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* Posts by Mike 16

698 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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May the May update be with you: OpenSSL key sniffed from radio signal

Mike 16
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A few Years prior

Yup. There's a reason that an AM radio was hidden in the 1403 printer, to be found by Group Captain Mandrake, in the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove.

Besides "play almost recognizable music via a transistor radio", we had a more practical use:

"Recognize the distinctive tone of the idle loop, to know when it was time to put on the parka and go into the machine room to start the next job"

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Faxploit: Retro hacking of fax machines can spread malware

Mike 16
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Fax still with us

As several commenters have noted, an organization that uses a simple Fax machine, or that does not hook up their All-In-One to their network (and why have such a machine?), is relatively safe from this. At least as safe as they are from the scum that spam any known fax machine. Well, as long as that all-in-one honors the user option to _not_ enable WiFi. But again, if you need Fax, get a fax machine, not an all-signing-all-dancing-all-compromised thing that incidentally does Fax.

As for popularity.. My proposal (in 1982) to my then employer to include (at least as an option) a Fax modem in our laptop product was shot down. My argument "for" was simply that pretty much any hotel had a fax machine, and would usually allow customers to use it, so rather than having to pack a printer along with the laptop, small amounts of printing could be done by fax. The argument against was from an in house "expert" on two grounds:

1) He printed a document on a cheap dot-matrix printer and then faxed it. This of course was under sampled in away that looked truly horrible, but that was his goal, and manglement had never heard of Nyquist.

2) "Fax is a niche technology and will never be common"

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FreeBSD has its own TCP-queue-of-death bug, easier to hose than Linux's SegmentSmack

Mike 16
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Re: Speak not its name.

IIRC, the (original) Windows IP stack was BSD derived, so it _might_ have silently inherited the bug. OTOH, that was some time ago, and one would hope that somewhere along the path to IPV6, somebody would have at least looked at the code.

As I wrote this, I wondered why this is referred to as a TCP issue. Fragments and re-assembly also apply to UDP, so maybe either

1) The same bug may be exploitable with a big enough UDP datagram.

or

2) For some reason (cough - cut and -paste -cough) the code was duplicated, and now _one_ copy has been fixed.

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Dear alt-right morons and other miscreants: Disrupt DEF CON, and the goons will 'ave you

Mike 16
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Westboro Business model

At least two commenters so far are apparently unaware of the actual nature of "Westboro Baptist Church".

The business model is actually quite simple:

1) Found a law firm (mostly family).

2) Declare yourself to be a church (No interaction with any recognizable Baptist congregation needed).

3) Behave as badly as you can while staying one micron inside the law. E.g. shouting offensive crap at the funerals of combat veterans. Someone is sure to have an emotional response.

4) When police break up the resulting kerfuffle, cry "Police Brutality" and sue the city where this occurs.

5) PROFIT!

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The American dilemma: Competition, or fast broadband? Pick one

Mike 16
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Re: Swamp -- Alligators

-- Erm, what else would be in charge of a swamp? --

Piranhas, Catfish, and leeches, of course, just as it ever was, with maybe an increase attributable to increased temperatures and storm activity, if that was actually happening, which it of course isn't, as you'd know if you just listened to the Catfish.

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Relax, Amazon workers – OpenAI-trained robo hand isn't much use (well, not right now)

Mike 16
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In other news

Perhaps we should consider other paths to cheaper, more plaint worker, or not:

Robot Orangutan Vs Wild Orangutan Sawing Duel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFR4a9vcri4

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Crypto gripes, election security, and mandatory cybersec school: Uncle Sam's cyber task force emits todo list for govt

Mike 16
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Local Law Enforcement.

I agree that the local police are _usually_ less corrupt than broader agencies (Your mileage may vary if you live in a minority-resident/majority owned area). That said, the biggest LE news in a couple decades in my home town was when a couple local cops were caught tipping a burglary ring off when asked to "keep an eye on our house, we're going to be traveling for a week".

