* Posts by K. Adams

396 posts • joined 5 Sep 2008


RUSTOCK TAKEDOWN: How the world's worst botnet was KO'd

K. Adams

Every once in a while, Microsoft does something...

... that earns them a bit of grudging respect from me.

As a GNU/Linux enthusiast, I tend to eschew Microsoft products (though I do use them at work out of necessity), and stick to Debian-based distros.

I used to have a fairly constant and high-level antipathy towards the company (MS), but my view has softened a bit over the past eighteen months or so. My dislike of the company now waxes and wanes, depending on its level of cooperation with the F/LOSS (Free/Libre` Open-Source Software) Community, and on how it wields its patent portfolio. Microsoft has shrewdly embraced some elements of Open-Source philosophy in a bid to remain relevant, but still needs to be watched with a wary eye.

(I personally think Microsoft's patent suit against Barnes & Noble and Foxconn over the Nook is out of line. But in an interesting and ironic development, Microsoft has managed to escalate the suit brought by i4i over "custom XML" editing support to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could deal a serious blow to software patents if the court rules in favour of Microsoft.)

However, whenever a company like Microsoft offers its resources to take down a major botnet (and track down its herders while they're at it), its a welcome development.

Programmer gets 8 years for theft of stock trading software

K. Adams

Interesting. Matt Asay posited a while back...

... people wouldn't be interested in pirating financial market software...

-- -- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/24/piracy_open_source_bsa/

-- -- -- About half-way down:

-- -- -- "While the BSA is concerned with paid-for, proprietary software, most of the world's software is not written by proprietary software firms, but instead by enterprises whose primary business is not software, but rather finance, pharmaceutical and so on. The software written by Morgan Stanley for Morgan Stanley simply isn't going to be pirated."

... while I indicated that the potential profits of successful industrial espionage against a market trading firm make it worth-while to some:

-- -- http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2010/09/24/piracy_open_source_bsa/

-- -- -- Again, about half-way down:

-- -- -- "To use Morgan Stanley as an example: A slightly-off-center firm could "buy" a chunk of code from a disgruntled Morgan Stanley IT wonk, reverse-engineer the code to gain insight into Morgan Stanley's trading algorithms, and look for routines related to arbitrage transactions**. They could then design more efficient, lower-latency routines that take better advantage of price difference windows, thereby gaining a competitive advantage with regard to automated trades.

Never underestimate the power of (successful) industrial espionage."

The alleged perpetrator could (conceivably) made a lot of cash from his misdeed, except he used the wrong tools and facilities to commit the crime: He used the company's network to transfer the stolen material to servers across the Big Pond. Even if he encrypted the code, libraries, etc. before transmission, I venture that sending what was likely a substantial amount of data to a foreign IP address threw up a lot of red flags, and quickly caught the attention of the network/security admins at Goldman Sachs.

Not to mention that the Bourne-Again Shell keeps command history in a file, which means, ostensibly that the command history is written to a storage device of some sort. I doubt the developer's workstation ran from a RAMdisk, and depending on the underlying filesystem, the history of his entire session may have still been recoverable, even if he took care to erase it; some filesystems use a Copy-on-Write process which maintains earlier versions of files in their entirety until a lack of space mandates the used blocks be reclaimed.

Fukushima one week on: Situation 'stable', says IAEA

K. Adams

Hey, Lewis: Let me buy you a pint...

... if I ever get a chance to amble past Vulture HQ.

Prof debuts miniature laser diode for fast networking

K. Adams

"They could be used ... in space to remove unwanted hair."

Black holes have no hair:

-- -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-hair_theorem

Privacy group demands answers from Skype

K. Adams

@Buzzword: "What it protects against is a man-in-the-middle attack."

It depends on the "kind" of man-in-the-middle attack.

If you inserted yourself between a bunch of downloaders' machines and the HTTPS site in question, and sent forged a certificate in response to their HTTPS requests (which would very likely set off alarm bells in the downloaders' browsers), I expect a fair proportion of the downloader population would click "Go Ahead Anyway" in their bewilderment.

