* Posts by A Known Coward

227 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Dec 2009


Tesla's Cybertruck may not be so stainless after all

A Known Coward

Re: How characteristically Muskian.

Well, to be fair he has, despite all his major flaws been extremely successful, whether or not that success was personally earned or entirely off the back of some smart people around him. He has, or those he hires have, been pretty innovative too.

Note: It's still possible to be 'innovative' even if the products you innovate are complete crap - in fact it's much easier to be innovative if you're not actually concerned with improving on what came before ...

Of course 'successful and innovative' is not all that can be used to describe Musk - there are many, many less flattering adjectives that come to mind. You're right it would be a narrow view to suggest that he's only these things, but it would also be narrow view to argue that he's not.

Hooking up to Starlink might be pricier than you thought

A Known Coward

Not applicable to existing customers?

I've not received any email advising of subscription price rises in the UK? Are these price rises not being applied to existing customers, as I've seen suggested elsewhere, or they not applicable in the UK?

Either way, a relatively small price increase makes no difference to me given the lack of any other alternatives where I'm moving. Thankfully my order, placed last year was already fulfilled last month so I won't have to pay the increase hardware cost.

Subcontractors working on CityFibre's £45m Derby rollout threaten to 'rip up tarmac' in dispute over payments

A Known Coward

Re: Rip it up and start again.

I think issues with reliability with VM depends heavily on which area you are in. In the nearly two decades I've been with VM (formerly NTL) at my current address I've only had issues with reliability on half a dozen occasions and at least one of those was down to water ingress on a damaged cable between my property and the cabinet. I would notice issues quickly too, as I've worked from home for that entire period.

At least for me, reliability with Virgin is nearly perfect including consistency in bandwidth, I'm never less than 5% under the advertised speeds and most of the time I'm getting 10% above the rated speed. This is far better than the stories I hear from others about other providers.

I recognise that this isn't true for everyone, but in general it's the consensus among those people I've spoken to who use Virgin.

Where Virgin fails consistently in my experience is customer support, which can vary between 'adequate' and 'terrible'. Thankfully due to the reliability I experience, I rarely need to interface with their support team.

By far my biggest complaint with Virgin Media is that the price seems to keep going up by leaps and bounds. It feels like they are squeezing their existing customers to fund introductory offers for their new clients and I'm not happy about it.

I'm currently looking to move somewhere more rural, when I do, I think I'm going to really miss Virgin Media. I can only hope that where I end up, they have really good community fibre.

A Known Coward

Re: Rip it up and start again.

I'm in a Cable area so like you I'm good, but prices have been steadily climbing for years above inflation. I'd welcome the availability of FTTP here, it may be naive to believe, but a bit of competition would hopefully shake up prices and reverse this upward trend.

Linux kernel sheds legacy IDE support, but driver-dominated 5.14 rc1 still grows

A Known Coward

Re: generated headers?

They are script generated headers, iirc mostly tables of registers for each AMD GPU? They are not built at compile time.

FYI: There's a human-less, AI robot Mayflower ship sailing from the UK to US right now

A Known Coward

Well let's just be glad that at least this one isn't carrying religious extremists seeking to start their own authoritarian state unlike the original Mayflower.

It's 2020, so let's just go ahead and let Amazon have everyone's handprints so it can process payments

A Known Coward

Re: One-way hash?

A one-way hash doesn't resolve the privacy concerns - that hash can still be used to identify your palm print. If that hash ends up in the hands of any other company or government it can still be abused. "Ah, but not if a salt is used!" I hear someone cry, but if the hashes are leaked or shared by Amazon, what makes you think the salt won't be?

The idea that hashing any private data, let alone biometric data, somehow prevents gross abuse is a fallacy.

In colossal surprise, Intel says new vPro processors are quite a bit better than the old ones

A Known Coward

Re: Scratch, Scratch-scratch, Scraaaaatch

2020 isn't over yet and Zen 3 desktop processors aren't out yet? Maybe a bit premature to say they've broken any promises yet.

The X570/B550 didn't support first gen processors either, so if you want to be accurate then you'd have to say that the promise was broken in June last year.

