* Posts by Fazal Majid

430 posts • joined 16 May 2007

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Of all the analytics firms in the world, why is Palantir getting its claws into UK health data?

Fazal Majid

In the homeland of Tolkien

Does no one remember it is Sauron who wields control over the Palantir?

UK government bows to pressure, agrees to delay NHS Digital grabbing the data of England's GP patients

Fazal Majid

Re: Opens excuses manual

5. Name the program in a way that is confusing similar to the GDPR

Can a 21.5-inch iMac beat the latest-and-greatest M1 model in performance? Kinda

Fazal Majid

Probably has to do with RAM

My M1 MacBook Air with 16GB RAM smokes my i9-9700K with 64GB RAM, and significantly faster on single-core and nearly as fast on multi-core with my i9-9900K (those are 95W CPUs, not 6W like the i9-9900 non-K).

https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/compare/1826503?baseline=6428909

https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/compare/2117078?baseline=6428909

Guy who wrote women are 'soft, weak, cosseted, naive' lasted about a month at Apple until internal revolt

Fazal Majid

It’s more objectionable that he is an advertising guy than that he is a misogyne

The real issue is that Apple talks a good game about privacy, but building an advertising business is inherently at odds with that.

Amazon says it destroyed two million knockoffs in 2020, a fraction of the amount it ships

Fazal Majid

Re: It's not just Amazon's market place sellers

This is because Amazon commingles inventory under its "stickerless commingled inventory" program, which means buying from Amazon itself as opposed to a third-party on their marketplace is no guarantee.

Fazal Majid

They make money either way whether you buy a dangerous fake or a genuine product. As Upton Sinclair wrote, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Fazal Majid

Re: Well it seems a bit better than it was about a month ago

The SD card manufacturers are powerless when faced with Amazon's stonewalling on the issue of counterfeits (Amazon actually had the audacity to turn their failure to police their marketplace into a revenue opportunity by creating a paid program for brands to blacklist fakes).

SanDisk estimates over 30% of all SanDisk products sold online are counterfeit. Apple did the same with chargers on Amazon and a whopping 99% were fakes, often with dangerous corner-cutting on product safety that could put lives at risk.

I stopped buying electronics on Amazon a long time ago, and get them from B&H Photo in the US, or in the UK John Lewis and Park Cameras.

China is upset India excluded Chinese equipment from 5G network trials

Fazal Majid

China has made a durable enemy of India

Indian governments were willing to overlook China's occupation of Indian territory since 1962, but the brutal attack this year (with nail-studded clubs!) combined with China's wolf-warrior "diplomacy" has permanently turned India into an enemy. While India's GDP is piddling in comparison to China's, due to decades of crony-capitalist faux-socialism, it still has a young population that is not aging like China's and is a huge market that will now be off-limits to the kinds of high-end products China wants to break into. What's more, the Indians are now developing their own 5G technology in-house at Reliance Jio that could prove to be a formidable competitor to Huawei in the future, as telecoms networks are being eaten by software and software is something India is good at, unlike hardware.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Googler demolishes one of Apple's monopoly defenses – that web apps are just as good as native iOS software

Fazal Majid

Agree entirely

Apple’s argument that web apps are a substitute for native apps is unalloyed BS. It was one thing when Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone and tried to put a pretty face on the fact they did not have a SDK for native apps yet, but in 2021 it’s entirely laughable.

Fazal Majid

Many APIs are undesirable

Google has been pushing many APIs that create security risks or privacy invasions, as stupid as ActiveX back in the day, FLoC or WebUSB being only the most recent, and Apple is right to refuse to implement most of them.

UK government resists pressure to hold statutory inquiry into Post Office Horizon scandal

Fazal Majid

It's not just an IT scandal

I don't know why so much emphasis is put on the IT side of things. It's a gross miscarriage of justice that has shown gaping flaws in the UK's judicial system and its unwarranted deference to the establishment.

Greenland's elections just bolstered China's tech world domination plan

Fazal Majid

Nothing rare about rare earths

It's just the process of extracting them is incredibly polluting, which is why US rare earth plants were closed, they were happy to ship the pollution to China. Australians for one are not particularly loth to rape the environment for a quick buck, and the Register's own Tim Worstall explained why China's rare earth monopoly is not the trump card it thinks that is:

https://www.theregister.com/2010/01/15/rare_earth_metals/

Google vows to build its own server system-on-chips, hires Intel veteran

Fazal Majid

Rewarding failure

So Mr. Frank was responsible for Intel CPU design at a time when it was floundering? Granted, a lot of this is due to losing its lead in semiconductor fab process technology to TSMC and Samsung, but that still doesn't inspire confidence, this guy is no Jim Keller of DEC Alpha and Apple A-series fame.

