* Posts by John B Stone

28 posts • joined 20 Jun 2008

Star wreck: There's a 1 in 20 chance a NASA telescope and US military satellite will smash into each other today

John B Stone

Expensive junk worth collecting

With the astronomical (sorry) cost of putting metal in orbit, it would be useful to collect it so that you can recycle it up there, which should be cheaper than launching new bits. Presumably eventually some automated high-efficiency low-thrust drive craft will be put to use to do so. Though I guess the legality of ownership and salvage rights could be a nightmare.

TalkTalk bollocked after fibre marketing emails found to be full of sh!t

John B Stone

An odd thing to admit to

"You've hit your limit three times in 30 days" means in reality that they gave you the bandwidth they promised 3 times in a month, and not for the rest of the month. Seems like an odd thing to openly admit to.

When it comes to AI research the West is winning, the East is rising and women are being left behind

John B Stone

Is comparing Socialist spending categories vs Capitalist categories meaningful?

Comparing Socialist* countries corporate and government spending vs Capitalist countries corporate and government spending and drawing conclusions from the categories seems to stretch credulity. Though hey I guess its the sort of error a western data trained machine learning model would make so bonus points for that.

(* or whatever label you care to put on China)

Top cops demand access to the UK's entire web browsing history

John B Stone

ISPs with secure systems and irrefutable logs?

Surely for the logs to be useful (and to stand up in court) the ISPs have to have solid security and rigorous testing of their systems. Logs of ISPs who for example had been subject to any hack would have to be automatically ruled out...

Krebs: I know who hacked Ashley Madison

John B Stone

Krebs royalty check is in the post

Has anyone asked Krebs if the whole point of the hack was as a viral advert for AC/DC?

Google TUGS Nexus 7-INCHER from its online store

John B Stone

I guess now they have pulled the plug we can safely assume that Android OS 6.0 will brick the Nexus 7 2013.

Like others I had to reinstall 4.4 to get my Nexus 7 2012 usable after Lollipop.

Super SSD tech: Fancy a bonkers 8TB all-flash PC?

John B Stone

Re: 'ow do you do that, then?

I suspect the headline figures for the drive as a whole are hiding the fact that the limitation likely applies to individual bits. So while whole drive writes are rare, repeatedly writing the same chunk of memory over and over is common (internal drive sector mapping, paging files, other rapidly changing data), will wear this thing out quickly. So you are dependent on clever firmware to constantly and dynamically reallocate memory to different areas of the device. So lifetime is likely dependent on how good the reallocation algorithm is.

Patch now: Design flaw in Windows security allows hackers to own corporate laptops, PCs

John B Stone

And the server vulnerability vectors are?

So for windows 2003 servers to be at risk they have to be connected to a rogue network.

Most servers are not connected to a wireless network at all and generally for larger businesses are in physically hard to access locations. Therefore the main vulnerabilities seem to be:

Access to the network connection anywhere between the windows 2003 server the AD server (could be in a remote office, and over a 3rd party link - hello spooks!)

Virtual servers carried around on laptops (eg demos) which you might connect via a wireless network or plug into a home network

Home based and small business servers where they are connected to wireless networks or just generally not too hard to access

Physical server access (duh) though they only have to plug a cable in and not access via console therefore leaving no obvious trace

and this only has to happen anywhere in your domain for you to have an owned server inside the corporate firewall...

REVEALED: TEN MEEELLION pinched passwords and usernames

John B Stone

He might be able to guarantee it, if he is a hacker and recognises anything in there.

ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

John B Stone

More than a coincidence?

I didn't think that Titius-Bode sequence was widely accepted as being anything other than a coincidence. But as they are predicting increased planet detection rates based upon using it, then I guess we are about to find out if it has some use.

97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband. 'Typical households' need 10Mbps – Ofcom

John B Stone

Doesn't add up

"The telecoms authority said 97 per cent of folks in Blighty are able to get at least basic broadband of 2Mbps, and altogether 15 per cent of people are stuck below the 10Mbps mark."

