* Posts by Len

648 posts • joined 26 Jan 2009

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Firefox 79: A thin release for regular users, but plenty for developers to devour

Len Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: The snag with a four-week release cycle ...

That’s a good analogy.

The milestone release model means that a large train will depart as soon as passengers X, Y and Z have boarded. If passenger Z is late, the train will wait until they show up. As we saw with Firefox 4, the last passenger may be a year late. That particular delay inspired the switch to time based releases.

The time based release model means that there are multiple smaller trains in much quicker succession. If passenger X and Y are on board but passenger Z is late, the train will leave at the designated time. Passenger Z will have to wait until the next train, which in Mozilla’s current case is only four weeks later.

Len Silver badge

Re: The snag with a four-week release cycle ...

Erm, they don’t code everything in four weeks, that’s just the release process.

A feature or change can have been worked on for 18 months in a separate branch, compiled, tested etc. Only when they think it’s ready for alpha does it go to alpha. Some changes stay in alpha multiple cycles if issues are detected there. Then beta, where they can still sit multiple cycles if needed.

The benefit of a release cycle like this is that, once you know it’s ready, you don’t have to wait some arbitrary time until some other team has completed their unrelated code that just happened to be scheduled together with your team’s code.

Len Silver badge
Go

Re: The snag with a four-week release cycle ...

Why would a time based release cycle produce more bullshit code? As there is no list of arbitrary goals that need to be met to call something a release one could even argue that it produces fewer irrelevant code.

Obviously, time based cycles are useless if you are just a handful of developers all working on the same thing.

If, like Mozilla, you are hundreds of developers who work on a high complexity product with dozens of completely unrelated sections then time based releases make a lot of sense. Every week one or two teams complete a major feature or change, in the current process it takes only eight weeks (one alfa and one beta cycle) before end users get to benefit from it.

That speed is very useful for a dynamic environment such as the web.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Focus on developer tools

I sometimes think that Mozilla should focus being the best browser for web developers. Perhaps spend a few major releases in a row with 90% of the changes focussing on the web developer features. The tools that help webdevelopers do their job such as optimisation and debugging.

It may seem odd but I think it’s strategically smart as it makes web developers focus on making stuff work on Firefox and then sort out the odd stuff where Chrome (and its engine clone Edge) deviates.

For the health of the web that is a much more desirable scenario than the one we’re currently headed where webdevelopers design for Chrome only and ignore other browsers.

Xen and the art of hypervisor introspection: Bitdefender donates meditative tech to open-source virty outfit

Len Silver badge
Paris Hilton

How much can VPS hosters see in your memory?

This suddenly got me thinking. If you run a VPS but use on-disk encryption (using GELI or ZFS native encryption) your hoster can't read the disk. But, how much access do they have to your memory? Could they lift the GELI encryption key from your RAM? How much else can they see?

If you own one of these 45 Netgear devices, replace it: Kit maker won't patch vulnerable gear despite live proof-of-concept code

Len Silver badge
Happy

Re: Time to check how many on the list support DD/Open-WRT?

For OpenWRT on Netgear devices just check if your device is on this list and supports at least 19.07*.

* If it says snapshot it is likely to be supported in a future release

Google allowed to remember search results to news articles it was asked to forget. Good

Len Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Why I love the Right to be Forgotten

I'm sorry but you are wrong about this law and wrong about the principles. Look at the cases and look at how the law developed and you'll see that it revolves around personal information, not about links.

If Google has indexed an article from fifteen years ago that states that Joe Bloggs has filed for personal bankruptcy the personal information is "Joe Bloggs has filed for personal bankruptcy on 15 August 2004".

Typically the law in European countries considers that journalism protections and freedom of expression trump personal interest and so Joe Bloggs can only have the article taken down (or more likely, corrected) if he can proof the information is false. If it's not demonstrably false he can not force depublication, neither can governments.

What Joe Bloggs can do, however, is argue that he never consented to having the personal information "Joe Bloggs has filed for personal bankruptcy on 15 August 2004" stored in a database that is not covered by the same protections that protect journalism. Google Search is not journalism. Hence, he can have a search engine's record that contains "Joe Bloggs has filed for personal bankruptcy on 15 August 2004" removed from the database. That principle was later codified in the RTBF.

