* Posts by Martin Taylor 1

56 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Jul 2009


FYI: Your browser can pick up ultrasonic signals you can't hear, and that sounds like a privacy nightmare to some

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Easy mitigation

AFAICS the only reason processing of ultrasound needs to take place is to add harmonics, and therefore "body" to audible sounds, e.g. speech and music. In he absence of any accompanying audible sound, it would be nice if ultrsiasonic frequencies could be discarded. I'm unsure whether this lies within the processing capacity of your average smartphone, though.

Swedish court declines to detain Belmarsh prison resident Julian Assange

Martin Taylor 1

A little bit of history

It's funny that people are suggesting that Sweden is less likely to extradite Assange to the US than is the UK. The following text comes from a report found on the website of the European Court of Human Rights. Unfortunately it is no longer possible to provide confirmation of this, as the report in question was later removed from the website, some time between 16/12/2012 and 4/4/2013. The original link was https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-115535%22]} .

"153. In short, the facts occurred in the following manner: on 18 December 2001,

Mr Agiza and Mr Alzery, Egyptian citizens seeking asylum in Sweden, were the

subject of a decision dismissing the asylum application and ordering their deportation

on grounds of security, taken in the framework of a special procedure at ministerial

level. In order to ensure that this decision could be executed that same day, the

Swedish authorities accepted an American offer to place at their disposal an aircraft

which enjoyed special over flight authorisations. Following their arrest by the

Swedish police, the two men were taken to Bromma Airport where they were

subjected, with Swedish agreement, to a 'security check' by hooded American agents.

154. The account of this 'check' is especially interesting, as it corresponds in detail

to the account given independently by other victims of 'rendition', including Mr El-

Masri. The procedure adopted by the American team, described in this case by the

Swedish police officers present at the scene, was evidently well rehearsed: the agents

communicated with each other by gestures, not words. Acting very quickly, the agents

cut Agiza's and Alzery's clothes off them using scissors, dressed them in tracksuits,

examined every bodily aperture and hair minutely, handcuffed them and shackled

their feet, and walked them to the aircraft barefoot."

Perhaps Julian Assange's concerns, and hence his behaviour, are more understandable in the light of the above?

Sysadmin held a rack of servers off the ground for 15 mins, crashed ISP when he put them down

Martin Taylor 1

'Cos coax comes up in Somerset...

Can't remember the precise resistances involved, but I was called to a site in Somerset where they were experiencing Ethernet problems. On lifting the floor tiles I was confronted with a mess of cabling of 3 different varieties, only one of which was 10Base2.

Brit moron tried buying a car bomb on dark web, posted it to his address. Now he's screwed

Martin Taylor 1

Re: er...

"All the name tells you is that he has Pubjabi heritage (Jat, specifically) and most Punjabis are Pakistani (~70%) and therefore Muslim (~98%)."

But I would expect a Muslim to have a Muslim name. The top-knot also suggests a wearer of a Sikh turban.

Survey: Tech workers are terrified they will be sacked for being too old

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Old enough to have worked with the Virtual Machine Environment before VMware was founded

@Loud Speaker: "The one with virtualisation was George 3"...

George 4, I think you'll find.

UK.gov is hiring IT bods with skills in ... Windows Vista?!

Martin Taylor 1

Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

More likely "Deo Volante" (God flying), which is clearly a reference to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

We're all saved. From the killer AI. We can live. Thanks to the IEEE

Martin Taylor 1

I'm afraid I don't buy this. A mine does not make a decision - it will happily kill anyone or anything that triggers it. This being so, the responsibility for its action is easily placed at the door of the people who laid it. There's an analogy with the use of hidden pits with spikes in.

Where the AI case differs, I believe, is that the responsibility is less easy to tie down. Does it lie with the person who deployed the device, not knowing whether or not, or under what circumstances, it would decide to kill? Does it lie with the software team who designed and wrote the (possibly faulty) software? The requirements specifier? The politicians who authorised it? Or can the device itself in some way be held responsible?

These are conversations that it is right to be having now.

UK government's war on e-cigs is over

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Argh

I wonder how many people (on this forum, in government, and among the general public) realise that there are other, perfectly legal and harmless, substances that are used by vaping? It's a little more complex than taking attitudes based on the presence or absence of risk from nicotine.

That said, it's always appropriate to be considerate of other people's reasonable likes and dislikes.

UK regulator set to ban ads depicting bumbling manchildren

Martin Taylor 1

Re: This is a bad thing

How much harm is done? I dunno... My ex-wife got some of her more ludicrous negative opinions about me from somewhere. It may have been ultra-feminist claptrap, it may have had something to do with these stereotypes, I never really got to the bottom of it. Suffice it to say I now run the house, as my second wife is no longer able to.

It's rarely possible to point to a single cause for these things, but I'm sure background influences play their part.

BONG! Lasers crack Big Ben frequency riddle BONG! No idea what to do with this info BONG!

Martin Taylor 1

Re: The only remaining question is ..

Pointing the laser at the bell from four different directions?

