* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

2223 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Remember that black hole just 1,000 light years from Earth? Scientists queue up to say it may not exist after all

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: I feel an overwhelming urge to quote Holly!

6000 PE teachers, actually. Imagine an army of those operating a moving space station.

'Google cannot stop it, control it or curtail it...' Inside the murky world of fake addiction treatment center search spam

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Sorry, can't hear you over the sound of our money

GMail, Groups, and Calendar will send out bulk messages that will never be shown to Google users because they're clearly spam. Google indexes thousands of GMail addresses listed in scam and phishing sites but doesn't close the accounts. Google has people driving, bicycling, and walking around with mapping cameras but doesn't use any of that to verify business appearances. Google API storage will host redirect pages to sites that Google has branded as unsafe. Google will not remove apps from Play Store after they've been flagged numerous times as harmful. Everything about Google collects data, often illegally, and says it's OK because it's that data never leaves the premises of it's 120,000+ employee global business.

Happy privacy action day in California: If you don't have 'Do not sell my information' in your website footer, you need to read this story right now

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Of course there is an alternative

Some companies must collect data to operate and, by regulations, have immutable record keeping. An extreme example is companies that move money - the Government requires record keeping and reporting to prevent money laundering and tax evasion. Nobody can pull $10000 then ask to be deleted.

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

You idiot!

Move the ship! We're blocking one of the start they're looking at. The'll see us coming.

You wait ages for a mid-air collision spoofing attack and along come two at once: More boffins take a crack at hoodwinking TCAS

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Paris Hilton

light speed

You know you need to trick a speed-of-light measuring mechanism and you chose Python running on a desktop computer? Aren't there plenty of no-OS hobby boards out there?

Hey, Boeing. Don't celebrate your first post-grounding 737 Max test flight too hard. You just lost another big contract

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

It worked once, ship it!

I see no getting away from computers in the future. The next step in flight efficiency is going to require different methods of thrust and dramatically different body shapes. Not all of that will be controllable from a hydraulic line.

The change will be testing electronics systems with as much detail as the critical mechanical parts. Stress test them, peer review them, test coping with their failure, routinely inspect them for malfunction, and replace anything that's not performing well. If tech companies did this more often in general I'd be in heaven.

Living on a prayer? Netgear not quite halfway there with patches for 28 out of 79 vulnerable router models

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Wonder how many router firmware developers Netgear has?

My impression from getting support on Netgear products is that engineering is outsourced. There were entire classes of features that didn't work, public releases sometimes had testing backdoors permanently enabled, and support needed multiple days to contact engineering. The only satisfactory solution I came up with was throwing them in the trash.

There are DDoS attacks, then there's this 809 million packet-per-second tsunami Akamai says it just caught

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Comcast Business does this. They phoned me a few years ago to say that a couple of my devices might be participating in PnP amplification. They were Axis security cameras that that needed an update. I shut off PnP permanently and patched them.

Then there's lots of other ISPs that don't care at all what their customers do. I block them at the router so fail2ban doesn't get bogged down.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: And the next step...

I'm mentioned before that it's time to bring back network blacklisting. There are several large networks that are just fine hosting organized crime.

If you think this is a bad idea, you don't know about AGIS in the 1990s. Criminals were big business for them. When portions of their network were registered with blocklists (usually MAPS), they rotated legitimate customers to those addresses and declared war against blocklist maintainers. AGIS was huge and these focused RBLs took out significant parts of the Internet. AGIS organized DDoSes, lied to the press, lied to Congress, and spread misinformation in their war. They had the full resources of organized crime on their side. The Internet survived only because a large number of networking peers agreed to halt AGIS traffic.

Macs, iPhones, iPads to get encrypted DNS – how'd you like them Apples?

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Better late than bleeding edge?

I have to upvote this. A digital signature in a trailing header would be so much more efficient for public content. I worked at a company that did this for a lot of internal data that didn't need privacy but did require integrity.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Big G

Then install Chrome so everything you type into the address bar is collected by the world's largest private data hoarder.

