* Posts by Aslan

153 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Jun 2007


UTM: An Apple hypervisor with some unique extra abilities


Mandatory XKCD

As a project wears on, standards for success slip lower and lower.


John McAfee dead: Antivirus tycoon killed himself in prison after court OK'd extradition, says lawyer


I'll miss him

The world will be a more boring place without his antics. McAfee Antivirus was good software. At least he made it to 75, that was unexpected.

This is internet gold, "how to uninstall McAfee antivirus", https://youtu.be/bKgf5PaBzyg .

IBM so very, very sorry after jobs page casually asks hopefuls: Are you white, black... or yellow?


Amatures at IBM need to review the flowchart

The amatures at IBM need to review the mixed race flow chart https://youtu.be/xNchNBJN4TA

The clip is from the movie Domino a sort of acid dream of a movie about the daughter of a movie star, who became a model and then turned to bounty hunting people. The clip is a sort of parody, sort of exactly the thing that could happen on real trash daytime TV in America in the 90's. Another way to put it is it's a 90-minute feature film of what reality TV wished it was.

My guess is, this was put in as a joke in poor taste. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/25/who-me/

and BTW this post is meant as a joke.

Roger Ebert said, "the damned thing has its qualities, and one of them is a headlong, twisting energy, a vitality that finds comedy in carnage." https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/domino-2005/ After all Godard said, "All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun", and wow does this movie ever have it. The trailer gives away too much, despite telling you nothing, yet somehow misses the seductiveness of watching the movie https://youtu.be/PRXsehF4bok It's rather like looking at photos of a music video while the song plays.

My guess is, this was put in as a joke in poor taste. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/25/who-me/

and BTW this post is meant as a joke.

Arm emits designs to add iSIM tech to Internet of Stuff


No sim, No sale!

No discrete removable sim, I won’t be buying it.

Chernobyl cover-up: Giant shield rolled over nuclear reactor remains


Check this out, pics of Miss Atomic Bomb from the Las Vegas News Bureau

Interesting how attitudes to nuclear reactors have changed. They are problematic, still, but the next generation of pebble bed reactors looks interesting.


"In true Las Vegas style, the city capitalized on the atomic spectacle. The Chamber of Commerce printed up calendars advertising detonation times and the best spots for watching. Casinos like Binion’s Horseshoe and the Desert Inn flaunted their north-facing vistas, offering special “atomic cocktails” and “Dawn Bomb Parties,” where crowds danced and quaffed until a flash lit the sky. Women decked out as mushroom clouds vied for the “Miss Atomic Energy” crown at the Sands."

Happy days for second-hand smartphone sales


S4 to S7 upgrade well worth it

I upgraded from a Samsung Galaxy S4 to a Samsung Galaxy S7. It was well worth it. In this hilly city the S7 picks up a decent signal 20 vertical feet lower than the S4. It gets better coverage in buildings, when turned sideways the S4 would tend to drop calls, the S7 has no issues with any orientation. The Wifi signal goes further and it's faster, the phone runs cooler, the GPS is faster and more accurate. The difference are huge and the upgrade was well worth it. Both are great, but the S7 is better by far.

Note, I would not have chosen the S7 over other current options because of it's lack of removable battery and glass back, but when they were two for the price of one, $338 instead of $676, I can buy a battery case to fix that.

NASA discovers mysterious super-fast electrons whizzing above Earth


Amazing there's still things to surprise us

Amazing there's still things to surprise us in 2016 from the natural world. Also surprisingly SciHub is still about, I found this out from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci-Hub#External_links and found the full text searching the DOI https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.215101 http://link.aps.org.sci-hub.ac/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.215101 .

Is password security at just $1/month too expensive for most?


Re: Check your facts

That applies to the password vault only. When you preform the security check it happens at the URL https://lastpass.com/?securitychallenge=1&lpnorefresh=1&lang=en-US instead of at a URL like chrome-extension://hdokiejnpimakedhacdlhjegeplioahd/homelocal2.html . In theory the Chrome extensions being written in Javascript one could verify that the processing happens locally as Logmein states, when one uses the lastpass website one doesn't have that guarantee.


Check your facts

""For the rest of us freeloading, the gratis edition has added a “Security Challenge” that looks for weak and duplicated passwords, then suggests you change them.""

The security challenge has been part of the free product for at least a year and a half, probably longer. I believe the security challenge exposes your passwords to Logmein (after you supply your master password) and always seemed like the company's answer to providing the authorities your passwords.

Leap second scheduled for New Year's Eve 2016


Re: wtf

Quite a lot of value. Remember your history,

From, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_Revolution

"The October Revolution (Russian: Октя́брьская револю́ция, tr. Oktjabrjskaja revoljucija; IPA: [ɐkˈtʲabrʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə]), officially known in the Soviet literature as the Great October Socialist Revolution (Russian: Вели́кая Октя́брьская социалисти́ческая револю́ция, tr. Velikaja Oktjabrjskaja socialističeskaja revoljucija), and commonly referred to as Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a seizure of state power instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd traditionally dated to 25 October 1917 (by the Julian or Old Style calendar, which corresponds to 7 November 1917 in the Gregorian or New Style calendar)."

From, http://vpcalendar.net/Difference-Between-Julian-and-Gregorian-Calendars.html

"The Gregorian Calendar was first introduced by Pope Gregory XIII - which is how the calendar got its name. This calendar has been implemented by several countries because the Julian calendar assumes a full year is 365.25 days whereas it is actually 11 minutes less. So, the Julian calendar many countries felt wasn't a true year so they made the change.

The Gregorian calendar was able to make up for this 11 minute difference by not making years divisible by 100 to be a leap year. This means that the year 2,100, for example wouldn't be a leap year whereas in the Julian calendar format - it would be. "

Time matters because there is inherent and ascribed importance to the point in a cycle at which an event occurs. Count the number of seconds from the beginning of time if you will, but rejoice in it's calibrated relevance to our everyday lives.

Blighty's telly, radio watchdog Ofcom does a swear


The Aristocrats

World's largest internet exchange sues Germany over mass surveillance




AMD promises code fix for power-hungry Radeon RX 480 GPU


Re: Just a small bump in the road...

