* Posts by Misha Gale

65 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Aug 2007


Brit pair deported from US for 'destroy America' tweet

Misha Gale

Cheddarfingers, I'd say it's unlikely that anyone was just trawling twitter all day, but I don't doubt that homeland security have some automated system, and "destroy America" is a phrase which would raise red flags. It'd be easy enough for this automated system to cross-reference with passengers who are booked on flights into the US, and then when the Twit in question presents his passport at border control, the immigration agent sees a notice on their screen to refer them for questioning. I wouldn't be surprised if the first human interaction in this scenario wasn't until they had already landed.

Keene IRAnywhere

Misha Gale


Sounds ideal for controlling the projector in my living room which is plugged into the PC in my bedroom - only not for a hundred nicker. A few cunningly angled mirrors might be a more cost effective solution.

WPA keys gone in 60 seconds

Misha Gale
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Not a key stealing attack?

OK, I'm neither an expert on cryptography or network security, that's why I read the dumbed-down versions on El Reg, but something doesn't seem quite right here. AFAIK, the Beck-Tewes attack is able to intercept and modify small packets of data, *not* obtain the key to a network, two very different things. And apparently this new attack does the same thing, only faster.

So how are "WPA keys gone in 60 seconds"? This is a serious attack, but this article seems to be exaggerating somewhat.

As I said before, I'm not an expert, and I'd be happy for someone to explain to me that I'm wrong.

Burned by Chrome - Fire put out

Misha Gale

How does google know you used Chrome?

So if Google gets a licence to use the photos you post on Flikr, or the tracks you upload to Myspace, how do they know which of the zillions of photos and tracks on those sites were posted by users of Chrome?

Either (a) There is spyware built in to Chrome which keeps track of what content you post and where (unlikely, since the code is open source) or (b) they don't know, except for those services google already own, like Youtube, where they can check the user-agent strings. I suppose it's also possible that (c) Google will subpoena Flikr/Myspace/whoever for the User-agent strings from their server-logs, but I doubt that even the DMCA allows for this.

And if it's (b), isn't this clause in the T's & C's of youtube et al already? So why do they need it in the browser as well?

Still waiting for that google-with-horns comment icon...

Secret of invisibility unravelled by US researchers

Misha Gale

Just upgraded camouflage

Sounds like the main military application for this (assuming even that it does provide 100% invisibility in the visible spectrum) is as an upgrade to standard camo - something that makes you hard to see, provided the enemy isn't actively searching for you. Besides looking, there are (as pointed out already) far too many ways of detecting an invisible soldier: body heat, noise, radar/sonar, covering the ground with sand and looking for footprints, chucking paint/flour everywhere, using dogs/smellbots to pick up scent etc etc etc.

Even so, it still beats green and black facepaint.

BT opens wallet to send fibre to the home

Misha Gale

re: what's the point

Aside from all the obvious advantages on the customer side of having a decent fibre-based infrastructure, there are also significant advantages to content providers and ISPs. If we have lot more cheap high-bandwidth links between the various ISPs and data-centres in this country, problems like the bandwidth demands of apps like iPlayer can go away. And if bandwidth becomes cheap, acceptable usage policies, throttling, traffic-shaping and so on also become less of a problem.

ESA: space tourism greener than ordinary airline flights

Misha Gale

upper atmosphere

It's been my understanding that the problem with emissions from aircraft is not so much the quantity of greenhouse gases (which is comparatively low*), but where they are emitted. CO2 from a car will be partly sequestered by the trees and other ground-level carbon sinks. Planes leave their CO2 high in the atmosphere, where is contributes most to the greenhouse effect, and can't be scrubbed by the plant life.

On this basis, isn't a rocket plane, which goes even higher than a jet airliner, that much less green?

* Low-cost airlines are keen to point out that planes account for only 2% of the global carbon footprint

Viacom suit is Net killer, Google claims

Misha Gale

Lucrative business?

