* Posts by The_Idiot

334 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Sep 2013


Wrong time to weaken encryption, UK IT chartered institute tells government


This would only work for...

... those of you in the USA (which does not include me), but maybe...

1: Have end to end no-back-door encryption once again put on the armaments list.

2: Point out the Second Amendment 'the right to bear arms' - surely if something is on the armaments list it's 'arms'?) to anyone in government who tries to ban it or insert a back door...

I know. It would never work. But:

A: People must be allowed to carry guns because Bad Guys(tm) might use them, so they need defense!


B: People can't be allowed to have encryption because some might use it to do Bad Things(tm)!

seem to work from mutually conflicting logic... but then, I'm an Idiot, so what do I know? :-)

UK wants criminal migrants to scan their faces up to five times a day using a watch


Coming soon...

'Following on from the resounding success of 'watching' potentially criminal immigrants, your government is rolling this astounding use of technology out to further protect the people - use of certain internet sites will only be permitted after:

1: Registering your face on our totally unhackable, 100% false positive - er, I mean _no_ false positive database


2: Scanning your face and driver's licence before clicking to access the page in question.

What - paranoid? _Moi_?

Space boffins: Exoplanet survived hydrogen-death of its host star


Re: Evolved homo-superior

"Cats... maybe they are the next dominant species."

Er - next? Let's see:

I work. My cat sleeps, and pesters me for food.

I go to the store. My cat plays with her toys, sleeps, and pesters me for food.

I pay taxes. And the mortgage. My cat - well, I think you can see the pattern. _Next_ dominant species? Humans weren't ever _in_ that race, never mind winning (blush).

Court of Appeal says AI software cannot be listed as patent inventor


So what if...

... the AI declares itself a Corporation? And that it is an employee of the declared Corporation, and that the subject of the patent was developed as part of that employment? Muahahahahahahahahaha!

Ahem. I'm sorry. And now, back to our normal service.... (blush)

BOFH: Pass the sugar, Asmodeus, and let the meeting of the Fellowship of Bastards … commence


Re: Kickstarter

... yes, and nobody else can have i-lets for the laces any more!


Re: Kickstarter

But remember - only buy the ones made with solid gold (gold plated is passé) threads! They transmit clearer aud... er, less errors prone traff... er, are more flexible and tie up more 'professionally'!

BOFH: You say goodbye and I say halon



"Even with the removal of all the bottles and the eye-watering halon disposal fee"

I can't remember - was the 'Halon system' ever tested? I can see a Swiss solution here (or possibly Cayman Islands). A convenient 'engineer', and even more convenient 'legally required examination', an eye-watering never-installed-halon installation fee, eye watering never-needed-to-dispose-of disposal fee - and now the fee for the never-installed nitrogen room. That's an interesting retirement fund for a room that can catch fire conveniently and have a convenient 'fire protection system failure' if it ever becomes necessary...

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



Not sniping - genuinely curious. I know it's Wikipedia, but:

"Cylance Inc. is an American software firm that develops antivirus programs and other kinds of computer software that prevents, rather than reactively detect, viruses and malware. The company is based in Irvine, California."

On what do you base the 'good Canadian made technology'? I can see Blackberry bought them, but Cylance the technology developer seems solidly USA-ian, unless I'm misreading something.

ASUS baffles customer by telling them thermal pad thickness is proprietary


Re: At TeeCee, re: rocks.

Ah, Thrud. Such memories :-) (pulls down his 'Thrud the Barbarian, White Dwarf special GRAFFIK NOVEL (Carl Critchlow) - best UKP 2.50 he ever spent!)

Google will make you use two-step verification to login


It's not just...

... that SMS is potentially unsafe. what happens when your phone service is for a long or short period, unavailable? Is there a single cell service that has never, ever suffered an outage? Whether for a short of long period? That has never suffered _multiple_ outages over the life of a single user-contract? I don't have figures, but I wouldn;t bet on such a unicorn existing... and no phone/ no SMS/ no 2FA/ no access may not be quite as poetic and shoes, short service, but could have more impact.

