* Posts by aberglas

291 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Apr 2014


Oblivious DoH, OPAQUE passwords, Encrypted Client Hello: Cloudflare's protocol proposals to protect privacy


Re: I might be stupid but...

Proper PAKE does NOT enable brute force attacks by an eves dropper or man in the middle. Through the magic of the algorithms each attempt requires a protocol iteration, and any sensible server would stop after a few attempts.

If the server's secrets become known then brute force is possible.

Judge denies Parler an injunction to force AWS to host the antisocial network for internet outcasts


Censorship by Private Companies

Is OK as long as we do not like the content being censored. It would of course be truly evil that they censored some other group that incited illegal acts that we liked. E.g. Extinction rebellion, BLM, Arab Spring, US Founding Fathers.

For all its faults, the law gives people a right to state their case and is fairly transparent. Not so with corporate decision making. Any censorship needs to be done by due process. And then only very rarely.

Amazon was not supporting Parlor in the sense of Facebook. They were merely providing server infrastructure. Content was none of their business. People that support Amazon would probably support cutting other infrastructure providers off the internet entirely if they did not agree with them. It is a bit like a city banning someone from talking in any public or private space within its walls and not calling that censorship.

Politically, this makes a martyr out of Parler. It will end up being hosted somewhere, perhaps in Russia. And this has been great publicity for them.

The nightmare is real: 'Excel formulas are the world's most widely used programming language,' says Microsoft


Microsoft are desperately trying to commit suicide

By killing off VBA.

However, it is not just that there is a lot of VBA out there. It is the fact that VBA is *MUCH* better than JavaScript.

I am not talking about the fact that it uses nice End Ifs instead of messy {}s. Nor even the fact that it has proper static typing. But the fact that it is tightly integrated with Excel.

Pres Alt-F11 and you are in the VBA editor. Type [A1] and you are referencing the cell. Press ctrl-S and you have saved the function. JavaScript requires a complex deployment strategy that is way beyond end users that just want to get stuff done.

Excel even has a macro recorder that will write the code for you. Bad code, but no need to look up object properties, just hack the generated code to generalize it.

But the biggest issue is that JavaScript runs client side, while VBA runs server side. So to get any sort of performance out of JavaScript you need to write complex Futures code. Try explaining that to a user that just wants to get stuff done.

So Microsoft has been ignoring VBA for a decade but cannot let it die.

.Net for Excel is already pretty dead. I reckon that the JavaScript will also die in time. But in 2050 VBA will still be there!

But to Microsoft Product Managers the only question is what's HOT and what's NOT. Cloud is hot, VBA is not.


You can also write functions using Named Ranges

Has been possible for ever. Using relative references to cells.

Excel has always been Turing complete, using reference loops.

And VBA is old but actually a pretty decent language. Much better than JavaScript.

Taiwan tightens rules around local tech firms sharing tech with China


Taiwan is trying to pull out of China

Taiwan heavily invested in China, and is indeed a major reason for the magic boom after Mao finally died. However, China no longer needs Taiwan, and those investments are a huge liability. China can make them unviable very easily. And Taiwan (now, finally) really appreciates its independence from China.

So they are pulling out and do not want more to go in.

Little to do with appeasing the west.

Worried about the Andromeda galaxy crashing into our Milky Way in four billion years? Too bad, it's quite possibly already happening


Flat earthers just don't swallow propaganda whole

They think about what they see and read. And they see the fallacies, piled one upon the other. Lots of naive people agreeing with each other, all wrong.


Re: Humanity in 100 years

Will be robots.

Ok, so maybe 200 years, but no longer. Once machines are smarter than us why would they want us around?

So, no need to wait around a billion years.

A tale of mainframes and students being too clever by far


The days before memory protection WAS (less) necessary...

Back then, memory protection was less necessary because people programmed in sensible languages. Cobol, Fortran, Algol etc. cannot corrupt memory. Burroughs made a point of relying on their compiler rather than memory protection. The original author simply stumbled upon a bug in the compiler.

Then we "advanced" to programing in C.

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide


You had better take these seriously

If you work for those companies, and even if you do not.

If someone does not like you, especially in HR, then letting them call you racist or sexist is giving them a free kick up your arse and possibly out the door.

Google Damore Google Memo if you have any doubts.

There is nothing nice about people making these changes. They are about power, the power to inflict change on others, and to root out non-conformists.

Bigger than big: Linux kernel colonel Torvalds claims 5.8 is 'one of our biggest releases of all time'




Re: Less Is Sometimes More ?

