* Posts by Persona

348 posts • joined 6 Jul 2018


'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

Persona Silver badge

Re: I wonder why?

That's a very poor starting position. Functional programmes tend not to have all their bits set to zero. Start with it filled with random data. That way there is a "chance" it will work first time. In the unlikely event it doesn't you will hit one of the many possible solutions sooner than starting with all zeros..

Internet Archive justifies its vast 'copyright infringing' National Emergency Library of 1.4 million books by pointing out that libraries are closed

Persona Silver badge


Thanks to this legal action I'm now aware of this service and have been able to download a book I have been unable to find in either to the libraries I use.

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

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I just don't understand why this is a thing

Crime exists partially because it is easier than working. Crime is prevented, shut down, stamped on, yet it still persists.

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

Persona Silver badge

The actuarial evidence looks good.

Clearly these things must work. No one who uses these devices has suffered any harm from 5G .........

It wasn't just a few credit cards: Entire travel itineraries were stolen by hackers, Easyjet now tells victims

Persona Silver badge

Re: Thanks, I need a fake passport to take out a loan

Don't be lazy: find it out yourself. Hint - if you want passport details, hotel reception staff are on not much more than minimum wage. No doubt £50 would get you photocopies of half a dozen passports. For a bit more you could also get the matching credit card details and address.

Persona Silver badge

What is the risk of your passport number being exposed. Mine is 509791552. Every hotel and car hire firm I have used in Europe has recorded that number so if there is a tangible risk surely I would have to have changed my passport number by now?

Persona Silver badge

Re: Oh dear.

So you are thinking that a burglar is going to invest in travel plans to hopefully locate a victim somewhere within reasonable driving distance safe in the knowledge that the house can't possibly be occupied by relatives or lodgers just because someone from there is on holiday?

>99% of burglaries are opportunistic. The <1% that aren't wont be targeting EasyJet customers.

Persona Silver badge

Oh dear.

So the hackers also know about my flight EZY8223 to Valencia on 13th January, oh my. The hack could also explain why my credit card company issued me with a new card with a new number even though the old one was not due to expire. Whilst having to change card details here and there is mildly inconvenient it's certainly not going to stop me using EasyJet once they start flying again.

Microsoft promises big things for Edge... and they'll be ready for folks some time before universe's heat death

Persona Silver badge

Re: "what Edge really needs is more users"

I've been using the new Edge browser for a couple of months. It works fine. I particularly like the immersive reader that you can activate from the URL bar or with F9.

Former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman calls on UK govt to legally protect data from contact-tracing apps

Persona Silver badge

Re: Oh what a tangled web we weave!

Sadly I for one did need it explaining.

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

Persona Silver badge

Re: 86 per cent of the breaches were financially motivated

What on earth were the remaining motivations?

If people considered motive, the defences might be more appropriate. On top of financial, there is curiosity, bragging rights, revenge, espionage and straight malevolence.

Facebook to surround all of Africa in optical fibre and tinfoil

Persona Silver badge

Re: My gast is well and truly flabbered

It's just their long term plan to extract money from the citizens of Africa and gain profit parity with the more developed continents.

Persona Silver badge

Re: someone explaining

"goes into a magic box that works in ways I don't understand"

Upvoted for describing how it works in a way that I can understand too.

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

Persona Silver badge

Re: No love for CORAL 66?

On my first day of employment as a graduate I was handed a Coral 66 manual and told to learn it. We used it to compile code for Intel 8080 processors. It was a truly horrible language so I transitioned us to using "C" on Zilog Z80's in ~1981.

Openreach tells El Reg it'll kill off copper sales in 118 UK locations next year

Persona Silver badge

Re: long power cut = phone cut

If the mains fails at night while you are sleeping then you will be unable to use the conventional phone to call for help.

It uses 4 AA batteries which are customer replaceable. Not ideal, or what you would want in an emergency but the workaround is easy enough. People relying on mobile phones and forgetting to charge them (or their power bank) are a bigger issue.

Persona Silver badge

Fibre and copper

I'm in the odd situation of having both FTTP fibre for broadband and copper for my landline phone. Despite saying it would not be a problem during the order process BT were unable to transfer our old copper phone number to our new FTTP connection. Apparently the numbers for fibre came from a different pool so the number they wanted to give us was different (only the last 3 digits). At the time we got FTTP we needed to keep the same phone number. Despite escalation and complaints BT were unable to assign the old number to the new service so they reverted our phone part of the service to copper. Apparently being able to preserve your number when moving to FTTP was technically simple from an engineering perspective but there was no BT order process to make it happen. Hopefully they have sorted that out in the last year or so as I would like to get rid of the copper but my wife is very attached to the phone number we have had for the last 25+ years.

Persona Silver badge

Re: The reality of FTTP

BT warn that this service will not work during a power cut

Whilst the mains powered DECT and wifi phones obviously won't work in a power outage a conventional phone plugged into the Openreach fibre adapter/modem (not the BT Smart Hub) does as it has a battery backup. I can confirm this works with my FTTP.

