* Posts by Thomas Allen

55 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Feb 2008


Ex-NSA security expert develops generic Mac ransomware blocker

Thomas Allen

For Windows machines, look into CryptoPrevent by FoolishIT dot com.

Web ads are reading my keystrokes and I can’t even spel propperlie

Thomas Allen

Re: Disqus de facto keylogger

Obvious DISCUS does this because the little hint pops up - "Someone is typing." So I quickly stopped editing my comments in the textbox, and I never type anything that I might not choose to post.

Whatever happened to ... Nest?

Thomas Allen

When will these companies realize that the data-mining "features" prevent some people from even considering their product?

Google pulls Chrome extensions after new owners subvert web tools

Thomas Allen


You wrote, "the boom in spyware apps 20 years ago."

Huh? 20 years ago was 1994, the internet was in its infancy and spyware non-existent.

According to Wikipedia, "The first recorded use of the term spyware occurred on 16 October 1995 in a Usenet post."

The boom in spyware was 10-12 years ago. Gator was 1998, CoolWebSearch 2003, etc

Cybercrooks slide fingers into TELLIES+FRIDGES, spam splurge ensues

Thomas Allen

Many people live in apartments

Many people (in America) live in apartments, and we do not choose our thermostats, refrigerators, washing machines, and other large appliances. The apartment comes partially furnished. So many of us have no opportunity to practice the advice "don't buy internet connected devices." Our apartment manager will have bought these devices. Maybe they even spy on us.

Google's Nest gobble: Soon ALL your HOME are BELONG to US

Thomas Allen
Big Brother

I don't want Google to be pinged every time I enter my front door, cook an egg or flush the toilet. I don't want my family to be logged as they enter and leave, gather in the dining room or go to bed. My thermostat, refrigerator and smoke alarm function perfectly as dumb devices. My mundane private life is mine and private.

NSA refuses to deny spying on members of Congress

Thomas Allen

Of course they spy on Representatives and Senators

Of course they spy on Representatives and Senators, as reps and senators often have shady foreign contacts.

Congresspeople over the years have shown to be in contact with numerous terrorist groups, including those in overthrowing Georgia, infiltrating Iran, and various Palestinians. Also contacts with members of Israel's military and security services.

This is a short list of obvious reasons NSA would target Congresspeople.

Industry group blames 'outdated' kit for stock-market tech disasters

Thomas Allen

Trading fees would slow this down

A fee on trades would mean your projected win has to be higher than the fee before you trade. This might slow millisecond trading and pay for the improved infrastructure.

MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

Thomas Allen

Property rights in space

UN doesn't matter. The situation is the same as taking a fish from the open ocean (the commons). You do own your labor, and when you fish, you inextricably mix your labor with the natural object, and it becomes yours. See John Locke on the natural right to property, and how ownership of a natural object from the commons is established by mixing your labor with the object.

Mystery traffic redirection attack pulls net traffic through Belarus, Iceland

Thomas Allen

Successful packet bidding strategies?

Would you need to bid for and win ALL (or most of) the packets of a long message to understand the whole message? It may not work to only have access to a small percentage of the packets that make up a message.

Maybe if you know beforehand that a bank sends its messages at 10am exactly, and you could bid for all the packets at that instant, at a particular junction, and win all the packets of a single message. (a timing attack)

The article suggests traffic can be "diverted" simply by having a successful bidding strategy at internet router junctions. If you know exactly when the packets are coming, a fast computer could bid and win the packets you want.

Cryptolocker infects cop PC: Massachusetts plod fork out Bitcoin ransom

Thomas Allen

Re: Blocking tool

OK I see your point. Let's try this:

There is a free tool to block the CryptoLocker, it is called CryptoPrevent, made by a company called Foolish IT. You can find the website yourself using your favorite search engine.

Thomas Allen

Blocking tool

This free tool blocks cryptolocker


'FELSIC materials' find on MARS could rewrite Red Planet's history

Thomas Allen

That's gneiss!

But don't take it for granite.

