* Posts by Kevin Whitefoot

85 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Apr 2007


Nothing succeeds like XSS

Kevin Whitefoot

What's wrong with a one time pad?

My bank in Norway issues a credit card sized list of one time keys and asks for a random one (never the same one twice) of those every time I log in in addition to my own password. If I don't have it with me I can ask for a key to be sent to my registered mobile. This seems reasonably secure to me, why would I need the extra expense of an RSA key generator? What extra security does it really provide?

Note the El Reg: can we have a question mark icon, sometimes we really do want an answer and aren't being sarcastic.

Wanted: Killer app for Bluetooth SIG (still)

Kevin Whitefoot

Eastern Standard Tribe

Cory Doctorow described a file sharing app. for cars on the New Jersey turnpike (or something like that) that published lists of tracks to other cars and offered to copy them over. In heavy slow traffic you are in range for long enough especially with the newer long range standard. Would also work on the bus. I spend an hour on buses everyday BT could sniff all sorts of stuff from other passengers, from bystanders in the town square, etc. Shops could offer advertising (as long as my mobile can ignore them)

How about using BT instead of DECT then my mobile could route calls through my land line when in range. Then I wouldn't need a separate handset for my land line.

There is no shortage of ideas, just not very many that a big corporation can use to get quickly rich.

Apple patent seeks to reinvent retail

Kevin Whitefoot

Prior art

Hasn't Manfred Macx already patented all this stuff and assigned the rights to the Free Infrastructure Foundation?

Ten Essential... 500GB Portable Hard Drives

Kevin Whitefoot


I hope it's better than the Intenso 16GB usb flash drive I have. It draws so much current that prevents my USB keyboard working. And on my Acer netbook if I leave it plugged in at boot time the machoine won't boot.

Ubuntu fights iPad fever with netbook shot

Kevin Whitefoot

Ubuntu suspends perfectly on my Acer Z150 netbook

My experience since Ubuntu 9.04 is that suspend works perfectly on my netbook and on Thibkpad T61p.

Never had much success with hibernation but then I haven't tried recently. Anyway resume takes almost as long as a reboot if you have a lot of ram.

Ancient typewriters reborn as USB keyboards

Kevin Whitefoot


\r and \n perhaps?

Bill defines 'personal information' to avoid strengthening DPA penalties

Kevin Whitefoot

It's not quite so bad

in Norway.

Unfortunately it looks like the usual anti-terrorism cant will cause the EU Data Retention Directive to be enforced here too, but still the government does seem to pay a _little_ more heed to the governed.

Kevin Whitefoot

Hear, hear.

Sadly, I feel I have to agree. although I emigrated long before it got so bad.

Google unveils GDrive that's 'not the GDrive'

Kevin Whitefoot


Already exists. But I think the project died and anyway it was too slow to be really useful but it was a successful proof of concept.

Nokia N86 8Mp cameraphone

Kevin Whitefoot

First Nokia with mechanical shutter?

My two year old N73 has that.

E-Wolf unveils extreme sports e-car

Kevin Whitefoot
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0-60 in 5s

UK prepped Mitsubishi Evo FQ400's do 0-60mph in 3.5 and only generate 300kW (according to Wikipedia) so 5s for an electric car with 400kW isn't very impressive. And the Evo is essentially a mass produced car.

Japanese mobile operators shout 'Avast' at piracy

Kevin Whitefoot

So even if they succeed at zero cost ...

'around 330 million tracks are sold annually in Japan, for over-the-air delivery, compared to the 400 million that are reckoned to be downloaded illegally.'

So even if they succeed at zero cost in converting the illegal downloads into legal ones they only manage to roughly double their turnover.

But of course a lot of the illegal downloads will simply not happen if people are forced to pay and of course deep packet inspection costs a lot of cpu cycles plus all the code and bureaucracy.

Plus, it will simply generate an arms race that will end up costing everyone more while producing less.

Cartoon lion urges Lancs kids to dob in terrorist classmates

Kevin Whitefoot


"But unlike the state, corporations have competition and have no police powers.”


Boffins: Ordinary lightbulbs can be made efficient, cheaply

Kevin Whitefoot

@jan, joe, tjalf re gas

And where pray would I get the gas from? Try thinking a little more globally. Not every country has a well developed network to supply domestic gas. And not every country uses coal or oil to generate electricity.