What could possibly go wrong? Sublet your home broadband to strangers who totally won't commit crimes

Fazal Majid

I did an informal version of this

I set up an IPsec/IKEv2 VPN on an OpenBSD box a friend installed in his home network, for purposes of circumventing Netflix's geofencing of content, because of course they blacklist most cloud provider IP address ranges. The one day the machine burned out due to a thunderstorm and that was that.

Fazal Majid

Re: Sounds great...

Most residential ISP address ranges are blocked by SMTP servers.

Obtaining US 5G supremacy is easy as Pai, says FCC commish Brendan Carr. It's all in the spectrum

Fazal Majid

Pentagon

A big part of the problem is the huge swathes of spectrum squatted on by the military, which is why US carriers went all-in on mmWave dead-end frequencies that can literally not punch their way out of a paper bag.

Lenovo's ThinkPad line goes under the knife: X13 models look a bit taller but worry not, the 'nipples' are still intact

Fazal Majid

I hope it takes them less time from announcement to actual availability than it did for the previous Ryzen, some of which took more than 6 months. Also, keep in mind not all mobile Ryzen 5000 are zen3 based, some are still zen2 with significantly lower IPC scores.

Stack Overflow 2019 hack was guided by advice from none other than... Stack Overflow

Fazal Majid

Second time TeamCity is mentioned in a major breach

Nowhere near as severe as the SolarWinds fiasco, but surely something must be wrong with a critical product that’s seemingly so hard to secure.

Raven geniuses: Four-month-old corvids have similar cognitive abilities to great apes at same age, study finds

Fazal Majid

Social is the key

Intelligence seems to develop first among eusocial animals like primates, whales, dolphins, corvids, parakeets and octopi.

Ad blocking made Google throw its toys out of the pram – and now even more control is being taken from us

Fazal Majid

Server-side tagging is about hiding tracking, not advertising

It aims to work around third-party cookie blocking by riding on the coat-tails of the publisher’s first-party domain. Ads can’t be hidden by definition, and will find their way onto blocklists anyway.

ICANN begs Europe: Please fill in the blanks on this half-assed GDPR-compliant Whois we came up with

Fazal Majid

Re: Just junk it

I believe intellectual property lawyers, governments and other self-important bodies have privileged access that may pierce the veil of WHOIS privacy.

Apple's M1: the fastest and bestest ever silicon = revolution? Nah, there's far more interesting stuff happening in tech that matters to everyone

Fazal Majid

Except the Cloud is going in the same direction

Amazon is not-so-slowly but surely moving towards it own Graviton2 SOCs for AWS, even if they are not yet as tightly integrated, and I would very surprised if Apple didn’t have a data center variant of the M1 (or perhaps the M2 that will inevitably follow for higher-end MacBook Pros, iMacs and Mac Pros) for its own extensive data center operations (running Linux, BTW).

Britannia should rule the (cyber) waves, minister tells Singapore event in bid to drum up Commonwealth support

Fazal Majid

"Britain, like most of the Western Five Eyes spying alliance, is increasingly alarmed by Russian and Chinese indifference to the rules-based international order when it comes to cybersecurity matters."

That's pretty rich from a country that spies not only on the Russian and Chinese, but also on Brussels (including compromising Belgacom's telephone network) and Germany.

US comms watchdog calls for more scrutiny of submarine cables that land in 'adversary countries'

Fazal Majid

BGP

I would worry less about the cables and more about the lack of security in BGP:

https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1050&context=mca

Burning down the house! Consumer champ Which? probes smart plugs to find a bunch of insecure fire-risk tat

Fazal Majid

Tasmota

The first thing you do with smart plugs is replace the manufacturer's spyware with the open-source Tasmota firmware that is cloud-free. Unfortunately, that won't protect you from electrical engineering flaws in the device.

We're not getting back with Galileo, UK govt tells The Reg, as question marks sprout above its BS*

Fazal Majid

Hard Brexit

Membership in Galileo PRS may not require membership in the EU, but the acrimonious hard Brexit that is clearly the intended outcome of the sham negotiations (and proposed violation of the Withdrawal Agreement) will not incline the Europeans to let the UK in.