The iMac at 22: How the computer 'too odd to succeed' changed everything ... for Apple, at least

Persona Silver badge

We used SGI boxes for CGI. The good thing about CGI was when you hit a bug in the SGI C compiler it was easy to spot because you got a very visible artefact. I guess with drug development you have to wait a little longer then count the bodies. We found several bugs in their compiler plus one we were convinced was a compiler bug but turned out to be a maths processor hardware issue.

Persona Silver badge

So it wasn't exactly revolutionary that it matched a teenage girl's bedroom.

The year after the iMac they came out with the iBook G3 ("Clamshell"). This hideous item looked out of place even in a teenage girl's bedroom.

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

Persona Silver badge

Re: "Put the password policy on the log-in page"

ITYM the registration page, as that's where passwords are created

I want it on the login page. That way when I'm trying to login and failing I can look at what stupidly unusual thing it needs. This would "normally" be enough for me to remember it and avoid me going round the password reset route, which would end up with me trying to reset it to to the same password I was forced to choose last time.

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

Persona Silver badge

Re: Well that's great confidence from GCHQ


Elon Musks Tesla roadster was launched into space on a Falcon Heavy rocket a bit over 2 years ago. As I write this comment it is 154,417,658 miles away out beyond the orbit of Mars. I would class that as "very" secure, at least from theft.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Dreaming up barriers to adoption...

By falling short of the required 60% on the Isle of White the test will shown that "sadly" it needs to be compulsory so we can be hit with "use the app, protect the NHS and save lives". Next comes police powers to fine anyone found outside without the app installed and running. Not having a compatible phone with a charged battery will not be a reasonable excuse. Before you can blink the UK will have rolled out compulsory ID cards that can be inspected remotely.

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

Persona Silver badge

give up calling people black or white

Been there, done that.

Many many years ago when I hadn't been at school too long we had a couple of black girls in my year, except we weren't allowed to call them black as that was then a pejorative term. I clearly remember the teacher saying if you look closely they aren't black but dark brown, and as easily as that we all accepted it and stopped using that term. The teacher also pointed out that we weren't white but more of a pink colour but that didn't go down so well as the boys all saw pink as a "girly" colour............ You can't win them all.

Persona Silver badge

Re: it’s bollocks and perpetrated by lazy people

Explain to me again how comments get tested

Code review.

Bezos to the Moon: Blue Origin joins SpaceX and Dynetics in a three-horse lunar lander race

Persona Silver badge

something like that would have fallen over about 10 seconds after 'engine off'

Unlike the deck of a drone ship at sea the moons surface is not pitching up and down.

If you have servo driven legs you can drive them up or down to adjust for uneven and soft ground while the thrust from the landing thrusters is still decreasing.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Res: SpaceX lift

It has two lifts both serving the same antechamber.

Persona Silver badge

Re: No, hops aren't space launches

No, hops aren't space launches

It depends on the height. With a 100 meter hop they definitely aren't but at 100km they definitely are. You only have to go 50 miles (80 km) up to get US astronaut wings.

BTW - While orbit is about "staying" in space rather than making a brief visit a rarely mentioned corollary is that there is nothing to stop an orbital class rocket steering straight up and reaching a height much higher that most satellites. As long as you don't exceed escape velocity and set your trajectory appropriately so the Earth is underneath you when you come back down, you can stay in space a very long time without ever being in orbit around the Earth.

Persona Silver badge

How many successful launches have they made? (I know the answer.)

Really? The answer is 12 successful launches and zero launch failures. So yes they are credible.

Persona Silver badge

BO is all talk and little action

Blue have plenty of credibility. Launch Complex 36, the engine factory in Alabama and the New Glenn production factory have seen massive progress. The action is happening and all heading towards launches.

Apple on 2020 so far: OK, so iPhone sales are a bit glum. Wearables, music, apps, vids to the rescue... almost

Persona Silver badge

They are looking at the photos he took of Jesus 10 years ago.

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

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Slurp everyone's details

Well not "everyone's"

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

Persona Silver badge

Re: Massive invasion of privacy

ANPR should be banned, or at least limited to destroying all data after at most 24 hours.

That would make it quite easy to contest a speeding charge when the prosecution fails to produce any evidence.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Massive invasion of privacy

Westminster _should_ have made it clear to local gov

One quite strong ways of making things clear is to pass laws. Have they not done that?

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy

Persona Silver badge

Re: Is this just just another example of the UK wanting to steer it's own course?

another brilliant example of the UK doing the reverse of the EU

I think there is good reason for different countries to follow different paths. The situation in Italy is very different from the situation in Germany.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Automation

Sounds good to me. My phone stays at home when I go out so I don't see how I can lose with your scheme.

Android 11 Developer Preview 3 allows your mobe to become a router via USB Ethernet – if you can get a decent signal

Persona Silver badge

Hmmmmmm .....

And if you accidentally close an app, Android's Recents now comes with an undo functionality, allowing you to restore it without losing your data.

