* Posts by Tessier-Ashpool

330 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Feb 2016


The only way is WebKit: Vivaldi's browser arrives on iOS


Re: Can anyone tell me why ...

As said above, because they can. Apple take a fairly protective stance of software they permit to be installed on iOS. One notable example was the Flash rendering engine, which Apple excised years ago, ostensibly on the grounds that it was a CPU-hungry POS that gave their iPads a bad name. To be honest, I don’t much care, as Apple’s fork of WebKit works pretty well, and when it goes wrong, updates for gazillions of users (who use WebKit for both browsing and other things) are provided. This may well all change if their hand is forced and they are obliged to allow third party rendering engines.

Scientists spot startlingly close black holes in Hyades star cluster


Re: "we'd probably already be dead"

You're quite right. Relativistic jets are emitted normal to the plane of an accretion disk by its magnetic field, and are very much fuelled by it,


Re: "we'd probably already be dead"

I wouldn’t be too worried by a properly black black hole at that distance. But if it’s got an accretion disk spraying us with relativistic jets of matter, that’s a different kettle of fish. We’d be done for.

Power grids tremble as electric vehicle growth set to accelerate 19% next year


Re: For many of us, hybrids make more sense than BEVs

OVO Anytime is 10p / kWh. You do need a compatible car or charger, though. Which, sadly, I don’t have.


Re: For many of us, hybrids make more sense than BEVs

That’s not necessarily true. In winter, yes perhaps. But these past few months in the warm weather, my EV tells me how it’s been doing each time I power off after a journey. It’s mostly been over 5 miles per kWh. And it’s not a small car.

Last rites for the UK's Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it's dead


Re: Good encryption by default

These people never have an answer when you ask them why they have curtains in their house.


Re: Not holding my breath

Oh shit, bollox. You’ve given some minister an idea now!

Read lips? Siri wants to feel them, according to fresh Apple patent


Open the pod bay doors, Siri

This can only end in tears.

Now Apple takes a bite out of encryption-bypassing 'spy clause' in UK internet law


Meredith Whittaker

I saw Meredith Whittaker, of Signal fame, on C4 News this evening taking some Tory stooge to task over this. I’m now a little in love with this woman. She is awesome. When the Tory suggested Signal would not quit the UK if the law goes pear-shaped, she demanded to know if he was calling her a liar. And then she scolded him with his first name like she would when castigating a guilty child. Of course, the Tory had no real answer other than to carry on with his magical thinking.

Apple warns of three WebKit vulns under active exploitation, dozens more CVEs across its range


Re: "Not good at security"?

I agree with you - mostly. Where I have a big problem with Apple is that you can have a super shiny expensive Apple Mac on your desktop that is a festering mess of vulnerabilities, since they have a habit of designating devices as 'obsolete' after a period of time and do not provide further software updates.

It's bizarre that my friend's Mac, bought in 2013, craps out when she tries to buy anything on a supermarket website. Because Safari is so dangerously out of date that the store won't accept it. I installed the most recent version of Firefox for her, and she can now browse again with confidence.


Re: The problem with a mono-culture

Hence Apple's welcome recent adoption of rapid security response hot fixes. People should get hold of fixes sooner.

BT is ditching workers faster than your internet connection with 55,000 for chop by 2030


"For a company like BT there is a huge opportunity to use AI to be more efficient," said ChatGPT while CEO Philip Jansen was in the shower. “Gissa job,” it went on to demand.

If we plan to live on the Moon, it's going to need a time zone


Re: Just set the entire moon to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC +0) ...

When I developed a payment system for our company, I reported the emailed transaction time in UTC rather than local time. To do otherwise would yield ambiguous information a couple of days in the yearn the 1am to 2am slot.

Company managers went ape because virtually nobody in the fairly large IT department had heard of UTC.

Apple complains UK watchdog wants to make iOS a 'clone' of Android


Re: Embedded web content

AFAIK, Apple make extensive use of WebKit throughout iOS. Anywhere that things look a bit webby. For example, the fairly obvious HTML rendering in the Mail app.

