* Posts by Drew Scriver

254 posts • joined 28 Sep 2017


Hoverbikes, Hyperloops and sub-orbital hijinks: Yes, the '3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions of Travel' are coming soon

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Virginia is building a 'high speed' rail project between Washington, DC (capital of the USA) and Richmond, VA (capital of Virginia).

High speed: faster than a car can get you there during rush hour (think traffic jams).

Top speed: 60-90 miles per hour (96-144 km/h) - frequent stops are planned.

Duration of the trip between Richmond and DC: TBD - even though they've already starting laying the tracks...

As far as I know Hyperloop was not considered. Even though construction has already begun, one would think that this option should be on the table.

Looks like VA is finally entering the 20th (sic) century!

As the US maybe gets serious about coronavirus-tracking apps, Congress wakes up to the privacy risks

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Re: Location data has no use for contact tracing

Very good point, but I expect the trackers would argue that they also want to be able to warn people who have not been in direct contact but still shared the environment.

If someone with COVID-19 has been in the produce department they could have sneezed all over the apples, for instance. Those apples could be purchased hours after the patient has left the store...

'Beyond stupid': Linus Torvalds trashes 5.8 Linux kernel patch over opt-in Intel CPU bug mitigation

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Re: El Reg faux pas

Original page:


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El Reg faux pas

The stock photo El Reg picked for this article is a rather poor choice, me thinks.

To borrow some verbiage from the article's headline: "Beyond stupid".

Laughing UK health secretary launches COVID-19 Test and Trace programme with glitchy website and no phone app

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CloudFront to NHS: read the documentation

"If you provide content to customers through CloudFront, you can find steps to troubleshoot and help prevent this error by reviewing the CloudFront documentation."

Full error message:


The request could not be satisfied.

The Amazon CloudFront distribution is configured to block access from your country. We can't connect to the server for this app or website at this time. There might be too much traffic or a configuration error. Try again later, or contact the app or website owner.

If you provide content to customers through CloudFront, you can find steps to troubleshoot and help prevent this error by reviewing the CloudFront documentation.

Generated by cloudfront (CloudFront)

Request ID: RyCRDUmet6zTp1SlUcxVK9h0YCp4zfjCHkpVKYZlewuh7Yq0glXKHA==


Contact-tracing app may become a permanent fixture in major Chinese city

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China: we want to track everyone* so we're going to do just that.

The West: we want to track everyone* but we're still stuck on figuring out how to get the masses to accept it.

*Leaders are exempt, of course.

TCL 10L: Remember the white goods flinger that had a licence to make BlackBerrys? It made a new own-name phone

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TCL 10L = Tcl 101?

Okay - one more:

The name of this phone does spell Tcl 101, after all.

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How is TCL pronounced?

It's "tickle", right? Just like in the programming language Tcl.

Coronavirus masks are thwarting facial recognition systems. So, of course, people are building training sets from your lockdown-wear selfies

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Re: not have a social media account

The Dutch have the word "asociaal", but I don't believe there's a good alternative in English. Anti-social nor a-social have the cachet that "asociaal" has in Dutch.

It's self-centered, egotistical, and narcissistic all rolled into a single word.


eBay users spot the online auction house port-scanning their PCs. Um... is that OK?

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Isn't this the same company that has users download DLL-files?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't eBay still use ".dll"-extensions? A number of proxy servers block that by default as part of the stronger security sets - and for very good reason.

Attorney General: We didn't need Apple to crack terrorist's iPhones – tho we still want iGiant to do it in future

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Re: Whatever happened to that?

While you are possibly right regarding the details, you err in inferring that this kind of 'diplomacy' is limited to the current administration, or even that such an approach is unique to the USA.

Insider threat? Pffft. Hackers on the outside are the ones mostly making off with your private biz data, says Verizon

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You are right in the sense that all threats must be taken seriously. However, motives will guide where to focus.

Also, I'm afraid that the 14% may be dismissed as less of a threat because of the lower numbers. However, I would argue that this may form a greater threat as motives like discontentment, anger, or even hatred may lead to much more devastating losses to a company.

A disgruntled employee might be more likely to ruin the company (or significantly damage it) because he (or she) doesn't need to consider how they can benefit financially.

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Re: 86 per cent of the breaches were financially motivated

Disgruntled employees are a big part of the remaining 14%, I think.

That segment is highly motivated and doesn't seek monetary compensation. Don't underestimate the potential threat of this motivation. For instance, it is a cornerstone of how the Mossad operates.

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development

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Re: conservatives and liberals ...

