* Posts by Androgynous Cupboard

1170 posts • joined 7 Mar 2012

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Bill for HMS Vanity Gin Palace swells by £50m in two months

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: hold on

Not sure why the downvotes. If history tells us anything it’s that half the budget will got to Capita before the project is axed.

Remember the bloke who was told by Zen Internet to contact his MP about crap service? Yeah, it's still not fixed

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: Write your MP

I'm trying to discern the motivation of the various downvoters for these comments. You've accused your MP of being popular and effective! How very dare you!

As for those downvoting the "my MP is useless because X" comments, what's driving that? Are there a number of useless MPs reading this thread instead of doing any real work, or are people really so "my party, right or wrong" that they think their team is entirely without fault?

A little bit of a tally so far:

* Comments criticising Labour MPs: 0 downvotes

* Comments criticising Tory MPs: 6 downvotes

* Comments praising Greens: 2 downvotes

* Comments praising LDs: 1 downvote

I think we can see where the unquestioning loyalty is to be found.

'Login infrastructure issue' blamed as sustained Xero outage threatens payrolls

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Re: you could use two different clouds

Well played Ken, well played.

Hole blasted in Guntrader: UK firearms sales website's CRM database breached, 111,000 users' info spilled online

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Re: @AC

Why wouldn't you fear your citizens? I've met a few; most are fine but there are enough that aren't to cause a problem. Forcing you to switch to a .177 air pistol for your target shooting - still entirely legal in the UK - to try and save even a few lives from idiots with guns seems a good trade to me.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: @AC

But a gun is designed to kill. That's all it's for, and it's all it does. So in that sense, a gun - or for that matter a tank, or a cluster bomb, or a landmine - is very different to scissors, isn't it? And of all of these machines for efficient killing, only the gun has been turned into an object of worship, so much so that people literally take them to church without even noticing the irony.

I realise it's not the whole country, and I've largely enjoyed my occasional visits. But with people loving their guns and hating tax-funded healthcare and COVID vaccines, there are times that parts of the good old US of A resemble a high-functioning death cult.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: @AC

A typically well argued post from you. It's unfathomable how anyone in the UK, as you clearly are, can look across the atlantic and draw the conclusion that gun licensing requirements in the UK are too onerous.

What is your greatest weakness? The definitive list of the many kinds of interviewer you will meet in Hell

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Haven't interviewed in years, but when I did I was fond of the "complete the doubly-linked list class" question I was given in my 1st year CS exam. Disturbingly high failure rate.

In the '80s, satellite comms showed promise – soon it'll be a viable means to punt internet services at anyone anywhere

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Green option

> and LEO satellites are not really the kind of thing one can throw on the compost heap or take to the council recycling centre.

Surely the whole point is they burn up? I suppose technically that makes them landfill, but it's a bit of a stretch complaining about that when it's in the form of ash over several hundred square kilometers and the incineration is done in the upper atmosphere.

NSO Group 'will no longer be responding to inquiries' about misuse of its software

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Re: Lots of reasons.

To follow myself up, one of the more interesting quotes from that article:

Several iPhones Amnesty International has inspected indicate that Pegasus has recently started to manipulate system databases and records on infected devices to hide its traces and and impede the research efforts of Amnesty International and other investigators.

i.e. NSO are using their ill-gained root access on your phone to clear up any evidence they were there. So the kind of hard proof required for any prosecution, even if one were being considered, is being removed. They're in full-on damage limitation mode, for sure.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Lots of reasons.

First, NSO sell the software, they don't do the hacking themselves (as I understand it).

Second, NSO in Israel, not where the crime (some variation of unlawful access to a device) is committed.

Third, it's likely that most of the time the government security services are the ones that purchased the software - they don't tend to get prosecuted, not even in high-functioning democracies

Fourth - and I've been struggling a bit with this - is that although Amnesty and Forbidden Stories were given a list of 50,000 phone numbers, I think that's pretty much it. So Forbidden Stories check a few of the phones they can access - easy, as plenty of journos were on the list - find Pegasus, and make the reasonable assumption that 1+1=2. They did that on some 67 phones I believe.

But some of the higher profile targets that have been in the press - Macron, Rahul Gandhi etc - are there because their numbers are on the list. But without a forensic examination of the phone there's no way of knowing if their phones were actuallly hacked, and I have to confess I'm struggling to join some of the dots to the conclusions being made in the papers: "Macron phone hacked by Morocco" is a long way from "Macrons number found on a list of phones, some of which are provably targetted by Pegasus, and Morocco the most likely suspects".

That said, I've only just found the technical analysis at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2021/07/forensic-methodology-report-how-to-catch-nso-groups-pegasus/, so haven't read it yet. Maybe the links are stronger than I've understood.

