* Posts by Shadowfirebird

54 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jun 2009


Truck nuts swing onto US freedom of speech agenda


I find the idea of banning them...

...equally offensive as the idea of them existing in the first place.

Linguists use sounds to bypass Skype crypto


Don't Look At This Title

I'm no crypto expert, but surely when designing crypto for voice transmission, the primary design goal -- the very first thing you want out of it -- is that no-one be able listen to the encrypted transmission and work out what it says?!

How is SSL hopelessly broken? Let us count the ways

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@Peter Gathercole:

I know the telephone number is good if the fingerprint they read out matches the one I've got. And because I wasn't stupid enough to find the telephone number in the same place as I found the key.

And because of my muscular buttocks.

All joking aside ... well, MOST joking aside, I know Web Of Trust isn't a perfect system. It's just that it's obvious to me that Central Authority doesn't even pass the first hurdle. Sure, let's all trust this guy we've never met, because ... erm.... he's got lots of money?


I refuse to enter a title.

I don't care if you're an (inter)national certificate signing authority. Unless I can ring you up and have you read out your key fingerprint so I can check it against the one I have here, I don't trust you.

"Central Signing Authority" my muscular buttocks. Who the hell does he think he is?

Red Dwarf to blast off on new adventure


Oh. God. No.

That is all.

GNOME 3: Shocking changes for Linux lovers


I refuse to enter a title.

We seem to have seen this sort of thing before.

I mean, it sounds a bit like Unity, but that's not what I meant.

I'm thinking of KDE, which had a radical reworking into something weird from which apparently there is no going back.

I tried KDE4 six months ago. After ten minutes of "What the F**K is happening?" I gave up and de-installed it.

Disclaimer: I still use Openbox, which runs in something like 500k and just works...

Steven Moffat promises 'darker' Doctor Who


Less stupid, please

I don't care about more scary. Just have it make some vague sort of sense.

Also, Smith is a good actor but he's no Tennant. Asking him to do an impression of Tennant, but even *more* manic -- that's truly dumb.

Watchdog backs Top Gear in war with Mexico



I *do* watch TC regularly (and enjoy it) and I thought that the Mexican "jokes" were pathetic.

Of course, you're right in that you can always find someone to be offended at any attempt of humour, regardless of the quality.

But my point was simply this: ruling that the jokes were acceptable because in the context of a show where people make tasteless jokes, is a stupidly broad excuse.

You might as well say that Hitler was justified to invade europe in the context of his being a power-mad dictator. This is true -- but no help at all.


"Justified by the context"?

The context being that they were trying to be funny and completely failing? You could justify almost anything by that...

Wanted: Nude female web coders


In the event of a fire alarm...

...please gather in the car park next to the road. Oh, wait....

Deleting 'innocent' DNA will cost £5m



Because that would imply that the database was well designed.

Given that this was a government project, it seems unlikely.

Ads overseer told to bring down 'up to' broadband speeds


What about the rest?

I know there are supposed to be rules about when you can use "up to" -- but, honestly, when have they *ever* worked?

"Kills up to 99.9% of germs..."

"Save up to £324..."

It's *always* a con.

Cabinet Office pushes suppliers on open source



Very nice. Excellent.

I'll believe it when I see them actually doing it.

Qt sees its future in Microkia


Wait for it...

Aaaaaand, Microsoft buying Nokia's patents and suing a whole bunch of people in three, two, one...

Tumblr and 4chan knock each other out


I hate to question an article in the holy Register but...

I post to my Tumblelog every day. It was a bit slow yesterday, and I had to post a couple of links using the website rather than the toolbar button. But that's been it.

If you say that Tumblr was subject to a DOS attack, I believe you -- but I can assure you that the whole of Tumblr did not go down for a number of days. Didn't happen.

Police-baiting website Fitwatch returns


re: destruction of evidence

I've heard it argued elsewhere that telling people who were at the demonstration to get rid of clothes, text messages, etc cannot possibly be destruction of evidence unless the person in question has actually been accused of a crime -- otherwise anybody getting rid of anything at any time would be destruction of evidence, if it later turned out that it could have been of use to the police.

IANAL, but it seems a logical argument to me.

'HULC™' robot exoskeleton war-walker suit 'at gen 2.0'



...it's but a step away to slap an armoured frame on top of this, and bigger batteries.

Stupid idea, prehaps ... but you can bet that they are working on it.

Star Wars set for 3D rehash


Oh. God. No.

Why? Why? Why?

Well, other than the money of course.


Microsoft adopts invisible mobile pitch


Either that or...

...the thing is so buggy that their only hope of shifting units is to sell it as the phone that you don't use?

IPv6 uptake still slow despite looming address crunch


Security enhancements?

When IPv6 basically gives away my MAC address, and makes me abandon NAT into the bargain?

Forgive me if I'm being ignorant here, but no-one has yet explained to me quite how this improves my security...