Add to that confirmation hearings. In general (again) you will hear the more liberal senators asking the candidate what they think about a specific issue while the conservatives tend to focus on whether the candidate would apply the law, whether they approve of the law or not.

I think it was Justice Thomas who said that he doesn't need the parade of people who might be disenfranchised if the Court ruled a certain way. His take is whether a specific issue is constitutional or not. It's up to the states to change the Constitution if that's desired.

You see it in the lower courts as well. There have been rulings that referred to the defendant's own sense of right and wrong and concluded that a lesser sentence was warranted because the perpetrator did not deem his own actions to be all that objectionable. In addition, at times more liberal courts will conclude that a specific act, while considered egregious under local law, is not considered objectionable in the defendant's own culture or country of origin.

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Never let a crisis go to waste

His statement is a bit nebulous, but I think he is referring to other countries (read: USA) that are in the process of initiating their own versions of the GDPR.

The more such new laws resemble the GDPR the greater his concern (for Google's bottom line).

California has a weaker version of the GDPR and the last thing Google wants is something stronger - especially at the federal level.

I hear echos of Saul Alinsky when he says that privacy laws are going to end up killing people. "Never let a crisis go to waste."

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That's one of the main differences between western Europe and the USA - or at least between conservatives and liberals.

Broadly speaking, conservative judges tend to apply the law the way it was written by the (representative) legislature while liberal judges tend to rule based on how they believe the law should have been written.

That is not to say that conservative judges agree with all laws, it's just that they tend to leave it to the legislature to change the laws rather than changing them on their own.

Node.js creator delivers Deno 1.0, a new runtime that fixes 'design mistakes in Node'

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Re: Wonder how long it will take…

Is ADHD a alternative spelling of Agile? ;-)

Better late than never... Google Chrome to kill off 'tiny' number of mobile web ads that gobble battery, CPU power

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Re: Bugger AdBlock, it's Internet advertising that's theft.

In all fairness to Google, you're conflating data/bandwidth (which you and they both pay for) and the use of a product.

Browsers carries a significant cost to an organization, not to mention their network expenditures. Secondly, you're consuming content that you presumably not not compensating the provider for monetarily.

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

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Re: One would have throught...

"Oh well, seems they just have to learn the same lessons over and over again."

Your friends probably known you as the eternal optimist... ;-) Really think they're capable of learning from their mistakes?

Secondly, what you and I regard as a mistake is perhaps just the government trying again and again to get us to accept defeat. To us, spyware is a scourge. To them, it's an essential part of governing.

Australian contact-tracing app sent no data to contact-tracers for at least ten days after hurried launch

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"rushed to market in the knowledge it would perform poorly on some devices and without agreements in place"

If nothing else they're efficient and skipped the step of failing to plan.

They went straight to "planning to fail"...

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In this case the US is already authorized to demand access.

Assume for a moment that this law were not in place yet. Would it really be wise to build an application around a solution that may sooner or later give other countries access to the data?

UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told

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Re: Gov't not deleting the data.

"Tracking in January wouldnt have helped,"

France just announced they retrospectively diagnosed a man and concluded that he had COVID-19 back in December.

Also, with the extended incubation time there would be value in knowing people's whereabouts in the past. Secondly, with asymptomatic patients this value increases.

Having said that, I am not sure the price (full and total tracking of every individual, including whom they meet, where, and for how long) isn't too high for the benefit. In many countries people have risen up (and lost their lives) to shake government oppression like that.

Don't forget that criminal behavior is defined by whomever is in power. History is rife with examples where a change of power suddenly redefined what is acceptable and this continues to happen.

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Re: Good reason not to use it

"There's a definite statement that the data will be used ONLY for this purpose, then deleted."

I'm laughing so hard it hurts!

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You have virus?

Is that an actual screen capture?

"Your symptoms indicate you may have coronavirus"

Me thinks that would be grammatically incorrect. But then again, what do I know? English is my second language, after all, and my grades back in high school made my teachers want to quit.

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Big Brother

Gov't not deleting the data.




Here's what's next: keeping the app 'just in case'. After all, wouldn't it have been much better if everyone had been tracked already back in January? December? Forever?

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

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Doesn't the term Black Friday come from the label police departments gave it because it was the day when family feuds would flare (after Thanksgiving)?

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In Virginia, and I assume in many other states as well, the word "yellow" does not appear in the traffic code. Legally it is called "amber".

Now, tell this to the people at the DMV, as even the written test for a driver's license insists on calling it yellow...

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In a previous US Census I was visited by a Census taker who insisted on checking the box "white" for my race.

Not only did I tell her that I go by "human", I also put my hand on the questionnaire and challenged her to define the color of my skin.

