* Posts by Chairman of the Bored

933 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Apr 2017

Pablo Escobar's big bro and former accountant sues Apple for $2.6bn over FaceTime bug

Chairman of the Bored

So you blow 100k on "added security"...

...and effen install FaceTime? Are you kidding me?

Someone needs to stop using his own product!

Resistance is futile: Some Cisco security appliances are ticking time bombs of fail thanks to faulty resistors

Chairman of the Bored

Re: "Resistors, which cost a few cents apiece"

Meanwhile, in a particular research lab I worked in, every.single.fscking.resistor or other component would get entered individually into an ERP database, tracked, and "dispensed" as needed. This makes sense for a computer or $50,000 spectrum analyzer. But a $0.005 discrete?

No ship! Buy a reel of 5,000 resistors? You get 5,000 manual entries in ERP. Care to guess how many entries are jacked? That's how your $0.005 component becomes $2-5. Granted, we were a lab instead of a manufacturer, but that's unreal.

On top of this, I'd frequently get called in the carpet to justify things such as, "why does this design have four precision resistors and several hundred other resistors?" My reply would be along the lines of "We've got five guys in here, at 150 bucks an hour, arguing over six cents on a $45k piece of equipment. What are you smoking? I want some...'

Any they wonder why the competent design engineers left, followed by the clients

Royal Navy nuclear submarine captain rapped for letting crew throw shoreside BBQ party

Chairman of the Bored

Re: I fail to see anything wrong here

Why sanctions? Whomever tried to send all the Puritans to the Americas back in the day didn't do a proper job.

Iran military manages to keep a straight face while waggling miracle widget that 'can detect coronavirus from 100m away'

Chairman of the Bored

Re: you may laugh

Yes, quite right. See: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/11/24/cdc-inspection-findings-reveal-more-about-fort-detrick-research-suspension.html/amp

I'm surprised the anti-vaxxers' and conspiracy nutjobs' heads haven't exploded over this. I will shut up now.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: you may laugh

Splitting a hair here, I've not seen any serious claims the virus "originated" in a lab, meaning that it's a bioweapon. The claims are more to the point that BSL-4 labs research nasty crap and some may have escaped.

Supposedly Chinese labs have leaked in the past. The Russians offed a bunch of people at Mayak with an Anthrax screwup (that was a BWC violation...). The US Army's Ft Derrick lab was shut down by CDC last year, only got it's approval for restart this March. Sometimes s..t happens. When the nitrogenous waste hits the rotating aspirator, it's time to check your ego at the door and figure out what the hell happened ... so you can share information on how to prevent another occurrence with everyone else doing similar work

Intelsat orbital comms satellite is back online after first robo-recovery mounting and tug job gets it back into position

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Makes me wonder...

My understanding is that it inserted a probe into the bell of 901's main thruster. Seems uncomfortable, but it works.

Stop us if you've heard this before: Boeing's working on 737 Max software fixes for autopilot, stabilization bugs

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Flying less

For us blebs, perhaps.

But for the management class, it's a whole different story.

Start of flight announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen, and the cattle in coach...."

Hi, Google Duplex here, trying to book a haircut for a socially inept human. Sorry, 'COVID-19'?... DOES NOT COMPUTE

Chairman of the Bored

And let the mischief begin

I can see it now:

Me:" Hey, Google!"

G: "Yes, sir?"

Me: "Call that girl who handles my taxes, I want to talk to her about payment"

G: "Ok, I got you a call girl who will give you a hand job, you need to pay."

Me: "What the fsck??!!"

G: "That's another hundred bucks."

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Cambridge Police are too busy with serious crime

Transphobic tweet?

#toyota #hybrid I'm afraid the wifes everfscking hybrid tranny has lost another seal. POS.

That should work, no?

Apollo astronaut Al Worden – once named most isolated human being of all time – dies aged 88

Chairman of the Bored

So long, astronaut

I'm amazed the mighty Saturn V could even lift off given the mass of the brass pairs you and your mates were packing.