That said, all motherboard manufacturers have said it's not actually AMD's fault. The BIOS's of those existing AM4 motherboards don't have room for the microcode of another generation of processors in addition to the current three generations they already support. It's the motherboard manufacturer's who spec the BIOS ROM size, not AMD.

Android 11 Developer Preview 3 allows your mobe to become a router via USB Ethernet – if you can get a decent signal

A Known Coward

Re: Eh?

Yes it was (is) ... unless they removed it from the last version of Android and are now re-adding it again.

A Known Coward

Re: Hasn't it been able to do this for ages?

Yes ... and this is nothing new, I've carried a micro-usb Ethernet adapter around with me on my travels for at least the past 3 years for exactly this purpose. A couple of years ago, faced with really poor speeds on convention ethernet (for which we paid thousands), we ended up using a phone as a router for some servers that required light internet access, using the USB dongle.

Firefox now defaults to DNS-over-HTTPS for US netizens and some are dischuffed about this

A Known Coward

Re: So what....

If you want the high conspiracy theory, then I would point to the recent news that the CIA bought and ran a Swiss manufacturer of encryption machines for decades. There are those who believe, not without precedent that firms such as Cloudflare through which so much of your private data flows are just there as part of the vast data collection efforts of various intelligence agencies.

Personally, I don't think it's possible to discount this possibility nor confirm it. Much like Huawei, the question becomes, is it worth the risk?

Don't worry, IT contractors. New UK chancellor says HMRC will be gentle pushing IR35 rules

A Known Coward

Re: Soft is still inside

This change in the law was made when Labour was in power and long before the EU referendum. Either you can't read or you are just trolling. It has nothing to do with the EU withdrawal or the current government.

Pixel 3 XL reveals innards festooned with glue and... Samsung?

A Known Coward

Re: What is the point of a thin, glass backed phone

While I'm sure a lot of people have managed to drop their phones and crack the back, my now rather aged S7 Edge has never been in a case or cover is still in one piece and yes, has even been dropped a few times (I blame the bevelled edge for making it harder to maintain a firm grip). In fact, this phone has survived a lot better than many of the cheaper plastic phones I had in the past which would fly apart or crack when dropped.

These things are both stronger than they appear to be and are just fine if looked after. I'm not saying glass is the most sensible choice, it's not but it does look good.

Web browsers sharpen knives for TLS 1.0, 1.1, tell protocols to dig their own graves for 2019

A Known Coward

Mind naming and shaming those banks? I've never had a problem with my banks in the last 10 years - before that it was a minefield of dodgy Java and activeX extensions - which was a problem for me on Linux. I regularly move my money around to where I'm getting the best deals, so a list of banks to avoid would be useful information.

Supermicro wraps crypto-blanket around server firmware to hide it from malware injectors

A Known Coward

Re: 28 Days Later... have Bloomberg just picked up on this?

The bloomberg article, for which they have 17 well placed sources - inside Amazon, Apple and the US government is that they discovered three years ago that Supermicro boards had been modified at the production line in china with the addition of a tiny chip which added a backdoor to the system. What's missing from the article is the sort of technical detail we would all like.


First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts

A Known Coward

With a lot of flying to/from India, US and Australia in the past few years, as well as shorter haul flights within Europe, India and the US. I have to say that hands down, the A380 is the most comfortable commercial aircraft.

Emirates A380s top the list, with Etihad and Quantas vying for second place, but I've not flown the A380 with Singapore, British Airways or Air France yet.

As usual, the aircraft which puts passenger comfort at the forefront is the one that airlines don't want to use ...

Facebook, Mozilla and Craigslist Craig fund fake news firefighter

A Known Coward

Well you're obviously a fan of fake news, because that's clearly where you got some of the 'facts' you've cited.

As one example, the BBC is NOT state owned or run. I'd start by researching this for yourself

Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo fit to go: Europe's GPS-like network switches on

A Known Coward

Re: Meh!

