* Posts by Terry Cloth

294 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Feb 2011


Pirates, pirates, whatchu gonna do? Advertisers cop a visit from PIPCU

Terry Cloth

Use a dictionary much?

[A]ccording to the police it "compromises several tactical options, including placing piracy sites on an Infringing Website List (IWL) [....]" [emphasis added]

So, can I assume this compromise means miscreants can easily dodge the IWL?

FCC's Wheeler gives passionate defense of net neutrality rules

Terry Cloth

Such an inspirational example

So, he's resigning before the end of his term, but urging us to fight fiercely in the battle that he runs away from just when it gets tough. Thanks, guy; now we get a Trump FCC voting 4-1 rather than 3-2, as it would be for a year and a half if he stuck it out.

D-Link sucks so much at Internet of Suckage security – US watchdog

Terry Cloth

Re: Cheap - Reliable - Secure ... pick any two.

@Version 1.0: ``[...]but they are going to cost you more. It's your choice so quit complaining.''

Unfortunately, there are many examples of technologies that humanity's survival depends on costing more. We can no longer allow people to build cars the cheapest way---we require them to have expensive catalytic converters. Most of us are realizing that we can't afford the cheapest way to generate electricity (though as a result, we're developing new methods that cost less). The Internet is opening our eyes to the fact that, for society's own good, we can't afford to let people sell the cheapest software.

Banned! No streaming live democracy from your phones, US Congress orders reps

Terry Cloth

False equivalency

You're equating one party's attempt to completely hide what's going on if they don't like it to the other party's attempt to prevent obstructionists from gumming up the works? And the latter in the full light of day?

What's wrong with this picture?

Toshiba faces nuclear power goodwill cost meltdown

Terry Cloth

Talking through my hat

IANAA(ccountant); however, I read a book once. ``Goodwill'' is a way to account for the difference between the objective value of a company (buildings, equipment, contracted-for income, stuff that you can reasonably assign a value to) and what a buyer pays for it (covering reputation, the value of not having to start a business from scratch, employee knowledge and experience, whatnot).

Now comes the hand-waving: maybe Westinghouse thought CB&IS&W was worth a billion, of which some tens of millions was goodwill. Then, when it starts to shake out, they discover that the actual value is negative billions, and assign the difference to goodwill.

</ unfounded speculation>

If you bought a dildo in Denver, the government must legally be told

Terry Cloth

Use a different tax

The answer is obvious: don't charge sales tax. Set that tax rate to zero, and adjust the income tax to make up the shortfall, with the emphasis on those having the free cash available.

Aside from killing one of the most regressive taxes known, it would save major bucks for businesses and state government. No sales tax means no insane forms to decide which items are taxable: take-out sandwiches? eat-in dinners? groceries? medical supplies? porn? I once had a tax number so I could charge tax on my services, but every month I'd get a paper (it was a while ago) about changes to the list of taxable items. I'd wonder how much it cost retailers of assorted goods to track it and get the word out to the cashiers (it was a long while ago). Imagine how much companies could save by not bothering. We could get rid of a large state bureau tracking the stuff, saving the state a bit of expense. What's not to like?

Moscow says writing infrastructure attack code is a thought crime

Terry Cloth

Look on the bright side...

It is unknown how such laws could impact authors of legitimate hacking tools, although the bill states wares must be deliberately built for offensive hacking.
At least the Russkis admit a distinction between ``legitimate'' testing tools and ``offensive'' warez. They're ahead of the U.S. there.

In the three years since IETF said pervasive monitoring is an attack, what's changed?

Terry Cloth

A mixed record

Yes, the NSA gave us Dual EC-DRBG, a definite clinker, but they also (may have) contributed the S-box changes in DES, which improved it significantly. Of course, thanks to them, the key length was shortened to 56 bits (they tried to downgrade it 48 bits, but couldn't swing that), which lowered the price of brute-forcing DES. As a result, the EFF showed in 1998 that anyone with a quarter-million dollars to rub together (and a few clues) could crack DES in around a day.