I thought YouTube had yet to actually turn a profit, let alone pay for the gajillions google spent acquiring it

Korean DMZ droids 'unfit for combat'

Misha Gale


Given that N and S Korea aren't in a shooting war, how does deploying these warbots along the border for a year constitute a trial, and how does one judge said bots a failure? Didn't they fill their quota for shooting border jumpers? Or if they just sat there doing nothing for a year, well, isn't that what they're supposed to do, until Pyongyang decides to invade?

I suppose there is the possibility that they spent the whole year firing on non-existent targets, or worse, friendlies.

Shame it sounds like they are being wholesale replaced rather than upgraded, since everyone knows all you have to do to upgrade an automated sentry gun turret is have one of your engineers whack it several times with a large wrench.

Motorised meat-smoker droid vigilante patrols Atlanta

Misha Gale


Nice to see that being poor and destitute is still a serious crime requiring armed response and imprisonment. Maybe we should just stick them all in a workhouse, so we won't have to see them dying of disease and malnutrition. Or just borrow a couple of Reaper HK bots from the pentagon, and really put an end to homelessness, eh?

Asus Eee PC 900 Linux Edition

Misha Gale


The vanilla linux kernel and associated daemons are notoriously power-inefficient. I'd be interested to hear the results of the battery life benchmark with the patches from lesswatts.org applied, which claim to lower power usage by up to 30%.

eBay pulls Vista laptop pwned in hacking contest

Misha Gale

Harmful effect

I think the theory goes that since the laptop hasn't been wiped since it was pwned, some black hat could buy the machine, then use some cunning forensics techniques to figure out how it was compromised in the first place. Thus giving the cyberterrorists access to an unpatched remote-code-execution vuln with which to create the next Blaster worm.

No, I don't buy it either.

The Baying of the Hounds

Misha Gale

Re: Would she happen to be .....

The Torygraph interview says that yes, she is. Unless by "the" Amber Marks you don't mean the daughter of Dennis Howard Marks, dope-smuggler/-activist/-writer.


Microsoft rejects Yahoo! rejection

Misha Gale

re: I'm surprised noone is taking about Yahoo groups

*sigh* had enough trouble trying to get techno-incompetent mailing list subscribers to get a Yahoo! ID after egroups... It ought to be possible to automatically create a passport account from a yahoo ID. They'll still require you to do it manually though.

Anti-spammer fined $60K for DNS lookup 'hack'

Misha Gale

zone transfer?

So Reynolds ran a DNS server that allowed zone transfers from any T, D, & H on the internet, and it outraged when someone grabs his DNS records?

If Sierra had made any attempt to secure this service from unauthorised hosts, and Ritz had made any attempt to circumvent that security, there might be a case for hacking. But I smell a judge who still thinks the electricity leaks out of the plugholes if you don't put those little childproof covers on.

Bloke finds missus working in brothel

Misha Gale


> The people responsible for this have encited an entire Nation against them

Seriously? For one cat? You Canadians really need to get a sense of humour... I mean, kids microwave hamsters and guinea pigs every day of the week, don't they? If we leave out cats, surely that's just picking on the rodents.

Incidentally, was it just me who pissed themselves laughing about Bonsai Kittens *before* they worked out it was a hoax?

Barron Hilton donates fortune to charity

Misha Gale

@Positive discrimination?

>Given that neither poverty nor lack of clean water is specific to Africa,

>has anyone else noticed how frequently Big Philanthropy seems to

>target that continent and not others?

I think it's called triage. We'll deal with the pandemic ridden, war-torn, famine and flood struck continent that was systematically raped and pillaged by it's richer neighbours first, *then* we'll run a telethon to fix the leaky roof in your council flat.

The art of software murder

Misha Gale

@K re: Adobe Reader

>How many of us have gotten an email with a .odt attachment?

Well, none, because OO.o (does changing to a damn silly name count as shark jumping?) supports the ubiquitous .doc, so files being sent by email get converted. If word supported .odt (haha, I'm here till Friday, try the fish) we wouldn't need to bother.

