* Posts by JT_3K

100 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Nov 2012


Post Office slapped down for late disclosure of documents in Horizon scandal inquiry


Re: Prison of total failure

I don't think it was. From what I've read, there was such a fundamental flaw that the platform was incapable of accounting/transacting correctly. Something about double-entry double-counting. The more that was sold/created, the greater the issue became. Sales thus existed that had never transacted, meaning monies were always missing.

AI models show racial bias based on written dialect, researchers find


LLM is magical. It can do all sorts: pattern matching, helping where you're having a mental block (and you already know the answer), or my personal current favourite, asking it to phrase something in a different manner to that presented and using it's response to prompt/support your rewrite of your own core material. For me, the latter has been invaluable for asking it to find tidier ways to explain something for a job spec, or getting it to phrase office comms in a more jaunty and accessible manner.

It's never going to get away from the bias of its source content and that's the problem here. The bias it's showing in the article is the same that's been demonstrated in the UK around erosion of tight controls around UK broadcaster presentation. I note my parents (and many from their generation) see presenters with a strong localised accent and speaking in colloquial shortform language as a disaster, whereas I (and those in my friendship circles) see it as a progressive, good choice offering representation and a chance to move with the times.

Until the ideas are stamped out in society, they'll continue to show in an LLM. It's literally just a mirror to societal viewpoint and forcing to retrain with a subset of data leads to the model owner "playing God", and inherently injecting their own bias. No, I wouldn't want an LLM training in the dark corners of 4Chan for example, but thankfully I don't then have to draw a line as to what "is and isn't acceptable".

HPE seeks $4B in damages from Autonomy boss Mike Lynch and his ex-CFO


Re: Insanity ..... Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

> the Pied Piper of Idiotic Acquisitions

I'm banking that one for later. Snorted tea on my keyboard.

Australia passes Right To Disconnect law, including (for now) jail time for bosses who email after-hours


I could not support the theory behind this more. Either I've misread or the act of *sending* an email during an employee's off-hours is punishable?

I'm the first person to loom over my team and tell them to GTFO. I play office linebacker with the execs and refuse to call/contact them during off-hours, I fight their corner at every opportunity and with all the voracity of a scorned mother-lion.

I however have a brain like a sieve and occasionally email them in off-hours because I need to get it out of *my* head. I make it damn clear they shouldn't be taking emails/calls in off-hours and I don't want them to answer until they're back in (ongoing and in the emails). I've tried to get them to remove work emails from their phones or make them pull-only.

Surely the beauty of *email* is it's non-time-based and I can drop them an email because *I'm* working late/early/in-another-time-zone and not because they should be?

Japanese government finally bids sayonara to the 3.5" floppy disk


You joke, but in 2007 a teacher stormed in to my office, threw a 3.5'' floppy so hard it bounced off my desk and hit me in the sternum, then bellowed "I PUT THE INTERNET ON THIS DISK AND WHEN I GOT HOME IT DIDN'T WORK AND I COULDN'T PLAN MY LESSONS AND THE IT HERE IS ALWAYS GETTING IN MY WAY AND I'M BEING OBSERVED AND I DON'T HAVE A PLANNED LESSON"

I sat there a little shell-shocked. They stared at me for ~1-2 seconds and turned heel and walked out. Turns out they'd copied the link to IE on to a floppy, which worked fine in the building but not at home. I had a word with the senior team who chose that it wasn't something they wanted to follow, and had a quiet word with the teacher a few hours later about how little I appreciated their conduct, particularly in front of the students I'd been speaking to before they'd interrupted.

Ironically, the same IT-phobic and highly inept senior lead I'd raised this with, later in that job, called me to his classroom about a VCR that wasn't playing through his projector. Despite me having shown him how to do the input mode on the projector and tested it 20 mins earlier during break. He grandstanded whilst I checked over, citing about how IT never worked. The kids in the front row creased up and loudly repeated when I rather quickly figured the issue and ever so slightly not quietly enough advised him a VCR needs a tape inserting to work. He never did get control over the lesson and needed the on-call team (his senior colleagues) to embarrassingly come and provide additional manpower.

Akira ransomware gang says it stole passport scans from Lush in 110 GB data heist


Re: Id/Passport verification service

Here I am, contemplating the duality of having the best security experts money can buy (as suggested above in getting a "Google", an "Oracle" or a "Microsoft" to tender to do so) running a secondary verification/storage facility for high-PII like passports and driving licenses, against the pain/risk of a sole bucket of such a quantity posing a juicy target for the greatest and deepest-resource-pocket-government-backed hack groups to go after.