Some browsers, especially Firefox, actually do try to make browsing an HTTPS site with an invalid cert more "difficult" by requiring users' express acknowledgement. The problem, though, is that ** explaining to average users what's actually happening ** (and in "plain" language) when their browsers warn them about invalid certificates takes a fair amount of linguistic finesse, which many of us (myself included) often do not have...

K. Adams

"lack of HTTPS D/L service ... [could] [trick] ... people [to install] ... Trojan..."


One has nothing to do with the other.

If Skype's download repository (or, for purposes of discussion, any other download site offering the Skype client) is compromised, and the real version is replaced with a Trojan-ized copy, HTTPS won't matter a hill-o'-beans...

As always, the best defence is to download software from trusted sites only, and to examine the URL of the download link in the browser Status bar (if possible) to see if it directs you to somewhere suspicious.

Jon Bon Jovi accuses Steve Jobs of murdering music biz

K. Adams
Dead Vulture

'Twas dead before Jobs and iTunes

The music business was dead long before that.

As soon as the music conglomerate lobbyists learned to sign artists to captive "for-hire" contracts, and then got copyright terms extended to "from date of publication for 95 years" (in the United States; your country may vary), the music industry died.

The over-reaching length of copyright terms means that culture stagnates: Works of creativity which have a pronounced effect on an individual's present culture will rarely enter the Public Domain within that individual's own lifetime. This prevents him or her from (legally) taking that work and playing with it, bending it, warping it, twisting it, and integrating it into other creations, thereby advancing culture and making something new or better out of it.

So while "from date of publication for 95 years" does, technically, meet the criteria of the U.S. Constitution's "for a limited time" clause, I am quite sure that a 9.5-decade lock on a creative work is NOT what the Framers intended...

Hadron Collider 'could act as telephone for talking to the past'

K. Adams


I would like The Doctor to opine on the matter, before drawing any conclusions...

Google splits Google Apps suite in two

K. Adams

@Michael C: "... allowing [consumers] to bypass both carrier and mfg specific code..."

NOT a good idea.

The Android device maker's warranty lines would be flooded in 30 seconds (or less):

-- -- JoeUser on Landline: "Hello <insert mobile co name here>? Yeah, I just downloaded this update directly from the Android site, and now my smartphone doesn't work..."

-- -- MobCo: "Well, that patch isn't approved for your device. You can ship your phone back for repair, but it's not covered under warranty."

-- -- JoeUser on Landline: "Whaddya mean it's not covered under warranty!? It was an Android update!! Don't you people check these things?"

-- -- MobCo: "We do, and we release updates from our own site when we're sure they won't break your phone. It takes a while between when Android releases an update and when we approve--"

-- -- JoeUser on Landline: "No one ever told me to NOT get Android updates directly!! This sucks!!" (Slams landline phone down and whips smartphone across the room in frustration. It shatters when it hits the wall.)

-- -- JoeUser on Landline: "Hello <insert mobile co name here>? Yeah, I'd like to file an accidental damage claim against my smartphone's insurance. It fell off the balcony and hit the pavement..."

DDoS malware comes with self-destruct payload

K. Adams

@Listen 2 Me: "The MBR is easy to restore with quite simple tools."

For us cybergeeks, maybe.

For the average user, however, a computer that absolutely will not boot with the possibility of seemingly permanent data loss can be a very frustrating (or frightening, depending on how much of your life is tied to your PC) experience.

The only way to combat this problem, in the long run, is user education:

-- -- 1. Stick to trusted web sites

-- -- 2. Backup your data

-- -- 3. Install OS patches

-- -- 4. Update anti-malware suite and scan for threats

-- -- 5. Reboot

-- -- 6. Repeat

Now, as a hard-core GNU/Linux enthusiast, one may expect individuals such as myself to say something like "Well, things would be a lot better if people didn't run Windows," or "You'd never see this kind of problem if everyone ran Linux." And for some persons, that would be a correct assessment.