20 years on, physicists are still figuring out anomaly in proton experiment


Re: It's a facinating field

Protons are composed of empty space, too. AFAIK their constituent quarks are fundamental point-like particles with no intrinsic size. Quantum Field Theory postulates that quark fields permeate the entire universe but at any time some places are a bit quarkier than others (an excitation) and that’s what you call a quark. Similar story for electrons. How big something is and where it is all goes to pot when Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle comes into play, so I might as well stop using English right now. The universe doesn’t care about the notions of us macroscopic humans, and plays by different rules.

Physics Nobel Prize in a superposition between three quantum physicists


Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

To be honest, I’m not sure anyone “understands” quantum mechanics. “Shut up and calculate” appears to be the standard paradigm.

Human concepts like “measure” and “particle” really become unstuck when the quantum world is involved, so I’m not sure it’s even valid to say that measuring one particle has an instant effect on the other. Too many rabbit holes involved there.

But… if you say that nobody knows the state of a particle until you look, but when you do look it’s entangled counterpart must by definition be in an opposite state, how is that different to saying that you don’t actually have two particles at all? Rather, instead you have an extremely long entity with two disparate ends? And you don’t know if it’s A…B or B…A until you have a peek. No hidden variables, just something being something. Note that I am necessarily applying human concepts and words here. Under the hood the universe doesn’t really care about how we think.

DeepMind uses matrix math to automate discovery of better matrix math techniques


Re: Historically it was believed you needed n^3 operations to multiply 2 square matrices together

Thanks for the link. Interesting article. I’d not thought of treating matrix elements as matrices themselves but of course it makes sense if you think about it. I wonder how this relates to the way that the universe itself works out what’s going on. Quantum mechanics is stuffed full of matrix operations and every part of the universe is said to be intimately connected with every other part.

Rust is eating into our systems, and it's a good thing


Re: I'm getting rusty

I'd join you, but I already scarpered from the world of work. I was doing primarily C# for many years, which I must admit was an easy and powerful way to program, especially with LINQ extensions. But the headaches of null pointer reference exceptions was a real pain in the neck, and garbage collection / object disposal was always a bit hit and miss as to whether it would work efficiently and cleanly. I got into the habit of using the "using { }" construct religiously to dispose of disposable resources, but code analysis would inevitably moan that I needed to go through additional manual hoop jumping to clean things up. Right. Royal. Pain. In. The. Neck.

EU proposes regulations for tablet battery life, spare parts


Reliability of product

Good idea. If this mandates critical security updates to keep your gadget working “reliably” I’m all for it.

I see that Apple have recently provided such an update for older iGadgets (I guess it must be a pretty serious bug fix). But taking the guesswork out of your purchase can only be a good thing for the customer.

Braking news: Cops slammed for spamming Waze to slow drivers down


Obligatory speed camera video

The BBC famously pulled this video from their website when their reporter cheerfully reported on a speed camera causing accidents in Norfolk. The carnage starts at around 1:55.


Asteroids may shoot pebbles into shallow temporary orbits, boffins believe


Re: The orbits degrade

I would imagine it's because the parent body is very lumpy and, hence, generates a significant non-uniform gravitational field. The path of anything moving in a field like that significantly departs from a regular elliptical orbit.

Claims of AI sentience branded 'pure clickbait'



The disturbing thing is that many of the social media posts rebuffing AI are being posted by AIs. Anyone who's seen the Terminator movies knows this is exactly the kind of thing Skynet would do.

Apple's latest security feature could literally save lives


Re: WebKit, anyone?

It’s not a question of what an individual may - or may not - do. And neither you or I could possibly know this. It’s a technical/legal question of how Apple could provide the option at the same time as complying with forthcoming EU legislation.

If someone happens to have a third party browser engine installed, something that many have clamoured for, Apple cannot then provide a lockdown radio button without substantial qualification on the settings app. Something like “If you have installed any of a long list of 3rd party apps, this feature will not work as described.”


WebKit, anyone?

Not sure how this is going to work when the EU forces Apple to accept any old browser engine that the user cares to install from some random place on the internet.

NASA wants nuclear reactor on the Moon by 2030


First lesbian on the Moon

Never mind the first woman or "person of colour". I'm looking forward to the first lesbian on our satellite. Or, preferably, two.

Apple may have to cough up $1bn to Brits in latest iPhone Batterygate claim


Throttling is a reasonable technical solution to a problem, the problem being that certain older phone models with degraded batteries would unceremoniously shut down. Better that your phone runs a bit slower than just crap out on you.