So, the NSA's involvement can be useful, but all their gift horses' mouths must be inspected closely.

CERN concern: Particle boffins join backlash against Euro Patent Office's King Battistelli

Terry Cloth

Dear Pres. Battistelli: ICANN is holding a senior executive position open for you.

They feel that you're just their type.

Microsoft promises 'equal access' to LinkedIn to get EC green light for acquisition

Terry Cloth

And when 'equal access' to LinkedIn stops?

I get really tired of these ``regulators'' extracting unbacked promises. If you have to change your ways to get the merger, you should put up something of value. Sign a contract so you're bound forever to being unbad, your heirs & assigns ATIMA, and make the penalty something that really hurts---say, 33% of your profits from the time of merger until the breach.

What I usually see is their promise is limited to 3 years or such. You're gonna tell me MS, Google, Oracle, or whomever, aren't willing to just put it on the back burner until time's up, so they can resume their piratical ways. If so, I've got a bridge you might be interested in.

Security bods find Android phoning home. Home being China

Terry Cloth
Black Helicopters


Ummm... Things may be as promised at the time you buy this little wonder. After the first update, all bets are off?

The hated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will soon be dead. Yay?

Terry Cloth

Mr. McCarthy is right: Trade deals should simplify

Trade deals are about clearing away what can be decades of old rules and ad hoc agreements between a multitude of different countries in order to arrive at a much cleaner slate of rules, vastly simplifying commerce for all involved.
Too bad the rest of the article flies in the face of that assertion.

The trouble is that the TPP brings in new rules and ad-hoc agreements between a multitude of different countries.

There's no justification for a trade deal consisting of an enormous dung ball of intricate mechanisms. If you want to make Imaginary Property rules neater and more uniform, then negotiate the Trans-Pacific IP Agreement---nothing else in it. That would allow normal people (the horror!) to judge whether it's an improvement for their country, or not. Ditto the TPEPA (environmental protection), the TPTA (tariffs), and so forth.

Unfortunately(?), this approach leaves no scope for raw horse-trading (I'll take a hit on pharma, if you'll take a hit on lumber, and we'll call it a deal). Gee, I guess we'd just have to make that one agreement balance out between parties; but it's how things used to be handled (e.g.: the Berne Convention on copyright), and could be again.

Suppose we break up the TPP into its component parts, and vote on each. If no go, renegotiate only that part, in secrecy if need be, and present it again, with enough time for interested parties to understand it before making a decision. Maybe we could even predict what the results would be. It would be fascinating to see how much made it through such a process, and in what form.

Can I haz my Nobel Prize in economics now?

China passes new Cybersecurity Law – you have seven months to comply if you wanna do biz in Middle Kingdom

Terry Cloth
Big Brother

Cutting their own throats?

It's long been my opinion that there must be some lash in the geartrain or it'll simply seize up. Overly fine-grained control kills throughput. When their economy slows down five to seven years from now (isn't it showing symptoms of slowdown even now?), will they recognize that more freedom is the answer? If not, they're headed back to third-world status.

Build your own IMSI slurping, phone-stalking Stingray-lite box – using bog-standard Wi-Fi

Terry Cloth

Re: Don't want to be tracked?

Isn't it sufficient to turn off the Wi-Fi? Who needs it if she's not actually surfing?

Every LTE call, text, can be intercepted, blacked out, hacker finds

Terry Cloth

Warnings' effectiveness?

A warning message about security risks could suffice as a cheaper and less effective fix.
How can a general warning help if the reroute happens in the background and the user never sees what's happening? Quit using a cellphone?

Or are you suggesting that a warning be generated only when a reroute actually occurs? False positives much?

Wi-Fi baby heart monitor may have the worst IoT security of 2016

Terry Cloth

``Data Team'' competence

[O]ur data team is working closely with this individual to better understand his concerns[.]

That says it all. Are there are any of El Reg's readers who didn't understand the problem instantly it was described?

VMS will be ready to run on x86 in 2019!