You've solved the hell out of it. It doesn't need to be 2nd party. The government can, for a ****small**** fee perhaps, store that you registered an interest in an individual and verified documents as presented to you, as well as returning a single photograph (? from passport/driving license to allow you to confirm you were not just given a passport number for "16yo Sarah from Birmingham" that belonged to 86yo Sandra from Aberdeen and that the NI matches the passport), a date at which checked and non-identifiable GUID for your transaction? They have the data and maintenance of a table to confirm you have provided a correct passport ID and legally identifiable name as well as having proven you have legitimate interest for such a function through registered-company information would work?

Drivers: We'll take that plain dumb car over a flashy data-spilling internet one, thanks


Re: The older the better

How about the 1st gen Toyota C-HR I had on hire a few years back when my employer made me rent cars to go on longer drives than take my own. The one with the "follows the car in front" part of cruise control that you can't stop it doing and I thought I'd give it a go? When I was queuing to get off the M60 and the car left a big enough gap (on shortest setting) that a last-minute commuter thought they'd take advantage and cut in whilst doing ~15mph and gently decelerating. Problem is that the car disabled cruise control without beeping/dashboard warning and in doing so, didn't brake as expected and nearly had me rear end them.

Then there's my wife's 2017 Mk7.5 Golf GTI, which without fail almost every time we drive home a certain way, throws a fit at a particular s-bend taken very gently at 35mph (on a 40mph main road that used to be 60mph around 20yrs ago), screeches, lights up the dashboard like a Christmas tree and decides we're about to have a collision, with enough voracity that we jump every time and nearly swerve in to the corner in doing so because it's that surprising.

Perhaps we could consider my 2016 BMW G12 740Ld, which despite me doing 20,000 miles a year, has never once warned me of a collision: (a) before I've seen and acted on the impending issue well ahead of me; or (b) when I've had a (very occasional) near miss because of whatever reason. The same system has gone off around once per week on motorways when I come to pass another car with us both driving sensibly and no issue. It also disables itself after ~45 minutes of driving in rain because it decides the camera can't see properly.

Ok then. Let's take "I know better" out of the equation and consider that the BMW CCA outright banned the new M3 in ~2014(?) from taking part in track days as the systems were dangerous (their take, not mine), couldn't be disabled and were cutting in despite being "turned off", causing several near misses.

Get your head out of your ass, jackass.

Why do IT projects like the UK's scandal-hit Post Office Horizon end in disaster?


Re: Building software is hard...

The understanding I'd built here is that actually it was never about "being able to get to Leeds in 1h20" or whatever the touted headline was. The reality here was that it was about creating a separate line for the high-speed stuff that meant it wasn't running on the same lines as the slower/constantly-stopping local services. In doing so, the vast quantities of cancellations and late running services would be significantly reduced. This would be as they'd not be stuck at the first departure station waiting for a green because a 30-second delay from a London-Edinburgh service that was slightly behind wasn't going to cumulatively mean they'd hit the "Birmingham direct" at their 12th station and have to wait for that, then later be stuck waiting to leave their 20th station because they'd been leapfrogged by the giant Drax freight service that should be 15 mins behind.

It's a capacity thing, but that's not a snappy marketable headline that everyone can seemingly "get" straight away.


Re: Maybe UKians should start sending back their tax returns ?

I still remember the first year I did a tiny bit of weekend contracting and, wanting to make sure I paid my fair share, stuck my head above the parapet and told HMRC. The shock when they suddenly demanded 85% of the money I'd earned will stay with me for a long time. I'd put a little under half away to cover any eventuality, but 85% meant I didn't even cover my fuel/car costs for transport to/from the work. Not only that they make it severely complex for a normal person to get it right (easier now than it was a decade ago) and complex to get out. Turns out I needed to run a bunch of spreadsheets in the end to deduct profit for items like proportionate use of car/phone/house and counter for PAYE salary-sacrifice pension malarkey being done by my main employer to get it down to ~40% (which I don't dispute in theory as I'm not here to avoid tax, just that it was insane before). All I wanted was to do a few Saturdays and perhaps take the family away for a night somewhere as a treat.

FWIW I was also always told that if you put in your assessment on the first available day and pay it, the tax office is idle and you'll get investigated (deservedly or otherwise) to the end of the earth, but if you put it in on the last day, it's just a normal submission and subject to less hassle. This then means you get no advance warning of however their wizardry pulls together and the magic number you're likely to have to pay them.

