* Posts by Alan Thompson

33 posts • joined 29 Jul 2009

LocationDumb: Phone tracker foul-up exposes world+dog to tracking

Alan Thompson

Re: I'm baffled

Unless you've agreed to location services in your contract/EULA - which you likely already have - since the carrier can update their terms any time they want.

The carriers sell the data to services like locationsmart. Yet, they won't give their own customer the same data without an order from a judge.

Waymo robo-taxis to accept fares in Arizona in 2018

Alan Thompson


To clarify your comment, while uber, the company, was clearly at fault for disabling the warning functionality, the car itself "saw" the j-walking pedestrian and recorded attempts to warn the safety driver and to stop the vehicle. Uber made a decision to disable the safety feature when it kept interfering with the driving of and annoying the passengers.

Why are we disappointed with the best streaming media box on the market?

Alan Thompson

Re: agree completely


I am waiting for some of the usual cable channel providers to de-couple themselves from cable and allow direct subscriptions. Roku may be in the best place with their content-agnostic strategy, any provider could come up with their own app and you subscribe directly (many offer streaming apps and for now you authenticate using your cable TV account, which is really strange.)


Unfortunately, since most of the "usual" cable channels are owned by the largest US service providers, the resistance to decoupling them is very high. You'll likely be waiting a very long time.

Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Alan Thompson

The issue is simple: outlook has never implemented a single-key "I'm done; file this email" button. Users of this ilk use the delete key instead.

Sorry, but those huge walls of terms and conditions you never read are legally binding

Alan Thompson

Not in the U.S., only in the applicable district.

Until/if the case goes to the Supreme Court, that ruling is only law in the district of the court.

Tor torpedoed! Tesco Bank app won't run with privacy tool installed

Alan Thompson

Re: Security risk?

Routing a phone simply re-enables the root/admin function that was removed by the manufacturer/carrier. It is a bit like Dell/HP/Lenovo deciding to disable run-as-administrator on your Windows pc.

A rooted phone user can then use that run-as (called sudo or su) functionality to better manage and secure their phone. Everyday apps don't run as root anymore than word our excel do on your pc.

HTC caught storing fingerprints AS WORLD-READABLE CLEARTEXT

Alan Thompson

Multi-Factor Authentication is a False Concept

Mutli-factor authentication has been described as:

1) Something you Know (i.e. password/passphrase)

2) Something you Have (e.g. bankcard or security token)

3) Something you Are (i.e. bio-metrics) and

4) Some Place you are (e.g. GPS coordinates, IP address, hard-line phone call)

Unfortunately every single one of these factors - once recorded in a computer security system - becomes 1) Something [someone] Knows. When that happens all authentication becomes (sometimes multiple) single factors of knowledge (e.g. bankcard numbers, token algorithms and secret keys, images and/or numeric recordings of bio-metric data, etc.).

North America down to its last ~130,000 IPv4 addresses

Alan Thompson

IPv6 (previously IPng) existed in 1995.

Port authority: Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock

Alan Thompson

Fail Again

A minimum of 3 Thunderbolt Ports is needed for true UHD multi-monitor support (1x host computer plus 2x DisplayPort Monitors). Otherwise, users would just buy Apple TB monitors.

Having an HDMI port is OK, but that usually doesn't support the UHD resolutions.

Bitter Lake: Know your enemy? Impossible, surely, when you don't know if the enemy exists

Alan Thompson

Re: "the mysterious lake in the Tarkofsky movie Solaris"

Clue: it was a lake/ocean on the planet.

You're welcome.

EMC daddy Tucci: YES, there has been too much internal 'friction'

Alan Thompson

VMware - stay free (independent) or die

If VMware were to lose any level of autonomy, there would be an even more profound and accelerated exodus to the "free" (beer) offerings and the public/private clouds.

WHY do phone cams turn me into a clumsy twat with dexterity of an elephant?

Alan Thompson

Re: >"it's supposed to be a bird"

Actually, in the south half of North America, fanny doesn't mean anything - since they speak Spanish in the 30+ North American countries in the south half. The USA is in the central part of North America - look at a map and learn some geography.