EU Law is very strict on privacy of individuals and on storing personal information. Storing personal information without the subject's consent or without a special derogation (an official bankruptcy register does not need Joe Bloggs' consent to store information specifically related to his bankruptcy) can land you in hot water.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Why I love the Right to be Forgotten

The road to tyranny is paved with good intentions.

This is not about the US Constitution or American law. This is exclusively for the other side of the pond. In cases such as this the database entries must only be removed for EU territory, Google can still legally show them in other jurisdictions. They may decide to remove them altogether to make it easier for themselves but I have never checked that.

In countries that actually have freedom of speech, the government can't force the unpublishing of anything. The most a citizen can do might be to sue for libel if what is published isn't true. But the reason countries that have real freedom of speech have it is that they made the decision that blocking the government from suppressing speech was worth the occasional collateral damage that might occur.
This is not a government forcing anyone to unpublish anything.

Firstly, this is a purely private case between a private citizen and a private company. The government is no party in the case and is not suppressing anything. Secondly, the RTBF is not about publishing. It can not be used to remove articles or force corrections. It is limited to the storing of personal information in the databases of search engines.

Needless to say, it has no effect on Freedom of Expression (as it's called here, article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights) as it doesn't block citizens from expressing themselves or consuming the expression of others.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: That fine line

This is not censorship as the articles are not removed from the internet.

It's just that Google doesn't have the automatic right to store personal information without consent about someone in a publicly searchable database without that person having a right to have that personal information removed.

If someone wants an article removed from the web (i.e. censorship) the RTBF is not going to help. It depends on the country but most developed countries have protections on journalism in place. You can get a court to order a publication to print a correction, perhaps even to remove the article, but the RTBF (or Google) are not going to help you in those cases. You're going to need libel laws or some such.

It's partially a response to progress. Thirty years ago your public bankruptcy may have been printed on page 35 of a local newspaper, the next day that newspaper would have been used to wrap fish in. If someone wanted to find that listing about you they'd have to go to a newspaper archive and trawl through years of bankruptcy notices to see if you happened to show up in them.

Nowadays a bankruptcy listing (or cyber bullying) may appear in a tiny corner of the internet where few people go, the Google bot does go there. And Google lists it in perpetuity. Someone who Googles your name can easily find that bankruptcy from fifteen years ago.

Essentially it's privacy law catching up to modern times.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Why I love the Right to be Forgotten

The RTBF wouldn't help Donald Trump one bit. It's not as if a Google search is almost exclusively the way to discover what Trump has been up to recently or decades ago. We have journalism for that and an RTBF would not block a journalist writing about all the cases he was accused of wrongdoing and publishing that far and wide. When you hear the news about what he has been up to this time, did you find that because you Googled 'What has Donald Trump done now?" or because you saw it in the headlines?

That's where that RTBF rule of thumb comes in. If someone of something is big enough to theoretically be covered in a Wikipedia entry then the RTBF is not going to make a difference.

I wouldn't rely too much on the stories your read about in the news. By its very nature news only covers remarkable cases. The only cases that make the news are attempts to be delisted by notorious people, where you feel that maybe it's a good thing if it was discoverable. If Joe Bloggs gets an entry for a fifteen year old article removed he his hardly going to go to the press to say that he has finally got that link to that article removed. It would be a form of the Streisand Effect.

Len Silver badge

Re: Why I love the Right to be Forgotten

Oh, I definitely agree that this is a more serious case than your average RTBF case. I forgot the details of the legal routes she had pursued. This case also pre-dates the RTBF becoming legal reality as that presentation was around 2010.

At the time cyberbullying campaigners, privacy groups etc. were advocating a way that would allow people to be delisted from search engine databases but it was still largely a concept, a proposal. That it would later (via a lawsuit by a Spanish man who wanted an article on his historic personal bankruptcy removed from Google's search DB) be turned into a legal precedent and later codified in law was beyond anyone's imagination at the time.

I can, however, image that having eye catching cases such as the one I described will have made people realise that something needed to be done.

