* Posts by Egghead & Boffin

31 publicly visible posts • joined 26 May 2015

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

Egghead & Boffin

Poles at Bletchley Park

If you do the tour with a guide at Bletchley Park they are very open about the contribution of the Polish team and their achievements before 'Station X' started work on Enigma. There's even a statue of them, which is included in the tour. It's well worth a visit.

EU aviation wonks give all-electric training aeroplane the green light – but noob pilots only have 50 mins before they have to land it

Egghead & Boffin

Waiting for the oil temperature to rise really isn't a big deal, if at all. I have a PPL and I don't think I have ever had to wait for the oil temp to rise before take off. By the time one has started the engine, done the checks, radio checks and taxied the oi temp is ok well before one calls for take off from the taxiway holding point.

Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War

Egghead & Boffin

Pilots carrying comprising material

I was a pilot in the RAF at the time of the conflict.Part of our training and pre-flight procedures for operational sorties was to 'sterilise' ourselves of any useful information before 'walking' for the sortie in case of just this sort of eventuality. A pilot wouldn't carry that sort of information in paper form. Even if he did he wouldn't have the time to look at it in flight so why bother taking it?

British military spends more on computers than weapons and ammo

Egghead & Boffin

Nothing new under the sun

I was a pilot in the RAF in the 80s at the height of the cold war and I can remember the outrage when the annual internal audit report said that the RAF had spent more on paper than it had on aviation fuel.

We already give up our privacy to use phones, why not with cars too?

Egghead & Boffin

Installing an ad-blocker to your car systems may:

a) prove difficult if/when they finally sort out how to protect firmware updates from unauthorised sources

b) void your vehicle warranty, because they want to find ways to stop you doing it and that's a major dis-incentive

c) result in some kind of legal action under EU legislation to prevent it

Please don't think that means I'm on their side, I'm most definitely not. I'm just playing devil's advocate.

Egghead & Boffin

Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

I always buy second-hand cars 12 -18 months old and I pay cash. I start saving for the next one as soon as I have purchased whatever I'm driving now.

Russian-monitoring Shetlands radar station was nearly sold off

Egghead & Boffin

Y9ou forgot one sue of the soviet submarine fleet in the event of WW3. Sink the US transports bringing personnel and supplies across to man the pre-deployed equipment they stored in Europe. It's the Atlantic Convoy scenario all over again.

You're the IT worker in charge of securing the cloud for your company. Welcome to Hell

Egghead & Boffin

And that's why we have Security Architects, to work out how in the requirements capture and design phase of the project to mitigate risks as far as operationally possible and for lowest possible budget while enabling the operational business requirements in alignment with TOGAF design criteria.

You do all do it that way...right ?

Everything running smoothly at the plant? *Whips out mobile phone* Wait. Nooo...

Egghead & Boffin

Things have not 'deteriorated', they were always this bad. I was part of a team that looked at the security of these things and some of the PC tools about 6 or 7 years ago.They were truly awful then and I see no difference now. Avoid.

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

Egghead & Boffin

Re: "Cut the red wire..."

It is possible to design a bomb with 'collapsing circuits' so that if any wire is cut the bomb detonates. That has been true for a long time.You can even include fluoroscopic detectors that might identify attempts to x-ray the device and detonate it. One way the EOD teams used in WW2 to get round this and timers was to pour liquid oxygen into the fuse cavity to freeze clockwork mechanisms and stop current flowing to the detonators.

Modern techniques usually use a container of water that is used to 'disrupt' the device using an small explosive charge to drive a wall of water through the device, disrupting it without sparks an removing thed explosive from the detonator and timing mechanism.

Egghead & Boffin

better than angle grinders

I worked for a DEC house in the late 80s. We had some of these in a room in the middle of the office. We came in one Monday to find that the bearings had gone on one of the disk packs and the platters had gone through the wall and across the office like they were the frisbee versions of angle grinder discs. If it hadn't happened over a weekend there would have been blood on the floor. They put sheet steel round the walls after that.

IT buyer? Had enough of pesky resellers cold calling? You aren't alone

Egghead & Boffin

The extension of doom

At one company I owned the VOIP system and set up a second extension that all such calls were sent to because that was the number I always gave. It was a valid number, but not for a living person. I never listened to the voicemail.

