* Posts by Tom 260

185 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Jun 2010


Ahmed's clock wasn't a bomb, but it blew up the 'net and Zuckerberg, Obama want to meet him

Tom 260
Black Helicopters

In my school years I used to fly R/C model aircraft, and for my GCSE design/technology project I built a mechanism and circuit board to trigger a photographic flash unit to indicate when the engine ran out of fuel (fairly simple, magnets in a disc on the prop shaft, and capacitors to store the charge for the flash). This was all pre 9/11 so neither any of my teachers nor I considered that it could be easily repurposed with the flash replaced by a detonator to go off after the aircraft had been crashed into something... In case the plod are reading, I'm pretty sure the hardware will have long been junked by the school as I didn't keep it myself.

Virgin Media DOUBLE-PUNCHED by BSkyB AND BT over ad fibs

Tom 260


Rather than the useless punishment of "Do not show this advert again in its current form" when said advert is 3-6 months out of date, the ASA should be able to ban a company from all advertising in that specific media (TV/print/web/etc) for 3 or 6 months.

WhatsApp, Zuck? Facebook finally finishes $22bn upstart gobble

Tom 260

So a user account that potentially earns a whole 69p a year (after the free first year, at current rates, before overheads, server and bandwidth costs), is worth $50... and people wonder why the economy went down the plughole a few years ago.

Game pirates 'donate' compute power to Bitcoin miners

Tom 260

Re: Pointless

Nothing is specifically resistant to ASIC, but they can increase the complexity and/or memory requirements for an ASIC, which shoves the cost and power requirements up to the extent that using a GPU or FPGA is the better option.

Litecoin and other scrypt-algorithm based coins benefit substantially from more GPU RAM, although scrypt ASICs have been on the market since about April, while multi-algorithm based coins (Darkcoin and others that run through a sequential process of 5 to 15 different algorithms) would require a separate chip on the ASIC designed for each algorithm to be the most effective. As multi-algorithm coins aren't as memory intensive, they're the current preference for GPU miners, with a power requirement around half that of scrypt algorithms.

Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years

Tom 260

Re: Cyclist

"But not one of them killed the 1754 people who died on UK roads in 2012"

Statistics will tell you anything, mainly because the majority of pedestrians killed in collisions with cyclists are on the pavement.

True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS

Tom 260

Re: rather than living under a rock

The poll question is rather leading, seeing or hearing a section of the video, well the BBC news at 6 on the day showed a still with a few words voiced from the executioner, so everyone that watches that falls into the 25%. New headline perhaps, BBC turns 25% of UK into terrorists?

Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies

Tom 260

Re: To fly, to serve?

The colours are a bit whacky, I appreciate that the idea of "all" (or certainly later) dinosaurs having proto-feathers is gaining traction, but looking at modern avian predators, they're generally variants of brown and grey, with maybe a bit of white, the same evolutionary pressures on birds of prey should mostly apply to Pterosaurs.

Facebook goes down, people dial 911

Tom 260

Re: Wait... what?

Some people call emergency numbers for the daftest things, maybe they think Google runs the numbers now:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-28589972 (Where's the late night chemist at?)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-28408175 (There's a fly in my ear!) - this one has a fair list

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-25560444 (I'm in the supermarket!)

Also see the related stories off those links for more...

Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

Tom 260

Bit of a followup to my last post on Devon & Cornwall Police (regular police driving without headlights & ignoring motoring offences), today I see this article on the beeb: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28437914 (£30,000 spent on repairs after they failed to apply the handbrake on multiple occasions... in the last 6 months)

Tom 260

@Neil B "There is a massively decreased police presence on the roads, and an actual traffic stop is the only way to catch someone doing this."

Some areas there aren't any traffic officers even before the cutbacks, Devon & Cornwall Police for instance have just 7 traffic cars across the entire region, the biggest single police force area in England, and the regular patrol cars couldn't care less about motoring offences. I've seen police cars going round without headlights well into dusk, and they ignore drivers who have a brake light or headlight out - this being a rural area the roads are unlit as soon as you get outside the towns.

Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

Tom 260

Re: Genuine reason.

Actually, running out of fuel isn't a valid reason, in the UK it's an offence to run out of fuel on a motorway. As a result there are always signs informing you how far it is to the next petrol station.

BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled

Tom 260

Re: Could be for the best

The PS3 version has been giving random errors ever since they updated it (including one at the end of each video), and that's even more of a mess to find things in compared to the old layout.

Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Tom 260

Re: Date of birth

Not forgetting the completely secret details often asked for in setting up secret questions/answers, which are limited to about 5 of the following things findable in your Facebook profile (or otherwise known by friends & family): Mother's Maiden Name, Place of Birth, First Job, First Pet, First School, Street You Grew Up On, Uncle's Middle Name, etc.

Since this is often the only line of security in a password reset (which you may need to do at some point, so gibberish isn't always an option), it seems to make picking a complicated password pointless, as you have to invent and remember/record answers. Also see Verified by Visa and Mastercard's similar scheme, which only need the details printed on your card and your DoB to reset the password and make a purchase.

Computing student jailed after failing to hand over crypto keys

Tom 260

Re: @ A K Stiles

Not only do they make their exact copy, but they use a write-blocker on the original device too.

El Reg article (page 3 goes into a bit of detail on this): http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/07/feature_what_happens_when_you_arrested_by_computer_police/

Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife

Tom 260

The BS31 postcode in the Twitter quote is between Bristol and Bath, which is obviously both north and east... if you live in Devon.

France frostily foists flat fizz fear on ICANN's .wine plans

Tom 260

Re: Some things useful, most not

The whole thing seems to have gone out of control, and is indeed fading away from relevancy in modern usage anyway (beyond the blackmailing both of trademarks and smaller businesses).

People are used to typing out a .com/.country address (if its not already bookmarked), or they google/engine of your choice it, or follow a shortened url from a twitter/myface post, and if they are looking at a paper advert with a funny tld url, they'll scan the QR code rather than type out a full domain, not forgetting the apps that work in conjunction with TV adverts too - none of which matter what tld you are using.

Don't snap SELFIES at the polls – it may screw up voting, says official

Tom 260

These are generally election observers, more interested in spotting whether they could have a case for electoral fraud should their candidate not win, and yes you don't have to give them your number, but I'm pretty sure they should not be asking you how you're voting. If you don't give them a number, they'll still keep a headcount, so as to have a good idea on how many votes there should be in a certain ballot box.

There are also pollsters for the various companies that sell data to the media, who do ask people on exit how they voted, again entirely optional whether you talk to them, or lie to them, never seen one myself so not sure how they identify themselves.

Tom 260

Re: Doesn't matter anyway...

The reference numbers are only meant as a backstop in the case of widespread fraud (ballot stuffing and so forth), the photography rules are meant to stop individuals being bribed to vote one way or another, as there should be no proof that they could provide to an outside individual that they did so.

For the European elections, given the large areas that each election region covers, plus the methodology of determining how many seats a party gets, that level of bribery *should* be impractical anyway (cheaper to bribe the MEPs once they've been elected!).

However, many regions have local elections going on at the same time, where 1000 votes is often enough to return a candidate, so these are very vulnerable to any fraud.

Bitcoin blockchain allegedly infected by ancient 'Stoned' virus

Tom 260


More a semantic point than anything, but a bitcoin wallet does not contain any bitcoins, it is simply an identifier that can be cross referenced against the ledger (blockchain), which is what allows you to make a transaction (signed with your private key). At the moment it still requires far more computing power to brute force the wallet keys (either through collision or chancing on the duplicate of someone's private key) than finding a block by mining directly.

Microsoft throws Kinect under a bus, slashes Xbox One to $399

Tom 260

Re: Slashes price?...

The sillier thing is that the new UK price without Kinect is £349, which is the same price that some places have been selling the console with Kinect for in order to shift stock! (and about £370 for the Titanfall bundle).

Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Tom 260

Re: still no top left double click to close

In about:config, set browser.tabs.drawInTitlebar to false (you can also use an option in Classic Theme Restorer to do the same thing, called 'Tabs in Titlebar' on the first tab of options). This brings back the standard windows titlebar to FF, along with the normal application icon to let you close by double clicking.

Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades

Tom 260

Re: Drivers

I had a 550Ti that caused BSODs on my Win7 system (while web browsing, didn't matter if it was Firefox or Chrome) with any drivers newer than March 2013, so crap drivers abound on both sides. Saying that I'm happy with my current ATI card & drivers (or AMD as I guess I should call it these days).

Dimwit hackers use security camera DVRs as SUPER-SLOW Bitcoin-mining rig

Tom 260

Re: Using someone else's hardware and electricity?

If there's enough slow devices submitting shares (proof of work) to a mining pool*, then they will be earning tiny fractions of a Bitcoin, infect enough machines and it goes from being a pittance to a few dollars or even more per day/week/month.

*Mining pools (for those not into the mining scene) basically let a load of people collaborate their mining power and share out the rewards of mining a block amongst themselves, this allows those taking part to have smaller but much more regular payouts, rather than solo-mining for one big payout which may come every month or even further apart (if you're unlucky, you could go quite a while even with significant hashing power).

Mt Gox staff tried to warn CEO of Bitcoin loss risks – reports

Tom 260

Re: Next

MtGox isn't the be all and end all of Bitcoin, yes the value has dropped as a result of the shenanigans, but it was also dropping after the speculation bubble resulting from the US Senate hearings in early December. Bitcoin is still (for now) worth more than the peak this time last year from people trying to get their money out of Cyprus. Re:Next, there's probably in excess of 200 cryptocurrencies that have launched now, and around 50-60 are quite active (in terms of trading and mining), using half a dozen different algorithms, mainly to try and restrict the processing power arms race that Bitcoin (SHA-256) and scrypt-based coins are inspiring.

Other exchanges are available(TM), and you can get cash in or out of them in USD, roubles, euros and a few other currencies. Getting GBP out of Bitcoin is still a PITA though, if you've got serious money to move then you can afford the fees (€100+) and make a SEPA transaction to a UK bank (if you can find one that knows what SEPA is), otherwise you're better off finding a UK/EU merchant that takes BitPay or another PayPal-esque service, and buying physical goods with the currency.

Alternatively just hold onto your funds and see where it goes later in the year and into next year. Once a true use for one or another cryptocurrency is found, beyond the current limited market of speculation and mining for profit, then it may take off in a very real manner. Google and Facebook were non-entities 15 years ago, what will we say about cryptocurrencies in another 15 years.

Netflix needling you? BBC pimps up iPlayer ahead of BBC3 move

Tom 260

Downloaded programs also need subtitles, which are strangely lacking given that they're available if you stream it instead (Sky's On Demand BBC content also completely lacks subtitles).

Self-forming liquid metal just like a TERMINATOR emerges from China lab

Tom 260

Re: Chick

The T-X had an outer layer of this stuff as I recall, but underlying that was a regular robot, hence the ability to do particle/energy weapons rather than just blades and spikes.

Russian cybercrooks shun real currencies, develop private altcoins

Tom 260

Re: 'criminals don't trust Bitcoin'

Criminals don't tend to trade stocks and shares either, they'd be called Bankers if they did...

New password system lets planet Earth do the hard work

Tom 260

Re: Summer home replaces pet name.

You'd have to trace some key features around your target area (so if a tree, trace either it's foliage or a set of trees that surround it), which is fine until the satellite picture updates and there are changes that muck things up (two trees down in the storms, or the satellite has a different perspective so tall objects appear to shift).

Random car shutdowns force Toyota to recall Prius hybrids - AGAIN

Tom 260


Can they fix their battery fires OTA too?