Review: Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock

Alan Thompson

No Dedicated DisplayPort or extra Thunderbolt Port = FAIL

The biggest issue I have with the Belkin Express Dock is that it does NOT replace a Thunderbolt Monitor. If you want to use 2x non-Apple DisplayPort monitors with your Macbook, you need at least 2 Thunderbolt/DisplayPort outputs. Standard DisplayPort monitors are not designed to daisy-chain. No matter how many Thunderbolt device peripherals you daisy-chain, you can only connect a single standard DisplayPort monitor to the end of the chain - via the unused Thunderbolt Port. For the Express Dock to truly replace the Apple Thunderbolt monitor, it would need at least one dedicated DisplayPort in addition to the 2 Thunderbolt in/out ports. Or it could have 3 Thunderbolt in/out ports and function as an additional daisy-chained device.

Researcher hacks aircraft controls with Android smartphone

Alan Thompson

The next step will be to criminalize the purchase of commercial aviation parts from "non authorized" resellers by "non authorized" buyers.

Get lost, drivers: Google Maps is not for you – US judge

Alan Thompson

Re: But it is a phone!

G Maps connects to the Internet (not the web), via the data connection on the smallish tablet device - that also happens to have a phone app (from the Greek meaning 'voice sound'). Currently, all common carrier mobile communications systems in California (and the US) use separate communications connections for voice and data.

So, the device is not using the "phone system" to access the mapping system.

Neither is it always a "phone". The phone app and voice communications connection can both be disabled or removed entirely - while the data connection and mapping/navigation app function properly.

These devices are really mobile computers with a phone app and voice connectivity.

Amazon joins Dropbox clones, hints at cloud storage margins

Alan Thompson

Re: ...ownCloud anyone?

Down voted because "their" peers are around. Getting my coat.

IT Pro confession: How I helped in the BIGGEST DDoS OF ALL TIME

Alan Thompson

Re: Caching?

Not quite right -


If someone asks your server "where is www.google.com" a whole bunch of times then your server starts flooding google.com's DNS servers.


The correct statement is:

If someone asks your server "where is www.google.com" a whole bunch of times while spoofing a source address of [one of spamhaus's external IPs] then your server starts flooding spamhaus's external IP address with large DNS replies. Local caching means nothing.

Then spamhaus blacklists your IP address

Then all of your email firewall's requests to spamhaus start being blocked

Then you can't evaluate incoming email traffic against spamhaus' database

Then you start letting spam in.

THEN since this is a DDOS attack from many improperly configured DNS servers, spamhaus' servers go offline.

This is a DNS amplification attack because small amounts of DNS specific traffic from one group of attackers to a single DNS server results in large amounts of traffic to the victim.

Alan Thompson

Publish External DNS to Your ISP - Maintain Local Control

Whenever I set up a new network/DNS zone, one of the first things I do is to configure the external version of the zone as MASTER on the edge DNS server (similar to your scrubber). However, my ACLs prevent external access from the Internet to DNS except by my ISP's DNS servers. I then configure (or request configuration - if the ISP is still in the dark ages) the zone on the ISP DNS servers as SLAVE zones with matching SLAVE entries on my MASTER. The domain's ICANN registered servers are then configured as the ISP's DNS servers. This serves several purposes:

1) All external DNS requests go the ISP's "properly configured", high throughput DNS servers

2) If my edge server needs to go down for maintenance it doesn't take external DNS offline.

3) The network admin maintains operational control of the domain and can do all the updates locally on the edge server

4) The edge DNS server's IP address is never published as a DNS server for the domain

5) The edge DNS server only handles zone transfers/updates to the ISP's DNS servers while maintaining its MASTER status.

6) Edge devices on the local network can do local-external and recursive lookups on the ISP's DNS servers while internal devices use internal DNS servers (especially when using private addressing).

I ALWAYS use a completely separate set of internal DNS servers and MASTER/SLAVE zones for internal authoritative access and recursive lookups - which also gives me the ability to blacklist bad domains there.

File-sharing mom begs US Supremes to void bloated RIAA fine

Alan Thompson

No one in the US gets fined by the legal system for downloading illegally shared content - only for actually sharing (distributing) it.

Network boffins say Terabit Ethernet is TOO FAST

Alan Thompson

Re: What, pray tell, is an RJ-45 cable?

Actually, RJ-45 is a Jack connector specification and 8P8C is the equivalent Plug specification while CAT5, CAT5e, CAT6 and CAT6a are all cable specifications that require the use of their own respective versions of the RJ-45 and 8P8C connector - including shielded and unshielded variations.

