* Posts by Wexford

81 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jan 2015

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Hardware-level Apple Silicon vulnerability can leak cryptographic keys

Wexford

Re: I'm not sure it matters.

"They" might or might not want to spy on us, but every miscreant out there who wants to install malware on our devices to earn a quid is most certainly interested.

What's brown and sticky and broke this PC?

Wexford

I was the problem luser

One day my hand held Brother scanner, that lived on the window shelf behind my desk, stopped being detected when I plugged its USB cable in. Quick call with Brother who asked me to RMA it.

It arrived back a couple of weeks later, in working order, with a note that there was sign of liquid damage but they'd repaired it under warranty at no cost (kudos, Brother!). "Water damage??" I thought, "it's above and behind my PC, nothing fluid ever goes there!".

Some months later and we get a torrential downpour, from an unusual wind direction, while I was home. There's water coming in via a previously unnoticed leak above the window and begins pooling on the shelf...

King Charles III signs off on UK Online Safety Act, with unenforceable spying clause

Wexford

Re: math doesn't bend

This math is not for bending?

Raspberry Pi 5 revealed, and it should satisfy your need for speed

Wexford

Re: Lost the plot

Please grow up.

RAM-ramming Rowhammer is back – to uniquely fingerprint devices

Wexford

Re: Why?

Per the article - stopping bots. I can see the use for this in a DDOS or even a queue-for-service scenario, if there were such a thing as a reputable global register of devices with compromised/uncompromised flags. Not that I'd line up in any particular hurry to let them rowhammer my device and add me to the registry as "ok".

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

Wexford

Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

Takes me back to a 90s backpacking trip, and first encountering "straßer". My mates and I were saying "strarber" to each other while navigating, until we were politely corrected by a helpful local.

Australia to phase out checks by 2030

Wexford

Re: Bouncing checks

We had "Cash is better than a Czech" in our Perth rag. They were all onto a winner that day!

Wexford

Re: Checks?

And in Perth it is (was?) the UBD.

Don't worry, that system's not actually active – oh, wait …

Wexford

Re: Change window - cue the drums

I wonder if it was a false memory suggested by the owner and your Dad and his mates :-)

"It was all Chivo's fault, we had no choice but to drink it!"

Wexford

Re: Change window - cue the drums

First time I've read that, so I'm grateful for the repost - it's a good 'un!

Ads for lucrative jobs in Asia fail to mention chance of slavery as crypto-scammer

Wexford

Re: The modern slave trade

That's because you want to stop immigration for cruel and racist reasons. If you really cared you'd be protesting the kids locked up in cages.

Stop trying to put lipstick on a pig.

Wexford

I live in Western Australia and this is familiar practice, if not the exact thing we've dealt with only recently. If I recall, it was indentured Vietnamese workers on a farm in the northern suburbs (Wanneroo).

Microsoft probes complaints of Edge leaking URLs to Bing

Wexford

Re: FTFY

The search engines are fine, and that looks like a browser hijack to me, so I'd be running a malware scan.

Intel bumps up core counts for 13th-gen vPro chips

Wexford

Similar here - my 4th gen 4-core i5 still doing just fine for most things, to my ongoing surprise as a tech worker who used to upgrade every other year. Switching to SSD and upgrading to 16Gb RAM has extended its life significantly.

Running VMs exposes its limitations - I can manage one Win10 VM (work from home environment) but the performance hit is noticeable on both guest and host. For that reason I'm considering an upgrade to a Ryzen 9 with lots of cores.

Cops swoop after crooks use wireless keyfob hack to steal cars

Wexford

Re: An alternative

I unlocked and got into the wrong Holden Camira (Cavalier in the UK, I believe), sat down, started the motor, and music from someone else's cassette came on. My brother in the passenger seat: "Were we listening to U2 on the way here?"

My car was two spots away, it turns out.

That Camira key could also unlock and start the ignition on most Holden Geminis at the time (early 80s models).

Voyager 1 data corrupted by onboard computer that 'stopped working years ago'

Wexford

Re: Good for another 110 years

I'll set a calendar reminder so my brain-in-a-jar can come back to this page in 2132 and check in on your brain-in-a-jar's progress.

Java SE 6 and 7 devs weigh their options as support ends

Wexford

Re: Version numbering still confusing.

