* Posts by John Savard

2229 posts • joined 18 Sep 2007

VMware discontinues Datrium hardware and hyperconverged OS, effective immediately

John Savard Silver badge

New Laws Needed

Obviously what we need are stringent consumer protection laws that absolutely ensure that the only thing that can happen after a company is acquired is that the company's business is carried on as usual for years and years thereafter as if nothing had happened. After all, it's not as if people buying computer products can always be aware that the company they're buying from is a potential acquisition target. Thus, this potential source of risk when making a purchasing decision needs to be totally eliminated, without any half-measures.

Assimilation completed! HPE says it has finished the merger with Cray and unveils combo supercomputing lineup

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Re: How many floppy discs does it take to make an exaflop?

You are allowed to cheat and use GPUs for some of your floating-point operations.

John Savard Silver badge

Re: Damn

I have heard that many past Hewlett-Packard acquisitions have been less than successful, and it would be very regrettable if any mis-steps by Hewlett-Packard led to the loss of an important American technological asset.

Lizards for lunch? Crazy tech? Aliens?! Dana Dash: First Girl on the Moon is perfect for the little boffin-to-be in your life

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Re: An interesting review

Or, rather, a substance that you put on the outside of the spaceship to prevent gravity from getting in to it? Yes, I remember Cavorite from H. G. Wells' First Men in the Moon.

The Iceman cometh, his smartwatch told the cops: Hitman jailed after gizmo links him to Brit gangland slayings

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Re: Whilst the UK has stabbings virtually every (other) day and acid attacks.

In Canada, at least, the police support gun control... not because it will disarm drug dealers and other real criminals, they know better... but because it will make it safer for the police when they do other tasks, like answering domestic violence complaints.

This isn't a bad thing, because making the police hesitant about addressing domestic violence complaints is bad for women... and making it necessary for them to respond like police in the U.S. to encounters could also be bad, even lethal, for women.

John Savard Silver badge

Additional Charges

Making a throat-cutting gesture and mouthing the word 'grass' - that's witness tampering, and making death threats. He should be facing additional charges, and given a lengthy consecutive sentence for them, so that at least his first parole eligibility will be further delayed.

Microsoft wants to show enterprises that Edge means business, rather than the thing you use to download Chrome

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Wrong Use for Edge

Microsoft Edge, like Internet Explorer before it, to me is primarily the thing I use to download Firefox. If, some time later, I actually want Chrome on my computer as well, I'll download it with Firefox like everything else.

Here's why your Samsung Blu-ray player bricked itself: It downloaded an XML config file that broke the firmware

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A Solution Exists

Any device for which there is any risk whatsoever of a loss of functionality due to a remote software update should have a button on it with which the user can always restore it to its initial configuration. This would have helped solve the problem with the PlayStation 4, as a nice bonus, but that's an example that shows why manufacturers will resist it unless there is government legislation.

FYI Russia is totally hacking the West's labs in search of COVID-19 vaccine files, say UK, US, Canada cyber-spies

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It Could be Much Worse

When I first saw this news story, I breathed a sigh of relief. It's unfortunate that Russia is stealing other countries' intellectual property in this manner, and it's unclear why they're doing it, since despite the bad relations Russia has earned with the West, it's not as if the West would try charging them extortionate prices for a COVID-19 vaccine.

What would have had me very upset would have been if they were sabotaging the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in other countries. That would be a rea. disaster.

USA ends Hong Kong's special treatment, crimping flow of tech to territory

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Relocate?

Unfortunately, Cantonese isn't really spoken much in Taiwan. Otherwise, for banks in Hong Kong that need advanced security systems from the U.S. to operate, relocating to Taiwan would be an obvious move. Of course, there's always Singapore - or even the Cayman Islands, since many people in Hong Kong can speak English.

It's handbags at dawn: America to hit France with 25% tariffs on luxuries over digital tax on US tech titans

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California

A levy on French wine, of course, would benefit California... and California isn't exactly a Republican stronghold. So it's hardly surprising that Trump decided to keep that measure in reserve!

Digicert will shovel some 50,000 EV HTTPS certificates into the furnace this Saturday after audit bungle

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Distressing

It is distressing, whatever the cause, that innocent customers will suffer an inconvenience through no fault of their own. Hopefully, they will not also suffer an out-of-pocket expense, in that they will instead recieve full refunds for the certificates they purchased since they will have to pay for the new ones. Given the need to update certificates over the weekend, and the lack of a genuine security risk, while there are rules to be followed, there should also have been a centreal authority able to issue a waiver of those rules to accomodate the situation.

Hungry? Please enjoy this delicious NaN, courtesy of British Gas and Sainsbury's

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Re: I am NaN

You are number 83.

