* Posts by DanielN

37 posts • joined 8 Aug 2015

Chinese chap in the clink for trying to swap US Navy FPGAs with fakes to beat export ban


Re: Not surprised

These are radiation-resistant devices. They use special materials and geometries to survive solar flares, cosmic rays, nuclear blasts, etc. They can reverse engineer them to find out what materials to use in their own designs.

Rad-hard chips often do not use the latest fabs and processes. The goal is not to put 12 ARM cores on a low power chip for a fancy smartphone, the goal is to make a bulletproof aircraft or satellite control system.

World needs 252,288,000 seconds to decide fate of leap seconds


Re: Why the high degree of granularity?

"If the slowing of the Earth's rotation is proceeding at a constant rate, ..."

Alas, the Earth's rotation depends on its moment of inertia, which changes owing to redistribution of mass: ice caps, glaciers, ground water, hurricanes/cyclones, even vegetation. Leap seconds are simply not predictable. Not even with ironclad predictions for anthropomorphic climate change.

The question really amounts to whether to run commerce on sunrise or on a steady clock. I vote for a steady clock. The few things that need actual sunrise times are already looking it up in a table. It's no great difficulty for them to change the table every few years.

Frankly the issue is above the pay grade of the standards organizations. Interested parties should convince a major legal jurisdiction like the U.S. to do business on steady time, and everyone would happily delete the leap second code. (The U.S. is a good candidate for the change because the Constitution already lets Congress set weights and measures. The measurement of wall clock time is not much of a legal stretch.)

Cell networks' LTE-U will kill your Wi-Fi, say digital rights bods


"What we have at the moment is a large number of different devices all stomping over the entire ISM band almost at random."

That's the purpose of the industrial-scientific-medical (ISM) band. Want to cook popcorn with a fuck-you-powerful radio transmitter? Slap a discount "shield" on an ISM transmitter and start zapping. Need to get telemetry out of a rotating machine? Slap a transmitter on it and make a token nod to shielding. Want to treat granny's injured knee with a radio diathermy machine? Just fire it up and start cooking the old gal.

There are good arguments to be made for creating managed unlicensed bands. But not at the cost of the ISM bands' free-for-all nature.

Ruin your co-developers' life with Mimic, the Unicode substitution tool


Re: Ohh nasty

Heh. With silent mp3 comes silent responsibility.

Google's YouTube Red deal: Sign, or we'll make you disappear


Re: WTF?

I think they mean that when you pay for a Google Play subscription, the price includes the YouTube Red subscription.

Big Blue lets Chinese government eyeball source code – report


China is not interested in avoiding being hacked. They want to find holes to go hacking with.

Euro privacy warriors: You've got until January to fix safe harbor mess – or we unleash hell


"... BA etc. can't tell the American authorities anything about me."

Exactly. Europeans like to moan about privacy -- to get attention, ironically. Calamity and woe! The NSA might spy on us! This is what psychologists call an expressed preference.

But what they really want is if they go on holiday in foreign parts and get run over by a bus, everyone will hand over emergency contact information to the first person claiming to be a hospital clerk. This is their revealed preference. It also happens to be the way the world runs. The European privacy regulations are observed more in the breach.

Their revealed preference also extends to wanting to complete transactions with Asia when the Euro power grids are knocked out by a solar flare, by having their entire customer database replicated in Japan and the US.

The people in this thread also seem to have no understanding of how the United States works. It is a federal republic. There is no one authority about U.S. law. There are 50 states and half a dozen self-governing island territories. Americans will never adapt to European privacy laws, for the same reason that Brazil and Nigeria will not. There is just no way to get every independent jurisdiction to agree on anything.

What will happen is that Europeans will have to click through privacy waivers on every website and business service they use. Every. Last. One. It will be like the American War On Drugs, except more futile and without even a pretense of Helping The Children.

And nothing will actually change. It's not like your holiday company in the Italian Riviera is actually using hacker proof security. You might as well be scratching your personal information onto a gold ingot and shipping it direct to the mafia.

No change in US law, no data transfer deals – German state DPA


Re: Let me get this straight

"Therefore you (USA) need to follow our (EU) rules."

Or just get a waiver contract signed by the person. EUians are perfectly free to scan their souls and email the file straight to NSAbook if they want. If history is any guide, they will cheerfully sign over their firstborn for a few shiny trinkets.

Trying to legislate total mandatory privacy is a losing battle. For example, take international air travel. If personally-identifying data is controlled by EU law, and cannot under any circumstances be exported to another country, then how do you handle passenger lists and emergency contact information? What about long distance telephone billing information? Transnational satellite comm services? If this stupidity were actually enforced, international commerce would be dead within a week, followed by the EU economy.

