* Posts by Chairman of the Bored

933 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Apr 2017


Amateur astronomer strikes it lucky with first glimpse of a Supernova

Chairman of the Bored

Got to admire the amateur...

...most really cool discoveries seem to start out with "gee, that's strange" rather than "eureka!". The hard part is not dismissing an observation that looks strange as "noise" or "error" and actually investigating the cause. I believe a pint is in order.

Bad news: 43% of login attempts 'malicious' Good news: Er, umm...

Chairman of the Bored

Quick suggestion to take it easy on your logs...

...change your default SSL port to something like 223. You've obviously disabled root login over ssh, require key-based credentials, etc already.

Obviously this does not increase security in any real sense against a human attacker as nmap will see your new port... But in my case avoiding port 22 eliminates about 90pct of the robocall activity I've got to wade through in my logs.

Any crap activity I've got on new ports is from a person or bot that actually bothered to map my net, and that tells me something I should know right up front. Key here is to improve your signal to noise

Three in hospital after NSA cops open fire on campus ram-raid SUV

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Ever try to hit a driver in a vehicle on the move?

Thanks... Totally agree that he's got a massive, shiny pair. I think he knows that he made the right choice but there will always be that "I shoulda, would, could..." going on inside.

What the movies never show is how sick you get when something goes down... No matter what the outcome... And what it's like for the rest of your life.

Bottom line I guess is that you've got to do the very best with what you know at any given moment.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Ever try to hit a driver in a vehicle on the move?

An excellent, excellent choice.

Former office mate had a problem with an inbound vehicle. He was manning a .50 but did not engage because doing so would have sent rounds into a souk. VBIED strike. He's missing both legs now ... Constantly getting surgeries for complications. Sole survivor from his vehicle - not a burden I think I can handle. But he didn't take out the civilians. Maybe 1-2sec to make that decision. File this under, "sometimes life sucks."

Chairman of the Bored

Ever try to hit a driver in a vehicle on the move?

Not easy. That's why I like fairly high caliber, full automatic weapons.

Mines the one with all the 7.62x51 NATO rattling around in the pocket.

Oi! Verizon leaked my fiancée's nude pix to her ex-coworker, says bloke

Chairman of the Bored

Logger is just mad because....

....the other guy "got wood" and he didn't.

Methinks the lady doth sext too much.

Kentucky gov: Violent video games, not guns, to blame for Florida school massacre

Chairman of the Bored

Something is definitely f'ed up with our society

When I was a kid I had a lot of access to firearms. And like everyone else I had good and bad days, good mates and bullies. But if problems needed solving ... at most we would use our fists. Maybe a knife but that's more for show and intimidation t. I grew up in an absolute hell hole of a rust belt town. But at some level we still respected life. It literally never would have occurred to me to use a lethal weapon... Nor did it seem to occur to very many other people.

I do believe that video games desensitize people to killing. Why? Because I see many parallels in the dehumanization of enemies in the games to what I've experienced in military training. Taking human life is an inherently unnatural act. To make men (or boys apparently) go over that line you've got to objectify the enemy and normalize violence. I grew up blasting aliens. That's ok because they are not human... Then we get zombies. Human, but that's ok because they are possessed. Now we no longer pretend in games at all, we "whack" humans at 100+ frames per second. That's ok?

Well, maybe not. There is a slippery slope here. Looking back at basic training.. similar. Hell, the US Army is using a first person shooter game as a recruiting tool!

At this point I'd say gun control has got to be part of how the problem is addressed. I don't need a high capacity mag semiautomatic rifle for hunting or sport. If I can't get a varmit on a single shot, my marksmanship needs some work. Lacking highly lethal small arms will not make one's murderous impulses go away but maybe we can reduce the carnage.

Yes, addressing violence in media and games... Addressing insane gun laws... Neither is a complete solution. Something is very wrong in society. But you've got to start somewhere.

My one fear of gun control is the fact that our police are armed to the teeth and not particularly trustworthy. That may be a problem.

UK names Russia as source of NotPetya, USA follows suit

Chairman of the Bored

So even if the attribution is correct...

