* Posts by Richard 12

3740 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: He drove to Barnard Castle

Cummings statement was written by a very expensive lawyer. It's a witness statement of the type you see in court and attempted to individually address every single sighting that Cummings thought he couldn't deny.

Unsurprisingly, he didn't swear to it's accuracy.

The police cannot say that a person did commit an offence until after conviction. This is because they try to obey the rule of law.

Cummings behaviour after the trip is what is indefensible.

Why are you defending the indefensible?

Richard 12 Silver badge

He drove to Barnard Castle

That's illegal. He admitted the act, Durham police have confirmed that had they caught him at the time he would have been sent home and/or fined.

Furthermore he says that he did it while unsure whether he was fit to drive.

That is also illegal. Haven't looked up the punishment but it's rather greater than the fine for breaking lockdown. Odd thing to admit to.

He also lied to ministers and/or told ministers to knowingly lie to the public, accused Durham police of lying (or decided his own father isn't family?). On top of that he told further lies to the country while trying to explain his previous actions, this time purely to stoke his ego.

In unrelated news, the Government then suddenly announces a whole load of lockdown rule and guideline relaxations, starting simultaneously, despite the previous announcement that nothing would change until Level 3 (we are still 4) and the fact that SAGE explicitly advised against this.

The most ridiculous part is that if he'd just admitted it, paid the £60 fine and apologised, then the whole thing would indeed be long over.

The man has an ego the size of a planet and is incapable of accepting he could ever make a mistake. How many more must die to save Cummings career?

So no, the public will not forget.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Jumping the gun a bit, aren't they ?

Several ministers have insisted that the app is necessary, does work and will be rolling out soon or has already been released, interspersed with "clarifying" statements that it's not needed, still being trialled and not going to be used at all.

In other words, the usual clarity, accuracy, truthfulness and openness that has defined Boris Johnson's entire career.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Because it tells Ms Patel where you are

Priti Patel, or someone else in Government decided that "follow everyone everywhere, log their every movement and lock 'em up if I feel like it" was a higher priority than "make it work"

Apple and Google were falling over themselves trying to help, only to be snubbed because their design had "user privacy" and "actually works" as design goals.

Richard 12 Silver badge

So I'll be almost totally ignoring the tracers then

I'll contact the people I've contacted myself. I can do that far faster and more effectively than any 25,000 people forced to try to use a web system managed by Dido Harding and created by the mates of the Tory party.

Though weirdly I keep bumping into this guy wearing a beanie in a forest. Said he was having an eye test in a castle. Name of Despicable Cummings, or something like that.

So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise

Richard 12 Silver badge

Be liberal in what you accept

I've always taken that to mean "No matter what input you are fed, you MUST be able to deal with it"

Input coming from other systems could be folded, spindled or mutilated in any number of ways.

"Toss it out with an error" is a perfectly valid way of dealing with it.

It's also good to couple that requirement with "fail as fast as possible".

Software bug in Bombardier airliner made planes turn the wrong way

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: FAA vs logic

Nope, the function should not be used until the bug is fixed.

That's what the FAA (and ESA) are saying, and I agree with them.

Pilots can start using it again once the bug is fixed and properly verified - this should take quite a long time, as this kind of testing should be as exhaustive as possible.

For example, simulated missed approaches on every known airport and airfield capable of landing the aircraft, covering the entire expected temperature range of each place.

As I've told another dev at work - there's only a few billion floats. Test them all!

Great news. Patch load drops 20% for the first time in 10 years. Bad news: Well, you've heard about coronavirus?

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Huh?

Who's buying the software licences?

Aside from games, almost all software is licensed business-to-business. If your customers are closed, they aren't buying your software.

Trump issues toothless exec order to show donors, fans he's doing something about those Twitter twerps

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Lets be honest, he is having a blast

He didn't make himself rich. His dad did.

Trump can't even run a casino.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: @IGotOut Simple Response.