PC World parent awaits FTSE 100 relegation

Misha Gale

Fun with monopoly

This is the problem with have one OS with 95% dominance. We now have a situation where one company's rubbish product can negatively affect the whole PC industry. With a more heterogeneous OS market, the laptops not sold with Vista could be sold with another, better OS. But MS strongarms their partners into only selling their OS of choice, and now those partners are suffering. Hopefully, more of them will grow a pair and start offering XP or linux or... well thats about all the choice there is for PCs actually.

Microsoft's sex-obsessed RoboSanta spouts filth at children

Misha Gale
Gates Horns

Santa doesn't like Open Sores?

(1:54:58 PM) Misha: Merry Christmas Santa!

(1:55:02 PM) Message could not be sent because the user is offline:

Merry Christmas Santa!

Could it be because I'm using Pidgin perhaps? Or is it just that this is an M$ thread and we haven't had any outraged Linux users yet?</troll>

Cig-lighter electropulse cannons offered to US plods

Misha Gale

Electric cars?

OK, so I don't have a drivers licence or know anything about the mechanics of cars, but I've always understood that the internal combustion engine works by, well, internally combusting. Surely most of the bits that make a car go are mechanical. Wouldn't this ray gun just fry the car stereo, indicators, windscreen wipers and so forth?

Failing that, would we start seeing crims driving model-T's and similar ancient non-electrical vehicles?

Great War diary reveals original Captain Blackadder

Misha Gale

re: Out of copyright?

No. In the UK literary works go out of copyright 75 years after the death of the author - 2046 in this case.

Babbling net software sparks international incident

Misha Gale

re: Babel Fish gets good results

@Anon: Is your son by any chance in an English school? Because as I understand it, throwing your inkwell at the exam paper gets you a C in French Language GCSE.

Real F-15 joins massively multiplayer virtual war

Misha Gale

Trained pilots vs gamers?

So who are the other players in this MMOG? The article kind of made it sound like this is an ordinary game to which military hardware and personnel had been hooked up. If that's the case, it's hardly a test of a USAF pilots abilities to shoot down people trained on MS Flight Sim.

Assuming this is pitting real pilots against each other, I'm still not sure I see how it's an improvement over a ground simulator. Is it just for the sake of realistic g-forces?

China goes lunar

Misha Gale


The reason why no one has bothered to look for the lunar landers, buggy etc is that there is no need. There is concrete proof, in abundance that NASA went to the moon, the most irrefutable being the many samples of lunar rock brought back. Paul is right, If the conspiracy nutters don't believe the proof we have now, some grainy pictures from China or Japan aren't going to make a lot of difference.

No email privacy rights under Constitution, US gov claims

Misha Gale

For once, Britain was ahead of the US on this one...

After reading this, I was considering switching to a non-US e-mail provider, then I remembered the RIP act abolished online privacy yonks ago. And by not having a constitution, we've saved all the bother of having to find a court to circumvent it. Rule Britannia!

Record industry pushes ISPs to cut off file sharers

Misha Gale

Re: Normal people don't upload

You missed out:

- Joost

- Kontiki (4OD, BBC iPlayer, whatever the Sky one is called)

- Video conferencing

- Webcams for keeping a sneaky eye on the Au-pair/kids/dog while at work

- Online games

- Offsite backup (BT now offering this to home users)

Gosling ready to kill-off lame duck J2ME

Misha Gale


I don't think lack of GPS etc is going to be the only problem. My Java experience is a bit limited, but surely there is a problem with user interface? Much of the point of J2ME was to offer APIs that made sense for devices without mice and keyboards. Standard Swing components just aren't going to cut it, without modification. So Sun need to roll much of the J2ME API into J2SE (or whatever it's called this month). In which case, why not just expand J2ME a bit now that you can buy a phone with a decent processing/memory capacity? Oh, of course, to justify spending all that money on SavaJe.