That sounds suspiciously like it doesn't close the app when you tell it to and just stuffs it deep into the background. Generally when I close an app I want it to be closed.

Realme's X50m is a decently specced 5G phone – for the price of a 1995 Nissan Micra

Persona Silver badge

Re: Not sure how much a bargain this would be...

How can it be a "future proof" bargain at any price given .........

Of course, since Realme isn't a participant in the Android One programme, there's no cast-iron guarantee of an update to Android 11 and beyond.

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

Persona Silver badge

Re: re. Was it the Iranians who were caught out by the mine detector a few years back

Possibly it is ok from a sanctions perspective ...... but it's not a good sales pitch.

Ex-TalkTalk infosec exec's equal pay and unfair dismissal claims tossed out at tribunal

Persona Silver badge

Re: Basic Salary

..... CISO role is very similar to .......

I've met with dozens and dozens of CISO's. Other than the title, about the only thing in common was that they all did very very different jobs.

Persona Silver badge

Re: "running TalkTalk's cybersecurity operations"

I don't know. You could class it as real world experience. It certainly would get you interviews if only to satisfy curiosity.

Persona Silver badge

Basic Salary

When you are talking about people with a basic salary of £110,000 it is very very unlikely that they would be doing exactly the same job.

Europe publishes draft rules for coronavirus contact-tracing app development, on a relaxed schedule

Persona Silver badge

Re: The Oxford paper doesn't say 60% is really enough

Without testing them you'd need to quarantine them all

Even if you do test them there is a time lag between infection, being contagious and testing positive. A negative test does not mean they don't have the virus: it just means that at the moment the test was done no virus was detected.

There are confirmed cases of people spreading the virus to multiple contacts but still testing negative even after the people they have infected are showing symptoms. Eventually they do go on to test positive but they can have multiple negative tests first.

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

Persona Silver badge


I'm unusual on this forum for not caring that much about my privacy. I am however concerned about the Google/Apple API that exposes who I have been in proximity to, when I was with them and how often I'm with them. This is information that allow personal interconnections to be mapped far more efficiently than currently. In more normal times it will allow them (Google and Apple) to know who you live with, who you work with, who you travel with and who you spend your leisure time with. I will probably be turning off my Bluetooth.

Ransomware scumbags leak Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX documents after contractor refuses to pay

Persona Silver badge

Re: Anti-mortar system?

If you are in that situation cowardice really doesn't work

A true coward (like me) goes to inordinate length to ensure never getting into that sort of situation.

Europe calls for single app to track coronavirus. Meanwhile America pretends it isn’t trying to build one at all

Persona Silver badge

Re: A deal

I'm predicting 1m US Deaths, within a factor of 2

It's a little to soon to predict numbers with any degree of confidence as we just don't know how many people have already been infected with with SARS-Cov2 so estimates of mortality are being based on a known death toll being divided my an unknown number of infections. A new study testing inhabitants of a German town allegedly show that 15% of people have had the virus. Assuming that number is right and making the further wild assumption that this is replicated globally that gives the extrapolated result that were 70% of the world population to go on to contract the disease the final death toll would be 70% of 6.6 X 100,000 i.e. a little under 500,000. To put this in context WHO estimates annual global influenza deaths to be 250,000 to 500,000 a year.

This is of course based on a wild extrapolation of one study and so will "probably" be wrong. Even so it is numerically more robust than dividing something by an unknown number.

RAND report finds that, like fusion power and Half Life 3, quantum computing is still 15 years away

Persona Silver badge

Re: Quantum vs COBOL

Current encryption is far more vulnerable to key stealingthan math and GPU attacks

From Amanda Holden to petrol-filled water guns: It has been a weird week for 5G

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No doubt after they torch the mast they will soon be complaining bitterly that the internet on their phone isn't working.

Not only is Zoom's strong end-to-end encryption not actually end-to-end, its encryption isn't even that strong

Persona Silver badge


I'm pushing my wife and grown up daughters to use Zoom for their group chats. It's a bit mean of me, but in my defence I do feel a little bit sorry for anyone who has to eavesdrop.

Amazon says it fired a guy for breaking pandemic rules. Same guy who organized a staff protest over a lack of coronavirus protection

Persona Silver badge

Re: One Sided Reporting

if there's a test for Corona Virus antibodies, and I "pass", I should be able to return to work on-site, right???

Yes, and therein lies a problem. Test capacity will be inherently limited. People who want and need to return to work will struggle to get a test so many will assume that the "cold" they had earlier was the virus, and return to work claiming that they have had it. This then leads to a second peak of infections much worse than the first.

In all probability people will need a certificate from a government approved test centre confirming that they have had the virus and are presumably short term immune so can be exempted from lockdown.

Persona Silver badge

Re: One Sided Reporting

given that so many people have already been infected

The numbers for the US show that currently 0.07% of the US population have been infected. Those numbers are probably wrong, but only by a factor of 2 or 3.



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