IBM's outgoing boss Rometty awarded $20m+ in 2019 for growing revenue 0.1%

Chairman of the Bored

Number not kwite right

$1.1M for limos, jets, and blow seems low.

Want to own a bit of Concorde? Got £750k burning a hole in your pocket? We have just the thing

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Which was the bigger engineering challenge ? Concorde. Or Apollo ?

Bad intakes? Close but not quite.

Top speed of the B1-A prototypes were about 2.1 to 2.3 Mach at high altitude. B1-B, though, added the requirement of low level penetration and reduced RCS, as the USAF realized high speed / high altitude was useless against contemporary air defense systems. Hence the abandonment of the XB-70 (3+ Mach) bomber and the 2+ Mach B-58 Hustler, which was removed from service all the way back in 1970.

Why is the B1-B slower than -1A? For RCS reduction, the B1-B ended up with fixed vice variable intake ramps instead of the variable ramps of -1A and a serpentine duct that prevents any direct line of sight to the fan face. Limits speed to something like 1.2 Mach... But then, it can go 0.92 Mach on the deck, which is damned impressive. Above 1.2Mach, supposedly the intake serpentine can incur damage.

Basically, a nice, hot 3+ Mach aircraft at altitude is a hell of a missile sponge. And you're not outrunning any missiles. Survival involves terrain masking and RCS reduction, not peak speed.

Amazon staffer based just a stone's throw away from Seattle HQ tests positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Respirators

Shots, aye! What scares me are the anti-vaxxers kids in my kids school. nothing like knowing your son is sitting next to Marco Polio.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Respirators

I don't think COVID-19 or any of the other coronaviruses have reverse transcriptase; so no DNA modification to host. Thank $deity.

I'm not sure what it is about the AIDS drugs that makes them interesting for this problem.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Respirators

Not Tamiflu. Some researchers are apparently working with cocktails of the HIV drugs to see if they can get some response. I am not qualified to discuss whether that makes sense or is just wishful thinking.

Discussion on a National Public Radio broadcast a couple of days ago included a statement that struck me as very interesting. Children seem to be somewhat immune to the novel coronavirus. That's not too surprising because usually the aged get hammered by respiratory stuff more than young, non-smoking, and generally healthy people. But the doctor who was being interviewed said there's a body of thought that children are constantly exposed to all types of coronaviruses in school settings, and generally have a low level of permanent infection. Something about a total lack of social distancing and questionable personal hygiene. So it raises the question- if this theory is correct then closing schools may be precisely the wrong answer... There may be a benefit to zero social distancing.

But gooooood luck getting a controlled test for THAT experiment approved by a Medical Review Board!

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Respirators

I know! I'm definitely not of sound mind and body. Definite dirt nap material, and my doctor friend is already completely wasted about away from whatever crud he's been screwing around with through his career.

It's morbid, but sometimes we've got to look in the mirror and admit that were not 20 anymore :(

I think I need a large, unhealthy, and totally satisfying drink. To your health, eh?

Chairman of the Bored


Talked to a neighbor who spent his life in public medicine, retired o disability after one too many bouts of weird stuff suffered far from home

His take is that we should take comfort in the fact that ~80pct of cases will be minor. Assuming this coronavirus behaves like most, we can expect a significant drop in transmission and mortality in the summer months, and then US and Europe will get slammed hard in the fall. Similar to the 1918 pandemic's two waves.

At 1pct mortality, basically most people will personally know of one victim who ends up taking a dirt nap.

This virus seems to kill through a viral pneumonia, and the usual supportive measures (oxygen and steroids) do not seem particularly effective. None of the usual antivirals seem to do much. Mechanical respirators are needed to recover victims. These cost as much as a small car, take months to order, and require trained respiratory techs to set up and operate. He said that until we get a vaccine, respirator availability becomes a limiting factor.

Asked him for his advice, and he said "people should get their flu and other shots and avoid doing stupid things that consume medical resources."

'Unfixable' boot ROM security flaw in millions of Intel chips could spell 'utter chaos' for DRM, file encryption, etc

Chairman of the Bored

Re: "maintain physical possession of their platform"

At my age, maybe the only hard drive possible!

