* Posts by ifconfig

18 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jun 2012

Buy a Tesla for the good of Australia, say country's dino-burners


Death of the distribution network.

This is beyond hilarious. When the NSW, Australia government was providing generous rebates on solar-generated power, a relative close to the electricity generation industry told me that the entire push was a cynical scheme to defer the cost of upgrading centralised plant to meet demand, thereby putting the burden of providing capital onto the punters themselves. We might now consider this scheme to have backfired in a glorious way.

However, it does perhaps indicate that the economies of scale which have been the enablers of the industrial revolution, are starting to fall apart. It might not be a big deal, but it's interesting none-the-less. Would love some new economics around this.

GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds



If Linus gets sufficiently annoyed he'll solve the spam problem and release it as an open-source alternative, breaking Google's hegemony as an email provider and putting a finger in the eye of the NSA. (xref: Linux, Git).

A first look at Google’s Android Studio 1.0: Climbing out of the Eclipse kitchen sink


Those 'constraints' on Android Studio's evolution imposed by JetBrains ...

... are exactly the kind of constraints we need. Bring us more of these 'constraints'.

Snowden latest: NSA targets Gaza, pumps intelligence to Israel


Hardly news, but perhaps a sign.

Obviously, allies co-operate against enemies (especially aggressive, self-declared genocidal ones). This 'news' is about the routine, expected and accepted behaviour of intelligence agencies.

Formerly, Snowden's reveals have been about the non-accepted behaviour of intelligence agencies: dragnet-style surveillance sweeping up the private lives of ordinary citizens, lack of transparency and accountability, hacking foreign telcos, spying intrusively on allies and that sort of thing.

So this latest reveal is maybe a sign that there isn't much more news to tell (which is fine ... what has been said already has started the necessary political conversations), and we're now scraping the bottom of the barrel. Or he's been duped into using his power to have his $0.02 on a geo-political situation he's not in favour of. Or he's not actually fully in control of what 'he' says anymore. Either way, this reveal does little to credit his integrity as a source.

Yes, Australia's government SHOULD store comms metadata


Simon is being prescient, sensible and is an exemplary Australian.

To me, Simon displays the appropriate amount of pessimism. If the government grants itself the legal powers to enforce metadata to be collected, then the government is going to find ways to abuse the contents of the collection as surely as night follows day, whether the data is hosted long-term by ISPs or by the government itself. Might as well make them wear the cost of it (and the unpopular taxation involved in paying for it) - at least it makes it simpler for future revolutionary governments to hit the DEL button. (Or more likely, significant chunks of the archive will soon disappear as a consequence of future cost-saving).

However, I venture to suggest that Simon's sensible civil outcry won't get heard, and we'll end up with the worst of everything for both civil freedoms and the cost of telecommunications.

Trevor's valuable input would unfortunately not work on a practical level. To round up the two leading parties and herd them into the ocean with horses and bull-whips is geographically impractical, given Canberra's location (although I expect the entire nation would turn out to watch and cheer, should it be attempted). I think we may be forced to something like it in the next 30 years, since things are starting to get mildly dystopian around here. (And yet I wouldn't swap with the citizen of any other country for ... er, quids!)

Running OpenSSL? Patch now to fix CRITICAL bug


Re: Reg doesn't seem to get the implications of this bug.

From heartbleed.com:

Can attacker access only 64k of the memory?

There is no total of 64 kilobytes limitation to the attack, that limit applies only to a single heartbeat. Attacker can either keep reconnecting or during an active TLS connection keep requesting arbitrary number of 64 kilobyte chunks of memory content until enough secrets are revealed.


Reg doesn't seem to get the implications of this bug.

You're going to follow up on this story, right Reg? This report doesn't seem to properly appreciate the magnitude of this issue - namely that (unless websites have been using Perfect Forward Secrecy) - if a malicious 3rd party has exploited the HeartBleed bug and (without any risk of discovery) dumped the server's memory and stolen the private key, they can decrypt *ALL PRIOR* communications which the attacked server engaged in with that key (even comms from when before the HeartBleed bug was introduced onto that server), if the attacker has a copy of such.

I would expect a competent security paper to give us some additional information about when and how the bug was introduced to the SSL source code (go look at a source-code repo somewhere) and, in view of the post-Snowden thing, some reasonable representation about whether it was deliberately introduced by a lackey of the intelligence community. This news is huge, and your article is distressingly brief/wrong about it.

In Australia, protesting against Brendan Eich will be a CRIME


Want democratic freedoms? Put up with democracy. Brendan rocks, actually.

Both Brendan and those aghast of him are entitled to say what they feel is right, or to fund lobby groups which express those views. The entire arc of some comments here (perhaps led by that strange article in the Guardian) that Brendan is damned by going 'too far' and LITERALLY FUNDING a lobby group (oh horror!) is totally absurd. Do you really want a world where a given point of view is NOT ALLOWED to be articulated in a public forum? Why not bow your heads now and utter a prayer to your future totalitarian state?

By all means, disagree with Brendan. Sure, refuse to work with him because you don't see eye-to-eye. Great, discharge him as CEO of your company because he's precipitating fractious relations with all manner of stakeholders. Yep, you're allowed to feel hurt by the impact of Proposition 8 on your life personally. If it pleases you, throw street parties for the overturning of Proposition 8, and show your neighbours the middle finger of democracy-on-your-side.

