nav search
Data Center Software Security DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes
BOFH
Lectures

* Posts by Henry Wertz 1

2385 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Crypt-NO-coins: US city bans mining funbux on its electrical power grid

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

market solution

They should not ban crypto miners, they should set a commercial tarrif such that drawing huge amounts of power is uneconomical for them.

23
0

Less than half of paying ransomware targets get their files back

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

I actually am surprised

I actually am surprised. Call me naive but I thought there was (as it's called) honor among thieves, that they would actually cop up thbe key once paid. I also assumed this just do to simple self-interest, that people will stop paying if they getg the word that they won't get the key anyway.

14
1

A smartphone recession is coming and animated poo emojis can't stop it

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Keyboard!!!

Keyboard!!! LG, Samsung, Motorola, etc. are like "nobody is buying keyboard phones", while Blackberry can't make the two Android keyboard phones they are making in stock.

Keyboards alone of course wouldn't fix a sales slump singlehandedly, but if Motorola, Samsung, LG, and Apple quit copying each other and ending up with almost the same phone (LG, Sammy and Apple here even have started airing almost identical advertising...), if they did things to make their phones different maybe people would be interested in them?

3
0

Got some broken tech? Super Cali's trinket fix-it law brought into focus

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Two comments...

Well 3.

1) Want better repairability? Don 't buy Apple. I mean, I saw a complaint a while ago about "phone vendors" not using standardized connectors, they do except for Apple.

2) That said I'm all for this rule. I do realize in actuality some other vendors phones are getting somewhat less repairable as new models come out.

3) The farm equipment situation? I heard it was pretty dire -- fuel injection computers locked down like a slot machine, no documentation on even what the "check engine light" codes mean, I'm pretty sure they were even doing ink cartridge style crap so the tractor would not even let you install for instance aftermarket fuel injectors if the originals went out.

7
2

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

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

screw 'em

So, really, I'm no believer in so-called "responsible" disclosure, I'm for public exposure of flaws. I'm all for some class action lawsuits for the time between when they found out about these flaws and when they disclosed, selling known-flawed chips without so much as an errata notice sure opens one up to liability.

That said, once they decided to hide this flaw, screw CERT, they wouldn't be helpful.. and Congress? F--- 'em. I've seen no sign of anyone in Congress ever being even vagvuely technologically competent. Intel is right, telling them all would have been zero help.

2
0

The e-waste warrior, 28,000 copied Windows restore discs, and a fight to stay out of jail

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Ubuntu

Yup, should have been putting Ubuntu on them instead. Ran into this at years back... highers up are like "Sure you can put windows back on these machines", and we pointed out the license prohibited it (the enterprise agreement invalidated the individual licenses, and it was prohibited for us to automate the reinstall either way making it far too labor intensive at the volumes we were dealing with.) We ended up shipping them blank.

10
13

US senators vow to filibuster FBI, er, NSA's domestic, errr, foreign mass spying program

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Good

First off, good on them and I hope they get more senators to join their filibuster. I find it unbelievable that any politician can actively support unconstitutional spying programs like this and stay in office.

That said -- really, out of that list, at least Patrick Leahy and Rand Paul are really libertarians, they ran as republican and democrat to get into office (successfully, they've both been there for years.) The US has a broken political system, with a near-one-party system. Since these parties combine people that should (in a working political system) be members of probably half a dozen parties, you can or course find some reps and dems with polar opposite political views, and you will find "far left" and "far right" individuals in them. But you look at party line, both parties to avoid "alienating their base" have nearly the same political platform really -- by British standards, the reps are center-right but very near center, the dems are center-left but very near center.

Of course, both blame the other party for all problems. For example, both parties lie and claim they want to fix the federal budget problems, which are entirely the other parties fault. But, in fact both parties actually for increased gov't spending and tax cuts.

I have no idea why both parties have whole handedly decided they should ignore the Constitution and civil rights. But, that's the rub -- I can care about my rights as much as I want, without any 3rd parties it's highly likely as elections come up the choice I have will be two people who don't give a damn about rights.

The big two issues causing this -- polls, and debates.

Polls -- personally I've been polled twice -- the first time, the pollster asked which candidate I was voting for, then named the democrat or republican, and they hung up when I said I was voting 3rd party. The second gave a choice of "press 1" for some republican, "press 2" for some democrat, "press 9" for someone else. When I hit 9 it said the choice was invalid and hung up. It's kind of a vicious cycle when the media uses polls that usually don't even had 3rd parties as a choice, they therefore don't mention or include 3rd parties, so it won't even occur to most of the public to look into them then.

Debates -- just 1 example, there was a big row during a few of the early presidential debates this last time around, because they excluded some 3rd party candidates due to low poll figures, but had probably half a dozen main-party candidates for each main party, several of which had actually polled lower than the excluded 3rd party candidates.

10
0

Captain Morgan told off for Snapchat lens: That grog be aimed at kiddies

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Youngsters...

"Snapchat is usually associated with youngsters sharing self-deleting photos with each other,"

You'd think so wouldn't you? Inexplicably, the couple people I've seen that seem to be constantly sending each other snapchats with a seemingly endless variety of filters are like 25-35 years old.