American upstart seeks hotshot guinea pig for Concorde-a-like airliner

Egghead & Boffin

A lot of the similarities in appearance are because of the demands/limitations of the aerodynamics and the engines. It's the same reason that so many different marques of car look so similar. Fuel efficiency in a car requires (among other things) low drag factors. Avoiding a large boom footprint likewise (high speed trains have an aerodynamic nose to avoid similar problems when passing through and leaving tunnels). The aircraft must generate enough lift for landing and take-off but not generate too much in supersonic flight, etc. Because of all this there are always going to be similarities in the appearance of supersonic passenger aircraft, no matter who designs and builds the airframe.

HPE sharpening the axe for 5,000 heads – report

Egghead & Boffin

plummeting morale

I have friends who work there, and many more that used to. If you wanted to find the level of morale in those companies you would need a deep well drilling team and to go down at least 10,00 feet below sea level. Productivity has dropped dramatically because morale has sunk out of sight. Most people any good have already gone to other jobs.the good ones always volunteer for these programs first because they're the ones confident of finding something easily.

Kiwi prankster 'oinks' down cops' radio and sings Old MacDonald

Egghead & Boffin

In addition to the comments already made about DFing in mountainous regions, all of which are correct, the actual properties of radio waves and they way they 'propagate' also need to be considered. There are 3 main principles:

1. Reflection: wave changes direction by bouncing off other objects.

2. Refraction: wave changes direction due to variations in the air (or other medium). Examples are cold and hot spots where the density of the air differs, and the Foehn effect creates this in mountainous areas.

3. Diffraction: wave changes direction by passing over sharply defined edges — often called the “knife edge effect”.

That part of NZ is nowhere near flat, so all of the above means that DFing the culprit is going to be very difficult without an airborne RDF capability. There are signal path anlaysis tools, used by the likes of military and civil sigint organisations, that's going to give you an approximate area for the source but repeaters will confuse the analysis. If the guy is smart he's using a tight beam to a repeater, making him very difficult to localise.

The ultimate full English breakfast – have your SAY

Egghead & Boffin

The official best English breakfast is served at my local caff - the Super Sausage. Winner of the Britains Best Cafe award in 2016. http://supersausagecafe.co.uk/ . No, I don't work there or have a financial interest but I do eat there regularly, as my waistline will confirm :-)

Two best quality pork sausages, 2 rashers of back bacon, hash browns, fried egg, mushrooms, beans and good black pudding. Add toast and a mug of Twinings English Breakfast tea for perfection.

As for the sauce - I prefer Rocket Fuel sauce, which comes from New Zealand (like HP but with more kick - plenty of spices) and English mustard for the sausage.

Breathless F-35 pilots to get oxygen boost via algorithm tweak

Egghead & Boffin

Point of order - fast jet cockpits are not pressurised, which is why the pilot wears an oxygen mask.

First, a rupture of the cockpit and sudden loss of pressurisation can cause more damage and misting of the canopy, resulting in loss of vision outside the cockpit. Not a good thing at high speed in proximity to other aircraft or combat.

Second if the pilot had to eject he would leave that pressurised environment and risk suffocation if above 10,000 feet AGL. The oxygen supply (of whatever sort) is built into the ejector seat so it goes with the pilot and keeps him alive. There's an altimeter built into the seat so that it won't fall away and allow the 'chute to deploy until it's reached an altitude at which the air is breathable.

In my RAF flying days (1980's) we received hypoxia and explosive decompression training in a chamber at RAF North Luffenham. The tradition was that you all went out for curry and real ale the night before. Lovely.... We also checked the oxygen flow tell-take every 5,000 feet (IIRC) of climb to check it was still working.

Zero accidents, all of your data – what The Reg learnt at Bosch's autonomous car bash

Egghead & Boffin

How can data, like traffic information or whether the road is icy, be non-sensitive and sent without concern ? Without the associated geolocation data it has no value. Nobody would know where the congestion or ice was.

Google to Chrome-plate our shops with creepy mood-sensing AI signs

Egghead & Boffin

I hope it's capable of recognizing that my face says I'm in a permanent mood of "If you try to communicate with me, you invasive piece of sh*t, I will smash you."

UK ISPs may be handed cock-blocking powers

Egghead & Boffin


All this will do is stop the people who aren't net savvy enough to download and use TOR.