GPS (Navstar) current official stated worst case accuracy for the civilian signal is 15m NOT ~1.5m. Since both values are worst-case, it's entirely possible for GPS to achieve 1.5m accuracy some of the time although the highest quality GPS receivers as required by the FAA have average accuracy of 2.1m. However Galileo will achieve single digit centimetre level accuracy a large proportion of the time too, so it's not really comparable.

A Known Coward

Re: @Lee D

Galileo is a 'read only' system PERIOD

Err, NO. Galileo offers two way communication for a subscription fee. It's intended application is emergency beacons in ships and aircraft.


If you're going to accuse people of being high, it would be a good idea to make sure you are in full possession of the facts first.

No, Russia is not tapping into Syria's undersea internet cables

A Known Coward

Well, to give the benefit of the doubt, I would assume he is talking about the length of sheathing you need to remove not the thickness.

Pointless features add to browser bloat and insecurity

A Known Coward

It's flawed research ...

They suggest that the 'top' sites don't use these features because they aren't required, but the truth is that they don't use these features because they are still trying to support ancient browsers which predate these specifications coming about.

So as a result they propose some of the most useful developments which came about to make browsing faster, more secure and reduce battery drains. Developments which are meant to rid us of the likes of ActiveX, Flash and their ilk? Development which are meant to reduce page bloat.

SVG images are much smaller and much higher quality, you only need to serve a single version not a range of different sizes.

Canvas provides an alternative to Flash (which is way more insecure).

Websockets allow for 'push' to the browser, eliminating the need for polling - reducing bandwidth consumption on mobile devices.

Granted some of the listed features are probably unnecessary but certainly not all of them.

Samsung Galaxy S7: Big brand Android flagship champ

A Known Coward

Re: Fixed battery = ripoff

I said pretty much the same thing for years, then I picked up an original Moto G - not quite $50 but still cheap. Fixed battery, was a difficult decision but I figured at the price that it might not be so bad. Still using it to this day 2 and half years later, easily get a full days use, often enough I eek out a couple of days. The point being that battery technology has improved and over the lifetime of the phone, which for the majority of people will be no more than 3 years, the degradation in the battery life won't be an issue.

I would still opt for a version of the S7 with removable battery if such a thing existed but I've changed my opinion on the battery issue to the point where I can live with a non-removable battery. These days you'll find it nearly impossible to find tablets with a removable battery, all kindles have a fixed battery, even my laptops have fixed batteries and yet I don't hear a storm of complaints from people about these devices because the batteries last just fine. As with all things, there will be batteries that fail early - warranty replacement usually takes care of this and if you are replacing batteries regularly with a modern device then it's a sign that the battery design is flawed and not batteries in general.

A Known Coward

Where is the Silver one?

Perhaps the Register would do me a personal favour and get an official answer from Samsung UK about why they haven't brought the Silver (or White) versions of the Edge to the UK. Despite all the UK press parroting the availability of a Silver version in every single review and article, it's simply nowhere to be found. Are they having trouble manufacturing the Silver version, or are they simply holding it back for their preferred customers elsewhere in the world?

I've only managed to get a 'no comment' from Samsung, perhaps if the question came from a journalist they might be more inclined to answer.

SQL Server for Linux: A sign of Microsoft's weakness. Sort of

A Known Coward

"This does more sense as a loss leader"

Well this being Microsoft, I expect that once they've hooked enough marks ... err, I mean customers ... they'll announce that they will no longer be supporting the linux version and existing users will have to move to the full MS stack.

Even if it doesn't happen, who would be stupid enough to trust Microsoft on this?

A Known Coward

"I have no issue with most of this article, but this paragraph ignores that SQL Server has been available on AWS RDS for years so is somewhat misleading."

Yes, and it's priced accordingly high though. The company I work for have an MSSQL instance in AWS, a necessity of one of our data partners, but it's costing a small fortune compared to an identical MySQL instance. If MSSQL on linux reduces the costs to the end user for Amazon RDS then it's popularity would definitely increase.

Raspberry Pi 3 to sport Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE – first photos emerge

A Known Coward

Re: Fail

There is an architecture change - from 32bit to 64bit and 900Mhz to 1.2Ghz - https://i.imgur.com/KRRd7OQ.jpg

Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack

A Known Coward

Completely unintentional, yes of course ...