Lavabit, secure email? Hardly, says infosec wizard Moxie Marlinspike

Thomas Allen

Secure email

There are several open source and private projects using javascript to encode forms in pgp in the browser, so your form content is encrypted before the form is sent. It gets decrypted at the other end. For example:




Also http://tectite.com offers an encoder product that you use in conjunction with the browser's https encryption. You use https to send forms from the browser to the server, then encode with tectite encoder at the server and send to an email box (where the person has the tectite decoder.)

Both these solutions provide end-to-end encryption of form data. So email in the browser (which is usually sent as a form) can be protected by strong encryption in ways lavabit and others do not offer. Both of these solutions are used for credit card data, hippa compliance, and other secure email.

Mac OS X Mavericks 'upgrade' ruins iWorks

Thomas Allen

Abandoning the Mouse

Apple brought the mouse into the world, and Apple is taking it out!

They are not dumbing down the software, they are removing those functions which cannot be done on the touch screen. You can't hover, you can't multiple select, etc with finger painting tools, you need a mouse. (double-tap is not catching on). So this is the end of the mouse, and only touch functions will be allowed in Apple software.

(Yes I know the mouse is from Xerox originally, but Apple commercialized it.)

Do Not Track W3C murder plot fails by handful of votes

Thomas Allen

Browser that doesn't request those ad company urls

A browser should be made that does not even send out requests to the ad networks. Why should I even request the ads whose urls appear in the webpage? No reason to, as far as I can see.

MPs to grill Facebook: You're going to let our teens do WHAT?

Thomas Allen

There was a reason facebook didn't allow this before - what changed?

The old rule was just a scam to get widespread facebook acceptance, and calm parental fears, but now they are powerful and they can go for your kids!

McDonalds tells fatties to SUPERSIZE THEIR BRAINS

Thomas Allen


Wonder if these books include Coke and burger product placements? Does the mother cook a home meal? Does Dad barbeque in the back yard? Do the kids play athletic outdoor games while waiting for their healthy meal?

What about giving away a vegetarian-themed book? Or even a book about the real lives of cows and pigs?

The legacy IE survivor's guide: Firefox, Chrome... more IE?

Thomas Allen

Re: not over till the fat lady sings

I have a website client still in IE6 because of Server 2003. A large Department of a mid-Atlantic state does not upgrade its servers very often. Even when new servers are bought, the new ones do the new stuff, while the old ones keep delivering the old stuff.

Microsoft wants to 'move beyond' the Cookie Monster

Thomas Allen

Involuntary tracking will not get far in Europe where they care about privacy

Krebs: Lexis-Nexis, D&B and Kroll hacked

Thomas Allen

Key here is that (in the US) the D&B and LexNex databases are used to authenticate business clients before deals, and that banks use the data to vet businesses and individuals for lines of credit and before underwriting business deals. A common phrase before a deal is, "send us your D&B."

The stolen database info allows 3rd parties to pose as authenticated and trustworthy business partners, and to pose as creditworthy banking clients.

Tracking the history of magnetic tape: A game of noughts and crosses

Thomas Allen

Re: 1996 data storage on video cassette

The Alpha Micro 1072 and other AM models used standard VHS videotape for backups,

'Beat the lie detectors' trainer sentenced to 8 months in jail

Thomas Allen

You could join Scientologists and practice with the e-meter, same thing. No surprise actors and actresses can "clear" - practiced at saying other's words as their own.

IBM: Closed clouds are dead meat

Thomas Allen

The proprietary cloud companies are just trying to get the usual lock-in. Once we get all your data in our cloud, it will be too hard to switch. We've seen this act several times over the past 25 years, and it works for awhile, despite all the resentment.

'You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back'

Thomas Allen
Thumb Up

Consent of the governed requires information

To add one more point to your excellent post, if you believe our governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed, keep in mind that consent is not valid without information. Misinformation and lack of information render the consent of the governed impossible.

Snowden's email provider may face court rap after closing service

Thomas Allen

Hire a mathematician

There are other methods of crypto than public key/private key systems. Everyone is so focused on these methods, but alternatives exist and not every method depends on prime number factors and such. Everyone focused on key lengths and large primes could be searching down the wrong lane. Lots of ways to keep secrets.

Wikileaks Party scrambles to explain election decisions

Thomas Allen

In America we can't even figure out a plain ballot with two or three names for each post. This voting system would never work here.

