* Posts by Richard Boyce

412 posts • joined 8 Aug 2007

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Spyware, trade-secret theft, and $30m in damages: How two online support partners spectacularly fell out

Richard Boyce

7 years

Why did it take so long? Is it now over? What proportion of the damages goes to the lawyers?

Ex-Brave staffer launches GDPR sueball in Germany over tech giants' real-time bidding for ad inventory

Richard Boyce

Re: Previous approach

I am thinking that the advert itself is a product to be sold. Is the offer of personalised ads a good means of marketing online advertising to clients? How clued-up is the average client?

Facebook and Singapore teams looking for ways to get data centres relaxing in moist tropical climes

Richard Boyce

There would seem to be an increasing need for chips and other components to be designed to operate at much higher temperatures. If they could operate 50C hotter, the cost of cooling would be much less, though you might have to provide humans with special suits to keep them cool while working near the servers.

Seagate finds sets of two heads are cheaper than one in its new and very fast MACH.2 dual-actuator hard disks

Richard Boyce

Re: dual actuator drives have been long in coming

At worst, you could always buy their NAS drives. Seagate has promised they won't do what WD did.

FYI: Today's computer chips are so advanced, they are more 'mercurial' than precise – and here's the proof

Richard Boyce

Error detection

We've long had ECC RAM available, but only really critical tasks have had CPU redundancy for detecting and removing errors. Maybe it's time for that to change. As chips have more and more cores added, perhaps we could usefully use an option to tie cores together in threes to do the same tasks with majority voting to determine the output.

Xiaomi touts Hypercharge 200W charging tech, claims 4,000mAh battery goes from 0 to full in 480 seconds

Richard Boyce

Re: Stupid lab tricks

1C is the charging/discharging rate that will fill/empty the battery in one hour. So for a 4Ah battery, it's a current of 4A.

Nvidia nerfs RTX 3080, 3070, 3060 Ti GPUs to shoo away Ethereum miners

Richard Boyce

Mining probably only makes economic sense if you pay very little for the electricity, or someone else is unwittingly paying.

Broadband plumber Openreach yanks legacy copper phone lines in Suffolk town of Mildenhall en route to getting the UK on VoIP

Richard Boyce

Competition problems

Will the major telcos take the opportunity to block other specialist suppliers of VoIP service for "security", and try to inhibit switching to a different provider?

At the moment, if you have an Internet service, you can get digital phone lines with no line rental, low call rates, even free calls to some other VoIP numbers. The telcos are not currently worried by the few geeks that use VoIP for domestic service, but this could change.

At the moment, for calls not covered by a package, the telcos will charge a connection fee for each call, and have minimum call duration of a few minutes. If you want to dial across the pond, they will purse their lips and say, "Ooh, long distance gov, takes a week to get there by steamboat, so gotta charge you accordingly." They will want to ensure that roadblocks to competition remain, so the existing business models for call charging and line rentals are not undermined.

Elon Musk's SpaceX bags $3bn NASA contract to, fingers crossed, land first woman on the Moon

Richard Boyce

Re: To do list

Cameras could provide a stereoscopic image of the approaching surface, but I doubt the pilots will be flying manually, as the Apollo crews did.

Intel offers to produce car chips for automakers stalled by ongoing semiconductor supply drought

Richard Boyce

Re: Meanwhile at the trough

"And what about whatever said fab used to make? Is that stuff then going to be in short supply?"

Exactly the point I was going to make. And it's not just the lost capacity while they're making the chips, it's the lost capacity in the 6 to 9 months while they're preparing to make them. These chips won't be cheap.

What's this about a muon experiment potentially upending Standard Model of physics? We speak to one of the scientists involved

Richard Boyce

Electrons or positrons?

There is confusion about whether the experiment is using normal matter muons which decay into electrons, or antimatter muons which decay into positrons.

Here's one government source:

https://www.g-2.bnl.gov/physics/index.html

Here are two mutually-contradictory pages from Fermilab's site for the experiment:

https://muon-g-2.fnal.gov/the-physics-of-g-2.html

https://muon-g-2.fnal.gov/how-does-muon-g-2-work.html

Can anyone help?

Scientists are keen to find differences in the way antimatter behaves from normal matter. I wonder what the result would be if they used the opposite type of muon....