...and I said "if", mind,...

What purpose do these verbal "blasts" serve? From my perspective they're as effective as wet toilet paper... Useful as boobs on a bicycle... You get the picture.

US govt staffers use personal gear on work networks, handle biz docs on the reg – study

Chairman of the Bored

Simple but bad explanation

Been there, seen that. Did it? Your honor, I plead the fifth.

These people- by and large - are not stupid. They know the policies and risks. But their gear is crap, support is worse, and they are still expected to accomplish their mission - whatever it takes.

You want it done real bad? It will probably get done real bad.

Bet you any other hellhole of compliance-based mentality and mind numbing bureaucracy will be the same. Sad, really.

Military techie mangled minicomputer under nose of scary sergeant

Chairman of the Bored

Re: I am pushing the button

Pinned to machine for four hours, with massive internal bleeding. Poor bloke had one hell of a day. GE got off easy... I think the 10mil rupee settlement is something like $150k US. If this had been UK or US they'd have been nailed but good.

At what point does it occur to management to find the main and cut it?

Chairman of the Bored

Another war story....

...if you're gonna build something with a BRS, make sure it can be TESTED without causing all hell break loose. If it's not tested, it doesn't work. Guaranteed.

Working around a big, hairy power supply. 40kV @5A is memory serves. Insulation breakdown, arc to ground. Not a happy little arc, a pucker up and make a diamond ... mean ... freakin' bright and scary arc. Overcurrent protection? Crowbar? Nope!! Senior tech, an older gentleman, does a highly athletic vault over workbench - must've cleared it by half a meter - pirouettes, hits BRS. Nothing happens. That's when it got real. Post mortem? BRS was never connected. Never tested, either.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Simply Baffling

I can see the reasoning... In a panic people can forget to undo the guards. But that assumes one practices and drills enough to get muscle memory in the first place.

War story - when I had periodic, all-expense-paid travel to a very sandy, hot locale in '04 through '06 I saw two very different approaches to handling sidearms on base. Unless the nitrogenous waste is actively hitting the rotating aspirator, we (Marines) keep our pistols on base in condition 4 - magazine well empty, no round in chamber, weapon safe. So does the Army. Sand and crap gets in your weapon, and you are constantly cleaning it. That's life. Unless you're Army, in which case you put a piece of foam in place of the magazine to keep the weapon clean.

Guess what happens when it hits the fan? Army will shove the mag right into the foam and get a free paperweight. I don't know if anyone died due to that particular bit of stupidity but I can easily see it happening.

Guarantee someone somewhere died because in their stress they couldn't get the guard off a BRS

Mines the one with lots of lube. See ya.

Chairman of the Bored

In a briefing to some very senior officers...

Acronym FFF should have been explained as "Fast Fault Finder". I briefed it as "Final Fsckup Finder" My boss looked like he was going to shoot me until a flag officer laughed himself silly and shouted, "Fsck yeah! That's what I need.". Suddenly my boss looks real friendly. How odd.

Winter Olympics website downed by cyber attack

Chairman of the Bored

Food for sex!

That would have made marriage a hell of a lot easier! Thanks for the tip.

Boffin rediscovers 1960s attempt to write fiction with computers

Chairman of the Bored

What would Watson write???

About the same, but with slight changes:


Such wonderful progress!!

Intel adopts Orwellian irony with call for fast Meltdown-Spectre action after slow patch delivery

Chairman of the Bored

Don't know what all y'all complaining about...

...I actually liked Shenoy's comments so much that I printed them out.

You see, there is a lot of bullshit in the world. So much that one can drown. But the bullshit that threatens us is always contaminated to a greater or lesser degree by "reality" and "common sense".

This particular Intel bullshit, in contrast, is absolutely pure and unadulterated. It's a work of art. From a genuine bullshit artist. Show some respect!

ASA tells Poundland and its teabagging elf: Enough with the smutty social ninja sh*t

Chairman of the Bored

Before we knew it was an actual company...

