* Posts by gnasher729

1723 posts • joined 13 Oct 2014

Software developer cracks Hyundai car security with Google search

gnasher729 Silver badge

One company probably 30 years ago managed to use an RSA private key that I cracked with pen and paper. The key was of the form 2^123 - a * 2^60 - b with rather small a and b.

It turned out both primes had been taken from a table from “The Art of Computer Programming”.

Too little, too late: Intel's legacy is eroding

gnasher729 Silver badge

Intel is just lucky that Apple isn't going to sell its ARM chips to anyone else. That gives them a year or two breathing space until AMD squeezes them at the server end and Qualcomm or whoever can do it squeezes them from the other side with ARM processors. Note that on a high level, ARM and x86 are very, very compatible.

Apple might actually sell more CPUs (inside Macs, iPhones and iPads) and probably more cores than Intel.

GitHub courts controversy by suspending Tornado Cash developers and reneging on cookie commitments

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: re: call into question its commitment to free speech

They said "The government told us not to host your speech, and we defer to the wisdom of our government." So where did they pretend it was illegal to host the code? Plus, any sane business would not host code that _might_ be illegal to host. They are not going to take risks to host someones code.

Yeah, we'll just take that first network handshake. What could possibly go wrong?

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Trailing spaces

MacOS x allows any valid unicode code point in utf-8 format, except nul and slash (on its own drives, network

drives have different rules).

Anti-piracy messaging may just encourage more piracy

gnasher729 Silver badge

Back in the day, I had non-technical relatives (still have) who would never think of stealing, or of not paying someone who creates something for them.

The problem is that since I was the person with the CD recorder and the empty disks they saw _me_ as the creator of music, not the musicians or the record company.

Bad news, older tech workers: Job advert language works against you

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Examples?

"In Portugal, there's a phrase that's repeated verbatim in about half the job advertisements I see:

Integration into a young and dynamic team

I think it simply means "must be biddable", but it sounds dreadful. And that, no doubt, is the point."

I was told that Portugal has a really bad problem finding anyone who can do a decent IT job. Maybe that's related? Seriously, I have 40 years+ of accumulated bullshit filter. No problem with a "young and dynamic team" if half of them have half my talent.

Why the end of Optane is bad news for all IT

gnasher729 Silver badge

So my understanding is that you want to treat it as RAM. Probably your normal RAM becomes L4 cache and you could run your software unchanged. Except you throw your database out and keep your data in RAM. And Word doesn’t save documents anywhere but keeps them in RAM.

Until your app crashes. Then you have to restart it and it needs to be restarted so that it’s fine with all documents and the database in the same place. Not really that difficult. Could be made to work.

But then… what price?

My smartphone has wiped my microSD card again: Is it a conspiracy?

gnasher729 Silver badge

Five years ago I put a SanDisk SD card, 256GB, into my MacBook for TimeMachine backups (on the road, no cables, just a tiny bit of card sticking out). It’s backed up my MacBook ever since, five years with no problems ever.

So I suppose the problem is not with the cards but with the OS.

We've got a photocopier and it can copy anything

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Years ago....

We had one of the first colour laser printers in our office. Canon, a monster weighing 350 pounds.

They had tried to talk to various governments about how to design bank notes that couldn’t be copied, but apparently nobody wanted to listen to them.

(They can’t copy water signs, can’t copy transparent materials, and have huge problems with lots of very fine wavy lines).

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: postcode resolution

In the UK, there are about 1.1 million different postcodes for (rough guess) 30 million households. So on average 30 households per postcode. There are also databases for all house numbers and house names per postcode, but I don’t think they have locations.

As far as the “3 feet” is concerned: I once went to a hotel and ended up 3 feet behind the fence at their back garden. Was almost a mile from there to the front entrance.

British intelligence recycles old argument for thwarting strong encryption: Think of the children!

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Only the Guilty?

I once had a Swiss-German speaking colleague. He was on the phone and you entered the room, he would switch to Swiss-German. Nobody would understand a word.

Dev's code manages to topple Microsoft's mighty SharePoint

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Exchange

So why in earth shouldn’t I name the folders exactly how I want to name them?

gnasher729 Silver badge

I always learned that one goal of a developer should be to keep support cost down. Your suggestion would have saved them good money, and I bet you’re not the first one falling into that trap.

gnasher729 Silver badge

When you say that… A few days ago my wife couldn’t pay in a cheque with her Barclays banking app. So I tried it on my phone, couldn’t do it either. Googled it, instructions say click here, click there, the select “pay in check”.