My 8800 was defective because Nvidia got the solder process wrong. To this day they deny my card was in an affected batch, but it suffered all the same symptoms of those that were. I'm out a lot of money for that card.

One entire US spook base: Yours for $1m+


What was that children's book where it was the fire engine that started fires?

allthecoolshortnamesweretaken, Mongo, What was that children's book where it was the fire engine that started fires? It was a weird one kindof along the lines of the phantom tollbooth.

Surface Book nightmare: Microsoft won't fix 'Sleep of Death' bug


Open a dispute with credit card company

Here in the USA sometimes a credit card company will offer special services in addition to simply a line of credit. I have a Chase Visa card and they offer 90 days of purchase protection. Chase while relentless bill collectors are pleasant when you pay on time. I've used the purchase protection in two instances. First I purchased a One Plus One aka discount Chinese flagship spec phone. The phone made a great tablet, but the cellphone reception varied with the atmospheric temperature to the point it was impossible to reliably use it as a phone. I went round and round with OnePlus about this wasting 16 hours with tech support enduring 6 system wipes and restores. OnePlus wanted to submit me to more of the same. I reported my problems to Chase and they said it sounded defective. They had me return the device and refunded my money same day. Second example. I tried an MVNO called FreedomPop and the first two months billing were fine, then a payment didn't go through, perhaps because I changed my billing address and didn't use the updated one. They cut my service off and refused to answer my calls over the holiday weekend. Yes, I understand people should get holidays, but they cut my phone off and refused to restore it greatly upsetting me. Finally on that Tuesday, They made me provide another card. They billed that, and updated the billing info. Then they charged the original card. The next month they billed both cards. I called them and they refunded it. It happened the following month. Again I called and refunded it, saying if it happened again I'd have to take the matter up with Chase. It happened again. Chase initiated a chargeback for me, and blocked FreedomPop from making any further charges to that account. FreedomPop refused to allow me to use their service after that and refunded me an additional months service.

I also like to make purchases through Paypal, they're even better than Chase in their buyer protection.

Here's some generic details of Chase's buyer protection with a CC. It varies per card.


Can repair, replace or reimburse you for eligible items in the event of theft or damage when items are purchased with an eligible Chase card or with rewards earned on an eligible Chase card

Coverage is in excess of any valid and collectible insurance such as homeowner's insurance, or other forms of reimbursement

Up to a maximum of $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account

So I'm not sure exactly how it would work in the authors case, but he might be able to get $500 back and keep the Surface 4, and that would be a nice punch in the gut to Microsoft.

NASA: We'll try again in the morning after friction ruins engorgement


Re: Done

Congrats on scooping El Reg.

Compression tool 7-Zip pwned, pain flows to top security, software tools


**** I've got some passwords that need changing. What you say is totally obvious, and yet I'd not thought of it. I've no cause to believe my passwords compromised and I've never found a keylogger on any system I've used other than the ones I put there myself to save me from losing my work, and yet despite the computers being scanned I don't know that my passwords weren't captured. (One hits a shortcut before entering a password to temporarily stop the logging) I'd have changed the passwords before, but the malware I removed didn't steal passwords according to what I found out about it, but then, do I know the description was correct and complete? Malware detection is never 100%.

Without nuking the hard drive how does one clean malware from a machine without entering an admin password? If one already had sufficient security software in place that might be used, but then that software should have detected and prevented the infection in the first place?

In answer to my own question one might pull the hard drive and scan it from outside the computer, but that does make things more complicated. Does anyone have a better option? Are those wonky on screen random letter keyboards any good?

I salute you Michael Wojcik.


The latest version of Avast contains 7zip

The most current version of Avast, program version 11.2.2262 7zip from zlib.net . What other programs do you use that use 7zip?

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


Congratulations Google

Congratulations Google!

Pointless features add to browser bloat and insecurity


Re: Wow? I don't understand the hate for so many wonderful things.

I do listen to Imagine as all ought to, and to this day I keep my hair cut in a similar style to 1964's John Lennon. No jokes, no trolling here, really. Imagine is a wonderful vision if you skip the first verse. The vision of the future though that I hope to see come about, though I've no expectation of it, is of us all to be Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace.

The sandboxes of Chrome plus it's frequent updates are no cure all, but they do make things more manageable with the web as it is than a traditionally versioned browser such as historical versions of IE.


Wow? I don't understand the hate for so many wonderful things.

HTML: Canvas, admittedly I usually see this used in the wrong places, to try and track me, to try and mess with me, but there's some beautiful and amazing image editors that use it. Most sites don't need it, but the ones that do, must have it.

SVG - Low bandwidth images, that properly scale to any size

WebGL - I own over a dozen commercial games I can run exclusively in a webbrowser, not to mention the usefulness for data visulazation

HTML: Web Workers - the interface separated from the data crunching portion of a website, snappy interfaces that take advantage of multiple cores to enable responsive web apps that can do heavy data processing.

HTML 5 - Many, many wonderful things

Web Audio API - Voice chat I believe

Gamepad - it works with some of the WebGL stuff, most websites aren't for playing games, some are.

Web notifications - Doesn't Google Hangouts use Web notifications?

Vibration API - I've only encountered this once, with a disruptive ad, but it seems quite simple and useful for approved sites.

The ones I've listed are the ones I'm casually or more aware of. Certainly a number of these features have been abused for ad slinging / privacy abusing reasons, and that's why users are blocking them in many cases, the users do not approve of or accept 'privacy' policies on sites saying we can do anything at anytime to anyone. No one wants to read a dozen page privacy policy that it would take a lawyer to know what it meant anyway, before accessing the site. As such it's simply prudent to block features with prejudice, only enabling them when they are specifically useful.

There's simply nothing out there like canvas, you'd have to run a local app or a Java app as an alternative.

Just because I block a bunch of this stuff due to the hostile web environment in general and ad specifically doesn't mean I want to see it go away. I'm very glad to have it and I think just about all of it has it's place.

By all means if a browser with these features is too dangerous for a particular industry then by all means implement a browser without them, but leave feature rich browsers Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge as they are and free to innovate.

Pastejack attack turns your clipboard into a threat



I'm surprised the command line in windows respects the return key, that would seem to be a dangerous mistake. Changing text copied to the clipboard is nothing new, I've seen it for years, on more than three different site, usually it's just an attribution as to where the material is from, but sometimes it's been nastier, trying to get me to subscribe to a publication, or a random ad for something else entirely is the worst I've seen.