'A massive middle finger': Open-source audio fans up in arms after Audacity opts to add telemetry capture


Re: Buggeration

999999 thumbs up for the Reaper comment.

Don't get me wrong - I love Audacity and have for years. Whether I'll ever complete another download/ 'upgrade' has become much less likely. And I love my Reaper licence as well - yes, paid for at the (I agree) *insanely* low price (dependant on whether/ how much income you generate with it - though even the 'professional' licence is cheap in real terms for 'professionals').Audacity was, until these two announcements, great. But the announcement saying it would remain free appears to have the potential to only apply to licence-to-use cost - and only so far. If I'm giving data, yes, at this point 'voluntarily' (if I'm paying attention and careful), it already isn't _really_ free.

Ah well. Just my two cents - worth a wooden nickel on the open market.

AI clocks first-known 'binary sextuply-eclipsing sextuple star system'. Another AI will be along shortly to tell us how to pronounce that properly


The universe...

... is not only stranger than we imagine - it is stranger than we ever _can_ imagine.

(With apologies to J.B.S. Haldane)

US senators propose yet another problematic Section 230 shakeup: As long as someone says it on the web, you can't hide it away


"People are...

... (somewhat) protected from government censorship by the first amendment."

No. With respect, 'people' aren't. You might, possibly, be able to make an argument that 'people resident in the US' might be - but then there's that whole thing about (for example) the Census that is currently getting debate between 'people resident in the US' and 'US citizens'. So maybe you could offer an argument that 'US citizens are (somewhat) protected from government censorship by the first amendment.' However, the concept of 'people' is, I suggest, rather larger than that. And yes, this is legislation in the US - but the US sometimes seems to have a rather loose definition of where US law should/ does apply on occasion, no?

You there. Person, corp, state. Doesn't matter. You better not shoot down or hack a drone. That's our job – US govt


Of course...

... the issuing of this advice is not to be taken by _anyone_ to raise the possibility the Agencies mentioned just launched fleets of Q drones bearing nondescript markers, but highly adept at electronic and visual monitoring. _Nobody_ would do _that_ -er, would they? Um... _would_ they?

Texas jury: Apple on the hook for half a billion dollars after infringing 4G LTE patents



... rounded corners are _real_ IP and inviolable - just ask Apple!

Trump bans Feds from contracting H-1B workers and makes telehealth the new normal


Re: Finder's fee or mafia-style shakedown?

With respect, my post related to 'but it would be much much (much) better if you just posted them in cleartext.' as a principle rather than this example. While this link may not be a perfect or even good example, the principle embedded in WCAG H30 is _not_ to post links as text, but to post descriptive text to display in an anchor. Specific WCAG version requirements exist in Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (WCAG 2.0), though not, as far as I am aware, in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Re: Finder's fee or mafia-style shakedown?


Better for some perhaps - but not for a screen reader assisted peruser of Register Pages.

From the WCAG 2.1 accessibility standard:

H30 - Providing link text that describes the purpose of a link for anchor elements

"The objective of this technique is to describe the purpose of a link by providing descriptive text as the content of the a element. The description lets a user distinguish this link from other links in the Web page and helps the user determine whether to follow the link. The URI of the destination is generally not sufficiently descriptive."

Example 1

Describing the purpose of a link in HTML in the text content of the a element.

(anchor open tag href= tag)"routes.html"(end anchor open tag)

Current routes at Boulders Climbing Gym

(anchor close tag)

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?


You need to faff about with group policy's firewall...

... Well, or (as one alternative) have an edge firewall not on the Windows device so Windows installs can't touch it - UTM or otherwise. But yes, that still generally requires more than the non-technical user can (through no fault of their own) bring to the table.

Keep it Together, Microsoft: New mode for vid-chat app Teams reminds everyone why Zoom rules the roost


Re: Keep my Camera on?

... and even with work issued 'must have a camera' devices, the joys of electrical tape are hard for Redmond or anyone else to fight... :-). So yay for strips of adhesive backed rubber!