Except he didn't and hasn't.

The Executive is simply not permitted to rewrite the law. The Congress writes laws, the Presidentdoes not. End of.

The courts will strike it down because to do otherwise is telling the next Democratic president they can close down the Republican party for being terrorists or something - it's the same kind of thing.

This is a sop to his base. Many will read the headline now, go yee-haw and never notice that in law it never existed.

The danger is that it's clearly part of him trying to build a narrative to explain a future loss at the polls, and potentially incite serious violence.

Laughing UK health secretary launches COVID-19 Test and Trace programme with glitchy website and no phone app

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Unmanaged BYOD

I'm equally certain that it is true.

Mostly because the contract tracers say so.

She says she was hired the day after a "very informal" phone interview where she was asked about her customer service experience and the specification of her laptop - contact tracers are often working from home and some of them are using their own computers.

They've also been commanded not to speak to the media, presumably because their recruitment and training has and continues to be a debacle.

Photostopped: Adobe Cloud evaporates in mass outage. Hope none of you are on a deadline, eh?

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: "If my backups fail"

A backup that can't be restored is usually said to have 'failed'.

What term do you use?

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: A dopey cloud

Backing up and confirming restore is much easier when the backup is in your stocky paws, and not some vague promise by someone else.

Especially when that someone else has no real skin in the game.

If my backups fail, I stand to lose a huge amount of valuable work. It might even kill my business.

If Adobe destroy my work, what does it cost them? An apologetic mass email?

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: "more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality"

Also independent certification from all other civil aviation authorities, because none of them will take the FAA at their word after the MAX.

Lawsuit klaxon: HP, HPE accused of coordinated plan to oust older staff in favor of cheaper, compliant youngsters

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

So it's supposed to be on fire?

Explains a lot about HP equipment.

Runaway Latvian drone found meditating in tree after shutting down nation's skies

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: fully fuelled before its test flight and had a potential endurance of three days

It's a fixed-wing aircraft, so needs very little thrust to maintain altitude.

Some designs have theoretical endurance in the months, when not interrupted by arboreal intersections.

Campaign groups warn GCHQ can re-identify UK's phones from COVID-19 contact-tracing app data

Richard 12 Silver badge

Most UK rough sleepers have been brought indoors. We've actually almost ended it.

Turns out that if you actively offer all rough sleepers somewhere to stay, they tend to accept and do a lot better. Shocking, I know.

One of many lessons I expect we'll completely forget by September or so :(

Richard 12 Silver badge

No, *Dyson* pulled out

When the supplier cancels an order, it's because they can't supply.

Dyson cancelled while we still thought they were desperately needed.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Zero ventilators.

Dyson pulled out. I don't know why, but maybe because making medical equipment means complying with strict standards?

I suspect being a Singaporean company didn't help much either, as they don't have any real manufacturing capabilities within Europe.

Railway cables overpowered errant drone's compass and flung it back to terra firma

Richard 12 Silver badge

Actual engineer

Insulation has almost zero* effect on the electric and magnetic fields.

It helps to do some research first. I recommend ElectroBOOM.

* At very short range it does affect the fields by preventing breakdown, arcing and of course crispy death. Magnetic fields can also be concentrated by use of ferromagnetic materials.

Could it be? Really? The Year of Linux on the Desktop is almost here, and it's... Windows-shaped?

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: WoLoW

No different to running Linux under ESXi or other closed-source hypervisor.

Easyjet hacked: 9 million people's data accessed plus 2,200 folks' credit card details grabbed

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: from Franco-German manufacturer Airbus??

If Boris gets his way, there won't be any more Welsh wings

Richard 12 Silver badge

Or their server was hit

And a nice little script added that copies all the CC info off to to miscreant, who can do what they will.

Same thing that BA failed to notice for quite some time. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same code, implanted in exactly the same way.