Having a vast amount of code that is not normally used hardly gives one a good feeling about a well disciplined design process. Maybe a lot of it is device drivers for obscure devices, but even then one wonders.

Having lots of #ifs or optional modules does not make for easy understanding.

Internet blackout of Myanmar States that are home to ethnic minorities enters second year


Attempted genocide of the Rohingya

Myanmar is about a lot more than just internet. It is attempted genocide. The Rohingya rot in camps in Bangladesh with the Myanmar army killing any left behind.

It is truly terrible. And Australia's inaction is apauling.

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'


Monopoly is intresting

It was actually created as a social statement. To show how money goes to money in a quite unfair and rather random way. But it totally back fired, monopoly players all want to be rich!

Australia to refund $720m in 'debts' determined by dodgy algorithm


Apauling policy

This was really bad. People living on the edge often with limited intelligence were expected to provide documentation going back years. It was very difficult to contact the department. And the department did nothing to help, even when they had documents.

This was very nasty right wing policy. Deliberate, and nasty. And it went on for years and years. It is only when it looked like losing spectacularly in a court case that the government eventually backed down.

NASA renames dark-energy telescope after its first Chief of Astronomy and Mother of Hubble: Nancy Grace Roman


Re: Politically Astute Decision

Well, I think there is a USS Reagan. And Reagan makes Trump look intelligent.

Rust marks five years since its 1.0 release: The long and winding road actually works


What does Rust actually do?

Serious question.

The docs boast about doing things that you could easily do with unique pointers in C++. Boring.

It handles ArrayLists easily. So does C++.

It does not have the legacy pointer arithmetic that was was always a bad idea in C. OK, but boring.

It does not have proper garbage collection as found in Lisp, Java, .Net. Pretty important for most applications. Rules it out for me.

How does it do the hard stuff? Like stuff with real pointers like Linked Lists? I never waded through the hype far enough to find out.

If American tech is used to design or make that chip, you better not ship it to Huawei, warns Uncle Sam


China will become self sufficient in tech

It is already one of their priorities.

Then generally they will diverge, and there will be less interplay and communication between east and west.

Is that a good thing? Hard to say.

Xi Jinping is certainly potentially dangerous, but isolating him also isolates the Chinese people from western liberal thought.

What is frightening is that the Trump administration is quite incapable of thinking these sort of strategic issues through.

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree


Re: "notions like beauty and elegance in mind for the language"

Which is why Algol 68 was replaced by ... C :(

Half a billion here, half a billion there – pretty soon you're talking real money: US Congress earmarks $425m for 2020 election security


Just use paper

In oz, the entire paper election (with the preferential voting that the UK should have taken up) is done for about US$3/vote. And it is not only secure, but transparent. And here they are spending $2/vote to patch up their mess.

But I thought that the whole point of the US electronic voting system is that it was meant to be hacked. Mainly by Republican returning officers.

Alphabet, Apple, Dell, Tesla, Microsoft exploit child labor to mine cobalt for batteries, human-rights warriors claim


Those kids would starve without work

If they had a choice between working in the mines or going to a nice school with good meals, they would obviously choose the latter. But the choice is actually between working in the mines or sitting around without enough to eat.

People in the comfortable west have no idea what it means to go hungry. Really hungry.

This is the problem with attacking child labor. It is the wrong end of the stick. You need to attack extreme poverty instead.

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority asked drone orgs to email fliers' data in an Excel spreadsheet


250 grams can destroy a 100 ton airliner!

True! Saw it on TV. Someone looking very serious said that this was very serious.

Having all drone operators pay 9 quid (which will cost the government some 20 quid to collect!) will make us all safe.


Excel is a good solution

There would be at least a few hundred thousand names on the list. Easily handled by Excel.

Pay a clerk full time to concatenate them together.

It does not matter if they make mistakes because the data is ultimately useless anyway.

Much better than spending umpteen million quid on and IT project that does the same thing.

I'm not Boeing anywhere near that: Coder whizz heads off jumbo-sized maintenance snafu


lb, kg, litre, gallons

Real aircraft manuals for light aircraft often use a nasty mixture of units depending upon who wrote which page. A real mess.

My favorite is "gallons", which usually mean US gallons unless it is an old English plane in which it means UK gallons, with nothing to indicate which.

And they tell you to take the manual very seriously!


Fuel to full tanks

You often do not fuel to full because can make the plane too heavy with desired load.

That is why you return a hired plane empty, let the next pilot fill as much as they want.

So yes, pilots do depend quite a bit on dipping the tanks.

Personally I just always filled up and ignored the fact that it is a bit heavy, with the extra weight in the wings.