However, there are very practical considerations as to why Joe Average User should NOT run Linux, mostly relating to Microsoft Office document compatibility, and availability of well-tested, high-performing device and printer drivers. Even the most user-friendly GNU/Linux distros, such as Ubuntu and/or Linux Mint, can take quite a bit of tweaking to get running smoothly on modern hardware. And many average computer users don't want to invest the time to work through the process of learning a "foreign" operating system.

An OS X machine may be a viable alternative for the general user population, but Apples are quite pricey compared to standard, work-a-day PCs, and are out of reach for many users on that basis alone.

K. Adams
Black Helicopters

What Goes Around, Comes Around...

Back in the old days, perhaps as an attempt to fill some mysterious void in its soul, the early VXer would code beasties that would kill MBRs and trash files just for kicks. The computer underground's version of feather-puffing, the VXer took delight in ruining peoples' days as a way of collecting bragging rights, to raise its status among others of its ilk.

Then the Internet came along, and seeing the potential provided by an untamed frontier of interlinked computers used by an unknowing and gullible public, the now grown-up VXer shifted focus, and decided that bending the hapless machines to its nefarious will was much more useful -- and lucrative -- than simply rendering them inoperable.

Now it seems that the VXer's interest has returned to the thrill of more youthful days, when dealing misery was done for fun. Bored with stealing credentials and draining bank accounts, the miscreant strikes out in anger, avenging some slight, unknown and unfathomable, brandishing its ego like a sword and cackling in mania.

Honey I shrunk the chip ... now what?

K. Adams

Optical Interconnects

Well, I've often thought that in-core optics would be taking off by now, but that also seems to be a technology that the Big Fabs (Intel, Global Foundries, TSMC, etc.) have sidelined for the time being.

With recent advances in avalanche photodiodes, and since beams of light can cross each other at right angles with hardly any interference, one would think that building chips where circuit "traces" can cross each other at right angles ** and on the same layer ** would do wonders for latency and transistor density.

I guess the problem is deciding on what one could use as a photon carrier. Silicon dioxide (SiO2), which is the primary component of common glass, doesn't exactly have a small molecular cross-section when compared against the junction sizes of the nanoscale devices in today's processors. Phosphate, borosilicate, and ZBLAN glasses have optical properties that in some ways make them much more desirable than plain-old SiO2, but the cross-sections of their component molecules are even larger than those of common silica. I suppose one could try to leave "empty" space as a light lane, and then try to seal the lane off in a vacuum, but again, quantum nanoscale effects would probably put the kibosh on that idea, too...

Discovery glides into history

K. Adams


Not much more to say, really. As opined by Admiral Kirk (TWOK), anything else would be "just words"... </teary-eyed-sniffle>

Self-erasing flash drives destroy court evidence

K. Adams

@pengwyn: "...should not be allowed to make laws...

...on things which they don't fully understand."

Yeah, but if we enforced that kind of rule, government would be totally crippled and ineffective.

Oh, wait... It already is, scratch that.

K. Adams
Big Brother

Of course, the knee-jerk reaction of Law-Enforcement Officials...

... will be to propose legislation to make mass-storage garbage collection illegal, even if most of them don't understand -- from a technical standpoint -- why these devices work the way they do.**

Much the same way that the RIAA and MPAA proposed legislation to force ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter) and DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) chip makers to include copy protection technologies in every chip, regardless of sampling resolution, rate, and intended use. Never mind that your average hardware hacker with a basic knowledge of electronics can build a workable device on his own using standard, off-the-shelf components purchased from his/her local Radio Shack or other parts catalogue.

**Not all, though: Robert Morris and various other colleagues of his were quite well educated in the Sciences, and helped Clifford Stoll nab a KGB flunkie trawling the nascent Internet for US military secrets.

US gov mulls changes to popular hashing algorithm

K. Adams

"... would reduce ... the performance requirements, ... by truncating the output."

Say wha...?