Ports in a storm: The Matebook 14 won't set your world on fire, but it's still a half-decent laptop

Fazal Majid

Re: USB-C for power

Right, but with a single USB-C port that will presumably be taken up by the charger, that leaves no available USB-C port. I would have preferred two USB-C and one USB-A.

Fazal Majid

Re: The 3:2 screen is the single best feature

I am slowly transitioning from macOS to Linux, and my new laptop is a 2019 LG Gram 17. Very nice laptop, apart from the ho-hum keyboard (still way better than Apple's garbage keyboards, but that's not saying much). The 17" screen is 16:10 (25600x1600) and an absolute pleasure to work with, as befits a LG. Not a speed demon, but perfectly competitive with current laptops apart from 4000 series Ryzens for multithreading.

Fazal Majid

The 3:2 screen is the single best feature

That screen has almost as much precious vertical space as a 16" 16:9 ratio screen like the Honor MagicBook Pro. Kudos to Huawei for bucking the trend towards unproductive widescreen displays.

Anyone else noticed that the top countries for broadband speeds are well-known tax havens? No? Just us then?

Fazal Majid

US broadband is still better than the UK ersatz

For starters their equivalent of the ASA doesn’t let carriers market shitty DSL as “full fibre”, and most broadband connections are DOCSIS cable or fiber. I went from 1Gbps symmetrical to 72/20 theoretical (32/16 real) when I moved from San Francisco to London.

Smash-and-grabbed: Chinese AI academic cuffed by Feds after 'binning hard drive' amid software leak probe

Fazal Majid

I’ve wondered

Why the Feds closed the Chinese consulate in Houston rather than the much more sensitive one in San Francisco.

FCC: Remember that confidential paperwork you gave us, China Telecom? Yeah, well, we're handing it over to the Feds

Fazal Majid

Er, the FCC *are* Feds

The F stands for Federal

Tencent’s gaming surge trumps potential loss of the one or two percent of cash it makes in America

Fazal Majid

WeChat dominance

WeChat dominates in China to an extent we can hardly understand in the West. It’s the reason why iOS has hardly any stickiness in China. If the Trump administration bans WeChat from the App Store, Apple’s sales in China will simply collapse (presumably to Huawei’s benefit).

Amazon gets green-light to blow $10bn on 3,000+ internet satellites. All so Americans can shop more on Amazon

Fazal Majid

Re: The poles

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/25/jeff-bezos-the-boy-who-wanted-to-colonise-space

A memo from the distant future... June 2022: The boss decides working from home isn't the new normal after all

Fazal Majid

Company culture matters

I suspect WFH can simply not be grafted onto a company culture not initially designed around it, unlike Automattic (makers of Wordpress), who sold their expensive San Francisco office a couple of years ago because no one was using it.

Ex-eBay security execs among six charged with harassing, threatening bloggers who dared criticize web tat souk

Fazal Majid

Re: Omerta among CEOs is alive and well.

If the King hadn't atoned, the Pope would have put England under interdict, as Becket had previously.

Fazal Majid

Omerta among CEOs is alive and well.

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” didn’t work so well for Henry II, but CEOs will bend over backwards to ensure fellow members of the kleptocracy are not held to account for their abuses.

Facebook's $500k deepfake-detector AI contest drama: Winning team disqualified on buried consent technicality

Fazal Majid

Like all bureaucracies, Facebook must have parts that are super-anal about privacy and compliance, and others that couldn't care less. Most likely R&D that sponsored this contest fall within the former, whereas revenue-generating bits fall within the latter.

ITAM Forum opens: 'People just want to talk to other managers about how to defend against software audits'

Fazal Majid

The best way to avoid audits

Is of course to replace proprietary software with open-source alternatives wherever possible. Anyone still choosing Oracle for greenfield deployments in 2020 needs to have their head examined (and be fired).

Yes sir, no sir, 3 bags NoSQL: Aerospike, DataStax, ScyllaDB all freshen up as community preps for cloudy future

Fazal Majid

You have it backwards

Cassandra was written at Facebook by Avinash Lakshman, one of the authors of Dynamo at Amazon. DynamoDB is essentially the external version of the in-house Dynamo tool that predates Bezos' famous API directive.

As for ScyllaDB vs. Cassandra, if you are starting from scratch, why would you incur the overhead and GC pauses of Java if you don't have to? There's a reason why Facebook doesn't use Cassandra for anything critical in-house, even though they originally developed it.

The rumor that just won't die: Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length in 2021 with launch of 'A14-powered laptops'

Fazal Majid

Low-end, really?