...our internal software group named themselves "megahard group". They had a nice, massive, cylindrical sign thrust rigidly at attention by the doorway... With two spherical shrubs planted at the bottom.

Complaints? Zip. Even the older women would grin at the sign... You've got to have real balls to display one like that these days!

Chairman of the Bored

Re: I like mine like I like my cocoa

I must be doing it wrong then.... I leave my women like I take my coffee: cold, dark, and bitter

Intel 80386 queen Renée James quits as chipmaker's president

Chairman of the Bored

80386... When the PC clones really took off

Must have been a riotous ride at Intel during the shift to the 386. Younger guys probably do not understand what it felt like to live and work through the tectonic shifts in tech at the time.

286... Nobody ever got fired for buying an IBM PC/AT. Compaq and Gateway (remember them?) were growing fast but most businesses were a little skeptical. 10MB hard drives were a status symbol as much as a tool. Still, IBM was getting scared and tried to re-establish their monopoly using their awful PS/2 machines with their proprietary microchannel bus. The PS/2 was supposed to be the bridge to the 32 bit multitasking future, but it was really just an attempt to return industry to craptivity. Industry answered with EISA and then PCI... That's when the 386 hit... Win 95 became something somewhat useful... And the modern PC market was born. IBM got kicked in the teeth, and Intel had to move cash to the bank with conveyors. Good times.

It all came flooding back to me just a couple of years ago. I had to repair and upgrade a box run by a microcontroller. Opened it up... And saw a 80186 staring back at me. 186. Tools? Debuggers?

Documentation??? CORRECT documentation??? What doubly-damned ring of hell I had arrived in?! Be careful wishing for the good ole days... They can come back!

Tech biz boss slipped Detroit's IT chief bungs in restaurant bathrooms to bag software deals, prosecutors claim

Chairman of the Bored

Shake on it?

Excellent turn of phrase. Could also try "achieve better market penetration"; "Detroit's up and coming politician"; "greasing a govt official"; "after a wet, stiff drink..." Too easy.

Seriously though- this is Detroit. Where the weak are killed and eaten. If this is the most significant crime that took place on that day I'll eat my hat...

Crooks make US ATMs spew million-plus bucks in 'jackpotting' hacks

Chairman of the Bored

And the left side of the intelligence distribution gives us...

...years ago my college had a freestanding ATM kiosk mounted on a steel pole near a road.

Two men decided to uproot it and drive away using a pickup truck and some steel cable. Secured cable only to the rear bumper. When the driver punched it the bumper fell off. In a panic, they left the scene... Leaving behind the bumped and license plate.

Twilight of the idols: The only philosophy HPE and IBM do these days is with an axe

Chairman of the Bored

"What is IBM?"

Out of the mouth of babes...

When I was a kid I remember 'IBM' was synonymous with 'computer'. DEC, Wang, Compaq, whatever were by far second tier and second class.

Fast forward to 2017... My pre-teen daughter asks, "Daddy, what's IBM? What do they do?"

How the mighty have fallen!

FYI: Processor bugs are everywhere – just ask Intel and AMD

Chairman of the Bored

I don't think people realize how much it costs to fab

Some numbers for you... Bear in mind I'm an analog guy so I cannot speak to very small process nodes. For me to do a mixed signal design at 180nm, costs break out as follows:

Design NRE - $$$. Disciplines here are requirements development, requirements verification, functional decomposition, functional allocation, circuit synthesis (schematic capture), nonlinear circuit modeling, physical layout (chip artwork), further modeling. So for a simple HV op-amp you've got about a man year or two in before you talk to the fab. That's a quarter to half million, burdened rates. If the design is digital we would do an FPGA implementation first (*)

The cheapest way to fab is use a "shuttle run" where you team up with other vendors and split the cost of the mask between yourselves. A mask exposes perhaps 100mm x 100mm area; you might get 20mm x 20mm of this for your work, with a yield of perhaps 20-30 good die when it comes back. In one to two months. Cost at 180nm is around $25-50k. Faster? Pay more.

