* Posts by MJB7

367 posts • joined 27 Nov 2013


Cambridge student rebuilds Polish Enigma-code-breaking box that paved the way for Turing ... and Victory!

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Poor video

The video *completely* fails to explain that it is a device for working out the key. It also fails to explain how you might use the device to find the key for a message (or messages).

It's Baaaaaack (or is it?): Microsoft Teams suffers a Tuesday totter

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Teams worked for us at 8:30 UTC (most participants in Switzerland, one in Czechia) .

Control is only an illusion, no matter what you shove on the Netware share

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A NAS is a really *excellent* solution for dealing with thermos/laptop interactions. Ransomware? Not so much. You still need an offsite and offline backup for that.

Quick, show this article to the boss, before they ask you to spin your own crisis comms Power App in 2 days

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Re: There's an app for that?

The addition of some silver to that list is traditional, and of course your icon (from orbit)

Microsoft throws a bone to those unable to leave the past behind: .NET 5 support on the way for Visual Basic

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Re: Still needed Windows 98...

"It;s taken 20 years for me to fix a bug in the code" - that's nothing. https://enigmaticcode.wordpress.com/tag/bernoulli-numbers/ was published in 2015 and contains a fix for a bug created 172 years earlier.

(The bug was either created by the programmer, or the typesetter who published her work.)

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

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Re: while he waited for someone to fetch a longer one

"but his extension cord wouldn't reach it.". He did have one, just not long enough. (Probably a 3m one in his toolkit, and a 20m one in the van.)

Resellers facing 'months' of delays for orders to be fulfilled. IT gathers dust on docks as coronavirus-stricken China goes back to work

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Re: Just an FYI

My understanding was that masks *do* help prevent infection. Not because they stop you inhaling infected droplets, but because they stop you touching your face (which is the commonest infection route).

At that, they are about as effective as frequent hand washing - but at a much higher cost (both financial and social).

Amazon launches itself into retail IT with 'all the necessary technologies'. Not saying which, but you know...

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Re: Shops are required to accept cash

No they are not. Shops are free to specify how they will accept payment. They may choose to only accept American Express charge cards if they want (although they may find it limits their market).

The above is *certainly* true in England and Wales, and I am fairly sure it is true in the other jurisdictions in the UK, and in most of the more than 50 different jurisdictions in the US (states, DC, reservations). I cannot rule out the possibility that some US jurisdictions do require shops to take cash.

Former US Homeland Security Inspector General accused of stealing govt code and trying to resell it to... the US govt

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Re: Prison terms

Each individual offence has its own maximum term. Those terms *may* be imposed consecutively or concurrently. Journalists always tend to add the terms together as if they were served consecutively because that gives a bigger number.

In England and Wales, it is rare for maximum sentences to be imposed, and even rarer for them to be anything other than concurrent. My impression is that US jurisdictions tend to be rather keener on both maximum sentences and consecutive sentences.

One for the super rich fanbois: Ultra-rare functional Apple-1 computer goes on auction

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No. GDP is the total economic activity and is usually measured over a year, but it can be measured over a quarter, a month, or a day. It is not the level of activity at a particular point in time.

Fancy that: Hacking airliner systems doesn't make them magically fall out of the sky

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Re: The human factor

Also known as "FTFA" = "Fly the aircraft", and the first of the holy trinity: "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate".

Let's Encrypt? Let's revoke 3 million HTTPS certificates on Wednesday, more like: Check code loop blunder strikes

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Re: Whatever happened to code review?

Code review is great - but it is very easy for errors to slip through code review.

Not exactly the same, but I remember three VERY experience engineers looking at a buggy piece of firmware and agreeing it was buggy - but not the end of the world (just a DOS potential, and it wouldn't be exposed to the internet). Then it all went quiet when one of them realized it was actually a critical security vulnerability. Oops!

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Re: The point of these new languages

What are you talking about? Rust is open source, Go is open source. Google have explicitly given up control of the IP in Go, Mozilla never were a mega-corp but they have given up control of the IP in Rust too.

Never thought we'd write this headline: Under Siege Steven Seagal is not Above The Law, must fork out $314,000 after boosting crypto-coin biz

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Don't forget the taxes.

He'll have had to pay tax on the full $1,000,000 (although he may be able to write-off the subsequent losses on the $750,000 that's now worth nothing).

Quantum compute boffins called up to get national UK centre organised for some NISQy business

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Re: Blue Streak/Nuclear Weapons

* we're, * we're, *buy, *we'll, *they

That was truly painful to read.

I heard somebody say: Burn baby, burn – server inferno!

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Re: Oh so special's

Should come to Zürich. Technically there is no such thing as a tube here (the locals vetoed it in a referendum some years ago), however there are a lot of suburban railways that run through tunnels - and all the services are timetabled. The busses and trams also have timetables ... and keep to them.

Aww, a cute mini-moon is orbiting Earth right now. But like all good things, it too will abandon us at some point

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Re: Science Alert!

Only an astronomer could call the Sun a "small object" with a straight face.

Icon: because I've been saying that astronomy is an excellent excuse for a party for 40 years.