I call Barclays support. The very friendly and competent lady says “I’ll try this” and 10 seconds later “the option is gone on my phone as well”. I said thank you very much, I’ll try it again later, and made her promise to tell her developers not to _rrmove_ a button when they have problems but disable it.

Few hours later it worked again.

FYI: BMW puts heated seats, other features behind paywall

gnasher729 Silver badge

I have seen one situation where this makes sense: IBM selling servers with say 2, 4, 6, or 8 cores; you pay for what you need today, and if your business grows and you’d need an upgrade, you just pay for activating two more cores.

The alternative for the customer would be to find someone willing to buy a used 2 core server, buying a new 4 core server, and transferring everything over - substantially more expensive. So the guys insisting “I was given a server with 8 servers, I can activate the remaining six without paying” can be told “if you insist, then we stop selling that way, and everyone loses”.

Now let’s say BMW charged £500 for heated seats. And it costs £100 to put in a deactivated heated seat. (You think they are ripping you off? Tough to be you then). That means I can turn the heated seats on in my new BMW for £500, same cost as before. BMW saves money by needing to build only one model. And without the heating built in, changing your mind would cost significantly more or be impossible.

So overall this could be beneficial for the customer. Especially if you didn’t want the heating, and 3 years later you want to sell your used car to someone who insists on heated seats. No problem.

Russia fines Apple and Zoom for failure to prove domestic data storage

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: GDPR with a Pootin twist

It looks like Apple is at least pretending to be taking this seriously. Did you know that iPhone chips run at 2,500 MHz and TSMC has stopped shipping any chips over 25MHz to Russia?

I wonder if they have a competition between their junior lawyers who can send the most underhanded reply to Russia. Sending the address of a bank in Cupertino together with a map would be a nice move.

Apple's new MacBook Air: Is the jump to M2 silicon worth another $200?

gnasher729 Silver badge


Seems there is _someone_ with real OCD. Probably hiding under the table when I mentioned 10GB or 20GB RAM.

I actually have an old MacBook Pro with 10GB. Bought the cheapest model with 4GB, two chips, replaced one with a third party 8GB, making it 10GB. Hope that doesn’t make anyone’s head explode.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: It *might* have been worth it...

You need to think a little bit further.

Apple created a family of chips, named M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra. Each a lot more powerful, bigger and expensive than the previous one, using the same technology. The Ultra is twice as powerful, twice as big, and twice as expensive because it’s literally two Max chips.

Now they started a new family. The first one, the M2, is ready. It’s a slightly improved low-end chip (and low-end is very relative). The technology is a bit better, all in all about 25%. Nowhere near the M1 Pro. But the next chips will be M2 Pro, M2 Max and M2 Ultra.

And then they will release a slightly improved chip and call it M3 (with M3 Pro, Max and Ultra following), and so on.

gnasher729 Silver badge


24GB triggers your OCD? The M2 has about 25% more transistors, so I expected it to ship with 10GB and 20GB.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Heat throttling

On the M2, the highest possible performance is higher than on M1 with higher power usage. But it can also deliver the same performance as the M1 with lower power.

So if you run M1 and M2 at full power, the M2 will run faster and throttle earlier. But throttled it can still produce the same performance as M1 for longer.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Inexplicable...

Look at the exchange rates. You can probably thank Johnson.

Tech world may face huge fines if it doesn't scrub CSAM from encrypted chats

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: If they can do why do they not tell us how?

Client side encryption, plus not sending or receiving messages that are deemed illegal without further action, and a way for the user to check and send something they believe is marked incorrectly. Like a picture of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus that could easily be mistaken for something else.

Apple lets devs in South Korea switch payment providers – with a lot of legwork

gnasher729 Silver badge

So as a company I have to protect myself against piracy, and as a customer ill have to fight the app provider for refunds? Curious what will happen if a five year old runs up a thousand pound bill for in-app purchases.