Now you have to saw, package, test. Typically the first mask or two is a no-go. Full functional plus HALT/HASS testing will consume another man year or so, and requires capital equipment. Call it an additional quarter of a million plus any additional mask sets - and this assumes the design is reasonably successful.

So that's why a simple circuit can push up to the million dollar level quickly, and timelines are long compared to, say, software innovation.

(*) Essentially any digital logic can be implemented in FPGA fabric. Microprocessor designs generally get prototyped and tested that way before a design goes beyond prototype phase There are numerous ARM and other"soft cores" you can license, tweak,and incorporate into your FPGA. One very interesting multicore microcontroller - the Parallax Propeller P8X32A - is wholly open source and you can use this in your own FPGA. See: https://www.parallax.com/microcontrollers

Downsides? Vastly more power hungry than custom silicon. Typically slower. Really expensive. Large. But of you insist your micro is the one true micro to rule them all, that's where you start.

Fun things to play with are the Xilinx CoolRunner CPLD and Cypress PSoC devices. A mere mortal can afford them, and quickly learn that doing custom digital is really, really hard.

Julian Assange to UK court: Put an end to my unwarranted Ecuadorean couch-surf

Chairman of the Bored

Re: a solution

Brilliant. Gets him off your soil, allows the UK to show it is not a lapdog to the US, and maintains that jumping bail is an actionable offense. I especially like the part about forcing Assange to keep his damned yap shut.

Ever wondered why tech products fail so frequently? No, me neither

Chairman of the Bored

Know thy user

Sometimes you need a tester who truly understands the environment.

In meeting in which a vendor showed off a 'improved signal processor line replaceable unit hardened to survive the naval environment'. Program manager handed it to his deputy and said, "You're former navy. Does this look sailor-proof to you?"

Deputy... "I dunno..." Smashes it into edge of table, kicks it across the floor, slaps it into floor. Stuff rattles inside. "No, sir! Not sailor proof!"

Vendor ... 'WTF!!!??? That cost ten grand!!!... You're gonna.. "

PM? "Yeah, ten G. But it's not worth $#!t!"

SHL just got real-mode: US lawmakers demand answers on Meltdown, Spectre handling from Intel, Microsoft and pals

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Panic

No downvote because I can kind of see where you are coming from, but the lack of quality apparent in the mitigation makes one question whether the industry had any real intention of fixing the problems.

The purpose of a free press in a democracy is not entertainment; it is a feedback mechanism that exposes problems. In this case, it delivered a pretty well timed kick in the arse to the right target.

When I was in gov't service we would ask each other and ourselves, "Yeah, this may be legal... But would we want ourselves on the front cover of the Washington Post doing it?"... "No?!" ... "Then FFS stop doing it!"

Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

Chairman of the Bored

Wasn't there a little issue with training tapes...

...at NORAD during the Carter admin? Where we thought we were getting poked and started down the road of mass retaliation? And then the USAF tried to cover it up?

I have a new excuse of avoiding my mandatory training now... training is dangerous!

Infamous Silicon Valley 'sex party' exactly as exciting as it sounds

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Electrical engineers have better parties...

Making your hardware smaller? Yeah, that's a problem. Better than the old CS guys floppy disks, but still.

If you can remember the party, you didnt do it right

Chairman of the Bored

Electrical engineers have better parties...

At the very least you can get your fuse blown

IBM melts down fixing Meltdown as processes and patches stutter

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Electric Avenue

Ouch. Sounds like a perfect s##t storm. Drink one of these, repeat as needed until the sting wears off

Amazon coughs up record amount of info to subpoena-happy US government

Chairman of the Bored

Surprised the numbers are that low

Given the number of transactions Amazon processes and the billions of dollars of cash flow I'm surprised the number is so low.

Perhaps suspiciously low? Do I hear a sucking sound coming from the other side of a closed door?

Military alliance NATO adopts official hymn

Chairman of the Bored

Warren Zevon?

Guns Money and Lawyers?

I went home with the waitress, the way I always do

How was I to know, she was with the Russians, too?

I was gambling in Havana, I took a little risk

Send lawyers, guns and money, dad, get me out of this


Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Chairman of the Bored

Why not just hire a VW engineer...