Sophos was gearing up for a private life – then someone remembered the bike scheme

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Well that's embarrassing

I presume a number of highly paid advisors have got a suitable bollocking for this cock-up.

I expect a lot of commentards are fuming "stupid red tape", but I think having the FCA approve people who make loans is, in general, a good thing. I suppose it would be possible to complicate the regulations further, by excluding "Cycle to work" loans - but adding loopholes to that sort of regulation is just the sort of thing that bad actors are waiting for. The alternative is a reasonably light-touch approach ... and adding another item to the "things to check when taking over a British company" checklist.

How many times do we have to tell you? A Tesla isn't a self-driving car, say investigators after Apple man's fatal crash

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Re: Suffolk Gazette

You do know that the Suffolk Gazette is a parody site (like TheOnion) right? It it publishes something, it guarantees it is not true.

Talk about making a rod for your own back: Pot dealer's seized €54m Bitcoins up in smoke after keys thrown out with fishing gear

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"sitting on 50million quid"

He didn't make £50M from drug dealing; he made £50M from having bought bitcoin early. When he went inside (and he was living in rented accommodation) they were worth quite a lot less. Also, buying a house needs money from a verifiable source; you can't just turn up with an account containing €100,000 - you have to be able to show where you got that money from.

'I give fusion power a higher chance of succeeding than quantum computing' says the R in the RSA crypto-algorithm

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"Since every other government in the world makes these decisions in 3-5 days,"

This seems like Priti Patel's cue to say "hold my beer"...

Microsoft uses its expertise in malware to help with fileless attack detection on Linux

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Re: Its expertise in malware

Yes, yes. We *all* know that argument. That is what the subhead was referring to, and the comment to which you replied. There was no need to spell it out in laborious detail.

HP Ink: No way, Xerox. We're not accepting your takeover. Well, we'd never say never. Maybe even maybe? Hello, you still there? Please?

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Re: "the current Xerox acquisition offer is not in the best interest of HP shareholders"

You do realize the directors of a company are legally obliged to put the interests of the shareholders first?

Of course, they can legitimately argue that having a reputation for looking after customers is good for shareholders because it encourages repeat business. Similarly looking after employees means that the good people stay and help support the business and make money for the shareholders.

However there is no doubt that the board are *supposed* to look out for the best interest of the shareholders.

Would-be .org gobbler Ethos Capital promises to keep prices down in last-ditch effort to keep $1.1bn deal alive

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"Only" double the price

If we allow for 2% inflation, they are promising not to increase the price more than 85% in real terms in the first eight years. 2% inflation in the IT business is very VERY generous.

I think this counts as "nice work if you can get it".

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago

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Re: That's going about it the hard way ...

I suspect that scraping a printed report is probably simpler than trying to reverse engineer the structure of a (almost certainly proprietary) database ... and that's assuming you could reverse engineer the structure of the filesystem!

The Wristwatch of the Long Now: When your MTBF is two centuries

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great-great-great-great-great-great grandkid

I'm old enough to have a grandkid born this year (the other parent has already been lined up, but I am pretty confident they are taking active steps to ensure no baby occurs). At the optimistic estimate of 25 years per generation, my great6 grandchild won't be born for another 150 years - in 2270. If we use the more plausible 30 years per generation, it won't be for 180 years in 2300.

I think there is *at least* one too many "great"s in that subhead - and probably three.

What do a Lenovo touch pad, an HP camera and Dell Wi-Fi have in common? They'll swallow any old firmware, legit or saddled with malware

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Re: So what?

Signed firmware updates certainly remove the freedom for you to flash your own firmware onto it, and that is not desirable. On the other hand, *most* people don't want to flash their own firmware (in fact, they will only flash a new copy of the manufacturer's firmware if they really, really, have to), but they do want to be reasonably confident that any new firmware won't introduce a security vulnerability. We have to balance those two requirements (it is hard to have both), and in general, your freedom to flash firmware updates will usually lose.

One possible solution is for an unsigned firmware update to be allowed if a normally unconnected contact is driven to a particular value. However this only works if an additional contact is essentially free (as in, there is a spare one), because most people don't want to pay for the ability to flash their own firmware.

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Re: Also known as passing the buck

If you don't trust the hardware vendor, what are you doing using their hardware? Hardware can do bad stuff, even without installing new firmware.

If their signing key gets compromised, that is bad. However compromising a signing key would be a significant extra barrier for a targetted attacker (and they would still have to do all the other stuff).

Uncle Sam tells F-35B allies they'll have to fly the things a lot more if they want to help out around South China Sea

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Re: UK planes can't patrol Chinese seas...

See also "Indian Ocean", "Gulf of Mexico",etc, etc. (*Part* of these are the territorial waters of the named country - as is the South China sea).

Who needs the A-Team or MacGyver when there's a techie with an SCSI cable?

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Chicken, chicken!?!

"SCSI is *NOT* magic. There are *fundamental technical reasons* why you have to sacrifice a young goat to your SCSI chain every now and then." - John Wood


Vulture discovers talons are rubbish for building Lego's International Space Station

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Pet Shop

She clearly has a career at NASA/ESA in her future.