Code for open-source Facebook littered with landmines



Yes, it's ridiculous to criticise a pre-alpha for having bugs in it.

Unfortunately, it's worse than that. (Probably.)

Diaspora was supposed to be a distributed, Darknet version of Facebook. There is nothing in the code that even starts to deal with those concepts. It certainly does not demonstrate them.

Now, it's too early to say whether the team have it all mapped out as to how it will develop in the future. In which case, sure, there's nothing to worry about.

But if they have, they've not told the internet about it.

Facebook login page still leaks sensitive info


On the plus side...

... it's enabled me to positively prove that I really did delete my account with them some months ago.

ASA: You can't say 'f**k'


The ***le is re*****d, and must ****ain letters and/or digits.

I once had a friend at the First University of Kent in Canterbury. Apparently they had to change the name. (Supposedly) true story.

First MeeGo Linux needs love and scrub up


Of course one N-series handheld already uses Linux

...The N900.

I gather that we will eventually get a backport to Meego, but not an official one. Might have that wrong; I certainly hope so.

Although to be honest, the N900 is fine as it is.

Killer piranha stalk Folkestone pond


On a (probably completely un) related note:

Did you know that the Folkstone harbour area has a large population of white scorpions? And my information is ten years out of date, so that probably counts for most of Kent by now...

BBC wins go-ahead for Freeview HD content controls


Wouldn't entirely stop MythTV...

We can get encrypted Sky programs, for example, by controlling a seperate sky box using infrared.

But it would be a pain in the arse.

Personally? I can't be bothered to store HD content -- it takes up too much disk space, and the extra quality isn't really worth it unless you have a £6k TV. But that's me.

Welsh police come down hard on Octopussy porn


DEAD animal?

So, pictures of sex with a dead animal are illegal? Clearly there is no basis for this in terms of animal welfare. What if it was a plastic squid -- is that still illegal? How about a seafood cocktail (sic)?

Prosecute the guy for taking pervy pictures of actual children, and drop the comedy charges, FFS.

Bribery Act passed by Parliament


Unless you're the police or customs?

As originally drafted the act specifically excluded "Any law enforcement agency".

So the police, customs, and even your local trading standards office can bribe people.

Wonder if that made it into the final draft?

Link here: http://p10.hostingprod.com/@spyblog.org.uk/blog/2009/11/21/bribery-bill-2009---sismi6-mi5-and-military-forces-on-active-duty-exemption-ok-b.html

Google Buzz leaves privacy concerns ringing in ears



My surname in my public profile is "Off". I invite you to imagine my first name...

Canadian cops taser 'naked and agitated' man



If he was unable to feel pain (PCP, ICE, whatever) ... then how did the tazer work? Or am I just being thick here?

Alternatively, if he couldn't feel pain and the tazer worked anyway, it wasn't cruel, was it?

Microsoft predicts Linux will fail mobile 'quality' test

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Because Microsoft are Linux experts. And Windows Mobile works perfectly.

Home Office battles to make CCTV useful


There Is No Title

Good to know that most CCTV footage is useless / unused.

However I still find the things the hallmark of some sort of fascist state: the implication is that we're all criminals and need to be watched so we can be caught out.

The problem is not the cameras themselves, it's the lack of safeguards, and the fact that as soon as we start photographing things, it would appear that Mr Plod thinks we are a terrorist. It's unbalanced -- all the power is in the hands of the state.

My suggestion: all CCTV camera footage should be declared CC licenced. Anyone can view it at any time. Pass a law saying that photography in a public place is a basic right of expression. (Yes, I know it's not illegal now.)

That way if the someone wants to use footage of me for a purpose that I don't approve of (say, attempting to incriminate me), at least I get to see the footage (all of it, not just the bits that make out I did something wrong), and maybe take some of my own.

Gov confirms plans for Sky box in charge of your house


What happens if...

What if I'm in the middle of some electrically-powered medical process, like, say, I live in an iron lung? And the Powers That Be decide to limit my electricity usage for a while?

For that matter, what if I'm running on a treadmill and they cut the power -- can I sue for damages?

UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files


re truecrypt, steganos, random numbers

1) Steganos is just for hiding files, not encrypting them. Their manual says you should use PGP too.

2) I'm at a loss to understand how Truecrypt's plausible deniability feature is going to help here. It's not as if the police don't know about it:

POLICE: Give me the key to this file.

ME: Here you go.

POLICE: Now give me the other key.

ME: There isn't one. I didn't use that feature when I made it.

POLICE: I don't believe you and I'm hereby issuing you with notice under RIPA section III....

Note that this conversation goes the same way whether I used the plausible deniability feature or not.

I'm just waiting for the first RIPA arrest for refusing to decrypt a file full of random numbers...



Is it me, or is it cold in here? I seem to be shivering.

Religious discrimination law may open door for decent deviants



*Please* can we not have this comment thread degenerate into a war between the climate change trolls and the climate change denial trolls (to over-simplify massively)?!