Twitter, Reddit and pals super unhappy US visa hopefuls have to declare their online handles to Uncle Sam



... given all the comments in all the places that 'Anonymous Coward' has made, you're pretty certain not to get a visa then. And since they now know who you are - listen for the black helicopters, perhaps?

US lawmakers get a second shot at forcing FBI agents to obtain a warrant before they leaf through web histories


Re: Think of the Children!

I know - I know. What comes next in this post is nothing new to most folks here. But - sigh. Once more around the lighthouse.

1: Anything - _anything_ - can be put to a purpose that is either not the intended one - or a use of the 'thing' that may be illegal, objectionable or otherwise pernicious.

2: The argument that 'because (thing) can be used by some people improperly should mean nobody can use it' therefore leads to 'nobody should be permitted to use anything'.

Here comes the obligatory example - feel free to look away. And no, I'm not going to talk guns - nor Amendment related issues. I'm going to offer something directly relate-able, in my view, to Mr Passoff's point. Because cameras, both still and video, are a direct tool of the people and purpose he finds unacceptable (and as to the people and purpose, I do not necessarily disagree). So therefore, would he care to take up the cause of banning all still and video cameras? That would serve to significantly limit child abuse, surely? Or if not to ban them, to insist all still and video camera be modified to send copies of all still and videos record to a government agency for analysis and review? From his perspective, to allow people the unfettered right to record images and video may indeed be important to them, but surely it should not come at the expense of the potential and actuality of child sex abuse? Or is that somehow 'different'?

Sigh. OK - I'll shut up now. Grump. With extra grump.

BoJo buckles: UK govt to cut Huawei 5G kit use 'to zero by 2023' after pressure from Tory MPs, Uncle Sam


Re: Is it wrong to be in favour of this?


With genuine and sincere respect, if the position of the signatories of the US Constitution were 'unassailably correct', then logically, philosophically and legally there would be no such thing as an 'Amendment', no? To amend is to change, to change is to challenge and prevail - and to challenge is to assail. Or am I missing something? After all, I'm an Idiot... :-)


Re: Is it wrong to be in favour of this?


"democracy is tyranny of the 51%". I see. So what would you prefer? The 'tyranny of the less than 50%'? The 'tyranny of the Electoral College'? The 'tyranny of the Corporations'? In any system where decisions are made through a process (and even rolling dice can be seen as a 'tyranny' for those who like buzz phrases), there is always a 'tyranny' of some kind. The 'tyranny' of 'whoever decides'. The very establishment of a system of government, _any_ system of government, can be seen as the establishment of a 'tyranny' - at least, seen that way by those who disagree with the decisions imposed by the system. But to each their own marketing language - and their own debates.


Re: Is it wrong to be in favour of this?


I respectfully suggest you and Chris the bean counter go sit in a corner and debate your views. He was the one who said, quite emphatically, that the USA _is_ a democracy. However, I would hold to my view. While Person A thinks 'democracy' is a mongoose, and Person B thinks it's a liquid, while Person C thinks it's round and Person D thinks it's a pink petunia - none of them can debate whether something 'is' or 'is not' democracy. Not because the word is meaningless - but because it has _too_many_ meanings. Which pretty much results in it appearing meaningless, and hence not a worthwhile element of discussion, debate or communication.


Re: Is it wrong to be in favour of this?

"Also USA is a democracy" Well - maybe. It depends on your definition of 'democracy'. The US President is not elected by the will of the majority of the people (of course, neither is the UK's Prime Minister). Russia holds elections where people get to 'vote', though arguably the offering of only one candidate limits the 'power of the vote'.

The US President is not elected by US voters. She or he is elected by the will of a much smaller group of generally older and well connected people. People who currently legally may or may not choose to vote how the electorate in their State told them to (the Electoral college). In short, I would suggest 'democracy' is a marketing catch phrase these days, not a definition. Thoughts?

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?


Re: One would have throught...