Apple's latest security feature could literally save lives

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: There’s a $10m bounty…

Well, what they do isn’t really difficult to implement. Instead of protecting say your mail app from bugs in the processing of a gazillion different attachments, attachments other than images are just disabled. And I could imagine that only the most popular image types will be supported so your phone is easily protected against bugs in the processing of a gazillion obscure image formats as well.

NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Uniplex "my God, it chills me just mention the dark lord's name,"

We have that in London. Costs 12p. And every single time I use it just after I press send I see the bus coming around the corner.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Uniplex "my God, it chills me just mention the dark lord's name,"

What exception in the year 4,000? Every 4th year is a leap year, except every 100th year isn’t, except every 400th year is. There are no other exceptions.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Uniplex "my God, it chills me just mention the dark lord's name,"

My favourite was a script that was supposed to test if a date was valid that broke on Feb. 2nd, 2000. It turned out that it was never given an invalid date, and the script was totally brain damaged and checked whether the date contained the digit 1.

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: BC (Before Covid), But...

The advantage of wired mice is that you can get your scissors, cut of their tail, and tell the employee to find someone who will buy them a new one.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Scheme

Many years ago I worked at the German inland revenue for a few months. In the postal department. Their job was to open letters and put them into piles to send them to the right people.

That was three or four people 40 years ago when everything was done by mail. They were the only people in the whole office opening letters. Today, you could take one man or woman, a fast scanner and a good address book, and no problem. All letters in the right email.

Tencent admits to poisoned QR code attack on QQ chat platform

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Ever increasing obfuscation

I think my iPhone will tell me the url and I have to go there manually. Unless an app checks for qr codes itself, and then it should be able to verify the we code.

You need to RTFM, but feel free to use your brain too

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Some even start with "remove equipment from box"

I did write instructions once how to set up the environment for a new software developer. It assumed that you started with a Mac inside its box. And it started with the instruction to follow all instructions and produce a new setup document including all changes the had to make because the instructions were only used once a year or so.

US senators seek input on their cryptocurrency law via GitHub – and get some

gnasher729 Silver badge

It’s too late for regulations.

The principle of Bitcoin is that money paid out equals money paid in, minus losses from the cost of producing, buying and selling Bitcoin, minus the cost of outright fraud. That’s the simple math, and there is no way to get around it.

So by protecting future victims you just punish the ones who are already victimised.

More than $100m in cryptocurrency stolen from blockchain biz

gnasher729 Silver badge

Some people paid in that 100 million. Most of them would have lost most of the money anyway, but now they have all lost all of it.

The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups

gnasher729 Silver badge

I’ve seen a complete delete feature twice: One, Apple’s “Time machine” allows you to remove a file from all backups. Two, Perforce, the source code control system, has a command “obliterate” if I remember right, that will remove a file completely from source control. Very useful if you commited all your passwords by mistake, or if you have a megabyte video and someone checked in the 4GB original.

DMCA can't be used to sidestep First Amendment, court rules

gnasher729 Silver badge

No, you have enough to _pretend_ to be the rightful owner. If you make a mistake, and you send a DMCA notice to take down Abby's Greatest Hits of an unknown singer when you own Abba's Greatest Hits, that's a mistake with no consequences. But if you pretend that you have the copyright or represent the copyright holder of Abby's Greatest Hits when you don't, that's perjury. Jail time. Remember that you can't file an anonymous DMCA request.

gnasher729 Silver badge

The ruling makes absolute sense.

When a website gets a DMCA notice, then it can just take the post down, and that’s it. They might not even know who posted without detective work, so that should be fine.

Or they could tell the poster, which is a nice thing to do, so at least they know why their post is gone. The poster could send a counter notice which the site can ignore, at this point there is still absolutely no reason why the website should give any info out.

Only if the poster sends a counter notice that the site uses to restore the post, that’s the poster effectively telling the copyright owner “you stink, I dare you to sue me”. That should only happen if the poster gives his name and contact information and that should be passed on, because at this point there should be a court case. (Maybe the website should have to pass on this info if the copyright holder actually goes to court. )

Micron aims 1.5TB microSD card at video surveillance market

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Imagine what Apple will charge for that in the next iPhone...