Your comment about UK tax working well with a straight income but not otherwise hits home. I'm the main earner and as such, Child Benefit hits some threshold where I receive it but they then want almost all of it back. If it was assessed on joint income, it wouldn't be a problem. As it is, this is taken forcibly at self-assessment time. How people who don't already self-assess but earn more than threshold are expected to deal with this (not seen it publicized) is beyond me. Moreover, as soon as I knew, I cancelled the Child Benefit as £82/mth is great to put in the child's savings or throw at new school uniform or whatever, but not quite as noticeable as the £800 demanded back with no notice.

How governments become addicted to suppliers like Fujitsu


Re: Don't forget NPfIT

In fairness, having done IT work in healthcare, I've never experienced a lack of control like it. I (genuinely) do get that the frontline staff are overworked, over-houred (?) and underpaid. Every NHS IT program however is doomed to fail as it quickly has to become all things to all people (wouldn't it be great if it could handle this process too), and there's no control over process alignment.

One notable implementation was a nightmare for me as two different teams (same local organisation) had been running the same process with the same input and output in two completely different ways. Both local managers were adamant that their process was unchangeable and that they couldn't possibly meet in the middle, often falling back to a "too busy to change" mentality. When escalated, this fell on deaf ears with a "the managers are right" response and the program nearly collapsed as the system very nearly couldn't be configured to run in two different ways at the same time. If this is just one tiny subset in one single organisation, when you face the considerable numbers of organisations that come together to form the NHS and that they all will not adapt their processes, it's nigh on impossible to implement a blanket platform.

Of course, those of us that have played this game for long enough know that the real pain is yet to come. When you've taken a largely off-the-peg solution and customised it to kingdom come, there is no simple update path, no option to upgrade without rewriting a lot of the customisation. Of course, even if you can, that leaves a platform that needs testing, and those that are "too busy to change" are certainly too busy to take part in testing. Those that are unwilling to leverage standardised processes are unwilling to enforce participation in a testing program.

I reiterate the love for the NHS, the people of it and notably those on the front line. However, someone who's been there recently and knows how it goes on the front line needs to get a proper hold of "what should be", and those above need to put their adult trousers on to enforce that all NHS processes are handled in one way, from the way the phone queues work, through the patient process (and staff workflow) for a specific diagnosis-procedure-aftercare lifecycle, to record keeping/interaction/notification and to the manner services are accessed. Until we stop this "but Jane needs to be notified **with a green banner** because she prints the paper letters when she's in on Wednesday because that's how we've always done it in our building and we won't rely on email even though everyone else does" nonsense, every single initiative is destined for immediate catastrophic overspend and ultimate failure.

Former Post Office boss returns CBE to sender over computer system scandal


That would have been May 2009, so Labour.


Yes, to a point. There's a cracking testimony from someone on the project team linked on El Reg comments yesterday in which someone citing a need for urgent rewriting of the cash accounting module (?) in Horizon because it was fundamentally broken recalls his bosses outright refusing to entertain the idea because of the delay to the critical path. Similarly, within it he recalls Peter Mandelson marching through the ICL offices at volume pushing that Tony Blair wouldn't accept a delay and the system would be made live no matter what, leading that it was pushed through from the top. I concur that the Post Office lied to Ed Davey, but stating that "they were fed lies" as a conclusion makes it a very passive piece in which politicians played no part in the cascading failure.

I dislike the Conservative party and their inability to get hold on this (amongst their idiotic conduct and the endless slew of unacceptable rubbish we've had during their tenure). I dislike the Lib Dem leadership for failing to provide a coherent 3rd choice to hold the other two accountable, with no cohesive ideas of their own and an inability to stick to their guns at any cost at the one moment they could have. I dislike Labour for many reasons, such as the tremendous amount of waste and cascading damage caused by the payday loan manner in which the economy was run (I had to endure PFI BSF on the front line so don't try to tell me otherwise) and the war-criminal actions of Blair.

In this instance I'm sick to the back teeth of watching the Conservatives being blamed when every party had a hand in this, and it's usually by a comment that seems to think it'd never have happened under their choice of party: usually Labour. Blair pushed this to be ready by virtue of Mandelson hammering the team to get it out and nobody in ICL had the backbone to refuse, ultimately a culture of oppressing anything other than yes-men. Labour had plenty of time to clock something was wrong and did nothing, most unacceptably despite accounts in 2009 it was wrong and mutterings long, long before. Davey was on watch when someone (admittedly not in CPS control) could and should have noted that something was wrong and taken action, but did nothing. Conservatives were on watch when it was evidently wrong and did nothing until a tele-drama made it notable.

