* Posts by G Fan

48 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Mar 2008

China doesn't need to nick western tech when Google is giving it away

G Fan

Re: Welcome to capitalism

> If China wasn't such a repressive and aggressive imperial power

Ironic reading this, when I've just landed in Iraq.

Due to Oracle being Oracle, Eclipse holds poll to rename Java EE (No, it won't be Java McJava Face)

G Fan

Just call it kava - close enough geographically, physiologically and typographically, and yet completely different

Linux 4.14 'getting very core new functionality' says Linus Torvalds

G Fan

Re: Windows vs Linux ... really?

"Just to compensate, here is a much nicer list of new features in kernel 4.14 to ponder about, summarized below:"

"a PWM vibrator driver"

Ready for a new IOT target market?

Robots are killing jobs after all, apparently: One droid equals 5.6 workers

G Fan

Re: please help me with the math here

I assumed when reading this that the effectiveness of replacing humans with robots was somewhere between $small_number humans/robot to 5.6 humans/robot, with a blended average of 3.4 humans/robot.

Since 5.6 is the scarier number, guess which appears in the headline?

We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

G Fan

Re: First time I have to totally disagree with you, Tim

"The only problem with that model is, who buys the stuff the business owners are making, if almost everyone is poor?..."

"Unless they realize this, close the gates, and just trade amongst themselves."

This danger has already come and gone for various economies, with a tried and tested solution: pay people to buy your shit.

This might, depending on whether you're a country, corporation or individual, be dressed up as equalization payments between regions, foreign investment into countries with lots of customers, or that 0% deal on your sofa - it's just pumping money back up the hill so that it can keep flowing.

NEW ERA for HUMANITY? NASA says something 'major' FOUND ON MARS

G Fan

Re: Come on..

"Tell you what though, if aliens do find us, they'll be saying "Oh, don't go near Earth! It's got human beings on it, they're contagious!"."

True. They're made out of meat.

Let's all binge on Blake’s 7 and help save the BBC ... from itself

G Fan

Doable in seconds by just bringing BBC Worldwide's version of iPlayer to the UK... and to devices that don't have a half-eaten logo. €50pa for an enormous back-catalogue on demand (even StrictlyVocalEnders in Holby if you must) seems quite fair.

Boffin: Use my bionic breakthrough for good, and not super cyborgs

G Fan

Re: Hands? Pah! Kiddie stuff

... if you made it that far. The body's immune system is apt to reject the head after a few days.

What could possibly go wrong? Banks could provide ID assurance for Gov.UK – report

G Fan

Re: Circularity

So not unlike how you'd get your first British passport then. You apply for a passport, it's countersigned by someone who already has one, which was in turn countersigned by someone who already has one, rinse, repeat.

Spice up the process with decades of fraud and false applications, and as proof of ID, passports are pretty flimsy (especially when sat upon).

Netflix needling you? BBC pimps up iPlayer ahead of BBC3 move

G Fan

They already do this - for a paltry €5 per month non-UK residents have access to both current shows and the complete BBC archive:


Using the internet in the People's Republic of China

G Fan


Funnily enough, GMail works really well for me in China, whereas my Western-hosted POP email doesn't connect.

In many ways, the Great Firewall of China is less effective than other countries' blocking efforts - plain ssh tunnels work fine in China, whereas in other countries I had to run ssh over ssl, and in any case seems to vary in the sites blocked and the rigour with which they're blocked by location and ISP.

I don't think it's so much a Great Firewall as a series of small bush-fires: scary, but easily permeable.

China Unicom readies mobile OS

G Fan

Very punny!

"Wo"phone = "I"phone

Eyeball camera zooms into focus

G Fan

@Red Bren

Quite alright, sir, 'tis equally applicable to me.

I tried taking a long hard look at myself, but ended up with a slipped disc...

G Fan

Re: I'd recommend a liquid with a lower freezing point

Perhaps they could use the same stuff that's in human eyeballs - after all, people take eyeballs out in all sorts of weather conditions without them freezing, boiling or whatever. What's that stuff called?

Oh yes, salty water.