Umm, back in the old days, web browsers developed in the US received export permission by taking 128-bit SSL and using only the 40 least significant bits, weakening the crypto considerably.

How is this any different?

Nvidia pledges to pass water on Core 2 Duo this summer

K. Adams

Yeah, but how long...

... can a Kal-El-based tablet push those pixels until it sucks the battery dry?

More isn't always better, if it ends up being less...

HP rocks Redmond with webOS PC play

K. Adams

I did, actually... :-)

To wit:

-- -- "Monopoly is Moot: All You Really Need is Sneaky Code"

-- -- http://www.geek.com/forums/topic/is-the-end-near-for-ms

I wrote the piece sometime in the year 2000. When Geek.com revamped the website in 2006-2007, the original attribution of authorship (me) in the post's header was lost, but scroll down to post #2, you can see the reference to the nickname I used a decade ago, and still use now on ElReg...

Gawd, that was a fun time: The underlying architecture of the Internet had solidified by then, with commercial development in full-swing, and web browsers with (reasonably) well-developed JavaScript/JScript capabilities taking hold. HTML 4.01 had been recently released, but XMLHttpRequest -- as we know it today -- had not yet made its appearance. (Prototypical examples of the technology existed, but most people still associated the word "AJAX" with that "powdered soap Grandma uses in the kitchen.") Most server-side web scripting was accomplished with ASP.Net, JSP, Perl, or PHP4. Ruby was on its way up, but wasn't yet riding on Rails. And the only real Y2K "bug" of any note was Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me)...

Ah, nostalgia!

SCO: 'Someone wants to buy our software biz!'

K. Adams

In the words of Mirror Universe Dr. Phlox (In a Mirror, Darkly)...

To SCO: "Would you KINDLY DIE...?!"

Twenty-tonne space truck poised for ISS trip

K. Adams

@John Smith 19: Falcon 9 is Intended to be "Fully Reusable" (Eventually)

Details here, on NASA Spaceflight:

-- -- http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2009/01/musk-ambition-spacex-aim-for-fully-reusable-falcon-9/

And on Wikipedia:

-- -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9#Reusability

Both stages of the Falcon 9 vehicle are covered in an ablative cork outerliner.

K. Adams

"... ahead of a de-orbit and re-entry burn-up over the Pacific."

That's a bummer.

With a modest sacrifice in cargo capacity, you could add a parachute pack and an ablative cork outerliner (like what SpaceX is doing with its Falcon series), and turn the pod into a reusable cargo module.

With a bit more engineering, various space-station modules could be designed to be de-orbited, recovered, repaired or upgraded with newer equipment, relaunched, and re-docked with the station.

The key is to use simple materials to keep things cost-effective.

On the other hand, NASA's Space Shuttle, while reusable and very versatile, requires specialised refurbishment using high-tech ceramics and adhesives, which detrimentally impacts its cost-effectiveness. The Shuttle is also in various ways a lot more fragile than a simple(r) cargo module, which impacts its safety, which again has a negative effect on its cost-effectiveness.

(Still, I am a bit saddened by its retirement. Unless a good, reliable Single-Stage to Orbit (SSTO) technology comes along, I doubt we'll ever see anything like it launched again.)

Anonymous pwns security firm that probed its membership

K. Adams

Back in the day...

... (October, 2005), Greg Hoglund (who founded HBGary.com) decided to take a look at the guts of Blizzard's "Warden" anti-cheat software. He noticed that it was doing a whole lot more than just watching the WoW client for "cheat-like" activity; it was in fact actively scanning various textual elements belonging to "foreign" windows (chat programs, web browsers, etc.). "The Warden" would then aggregate the data and pass it back to Blizzard.

The knowledge that Blizzard's "Warden" was performing such a thorough examination of users' systems gave it (Blizzard) quite a black eye...

However, like you, I also believe that I have forgotten something else regarding the early years of HBGary's existence. Googling hasn't turned up much... Yet.

ICO pays through the nose for 'website development'

K. Adams

Nothing like...

... Government swag.

