* Posts by SAdams

55 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Aug 2017


Girls Who Code books 'banned' in some US classrooms


Re: God botherers strike again!

So you think it’s normal to sign your daughter up to a coding summer camp with a company that claims to be encouraging coding for women, and for her to then receive a load of emails from that company about her sexuality, and more specifically questioning whether she is actually a woman?

Is there some reason to assume that girls interested in coding must actually be boys?

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’


I wonder

… if this could have anything to do with the “cosmological axis of evil”. Wild speculation, I know, but we really don’t understand as much as we think we do.

Internet backbone Cogent cuts Russia connectivity


Oil and Gas

What the media don’t report much is that large oil and gas reserves have been found in Ukraine / off the Crimea coast. Russia gets a big wad of it’s income from selling oil and gas to Europe. Ukraine/Crimea suddenly became a threat to Russia economically, which has added to Putin’s “make Russia great again” megalomania…


Radio Free Europe

Yeah great idea. Not.

Russia’s “privacy” laws are designed for exactly this eventuality. It may stop a few bot factories (although they will could probably just use government satellite links), but the main impact will no doubt be ordinary Russians trying to get unbiased news,

Antivirus that mines Ethereum sounds a bit wrong, right? Norton has started selling it


Hard disk failure

I agree with everything in the article apart from the comment on hard drives ‘hardly’ failing anymore.

They still fail, whatever type they are. If only I had a bitcoin for every person who thought that hard drives don’t fail anymore, and then lost all their data…

Vivaldi update unleashes the 'Cookie Crumbler' to simply block any services asking for consent (sites may break)


Rubbish EU Law

I can’t see why the EU made this law apply to all sites. If a site only uses cookies for defined essentials, no cross site, no adds etc, why should it be law to have a consent button?

The consent button requirement I could live with if it was associated with ‘bad’ behaviour, it would make sense. As it stands it’s just a badly drawn up law, which I bet 99% of people click “agree to all”…

God bless this mess: Study says UK's Christian beliefs had 'important' role in Brexit


“ If you need something else to direct your Brexit-induced rage towards, look no further than the big guy upstairs”

I think the rest of the article proves that any blame should sit with Henry VIII...


Re: Religion in the UK?

My family has been living in England since 1560 at least, and I ‘converted’ to Catholicism (essentially from atheism). I’m not the only one to do this, and am part of a busy parish that is mostly British but also people from all over the world.

The church will outlast the Jedis, just as it has all gnostic heresies!

European Commission redacts AstraZeneca vaccine contract – but forgets to wipe the bookmarks tab


Re: confidentiality clause

Apart from asymptotic cases, one reason that your numbers are off for the UK is that anyone who dies after a positive covid test is recorded as a Covid death, presumably even if they were run over by a car. This is different from the way other countries measure it.

BBC makes switch to AWS, serverless for new website architecture, observers grumble about the HTML


Re: "Instead, the BBC team devised a new architecture based on serverless computing."

They say they need to be able to scale quickly, which is not surprising given that when there is a big news event, a fair portion of the UK (as well as the rest of the planet) go to the BBC site. The cost difference of only paying for the necessary resources when you need them at that scale will be massive.


Re: Lost opportunity

The BBC is not in the business of web hosting. If there is not already a serious British cloud hosting vendor, that suggests Amazon and Microsoft are doing a better job.

If you think you can do a better job, then do it. But what the BBC chose to use is about what is available that meets their hosting requirements.

IBM splashing $2bn on Weather Company – reports


AI sending us backwards?

Is it just me, or have all these weather forecasting apps using big data going backwards?

Five years ago, there were apps like Meteo’s “Weather Pro” that were about 80% accurate, and you could reasonably rely on the forecast for the next 3-5 days. Over the past year or so, none of them are reliable. The only one that you seem to be able to have any confidence in is the next 120 minutes from AccuWeather. I’ve started using satellite radar as the best way to predict whether it will rain, which seems crazy...

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update


User Error, but Adobe are bad

People should of course backup. But I am continually surprised that Adobe are seen as the gold standard for photo and video editing. I bought Adobe Premier for videos based on this, and it’s terrible, clunky software that fills your hard disk with multiple copies of junk. They then force you to fork out another huge wad of cash every time they update it and make it slightly less clunky...