But Apple implemented throttling on the quiet. Unannounced, with no option to disable it (at that time). That’s what upset users, and quite rightly so.

EU lawmakers vote to ban sales of combustion engine cars from 2035


Re: And the UK ?

Get over Brexit? Easier said than done when it’s doing so much harm to the UK economy. We probably need reminders on a daily basis so that such a terrible mistake is never repeated in future.

EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices


Despite the downvotes, it is true that USB-C cables can wear out.

I used one virtually every day for 3 years to connect my laptop to a monitor. After 3 years, the connection did become noticeably looser, with attendant video break up. Fixed by a new cable.

Safari is crippling the mobile market, and we never even noticed


Re: Any examples?

Here's an example of a web page that allegedly works with Chrome but not Safari.


The reason? It's a very poorly written web page, and it's a miracle that any browser can make sense of the mangled HTML it generates.


Re: Lousy web design

Indeed. I've seen users complain that Safari doesn't work at all well with certain websites. Very often such websites are very poorly written, as you can easily determine by running a URL through an online HTML validation tool such as https://validator.w3.org/

It seems that Chrome is more forgiving (if that's actually the right word) of rubbish developers who don't know how to construct HTML properly.


Re: Ker-Ching!

The main reason that Jobs banned Flash was, I distinctly recall, because the code was a resource hog that flattened an iPad's battery.

In the article it says "Apple won't let you use anything else. There is no good reason for this."

I can think of one good reason: if an alternate browser has free rein to interact with the device (in the same way that Flash did) its browser engine could behave in a similarly bad way. I'm not saying it would; I'm saying that it could. For that very reason alone, I imagine that if Apple are forced to accept this, they would only do so with the user's explicit permission to absolve them of performance responsibility. There's a monetary cost to bodgers turning up at an Apple Store for help. Also, Apple won't want people waving a phone around in a pub saying that its performance is crap, dissing their products.

Pictured: Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way


Re: Design Flaw

But there is an “expanding substrate”, space itself. AFAIK, it’s reckoned it will expand forever. Who can say.

I don’t know about a black hole being a “glitch”. I favour the notion that they are just exceedingly expensive computational resources for a mathematical God. Just imagine if you were God, troubled with the onerous task of driving the universe forward. You’ve got to individually compute the forces between all atoms in the cosmos to change the universe from one instant to the next. Quite a task.

That gets all the more burdensome when you have mind-bogglingly large numbers of particles close together in a compact object like a neutron star or black hole. So what do you do with your available resources? You reduce your computing clock rate to put a limit on how quickly things can change.

Funnily enough, this is exactly what happens in the vicinity of a black hole: time slows down.

Spare a thought for God. He / she / it has a lot of number crunching to do.

Outlook bombards Safari users with endless downloads


Re: "Alternatively, use a different browser"

You’re thinking of iOS. On a Mac you can still install the latest Google funkery (if you want to make life easy for trackers).

Microsoft Edge's 'Secure Network' sounds a lot like a built-in VPN


See also iCloud Private Relay

iCloud+ Safari users can turn this setting on in iCloud settings to get similar functionality. Mostly limited to Safari, but it's free for any paid-for iCloud subscription.

Google releases beta version of Android 13 'Tiramisu'


Re: Other handset manufacturers are available

That would be Android Crème Brûlée, a thin brittle veneer over a sloppy mess.

Apple's grip on iOS browser engines disallowed under latest draft EU rules


Re: We live in a lovely world where third party software is completely benign

You obviously missed the forthcoming legislation that will force Apple to permit use of third party App Stores. The days of Apple-reviewed apps are numbered.


Re: Browser Warz

Dreadful idea. Apple refused to implement certain Google "standards" because they degrade privacy and make it easier to track users.


We live in a lovely world where third party software is completely benign

2025: I install a random browser and its own custom engine on my iPhone. It kills iPhone performance, just life Flash did. Even worse, it steals my data and makes my navigation app slow to a crawl.

Since this *could* happen, I would expect Apple to have a checkbox (ticked by default) that installation of such software voids my warranty.

Fair enough that you are allowed to do this, but don't expect to install such software willy nilly without agreeing to caveats. And don't expect to be able to take your phone into an Apple store if it goes tits up.

