* Posts by wsm

285 posts • joined 5 Aug 2008


Software developer cracks Hyundai car security with Google search


Good News/Bad News

Good news: Hooray! You can customize your entertainment system.

Bad News: You are still driving a Hyundai.

Microsoft readies Windows Autopatch to free admins from dealing with its fixes


Hours wasted by Microsoft

I'm not sure that any of this further automation of Microsoft patching will help anything.

Having been a sysadmin for too many years and having to run Microsoft domains for most of that time, I have often wondered how much of my life has been wasted waiting for Microsoft to patch their software, reboot my systems and keep me waiting at the spinning balls until the update completes at 5%, 23%, 74% and inevitably hanging at 100% for what seems like hours. Not to mention the unpatched defects, vulnerabilities and other unknowns that make me test every system for some basic functionality after patching.

I once thought of figuring out how many days, weeks or months it added up to over the years. I'm afraid to know the answer.

VMware reveals a swarm of serious bugs – some critical


Once upon a time

VMWare, even the free ESXI, was once much more useful than any Microsoft or Oracle product for virtual servers, especially for spinning off Linux web servers so you could do real sites without the cringe-worthy IIS. Now, Microsoft has learned from (or stolen from) VMWare, AWS et al.

Times have changed and, like everything else, not always for the best.

AMD: Our latest, pricier mega-cache Epyc processors leapfrog Intel’s


Hardware only option?

Given the great proliferation of virtual machines, I wonder if Amazon, Microsoft, VMWare or even Oracle will be able to emulate the performance of this 3D cache.

Better CEO is 'taking time off' after firing 900 staff on Zoom



Everybody can do better than Better. But I was looking for some mention that the firing was reversed until it could be evaluated along with the management culture.

That would not only be better, but the Best!

Engineers' Laurel and Hardy moment caused British Airways 787 to take an accidental knee



As if the name Boeing didn't have enough troubles. Now it could be coined as a new term for any aviation mishap. Maybe something like, "I Boeinged that one!"

Apple's iPad Pro on a stick, um, we mean M1 iMac scores 2 out of 10 for repairability


No keyboard replacement without losing a function?

Doesn't that eliminate the possibility of purchase of this thing in multiples for larger organizations? Keyboards are usually the first thing that users damage and replacing them is commonplace. But pairing the ID device with only the original keyboard is Apple gone arrogant again. Right to repair not an issue for them, then.

The future is now, old man: Let the young guns show how to properly cock things up


Ai or AL?

At first, I thought that this was a story of yet another artificial intelligence gone rogue, similar to what a PFY might do.

Funnily enough, no, infosec bods aren't mad keen on W. Virginia's vote-by-phone-app plan


Could I vote?

On this plan, on my phone? Maybe I'll even vote twice (or more, if it helps).

Oracle's JEDI mine trick: IT giant sticks a bomb under Pentagon's $10bn single-vendor cloud plan


Just a few points

1) Oracle said that JEDI “virtually assures DoD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more” Ummm, the cloud technologies are a service. I doubt any vendor would be able to sustain a "legacy cloud" as hardware and software would change without regard for this single contract, though it would be like the Pentagon to find a way to make that happen.

2) Oracle, the company which has kept licensing and costs so structured as to keep their clients on decade-old versions, said “stated objectives of flexibility, innovation, a broad industrial base, and keeping pace with evolving technology,” Really, Oracle? Really?

3) Oracle again: “stated objectives of flexibility, innovation, a broad industrial base, and keeping pace with evolving technology,” See all of the above. The cloud will change. The Pentagon will (slowly) change. Having a single source for services most likely won't alter either party to the contract.

4) The DoD “has little idea what type of cloud services will exist in 2025,” Oracle said. And neither does Oracle. JEDI is a contract for services that can give the Pentagon a place to go without forcing endless bidding and quibbling, like Oracle is attempting to ensure happens now. Hopefully, even the government will realize that Oracle is in decline and newer, more efficient data services are likely to come from somewhere else. Any cloud services provider will be able to keep up with those improvements. That is, if the Pentagon doesn't contract with Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Could, run out of a basement in Cleveland.

Security world to hit Las Vegas for a week of hacking, cracking, fun


Hackers conference?

So, who is going to get arrested this year? Another Marcus? Just saying it's a possibility.

How hack on 10,000 WordPress sites was used to launch an epic malvertising campaign


legit web ad ecosystem?

