* Posts by Dave Mitchell

8 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Sep 2008

39 Post Office convictions quashed after Fujitsu evidence about Horizon IT platform called into question

Dave Mitchell

You are confusing civil and criminal law. No one is proposing that you you should no longer allowed to bring a civil claim against someone (e.g. for libel), only that criminal prosecutions should continue to be handled by the police and the CPS - as the vast majority already are. It's only due to a quirk of the current set-up that a few organisations such as the PO, the RSPCA and the train companies do their own private prosecutions - with big conflicts of interest as the the victim, the investigating authority and the prosecuting authority are all now the same organisation.

Language bugs infest downstream software, fuzzer finds

Dave Mitchell

Re: but... will anyone learn from this?

The standard perl interpreter build and install process runs 1157593 regression tests from 2629 test scripts. Any bug fix is almost always accompanied by a new regression test.

Also, the bug they supposedly found in the perl interpreter was actually a bug in an obscure library that is extremely unlikely to be used in a way that would be exploitable.

Also, the perl development team already regularly run fuzzers.

The whole paper appears to be hype.

Wang charged in inappropriate electricity socket use

Dave Mitchell

So how much electicity was stolen?

My phone charger uses 0.1A@240V. Assuming it was plugged in for ten minutes, that's 0.004 kWH, and at about 15p per kWH, that's 0.06p. Clearly Mr Wang is a dirty thief who should locked up and the key thrown away.

Passenger cleared after TSA checkpoint stare-down

Dave Mitchell
Big Brother

UK airport security staff and rights

Who employs the security personnel at UK airports (i.e. the people who man the security screening section before you get on the plane, rather than customs and immigration when you arrive)? Is it the UK Border Agency, or the airport owner (e.g. BAA), or what? And what powers (if any) do they have? It seems that here in the UK we know a lot more about our rights under the TSA in the USA than we do at home.

PayPal banned WikiLeaks after US gov intervention

Dave Mitchell

Not illegal

If you read the State Department's letter very carefully, you'll find that at no point do they say that Wikileaks is behaving illegally: the illegal action was done by the person who gave the documents to Wikileaks, and continues to be illegal. A deliberately misleading document.

Home Office declines to detail DNA-for-foreigns trial

Dave Mitchell


Mitochondiral DNA is passed down (mostly unchanged) from your mother. So all it really tells you is what ethnicity your mother's mother's mother's mother's ... mother was. Utterly bogus for determing what region you were born in, let alone your nationality.

New NASA rocket fuel 'could be made on Moon, Mars'

Dave Mitchell

why balloons won't work

Many people don't seem to realise that most of the cost of getting something into orbit isn't the vertical hike of 200 miles or so, but rather getting to a horizontal speed of 17,000 MPH to achieve orbit and not fall back to the ground.

Raising a spacecraft to 100,000 feet using balloons would impart approximately 1% of the final energy it would need to achieve orbit.

This why the Virgin Galactic(tm) trip will be so cheap: they don't actually get you to orbit.

El Reg drops in on Bletchley Park

Dave Mitchell
Thumb Down

Colossus != Enigma

Sigh - Colossus was never used to crack enigma. That was the job of the electro-mechanical Bombes. Colossus was used to crack Lorentz - a stream cypher used to secure communications between various headquarters (as opposed to Enigma, which was to/from local troops/U-boats etc to headquarters.)