Terry Cloth

My wishes are few

All I want is DEC's diff---the one that would not only show insertions and deletions, but also figure out (correctly, so far as I ever found) sections that had moved within the file. I can't tell you how taken aback I was when I moved to Unix, and found it didn't have that facility.

I haven't encountered it in the decades since. Does it exist now somewhere I haven't run into since those halcyon diffing days? The world wonders.

SANS issues call to arms to battle IoT botnets

Terry Cloth

We're talking security here, right?

I don't lick on bit.ly links, because there's no telling where you'll end up. Could you give us the actual URL?

How to steal the mind of an AI: Machine-learning models vulnerable to reverse engineering

Terry Cloth

But when AIs get too smart...

...won't they be subject to social engineering? Consider this article as a trial run.

Approve dot-gay, ICANN told

Terry Cloth

Order ICANN around?

The headline makes it sound as if someone (Prof. William Eskridge?) can actually tell ICANN what to do. Is this possible? Otherwise you should just write a generic News Byte with content

Another person tells ICANN it's wrong. ICANN ignores missive.
and refer to it as necessary.

Terry Jones has dementia

Terry Cloth
IT Angle

Re: IT angle?

Maybe that so many IT types are Python fans? (Plus, note what you can do by not posting as an AC.)

Vodafone UK blocks bulk nuisance calls. Hurrah!

Terry Cloth

Does it work with landlines?

Here on the U.S., I can get a service (don't know how effective) to block spam from VoIP phones (free) and cell phones ($5/month). Liking my landline (and not understanding why people would pay for dropped calls, unintelligible transmissions, etc.; oh, yeah, get off my lawn), I'd like some parity on spam-stopping.

The Internet of Things isn't just for Bluetooth toothbrushes, y'know

Terry Cloth

Re: or where noisy sales teams should be put so they don’t distract the rest of the company.

Scanning the text, I momentarily read it as ``where noisy sales teams should be put so they don’t interact with the rest of the company''. For a second I was ready to cheer....

United States names its first Chief Information Security Officer

Terry Cloth

Or at least stop us hoarding zero-days?

That would be the first big step to securing our nation's software. The questions are a) what are this guy's views on fixing all discovered bugs, even if discovered by a TLA, and b) does he come equipped with enough clout to convince the powers that be that this is a Good Thing?

I'm not holding my breath.

Google scraps its Project Ara modular smartphone wheeze

Terry Cloth

Try a Fairphone

Fairphone is available, and they're solid enough to be on their second model. It's modular, handles dual SIMs, but also tries to improve the lives of its manufacturing employees, avoid conflict metals, and it comes ``jailbroken'', except there's no jail. They invite you to change the OS to Cyanogen Mod, and they're working on porting Sailfish OS over to it.

Drawbacks? It's expensive (€530), and only available in the EU. (I suspect it would work in the U.S. of A, given the standardization of comm protocols; you just need a friend with an EU address to be a straw purchaser.)

'ICANN's general counsel should lose his job over this'

Terry Cloth

IANA != ICANN (yet)

That's very unfair to the IANA staff who do a great job day in and day out.
Am I wrong that IANA's still independent of ICANN?

This is an example of why the U.S. gov't shouldn't turn IANA over to ICANN—it would be only the work of a week for ICANN to ditch the good folks at IANA, and turn it into another corrupt arm of ICANN. So far as I can see, ICANN is the organizational equivalent of Donald Trump.

Jovian moon Io loses its atmosphere every day

Terry Cloth

Cognitive dissonance?

Io cools down from a balmy -235 °F (-148°C) to a frigid -270°F (-168°C)

According° to Wikipedia, SO2 boils at 14 °F (-10 °C) and freezes at -98 °F (-72 °C), in which case, at Io's referenced temperatures, it should be lying around on the ground all day. Is the difference due to the pressure, or is there an error in values, conversions, or am I missing something here?