...and just cock up the benchmarks to match? My bet is that you can get one just coming off parole really cheap. Just kidding. I hope.

Funnily enough, no, IT admins who trash biz machines can't claim they had permission

Chairman of the Bored

Dang it!

This guy gets a lot done when he's pissed off. Wonder how things would have gone if he had shown a similar level of effort towards actually doing his job!

How fast is a piece of string? Boffin shoots ADSL signal down twine

Chairman of the Bored


Break out your MIT Radiation Laboratory handbooks from the late 40s and look up 'dielectric rod antenna'.

Mines the one with the massive, thick rod in front...

Rogue PIs found guilty of illegally snagging personal financial info

Chairman of the Bored

Re: I thought this was going to be something different...

Change your default SSL port, mate. You will be shocked to see how much the attacks drop off. What's left is probably from threats that kid at least a cursory nmap on you - makes them interesting from a counter targeting perspective. Mumble, mumble... f'in script kiddies, mumble mumble.

Oregon will let engineer refer to himself as an 'engineer'

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Am late to this one

You may have a point there. In much of my grad school work in hard sciences I felt like I was the one getting random and over the top punishments. It's not called being a lab slave entirely without reason.

I wouldn't blame the profession though for the idiotic actions of the state. When it comes to Government do not assume malice when sheer, mind-numbing stupidity is also a valid explanation. Occam votes for the latter.

Chairman of the Bored

Dark side of professional registration

I'm a P.E. but I work in a discipline supporting a highly regulated field in which safety of life requires formal proof.

Such is not the case for most engineers. I respect their work and their ability to call what they do by the most straightforward and appropriate title. That said I do expect to see some education in the maths and hard sciences for one to call oneself an 'engineer'. When I see 'Microsoft Certified Engineer' on a resume... lets just say there had better be something else on there!!

The dark side of regulation in the US is that in many trades (plumbing, electrical, later HVAC) regulation pretty much existed to keep minorities out. In some locales official corruption enabled registration to serve as an enabler for certain organized crime rackets. Not a pretty history

So you're 'agile', huh? I do not think it means what you think it means

Chairman of the Bored

I cannot believe I'm going to defend...

...some of the stuff I saw when I was is Gov't service but here goes:

For agile to work, one needs and intelligent and engaged customer. A hint of this is found in the question, 'has your customer seen source code?' In a govt to govt context if you show source code, your PM will s#can you immediately. Why? The customer would have absolutely no clue what to do with it. I've seen projects (looking at you DHS) where turnover at the mid-level management to decision maker level was so high that teams could not get on the calendar to brief the wunderkind of the moment before he shoved off for greener pa$ture$. For years straight.

So what do you do when your customer cannot find their own ass with both hands, a flashlight, and a radar set? Make your own best estimate of what they need... somehow get the yes-men, sycophants, and sociopaths above you to agree to a course of action.... maintain laser-like focus on those requirements so you dont piss away resources chasing buzzwords or shiny... and execute. Sounds a lot like the much-maligned waterfall, no?

If you try to go agile you are brought into constant contact with the same yes-men, sycophants, and sociopaths. They've got no insight into whats needed - no technical ability - and are only going to demand more buzzwords and shiby.

The actual users? Nowhere at the table in the bureaucracy. In the "as built" govt waterfall-ish process they get at least some representation because the developers usually hire some to serve as requirements leads early on.

I'm not claiming the as-built process builds products that are optimal, cheap, or necessarily effective. What I'm saying is that its the best you can do in a Byzantine bureaucracy populated by sinecures. Going agile without having a decent customer seems like cruel and unusual punishment, and thats unconstitutional.

That's reality. And that's why I drink and my liver shall be buried with full honors.

Do you suffer from the shame of 'Scroll Jank'? Help is at your fingertips

Chairman of the Bored

I thought this had something to do with drinking.

The Ol’ Janx Spirit Rhyme went: “Oh don’t give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit/ No, don’t you give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit/ For my head will fly, my tongue will lie, my eyes will fry and I may die/ Won’t you pour me one more of that sinful Old Janx Spirit”...