If this insanity actually grows legs, expect the NSA to identify where EUians are leaking "valuable" private data to "rogue"countries and then sue on their behalf. Backlash is a dish the alphabet soup agencies know how to serve.

On its way: A Google-free, NSA-free IT infrastructure for Europe


Re: We all seem

Indeed. Every country's intelligence services do anything they think they can get away with, and act with greater impunity the farther from home. If I wanted to hide information from the NSA, I'd do it in Arlington, Virginia, right across the river from Washington, D.C.

Let us not forget about respect for civil liberties either. The only way to be convicted of failing to spy in the U.S. involves bringing the entire affair in front of a grand jury made up of random citizens. Yes, a secret intelligence court can issue a double-hush mega-secret search warrant. But if you tell them whoops, sorry, you simply cannot find the requested information, the path to criminal conviction runs through a grand jury, followed by a second trial jury. It's a constitutional requirement. Spooky McFBI has a hard time getting convictions of brazen spies, let alone honest men who had enough of political games pretending to be national defense.

If you want to be afraid of secret courts making their own laws, go to the authoritarian and inquisitorial courts of Europe. The judge, or a small panel of judges, decides what to investigate, how to investigate it, and whether to keep public records. Their standard operating procedures would be considered nearly an act of war in the U.S. Even the British courts are viewed with a jaundiced eye by Americans. That's a nice database your employer has, be a shame if a pedophilia ASBO were to happen to you. Do you seriously think companies like VW are honest, loyal white knights come to rescue you from the evil barbarian Americans? They will cheerfully sell you out for pocket change.

OH GROSS! The real problem with GDP


Re: Economist jokes

Don't monetize?! The Register is selling advertisements on this discussion. Look around, we are sitting in GDP!

Top VW exec blames car pollution cheatware scandal on 'a couple of software engineers'


There is no need to speculate about who did what and why. In due course tens of thousands of emails will be subpoenaed and hundreds of people will be questioned under whatever the German version of penalty of perjury is. VW will have their collective nose well and truly rubbed in whatever they did.

As for repairs, the least polluting would be to switch the fuel from hydrocarbons to ammonia. Sure, you cannot buy it anywhere and it is toxic as hell, but the NOx problem will be GONE. ;-)

Linux kernel dev who asked Linus Torvalds to stop verbal abuse quits over verbal abuse


Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

"What you are seeing is the hardcore techie community."

Hardly. What we are seeing is a bunch of lax, indulgent software nerds with a broken culture.

Hardcore techies are more like Gene Kranz's team rescuing Apollo 13: calm, polite, focused, goal oriented.

Silicon Valley now 'illegal' in Europe: Why Schrems vs Facebook is such a biggie


Re: Let me count the ways...

"No, the recipient is the one using GMail, and is causing the mail to be exported."

This reflects a near total ignorance of how email works. What happens is this:

1. You configure your email client to use a mail server that you have vetted and which is supervised to your satisfaction. You can choose any email server you want, that obeys any policies you want.

2. You click "send" and the message is sent from your email client to your chosen server.

3. Your server looks up an "MX" record (mail exchanger) record in the DNS (domain name system). The result is something like "gmail.com MX gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.".

4. Your server looks up an "A" (IP address) record for "gmail-smtp.google.com". The result is something like "gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com A".

5. Your server then uses whatever policy it wants for that IP address. For example, private companies frequently detect IP addresses outside the company and make an archival record our apply a secrecy filter for addresses outside the company. In your case, you can check a geographic database to find what national jurisdiction the address is in. The result would be, in this case, "Mountain View, California, U.S.A.".

6. The server, which you control, freaks out at those evil, civil rights-hating Americans and returns the message to you as undeliverable.

7. The bounce message says something like "Avertissement de ne pas avoir suffisamment d'intimité!" because you most likely got your server software from some extremely sarcastic Americans.

Japan begins mega-rollout of 100 million+ national IDs


"How can entering a 12 digit number to an employees database record be massively inconveniant?"

Seriously? How about if the company uses sourceless 30 year old employee software running in a mainframe emulator. Upgrading tens of thousands of companies is a nightmare.

Search engine can find the VPN that NUCLEAR PLANT boss DIDN'T KNOW was there - report


Re: Can't upvote this enough!