Still I was smugly thinking to myself, I'd never copy text from the internet to a command line, except, no, actually I have. I played with several Hackintoshes, until I realized as nice as OS X was I wasn't going to pay through the nose to be a customer and Apple didn't want me as one. Their hardware's lovely, but why can't they put out anything affordably priced for the spec? Then I remembered trying to get Linux to work. Everything's fine, and each time you try it it looks like they really have made it into a functional OS this time that one could get day to day work done on, and then you run into that essential piece of hardware you need, that simply won't function, but it's kindof like this other one, so maybe if you download this development software and a compiler you could compile your own driver and get it working. Of course you can't do any of this graphically Linux programmers are fucking machoists that love obscure commands and flags. And sometimes there's a guide that almost does what you need, but it's incomplete or you need another version of a program and Linux is simply fucking hell. And yes I've copy pasted commands from the internet into a terminal as root in Linux, although only reviewing them so that I had a fair understanding of them.

Thus the only way I've found to get a functional Linux system is buy it from a system integrator who charges a premium for a working system, System 7, Dell, or one can waste their time obsessing over every little component of the system and ensuring it has bonified open source 'cred, or simply run it in a VM on Windows. In such cases Linux can be reasonably pleasant and functional.

So in short I could have fallen victim to this attack. Now I'll know to copy and paste everything to a simple text editor such as Notepad in Windows, which at least with the example, shows me the attack version.

Kobayashi Maru gets real: VR and AR in meatspace today


Re: AR would be better than VR.

--continued from above,

“Do you mind?”

“No,” he sighs, as if he really does.

Y.T. gets up and walks around behind his desk to look.

Each of the little TV monitors is showing a different view out his van: windshield, left window, right window, rearview. Another one has an electronic map showing his position: inbound on the San Bernardino, not far away.

“The van is under voice command,” he explains. “I removed the steering-wheel-and-pedal interface because I found verbal commands more convenient. This is why I will sometimes make unfamiliar sounds with my voice—I am controlling the vehicle's systems.”

Y.T. signs off from the Metaverse for a while, to clear her head and take a leak. When she takes off the goggles she discovers that she has built up quite an audience of truckers and mechanics, who are standing around the terminal booth in a semicircle listening to her jabber at Ng. When she stands up, attention shifts to her butt, naturally.

Y.T. hits the bathroom, finishes her pie, and wanders out into the ultraviolet glare of the setting sun to wait for Ng.

Recognizing his van is easy enough. It is enormous. It is eight feet high and wider than it is high, which would have made it a wide load in the old days when they had laws. The construction is boxy and angular; it has been welded together out of the type of flat, dimpled steel plate usually used to make manhole lids and stair treads. The tires are huge, like tractor tires with a more subtle tread, and there are six of them: two axles in back and one in front. The engine is so big that, like an evil space-ship in a movie, Y.T. feels its rumbling in her ribs before she can see it; it is kicking out diesel exhaust through a pair of squat vertical red smokestacks that project from the roof, toward the rear. The windshield is a perfectly flat rectangle of glass about three by eight feet, smoked so black that Y.T. can't make out an outline of anything inside. The snout of the van is festooned with every type of high-powered light known to science, like this guy hit a New South Africa franchise on a Saturday night and stole every light off every roll bar, and a grille has been constructed across the front, welded together out of rails torn out of an abandoned railroad somewhere. The grille alone probably weighs more than a small car.

The passenger door swings open. Y.T. walks over and climbs into the front seat. “Hi,” she is saying.

“You need to take a whiz or anything?”

Ng isn't there.

Or maybe he is.

Where the driver's seat ought to be, there is a sort of neoprene pouch about the size of a garbage can suspended from the ceiling by a web of straps, shock cords, tubes, wires, fiber-optic cables, and hydraulic lines. It is swathed in so much stuff that it is hard to make out its actual outlines.

At the top of this pouch, Y.T. can see a patch of skin with some black hair around it—the top of a balding man's head. Everything else, from the temples downward, is encased in an enormous

goggle/mask/headphone/feeding-tube unit, held onto his head by smart straps that are constantly tightening and loosening themselves to keep the device comfortable and properly positioned.

Below this, on either side, where you'd sort of expect to see arms, huge bundles of wires, fiber optics, and tubes run up out of the floor and are seemingly plugged into Ng's shoulder sockets. There is a similar arrangement where his legs are supposed to be attached, and more stuff going into his groin and hooked up to various locations on his torso. The entire thing is swathed in a one-piece coverall, a pouch, larger than his torso ought to be, that is constantly bulging and throbbing as though alive.

“Thank you, all my needs are taken care of,” Ng says.

The door slams shut behind her. Ng makes a yapping sound, and the van pulls out onto the frontage road, headed back toward 405.

“Please excuse my appearance,” he says, after a couple of awkward minutes. “My helicopter caught fire during the evacuation of Saigon in 1974—a stray tracer from ground forces.”

“Whoa. What a drag.”

“I was able to reach an American aircraft carrier off the coast, but you know, the fuel was spraying around quite a bit during the fire.”

“Yeah, I can imagine, uh huh.”

“I tried prostheses for a while—some of them are very good. But nothing is as good as a motorized wheelchair. And then I got to thinking, why do motorized wheelchairs always have to be tiny pathetic things that strain to go up a little teeny ramp? So I bought this—it is an airport firetruck from Germany— and converted it into my new motorized wheelchair.”

“It's very nice.”

“America is wonderful because you can get anything on a drive-through basis. Oil change, liquor,

banking, car wash, funerals, anything you want—drive through! So this vehicle is much better than a tiny pathetic wheelchair. It is an extension of my body.”

“When the geisha rubs your back?”

Ng mumbles something and his pouch begins to throb and undulate around his body. “She is a daemon, of course. As for the massage, my body is suspended in an electrocontractive gel that massages me when I need it. I also have a Swedish girl and an African woman, but those daemons are not as well rendered.”

“And the mint julep?”

“Through a feeding tube. Nonalcoholic, ha ha.”

“So,” Y.T. says at some point, when they are way past LAX, and she figures it's too late to chicken out,

“what's the plan? Do we have a plan?”

