* Posts by JeffyPoooh

4286 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Jun 2013

A Register reader turns the computer room into a socialist paradise


Embedded backspaces

^-- hours of fun

If your display environment respects backspaces, then anything seems possible.

Comms room, comms room, comms room is on fire – we don't need no water, let the engineer burn


"cause of the fire....the UPS"

Famously, I once wrote:

You’re concerned about your family’s safety. So you get a guard dog. The dog costs a fortune. It immediately poops on the floor. Then it chews off the entire left side of your Bang and Olufson. It bites the postman’s fingers. It then sleeps through an actual burglary. And finally it eats one of your children.

This is the UPS experience: If they’re not preoccupied with smoldering their lead acid batteries, then they’re busy buzzing and arcing. Then they blow an internal fuse on the output, and your Great American Novel is suddenly lost, again, for the third time. Then there’s an actually power failure (Yay!), so they turn on their patented 387 volt offset square wave, and your PC is instantly corrupted. Meanwhile battery acid squirts out onto the ceiling, again. Then, while you’re out trying to buy a replacement PC, the UPS catches fire and burns your house down.

I’d happily pay $800 to not have one.

If Uncle Sam could quit using insecure .zip files to swap info across the 'net, that would be great, says Silicon Ron Wyden


Have to check redacted documents...

See if they're actually redacted properly. Always half-expecting to find black highlighting.

10 PRINT Memorial in New Hampshire marks the birthplace of BASIC


Backspace Packing

Within many environments, the user display will dutifully obey the backspace character (ASCII 8), even embedded within the script or code. So by packing in some ASCII backspaces (using a routine to replace a placeholder character with ASCII 8), actual code can be hidden 'beneath' the backspaces, and decorative fake code can be displayed (after a hidden REM).

A BASIC example (from ~36 years ago):

10 PRINT "Yes!"; REM ^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h "No!"


10 PRINT "No!"



By this means, what is apparently listed and what is actual hidden code can be perfectly independent. The only clue might be the file size, if they're paying attention and counting characters.

Any environment that obeys the backspace is vulnerable to this mischief.


New Hampshire has 255 roadside markers

Of course.

That's the most one can fit into 8 bits.

Those darn users don't know what they're doing (not like us, of course)


Re: The unfamiliar can always catch people out

swm asked, "...cars....rather than simple words?"

Because GM cars often do have buttons with words, it is thus clearly incorrect.

Stiff penalty: Prenda Law copyright troll gets 14 years of hard time for blue view 'n sue scam



See Title.

Hacking these medical pumps is as easy as copying a booby-trapped file over the network


"...crafts a Windows Cabinet file..."

"Next, the intruder crafts a Windows Cabinet file (CAB)..."

The intruder is far more likely to be a bored teenager who has downloaded the required malicious CAB file from somewhere.

It's a very common mistake, when evaluating the odds of such attacks, to mindlessly overlook the very existence of script kiddies.

Considering that script kiddies dominate, it's really a monumentally stupid error. But it's an error that I've seen explicitly performed several times in various situations.

These boffins' deepfake AI vids are next-gen. But don't take our word for it. Why not ask Zuck or Kim Kardashian...


Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

I'm glad that it's not just me. What a mess.

Can't be IP address with those numbers so far beyond 255... ...right ?

"...570.674,65.562 570.82,62.369 C570.966,59.17 571,58.147 571,50 C571,41.851 570.966,40.831 570.82,37.631"></path></g></g></g></svg>"

If your broadband bill is too high consider moving to Idaho, they get the internet for free


"...natural monopoly..."

"Running internet wires to houses is a natural monopoly..."

With light-weight and very thin fiber optic bundles, it doesn't necessarily have to be. A wooden telephone pole could easily support multiple service providers.

The shame is that doing it three times in parallel would force fiscal efficiency.

Apple strips clips of WWDC devs booing that $999 monitor stand from the web using copyright claims. Fear not, you can listen again here...


Somebody needs to...

Somebody needs to lash-up a video mix combination of this "$999" announcement and their very own famous '1984' advertisement.

i.e. the '1984' athletic young lady throwing something towards the "$999" host.

Musk loves his Starlink sat constellation – but astroboffins are less than dazzled by them


Re: If only...

Chas 9 posted a series of misconceptions.

Where do I begin?