EDIT: why not check your own phone? too?

Thales launches payment card with onboard fingerprint scanner

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Reminds of the old joke about the ambulance driver attending a crashed Cortina: "where're you bleeding from?" "Essex!"

Europe mulls anonymous crypto-wallet ban, rules to make transfers more traceable

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Re: Heaven forbid

You keep making this argument. What makes you think they're not? It's literally the resolution they highlighted from the recent G7, although it's fair to debate how effective that resolution will be - unlike bitcoin, large corporations have decades of experience in avoiding tax, so clawing it back is going to be harder. But it's clear it's being worked on.

Ad tech ruined the web – and PDF files are here to save it, allegedly

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HTML5 is absolutely not a moving target of tag soup. In fact, it's the first version that isn't, as it defines a deterministic parsing algorithm. Prior to HTML5 it was very much browser dependent, and I believe nailing it down took many years.

XHTML (HTML as XML), by contrast, would be wildly unsuitable as a format for the web, unless you want 50% of the web to fail to render due to parse errors.

Microsoft adds cloud enablement to 1970s Altair 8800 tech

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Re: If you think that's contrived…

Parody it may be, but it sure seems to resemble a lot of modern design practice.

This page has been deliberately left blank

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Not heard that one, but I recall seeing photographic evidence on a reputable news site of the Welsh for “translation service not available” printed on a road in yellow paint.

Here boy! Making the Sample Fetch Rover that'll collect soil from the Red Planet

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Re: Dust

Mars atmospheric pressure is 6hPa, compared to our 1000hPa. What sort of density and volume do you need to remove dust from large panels, I wonder? Even if it's 10hPa, that's the same compression ratio vs the atmosphere as 1600hPa here on earth. Quite a tall order for any pump.

Florida Man sues Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for account ban

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Indeed. I notice he's filed in his official capacity of "just some guy" (credit: Mitchell & Webb)

The M in M1 is for moans: How do you turn a new MacBook Pro into a desktop workhorse?

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Re: Seriously?

> It's a 1.25Kg laptop, what do you expect?

It's also a £1,300 laptop. So, since you ask, I expect more than two sodding ports.

No-one should have to tote around a hub for basic tasks, and I'll submit that charging while connected to a monitor and simultaneously charging my phone, or connecting to a LAN, is a basic task. One which my current Macbook Pro is performing as I type. It's a "pro" machine, not an Air. 4 ports good, 2 ports bad.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

We've already heard that one.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Nope. It shouldn't be a choice between "goes nowhere and has lots of ports" and "can be moved but not plugged into anything when you get there".

I'm not talking about connecting the "full american" (keyboard, mouse, monitor), but when I get to the office I want to plug into a monitor and a PSU - and now I have no more ports? Forget it. I'm holding out for the next one.

Bug at payments processor WorldPay swipes £2k+ per ride ticket from Brighton Pier revellers

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Re: Even if they eventually pay everyone back in full...

I know Brighton Pier can get crowded, but I think you're overestimating either the number of visitors or the interest rate. By quite a lot.

UK urged to choo-choo-choose hydrogen-powered trains in pursuit of carbon-neutral economic growth

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Re: Huh

OK, for those that replied - thanks. Fair enough it's going to be pricey to electrify the whole network, and I get that for some lines with long runs and limited traffic it's not economical.

But by way of counter-example, the train from London to Penzance - 305 miles - has only the first 53 mlles electrified. And that, apparently, is after the Great Western electrification project has completed. All of which I'm lifting wholesale from p17 of this week's Private Eye, edited by a man that definitely does trains. I'm pretty sure we can do better than that.

Electricity loss from the national grid was 2.4% last year. You're going to lose a damn site more than that converting to/from Hydrogen. I get that it has its place, and maybe trains are one of those places, but it does feel a bit like another case of "new tech will save us", while ignoring current tech because it's too much work. A position inevitably maintained when that new tech becomes current.

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Huh

Why don't they just finish electrifying the tracks?

UK watchdog fines biz £130k for 900,000+ direct marketing calls to folk who had opted out

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Re: Epic title error

Perhaps more were made while they were writing the article?

Three things that have vanished: $3.6bn in Bitcoin, a crypto investment biz, and the two brothers who ran it

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Re: Sometimes, I just can't believe the gullibility of some people.

True, but you've got to hand it to them. On face value, this is one of, if not the largest theft in history, and it was done by two kids. Over a billion each! Laundering it is going to be a problem, sure, but even if they have to lose 50% doing so it makes them the two of the most successful criminals in history.

Wanted: Brexit grand fromage. £120k a year. Perks? Hmmmm…

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Bing?