Badgers, because, well, just because.

Assange traveled in drag to evade gov spooks

K. Adams

Lumbering Giants

With regard to the comments posted by JaitcH, etc.:

The problem with today's news outlets isn't laziness; instead, it's a combined lack of agility, a propensity to pander to special interests, political correctness, and dilution of product. I'll explain each in turn.

-- -- Lack of agility: Each of today's news/media giants is a big, corporate bureaucracy with continental and/or global reach. Because of this bureaucratic overhead, such a news outlet often cannot react quickly enough to get a legitimate "scoop" on breaking news. And once the news outlet does have its hands on a chunk of newsworthy information, it gets "edited by committee" before it's turned into a publishable article, further delaying its dissemination. A topical blog (or website like WikiLeaks) has the advantage in that it's small and nimble, often with only one person (or very few people) making editorial decisions. This speeds time to market.

-- -- Pandering to special interests: A large, world-reaching news outlet means Big Money, and to keep things running, it needs Big Friends (i.e., major investors, shareholders, and advertising clients). This means that there are undoubtedly cases where prescient and newsworthy info is withheld or ignored, so the news outlet doesn't embarrass the "wrong people." A blog operator often has the advantage in that his/her work is a personal endeavour, and has few ties to commercial interests. This means he/she doesn't have to "please" anyone other than him-/herself.

-- -- Political correctness: In today's hair-trigger, litigious climate, with lawyers just itching to get their hands on a fat, juicy award, a large news organisation will often delay publication of and/or water down its articles so as to not offend parties mentioned in its publications, or to gain assurance that it can back up its defences against libel/slander suits. This is similar to "pandering to special interests" (above), but approaches the "offensiveness" issue from the other end. In this case, a blog operator may have the advantage in that he/she has little in the way of resources or capital that could be awarded in a lawsuit. This makes bringing suit against a given blog's owner much less appetising.

-- Dilution of product: In order to keep circulation revenue up, a large news outlet will try to cater to a wide readership. This often prevents it from dedicating a substantial portion of its resources to a specific topic of interest (or prescience), since doing so could (over the long term) alienate a sizeable portion of its readers, due to the readers' lack of interest, or perceived bias of the news outlet in question. A blog operator, on the other hand, often limits his/her missives to a specific range of topics, allowing for more thorough analyses.

Mexican army interdicts dope-slinging catapult

K. Adams

"...trained to handle any kind of a threat that comes over that border."

So, no cavalcade of troops departing in angst, yelling "Run away! Run away!" then?

Pity. That would have been fun to see reported on the evening news...

Verizon bundles Google Apps with small biz broadband

K. Adams

V & G

You know, V and The Goog have been spending a lot of time together, lately. Think they're an item? I wonder what their kid(s) will be like...

Unix dynamic duo awarded Japan Prize

K. Adams

Domo Arigato, T & R!

Thank you very much, Thompson and Ritchie,

-- - for writing an O.S. that will not crash easily.

Thank you very much, Thompson and Ritchie

-- -- for building a protocol to bring my packets to me.

Domo (Domo)!

Domo (Domo)!

[RotM, in tribute.]

McDonalds samples NFC swipe-tech in UK

K. Adams

"On-screen barcodes aren't as secure as proximity payment systems..."


Try to read that on-screen bar code through my jacket pocket.

As for NFC security, we have seen, time and again, that radio-based payment systems are rarely as secure as the manufacturers (and the organisations that implement them) make them out to be. MiFARE was/is a perfect example of this.

The only way to ensure your NFC device isn't remotely compromised is to:

-- -- 1. never use it.


-- -- 2. store it in a Faraday cage (metal mesh sleeve/wallet/box).

FAA to pilots: Expect 'unreliable or unavailable' GPS signals

K. Adams
Black Helicopters

Cue Chorus of Conspiracy Theorists

5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Go!

Italian regulator asks for copyright reform after Google settlement

K. Adams

"The issue is that [GN] slurps up the data from the news sources and serves it up on their own..."