But don't say that Brendan had no RIGHT to speak or act as he did. He too has passions. He too is a citizen. His ideas, too, will be sifted by the (imperfect, sure) democratic machine - he will not be exempted from that, nor will you suffer to be exempted either, if you value any democratic freedoms at all.

If in the meantime it's hard to be heard, hard to make people understand, seems you face a desperate and uphill battle ... congratulations, it seems you're engaged in a genuine political struggle. To that end the Brendan Eich thing was nicely played out. I am not sure that you could count this as a victory though. To score this point you had to (try to) demonize someone who - impotent (and likely unwilling) to IMPOSE HIS views on you by any kind of force - has done little else but gift to the world his creative vision. Is that really what you wanted to do?

Well, here on El Reg we see past the unseemly caricature of Brendan-the-anti-gay-marriage-demon, and remember the man who in the last 20 years was instrumental in giving us JAVASCRIPT (the most-adopted mobile-code platform ever, with no sign of letting up), and a world where monopolistic capitalists (to their horror and surprise) must actually *compete*. May the world have more men like Brendan in it, and may you see the value of such people, even if you profoundly disagree with them.


Headline need mollifying, article needs to remember its context.

Saying in the headline "will be a CRIME", on the strength of an "I opine that ..." from a senator, isn't very helpful. We are further from a representational democracy than we would like (no matter which party is in power), but do you really think it's gone so far into cronyism already, as to say it's a done legislative deal? I call link-bait on you, and I say emphatically that such a headline is below what I expect from The Register.

The technology angle you present - the fate of frank political speech in the face of dragnet-style surveillance - is certainly something worth calling out. It could have featured more prominently, by far.

The rest of the article is really a political rant, rising on the wings of an imaginative (and specious) conflation of Colbeck's comments and Brendan Eich's situation. I got the impression that you like Get Up! and you disapprove of Brendan Eich's viewpoint. The Register is not a partisan Australian newspaper though - it's a technology magazine. Please keep it to the technology.

Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?


Just fly in Trevor Pott, that'll sort it.

New telescope tipped to spot 700,000 galaxies


Did Megan really say ...

South Australia, or did she say South Africa?

Has cash corrupted open source?


Open Code != Open APIs

I was surprised by the apples-and-oranges comparison between MySQL/MondoDB and the Twitter API. I suppose both kinds of things have communities around them. But a service provided by a data silo is a fundamentally different thing to a code-base. They are 'open' in quite different ways - a service can't be forked without the data coming with it.

What worries me mostly is that the aspirations for the Internet have shifted from facilitating the communication of peers using open protocols, to creating 'siloed communities'. This is quite clearly illustrated by the so-called 'friend requests' I get from Facebook ... and then LinkedIn and Google+ (which I never subscribed to, but seem to have an account on) as associates gradually discover those too. There's no service-provider-independent means of marking up my social network.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love IPv6

Thumb Up

Dystopian sardonic == a new literary form?

A strange but beautiful child of 2012.

Wired broadband adoption dips as wireless flies


Where's the data to say broadband doesn't boost GDP?

The byline "OECD data offers grim view of broadband's GDP-boosting prowess" is not consistent with the data presented. You'd have to plot delta-GDP versus delta-broadband-adoption to make that claim.

The main take-home information from the graph showing "broadband penetration compared to gross domestic product (GDP)." (aside from that Luxembourgians have insanely high GDP per capita) is that countries with a higher GDP per capita to tend to have a higher rate of broadband adoption (draw a line of best fit for each plot, and you'll see it). Or that Australia (for example) has relatively high broadband adoption relative to its per-capita-GDP - as compared to some other countries. There aren't many more inferences to make, but "lots of broadband users does not necessarily translate into colossal GDP" (GDP doesn't even appear as a data point on the graph) is NOT one of them.

I turn to El Reg for science and precision. Let's have some, please.

Barnes & Noble: You won't need a Nook to read our ebooks


Moot point for those outside the US - thanks to reigonalisation of licensing rights.

B&N actually have a 'sales audit' team, whose job function is to stop you buying e-books if you're not a permanent resident of the US. You can't even sign up and put a non-US country in the 'Country' field for your billing address. They're even wise to you supplying a a forwarding service as the billing address . You'd have to get a US credit card with a US billing address, to fool them convincingly.

It's a weird kind of capitalistic inversion. Who's ever heard of an American that wouldn't take your money? Further, they incur an expense to ensure that they don't get fooled into taking it. Either B&N didn't think it worthwhile to buy the non-US rights to the digital editions of the books, or else Amazon already stitched up exclusive deals for the international rights to those books before B&N got their skates on. Either way, B&N seem content to *not* compete with Amazon in the global marketplace.

Bring on the competition, I say.

Vendors responsible for ‘Aussie Tax’: Choice


The solution.

Capitalism's pricing is 'what will the user pay'? Fine. But they can't be allowed to create an artificial supply monopoly, by (for example) refusing to offer warranty or service on items sourced via parallel imports. It should be illegal for them to do that.

Humanity increasingly sitting on collective arse


They're sure it's *nothing* to do with annual temperature ranges?

I mean, who'd go outside in Britain, if they didn't have to? :-P

Love from Australia.

Google coughs up what it coughs up to govs - and what it suppresses


Re: Not a lot of reality

What the transparency report lacks is a complete list of countries in which Google has a legal presence, whether or not the they made any (disclosable) requests of Google in a given period.