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online


Re: Been there, lost that battle

It must be an age thing - I’m assuming you’re younger than, say, 40?

I’ve been using email systems since the 80s, and I find Gmail’s web interface a complete mess. Its very slightly less turgid when you disable the threading, but still a mess even for simple tasks like replying to messages.

Intel couldn't shrink to 7nm on time – but it was able to reduce one thing: Its chief engineer's employment


I suspect the phoenix was a victim of a round of cost cutting where the business was cunningly trimmed of all the capabilities needed to actually do stuff, whilst at the same time the senior executives found new ways to pay themselves more.

You don’t need to be left wing to be cynical about the mess that is western capitalism.


It’s ironic - half of those developing new CPU’s are trying desperately to harness and retain quantum effects, the other half trying desperately to avoid them...

There are DDoS attacks, then there's this 809 million packet-per-second tsunami Akamai says it just caught


You’re infected ISP page

Presumably it would not be difficult for ISP’s to have a group on their proxy which they put infected sources into. That then redirects them to a landing page, and restricts access to everything but Malware/AV vendor domains. The landing page could have a message directing them to resources to clean/check their devices, and a way of confirming that they’re clean.

Each time they are put in this group, it takes a bit longer before they can get access to the internet again. That should quickly encourage them to deal with infected / vulnerable device. It would also stop people selling vulnerable IOT devices eventually, if this was enforced by law on all ISPs...


Re: All ISPs should filter by source address

Ideally you would use the source MAC address? Still not necessarily the source device and easy to spoof, but even a genuine IP could be thousands of devices...

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal


Re: Not true

Its worth having a watch of this on the recent study in Germany -> https://twitter.com/freddiesayers/status/1257620247034630146?s=21


Re: Not true

Fox news - if only :)

SARS Cov 1 is very different - it could be contained because of the low infection rate, and late symptoms. There are a few studies I could link to which strongly suggest all populations will get to a point where most people have been infected. The only exception is a vaccine or treatment, which are both very unlikely (sadly). If so, then as long as you keep it below hospital capacity and isolate the high risk groups as much as possible, the only thing you can change is how ling it takes you to get through it (and the damage to the economy). The final death rate is not changed, just how much its spread out.


Herd Immunity

There is a repeat of a fundamental misunderstanding of many journalists on Covid 19 here;

“... it is likely to be a repeat of the disastrous "herd immunity" approach the government initially backed as a way to explain why it didn't need to go into a national lockdown. That policy was also well-reasoned and well-explained by a small number of very competent doctors and scientists who just happened to be wrong.“

Immunity is not “wrong”. All coronaviruses impart a level of immunity, via antibodies or T cells. In some cases its not full immunity and usually only lasts 1-2 years. Its unlikely SARS Cov 2 is very different.

With the Covid 19 disease, it has an R0>3 (probably >5) and pre symptom viral shedding. So you don’t just stop it by isolation etc. A vaccine is a wild shot, unlikely to be ready in less than a year if at all. Likewise an effective treatment is a lottery. The most likely outcome is that restrictions of some form stay in place until there is a level of immunity in the population such that outbreaks are few and far between. In other words - “herd immunity”.


Re: Of course, being centrally controlled

The government have it already ... when they need to they can find out where you are and who you’ve been in contact with. I’m not too worried about that living in a relatively open and accountable country like the UK. If I lived in Russia or Turkey or China etc that would of course be a different matter, but then I wouldn’t have much choice...

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks hardware supply chains and elasticity: 'Bigger issue' is what happens around US and Europe's 'demand side'


Re: Use Zoom instead

I’m piloting Teams with a team of ~15 spread around the world, and it seems to be pretty stable. Also the call quality is far better than Skype which is our standard (yes we’re a bit behind). When do the reliability issues come in? Is it when you reach a certain number of participants on the call?

I also don’t think Zoom is like for like in terms of all the collaboration functionality?

Ever wondered what Microsoft really thought about the iPad? Ex-Windows boss spills beans


Windows 8

“ Despite these missteps, Windows 8 was not all bad.”