“We go to Long Beach. To the Terminal Island Sacrifice Zone.

--end of post.


Re: AR would be better than VR.

"But a Virtual Reality would be a legal nightmare, if for no other reason than some idiot would immerse themselves entire in VR while trying to do something else (like, say, DRIVING), get into serious trouble because they can't focus on the VR & Reality at the same time, then sue the pants off the VR maker as a result."

Your nightmare is my wish for reality. From Neil Stephen's Snow Crash,

(Y.T. is a teenage female courier riding a skateboard with computer controlled adaptive wheels, several other tricks, and a 'poon', short for harpoon, but not destructive that can adhere to any vehicle and tow her at freeway speeds in traffic. This is the book that put the idea of 90's cyberspace into peoples heads, and a few pages after this excerpt, they even use semi automated, personal drones.)

Y.T. is maxing at a Mom's Truck Stop on 405, waiting for her ride. Not that she would ever be caught dead at a Mom's Truck Stop. If, like, a semi ran her over with all eighteen of its wheels in front of a Mom's Truck Stop, she would drag herself down the shoulder of the highway using her eyelid muscles until she reached a Snooze 'n' Cruise full of horny derelicts rather than go into a Mom's Truck Stop. But sometimes when you're a professional, they give you a job that you don't like, and you just have to be very

cool and put up with it.

For purposes of this evening's job, the man with the glass eye has already supplied her with a “driver and security person,” as he put it. A totally unknown quantity. Y.T. isn't sure she likes putting up with some mystery guy. She has this image in her mind that he's going to be like the wrestling coach at the high school. That would be so grotendous. Anyway, this is where she's supposed to meet him.

Y.T. orders a coffee and a slice of cherry pie à la mode. She carries them over to the public Street terminal back in the corner. It is sort of a wraparound stainless steel booth stuck between a phone booth, which has a homesick truck driver poured into it, and a pinball machine, which features a chick with big boobs that light up when you shoot the ball up the magic Fallopians.

She's not that good at the Metaverse, but she knows her way around, and she's got an address. And finding an address in the Metaverse shouldn't be any more difficult than doing it in Reality, at least if you're not a totally retarded ped.

As soon as she steps out into the Street, people start giving her these looks. The same kind of looks that people give her when she walks through the worsted-wool desolation of the Westlake Corporate Park in her dynamic blue-and-orange Kourier gear. She knows that the people in the Street are giving her dirty looks because she's just coming in froma shitty public terminal. She's a trashy black-and-white person.

The built-up part of the Street, around Port Zero, forms a luminescent thunderhead off to her right. She puts her back to it and climbs onto the monorail. She'd like to go into town, but that's an expensive part of the Street to visit, and she'd be dumping money into the coin slot about every one-tenth of a millisecond.

The guy's name is Ng. In Reality, he is somewhere in Southern California. Y.T. isn't sure exactly what he is driving; some kind of a van full of what the man with the glass eye described as “stuff, really incredible stuff that you don't need to know about.” In the Metaverse, he lives outside of town, around Port 2, where things really start to spread out.

Ng's Metaverse home is a French colonial villa in the prewar village of My Tho in the Mekong Delta.

Visiting him is like going to Vietnam in about 1955, except that you don't have to get all sweaty. In order to make room for this creation, he has laid claim to a patch of Metaverse space a couple of miles off the Street. There's no monorail service in this low-rent development, so Y.T.'s avatar has to walk the entire way.

He has a large office with French doors and a balcony looking out over endless rice paddies where little Vietnamese people work. Clearly, this guy is a fairly hardcore techie, because Y.T. counts hundreds of people out in his rice paddies, plus dozens more running around the village, all of them fairly well rendered and all of themdoing different things. She's not a bithead, but she knows that this guy is throwing a lot of computer time into the task of creating a realistic view out his office window. And the fact that it's Vietnam makes it twisted and spooky. Y.T. can't wait to tell Roadkill about this place. She wonders if it has bombings and strafings and napalmdrops. That would be the best.

Ng himself, or at least, Ng's avatar, is a small, very dapper Vietnamese man in his fifties, hair plastered to his head, wearing military-style khakis. At the time Y.T. comes into his office, he is leaning forward in his chair, getting his shoulders rubbed by a geisha.

A geisha in Vietnam?

Y.T.'s grandpa, who was there for a while, told her that the Nipponese took over Vietnam during the war and treated it with the cruelty that was their trademark before we nuked themand they discovered that they were pacifists. The Vietnamese, like most other Asians, hate the Japanese. And apparently this Ng character gets a kick out of the idea of having a Japanese geisha around to rub his back.

But it is a very strange thing to do, for one reason: The geisha is just a picture on Ng's goggles, and on Y.T.'s. And you can't get a massage froma picture. So why bother?

When Y.T. comes in, Ng stands up and bows. This is how hardcore Street wackos greet each other.

They don't like to shake hands because you can't actually feel the contact and it reminds you that you're not even really there.

“Yeah, hi,” Y.T. says.

Ng sits back down and the geisha goes right back to it. Ng's desk is a nice French antique with a row of small television monitors along the back edge, facing toward him. He spends most of his time watching the monitors, even when he is talking.

“They told me a little bit about you,” Ng says.

“Shouldn't listen to nasty rumors,” Y.T. says.

Ng picks up a glass from his desk and takes a drink from it. It looks like a mint julep. Globes of condensation form on its surface, break loose, and trickle down the side. The rendering is so perfect that Y.T. can see a miniaturized reflection of the office windows in each drop of condensation. It's just totally ostentatious. What a bithead.

He is looking at her with a totally emotionless face, but Y.T. imagines that it is a face of hate and disgust. To spend all this money on the coolest house in the Metaverse and then have some skater come in done up in grainy black-and-white. It must be a real kick in the metaphorical nuts.

Somewhere in this house a radio is going, playing a mix of Vietnamese loungy type stuff and Yank

wheelchair rock.

“Are you a Nova Sicilia citizen?” Ng says.

“No. I just chill sometimes with Uncle Enzo and the other Mafia dudes.”

“Ah. Very unusual.”

Ng is not a man in a hurry. He has soaked up the languid pace of the Mekong Delta and is content to sit there and watch his TV sets and fire off a sentence every few minutes.

