* Posts by Tessier-Ashpool

312 posts • joined 6 Feb 2016

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Asteroids may shoot pebbles into shallow temporary orbits, boffins believe

Tessier-Ashpool

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'

Tessier-Ashpool
Terminator

Skynet

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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.”

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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.

Tough news for Apple as EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Any examples?

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

https://service.msicomputer.com/msi_user/support/parts.aspx

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.

Tessier-Ashpool

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.

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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'

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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.

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Browser Warz

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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.

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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.

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Meddling regulators

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6229aba98fa8f526cf29aa2e/Developers_Alliance.pdf

“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

Tessier-Ashpool

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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.

Oops.

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.

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Rainbow tables anyone?

@Ian Johnston

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

Tessier-Ashpool

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!

Tessier-Ashpool

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.

https://9to5mac.com/2021/09/07/how-to-set-up-an-icloud-mail-custom-email-domain-video/

Just two die for: Apple reveals M1 Ultra chip in Mac Studio

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Threadripper? Deadripper more like.

Indeed, you could fry an egg on the intel chip.

I wouldn't use the M1 Pro for video encoding. I'd use its bigger brother the M1 Max, which has a ton of GPU cores available for that kind of work.

Or, of course, the M1 Ultra, if you have a few quid to spare.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla agree on something: Make web dev lives easier

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Once upon a time, in my early days as a dogsbody (and largely unsupervised) programmer, I formulated a couple of SQL queries for a web app that returned HTML to make the data look a little nicer.

I would sack myself as a hopeless case if I could go back in time!

Apple emits emergency fix for exploited-in-the-wild WebKit vulnerability

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Late Gate

Since you know so much, exactly when did the bad guys find and exploit this vulnerability, and how long did it take Apple to address it? Do not forget to mention "stable door" in your answer.

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Late Gate

The first I knew about this particular vulnerability was the day that the fix became available. Like most onlookers. Even then, the actual mechanics of the vulnerability were not announced, making life difficult for would-be miscreants.

I’d like to know the kind of world (in the absence of a functioning time machine) you imagine where a fix for a zero-day vulnerability is released ahead of its discovery and announcement.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel green-lights Mike Lynch's extradition to US to face Autonomy fraud charges

Tessier-Ashpool

Are you local?

This is a local IT shop for local people. We’ll have no trouble here.

HPE has 'substantially succeeded' in its £3.3bn fraud trial against Autonomy's Mike Lynch – judge

Tessier-Ashpool

Quick! Make a donation to the Tory Party, Mikey!

It's the only way to be sure.

Shut off 3G by 2033? How about 2023, asks Vodafone UK

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Saving energy?

How big is a 4G/5G cell?

5G has been rolling out in my nearest town lately, and I amuse myself on my regular jaunts to civilisation by keeping tabs on the 4G/5G CarPlay icon during my drives. When 5G pops up, it’s typically so for about 1km or thereabouts.

Bug in WebKit's IndexedDB implementation makes Safari 15 leak Google account info... and more

Tessier-Ashpool

All those other browsers rely on iOS webkit, which is the source of this particular vulnerability.

Depending on your point of view, that’s a good or a bad thing. Personally, given that numerous other iOS apps and services depend on webkit, I’d say that centralising core code this way is for the best, even if the occasional howler surfaces.

Don't make an iOS of yourself – Apple's patched its OSes, you know the drill

Tessier-Ashpool
Unhappy

Re: "Excluded: Licenced media" etc.

"Is there anywhere in the those licenses that they are bound to the lifetime of the owner?"

Yes. To take the example of movies purchased via iTunes, the rights owner of the movie grants a sub-license to Apple, which is transferred to the *purchaser* when they "buy" a movie. The purchaser has no right to transfer that license to another party.

But... it's worse than that. If the rights owner removes said movie from the iTunes Store, Apple are obliged to withdraw said sub-license from the purchaser. It doesn't happen that often, but your purchased iTunes movie can be disappeared. Nice.

This is sufficiently aggravating that a court case is ongoing, disputing the use of the word "Buy". I, like many others, do not consider a movie to be "bought" if it can be arbitrarily removed from the user's movie library.

Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: VISA will be just the first

I did read the article.

What the article fails to mention is that the scope of the increased charges are far greater for Visa Credit.

"Visa has announced similar changes to Mastercard, but with a larger scope. More specifically, the Visa changes will have significant impact on consumer card-not-present transactions, consumer refund transactions, and commercial transactions between the UK and the EEA."

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: VISA will be just the first

You should know. For sure.

EU regulation (2015) caps credit card fees at 0.3%

Outside the EU, Visa have chanced it and whacked up their prices way beyond that limit, something the EU put in place to protect consumers.

Rather like phone companies reintroducing exorbitant roaming charges now that we don’t have EU price protection.

Good old Brexit.

Of course, the amusing twist here is that Visa have effectively priced themselves out of the market by getting a little too greedy. Nice job, Amazon. You are under no obligation to accept payment methods that charge exorbitant fees.

Google's Pixel 6 fingerprint reader is rubbish because of 'enhanced security algorithms'

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Near Real Time

I got an iPhone 13 mini a couple of weeks ago. The facial recognition is really fast and reliable. Whether I’m holding it, or using in a holder in the car. No complaints from me.

Slight Fanboi alert: I also have an iPad Pro with facial recognition. Far less reliable because I typically need to go out of my way to look in the right direction. With its much smaller angular diameter, look in the general direction of an iPhone and you’re going to be looking at the faceID scanner.

Google swats away £3bn Safari Workaround ad-tracking cookie lawsuit in Supreme Court victory

Tessier-Ashpool

Don’t be evil

Just a thought.

Apple's anti-ad-tracking iPhone feature took a '$10bn' chunk out of social network revenues

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Apple tracking

Settings | Advertising | Personalise ads | Off

Zuckerberg wants to create a make-believe world in which you can hide from all the damage Facebook has done

Tessier-Ashpool

I already live in a simulation. Thanks, but no thanks.

Your toy universe emulator will never be as good as the simulation we already inhabit. And ours runs as a proper virtualisation close to the metal.

But the Zuckerverse will have way way more advertising and whiney American accents.

So thanks, but no thanks.

Antitrust battle latest: Google, Facebook 'colluded' to smash Apple's privacy protections

Tessier-Ashpool

When the Devil says “Don’t be evil”…

…you know he’s wearing a tricky mask.

Apple's Safari browser runs the risk of becoming the new Internet Explorer – holding the web back for everyone

Tessier-Ashpool

iPhones are typically fully supported far more and more often than Android devices, including the rather important bits like the network stack / operating system that lets your browser do its thing.

Facebook may soon reveal new name – we're sure Reg readers will be more creative than Zuck's marketroids

Tessier-Ashpool

ZuckZuckGo, surely.

Apple arms high-end MacBook Pro notebooks with M1 Pro, M1 Max processors

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: Great but ...

Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro X are killer apps for the Mac. Great capabilities at a *very* reasonable price, and no software rental involved. Always in the top 5 of paid apps on the App Store.

Tessier-Ashpool

I find the Touch Bar to be reasonably useful. It's a snappy way to change the brightness and volume with a sliding finger. Or to quickly lock the machine. I don't use daft features like the words that auto-appear when I write.

When I earn my debugging crust switched and I'm switched into a Windows VM, the Touch Bar shows the regular function keys you'd expect of Windows. So that's pretty good.

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