The cars do not pass the tests. The test is that a company representative provides a test vehicle and signs under of penalty of perjury that the emissions will be the same as when production cars are driven by customers. The test is a legal test, not a technological one. There is no technological test that can detect a sufficiently rigged test article. The US EPA should set up roadblocks at State borders and randomly test cars, but they are not run by competent scientists.

One way data connections are easy to create. For example, install only the outgoing half of a fiber optic cable, and fill the receiver with black glue.

Mold whine: Soylent superfood shipments stopped by spore scare


Re: Nice deflective wording

Bah. Assembly lines have no "properly" to them. You cobble together equipment from several companies and fiddle with the adjustments until it works, more or less. It's not like there are any equations for how to do it.

If you really hit the big time, you can buy a machine vision system to inspect each unit. But that costs the world and entails even more fiddling with adjustments.

Dodgy amphetamines drive drug-crazed man on to pub roof


If only there was some sort of business that could sell safe, consistent doses of uncontaminated drugs.

What would it look like if government was out to get us?

Mobile first? Microsoft decides to kneecap its Android users instead

Thumb Down

Cross platform, my ass.

"These days people want cross platform and don't care what runs underneath so long as it gives them the features they want."

... when using a device as a commodity dumb pipe for text and humorous cat pictures.

When they are trying to get two video cameras to sync, or run a high-end scanner, or make heavily formatted documents, or integrate data from three databases, or any other technically difficult task, they want a well-designed OS with a strong driver and software ecosystem.

Microsoft seems to be optimizing to compete in the commodity dumb pipe market. It's a big market, but the margins are thin. High-end business and recreation software has better margins, and customers with no choice but to buy.

NOxious VW emissions scandal: Car maker warned of cheatware YEARS AGO – reports


Re: Today VW ...

$15.50/gallon is crazy expensive. Urea costs only $300/tonne, which is about $1/gallon. Someone must be wiping their bottom with silk. Mr. Web Search says you can buy it at truck stops from a pump for $2.50/ gal.

VW: Just the tip of the pollution iceberg. Who's to blame? Hippies


"... the best way to use nuclear fuel necessarily produces weapons-grade fuel along the way ..."

The best plutonium isotopes are produced for only a short time (a few months) when new fuel starts burning. After that much less favorable isotopes accumulate, including highly radioactive ones that produce a considerable amount of heat that would be troublesome in a bomb design. Making practical plutonium requires that the fuel be frequently removed and reprocessed, not left to burn for years.

Isotope separation won't make it easier. If you are going to that much trouble, it's far easier to use safe, non-suspicious uranium.

While civil power fuel could be used to make a bomb, it would be a flushing-money-down-the-toilet stunt, not a serious play at making a strategic arsenal.

US watchdog POKES STICK at Google's Android over rival-blocking allegations


The earlier Microsoft case was mostly harassment by jacked up government thugs. Bundling Internet Explorer did not kill Netscape. Netscape killed Netscape. Anyone with an Internet connection could install Netscape in just a few minutes, and then enjoy horrific levels of bugs and crashes. Netscape Navigator was so bad that they abandoned it and started over with a blank slate. (Which turned out to be a mistake. The old design could have been salvaged by pouring money into it, but Mozilla - later Firefox - had a difficult architecture and poor management.)

LTO-7 has it taped, but when will 'bigger/faster' thinking hit the buffers?


Re: Cost

"You mention a virus as if it's a risk I didn't deal with, snapshots will give identical protection in a virus outbreak to tape, only my recovery time is under a second and yours could be weeks."

Until the hostile software runs on the storage computer. Then careers end on the evening news, and maybe people go to prison.

"It's wholly inappropriate to have copies of corporate data in your own home as there is no way to revoke access if you're fired or some other HR procedure is enacted."

Competent backup systems are encrypted. The encryption key goes to trustees, and the tapes go to custodians. The custodians need only be reliable, not subversion resistant or trustworthy.

India to cripple its tech sector with proposed encryption crackdown


Re: This could be interesting

Your clients were utter retards. Snowden showed that while the NSA takes a few liberties in the US, they operate with impunity everywhere else. Of course, China and Russia reach vandalism level hacking everywhere; if you think moving countries actually makes you safer, you are a retard squared.

Volkswagen used software to CHEAT on AIR POLLUTION tests, alleges US gov


Re: I'm guessing that...

Cost of billions? Maybe. You have to remember that the EPA is led by the worst sort of political hacks, whose lies can rarely be distinguished from their incompetence.

They say "up to 40 times the standard". Not on average 40 times the standard. It could be as simple as VW responding to 100% accelerator pedal input before the catalytic converter has warmed up, at high altitude and high air temperature. The fix could be a trivial loss of peak power under rare start up conditions. The EPA's press release is deliberately thin on information to vilify VW.