For example: here in Norway (about 40km south of Oslo) the sixty watt bulb in my lavatory is on 24 hours a day and as the peak daytime temperature this year was under fifteen celsius until this week I think I can justifiably count it as a space heater. Replacing it with a CFL would save perhaps 40W but the slack would have to be taken up by thermostatic electric heaters. And as the house is heated almost exclusively by electricity this would exactly balance until the outside temperature was such that the 40W was more than necessary and the panel heaters turn off completely (in the coldest months I supplement it with paraffin which of course is even more expensive than electricity). I use the cheapest bulbs obtainable and they last between six months and a year, that is between 4000 and 8000 hours. The reason for this, presumably, is that they are never subjected to thermal shock by being switched on and off.

And of course 98% of the electricity is generated by hydro so gas would not be as competitive as you say anyway (yes I know there are substantial losses in the HV lines).

Clickfree Traveler SSD

Kevin Whitefoot


Sorry, I didn't miss the point, I failed to make my own clearly. I wasn't disagreeing that a simple, automatic backup solution is a good idea, merely that the price was very high for what was provided.

And presumably those sales people work for a company with an IT department in which case the responsibility for backup should already be decided and fully automatic procedures in place. I think putting sensitive sales information in your wallet is probably a bad idea unless it is encrypted as mentioned by AC above because wallets are very frequently stolen. Of course most companies don't encrypt anything at all so I realize that this might take a bit more work to put in place.

Anyway how does it know what to copy? It can hardly be fully automatic because most people's computers have more data on them than would fit, especially on the SSD version. So the user must inevitably have to specify what to copy. So it is definitely not as simple as plugging it in.

The xCopy scripts that I mentioned are something that I demonstrate to my colleagues and even those who actively dislike computers manage to use them.

Kevin Whitefoot
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Over the odds for the SSD? Just over the odds altogether!

A year ago I bought a Western Digital 320GB USB disk for the price you quote for the Clickfree 120GB. Why would anyone want the Clickfree product? WD also includes backup software. So all you get for the price is a slightly smaller box with 60% less space. And the SSD is stupid you can get perfectly normally USB flash drives for much less

Also if all that is being done is a simple copy of changed files why does anyone need an application, a simple xCopy /s /d command will backup all your changed files just as easily.

Unsafe at any speed: Memcpy() banished in Redmond

Kevin Whitefoot

Why is buffer overflow a problem?

Surely the operating system and the hardware can allocate space in such a way that data buffers are not executable and that the code of a program is not writeable. So why is this still a problem? Isn't the ability to mark memory blocks with flags controlling these things supposed to be a feature of proper operating systems and processors? I have vague memories of reading many years ago about the memory management features of mainframe computers that mention things like this. See also http://developer.amd.com/documentation/articles/pages/3312005143.aspx for instance.

MEPs get the fear over nanotechnology

Kevin Whitefoot

@Cock of the poppiest variety

It's not that the MP was classically educated more likely he was simply not educated at all!

After all a proper classical education includes a lot of Greek and Latin philosophy and literature such as Democritus, who is credited with one of the first atomic theories, and Lucretius who, though not a scientist himself, took it upon himself to preserve and explain the prevailing scientific theories of the time in De Rerum Naturae. A politician with a proper classical education (Boris Johnson?) could probably read them in the original.

Of course access to these theories doesn't mean anyone actually pays attention. If they had we probably wouldn't have had to wait another 2000 years for computers, etc.

The Netbook Newbie's Guide to Linux

Kevin Whitefoot


I dropped Linpus as soon as I could because almost everything I tried to install failed with a dependency error. It seems that Acer didn't put as much effort into the quality control of the software as they did the hardware Just install Easy Peasy Ubuntu Netbook Remix (http://www.geteasypeasy.com/) and then it just works. Both Cambridge Silicon Radio and Broadcom work with no configuration.

How gov scapegoats systems for man-made errors

Kevin Whitefoot


I suggest that you have misunderstood the purpose of a signature. Applying a signature is the same as accepting responsibility for the content of the paper being signed.

And as for the checking required surely it is as simple as calling the students form teacher, tutor, or whatever they are called these days and asking. In fact why doesn't the form teacher take charge of the thing in the first place?

If my children are the subject of any letter sent home it is personally written and signed by the teacher responsible for their well being at school so I don't see why the school in question can't do it.

Oh! Of course, now I come to think of it I do know: it's because my children go to school in Norway where the staff are expected to treat the children like human beings and expect similar treatment in return (I expect there are schools like that in the UK too but you never hear of them).

Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope springs to beta

Kevin Whitefoot

@But will wireless work out of the box?