0
0

Social network smacks back: Accusers say it helps recruiters target age-groups in job ads

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

not sympathetic

not sympathetic to facebook. Safe harbor is important. But... If they have it set up so job ads can be posted with age as a filter (other than maybe "over 18") when that is specifically illegal, then I'm not sure just trying to shift liability onto posters is going to fly.

0
0

Comms-slurping public bodies in UK need crash course in copy 'n' paste

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Mediacom did this

Our local cable company, Mediacom, did this. I had my cable internet shut off several times . When I finally went in in person to find out what the hell, it turned out A) they had been sending the "copyright violation notices" to the wong address (mistyping it every time) and b) the ip address not only had never been assigned for me (dynamic dns kept a log of what IP I had), it was for a town hundreds of miles away! I cancelled service on the spot and got DSL.

1
0

UK teen dodges jail time for role in DDoSes on Natwest, Amazon and more

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

prohibited activites?

So the article mention the Isrealis getting into trouble for (among other crimes) "prohibited activities." Sounds vague 8-) Reminds me of the episode of Corner Gas: "What are you writing me a ticket for?" "Unspeicified violations."

1
0

Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Underestimation

I think you are underestimating the per-core performance of these ARMs. Comparable to a P3? Umm.... I've thrown Ubuntu onto my (Tegra K1-based) Chromebook, and per-core performance (it's a quad-core) is roughly between a Core 2 and an i5. This uses older 32-bit ARM cores, compared to the Snapdragon, I'd expect it to be faster. Honestly, I've done light video editiing, video encoding, photo editing, compiled software, and done android software development (in addition to lots of web browsing and video playback) with no complaints.

I'm glad these are coming out, so I can get one (probably used), strip Win10 the hell off it and put a nice ARM distro onto it.

6
6

Get ready for laptop-tab-smartphone threesomes from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Qualcomm

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

done it

Done it -- I have an ARM Chromebook that I basically never use ChromeOS on -- I run an updated "Chrubuntu" (Chromebook Ubuntu, that I updated -- other than the chromebook kernel and video drivers -- to Ubuntu 16.04). As much aso commentors are poo-pooing it, a system like this is actually quite nice. Mine's basically a Nvidia Tegra K1 in a notebook package. That's a quad-core ARM (with 5th low-power core the system switches to under light usage) and a Nvidia video chip (even supporting CUDA). The performance is quite decent (and I'm pretty sure the Snapdragon's a newer, faster ARM). And, it's nice to not have to worry about topping upt he battery (12 hour battery life under heavy usage, and 18 under lighter usage.) If I'm in a 72-degree room and run the cores full-tilt the hottest spot on the case MIGHT hit 80. Under any normal use the case doesn't seem to heat up at all.

Of course, I'm running Linux so most software is already ARM-native... whereas Windows has absolutely no tradition of having Windows software for anything but x86. The big trick will be if enough ARM softawre comes out, it'd probably get old to run absolutely everything under emulation. With that said, I do have qemu on there and have run a handful of x86 binaries. Performance under emulation with qemu's not great but is useable in a pinch. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft didn't have a faster emulator, they did buy Connectix (makers of Virtual PC, which ran x86 software on PowerPC Mac) years ago so they likely do have emulation experts on hand.

As for pricing -- $10? Yeah right. But, there are plans here int he States where you pay some massive up-front amount (like $80-100) for "unlimited"* but can add lines for $20 a pop. I suppose if I had one of these that's what I'd end up doing, add it for $20 to an existing plan.

*"unlimited" usually means up to 22GB, then your data is "deprioritized", i.e. if the cell site is not slow you'll get full speed, but if it slows down you'll be slowed down before everyone else.

4
0

'Urgent data corruption issue' destroys filesystems in Linux 4.14

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

difference here though...

"If MS had this data corruption bug in Windows there would be dozens of commenters here telling how "Why isn't MS testing their crapware", or "MS is letting end users test their crap", with everyone upvoting each other.""

And rightfully so, usually; gentoo it's typical to either run very recent or bleeding edge versions of almost every package. You would not have seen this bug running any typical Linux distro. People tend to make comments regarding Microsoft's mistakes (and upvote it!) when people run the regular release of Windows, update it, and run into big problems; not when they are running something like the Win10 bleeding edge channel and run into problems.

2
0

Tesla launches electric truck it guarantees won't break for a million miles

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Re: Fnar, fnar

"US pronunciation would be "see my", not the British one of "semmy""

Nope, I can assure you in the US "semi" is pronounced the funny way, either "semmy" or "semm-eye" just as I've heard people pronounce "semi-deatched" on the few UK shows I've seen that term used.. But it strictly means lorry here -- I don't actually know if us US'ians actually have a word for a semi; as far as I know you've either got wood or you don't here.

1
0

Welcome to the Rise of the Machine-to-Machine. Isn't it time to 'block off' some data ducts?

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Security problems

I think quite succinctly, one of the big security problems at present is the trend to run absolutely everything over port 80.

In years past, your web server would be on port 80 serving up web pages. That custom service you wrote would be on another port. That other machine-to-machine service? Another port. So, it was completely normal to restrict some port, either entirely (if it's expected to be only be used on the local machine) or to whatever machines are supposed to use that particular service, along with rate limiting and so on. Now? The regular web pages, custom service, and other machine-to-machine service would most likely all be running over port 80.