They probably inherited the versioning from Sun just like Sun's Solaris versioning...2.4 was SunOS 5.4 then when it became SunOS 5.7 they went from Solaris 2 to Solaris 7 then...I lost track

Microsoft says Azure fended off what might just be the world's biggest-ever DDoS attack

Wexford

Windows computers? Got some sauce on that?

'Welcome to Perth' mirth being milked for all it's worth

Wexford

Re: Sydney thinks it is Oz

> Driving is impossible unless you mean the OTHER Perth.

Perth, Tasmania is much closer but you still have to fly to get there from Syndey. Or put the car on the ferry.

Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder

Wexford

Re: looking at the DNS log

Takes me back to when I'd set up a basic keyword log filter at work, and was suprised at the domain names used by Pen Island (calligraphy consumables) and Experts Exchange (tech forum) at the time.

Mark it in your diaries: 14 October 2025 is the end of Windows 10

Wexford

Re: (Only) A Bit like Porsche

I'd love to see Windows Millennial Edition.

Thanks, boss. The accidental creation of a lights-out data centre – what a fun surprise

Wexford

The former time seems just as perfectly good a reason to emergency halt as the latter. If I saw my DC filling with mist or condensation from the AC I'd be pretty keen to protect whatever I could while I could!

Protip: If Joe Public reports that your kit is broken, maybe check that it is actually broken

Wexford

Re: My tight-fisted manager ordered us all brand new shiny laptops

That one's almost excusable. Your manager was trying to spend efficiently given the present environment...was a wifi rollout being considered at that time, though?

An actress, an internet billionaire, and Tom Cruise walk into a space station ... not necessarily at the same time

Wexford

Re: Nothing there...

7am comes around every ~93 minutes on the ISS. That's a lot of croissants.

NASA pops old-school worm logo onto Orion spacecraft

Wexford

That 80s-era Battlestar Galactica is the source of its appeal for many, myself included :-)

James Webb Space Telescope runs one last dress rehearsal for its massive golden mirrors before heading to launchpad

Wexford
Facepalm

Re: So may ways to screw up!

If. !! IF !!

Don't jinx it!

Terminal trickery, or how to improve a novel immeasurably

Wexford

My first exposure to multi user systems at uni was a delightful learning and discovery experience, including that one could cat to /dev/ttyXX.

One fun bit was to construct a text file "Talk request from xxx" or whatever the format was, then cat an appropriately modified copy of this to two users' ttys such that each thought the other was sending them a talk request. There was a strong chance that at least one of them would "respond", leading to exhanges of "what, huh, why did you send that talk request, no YOU sent it..."

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter cleared for further, farther, flying after landing on 117-second fourth flight

Wexford

Re: Nighttime Landings

Well at the risk of lots of downvotes I guess you could argue that Challenger made many daytime splashdowns.

Wexford

Re: Softly, Softly

I'd love to see a final* mission named Hold My Beer to really stretch its remaining capabilities.

* at its apparent End Of Life - batteries no longer charging, hardware starting to fail etc.

You want a reboot? I'll give you a reboot! Happy now?

Wexford

Re: Reboot

I did this very thing myself on the first day at a new job (my first actual job!) in the mid 90s. I was sat down at a desk with a grey pizza box and a monitor on it. Didn't look like it was switched on so I reached around the back and felt a power button, which I duly pressed. Nothing came on the monitor, and I didn't investigate further as the boss in the next office called out for me to come and say hello to another team member.

While I was next door, a flustered colleague went running past and into my office, then came back and complained that someone had turned the file server off. "That's terrible," I said, and resumed my conversation with the boss and colleague who were telling me that I'd have a new Windows NT 3.1 PC ready to go on my desk in an hour or so.

No idea why they had a file server sitting on the new kid's desk, but there you go.

Wexford

Re: It could be worse

Well, that's sure something you don't want your old mum to call you for assistance with.

Northrop Grumman's MEV-2 gives Intelsat satellite a new lease on life until the next rescue in another five years

Wexford

Re: Original estimated lifetime

I guess any deferment of capex gives you more funds to invest elsewhere in the current reporting period, or more importantly reduced reported expenditure against your income!