DWP will make feuding parents pay

G Fan

Re: This is the first real example of the public sector charging for services

... apart, of course, from the public sector charging for the cost of providing you with a driving licence, passport, dental check-up, use of a car on a public highway, changing any record in various government departments (e.g. the Land Registry) and all the other real examples of the public sector applying direct charges for their services.

UK.gov plans net surveillance by 2015

G Fan

Re: One More Reason to Use Encryption

Encrypted email is fine until the government chooses to exercise their law requiring you to fork over the private key and password, or face prison. As has already been tested. Twice.

High-speed Chinese train kicks French, Japanese butt

G Fan

Compared with income though

... it's a bloomin' fortune.

My father-in-law earns around 2500RMB/month.

UK mobile networks line up to bash net snooping plan

G Fan


You don't necessarily have to know the content of the message to gather useful information from it.

Your https session is encrypted, but the DNS lookup of the page address isn't, nor are the initial exchanges with the server, nor is IP information. When you send an encrypted email, the recipient's email address, your email address and the server/mta data are all still visible. Lots of useful information in that.

GCHQ might not know what your message contains, but they'll still be able to see that you@yourdomain.tld contacted someone@theirdomain.tld, and that someone@theirdomain.tld has lots of interesting friends. He might encrypt his calls and you might encrypt your calls, but the numbers are still visible, as are the locations (from tower triangulation, if the full cell data are recorded).

So it could be that you become a suspect simply because you happen to know someone who knows someone who happens not to be popular with the Government. Assuming the "7 degrees of separation" thing is true, we're all connected to terrorists somehow.

Liquid electrocar batteries could be replaced at pumps

G Fan

@How about Hydrogen fuel cells?

"Fill tank with hydrogen....Drive 250 miles emitting nothing but water....Pull in and fill up again."

Lovely, except hydrogen is a pain in the arse to handle and store, will leak at the slightest provocation (including /through/ the metal for a lot of common construction metals) and once leaked, needs very little energy to set it burning.

I'm quite happy with the idea that a cylinder could survive a reasonably high-velocity impact unscathed: enough LPG-powered cars have done so. I'm just less happy with the idea of coming back from holiday after 2 weeks to find the fuel tank empty and the passenger compartment full with invisible go-go-juice.

UK media: 'Met Office computer will destroy the world'

G Fan

@Eddie Johnson

>I will, if the patient is over 60 or feeble minded.

So what should we do about Parliament, with a high incidence of both?

Cat awarded online high school diploma

G Fan


"Didn't Ben Goldacre do something similar a while back?"

Homeopathy course.

I suppose the difference is that the High School Diploma at least pretends to be something useful.

Blaster anniversary recalls network worm heyday

G Fan


"but the era of high-profile, noisy megaworms like Blaster belongs to days long gone."

2008 is not all that far behind, or was Conficker not a high-profile, noisy worm? OK it wasn't /as/ destructive, but still caused some degree of damage to various systems.

Looking through the history of significant computer worms and viruses, there appears to be a major worm about every 5 years since 1980-ish. So set your clocks for 2013 and place your bets on which OS will bear the brunt...

Chinese more willing to trust hookers than pols

G Fan

@If memory serves...

That must've been in a fairly conservative part of the country. Round my way, they're quite brazen about it: massage parlours with pictures of girls in swimwear on the shop sign. So another victory over the politician - they're quite honest about their trade...

PC giants ship Chinese censorware anyway

G Fan


>>What's to stop the punters installing ubuntu etc, and surfing and WPing merrily away to their hearts' content [or indeed their groins' content!].<<

Like anytime Linux is mentioned, nothing stopping you until you try.

Chinese input support isn't brilliant in Linux. scim and ibus are pretty good, but sadly Windows still does it better. Linux distros as a rule don't manage a good, working Chinese-language desktop by default (binary distros still don't compile for UTF8 by default, leading to much frustration and many "character not found" squares of confusion.) And then when you do run into difficulty, you have to be proficient in English to find a lot of the answers.

Linux is an option, and a popular one among those Chinese that have learned good English, maybe been educated abroad, had a good computer for a long time and can spare the time to do battle with scim and wine.

Central government are targetting the majority that don't know or care enough about computers to pick another system, or uninstall Green Damn.

