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* Posts by John Sager

436 posts • joined 28 Apr 2008

Page:

Declassified files reveal how pre-WW2 Brits smashed Russian crypto

John Sager

That theory is testable

With the volume of Venona decrypt available (only a few percent of the total AFAIR), it should be possible to verify if it's always or mostly a mix of KGB traffic with GRU traffic that decrypts.

6
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You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

John Sager

Re: Doesn't change on my phone

It came up with the new look this morning. However, I really don't like it - it wastes far too much space. The previous wasn't perfect, as headlines would repeat further down the list. But even with that I prefer the more condensed list on smartphone - screen real-estate is in short supply!

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John Sager

Doesn't change on my phone

Nexus 5 Android 6, Firefox 61.0 with uBlock Origin 1.16.12.

1
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'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

John Sager

Re: Is it important?

Even on a 200m copper run (120m overhead, 80m u/g) I get quite a lot of variation. I got FTTC service very quickly when they re-parented my formerly EO DP onto the local cabinet. It started off with a raw downstream speed of ~112Mbit/s, upstream around 30Mbit/s. Then, as more of the houses nearby came on the downstream speed has steadily dropped so the best is now 90Mbit/s, but that also varies with an SNR margin that goes up and down. Why, I have no idea - it's unlikely to be water as it hasn't rained here for weeks. I'm assuming BT haven't switched on vectoring yet.

1
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Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again

John Sager

Re: Buncefield

Our old boiler used to light up with a bit of a thump, and that morning my wife remarked on how noisy the boiler was becoming. Only later did I realise it was the bang from Buncefield, attenuated a bit over here east of Ipswich!

14
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Mastercard goes TITSUP in US, UK: There are some things money can't buy – like uptime

John Sager

It's almost as easy to have 2 different CC providers & just use a direct debit to pay off the minor one. I have a Visa CC & debit card from my bank plus a shop-supplied Mastercard. The MC bill gets paid off monthly by DD. That way the cards use two completely different back-end systems. Anyway, I can't remember having a card declined due to system issues (even the Visa debit went through in Tesco amidst their problems a while back), but I have had the MC declined more than once because the transaction got caught by a fraud-detection process. That is bloody irritating, especially when abroad.

2
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And in current affairs: Rogue raccoon blacks out city power grid after shocking misstep

John Sager

Re: Furry Vengence

We saw a raccoon in Stanley Park when over there a few years ago. Not, perhaps, unusual, but Stanley Park would make a good base for the Special Raccoon Service Regiment for running ops in Washington state...

3
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Vodafone drank Facebook's network Kool-Aid … and LIVED!

John Sager

Temporary optical system performance degradation?

I thought optical fibres, especially in the ground, were fairly proof against the sort of performance degradation that e.g. copper systems suffer from water ingress. So what temporary degradation mechanisms are there, apart from the backhoe-induced total break?

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Software engineer fired, shut out of office for three weeks by machine

John Sager

On my last day at work my manager initiated the process, and when I went back to my office a few mins later to pick up my stuff, the key card wouldn't work. Had to borrow his card to get in!

2
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Microsoft Edge bug odyssey shows why we can't have nice things

John Sager

Standard big company shit. Turf wars, NIH, general mis-communication. You would, however, expect a large software company to be better at this.

17
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User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

John Sager

Nope. Definitely not. Their bosses would probably have tried to do you under the Computer Misuse Act.

17
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Trademark holders must pay for UK web blocking orders – Supreme Court

John Sager

Re: Good decision

However did this have to get to the Supreme Court? Some strange judicial thinking going on further down.

3
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Internet engineers tear into United Nations' plan to move us all to IPv6

John Sager

Re: Mapping plan

Even my small home network is hard to configure for IPv6

Perhaps that's a router issue? My v6 network autoconfigures fine - I just run radvd and it all happens. The firewall config wasn't too hard - lots of good info on the net. It's true I have some v4-only hosts (TV, etc mostly) so run dual-stack. But all my laptops, phones, servers etc all use v6 when they can.

I think the home router manufacturers have a lot to answer for here. Mine is a home-brew linux-based router, and once you get the design right it all just runs. So why can't the mfrs get with the program?

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Amazon can't or won't collect sales tax in Australia

John Sager

Re: Nice headline

An Oz friend played us this when we were over there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB2y52jfRdc

1
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Mirror mirror on sea wall, spot those airships, make Kaiser bawl

John Sager

Precision

Do you really need precision to 4 significant figures on your unit conversions - e.g 5.8m (19.02 ft)? Why not just 19 ft? Similarly for driving distances. 2, or possibly 2.5 sig figs (to the nearest 0.5) is perfectly adequate and it reads better. You need lots of precision on the GPS coords, as you have, but that's the only place it's important in this article.

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UK Parliament roars: Oi! Zuck! Get in here for a grilling – or you'll get a Tower of London tour

John Sager

Yup. Political grandstanding. Zuckerberg should tell them to twirl on his middle finger.

0
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if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders

John Sager

Nope. It's a dog...

4
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NetHack to drop support for floppy disks, Amiga, 16-bit DOS and OS/2

John Sager

Re: Start the kids on Wumpus.

HP53305A s/w for driving a HP53310A modulation domain analyser. A rather Cinderella instrument but good for us as they are cheap now on eBay.

3
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John Sager

Re: Start the kids on Wumpus.

Hey, that brings back memories! I wrote an implementation of Hunt the Wumpus in Coral 66 running on ICL 1900 series machines back in the late 70s. 300 baud dial-up with thermal paper terminals - that was real hacking!