We've seen things you people wouldn't believe. A halo of light polarized by a gigantic black hole's magnetic field...

Wexford

Thanks both for your comments. More food for thought, especially the geodesic idea!

Wexford

Allow me to describe my very amateur theory of gravity as a "probability function".

My understanding is that gravity warps space, in such a way that it can be considered "compressed" as you approach the object/source of the gravity. Think of that 3d rendering of a gravity well.

As an "orbiting" electron "disappears and reappears" (I use quotes to describe what we observe but don't fully understand), there is a greater probability of it "reappearing" closer to the source of gravity on account of there being more, because it's compressed, space on that side of its nucleus.

The nucleus, by way of the strong interaction/force, is then pulled towards the source of the gravity by its electron. At a macro scale, objects thus move towards each other.

This has been bouncing around in my head for years, but I'm obviously not a physicist, and I've never had a forum in which to suggest this to someone who knows much more than I about such things to see what they think. Which would likely be "you really should have posted this as AC, you idiot".

Seagate claims it shipped its third zettabyte of storage in record time

Wexford

Re: After Yotta

> I vote for Xenabyte. Xeno has bad connotations.

Xenobyte has me thinking of an appalling cross between an alien and a demon from Hell.

Staff and students at Victoria University of Wellington learn the most important lesson of all: Keep your files backed up

Wexford

Re: The only things

It might be a (marginal) performance thing - the DWM is scanning the folders for an icon to use, rendering it against the background etc. Having observed actual performance hits from this in the 90s I've always opted for a single coloured background with as few icons on the desktop as possible ever since. It may or may not still make a difference in 2021 :-)

OVH says burned data centre’s UPS, batteries, fuses in the hands of insurers and police

Wexford

And that's before we even consider the fans getting clagged up.

The Novell NetWare box keeps rebooting over and over again yet no one has touched it? We're going on a stakeout

Wexford

Morning tea time

Dead middle of the 90s and I was supporting several offices, each of which had their own web server running on a desktop PC, located physically in the office somewhere because they hadn't yet let me build a proper data centre.

One such office team had their web service running on a desktop that sat beneath their desks, which backed on to each other. The web site would fail every morning, then come back no more than 30 minutes later. It was very much a work in progress - imagine those UNDER CONSTRUCTION images with an animated gif of a workman with a shovel and lots of <BLINK> tags. Yes, that kind of web site. So I wasn't too fussed until one of them asked me what was wrong. I asked if anybody was kicking a power lead out, given its location and the spontanous power-down that seemed to be the problem. Most definitely not, they assured me.

After some weeks of this, I happened to be in that office at 10:30 doing some generic desktop support, and one of the office ladies kindly offered me a cup of tea. Thank you, yes please, I responded, then watched as she pulled a power lead from a wall socket above the desk to plug in the kettle.

IT Marie Kondo asks: Does this noisy PC spark joy? Alas, no. So under the desk it goes

Wexford

Re: Once I constructed...

Your C levels are congratulated on their early adoption of "reduce, reuse, recycle"!

Wexford

When your boss is a good boss

I was a Walt, and one particularly noisy academic with an even noisier new machine insisted that I install it in our data centre, to where he would remote access it via his less noisy yet still expensive laptop. I declined this suggestion on the grounds that it was an insecure device (he refused to allow IT to manage it and wouldn't guarantee he'd even run Windows Update monthly), and we could not trust it alongside our servers regardless of internal and external firewalling and wait what "you want your students to remote to it from anywhere". To my surprise and gratitude, I received the support of my boss and the dean, and his demand was denied. Happy story. The End.

But.

The loud academic went past the dean to some clearly senior contact at the University, who saw to it that the noisy desktop was housed per his wishes in the central data centre along with storage, email, printing &c. Where, a few months later, thanks to its accessibility and unpatchedness it was duly hit with whatever remote exploit was popular at the time and set about DOSing the data centre via its dual Gbit NICs.

This would have been the biggest I Told You So of my career had the loud academic had his way originally. That being the case, the fallout of the half day campus wide IT outage was sufficent to produce a "just as well we didn't put it in our own server room" from the dean the next time he saw me.

Windows 10 to let you know that your SSD is dying rather than throwing out a BSOD when it's already too late

Wexford

Re: Still using skype :-(

I've been using Teams in Firefox on Debian, so I can tell you that it works.