A well design RF front-end can provide both sensitivity and dynamic range. Communications engineers know how to do this. With sufficient dynamic range, interference remains in band and can be filtered.

Their local "enforceable mandate" doesn't include space, so is irrelevant to this discussion.

Signals from satellites are weak by any reasonable measure. Compared to nearby local emissions. Many orders of magnitude due to inverse square law

Radio astronomy already have their protected RF bands. They're simply not entitled to whine about emissions in other RF bands. Seriously.

If the satellites emit in those protected bands, then that's a specific issue to be addressed. Seems unlikely.

Radio Astronomers are apparently not always very smart about RF, based on the old story of then being confused and excited by pulses of microwave. Turned out to be somebody opening a microwave oven before stopping it, very short burst of 2.4 GHz. Radio Astronomers not informed enough to recognize "2.4 GHz" ? Seriously?


Re: If only...

DCF proposed that I was "...unaware that transmitters have a spectrum that isn't limited to the desired transmit band."

Oooh. You mean numbers, like unintentional emissions in the radio astronomy bands at perhaps -90dBc. which is a whole bunch of divide by tens.

PS: High power satellites already exist.

There comes a point where the so-called interference is fairly and legally on the RECEIVER side to deal with. Otherwise it's chaos.


Re: Debunked?

"...might have to chuck out a significant proportion of images."

It's too bad that there's no feasible way to have, like, a database of satellites. It might need perhaps about two lines of data, data fields that could be called "elements". Maybe the database, or file, could be called, "Two-Line Elements". That seems like a good name. They need one for each satellite.

One could imagine a digital computer system that would be able to predict the passage of satellites, by making use of the Two-Line Elements data set. The computer could be interfaced to the big silly telescope to know where and when it'll be pointed. They'd want to type in the Longitude and Latitude of the big silly telescope. The rest is trivial code.

Then the system could manage the exposure to preemptively skip the ruined images, if that's actually important to anyone.


If only...

"...transmit signals at a frequency that is read as noise by radio telescopes..."

If only there was some sort of technology where differing radio frequencies could somehow be distinguished, one frequency from another.

It's too bad that in our society, we must all share one single big fat radio channel, just like in a certain famously-bad Bruce Willis movie.

NASA goes commercial, publishes price for trips to the ISS – and it'll be multi-millionaires only for this noAirBNB


Re: Dump Fee

Mandatory Apollo 10 'Floating Turd' story reference.



Re: Side effect of a two party system?

Somewhere I read that a two-party system is more-or-less a result of the 'first past the post' voting system. You can have 3rd etc parties, but they'll never amount to much. And 2nd & 3rd might eventually switch places. It's a general outcome.

If you want a vibrantly-dysfunctional multiparty celebration of ineffective chaos, where every fringe view lunatic gets to have a say, then you bring in proportional voting schemes. Italy seems to be the poster child example.


Zero-g Bonk fee?

Surprisingly, it's not listed.

March 2020: When you lucky, lucky Brits will have a legal right to a minimum of... 10Mbps


Our local Bell Telco...

In many parts of Canada, there are two groups with communications cables: the old Telco and the Cable TV co.

The Cable TV company can easily offer the Triple Play: TV, 'net, and phone. The Telco tried to offer TV over low Mbps DSL and it was a fiasco. So the only way to double their income (offer TV) was to roll out fiber. So they did.

If you're having trouble getting your service providers roll out fiber, then make sure your regulations allow them to offer the Triple Play.

Barbie Girl was wrong? Life is plastic, it's not fantastic: We each ingest '121,000 pieces' of microplastics a year


Numbers, and some other numbers

Oh, we're being poisoned. OMG...

Volume of a 130 micrometer sphere is about 1.15 x 10^-6 cc.

It was "less than", so let's say less than that.

Multiply by Qty = "121,000" per year.

Assume 99% plastic and 1% poison.

Divide by days per year.

Might not even reach a microgram of 'poison' per day.


Google may have taken this whole 'serverless' thing too far: Outage caused by bandwidth-killing config blunder


Network congestion slowed them

In some system designs, command and control is on a completely different bus than the bulk traffic.

E.g. Satellites in orbit absolutely have a dedicated backchannel, using different radio equipment and frequencies, for command and control.

Here, maybe Google could employ a serial port via a mobile phone connection (just an example) to control its servers when the network is congested.