Hackers could turn your smart meter into a bomb and blow your family to smithereens – new claim

Egghead & Boffin

UK encryption

I can tell you for a fact that his comments on weak encryption don't apply in the UK. I know, I worked on it. It's strong and end-to-end. It was reviewed and approved by CESG and several professors of cryptography. I can't speak for anywhere else, but ours is good.

Egghead & Boffin

Re: What devices connect to 'Smart' meters?

You could have checked what meters they had before you moved or made an offer.

The Life and Times of Lester Haines

Egghead & Boffin

Sorely missed

That has to be the most honest, and therefore best, obituary that I have ever read. Thank you. I still miss his articles and LOHAN updates, they were guaranteed to brighten my day. I hope someone has taken over the mantle of trying to get LOHAN into space in honour of his memory. I still have the T-shirt from the kickstarter and wear it regulalry. Please could we have a project update, penned in a suitably 'Hainesian' style ?

What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

Egghead & Boffin

It's not a proper poll unless there's a 'Planey McPlaneface' option.

Democralypse Now? US election first battle in new age of cyberwarfare

Egghead & Boffin

This is not the 'first battle in the new age of cyber warfare'

The cyber attacks on Estonia in 2007, which had the same perpetrator, were the first battle. Please keep up with the facts.

Mysterious algorithms, black-box AI recruiters are binning our résumés

Egghead & Boffin

Algorithm arms race

If we knew how the algorithms worked we would all write CVs designed to get selected, and then they're back where they started. HR then have to refine the algorithm and so the cycle starts again.

Having said that, the Data Protection Act contains rights of the individual when subjected to automated decision taking. The right of subject access allows an individual access to information about the reasoning behind any decisions taken by automated means. The Act complements this provision by including rights that relate to automated decision taking. Consequently:

1. an individual can give written notice requiring you not to take any automated decisions using their personal data;

2. even if they have not given notice, an individual should be informed when such a decision has been taken; and

3. an individual can ask the organisation to reconsider a decision taken by automated means.

These rights can be seen as safeguards against the risk that a potentially damaging decision is taken without human intervention.

The rights in respect of automated decisions only arise if two requirements are met. First, the decision has to be taken using personal data processed solely by automatic means. The second requirement is that the decision has to have a significant effect on the individual concerned. I suspect the firms would all argue that not getting an interview is not a major impact. It would be interesting for someone to take such a case to the ICO Compliance Officers for a ruling...

2,000 year old man found dead near 2,000 year old computer

Egghead & Boffin

Man, those old compilers were slow !

Cisco security crew uncovers bug in industrial control kit

Egghead & Boffin

ICS CERT published this 5 days ago. Good to see you've got your fingers so firmly on the Pulse </irony>

To DAM (above) - if this allows commands to be sent outside those defined in the authorised command set for a shift operator or supervisor then it's most definitely a vulnerability.

More and more Brits are using ad-blockers, says survey

Egghead & Boffin

Right to choose

I have a fundamental right to choose what I do, and do not, look at online or through broadcast media. If I don't want to see adverts in my TV programmes I either don't watch commercial channels at all or record the program and jump through the adverts (don't you love the 'skip' function on DVRS ?). I use Ublock (since Adblock sold out), ghostery and noscript to avoid wasting my time and bandwidth. Any site that uses adblocking detection is telling me that it no longer wants me to use their site.

I fail to see how any organisation that forces me to see their adverts is expecting me to a) like the experience and b) be inclined to buy their products. If you have p*ssed me off I am not going to be a customer.

I also agree with Kraggy, the adverts are all-too-often a means of infecting systems through insecure third party sytems. I choose not to accept that risk, but avoid it instead.

I am obviously in the minority, because I would rather pay than see adverts online.

Brit 'naut Tim Peake will run the London Marathon – in space

Egghead & Boffin

I hope he remembers to add about 0.00000347 seconds (assuming a 3:30 'finish' time to allow for his orbital velocity causing time dilation to his clock, relative to those on earth, while he's taking part :-)

DDoS attack downs University of London learning platform

Egghead & Boffin

Exam season

The part about it being the middle of exam season isn't completely accurate. I teach distance learning students at part of UoL and our exams ended 2 weeks ago (mine sat theirs on the 6th of May). We're now marking the papers. Since the exams are 'sat and written' in the traditional way in exam halls and all exam instructions were sent out by post the impact on students ability to do their exams as a result of this DoS would be zero.