Let's roll the 3d6 dice on today's security drama: Ah, 15, that's LG allegedly hacked, source code stolen by Maze ransomware gang

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


LG open-sources their phones and appliances, 3rd party support comes to life, and their hardware works however people want it to.

OK, reality is more like LG asking everyone to install a sketchy unsigned Windows driver to patch firmware vulnerabilities as they're disclosed. The driver will have vulnerabilities too.

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

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Big Brother

I knew that a centralized commercial system would be exploited, but that was FAST. Nice work, Comcast.

Apple gives Boot Camp the boot, banishes native Windows support from Arm-compatible Macs

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

"hypervisors can be very efficient"

Except that MacOS can be extremely inefficient as a host. The insane OS bloat, badly tuned virtual memory, and overpriced RAM options means that your average Mac can not practically run another overweight OS like Windows in a virtual machine.

Eclipse Foundation releases Jakarta EE 9 preview, adopts AdoptOpenJDK

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Jetty and a few JAX-RS libraries is great for microservices. Even DropWizard is a good start because it's easy to trim it down once it's running. I see Spring or EE and assume it's 15 million lines of bad Stack Overflow suggestions assembled by 6 different contract agencies.

After huffing and puffing for years, US senators unveil law to blow the encryption house down with police backdoors

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Please find the monolith

Hopefully there are more hanging around Jupiter. The last dose wore off and we're devolving back into monkeys.

Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length: macOS shifts from x86 to homegrown common CPU arch, will run iOS apps

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Curse of the LC

In Apple's history, moves to new processors has gone extremely well... until the LC model comes out to recover R&D expenses. They were 1/5 the performance at 4/5 the selling price. The ARM migration can go well if Apple can resist hitting the "quick money" button.

What's the Arm? First Apple laptop to ditch Intel will be 13.3" MacBook Pro, proclaims reliable soothsayer

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


ARM is taking off. ARM processors are available for cloud computing and servers because they do sometimes offer more compute power per watt. Apple has been pumping a lot of money into their flavor of ARM and some reports say it's faster than the low power Intel processors that Apple uses.

Developers probably aren't impacted much. Changing the CPU is trivial compared to the work of when Apple changes the OS. Anyone adverse to regularly rewriting non-portable code has already left.

If it's faster, I look forward to someday having a work laptop that can apply a minor software update in less than 35 minutes.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Cheaper macs *coff*

It will cost you an ARM

Belief in 5G conspiracy theories goes hand-in-hand with small explosions of rage, paranoia and violence, researchers claim

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

60 Mhz depletes oxygen?

I totally missed out on this hoax and opportunity. I could have convrted millions of abandoned VCR channel 3 RF modulators into digital fire extinguishers.

Australia's Lion brewery hit by second cyber attack as nation staggers under suspected Chinese digital assault

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Firewall chicken

I never mentioned politicians. I'm talking about why public blacklists and blacklist services aren't used more often. These can be selected and used by whatever serves a company best.

The current technique of re-actively blocking single abusive IPv4 addresses stopped working well some time in early 1990.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Firewall chicken

Networking people really need to get more aggressive about blocking huge chunks of the Internet that doesn't like playing nice. The potential loss of a few legitimate customers isn't anything compared to the constant attacks that certain networks pride themselves on hosting. Start with Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese government networks, OVH, and DigitalOcean. If it works out, maybe try FOS VPN, Google, and Amazon too.

Or do nothing and let the Internet slowly decay into nothing but constant attacks. It's why there's no more free WiFi. Free WiFi companies did nothing about customers with infected laptops and eventually everything was supersaturated with botnet attacks.

Google isn't even trying to not be creepy: 'Continuous Match Mode' in Assistant will listen to everything until it's disabled

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Poison pranks

There was an older prank for people who left their computers unlocked - spend a good 5 minutes searching for Sailor Moon (or worse) merchandise in multiple search engines. It looks like this is going to make a comeback in voice form.

What does London's number 65 bus have to hide? OS caught on camera setting fire to '22,000 illegal file(s)!!'

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


A moderately sized number hinting at the possibility of a 32 bit bus.

It's 500 Friday at GitHub as source shack takes an hour-long morning totter

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Several tech companies are declaring today to be a holiday. It's possible that a GitHubber deployed changes when it's simultaneously a Friday and a minimum staff day.