This is by no means some insurmountable problem, most web servers can certainly be set to block URLs by pattern (and so block certain services) based on requester, throttle based on requester, and so on, and they should for services that aren't meant for dog+world to access.

8
0

'Windows 10 destroyed our data!' Microsoft hauled into US court

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Probably do have permission...

"Microsoft had no permission to change the OS on a machine, which amounts to unauthorised access."

Uncertain. If you are using Windows 7, 8, or 10, have you actually read the license? Some of the terms are quite heinous. My recollection is that the license gives them the right to modify the software on the system in any way they see fit, with or without notice, and they disclaim the software actually being able to do anything.

That said, the fact that they would keep hassling people over and over to upgrade (not a "never ask again option") I *do* hope they get the book thrown at them.

1
0

Bloke whose drone was blasted out of sky by angry dad loses another court battle for compo

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

may be legal?

"Un fortunate jamming device are illegal to posses and use in the US."

Possess? I think you can possess any kind of radio device you want, as long as you don't use it. Use? The blanket "it's illegal to use" is usually talking about cellular band jammers. The rules for these bands remote controls use? Typically fcc rules say devices must tolerate interference, and must not intentionally generate interfeference. But in most bands, there's also a power limit where if you are below that limit, your device can do whatever it wants. It's entirely possible you could jam a drone if it got close enough AND stay fully within FCC regulations.

0
0

Oh my God, 911 is down. Quick, call… aaargh!

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Re: Free market fail.

"The FCC should walk into AT&T headquarters tomorrow and arrest every senior level manager, not fine them. 911 should always work. Always. Multiply redundant impossible to fail *always* because it's one of the areas in technology where failure is *not* an option. Failure = people die. "

I agree this kind of thing is inexcusable, but thats why they fine millions of dollars an hour even when an outage covers a limited area. Arrest? Sorry but that is overkill. You should realize, data centers with multiply redundant power (I.e. two independt power lines going into the building), battery backup, and generator backup STILL have seemingly inconceivable failures because of the interconnect connecting all these power sources failing (usually with a nice electrical fire); or a data center orders multiply redundant connections, only to find that some bozo actually ran several connections using the same physical fiber optic fiber and not redundant at all. Redundancy should be a cure all but it isn't.

That said, AT&T wireless has cut corners now and then in the past... if it was do to that then perhaps some jail time is in order (negligence).

0
0

'I'm innocent!' says IT contractor on trial after Office 365 bill row spiraled out of control

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

I suppose it depends, but I would have avoided the situation

I think this has been said... but I suppose it depends. I think this has been said, but if the service was paid through him, and they were delinquint, I think he was within his rights (although, see below, I would avoid this kind of situation entirely...). If it was not paid through him, he's in the wrong; users of any cloud service really must consider what happens if they lose access to that service (and it sounds like they did consider that at least to some extent since they say they lost no data.) If The gov't (including local gov'ts like this) do have a nasty habit of using criminal charges in cases where anyone else would use a civil suit.

When I was doing contract IT work with a few business partners, we made quite sure that a) Subscription services ("cloud" backup, dynamic dns, e-mail and web hosting) were paid by the client directly to whoever provided the service. We were paid for our services, not to pass some money onto a 3rd party. b) They had copies of all notes we made*; whether they knew how to use it or not, a future IT vendor would find them useful. In other words, we followed the general principal "if the whole IT group got hit by a bus, the customer should not be screwed."

*Notes we gave them included changes we made from stock config on routers, access points, etc.; network maps; device documentation for some devices (for instance one site had a PBX where they had the "end user" manual so it just said to call a PBX vendor for changing half the stuff; we found the real manual with all the info and gave them a copy); administrative credentials (for computers, online services, routers, access points, and whatever else); and miscellaneous notes (for instance, noting one high-end HP network printer they had that dropped off the network several times a week and had to be power cycled, HP never released non-buggy firmware for the darned thing.)

1
0

Thanks, Obama: NSA to stream raw intelligence into FBI, DEA and pals

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Fascists

" Quite why this needed to be rushed through in the dying days of the Obama administration remains to be seen."

Because it's fascist, and goes against basic American principals. Obama has hated freedom, especially right to privacy, all along (based on his record) and this goes along with that. By slipping things like this through a) At the last second and b) via Executive Order, he can (at least try to) bypass any discussion or review of unconstitutional actions such as this.

14
5

NASA wants to sell International Space Station to private enterprise

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

What he said..

I agree with what Tom64 said... there is the issue of the station being international. US, Russia, ESA (European Space Agency), Japan, all have modules on the station. But if they all decide they are not going to be using the station sometime in the 2020s (not too unlikely, given how MIR held up it'll be getting a bit rough by then), they might as well sell it rather than just mothball it if there are interested buyers.

0
0

BlackBerry chief: We don't have to make phones to make phones

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

One thing they can specialize in

There is one thing they can continue to specialize in -- phones with keyboards!

I mean, really, I looked recently to see what phones with keyboard I could get, I've got a Stratosphere II (Android 4.1 phone with LTE). After I found VZW's website doesn't have a choice to filter by keyboard any more, I did some Googling. A review that went over the "top 10" on all 4 of the biggest US carriers had a BlackBerry Priv (which does look nice, it's running Android rather than BlackBerry 10), another BlackBerry, a 3rd BlackBerry, like 1 other Android (with a 640x480 screen and Android 4.0..., lower spec than the Strat II...) and a couple "feature phones" (calls, text, and pictures only.)