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FCC caught red-handed – again – over its $225 complaint billing plan

Mike 16
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screw-ups and incompetence

Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice.

See Also "By their fruits shall you know them" Mathew 7:16

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Your phone may be able to clean up snaps – but our AI is much better at touching up, say boffins

Mike 16
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Ultimate goal?

To make the typical bad detective show "Enhance" of photos into "reality" so convincing it can fool a jury.

Like where they take 3x5 pixels from a dirty CCTV camera last serviced in the 1970s and get not just the license-plate number but an estimate of how long since the car was last washed and a list of roads it has traveled since.

Could be a real boon to "parallel construction" unless someone grows a conscience at rats out Ofissah Plod.

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Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything

Mike 16
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Re: How to waste bad people's time.+

I'll just leave this here:

http://www.milk.com/wall-o-shame/security_clearance.html

Title:

What Not To Write On Your Security Clearance Form

A little tale of how a childhood fascination with cryptography led to later life infelicities.

Of course, only criminals and people who have access to U.S. nuclear launch codes imagine the FBI to be "bad people", right?

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Cyber boffins drill into World Cup cyber honeypot used to cyber lure Israeli soldiers

Mike 16
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Personal devices

Sure some conscript Israeli soldiers might be careless about using personal devices for government business, but surely no high-level U.S.govt personnel would be that careless. :-)

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United States, you have 2 months to sort Privacy Shield ... or data deal is for the bin – Eurocrats

Mike 16
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If it hits America financially

Only if it hits the Trump (extended) family, Russian Oligarchs, or some Saudi Princes. America has a variety of people, and businesses, but the ones not on the most-favored list can hold their breaths until blue (or red) in the face and their concerns will not be addressed.

Note that the businesses most likely to take a financial hit are on a very different list. Except maybe Palantir.

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Hoping for Microsoft's mythical Andromeda in your Xmas stocking? Don't hold your breath

Mike 16
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MSFT Hardware

Well, MSFT has presumably long wanted to have their hardware considered on a par with the reliability and polish of Apple kit. Apple has been happy to help them achieve parity.

That said, in my mostly MSFT-free computing life, one (or three, depending how one counts) of my favorite compute-on-the-go products has been the Kyocera laptop (TRS-80 model 100, Olivetti M10, NEC 8201) that, IIRC, was spec'd by MSFT, with some software written by BillG himself. Runs for days on AA batteries that you can get even in places where clean water and reliable power are in the distant future.

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DNS ad-hocracy in peril as ICANN advisors mull root server shakeup

Mike 16
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Trust

It amuses me that Almon Strowger invented his automatic telephone switch specifically because the telephone operator in his home town would connect calls intended for him to a competitor (both were undertakers) who just happened to be the operator's husband. His belief was that an incorruptible machine would be an improvement.

Fast forward to today, when your ISP is probably knobbling your DNS requests, possibly in addition to your OS vendor (and perhaps a few others, wearing hats of various shades of grey). Not to mention the various rank-fiddling by search engines, recommendation sites, and SEO. How's that "incorruptible machine" thing coming along?

Meanwhile, isn't "secure DNS" also subject to MITMing by a number of players, and dependent in any case on the certificate issuers also being incorruptible, not to mention invulnerable to malfeasors?

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Google weeps as its home state of California passes its own GDPR

Mike 16
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CA leading the way?

Before you open that (CA) champagne, note that the current administration is hell bent on eliminating things like the CA emissions standards. And with the recent resignation from SCOTUS, they'll have the power to do it. Say goodbye to regulation of pollution, data-whoring, gerrymandering, purging voter rolls, etc.

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Two different definitions of Edge Computing arrive in one week

Mike 16
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Another definition

Running all your applications in Javascript on The Browser Formerly Known as IE?

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German researchers defeat printers' doc-tracking dots

Mike 16
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Re: Did it really sink Reality Winner?