Mines the one with the clue in the pocket - you can borrow it.

Nokia dinged with shareholder lawsuit over poor Lumia sales

Alan Thompson

Smartphone=new feature phone

Nokia will not recover until they realize that smartphones are the new budget feature phone. They just need to stop pushing their 'button" phones and start selling a variety of smartphones of different feature sets for a variety of prices.

Apple claims Aussie 3G is so good it's 4G

Alan Thompson


Since you are not the ITU or the Australian (or any other) government, your posts do not have any authority, so re-posting the same drivel, over and over, does not make it fact.

4G is purely a transfer rate - and is not tied to any particular technology. LTE may (or may not) meet that requirement, but that does not exclude any improved or future technology.

US cable giant Comcast accused of internet video 'toll booth'

Alan Thompson

Comcast is already being paid

ISPs like Comcast get paid for bandwidth usage from their subscribers. Comcast is double-dipping - trying to get paid by their subscribers AND the services (like Netflix) that their subscribers use. They are trying to offset losses on their own inferior in-house on-demand services. Level3 is not "pushing" anything - they are simply forwarding responses to Comcast's subscriber's requests. Some of those responses happen to be from Level3 subscribers like Netflix.

Since Comcast is the US's largest ISP - having the most subscribers that make the most requests, generating the most responses - they must expect the most traffic coming their way - it is the asymmetric nature of most Internet traffic - i.e. consumers download far more that they upload and providers upload far more than they download.

MokaFive outs bare-metal PC hypervisor

Alan Thompson


While I'm pretty sure you wouldn't pay nearly full price for large quantity purchases, what MokaFive offers is not really a call-center or factory setup advantage. VMware and others already offer the central desktop VM infrastructure described. While there are distinct game-changing advantages to centralizing desktops on VMs that roaming profiles can't even touch (centrally administered individualized hardware independent OS, independent individualized registry, applications and app settings, etc. - think 'individual PCs without the hardware driver dependencies and reconfiguration time'), MokaFive allows those advantages to go on-the road (remote working and business trips) by synchronizing the centralized VM to a VMware Player on a portable PC.

Alan Thompson


The real benefit of MokaFive is not in just the "bare-metal" VMware Player on stripped down Linux. It is in the VM synchronization with a back-end server. Pick a cubical, any cubical, login on the supplied VM terminal and there is your desktop in your individual VM. Then when you go on a business trip or simply need to work remotely, IT supplies you with a laptop (or you supply your personal), you login to the MokaFive/VMware Player and your work VM is automatically synchronized to it. While you're on the plane or during Internet service interruption it still works (unlike with a standard remote VM). When you have Internet access any changes are automatically synchronized to the backend server. If your laptop is ever lost or stolen, the encrypted VM is inaccessible to the new "owner" and can be blasted remotely. You, on the other hand, simply acquire a new laptop (or an available terminal), login and your personal VM is instantly available.

Seagate pushes HAMR as next big thing

Alan Thompson
Thumb Down

"They" are really a different company

Solid state (flash) storage is really not the forte of hard disk companies. While many do sell SSD parts, they don't actually manufacture the internal flash themselves; they source it from a flash manufacturer. As SSD becomes more affordable and higher density it will most likely come from the flash manufacturers, not the disk spinners.

Clearwire puzzles over LTE migration

Alan Thompson

Fiber is the answer

The carriers have/had to upgrade their back-haul (the connection from the tower to the Internet) in order to support 3G. Historically these connections have been 1.5Mbps T1s in the US (slightly faster in the EU with E1s). They only have limited options:

1) they can go with multiple T1s, but it takes 5 of these to support 7.2Mbps

2) they can go with a T3 (45Mbps), but these are expensive

3) or they can go with fiber (up to 100,000Mbps and growing). This is slightly more expensive than a T3, but has the advantage that it *NEVER* has to be replaced again - just the electronics on either end.

Naturally, the carriers are choosing fiber as the correct upgrade path - and since they are paying to have huge amounts of back-haul bandwidth available, they might as well SELL it! The limiting factor is simply the electronics in the handsets, hence the testing.

Unlike traditional carriers, Clearwire started with fiber, and is anxious to be able to sell that bandwidth to the most people by whatever technology is available and popular. Currently WiMax is the only game in town, with LTE coming in the near future.

