* Posts by Tac Eht Xilef

129 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Mar 2010


Australia on the cusp of showing the world how to break encryption

Tac Eht Xilef

No ... think bigger!

> $20Mill outa cover it

You're thinking too small.

Remember, another organisation was recently given $444 million for something equally impossible (and ultimately more futile...)

Australia’s SigInt spooks may be turned inwards after all

Tac Eht Xilef

"I suspect that should have been "the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7:30 Report"."

It's been just "7.30" for quite a few years now, and a lot of their promo material - on-screen graphics, twatter hashtags, etc. - skips the "."

But yes, it irritates me too... ;)

Finally: Historic Eudora email code goes open source

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: I remember Eudora

From memory as well as the UTF-8 issues there were also a bunch of weirdo bugs that affected message content.

My memory of the details is hazy, but I seem to remember that one of them involved lines starting with "- f" (as in "- firstly, the ...") being turned into blank quoted lines, or something?

nbn™ isn’t fixing HFC, it’s ‘optimising’ it

Tac Eht Xilef

Fool me ... umm, how many times is it now?

Tony Abbot, September 7, 2013: "I want our NBN rolled out within three years and Malcolm Turnbull is the right person to make this happen."

AFR, July 3, 2015: "The 2016 commitment was jettisoned when the Government released its strategic review. Speaking on 7:30 the Minister's excuse was that: "And the fact is that the NBN Co is a much bigger mess than even we had thought it is. We have got to stop the spin. We've got to start telling the truth and have some numbers and forecasts."

Yet in reality the review had found NBN Co in better shape than the Coalition policy assumed, with its worst case scenario falling more than $20 billion short of the April headlines.

Undeterred the Prime Minister in June said: "By the end of the decade, that everyone will have access to, I think, it's 50 megs download speed, or better. So, this is the commitment that we have made and this is the commitment that we will keep."

Unfortunately NBN Co is only guaranteeing minimum speeds of 25Mbps on fibre to the neighbourhood (or node) (FTTN) ..."

Australian government plans to do a Facebook on citizens' data

Tac Eht Xilef

Sounds good to me!

"... promising AU$65 million to spread the Big Data love."

That's to each of us, right?

Firefox to feature sponsored content as of next week

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: The problem lies deeper

"The problem is that browsers now are so incredibly complex that you need a large corporation to support them."

Is a corporation with $30+ million in net assets large enough?

How about if its liabilities were only ~6% of gross assets?

How about if it styled itself as "open souce", and perpetuated the belief that most of the development work on its flagshit product was done for free by volunteer contributors?

(serendipitous typo left in ;))

Australia's future technology headlines … for 2019!

Tac Eht Xilef

Communications ...

"... a ministry that is always poison to a political career."

Not always. Malcolm Turnbull, anyone? And ... uh ... Joe Lyons?

OK. Maybe "almost always" ;)

Australia's new Foreign Influence laws expand phone snoop powers

Tac Eht Xilef

"Turnball the sock puppet of the U.S."

Less "sockpuppet', more "condom"...

Birds are pecking apart Australia's national broadband network

Tac Eht Xilef

So NBNCo ...

... failed to heed the lessons learned by every other telco & regional/remote broadcaster in the last 50 years?

I wonder how much of their in-ground fibre is termite & wombat proof?

(Reminds me of the scene a few years ago when they were relining street pipes around here (gas, I think). To measure it they rolled the sleeving out in sections along the right of way behind the houses houses, backing on to the local park, then knocked off for the afternoon. When they came back next morning, they found it shredded & hanging in chunks from the trees.

Turns out the local possums & scrub turkeys loved the stuff...)

FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: ATSC 3.0 fixes a lot of problems with ATSC 1.0

In fact, if you look at the research both in the lab & in the field, noise & multipath rejection of 8VSB is in most cases on a par with (within a couple of dB) the 64QAM used in DVB-T, and slightly better than that found in 256QAM in DVB-T2. And, despite early concerns, they managed to retrofit SFN operation to it fairly successfully; although not used much in the US due to the market structure there, the few SFNs they do have are comparable to the largest DVB-T SFNs elsewhere.

If they really wanted to improve those factors that much, they would've adopted something similar to the ISDB-T used in Japan, etc. Better noise & mutipath rejection, more flexible SFN operation, hierarchical structure allowing for low power ESB/EW receivers, etc, etc.

In reality, it seems ATSC 1.0's near-complete lack of extendability doomed it.