I spent some time trying to think back through various administrations that didn't do something that tremendously harmed the country long-term and frankly couldn't, making it back to around WW1. I forget what I unearthed to ~1961 but vaguely recall some of the losses immediately post-war in terms of idiotic decisions around defunding research and overspend around some programs. After that, I noted the overblown and short sighted Beeching Report responses, cancellation of TSR2 and Black Arrow and long term impact on the UK as an aviation lead, inability to merge the British Motor industry effectively by making the required unpopular decisions, unwillingness to address the Coal Industry's ongoing decline whilst in-play, the manner in which the Coal Industry was ultimately dealt with and the selling off of Council House Stock, the intro of PFI1 and selling off of national assets such as the trains, etc.

None of the political options are a viable choice.

US Navy sailor swaps sea for cell after accepting bribes from Chinese snoops


It seems they didn't...


...know their Hueneme.

Fujitsu wins flood contract extension despite starring in TV drama about its failures


That's a hell of a read. Thanks.

Calculating Pi in the sky: Axiom Space plans to launch 'orbital datacenter'


Re: Don't forget the important stuff

The vertically oriented cage nuts

The BT Openreach engineer approach: equipment that's mounted something between two 1U spaces because they don't understand/care to rack in a single 1U space

That C15 cable that powers the switch, but nobody had a C14 to C15 so it's the one that came in the box with a European plug end through an adaptor they found in the back of Dave's desk drawer (Dave left the company in 2017 and two engineers have had that desk since, but they're still referred to as "Dave's drawers"). This goes out through the bottom of the cab and in to an unprotected socket below as a "temporary fix".

The RJ45 on the uplink that's missing the clip, and the other end that's got a cable boot so old it's impossible to press because it's petrified

One cable that's stretched tight as a drum between two pieces of kit in a straight line "just to get things going", but never got replaced

A warning from some other member of staff not to fix matters as there's a C13 that's loose somewhere and unspecified kit restarts if you move the spaghetti enough

A tea-stained single placemat which is positioned atop the rack just next to the vents

A 1U cable management rail that, because the rails are mounted too far forward, prevents the door from shutting quite all the way in a manufacturing environment so the insides are filthy

The undocumented end of an abandoned fibre cabinet-to-cabinet install project curled up under all the kit

A 1U BNC repeater that's powered, but not connected to anything else, labelled "Repeater 3"

Your legacy 2U server, but instead a 3U monstrosity of a floor tower on a "rack mount kit" which turns out to be just a sliding shelf and a big velcro strap (I'm looking at you, HP)

Modern switching infrastructure interlinked through a 1U 10/100 Hub

(all real experiences)

This could still wing its way to you, if you have the dosh: One Concorde engine seeks new home


My wedding ring is made from a flight-flown compression vane from one of these. I'd love one but at that price tag, it's beyond unmanageable. I note also that the vent-control was the bit that made it work and slowed the air enough to be able to be used at such speed, and that the black boxes that controlled the variable inlet were removed before the planes given for static display.

Raspberry Pi sizes up HAT+ spec for future hardware add-ons


Stop, I can't beret any more.

Share your 2024 tech forecasts (wrong answers only) to win a terrible sweater


Early in 2024, having been pardoned by Joe Biden in a controversial and surprise move, Yahoo! instates Elizabeth Holmes as their new CEO. Publicised with a tight partnership with Snoop Dogg, Yahoo! purchases X at fire-sale prices, acquiring also the remnants of MySpace and FriendsReunited and pivots to offer a boutique. clean and simplified ad-free social network service and CDN, attractive to users through lack of popups and in-feed ads. This is funded by selling heat generated by shipping-containerised micro server farms (and quiet leverage of user data to marketing groups). Tom from MySpace returns to head the overall division, branded "YahX! Friends!", with a number of cringeworthy yet lovable advertisments in which he screams "I'm back, bitches!...YahX! Friends!", the brand always being stated with the cadence and pronunciation of "YASS KWEEN".

The server farms, strategically placed shipping container arrays that take up parking areas in the space given up by the UK's dying retail parks, will be ultimately powered by a new array of a surprise advance in high-density solar run in to Toyota's new battery technology to keep operational overnight. These subsequently deliver low cost piping hot potable water to surrounding homes and businesses, with heating pilots in London utilising the old London Hydraulic Power distribution network and a roll out planned in Birmingham and Norwich later in 2025. Doing so ushers in a new era of UK prosperity as utility companies are forced to aggressively slash standing charges and unit costs right back up the supply chain to compete and subsequently releasing much needed consumer funds to boost the national economy.