God save the Queen... from Donald Trump. So say 1 million Britons

Martin Taylor 1

@Lars: the day the French armed forces swear allegiance to the Eiffel Tower, I may be more inclined to accept your analogy.

Veeam kicks Symantec's ass over unpatentable patents

Martin Taylor 1

I'm pretty sure I remember ICL George 3 MOP sessions being held up waiting for a file restore back in the 1970s.

Height of stupidity: Heathrow airliner buzzed by drone at 7,000ft

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Cue loads of people saying...

Jet engines have armoured burst protection casings. They aren't there to retain bits of goose, but to retain bits of high speed nickel alloy compressor blades which are a much tougher proposition. What breaks the first blade is probably irrelevant to the outcome.

And yet...


'Double speak' squawk users as Silent Circle kills warrant canary

Martin Taylor 1

Warrant canaries

Warrant canaries, like the real ones, don't sing when triggered - they fall off their perch and die.

Shhhh! Facebook is listening

Martin Taylor 1

For versions of Android prior to 5 (at least 4.3 and 4.4), there are apps like Permission Manager available on PlayStore. I unchecked "microphone" for FB, though the app tells me that permission has never been used.

Bundling ZFS and Linux is impossible says Richard Stallman

Martin Taylor 1

Re: FOSS "fundamentalism"

It will not be by monarchy that the totalitarian dystopian future will be imposed.

Steve Jobs, MS Office, Israel, and a basic feature Microsoft took 13 years to install

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Steve Jobs, MS Office, Israel, and a basic feature Microsoft took 13 years to install

@MaxNZ: Except for Swahili, which a one time was written in Arabic script. Indeed, the very name of the language is Arabic.

Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid: AWS to open data center in Montreal

Martin Taylor 1

Petit à petit??

I'd like to think you mean "peu à peu".

Time Lords set for three-week battle over leap seconds

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Why stop there?

@NumptyScrub: "So remind me again, how many ounces to a pound, how many pounds to a stone, how many stone to a hundredweight, and how many hundredweight to a ton?"

I'll tell you a funny thing. There are still lots of us about who learned how to deal with this system at school. It didn't kill us, and we still remember the numbers (16, 14, 8 and 20, since you ask).

UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

Martin Taylor 1

Re: "freetard collective"

I too find the description objectionable. I have in the past acted as an ORG volunteer on election issues: this is not something I would ever be likely to undertake for a "freetard collective". A withdrawal of the description would be welcome.

This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Completely and utterly bonkers

Doesn't have to go abroad, bring it to the Museum of Computing in Swindon if they have space (it's almost abroad, I guess, from a Cambridge perspective). It may not be truly a museum piece yet, but it's undeniably a brilliant educational tool.

We have good beer, too.

Engaged to be worried – Verify borks married tax allowance applications

Martin Taylor 1

Re: I know this will be unpopular, but...

Because they operate - at least in an ideal world - as a single economic unit.

My wife is long-term sick, and cannot work. Why should she be forced to waste the unused part of her tax allowance, when I am supporting her?

Perhaps you're too young to remember the days when couples actually had a choice, to have their allowances treated separately or jointly. This was done away with on the excuse (I guess) of encouraging women to be financially independent of their husbands. As usual, the law of unintended consequences applies.

Your hard drives were riddled with NSA spyware for years

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Grzegorz Brzeczyszczykiewicz

This appears to be a fake name used as a tongue-twister in Polish - see http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grzegorz_Brz%25C4%2599czyszczykiewicz&prev=search for a translation of a wikipedia.pl page.

Since this name seems to be fake, I find myself wondering about the veracity of the whole story.

If you're suing the UK govt, Brit spies will snoop on your briefs

Martin Taylor 1


Best leave spouses and children out of this.

Martin Taylor 1

This is just...


RUMPY PUMPY: Bone says humans BONED Neanderthals 50,000 years B.C.

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Which begs the question

As I understand it, the species name is Homo Sapiens, of which we are the sub-species Homo Sapiens Sapiens. The neanderthals were the sub-species Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis. Nothing problematic about different sub-species interbreeding - was probably good fun for those concerned :-)

Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized fusion reactor breakthrough boast

Martin Taylor 1

Re: To the skeptics...

I would find a public statement from e.g. the Culham laboratory in the UK to be considerably more significant.

TrueCrypt considered HARMFUL – downloads, website meddled to warn: 'It's not secure'

Martin Taylor 1

@Cynic_999: Do you know what the terms of the order (or rather, National Security Letter) might be? Nor do I. It seems not impossible that it might forbid the authors recommending previous versions of Truecrypt, or in some other way make it impossible for them to do so without breaching the terms of the order. By offering the ridiculous advice that they have offered, they not only avoid that possibility, but make it clear that they are acting under duress.

A first-world problem solved: Panoramic selfies, thanks to Huawei's Ascend P7

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Truisms Spoken Aloud

@Don Jefe: You haven't lived until you've had your English corrected by a Dutchman.

Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Reasons NOT to upgrade?

"Unlike certain other penguin flavoured OSs...e.g. having to use SUDO which must run as root UID0. Major security fail."