Will Apple blink? ByteDance, Tencent, others ready new ad-tracking tech in defiance of iOS privacy protections

Richard Boyce

What's the Chinese government's attitude to this likely to be? Would this be regarded as useful for surveillance? Is the average chinese person as blase about privacy as most people in the west?

Someone defeated the anti-crypto-coin-mining protection for Nvidia's 'gamers only' RTX 3060 ... It was Nvidia

Richard Boyce

Re: Mining works best

...and using other people's electricity.

That's part of the problem.

Millimetre-sized masses: Physics boffins measure smallest known gravitational field (so far)

Richard Boyce

One of the great unknowns is how gravity behaves at such tiny scales where quantum mechanics is so evident, hence the desire for experiments like this to observe gravity at smaller scales than before.

Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity (Eintein's description of gravity) are mutually contradictory, but humanity has yet to observe conditions sufficiently extreme to pit them against each other to see which breaks first.

Intel CPU interconnects can be exploited by malware to leak encryption keys and other info, academic study finds

Richard Boyce

Re: Another nail in the coffin of x86?

I didn't make my point well.

These cores from Intel, (and I assume AMD) are coming with a lot of extra stuff that's both poorly documented and proving to be a security headache. It seems to this layman that the ARM ecosystem is inherently more open because of the way things are licensed, thus allowing a lot of early scrutiny by independent people.

Richard Boyce

Another nail in the coffin of x86?

These researchers shouldn't have had to reverse engineer this stuff; it only obscured the security problem. As with software, the more open the design, the better for security. This isn't rocket science.

The good optics of silicon photonics: Light sailing serenely down a fibre

Richard Boyce

Isn't this expected to be a major paying application of LEO satellites with optical links between them, such as Starlink? Upload from a ground station in London to LEO, beam across the pond in a vacuum, down to a ground station in New York, beating light pulses travelling through undersea cables.

Elon Musk says he tried to sell Tesla to Apple, which didn’t bite and wouldn't even meet

Richard Boyce

You repeatedly mention there are inefficient alternatives, as if you think that efficiency isn't critically important.

In the absence of a room-temperature superconductor, high current is always going to mean high resistance and low efficiency.

Apple on the hook for another $503m in decade-long VirnetX patent rip-off legal marathon

Richard Boyce

Might is right?

How does a small inventor stand a chance defending a patent if the system allows infringers to litigate you into bankruptcy when that is cheaper than buying a licence? Are you better off keeping the innovation secret and not revealing it in a patent?

What will you do with your Raspberry Pi 4 this week? RISC it for a biscuit perhaps?

Richard Boyce

Better that he self-interferes, and leaves the other 2.4GHz channels for his neighbours.

We won't leave you hanging any longer: Tool strips freeze-inducing bugs from Java bytecode while in production

Richard Boyce

Re: What has happened to deterministic behavior?

Agreed. The people operating the system may only be concerned with outward appearances, content with the automated papering over of the cracks. The quantity of data corruption that could accumulate over years could do serious damage to a business. Backups won't help.

If the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition doesn't make you a fan, we don't know what will

Richard Boyce

Privacy

Since this is a Samsung phone, privacy is a concern. Are you required to accept monitoring/access to contacts before using, for example, wallpaper on the home screen? Are you given the option to refuse or do you just get the option to be nagged again later until you either surrender or swear never to buy Samsung again?

Who watches the watchers? Samsung does so it can fling ads at owners of its smart TVs

Richard Boyce
Boffin

Re: "...most of the population are stupid and/or ignorant..."

What proportion of the population confuses average with median?

Brexit travel permits designed to avoid 7,000-lorry jams come January depend on software that won't be finished till April

Richard Boyce

More queues?

We have semi-organised facilities for queuing traffic inside Kent. Do we now need similar facilities just outside Kent for lorries to use until they have permission to join the queues inside Kent?

Now Nvidia's monster GeForce RTX 3090 cards snaffled up by bots, scalpers – if only there had been a warning

Richard Boyce

Re: If it helps...

Maybe because the bot users could simply place fake bids to block any auctions. In addition, the retailers would have to be denied stock, at least at first. They would not be happy.

Before you buy that managed Netgear switch, be aware you may need to create a cloud account to use its full UI

Richard Boyce

Cisco Linksys scandal

I just put those three words into Google and the first link was https://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/07/02/1743253/ciscos-cloud-vision-mandatory-and-killed-at-their-discretion

So this is not the first time managers have thought this was a good business decision. Although the victims were mainly retail consumers, there was a big enough backlash to persuade Cisco that this wasn't the best decision they ever made. The Linksys brand was subsequently sold. That Netgear has chosen to do something similar to business customers is astonishing.