Both the heat service and social-network/CDN are a massive hit, until the service overextended itself Daewoo-style by deciding to further monetise in utilising spare datacenter heat against their pre-existing userbase and the retail units to open an end-to-end dark-kitchen delivery on demand service trying to rival Deliveroo, causing a national furore when it's discovered they're operating without food hygene permits and subsequent governmental fines cause a full implosion of the entire operation, indirectly triggering another recession.

Boston Dynamics teaches robo-dog to recognise speech, respond using ChatGPT


What should we do with our creepy robot death-dog? I know, give it AI power. How could this possibly go wrong. Plus I love the "it's totally not us toying with weapons tech, guys! We could use it as an...erm...err...TOUR GUIDE! Yeah, that's it, it's a *tour guide*, not a weapon at all."

Isn't this the sub plot of some alternative-dimension-set Terminator film or similar? Staying with the film theme: Just because your engineers could, you never stopped to think about whether you should. If anyone needs me, I'll be awaiting their arrival at Horsell Common for the immersive experience modernised version to begin.

Apple-backed California right-to-repair bill just a bite away from governor's signature


Re: Why the exemptions?

You say that, but what of the lack of usable spares. Say the HDMI re-timer chip dies out on my PS5 and I feel comfortable re-balling and seating the new one. That's fine and I might find one through 3rd party channels but in dismantling the console, the flimsy fan connector pulls clear of the board and I can't buy a new one as it's proprietary. No fan connector means no fan and the otherwise viable console heads to landfill whilst I'm gouged for another new unit?

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure


Re: don't forget

> Beemers were once the vehicle of choice for those climbing the corporate ladder and were able to lease them

You miss the other half of the story. BMW was also at one point a byword for quality engineering-first thinking. You knew damn well that it was engineered (like the early Lexus offerings) to a standard rather than down to a price. You paid more because someone had thought about it first: from the location and angle of connectors being accessible to every sized hand; prewiring to a point; space/layout to remove items without removing other items; and a weird ability to both float along at the end of a long day whilst also able to be lively and engaging on a b-road.

BMW of the 80s & 90s would never have included plastic timing chain guides, or placed a timing chain on the back of an engine so the whole powertrain had to be removed to repair. They'd never have put electrically retractable rear brake calipers that needed software to control. They'd never place a roof-motor in a poorly-drained "tray" that effectively submerged it in every rainfall. You paid because someone had thought about it: all of it, every mundane and stupid little detail and chose to balance it in favour of the person maintaining or using the product first, not the cost-base.

Then marketing took over. Once the business got a taste, it became the domain of the beancounter and everything was about cost-value and leveraging greater returns. My G12 is on its *third* recall for EGR issues and the last time it had melted the *plastic* intake manifold. It's only been a matter of time before the lost and incompetent management decided to try to monetise more stuff and this was a logical step for them. Abhorrent mess, bring back the engineers.

Cops drill into chat apps, sink plot to smuggle tonnes of coke into Europe


"August 24 led to 15 house searches, six arrests, and the seizure of 2.7 tonnes of charlie along with two high-end cars, luxury watches, and around €550,000 ($593,000) in cash"

That's quite an achievement for those police, recovering €450,000 of cash. Although what they're going to do with that €350,000 is anyone's guess. €250,000 is a lot of money, and I'm sure that €150,000 is going to go a long way towards providing value: €50,000 buys a fair amount of policing.

What cocaine?

BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription


The *ultimate* idiocy for touchscreen controls has appeared to me of late. My G12 BMW has a sunroof, which has a cover, and they've decided the cover to be electronic. Holding the lock button on the key to get the mirrors to close in treats the cover on the sunroof like the convertible top and closes it as part of its "close the windows, close the roof" piece.

The only way to open the sunroof cover? From the ConnectedTablet in between the rear seats. No button, no option in the iDrive menu, nope. Get the tablet out of its holder in the rear seats and open window blinds and sunroof blind from there.


India warns ecommerce 'basket sneaks' and 'confirm shamers' their days are numbered


Lovely. Does this mean Amazon are going to stop trying to railroad/force/trick every transaction to include Prime?

Arm wrestles assembly language guru's domains away citing trademark issues


Re: Who ya gonna call ?

I was thinking more Michaelsoft Binbows

We all scream for ice cream – so why are McDonald's machines always broken?


I've got a manual stack for a 286 somewhere that came with a giant ~A0 printout of the CPU and it's makeup.


Re: Wait, their milkshake maker works like an HP printer ?