Apple iOS privacy clampdown 'did little' to reduce tracking


Re: How is Apple supposed to prevent use of email addresses to identify people?

I changed my longstanding Register email address to use a Hide My Email address a few months ago. It’s not difficult.


Re: How is Apple supposed to prevent use of email addresses to identify people?

Apple provided Hide My Email functionality for exactly this reason. No more mucking about managing email aliases; just click the option to generate a new hidden email alias when registering on a website. Because it’s so easy, I imagine a lot of people are using this, myself included.

Microsoft Azure developers targeted by 200-plus data-stealing npm packages


Re: Aargh!

Why? Because there is implied trust. You can’t even start a Visual Studio web project these days without it importing a plethora of third party nuget packages first, like certain JavaScript helpers.

From a security perspective, this is far from ideal. But it’s what happens routinely. Huge numbers of packages get downloaded millions of times by developers.

Let’s say you want, by this time tomorrow, to have an app that will compute distances between postcodes in a spreadsheet. Do you write the bulk of that code yourself taking weeks or months, or do you use one or more of the numerous helper packages to do the job? The vast majority of developers do the latter, and do trust by numbers. Package A has been downloaded a million times; must be safe, right? Of course not, but it’s what is practical. You have no easy way of knowing for sure that a package is benign.


Re: Aargh!

Most package downloads are bytecode or binary executables. Do you really want to get into extensive decompilation analysis? Or do you want to get your project done on time?

This browser-in-browser attack is perfect for phishing


Re: Password Manager

I don’t remember the last time I actually typed a password into a website. Safari/Keychain normally handles that for me. I presume saved passwords in Chrome would do the same?

Apple, Google urge monopoly watchdog to leave them alone


Re: Meddling regulators

One founder amongst many others. What's your point?


Meddling regulators

Meddling regulators shouldn’t put too much weight on the opinions of moaning developers who are slap happy eager to embrace each and every Chrome standard everywhere. Funnily enough, the Developers Alliance agree (somewhat ironically) that the status quo should essentially be preserved.


“We come to the ironic conclusion that we cannot support the CMA’s narrow developer objective even though it is couched in developer self-interest because it ignores the health of the ecosystem, its critical role in market creation and stewardship, and its role in connecting consumers to market participants.“

114 billion transistors, one big meh. Apple's M1 Ultra wake-up call


Re: "it's too small for your cat to sit on"

Slightly off-topic, but I used to have an expensive AV amplifier that was the favourite resting place of my cat. One day he wasn’t feeling too good, and puked up into the device, which promptly stopped working. Grrr!

Reg reader rages over Virgin Media's email password policy


Re: Rainbow tables anyone?

No, it doesn't mean that. It's more like peering through an unfrosted window to see a door's key code written on the wall.

For a long long time, huge numbers of websites accepted a user's login on a form that is used to compute a crappy SQL command. e.g.

"SELECT TOP 1 * FROM [Users] WHERE [User] = ' " + $User + " ' AND password=' " + $Password + " ' "

which, if jbloggs 1234 is entered, maps to a string

SELECT TOP 1 * FROM [Users] WHERE [User] = 'jbloggs' AND password = '1234'

But what happens if someone, instead of typing jbloggs, types ' OR 1=1 ;

A crap website will, from this, construct a SQL command:

SELECT TOP 1 * FROM [Users] WHERE [User] = '' OR 1=1; AND password = '1234'

which will successfully find the first user in its [USERS] table, regardless.


Decent websites won't do things this way, and certainly those that engage in penetration testing. But I daresay there are still quite a few around that are exposed to SQL injection of this kind.


Re: Rainbow tables anyone?

@Ian Johnston

Most notably by SQL infection on a crappily-written website.


Re: Rainbow tables anyone?

A proper password hash will have been computed in conjunction with a salt. So a rainbow table in this case won't be much use unless the hacker has the salt as well as the hash. If that happens, your password provider has been seriously compromised!


I use iCloud email in conjunction with its custom email DNS feature, meaning I can easily direct emails for someone@somedomain.com to iCloud mail. I already pay £2.49 a month for iCloud storage, so the emails and custom email DNS come at no extra charge. That's nothing, really, considering the whole family can share this feature, and a domain can be registered for around $15 per year.