Hole in (Number) Two: MYSTERY golf-course pooper strikes again

Richard Boyce

They need to catch him brown-handied.

With a million unwanted .uk domains expiring this week, Nominet again sends punters pushy emails to pay up

Richard Boyce

When you have to avoid a profit...

... it's perhaps time for a bit of Hollywood accounting. Any enterprise can divert money away from the bottom line to other places, if required.

Chinese prof sent down for 18 months for stealing semiconductor secrets, trying to patent them to cover tracks

Richard Boyce

5 years before even being tried?

Is this 18 months in addition to the 5 years he's served prior to trial? If not, the 18 months would seem to be very lenient, by US standards. If the 18 months genuinely fits the crime, then it suggests that he's been dealt an injustice by being overpunished. I would like to know more about why everything took so long. Is it common for people in the US to spend such a long time in jail before being tried?

You Musk be joking: A mind-reading Neuralink chip in a pig's brain? Downloadable memories? Telepathy? Watch and judge for yourself

Richard Boyce

Not just Bill Gates

Conspiracy theorists are going to love this.

Utes gotta be kidding me... University of Utah handed $457K to ransomware creeps

Richard Boyce

Insurer

Can an insurer require that a ransom be paid, with an excess, by specifying that it will only cover the cheapest recovery method?

Money talks as Chinese chip foundries lure TSMC staff with massive salaries to fix the Middle Kingdom's tech gap

Richard Boyce

Experience

China has a huge population so no shortage of talent. What it lacks is perhaps experience and a training pipeline. China will want people who can build or enhance that pipeline. After that, the people being hired will be less valuable, especially as Taiwan may not be keen to employ them again. Maybe the deals will appeal to older people who are thinking about a comfortable retirement in a few years.

Wi-Fi 6 isn't signed off yet, but boffins are already teasing us with specs for venerable wireless tech's next gen

Richard Boyce

Aerials

How many ISPs are going to supply routers with 8 aerials?

So many stars, so little time: Machine learning helps astroboffins spot the most oxygen-starved galaxy yet

Richard Boyce

Re: Are you sure?

The materials in our planet and bodies are made from a lot of non-primordial elements or "metals" as astronomers use the term. If only elements heavier than iron got expelled into interstellar space, we wouldn't be here. There's a great deal of iron and nickel (hence our planet's core), but there's also plenty of the other elements you mentioned.

Figuring out all the ways in which this happens is still being researched, I think. For example, apart from supernovas of large stars, there are also collisions.

Amazon gets green-light to blow $10bn on 3,000+ internet satellites. All so Americans can shop more on Amazon

Richard Boyce

It's not space, it's the use of the radio frquencies in the US. These transmissions are likely beamed to and from the US. This system doesn't appear to have the global ambitions of Musk's system, at least for the time being, perhaps reflecting the fact that they're a late starter.

Bad: US govt says Chinese duo hacked, stole blueprints from just about everyone. Also bad: They extorted cash

Richard Boyce

Re: History has this down

Poor choice of forum. Try peddling this on Facebook.

Richard Boyce

Re: So let's get this straight

Their MO may date back 11 years, but identifying the culprits with high confidence takes time. Plus, since this is part of the world of espionage, the US may not want it known how and when they were identified. There are also probably political issues that have influenced the timing of these procedures.

Cloud biz Blackbaud caved to ransomware gang's demands – then neglected to inform customers for two months

Richard Boyce

Re: I can GUARANTEE

Blackbaud probably just hope that the criminals use the data in a way that can't be linked back to this breach.

CSI: Xiaomi. Snappy Redmi Note 9 Pro shows every fingerprint, but at least you get bang for your buck

Richard Boyce

Re: The most important feature to mention...

If they're doing one very dodgy thing, it's a prudent assumption that they're doing more. It's reports like yours that help inform my purchasing decisions. Many reviewers, like many consumers, don't care or have the time to care.

I've had one Samsung phone, and privacy and security concerns over what Samsung has done on that, with basic functionality tied needlessly to granting access to contacts, not taking no for an answer, background Samsung processes of unnannounced functionality that you can't uninstall or disable. etc, mean that I'm unlikely to buy another Samsung phone.