As someone's alluded to further up, the majority issue is simply that it's overfilled. Whether it can be reset and mix removed or whether that causes further issues is different. The simple fact is that having worked fast food years ago, worker turnover and some level of lack of care amongst a contingent of staff lead to people doing what they can to get through. Whether it's a heavily overwhelmed member of staff ramming as much as they can in because they think they're not going to have to top it up again, someone trying to get a headstart on closing or someone that just can't be arsed to put the rest of the mix away afterwards, it's 95% of the time caused by overfilling. Franchisees and managers know this, and even may advise new staff not to overfill, but it gets done anyway. You probably get away with "a bit over the line" but how much is "a bit" and when does it burn out or trip part of the machine.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying BMW are some sort of haven-paradise, and the time they tried to charge me £730 for a pair of rear brake pads and an oil change is testament to their practices. It's especially bad when you consider that their active cruise control brakes rear-biased for "stability reasons" wearing out the tiny pads extra quickly, but also that you need their computer to wind back the electro-mechanical rear calipers. Not that I'm bitter that when I asked them to justify, they said "well they have to reset the computer..."

However, the enthusiast contingent *really* shows how it's done. Between the proliferation of (cough) access to the dealer-level tools with cheap AliExpress level cables and an old laptop, and the availability of parts info on RealOEM, everything from coding your car, finding the right part or resets after servicing are ridiculously accessible. Guidance is usually already there online for most gotchas and the community (particularly far-eastern countries with scary inital purchase tax but cheap parts) share retrofit guidance freely. I'm half-convinced that BMW don't crack down on this because they see the value of a passionate and engaged enthusiast community.

More UK cops' names and photos exposed in supplier breach


You say that, but look at the lady stabbed by a member of the general public because "he thought she was employed by GCHQ". No worry about what she has or has not been part thereof, no comment about her role (could have been anything from senior to the onsite cleaner). There's lots to fear because "people" are muppets.

And believe me, I'm not passing comment on the effectiveness, engagement or activities of UK police in any capacity: positive or negative.

UK flights disrupted by 'technical issue' with air traffic computer system


Re: Blame the French

It's the very first thing I thought when I saw that was the cause. Although they should have rebuilt the system long ago. Another symptom of a never ending push from weak management and non-technical decision makers to concentrate on cost-cutting and glossy additional features rather than streamlining codebase and paying down technical debt.

India lands Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on Moon, is the first to lunar south pole


Hear hear.

If you have kids in your life somewhere, you need to go fish for this book. Just don't forget the tissues.


Netflix flinging out DVDs like frisbees as night comes for legacy business


Re: DVDs beat the film

I can't blame you. Isn't the extended directors special edition megacut* something like 12hrs long and basically an advert for the New Zealand countryside?

* Title made up but seems fitting


Re: One advantage with DVD's


Computer graphics pioneer John Warnock dies at 82


Re: In 80pt bold please :)

There's a lot of good reading to be had out there. Accidental Empires (cited within) is a great start. I also loved Dealers of Lightning.

There's a big chunk you can pull from Stephen Levy's excellent Hackers book that seems to cover in depth a lot of the computer revolution from the mid 60's to early 80's and it's almost all written from the point of having been "there" at the time, somehow in and amongst a staggering amount of milestones. If I was going to go for any of them, I'd pick that.

I know what you did next summer: Microsoft to kill off Xbox 360 Store


Re: Not unexpected, but the inability to purchase DLC is a pain

> "Sadly, this has been an issue ever since "download only" games started to appear."

Can I point you at a myriad of issues around software preservation, specifically citing in this instance the Nintendo Japan Famicom Satellaview missing content that surfaces every so often, or the N64 Disk Drive blue-disk content? Perhaps Sierra's missing source code for almost all its back catalogue and the stories about how and why would dispel?

It's not just a "download game" thing.

Lock-in to legacy code is a thing. Being locked in by legacy code is another thing entirely


I had a university lecturer 20 years ago (eek) who bemoaned that the council had put some form of scale/loop device to trigger the traffic lights in his locality and his scooter wasn't sufficient to trigger it. Apparently he'd wired an electromagnet under the scooter to a pushbutton on the handlebars and via investigation, upped the strength until it triggered.

Inside the Black Hat network operations center, volunteers work in geek heaven


I've been there. Always a challenge knowing that those you have to provide access to your network and resources are those that are going to continually attack you. At least in my situation they were secondary school kids (so usually less experienced with the craft) and the local demographic had parents who were strict, offering a real deterrent in that their parents might hear of their exploits (pun intended).