Len Silver badge

Re: Confused

The Right To Be Forgotten applies to all search engines. It's just that Google is the largest and so the most pressing for people to get removed from and the one that makes the news most often.

Len Silver badge
Thumb Up

Why I love the Right to be Forgotten

I used to work in cybersecurity and that field is not far from the anti bullying and child protection field. At policy conferences we’d rub shoulders with people from those areas (I imagine that nowadays you’d find revenge porn campaigners there too) and I once sat through a presentation from a woman whose ex boyfriend from when she was 15 or 16 had created web pages full of provocative photos of her with accompanying texts. He had also posted them to all sorts of image sites and message boards. All under her name.

After graduating from a top university she had great trouble finding a job because any prospective employer who would Google her would find pages and pages of photos of her with half her clothes on and saucy texts. She has had to legally change her name to get round this.

This happened in the US, where there is no RTBF, and I have just checked, if you Google for her old name all these photos still show up. Ten years after she had given that presentation and fifteen years after the photos had been taken.

I have been a staunch advocate of the RTBF ever since. It protects the normal people, not the dodgy politicians or crooks. Don’t forget, it doesn’t remove the articles from anywhere, protections for journalism still exist. The rule of thumb for the RTBF is that for any person or incident that is big enough to (theoretically) warrant its own Wikipedia entry, the RTBF is not going to help.

My life as a criminal cookie clearer: Register vulture writes Chrome extension, realizes it probably breaks US law

Len Silver badge
Happy

Re: Don't need it

Instead of running an ancient version of Firefox, why not just install CookieAutodelete?

I run that as standard so only cookies on the allowlist are kept, the default is to remove cookies after a session.

Networking boffins detect wide abuse of IPv4 addresses bought on secondary market

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Interesting market effects

I can picture all sorts of interesting market effects happening to IPv4 addresses.

A pricing difference between "clean" and "dirty" addresses. Addresses that are on blocklists for spam or botnets should trade at a lower value than ones that are clean. The question is, how can a buyer assess the "quality" of an address? Without transparency that market effect can't work. Are there already consultancies or services that can help you buy a "clean" block of IPv4 addresses?

Some companies might be more relaxed about buying dirty addresses, depending on their use case. Would it matter if Netflix would buy a block of addresses for its streaming servers that happens to feature on spam blocklists? I would think not. Meanwhile, if you're planning to set up a new email service provider you'd want to buy the cleanest blocks available.

On overall view, not tomorrow but perhaps next decade, that due to the lack of regulation, legacy ownership issues, legacy transparency issues, rampant abuse etc. that IPv4 traffic is dodgier than IPv6 traffic. It may lead to a situation in let's say 2030 that people reaching your server from IPv4 addresses will need to go through a CAPTCHA (or other Turing test) whereas standard IPv6 traffic doesn't. At the moment Google is a bit stricter about email traffic coming from servers over IPv6 than over IPv4 as blocklists for IPv4 are easier (and more established) than for IPv6. Will that stance reverse at some point?

A steady rise in value in IPv4 addresses up to a certain point until it hits a peak and then a fairly sharp drop. At the moment about 33% of all traffic is IPv6, once that reaches a certain level the value of IPv4 will suddenly decrease and it tips from a seller's market into a buyer's market. As a seller of an IPv4 block it makes sense to hold out for a bit longer, but not too long because it will suddenly drop quite rapidly as every holdout will sell their block while it still has value. Like most markets, it doesn't matter when the real tipping point is, it matters when people think we have reached that tipping point. The perception is enough to create the tipping point.

At some point the majority of home and office users will have a Dual Stack (IPv4+IPv6) or DS-Lite (IPv6+IPv4 behind NAT) connection. At that point the only people still interested in IPv4 blocks will be owners of servers who need to make sure that IPv4-only users can still reach them. This might mean a release of IPv4 blocks by ISPs who sell it to server owners (from massive cloud companies to smaller hosters). If you're an ISP that always had a good abuse department your blocks might be worth more than those of ISPs that are infamous for their lax approach to botnets, spammers, open relays etc.