Why iPhone? The real use would be inside a MacBook

MacBooks are full to the brim, but an sd card is tiny and should be made to fit. Now MacBooks come with ssd drives that are bloody fast and bloody expensive. But I don’t need a 2TB ssd drive that is bloody fast. A 512 or possibly 256 GB of bloody fast SSD, with 0.5, 1.0 or 1.5 TB of a bloody slow and dirt cheap SD card would be absolutely fine for me and for many people. Now take Apple’s “fusion” software and you don’t have to worry where things are stored. Looks like one drive. With everything you use daily bloody fast, and long term storage slow.

A great day for non-robots: iOS 16 will bypass CAPTCHAs

gnasher729 Silver badge

Infected by a virus? What virus?

Reality check. Compare the number of website visits some bot can perform per second with the number of virus infected iPhones.

Apple’s M2 chip isn’t a slam dunk, but it does point to the future

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Lies, damn lies, and benchmarks

Ahem…. M1 CPUs were right up there with the fastest single core performance, and M2 CPUs are quite a bit faster.

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables

gnasher729 Silver badge

I always wonder if someone is ever going to use powerful computers to improve the sound. Take just an iPhone; GPUs capable of gazillions of floating point operations per second, and AI chips even more powerful, that should be good enough to take raw input from the players needle, and fix all sound problems easily.

I have two CDs with piano music where the source material is a 40s radio recording (that is someone sitting there with a microphone held to the radio speakers). It should be possible to reconstruct the sound from that, how it would have sounded in the same room with the piano. At a less awful source, take any sixties recording which has just awful sound quality.

Engineer sues Amazon for not covering work-from-home internet, electricity bills

gnasher729 Silver badge

Big company I worked there allowed a catering company on their premises. The catering company lost money every year and was subsidised by my then employer, who also limited what the catering company could charge. Because we paid the catering company the employees were not subsidised.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Which country would that be where your employer _pays_ for your commute? Plenty of cases where it is tax deductible, for example in Germany, so your cost of commmuting comes out of your untaxed salary, not your salary after taxes.

That time a techie accidentally improved an airline's productivity

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Everybody knows...

Your company must have been so happy to pay more for support. Most places try to design things so they get fewer support calls. And if you don’t want to confuse users, add an error code that they can tell support.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Everybody knows...

“Are you sure” questions are daft. It doesn’t matter whether I’m sure or not, and if it mattered the buttons should be “yes” or “no”. Instead it should say “Press “keep” to keep the booking. Press “remove” to remove the booking” with a “keep” and a “remove” button.

(I’ve done a lot of MacOS development, and there “Cancel” means without exception “Remove the dialog or alert, and continue as if the user had never taken the action causing the dialog to be shown”. Since this conflicts with “cancel” meaning “cancel the booking”, “cancel” cannot be used at all. )

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Everybody knows...

In one very widely used software, the user at some point had two options. Neither made sense to me. The help text for each made me say “WTF”. Investigation showed that A was what 99% of users would need, and B would be right in 1% of the cases. I added “use A unless your admin tells you to use B” to the help text.

Dear Europe, here again are the reasons why scanning devices for unlawful files is not going to fly

gnasher729 Silver badge

What apple proposed didn’t need to decide. Before uploading a picture onto iCloud (Apples servers, so they have a right not to want some images on there), your phone would scan an image and say it looks dodgy. It tells you and shows you the image, then you decide whether to upload (because it’s harmless), or whether to upload (because you don’t care it’s illegal), or not to upload (because it’s illegal and you don’t want it outside your phone), or to delete it (because it’s dodgy, you have no idea how it got on your phone, and you don’t want it).

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: Wrong question answered

All the data on an iPhone is accessible. Once the user entered the passcode. I can attach a photo from my photo library to an email. And send it. How is that working if my phone can’t read the photo? So this argument of “getting a foot in” is pointless. Data that my phone can’t read is useless.

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: The illusionist on a train

Psychosomatic effects are real. Knowing that WiFi is turned on can cause migraine in some people, and it is a real migraine, not acting. It goes away if they think WiFi is turned off.

Whether WiFi is actually turned on or not has no effect. Only their perception.

Your snoozing iOS 15 iPhone may actually be sleeping with one antenna open

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: With the phone 'switched off'?

Your iPhone lets you get on the train home even when the battery is at 0%. That’s a good thing.

gnasher729 Silver badge

Re: 2 Minds

Wi-Fi is not turned on in low power mode. Too much power. And only the very lowest level of mobile data is there, I think it’s even below the level where text messaging happens.


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