It's a problem of semantics...

When searching for information, people want previews of that info, so they can make informed choices as to whether they want to invest their time in reading this or that website.

How can people do that (make informed choices), if Google doesn't present its users with (a certain amount of) the relevant info, from the get-go?

Grabbing my coat; gotta head to the corner box and pick up the latest daily...

K. Adams

"...to allow ... to withdraw content from [GN] w/out [it] disappearing from ... search results."

> "... to allow newspapers to withdraw content from Google News without content from that organisation disappearing from Google search results."

Sounds like a "have cake and eat it, too" problem...

They want Google to drive traffic to their websites, but they don't want Google to display the content that Google users need to make a choice on which websites to visit.

Old Media just doesn't get search engines (and by extension, the Internet), does it? I guess it all boils down to that old adage: "If you can't compete, legislate!"

IBM claims its big blue tools penetrate markets

K. Adams

275K --> 100K for IBM i / i5/OS / OS/400

It's a shame that so many organisations appear to be/have been moving away from IBM's AS/400 platform (in all of its various flavours).

The AS/400 is, by-and-large, the best box that IBM ever designed, its OS having been developed by a team specifically chosen for their "lack of exposure" to UNIX and other POSIX-like operating systems.

I would venture to say that in our relatively short history of computerdom, there have been few other boxes that "just work" after being removed from the shipping crate, moved into the server room, plugged in, and powered on.

Long live the 400!

New Taser made to take down angry bears, moose

K. Adams

Probably not much...

... unless it's swimming in distilled and/or deionised water.

Police DNA test plan to put off prostitutes' punters

K. Adams

Expected better...

Now, now, Ms. Bee, you disappoint me; I expected better.

First of all, there's no reason to disconnect yourself from the esteemed intellectual centres of your own mind, and abase yourself by lowering your commentary standards to those of the chauvinist you are retorting against.

Secondly, as a "Reg commentard," as you put it, I am rather put off by your off-the-cuff effort to lump my brethren and me in with the likes of such rabble as Morphoyle. While my half of the species does, admittedly, have a reputation of objectifying the faire sex, as it were, the case is more often than not overblown, and seldom takes into consideration that men and women are, after all, different from each other.

And finally, being that you even deigned to post a reply, you must, of course, be including yourself as a target of your comments, are you not?

Maybe we're not so different, after all...

IBM (nearly) hits $100bn in 2010 sales

K. Adams

Big Blue skies...

... smiling at me...

(To crib from Irving Berlin.)

Ubuntu Qt equality promised post Narwhal

K. Adams

Unity != Mandatory

With regard to GNU/Linux desktop environments, I used to be a big fan of KDE running on SuSE and/or PCLinuxOS until the KDE (SC) 4.x series came out, then briefly switched to Xubuntu and XFCE 4.x, then finally settled on Linux Mint under GNOME 2.2x/2.30.

The reasons? Well, there are a bunch, actually, but they can (mostly) be summed-up like this:

-- -- 1. KDE (SC) 4.x uses more resources compared to KDE 3.5 (the last major revision in the KDE 3.x series). KWin seems to be top-heavy, especially when compared to Compiz/Compiz-Fusion.

-- -- 2. KDE (SC) 4.x visual elements do not appear (to me) to be as polished and elegant as those that are provided with KDE 3.x, GNOME 2.2x/2.30, or XFCE 4.x; they have too much of a "cartoonish" feeling to them. The K Menu is visually jarring, and often doesn't seem to blend-in well with certain themes. I'm also not a fan of having to use a desktop gadget ("Plasmoid") in order to display the contents of the Desktop (or any other) folder.

-- -- 3. XFCE 4.x, while having the advantage of being both lightweight/fast and providing built-in Compositing, had the disadvantage of not having a central user preferences store and configuration dispatch system like GNOME has with GConf (although this is changing with the development of Xfconf, and may make XFCE worth another look in the future).