C'mon SPARCky, it's just an admin utility update. What could possibly go wrong?

Wexford

A while back I performed an in-place upgrade on a client's information management system. They were a not-for-profit and had invested little in IT; consequently the "server" was a random desktop host A with an at-capacity HDD, and file store itself physically stored on another hard drive in host B, UNC accessed in the software. Host B's HDD was also close to full.

Upon completing the upgrade, I wrote up a report along with nice drawings showing their system architecture, and a strongly worded caution that the file store was NOT on the "server" and to make sure host B was always switched on and DO NOT TOUCH THE FILE STORE FOLDER.

Whilst on call over xmas some time later, I received a panicked phone call from the client. He'd run out of space on the server, needed to store some things and found another computer with a big hard drive they decided to UNC map to...once he deleted some "file store" folder which obviously wasn't important, so there'd be enough space to use. You can imagine why he'd called our emergency number.

I gave him the bad news and suggested he go to his backups, after which I would assist in fixing the app side. The good news was, he DID have backups, it was xmas and nobody was there except him so there'd been no changes in several days, and he managed to recover everything. I then go to work fixing a bunch of in-app links - scriptable - and went back to watching the cricket while thinking about my on-call pay ticking over as the script ran.

I don't know if he was ever required to explain the bill my company would have charged (or, more likely, a big chunk of time deleted from our balance of paid-for-in-advance support hours).

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

Wexford

Late 90s, we did a similar thing. Late 90s, two servers in tower desktop FF, one with a CD-ROM drive and the other without. They wound up snuggling like lovers with the CD-ROM drive ribbon dangling between them like a strand of spaghetti in Lady and the Tramp.

Somewhere, Google's financial bods are playing on repeat... What do you want from me? It's not how it used to be...

Wexford

Scratching around for a Monaco reference but I'm stumped.

Blackout Bug: Boeing 737 cockpit screens go blank if pilots land on specific runways

Wexford

Re: a peculiar software flaw that blanks the airliners' cockpit screens

As suggesteded earlier by robin48gx...

tan(270) error infinite result?

A Notepad nightmare leaves sysadmin with something totally unprintable

Wexford

Re: Replace, not insert

Upon starting in a new role as PFY in the early 90s, I was tasked with setting up a new lab and purchasing requisite Sun PC-NFS licenses. Noticing that the PCNFS.SYS files were only slightly different from each other, I found the "license" section of each file in a hex editor and discovered that I could create virtually infinite license files for the organisation, which I duly did as we set upon rolling out the network.

Nobody noticed that a fair chunk of cash (AU$60 a seat IIRC) was being saved as I kept quiet about it, and Sun didn't bash down our door seeking a license audit, but it certainly saved me a bit of time and simplified my network management by making up whatever licenses I needed instantly.

Y2K? It was all just a big bun-fight, according to one Reg reader

Wexford

Another Perthite here, except I was on holiday near the other Perth at the time (Scotland...not the other other one in Tasmania) monitoring things back home which I'd assured the boss would be ok. We had some software patches to deal with, and everything was fine.

Except for the one patch that I'd failed to apply, being that of elm (yeah, the unix email client) which only I used, on the email server. As of midnight, all incoming emails were sorted to the bottom of my mailbox rather than the top, and it wasn't until after a couple of days' wondering why I'd not received anything that I realised. So, in the end, Y2K did cause some minor dramas for people who were expecting a response from me!

Don't look too closely at what is seeping out of the big Dutch pipe

Wexford

A staff member where I worked was into calligraphy, and frequented a site called Pen Island. You might imagine how this looked in the visited URLs list.

Boffins hand in their homework on Voyager 2's first readings from beyond Solar System

Wexford

Re: Empty space is not that empty

Late to this party, but the relative speed is something else to consider. The 10km/s is the Voyagers' speed, but it doesn't take into account the speed of what they collide with.

Those hydrogen atoms could have been hurled at us at near relativistic speeds from a geyser or some other cosmic event, which would give the collision potentially significant energy. I'm no physicist, but I'm guessing this could be interesting to calculate.

Or they might be on similar paths and speeds and lightly bump into each other with extremely low energy.

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