Some people now have the solution of having a phone, tablet, or "phablet" and a plug-in keyboard. That's fine, but I don't want to have to carry around accessories with my phone.

Blackberry should think about this -- it's unfortunate that the BlackBerry itself (i.e. a phone running BlackBerry OS) has become niche. But the "Android phone with keyboard" alone is a distinguishing feature for them; they could make a flaghsip phone (as they are now), mid-range, or low-end and not have to worry about it being "yet another Android phone" and not stand out.

If there's enough current BlackBerry OS users too, it would make sense to keep getting customers from that niche too, they could make sure BB runs on the same hardware and get 2 for one.

2
0

Facebook ‘glitch’ that deleted the Philando Castile shooting vid: It was the police – sources

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Failed.

"IF it's true that the police deleted it, that's the most incriminating fact. Unless they had body cameras, the best evidence we'll get is a cop car dashcam video that the police can explain away with "he pulled a gun!""

They did have body cameras; "mysteriously" they all failed.

4
0
Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

What should change?

"That being said, an argument could be made as to which gun killed the poor guy if him having a firearm prompted the officer to shoot him."

No the argument can't be made, there's no question the officer killed him with his gun. These types of trigger-happy officers will decide your wallet looks like a gun, a pack of smokes looks like a gun, a phone looks like a gun. A few years back locally, a police officer shot someone through the heart who was in their own art studio (at midnight) talking on the phone. Initially he claimed he thought the phone was a gun, then said he saw the door open, decided to just go in and flinched when someone was standing right there.

Several things need to be done:

1) This "police having other police's back" type nonsense has to go. Comradery and so on? Yeah, this is fine. Covering up for officer misconduct? This has never been a good thing, it has always tarnished reputations of departments involved (due to rumors and so on); it's now the 21st century, so these coverup attempts will be completely unsuccessful, and it won't be rumors tarnishing the department but proven fact of misconduct and coverup. (In the art studio example, there was no attempt to cover up.)

2) Make sure officers do follow their training. Some few will just plain be dirty, and they've got to go. Some aren't "dirty" but just don't have the temperament for it, they're too high-strung. Plenty of others just don't quite follow procedure... which doesn't usually lead to any problems, until it does. (In the art studio example, the officer went in alone when procedure was to go in with backup; both for officer safety, and to keep the officers calmer (since they have backup) and so less likely to make mistakes.)

3) The mentality. There are definitely some departments with an "us versus them" mentality; the police tend to not be respectful toward the public, the public know what they'll get interacting with the police and are not respectful either. The officers tend to be rather high-strung and nervous ("us versus them" remember); the public knows if they are stopped they'll be treated like a criminal, so they're nervous. The police are trained to be suspicious when the person stopped is nervous, so this makes them more nervous... On the other hand, there are departments that take "protect and serve" seriously, they want to reduce crime while recognizing they shouldn't interact with the general public as though they are all potential criminals. They treat the public with respect, and are (usually) treated with respect in return. It makes their job easier and less stressful, and they stress the public less. I'm happy to say, locally the local PD and the state patrol both tend to be reasonably friendly.

4
0

Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

I'm not understanding these reasons

Will Google do this? I don't know. I don't understand the reasoning why they would though:

1) The "API" argument. OK, so Google ends up owing billions to Oracle. a) Would changing anything in 2017 affect those damages anyway? b) Are they going to rewrite an entire new API from scratch then? In one year? Keep in mind, they can't just "close source" the same API -- they still will be shipping an implementation of it, which I assume would be enough to get them in trouble with Oracle anyway -- and if a judge is stupid enough (hey judge, if you decide this you are STUPID!) to decide API itself can be copyrighted (so you can't clean-room implement it...) then, well, you can't write Android software without an API of some kind. So they can't just close source the existing API and have this actually help anything with Oracle.

2) The "faster updates" argument. a) Many many phones, the vendor simply does not bother to do anything in terms of updates; either they ship none, or maybe a minor version update, like "x.y.0 to x.y.2". I simply do not see how it being closed source versus open source helps this in any way; many vendors simply can't be bothered to release updates at all, and in other cases, they do some nasty things ^H^H^H^H customizations to bring up Android to begin with, and don't want to have to do it again to make it run on a newer Android version (the first couple LTE-supporting phones I had had this problem... Android didn't really support LTE yet, so the data support for switching between EVDO, HSPA, or LTE was like some vendor-custom hack that would then have to be reimplemented from scratch for each new Android version.)

3) I'm just not seeing the advantage. If they are not having problems (businesswise) of vendors taking base Android and putting their own stuff on top, then what's the difference if it's closed source? It'd be a lot of trouble to reimplement for something that's not causing Google a problem.

4) Tweaks and optimizations? This argument just made no sense to me -- if you want people to find little tweaks and optimizations and improve your code, to improve battery life, and so on, closed source is not the way to do it.

5) I'm ignoring the "people want Android because it's open", "don't be evil", etc. arguments, I don't disagree but others have covered this argument more eloquently than I could.

