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* Posts by John Sager

403 posts • joined 28 Apr 2008

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Intel didn't tell CERTS, govs, about Meltdown and Spectre because they couldn't help fix it

John Sager

Re: Note that they didn't bother with open source operating systems

I suppose someone might have considered impact, in that *BSD et al are far less deployed in critical systems than is Linux (downvote farming here...). Versus the more who know the quicker it leaks, as events have shown.

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That microchipped e-passport you've got? US border cops still can't verify the data in it

John Sager

Re: Shiney - Lets Be Bad Guys

Last time I went into the US, last summer at Oakland, they had these ESTA checking machines, which had a long line of people trying to use, and they aren't especially easy if you've never seen one before. Then, of course, we had to join an even longer line to see the regular Immigration guy, with the usual photo and fingerprint dance. Since the desk guy has to scan the passport, why don't they do the ESTA check there?

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Amateur astronomer strikes it lucky with first glimpse of a Supernova

John Sager

Nova GSi?

WTF? That's a blast from the past, and perhaps that phrase is the only thing that might be even peripherally be associated with the subject of this article. Tone down the whimsy pls.

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TalkTalk to splash £1.5bn laying full fibre on 3 million doorsteps

John Sager

This is one of the arguments for having a non-profit do the fibre build-out & then rent capacity to ISPs. But for heaven's sake don't let the government anywhere near the planning & build activity! The big problem of course is how to incentivise the non-profit to maximise capacity and reach whilst minimising cost, and to keep the network upgraded as technology & service requirements allow.

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Morrisons launches bizarre Yorkshire Pudding pizza thing

John Sager

Re: Cow Orkers

Saw the second defn. Perhaps they meant 'norking'.

As for Lancashire, I'm very open-minded, even taking on, and liking, the other side's delicacies. But then I'm funny anyway, not liking Hotpot...

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John Sager

Cow Orkers, though orking a cow might be classed as animal cruelty or something worse.

As for Yorkshire puds, I have long liked, and regularly eat, a big YP filled with chilli-con-carne. I first encountered that decades ago in a pub in Lancashire.

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What a Hancock-up: MP's social network app is a privacy disaster

John Sager

Re: I guess he gets points for trying?

No! If he wanted to try, then surely he could get a lot better advice on how to go about it, though consultancy rates in this area are not cheap. Now, of course, he has crapped all over what little reputation he may have had. Perhaps a decent web security consultant might have been a better investment?

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Well done, UK.gov. You hit superfast broadband target (by handing almost the entire project to BT)

John Sager

Re: Exchange-only lines?

There are apparently regulatory & legal issues for BT with putting VDSL kit in exchange buildings, hence the FTTC cabinet outside. Go figure.

The village I live in finally got FTTC last year as there is an existing cabinet. They then took some of us who could benefit off EO lines and onto that cabinet so I now get 80/20 FTTC. However there are still dwellings in the village and the neighbouring one that are too far for FTTC and I believe that they are going to get FTTP eventually, in 2019 supposedly.

Well, I say 80/20 and that's what I get nominally. However the raw sync rate as reported by my modem varies quite a lot and can often dip below 80 even though I'm only 200 metres by line length from the cabinet. Not sure why yet - there's no obvious correlation with the weather.

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PC lab in remote leper colony had wrong cables, no licences, and not much hope

John Sager

Re: Ré causing, not curing chaos

Bloody Hell, that takes me back. As a teenager I tried to fix one of those. It had a dropper resistor wound into the mains flex...

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Elon Musk lowers his mighty erection for test firing: Falcon Heavy preps for maiden voyage

John Sager

Re: Kiss goodbye to that roadster

Nice idea, but I don't think even a Falcon Heavy has the delta-V to do that.

On a personal note, Musk gets a lot of flak, especially in the electric car field, but I forgive him all that faux-Green crap because of SpaceX and what that company has done to push forward the space business.

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Ey-up, mardy Rochdale council has dropped plans for ban on swearing. Thank f$ck!