DISCLAIMER: I still use a nokia with a monochrome display and no GPRS, let alone Java, so I may be talking total balls.

Gang attempted to pass £500,000 notes, court told

Misha Gale
Paris Hilton

Let them off

Surely no one could possibly have expected this to work? They can't actually have been serious fraudsters can they? If this is the highest level of criminal ingenuity they can rise to, I think we can safely assume they are no threat to society.

Oh and Donde esta Señorita Hilton?

China hijacks Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! traffic?

Misha Gale

@Kevin Crisp

>If forced, which would you emigrate to?


Pentagon in orbital solar power plan for world peace

Misha Gale

@zen, re: Wind Farms

I'm not sure I follow your logic there mate. Yes, wind tubines affect the course of winds and extract energy from them, but surely so do trees, buildings rocks and in fact any solid object? Is there some physics/meteorology I don't get here?

BBC spreads free Wi-Fi Cloud over iPlayer delay

Misha Gale

re: No DRM on Linux = No BBC iPlayer

There is no particular reason you can't have secure DRM on Linux, other than that open sourcers don't like DRM and are unlikely to invest time in creating one.

DRM's security is (in theory) based on cryptographic techniques rather than security-by-obscurity so open-source implementations ought to be more secure. Of course, one could modify an open source player to save the decoded stream to disk instead of displaying it, but one could do the same to Windows Media Player, it just requires more reverse engineering.

I think the main problem with your argument is that there isn't any such thing as secure DRM. All DRM is inherently vulnerable to the exploit described above, and of course the "analogue hole".

Misha Gale


I suspect that they've run into some technical issues with porting iPlayer to Mac, Linux &c. The iPlayer is basically just a wrapper around the Kontiki software which also powers channel 4's on demand offering. And Kontiki is a very windowsy beast, and getting Verisign to make it platfrom independent may cost Auntie more than she is willing to pay.

Personally, I don't really give a toss, as iPlayer is slower, more difficult to use and has less content than it's (already cross platform) black market equivalents. A streaming service might actually differentiate iPlayer from the pirate sites though, since it would be truly "on demand". But why not just extend the existing Real based streaming service, instead of investing in new Flash software? Just 'cos youtube uses it doesn't make it the best.

Be customers still exposed by router snafu

Misha Gale

Re: "Flash"

Actually I doubt the firmware is stored in actual flash memory (which is writeable, hence things like the iPod nano), probably an EEPROM. The SpeedTouch 780 (AKA BeBox) allows someone with the administrative password to upload and apply a new firmware via FTP. So Be essentially exploit the security hole in order to fix it.

EU watchdogs aim for broadband equality

Misha Gale

@Sean Aaron

I think Be are pretty good even if they do have a damn silly name. Unfortunately, you are still susceptible to the shittyness of BT. I recommended them to my mum, but she still can't get a connection because BT still haven't fixed a fault on her line (we're pretty sure it's down to BT since the vox line is wonky too).

The only way to be truly free of BT's infrastructure is to go with Cable & Wirele- I mean NTL/Telew- I mean Virgin Media. But that's a bit like swallowing a mongoose to kill the snake you had for lunch.

Met used 'dum-dum' ammo on de Menezes

Misha Gale
Black Helicopters

Re-Re-Release to detonate

What if you need to scratch your nose? Or get you travelcard out of your wallet?

Better to have an ordinary press-to-'splode button AND a deadman sensor monitoring your heartrate.

Oh dear, did I just pass information to terrorists? Of to gitmo for me...

US demands air passengers ask its permission to fly

Misha Gale

transit passengers?

I tend not to be bothered by all the crazy US security measures, since I have no particular need or desire to go there. But there are lots of nearby countries I might like to vist (Canada, Mexico, most of S. America) for which you usually have to fly via a US airport or through US airspace.

So how are all these countries going to react when the US places a major dent in their tourist industry?