Still a nightmare to lock down though, lots of new stuff to learn. The most important thing for me was to simultaneously stop them from breaking/entering, to foster an interest and support their knowledge, and to not provide enough skills for them to get themselves in trouble before they'd properly developed a perception of risk (https://healthland.time.com/2012/10/02/why-the-teen-brain-is-drawn-to-risk/)

Tesla hackers turn to voltage glitching to unlock paywalled features


Re: I need heated seats like…

Sounds like you're the perfect consumer for BMW's ventilated seat package? Crank the aircon down to arctic and blow that air through tiny holes in the seat.


Re: Not persistent, so not a problem

The math has been defined for many, many years.

As far back as the end of the 80's, BMW fitted a single spec of wiring loom to the E30 line of 3-series. This featured a number of things, including wiring for the optional extra foglights and a connector for the foglight button that allowed either no (some markets), a single switch (Euro rear-fog only) or upgraded dual (front/rear fog light) switch. The blank/single/double switch all fit in the same housing under the headlight switch. Dealers could pop out blanks in the front bumper, throw a pair of fogs in and then a switch and upgrade.

Toyota has done similar since the early 90s with wiring for rear speakers, albeit not providing them. Again, allowing for a single loom and easy dealer-level upgrades.

Another user has mentioned the cruise-control piece with a need for a simple stalk to be added.

The simplification and ability for the dealer to tack-in some polish with little effort has consistently been a great way to cut costs in terms of maintaining loom-variants and similarly add instant value to a consumer to get a deal over a line.

Google teases Project IDX, an AI-infused code editing thing


Fantastic. I can't wait for them to abandon this too.


With limited space for tourist attractions, Singapore bets on augmented reality


Re: Okay, not going to knock it

I thought the article was fairly clear: the idea isn't pure VR, it's AR. The WW2 plan is to take an ex-military tourist location and create a corresponding map in Unity. Through use of the Google API mentioned in the article, being able to map the location and angle of the user on to the Unity map and as such place the player in a 3D augmented tourist-location. When teamed with some fuzzy-logic NPC characters and vehicles, key areas of the "map" can be marked for various achievements and similar to allow a unique experience.

I commend it as an approach. Can you imagine school children on trips to the WWI Western Front being able to AR an (obviously sanitised) view of the trenches, militaria and perhaps even the "Christmas truce football match"? Or visitors to the Black Country Living museum or Beamish seeing people going about their day and interacting with specialist NPCs, carefully acted by people coached on dialect, posture, clothing, etc.

Student requested access to research data. And waited. And waited. And then hacked to get root


Similar to the era they put massively bolted down network connections in to the halls of residence in the UK around the same time. They didn't count on Computer Networks students having physical access to the Cisco kit "hidden" in the loft however. Nor did they configure it well, as it was after all, "hidden" and "physically inaccessible". Moreover, when they bolted that down in 2005, they forgot that campus was, with a "Pringles can long range antenna WiFi setup", within distance of the poorly secured campus WEP (?) networks...


Re: In Code We Trust

I mean, I certainly wouldn't possess a fairly well played with USB-bootable Windows 10 based WinPE filled with such tools and somehow an in-baked ability to break through encryptions and permissions on local drives (assuming in their original PC). No, doesn't sound like me at all...

Google to kill Dropcam, Nest Secure hardware next year


Re: Why would anyone with half a brain buy anything from Google?

I concur. A close friend (fireman) is fine with the washing machine but I'd not leave a tumble dryer unattended. I do note the machine cited above *forces* me to hit the app-connect button on the front and then gives 10 mins for me to configure so it's not like I can choose to kick it off whilst outside home lest I schedule it. I expect the oven will behave the same?


Re: Why would anyone with half a brain buy anything from Google?

I said the same thing. Begrudgingly bought a Hive because seemingly all pre-existing "LCD" thermostats required four and a half days and a purely silent room to reprogram and I wanted to be able to boost heating on the way home at random times. I've loved it and it's been incredible, even if I do still have the old one in the loft in case I have to throw it back on the wall in a moment of pure "tin foil hat".

Then I got a Bosch washing machine with connection. I no longer have to try to understand the ancient Sanskrit language of washing programs, and instead can easily set a finish time on my phone for a load, which it then easily works to despite variable cycle times due to load weight.

Now I'm debating their ovens so I can be on the way home and set it going and have it ready to cook as I get through the door, or know when it's at temp despite being elsewhere in the house. I'd like a video doorbell that I can use as an additional feed for my CCTV whilst appearing to be at home when parcel-clowns decide to take my package to the opposite end of the county rather than leave it behind the shed.

I get it. I'm careful with what I choose, and I know no system is perfect but they are on a separate VLAN and can only poke about with each other so aren't going to be a pivot point for my home.