DARPA calls Big Data boffins: Help us lock up everyone's privates

Thomas Allen

Help us spy on you

Right now researchers are working on ways to anonymize data. DARPA wants to be sure they can de-anonymize the data, and what better way than to have an inside line on how it will be anonymized in the first place.

Also plenty of big data has been available for years, but until now, was not seen as a danger. Phone books, mailing lists, census data, auto and license lists, and on and on. It isn't the data that has them worried, it is the anonymizing.

Secrets of an ad broker: NoSQL, millisecond auctions and FLASH ARRAYS

Thomas Allen

informative enough

I'm happy to read an article like this to learn how one company does what it does. I don't read the article as saying this is the best or only way. I appreciate the different perspectives. One should always read articles like this with a critical eye.

A lot must depend on how many ad bidders this user typically has, how many ad spaces to fill per unit time, etc., which the author didn't get into. If there is lots of variability in the number of requests and lots of bidders for each request, this will require different hardware/software solutions than if there was typically one or two bidders and a steady flow of requests. If he found that disk drive access times and database access times were the bottlenecks, this might be good to know, along with his (current) solution.

I've got the 'fastest growing THINGY ever', boasts Google+ chief

Thomas Allen

Re: Google worries me - About GeoLocation

Easy to find your approximate location, for majority of users. Almost anyone (in usa especially) can be geolocated from their IP address - anyone who has a large commercial ISP can be easily geolocated as close as town and even city block, at least in the USA. Try these services at GeoBytes as an example - it pinpoints me to within 3 miles or so.


UK.gov tries to close site giving home addresses of badger cull figures

Thomas Allen

Badgers not causing climate change

Methane from badger farts is not causing climate change.

No one cut down England's last forests to raise badgers.

Mad badger disease is not spreading fear and panic.

Badger burgers are not causing widespread obesity.

But imported cows are doing all those things.

Eat more vegetables, it's healthier.

Metric versus imperial: Reg readers weigh in

Thomas Allen

Hope you get tons and tonnes of comments on this one.

Big Blue bigwig: Tiny processor knobs can't shrink forever

Thomas Allen

Re: Shrinking processors at this point is a waste of time.

You said:

It's pretty rare to have an application truly suck 100% of the processor time


Try any modern chess program. Houdini, Stockfish and many others will pin the needle for long periods.

America abandoning DSL in favour of faster cable

Thomas Allen

Rural America not totally abandoned

Article mentions, "Meanwhile their rural counterparts remain locked in a lottery of ageing copper which no-one is ever planning to upgrade - and which would probably be left to rot if it weren't for universal-service obligations."

The aging copper is worthless for rural internet connectivity, and anyone in business on the internet in rural America has a satellite connection, for example from Hughes. I've seen it in action, it's not as fast as cable, about equal to wireless (like Sprint or Clearwire) and vastly superior to telephone dial-up. Rural satellite service is costly, and also fragile, going down in storms, snow, etc., but it is a business necessity.

Swedish political party pledges War On Wolves

Thomas Allen

Old Blighty anti-badger party

England has its own anti-badger party

Man sues boss for 'condemning him to eternal damnation'

Thomas Allen


So 665.999... = 666

SQUID calls 'virtual photons' into real existence

Thomas Allen

Conservation laws are already gone

Conservation laws are already gone - See Hawking radiation - quantum uncertainty creates particle pairs, one disappears down the black hole while the other does not - matter is being "created" from the vacuum. Something from nothing. With enough time, whole universes could be built.

Now if we could just extract Casimir particles of choice, say, carbon atoms, we could be creating oil for our cars. Maybe build our own Star Trek replicators.

Chief rabbi: Steve Jobs' Apple lust spreads misery, despair

Thomas Allen

Why buy a Rolls when a Mini will do?

Why buy a Rolls when a Mini will do? The attack on Apple for pitching a high-end product is misplaced, as many companies pitch their products to the high end, engendering fierce brand loyalty and apparently insane consumer behavior on otherwise normal people. Gotta have Sketchers and not some cheap shoe? Gotta wear chanel and not some cheap brand of perfume? and it goes on and on.