And yes, that sort of thing could have been a potentially viable solution. This one, as far as I can tell, isn't it. But they're still marketing it as 'serving advertised purpose' and also 'totally anonymous'. If it _had_ been the type of solution you describe, and if they _had_ implemented a full release of source code to back their claims - then maybe. But not with what I've seen and heard of _this_ code.


One would have throught...

... that developing something that tells you 'someone unknown' came into potentially contagious contact with 'some somebody else-s unknown' would hardly serve the stated purpose. Equally, even if you know 'Person X' came into contact with a a bunch of 'somebody unknown-s', you're hardly going to be much further forward.

So to engage in contagion limitation you pretty much have to know Person X came into contact with Person Y, Z, F, K etc - _and_ know which, if any, of those people had been infected, or come into contact with those infected. Thus making any pretense of 'it's OK, it's all aninny... er, anumby... er, 'nobody knows who anyone being tracked really _is_' rather self defeating. If you're going to sell BS, at least don;t try to tell people they're just imagining the smell...

Spyware maker NSO can't claim immunity, Facebook lawyers insist – it's time to face the music


On a side note...

"... contractors working with the US government qualify for immunity. But US law doesn't recognize such immunity for those working with foreign governments."

Ah. The 'that's different' legal position. Got it.

If it's Goodenough for me, it's Goodenough for you: Canuck utility biz goes all in on solid-state glass battery boffinry


There are, I...

... would suggest, a lot of fair comments made here. Comments, often perfectly valid, negatively comparing ICE and EV modes of transport, and why commenters would/ will never switch from ICE. Things like short ranges, the scarcity of fueling and fueling infrastructure stops for EV, the dangers of battery explosion - many others.

I think, and not intending in any way to shoot at those who have made those comments, that nearly every one, or maybe even every one, might have been offered long ago, when the debate was between the horse and those new-fangled infernal combusted whatchamamcallums. The horse, it could stop and eat some grass at a pinch, or oats at one of the many farms around. The infernal devices? Nary a fuel stop in site, and the fuel itself went bang, or had the potential to go bang, rather more than grass or oats. Range? Hah! Whether a decent rider and a good horse or (with apologies to Roger Cook / Roger Greenaway / Tony Macaulay), high speed runs with horse changes (a la Pony Express) would beat any infernally-thing. And as to skill sets for refueling, the horse took care of most of it, and people learned to ride across the class boundaries, not like those cumbustickles,, that only rich folk could use.

Hear that fluttering sound? It's the pages of history, flipping by. Hang on a moment, because....

There. Or rather, here. Now horses are for the well off, and largely (in the 'developed world') for recreation. And those comcbstickle things? They're every-bloody-where. With gas stations, and sealed fuel tanks, and processes for getting from A to B that even still-at-school teenagers can manage.

So do I think the comments here are wrong? Nope, probably not. Do I think, with a few more of those fluttered pages in our ears, they may _become_ wrong? Hell, yes. And after enough pages have turned, maybe the combustickles will be recreational vehicles, running only on recreational tracks - and people get there and go home in EVs, with easy powering/ refueling/ infrastructure - and at the weekend drive to see Great Grand Mom, and hear her say how she never could abide these new-fangled elektricky things...

It's alright. I'll stop now - I promise (blush) :-).

US Homeland Security mistakenly seizes British ad agency's website in prostitution probe gone wrong


Re: So...


"Yes, it is. In fact, you will commit several crimes if you do that."

Apparently not according to a US Judge and court:




Killing someone by shooting across the US border into Mexico isn't a crime because the crime bit - the death - didn't take place in the US even though the shooting bit did. But a UK web site is fair game for US law because, um, mumblety-mumble. something-something, er...?

Departing MI5 chief: Break chat app crypto for us, kthxbai


Re: Let's think about this...

@Version 1.0

"think of a world where there is no encryption"

Um, no. I'd really rather not, if you don't mind. Encryption is just math. So 'think of a world without encryption' really means 'think of a world without math' (I'm going to put encipherment on one side for a moment). I'm afraid the implications of 'a world without math' are, I would suggest, far more horrible than anything encryption may bring. Not, I mean, a world 'where nobody knows/ has invented math'. A world 'without math'. Heck, it's hard to see how such a world could exist at all - but I'm not going to even try. Ewwwwww,


Re: So GCHQ...