Another thing: He apparently has Tourette's syndrome or some other brain woes because from time to time, for no apparent reason, he makes strange noises with his mouth. They have the twangy sound that you always hear fromVietnamese when they are in the back rooms of stores and restaurants carrying on family disputes in the mother tongue, but as far as Y.T. can tell, they aren't real words, just sound effects.

“Do you work a lot for these guys?” Y.T. asks.

“Occasional small security jobs. Unlike most large corporations, the Mafia has a strong tradition of handling its own security arrangements. But when something especially technical is called for—”

He pauses in the middle of this sentence to make an incredible zooming sound in his nose.

“Is that your thing? Security?”

Ng scans all of his TV sets. He snaps his fingers and the geisha scurries out of the room. He folds his hands together on his desk and leans forward. He stares at Y.T. “Yes,” he says.

Y.T. looks back at him for a bit, waiting for him to continue. After a few seconds his attention drifts back to the monitors.

“I do most of my work under a large contract with Mr. Lee,” he blurts.

Y.T. is waiting for the continuation of this sentence: Not “Mr. Lee,” but “Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong.”

Oh, well. If she can drop Uncle Enzo's name, he can drop Mr. Lee's.

“The social structure of any nation-state is ultimately determined by its security arrangements,” Ng says, “and Mr. Lee understands this.”

Oh, wow, we're going to be profound now. Ng is suddenly talking just like the old white men on the TV pundit powwows, which Y.T.'s mother watches obsessively.

“Instead of hiring a large human security force—which impacts the social environment—you know, lots of minimum-wage earners standing around carrying machine guns—Mr. Lee prefers to use nonhuman systems.”

Nonhuman systems. Y.T. is about to ask him, what do you know about the Rat Thing. But it is pointless;

he won't say. It would get their relationship off on the wrong foot, Y.T. asking Ng for intel, intel that he would never give her, and that would make this whole scene even weirder than it is now, which Y.T. can't even imagine.

Ng bursts forth with a long string of twangy noises, pops, and glottal stops.

“Fucking bitch,” he mumbles.

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing,” he says, “a bimbo box cut me off. None of these people understand that with this vehicle, I could crush them like a potbellied pig under an armored personnel carrier.”

“A bimbo box—you're driving?”

“Yes. I'm coming to pick you up—remember?”

--continued below

Is uBeam the new Theranos?


It's possible to get energy from sound, just not very much

It's possible to get energy from sound, just not very much. I once heard an explanation of why no one bothered, If you took a football stadium full of fans for a full 3 hour game and converted all of the sound waves to energy it would only be enough to boil a teacup full of water. I heard this a long time ago and Google doesn't want to pull up anything remotely close to this.

Now, if we were talking about low frequency sound I'd find this a bit more believable, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZS3xOcalH0

Bots half all web traffic


Is this true EL Reg? If so, I think this topic deserves a more in depth article.

Kazakhstan wins bid to get Mega IP address info on state secrets hackers


Mega has been dubious from the beginning

Mega's method of encrypted file storage has been dubious from the beginning, it seems it's much weaker than standard 128bit AES. It does a bunch of weird stuff with the encryption, and the rule of thumb with encryption, is that if you're doing it yourself, you're probably getting it wrong. Further Kim Dot Com was forced out of the company so one can assume it's in government control. All of which means it's not a great place to store files securely.

Now for legal files that don't compromise one's own privacy and one doesn't mind sharing with the world it can still be a useful file host. I simply wouldn't rely on Mega to keep access to anything secure though.

Italians rattle little tin for smartmobe mini lenses


It's cool but ultimately not that useful. 1200x is necessary to see if a sample is contaminated with bacteria, anything less is a toy. I wonder though what's the lag from source to screen for realtime applications, such as soldering a circuit board perhaps? I know the answer would be very device dependent.

Google blocks Pirate Bay


One must remember,

One must remember that The New York Times, Fortune, and many others have had ads or even the site itself hijacked to serve malware.

The Fortune one was particularly egregious, as Fortune had just started using a new tactic, they blocked people from accessing the site who used ad blockers. Two days after forcing people to turn their ad blocking off Fortune served them malware through their ads. Coincidence, surely?

I think I've seen some dodgy drug ads on The Register in the past, but I never recall them serving malware. Basically no site on the internet is to be trusted, and every site that serves ads will eventually serve malware.

Watch it again: SpaceX's boomerang rocket lands on robo-sea-barge


Much better view here

Much better view here, fullscreen, with several more camera angles and technical chatter.


Everyone's right, getting that bright it did initially look like a crash, but I think the key is instead of one booster doing about a three second burn, I believe it was 3 doing a 5 second burn? Much brighter than previous landing burns, much later giving the cameras less time to compensate. Looking at it live last night, the rocket came down over the barge in a cloud of fire so bright nothing could be seen. Then suddenly the cloud went out and in the inky blackness was the silhouette of the rocket. I was amazed.

Computer says: Stop using MacWrite II, human!


War with the idiots of IT

Why couldn't you be bothered to do something sensible like provide all the computers with properly licensed copies of MacWrite II? If the users are supplying their own regardless of the legality why do you feel a need to stop them from getting work done? Now I'll agree they shouldn't have copied their own programs to the universities computers, or deleted the ones present. The obvious solution the the loud pronouncements of "Stop installing MacWriteII" was a dead end audio plug, it plugged into a lineout jack and had a little plastic cap on it. It made the Mac believe it was plugged into external speakers so it shut off the internal speaker. LOL.

I do appreciate your solution in the end with the Macs, it's quite elegant, and still allows the users the freedom to use their own software. I prefer working with environments like that. Give the users a clean image restored each day and let them do what they will. Not appropriate for all environments, but it works well for schools and libraries.

My experience with school IT was they insisted on running programs a year or two old with no patches installed. I requested they fix this, they refused. One of the assholes even had one of those new more than $1000 USD Apple LCD screens when they were first new right after the first ones Apple ever shipped, (Disregarding the 30th anniversary Mac) had been announced, and everyone else had CRT's which were absolutely fine really, but the money could have been better spent. Web browsers at the time were changing at such a rate that this would cause websites to fail to load and the old versions of the browsers were generally much slower than the newer versions. The solution was to disable their security software and install the updates (within the same major version) / new versions of the webbrowsers myself and put the security back in place afterwards. I also tossed a freely licensed image editor on the computers. By using a different computer each time I needed a computer eventually all the computers I had access to were within 3 months of the current patch.