I have an Acer One with Atheros wifi and a T61p with whatever it has and both worked out of the box with Ubuntu. (Easy Peasy on the One, plain Ubuntu 8.04 on the T61p). Don't know about Broadcomm wifi but Broadcomm Bluetooth works out of the box as does Cambridge Silicon Radio.

If been running wifi in Ubuntu on Thinkpads for several years now. Never needed to do anything special.

Hyundai readies Volt-style hybrid

Kevin Whitefoot
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@What is it with looks??

At last a sensible response to the unsprung weight criticism. But why AC?

National Express to 'ban' trainspotting

Kevin Whitefoot

Why not just sell tickets on trains?

Seems to work here in Norway and worked fine in Sweden last week and Switzerland last year. I just get on the train wait for the conductor and buy a ticket, no drama, no fine. Oh, and of course there is almost always a seat and it's clean and hasn't been vandalised.

Boffin icon for the benefit of the rail companies.

Big biz slams brakes on new domains

Kevin Whitefoot


The whole idea of domain names is just daft. Anyone should be able to use any string of characters they like so long as it isn't the same as the string used by someone else. In a 'globalised' world we don't need a suffix that _pretends_ to tell us where the object the URL names is. Who types URLs anyway? The only time I ever type them is when using FF3 which has a very nice incremental search in the address field. And of course I only type part of the name, never the TLD.

Acer promises Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone for €49

Kevin Whitefoot


In Norway it is common for a contract to cost less than 200NOK per month with a mobile costing 1NOK up front. For my N73 I paid 1NOK plus 95NOK a month for twelve months, after twelve months my monthly fees will be talk time only. 1GBP=10NOK. But the monthly fees here usually do not include any talk time. So yes, different countries have different types of contracts.

Polish Spitfire shoots down BNP

Kevin Whitefoot

Incompetent spellers

Please take a look at the OED:



Telenor shuns IFPI's 'block Pirate Bay' demands

Kevin Whitefoot


Roughly: Vil du ha pommefrites med det? Hmm, now I realize that I'm unsure of the spelling of pommefrites, never mind. But as mr.K said, just say it in English and everyone will understand.

Canadian prof: Green IT is a waste of time

Kevin Whitefoot

The usual drivel

Presumably (haven't read the report) green IT means IT equipment that requires less energy to manufacture, use, and dispose of. These things mean that the total impact of human activities is less than it would be if the device were less 'green'. It's about time that policy makers and their advisers stopped regarding all human activities as invariably bad. What we need to do is to reduce the resource cost of doing what we want to do. And, surprise, surprise, this is exactly what science and technology has been doing for us over the last five thousand years. More efficient vehicles allow more people to travel which is what was wanted. Complaining that improvements in efficiency allow people to travel more thereby causing more damage to the planet is beside the point because the increased travel was one of the goals in the first place. Doing it efficiently means that the impact is less than it would otherwise have been. The goal should be to reduce the impact of the things we want to do not to eliminate them and this is what more energy efficient IT, vehicles, and buildings do for us.

Dell introduces 10in netbook

Kevin Whitefoot
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Glad I bought an Acer One

So it costs 50% more than the 160GB, 512MB, 8.9inch AA150 I bought from Asda just before Christmas to get 25% more screen area that shows fewer actual pixels! What's the point? Alright it has more ram but 512 seems to be working quite well for me. Of course I scrapped Linpus and put Easy Peasy on it (Ubuntu 8.10 Netbook Remix plus some non-free).

Looks like Acer still have the upper hand here.

Shark attacks predict economic bubbles, says boffin

Kevin Whitefoot

Great White is a protected species off SA and California

According to the web sites I have consulted in my extensive research on the subject (two minutes) less than forty attacks a year are attributable to Great Whites and very few are fatal.

Anyway there are plenty of surfers.

Brum laid bare on OpenStreetMap

Kevin Whitefoot

@Why By Rich

Because OS maps cannot be re-used without paying royaties even though they were produced using your money in the first place (I assume you are a UK tax-payer).

Also the name of the project is Open Street Maps, so I imagine that the principal ambition is mapping streets not geographical features which means that they do not need the same level of detail.

And what do Thatcher and trains have to do with the affair? You aren't seriously suggesting that a bunch of volunteers editing maps in their spare time is a threat to commercial mapping in the same way that the wholesale sell off of community assets to private companies was to efficient operation of transport networks under Thatcher (and is under the current government), are you?

And while I'm on the subject I'd like to record my thanks to Yahoo for allowing the use of there aerial photography in this effort. I used it to map the centre of the little Norwegian town I live in. It wasn't that difficult AC.