TV for those who enjoy massacres

Misha Gale

More bias please

I read El Reg *because* it isn't afraid to let it's columnists express their honest opinion. This is not a rag that has ever made any claim to impartiality or balance, and if that is what you want there are plenty of news sources out that that do.

I feel I should also highlight the word *columnist* here. This is an opinion piece, and a strongly expressed opinion at that. Bravo George, more like that please.

Virgin Galactic: Flights 'still a few years away'

Misha Gale

Re: Sputnik actually did reach Earth orbit...

Well, it was visible from the earths surface, although it could just have been a visiting alien spacecraft which the sneaky russkies took advantage of and *claimed* it was their satellite.

Terminator will be back in 2009

Misha Gale
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Starting to know how Star Wars geeks feel...

If they wanted to do a[nother] post-apocalyptic, man vs machines movie, why bother with the Terminator franchise? If they'd come up with some generic rip-off storyline, at least I wouldn't feel like my childhood dreams are being horrifically raped. The camp Arnie in T3 was bad enough, I shudder to think what outrages are still to come.

Ballmer: All open source dev should happen on Windows

Misha Gale

F/OSS on Windows

Well actually, there's an awful lot of open source software on windows, because the best open source projects are *cross-platform*. OpenOffice.org, Audacity, various P2P clients, various Mozilla projects, Pidgin, VLC any many more.

Rise of the f*cking machines: Arse Elektronika bumps uglies with Web 2.0

Misha Gale

They sent a Lawyer to this?

Did Burke just get bored of writing articles about online gambling regulations and insist he be sent on a jolly to cover something with naked women? Or did they think "who is the most depraved individual on the payroll? I know, we'll send the lawyer."

Also, does he know what Burke actually means? Could this also be the reason he was sent?

DRM on steroids controls backfires on Blu-ray

Misha Gale

re: There are alternatives you know

€2500 is sensationally cheap? Lend us a grand then mate.

Lawmaker shows nudie pic to high school seniors

Misha Gale
Paris Hilton


If the kiddies were seniors, doesn't that make them about 18? Or to put it another way, adults? So who gives a flying frick if they saw some 8008135?

Enquiring minds want to know, did the boobies in question belong to a certain blonde heiress named after a capital city?

BT says its Wi-Fi kibbutz isn't targeting 3G

Misha Gale

buy a special router?

I was getting quite excited for a minute there. See, this actually looks like a pretty cool idea, assuming it actually works, but not cool enough to convince me to drink the BT kool-aid.

As a Be* customer, I liked the idea of it being open to other ISPs, but I can't see Be* (or most other ISPs) abanding their BeBox (Speedtouch 780 I think) for some BT approved tinker toy. What's wrong with an open spec that would allow any router to use the system? Seems to me that if BT made it easier to get in on this scheme, the scheme as a whole would prosper due to the ubiquity of hostspots. Give everyone a piece of the pie but *make a bigger pie*.

'It's Britney, bitch' riding high again

Misha Gale

Re: I liked her for her music

Yes, I guess she is better than The Beetles. I certainly find her preferable to listening to coleoptera.

Israelis offer 'British' pukka-lingo ware to Blighty

Misha Gale

re: Why are Brits and Yanks buying this?

I'm not sure we/they are buying it - I think it is meant for people who aren't limeys/septics, but have customers who are.

iRobot offers crawling Wi-Fi spy-n-chat housebot

Misha Gale

@John Browne

Does that mean we can look forward to the cool 3D imaging devices from /A Scanner Darkly/?

I'm just off to snort the cocaine I made from sunblock...

Misha Gale

upskirt robot?

A floor level robot with a webcam on it. Have they really thought this one through?

Fundy dunderheads make monkey of monkey man

Misha Gale


I'm afraid Hitler was certainly no Atheist. He was most certainly a Christian, and this may well have fuelled his anti-semitism.

Not that I disagree with your point, I just can't resist the urge to nitpick.