-- -- 4. XFCE 4.x had some pretty serious memory leak/stack smashing bugs a while back that rendered the environment almost unusable if you left the system logged-in constantly; after about 36 hours of continuous operation (whether or not a screen-saver was active), and with no apps open (other than panels/applets), XFCE would end up eating all available RAM and start forcing the system to swap heavily (this was on a system with an Intel Q6600 and 2GiB of memory).

So, given my experiences with both KDE and XFCE, I was left with either GNOME or LXDE. After playing around with a few GNOME- and LXDE-based distros, I decided to go with Linux Mint, and haven't looked back. The advantage of sticking with Linux Mint is that Clement LeFebvre has decided that the "traditional" desktop doesn't need fixing, and that they will forego both Unity **and** GNOME Shell. In Clement's words, they are looking at building a Linux Mint that uses the GNOME 3.x back-end framework and libraries, but not GNOME Shell:

-- -- Linux Mint Not To [sic] Switch To Unity

-- -- http://www.muktware.com/n/09/2010/440

So don't worry, I'm sure there will continue to be at least one distro going forward that lets us "traditionalists" both have our cake and eat it...

Third party developers blamed for Windows security woes

K. Adams

sudo apt-get update ; sudo apt-get upgrade

Problem solved!

(For APT-based distros, anyway...)


Asus slips out keyboard equipped Android tablet

K. Adams
Thumb Up

Chiclet KB?

How's the keyboard?

Real, hard-surfaced keycaps? Or rubbery, gooey, chiclet-style caps?

A chiclet keyboard could have some comfort advantages, especially with the limited keystroke distance, but could be a right pain to keep clean.

Otherwise, the Slider and Transformer both look like pretty cool kit...

Doctor Who to marry Doctor Who's daughter

K. Adams

Best Man?

The Master (resurracted)? (Too bad Anthony Ainley died; he was my favourite...)

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart?

Ian Chesterton?

HP Beats up its PC range

K. Adams

Barf: What was that?

Lone Star: An HP Mini 210...

Barf: They've gone to plaid!

Ford cars get draconian parental controls

K. Adams
Big Brother

They *aren't* unsupervised...

... The computer is watching them.


Rogue TV satellite brought to heel after auto reboot

K. Adams

Wrong orbit...

Ion cannons aren't parked in geosync orbit; beam divergence would kill their effectiveness at that distance (the whole inverse-square law gets in the way).

Hence the name, "Low Orbit Ion Cannon."


Hitachi GST brings out massive DVR units

K. Adams

TravelStar Z5K500...

... utilising an impressive^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H dangerous 636Gbit/in^2 areal density.

Packing 'em in a bit too tightly, methinks. If I have to use a mechanical laptop drive, I think I'll play it safe(r) and stick with units in the 250GB range...

Microwaved hard disc, run-over PC and other data disasters

K. Adams

"My kids decided my hard drive was a bath toy."

Wow! That brings back memories...

My cousin's kids were visiting my dad's place one day, and after it got dark they quit playing outside and came indoors.

Being sequestered in the den to keep them from being underfoot, they decided to stuff rubber bands into the 5.25" floppy drives in my dad's KayPro II.

He turned it on the next morning, and instead of hearing the pleasant "whirr" of diskette drives waiting for media, he heard a "twang-twang-twang" as the rubber bands kept fighting the read/write heads as they tried to seek to track zero...

Samsung hops onto MLC roundabout

K. Adams

Write Endurance

Still not keen on the idea of using MLC flash for enterprise-grade storage...

Even the best 2-bit MLC flash has a relatively short lifespan compared to most single-level cell devices (note that this assertion does not take into account wear-levelling and the use of TRIM commands to extend life).

STT-MRAM (Spin Torque Transfer Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory) shows quite a bit of promise

-- -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_Torque_Transfer

-- -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRAM

but is some years away from production, and with fab construction (or conversion) costing billions of dollars, you can bet that flash manufacturers are going to milk the technology for everything they can get before they're forced to switch to a different technology by nano-scale quantum effects.