Asus unwraps 10in Eee with 9.5-hour battery life

Kevin Whitefoot

@Stuart Halliday

The One already has an LED backlight: http://www.acer.com/aspireone/.

And the pixel dimensions are already 30% smaller than my BenQ 24 inch widescreen monitor (133 pixels per inch on the Acer, versus 94 on the BenQ, unless my arithmetic is faulty of course).

Smaller pixels are of course better than larger but much smaller and most people won't see the difference. Especially as it turns out that the people buying them are not the kids that the marketing people thought would buy them.

Surely if we want much more screen performance out of small cheap computers we should drop the screen altogether and use virtual reality goggles.

Tux because my One runs Linux (Easy Peasy/Ubuntu 8.10, Netbook Remix).

Kevin Whitefoot


Well my Linux Aspire One was cheaper than the XP version and the spec was the same, I think (512MB ram, 160GB disk). GBP199 from ASDA just before Christmas. Mind you I threw out that heap of dependency errors they call Linpus Lite and now run Easy Peasy (that's mostly Ubuntu 9.10, Netbook remix). Works like a dream, pity Acer didn't contact Canonical before Linpus. Can't imagine why I would want XP, nor why I would want to pay the extra for a trifling increase in screen size. In fact if it makes the box bigger it would defeat the purpose of having a SMALL computer.

Saving ISPs and the music biz: Is it even worth it?

Kevin Whitefoot

@I Could be wrong ...

And Jamendo has 14 000 albums available for legal free download. Some of it is unutterable crap of course but then the same applies to the big labels. Some of it is just as well produced as anything from SonyWarnerVirginEtcMegaLabel. Most on some kind of Creative Commons licence. Some of it also turns up on Last.fm now. See www.jamendo.com.

Smiley face because I am happy to see the record industry go under.

Acer intros 10in Aspire One netbook

Kevin Whitefoot
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50% more and all you get is a bit more screen area?

What's the point? My AAO 150 cost GBP 199 at Asda and seems to have a remarkably similar spec except for the screen size (same pixel count, same disk). Why would anyone want to pay GBP 299 for that?

Idiots, The One is a great _little_ machine. If anything should change it is that heap of junk called Linpus Lite, I have never seen so many dependency errors! Just put an Ubuntu with Netbook Remix on it instead, e.g. Easy Peasy, http://www.geteasypeasy.com/.

UK schools chief begs for Home Access scheme cash

Kevin Whitefoot

What a waste of money.

Why not spend the money on some education instead? Vocational training in computer applications can come later when the little darlings can actually read, write and add two and two.

Ubuntu Eee undergoes cheesy Easy Peasy rebrand

Kevin Whitefoot

@EEEPC doesn't have CDdrive

Yes you can put it on a USB drive. I used a USB hard drive but flash memory works too.

In fact a CD drive would not work for the full install because the ISO image is over 800MB.

Update: Belkin Mini Bluetooth adapters also work (Broadcomm chipset) which is really good becaus it is so small it can be left plugged in, no need to open the case and solder it in.

Kevin Whitefoot

Works on my Acer Aspire One

I downloaded it yesterday on my existing Ubuntu 8.04 box. Followed the slightly confusing instructions to get the UNetBookInstaller, installed that (had to change the mode on the binary because the .deb file didn't), ran the installer to copy the ISO to an old external usb disk. Plugged in to my Acer, booted, installed.

It just works. And, compared to Acer's UI it looks really nice and of course is considerably more capable.

It even has Bluetooth running and detected my Tesco BT dongle (Cambridge Silicon Radion).

I agree the instructions could be better. But it is a wiki and all those complaining are surely qualified to fix the instructions. I'll have a go this evening, unless one of you beats me to it.

All hail Jon Ramvi!

P.s. Umm, please don't take the heart too literally (you know, the baby bit, etc.)!

Economists: European ancestors are what make you rich

Kevin Whitefoot

(2) able to withstand migration...

(2) able to withstand migration, as this was mainly along parallels of latitude and therefore to regions with similar climates.

Are you seriously suggesting that areas of the same latitude necessarily have similar climates?

Latitude 55: Novosibirsk, Moscow, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Kaliningrad, Kamchatka, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Labrador, Derry, Northern Ireland, Newcastle upon Tyne. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latitude_55_degrees_N, yes I know it's Wikipedia, scoff if you must but if you can do better then fix it)

Granted none of them are tropical but some have temperature ranges of +-30K while others are rather temperate. It seems unlikely that latitude has much to do with similar climates in this context.