Errr... "sudo su - <username>". I use this daily.

Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

Martin Taylor 1

Those who sow...

Microsoft are now reaping the results of the decision they made back in the 90s to eschew the traditional software upgrade model of major and minor version releases in favour of presenting the world with a brand new (apparently) product every few years, and thus forcing users to shell out for a complete new product, rather than a more moderate price for a version upgrade. If they had taken a staged approach with the WInNT development stream, we might have seen:

Windows 5.0 - 5.4 (aka Win2000)

Windows 6.0 - 6.x (aka WinXP)

Skip Vista entirely

Windows 7.0 (Win7) - Windows 7.5 (perhaps) (Win8).

What we know as XP would by now be only one major version behind, and open to additional development and/or maintenance, rather than three products behind, and politically embarrassing to develop further.

Microsoft has sown the seeds of its own decline with its grasping business practices, of which this is only one example. Similar comments apply to the Office range of products.

PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Ubuntu preloaded

"You're mistaken. Dell offers Ubuntu preloaded."

Do they? They probably ought to advertise it on their website then. Admittedly I've only looked at the Inspiron range on the UK website, but there is nothing there about Ubuntu.

Security guru Bruce Schneier to leave employer BT

Martin Taylor 1

Re: B3

Cable & Wireless Worldwide became part of Vodafone in April this year.

Boffins agree: Yes we have had an atmospheric warming pause

Martin Taylor 1

*Reduced* economic activity in wartime?

I'm baffled by the idea that WW1 and WWII might have been responsible for a reduction in economic activity. The participating nations (notably the USA) ramped up their economic activity tremendously, to produce the military hardware required, and to support the activity of millions of fighting men and women. Not to mention the polluting effect of millions of things going bang...

I try to keep an open mind on the whole subject, but sometimes, when confronted by obvious bollox, it's difficult.

Moto sets out plans for crafty snap-together PODULAR PHONES

Martin Taylor 1

Re: BAD idea

@Peter2: It's not *them* getting *younger*, you know...

Buy a household 3D printer, it'll pay for itself in months!

Martin Taylor 1


Printing a safety razor out of plastic? You don't want to even *buy* one with any plastic in the handle - after a few weeks use it starts to deform slightly - suddenly the blade can't be clamped in place as hard as it was, and there's blood all over the shop (got the T-shirt, but had to bin it cos of all the blood).

Sometimes there's no substitute for stainless steel.

Microsoft's summer update will be called Windows 8.1

Martin Taylor 1

End of a con?

So ends (hopefully) one of the biggest cons in computing history, namely the pretence that each new version of Windows was a brand new product rather than a version change over the previous product - thus enabling Microsoft to charge more for the "new product" than they could have if it were seen solely as a new version.

Same goes for Office. I'd be glad to see that go the same way.

VIA bakes a fruitier Rock cake to rival the Brit Raspberry Pi

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Where's the market?

So the RPi is a base model Android phone? Hmm, let's see.

As you say, no touchscreen, no cell interface, no battery.

On the other hand, LAN interface, 2 x USB Type "A" i/fs, micro SD card I/f, analogue video, 5V power socket in non-obvious location for a phone, GPIO pins, HDMI...

I would think there comes a point where you don't mod a phone card to make it into an RPi, you design from scratch. And I think that's what happened.

Famous SAS man trousers £1m as e-publishing startup sold to Tesco

Martin Taylor 1


Perhaps I'm being stupid, but I don't understand the reason for the "VC" reference.

Disney sitcom says open source is insecure

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Payback?

They may be one day...

Review: Raspberry Pi

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Cat fight

Surely the price is $35 for a Model B, $25 for a Model A. It's the Model B which is selling in the UK for £29, which includes (I think) VAT and delivery.

Ancient cave girl genome could crack Man's genetic puzzle

Martin Taylor 1

5% DNA?

I'm a bit confused that we should share only 5% of our DNA with this delightful young lady. I thought we shared 95% with chimps!

NSA constructs hardened Android, unleashes it on world

Martin Taylor 1

Never Say Anything...

I'll tell you a funny thing. NSA have for years published advice on their website on how to secure various types of system, most importantly elements of an Enterprise Windows/AD environment. They do this to help US entities, Government or otherwise, protect themselves, but they have no problem with foreigners making use of this advice as well. It seems to me that their SELinux efforts should be looked at in that light.

And I won't even tell you how polite they were when I rang them about one of their documents at around 0900 Eastern Time on Sept 11th, 2001...

Boffins step closer to steam-powered Babbage computer

Martin Taylor 1

Sorry, is it fed with a reel of punch cards or a pack of paper tape?

Crypto shocker: 'Perfect cipher' dates back to telegraphs

Martin Taylor 1

No such thing as a random number?


Works for me.

UK's Reaper flying hunter-killer fleet 'to double'

Martin Taylor 1

Re: Most Purposes

There is the odd difficulty with unmanned aircraft in some conflict environments. See


Spanish city shuns Brit 'Saga louts'

Martin Taylor 1


You obviously missed out on Granada and the Alpujarra...