Cyber attack against UK power grid middleman Elexon sparks in-house IT recovery efforts

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Vector identified

Only work owned kit should ever be connected to the VPN.

That's a pretty simple rule to make, and employees who are asked to work from home are universally very happy to accept a work-provided laptop.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Hubris

This organisation has nothing to to with actual generation, distribution or supply.

They only do billing.

Absolute worst-case scenario is that the generation companies have to suffer a week of estimated bills.

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: GDPR 'an onerous chore' says distinguished tech website The Register

Passing a driving test is an onerous chore.

Washing your hands before preparing food is an onerous chore.

Treating a patient or taking them to the toilet and cleaning their bum is an onerous chore.

We do all those things because they are necessary, not because they are easy.

Better late than never... Google Chrome to kill off 'tiny' number of mobile web ads that gobble battery, CPU power

Richard 12 Silver badge

How about no execution whatsoever?

There is no legitimate reason whatsoever for an advert to serve or execute any code at all of any kind.

A legitimate advert may contain text, an image or short video clip and one or more hyperlinks.

Anything else is an inexcusable unauthorized use of my computer, as defined in the Computer Misuse Act.

The end really is nigh – for 32-bit Windows 10 on new PCs

Richard 12 Silver badge

WoW64 exists so you don't need to

Run your 32bit Windows NT or XP binary on 64bit Windows 7 or 10 and it runs perfectly.

It doesn't even know it's on Windows 10, as Microsoft fake almost everything. Including redirecting unauthorised writes to protected folders and files onto a per-user location.

In fact a huge amount of commercial Windows software is still 32bit - including some from Microsoft.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: I honestly thought it never existed

I've been spinning up "frozen" Windows NT and XP VMs to run that sort of legacy software.

(Start it, copy in the work, copy out the result, kill it and roll it back)

To be honest, these days you can probably emulate Win 3.1 in a browser. I wonder if anyone has done that yet?

Richard 12 Silver badge

I honestly thought it never existed

32bit Windows 10, I mean.

32bit Windows 7 was rare enough, only ever on bottom of the barrel Atoms and I really thought those had been withdrawn a long time ago.

I wonder who was buying it, and if they knew?

It is unclear why something designed to pump fuel into a car needs an ad-spewing computer strapped to it, but here we are

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: John Maynard Keynes suggested in his proposal for with the Depression

Excellent idea!

I can't think of any downsides at all, in fact.

More of this sort of thing!

Richard 12 Silver badge


All the vehicles I've owned or hired that had a removable fuel cap, also had a "slot" in the back of the cover to store it while removed.

Of course, some vehicles will have lost the cover, but one assumes fuel pumps are designed for vehicles as-built, rather than after several "incidents".

Visual Studio Code 1.45 released: Binary custom editors and 'unbiased Notebook solution' in the works

Richard 12 Silver badge

Ahh, Electron.

The only GUI framework I'm aware of that has a hard limit of one window per process.

In the modern era of two or more screens being common, using it for anything other than toys is simply inexcusable.

DBA locked in police-guarded COVID-19-quarantine hotel for the last week shares his story with The Register

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Sounds sensible

On the brighter side, Gatwick Airport doesn't look very likely to survive this.

Apple owes us big time for bungled display-killing cable design in MacBook Pro kit, lawsuit claims

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: What's the point...

Most laptop (and phone) display "ribbon cables" are actually flexible PCBs that are soldered or welded to the display, and are quite often physically part of the display PCB.

The days of socketed harnesses are long gone in the pursuit of thinness (and ease of manufacture, to be fair)

Richard 12 Silver badge

This was an Apple device

That's all you need to know about the feasibility of removing the drive, or putting it in an external caddy

Zoom bomb: Vid conf biz to snap up Keybase as not-a-PR-move move gets out of hand

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Zoombombing...

A security feature that's "off by default" isn't a security feature, because nobody will use it.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Why do you think it's hard in the client?