We also have to look at the timing. The US EPA is involved in a major scandal where they tried to remediate an abandoned mine and instead dumped heavily contaminated water into a river. They were apparently conducting the work with minimal planning and supervision. So they need something to trot out in the press to distract mister voter.

Brimming with VM goodness: Qnap TS-453mini 4-bay NAS


Re: Not quite the same

"£230 saved for an hours work setting up the software more than pays for drives."

If you can actually do all of that in an hour, you are skilled enough to make £1000+ an hour. Miracle workers do not work miracles for themselves. They send their staff out to buy a pre-worked miracle. ("No, I really can do that!" You can't even write the regression test plan in an hour. You _were_ going to test it fully for each software update, right? It wasn't going to be a tossed together pile of silliness that breaks dozens of times over the years, right?)

Why the 'Dancing Baby' copyright case is just hi-tech victim shaming


Re: Um....wrong

Even more importantly, it makes surveillance videos practical to publish with audio. I think we all remember the dark times when dashcam videos went silent all over YouTube. Thank you EFF! The sound of crumpling metal and Russian swearing is the sound of freedom!

How a massive campaign of booby-trapped web ads went undetected for too long


An e-commerce website allowed random unvetted files to be loaded on its pages? How could they have been so stupid in the first place?

Australian opposition wants laws to protect private smut


Yet another feel-good law that will end up being a tool to re-elect prosecutors (or re-elect whoever appoints prosecutors). People who think that 12 year olds emailing dickshots is child pornography will have a field day with yet another repressive law. Mark my words, they'll be prosecuting people for photographing fat drunken chicks who strip down to their underthings and parade around. If you have the right to see something, you have the right to ridicule it on the Internet.

We asked a maker of PCIe storage switches to prove the tech is more interesting than soggy cardboard


Re: A solution looking for a problem

And that problem would be latency in recursive data access. For example, following the links in a deep graph or tree. If it is N nodes deep, the average search is N * T / 2, where T is the round trip communication latency. PCIe will have much lower latency, simply because the CPU chip speaks it.

Databases will see benefit. (The indices tend to be tree like.) Other beneficiaries are natural language processing, knowledge representation, and similar AI-ish things.

America's crackdown on open-source Wi-Fi router firmware – THE TRUTH


Re: I have some sympathy for the FCC

"The issue is that a lot of current hardware isn't really designed in such a way you can easily separate the ability to update the RF-related firmware from the ability to update the rest of the firmware - and it would probably add to the manufacturing cost if that capability were added ..."

The cost would be trivial. It just takes a few logic gates to carve out a block of address space for the radio processor, and another shared block for the user processor to drop updates in. The reckless vendors need to be stopped in their race to the bottom.

The real justification is that their router firmware is so crap it can often be hacked over the network. We are one malware away from having millions of wireless gadgets turn themselves into jamming bricks. This problem is a good justification for regulators to cram proper infosec isolation down the throats of device manufacturers. If some Chinese garbageware vendors go out of business, so be it.

FTC raps Machinima for paying YouTubers to plug Xbox One


This is, of course, completely illegal. "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ..."

AT&T accused of Wi-Fi interception, ad injection


The end is nigh!

You know the end times have arrived when you need to hire Kevin Mitnick's security company to protect you from computer invasion by AT&T. Back in the day I would never have believed this could happen.

Want security? Next-gen startups show how old practices don't cut it


Re: People "trained in IT security" are a lot of the problem

"Rinse and repeat it every 6 months."

Repeat in 6 hours. It improves learning. Studying the first time lines up a bunch of protein changes in the brain. The second time wires those changed synapses nice and strong.

For most things you can just let the training fade and let people learn from mistakes. How much does it really matter if Liz reloads the toner wrong a few times? But for security, optimized learning is worth it. If Liz uses a USB stick wrong, it can cost millions.

Biz that OK'd Edward Snowden for security clearance is fined $30m for obvious reasons


Re: Seems like a symbolic fine

The CIA did have some adverse information about him but it was not forwarded.

CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS


Re: Belkin

Speaking of commercial suicide in the Internet age, has FTDI been prosecuted yet for rigging their USB driver to destroy competitor's equipment?

W is for WTF: Google CEO quits, new biz Alphabet takes over


An Oracle suit? That's very ... uh, very compared to the Ironman suit. Stand there while I index by the justice column, you villains!

Another death in Apple's 'Mordor' – its Foxconn Chinese assembly plant

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