Really? It was a big mess. So much so that I ended up replacing my Windows laptop with a Macbook. I’ve now come to appreciate some aspects of the Macbook and may even replace it with another, even though I’m more comfortable with Windows 10. VMware fusion is finally good enough to give you a full Windows experience, so you get the best of both.

All because Windows 8 was so bad.

Everyone loves our new desktop web search design so much – the one with ads that look like links – that we're tweaking it, says Google


Re: Google search has become almost useless

It is going downhill, but all the other searches seem to have issues too. I always scroll past the adds anyway, so my biggest complaint is AMP which destroys the whole search experience on mobile phones.

If only Alta Vista had carried on and developed as a feasible alternative. I may switch to DockDuckGo, but its algorithms can be flakey...

The Six Million Dollar Scam: London cops probe Travelex cyber-ransacking amid reports of £m ransomware demand, wide-open VPN server holes


Windows can have file level snapshotting, storage level snapshotting and be backed up.

Even ignoring the Pulse patching issue, and possibly some privileged accounts with dodgy passwords, this is not a Windows issue but a Windows management/governance issue.

Conspiracy loons claim victory in Brighton and Hove as council rejects plans to build 5G masts


Re: Neoliberalism SUCKS

“ Cool; about 60 years worth of transmitting things on that energy band without any adverse effect is a sufficient long term experiment to be sure about the safety of radio waves in this frequency band?”

No adverse effects? Have you been watching the news?

Ouch. Reinstalling Windows 10 again? By 2020, a 'cloud download' may be all you need


Re: Noop

Getting drivers on tends to be trivial compared to removing bloatware in my experience. Far better to start with a clean Windows build when new - let alone during recovery...

Cambridge Analytica didn't perform work for Leave.EU? Uh, not so fast, says whistleblower


Isn’t the issue using the likes of facebook, rather than sharing personal information as such ?

Oh look. Vodafone has extended its ultrafast 5G network to deliver... Wi-Fi?


Re: Hm...

“How is this different to WiFi points that could take a 3G PCMCIA card back in um, maybe 2006, or the Flash OFDMA 4G PCMCIA card or USB stick in 2008?”

Errr .... far more bandwidth, and far less latency ?

Firm fat-fingered G Suite and deleted its data, so it escalated its support ticket to a lawsuit


‘The cloud’ is just a different datacentre

As a few have said, using a cloud service (whether SaaS, PaaS or IaaS) doesn’t take away the need to think about recovery processes etc, although recovery testing can be more complicated.

The top level admin who had the rights to do this probably would have had similar abilities in an ‘on premise’ world - delete all the VMs/clusters, delete everything in AD, delete all the passwords, delete the encryption keys used for backups etc etc. Only a delegation of rights that separates rights over separate areas prevents this, but its not uncommon for the top admins to have rights over everything.

I guess maybe the difference is that you could have someone with very little experience as your top level Gsuite administrator. But if it was done deliberately by someone who, say, just got sacked, the fact its a cloud service is not that relevant. The company just has someone else they can try to put the blame on, and possibly less chance of scavenging around for fragments of data...

iPhone gyroscopes, of all things, can uniquely ID handsets on anything earlier than iOS 12.2


Straining at gnats

Why is everyone so worried about device fingerprints ? Surely 99% of people don’t clear down their cookies regularly and don’t have security problems?

I can imagine hackers and paedos want to avoid fingerprints, but presumably they’re using Tor on virtual machine running on a USB stick. I guess there are a few other legit concerns, but not enough to justify having to press “I accept your cookies blah blah” on every bloody web page...

As long as there's fibre somewhere along the line, High Court judge reckons it's fine to flog it as 'fibre' broadband


A tot of vinegar in your wine, sir?

The judges next visit to a restaurant;

Judge: This wine tastes thin and watery. I ordered the Trivento Eolo Malbec 2014, a rich and full bodied wine.

Waiter: Yes sir, we add water to make it go further. That is how we have such excellent prices.

Judge: But it tastes just like a cheap Merlot, you advertised it as Trivento Eolo Malbec 2014, and said nothing about adding water!