LibreOffice 6.3 hits beta, with built-in redaction tool for sharing those █████ documents


Is there a 'Redaction Font' yet ?

All the characters replaced with black blocks.

Well, right up until somebody changes the font back.

Northrop Grumman has nozzle nightmare, Soyuz brushes off lightning, and updates on Crew Dragon 'anomaly' probe


"...flicking the all-important switch from SCE to AUX."

Not quite. Not "from". The instruction was: "Flight, try SCE to Aux."

i.e. Set the Signal Conditioning Electronics (SCE) power supply from normal power (NORM) to use Auxilary Power (AUX) instead.

So it's not "from" SCE to Aux. It's just: SCE to Aux.

But still, full points for including the Apollo 12 reference.

Ref: http://tryscetoaux.com/ for complete details.

IBM accused of pumping staff retirement funds into a tanking stock... IBM's to be exact


Job, Pension, Investments

It's bad enough that two are inevitably tied to one organization.

Wow, talk about a Maine-wave: US state says ISPs need permission to flog netizens' personal data


Re: I can see why this was a thing.

"...got no mobile signal..."

Is that actually a thing? The combination of having a hardwired broadband connection, and not having a mobile signal? That's an unusual combination. Usual mobile comes to an area first.

Our household used a mobile connection for several years, back in the pre-3G days, to provide our (better than dial-up) roughly 1 Mbps connection. Years before any wired broadband option was available.

The mobile data stick connected into a small router that was specifically designed to use the mobile stick as a backup to an WAN Ethernet connection. Since we had no WAN Ethernet, the mobile stick provided the WAN connection.

These days, just turn on your smartphone's hotspot and carry on. Except beware data cap.

Dial-up for backup? Still? Seriously? I suspect people are confused.


Re: I can see why this was a thing.

JF noted, "Pretty much all of the developers I know in town have a freenet account [free dialup access] as a kind of backup in case the broadband goes down."

Dial-up as backup for their broadband connection?

These developers don't have smartphones, or don't know how to connect via same?

Sex and drugs and auto-tune: What motivates a millennial perp?


"does not make....sense"

"...decision... ...does not make any logical sense..."

Many organizations provide formally-defined 'Decision Making' processes. Such procedures typically mandate a very careful, explicit, highly verbose, stepwise process. Devoid of any reliance on common sense or instinct.

The very nature of the stepwise process enables, and in facts makes easy, what would otherwise be nearly impossible... ...bad decisions.

Here's how.

Whereas it's very difficult to leap straight onto a bad decision because the incorrectness is too obvious, it's actually quite easy if one takes an overly-verbose, step-by-step approach, gently circling around and sneaking up on the simply-awful decision. It's similar to the old 'slowly boiling a frog' metaphor.

Corrective actions:

Senior reviewers should skip over the body of any such 'decision making' report (because it likely contains cognitive contagions), and flip straight to the idiotic conclusion. Makes it more obvious.

Wise leaders would have such decision making procedures deleted from their business policies. i.e. If you have a brain, then use it.

If need be, tell everyone that the instinctive decision was made by an A.I. Many seem to trust a 10k synapse A.I. over a trillion synapse class intelligence that's been evolved over hundreds of millions of years. They probably snuck up on that decision.

DigitalOcean drowned my startup! 'We lost everything, our servers, and one year of database backups' says biz boss



User pays an initial fee (~$10) by credit card to gain the attention of human support staff, the level above the off-shore script followers.

Company refunds the fee once they've hoisted aboard that there's a real issue that requires their expert touch to be solved.

Many would willingly put down thousands of dollars just to get past the useless phone menus, on the assumption that they'd get their fee back later once they'd proved the issue.

'Evolution of the PC ecosystem'? Microsoft's 'modern' OS reminds us of the Windows RT days


Re: If you want seamless updates...

4th for telescope "...use Linux."

Once upon a time, I booted Ubuntu for a change after months since its previous boot. It showed over 15,000 updates. Yikes.


"...reminds us of Windows RT..."

I still have my Surface 2 with Windows RT. Still works, after a painful DIY battery replacement last year. Just the other day I used it to watch the NHK Sumo highlights. Works perfectly.

The biggest disappointment is that they promised to stop supporting it, but every time I turn it on there's usually another handful of updates. Very annoying.

Guilty of hacking in the UK? Worry not: Stats show prison is unlikely


"This court finds you guilty..."