Parsing that sentence:

3% of people aren't able to get internet

15% of people can only get under 10mbs (presumably not counting the 3% who don't get any)

therefore 82% are able to get 10mps or over!

Isn't that rather good?

Or is that a poorly written sentence?

MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for terrorism'

John B Stone


So hindsight bias turned up to 11 when looking at someone else to blame and that will lead to more budget being allocated (and possibly employ a few reg readers). Even if plausibility doesn't withstand even mild analysis.

Hindsight bias turned down to zero when looking at if it was self to blame.

Situation normal for pretty much any organisation.

Man bites dog: HTTPS-menacing POODLE is 'hard to exploit' – unless you're on public Wi-Fi

John B Stone

Note that early versions of poodletest showed recent Firefox versions as _not_ vulnerable incorrectly and that has now been fixed.

There are not too difficult end user fixes for Firefox, Chrome and IE.

IE: on the Internet Options-Advanced tab untick "Use SSL 3.0" and apply

Firefox: (as mentioned above) type about:config in the URL and then find and double click security.tls.version.min and set it to 1

Chrome - slightly harder as you need to add a parameter to the command line in the shortcut you use to launch chrome. Add " --ssl-version-min=tls1" to the end of the shortcut's properties/target line after "\chrome.exe"

After all of those you should restart the browser and retest. For some reason I had to logout/in to make the chrome change work.

Its possible some websites wont work after that, though I haven't found any yet, I have noticed some authentication failures that require a retry.

Home automation while it's hot: Winter warmth for lazy technophiles

John B Stone

Isn't one of the big savings gained by adjusting the _boiler_ temperature (not the room thermostats) to be as low as practical (at least for condensing boilers) throughout the year? This temperature varies with the seasons (general ambient temperature), and may have the side effect of stopping your pipes banging.

Chillax, cranky commentards: Anger can KILL YOU

John B Stone

So the general advice of "don't feed the troll" is wrong, or rather is done for the general well being of the troll? If we feed them there would be fewer of them.

Worlds that could support LIFE found among 715 new planets

John B Stone

Re: Gravity??

Depends on its composition. How much iron is in its core vs lighter elements?

With a similar composition to Earth the surface gravity of a planet in the habitable zone with twice the mass is roughly 1.3Gs - but could easily vary 0.2 Gs either way depending on composition and possibly more.

Note density increases as planet mass increases for the same composition.

NHS England tells MPs: 'The state isn't doing dastardly things with GP medical records'

John B Stone

Secure forever for you and close relatives?

Even if the system is secure now, it has to stay secure for your entire lifetime and probably your children's lifetime too - as your medical history is useful in predicting around 50% of your parent's/sibling's/children's susceptibility. Though that likely excludes the more embarrassing personal medical history but not the insurance issues.

And therefore if you opt out but the records of your parents/siblings/children who haven't are ever cracked then perhaps 50% of your info can be inferred.

Would you bet on tech not being able to break current encryption in 20, 40, 60 years time?

Kepler data yields Earth-mass 'gas giant'

John B Stone

If it has the predicted density of 1.3 and diameter 60% bigger than the Earth then surface (cloud top) gravity is about the same as Mars at around 0.4G.

As it is low mass and warm it is probably losing Hydrogen and Helium at a high rate (geologically speaking). It likely has an escape velocity lower than Earth.

Chrome, Firefox blab your passwords in a just few clicks: Shrug, wary or kill?

John B Stone

Make it a write only store?

Why not make the passwords not viewable (and encrypted)? It appears most users don't know they are even there in any case.

The only times I have used it is when I can't immediately remember/find a password and needed it on another device/browser and that only a handful of times over the years.

This has made me consider using a stupidly long and complex password to protect them and then throwing away the password (in Firefox).