John Savard Silver badge

Dimensional Analysis

The pudding was marked "2 x 150" rather than "2 x 150g", so apparently somebody didn't know the 150 meant 150 grams, failed to input the net weight of pudding in the product... and so, lo and behold, instead of 83 new pence per 100 grams (one third of 2.49 pounds) we get what was shown in the photo.

At least this shows that it isn't because decimalisation has made the arithmetic more complicated rather than less!

You may be distracted by the pandemic but FYI: US Senate panel OK's backdoors-by-the-backdoor EARN IT Act

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Democrats

Since not all Democrats share Diane Feinstein's position on this bill, isn't it likely to face some difficulty in getting through the House as amended, if at all?

Euro police forces infiltrated encrypted phone biz – and now 'criminal' EncroChat users are being rounded up

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Re: Matters arising

There was no encryption chip, nor, for that matter, was there any plaintext on the Encrochat servers. The phones were an ordinary phone from a normal Spanish cell phone company.

There was encryption software which communicated through the Encrochat servers.

The Encrochat servers got compromised, sent malware out to the users' phones, and then the malware read plaintext on the phones and sent it to the cops.

John Savard Silver badge

Re: Honey pot

I can think of one reason why normal people would not use it, the high price tag.

Internet blackout of Myanmar States that are home to ethnic minorities enters second year

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Puzzled

I really don't understand. Since members of the various ethnic minorities are clearly coming to harm in Burma, why hasn't this been stopped by the United States or other major Western world powers carrying out regime change in Burma to prevent this?

RIP ROP, COP, JOP? Intel to bring anti-exploit tech to market in this year's Tiger Lake chip family

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Re: ARM equivalent?

And it turns out that IBM has done something in this area for its z/Architecture...

https://patents.google.com/patent/US9891919B2/en

John Savard Silver badge

Re: ARM equivalent?

Apparently it's called Pointer Authentication, and it was introduced in version 8.3 of the ARM architecture.

Someone got so fed up with GE fridge DRM – yes, fridge DRM – they made a whole website on how to bypass it

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Solution

Instead of making it legal for consumers to bypass it, they should make it illegal to put this nonsense in products in the first place. Apparently, the voters don't have sufficient control over legislators to bend them to their will instead of that of big corporations. Since they can vote for whomsoever they please, they can fix that.

Remember that backdoor in Juniper gear? Congress sure does – even if networking biz wishes it would all go away

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Peace and Quiet

Perhaps the NSA has advised Juniper that it can't disclose certain aspects of this matter, due to considerations of national security. Of course, it's a pity they couldn't have also told the Congressmen involved this.

MacOS on Arm talk intensifies: Just weeks from now, Apple to serve up quarantini with Kalamata golive, reportedly

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As far as I'm concerned, the only acceptable new chip for Apple Macintosh computers, once Apple makes those chips itself, is one that runs 68020/68882 code, PowerPC code, and x86 code, so that it becomes possible for the Macintosh to seamlessly run all Macintosh software ever at full natiive speed. And, yes, that would mean including OS 9 as a component of future releases of OS X.

John Savard Silver badge

So? What software authors can do with their source code only matters if they do, in fact, choose to do it. Computer owners are limited to the applications that are actually offered for sale at their local computer store.

Of course, Apple could require software companies, as a condition for placing their Macintosh programs on the App Store, to have both versions of their software. But since the Macintosh, unlike the iPhone, does not compel developers to give Apple its 30% cut, even that won't necessarily be decisive.

Ex-Dell distributor in Lebanon ignored ban on suing US tech giant. Now four directors have been sentenced to prison in the UK

John Savard Silver badge

This is true, but since the defendants and their sales operation are physically in Lebanon, their primary concern would be with abiding by Lebanese law.

This court decision could have the unintended consequence of Dell entirely losing access to the Lebanese market, if its government is sufficiently affronted by an attempt to pre-empt the ability of its courts to decide whether terms in contracts governing businesses in its country are valid or not.

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road

John Savard Silver badge

Oh, dear.

I had read claims that the design of the Python interpreter was so advanced, code written in Python ran as fast as compiled code. Apparently that was mistaken.

Legal complaint lodged with UK data watchdog over claims coronavirus Test and Trace programme flouts GDPR

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Move Fast and Break Things

While one may disagree with the tactics of some Internet companies that fail to respect laws, whether copyright law or laws meant to protect taxi drivers, a pandemic happens to be an emergency, and not moving fast enough means thousands more people will die.

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

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Re: not the terminal, the punch card

And here I was going to mention the 72-column limit for languages like FORTRAN, and what do I see but the first commenter has beaten me to it!

However, this does not mean that Linux Torvalds does not have a point, because not many people are using Linux with 3277 display stations hooked up to their computers.