"This court finds you guilty as charged, to six counts of hacking, three counts of computer misuse, and one of fraud, specifically making unauthorized changes to government documents. The Pre-Sentencing Report that has been provided to the court recommends... ...well that's odd... ...recommends immediate release, and a payment to you of £150,000. ..."

That's a hell of Huawei to run a business, Chinese giant scolds FedEx after internal files routed via America


And that, ladies and gentlemen...

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you always place an eyelash in between pages 46 and 47. If the eyelash is missing, then you know that your document has been intercepted.

Another trick is to include, with your shipment of sensitive documents, a report that Midway Island's desalinization (or water purification) plant has broken down again. Because THAT would be funny.

Tesla's autonomous lane changing software is worse at driving than humans, and more


Re: Either it's autonomous or not

Don't forget to consider the 'Concentration of Liability', and then see how the financial future plays out.

For example, Boeing is now experiencing the 'Concentration of Liability' from a harmless little system intended to helpfully push the aircraft nose down.

Someday, Tesla will leave out a hyphen, and it'll cost them a large fortune. Then it'll happen again. And again, because: hubris.

A billion here and a billion there eventually adds up.

Yeah, you're not having a GSM gateway, Ofcom tells hopeful operators


You mean, like, Caller ID?

"...passing caller line identification (CLI) data through..."

I've given up on Caller ID. Black Lists do not work, because the spam callers just send through anything they want.

Is it supposed to still work?

Telcos should realize that this 'fake Caller ID spam caller' issue is a factor that will drive the ultimate abandonment of land lines. I'm certainly closing in on that conclusion.

Minecraft's my Nirvana. I found it hard, it's hard to find. Oh well, whatever... Never Mined


Why Microsoft bought Minecraft

"Yes. It's Minecraft all the way down."

When a senior Microsoft executive saw the amazing virtual computers that have been assembled within the Minecraft environment, he instantly realized that, in principle, Windows itself could run be on a virtual block-based computer built within Minecraft.

At first, he naturally assumed that Windows would run very slowly on a virtual Minecraft CPU, but such concerns about speed and performance are never really considered to be a showstopper at Microsoft. So he allowed himself to continue his thoughts.

Then, suddenly, it dawned on him that he could employ infinite recursion so that the Minecraft executable itself could also be run on its very own self-same Minecraft virtual machine; the block-based CPU merely needed to be multithreading compatible.

Clearly this brilliant concept is deep into Fields Medal territory. With one fell swoop of genius, the physical hardware is no longer required. Everything runs on the new multithreading Minecraft virtual machine, including the Minecraft virtual machine itself.

Yes. It's Minecraft all the way down.

Then, amazingly, it's trivial to type in whatever clock speed you want. There are no longer any physical limits. Performance is unlimited. And Intel hardware is no longer required.

So Microsoft will own the world. See? The upsides are unlimited.

But apparently they're still working on it. Rumours say that it should be working and released shortly.

You may find this explanation to be completely unbelievable, but I've found no better explanation for the question:

Why on Earth would Microsoft spend billions of dollars to buy Minecraft?

Therefore this must be precisely what has happened.


Uber JUMPs at chance to dump load of electric bikes across Islington



"...there are less bikes than scooter..."


What if...

Sal 2 raised a point, "...if the GPS doesn't give the correct coordinates..."

Or, what if there was an approved spot here, and right next to it a not approved No Parking spot? One could imagine some sort of infinitesimal line, or 'boundary' if you will, between the two categories of space.

GPS - with its +/- several meter accuracy - will have both false positives, and false negatives.

Best not to give them your credit card number.

Let's make laptops from radium. How's that for planned obsolescence?


Re: Plastics and CO2

As long as anyone anywhere is still burning coal, then there are essentially zero rational objections to burning 'previously-purposed oil' (e.g. plastic carrier bags) in modern, clean burning, waste-to-energy incinerators.

The kWh thus produced must displace, to some ratio, a bit of coal. And it's merely oil that was put to other uses along the way.

Any organic waste (e.g. paper) in the waste stream that is converted to energy is weakly 'Renewable'.

US Air Force probes targeted malware attack, blames... er, the US Navy? What?


Re: Well...

Julz attempted, "More a RADAR thing."

Compare the detection range of the very earliest airborne radar, roughly ten miles, to the size of the Atlantic ocean.

