch in the back room of the computer lab (in the 1980s) which I used a few times when the university computer's interactive response got too slow: shortish but decisive key travel --- and if you made an error that it could detect (I can't remember what those were) it would lock the key travel mechanically so you could feel it wasn't accepting keystrokes.

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

John Sturdy

Re: Bluetooth (alone) won't work.

That study may not be all that credible: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferkastenmd/posts/120574959595451

French monopoly watchdog orders Google to talk payment terms with French publishers

John Sturdy
Mushroom

I thought Google's response to Copiepresse was quite restrained, given that they could have stopped listing anything in the .be domain, with an explanatory text "There are also results from Belgian sites but we are not displaying those while there are unresolved issues with Belgian copyright law." Probably would have got a much faster response that way.

Stop us if you've heard this before: Boeing's working on 737 Max software fixes for autopilot, stabilization bugs

John Sturdy

Re: Bin It

Might they be able to re-use the fuselages and most of the wing structures (in fact probably almost everything structural and mechanical apart from the engines and engine mounts), and rebuild them as normal 737s?

Broadcom sues Netflix for its success: You’re stopping us making a fortune from set-top boxes, moans chip designer

John Sturdy
WTF?

Re: Using this logic.

I'm amused by the idea of a chip company being Luddites. There's progress for you.

White House turns to Big Tech to fix coronavirus blunders while classifying previous conversations

John Sturdy
WTF?

Usual rules apply

This presumably won't deter them for criticizing the Chinese government for having tried to keep some of the information suppressed.

Think your smartwatch is good for warning of a heart attack? Turns out it's surprisingly easy to fool its AI

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Says more about their CNN possibly

Eventually, production of such things is going to be so routine that something of clinical quality will be become consumer kit. It happened with thermometers; I don't see why it shouldn't happen with other monitoring devices (although I guess having fewer electrodes, and placed for convenience rather than effectiveness, will limit wrist ECGs; but the problem won't be production quality or price).

(Likewise, in a non-clinical area, GPS has gone from being specialist equipment to everyday consumer kit.)

Morrisons puts non-essential tech changes on ice as panic-stricken shoppers strip stores

John Sturdy
FAIL

Re: I'm just waiting...

Unless they're buying things they don't eat if they can help it, because the things they actually want have already run out, in which case it'll sit at the back of a cupboard for years and eventually get thrown out. Unless, of course, enough isolation is needed that people will actually use up their supplies before they dare to go shopping again.

John Sturdy
Coat

Re: This is not a Morrisons initiative.

I suspect that was an announcement from the Minister of Taking Credit for Other People's Ideas.

The Wristwatch of the Long Now: When your MTBF is two centuries

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Beware survival bias

Wikipedia gives the fastest bit rate for 8" floppies as 500Kbits/sec, and ARM's web site lists their fastest real-time-oriented core as being able to go about 1.5GHz, so you can probably read it with "bit-banging" style software on a fast microcontroller board.

The self-disconnecting switch: Ghost in the machine or just a desire to save some cash?

John Sturdy
Happy

The article title made me think of the Useless Machines, which switch themselves off, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqk_nWAjBus

Surely a good addition to any data centre.

Ring in the changes: Mandatory two-factor authentication, login alerts, targeted ads opt-out after punters voice privacy gripes

John Sturdy
Happy

Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

I presume it is valuable to those who use it, or they wouldn't use it --- they analyze these things a lot.

I let them target it at me, because on principle I never buy anything I remember seeing advertised, so more effective targetting means it's more likely to stop me buying something that I might otherwise have bought, and so makes their advertising to me counterproductive.

You'll never select all and mark as read again after this tale of peril... Oh, who are we kidding? Of course you will

John Sturdy
WTF?

If the contractors had the key to that door, that is.

He’s a pain in the ASCII to everybody. Now please acquit my sysadmin client over these CIA Vault 7 leaking charges

John Sturdy

Still possible, I reckon, or at least plausible

With that much access, he could have modified the data for the second restore, to restore it without the backdoor; and for that matter, the second restore could be what wound the log files back, so it's not that many separate stages. And it would make sense for him to have scripted at least most of it.

That being said, it does like they're just out to get him.

So you locked your backups away for years, huh? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Brute, Force and Ignorance

John Sturdy

Re: Crazy Hammer Guy

That reminds me of the term "Birmingham screwdriver"!

Not call, dude: UK govt says guaranteed surcharge-free EU roaming will end after Brexit transition period. Brits left at the mercy of networks

John Sturdy
Childcatcher

Or alternatively, they will raise their general prices to cover roaming, and then introduce cheaper non-roaming SIMs for those for who continental travel isn't a priority (also usable for those for whom it is so high a priority that they have a separate phone or SIM for it).

In the US it might be called a "Patriots' SIM" but I hope we won't go that far.

Remember when Europe’s entire Galileo satellite system fell over last summer? No you don’t. The official stats reveal it never happened

John Sturdy
WTF?

Sounds like a job for Wikileaks

I hope that the internal documentation gets out before long.

You're always a day Huawei: UK to decide whether to ban Chinese firm's kit from 5G networks tomorrow

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Another redirection of our attention?

Certain western governments talk as though the problem is that the Chinese might have put spy software in Huawei equipment, but I wonder whether they're more concerned that they can't put spy software in it themselves?

You're not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes

John Sturdy
Boffin

Rebuild as a normal 737?

If the rest of the aircraft hasn't changed significantly, perhaps the engines could be replaced by one of the types they previously used, thus converting them to non-MAX 737s. Probably expensive, but better than having them sit unused or scrapping them.