MtGox fallout bogs down Bitcoin traders as malleability issue goes mainstream

Tom 260

There's already an alternative cryptocurrency (out of the 100+ that are out there) called Bottlecaps, which is accepted on several exchanges :)

The real investment of the moment is Dogecoin, the value is up 80% in a week, and 750% over the past month or so. In terms of market capitalisation, it is currently in 3rd place behind Litecoin, and may catch it in the coming month or two. The average block reward (the amount of new coins given out when a block containing transaction data is successfully 'mined') is due to be halved by around the weekend, so the supply of new coins will fall, possibly driving the price up further - it depends how much of the current rise is driven by speculators expecting the price to double at the weekend, which it likely won't, IMO the bigger change will be in the mining difficulty falling in response as people switch to other coins. *

* None of the above constitutes financial advice in any shape or form whatsoever, etc. etc.

Tom 260

Re: So the BTC unique selling point has evaporated...

This loophole was fixed in the standard wallet client in 2011, it's down to MtGox using their own custom coded wallet software that they didn't bother to check it for this issue.

Mars Orbiter spots FRESH IMPACT CRATER

Tom 260

Re: Non-radial

The angle of impact is a much bigger factor than the Martian wind, given the average atmospheric pressure of 0.6kPa (versus Earth at 101kPa), and debris will be travelling at a significant proportion of the impact velocity (20km/s for a ballpark figure on the original meteorite, barely slowed down by the atmosphere). On Earth ejecta would be slowed to subsonic speeds fairly rapidly.

Eurocops want to build remote car-stopper, shared sensor network

Tom 260

Re: Wifi? No way

The other *teensy* problem is making it so that it fries car electronics behind a few sheets of metal, without frying someone's pacemaker.

A car-taser perhaps, if the Faraday effect works in that situation to protect the flesh-bags while the delivered current fries any grounded (to the chassis/body) electrical systems? You'd have to be sure to hit something metal on the back or side of the car though, not the lights or plastic bumper (or 4x4's spare wheel). Perhaps some variant of the Finnish car harpoon ( http://www.autoblog.com/2009/10/27/video-finnish-him-nordic-authorities-harpoon-chase-ender-amaz/ ) that contains batteries/capacitors - instead of tear gas! - and doesn't remain attached to the car that fires it, that should penetrate through to the chassis (or the bloke tied up in the boot).

Our Milky Way galaxy is INSIDE OUT. Just as we suspected, mutter boffins

Tom 260

Re: Bah!

There seems to be a debate as to whether a galactic collision can result in a spiral galaxy, or it always leads to an elliptical galaxy. Give it a hundred million years or so for any of the currently observable galaxies in collision to sort themselves out and we'll have a definitive answer.

Mystery 'doughnut' materializes in front of Mars rover: 'OH MY GOD! It wasn't there before!'

Tom 260

Re: The stone moved....

Now we've looked at the recorded image of it on our screens, does that mean we'll start weeping bits of stone too? (never did work out why it was only with the recorded image, and not looking at the regular ones directly)

Pay-as-you-GONE: Help! T Mobile's swiped my phone credit – customers

Tom 260

2hrs for 20...

Depends if she was unable to leave whatever she was doing (eg. job, dog walk, supermarket, any number of other things) right away, hence the attempt to contact others to make the pickup.

BT 118 phone number fee howler lands telco giant with £225k fine

Tom 260

Re: I'm amazed people use premium rate numbers

Even if you do have the regular phone directory handy, it only covers the nearest two towns these days anyway, long gone are the county-wide phone directories - probably to encourage people to dial 118!

Virgin Media spanked by ad watchdog over 'in your neighbourhood' fibs

Tom 260

Re: Spammers.

Also Re: "The Occupier", the regular Electoral Register mailings are addressed this way, as are Census forms.

Steam and Origin gamers knocked offline by SEPARATE DDoS attacks

Tom 260

Re: Awesome

It was more the giving away of Left 4 Dead 2 as a Xmas Day freebie that wasted their servers, though only the ones serving up the store pages, the rest of the Steam platform didn't appear affected.

Hong Kong to welcome planet's second EVER Bitcoin ATM

Tom 260

China has banned banks and other financial institutions from handling bitcoin, but private individuals can still trade amongst themselves, the setback is with no banks willing to be involved, it becomes much harder to change between bitcoin/yuan, which stymies the involvement of speculators and businesses.