How bad can the new spying legislation be? Exhibit 1: it's called the USA Liberty Act

Tac Eht Xilef

"Freedom doesn't mean what you think it does"

Isn't it just another word for "nothing left to lose"?

Audit office finds Telstra's universal services were good politics, bad deals

Tac Eht Xilef

Telstra Air

"(eg follow the Comcast Xfinity model of opening up home wifi hotspots to the Air/Fon network to back-fill coverage)"

Don't they do this already?

Granted, it's not compulsory - but, at least when self-installing the new DOCSIS 3 cable modems, they certainly imply that you need to create a Telstra Air account & enable it on the modem during the process.

(And yes, if it fails to register the new modem properly, the front-line support insist that you go through the whole Telstra Air setup before they'll escalate...)

If you need to replace anything other than your iPhone 8's battery or display, good luck

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: If you need to replace anything other than your iPhone 8's battery or display, good luck

This is the El Reg equivalent of the /. "BSD is dying" comment, isn't it?

Old Firefox add-ons get 'dead man walking' call

Tac Eht Xilef

Preferences -> Advanced -> Update -> "Never check ..."

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Does any browser team manage to communicate with actual users?

"I think you've missed the point of Mozilla entirely. They're an open-source project that doesn't get any funding from users. So therefore, they don't care what users think."

True. I'd recommend not looking too closely at the Mozilla Foundation's financial statements - if you do, it starts to look very much like a half-billion dollar fun club supporting the pet projects of a few hundred people...

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Bonkers

"I installed Firefox 52 ESR while I figure out what the replacement for firefox should be."

Me too; and that was only recently, after hanging back on 40-something became untenable (layout/functionality breakage became too much on multiple sites I frequent).

On OSX I've been using Safari more and more since uBlock Origin started supporting it. I'm told Palemoon now builds cleanly on OSX from source, but I'm not going to pissfart around setting up a build environment & waiting hours for compilation just to find out if that's true or not...

Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Tac Eht Xilef

"... means The Doctor is transgender."

Or a protandrous hermaphrodite. Like a clownfish.

'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Aussie Judges

Speaking of trolls...

Per-capita CO2 emissions (2013, the latest available data), starting at the highest: Qatar, Trinidad & Tobago, Curacao, Kuwait, Bahrain, Sint Maarten, Brunei, Luxembourg, UAE, Saudi Arabia, United States, Australia, ...

Not that it changes the fact that GEMSA pretty much meet the definition of "patent trolls", but in Australian law there's precedent (based on the principle of international sovereignty) that, in the case of widely-disseminated material, defamation occurs where the target resides. Normally you'd expect that'd please the sort of people who believe their nation is sovereign and that "offence can only be taken, not given" - but it seems they're less pleased when it works against them...

Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Tac Eht Xilef

>> As a Rogowski coil results in a time-derivative of the measured

>> current, the measured voltage has to be integrated

>That's completely doomed if there is any significant DC component

>in the load, e.g. if there are devices with half-wave rectifiers, or

>full-wave rectifiers that are asymetric in some way.

Well, yeah, but in that case since the whole point of a Rogowski coil is to respond to the rate of change of the current (dI/dT) they'll tend to _under_estimate the current in the presence of a DC component.

The flip side of that is the integrator (needed to convert the output to something proportional to current) needs a bandwidth-limited response, otherwise it'll tend towards infinite gain at DC & read all sorts of hash as load current at higher frequencies...

Mozillans call for new moz://a logo to actually work in browsers

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Searching for "moz://a"

An address bar is for an address (the clue is in the name).

I think you'll find it is actually "Awesome" - like the cat (https://catmacros.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/awesome_cat_poster.jpg)

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: The request is stupid

(But you will be able to disable them in about:config)

For the time being. As it has been removed from the UI, that option will disappear in a future release as it references unsupported code and we don't want to clutter about:config with legacy cruft. If you have a specific use-case for it, you will need to write an add-on to support it.

FM now stands for 'fleeting mortality' in Norway

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Very unlikely to happen here in Ireland

Actually, it's perfectly possible to make an FM crystal set.

Using slope detection - http://solomonsmusic.net/FM_CrystalRadio.html - you can make an average performer. Using a very simple discriminator - http://electronbunker.ca/eb/FMCrystalSet.html - works much better.

If nbn™ can't say when it will arrive in your street, you're getting a Telstra HFC connection

Tac Eht Xilef


So what does it mean when checking my address tells me "The rollout of the nbn™ network is planned in this area. Planned availability: May 2013".