On the other hand, I can see wanting an ART that is not dependent on AOSP -- you see this with Cyanogenmod, on some phones where they can't get a rebuilt kernel onto it... the Android userland will be pretty specifically tied into a certain kernel version. For instance an old phone I had, you could get a CM7 onto it to upgrade it from 2.1 to 2.2, but that was it, newer Android runtime would not work with that kernel. It would be nice if a newer userland could run on an older kernel, and could help some phones that do not get updates otherwise to at least be able to get a 3rd-party update (i.e. Cyanogenmod) even if the vendor doesn't release one.

1
0

US Cellular joins Google Fi

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

That's actually a fairly big deal

That's actually a fairly big deal, a lot of the area that US Cellular serves has very poor Sprint & T-Mobile coverage; the overall area USCC covers is pretty large.

0
0

Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Licence to steal is a good way to describe this

"Licence to steal" is a good way to describe asset forfeiture laws as they currently stand in the US, not just this card skimmer. The theory behind this law, the police would hold onto profits related from a crime during trial, they'd have their day in court, if found not guilty the person gets their stuff back. Edit: The description in a few of the links people have linked to make it clear this law is full shadiness, that the police can seize money and hold onto it without filing any charges.

In practice, that can be how it works if the police in an area are honest (in my local area, for instance, I haven't heard of any problems; the sheriffs are elected so if the police misbehaved they would be replaced). But it's a law that almost seems to be designed to be abused.

Two major problems with this:

1) The law says these are supposed to be proceeds from crimes (i.e. if some movie-style drug kingpin has been a kingpin for 5 years, and bought his fancy sports car and mansion within the last year or two, they were probably bought with drug kingpin money.) What happens in practice, in big cities the police routinely steal peoples cars, they'll find (or plant) $10 of something or other in there *OR JUST DECIDE YOU HAVE A "SUSPICIOUS" AMOUNT OF CASH! (This amount doesn't have to be like a briefcase of cash or something, I've heard of people getting the full harrassment over like $50.) Of course (per what you see in the article) the police will now take even a broken tail light as an excuse for this kind of thing.

2) The obvious greed factor -- individuals and departments that would never break or bend the rules (i.e. taking bribes or what have you) view this as a legal method of bringing reveneue into the department, you can get your department money for funding nicer, newer equipment, and pull in sports cars and so on for them? The police in some cities here love to show off Corvettes and so on that they have seized, then they paint them up in police car coloration. Police here in the US will take assets, and then expect those who they just took all their money from to hire a lawyer to get it back. This includes cases where they raid the wrong house, even those people will not automatically get those assets back. Of course, they're supposed to hold onto assets until after trial, but it's happened before and will happen again where people have gone to trial, been found "not guilty", then find out the police already auctioned there stuff off for like 10 cents on the dollar (more money for the police coffers don't you know?)

I wonder if anyone who has had their money skimmed by this thing has ever tried going to the card company and filing a dispute? After all, the police didn't take your money, this private company paid the police 92.3% (7.7% cut remember) of the money they saw on your card, and *the privacy company* drained the card. They probably have to follow the same card processing rules as everyone else.. it simply wouldn't occur to most people to file a dispute when it's the police skimming your card instead of some random scammer.

15
0

Surveillance forestalls more 'draconian' police powers – William Hague

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

What a numpty

So, later on, Lord Hague says: “Organisations wouldn’t leave doors open all night at the company headquarters but they are doing that in cyberspace," just after talking about how these same companies (along with everyone else) should be unable to use encryption without flaws built into it. With no sense of irony. Oh yes, that faulty encryption sure locks those doors up tight.

Keep in mind, ladies and gentlement, those who talk about "balancing" your privacy mean they don't want you to have any, and those who talk about "balancing" your rights just want to take those pesky rights away.

11
0

BlackBerry boss mulls mid-range Androids

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Android phone with nice keyboard?

I guess my question is, if they are going to be selling Android phones, will they make one with a nice keyboard? That alone would make them stand out, there's simply not that many Android phones with any kind of keyboard on them.

3
0

Bash on Windows. Repeat, Microsoft demos Bash on Windows

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Should work well

"Looks like it. Windows NT has always had the ability for multiple subsystems like this. That was one of the cool design features of NT back in the day. This was how it ran Win16 and OS/2 apps in the beginning after all. It was part of the original design work for NT3.1, but largely just got pi$$ed away when Ballmer decided they didn't want compatibility with anyone other than themselves in the naughts."

I think rather than using an updated POSIX subsystem (or a new subsystem), this is trapping Linux syscalls and implementing them using equivalent Windows syscalls (and additional code as needed.) This should work pretty well actually.

qemu's "qemu user" emulation simulates CPU and then maps syscalls (I've used this and it works reasonably well.) When I started using Linux, the kernel had several syscall mapping tables for several contemporary UNIXes to run their binaries (Linux for MIPS had SGI Irix support for instance, which from what I read at the time did work reasonably well.) nestedvm simulates a MIPS-I in java, traps syscalls and implements them with equivalent Java calls. This has to run crosscompiled binaries but also works surprisingly well.

Interesting times indeed.

5
0

BMW complies with GPL by handing over i3 car code

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

"Is there still such a thing as a non-outsourced call center?"