I also had a way to redirect all my webbrowing through a site that wrapped it in SSL which opened up the full version of the internet instead of the censored blocked one the school provided.

They tracked down the students who changed grades (Most teaches kept a copy on paper) and the ones who stole the mice, but they never accused me of anything. I'm somewhat surprised by that. I didn't tell people what I was doing and I kept the prompts out of sight, I never actively touched IT's computers though I knew where they were and about them. This was a silent campaign against IT.

I was once accused of modifying the software on the computers by a friend, they often sat next to me and had caught a hint of what I was up to. I had really, really upset them one day. I played off the accusation totally innocent with a "I tried to install a copy of Bolo, (a game) at the start of the year, but it didn't work. I think there's something protecting the computers." They totally bought it.

I wish IT had been responsive to the students. I wish they had provided a good software environment, not just good computers. I'm proud of my accomplishments in 3.5 years of keeping the computers up to date while facing hostile IT.

Microsoft's done a terrible job with its Windows 10 nagware


I actually had trouble getting the Windows 10 nagware to show up

I had a friend who needed an OS because the previous one was crashing, of course they didn't have an OS disk and for some reason the Windows 7 key on the box was invalid. I looked around and found http://youngnewton.com/how-to-reserve-windows-10-on-pirated-windows-7/ which does exactly what one expects. If one activates pirated Windows 7 with "windows loader" Windows and Microsoft will both believe it to be genuine. While Microsoft believes it's genuine one can upgrade to Windows 10 and receive the full version and a genuine copy. So I'd installed all the updates on this pirated version of Windows including the nagware ones making sure it was "genuine", and 48 hours later I still wasn't getting the nagware popups. I had Windows 10 on a flash drive, but just because the computer passed antivirus checks didn't mean I was going to use my USB drives in it. So I had my friend get their own USB drive and had them plug it in, I ended up downloading the ISO direct from Microsoft and using their tool to copy the ISO to USB. It worked beautifully. The computer now has Windows 10 Pro with a legitimate digital entitlement issued directly by Microsoft. Still I was shocked when I couldn't get the initial Windows 10 nagware to pop.

JavaScript daddy's Brave ad-blocker hits Android, Apple stores


DNT is not a valid option and not having it enabled doesn't mean one doesn't care about privacy. The FCC has declined to provide legal enforcement, and many ad networks ignore it. Simply blocking all ad networks, now that's effective. How do you like that Gavin Clarke? Are you convinced I care about privacy?

I like the idea of Brave. It offers users less intrusive advertising, or none altogether, while protecting privacy. No one has made website micropayments work yet, but this looks like it might. Content creators deserve payment for their work. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out and am hoping it's a success.

Whatever happened to... virtual SIMs?


No sim no sale!

I choose the device, I choose the service provider. Sim cards make this happen. On networks without sims such as Sprint in the USA, Sprint will often refuse to activate customer owned devices which are fully compatible with the network and in some cases the exact same model is being sold by Sprint.

Let's have "No sim no sale!" as the slogan of the technically literate.

Under-fire Apple backs down, crafts new iOS to kill security safeguard


"If you'll allow your humble hack to think aloud, Apple is being asked by the public to contradict itself." Looks like darn near 100% of the commenters who know about the issue disagree with you here Shaun Nichols if replacing the fingerprint sensor was such a security disaster then why did it brick the phone after an update and not after replacement of the module?

Pilot posts detailed MS Flight Sim video of how to land Boeing 737


Re: Knowing what a lever or button do is just the beginning...

It's not exactly new, but Microsoft Flight Simulator X has been released on Steam in the past year or so and since has seen 114 updates since, with update both for compatiability and to add new DLC, with the latest new DLC just arriving two days ago, February 16th. FSX currently has about 567,000 people who've purchase it.

The latest DLC is the Czech Republic,

"From the studios of VFR scenery specialists VFR Poland comes VFR Czech Republic photo scenery for FSX: Steam Edition. This extensive scenery pack covers the entire Czech Republic, and is based on SPOT5 multispectral satellite images geometrically and radiometrically integrated to the scenery for a seamless VFR experience. All major landmarks in the region are included to make navigating low-level airspace in this beautiful region both authentic and pleasing to the eye.

PLEASE NOTE: This add-on requires 20 GB available hard disk space."

Amazon launches Lumberyard beta, a free gaming engine, but there is a catch


Clause 57.10 REAMDE

Because Amazon wants a cut of T'Rain

"...Around this time there was an airport security scare in which some fuckwit entered a concourse by walking upstream through an exit portal, bypassing the security checkpoint. As always happened in such cases, the entire airport had to be shut down. Planes waiting for takeoff had to taxi back to gates and unload all passengers and baggage. All the passengers had to be ejected from the sterile side of the airport and then turn around and pass through security again. Flights were delayed, and the delays ramified throughout the global air travel system, eventually racking up a cost of tens of millions of dollars. All of which could have been prevented had the one TSA employee posted by the exit—an employee whose sole purpose in being there was to just keep his fucking eyes open and stop people from walking the wrong way through a door—had actually done his job. Richard was fascinated. How could even the laziest and sloppiest employee screw this up? The answer, apparently, was that it had nothing to do with laziness or sloppiness. It was that Mogadishu copper thing all over again. The neural pathways required to accomplish the seemingly easy task of identifying a pedestrian walking the wrong way through a door had, in the brain of this employee, been uprooted a long time ago and zip-tied onto those used by some other, more important, or at least more frequently used, procedure.

And so they started up the first APPIS pilot project, which went something like this. They shot some consumer-grade video of Corporation 9592 employees walking down a hallway. They spun that up into a demo, which they showed to several regional airports that were too small and poorly funded to afford fancy, expensive, alarm-equipped one-way doors, and thus had to rely on the bored-employee-sitting-in-a-chair-by-the-door technology. They parlayed those meetings into a deal that gave them access to live 24/7 security camera footage from a couple of those airports. The footage, of course, just showed people walking through the exit.