The Galileo roll out can't happen fast enough.

When customers try to be programmers: 'I want this CHANGED TO A ZERO ASAP'

A Known Coward

Re: Hmm, is the last example an endless loop

The latter. SUCCESS is a constant and shouldn't be changed, hence the CAPS (all caps for constants is a widely followed convention).

Dutch cops train anti-drone eagle squadron

A Known Coward

Instant amputation of Eagle's feet?

Seems like a completely stupid idea if you ask me, those propellers could do serious injury to the birds. While eagles offer some serious advantages in terms of speed, manoeuvrability and targeting ability (eyesight) the risk posed by the drone would have to be significant to even consider deploying the eagles.

Folk shun UK.gov's 'expensive' subsidised satellite broadband

A Known Coward

Inaccurate title?

You can't shun what you don't know about ...

BT dismisses MPs' calls to snap off Openreach as 'wrong-headed'

A Known Coward

Re: Publicly owned business

"During WW1, the government took over all the railways and worked them in to the ground and failed to maintain them."

"by the time WW2 came around, when the government did exactly the same thing - taking them over, running them in to the ground and failing to maintain them properly."

You may, or may not have a point about government ownership, but you rather shoot yourself in the foot by citing these two examples. There was a reason why a lot of things, not just the railways, fell into disrepair during these periods and it had absolutely nothing to do with government ownership - the guys responsible for doing the work of maintaining things were all busy fighting.

Anyone using M-DISC to archive snaps?

A Known Coward

Re: How about BD-R HTL?

So I was genuinely curious whether HTL claims stack up, and though information was slim on the ground I found the following document which details the ISO standard testing of Verbatim brand BD-R HTL discs.


The most interesting part is the table at the bottom of page 3. Tests performed at 25C and 50% humidity.

95% of Double Layer discs tested under the ISO conditions were rated to last a minimum of 336 years or 550 years depending on the test method used. Triple Layer discs were rated at a minimum of 2672 or 3588 years.

The ISO tests have been performed on M-Disc, here is the certificate:


It shows 95% of M-Discs will last at least 530 at 22C and 50% humidity. Which may actually be lower than the Verbatim BD-Rs ... depending on which test method they employed. Notice that the M-Discs were tested at a lower temperature.

Now the only way to be sure would be to see the same ISO test results for M-Disc BD-Rs SL/DL/TL however it doesn't seem that the lifespan for good quality BD-Rs is overstated, it seems the opposite is in fact true. They are understating the lifespan while M-Disc is overstating it.

A Known Coward

Re: How about BD-R HTL?

I can't find anything contradicting the claims for HTL, maybe you can do us all a favour and point us in the direction of research which shows differently? There is obviously some variation in the relative quality of different manufacturers discs - i.e. buy branded

The basic premise of any HTL disc is the same as m-disc, inorganic data layer, no separate reflective layer. A lot of commentators put HTL BD-R in the same bucket as M-Disc. After all what makes the claims for HTL less believable than the claims for m-disc?

A Known Coward

How about BD-R HTL?

A much cheaper alternative is BD-R HTL - 'only' lasts 100-150 years, but it's a fraction of the cost - £0.33 per 25GB as opposed to £4.40 per 25GB for the m-disc.

In my opinion, BD-R HTL makes more sense for backing up things that no-one will care about in 150 years. Yes, your descendents may be interested in your family photographs in the future but will they be willing to spend thousands of pounds on one of the few remaining drives capable of reading the format? In no more than two generations whichever format you chose will be obsolete and your kids or grandkids will have copied the files to the latest archival formats and media - or just as likely, binned the disks.

1000 years is overkill, especially at 13x the price. For governments, large museums, libraries and archives M-Disc makes sense, but for the average home user not so such.

It's replicant Roy Batty's birthday – but hey, where's my killer robot?

A Known Coward

Re: Deckard

"If Deckard was an android, why was he wandering around unchecked while Holden was busy trying to round up the Nexus 6s (before getting blasted?)"