Boeing aircraft sales slump to historic lows after 737 Max annus horribilis

John Sturdy
FAIL

Boeing installed a new larger version of corporate greed, which could cause instability, so to avoid having to have the company decertified and re-opened under a new name, they tried to fix it with a work-around of lies. However, this failed to fix the instability, and the company is now in a nose-dive. Seems to fit.

Optional (un)chained melodies for those who like their TypeScript to be more assertive in 3.7

John Sturdy

I've long wanted a feature like that

That does sound useful to me --- should make a lot of code more compact.

Euro ISP club: Sure, weaken encryption. It'll only undermine security for everyone, morons

John Sturdy
Boffin

That needn't affect them

I don't know whether this is what they do (or plan to do) but they could do a (more limited) form of that analysis at the client end (browser scripts / mobile app) before the data is encrypted.

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Learning about surveillance societies

For those who are looking for somewhere currently off the beaten track for a holiday, I recommend going to Albania and visiting their Museum of Secret Surveillance (http://muzeugjethi.gov.al/?lang=en); or at least explore the online tour on their site.

Then think how much more surveillance we are now under, and how much specialized spy technology has been rendered obsolete by the devices we now voluntarily (even eagerly) buy.

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Re: Simpler

Yes, but that's not the point. The point of warrantless tapping is to find something on people who aren't yet under specific suspicion.

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: Not a moment too soon

I don't think that's what they're trying to get. This is more consistent with wanting to watch all data from all people, to find people who can be accused of something but who are not yet known to the authorities.

Oops, wait, yeah, we did hand over photos for King's Cross facial-recog CCTV, cops admit

John Sturdy
Linux

Time for some openstreetmap mapathons?

Not that all of the cameras will necessarily be visible to the public, but people could start marking the positions of those they can spot, on openstreetmap, as described at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made=surveillance.

There are already a few marked in the area: https://kamba4.crux.uberspace.de/?lat=51.5320529&lon=-0.1206259&zoom=17

(It would be interested to seeing whether those watching the cameras will spot that people are looking for/at the cameras and making notes, or indeed whether police on the ground would spot it. I'm not sure whether this means it's better or worse to do it as an organized mapping party.)

Eight-hour comms lags and shock discoveries: 30 years after Voyager 2 visited gas giant Neptune

John Sturdy
Childcatcher

Closet approach?

I'm intrigued by the idea of a spacecraft making a closet approach to a planet. For fear of defensive inhabitants?

(Now I've said that, someone will probably edit the original...)

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, where to go? Navigation satellite signals flip from degraded to full TITSUP* over span of four days

John Sturdy
Coat

At least Cloudflare were open about the reasons, unlike Galileo, a nominally public body.

DeepNude deep-nuked: AI photo app stripped clothes from women to render them naked. Now, it's stripped from web

John Sturdy
Boffin

In the longer term...

In the longer term, assuming that similar but more effective software does eventually go into common use, it may become more plausible to deny that real nude photos that have "escaped" are real.

Meet the new Dropbox: It's like the old Dropbox, but more expensive, and not everyone's thrilled

John Sturdy

One specific thing put me off Dropbox

I was a moderate user of Dropbox, until they got surveillance supporter Condoleezza Rice onto their board, and now I hardly use it at all (in fact, it's just a matter of finishing my migration from it).

Russian Jesus gives up food to meditate on how he can improve crypto messenger Telegram

John Sturdy

Re: Sherlock Holmes

No, he was too intelligent for that.

Surprising absolutely no one at all, Samsung's folding-screen phones knackered within days

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Why would a layer you aren't supposed to remove

Or even make an ordinary phone with magnetic (or tongue-and-grooved) sides and a screen that goes right to the edges, then with suitable software you could tile any number of them together for the screen size and layout you want.

EPIC demand: It's time for Google to fly the Nest after 'forgetting' to mention home alarm hub has built-in mic

John Sturdy
WTF?

I'm surprised it wasn't noticed before

ifixit seem to have missed this one, although they've done some other Nest products. Surely someone must have taken one apart, and noticed the microphone? Or is it such dull device that no-one expected there to be anything of interest inside it?

Twilight of the sundials: Archaic timepiece dying out and millennials are to blame, reckons boffin

John Sturdy
Boffin

An internet-readable sundial

There's a wall sundial in Pembroke College, Cambridge, designed by Dr. King. When there was a computing research lab in sight of it, someone wrote an online sundial reader: https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research/dtg/attarchive/sundial/

Accused hacker Lauri Love loses legal bid to reclaim seized IT gear

John Sturdy

Re: Does he not have a point?

"You want him to have an off-site backup as well? There are trust issues with off-site backups."

Yes, definitely. Especially if he's doing something that he's aware may "come to the attention of the authorities". And, assuming the backup is encrypted to the same level as the original, I'd trust an offsite USB stick or SD card that the authorities won't find more than a drive that they will find. It doesn't have to be left with a person who knows him; it could be under a stone somewhere in the countryside around his village, for example.

John Sturdy
Joke

Re: Something not ringing true here ...

Maybe get some firmware from Volkswagen / Bosch to detect the non-normal usage?

John Sturdy
FAIL

Re: Is this how far we have sunk?

I think they may have sunk a bit further, with the smear contained in "Private data, including photographs of vulnerable children, from an autism charity and Treehouse School" --- if he's picked up data about autism-related education, it's likely to include information about schools at which the children may be classed as "vulnerable", and if he's done "wget" on a school website, it's likely to include photos with some of the pupils in them. But the way they've mentioned it looks to me like they're hoping the Daily Mail will pick up on that and infer that the photos were indecent.

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