John Sager

Ey up? EY UP??! They don't say that in Rochdale, At least not when I were a lad there. That's an expression from 't other side o 't hill! We didn't demean oursels wi' expressions like that.

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'I knew the company was doomed after managers brawled in a biker bar'

John Sager

Re: It's all fun and games until someone's toes freeze solid and shatter,

We made silver azide at school, filled a drinking straw and set it off in the local park. I was deaf for several minutes - never heard such a loud bang. The other one was a paint tin full of a stoichiometric mix of Fe2O3 and Al powder. Because it was so fine there was lots of air in the mix so once it got going there was a beautiful silver fire fountain and molten iron flowing across the ground. These days we would be banged up in Paddington Green pronto!

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Millions of moaners vindicated: Man flu is 'a thing', says researcher, and big TVs are cure

John Sager

Re: "No point using the nice stuff"

Ginger wine & cooking scotch in 1:1 ratio in the 'morbid' phase, then it has to be Highland Park in the recovery phase (and subsequent phases too!).

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Wondering why your internal .dev web app has stopped working?

John Sager

Re: Easy enough to fix

If you're developing stuff for the web then not using Chrome isn't an option. It is needed to be tested against if for no other reason. The Chrome stupidity, if I read it right, is that any request to a .dev url must use https as enforced by Chrome. Glad I didn't choose .dev for my own internal TLD many moons ago. I'm not going to change it, but if I were doing it now, I would probably choose something else.

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Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project

John Sager

Well, fan designs have improved a bit since Whittle's time so, as others have said, most of the thrust on a high-bypass turbofan comes from the fan. It's not outrageous to replace the jet core with an electric motor. I wonder why they haven't proceeded with a motor/generator integrated with the wing-mounted jets? That would give the same sort of hybrid performance as the approach that BAe are taking. Perhaps it compromises too many things (weight, diameter, length, etc) on the jet to do that.

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You live in the right galaxy: Milky Way to eat Small Magellanic Cloud even sooner

John Sager

Re: We're in for a bit of a shake up anyway

Hard to divine what motivates flat-earthers. Even I can see the earth is round just looking at the container ships at anchor off Felixstowe - you can't see the hull, only the containers. And simple (for a physicist) arguments about potential energy minimisation in a squishy planet under gravitation lead you to a spherical-ish solution.

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The Reg parts ways with imagineer and thought pathfinder Steve Bong

John Sager

Please can we have Lewis & Tim back now? Pity we can't get Lester back from the other side.

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Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

John Sager

Re: Such is life. Have a look around - it's a constant race of arms.

They changed the voltage a while back to 230V so as to be in line with the rest of the EU

No they didn't. The allowed tolerance was changed by EU administrative fiat so that both nominally 220v (in Europe) and 240v (UK) would fall into the new allowed tolerance bands. I don't know whether recently installed LV transformers in the UK network have moved to be centred on 230v - can't be arsed to google it.

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Europe's one-patent-court-to-rule-them-all rocked by 'Brexit, EPO reforms, German laws'

John Sager

Re: How does the government work in Germany?

Was this a rhetorical question? Most parliaments tend to follow the second model, with the 'authority' ranging from the Politburo via the President/Prime Minister to the most munificent lobbyists.

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One-third of mobile users receive patchy to no indoor coverage

John Sager

Femtocell

I have had one for 8 years or so. Connects to Vodafone over 't Internet. I live in a hole RF-wise and it's been a godsend. I think all networks now provide these (need lucre though). I wonder what the household penetration is of these per network?

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Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me

John Sager

Re: Belisha Beacons

The public's attitude to politicians has evolved significantly since the days of Hore-Belisha, as witnessed by many comments here. He is obviously far too far up his own arse to realise this.

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Arm isn't saying IoT firmware sucks but it's writing a free secure BIOS for device makers

John Sager

Re: Good idea, I think

Regulation will probably be the final blow to those security blunders

You mean, like all those CE-marked devices from China?