The 'authorities' didn't know about Rachel either, the implication was that the Tyrell Corporation was producing unregistered replicants which were freely roaming around on Earth. Even if we do assume that the authorities knew, what reason would they have to object to sending one disposable machine to kill others if it avoided risking the life of a human officer.

Don't forget Nexus 6 models were psychopaths, not serial killers. The majority weren't violent* they just had the capacity for it and the greatest danger actually came from them knowing that they weren't human and were destined to die 'young'. Given those facts, having replicants who didn't know they were replicants on earth might have been considered an acceptable risk, especially since so many successful humans are also psychopaths.

All of this is predicated on the belief that Deckard is a replicant, yes Scott believes he was, but if he wanted everyone to know this the ending could have been more definitive. The reason the film (director's cut) ends the way it does is because we're supposed to be unsure, the whole film is about the nature of humanity - we're all supposed to have doubts and ultimately wonder whether it matters what we are but instead who we are. This was the core theme of the book too, although it ended differently. This is also a recurring theme in and a lot of Dick's work. He preferred his readers to think than to spoon feed them resolutions, at least to me he was much more of a philosopher than a writer.

* If all Nexus 6 models were violent then they wouldn't serve the purposes they were created for - who wants a sex worker that will kill every John or a maintenance tech who sabotages everything?

UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

A Known Coward

Re: Smart?

@Tridac: I think if you re-read what you wrote, reversing the paragraphs you'll have both your answer and eliminate your doubts.

In case you still have any doubts, just Google, these meters do allow the supply to be turned off remotely, that's the entire point of them.

Facebook hammers another nail into Flash's coffin

A Known Coward

Re: Is HTML5 pure and saintly

"We're working on it right now (in true BBC glacial fashion)


"To use the player, visit BBC iPlayer or iPlayer Radio"

So not BBC News then? That's the only BBC News site I visit daily ...

(That doesn't mean I don't watch BBC programmes, I do, just through the higher quality DVB broadcasts stream on a large 'monitor' which I call a television™ attached to a magical box which records everything I could possibly want.)

Free HTTPS certs for all – Let's Encrypt opens doors to world+dog

A Known Coward

Re: @LDS

> Except the existence of a padlock icon would be a dead giveaway....

Have an upvote and a beer on me.

A Known Coward

Re: startcom

Yes this is different from startcom - the biggest difference is that they won't charge you to revoke or re-issue a certificate. They also automate the process including renewals.

Don't underestimate the automation either, this includes auto-configuring the server to use a strong setup, no weak default ciphers or protocols etc. The configurations will adapt as new ciphers emerge and old ones are deprecated. Most sites operating with encryption now are still using default configurations which render them insecure since many admins assume that simply having the certificate is enough.

A Known Coward

Re: "browser histories out of the hands of eavesdroppers"

Requests are encrypted - the only information an eavesdropper can obtain is the IP address of the server - not the pages you visit etc.

They only hand out certificates to people who can show possession of the domain associated with the certificate. The issues experienced in the past were with CAs who handed out certificates without checking that you actually controlled the domain in question. I fail to see why all the negativity ...

A Known Coward


I'm afraid you don't seem to know how the CA system works. I can get a certificate for theregisster.co.uk from every single one of the major CAs if I possess that domain.

If that causes you concern then you should remove _ALL_ CA root certs from your browser.

A Known Coward

In short yes if those domains are configured on the server, it doesn't create a wildcard certificate.

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo good two go

A Known Coward

" We have a FREE system that is only accurate to a metre or so."

As opposed to GPS which is only accurate to 8 metres. I'd say an 8 fold increase in accuracy (much greater for educational, research and commercial licencees) is worth the expense, especially when you consider that GPS coverage isn't perfect in northern Europe - hell, I'm in the US right now and even here it's perfectly lousy at times.

Your position seems to be that we should put all our eggs in one basket and trust to the goodness of the American government. Which is just incredibly naive and foolish. Stop trying to tie up what is a worthwhile project with the political mess that is the EU, even while I'll campaign for exit from the EU I'll still be flying the banner for Galileo - the project may well be badly managed and servicing the egos of bureaucrats but the end goal is still worthwhile.