Car rental firms told: Tell your customers about in-car data slurps

Chairman of the Bored

Depends on the airport

Absolutely second the advice of the poster who advised buying the secondary insurance.

Dozens of trips to Germany. Consistently get screwed in Frankfurt with bogus damage claims. Munich ok. Stuttgart is amazing... fast, clean cars and no B.S.

London OK, get screwed in Paris. Go figure.

Worst place in USA has got to be Los Angeles International. All the car lots are off-airport in an area that reminds me of some interesting times I had in Iraq. Having waited forever for a bus while inhaling clouds of diesel smoke, you are taken on a torturous route to the lots. Thoroughly disoriented and delayed 30-60min you are now a captive customer in the agency's filthy facility. Wait another hour and they figure you will sign damn near anything. And why not? Unless you reverse the process through the shuttles or take an exciting walk through Hawthorn - at night perhaps - for an identical shakedown at a competitor's site. This is an freakin' organized crime racket!

If you've got to go to LA, fly in through John Wayne instead. If coming from abroad you will have to do a connection somewhere but time-wise probably come out ahead regardless. And you won't get shaken down, mugged, etc

Euro Patent Office commanded to reinstate 'Nazi judge' it attacked

Chairman of the Bored

Re: It Just Doesn't Matter

Tapeworm in fiscal gut... excellent turn of phrase, sir! I'm going to borrow this. Have a pint.

Chairman of the Bored

If the reporting is accurate the manager definitely requires dismissal

This is one area where EU governance is light years ahead of USA. When I was a govt worker on the left side of the pond, I discovered that it is essentially impossible to pursue a libel or slander case. Basically if a person is a total dirtbag on govt time they cannot be sued. The gov't gets sued in the dirtbag's place ... if and only if the govt decides it will let you sue it. Care to guess how often that happens?

The only effective defense Ive seen is when a supervisor (of know psychopathic tendencies) secretly accused a subordinate of child molestation when interviewed for his clearance reinvestigation. He found out about is when he foia'ed his clearance investigation records. Feds pursued the manager for making a false statement, which is a very light felony. My employee ended up keeping his job, and the manager was promoted to a sinecure

Report: Underwater net cables are prime targets for terrorists and Russia

Chairman of the Bored

Magnet vs cable?

Depends on the type of steel used in the strength members. If its austenitic stainless, it will ignore the magnet. I don't know what is actually used.

Picking up with magnet? Tough to do. Stuff is heavy, one tonne per km seems to stick in my mind. Grappling hook would probably work better.

Had song and dance years ago about threats to terrestrial internet. Briefing after briefing had the same tired stock photos of men in turbans looking furtive or weak-chinned teenagers in hoodies hunched over keyboards. Rep from our provider (name rhymes with 'verizon') finally exploded, "Bullshit!!! The real threat is Feddy Fredneck atop his Fiber Seeking Backhoe tearing out armfuls of fiber while scratching his butt and ignoring his foreman..."

You never forget a comment like that!

Chairman of the Bored

The reg really needs to do an article on...

...the life and times of Cyrus West Field. I will raise a pint to the gentleman.

He is the man behind the first transatlantic cable and demonstrated character and extraordinary perseverance despite crushing failures. They certainly do not make men like him anymore; our inability to plan and act beyond one fiscal quarter in the future would have shocked him and his investors.

Drone collisions with airliners may not be fatal, US study suggests

Chairman of the Bored

Re: How is this different than birdstrike?

See FAR 33.76 and the associated advisory circular. For small to midsize birds you need to demonstrate 75pct thrust for 2min regardless of internal damage. For large flocking birds? You're flocked.

Good example of decent thrust after severe fan damage is the British Midlands crash; due to human factors crew shut down their good engine and flew a pretty good

distance (~30min) on a destroyed one, though not at full power. IIRC this was a fan failure with parts ingested... the works. Too low and slow to relight perfectly good engine they had shut down when loss of performance became apparent. Dead engine failed totally on throttle up and a/c did not make runway.