UK formally abandons Europe’s Unified Patent Court, Germany plans to move forward nevertheless

Len Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Two questions

Putting too much power over how patents are dealt with into a single system and reducing the oversight power of the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice, especially when it comes to complying with the European Convention on Human Rights, could have serious consequences.

I don't understand why EP and CJEU would have reduced oversight as a result of this plan? My first assumption would be that it would increase. Generally, after having read all the horror stories about the EPO, I would be in favour to have them report to a parliament and answerable to a court.

There is also a strong likelihood that the UPC will benefit big business and leave smaller companies and businesses at a disadvantage.

Why would this benefit bigger businesses over smaller businesses? If my small business can go through one patent procedure with one court to get a patent in 30-odd countries that would surely be cheaper and easier than to go through ten different procedures for the ten most important European markets. I would think that only big businesses have the pockets to do the latter.

Cisco restores evidence of its funniest FAIL – ethernet cable presses switch's reset button

Len Silver badge
Facepalm

Either way

With or without that hood, the reset button is too close to the port. I often have to change these things on the touch and the risk of pressing that button with your finger would be too big if you ask me. I understand why it's not recessed (as you some times need to press reset on the touch) but keeping it as far away from the ports as possible would make sense.

Imagine surviving WW3, rebuilding computers, opening up GitHub's underground vault just to relive JavaScript

Len Silver badge
Mushroom

If there ever is a WW3...

...it will be Node.js that caused it.

Companies toiling away the most on LibreOffice code complain ecosystem is 'beyond utterly broken'

Len Silver badge

Re: Payment workaround?

It’s been a long time since I used Google Docs but I recall you could save to “OpenOffice” format. Did they remove that?

Len Silver badge

Re: Disagree with this

The thing is, though, that with a broad product suite such as LibreOffice that runs on multiple underlying OS-es that change all the time your product stops working if you don’t keep up with changes to the OS. You can keep the same features but if Windows, macOS or Linux deprecates an API you will still need to put in dev work. In this case even standing still requires running.

Len Silver badge

Re: This...

Yes, a commercial side service should not be too difficult. They could set up “The Document Company” next to the Foundation and have in the articles of association of the Company that the directors of the Company are always and only the same people that are in charge of the Foundation. You’d have legal separation without risking the Company from going rogue.

Len Silver badge

If you look at the amount of changes that have been made since the fork just to improve compatibility with non-LibreOffice file formats (which are a given until LO achieves world domination) I would not want to exchange LO 6.4 for a version from years ago.

I am also quite pleased with the UI changes in LibreOffice 7rc1.

Len Silver badge

Re: This...

To be honest, I think that’s a bit of a straw man argument. Just because some companies use cloud software (the means) as a way to achieve vendor lockin (the end) does not mean that The Document Foundation would have the same goal.

There is clearly a lot of demand for cloud solutions, even if it’s just for the seamless transition between working on a document on your desktop, adding some things to it from your laptop while at a client and making that little ‘brainwave’ change on your phone from the supermarket aisle.

If packages such as LibreOffice don’t go down that way you are leaving a popular use case solely to the paid for/closed source companies. To prevent that is precisely what LibreOffice should be for.

Len Silver badge
Meh

Long-standing issue with volunteer development

This is a long-standing issue with many Open Source developments that largely rely on volunteer developers.

It's relatively easy to get users to work on glamorous or often used features. It's a lot harder to get people to work on necessary but largely invisible plumbing. Mozilla solves this by having a serious amount of developers on the payroll to oversee work, work on 'plumbing' and push through the project while taking in lots of code in from volunteers or outside coders. They can afford that because Mozilla Inc. is a multimillion dollar corporation. The Document Foundation is not.

You can see the challenges quite clearly in LibreOffice. Writer is clearly the most used application in the office suite and receives the most code submissions, changes and new features. The further down the popularity chain you go, the less work you see.