If American tech is used to design or make that chip, you better not ship it to Huawei, warns Uncle Sam

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Re: Globalization: Who's fault is that?

There you are then. End unfair competition; only countries with labor laws, health and safety standards, and wages comparable to those in the United States should be allowed to export to the United States. So Americans could buy made-in-Switzerland cellphones, or made-in-France cellphones, but not made-in-China cellphones.

John Savard Silver badge

Responsible Corporate Citizen?

If Huawei were a responsible global corporate citizen, it wouldn't have got itself into this trouble by exporting American tech to Iran.

But that Huawei is turning to make phones using Chinese technology since American technology is no longer available to it... what else can they do? Roll over and die?

One possibility of what may be expected of them is that they might pay a huge fine and then become subject to U.S. oversight to prove they will never do this again, but presumably this isn't really an option for a number of reasons - not just because the Chinese government wouldn't let them, but because the United States is no longer prepared to give them a second chance.

John Savard Silver badge

Re: Also Microsoft

If TSMC wants to build fabs that make 5nm chips and 3nm chips, and so on, some of the devices used there come from the United States. So they have to obey these rules, or they will be cut off from the things they need to keep making more modern chips. It is not like China is a bigger market for them than the United States and other Western countries.

Uncle Sam courting Intel, TSMC to build advanced chip fabs on home soil – report

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Missed Opportunity

There was a short time under the Clinton administration when Russia was friendly with the United States under Boris Yeltsin, and China's sole nuclear-armed submarine was in port for repairs. But we missed the opportunity for a pre-emptive strike followed by regime change in China. Then, with the threat from China eliminated, Russia and India could have given up nuclear weapons - and Pakistan would no longer need them to keep up with India. The world would have been saved from the threat of nuclear war, with all nuclear weapons in the hands of responsible countries - the United States, Britain, and France - and there would no longer have been any threat against Taiwan.

Google is a 'publisher' says Aussie court as it hands £20k damages to gangland lawyer

John Savard Silver badge

Threshhold

The court ruled that Google became liable because the individual involved had notified it about the article.

But did he send Google proof that the article was misleading?

Without that requirement, Google could be required to conceal search results about people who in fact committed crimes, but against whom charges were withdrawn because the police felt they couldn't get a conviction - some evidence being inadmissible, some witness being un-cooperative, and so on.

That won't promote public safety.

Who's still using Webex? Not even Cisco: Judge orders IT giant to use rival Zoom for virtual patent trial

John Savard Silver badge

Oh, dear. I'm not happy to hear this, becasue if WebEx has problems that make it almost unusable, then being more secure than Zoom - and Zoom is fixing its security problems, or has fixed them - isn't going to be enough to save it.

John Savard Silver badge

Headline?

The headline is inaccurate, since here Cisco is not using Zoom instead of WebEx by choice.

Not that I've even heard of WebEx, but it's nice to know a more secure alternative to Zoom is available.

However, a subsequent web search, while it turned up mentions of recent extensions to Skype, and Microsoft's Teams product, seemed to indicate that WebEx was the only major direct alternative to Zoom. However, Jitsi Meet, an open-source alternative, was mentioned.

Register Lecture: Can portable atomic clocks end UK dependence on GNSS?

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Re: The European Commission and Galileo

True, for that he should have gone to Cambridge instead.

John Savard Silver badge

Re: Interesting

Given that, instead of putting portable atomic clocks in our smartphones at great expense, why not just put atomic clocks in our cell towers or something? In fact, once one gets an accurate position for every cell tower, it's quite possible that some old-fashioned method of radio navigation, not needing atomic clocks at all, could be used to find one's position without the help of satellites. Although maybe the atomic clocks would still help in rural areas.

Singapore's corona-crushing superhero squad grounded by football fans

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Outrageous

I think it's highly regrettable that a great song by Rodgers and Hammerstein is prevented from helping humanity by making coronavirus information more accessible due to utterly trivial and irrelevant considerations like this.

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

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Pity

Unauthorized possession of classified military information is a serious crime.

Unfortunately, if these miscreants live in a country hostile to the United States, which would like to get its hands on American defense secrets, it's unlikely that this will help to lead to their prosecution.

Thus, there's an urgent need to make nuclear weapons obsolete, so that the United States can have something better, with which to effect regime change in Russia and China. Then our computers will be safer, because ransomware scum would have no place to hide.

While we're waiting for this to happen, though, Microsoft needs to fix Windows so that things like this just can't happen. If you want to install a disk encryption utility, that should have to happen before Windows boots up - in a special "install mode" of the operating system that you only get into if you want to, something like getting into the BIOS on startup.