Brits start 'em young with 20% of tots 'owning' a smartphone


Tablet ownership isn't the worst thing in the world. I can't speak for Android ecosystem, but the Apple one allows a device to be locked down to completely reject internet in any capacity, to enforce the parent to approve apps and for screen time. Granularity allows full whitelist-only capabilities and when paired with Netflix/iPlayer with age restrictions, educational apps, age-restricted native podcasts, Spotify (explicit locked) and an app-connected early-start bank card, can definitely prove net positive.

As a vintage gaming hobbyist, my 7yo regularly gets targeted exposure and is currently working her way through Portal 2. Are some of the contents 100% suitable or easy to understand at that age: probably not. The net positive however is discussion (and a working understanding) of some degree level physics, recognition of the ultimate importance of maths, discussion on time-travel, excellent hand-eye coordination and a massive push to complex problem solving.

It's hard given the consistent message of "screen time bad" that still persists from the early-90's but when a child of her age is able to use their self-directed learning to go challenge the signs and volunteers at a National Trust property, is pushed to read-at-speed (hidden in many of her games) until they're reading two or so "key-stages" above their age or is happily explaining how light cheats in races or Laminar Flow to an elderly relative, I feel the benefits are clear to see.

With ICMP magic, you can snoop on vulnerable HiSilicon, Qualcomm-powered Wi-Fi


It's ultimately low-level chips that are forwarding spoofed traffic without thought. The crux is that the attacker and victim are connected to the same network. The attacker crafts an ICMP redirect packet with source of the router itself and destination of the victim and sends it. The router should immediately know that it can't *receive* a packet that it seemingly crafted and should drop the packet, but the low-level chips running it are simply forwarding the packet to the victim without questioning it. The argument seems to be that "it would take a lot of processing power to check every message so we don't" but in reality, no chip should forward this message as it didn't come from the device itself. Tighter controls around ensuring the sender *is* the sender is probably the fix, although equally controls that define the router has sent packets that it's purported to have sent would also fix this.

My interest is that it seems to have been proven on "all in one" router/wifi/?modem? networks (where there's no excuse as it operates all sides of the discussion and should know whether it originated these packets), but I wonder what would happen where the router, switch and multiple APs are distinct devices: would for instance a UniFi AP allow such an attack as at a chip-level it can't distinguish this packet came from another user and not from the router it expects to communicate with via a wired interface? What about in a mesh environment?

Cash App founder stabbed to death in San Francisco


Re: Another No Information Opinion idiot...

Don't go leaving the UK out of this. UK police managed to summon/arrest in 5.2% of reported cases last year. That's down from 15% 5yrs ago. Note that's summon/arrest, not prosecute, and *reported* cases. Many now don't bother reporting, or only do to get a crime number.

I cite a case this past month in which, in broad daylight in Leeds city centre, some scum bloke outside our office spent five mins rifling through a Deliveroo bike, then noticed an iPhone in a car next to it. He retrieved a rock, threw it 3x at the passenger window and, having failed to get in, went for a half brick from the end of the road and threw that through the driver's window. He missed with his first rock and bent the roof such that it looked like it'd probably write off the fairly new Audi SUV, but made off with a 6yo iPhone with a smashed screen.

I retrieved two angles of a 4k video replete with good stills of his face and distinctive clothing. Our founder watched the whole thing and could back up the video (shouldn't be needed). I then identified the suspect sitting with a gang in a known location and informed the police, asking them 4x to go grab him and providing the stills.

The investigating officer took almost a week to come to me to get the video. There was no record on the case of the stills or location of the man. Nobody had been to get him despite him having been sat there for over five hours. The video was deemed "inconclusive" (?!? - how?!?) and he'd had his hand up to his face 3 of 4x he'd walked past (not the last time where we'd got the stills) so was deemed he'd sufficiently camouflaged himself.

What a waste of time and a complete embarrassment to the UK our police services are.

Microsoft ditches plans for 500,000 sq ft London office


Re: Enfield

A fascinating read, thanks!

Vessels claiming to be Chinese warships are messing with passenger planes


Re: Peak China?

I mean, the stories referenced in the book "This is how they tell me the world ends" talk of China's global quiet posturing on the digital stage and, as to their 2011/12(?) hack of Google, finally being able to tie the nation-state to the rampant IPO and data thefts that had been committed increasingly by them over the decade prior.

I'm not saying it's just them. The excellent Register live event in 2011 where Bruce Schneier discussed the multinational arms race to place back doors should remind us of that. But it did (does?) seem that China had a particular push on international collation and local redistribution of IPO that other countries seek to undertake less.