Elon Musk shows world that he is truly awful at something

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Stick to the rockets

Seconded. He's a grade-A prick, but that video of the two boosters coming in to land after launching Starman ... just wow!. Mr Currie should have one of these ----->

Not call, dude: UK govt says guaranteed surcharge-free EU roaming will end after Brexit transition period. Brits left at the mercy of networks

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Re: Eurosceptics

No, "Eurosceptics" was the Eurosceptics name for themselves. The EU supporters (well, the media) had labelled them "Europhobes" initially.

Voyager suffers a power wobble as boffins start the final countdown for Spitzer

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Re: Yes but wow

43? It won't be 43 for another 7 months. (Well, if you count from launch date.)

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42 year-old hardware, absolutely no way to perform a service, and Voyager 2 is *still* running!

One-time Brexit Secretary David Davis demands Mike Lynch's extradition to US be halted

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Re: "they'd have to be drunk because most people can tell the difference between left and right"

If you are used to driving on one side of the road, are driving on the other side, and then turn off one into an *empty* road, it is very easy to end up on the wrong side. No problem if there is traffic visible - but if the traffic is on the other side of the brow of a hill, it can be a problem.

Apple: EU can't make us use your stinking common charging standard

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Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

To be fair, there *has* been innovation on the charger connector front, even in the Android world. If micro-USB had been mandated (rather than encouraged), there would have been no shift to USB-C (which was driven by the need for more power).

How about not requiring standardization ... but mandating that the specs for charging connectors are published.

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer

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Re: If you have to ask, yes it is.

Sadly, no. There are *still* far too many large corporations training users to fall for phishing emails.

Two billion years ago, snowball Earth was defrosted in huge asteroid crash – and it's been downhill ever since

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Re: Praise ELE!

" it might have helped create conditions to support life" - err ... the oldest evidence of life is from 3.5 billion years ago. Life had been going strong for at least 1.3 billion years when that pebble hit. Another one isn't going to sterilize the planet either (bacteria are *tough*).

Safari's Intelligent Tracking Protection is misspelled, says Google: It should be Dumb Browser Stalking Enabler

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Re: Shock

I don't think it is inherent conflict with web standards that it is the problem. The problem is that they are introducing state into the browser, and that state can be tracked. It's an architectural problem.

Scary code of the week: Valve Steam CLEANS Linux PCs (if you're not careful)

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Re: Environment variable

It isn't an environment variable. STEAMROOT is a shell variable (which isn't the same thing at all, although they are accessed with the same syntax). It's calculated from $0 which is another shell variable.

Xerox to nominate up to 11 directors to HP's board in hostile takeover push – report

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Is this HP Enterprise or HP Inc? Some of us lose track.

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Has this ever worked?

Can anyone point at a large scale (>$1B) takeover like this which has enhanced shareholder value after, say, five years? (Obviously that does require one to make a guess at what the shareholder value would have been absent the take-over.)

Opera hits back at 'short seller' whose report claimed its 'predatory' microloan droid apps could hurt, er... investors

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Re: A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on

pTerry did actually write those words, but I'm sure he wouldn't have claimed to have invented them. See

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/07/13/truth/. It cites “for falsehood will fly from Maine to Georgia, while truth is pulling her boots on.” from a court case in 1820, and Swift writing "Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it" in 1710.

Alan Turing’s OBE medal, PhD cert, other missing items found in super-fan’s Colorado home by agents, says US govt

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Re: Inventory

"AT's accomplishments are well known today and rightly a high value is placed on them."

I would argue his *important* accomplishments were well known 36+"a few years" ago. I knew about his seminal work on computer science in 1980. I am pretty sure the school would have known that he was an important mathematician.

The fact that he was one of the large team at Bletchley Park would not have been well known of course, but that wasn't his major achievement.

US court rules: Just because you can extract teeth while riding a hoverboard doesn't mean you should

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Re: What on earth...?

Well according to Merriam Webster, it means "a working space (as of a dentist or surgeon)"

Must be left-pondian.

Intel server chip shortages continue to bite: HPE warns of Xeon processor supply drought for the whole of 2020

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Re: "I don't use any of those"

You probably do you know. Perhaps not directly, but it is very likely that some of the companies you interact with use AWS, Azure or one of the other cloud suppliers for some of their servers.

You're not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes

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Technical reviews

These technical reviews are expected to turn up glitches and gremlins for Boeing engineers to fix, so this is kinda to be expected.

No, I don't think it is to be expected. The initial architecture review would certainly be expected to turn up glitches, similarly the initial design, the detailed design, the test design, the coding, the units tests and the integration tests. However, by the time that lot has been done, one would expect safety critical code to be fairly near bug free - so a post-hoc technical review would *not* be expected to find any glitches.

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Re: Carrier groups

The Afghanis at least have a near two century record handing the British Empire its arse on a plate - starting when "air superiority" meant "more hot air balloons".

Unlocking news: We decrypt those cryptic headlines about Scottish cops bypassing smartphone encryption

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Re: Policy on Probable Cause

Scotland doesn't have a policy on "probable cause", because it is not a legal term there. The police in Scotland can act on "reasonable suspicion" (which is significantly weaker).



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