Twitter Yi not, as Beijing bins Bing

G Fan
Thumb Up

@Entering chinese chracters

It's not that hard, really and works in a similar way to T9.

On non-touchscreen phones, you tap in the romanised form of Chinese (i.e. Hanyu Pinyin) and optionally the tone, and the phone brings up a list of possible candidates from which you choose the one you want. The most common candidates are always first, so not too much scrolling normally.

There's also the option to input characters by stroke/radical, but I find this trickier.

Touchscreen phones and handwriting recognition are big in China. Even the 600RMB no-name, dual online SIM, NucleOS-running cheap-phone I currently use has full Chinese handwriting recognition (and a valiant effort at English characters too). Still can use Hanyu Pinyin, though.

Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology

G Fan


>>I read Koine Greek, Classic Latin & Aramaic like a native ... <<

>>Then why is it that classic & modern paintings & photographs are pretty much universally agreed upon across humanity when it comes to "good" vs. "bad"? We may not all agree upon fine art, but we can all agree that it IS art, as opposed to crap.<<

An appeal to authority and a strawman in the same post! That was clumsy...

The subject at hand was colour perception, not art. Art of any type, as any fule do no, is as much about subject and composition as about colour. (Otherwise how could black and white photos, or uniformly-grey stone sculptures be considered "art"? Whoopsie, that I suppose would be my own "art straw" man...)

>>Or perhaps ThePowersThatBe[tm] would contemplate putting me into the loony bin in your version of reality.<<

Doubt that, since when not poking holes in the careless parts of your arguments, I agree with you. Unfortunately Mithvetr has a point that the standard of discourse among infidels has dropped somewhat in recent years... something for which I think Dawkins is largely responsible. (He's another one getting careless in his old age).

I have high hopes for your roses this year... should be well fertilised now.

G Fan

Is a matter outside the remit of reality

>>"My challenge to you wasn't to describe how red works."

>Red's red. All our brains perceive it the same way, or so fMRI seems to suggest.

We might all be running on essentially the same meatware, and it might be doing all the same processing in all the same meaty brainy chunks, but there's no way to prove that my colour map isn't perfect and yours isn't completely fucked up.

If you can accept the philosophical assertion that humans are not experiencing reality but living in a simulacrum of reality produced by our brains operating on input from the senses and its chemical environment, then the assertion that the mapping of physical input to mental reality is unique and imperfect becomes plausible.

If your rendering of reality allows for the existence of fairies at the end of the garden, then they are perfectly real and natural to you, even if they fail the plausibility test in my reality.

I do love a little bullshit on a Monday...

VbyV password reset is childishly simple

G Fan

VbV, Firefox and NoScript...

... are a really great combination. Actually, this happens for me with both VbV and SecureCode.

Go shopping, input credit card details, click "buy" and get directed to VbV website. Enter VbV password, click submit. Web browser then reports that it's blocked an XSS-style request and wags its electronic tail. Online merchant then reports the transaction failed.

Doesn't stop the buggers billing my card, though. Cue time wasted on the phone to a call centre trying to get my money back.

The solution is, of course, to disable XSS-protection when shopping online, or to put exceptions in for that site. For every shopping site. Which kinda defeats the point of browser security, no?

London cabs to go 'lectric in 2009

G Fan

@Tony Smith

There's also (shock horror) nuclear power. Negligible CO2 emissions for the lifetime of the power station and lots of lovely non-dino electricity for powering up electric vehicles.

Suggest putting a slightly leaky Nuke near "Tele commute" AC's house. That should guarantee he never loses his right to vote...

Palin demands $15m to search her own emails

G Fan

Emails sent to Yahoo!, right?

The same Yahoo! that happily forked over details of dissident bloggers to the Chinese government?

The Yahoo! that happens to control the servers with the emails on, and may or may not be keeping a backup?

Surely it's simpler just to provide a court order to Y! and have /them/ publish the account. They have form, after all...

No takers for Huawei handset division

G Fan

A Small Cheap Handset maker...

... in a market rammed full of Small Cheap Handset makers. No-brand handsets like Huawei or Lenovo Mobile simply won't sell if pitched at more than 1000RMB, which barely covers the cost of 2001-standard hardware (ARM7, 1MB internal memory), let alone OS and patent licensing. If Chinese customers want to pay more for their phones, they buy Western-familar brands (Nokia, SE, Samsung, Moto and LG).