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FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

John Sager

Re: ATSC 3.0 fixes a lot of problems with ATSC 1.0

Excuse me while I ROFLMAO! Being sorta involved when both DVB and ATSC were being developed, I never understood why the Yanks were so stuck on 8VSB. All the tests then in all sorts of environments showed that OFDM was better. Hence most of the rest of the world went with DVB or variants (Japan, Brazil).

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Twitter: Why we silenced Rose McGowan after she slammed alleged sex pest Harvey Weinstein

John Sager

Re: Sense of proportion

If Twitter is half the company they are supposed to be then they will have tweet analysis keyed to the T&C's, as well as lots of other stuff presumably. A phone no filter is not a hard regular expression, and they will get flagged.

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Q. Why's Oracle so two-faced over open source? A. Moolah, wonga, dosh

John Sager

Well, Larry is still making lots of dosh. Oracle's attitude won't change until that changes.

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WannaCry kill-switch hero Marcus Hutchins collared by FBI on way home from DEF CON

John Sager

I'll probably get downvoted for this but what the hell. I've been to the US countless times over the last 30 years both on business and vacations. I have never had any hassle from either the guys on immigration or the customs guys though I did once get asked a domain knowledge question by immigration related to the purpose of the visit. And I'll be going there soon on vacation. It's true that this time I'm taking a clean laptop rather than my normal one but that's the only concession I'm making to their increased paranoia. I would probably be more trepidacious if it were my first visit though, as they would have no previous history.

Having said all that, I hope the guy gets it sorted PDQ, though I wonder if there is more to this than 'security guy gets nabbed by the Feds for no apparent reason'

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Don't make Aug 21 a blind date: Beware crap solar eclipse specs

John Sager

Re: Curiousity and dead cats...

It works in space, but not on the ground - too much glare from the atmosphere. Flying high also lets them see wavelengths that get blocked by the atmosphere, as well as extending the eclipse period by flying along inside the shadow.

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John Sager

I've got two different types. One is cardboard glasses with a plastic filter. They have a CE mark & say 'tested at Durham University'. The other is a rectangular filter with both ISO and CE marks, and says 'Meets the requirements of ISO 12312-2-2015 and EC directive 89/686/EEC'. Both give me a dull orange disc viewing the sun, with no fuzziness. Both were bought from Amazon UK.

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Deutsche Telekom G.fast demo pushes G.Fast faster, further

John Sager

I can't imagine it goes further. 212MHz spectrum on a phone line, especially in a multi-pair cable? If it were made to Cat5e standards, perhaps, but the existing cable infrastructure isn't. Also as lines are never particularly well balanced, the spectrum pollution into the airwaves is just going to get worse.

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Russia launches non-terrifying satellite that focuses Sun's solar rays onto Earth

John Sager

Re: Tracking info freely available

Or use Gpredict on Linux. The object is catalogued as 2017-042F. I just looked at predictions on Gpredict. It looks like it won't be high in the sky in SE England until around midnight BST, so it may already be in eclipse by that time. Check it out looking NE at about 23:45 tonight.

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Openreach asks UK what it thinks about 10 million 'full fibre' connections

John Sager

Not here methinks

I have, finally, just got on to FTTC, which took ages and rural broadband money to get the cabinet locally, then another several months to get moved off an EO line onto that cabinet, then a bit of intervention from my ISP to get Openreach's data in some semblance of accuracy before the order went through. Sadly, some more distant EO lines in our area will have to wait another 2 years, but then they get FTTP, apparently. I sincerely doubt they'll upgrade those of us where FTTC is available.

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China pollutes ocean with bloody big rocket

John Sager

Re: All my sympathy..

The Chinese are probably slightly more civilised than that now unless it was a really egregious & stupid mistake by someone. Now the NorKs probably have the more brutal approach, which may explain why their technical endeavours don't progress too fast.

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Not that scary or that hard: Two decades of VLANS

John Sager

I've implemented several VLANs on my home network to segregate guest WiFi, security cameras, etc. The Netgear switches I use are cheap & very capable.