The eagle has handed.... scientists a serious text message bill after flying through Iran, Pakistan


Global roaming charges are evil

Nobody would mind paying 20% more, say. But 10,000%! My provider charges $1000 / gig. Needless to say I just turn it off.

It is a pain when you travel through Europe. And the cheap burner sims you buy typically do not actually work across countries. So you need many.

So, fancy that the eagle did not know about global roaming charges! They needed a multi-sim transmitter.

Apple programs Siri to not bother its pretty little head with questions about feminism


We need Genuine People Personalities

Long overdue, I am surprised we have not already seen them.

Marvin the paranoid android.

Hyper happy door openers.

Slave or Nanny controllers.

And of course, a Scottish speaking automated elevator.

Army Watchkeeper drone flopped into tree because crew were gazing backwards


Who was flying the airplane?

The human or the computer?

That was the problem. It should be one or the other. If the humans were not capable of doing a full landing they should not touch the controls. At all.

Semi automation is an issue for airliners too. They have things like Auto throttle that control the speed. Meaning bad pilots do not monitor air speed. So when it goes wrong, planes crash. (E.g. Ariana SFO a few years ago)


Re: This was a good landing

No, the WW1 airplanes varied, generally not too bad. The trainers nice and slow.

The Sopwith Camel was a nasty beast, but not a trainer.

They were all tail draggers, so bad crabing will cause a ground loop very quickly.

Eight-hour comms lags and shock discoveries: 30 years after Voyager 2 visited gas giant Neptune


It was always planned

They like to limit what they promise to do in case it goes wrong. E.g. too much fuel required to change orbits along the way.

But amazing what those old computers could do.

And they were not even running SystemD or Windows!

Official: Microsoft will take an axe to Skype for Business Online. Teams is your new normal


Give every user their own IM app

There's so many incompatible ones out there it should not be difficult.

Then they will not be able to communicate with each other. And so become more productive.

Experts: No need to worry about Europe's navigation sats going dark for days. Also: What the hell is going on with those satellites?!


Not just special relativity

Apparently the system is accurate enough to have to deal with very weird general relativity issues.

I don't have to save my work, it's in The Cloud. But Microsoft really must fix this files issue


Nobody tells students nothing

There is zero training about how to use a computer. At least in Australian schools. Kids are supposed to just "pick it up".

How could there be? Their teachers don't have a clue either. And it would break every rule in the book if IT was to talk to them. The only message they get, over and over, is the evils of cyber bullying and how that could embarrass the school administration.

Some of them have parents who teach them. But most just wonder on.

So why wouldn't they just use a USB stick? It seems to work, and they have other priorities than stuffing about with IT.

WikiLeaks boss Assange acted as a foreign spy, Uncle Sam exclaims in fresh rap sheet


I think he got an Ecuador passport

He should have run to Sweden as soon as he got that. Then jump to Ecuador.

Waited too long.

Swedish prosecutors request Assange detention: First step to European arrest warrant


The pre-charge interview could have happened in Brittain

Long ago. Even before he went to the embassy.

It is a common practice.

But the charges are bogus, so they do not want that to happen. They will eventually be dropped.

Prez Trump's trade war reshapes electronics supply chains as China production slows


Trump's logic is skewed

But there is potential for real trouble with China which is growing ever more repressive domestically, and somewhat more aggressive internationally.

So reducing one's dependence upon them for all things makes some sense from a security perspective, even if it will cost a bit economically.

Assange rape claims: Complainant welcomes Swedish investigation's reopening


The rape charges were always bogus

That is why the Swedish prosecutor refused to interview Assange in London, despite such foreign interviews being quite common. If she did the interview she would either have to put up a detailed charge or shut up.

Recall that Assange spent some time in Sweden after the "rapes", and that the initial issue was to get him to do an STD test, which he foolishly delayed in doing. Indeed, one of the "raped" woman put on a "lobster dinner" for him the next day -- not the usual behavior of an intelligent rape victim.

There is no statute of limitations for charges if you are running from the law. The limitations exist from the time of the offense to the time of being charged. Assange was never formally charged, which let the clock run out.

Now, whether this really was a ruse to get Assange to the USA or just feminist incompetence is unclear, and I suspect the latter.

Swedish rape trials are held in secret, and there is no jury but there is "lay" judges which are ex politicians. And Assange has upset Sweden politically. So how a case might turn out is hard to say.

He may be arrogant, but he did do some good work in the early days of Wiki leaks.

'Software delivered to Boeing' now blamed for 737 Max warning fiasco


Citroens are great

Everybody thinks that they are a piece of French engineering that is impossible to maintain and will fall apart in half the time of a properly engineered Toyota.