Nobody really wants the product, so who'd buy the company?

MS DNS patch snuffs net connection for ZoneAlarm users

G Fan


I had this happen last night after installing the patch. I found that turning "internet zone" security down to medium fixed the problem, so no need to turn off zonealarm completely.

Romanian and Turkish scientists turn circuit boards into oil

G Fan

@Jon Tocker

>I've been saying for years that they should depolymerise plastics etc to recycle the raw materials but the "conventional wisdom" was "it's too complicated and costly".<

And the "conventional wisdom" was right. What has happened is that the price of oil has risen and the price of recycling technology fallen to the point where it /starts/ to become cost effective to begin research into industrial-scale plastics recycling. While oil and natural gas are cheap, there's no incentive to do any kind of research or investment because you're too busy making a million dollars per hour per process unit on your refinery complex, without doing any work at all. Lazy? Yes - it's called "making hay while the sun shines".

It has been known for decades that chucking plastic into the front of a steam hydrocracker will break the plastic down into something useful. Like propylene, ethylene or benzene useful. The problem has always been how to feed enough plastic in to sustain the reaction, as solids handling is a pain in the arse. Any technology that can turn plastic into a stable liquid at low(ish) temperature is just perfect and allows "conventional wisdom" to "recycle" existing "chemical plants" into "plastics recycling plants". With or without the quote-mark abuse.

BestBuy blasts into UK with Carphone Warehouse buy

G Fan

@Could be interesting...

"Bare in mind CPW-BestBuy isn't going to be another PC World. Its more like wireless gadgets/products for the home. A market we don't really have stores for yet at a sensible consumer level."

Wot, like Tandy used to be?

Rare SCADA bug poses power plant risk

G Fan


Well said!

My own employer simply changes the terms of warranty for network-connected boxes to exclude unknown/internet attacks. Let the owner beware.

What should also be noted is that this is only for the HMI - the actual control and monitoring tends to be done in a different box running an appropriate OS (OK I've only ever used Wonderware to monitor Triconex ESD systems). The result of crashing the Wonderware instance is similar to turning the monitor off on your PC - irritating but hardly critical.

When exploits start appearing for the DCS or ESD logic solvers, then I'll panic.

Microsoft and Novell to push SuSE Linux sales in China

G Fan


The only technology sanctions against China were to do with nuclear weapons and missiles, not computer technology. You can buy all the latest gear in China... with a couple of months delay whilst the drivers are translated.

Stands to reason as it's all made there anyway!

G Fan

Good luck!

"Seeing as you can buy a legit copy of XP in China for $3" ... no you can't. You can buy a picture perfect <i>copy</i> of XP in China, complete with holographic CD and licence key sticker, for $3, but it's no more genuine than this $9 note I have here. You can buy a legitimate copy of XP for $15 (120RMB), though. And yes, people will still choose the fake one because it's 1/5 the price.

For Linux, not so many people use Linux because Windows is so cheap and has all the software (ok, just QQ then) that people want. But when we do use it, we like Red Flag, mainly because it actually works with Chinese, rather than adds it as an afterthought.

SuSE and openSuSE have not the webpage written in Chinese. Doesn't inspire confidence. So I think this is not a serious effort.

South Koreans clone sniffer dog

G Fan
Dead Vulture


"personally I wouldn't want to eat anything that spends half its life licking its own arse and the other half licking its balls." but eating animals that spend half their life eating their own vomit (cows/ruminants) or faeces (rabbits), or anything that will fit in its mouth (pigs) doesn't upset you?

Dog is actually quite tasty: very lean meat, firm texture, slightly nutty flavour. Try it sometime - you can have my neighbour's yappy little thing after I kill it for waking me up at 6am on a Saturday next time!

I prefer salted and dried dog (like biltong, only with salt).

Ruckus and Terranet rewire Mesh Wi-Fi dream

G Fan

Already in use in oil and chemicals industries

Like here: http://www.emersonprocess.com/smartwireless/index.asp

Field instruments communicating with the DCS in non-critical control loops don't need to transmit a lot of data, but may find themselves in hard to reach (or even on moving) locations which would ordinarily be difficult to wire up. Even if mesh networks find no friends in the domestic market, they're proving quite interesting to Industry.