They patched that footage into pattern recognition software that identified the shapes of the individual humans and translated them into vector data in 3D space. This made it possible to import all the data into the T’Rain game engine. The same positions and movements were conferred on avatars from the T’Rain world. The stream of human passengers walking down the corridor in their blazers, their high heels, their Chicago Bears sweatpants, became a stream of K’Shetriae, Dwinn, trolls, and other fantasy characters, dressed in chain mail, plate armor, and wizards’ robes, moving down a stone-lined passageway at the exit of the mighty Citadel of Garzantum.

The High Marshal of the Garzantian Empire then made an announcement to the effect that huge amounts of gold could be earned by, honor bestowed upon, and valuable weapons and armor handed out to anyone who nabbed a goblin attempting to sneak in through said passageway. Characters who volunteered for this duty were issued a special instrument, the Horn of Vigilance, and told to blow it whenever they spotted a wrong-way goblin. Extra points were handed out for actually confronting the goblin and (of course) engaging it in Medieval Armed Combat.

Now, in all the entire (real) world’s airports put together, the number of people who got into concourses by walking the wrong way through exit doors amounted to maybe one or two per year: not enough to hold the attention, or assure the vigilance, of even the most rabid T’Rain player. So the APPIS system now sweetened the pot by automatically generating fictitious, virtual wrong-way goblins and sending them up that tunnel at the rate of one every couple of minutes, every day, forever. Some balancing had to happen—the value of the rewards had to be tweaked relative to the frequency of wrong-way goblins—but with a minimal amount of adjustment they were able to set the system up in such a way that 100 percent of all the wrong-way goblins were apprehended. The total number of wrong-way goblins that had to be generated per year was about two hundred thousand—which was no problem, since generating them was free. The trick, of course, was that a tiny minority of those one-way goblins were not, in fact, computer-generated figments. They were representations of actual human forms that had been picked up by airport security cameras as they walked the wrong way into airport concourses. In reality, of course, this happened so rarely that testing the system was well-nigh impossible, and so they ran drills, several times a day, in which uniformed, badged TSA employees would present themselves at the exit and show credentials to the bored guard and then walk upstream into the concourse. In exactly 100 percent of all such cases, some T’Rain player, somewhere in the world (almost always a gold farmer in China) would instantly raise the Horn of Vigilance to his virtual lips and blow a mighty blast and rush out to confront the corresponding one-way goblin: an event that, through some artful cross-wiring between Corporation 9592’s servers and the airport security systems, would cause red lights to flash and horns to sound and doors to automatically lock at the airport in question.

Corvallis and most of the other techies hated this idea because of its sheer bogosity, which was screamingly obvious to any person of technical acumen who thought about it for more than a few seconds. If their pattern-recognition software could identify the moving travelers and vectorize their body positions well enough to translate their movements into T’Rain, then it could just as easily notice, automatically, with no human intervention, when one of those figures was walking the wrong way and sound the alarm. There was no need at all to have human players in the loop. They should just spin out the pattern-recognition part of it as a separate business.

Richard understood and acknowledged all of this—and did not care. “Did you, or did you not, tell me that this was all marketing? What part of your own statement did you not understand?” The purpose of the exercise was not really to build a rational, efficient airport security system. It was, rather (to use yet another of those portentous phrases cribbed from the math world), an existence proof. Once it was up and running, they could point to it and to its 100 percent success rate as vindicating the premise of APPIS, which was that real-world problems—especially problems that were difficult to solve because of hard-wired deficiencies of the human neurological system, such as the tendency to become bored when given a terrible job—could be tackled by metaphrasing them into Medieval Armed Combat scenarios, and then (here brandishing two searingly hip terms from high tech) putting them out on the cloud so that they could be crowdsourced.

The system, despite its bogosity—which was fundamental, evident, and frequently pointed out by huffy nerd bloggers—immediately became a darling of hip West Coast tech-industry conferences. APPIS had to be turned into a separate division and expanded onto a new floor of the office building in Seattle, which conveniently had been vacated by an imploding bank. New ideas and joint venture proposals rushed in, like so many wrong-way goblins, at such a pace that the APPIS staff could scarcely blow their Horns of Vigilance fast enough. The underemployed nerds of the world, impatient with the slow pace at which Corporation 9592’s in-house programmers bent to their demands, began to generate their own APPIS apps. The most popular of these was a system that would accept low-quality video of a corporate meeting room, supplied by a phone, and transmogrify the scene into a collection of hairy, armored warlords sitting around a massive plank table in a medieval fortress. Whenever a meeting participant lifted a bottle of vitamin water or a skinny nonfat latte to his or her lips, the corresponding avatar would quaff deeply from a five-liter tankard of ale and then belch deeply, and whenever someone took a nibble from a multigrain bar, the avatar would bite a steaming hunk of meat from a huge leg of lamb. PowerPoint presentations, in this scenario, were turned into vaporous apparitions hanging in numinous steam above a sorcerer’s kettle. In the first version of the app, the horn-helmeted avatars all said exactly the same things that the corresponding humans did in the real-world conference room, which made for some funny juxtapositions but wore thin after a while. But then people began to create add-ons so that if, for example, someone’s clever new proposal got trashed by a grouchy boss, the event could be rendered as a combat scene in which the hapless underling’s severed head wound up on the end of a spear. Large swaths of the global economy were, it now seemed, being remapped onto their T’Rain equivalents so that they could be transacted in a Medieval Armed Combat setting. Demonstrable improvements in productivity were being trumpeted every day on the relevant section of Corporation 9592’s website (by a medieval herald, naturally, and with an actual trumpet).

Richard insisted, only half in jest, that he wanted to see 10 percent of the global economy moved into T’Rain. Or at least 10 percent of the information economy. But since the information economy had now got its fingers into just about everything, this wasn’t much of a limitation. Factory workers watching widgets stream off the assembly line, inspecting them for defects, ought to be able to metaphrase their work into something way more neuron grabbing, such as flying up a river valley on a winged steed, gazing into its limpid waters at the rocks strewn up its channel, looking for the one that contained traces of some magical ore..."