Which is perfectly true. Which is why you can by them with not many kms on the clock for half the price of said Toyota. Just realize that there will come a time to throw it out when something breaks that cannot be economically fixed. Like a headlight bulb.

(A bit of an exaggeration. I did manage to change a headlight bulb. Only took me a couple of hours.)

'I do not wish to surrender' Julian Assange tells court over US extradition bid


The Swedes do not want him.

The charges were always dubious, which is why they never interviewed Assange in London.

They would be laughed at if they tried to actually prosecute him. Better to let the Americans have him.

No surprise that the Swedes dropped, and then did not reinstate, the charge.

And that stuff about expiring is nonsense. Statutes of limitations only apply before you are charged, not after. And they never actually charged Assange with anything. Because that would mean they would have to present their case in detail to his defense. And there has never been any credible case.

That said, as turns out, Assange was an idiot for not going to Sweden earlier. Would have dealt with this, and be a little bit harder for the US to get hold of him.

Julian Assange jailed for 50 weeks over Ecuador embassy bail-jumping


UK prison will be a holdiay camp

Compared to the dark hole they will put him in in the USA.


Re: After 50 weeks

Sweden does not want him.

The charges were always bullshit, which is why the prosecutor refused to interview Assange in London. The last thing she wants is Assange in Sweden.

Hard to press a rape charge when you had dinner with the rapist in company the next night.

French internet cops issue terrorist takedown for… Grateful Dead recordings?


Take down requests must be secret

And it must be illegal to report or refer to them.

Otherwise they just become pointers to bad material. Everyone knows that.

So no, no reporting of stupid requests.

Rust never sleeps: C++-alike language tops Stack Overflow survey for fourth year in a row


Re: "VBA and Objective-C rank as the most dreaded languages this year"

for (int i=0;.... ) {




} // next i

Some people object to my commenting style.

In VBA, you never get a mismatched }{. And VBA has garbage collection. Much more sophisticated than C/++ etc.

Boeing big cheese repeats pledge of 737 Max software updates following fatal crashes


Seafire conversion of Spitfires in the 1940s

Similar issue.

They needed to add a heavy arrestor hook at the back, which broke the CoG. So they added a big spring to the elevator to trim it up. So hands off it would fly level.

But get it into a spin and it was time to jump out.

Needed more radical redesign, but that would have cost more.

(Also, could not see over the nose for a carrier landing. Amazing that a pilot could do it at all.)

Bug-hunter faces jail for vulnerability reports, DuckDuckPwn (almost), family spied on via Nest gizmo, and more


Pretty soon, you won't be able to turn them off

Trying to buy a non-IOT light or lock or air conditioner or water tap will be like trying to buy a vacuum tube / valve today. When the IOT controls everything, turning it off will not be an option. Any more than turning off the smarts on your phone is an option today.

While US fires criminal charges at Huawei, UK tells legislators not to worry, everything's fine


"Civil Society"

Does not mean a middle class.

It means the everyday rights we take for granted. To be able to discuss things freely. To be able to complain vigorously if we disagree with something. To go where we please. To be able to rely on the rule of law, and not the arbitrary dictates of a government.

These are the things China does not have. It is a major concern now that China is the biggest economy in the world (purchasing power parity).

Boffins debunk study claiming certain languages (cough, C, PHP, JS...) lead to more buggy code than others


Re: How many times do I have to say this?

Duff's Device.

Does this also work in Java and C#?


strNcpy is also buggy

It does not add a null to the end if the string is exactly the same size. Which can easily lead to buffer overflows if the user is not careful.

Never had a buffer overflow in Java. Nor .Net....

The most annoying British export since Piers Morgan: 'Drones' halt US airport flights


Re: 500g Drone vs 100 ton airliner




500g Drone vs 100 ton airliner

NOBODY in the mainstream has questioned how a 500g drone could destroy a 100 ton airliner.

Sure, a well aimed 100kg military drone could do serious damage, take out an engine. But that is not what is being talked about here.

It makes as much sense as the idea that a terrorist could blow up an airliner with a box cutter.

Size does matter.

(There was a video of someone firing a largish drone out of a canon directly into a Mooney (very light aircraft) wing and doing damage, but still not destroying the main spar. An airliner weighs roughly 100 times a Mooney. The leading edges are made of thick high grade aluminum. And they can fly well on one engine, and even no engines is unlikely to lead to a hull loss if the pilot is competent.)

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found


Re: machine gun?

No, for such a serious threat as a 500g drone I reckon nuke the whole airport. That'll teach 'em.