"No longer just for socialist dreamers" - but for Big Oil as well ;-)

The iPhone learns to read

G Fan


Forgot the translations:

5201314 (wu er ling yi san yi si) is like (wo ai ni yi sheng yi shi) meaning "I love you forever" while 748 (qi si ba) sounds like "qu si ba" which is the Chinese for "go and die".


G Fan

@Stu Reeves

Once you have handwriting recognition capability for hanzi, then spotting japanese, korean, thai, even arabic characters is a simple change. Start with the most complicated first, yes?

If you don't use that, then sending 520 is to your girlfriend is good, sending 5201314 is better. But sending 748 to anyone is very very bad.

G Fan

Re: 520 eh?

520 is spoken wu er ling

"wu er ling" sounds a little like "wo ai ni"

"wo ai ni" means "I love you"

Not sweary, but not something one would normally send to a colleague.

/resident chinaman

Top-end Fords will be watching your rear

G Fan


As so many modern bikes have an aluminium frame, aluminium engine, alloy wheels, the only bit of the whole bike that will be affected by buried induction loops at lights are the brake discs. Perhaps bikers might do better to carry a 10kg iron barbell weight, or wear a chainmail vest?

Where I learned to drive, there were 50 million bicycles. One learns to look all around whenever changing direction - bicycles don't 'arf scratch the paint!

Dead wife contacts Lancs man via SMS

G Fan

Vile smell, loud breathing, bed covers

... Mrs Fan and I are the proud owners of a baby. When the baby was new, it used to do this. The smells were... very vile.

Online banking payment system aims to reduce fraud

G Fan
Thumb Down


"Here's how you shop with POLi:

1) Select the POLi logo.

2) POLi will present you with a list of banks- select your bank.

3) Login as you normally would to begin an internet banking session.

4) POLi calls up your "pay anyone" screen and automatically fills in the merchant's details and the amount of the purchase.

5) Simply click "Pay" to purchase with money that's in your bank account. "

So I have to trust the merchant's website enough to allow a script to remain active while I log into my bank account, answer all the usual security questions and then have it fill in the payments form for me?

Not meaning to be paranoid, but how can I be sure that the merchant's website is anymore genuine, and the POLi script anymore trustworthy than the average phishing email? Using an ActiveX control, as it does, I'm also forced to use MSIE, which I don't like...

Also, of course, when I pay with Visa or Mastercard, I have some insurance against fraud. When I bay by BACS, I have none.

It's a lovely idea, but flawed, no?

'Boil a frog' ID card rollout to continue until 2012

G Fan


We in China have had ID cards for a long time. We've only just got machine readable ones. They are tied into many tiers of life - banks, schools and colleges, employers, all need to see it, but they were until recently a photo stuck on a laminated card. Now they're a piece of plastic.

Are they forgable? Yes. Does it matter? No. In China you can go through your whole life never having to present ID, if you're very poor or very rich. They only burden the middle class.

BTW we can and do complain, also protest, also in some regions elect politicians. Does it matter? No more than in the UK - there's no such thing as representation democracy and you kid yourself if you believe there is.

Most spam comes from just six botnets

G Fan

@Chinas part in the spam industry

It's not really so odd if you've ever worked in a Chinese office. Most Chinese are pretty clueless about malware - every home computer, 'net cafe computer and even many major organisations are riddled with it. When it comes to the internet the majority of Chinese have almost child-like trust of what they find. So most computers have download managers, password managers, cute little desktop games, funny icons and all the other standard vectors for malware.

That's fine for home users - home PCs aren't switched on as much as they are in the West. Problem is that most Chinese companies exhibit the same child-like innocence, so few have even the most basic policy in place for controlling their workforce's habits. Result is that staff happily spend large chunks of the day on QQ and other social sites, happily downloading cute little desktop games, funny icons, etc all to their work PCs.

Certainly there are spam/bot controllers there - it has to be in Chinese language after all but they're helped by universal ignorance in the rest of the country.