Look at an issue such as using the Firebird database as the embedded database in an Base .odb file. Hardly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of LibreOffice. The Document Foundation moved from the ancient HSQLDB 1.8 to Firebird 3.0 as a means to rid themselves of a Java dependency and to use a more modern and better supported database. At the moment it's not working great as the talent you need to make this work properly is someone who ideally understands Java (for the legacy stuff), C/C++, databases in general and Firebird in particular. Quite an ask. There is currently one person (Julien Nabet) who can work on this and he is swamped. (If you are someone who can work on this, please get stuck in)

To get things like this working again you'll have to have a combination of commercial companies submitting code to scratch their own itch (works well for Linux), an army of volunteers and a number of paid developers in the centre at The Document Foundation to oversee all this. And that costs money.

I would think the first thing the TDF should do now is set up a bounty programme. People who run into a certain issue that they like to see fixed (but can't as they are not coders) can donate to have that fixed. Volunteer coders that want to earn some money can go through the list and see which ones they can fix. All that needs is a few people from TDF to oversee the list of bounty issues (as not all issues qualify for an easy bounty), to vet whether the submitted code indeed fixes the issue, and release the funds to the volunteer developer.

UK government marks 'at least' £115m for new Brexit systems against backdrop of chequered IT project history in customs and border control

Len Silver badge

Re: The positives

Lorry drivers can't work on a holiday visa as driving a lorry is considered work. If that driving takes you to another country then you are working in another country, something that would normally require a work permit. There are all sorts of agreements that allow for this to go smoothly (precisely to prevent lorry drivers having to hand over the keys at the border) with all sorts of levels.

A basic level is for instance the right for a UK driver to drive a load from your warehouse in Chester to a customer in Toulouse but drive back empty.

A more advanced level is for that driver to take a load back from that customer in Toulouse to the UK.

An even more advanced level is for that driver to pick up an unrelated load and drive that to the UK.

A yet more advanced level is for that driver to pick up a load in Toulouse and drive it to Bordeaux.

Look up 'Cabotage' if you want to dive deeper.

I don't work in haulage so I haven't followed this precisely but I believe the UK has only been given 2% of the available licenses available for non-EU drivers. This is probably why Girteka (Europe's largest haulier with over 7000 lorries) thinks this hard Brexit is an opportunity for them and is expanding in the UK. Hauliers with many British drivers on the payroll will struggle to ship much into the EU from next year. They could refocus on the RoI, though. Thanks to the Common Travel Area British drivers are still allowed to work in Ireland.

Len Silver badge
Meh

Re: The positives

Yes, we're going to see a division between smaller companies that already traded outside the EU and those that didn't.

If your customers used to only be in one of the 31 countries of the EEA + Switzerland (as is the case for about 150,000 UK businesses) then trading with all your customers outside of the UK will become a lot more challenging. A chunk of them might consider giving up on selling to people outside the UK altogether.

If you also had customers outside those 31 countries then you probably already had existing customs operations and you move your French, Spanish or German customers from the 'Easy' bucket to the 'Hard' bucket where you already had your Argentinian, American or Australian customers.

Len Silver badge
Angel

Re: The positives

True, one of the reasons the Northern Irish agriculture minister has halted the preparations for the new border down the Irish Sea is because there is a lack of clarity whether supermarkets like Tesco or Sainsbury's are exporting (with all the customs declarations and checks) to Northern Ireland when they stock up a branch in NI from a warehouse in GB.

Len Silver badge
Thumb Up

The positives

The major positive about these systems is that I am not involved in developing them. The scale and complexity are immense.

The UK will go cold turkey to 'Third country' status on 1 January. About 150,000 companies will need to complete customs formalities for the first time as they only ever traded within the EU. We're talking about an estimated 215 million extra declarations per year, which could cost them an additional £7 billion.

The country needs an estimated 50,000 extra people trained in customs formalities to help businesses navigate the extra red tape. Fewer than 3000 people are thought to have completed the new training for it.

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is still in development and testing will not start until November. That is the system where every business that wants to export to the EU will need to fill in declarations before the lorry even departs their warehouse for the border. It's not one declaration per lorry, it's one declaration per consignment so a single lorry may need hundreds of declarations.

I haven't had full confirmation yet but I suspect the new lorry park (or "Farage Garage") under Ashford that the people in Kent are now upset about will play a large role not in incoming freight but in outgoing freight. I think they have taken a leaf out of Rotterdam's book and will require any lorry headed for ferry or tunnel to have their documents checked there before they are allowed to proceed to the terminal. That prevents the terminals from being blocked up by chancers without declarations. There will be an estimated 10 or 12 of those sites needed across Great Britain (Northern Ireland is a wholly different matter).