Pervy TOILET CAMERA disguised as 'flash drive' sparks BOMB SCARE on Boeing 767

Tom 260

Re: Haven't you seen Fringe ?

Avoid the explosive route and go with thermite, it may not burn for long at that size, but it could be long enough to burn through the floor of the cabin and enter a luggage compartment (assuming it misses any wiring or hydraulic lines) - or just start in the overhead lockers, plenty of clothes/duty free gin there.

World+dog: Network level filters block LEGIT sex ed sites. Ofcom: Meh

Tom 260

Re: How does the choice work?

Actually with Sky you have to turn it on in order to see the option to completely disable it, suggesting that "18" isn't unfiltered.

Gran Turismo 6: Another glossy, gorgeous Mario Kart on steroids

Tom 260

Re: Micro Transactions

You can purchase in game credits with real money, but the in-game earnings are unaltered from GT5, so you can build up your cash without too much bother once you get into the later races.

On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

Tom 260
Big Brother

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Maybe 'rescue' an 88mm German anti-tank/anti-aircraft gun from a museum, along with some flak rounds, see if you can take the drone down that way... Of course, the FBI/ATF may have something to say about that.

Alternatively, wait for a heavy rainshower to soak the cardboard packaging, such that it is now too heavy for the drone to fly at a safe altitude, and have at it with the duck hunting guns.

Small software firm wins $28.4m after lobbing sueball at Lockheed Martin

Tom 260

Re: It's not as if...

Indeed, there was a saying at the time, if you wanted a Starfighter, all you had to do was buy a big enough plot of land, and one would crash there sooner or later.

Microsoft hires Pawn Stars to shaft Google

Tom 260

It's been a bit odd in the UK watching the hotmail (sorry, outlook) adverts that big it up as being private vs gmail's web interface which has targeted ads... except I use the pop3 servers on both, so miss the ads. The hotmail one has crap spam filters too, doesn't block the spammers using hotmail or academic domains among others.

Thai man reportedly dies clutching his scorched iPhone 4S

Tom 260

Not the voltage...

It's not the voltage that kills you, it's the amps. Going by a site with info on PAT testing, and it quotes 60mA AC and 300mA DC as sufficient to induce ventricular fibrillation, passing through the chest (direct to the heart is as little as 1mA).

As for concrete providing an earth for the current, it does have a resistance of about 120 Ohms, but it will still conduct (concrete also corrodes through a process of electrolysis, which progressively lowers the resistance to below 80 Ohms).

Microsoft bans XXXXBOX gamers for CURSING in online combat

Tom 260

Re: Age limits?

As far as I'm aware, the videos can be viewed by anyone on the Live service, not just those with the game, and since Microsoft are utter bellends regarding child accounts, everyone generally just makes an adult account anyway. It took about 5 years for them to make an option available to upgrade from a child to adult account keeping your tag & gamerscore (after all, kids do grow up eventually), and the upgraded accounts still don't work properly at everything a regular adult account can do.

GTA San Andreas: Now smack that disobedient hooker on your PHONE

Tom 260

Shame they didn't bother to remaster the graphics for the recent PS3 release, though perhaps they should use the team converting the games to mobile for their GTAV iFruit app, which despite being pretty simple (apart from a tamagotchi style interaction with the dog, the rest is all menus), requires a dual core 1.4GHz, which rules out even some brand new devices...

XBOX ONE owners rage as HDMI SNAFU 'judders' Brit and Euro tellies

Tom 260

Tellies can handle 60Hz input

After all, 60Hz is what the PS3 and 360 have been feeding UK tellies for years over HDMI. It seems to be more the case that the Xbox isn't handling the frame conversion from the 50Hz it's getting from the TV box to the 60Hz it outputs very well. Simple solution is to not use it as a leccy-guzzling passthrough, and get a HDMI hub if you've not got enough HDMI sockets on your telly (the well-made ones will switch signals automatically with devices being turned on and off too).