Zoom, Teams and WebEx all demonstrably send all the individual video streams to each participant.

You can tell because a) each participant sees the others but not themselves and b) they allow you to rearrange the local layout.

It's actually far easier this way, as the central server simply bounces the streams on to the other participants.

Gracefully degradation is easiest handled by just dropping packets, and slightly better by telling the sources to reduce their bitrates when not "active".

All of this and more is well known.

Yes, the *really* big conferences pre-mix, but in their own machine, not a remote central server. Then broadcast that, eg via Twitch.

UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told

Richard 12 Silver badge


They're separate but linked.

The reason being that BLE on its own gives inferred precise location data.

So while you can use BLE and keep GPS off, the app can very likely work out your position anyway.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Reverse engineer the Bluetooth LE data stream

The Bluetooth side is probably fairly harmless.

The problem is the mesh of triangulation data locating every single smartphone in a conurbation within a few metres and seconds.

Just imagine if Priti Patel thought she knew that.

That awful Butterfly has finally fluttered off: Apple touts 13-inch MacBook Pro with proper keyboard, Escape key

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: No option to upgrade GFX

That's not a portable computer anymore, is it?

Bezos to the Moon: Blue Origin joins SpaceX and Dynetics in a three-horse lunar lander race

Richard 12 Silver badge

The C of G is lower than it looks

The tanks will be half empty at that point, and engines are heavy.

But yeah, I don't think those are the final landing gear either. Something more akin to the Falcon 9 legs seems likely.

The Dynetics video is quite nuts too, the orbital manoeuvre makes no sense at all - you don't burn radially unless you've no other choice.

Richard 12 Silver badge

No, hops aren't space launches

They've proven they can make an engine that works. That's a lot of hard work and should be applauded.

They have not launched anything at all into orbit.

Orbit is much harder than a suborbital hop.

Watch Hidden Figures, there's some pretty good explanations as to the difference.

Also it's a good film.

Amazon settles for $11m with workers in unpaid bag-search wait lawsuit

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Who would work there?

Someone who needs the money.

And more importantly, the health insurance.

What's worse than an annoying internet filter? How about one with a pre-auth remote-command execution hole and there's no patch?

Richard 12 Silver badge

It wouldn't make the slightest difference.

A miscreant can just ask the server to run whatever arbitrary Python code they like.

There's not even an upper limit on size or time, as the Python can download something more evil from the Internet and run that in the security context of the execution engine.

Hopefully that's not root, but if it's got write access to the configuration files for the appliance, then it can happily redirect every single request to $evil_site and force-feed computer nasties to an entire country.

So that's nice.

It's eval() all over again.

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: HP printers

Run it until it dies.

You might find it never does, because you never actually use it

Outages batter UK's Virgin Media into wee hours as broadband failures spike 77% globally

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: It went down before 1700

But my horse doesn't wear drawers?

Richard 12 Silver badge

It went down before 1700

From here it seemed that DNS went down around 1630, then the whole shebang around 1700.

Then it was up and down like a thing that goes up and down a lot.

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Correction

"Last 14 days" requires timestamps, or you couldn't work out which were 15 days ago.

Yes, in theory they could be cropped to 1-day precision.

Prove that the timestamps are no tighter than 1 day precision, then prove that there is no way of creating more precision from the metadata, eg when data was sent to the server.

Then prove that Priti Patel would never, ever decide to use the data for unexpected purposes, and further prove that she would be executed if anyone in her dept did so. Repeat for every minister.

(She's on record as being in favour of capital punishment, so she should be ok with that.)

Sorry, but this type of thing is simply unacceptable. It is very quickly near-real-time tracking of everyone.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Correction

If you have a list of timestamps of when a large number of handsets were near each other and a rough distance between them, you only need a tiny number of GPS position fixes on a handful of phones to determine the exact location (within a few metres) of everyone else.

It's completely stupid, and exactly what I expected from the current crop of Big Brother control freaks in power.


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