Chairman of the Bored

Honest question...

Is the system DMA controller in modern Intel chipsets baked into the CPU silicon and part of the HW trust boundary, or is this a separate chip?

What's inside a tech freelancer's backpack? That's right, EVERYTHING

Chairman of the Bored

Freelancer? You forgot four items!

Or four copies of one item, to be precise:

One little black ledger book for you,

One for the tax man, one for the missus, one for the mistress

Fancy that: Hacking airliner systems doesn't make them magically fall out of the sky

Chairman of the Bored

Re: The human factor

@Elledan- awesome post. Needs an upvote and a pint for thoroughness.

Human factors are hard. That's why my previous life we said there were three ways to do things: the right way, the wrong way, and the Marine way.

The Marine way involves drilling your man senseless, then let him recover enough to hyper focus on task. You break complex tasks into smaller and smaller and smaller tasks. When the task is small enough, you assign a man to do it, trained and drilled until it can be done to perfection. That's why you go on a warship and you will see men and women physically watching gauges. SCADA? DCS? We've heard of it. Industrial automation? Meh. Marine attitude is that if I want a valve opened I want a human to experience the flow. Does the pipe vibrate? Smell different? Sound different? I can automate that, but how do you cover all the eventualities?

My problem is that I have to the faintest idea how to strike a good compromise between cost-efficient, minimal staffing (airlines) against my urge to throw a bunch of people at a problem.

Chairman of the Bored

Good wet-ware

Hopefully the wet ware was unaware of the experimental objectives. If I know I'm going to face controls or nav issues, perhaps I'm more alert to the possibilities of borkage.

I was once party to a study where we had a number of operators doing adult-level work on a network-intensive system. Unbeknownst to them, they were participating in a study of human effects from a vicious simulated cyberattack. We expected to see mental stress, confusion, and human errors. Other than the obvious connectivity and functionality deficits, the operators just shrugged and carried on. I debrief we had to TELL them their had been an attack. Respone? "Really? No s__t! We just thought I'd was another fscking Windows problem..."

Moral: when your OSes and networks suck so badly that 'normal ops' looks like a cyberattack, your operators will be well trained.

Hopefully the pilots overhead are not trained in this manner.

Sure, check through my background records… but why are you looking at my record collection?

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Strangest job interview technique

Mornington... I'm a Yank and had to look that up. Excellent word / end state for a game. Thanks!

Chairman of the Bored

How to tell you work for idiots

My former firm once had a posted requirement for >10 years of C# experience. Only six years after C# spec was published. Yet many people applied and got hired. Police call that "a clue."

Chairman of the Bored

Strangest job interview technique

After a couple hours of normal interview technique I went into this one-on-one in a quiet room with a guy speaking in a monotone saying adjectives and nouns, and I had to say the very first word that came to mind. I guess they wanted to test my mental health.

Any idea how hard it is to not say "clam" when "bearded" is spoken when you're nervous, irritated, and trying to game an idiotic test?

EU court tells prudish IP office to fack off for balking at 'fack ju' trademark application

Chairman of the Bored

The King of Fa

We had a Failure Analysis branch, creatively named "FA" on org charts. A very well respected, highly competent, but slightly mischievous engineer took over the branch and titled himself "The King of Fa".

When you entered his office for a consult, he would ceremoniously don a purple robe and crown, raise a staff (fountain pen) in welcome, and say in a booming voice, "Welcome, stranger! Please tell me, what is your FA KING PROBLEM?"

Never thought we'd write this headline: Under Siege Steven Seagal is not Above The Law, must fork out $314,000 after boosting crypto-coin biz

Chairman of the Bored

My Freudian Slip is showing

I kept reading"bit coin" as "bit CON". But knowing El Reg, perhaps that's intentional?

Wi-Fi of more than a billion PCs, phones, gadgets can be snooped on. But you're using HTTPS, SSH, VPNs... right?