FCC boss orders probe into 'unacceptable' T-Mobile US outage after carrier plays dog-ate-my-homework card

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

This redundancy failed us

Is that referring to Sprint's network?

Adobe about to pull the plug on Creative Cloud freebie 'at-home' access for students

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Universities have incredible manpower. Get the art and UX students to design beautiful and fluid art applications. Get the CS students to write the application code. Have the math and statistics students work out the correct pixel operations.

Building a good illustration and multimedia app is hard as hell. Participating in a real-world Adobe-killing product would look amazing on a recent grad's resume.

HTC breaks with tradition to push out 2 phones someone might actually want to buy

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Spec sheet press release

Too many phones get articles like these without real testing. Even though it's mentioned that HTC phones have a bad reputation, there's nothing here hinting improvement. Phones are getting to be as expensive and powerful as laptops but software reliability remains awful. I've had multiple phones that, despite flagship specifications and prices, could not actually make phone calls or use WiFi reliably. "Try another factory reset" is the first suggested fix and "Buy our newer phone" is the second.

At least these HTC phones could work in England. Arse posted a glowing article without noticing that the phones don't have radio bands for North America.

Living up to its 'un-carrier' slogan, T-Mobile US stops carrying incoming calls, data in nationwide outage

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

At least the status worked

611 (service & repair number) said there was an outage and customer service reps were unavailable. Somebody gets credit for making that more robust than the average SaaS status page.

ZFS co-creator boots 'slave' out of OpenZFS codebase, says 'casual use' of term is 'unnecessary reference to a painful experience'

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

We're not yet in a perfect world where people don't have to worry about "slave" being used on them.

We watch Sci-Fi like Star-Trek and think that humans are going to evolve into a species capable of living in peace and traveling the galaxy. We watch the news and realize that humans still carry a unique form of stupidity and savagery that was somewhat out of sight until Trump put "strong and stupid" back in fashion.

Politics aside, it would be nice if the ZFS folks fix free space integrity.

OOP there it is: You'd think JavaScript's used more by devs than Java... but it's not – JetBrains survey

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: I just can't get away with them...

A giant monitor is what you need.

There are many projects where you'll never get anything done without an IDE. Golang has functions pretending to be methods. Scala has invisible implicits everywhere to make it work (or not). Java and Scala have giant stream pipelines where intermediate values are beyond tedious to calculate manually.

Alternately, you could work some place that's using so many garbage Spring/EE frameworks and custom build pipelines that an IDE has no ability to analyze the code.

Taiwan aims to trump China with new display tech industry development plan

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Inorganic LED displays

The cellphone and TV industry needs a new absurd benchmark for the year 2021. Inorganic LEDs can do a skin-searing 150 lumens per square millimeter, so there's something to aim for.

Goggles, please.

California bigwigs rule Uber, Lyft dial-a-ride drivers are employees, not contractors

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: I know many people who work so-called "gig economy" jobs here in California.

Maybe they don't want to be employees, but California is tired of people needing government assistance when they need medical care, can't work, or get tricked with a deceptive contract. It wasn't a big deal until seemingly half of California was driving around in circles and parking in the middle of intersections with Uber/Lyft decals.

AB5 needs some tuning, of course, but I don't think Uber/Lyft are going to escape it. Those employees are told exactly how to do their work rather than being paid for the outcome. Tech companies had the same issue where they couldn't micromanage employees then claim that they're exempt from overtime.

MacOS on Arm talk intensifies: Just weeks from now, Apple to serve up quarantini with Kalamata golive, reportedly

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Heavy OS

Has Apple tried cleaning up the OS? They have compessed virtual memory, which sounds cool until you realize that you're swapping only because the compressed memory buffer is eating huge amounts of RAM. There must be 4 GB of various unused Apple daemons running that never swap out. The filesystem still doesn't seem to cache properly. Mix poor caching with constant compressed memory swapping and now the laptops are thermally throttled during any serious work. Oh, and periodic minor software updates somehow take 35 minutes to install. The battery in my late model Macbook Pro is more like a UPS than anything freeing me from an AC outlet.