(Half my exchange area was cut over to NBN fttp in 2013; the rest - including where I am - had started remediation & upgrade work & was due to be cut over in early 2014. But then the country went and elected Tony Abbot...)

systemd free Linux distro Devuan releases second beta

Tac Eht Xilef

You broke it, you bought it.

"Exile Poettering back to MS land or Apple-andia where he belongs."

Screw that. Linux gave birth to him, Linux can keep him.

The OSX boot process may be pretty opaque and cursed by XML - but if you spend some time there you realise it's actually still quite sensible & sane. Unlike systemd...

RIP EarthLink, 1994–2016: From AOL killer to regional ISP's attic

Tac Eht Xilef

Was Earthlink in the end ...

... still owned by the 'tologists?

"The fate of EarthLink's exec team was not given"

They're probably being packed into a volcano somewhere as I type this...

The answer to Internet of Things madness? Open source, of course!

Tac Eht Xilef

"Of course, but that's your opinion. In the commercial IT world you are not the customer you are the product. It's always possible to extract more money from you being there if you are the product than if you just pay."

Of course. Nothing new there. Belkin's just a particularly egregious example of it, and I choose to go out of my way to avoid the worst cases.

And maybe I just haven't gotten over some of their particularly shitty hardware & firmware tricks, including such memorable examples as "redirect a random http request to our ad servers every few hours", "let's decide not to pass zeroconf / multicast packets between local LAN ports anymore", and "Self-Healing (by silently rebooting)".

Tac Eht Xilef

"If you have a Belkin product, for example, you want to make sure it is only communicating with Belkin's cloud service."

If I had a Belkin product, the absolute last thing I'd want it to do is communicate with Belkin's cloud service. It's likely to suddenly decide to forward all my local traffic for "quality and training purposes", or be told to reboot every 15 seconds to prevent problems "building up", or try to insist that I should be using only quality Belkin peripherals, or ...

"Anything else and something unusual may be happening."

Like what - it might start working quietly, unobtrusively, and to both expectations & specs?

HomeKit is where the dearth is – no one wants Apple's IoT tech

Tac Eht Xilef

Yeah, right ...

"The problem is that Apple is trying to do what it always does – control everything. It's our way or the highway."

Uh ... yeah, OK. But remind me again how the others are different?

""Their approach is just onerous and unnecessary," says Hemphill, referring to the need to include an Apple chip and go through its certification program ... And it's not compatible with Thread or ZigBee or Z-Wave".

Unlike, say ...

Thread? Not compatible with HomeKit, ZigBee, or Z-Wave. Closed spec, requires paid (US$2500) membership to access & have devices certified. A partial open source (BSD licence) unsupported implementation is available.

ZigBee? Not compatible with Homekit, Thread, or Z-Wave. Closed spec, ZigBee branding, and compiance certification is "free" as in "all you can eat (after paying minimum US$4000 entry fee)".

Z-Wave? Not compatible with Homekit, Thread, or ZigBee. Tied to Sigma Designs (& licencees e.g. Mitsumi) chips, with a US$250/yr licence required to access specs & purchase devkits & chips. Previous open-source implementations and the recently-announced "open" protocol are basically a partial set of "how to communicate with Sigma Designs chips" instructions...

"The Apple security advantage will likely be gone in 2017"

Good. Let me know when you've got your act together. I've been burned multiple time over the past 20+ years, so excuse me if I wait until you've actually delivered what you promise before I even think about buying it...

Markslist: Facebook touts its own tat bazaar

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Oh Joy.....

"They literally do nothing well, including sell advertising."

Which I guess makes them worthy competitors to eBay & Gumtree.

(Craigslist may be different in some places, but around here at least it's 99% drugs, used panties, and various euphemisms for same e.g. "FOUR and TWENTY pies", "garden STONEs and ROCKS", "CK with HONEYDEW", etc...)

Forgive me, father, for I have used an ad-blocker on news websites...

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: No guilt at all

"I have little guilt for using a host file based adblock however, I understand the plight of these sites. There business models are being turned upside down."

Their business models were being turned upside-down 20 years ago. The time to start working on solutions to that problem was then. The fact advertisers chose to spend the interventing time on what amounts to advertising their claims that advertising is necessary to pay for advertising so you can keep seeing advertising should tell you all you need to know about the way the industry thinks and works.

Personally, my opinon is that advertising is an insidious social cancer that hijacks human emotions (needs, desires), human constructs (organisations and companies), and much of the human environment (most of what you see and hear) in order to do nothing more than grow and reproduce itself. That's why I have no guilt at all about using an adblocker. The irony of the fact that ~7 years ago it was the slow-loading ads on The Register that lead me to first install Adblock (then Adblock Pus, then later uBlock and uBlock origin) is just the icing on the cake...