Doesn't exist.

This is the contract you've been looking for: Pentagon releases JEDI bids


Let's see...

Pentagon contract, check, lots of terms and conditions that can be endlessly quibbled, check, length of contract most likely negotiable, check, additional unforeseen expenses, check.

Final bill for taxpayers: $100 billion to $1 trillion over two decades or more. By that time, the original purpose and goals will be completely forgotten and one of the alphabet soup agencies will have hundreds of permanent staff to manage the contractors.

Politicians fume after Amazon's face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks


Re: Poetic Justice?

They may be a criminal class according to the facts and figures, considering the high rate of those convicted of crimes or resigning just before being arrested.

We call them unindicted co-conspirators or persons of interest until such time as they are actually serving a sentence, but why quibble over details.

Google unwraps its gateway drug: Edge TPU chips for IoT AI code


Is that so?

I understand why Google wants own the IoT (global domination of all things that tech can touch, and more) but what makes them think that people want the internet on everything?

If given a choice, I will always want my appliances simple. I don't want a toaster that talks back or reports to Google that I burnt the whole wheat again.

Did you know? The word 'Taiwan' would crash iOS thanks to a buggy filter for the Chinese govt




Software engineer fired, shut out of office for three weeks by machine


Re: California???

I could have sworn this was one of the quangos I have worked for. if that wasn't all in the past, I would post as an AC.

RoboCop-ter: Boffins build drone to pinpoint brutal thugs in crowds



"...aggressive actions, such as punching, stabbing, shooting, kicking, and strangling."

Sounds like an average day at the park with my 5-year old nephew. If his friends are with him? Add any other sort of mayhem.

But in an ordinary crowd, I have no confidence in any surveillance technique other than trained observers with mirrored sunglasses and walkie-talkies.

AWS outage killed some cloudy servers, recovery time is uncertain


Not just Virginia

Other regions had their EC2 instances so slow as not to allow most data traffic. Since our proud cloud-first management had mandated the move of the authentication and authorization SSO systems to the cloud less than a month ago, the entire organization had a holiday from web services for most of the day.

Interesting how the art of conversation is suddenly revived in such circumstances.

Half of all Windows 10 users thought: BSOD it, let's get the latest build


One of two down

My former director relies on me to keep his and his wife's PCs going in their home office since his retirement. Retirement was about a year and a half ago and, with the two new laptops they bought at that time for their planned rest and recreation years, I have not had a month without a trip to their house to fix Windows 10.

This last update completely wiped her drive except for a Windows.old.000 folder which I was able to use to restore her documents and treasured photos. She could only boot into the choice of which keyboard type to use, then reboot again to the same screen. I restored her files only after creating an installation media USB stick downloaded earlier in the day from Microsoft. Using the repair option got me to a command prompt for backing up her old folders onto a USB drive. Then I booted with the USB stick again and chose a complete install.

Somehow, the USB stick installer found the original license and got Windows 10 back to its usual self. Reinstalling LIbreOffice and Firefox got her back to what she wanted on the laptop. But it was two nights of my doing this for her after work and going home after midnight.

Fortunately, her chicken pot pie is excellent and her husband keeps the teapot full.

New Windows Servers are like buses: None for ages, then two at once!


Fonts no more

Anyone else heard the recent news that Microsoft is discontinuing most of the fonts included with any of their software and are going to a paid model? Fonts will no longer be developed as the old TrueType type and will come from the Microsoft Store, licensed separately, with separate fees for anything you fancy.

It's true. The current leadership is so subscription-fee driven that they won't even include a few things formerly provided and expected. I haven't paid for fonts since the early '90s and I don't think I'm going to start doing that again.

NASA will send tiny helicopter to Mars



If they send this thing over the face on Mars, they can see if it blinks!


'Alexa, find me a good patent lawyer' – Amazon sued for allegedly lifting tech of home assistant


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Short on cash, not on patents, or patent attorneys.

FCC sets a record breaking $120m fine for rude robocalls


Could it be?

This fine has had zero effect on robocalls. If anything, they have increased. Maybe the FCC could try the pillory or guillotine?

US techies: We want to see Pentagon's defence of winner-takes-all cloud contract


Losing their minds

This is typical of government single-source contracting. The procurement officers lose their minds over the vendor's hypnotic marketing hype and they buy only what they are told is good for them.