On the subject of Software Archaeology I'm currently trying to resurrect some instrumentation software from the early 90s - Visual Basic 3 on Windows 3.x. I salute the retro gamers who thought developing dosbox was a good idea. That runs Windows for Workgroups fine under Linux. With an old version VB3 decompiler, Visual C++ 1.52 on WinXP in a VM and IDA on Linux, I've sussed out how it all works. So now I've actually managed to build a 16-bit DLL that successfully emulates the driver for the long-dead ISA GPIB card that was originally used by the software. That's probably more ancient x86 hacking than I ever did at the time - talk about climbing up the learning curve again! Next step is to build some 'hardware' in dosbox to talk to my USB to GPIB adapter.

8
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OK, this time it's for real: The last available IPv4 address block has gone

John Sager

Re: Compatibility

Hurrah for everyone who found it "simple" to migrate to IPv6. Now kindly share your tutorials rather than sniffing at us old dinosaurs

Actually ISPs are already doing that. I've had V6 for many years but I had to build my own Linux-based border router/firewall. And V6 runs seamlessly internally on all our hosts - Linux, Windows, Android - when they talk to inside & outside V6 servers. I was surprised and fascinated to discover on holiday in Hawaii last year that the local (cable) ISP provided V6 service. The cable router was an Arris box so that manufacturer seems to have cracked the amazingly difficult problem of supporting V6 in their border router (it must be hard as so few other router mfrs seem to be able to do it).

1
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John Sager

Re: I've been trying to get this happening

Perhaps the answer is to move social media to IPv6

That's already happened: ...:FACE:B00C:... in their V6 addresses, though they are still on V4.

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Danish Navy expert finds no trace of exhaust gas in private submarine

John Sager

Re: Hope the judge is keeping track.

Submarines have CO2 scrubbers that would quite possibly lower the concentration to well below atmospheric in the absence of breathing people. However, being a homebrew sub, he could have skipped on that feature.

3
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Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

John Sager

Re: One more thing.

I don't suppose Vote Leave gave it a thought, or the Remain campaign for that matter. It wouldn't have affected the vote one iota.

There will be plenty of 2nd order effects like this, but we'll just work through them.

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John Sager

Plenty of venom still

Lots of venom in these comments, so Brexit is still a very sore point for some.

As far as .eu goes, I guess, as Mr Worstall says, their gaff, their rules. It does seem a bit petty though to threaten to cancel them all next March. I would be quite happy with no new ones from UK and possibly no renewals.

However it's all of a piece with the notion, almost a religion in the Commission, that EU is a very important symbol of the underlying dogma, and wishing to leave is heretical. Hence the excommunication. At least we don't have the Brussels Inquisition yet

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Java-aaaargh! Google faces $9bn copyright bill after Oracle scores 'fair use' court appeal win

John Sager

Re: so it's a win

You might hope that Judge Alsup would go that route but this will end up in front of a jury for damages.

2
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You must be yolking: English pub to launch eggstravagent Yorkshire pudding

John Sager

Re: NO NO NO NO...

Jamie Oliver? For Yorkshire Pud? Or is that a wind-up? When I were a lad my Mum's Yorkshire pud with golden syrup was the pudding to die for, and I still occasionally eat it now. I say pudding, as we had never heard the word 'dessert'.

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Linux Foundation backs new ‘ACRN’ hypervisor for embedded and IoT

John Sager

Re: Fractal?

No, you switch on the radio and all the lights go out

You jest, but I was coming back from the Joe Bonamassa concert in Birmingham the other night with a friend in his car - a recent BMW - and the rear reading lights kept coming on for no obvious reason. Apparently it's a known fault & not yet sorted by BMW. The lights are controlled off the Can bus.

4
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You always wanted to be an astronaut, right? Careful: Space is getting more and more deadly

John Sager

The main problem so far is getting decent radiation shielding out of Earth's gravity well, and if we were to go interstellar, out of the Sun's gravity well too. Of course if we were to turn into cockroaches it would help...

1
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Rant launches Eric Raymond's next project: open-source the UPS

John Sager

Re: You gets what you pays for with UPS

Too true. I've got a APC one now on its second battery, and it gave me fair warning that the first one was on the way out. However, like a lot of other people, I have reason now to hate systemd as it does shutdown in a completely different way, so the first power failure after I upgraded Ubuntu didn't shut the server down. It took me several goes at hacking on the apcupsd scripts to finally get it working reliably. It's still got a 'hope and pray' delay in the process to deal with an inbuilt systemd delay:(

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Cavalry riding to the rescue of DDoS-deluged memcached users

John Sager

Re: Auto responders

Well, I wouldn't like to be the one to test this in court, especially if the dosser was in the US. Then we get into all the extradition shit that a few naughty boys here have had to endure.

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Europe is living in the past (by nearly six minutes) thanks to Serbia and Kosovo

John Sager

Re: For those who wonder...

That's why they are going to use DC for the big windfarms in the North Sea. The routes are so long underwater that AC would lose too much reactive power in the capacitance to the seawater.

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Britain ignores booze guidelines – heads for the pub

John Sager

Shock! Great British Public not stupid!

Looks like most people gave this advice the consideration it merited, i.e. none.

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Oi, drag this creaking, 217-year-old UK census into the data-driven age

John Sager

Bitrot

Paper forms will last hundreds of years under the right storage conditions. CDs won't. I know ONS are probably acutely aware of this, but digital data will need to be re-stored (and perhaps restored) every so often, and we all know what happens to any funds that are supposed to be dedicated to this.

Apparently Elon Musk's roadster is carrying a quartz disk with Asimov's Foundation Trilogy on it. Something like that may possibly be the future of long-term storage, as long as the design of the reader is stored in some more basic long-term medium!

2
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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.

7
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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?

0
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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.

1
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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.

6
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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?

4
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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.

1
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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...

8
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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.

7
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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.

6
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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!

15
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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!).

7
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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.

5
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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.

2
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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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