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IoT coverage for 95% of UK by 2019? We can't even do 4G, Sigfox

John Sager

Re: Mixing IoT with cellular networks

Privacy usually isn't an issue with such applications as they usually monitor things like pipe pressures or weather clock are still running

Speak for yourself. The pressure in my pipes is my own affair. And monitoring IoT traffic from premises will eventually tell you quite a lot about the behaviour of the occupants if it's in clear.

Being tech-savvy will hopefully help me avoid the most egregious horrors of the IoT world but I pity the poor buggers who can't evaluate this stuff themselves.

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TalkTalk customers complain of being unable to load Amazon website

John Sager

Re: normally

Yup, AAISP are a top ISP and unlike XKCD it's not a dream. They helped me with 2 problems that were/would have been call-centre hell with BT.

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F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen on IoT: If it uses electricity, it will go online

John Sager

Lots of tinfoil-hattery going on here

Much of this assumes that these devices can communicate to their parent 'cloud' as if by magic. The Amazon Whispernet idea doesn't really pass the economics sniff test for a lot of them. A Kindle is quite pricey, certainly compared with a toaster, and the Whispernet only worked in the US - needed to talk via AT&T. The most obvious route is via Bluetooth or wi-fi, or perhaps even z-wave or zigbee to the home router, where this stuff should be properly policed. Home routers need to be better than they are in many ways - both security and QoS, for example, but this won't happen as long as they're still based on cheap & nasty MIPS-based SoCs. Fortunately SoC-land is getting much better in this respect so we might hope to see better products in the next few years. Customer push would help, as would reviews from hell for the stinkers. However, sadly I can see wings evolving on pigs first:(

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Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

John Sager

Re: That's why the EU has started Galileo...

Perhaps it's time for someone to build an NTP-disciplined oscillator. :) (NTP has lots of short time yitter, but obviously no long term drift, so it might work)

It does work, sorta. The 3G femtocell devices use long sequences (2hrs or so) of NTP queries to get enough accuracy to discipline the local oscillator. My device seems to do it every 24 hours or so.

As for local knowledge, that seems to be disappearing for all the services that need it. I was talking to a coastguard officer recently & he said that his area would be concentrating to the national centre in Fareham, but that his people didn't want to move to Fareham so their local expertise would be lost.

Cheap inertial devices are getting better so they may be stable enough soon for trips of a few hours, especially with road lock to estimate the drifts. Also the nav display function 'I think I'm here. Touch the screen where I really am' would set it up for a journey.

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Small carriers aren't showing up to IPv6 standards chats, consultant warns

John Sager

Religion on both sides

There are religious 'keep V4'ers just as there are religious v6ers. The address problem isn't going to go away, NAT or no, and v6 is the only game in town to address that. If its protocol support is too geeky for some, then essentially all that should be hidden away in the CPE. Unfortunately most CPE makers are producing crap products with features you don't want (UPNP) and a complete lack of features that are now quite important (QoS). Apart from one or two, I'm not sanguine about the prospect of getting performant v6 kit anytime soon. I went down the 'roll your own' route to fix this a long time ago but then I'm in a small minority of punters that can.

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Raspberry Pi sours thanks to mining malware

John Sager

Re: Captain Bodge-tastic speaking

Just analysing my firewall logs for the last 4 months & I've had 36k hits on telnet and 6k hits on ssh port 22. Those are the top 2 TCP ports for hits, followed by 5358, 1433 & 7547. I occasionally see a hit on my obscure ssh login port - 1 every few months perhaps.

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Tech industry thumps Trump's rump over decision to leave Paris climate agreement

John Sager

Re: cripple your own economy

There is a tipping point where solar becomes cheaper than coal

So where, and at what cost, is the backup generation/storage for when the sun don't shine? You have to compare like with like. Or should we shed the load at sunset and have a North Korea-style nighttime scenario?

Like it or not, a *lot* of the world's generation capacity will run on coal for decades to come Trump or no Trump, especially in China and India. And if they get their act together in terms of development, Africa too.