And where does the idea that migration was along parallels come from?

France liberates Jesus Phone from Orange

Kevin Whitefoot

Re: It's not like it's bread ...

I agree with the headline.

But (of course ther is a but) you said: There is something called "Consumer Sovereignty" which is basically vote with your cash.

I say why not vote with your vote.

Which is presumably (to some extent) what the French have done.

I get the point about consumer sovereignty but I don't see why it should supersede political sovereignty. (and neither deserve initial caps).

EU flags up wrinkly nuke-boffin knowhow loss threat

Kevin Whitefoot


You are an impostor sir, what have you done with our favourite alien? Every word made perfect sense!

Mobe firm gives birth to pair of kid tracking phones

Kevin Whitefoot


The networks can offer this service on any mobile. No need for a special device.

Happy Birthday, Turing's universal machine

Kevin Whitefoot

@Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 18th November 2008 09:54 GMT

Where did you get the idea that evolution produces the best of breed?

Darwinian evolution produces the breed most likely to survive in the conditions in which it finds itself. It also requires that there be a continuous series of steps from one type to another (because large mutations are almost invariably deleterious). See any of Dawkins' books, or indeed 'The Origin'.

Evolution produced the human eye. The human eye has the light sensitive parts behind other essential parts. There are other animals (octopus?) that have the light sensitive parts in the 'right' place. Which is best of breed?

So exactly how does Darwinian evolution apply to operating system design?

Also I think your numbers are suspect, references?

Cisco battles Meltdown with mobile and video

Kevin Whitefoot

Bits or bytes

6.4Tbps (terabytes per second)

should surely be 6.4TBps (terabytes per second)

or 6.4Tbps (terabits per second)

Which is it?

School to hand out e-textbooks

Kevin Whitefoot


Where did I suggest that teachers should write the books? I said pay a competent person. And as the marginal cost of an electronic book is rather close to zero I don't think that the unit cost need be high, unless of course you are supporting the system where schools use brand new editions of books practically every year (that's what happens where I live, unfortunately). Presumably more than one school could use the same books thus distributing the cost over many many more units. Perhaps someone could give us some authoratitive esitmates of how many man hours are involved in writing a text book, then we might be able to settle the question one way or another. In any case there is no need to pay for anything other than the man hours involved in preparing the content, as there is no physical book involved there are no distribution costs (unless downloaded by phone of course).

Of course using such a small screen is a ridiculous way of reading text books but allowing them for homework but not in class makes even less sense.

Kevin Whitefoot

The usual failure of imagination and protection of business interests

If they were serious about reducing textbook costs they would buy the copyright of the book and place it under a Creative Commons remix license and then when it needs revision they would only have to pay some competent person for the hours needed to revise it. In fact if it were a good book someone might revise it for nothing.

Or they could simply collaborate with others on producing suitable books; for physics such a book is already in progress: http://www.fhsst.org.

And not allowing the students to use the technology in class is just stupid.

TSA signs off on paperless boarding

Kevin Whitefoot

What's the point?

I never have a ticket when I travel. And in Scandinavia I mostly don't need a boarding pass either because the ticket is linked to my credit card or my SAS Gold card; this system is spreading in Europe quite quickly. So adding a layer of complexity by tying it to a mobile phone is providing a solution to a problem we don't actually have.

It's Time that Google forgot

Kevin Whitefoot

Thank you AC

Saved me the trouble of replying. Mind you I see that SJ is referring to someone with a quite different name so perhaps I didn't need to reply after all.

Kevin Whitefoot

Pardon me SJ but I don't even use Google

So Alta Vista offered search-by-date. Date of what? Date that Alta Vista scanned the page? All the dates that that URL was scanned? Did they read the page looking for things that looked like dates and report those. Sounds like some serious AI was involved which I doubt they had. So Alta Vista would have been able to report just the information that the ignorant journalist thought he had: the apparent date of the article just as Google could have but didn't. But of course it would simply be the date that the spider scanned the page which because the newspaper changed the URL was recent.

As for RTFA, I did read it and noted that it was an incomplete and partial rendering of a news report that I had already read. The original had the vital information that the newspaper had altered the URL causing the spider to think it had found a new page.

I think it was elsewhere on El Reg (perhaps Google can find it for you).

Kevin Whitefoot

Google can't fix this problem

Because the newspaper changed the URL Google rescanned the page. If it had put the scan date on the results it would simply encourage people to believe that the page was new. The proper solution is for all news reports to contain a prominent date and time visible even when a long page is scrolled.