Compared to the obviously white sheet of paper it was quite impossible to refer to me as white. Red, maybe brown. But even our toddler could see it wasn't white.

Prank warning: You do know your smart speaker's paired with Spotify over the internet, don't you?

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Re: Spotify declined to make an on-the-record statement...

What are the chances that Spotify staff were running bets on how long it would take for someone to finally discover this 'feature'?

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Re: Cloudy days ... and a new business opportunity

In the olden days some burglars would have accomplishes lurking around airports to read the name/address tags on the luggage of outbound travelers.

How long before you can drop $5 to purchase the address of a vacant home on some Russian version of eBay? Getting an alert when the residents are on their way home would cost extra, of course.

It already works like that for credit card numbers - why not for home addresses?

Academics demand answers from NHS over potential data timebomb ticking inside new UK contact-tracing app

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Re: Slurp everyone's details

Maybe, but what if it being tracked becomes a requirement for using public transportation? Air travel? Attending a public event like a concert? Visiting a museum? Attending class?

Then, once, the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, there will undoubtedly be calls to keep the tracker in place to fight crime, solve crime, and prevent the spread of other diseases.

The UK is already fond of tracking people via its vast network of CCTV-cameras. You really think the authorities will retire personal trackers once they are in place?

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

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I used to buy HP gear until they refused to honor the warranty on my business laptop.

It stopped working so I sent it in under the three year warranty, after obtaining an RMA. Got a message back to inform me that the motherboard had to be replaced because of a "liquid spill". Aside from being fastidious about keeping liquids away from my gear, this particular model featured a spill-proof keyboard, according to HP.

I could have it fixed at my own expense, or pay $100 for them to ship it back to me.

When I asked to see pictures of the alleged liquid spill they initially declined, but eventually I received photos that were so out-of-focus that no details were visible. At the time there were reports of HP-circuit boards that had issues with flux not having been being removed completely, which apparently lead to failures.

HP was very slow to non-responsive to my requests. Only after I forwarded all the correspondence and the fuzzy pictures to the executives at headquarters did I receive a reply to re-open the case. Within hours of sending my e-mail.

The laptop was promptly repaired and returned to me, but the whole business soured me on HP.

SpaceX's Elon Musk high on success after counting '420' Starlinks in orbit and Frosty the Starship survives cryo test

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Re: This may be a really obvious question.

It has been suggested that subscribers in the third world will be able to sign up at deeply discounted rates, subsidized by the subscribers in wealthy countries.

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Re: When will Starlink become operational?

Any word on the actual latitudes? The most specific information I have seen so far is "Berlin". But that's farther north than the highest latitudes of the contiguous USA.

Hopefully Musk was not referring to Alaska when he said, "northern USA"...

Nine million logs of Brits' road journeys spill onto the internet from password-less number-plate camera dashboard

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The promises are always the same, and the failures are always predictable.

And yet society plows ahead and increases tracking. Next stop: track everyone's personal whereabouts so COVID-19 can be controlled. How long before its use is extended to crimes?

Years ago I attended a keynote speech by an FBI special agent who focused on cyber crime. One of the points he made was that in the past governments had to go through a lot of trouble to spy on people. "Not anymore", he said, as he held up a smart phone. "Today people spend a lot of their own hard-earned money on the best tracking device the world has ever seen".

Wakey-wakey! A quarter of IT pros only get 3-4 hours' kip – and you won't believe what's being touted as the 'solution'

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Re: Bollocks to cloud....

The legal system in the USA would make it virtually impossible to implement this at the federal level and I don't see states moving in that direction either.

Many (most?) states don't even mandate lunch breaks yet (at least not for professionals, who are considered exempt).

However, companies may implement restrictions on their own once a few of them are sued for jeopardizing the health of their employees by failing to safeguard a healthy work-life balance.

COVID-19 may in fact contribute to that, as it has been concluded that lack of sleep may be a contributing factor.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

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Re: I chose "I don't care"

The answer to your question must be "when HTTP_REQUEST" given the documented 10-months lapse...


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Re: Two spaces?

Can I conclude that you are jesting given that your reply features a single space between sentences? ;-)

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Re: I chose "I don't care"

For decades, the global typographical standard has been to use a singe space after a period. To me, having grown up in Europe, two spaces looks like typographical stutter.

Thus, after moving to the US, back in my secretarial days I wrote a macro to auto-delete all double spaces that our tech sales reps insisted so diligently typed.

Later on as I migrated back into tech jobs, I was happy to see that browsers would not display consecutive spaces.

Unfortunately, it wasn't long before the editors discovered non-breaking spaces (&nbsp). That really messed things up so I dusted off the old macro.