I won't buy Apple because of cost. Are there other good brands for those that want basic respect for privacy and security without paying through the nose, and without having to consider replacing the firmware?

Someone got so fed up with GE fridge DRM – yes, fridge DRM – they made a whole website on how to bypass it

Richard Boyce

Reminds me of Linksys owned by Cisco

Cisco decided it was a good idea to use the patch update system of their retail customers' routers to sieze control of them, and make commercial demands of the owners in return for allowing them to configure their property again. After the scandal that erupted, they did a U-turn and sold the Linksys brand. People do remember these things, even years later, as this post shows. Don't treat your customers with disrespect after purchase if you want repeat custom.

Bloke rolls up to KFC drive-thru riding horse-drawn cart only to be told: Neigh

Richard Boyce

Would you want to clear up the horse shit afterwards?

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road

Richard Boyce

Fundamental problem

Businesses often regard external costs as irrelevant. For example, how much has been wasted by Microsoft because it's cheaper to produce inefficent products when it's the users who are paying for the megawatts of power and waiting for something to happen.

Even within a company, a manager can get rewarded if his department produces something quick and dirty for some other department to use. The costs are coming out of someone else's budget.

More competition helps, but we also need user education to accentuate the negative feedback, especially when mother nature is on the receiving end of planned inefficiency.

Western Digital shingled out in lawsuit for sneaking RAID-unfriendly tech into drives for RAID arrays

Richard Boyce

Silly way to drive customers away

I specified WD Reds for a recent small business 4-drive NAS, having had no problems in the past. I now know the business got SMR drives. It's impractical to replace the working drives until failure. However, when that happens, the replacement drives wll not come from WD. WD are now blacklisted, as far as I'm concerned.

What a stupid way to gift future business to a rival.

NASA renames dark-energy telescope after its first Chief of Astronomy and Mother of Hubble: Nancy Grace Roman

Richard Boyce

Re: "The Coronagraphic Instrument is an exoplanet hunter"

So now we know who created the virus. It was NASA.

I was about to post the above on its own, but there are at least two possible pitfalls:

1. Someone will find the message with Google in the future, say "OMG, it all makes sense", and start sending this message to lots of people who have the same reaction, and it will be all be traced to me. Gulp.

2. Someone will find the message with Google, say "OMG, we're not going to employ this idiot / give this guy a visa".

So for the aforesaid people, this message is a joke. Laugh. Open your mouth and breath out in rapid pulses while making silly noises.

It is unclear why something designed to pump fuel into a car needs an ad-spewing computer strapped to it, but here we are

Richard Boyce

"you probably don’t take any notice of the add for AA or Direct Line"

You noticed enough to recall who the ads were for. Job done.

There's a black hole lurking within 1,000 light years of Earth – and you can see stars circling it with the naked eye

Richard Boyce

Re: Dark Matter

I think black holes have been ruled out as the whole contributor to dark matter. Black holes are concentrations of matter that would produce more gravitational lensing than is noticed, especially inside our own galaxy.

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

Richard Boyce

Income

It's easy to laugh at Icke but the poor guy has a serious mental health problem.

What disturbs me the most is that someone making videos with crazy ideas can make a good living using YouTube etc. It encourages sane but ruthless people to spread disinformation to the gullible while laughing all the way to the bank. The damage done is just an externality.

Vietnam alleged to have hacked Chinese organisations in charge of COVID-19 response

Richard Boyce

I'm concerned about the long term consequencies. Poorer contries have lower life expectancies, and we're going to be a lot poorer as we pay back all the money the government has borrowed, plus interest. It was politically impossible to allow a huge peak of infected to overwhelm our health system, and maybe it has saved enough life-years this year to compensate for the reduced life expectancy in the next decade. We'll see.

Zero-click, zero-day flaws in iOS Mail 'exploited to hijack' VIP smartphones. Apple rushes out beta patch

Richard Boyce

Kernal level exploit

These bugs are used in conjunction with a kernal level expliot, but I see no mention of a fix for that level of vulnerability. That would seem to be very important. Does that require more work, or is there a problem with disclosing the nature of that?

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response

Richard Boyce

Not just COBOL

There are probably also old systems still happily running PL/I, which was the main language I used in the 70s and 80s. I'd love to work in that langauge again; it was a very nice and powerful language.

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