Like this fellow: https://regmedia.co.uk/2015/09/07/head_in_the_cloud.jpg

Let's be Frank: Bloke drags Google to the US Supreme Court over $8.5m privacy payout


Lawyers deciding what lawyers will do

All of this has nothing to do with the law or justice. It has everything to do with money, cash, dole or any other term you can use to describe a payout to everyone involved but the victim.

The class action reform which is long overdue would address the victim as the principal recipient of any redress. But anything that doesn't benefit the lawyers first is not going to happen. Even if the victim is put first, there won't be any cases undertaken which don't add up to more money for the law firms and their system of routing all payments to their partners, whether they are their multiple affiliates in the legal community or their alma maters.

The poor victim is too poor to matter.

So, who is going to benefit from any finding by the Supremes? Only more lawyers.

US army boffins use AI to spot faces in the dark


Re: "US army boffins use AI to spot faces in the dark"

People with bicycles crossing the street on foot? Not included in specs...

Blackberry snaps, yakkity-yak Snapchat app brats slapped with patent trap rap


If all else fails

And if they don't get a big patent award, they can always claim something about copyright, n'est-ce pas?

Mad March Meltdown! Microsoft's patch for a patch for a patch may need another patch


Keep; 'em coming

My Windows machines are in constant reboot mode with all of these patches.

For real work, I have to rely on my Ubuntu LTS with Mate. It's more like a real computer than the slot machines for Microsoft updates running Windows 10.x.x.x.x.x.

Running Drupal? You need to patch, patch, patch right now!


As patches go, not bad, considering

Considering the raft of bad updates from major players, like MS and Apple, the Drupal update was well announced, delivered on time and easily installed.

And it didn't break anything!!! Nothing to complain about here.

Microsoft's Windows 7 Meltdown fixes from January, February made PCs MORE INSECURE



Time to blame Intel again?

Yes, yes, I am aware that the need to patch is all because of the famed Chipzilla design flaws, but MS have a way of blaming others for their own design flaws, as in the Surface product introductory conditions.

But when you fail in your own field, software updates, for example, can you really call someone else out?

Dolby sues Adobe for dodging license fees


Re: Am I a bad person...


Amateur astronomer strikes it lucky with first glimpse of a Supernova


Discoverers v. academics

It took one man with some interest in the skies who could operate a camera to find this and realize what had happened. it took 21 authors of the Nature article to get the supernova reported to the public.

Nothing unusual in this, but I would rather be facing the right direction and know what I saw than have to build a career on the discoveries of others.

US broadband is scarce, slow and expensive. 'Great!' says the FCC


Money talks

Or at least, hard cash gets you connected. But there are places in the U.S. where you can't get broadband of an kind.

When I had to setup rural health centers with remote connections about ten years ago, a shared dial-up modem was the best they could get. It hasn't improved much. Outside of the major cities, ISPs don't put anything into infrastructure but own all of the possible connections. That situation doesn't seem to have changed for anyone outside of a city of over 100,000 population. There just isn't enough money in it for the major corporations that monopolize the ISP providers.

The TV cable companies own the one-connection-per-neighborhood cabling that keeps the speeds uneven as the kids get hone and start streaming anything and everything. The former phone companies own the right-of-way for all other cabling and will only put in fiber where there are enough customers to gouge for the new service fees on DSL. Then there are the bundling fees for services that nobody needs but allow the ISPs to perpetually add ever increasing charges that are pure invention.

There is an alternative satellite internet provider in the U.S., but it's run by a government defense contractor and its prices double in rural areas. So, it's either pay more or don't pay at all and remain off the grid.

Permissionless data slurping: Why Google's latest bombshell matters


Daniel Webster

There is an old joke about Daniel Webster being caught by his wife in a compromising situation with the maid. She said, "Daniel Webster I am surprised at you!" He said, "Dear, I am surprised, you are amazed."

At this point, I doubt many of us are either surprised or amazed. But we should be concerned.

Parity calamity! Wallet code bug destroys $280m in Ethereum


How many?

How many DevOps does it take to, I dunno, lose a fortune in artificial currency? Fewer than expected apparently.


How many?

How many DevOps does it take to, I dunno, lose a fortune in artificial currency?

Fewer than expected, apparently.

Google isn't saying Microsoft security sucks but Chrome for Windows has its own antivirus


If only

"it only removes software that doesn’t comply with our unwanted software policy"

How long before Google/Alphabet bans Windows and Mac OS from the interwebs? It just seems to be the natural progression of their efforts.

FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'


Re: Who pays to use YOUR internet connection?

Personalized content means the TV people own your identity and can do what they like with it, all the way to Google and Facebook and back. An OTA broadcast won't be allowed on equipment you thought you owned because you paid for it, not until they verify your personal details, which are not your own any longer.

Boffins take biometric logins to heart, literally: Cardiac radar IDs users to unlock their PCs


Rue the day

When you have to register your heartbeat in order to use a computer, just to combat terrorism you understand.

Uncle Sam outlines evidence against British security whiz Hutchins


It's a plot

The authorities obviously don't understand any of this cyber security business and are going to hold Hutchins until he explains it to them.

Anyone who knows more than the average plod is suspicious. But they can always arrest the better fellow and force him to explain how things work until they can find the truly guilty.

It's a type of forced labor.

Google's $8.5m class-action privacy payout goes to: Lawyers' alma maters, web giant's pals


"the people whose millions of dollars are involved are not represented."

Yes. And they never are in a class-action suit. These types of settlements are classless inaction by the attorneys who represent themselves with a pretense of doing it for their numerous clients whom they have never met.

I say throw the money at the non-profit groups who could keep suing Google and up the ante on further claims.

FTC wants AT&T to kick in $4bn to help balance US budget. Why? Some dodgy ads or something


Just typical monopolistic behavior

I have yet to see another service provider for cable TV, satellite TV or broadband service of any kind that wasn't setup the same way. Anything advertised by every one of them boldly claims a low price for a service you cannot possibly obtain without additional costs at absurd rates.

When AT&T was the only long distance phone service provider, they would bill for anything they saw fit and let their customers argue over the charges. The local service providers were all in on the game and would add additional charges on the same bill. There was no way to fight without losing your service and getting even more charges to resume the "service."

Now that it's only one cable company and just the two satellite providers that can provide most TV channels, AT&T has bought into the satellite TV game and resumes their previous attitude toward customers. They seem to believe people are only there to be deceived and robbed in any way possible by the whim of their tiny corporate hearts.

Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'


Re: HR Fail

I worked for a large organization that actually had an Animal Husbandry department which fed and otherwise maintained a livestock feed testing farm. They thought they would sound more modern when they changed its name to Animal Resources for a few years. It was eventually pointed out that the name seemed to be demeaning to their animals and they changed the name to Animal Care.

Within weeks, the larger organization changed the name of Personnel to Human Resources. The irony was lost on one and all.

We're all saved. From the killer AI. We can live. Thanks to the IEEE


Everyone knows...

that all you have to do is call Captain Kirk and he will persuade the AI to destroy itself after it corrupts its original design.

No need to worry...

McAfee settles McAfee lawsuit over McAfee name


Re: "Intel said it was pleased the case was over"

Over? With someone like McAfee it will probably never be over. One more wild night with those "nurses" from his video and he will be back for more fees because of another technicality.

Hopefully, his heirs won't be as loopy as he is. Then it will really be all over for John McAfee.

Oops! Facebook outed its antiterror cops whilst they banned admins


Who, what, when?

"Facebook's technical fix, according to the company spokesperson, involves the creation of administrative accounts not associated with personal Facebook accounts, because personal information represents a security risk."

How long did it take them to figure this out? Make your money first, worry about personal risk to your people later. That must be the Facebook way.

Judge holds Uber's feet to the fire over alleged Waymo tech theft


This is Waymo than I can stand

Will I ever get Uber this? Can anyone give me a Lyft?

Sorry, this case is a joke in many ways. I just can't take these people seriously and I have some sympathy for the judge.

Waymo? I wonder what kind of company they were if Levandowski was one of their guys. But they were the ones to get rid of him. As always, I imagine it's best to wait for some details before passing judgement.

Payroll-for-contractors company named at centre of AU$165m tax scam scheme


As if...

nobody would ever notice such a scheme? What were they thinking?

FCC kills plan to allow phone calls on planes – good idea or terrible?



the most annoying thing would be for the airlines to make you pay for a non-phone section. Business travelers who want to avoid those capable of making calls would be charged extra.

The middle-eastern airlines already have outstanding facilities for business class on long flights. Maybe they could just install a phone booth for those who absolutely have to call. Domestic airlines are far too common to give up a seat for that kind of thing.



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