Hello, Barclays? Why hello, John Smith. We meet again

Terry Cloth


distortion of POTS or VoIP phone lines

To say nothing of the 300--3k Hz limitation of the voice system. It would be interesting to know the fidelity of the equipment used to develop voice recognition.

It's time for a discussion about malvertising

Terry Cloth

Actually, I asked them about it

A couple (or more?) of years ago, I mailed El Reg to ask how I could help out by paying, and was told ``Thanks for the offer, but we're good''.

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Telcos try to kill net neutrality

Terry Cloth
Thumb Up

Sounds like it's worked reasonably so far

One of the petitions [...] argues that the FCC is misusing decades-old rules intended to apply to the early days of radio and television.

``The [Open Internet] Order subjects broadband for the first time to a regulatory paradigm adopted 80 years ago for telephone monopolies, modeled on a regime first created for railroads,'' the petition reads.

o Worked for the railroads

o Worked for radio

o Worked for television

o Worked for the telephone

o Looks like it'll work for packets

Maybe they got it right over a century ago?

What will laws on self-driving cars look like? Think black boxes and 'minimum attention'

Terry Cloth

The Internet of Traffic

So you're saying we need traffic neutrality?

Comms intercept commish: There were some top secret orders

Terry Cloth
Big Brother

``the Telecommunications Act 1984''

Not knowing the parliamentary history of that Act, could someone please tell me that this was just the one after Act 1983.

Pressure mounts against Rule 41 – the FBI's power to hack Tor, VPN users on sight

Terry Cloth

[G]etting congressional attention...

... to something so seemingly mundane – yet so vital – could be difficult.

And how is this different from the preceding seven and some years?

Capitalize 'Internet'? AP says no – Vint Cerf says yes

Terry Cloth

It's not grammar, dammit!

It's orthography. Look it up.

Tech titans demand free speech law to head off President Trump

Terry Cloth

Re: Vexatious litigants galore

OK, now I have read the text. It seems reasonably straightforward (for a product of Congress). However, IAstillNAL.

Terry Cloth
Thumb Up

Vexatious litigants galore

Those with money (typically corporations) can shut down some little guy they don't like simply by bringing a suit that the little guy can't afford (monetarily) to defend, much less bring a countersuit for SLAPP or vexatious litigation. The suit needn't have any merit. That's too true in much of our U.S. legal system. (Look at copyright and patent giants, e.g.) This sounds like it restores some balance: ask the judge up front to look at the basis of the suit, rather than having to file a countersuit or an appeal. Sounds good to me. (IANAL, and I haven't read the text of the bill, so I may be full of it.)

ASUS' domestic robot

Terry Cloth

It ain't a ``domestic'' robot

unless it can vacuum and do windows (not the computing type).

[See The Door Into Summer, by Robert Heinlein.]

$10bn Oracle v Google copyright jury verdict: Google wins, Java APIs in Android are Fair Use

Terry Cloth

Titles are not copyrightable

This is well-settled copyright law. So, you could write a book called Harry Potter and the Whosis, but I suspect `Harry Potter' is trademarked, which is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

Terry Cloth
Thumb Up

Legal system cynicism

The one bright spot is the bright line the law draws between decisions of fact and decisions of law. The jury has judged that APIs are subject to fair use, and that's the law in this case. All the fighting henceforth will be about whether the trial was run properly. Only if Oracle's lawyers can persuade an appellate court that there was an error in applying the law could we see a retrial, and somehow I don't think that'll happen.

That's one thing the bastards haven't managed to break (choose your favorite bastards). The jury has the last word, and what they say goes. That's why we have the jury system---if the law is wrong, the people get to say so. It's called ``jury nullification'', and it's what puts the people above the Congress. (You'll note that the judge, in his charge to the jury, in the second paragraph of page 1, says

You must follow the law as I give it to you whether you agree with it or not.
Judges hate it when juries realize they [the jury] are the supreme law of the land.)

Linux Mint to go DIY for multimedia

Terry Cloth
Thumb Down

``I hate the term 'folder.'''

My wife ditto. She says ``I don't put files in folders; I put folders in files!'' (as in file cabinets). So I've told her the ``folders'' are really directories. That she can live with.