I put Linux on an old personal Macbook Pro. It went from being unbearably slow to being responsive and capable for some tasks.

Sponge code borks square AI brains, sucking up compute power in novel attack against machine-learning systems

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Paris Hilton

I've seen this before

Isn't this what nearly everything on the Internet does to your brain?

From off-prem to just off: IBM Cloud goes down planet-wide so hard even the status page didn't work

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Hazard lights

When your car spontaneously halts in the middle of the intersection and catches fire, do you say it's down for maintenance?

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Humidity control..

Those old timer driers work better than you think. Evaporation cools the air so it's an excellent humidity sensor. When the outgoing air is cool, the heat turns on and timer stops. When it's hot, the heat turns off and the timer advances. That's it and it works. You adjust the dial to accommodate clothes that are very thin or very thick, but wetness is compensated for.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

If it's like a cell phone, the last update doesn't work.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

LG nonsense

I'm still trying to figure out why cooking ranges and small-room air conditioners have WiFi remote control. It's just as confusing as why I need to create a cloud account to even look at the remote control app.

It might be amusing to watch a portable air conditioner get hacked but the fire breathing appliance is never getting a WiFi password.

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Plenty of companies are paying millions of dollars a year in compute costs. The ones that will still be around tomorrow don't want to hear any crap about scaling up to accommodate lazy code.

It doesn't matter how fast computers are. You're in trouble if your competitor can make them run even 50% faster.

We have Huawei to make the internet more secure: Dump TCP/IP to make folks safer says Chinese mobe slinger

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

"shut-off" mechanism

China could try putting real contact information into their APNIC records. Most countries use such information to request that attacks be shut down.

I may never remove Chinese and Vietnamese government owned networks from my firewall. I put in a nice request to have attacks stopped but they bounced. I've already wasted enough time.

Have I Been Pwned breach report email pwned entire firm's helldesk ticket system

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Surely there must be a psych study on why not bothering to keep executable data and user data separated strongly correlates to a love of PHP. There are many languages allowing you to do it either way, but PHP is chosen.

Watchdog slams Pentagon for failing – for a third time – to migrate US military to IPv6

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Security concerns

I'm guessing many years of applying superstitious IPv4 security fixes until the vulnerability scans pass. They flip the switch to IPv6 and nothing works but some vulnerabilities.

Software for IPv6 still sucks too. It's the year 2020 and there's still no way for a Docker container, VM, or VPN to negotiate dividing the host's massive subnet.

Blight the power: Jamming attack cripples wireless signals using clever reflective technology

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

But passive is more infuriating

Anyone tried using an antenna next to a cluster of tall offices? Got it! Wait, it's fading.. just need a little adjustment.. no, yes, no, gah!

Cybercrooks tend to prefer Google-branded phishing to Microsoft-flavoured lures

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Send your complaints of illegal activity to our bot

I've started checking how long phishing resources remain active on Google. It's about 7 months. Google's own search engine has indexed lists of Google's own resources being listed on multiple phishing blacklists, and the accounts are still alive. Google is usually #1 on Spamhaus for C&C hosting.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Early versions of MacOS used Pascal. I preferred it a lot compared to what C looked like at that time. It was easy to read, had helpful compiler errors, and could model high and low level data structures.

Object Pascal, on the other hand, is what made me switch to C++.

Apple promises third, no, fourth, er, fifth time's a charm when it comes to macOS Catalina: 10.15.5 now out

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: It's UNIX

Is the "Spawn of Satan" icon not showing on my post?

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


You can apply fixes from the open source community while waiting for Apple, right?

Galaxy S20 security is already old hat as Samsung launches new safety silicon

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Samsung has upgraded their sieve of security from wire to heavy gauge stainless steel.

Frontier: Yes, yes, we've filed for bankruptcy protection, but that's not stopping us giving key staff $38m in bonuses

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


I find it hard to believe that all 390 employees are staying for the full bonus. Jumping ship for a better job can offset long-term retention bonuses, especially if sanity has value. I'd heroically fight to save a startup that still has a heart and a chance but a big DSL telco is going to be a slow and procedural failure.


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