For those of you with an FT subscription, this is an interesting read: UK’s border plan leaves business still searching for answers

Look at the scale, hundreds of millions of declarations a year means hundreds of thousands of declarations a day. Look at the users, a vast chunk of them will be businesses that have no experience in making customs declarations, some of them will go bankrupt if this doesn't work. Look at the visible fall out, blocked up roads in Kent and pictures of lorry drivers camping on the hard shoulder of the M20 on the front page of the Sun.

Normally systems with a vast scale and complexity are exciting things to get your teeth stuck into. Not this time as it will inevitably not deliver all that is asked from it and a bunch of low-skilled cabinet ministers will then blame HMRC and the developers for making a hash out of an impossible task.

Len Silver badge
Mushroom

Preparation

The one thing that has struck over the last couple of years is the disconnect (and general late-ness) in preparation for Brexit.

Of course, there are quite a few things that will change in January that we won't know until probably October. However, even when it all still looked uncertain whether Brexit was even going to happen, some preparation could already take place.

For instance, once in a while Kent clogged up with lorries because of weather, strikes or logistical issues with EuroTunnel or Ferries. And that was before Brexit.

Long before we knew what shape Brexit was going to take we already knew at even the variant with the least amount of friction would create extra customs paperwork, declarations, customs inspections of lorries. Even leaving the EU but staying in the Single Market would have meant extra bureaucracy, let alone the very hard Brexit we’re now headed for.

That means that as early as 2016 it made sense to strengthen the Kent infrastructure (widen the M20, create lorry holding parks) using Brexit as the reason for Compulsory Purchase Orders of land and houses, emergency planning laws etc. Long before Brexit was a word it made sense to make GB less dependent on Dover and share the RoRo load with other ports.

And now, with months to go and the UK’s poor reputation for border control (No exit checks, WTF!) or customs (UK faces €2 billion EU tab for China fraud) or being a reliable partner in international security operations (UK taking 'steps' after illegal copying of EU Schengen data) the UK is almost certainly going to lose access to the Schengen Information System to check whether the chap that just showed up at your Border Force booth at Heathrow is not wanted or travelling on a stolen passport and the UK could easily fall out of a number of Advance Passenger Information agreements.

All of this was known years ago yet we’re suddenly scrambling in 2020, with six months to go.

Apple: Don't close MacBooks with a webcam cover on, you might damage the display

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Flicker

Good point, I just tried with a few apps to see how quickly I could toggle the camera. Not quick enough so I'd probably need to experiment with building my own app to talk directly to the camera. As is typical for LEDs, the switch time is milliseconds so you might not notice.

This could be something that's relatively easy for Apple to reduce the risk of. If they put a simple capacitator between the power line and the LED, the light would probably stay on for a few seconds after the camera has switched off. Just two seconds would be long enough to make surreptitious attempts at taking many quick photos in succession very noticeable as the LED would be permanently on.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Most RAT's include functionality to do it

All Macs introduced after 2008 have the LED hardwired to the power lead to the camera module. There is no separate logic between the two any more.

That's why that famous research from the Johns Hopkins University from 2013 (AKA iSeeYou) only managed to enable the camera without enabling the LED on models up to 2008. It's also why RATs and similar malware that target the Mac warn you that the light will come on when you turn on your victim's camera.

I have been fascinated by this topic for years (even though I don't work in cybersecurity any more) so if you have evidence that it can still work on newer models or that there are RATs out there that can do this I would be very interested to know more about it.

Rip and replace is such a long Huawei to go, UK telcos plead, citing 'blackouts' and 'billion pound' costs: Are Vodafone and BT playing 'Project Fear'?

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Agreed, the Huawei story is so much more complex than just Trump throwing a hissy fit.

The first report into Huawei from the Heritage Foundation dates back to 2008, when Trump was still raping people buying "education" at Trump University, women and reality TV viewers.

There are essentially three different American groups with their own reasons for having issues with Huawei. Different timelines too.