Chairman of the Bored

Nice attack

And I always thought that the only good use of a deauth was to clear the crowd off an AP so I could win a race condition and get access. Yes, that's a d__k move, but sometimes a guys got to go aggressive...

Just the place you'd want to spot a BSOD: While waiting in line for a roller coaster that lifts you up 124ft

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Slow news day?

What's wrong with butcher's kiosk displays? One in my town always cracks me up:

"Be safety conscious... Always cover your meat"

"Making flank steak? Make sure you beat your meat..."

Chairman of the Bored

Re: It'll just make it more exciting...

Look at the bright side of this... At least they still cared enough to bother with the maintenance! It's when the maintainers are so dispirited that they no longer bother that you have to start wondering... Kind of like a couple networks I've had to use!

Google product boss cuffed on suspicion of murder after his Microsoft manager wife goes missing, woman's body found, during Hawaii trip

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Sad yes, but is this really pat of El Reg's core mission?

The maybe spank IT?

Oracle plays its Trump card: Blushing Big Red gushes over US govt support in Java API battle... just as Larry Ellison holds Donald fundraiser

Chairman of the Bored

Castenada's statement...

... Is really quite good. It's a beautiful non sequitur.

Remember, kids, the deadliest BS is odorless and transparent. These two firms will kill us all.

'Windows Vista' spotted doing a whoopsie over EE's signage

Chairman of the Bored

Re: having to work with less than a tenth of [640k]


<Whips out my full length Quantum Plus Hard Card>

Oh, yeah! Not floppy at all!

Wake me up before you go Go: Devs say they'll learn Google-backed lang next. Plus: Perl pays best, Java still in demand

Chairman of the Bored

I miss perl

Any language that allows one to write expressively enough to create poetry, yet arcane enough that optimized code is indistinguishable from line noise rocks.

Obligatory Black Perl reference:


Sometimes I look at a Perl script I've written and have to say, "how the ....does this work? It's unreadable! What idiot, er, I did that? Damn.. " Perl really is a write-only language

RIP FTP? File Transfer Protocol switched off by default in Chrome 80

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Whippersnappers!

My uni had some sort of multiple personality disorder going on: IBM mainframe + VAX + Sun. UUENCODE was my friend, along with the conv options in dd. I miss the VAX but at the time would not have minded if a small incendiary bomb took out the IBM

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Whippersnappers!

@Slacky - remote automated management over cu? That's badass CLI work. Try that with a browser! Me? All I could get cu to do was keep a dialup line connected despite a flaky PBX.

Involved cursing and lots of rtfm, but I'm a stronger man for it.

Chairman of the Bored


UUCP. That was a real man's file transfer protocol. Store-and-forward message passing over dialup connections. Plus email and netnews in one go! Try that with this newfangled ftp stuff!

Admittedly most people only experienced the joy of using these tools through uudecoding pictures of, er, kitties they downloaded from Usenet using rn in the late 80's

I'm getting seriously old.

At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd

Chairman of the Bored

Ok, blame me

I've been informed that I'm the one guy on the face of the Earth who asked for something like homed. In my defence, I have no recollection of any software discussion that night. I have dim recollections of a great many decent shots of whiskey, some awful fruity crap, something about bras, and some other stuff my barrister says I should not discuss. So when did I talk about systemd-homed? Can't recall, must've been the booze talking.

Rockstar dev debate reopens: Hero programmers do exist, do all the work, do chat a lot – and do need love and attention from project leaders

Chairman of the Bored

Don't be a tosser...

Some guys just toss stuff up on GitHub and hope it sticks. They don't communicate, fail to test, and believe their code is pure manna.


Judge snubs IT outsourcers' plea to Alt-F4 tougher H-1B visa rules: Bosses told to fill out the extra paperwork

Chairman of the Bored

I wonder if...

...one could start outsourcing jobs at outsourcing firms. Could it become recursive? To what depth?

Are you getting it? Yes, armageddon it: Mass hysteria takes hold as the Windows 7 axe falls

Chairman of the Bored

Re: What about the mysterious bug in Windows cryptolibraries Krebs talked about today?