Finland mulls legalizing use of unsecured Wi-Fi

Alan Thompson

Unsecured Wi-Fi Standard Needed

A new required standard should be submitted as an Internet RFC and/or as part of the Wi-Fi alliance - in order to be certified "Wi-Fi" compliant.

The MANDATORY standard should require 2 additional SSIDs (in addition to the standard, secured, private network SSID) to be simultaneously available and active on ALL WiFI routers and access points. Both additional SSIDs would be enabled by default and optionally be disabled by the owner of the access point. A warning and opportunity to disable them should be presented during the initial configuration wizard.

#1: PUBLIC - this SSID would be open with no encryption or authentication of any kind, would only have access to the Internet (direct to the Internet on a router/firewall or via IPSEC/SSL tunnel to the router/firewall for access points/routers used internally), with no internal network access. By default the bandwidth would be limited to (for example) 512kbps or a amount specified by the owner. Times of day could also be configured (optional)

#2: GUEST: this SSID would be secured either with WPA and a guest key or open/no key and authentication via a login web page. It should be configurable for either internal & Internet or only Internet access (like PUBLIC). Also like PUBLIC it could be limited to a specific maximum bit rate and hours of operation by the owner.

This allows the OWNER to decide if they want to share their WiFi with friends and/or neighbors without impacting the internal network or business/family network access. This feature should be required in order to maintain WiFi alliance certification.

Cryptome restored after Microsoft change of heart

Alan Thompson

Do Something? - Not!

With the DMCA, once cryptome.org refuted Microsoft's claim (public interest, etc.), Network Solutions immediately was in the wrong for taking any action. The ISP doesn't get the right to evaluate the merits of the claims - that's left to the courts. Network Solutions could be facing a hefty lawsuit here and Microsoft are simply helping them back out gracefully.

Virgin hails 'free' landline-to-mobe calls

Alan Thompson
Thumb Up

More Rubbin' ...

Several years ago in the US, mobile companies gave up on the whole "caller pays" to mobile. Since 99.9% of all US landline users subscribe to their "extended calling plan" that provides unlimited local area calling - they weren't prepared to pay a toll to call a local mobile. Recently, most local landline telephone service also started offering unlimited domestic (US) long distance for an additional fee. So, now most mobile companies in the US charge for incoming and outgoing calls identically (local or long distance, both directions, no additional charge). While this may seem unfair, there is no requirement to answer an incoming call and if the caller gets pushed to voicemail, there is no airtime charge/minute used.

I personally have experienced a few telemarketer calls to my mobile and have in no uncertain terms informed them that my mobile IS on the federal DO NOT CALL list and that they will be reported to the FCC. I then go to the fcc.gov website and fill out the complaint form. These calls have all but stopped - one in the last 6 months.

HP talks up slate launch

Alan Thompson
Thumb Up

Did you even watch the video?

The HP CTO said that IF they had released is a few years ago it WOULD have cost the now extremely high cost of $1500. But PH didn't want to release it as a niche product like most of the swivel screen "tablet" PCs. Instead, when it releases later this year it will be priced at "mainstream" levels.

To me that means if it has an atom processor and a 10.1" or less screen it will come in between $300-500. Over $500 with an atom processor would make it a impractical for most use cases. At this price point there would be almost no reason to ever consider a netbook.

However, if it comes with one of the new CULV Core 2 duo procs, I could see it selling for $600-800.

With AMD procs they could potentially provide additional power at the same price or the same power at lower prices - like the Acer Ferrari 1810. The most critical things for me are Price, Processor Power (not speed), and Battery Life. A six cell battery would be imperative for 6-10 hours of real use.

I will definitely be buying one if either of these price points is met with their respective procs (or equivalent) and battery life.

T-Mobile to revamp tariffs

Alan Thompson

T-Mobile US

I have T-Mobile in the US and they just updated there tariffs here in a similar way. However, I was allowed to maintain my existing tariff because it's "grandfathered" until I choose to change my plan - even if I upgrade my phone. However, if I change to one of the new tariffs I can NEVER change back to the old one. Is that not how it is in the UK - you keep what you have indefinitely unless you cancel service or change to one of the new plans?

D-Link Xtreme N DIR-685

Alan Thompson


It doesn't really have NAS. To call it NAS it would need to support NFS or CIFS/SMB at a minimum. Anything else (FTP/HTTP/DNLA/UPNP) is NOT NAS!


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