Terry Cloth

About time they took my advice

A year or so ago, when the NWS asked for suggestions on how to improve its web site, my top suggestion was to ditch all caps. I was so disappointed when they ignored it, but now the eyestrain ends on 11 May. Now if they'd only pay attention to the other one. They should collapse this:

Hazardous weather warning for Northern Fairfield, Northern New Haven, Northern Middlesex, Southern Fairfield, Southern New Haven, Southern Middlesex


Hazardous weather warning for Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex

You can't believe how painful it is to listen to the zombie voice reading all that---and it frequently runs into over a dozen areas that could be collapsed into five or six. (They split some counties into three or four subdivisions.) You listening, NOAA?

Maybe I should just send the Python code to do it for them.

Frontier rings in Verizon takeover by borking its network

Terry Cloth

Re: Don't hate too much on Frontier...

...but just enough. Our experience here on the other coast has been mixed. When they took over a couple of years ago, they cut off landline service to an 87-yo friend. When called on it, they said they'd be happy to reinstate it with a new number. It took some days to get that straightened out; our landline had a few glitches, they tried to raise the rate for us, &c. The blogosphere shows we were not alone in tribulations. It was so bad that we bought a share of their stock solely so we could go to the shareholders' meeting and complain personally. Since they took over, I've been getting a lot more dropped HTML connections, but they always clear up on retry so I haven't been stoked enough to call about it. But, the change was coincident with their takeover, to the day.

That said, things have stabilized in the last year or so, and I've got my fingers crossed.

Astronomers find first neutron star in Andromeda galaxy

Terry Cloth

a 'peculiar low-mass X-ray binary pulsar'...

... in which the companion star is less massive than our Sun

Why should that be peculiar? Since the companion's mass is being sucked up by the neutron star, wouldn't all of them (the companions) end up low-mass?

Hacker reveals $40 attack that steals police drones from 2km away

Terry Cloth

OMG! Someone still builds WEP into modern kit?

The Register to publish Mindful Sysadmin adult colouring book

Terry Cloth


You are the author of my very first rickrolling. (Rick Rolling?) After decades in the business. You had me hooked until then.

And I still want one. As someone observed above ``Shut up and take my money.''

Tired of Windows 10 phoning home? Maybe the special Chinese govt version is for you

Terry Cloth


I'd like to see Microsoft sic the BSA on China.

London's $40m 'flash crash' trader is to face extradition to the US

Terry Cloth


As has been pointed out elsewhere, stock markets are undamped systems, with all the dangers that follow from that. They need damping, in the form of a delay before execution of a trade. I think a few minutes would work (at least five, better fifteen), so that computers will have a harder time gaming the system.

I can hear the shouts now---``You're interfering with the free market!'' Not really; it's just a mechanism to ameliorate the effects of flash crowds (and cut down on the profits of weasels). Remember, the stock markets are (supposedly) dealing with long-term securities, and instant trading destabilizes it. (Maybe a day's delay?) You can still make your money, just wait a bit.

Oh, yeah. And change the (U.S.) law so that to get long-term capital-gains treatment, you hafta hold the stock for five (5) years, like it used to be. That might counter the ``gotta make the next quarter's numbers'' mindset. Or so I can dream.

US Supremes to hear Samsung's gripes about the patent system after Apple billed it $550m

Terry Cloth
Big Brother

[T]he highest court in the Land of the Scared


(I live there, and see all too much of it.)

The bill for Home Depot after its sales registers were hacked: $19.5m

Terry Cloth

Things are looking up!

They only charged Target 25¢ per victim; now they're hitting Home Depot for 40¢. If the rule is raise the fine by 60% for each new breach, we should see things clean up RSN.

Kentucky to build 3,400-mile state-owned broadband network – and a fight is brewing

Terry Cloth

``agency [...] would directly compete with private companies''

Since the private companies aren't competing with each other, _somebody's_ got to do it! (I only wish that was a joke.)