I wonder why the heck the garage was redlining your vehicle. If your car is new enough for OBD-II fitment I'd expect the emissions check to primarily consist of reading any emissions fault codes from your ECU.

I think there is a MOT test that checks whether your exhaust system is louder than a typical vehicle if the same type. Im not sure how redlining is an appropriate test for that...

El Reg needs a 'screwed' icon

Chairman of the Bored

Re: What about the mysterious bug in Windows cryptolibraries Krebs talked about today?

Piss in the tank? Could be! But as long as they hate each other more than me, I should be good.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: What about the mysterious bug in Windows cryptolibraries Krebs talked about today?

Your garage problem has a solution:

In my town there are two principal garages. I will take the vehicle to one and say, "Please do the state inspection... But remember that Billy Bob down the street will get the repair work. I'm here for inspection only". Swap vendors as needed. Rinse, repeat.

Tea tipplers are more likely to live longer, healthier lives than you triple venti pumpkin-syrup soy-milk latte-swilling fiends

Chairman of the Bored

Crap diets

Sometimes there are exceptions to the rule.

Many years ago I took my then 85-year-old grandmom to the doctor for an annual checkup. He gave her the traditional lecture about her crap diet: full of saturated fats, caffeine, sugar... And she asked him, "So, I'm 85 and I've outlived every one of my peers. So what you are saying is that if I eat a crap diet I won't live to old age? Well.....?"

Doc: "umm.... er...."

Grandmom, "With respect, young man, I've outlived three of YOU docs despite your fancy diets..."

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Erm...

Where did I get that? Apologies, I forgot the British context and tea culture of El Reg. My wife's family is from China, and in that context the higher end black teas are for export, the swill is consumed domestically, and green tea is a premium product. Therefore people with higher socioeconomic status will generally grab the green... In part because it's a status thing. But these people will live longer anyways. Confounding factors.

FWIW, if you order tea in a Chinese restaurant in the USA, you will invariably get an exceptionally weak cup of green. Ask for "whatever the manger is drinking"

Chairman of the Bored


So what they're saying is that Chinese with enough money to pay for quantities of high end stuff live longer? No dip. Wealth usually correlates with longevity

Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Too late!

Understand what you are saying, but many of us develop embedded systems and I for one am not particularly concerned about t your infrastructure examples.

Why? Most real time (critical) code does not use time_t for several reasons: first is most control applications could care less about system time/date. Logging and admin is usually not handled in your real time, critical code - that's sent to general purpose machines elsewhere so the beancounters get their beans. Second, for applications that do care deeply about time/date, experienced system developers do NOT depend on system time because of its notorious errors and unreliability, especially in harsh environments. Third, in this day and age of GPS spoofers and wankers mis-configuring NTP servers so badly I don't know what decade I'm in, many developers adopt a healthy attitude of total distrust for time_t

Banking and financial... That concerns me.

Greetings from the future where it's all pole-dancing robots and Pokemon passports

Chairman of the Bored

Crypto currency?

'Cryptocurrency is a pile of wank'.

Thank you for that, I've been trying to persuade my kin that there are better investment opportunities out there. Your summary is, er, to the point.

Hate speech row: Fine or jail anyone who calls people boffins, geeks or eggheads, psychology nerd demands

Chairman of the Bored

Rocket science is mostly easy...

No downvote because I understand where you are going with the post, but the time I took Space Dynamics definitely gave my math skills a run for the money. I still remember the outline of an exam problem: high speed aircraft flying a circular path at such-n-so altitude, speed, rate of turn... passes over point X at time Y. Satellite in a highly elliptical orbit with given elements. Compute relative Doppler shift if a 200MHz beacon on the SV as seen by the aircraft. For the next two passes as well. Arrrggghh!!! What also killed me was computing transfer orbits by hand. And I'm an RF engineer, with high confidence in my math skills.

Now the aerospace engineers with their compressible flow problems... And compressible flows when your fluids are actively combusting and adding energy to the system... Those men and women are the real deal. A pint, I think, is in order