Yeah, Mediacom (local cable company) has this. It's nice, they have what they call a "virtual call center". They have local call centers throughout their service area (typically you're within 50 miles of it, in my case it's about 2 miles away.) But in case of heavy call volume (like severe storms, tornados, or hurricane knocking out service in a large area) the calls from (mostly) people saying "hey, my service is down" will spill over into other call centers instead of putting them on some collosal hold queue.

0
0

PC World's cloudy backup failed when exposed to ransomware

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

My guess...

My guess at one explanation that would actually make the seemingly contradictory claims all fit... perhaps this system does keep previous file versions that are under 30 days old. So, you have a file that uploaded months ago, then the encrypted one uploaded recently. That means the old file is over 30 days old and would not be retained. Of course the way it should work is that it'd keep that previous version for 30 days after it's been replaced, but none of these descriptions specifically say that.

0
0

Microsoft did Nazi that coming: Teen girl chatbot turns into Hitler-loving sex troll in hours

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

I'm amused

I must admit I'm amused; 14 hours from a neutral base to a raving nazi that likes to sex chat.

0
0

Six charged for 'hacking' lottery terminals to spew only winning tickets

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

"They tampered with the machines."

I'm not sure that they did. It sounds like a software flaw that involved no tampering to me -- you tell the machine to print a bunch of tickets, it shows the print queue apparently including which are winners, and allows queued tickets to be cancelled. I think "rigging" a machine is more vague though and includes things just like this, finding some software flaw that tilts the odds unfairly in your favor and using it.

"They cancelled tickets after first finding out whether or not they would be winning tickets, which is inherently fraudulent, whatever scheme or mechanism they may have used to do so"

Agreed.

1
0

Mud sticks: Microsoft, Windows 10 and reputational damage

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Several reputational issues:

I think there are several reputational issues (given here in no particular order), which individually might not have been enough to give WIn10 it's reputation, but added together give it quite the bad reputation:

1) The "software as a service" as discussed in the article. To be honest, I think for general populace they aren't too aware of the "software as a service" model as yet, since they see the choice as staying with Win7 and current PC, upgrading to WIn10 or buying a PC with Win7 (if they can) or Win10 on it. But, the disquiet among the technical press kind of filters down as a general bad impression.

2) The nagging upgrade stuff. I've read all about how pesky this is; honestly letting the user know a Win10 upgrade is available is fine, but making it show up as frequently as it does, and going to the effort to make it show up when the user tries to disable it, is ridiculous. This annoys both technical and non-technical users, and people who might have tried Win10 if offered less obtrusively are going to now stubbornly avoid it.

2.5) I would have done two things here -- let people know the upgrade is out but not so pesky a manner. It would be nice to have a USB live version (it could still do the Win7/8/8.1 licensing check then go to live), so the user could take it for a spin before they install it.

3) Privacy issues. Once some people hear about the optional features (like OneDrive or Microsoft login) that would send your files to Microsoft, or hear about the pretty lengthy privacy policy... they hear it second or third-hand as "Windows 10 sends all your files and everything to Microsoft."

4) "No reason to upgrade." I put this in quotes since I know Win10 is a bit faster on most benchmarks than Win7 (and cut a little RAM usage). I'm assuming most of these people actually WOULD benefit from upgrading. But (just like happened with WinXP) a lot of people see their system running fine and don't care to rock the boat.

I've been surprised hearing from some otherwise non-tech-savvy people that have such a strong negative view of Win10 (either due to privacy concerns or just hearing in a general sense that it's bad), they plan to use Win7 as long as possible then try Linux (this among people who I didn't think would have heard of Linux.)

That all said, I think for people using Win7, and planning to continue using Windows, WIn10 is fine. Vista deserved it's reputation, Win10 really doesn't. It's a tricky position for Microsoft, they were going to already have a hard time going to "software as a service" (after all, who wants to buy a computer then expected to pay to use software that came on it?), but now they'd have to try to repair Win10's reputation somehow AND do that? Tricky. I wonder if they'll have to backtrack on this "no more Windows versions" thing and put out Win11 at some point just to shake WIn10's reputation (really they could just pick Windows 10 build whatever, change any "Windows 10" on wallpapers and graphics to "Windows" and have the same build as an update to Windows 10 users and for new Windows 11 installs.

1
1

Facebook, WhatsApp farewell BlackBerry

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

3rd party app

"Face10 works but it isn't free. (Native Blackberry app but uses the Android API)"

I was wondering if a Blackberry app couldn't just use a supported API. Apparently yes 8-)

0
0

Microsoft's equality and diversity: Skimpy schoolgirls dancing for nerds at an Xbox party

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Yeah...

Yeah... I think there's a long tradition of having booth babes at these shows. Clearly they are there to be eye candy, but generally they would be dressed up to resemble characters in the game, or wearing a shirt with the logo on it or something. Just having some random hired dancers show up and start dancing on pedastals seems sleazy.

0
2

Domino's trials trundling four-wheeled pizza delivery bot

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Let me tell ya...

Well let me tell ya... I was at a friend's place and he ordered pizza delivery from a place that was probably a block away. He asked me if I thought a 30 cent tip was good and I was like "No, not really, here let me chip in". He said "No I've got it" and tipped him 30 cents. I'm pretty sure they'd send him the drone if they had one 8-).