Assange lawyers fume over leaked rape case docs

K. Adams

Ironic? Yes. Unfortunate? Possibly...

People will be quick to jump all over Assange's legal Counsel and cry "Hypocrites!"

After all, the whole "Goose/Gander" thing seems to make up a sizeable portion of a lot of peoples' moral genome.

However, there is quite a difference (in my mind) between exposing a Government's alleged collective misdeeds and/or internal policy, and releasing material that is liable to taint the jury pool and damage an individual's defence in a Criminal Court of appropriate jurisdiction.

To me, it's a matter of scale: Releasing a cache of documents about the actions or thoughts of a Government as a whole has a lot less of an impact against the Government in question (relative to its power, and the associated privilege of Sovereign Immunity), than the impact a leaked collection of documents can have with regard to a judicial proceeding directed at a specific individual.

To wit, the Cablegate affair is unlikely to have the effect of toppling the Federal Government of the United States from power, whereas a leaking of confidential info relating to Mr. Assange's sexual assault cases could very well impact his future status as either a free man (or prisoner).

Disclaimer: I am not stating this as an indictment of the actions of the Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, the United States, or Mass Media; not having read any of the leaked documents, and knowing only as much about Julian Assange and Bradley Manning as most other well-read folk keeping current with prescient events, I am not in any position to either support or oppose their actions or motivations in releasing the Cables. I am attempting to observe events objectively, and to provide analyses based upon the outcome of similar, prior events and legal precedent.

MEGA DINO-WHALE from 'Valley of the Whales' exhibited

K. Adams
Black Helicopters



Creatures of this size could have had some pretty frickin' heavy lasers attached to their heads... Could have been useful.

Standard setter seeks to unify power, wired, wireless LANs

K. Adams

"... w/out having to worry [if] the data ... is ... transmitted wirelessly, over wires or both."

Isn't that what a networking stack is for?

First 'cryovolcano' discovered on Titan, ice moon of Saturn

K. Adams

VASIMR-powered hydrocarbon freight service

We should start building the infrastructure needed to support atmospheric hydrocarbon mining operations on Titan, and use VASIMR-powered freighters to push the collected hydrocarbons back to earth.

Now, before anyone gets all hot-and-bothered over the Greenhouse Gas potential of said hydrocarbons (being methane, propane, and ethane), let me just say that we need the hydrocarbons for a lot more than just fuel. Plastics, synthetic alkaloids for medicine, lubricants, electronics, and many other materials that have become practically indispensable to our developed (and developing) world rely on easily cracked and re-arranged hydrocarbon molecules, and Titan has enough to sustain us for a good, long time, and doesn't require that we dig up and pollute our own ocean waters and natural landscapes to get to it.

And the abundant supply of cold nitrogen could be used to power and maintain the orbital infrastructure near Titan needed to conduct operations; nitrogen has a fairly high vapour pressure, and the evaporation of massive quantities of liquid N2 could be used to spin power turbines during periods when solar arrays are shaded from sunlight. The orbital platforms' electronics and life support systems could provide the waste heat necessary to evaporate the LN2, and the N2 could, in turn, be used to cool platform systems and to provide orbital station-keeping thrust.

Gmail's daddy predicts Chrome OS assassination

K. Adams

I like the idea of ChromeOS...

... I just don't think it's going to make much headway.

I doubt very many ChromeOS netbooks/tablets are going to debut with a 3G (E-EDGE/EV-DO/HSPA) or 4G (LTE/WiMax) wireless connection, which would limit its utility to places where an Ethernet/Wi-Fi connection is available, and to voice-chat apps that can be executed completely within the confines of the browser.

Android, by contrast, is a much more flexible (and, to a certain extent, much more complex) OS, with a true mobile connectivity stack included from the get-go.

The two places where ChromeOS has the advantage, in my mind, are boot speed and battery life: Since the browser IS (in essence) the OS, booting should be (relatively) instantaneous, and if paired with netbook-sized batteries (and no extra cellular comms gear sucking electrons), a single charge should last quite a long time.



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