1) The Heritage Foundation and some people in Congress, based on sources in the US intelligence community about spying and backdoors. Their first report on Huawei dates back to 2008.

2) The US State Department and Department of Justice for Huawei using a front company called SkyCom to evade sanctions on selling communications equipment to Iran. It emerged in 2013 that the reported "well-known company" behind SkyCom (and that hitherto been publicly referred to under a code name) was in fact Huawei. Obviously the investigators and prosecutors in that case will have known that it was Huawei years before 2013.

3) Donald Trump who has a purely commercial reasons to dislike Huawei (as they are Chinese) and started his trade war in 2017.

All these three groups have the same target but are frequently at loggerheads. Groups 1 and 2 don't understand that Trump would have no issue allowing Huawei in the US if he can trade it off in same trade deal. Trump doesn't care about national security or courts so sees no objection to making Huawei part of some mercantilist deal with Xi Jinping. Group 2 has issues with 1 and 3 for not following legal process and the requirements around discovery and transparency that are vital for a prosecution. Groups 1 and 3 don't care much for legal process and think that Group 2 is slow and too open.

If Trump were to be replaced later this year only Group 3 would likely vanish from the scene. I doubt Group 1 would suddenly stop and Group 2 would definitely not stop.

Like a Bolt from the blue, Huawei's fledgling AppGallery signs a ride-sharing platform

Len Silver badge
Thumb Up

I love Bolt

Don't care much for Huawei but I love Bolt. I switched from Uber to Bolt some time last year as using Uber always left a bitter taste in my mouth. Many drivers here in London are on multiple apps anyway so availability of cars is largely similar. Apparently the drivers get a larger share of the fee as well, making it feel less exploitative.

UK space firms forced to adjust their models of how the universe works as they lose out on Copernicus contracts

Len Silver badge

Re: Answer is simple

The problem is that ESA membership, even without EU membership, is still a net benefit for a country that takes its aerospace industry seriously. There are a number of non-EU members that are ESA members. There is a reason for that.

Of course the UK can leave ESA but that doesn’t fit in with the UK’s strategy to develop its aerospace industry.

We just have to be realistic. If an ESA project is EU funded (such as Galileo) then non-EU members can’t expect to have any serious involvement in it. If an ESA project is funded by, let’s say, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and the UK chips in funding wise then the UK will be a serious contributor as well.

Len Silver badge
Meh

The whole thing was run as a EuroJust campaign, with help from Europol. Here is the official press release: Dismantling of an encrypted network sends shockwaves through organised crime groups across Europe

The way things are looking now the UK will leave EuroJust and Europol too.

Things that happen every four years: Olympic Games, Presidential elections, and now new Mac ransomware

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Updated XProtect

XProtect.plist, the definition file for XProtect (macOS built-in anti malware tool) on my machine was updated last night. I opened it and did a search for EvilQuest but couldn’t find anything, though Apple could be using a different name for this particular threat.

Firefox 78: Protections dashboard, new developer features... and the end of the line for older macOS versions

Len Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Refresh firefox...

I do a Refresh of Firefox about once a year, as a form of spring cleaning, and can thoroughly recommend it. Make sure to make a backup first, I've never needed it but it's always good to play it safe.

Germany is helping the UK develop its COVID-19 contact-tracing app, says ambassador

Len Silver badge

Agreed, Germany has a very black decade in its history but you can't deny they've done exceptionally well in dealing with it, educating people about the atrocities to prevent it from happening again etc. You know what they say "The Allied Forces won the war but Germany won the peace".

A lot of countries have very dark periods in their history, including slave trade, invading countries to steal their wealth and loot artefacts to put in museums, killing millions of people (by disinterest or genocide), running concentration camps or overthrowing existing democracies. Very few countries have learned from their history as well as the Germans have.

LibreOffice slips out another 7.0 beta: Spreadsheets close gap with Excel while macOS users treated to new icons

Len Silver badge

Re: Any news of a Libre_mail client

When Thunderbird was going through one of its bi-annual “We’re leaving Mozilla” processes there was some talk at the OpenDocument Foundation of taking it under the wings of the Libre packet but I don’t think it went very far.