Bong! A man made for this role. If anyone can persuade us we’re thinking it wrong, it’s Bong.

Petition instructs Jeff Bezos to buy, eat world's most famous painting

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So he doesn’t have it. And, as we all know, you can’t have your cake and eat it. So, I think what you’re saying he has already eaten a significant proportion of his fortune?

Makes perfect sense. Probably why this petition will go nowhere, he’s already full up.

UK spends £36m on 18 little 'bullet-proof' boats to protect Royal Navy assets

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: £2 million each?

> The UK is far more sensible

For the love of god, citation needed! Where do you want to start, the aircraft carriers or the ongoing Boxer procurement debacle?

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge
Joke

Re: Well tried and comprehensively already field tested .....

Exactly. Look at the Titanic. I know the say it was fine when it left Belfast, but they would wouldn't they?

Systemd 249 release candidate includes better support for immutable OSes and provisioning images

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Re: Thinks I like about systemd

But surely in UNIX, to a reasonable approximation, everything is a text parser?

(and your project also sounds genuinely cool. Please work an easter-egg in there that randomly projects a sea monster onto the display)

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Re: Thinks I like about systemd

You're typically given that option for changes in /etc. But even though systemd gets on my nerves, I agree with this. Edit /usr/lib at your peril. And even if you disagree, it's an issue with the package manager (apt, rpm etc) not systemd.

I do share your pain with /tmp being cleared, but that's configuration files for you. About a year ago the default options for vim changed to make it utterly unusable. So I had to install a .vimrc on 30 odd machines to get anything done. Change can be annoying.

Realizing this is getting out of hand, Coq mulls new name for programming language

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Re: There are two hard problems in Computer Science

I've simply made everything and everyone I know use UTC and milliseconds since the epoch in their daily life.

I'll admit it wasn't simple, but it seemed easier than the alternative.

Inventor of the graphite anode – key Li-ion battery tech – says he can now charge an electric car in 10 minutes

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Re: There still remains......

This discussion is specifically about energy transfer by the consumer at the point of charge. Grid inefficiencies, grid fuel mix, energy used in refining to petrol, or shipping the oil to the refinery, or used in invading a country to secure the oil, etc etc are well out of scope.

But, as you bring it up, UK grid losses for last year were 2.24%.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

It's my protruding knobs that confuse'em.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: Solution desperately seeking problem

You're focussing on average. What buyers are focussing on is the extreme events - "if I need to drive to X, can I get there?" If they feel the answer to that is no, they won't buy. Or more accurately, they won't go 100% EV - perhaps keeping a fossil fuel car around for the long trips.

But I do agree that renting a car for your yearly trip to X and going electric otherwise is a smarter option still.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: There still remains......

Yes, absolutely agree with this. The very, very few times I've had to charge away from home it's been on motorways at a limited number of points, for long trips. It's no-ones preferred option.

Fast charging is important, but nowhere near as important as ensuring every new build, and every lampost in cities, has a slow charger (3kW would do). Lampost charging, ideally a city-wide scheme tied where you register the VIN number of your car, so so there's no fussing with cards.

I also like the idea of a truck filled with hydrogen fuel cells doing the rounds as a temporary charge station at festivals etc. - a mobile EV charging station. Would be a good little business I expect. Well, until the first one unexpectedly goes boom.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: There still remains......

Sorry, disagree with that. I'll bow to your knowledge on the national grid transformers, but if required - me that replacing a few hundred of them is still better than trying to standardize on an international standard for batteries.

Because what you're describing involves somehow designing a chassis that allows for the batteries to be easily and quickly removed. You've turned a hard problem of moving large amount of electricity into the much harder problem of designing an automated machine to extracting large numbers of batteries quickly, without jamming, from a large number of different chassis types and shapes, replacing them just as quickly, and making sure all the connections between cells are robust enough to handle the shakes of a moving vehicle. As problems go, solving the grid issue is easier.

(oh, and you can't measure state of charge in an LiFePo4 cell. The only way to estimate the charge is coulomb counting)

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: There still remains......

Where you get the power from depends on your geographic location, before you're tempted to go down the road of "it call comes from coal anyway" path. And amperage isn't the issue - the CCS charger plug is rated for 500A, but no-one's going to shift that due to cable losses. The way to increase charging speed is upping the volts. But sure, we need more wattage.

How much? Rather sadly I worked this out a while back.

Filling petrol from a pump gives you approximately 38l/minute x 8.76kWh/l = 20MW charging rate. Doing that with an EV is going to be quite something.

But, petrol cars are way less efficient. A better comparison is if you car delivers (say) 7km/l, you're putting in 266km/minute. With a Nissan Leaf at about 150Wh/km, to match that you need a charging rate of 2.4MW. The maximum chargers I know of are 350kW, so that's about an order of magnitude improvement required to roughly hit parity with petrol. With the kind of advances described in this article, very possible - 10 years ago 50kW charging was state of the art.