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Openreach hints at fibre network strategy rethink

John Sager

Re: FTTP?

I wonder if this is why, when I last enquired, we're going to get FTTP on our DP (in a year...)? I was very surprised at this. A FTTC cabinet went live in our village recently, and although it is <100m from me, my DP and another one close by are EO lines. The other DP is supposed to be re-parented on the cabinet very soon but, although it would be easier & cheaper to put both on the cabinet at the same time, mine is to be FTTP. I shan't complain though (except for the extra wait), if that's what actually happens.

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OK... Red wire or black... *Clickety* You've emailed the schematic? Yes, got it! It's opening. And... WHAT? NO!

John Sager

Re: Why is that not adequate

A lot of the issues are to to with totally shit wifi routers that can't do QoS for toffee. However, it's not exactly easy. I had this problem with my own home-brew router - a satnav update I started totally clobbered my daughter's Netflix session. I spent a *lot* of time analysing that & coming up with a working solution using combinations of iptables rules to mark traffic and qdiscs to filter & queue traffic appropriately. I think recent versions of OpenWrt have something similar, and eventually the Cake qdisc should make this a no-brainer.

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I need an ISP that offers IPv6. Virgin Media: Whatevs, nerd

John Sager

Re: If in the UK, I recommend

Likewise. I changed to A&A when the previous v6 support I had from Enternet broke and they never bothered to fix it. It was apparently something cobbled together for customers on BT's 20C network.

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Do you use .home and .mail on your network? ICANN mulls .corp, .mail, .home dot-word domains

John Sager

Silly to use generic tlds on a home network

I picked one that's not generic and not in ISO3166 so that it wouldn't cause me or anyone else any problems in the future. I also got the local root name in the company NNTP server changed many years ago to avoid ISO3166 before it would have become a problem. Far better to foresee these problems before they bite you...

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Public IPv4 drought: Verizon Wireless to stop handing out static addys

John Sager

Re: but it's suffice to say IPv6 is so big,

My ISP gave me a /48 by default, which is equivalent to a /16 in v4-world. Not that I use more than a /63. I could, in principle, change my home network to v6 only, at least for the laptops, android, a couple of servers, as my ISP runs a 4-to-6 service to map v4s in the Internet to temporary v6 addresses. No such luck for the blu-ray player and DVRs though. I guess it'll be a long while before new models of them become dual stack.

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It's time for our annual checkup on the circus that is the Internet Governance Forum

John Sager

Isn't this SOP in the UN generally? They would be constitutionally incapable of doing anything useful anyway because of the completely diverse & irreconcilable views in the world of what the Internet is for and how it should be controlled.

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Passport and binary tree code, please: CompSci quizzes at US border just business as usual

John Sager

They did something similar to me in the 90s

I was working on digital TV standards at the time, told the Immigration guy I was going to a meeting on the subject. He then asked "what screen aspect ratio do you think will win out in the long run" or words to that effect. So I went "Oh, definitely 16 by 9". He then said he was interested in the subject as he had just been to CES. May have been true I suppose. The guys at the meeting were a bit boggled when I related this tale.

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Blighty floods with techies' tears as Capita boss Parker quits

John Sager
FAIL

Does anyone have a good word to say about them?

My crap Crapita story is the TVL one, and frightening my elderly MiL with the usual nastygrams, even though she had a licence, and free to boot because of her age. Turns out they had no way of dealing with alias addresses, where the account address in their database is not quite the same as the Postcode Address File one. Got her MP involved but no satisfactory resolution:(

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One IP address, multiple SSL sites? Beating the great IPv4 squeeze

John Sager

Yup. I'm just a home user & my ISP just handed me a /48 no problem - the equivalent of a Class B in old money. Not that I need that much (yet...).

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Germany, France lobby hard for terror-busting encryption backdoors – Europe seems to agree

John Sager

Re: Getting bored of pointing this out

So why do we see so much 'the State must' talk from the Left? 'Minimise the State' seems to be perceived as more of a Right position.

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