-Neal Stephenson - REAMDE

Foxconn to slurp Sharp for US$5.6 BEELLION


A significant part of RCA's downfall was agreeing to sell electronics to Walmart. RCA got into a situation where the Walmart revenue was a must have and Walmart kept insisting on lower prices for RCA's products. Walmart destroyed the brand by reducing quality testing, cutting warranties, insisting on lower quality components to reduce cost. RCA was forced to cut R&D because of the lowered prices. Eventually it got to the point with RCA where Walmart said we need lower prices, don't test the electronics at all, ship them and if they're bad customers will return them.

When was RCA owned by the Koreans? I though most of what's left went to the Indian's in 2007.

RCA was owned by the French from 1982-2007 and then there was a joint venture with the Chinese began is 2004 after the brand had already been destroyed. RCA's relationship with Walmart destroyed them, well before the Chinese had anything to do with it. There was very little left for the Chinese to trash.


"Bot companies are, however, struggling to convince an apparently-jaded public to upgrade their smartmobes." ROTM, really now?

The Mad Men's monster is losing the botnet fight: Fewer humans are seeing web ads


Are these numbers really that surprising?

Given the annoyance that are ads, and the fact they they're spammed everywhere is it surprising at all that normal human behavior causes a lot of them not to be seen? When an ads blink, move and flash I don't want them on my screen. When it starts making noise or shifts my content around the page I block it entirely. I keep the browser narrow so it doesn't load ads on the sides of the page, I scroll past the banner at the top of the page, and don't look at the ones underneath. Everyone can open lots of tabs these days, and you know sometimes you forget why you cared to open them in the first place and close them without looking at them. Then there's the half page of advertising below the page, why would I ever look at that. I'm sure there's some bots involved somewhere, but what percentage of ads not viewed for at least one second is simply normal human behavior?

I've seen good ads on the web, one was a single line text ad from Google telling me about a tech conference in my city I was unaware of, it was an open source one. Another time I was trying to fix a pump and again I think it was Google had a display ad for the exact part I needed. So in both cases a bit creepy, but if I and other people were served more such ads I think we'd be more inclined to have a look at them.

It killed Safe Harbor. Will Europe's highest court now kill off hyperlinks?


If it can be linked it should be linked. The host of the content is responsible for making it available, hiding it, or protecting it.

Girls! Girls! Girls! Intel brags about diversity push, Silicon Valley tells itself it's doing great


We've got the title of the song in the headline, but not the official music video? Well here's the uncensored work it refers too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1S0Bvz3NHo . What can I say, I appreciate all the hard work the girlies put in.

Google to deep six dodgy download buttons


Re: What does to deep mean?

While I'm not 100% certain this is the correct definition and origin, it feels right

"A nautical expression indicating a water depth of 6 fathoms (36 feet, 10.97 metres) as measured by a sounding line; "deep six" acquired its idiomatic definition because something thrown overboard at or greater than this depth would be difficult, if not impossible, to recover."





Re: AC I suspect you of being an iPhone user. For several years there has been a policy on the Google play store that

"Apps and their ads must not display advertisements through system level notifications on the user’s device, unless the notifications derive from an integral feature provided by the installed app (e.g., an airline app that notifies users of special deals, or a game that notifies users of in-game promotions)."


While I'm not using Android as much as I was, I do find apps from the Play store are adhering to this policy and I've been able to turn off any notifications I wished within the app.

Safe Harbor ripped and replaced with Privacy Shield in last-minute US-Europe deal


When the USA lies to it's own people, why would the Europeans believe us?

Google ninjas go public with security holes in Malwarebytes antivirus


What is wrong with companies that they can't fix security problems in 90 days, and this is a security company we're talking about? If it's not a secure product it should be pulled from the market.

Juniper resets 'days since last rogue code incident' clock


See the article on Wired


I like the Register I do, and Wired is usually the place with puff pieces, but if you want the hard info, to know who discovered what, the timeline of events, and what was actually going on with the code and why the nonce matters see the Wired article.

How long is your password? HTTPS Bicycle attack reveals that and more


Down with 2FA

I appreciate hearing about HTTPS leaking password length and other data. The call for 2FA is excessively annoying. Every day I'm forced to use two separate devices for 2FA that I'm forced to use and didn't want. If I enabled 2FA on everything I'd have to have 4 devices with me at all times including being forced to carry a Windows laptop 24/7. 2FA is a major fucking headache that slows me down and wastes my time. I appreciate having it available, but I loathe being forced to use it.

FTC zaps more scammer loopholes with ban on wire transfers, cash cards


This does harm legitimate businesses

I work for a business that people call after seeing our ads on TV. To me this does indeed sound like they just banned direct debit, pre-authorised cheques. The regulations with what you can do with those payments were already quite restrictive. They aren't very popular, but some people particularly older people are more comfortable using them. Some of these older people are idiots, they're worried about giving their credit card numbers out over the phone. LOL. If an adversary gained the checking account and routing numbers along with the name and billing address which we collect as we must to ship our products, there would be so much more fun to be had with those than a credit card.

Pre-authorised cheques are a hassle, especially with callers who can't read the numbers because they're written funny, but in the end we accept them for most things because our callers want us too.

Have you ever sold something and tried to get a caller to mail you the check? "The cheque is in the mail" is one everyone's heard. You put just as much cost into dealing with those customers as everyone else, and perhaps 30% of the time you get the cheque within 2 weeks. What are you supposed to do when they finally send the cheque in 6 months later and the price has increased? Depending on what was for sale that can destroy margins. That's why we want the Pre-authorised cheque on the phone, besides, that's usually at least 10 days faster than mailing it in, and who wouldn't like to get what they bought sooner rather than later.

I'm going to have to look into this and see if this does indeed mean what's been suggested here.

Apple's Faulty Powers moment: iPad Pro slabs 'temporarily bricked' during recharge


Non OEM chargers at fault

The batteries in I devices are massive in comparison to average batteries in a non Apple device. The iPad pro has a massive battery compared to the standard iPad. The standard iPad charger puts out about 10 watts I bet the charger for the pro is double that.

I expect what is happening is people trying to recharge these from non OEM chargers that are poorly designed. The pro sucks down a massive amount of power, the charger which handled an iPhone just fine heats up an the the voltage regulation which was just barely in spec previously starts jumping all over the place. This screws with the digitizer in the touchscreen. A hard reset works as the physical buttons are not dependent on the digitizer.

I've owned usb chargers that operated out of spec like that before. Ok for most devices, but not some.