It become a war of sorts between the editor and myself until I was assigned a pair of F5 BIG-IP ADCs ten or fifteen years ago.

Imagine my glee when I implemented an iRule that automatically replaced all non-breaking and double spaces as soon as the editor submitted the text to the CMS. No matter how much they tried, they

discovered that it was not possible for them to get those double and non-breaking spaces to stick.

By the way, I never told anyone about that iRule...

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Re: Two spaces?

This US quirk of holding on to typewriter-era double spaces almost cost me a job when I applied for a secretarial position after I moved from Europe (where I grew up) to the USA.

The temp agency had me take a touch-typing test that consisted of copying a document of about 70 sentences.

The computer ruled that I had made 72 typos. Turns out that I had consistently typed a single space after each sentence, thus accounting for 70 of the 'errors'.

To this day I maintain that the source text contained 70 errors and that I simply corrected them. :-)

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Re: Pointless

"I've just pulled a book at random off the shelf, and.. it's monospaced"

Microsoft's next target: ellipses that are missing a dot...

Vivaldi browser to perform a symphony of ad and tracker blocking with version 3.0

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Does Vivaldi thwart fingerprinting? I'm much more worried about that than I am about cookies. Tracking cookies are easy to block. Fingerprinting is much, much harder to circumvent.

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Re: Websites and ads

I wasn't aware of El Reg's option for this and I'm pleasantly surprised.

However, it does appear that they're still using a third party to host the ads rather than embedding them.

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Re: Websites and ads

"But until a website can guarantee that the ads are just that, and no additional payloads, just keep blocking, just keep blocking..."

Here's the litmus test: a company's willingness to suck the ads into their systems so they can serve the entire page (including ads) from their own servers.

Speaking as a content delivery engineer with 20+ years experience in that field, that's not that hard to do technically.

Curiously, though, companies tend to be opposed to that approach since they don't trust the ad providers (and rightfully so, I might add). So why would we?

As an added bonus, once ads are fully embedded it will be exceedingly difficult to block them. The ball is in their court as far as I am concerned.

ICE cold: Microsoft's GitHub wrings hands over US prez's Trump immigration ban plan

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Re: Aren't his wife and/or ex-wife born and raised abroad?

That's a serious accusation. Have proof?

racism[ rey-siz-uh m ]


1) a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

2) a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

3) hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Disclaimer: I voted for a third-party candidate.

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H1B workers are essentially owned by companies...

Aside from a number of benefits for the H1B-workers, they are pretty much at the mercy of their corporate sponsor. Not entirely unlike foreign laborers whose employer confiscates their passport.

The sponsorship ends as soon as the company no longer requires their services and it cannot be transferred to another company. This tends to make for a rather docile and compliant workforce. Very few H1B-workers dare rock the boat out of fear that it would result in them having to leave the USA.

I can't help but think that's a big part of companies' push for H1B.

Python 2 bows out after epic transition. And there was much applause because you've all moved to version 3, right? Uh, right?

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We'll be forced to support 2.7 for at least another decade...

I can't even begin to recount all the instances where I've seen companies force Ops to support old versions rather than to tell Dev to upgrade...

On a funny side note, once I started adding the prefix "kludge" to my workaround projects/solutions things tended to change. The developers didn't want that kind of exposure and management was embarrassed. Imagine the CEO asking, "What's a kludge?"

Their first solution was to see if I could be pressured into dropping the term "kludge". When that didn't work they actually fixed the majority of the root problems.

How to make a stranger's insecure 3D printer halt-and-catch-fire – plus more alerts from infosec world

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Re: Security? We've heard of it.

What's more, the executives brag about how many bugs can be fixed and how quickly!

What happened to the days that execs would brag about how little need there was for fixing bugs because they were fastidious about Q&A?

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Re: "More than half of US phone calls are spam"

If you have time it's probably best to string them along so they can't snare unsuspecting octogenarians during that time. Call it a public service.

Talking to scammers/telemarketers in an old-person voice tends to works best - they fall for it every time. Great way to spend an otherwise boring commute.

Don't believe the hype: Today's AI unlikely to best actual doctors at diagnosing patients from medical scans

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Although the article seems to be on the money, it does not highlight that many (most?) of the clinical trials fall far short of what the average person would consider adequate.

Often the trial groups are quite small and the duration of "long-term" often is what most people would call "short-term".

Then there are the quirks. I remember one study (Gardasil or its successor, if I'm not mistaken), that only considered adverse effect that arose within two weeks of an injection - even though the vaccine itself was said to not take full effect until a number of injections over 18 months.



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