Waiter: The wine is indeed Trivento Eolo Malbec 2014. We find most people don’t notice the difference, sir.

Everyone screams patch ASAP – but it takes most organizations a month to update their networks


To do fast patching reliably, you really need to have (the equivalent of) Winrunner and Loadrunner scripts setup on your pre-peoduction environment that are constantly maintained for all critical applications, and then a full team to manage all these scripts and update them each time an application, OS or middleware is updated. However now that most companies use VM’s on replicated storage, as long as the storage has snapshots (and there is some failover mechanism), security should really take presidence when roll back is an option.

I suspect most companies with *nix patch less than monthly ?


I think the restart is to help keep the server working. I’ve known Unix boxes to stay up 10 years without a reboot, but Windows servers are more reliably when they get the monthly restart. I suspect the patch that MS re-release each month is mainly to ensure there is a restart.

London's Gatwick Airport flies back to the future as screens fail


Everything is just magic when you put it in “the cloud”... no need for any designs, you can have lots of agile applications without any designs and they will just work fine forever.

As Corning unveils its latest Gorilla Glass, we ask: What happened to sapphire mobe screens?


Transparent Metal

We keep hearing about various types of transparent metal that will be used in everything from screens to buildings.

There must be a way to make a phone tough enough that it doesn’t need a case etc, with a decent battery life that lasts the whole day (even if you use it!)

Citation needed: Europe claims Kaspersky wares 'confirmed as malicious'


Re: They learned from the best!

“Whatever happened to that treaty which got signed after World War II which prevented both the USSR and the EU from expanding their borders? So, like, who's the aggressor here?”

The treaty was not for Stalin to do what he did and install puppet communist goverments in Poland etc etc., if you really want to go back there....

El Reg deep dive: Everything you need to know about UK.gov's pr0n block


Possible solution

All these options fail to ask the question “How old do you have to be to work out how to install Tor browser or a VPN client on an iPad ?

The only real answerr I can see is to use the cost of buying a laptop to mean thats an adult. You could then legislate that all laptops are sold with some kind of child protection software enabled (ideally AV software) - which includes a wizard to setup a password and optionally an account for kids in the house. Users can of course change this, but you would expect parents to have some level of control/responsibility...

Its not perfect but seems a sane compromise ...

No, Stephen Hawking's last paper didn't prove the existence of a multiverse


Re: As far as I can tell, you can prove

“as our Universe is infinite the bigger objection towards multiverses is where would you put them? ”

I don’t see this problem at all. Most multiverse theories see each universe existing in self contained branes. They speculate about phenomena we may see in this universe when these branes collide in some way thats clearly difficult to imagine without imagining a different type of spacetime like context outside of spacetime. This is of course the main problem with multiverse theories - no one has ever observed anything other than our single universe, or has any evidence for anything other than our single universe.

The multiverse is partly an attempt to explain the weirdness of quantum mechanics, but in cosmology its mainly a way of avoiding god. It allows you to push back the start of everything to a point where people don’t need to think about it, and it helps explain the high degree of tuning that seems to have occured at the start of the universe to make it possible for us to exist.

Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation


The Inhibitors

There is of course the Alistair Reynolds explanation for the Fermi Paradox - in the Revelation Space series.

However I tend to agree with the update here, it doesn’t take long for a civilisations technology to exceed its ability to be kind and forgiving on a global scale. There will always be ups and downs and people to blame, and then war.

Does my boom look big in this? New universe measurements bewilder boffins


Re: The edge is nothing more than a ripple in the pond

“We had a big bang and our universe is inside the center of that ripple. There are others, well outside what we can see beyond the ripple.”

No one has a shred of evidence that there is anything more than one universe. We have many anomalies and we have theories that try to explain those anomalies by inventing other universes.

Because a similar trick can help theories on both quantum and cosmological scales, its a popular speculation. Its just as likely that there is only a single universe that originated along with time and space at the big bang. If anyone tells you that there are definitely other universes, unless they can prove they are from the future where there have been some big discoveries, then you can be fairly sure that they are either guessing or making stuff up.