It's not just line of sight from altitude, it's also the tough radar equation 1/r^4.

Airborne radar might help over those last few miles. But you would still need to provide an explanation for how and why the deployment of aircraft happened to arrive in that very sector at that very time.

So it's less of a radar thing, and more of an Enigma Ultra quandary thing.


Re: Well...

ViM commented, "...hunting the U-boats..."

Unlike with U-boats, one doesn't need to conjure up a plausible cover story to explain how one might have stumbled across the location of a German city, again and again.

I trust that this 'Ultra' obvious reference doesn't present an 'Enigma' to anyone.


Re: How touching

"This call may be recorded for training porpoises."

We listened to more than 3 hours of US Congress testimony on facial recognition so you didn't have to go through it


Re: File under: No Sh1t Einstein

...and that's why, given that A.I is famously 'hard', A.I. outdoors is even harder.

'Hard' in the I.T. sense of nearly impossible.

Outdoors is where you'll more often see things that you've not seen before. There's no training data set for everything outdoors. It's different everyday.

"A.I. is hard."

"A.I. outdoors is even harder."

These observations can be chiseled into the granite walls of I.T. campuses everywhere.

The hopelessly naive Self-Driving fanboi crowd will eventually relearn this.


Re: That's not all

"...Stingray devices by their police to hijack mobile phone connections..."

As a public service, perhaps the police could do us a favor by connecting their Stingray devices directly to a local fiber optic connection. At least we'd get much better data connections to the internet while we are being tracked and surveilled.


File under: No Sh1t Einstein

"AI systems perform worse on data that they haven’t seen before."

50 years ago: Apollo 10 takes an unplanned spin above the lunar surface – and sh!t gets sweary


Re: Question about the "2 seconds"

Yep. The 'Point of no return' is probably the explanation.

Somebody should ask if they had parachutes, in case they needed to jump to safety. ;-)


Question about the "2 seconds"

They were as low as 47,000 feet from the Moon, and they were "2 seconds" from crashing into the Moon.

Is anyone aware of any explanation for the combination of these two factoids?

I don't recall seeing anything about them actually reaching a height above the Moon of, say, only 2,000 feet. I don't believe that they were descending at 23,500 feet per second (in addition to their forward velocity). So perhaps the 2 seconds was from a 'point of no return', or somrthing like that, where the impact would be much later. So it's unclear to me.

Thank you.

Ahem, ahem... AI engine said to be good as human docs at spotting lung cancer developing


Big difference remains

A human doctor can do this...

#1, Cancer,

#2, Not cancer,

#3, Not cancer,

#4, Cancer...

#5, What? Oh, very funny... A closeup picture of a pepperoni pizza? Good one. Was that a Turing Test? Did I pass? What did the A.I. say about that one?

A.I. is hard.

Strong A.I. (as would be needed in "outdoor" random uncontrolled environments) is very hard.

Sophos tells users to roll back Microsoft's Patch Tuesday run if they want PC to boot


Re: What is going on?

AYL inquired about, "...every month a major AV vendor gets clobber by the updates..."

AV vendors are morons. All of them.

It's merely a hypothesis, but it's been fitting the facts perfectly since abouf 2007.

Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy: Run Huawei, Google Play, turns away, from Huawei... turns away


Choose carefully...

Once upon a time, I bought the moderately expensive (at the time) Google Nexus 7 tablet because it was supposedly going to be the most future proof, always first-in-line for native Android updates.

As it turns out, it became unsupported more quickly than just about any other gadget I've ever bought. Worse still, there's some obscure design fault in the memory such that it barely worked at all, after just several years. One of my least satisfactory gadget purchases.

Yes, choose carefully.

Giga-hurts radio: Terrorists build Wi-Fi bombs to dodge cops' cellphone jammers


Re: Directional antenna

DM proposed, "A normal basic router has an isotropic aerial that transmits over an almost full sphere..."

Not quite. It's difficult to achieve an isotropic pattern. A normal basic whip commonly found in a normal basic router is more like 'omnidirectional', not 'isotropic'.

You may look up the meanings if they're unclear to you.

A more expensive router, perhaps with 12 internal antennas like mine, might well approach effectively isotropic, by complex beam steering and MIMO.

In summary, omnidirectional is simple and common. Isotropic is more difficult and less common.