The printer's laser or inkjets may just print dots, but they are controlled by software in the printer. If it is capable of printing Postscript files (without the host rendering that made "Windows Only" printers such a joy), the (software) render engine in the printer could definitely add the steganography. AFAICT, one could write a "simple" PS program to play chess with the user, by sending each "move" as the full state of the board so far. May not need that for printers with local "font cache" that persists across print jobs.

And as others note, one could mess with the character rendering or kerning to obviate the need for Yellow Journalism (Ummm, Bacon!)

I do wonder which countries have made (or about to make) possession of a Brother, Samsung, or Tek printer incontrovertible evidence of Treason.

Gotta go. There are two gentlemen at the door saying they need to do scheduled maintenance on my Brother laser-printer. Something about my not yet installing the latest firmware update.

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Reality Winner, liberty loser: NSA leaker faces 63 months in the cooler

Mike 16
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Clearance checks

A former coworker was hauled out of a US Secure Communications facility when they finally figured out that he was in fact a Canadian citizen (as he stated clearly on the forms he) months after he was given his clearance.

As for "tell us about everything you could be blackmail for", how's that working out for the thousands whose files were leaked by OPM. Any jail time for the patronage-based hacks there?

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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quits biz after fling with coworker rumbled

Mike 16
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Intel might be a bit skittish

because of a certain founder's propensity for this sort of thing.

Not that it doesn't happen elsewhere. My workplace affair was with someone from another department entirely, but then, I wasn't a CEO. There were plenty of folks who spent a fair bit of time on mahogany row and had no apparent responsibilities. Thus has it ever been.

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The eyes have it: 'DeepFakes' bogus AI-meddled videos outed by unblinking gaze

Mike 16
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Re: it IS against the rules to lie about it....

And if all else fails, just say "Pardon Me"

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Ex-Rolls-Royce engineer nicked on suspicion of giving F-35 info to China

Mike 16
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Who designs these things?

Hint: Not engineers or Military types who have actually been in combat.

Pretty much all military gear (and stuff like the Space Shuttle) is "designed" by Congress, under a process of maximizing campaign contributions to members of the ruling party at the time.

This is similar to how major corporations select, e.g. a travel agency for all corporate travel based on whose brother-in-law owns it. Or a mandated car rental company based on the CEO's holdings.

I am reminded of a U.S. Civil war repeating rifle that was basically a revolver with a longer barrel and a stock. Visualize the difference between ones grip on a rifle as opposed to a pistol. Now think about "chain fire". For some reason, a large number of these rifles were "lost crossing a river".

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Thought the AT&T Time-Warner tie-up was scary? Comcast says 'hold my beer'

Mike 16
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Re: Last seen looking down the back of the sofa

Disney already owns ABC, which was spun out of NBC way back when as part of an anti-trust action. ABC leans left, sometimes obviously so, making for "popcorn time" when/if Fox crawls into the same tent.

As a fellow Comcast victim, I agree, Disney may occasionally do stuff like claiming to own fairy tales from before Walt's grandparents were born, and killing off Bambi's mom, but there is absolutely no comparison to the evil that is Comcast.

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Microsoft sinks another data centre with Natick 2

Mike 16
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MSFT acquires Epiphyte

News at 11.

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Mailshot meltdown as Wessex Water gets sweary about a poor chap called Tom

Mike 16
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Strictly speaking (Re: Rostering ...)

Well Actually... The Less/fewer thing is one of those "Zombie Rules" that tend to be trotted out by a certain sort of self-taught grammarian (OK, including myself, in younger days), while irritating folks who actually study grammar.

TL;DR

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fewer_vs._less

Or follow some of the references, in particular

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003775.html

Meanwhile, what the heck rostering have to do with a Nun's clothing?

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001812.html

You can perhaps tell that Language Log is one of my favorite ways to avoid Getting Stuff Done (along with ElReg)

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You have suffered without red-headed emoji for too long. That changes Tuesday

Mike 16
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Picture worth a thousand words

A common lie told with a straight face, _or_ composed by someone who confuses "value" with "price".