Meltdown's Linux patches alone add big load to CPUs, and that's just one of four fixes


Intel crypto mining

You have to hand it to Intel - they've come up with a genius way of dealing with the fact they've hit a brick wall in Moore's Law, breaking their business model. By inventing "vulnerabilities" in order to mine Bitcoin/Monero etc on all machines globally they've secured themselves a strong new revenue source....

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)


Re: Excessive cheering

“If I were one of the 6000 people that worked on it, I'd be cheering too.”

Even as someone not working on it, I had a brief, internal and silent ‘British” cheer moment. A South African billionaire with US enthusiasm sending a car playing Bowie towards mars. IT billionaires do seem to have a more generous and optimistic view of what can be achieved with their money than most.

Long haul flights on a one-aisle plane? Airbus thinks you’re up for it


Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

I think they went through a bad phase but have improved over the past 2-3 years. I generally find that if I’m on a plane where the windows dimn rather than having a cover, the seat itself will be comfortable and the screen will not be so low definition that you only get a vague idea of whats happening. Also you can charge your phone.

Of course if you’re flying BA, even on a new plane you will still have shit all over your tray, tissues in the seat pockets etc..,

Nunes FBI memo: Yep, it's every bit as terrible as you imagined


Good article

One of the best summaries of the issue - which happens to be in an IT paper.

Its ironic that the FBI,CIA (and even NSA) have done some incredibly dodgy things in the past (some verging on evil), all proven and with very little if any attempt to even try to follow due process. Admitedly most of it was during the cold war - trying to oppose the USSR being just as dodgy all around the world in the name of global communism.

Nonetheless much of that was ordered and supported by presidents, congress, senate, the republican party etc. Its ironic that here you have a vastly reformed FBI following the prescribed process for something they and the CIA/NSA should know about. You have Trump and many of the Republicans creating fake news about it - the same Trump that demonstrably got elected on the back of fake news, and yet keeps complaining about fake news. This is all straight out of the Goebels / Hitler playbook. Its all about controlling the narrative at all costs.

The FBI will probably pay for past crimes now in the US public imagination, wounded and inefective. Just at the time their role as independant investigative body is probably more important than its ever been. We will soon see how effective the US constitution and its seperation of powers really is when faced with a president playing them all against each other.

Lenovo's craptastic fingerprint scanner has a hardcoded password


Re: WTF ????

“Why would you use a fingerprint scanner ? The casing of your laptop and your keyboard is full of your fingerprints.”

It depends whether you’re using them to logon to the OS. If you’re purely using them to get past the BIOS POST etc, then I don’t see a big problem with fingerprints as one of your factors of authentication. If you go by “something you have and something you know” then there is always the chance of the “something you have” part being stolen along with the actual device being secured.

When you add “something you know” as a password which is not so complicated that people need to write it down, thats not bad for a standard user laptop surely ?

Apple iPhone X: Two weeks in the life of an anxious user


Its good to get reviews by people just slightly annoyed with the people who make the thing. Its left me more interested in getting one (or at least one of the next versions of a ‘home buttonless iPhone”).

With regards to moving pictures onto a laptop, you don’t need to enable Photostream (which should be killed as its pointless and confuses people with duplicated. For me the photos go to iCloud pretty quickly (within an hour?). Maybe historic photos were still trickling down to the phone over the first couple of days.

With this:

“I’m warming to the lack of a Home button. I now think it’s a triumph of smartphone interface design in iOS 11.

It means there is one fewer physical moving part to go wrong on the iPhone X. The Home button on my old iPhone 5 regularly used to need cleaning to remove fluff getting underneath the contacts.”

The last couple of iPhones have not had a physical home button anyway. Its quite strange when the clicky button iPhone 7 disappears when its switched off.


Re: 14 Days and "letting it go" - ??

Classy. Does he also save costs on restaurants by scooping some pubes out of his pants ?

Intel AMT security locks bypassed on corp laptops – fresh research


Re: Annnnnnd....

“Arguably, it's AMD's fault for not being strong enough competition for some years now.”

As far as I can tell, the only way they are weaker is in the marketing department. Intel generally have naming conventions that people think they understand (e.g. 7th gen i3 versus 8th gen i5).