Insourced staff paid a pittance but don't want to leave

John B Stone

Do the commute math

Don't folks do the maths on the commute? I worked out a while back that one mile of daily commute (2 miles round trip) equals over one hundred quid a year extra you have to earn (before tax) in direct fuel costs (or public transport costs). That is excluding any notional value you place on the commute time itself (at least minimum working wage perhaps?)

If I commute an extra 50 miles each way (100 mile round trip) a day, I need to earn over 5K more a year to make it worthwhile. All else being equal of course. Plus there would be a notional value of a couple of hours of my time a day which I would value _at least_ 3K per year (minimum wage for commute time for 220 days ).

John B Stone

What about the profit margin?

Ahem, ten to fifteen percent savings is probably below the profit margin the outsourcer had on the project.

So if the pay really is significantly below market rates then there are two obvious potential conclusions:

Either the savings are much bigger than 10-15%

or the insourcer is using more staff to do the same job as the outsourcer (possibly due to inefficiencies or lower skill base)

A third cynical conclusion is that they are overpaying the market rate (at least for someone) but spinning it the other way so that no-one notices!

Official: More than 7 million Brits have NEVER accessed the interwebs

John B Stone

so NOT using the internet makes you live longer?

According to national statistics on life expectancy half of the current people over 75 will be, ahem, naturally removed from the system in 6 years or less. So this statistic will rapidly fall. In fact it falls by over 10% per year.

As as the report is only indicating a 9% reduction in a year then either:

A) more, not less, under 75 year olds have never used the internet


B) NOT using the internet is an indicator for longer life expectancy

'$199' Surface tablets: So crazy it might work, or just crazy?

John B Stone
Thumb Up

$199 when you buy a subscription to Office 365 more likely

Bundling it at that price when you take out a premium Office 365 subscription makes a lot of commercial sense.

Subscription model - check

Protects Office revenue stream - check

Protects OS revenue stream - check

Feeds off existing strengths - check

Strengthens cloud offerings - check

BYOD - check

Tablet footprint- check

Realigns Enterprise and Consumer platforms - check

Yup, seems likely.

Google releases open source browser

John B Stone
Thumb Up

Ooh SVG support, Ajax Business Intelligence is go

Chrome supports SVG, which makes AJAX graphing and charting a doddle.

I suspect now it is in Google Chrome that Microsoft will be forced to follow suit. This opens the door to much faster useful graphing in all browsers and paves the way for cheap Business Intelligence on the desktop.

The Google-isation of all the net's access points

John B Stone
Thumb Down

Hosts file homing slows Chrome to a crawl

If you have edited your hosts file to "home" ad servers then Chrome takes ages to load any page containing a "homed" URL - which is of course most of the internet.

Generally it is obvious it was released early - there are a lot of things missing. It isn't a Firefox challenger by any stretch of the imagination.

Carbon Trust: Rooftop windmills are eco own-goal

John B Stone

But is its carbon footprint lower than fossil fuel?

Shouldn't the question be whether its lifetime carbon footprint is overall less than generating the same energy using the most efficient fossil fuel? Not whether it is carbon neutral.

It's not going to be economic anytime soon though.

EU emissions trading to include airlines

John B Stone

It's not the TVs it's the computers (it's our fault)

Most new TVs have the standby nailed already so this will mostly sort itself over the next few years as old TVs get replaced with digital TVs. My new LCD TV uses less than 1 watt on standby already.

It's computer gear where reducing standby wattage will make a big difference. 10-20w in "off" mode for your desktop computer, printer and wireless router is fairly standard. Note many cheap printers have external transformers that use almost as much power when turned off (at the printer) as they do when turned on (e.g. Lexmark).

Heavyweight physics prof weighs into climate/energy scrap

John B Stone
Gates Horns

The cats have the right idea

The slide deck (on the linked site) is both enlightening and rather depressing. I was beginning to wonder if its major green contribution was in increasing the suicide rate (suicide being the greenest thing you can do). And then slide 164 - death by cats - priceless.


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