0
0

Remix OS: China's take on an Android operating system – but for PCs

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Every new OS these days uses Linux...

"Every 'new' OS these days still uses Linux for most underlying functions. That's fine, and I'm sure it speeds up development immeasurably, but it's not really new."

Well, here's the thing... drivers. If you write up a new kernel, you then need driver support for everything you want to be able to use. So you've got the choice of having to write all that code to handle USB, disk/SSD access, networking, video support, and so on, or start with a *BSD, Linux, or some other open source kernel and work on it.

Besides plenty of tuneables, Linux does have replaceable CPU scheduler (both for scheduling between cores, and scheduling within a core), disk I/O scheduling, network scheduling (at several points in the network stack), and I think memory handling, so if you have some particular improvements in mind it makes it relatively easy to try it out. (Well.. "relatively" easy still being pretty difficult, but easier than writing an entire OS and drivers from scratch.)

Anything above that level, the kernel gets it's root filesystem and runs /sbin/init. This usually starts up a UNIX-like system but you can actually do whatever you want here.

I think this sounds pretty cool.

1
0

Woz: World-changers to Apple Watches, why pay for an overpriced band?

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Why complain now?

"Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has slammed Cupertino's decision to charge hundreds of dollars for Apple Watch models that offer users little more than an overpriced band."

I don't understand why he would wait this long to comment on these watches, or why he'd decided seling a massively overpriced watch is silly but selling massively overpriced phones, tablets, and computers basically since the Mac came out was not. Apple has been pretty firmly in that "look at my shiny" market almost since the start*.

*Granted some some get the Mac from 1980s to present because of having a nice graphics or video editng workflow going on it. Even then, though, all too often I see them buy these eye-wateringly expensive Apple monitors when you could get one from some other vendor (that would also plug in and work fine with the Apple) for a fraction the price.

As for the other point... I think the underwear analogy is bad but agree with the sentiment.

0
0

Data-thirsty mobile owners burn through 5GB a month

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Lucky

"I'd feel more sympathy if I wasn't just shunted to a new tariff. I was on the old £6.90 a month (200mins, 5000txts, 500mb"

Lucky!!!! In the US carriers focus on big, costly bundles, and part of that is pricing unbundled plans so high they are "almost as much as that bundled plan anyway."

Minimum tarriff on Verizon Wireless last I checked was like $30 a month for 300 minutes (and I think *zero* texts, 10 cents apiece) -- this plan is unadvertisd, normal minimum is $40 for 450 minutes; and another $15 for like 500MB data (although you can get 2GB for $30). No, you cannot just get the data with no voice minutes. Oh and another $10 or so for texts. But I'm not sure, they're pushing these shared plans hard now where you have a high base price but $10 per additional phone; if that's all that's available now you might be out like $70 a month.

IWireless (a regional proivder) has a lot better deal overall ($50 for unlimited everything), but again, it doesn't cut down like it "should"; it's like $30 for the lowest plan (which is something like 500MB, 500 minutes, 500 texts.)

0
0

Whatever happened to Green IT?

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

The hype died down, but...

The hype over Green IT died, but I don't think the results did.

Workloads have been consolidated; whether through virtualization, some "on-site cloud" setup, or whatever, in many cases a larger number of low-utilization servers have been consolidated into a smaller number of higher-utilization systems. Low power Xeon and ARM server systems are on the market, as well as radically low-power solutions (like a 5-10 watt server) if it's just for a small office. Desktops, portables, etc. it's far better now than it used to be -- you can look for an ARM or Atom or something to really save power. But even if you don't, you had desktops with like 75 watt CPUs that'd idle at about 20-30 watts 10 years ago; now you have desktop CPUs that might burn 5-10 watts a core under full load, and nearly 0 up to a few watts idle (and maybe 1-2 watts a core full-load for an ARM or Atom). Usually this is sold in terms of reduced power and cooling costs rather than green benefits, but of course saving power is the main green benefit, these two are one and the same.

0
0

Get lost, Windows 10 and Phone fans: No maps HERE on Microsoft's OS

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

To answer my own question

To answer my own question, after some googling, it's a matter of Windows 10 having no user-visible version numbers -- if this were Android, it'd be like "this app won't work on Android 5, Lollipop" or whatever version. "Windows 10 Redstone", the next Windows 10 phone update, is expected for release June 30, at which point phones will get it OTA. So probably they've found the W10 Redstone preview will not run the HERE app due to some incompatible change.

6
0
Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

What changes?

I'm really curious what is changing June 30 that will make this app quit running? Is the service that converts Windows 8/8.1 apps to run on Windows 10 going to be deactivated June 30? Perhaps some API oddity in Windows 10, like the requests have to be tunneled through some bit of server-side software (either Microsoft or HERE-operated) that is not needed for Windows 8/8.1 HERE to work? This makes me curious.

3
0

Reprogrammble routers axed by TP-Link as FCC bans custom firmware

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Why they have done this

I do hope most vendors do not interpret the FCC's rules as an excuse to ban 3rd party firmware. Here is the FCC's reasoning though, and the suggestion I sent to them during the comment period.