Let's Encrypt gets automation

A Known Coward

Re: same old

One crucial difference, aside from the one about LE being trusted by all browsers, is that LE are shipping a one-click solution that can be integrated by shared hosting provider or run as a standalone application on the server. It generates the keys, requests and downloads the certificate and configures the server for you - meaning you don't need to know how to do these things yourself. That has always been a barrier for many smaller sites, the need to go through a multi-step process including manual configuration changes and LE addresses that.

A Known Coward

Re: Why?

> No, a free CA will just make easier to obtain a fake certificate for somebody's else site if no vetting procedure is in place before releasing a certificate. It actually make snooping *easier*.

Why don't you go read up on the project before you say anything more? Let's Encrypt's validation/verification procedures are far stricter and more robust that every large CA I've dealt with. Additionally their process is automated removing the possibility for user error - the system simply won't issue a certificate for a domain for which you cannot prove possession (* though not ownership, this is no different to any other CA).

A Known Coward

Re: Why?

You're confusing the purpose of Let's Encrypt. The project has nothing to do with increasing trust in certificate authorities.

Which doesn't mean you cannot trust Let's Encrypt, only that if you're looking for a solution to the trust problem then you need to re-invent the whole certificate system. LE is about giving everyone access to certificates free of charge, with no strings, no 'revocation fees' and no limits to the number of certificates you can deploy. It's about removing the barriers to deployment even on the lowliest website and thus bringing about the long overdue age of complete encryption to the internet.

Aside from issuing certificates, the project also comes with a suite of tools which will properly configure your server to use the best possible TLS configuration, which alone makes it extremely valuable. Many servers still offer outdated or incomplete configs which are no longer secure, LE is offering a one-click solution that handles the whole process for you.

There are plenty of other projects and solutions attempting to solve the 'trust' issue, including Public Key Pinning - although you still have to trust the browser and intermediate proxies, and let's face it, if you cannot trust those then no amount of encryption is meaningful.

Sensitive Virgin Media web pages still stuck on weak crypto software

A Known Coward

Re: Another one for the hall of shame

In the world of security, anything less than an A is never a pass. Incidentally, SSL Labs hand out an A+ for the top grade, which is what everyone should be targeting.

TELLY INNN SPAAACE: Nothing to watch on your 4K TV? NASA to the RESCUE

A Known Coward

Re: At least 13Mbps?

I'm assuming they'll use H.265 for broadcast and streaming, H.264 would be an odd choice. Still, H.265 can't work miracles, if broadcast quality HD using H.264 is 9Mbps (30+ for Blu-ray) then they can't cram 4x the information into an H.265 stream of 13Mbps without seriously degrading the quality. Even Netflix opted for 15Mbps, which is still way too low. For broadcast quality parity you are looking at at least 18Mbps but reasonably we should demand better from 4K broadcasts and not let broadcasters squeeze the image to the point where 4K broadcast/streaming looks like Blu-ray HD.

A Known Coward

At least 13Mbps?

Try double that ...

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo good to go!

A Known Coward

"how the basic (low-precision) Galileo free and open service compares to the current free and open GPS tier?"

The uncorrected free tier guarantees accuracy within 1 metre, compared to GPS which provides uncorrected accuracy within 15 metres. These are the worst case scenarios with a good lock, obviously GPS performs better than that in the real world, a consumer grade receiver will usually average around 4m at best, but similarly you can expect the average performance of Galileo to be far better too - if it compares to GPS, then you could an average best of 30cm from the free service.

The Galileo commercial tier guarantees accuracy to within 1cm. This is marginally better than survey grade GPS augmented with RTK which is within 30cm but normally averages within 'a few centimetres'.

These figures are changing all the time, GPS accuracy is being improved all the time, especially the with the use of correction services, and until Galileo is fully operational the claims made for the system are unproven. However the accuracy of Galileo's free service was enough to scare the US into formally protesting the project and threatening the EU, but probably not for the reasons you think - the US government makes a lot of money from their commercial GPS and Galileo represents a threat to that business.