We could, you know, actually talk about the subject of the article?

Should a pagan be allowed to be a schoolteacher? Should someone interested in BDSM be allowed to be a judge? Is a law protecting these rights a good one, or not?

Google 'experiment' crossbreeds Python with C++



New languages are always interesting*. This will appeal to C-type programmers.

The stated intent is to produce a language like Python or Ruby that is compiled. Nice. But it reads nothing like either of those languages to me; too low-level. Either that, or the initial tutorial isn't well written.

* To me. If you're bored by new languages, why are you reading this?

Sacked drugs advisor pledges new expert body


Not very independant

I don't see how the drugs advisory body can be genuinely independent if the government can sack Nutt.

I love the idea of Nutt setting up a genuinely independent advisory body. Clearly the government don't want scientific advice, but the public sure do; he can advise us.

Which prescription medicines are dangerous when misprescribed? How do we recognise dodgy street drugs from safe(r) ones?* What's the safest way for an addict to give up heroin, say -- given that methodone (often prescribed to them) is itself pretty nasty?

I'm sure we could set up a charity to fund that. I'd pay.

(* should we be inclined to want to do that, which would probably be illegal, of course, so we wouldn't.)

Musos demand Guantanamo Bay playlist



Did the military pay a performance fee? Presumably not, or someone would know what the playlist was.

If not, where are the RIAA on this?

Torrent crackdown pushing pirates towards file hosting


Bittorrent isn't actually a crime

...it depends what you download with it.

Believe it or not it *is* possible to use bittorrent to download stuff without being in breach of copyright.

It's just a protocol.

Just saying.

Google hits Android dev with cease-and-desist letter


@northern monkey

Okay, a *mini*-Apple wobbler then. Point taken.

I still don't understand why these apps are closed source anyway. Do Google make money from them somehow? (I know, comparing fish and elephants.)

And as Dave 120 suggests, there must be 100 ways to sort this without the use of C&D letters.


So much for "do no evil"

I may finally have to come around to the view that Google are no longer living up to "Do No Evil". (I'm sure some of you will think I'm slow. Tough.)

What this looks like is Google throwing an Apple-style app-wobbly. Perhaps there is something else behind it.

Surely the real "Do No Evil" move would be to offer to make this guy's code official? Or if they can't do that, release an API for their proprietry apps, or something?

What exactly do they have to lose, except a product that makes their phones more awesome?

Cracks show in music industry over P2P enforcement


re: The thing about not having comments is...

@Sarah Bee:

Comments are the equivalent of the guy singing outside your bedroom window at three o'clock in the morning. You can applaud, or blow rasberries, or shoot him dead*, or ignore him. But at the end of the day, it's only evens he's doing it for you.

It has to be said ... commenters don't necessarily care what the people at the site think, either.

(*This is a metaphor. I can shoot people dead in a metaphor. It's even legal.)


The thing about not having comments is...

... you'll never know what we actually think of not having the ability to comment, because we don't have the ability to comment.

And what's even more annoying, if we find this logical paradox amusing, we can't tell you, because ... well, you get the idea.

Aussie Sex Party bursts upon political stage


re: "orgiastic notions"

The cause of this is that fact that the word "party" can have two meanings: a political group, campaigning for representative rights in parliament; or a gathering for social purposes, often involving music and/or alchohol.

"Sex party", you see. It's a pune, or a play on words.

This is the sort of humour that has politicians rolling around in the isles. Or, indeed, the aisles.

Minister attacks drunken topless lovelies with tangler-bazooka



Looks to be about 20 meters. Not terribly useful as yet.

US state bars sex offenders from 'social networking sites'


Define "sex offender"

1) Is Illinois one of those states that make you a sex offender if you're caught taking a leak in a back alley?

2) I guess they'll have to all start blogs then.

TV crime show host 'ordered ratings-boosting hits'


I'm confused

He didn't need to order the killings to prove that there was a high crime rate, because *he* was a criminal, wasn't he? After all, he ordered the killings...

Wait, there's something wrong with that. I'm confused.

Two convicted for refusal to decrypt data

Black Helicopters

A quick primer on RIPA pt III

* No, forgetting your password is not an excuse -- you go to jail.

* Ditto claiming it's not encrypted. You have to prove it's not encrypted (I know, I know...)

* Not only is the point about not incriminating yourself not going to work, I think there was even a case that went against the idea in the US (it was about a TSA search of a laptop, if I recall correctly).

Since the onus is on you to prove your innocence, technically you could still be done for even with plausable deniability. "Prove that you don't have a hidden second tier!" "I can't!" "Then it's jail for you, sonny boy!"

Believe it or not, if it weren't for the campaign against it, RIPA would actually be *worse* than it is; check the Reg's archives for details...

Aussie net filtering goes into reverse


Sabotage by some insider, perhaps?

We can only hope.