Infosys fires employee who Facebooked 'let's hold hands and share coronavirus'

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Re: Ah, that old chestnut.

Your country has elected Narenda Modi as its leader.

A leader who has interfered with relief efforts for victims of communal violence in Orissa.

A leader who has moved the political landscape in India so that all the parties have to display "nationalism", which means supporting favoring Hindus over other people in India.

So criticizing India is not hostility to the people of India, it is solidarity with the right-thinking people of India who believe in equality.

John Savard Silver badge

Lockdown in India

Of course, India's national lockdown is also problematic. The grocery stores are also closed. It was not announced in advance, and up to the lockdown, people were repeatedly urged against panic buying. So many people in India will be locked down in their homes for two weeks without enough food.

One result has been mass migration of workers in the cities, going back home to rural areas - on foot.

Theranos vampire lives on: Owner of failed blood-testing biz's patents sues maker of actual COVID-19-testing kit

John Savard Silver badge

Solution?

Couldn't Italian law be used to force him to share the plans, because saving lives trumps everything? And because the law required him to do this, no lawsuit could be made in italy - against the doctor, but they could always try suing the Italian government.

Of course, the U.S. might threaten trade sanctions for disrespect of intellectual property.

White House turns to Big Tech to fix coronavirus blunders while classifying previous conversations

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Obvious Reason Why

Well, since accurate information about COVID-19 could possibly indicate that President Donald Trump may have been mistaken about certain things, of course it has to be classified.

Pity impeachment wasn't successful.

Chips that pass in the night: How risky is RISC-V to Arm, Intel and the others? Very

John Savard Silver badge

Problem?

Indeed, ARM is a bigger threat to Intel than RISC-V. Today, Android is popular in the high-volume categories of smartphones and tablets.

Someday, RISC-V will be popular. But unlike ARM, Intel doesn't need to buy a license for RISC-V. So it could churn out RISC-V chips whenever it felt like it. With all those facilities x86 paid for.

Check Point chap: Small firms don't invest in infosec then hope they won't get hacked. Spoiler alert: They get hacked

John Savard Silver badge

Obviously people don't want to spend more money than they absolutely have to.

The solution is clear.

Make operating systems completely secure, so that you don't need to buy anything extra.

Severely punish attempts to compromise computer systems, so that no one will dare to try for nefarious purposes. This solution is great, because its costs are borne entirely by the people whose fault it is that we have a problem. (Maybe tax software companies that make imperfect operating systems to pay for the hackers' bread and water while they're in jail.)

Cut off internet and telephone connections to countries that don't fully cooperate in prosecuting hackers, like Russia, China, and North Korea.

Facebook, distributor of deceptive political ads, sues registrar Namecheap over deceptive domain names

John Savard Silver badge

Obvious

It's clear to me that at least two of the three examples you gave are useful for typosquatting attacks by hackers, to get people to install malware when they think they're logging into Facebook or installing WhatsApp, so it seems to me that Facebook is not trying to stifle sites that criticize it.

Uncle Sam's nuke-stockpile-simulating souped-super El Capitan set to hit TWO exa-FLOPS, take crown as world's fastest machine in 2023

John Savard Silver badge

Re: This computer, whose name I'm not worthy of saying

Well, our technology isn't anywhere near that advanced. No, for all its power by our standards, I'm sure that Deep Thought would dismiss it as a mere abacus - and, indeed, many orders of magnitude less powerful even than the computer than it had actually so dismissed.

John Savard Silver badge

Next-Gen?

Supposedly, rather than the next generation of EPYC, it will be using the generation after that. So instead of EUV 7nm+, it will be using 5nm chips. I wonder what the HPC and AI optimizations of the custom EPYC chips are both on this and on the earlier Frontier supercomputer.

US Homeland Security mistakenly seizes British ad agency's website in prostitution probe gone wrong

John Savard Silver badge

Blackmail

Excuse me? Since the firm was innocent of all wrongdoing, the website should have been returned to it immediately.

Since, instead, Homeland Security retained control of it in order to secure a waiver of damages from the firm, the persons responsible for imposing that condition should face criminal charges of extortion. Pure and simple.

'I give fusion power a higher chance of succeeding than quantum computing' says the R in the RSA crypto-algorithm

John Savard Silver badge

Que sera, sera

Recently, there have been some very positive announcements about fusion power. And a lot of major corporations take quantum computing seriously enough to invest in it.

This, however, is not to say that Ron Rivest is wrong. Fusion has been ten or twenty years away before. And the challenges of keeping a quantum system isolated from the classical world rise exponentially with its size.

My opinion is that it's not safe to assume quantum computing will work, and it's also not safe to assume quantum computing will not work. Prepare for the worst in both directions.

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