Future Firefox to slurp updates silently

Thomas Allen

Not so silent

"Please restart your browser for the updates to take effect..." - and when did I allow you to do any updates anyway?

HPC 2.0: The monster mash-up

Thomas Allen

Much Useless Data

Much of the petabytes of data being gathered and stored everyday will never get analyzed, and will grow old and stale. Yes there are retrospective studies, but very few, and retrospective studies are generally not hurried. Real-time users want the data that is about current times analyzed right now, else it cannot be used for immediate decision-making.

Another problem is many users who might use certain datasets never will use them, first because they don't know the datasets exist, and second because the datasets are controlled by some other company, or cost too much to buy rights to analyze.

There are a number of factors leading to a trend of diminishing returns for larger datasets. The next move will be to "focused" data gathering, with a business justification of making immediate decisions.


IBM’s Jeopardy super hired to search healthcare data

Thomas Allen
Thumb Up

Similar diagnosing software exists

Similar medical software exists, see one famous example used for infectious diseases, GIDEON here:


Quote: "...generates a Bayesian ranked differential diagnosis based on signs, symptoms, laboratory tests, country of origin and incubation period - and can be used for diagnosis support and simulation of all infectious diseases in all countries."

So GIDEON doesn't give a single answer like on Jeopardy, but a ranked list, which the infectious disease specialist uses as an aid to diagnosis.

Oz authors join book scanning lawsuit

Thomas Allen

Compare to Basic Books v Kinko's Copies

A very similar example, the publishers won, see Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corporation



"In 1991, eight book publishers sued Kinko’s Graphics Corporation for copyright infringement. The suit alleged that, in photocopying copyright-protected materials to create university course packs, Kinko’s infringed on the publishers’ copyrights. Kinko’s unauthorized copying covered a wide range of materials, including text, trade and professional books. Kinko’s argued “fair use,” but the court disagreed. All told, Kinko’s paid almost $2 million in damages, fees and other costs. "

This lawsuit drove Kinko's out of the student and university marketplace. Some university copy centers continued the practice (claiming to be non-profit) but in most cases, professors had to cease using such course packets, and students were required to purchase whole books, not copied excerpts. With regard to out of print books, no option remained, and it was a total loss for the students and profs.

Rubbing an iPhone on your face won't cure acne - FTC

Thomas Allen

Apps for Prayer

Apps for Prayer - helping you recite and track your years reduced in Purgatory, etc. Why isn't this as much a fraud? Apps for the rosary, for instance... oh well, been going on for 2000+ years

Robot goes berserk in Balkan lab: 6 boffins given dead arms

Thomas Allen


Robot of the Month

(the monthly centerfold in Robot Operators: The Magazine)

Robots Overwhelm Terrified Mankind = Really Old Technology Myth

What does the Hurd mentality bring to Oracle?

Thomas Allen

Start working on your resume

Start working on your resume, and prepare to be fired. That's what Hurd does, it's no secret.

OED goes the way of all flesh paper

Thomas Allen
Paris Hilton

Prices lower in the west and south

The Compact 2 Volume edition with case is less that $50 on ebay (used), several are $75, several more for $150, all on Buy It Now. At that price, I wouldn't use it for toilet paper, but it is pretty cheap. The shipping is what'll getcha!

Paris is looking up 'fugitive'...

GooTube mulls fee-TV streams

Thomas Allen

Pay for it and have commercials?

You know there would be commercials, too. So it would be like the cable tv deal, oh it may be commercial free, for a while, then later you would have both commercials and pay for it. Then no-skip commercials. Then a show cut by a few minutes, plus more no-skip commercials. We've seen this model before. Count me out, I'll be at the library reading Dostoevsky or Vonnegut.

LHC dimensional apocalypse from midnight: Your thoughts

Thomas Allen

Holey Swiss Cheese, Batman!

I met Boson Higgs whilst serving on HMS Hadron, a charming mate of relatively great mass, who had a strange attraction to doughnut holes. Torus to bits laughing as he lepton the beam amidships and was accelerated rapidly to sea, landing in a black hole nearby the 7th planet.

US monster-truck roboguns to blast enemies autonomously

Thomas Allen

Archimedes would be proud!

... to see catapults are still used 18 centuries in the future!