The problem they've run into is not people using channel 13 or running the AP a little over power; it is access points running in the mid-5ghz band, with no TPC (transmission power control) or DFS (dynamic frequency selection), so they run on the same channel as a nearby radar site and show up as big interference blobs and streaks on it. However, I think it's far more likely that most of this noise is 5ghz or dual-band APs with whatever years out of date factory firmware, than interference popping up because of people putting DD-WRT or OpenWRT or the like (particualary since, per Google, the Broadcom and Atheros drivers on these automatically handle DFS.)

I wrote the FCC during the comment period and suggested that nobody would be intentionally doing this, so the best course of action would be to simply make people aware of the problem. At present, the DD-WRT GUI gives no inidcation of which channels are subject to DFS and which are not -- I suggested if the DFS channels have an asterisk by them, many people would simply avoid the asterisk'ed channels. (It does appear that both Broadcom driver handles DFS on it's own, based on country code given, while Atheros ath9k uses mac80211 and hostapd to support it, if you pick a channel with radar on it it'll change channels on it's own.)

1
0

Obama puts down his encrypted phone long enough to tell us: Knock it off with the encryption

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Absurd

Obama, you are absurd.

A) We "accept" the TSA so we should give up our Constitutional right to privacy? Nope. The TSA is a joke, I won't go through the full body scanners, and think the searches and such are ridicucous. And the stats back this up. Also that dropoff in flight bookings the last 10 or 15 years? These are people who are deciding they do not want to deal with the TSA, it makes flying too unpleasant so they either drive or don't go at all.

B) There is no give on encryption. If you build flaws into it, it WILL be broken and be effectively useless. This isn't tech companies being difficult and there is no middle ground on this.

C) You must think the public are idiots by claiming the Snowden revelations exaggerate and expecting anyone to believe it. They are not fairy tales, but real leaked documents.

7
0

Linux fans may be in for disappointment with SQL Server 2016 port

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

I wonder how it'll benchmark

I'll be curious to see how this plays out. I wonder if it will go how Microsoft expects. I mean, with Linux's better disk I/O handling, caching, memory management (also all more tunable to handle odd workloads), and less propensity to run background tasks at innopportune times... I'm wondering if companies with large SQLServer investments won't find they can run fewer machines (so both fewer WIndows *and* fewer SQL Server licenses) with a Linux version.

2
0

Google robo-car backs into bendy-bus in California

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Driverless cars may not be doning something right

"If a minor bit of boof-tinkle-tinkle, of the sort that happens every day between meatbag drivers, like this is newsworthy, the driverless cars must be doing something right."

Well.... these cars all have a driver who is supposed to take over (and apparently do fairly regularly) whenever they think the car is going to crash. Given this, the car software's flawless (up to now) driving record is completely unsurprising. After all, you could have a post-pub-crawl BOFH (or PFY) driving your car without worry if a second, sober, driver was automatically going to take over as soon as the BOFH started aiming for the trees ("it appeared out of nowhere!") That said, I doubt the cars behavior is too bad or someone would have mentioned it by now.

To be honest, hopefully this will provide good data for Google -- it sounds downright dicey to me for a car to stop dead in a traffic lane then GO INTO REVERSE just because of a few cones. That is when you stop, turn on the turn signal, and either wait for traffic to clear or (if it's not going to) wait for a good enough gap in traffic and go for it. I wonder if the software just didn't notice the cones in time, if the hardware couldn't see them (and Google found the car needs a sensor aimed lower or soemthing), or if the software just assumed (up to this point) ONLY cones in a "this lane is closed" configuration as opposed to a few blocking off a small bit of road.

If a cone or two is enough to make the current software behave like this, I wouldn't want to get in a Google car here in the midwest. In the midwest(ern US), you'll find bad enough potholes (luckily not too many) to risk destroying rims or suspension if you go straight through them (I've recently gotten a nice rear end noise which I think is a broken rear stabilizer link...); cones blocking off maybe a foot or two of roadway (so they can patch said potholes, in between times when they close a whole lane or two to repave); these what look like straw-filled rolls shoved into the storm drains (but sticking onto the road several inches) that mean you must go a few inches out to go around them. And, generally road markings that are totally worn off the road, so hopefully it doesn't (for example) rely on lane markings to stay in a lane or the like.

Don't get me wrong.. I'm more positive on these then say, Jeremy Clarkson; but I do think it's possible the difficulty of this is being underestimated. This may be one of those situations where software implementing typical driving rules covers 99% of the drive, but there's so many different "remaining 1%" situations that it could take more code to handle that than to handle the main drive.

3
0

Got Oracle? Got VMware? Going cloud? You could be stung for huge licensing fees

Henry Wertz 1
Gold badge

Silly but clear

First off, I do find this a bit silly; it really does seem fair if a virtualization product limits use to x cores, you should need to pay for x cores. I mean, if someone's stuck a copy onto AWS are they then liable for like a 8,000,000 core license or whatever?

That said, I thought it was common knowledge that Oracle has pretty strict licensing terms, and that they are pretty strictly enforced. They may just have to suck it up and migrate to PostgreSQL or something if they are wanting to be able to have their DB floating around in the clouds.

I suppose a practical solution to mitigate this would be to segregate off an Oracle-only section (enough for redundancy) so the Oracle stuff stays there, and everything else runs in the rest, so you'd have to fork up for that section but not the whole data center (at least in the future, I guess you may be toast and just have to negotiate that huge bill down for past usage.)

0
0

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing