* Posts by John Navas

24 publicly visible posts • joined 26 May 2007

Open source body quits GitHub, urges you to do the same

John Navas

It's not training. It's harvesting. And it's not AI.

Two major misstatements in this piece:

1. It's not training. It's harvesting, like Google News harvesting news from real news websites. (That Microsoft did not harvest its own proprietary code is telling.)

2. It's not AI. It's pattern matching, like a search engine. There's no learning. It doesn't write code. It regurgitates code without attribution.

I know because I invented similar technology more than 25 years ago, except my technology surfaces the original code with attribution.

That Microsoft would do something like this is not terribly surprising, because it presumably purchased GitHub to monetize it. It probably figures it can get away with this because the origin is obfuscated, and because it would be difficult for a FOSS litigant to prove substantial monetary damages (a basic problem of FOSS licensing).

What if Chrome broke features of the web and Google forgot to tell anyone? Oh wait, that's exactly what happened

John Navas


The unspoken irony is that this webpage is being served with AMP.

Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. Comcast to handle DNS-over-HTTPS for Firefox-using subscribers

John Navas

Naive or Complicit?

I was already leery of how Mozilla has been pushing out DoH, but this tells me all I need to know, and so I won't be using or recommending Firefox. ComcastCares only about Comcast. Mozilla is either naive or complicit.

eBay users spot the online auction house port-scanning their PCs. Um... is that OK?

John Navas

Outrageous and probably illegal here in California

it's likely a violation of California Penal Code 502(c), the California Consumer Privacy Act, and the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. (eBay is located here in California.)

Unless and until eBay stops such abusive behavior, I won't use eBay, and will advise others to do the same.

Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

John Navas

Lenovo ThinkPad X220/X230 and Chromebooks

1. Lenovo ThinkPad X220/X230 powerhouses run for up to 13 hours on the extended battery (over 8 hours of typical use), much more with the add-on battery slice.

2. Chomebooks can be used without an Internet connection:



US military gives NASA two better-than-Hubble telescopes

John Navas

Re: Bah!

Falcon Heavy test flight!

John Navas

Military bloat and waste!

Can there now be any real question that US military spending is way out of control?!

Firefox: freedom's just another word for 'kerching!'

John Navas
Thumb Down

Makes no sense!

There is no justification for stealing user information to enrich companies on the Internet. The Internet is paid for by users in their ISP fees. Companies should have business models that obtain revenues from users legitimately and above board, or they should fail.

Google risks OEM wrath for unified Android UI plan

John Navas

You underestimate Google and Linux

You underestimate Google and Linux when you say it's "almost impossible" for Google to achieve Apple levels of performance. Achieving top performance is simply a matter of proper design with the necessary hardware specific layers, and Linux already achieves excellent performance on a very wide range of hardware platforms.

IE9 - the big questions and Microsoft's half answers

John Navas

Silverlight just a stopgap

The glaring lack of an x64 version suggests Silverlight is more about countering Flash than about looking toward the future. HTML5 will prevail.

Yahoo! buys! fantasy! sports! site!

John Navas
Dead Vulture

Grow! Up! El! Reg!

The! many! exclamation! points! are! juvenile!

Buying bandwidth in the app store

John Navas
Dead Vulture

Priority Access won't fly in the USA

FCC "network neutrality"

Whatever happened to the email app?

John Navas

Plug for Opera Mail packaged as a mail client rant

1. Spam and malware are primarily responsible for the decline and fall of email, yet not even touched on.

2. Opera Mail is OK, but nothing to write home about.

3. Thunderbird is pretty good, deserving of more attention than it was given.

4. Pegasus is painfully obsolete, inexcusably buggy.

5. Eudora died of a bad business model, should have been open-sourced.

6. Email survives in the enterprise (Outlook, Lotus) and on smart mobile devices (Blackberry, Gmail Android).

7. Next time make your Subject more representative of your content; e.g., "Opera Mail survives".

iPhone: The OS with big aspirations

John Navas

Pretty silly

"Of course, those of us on the outside will sit feeling superior, 'cos we can run any application we like on our virus-ridden, Trojan-infected, malware-stuffed, desktop computers."

I assume that's intended as a joke or troll, but it's pretty lame even for El Reg -- there are lots of us running special applications we need on clean desktop (and notebook) computers.

Of course if you don't know how to do that, If all you need is standard stuff, then there's nothing wrong with a computer like a microwave oven, with buttons for popcorn (email), beverages (surfing), Apples, etc.

What's really funny is the naive notion that Apple (or Linux) is somehow immune to infection.

Yahoo! names! new! finance! chief!

John Navas

Grow! up! Reg!

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

New trojan in mass DNS hijack

John Navas

OpenDNS is not a good idea

The problem with your advice to use OpenDNS is that those two DNS servers aren't geographically separated, so are likely to both be taken out by the same unfortunate event, wiping you out. (Shame on OpenDNS.)

For reliability it would be good to use or add at least one geographically separated DNS server, as per Internet Best Practice.

Security shocker: 75% of US bank websites have flaws

John Navas
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Yawner, not a shocker

It's hardly a secret that bank have poor security.

JPG hole cuts RAZR open

John Navas
Thumb Down

No update for AT&T Wireless, largest carrier in the USA

While there is an update for USA T-Mobile, there's no update for AT&T Wireless (Cingular), the largest carrier in the USA, a huge disservice to these users. Both Motorola and AT&T should be ashamed.

Amazon sues New York over Amazon Tax

John Navas
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Who cares what El Reg thinks?

"We say that New York has a right to its tax money. "

I say that you are wrong,

that it's not New York's tax money,

and that the attempted grab is indeed unconstitutional.

Your personal data just got permanently cached at the US border

John Navas

The arrogance of El Reg

"There is no reason to store five years worth of email on a portable machine."

Nonsense. Just because El Reg can't think of a reason doesn't mean there aren't good reasons. Some of us, me included, find access to substantial email history on a portable machine to be quite valuable if not essential, for reasons both professional and personal, and far more secure than storing it on a machine connected to the Internet.

Yahoo! to! reject! Microsoft! offer!

John Navas

The Board is just trying to get Microsoft to up the price

which I'm sure Microsoft is prepared to do (up to a point). There's no way the Board could stop the Microsoft offer without major risk of a shareholder revolt and subsequent litigation against the Board for failing to fulfill its duty to shareholders, since there's no realistic possibility of Yahoo reaching such a stock price any other way.

Yahoo! launches! flat!-!-rate! web! hosting!

John Navas

Please please

cut out all the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's annoying and, well, immature.

Yahoo! tops! Google! on! customer! satisfaction! survey!

John Navas

No! silly! exclamation! marks!


Vista upgrade revisited

John Navas

MAC filter and SSID hiding are bad ideas



(Wireless LAN security hall of shame)

MAC filtering: This is like handing a security guard a pad of paper with a list of names. Then when someone comes up to the door and wants entry, the security guard looks at the person’s name tag and compares it to his list of names and determines whether to open the door or not. Do you see a problem here? All someone needs to do is watch an authorized person go in and forge a name tag with that person’s name. The comparison to a wireless LAN here is that the name tag is the MAC address. The MAC address is just a 12 digit long HEX number that can be viewed in clear text with a sniffer. A sniffer to a hacker is like a hammer to a carpenter except the sniffer is free. Once the MAC address is seen in the clear, it takes about 10 seconds to cut-paste a legitimate MAC address in to the wireless Ethernet adapter settings and the whole scheme is defeated. MAC filtering is absolutely worthless since it is one of the easiest schemes to attack. The shocking thing is that so many large organizations still waste the time to implement these things. The bottom line is, MAC filtering takes the most effort to manage with zero ROI (return on investment) in terms of security gain.

MY COMMENT: The downside of MAC filtering is that it often results in mysterious problems that waste lots of time to troubleshoot and fix. With no real upside, and a significant potential downside, it just doesn't make sense. Think cost:benefit ratio.

SSID hiding: There is no such thing as "SSID hiding". You’re only hiding SSID beaconing on the Access Point. There are 4 other mechanisms that also broadcast the SSID over the 2.4 or 5 GHz spectrum. The 4 mechanisms are; probe requests, probe responses, association requests, and re-association requests. Essentially, youre talking about hiding 1 of 5 SSID broadcast mechanisms. Nothing is hidden and all youve achieved is cause problems for Wi-Fi roaming when a client jumps from AP to AP. Hidden SSIDs also makes wireless LANs less user friendly. You dont need to take my word for it. Just ask Robert Moskowitz who is the Senior Technical Director of ICSA Labs in his white paper Debunking the myth of SSID hiding.

MY COMMENT: The downsides of SSID hiding are that it (a) makes it more likely that a neighbor will set up on the same channel as you, resulting in interference that can make your Wi-Fi problematic, and (b) can cause mysterious dropouts with products and/or drivers that don't handle it well. Again, with no real upside, and a significant potential downside, it just doesn't make sense. Cost:benefit ratio.