@Jamie Jones

"(I thought we were innocent until proven guilty?)"

Well, they did sort of get rid of that, but they worked out they're safe anyway. "We hereby define the proof of guilt as the absence of proof of innocence. Since nobody can prove they're innocent, everybody is therefore guilty! Guilty as charged! Er - as soon as we think up some charges!"


OK, so lets...

... try again. In language even a politician should understand.

Question (yes or no): You technical folks. Yes, we know 1+3 must equal 4. But surely you can come up with a clever way to make it equal 7, or maybe 2, so long as we produce a warrant? Oh, and only for us - everyone else gets 4. OK? Thanks.

Crypto. It's mathematics, not a debate, or a vote in the house.

I spy, with my little satellite AI, something beginning with 'North American image-analysis code embargo'


Sounds like...

... declaring encryption technology to be a 'munition' and putting similar controls on it. Er - someone remind me. How did _that_ work out? About as well as declaring alcohol illegal, at least as far as I recall.

Trump Administration fast-tracks compulsory border facial recognition scans for all US citizens


Re: Not surprising


"Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R) said in a statement that he “is committed to ensuring that Utah’s facial recognition system will only be used for law enforcement purposes and never against law-abiding Utahns.”"

Now to be filed under 'well, I was only joking', maybe?


Re: Not surprising


Well, given the current state of 'politici-speak', I suggest the key weasel word here will be 'against'. They'll argue it isn't being used _against_ US citizens, because it's being used to 'protect' them and 'increase their security', so it's being used _for_ US citizens. Sigh...

Interpol: Strong encryption helps online predators. Build backdoors


So which...

... police, security or government agency is going to issue a notification against backdoors because they 'help identity thieves (including, but not limited to, property title thieves), people who want to break into your bank account, credit card cloners, stalkers, rogue newspaper editors and reporters, insurance fraudsters, tax fraudsters, blackmailers, political agents, foreign countries interfering with elections, rogue security and police opera... er, no, not those. Of course, _they_ don't exist. Right? Er, I mean... right?

Yes, and lots of others.

I see. Kind of quiet all of a sudden, huh? Well, apart from folks like those who come here, who often (not always - I come here too (blush)) know what they're talking about. Sigh...

Just a friendly reminder there were no at-the-time classified secrets on Clinton's email server. Yes, the one everyone lost their minds over


Re: Oh gods, not this again

@anonymous Coward - Is this where people get to remind you that, according to the popular vote, 'the people' _did_ want her, it was the Electoral College that didn't? Or am I in the wrong illogical-expression-of-personal-opinion thread?

Here we go again: US govt tells Facebook to kill end-to-end encryption for the sake of the children


So logically...

... they should be asking for/ demanding every room in every building has concealed microphones 'only accessible by law enforcement', every outside area have microphones situated in suitably mapped overlap zones 'only accessible by law enforcement', so as to ensure people don't have non-electronic conversations not 'available only to law enforcement'. Would that be OK? By their standards, I mean? Because, after all, there would never be any reason for people to object to such a level of surveillance, because of, like, terrorists, the children and people maybe stealing the newspaper the paper boy threw on their stoop. And _no_ possibility that 'Bad Guys(tm)' would _ever_ be able to gain access to what the microphones recorded, right? Right? Er.... right?


MIT boffins turn black up to 11 with carbon nanotubes that absorb 99.995% of light


Re: Cue for a song...

I blush, and you are of course correct. Could I get away with 'it's old age and too much Tequila'?


Cue for a song...

... with apologies to Los Lobos.

Black is black, I want my diamond back

It's safe to say, my rock's done gone away, oh oh

Damn nanotubes, 'cos they're carbon too...

US regulators push back against White House plan to police social media censorship


Re: Except ...


"but nothing - not congress, not the president, nor a treaty they sign, can eclipse the constitution. Nothing."