Mozilla breathes petition-of-fire at EU copyright laws

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Errr...

OK. If they have a concrete problem like that, maybe they should've explained it (or used plausibly similar examples) in their position statement / petition launch?

Because ther current statement reads like they're picking a fight that has nothing to do with them or their business at all...

Tac Eht Xilef


... what the hell does all that have to do with Mozilla anyway?

I mean, I could understand them speaking out if it was affecting their ability to build and/or release a browser - but all the examples in their carrying on seem to be end-user issues.

Or have they given up trying to copy Chrome and started trying to copy the EFF?

Error: Print job 'Money' failed for laserjet001.lan.hp.com

Tac Eht Xilef

Surely the title should be:

"Error: Print job 'Money' failed for laserjet001.lan.hp.com - licence expired"?

Microsoft can't tell North from South on Bing Maps

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Melbourne Relocated - Official

No, you're thinking of Mozilla...

Apple beats off banks' bid for access to iPhones' NFC chips

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Confidentiality

"... monopoly ... monopoly ... monopoly ... monopoly ..."

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Consumer advocates call on Telstra to set customers free after outages

Tac Eht Xilef

To be fair ...

To be fair - and believe me, I have plenty of reasons not to be fair to Telstra - in the mobile realm their network competitors have been just as bad in the recent past, and resellers get a bit of a free pass by being able to blame the carrier they resell. Vodafone wasn't known as Vodafail for nothing, and the same goes for Optarse...

TP-Link abandons 'forgotten' router config domains

Tac Eht Xilef

"... according to Amity Dan who first noticed the snafu, they're being offered for sale at US$2.5 million each."

But in his tweet he says they're for sale for 2.5 millidollars?

SpaceX winning streak meets explosive end

Tac Eht Xilef


"Only Musk could come up with a nice way of saying it crashed and exploded."

Apparently not...


NBN leak pits minister against AFP commissioner

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: parliament has been dissolved therefore no privilege therefore do not to be placed under seal

Catallaxy's argument aside:

- Both MHRs & Senators continue to serve - and be paid - "at Her Majesty's pleasure" after prorogation/dissolution. Although not enshrined in the constitution or law, this is the fundamental principle which allows the government to operate in 'caretaker mode'.

- The Senate is considered to be a 'continuing house', and - apart from considering bills/legislation - continues to operate after prorogation/dissolution of Parliament.

- Under long-standing Senate orders & resolutions, committees may continue to operate & meet. The right to do so has never been challenged.

(All the above can be found in Odger's Australian Senate Practice, 13th ed. No point relying on Odgers' "... Representatives ..." for that...)

On top of that:

- Presumably the documents relate to the recent "Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network". This committee concluded on May 4th, before Parliament was prorogued/dissolved.

- Parliamentary privilege is inherent to "all proceedings of Parliament" and does not need to be claimed.

- Most importantly: privilege is not restricted to parliamentarians. It can be invoked on anything presented by anybody to Parliament - documents, work product, or statements, by a politician, staffer, or Joe Public (or even on leaked documents presented by a former Senator during the course of his committee membership) - and the matter of whether it is actually subject to privilege or not is then decided by committee.

- Amusingly, while I don't think the HoR committee can meet during the interregnum, the Senate committee probably can...

Docker hired private detectives to pursue woman engineer's rape, death threat trolls

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Utterly unacceptable

"What part of our education system fails to teach basic social skills?"

The part that operates 24hrs from ages 0-5, and ~4pm to ~8am up to the age of 17?

Apple pulled 2,204lbs of gold out of old tech gear

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: 44,080 pounds of lead

ROHS doesn't completely disallow lead, it just sets a maximum allowable limit (1000ppm / 0.1%, by weight). And there's a few allowable exemptions e.g. ceramic components, CRTs, high-temp solders, etc.

The closest I can find to a figure for lead in iPhones is a Greenpeace report which examined the original iPhone, stating "lead and chromium were detected in a small proportion of samples and at relatively low concentrations", and "lead was found in four of the components/materials, at concentrations ranging from 10 to 80 ppm".

Without toting up to the total recyclables, thowing in an unknown chunk for non-recyclables, and figuring out the lead %, it's hard to tell - but at first glance Apple's numbers don't look terribly out of place.

Waleed Aly's NBN intervention is profoundly unhelpful

Tac Eht Xilef

"I would rather a good solid 25mb within the next 3 months (when our FTTN node goes live), rather than wait for 2020 to get the Rolls Royce solution."

And I'm in a similar, but opposite boat - inner suburbia, ADSL is 12mbps on a good day, half the local exchange area is already cutover to the NBN, my part is in the queue for rollout to commence in 3 months, and preliminary survey/remediation work has already commenced.

Well, at least that was the case in late 2013 - right before the Government changed and Abbott & Turnbull brought FTTP to a screaming halt. 2 1/2 years later, and we've seemingly been bumped off the end of the list - the NBN's website says "Not currently available. The nbn™ network rollout has not started in your area. Keep checking the website for more information".

Meanwhile, the "new, improved, FTTN / Technology Mix" NBN timetable & costing have blown out to match the original FTTP plans, and the o-side cabling around here is in such bad shape we're averaging a voice/ADSL service affecting fault every 3~4 months.

Such is the power of anecdotes - for each one, you will always find the opposite...

Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

Tac Eht Xilef

"And FYI it wasn't 'Microshite' who initiated the change, 'AppleShite' implemented EFI on Macs way before it was put on PCs."

Err, wrong. Gateway were the first to use it (on one of their media center PCs) in 2003/2004, several years before Apple even started using Intel processors.

(Yeah, yeah, Open Firmware / OpenBoot is essentially the same thing done differently. So why aren't you blaming Sun?)

Turnbull's 'ideas boom' plan recycles existing ideas

Tac Eht Xilef

"... the plan offers tax breaks for startups, kinder treatment for those who go broke in pursuit of a business idea, visas to encourage entrepreneurs to come and overseas students to stay, plus a pledge to link business and academia to encourage the commercialisation of new ideas."

Which will end up becoming tax breaks for existing multinationals who open a 'sales incubator' in Oz but do their accounting elsewhere, more 457 visas & less restrictions on student visa workers, and requiring universities to fund all academic research programmes from commercial partnerships.

Doctor Who: Even the TARDIS key can't unpick the chronolock in Face the Raven

Tac Eht Xilef

Oh, sorry, I see now that you really meant "If".

(hint: not a fan of Mary-Sue Clara...)

Tac Eht Xilef


Nest defends web CCTV Cam amid unstoppable 24/7 surveillance fears

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Explainable power dip between on and off

Well, about double that. But yeah, that was my first thought too.

What's really suspicious is that, according to the ABI presser, it actually draws more power in standby than it does when recording in 720p/360p...

Doctor Who's good/bad duality, war futility tale in The Zygon Inversion fails to fizz

Tac Eht Xilef

Re: Re Parachutes @ x7

There is however a subtle yet definite line between "narrative imperative"/"poetic licence" and "no, that's just forkinitwe'redone stupid".

(I haven't seen it yet, though it doesn't sound like the parachute / plane bit steps over the line - but NuWho repeatedly shits all over then rubs your face in the former by opting for the latter. At a rate of about once per episode...)

Tech-sponsored Qld police project queried by corruption probe

Tac Eht Xilef

Pretty sure Fiscal found fame further afield than seven schools in a pilot programme. I'd swear I got my 'Fiscal the Fraud-Fighting Ferret' bookmark at the Ekka a couple of years ago, in amongst a bunch of other ferret police-related swag.

"The commission is also sharply critical of what it sees as ineffective responses to “boiler-room” scams that operate out of the Gold Coast."

I'm sure there's a few ex-police in the area who could help them out with the intricate details there...

(For those not in the know: the Qld Fraud Squad was notorious for not so much fighting fraud as collecting it all up for itself. Ones who were 'caught' were sent to the Gold Coast - full of tourists, and home to boiler room scams, dodgy investment schemes & even dodgier betting syndicates, crooked real estate salesmen, etc - as 'punishment' until they retired.)

Telstra claims ideas created in Hackathon as its own for 18 months

Tac Eht Xilef

Nothing new

The same sort of crap was in their Employee Agreements (for staff that'd been lured off the collective Enterprise Bargaining Agreement by promises of regular overtime and salary-sacrified Holden Commodores) 15 years ago.

Given their attitude then - I was told not to worry about it (then OK, you won't mind if my solicitor takes it out!), that it was a standard part of any contract (funny, it wasn't in the truly individual contracts of several managers I knew well enough to ask), that the same also applied to EBA staff (it didn't), and that it didn't really mean anything (but no, it couldn't be taken out) - I wouldn't be surprised if it was in _every_ work-like contract Telstra asks individuals to sign.