The A13 in the soon-to-be replaced iPhone beats all Apple's laptops other than the highest-end 16" MacBook Pro. I can only imagine what the A14 in a thermally less constrained body can achieve, and I suspect the "low-end" laptops mentioned will actually be superior in all respects (speed and battery life) to the Intel ones. All apps submissions the App Store have been sending a LLVM Intermediate Language variant that can be retargeted to any architecture supported by LLVM, including arm64. Obviously, poor coding practices and assumptions can still cause the code to work incorrectly, but I would think the transition will be better than the PPC to x86 one was.

Work from home surge may work in Wi-Fi 6's favour, reckons analyst house

Fazal Majid

WiFi 6 is not enough

You need the additional 1.2GHz bandwidth from the 6GHz band That was recently allocated to WiFi (despite the LTE scum making a last-minute grab for it). Obviously it hasn’t been implemented yet by chipset and RF PHY makers, and it’s US-only for now.

Vivaldi browser to perform a symphony of ad and tracker blocking with version 3.0

Fazal Majid

Vivaldi is great

I’ve been using it for years now as my primary browser, with uBlock Origin, uMatrix and Privacy Badger.

From Brit telly presenter Eamonn Holmes to burning 5G towers in the Netherlands: Stupid week turns into stupid fortnight for radio standard

Fazal Majid

Re: (Humour) bypass

Well, listening to vegans prattle about their higher level of consciousness and ethical virtue makes my own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save humanity, want to leap straight up through my neck and throttle my brain.

Chips that pass in the night: How risky is RISC-V to Arm, Intel and the others? Very

Fazal Majid

The trade war changed everything

Trump's trade war, and the shock of Huawei being dumped by ARM as a customer was a watershed moment for the Chinese. They are now going all-in on RISC-V as both x86 and ARM have proven to be unacceptable chokepoints for the US to stymie China's ambitions.

Surprise! Plans for a Brexit version of the EU's Galileo have been delayed

Fazal Majid

Galileo is hardly a success story either

It’s had major outages and the atomic clocks in the satellites are failing much faster than expected, so the satellites’ lifetime will be curtailed.

The European Commission digital strategy wants to, er, take back control of citizens' data

Fazal Majid

Foreign control of the press

The single most important measure would be to ban non-EU control of the press (a certain Australian-American press baron comes to mind) or non-EU political campaign-finance contributions. The US does not allow foreign nationals or corporations to control its media and telecommunications firms (or airlines, for that matter), nor does it allow campaign contributions from non US persons.

After just one phone, Essential Products ascends to the great venture capitalist in the sky

Fazal Majid

The futility of premium Android handsets

It's clear from Samsung's dropping market share that there is no market for premium Android phones, and the winning formula is Huawei and Xiaomi's, near premium quality at midrange prices. As with PCs, Apple has captured the entire premium market.

There are already Chinese components in your pocket – so why fret about 5G gear?

Fazal Majid

Denial of service is one threat. All the others can be addressed with end-to-end encryption, which is becoming the norm on the Internet and should already be for sensitive government operations. Telephony for the general public is practically unencrypted, but that's because our spooks like it this way and have made sure that encryption remains inconvenient if not illegal, and thus they are responsible for this vulnerability.

As for standards, they are built on a baroque foundation of legacy telco crap designed by C-team standards committees, leading to grossly vulnerable protocols like SS7 (in addition to the laughable lack of security, the network also crashes if it is pushed above a certain traffic threshold). In practice, because they are so sloppily specified, interoperability requires access to the other vendor's equipment, which they make sure is not available to potentially disruptive new entrants. In the case of 5G, the 4G already deployed is predominantly Huawei, and since modern networks are essentially software-defined, they can mostly be upgraded but Huawei will do so only if you stay with them.

It would be best if 6G were totally software-defined to work on white boxes and got rid of the legacy ITU cruft, but chances are low.

As for telcos monitoring their network traffic, the author's naive faith in their technical competence would be charming if it weren't misplaced. Read Bert Hubert's excellent paper on how they have been so hollowed out technically through outsourcing:

https://berthub.eu/articles/posts/5g-elephant-in-the-room/

You spoke, we didn't listen: Ubiquiti says UniFi routers will beam performance data back to mothership automatically

Fazal Majid

Not OK

I use a Ubiquiti USG as my firewall for the convenience of a single management pane of glass. This is completely unacceptable.

In the short term I am going to block them in DNS, and in the slightly longer term I am going to have to get another OpenBSD box with PF in transparent bridge mode to block them.

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