Yes I'm aware all of these are approximate, and your car is a great counter-example which you'd like to share. It's a back of the envelope thing to get a rough idea, not an exact number.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: Oh no, it's a battery story

Quite. More to the point, this guy has actually made stuff that is in use and knows what he's talking about, and it's not a marketing fluff piece. Good interview, thanks.

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I must not feed the trolls

I must not feed the trolls

I must not feed the trolls

An anti-drone system that sneezes targets to death? Would that be a DARPA project? You betcha

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: .. spraying the whole city with small-arms fire?

I get the impression the point wasn't to win. Hamas weren't doing a great job domestically, and an external enemy is great for unifying a population. Same for Netanyahu (who did't receive quite enough of a bounce, as it turns out).

It's undeniable that Hamas and Netenyahu did each-other more of a favour then they did their respective electorates.

McDonald's AI drive-thru bot accused of breaking biometrics privacy law

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Re: I'd like fries with that please...

Sounds like they stlll have some bugs to work out.

DoS vulns in 3 open-source MQTT message brokers could leave users literally locked out of their homes or offices

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Ah, but these are the brokers we're talking about. The devices themselves may be knocked out by a wage-slave in a Shenzen factory and vulnerable to everything, but the brokers are run on proper computers and written by people that care. They should be no worse than any other daemon, eg apache, ftpd.

Running Mosquitto here, with no regrets about that after this article.

Uncle Sam recovers 63.7 of 75 Bitcoins Colonial Pipeline paid to ransomware crew

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FBI has been busy

Clearly they had the private key because they actually ARE Darkside. It's all part of their master plan to abuse paedophiles in the basement of the set of the moon landings while eating Pizza. And we still don't know what the frequency is. Where's Kenneth? KENNETH?

The policy of truth: As ransomware claims rise, what's a cyber insurer to do?

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Re: Something intriguing

Broadly, if you're not the bus master you don't get to initiate the transaction. So monitors, optical drives, usb cables, usb drives... anything short of Firewire or lights-out controllers, really, don't get to make a choice about installing anything on another part of the system. They have to wait for the user to do it for them, which they do over and over again.

When looking for a root cause, start with ignorance or inattention. The more esoteric attack vectors are out there, sure, but why work that hard when the clown on the other end of the keyboard will do it for you?

Deadline draws near to avoid auto-joining Amazon's mesh network Sidewalk

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Re: Overblown

> No, that's not how this works. The threat is not the security of our data. The threat is the pathway to a potential attack. If someone can use the sidewalk system to access a device on my network, they could use it to gain information about my network and other devices on it.

OK, so your concern is: you have Amazon kit, it's set to relay from other devices. So traffic will route over it, and some undiscovered flaw in the router may allow it to attack your local network. Which is reasonable, and you're correct it would be an attack vector that doesn't exist now. Of course a wireless AP is already attackable by anyone within range, and attacks have been made on WEP/WPA etc. However this brings the network stack into that realm too, giving an attacker a "bridgehead" if you like. If that's your point then sure, I'll accept that.

Not plan Lora, LoraWan. Gateways typically receive and forward packets from unknown sources, which is what everyone seems to be up in arms about.

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Re: Overblown

> You don't have any ISP safe harbour provisions protecting traffic that passes through your router. It's assumed to all originate with you.

First, that's a huge, untested assumption, and even if it is true for the general case, the endpoint here is - by definition - Amazons servers, where it will necessarily be arriving tagged with details about which device generated it.

> good luck convincing them the Echo dun it.

To repeat: it's literally encrypted until it arrives at Amazons server, tagged with the device that generated it.

> posting IED making instructions

How? By holding pictures of them up in front of the doorbell?

I really don't think you've thought the specifics of this proposal through. I know it's fun to wave our hands in the air and shout over my dead body, but it's still just noise.

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Overblown

Much as I loathe Amazon, we’ve been sending our traffic over other peoples network kit since the internet began. In terms of security threat, it’s already solved by TLS.

The better argument against it is bandwidth, but that’s going to depend on your net connection. I suspect the number they mention are negligible for most

Finally doesn’t apple’s Find my device do the same thing? As does lorawan and so on? Much lower bandwidth of course, but it makes it harder to object to the principle

Antivirus that mines Ethereum sounds a bit wrong, right? Norton has started selling it

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Idle? With antivirus?

Given the main effect of antivirus is to slow your computer to a crawl, why not monetise it?

Space junk damages International Space Station's robot arm

Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

Removing it is even worse

In space no-one can peel with steam.

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