Len Silver badge
Devil

Re: Compatability

If it is OOXML compatibility you're after just stay away from Microsoft Office and you'll probably be fine.

Len Silver badge
Happy

I don't think many people will use Calc (or Excel) to create 1 million row spreadsheets but as the output of some automated process they're probably not uncommon. It's nice if your spreadsheet application can at least open them so you can use it for advanced logic to strip all the unnecessary bits.

Unless, of course, you prefer to write your own parser and regex to strip out all the rows that have values below 0.00153 except when the another column lists "Belo Horizonte", "Carlyle" or "Turku" but only if the date column contains a date that falls on a Wednesday.

Len Silver badge
Happy

Re: Input of accents on mac

I used to have a colleague with an ö in his surname and I fairly quickly learned the key combination to write his name. Within a week you don't even think about it. Twenty years later and I still know that it was ALT 148 (it was on Windows in those days).

'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

Len Silver badge
Devil

Re: I wonder why?

Come to FreeBSD, the water is lovely.

MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Just do a text search

In that case you remove the images that have no tags left after removing all the undesirable tags. Even in a database of millions you're probably only talking about a few thousands images at most.

I mean, what's the point of having an image that is only identified as "c***", "piss", "whore"?

Len Silver badge

Not always a good thing but you'd want those words to be in a list of undesirable tags for images, not in a general list.

The reason is simple, if you use this data set to train your AI you probably want that AI to become as close to humans as possible. If (most) humans can discern between desirable and undesirable words then you should be able to train your AI to do the same. Having one list that contains both desirable and undesirable words in one is counterproductive.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Just do a text search

Surely this database consists of images in BLOBs or something similar and the associated tags in VarChar or something similar. That should make it quite easy to do a text search through the VarChar for a list of inappropriate words and delete only those words from the table. You might just want to add some logic so images that only contain inappropriate words as tags get flagged so someone can manually check if those images are worth retaining or find a few appropriate synonyms. I can't imagine this would be a lot of work.

Hey, Boeing. Don't celebrate your first post-grounding 737 Max test flight too hard. You just lost another big contract

Len Silver badge

Re: FAA's Fall

The big problem for the Chinese, and the reason why there is a ‘Brussels effect‘ but no ‘Beijing effect’ is that nobody trusts Chinese regulators. Not even the Chinese themselves.

Remember the run on European baby food by the Chinese because they didn’t trust Chinese suppliers?

Regulators need to be competent and trusted to be effective. Businesses require competence from their regulator (To understand the issue at hand, not be too knee-jerky, not too arbitrary or inconsistent), the market requires trust (a strong correlation between a regulators declaration and the actual situation).

Len Silver badge
FAIL

FAA's Fall

"In the past, US Federal Aviation Administration certifications were accepted at face value by other countries, but that is no longer the case, in part due to serious failings highlighted by the 737 Max testing process."

This is one of remarkable effects of this whole issue, the loss of trust in the FAA. It's probably going to take years to rebuild their reputation. I wonder if you're let's say the Australian or Zambian aerospace regulator and you don't have the capacity to test every new plane or significant modification you're now going to rely more on the EASA, even for non-European aircraft.

Leaked benchmarks from developer kit for Apple's home-baked silicon appear to give Microsoft a run for its money

Len Silver badge

Re: Apple's policy

Some people think that this is a deliberate ploy by Apple. The idea goes that Apple knows that benchmarking tools for x86 will not be able to accurately detect actual performance of ARM architecture chips but the reported performance is already quite good, putting people at ease about having to rely on Rosetta 2. When they release the actual chips (the CPU in the dev kit is an existing two year old mobile model, not the one they'll be selling later) they will be so much faster than the leaked speeds that it generates extra excitement upon launch.

I think the above theory is a bit far-fetched but it's not impossible.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Apple has used an existing two year old mobile chip in the development kit. It's not custom made or the one they'll be selling later.

The most likely explanation is that Geekbench (developed for x86, not ARM and running under Rosetta 2) is incapable of detecting the little cores as it has never had to look for those types. The extra cores will be available to developers on the dev kit, it's just that Geekbench doesn't report them.

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