Er - you missed some words. 'In and under US jurisdiction'. The US Constitution has no force in this thing called 'the rest of the world'.

Uncle Sam is asking Americans if they could refrain from slapping guns on their drones


Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?


"The moment you're not touching the arm, you are not bearing it."

Hmmm. So it's therefore only legal to have guns if you're actually touching them! So storing them at home, under any conditions where you're not touching them, are illegal! And so are guns in holsters (you're touching the hostler if it's on your body, not the gun)! And gun racks on trucks! And...

OK, OK. I know. Back to the drawing board - sigh :-).

And you thought the cops were bad... Civil rights group warns of facial recog 'epidemic' across UK private sites



Room for an enterprising app here :-).

1: Establish (possibly crowd sourced data) database of all facial recognition camera locations.

2: App polls database, polls phone location.

3: If (Current location) (close enough) (facial recognition camera location) then (automatically file pre-templated GDPR information request)

That might get a little expensive for someone :-).

Apple: Ok, ok, we'll stop listening in on your Siri conversations. For now, but maybe in the future


Re: What the article leaves out

"there isn't any way for them to search for other recordings for that particular person"

Well, with respect, 'there isn't any way' can, like most absolutes (and potentially all of them, but I wouldn't wish to use an absolute (blush)) trip you up. Recordings could, at least in principle, be processed for audio pattern recognition (I'm not fond of the term 'voiceprint'). Would it be 100% reliable? Probably not. Would it qualify as 'a way to search for other recordings for that particular person'? I would suggest it might - but, of course, I'm an Idiot, so I'm sure others (and possibly you) might think otherwise :-).


Re: ..or, perhaps, don't buy one in the first pla

"...ONLY the terminally stupid"

Perhaps not. Maybe high-risk, low capability individuals, like my wife, who has advanced Multiple Sclerosis and is totally wheelchair bound? We can't afford day-time or live-in care, so while I'm at work, she's on her own. While the FUCKING LIVE MICROPHONE system (and recording/ playback) I have in place is NOT Siri, it is _still_ a fucking live microphone, so if something bad happened I would stand a chance of knowing. Does that make her, in your view, 'terminally stupid'? You are, of course, entitled to your opinion either way.

FTC fines Facebook $5bn for making users believe they actually had control over their data


"These orders mean Facebook will...

"... be forced to make its execs accountable for the decisions they make"

And the fact that this can be stated as something to be imposed, and not something automatic and explicit across all execs in all companies in all industries is itself a huge part of the problem - at least, in my view.

"Oh, we broke the law? Ah. Oops. Well, we didn't mean it, honest. Here's some money. So that's alright then, right?" No. It isn't. You broke the law? Go to court, get found guilty and go to jail.

Take the bus... to get some new cables: Raspberry Pi 4s are a bit picky about USB-Cs


Re: Does this mark the transition to...

"Does this mark the transition to Apple Pi"?

No - that would be the Apple iP - because these days Apple think _everything_ is Apple iP.

I know. I'm sorry - I'd apologise, but I probably wouldn't mean it (blush).

The latest FCC plan to boost US broadband? Prevent competition in apartment blocks


Re: Had this for years already


Sadly (for you at least), I can tell you don't live in a decent sized (for audience pool) condo in Toronto. Where I live, the building was originally established with cable. The cable's still there if you're mad enough to want it. However, at least two companies are now also in the building offering fiber to the apartment. Both of them came in at their own expense and established infrastructure as needed. If Apartment A has Company 1 fiber, and Apartment B next door has Company 2? Well, no big - two strands of string down the hall in the ceiling voidspace. I know at least one of those companies does not require a fixed term contract, because I'm with them - 250 Mbs symetric uncapped, for C$50 a month. I could have 1Gbps for C$100 if I needed it. Oh - and because I asked, they give me a naked transducer so I can run my own firewall/ routing. If I wanted to get really paranoid I could have both of them run a line to me and have failover.

Ah yes. But that's Canada - so behind them times compared to the US, right?