This was brought home to me by an author commenting on the impending release of his latest book. The file containing the image for cover art was _many_ times larger than the (SGML-ized for typesetting) text of the entire book. So I guess the publishing industry does indeed assume that people judge a book by its cover.

(well aware that this will attract down votes, but I suspect I am not the only one who would prefer to skim the text transcription of an hour-long video rather than stare at the screen for an hour with no guarantee of payoff)

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Android daddy Andy Rubin's Essential axes handset, is 'actively shopping itself' – report

Mike 16
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Taking Sides

Should I be concerned that our Android ecosystem son is about to marry an iPhone entranced woman?

They at least managed to compromise on Alexa as their nosy-servant choice.

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Facebook's democracy salvage effort tilts scale in Mississippi primary

Mike 16
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Freedom of the Press

is for people who can afford to own one. If you buy your printing from someone else, like FaceBook, expect to be out-bid, or simply find them "too busy" or "out of ink" if you run against their relatives.

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The great wearables myth busted: Apps never, ever mattered

Mike 16
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Re: Almost no one

When I wear a watch (rarely, but not never) it is to tell time. More importantly, it is to be able to tell time with a glance not likely to be noted by the folks I am attempting to guide on a schedule. Pulling out a phone is bound to be more noticeable than managing to gesture as part of conversation and just _happen_ to place the watch face in my field of view.

It's not a smart watch, BTW. It's a windup soviet 24-hour watch. Never needs charging, other than being wound for under a minute for a day's "charge". Never buzzes to tell me that some marketeer has a VERY IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY for me. Just tells time.

I will readily confess to not being most people, but long ago stopped believing I was unique or (equally improbable) universally representative of all people.

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It's hip to be Square: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's other firm targets White Van Man

Mike 16
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Did anybody else

Get a flashback to the opening scene of Cryptonomicon when reading about bank cash queues?

Now the real question is whether cannabis dealers can use it, since apparently no regular bank will deal with them, regardless of state law.

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Hold on. Here's an idea. Let's force AI bots to identify themselves as automatons, says Cali

Mike 16
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"this is a bot"

Well, it will make sure any Islamophobe hangs up, when they hear "This is Abbas"

Maybe we could just require phone bots to speak with a Votrax or Cylon accent?

Hey, let's require Frank from Comcast Security to be frank about not actually being from Comcast Security.

Surely these simple requirement will make the world all rainbows and unicorns again.

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Mike 16
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Re: I can imagine this happening

Hey, they were just doing due diligence. Can't have a robot impersonating a dead Russian poet to buy a car.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivIHcHwR6b0

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Kids and the web latest: 'Won't somebody please think of the children!' US Congresscritters plead

Mike 16
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Re: big question: how to verify age?

The usual way is to demand a credit card. This at least sorts out the ones too young to reach Mom's purse while she's not looking, and the slightly older ones who can't get one of the many for sale online (did Silk Road require age verification?). Avoiding infinite regress might involve buying a gift card with sofa-change.

Of course, the sites would _never_ charge anything to that card, and have rock-solid security so the alleged credit cards of a few million little darlings will never be stolen.

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Machine learning for dummies: You needn't go back to uni to use it

Mike 16
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"normal" programming

... where an algorithm is developed, tested and released as a product.

What decade (Century? Millennium?) was this posted from. How are Wham doing those days?

"Normal Programming" as she is practiced today rarely involve algorithms, and pretty much ignores testing other than the "user presses button A and, usually (sometimes?) B happens". _Very_ little "User presses somewhere near the margin of button A, or to early, or too late, What happens?", and almost never "User is attempting to Get Shit Done on some machine which differs in some miniscule detail (OS version, or w.x.y release of one of the hundred dynamic libraries, rather than w.x.z) from the exact setup used by the developer on the day the 15 minutes of testing were done, if done at all.

"Normal Programming" involves picking a couple libraries with snappy names (possibly only considered snappy by the PHB) and asking "Will it blend?"

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Good news: It's still legal for Apple to keep its MacBook, iPhone batteries from melting

Mike 16
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XOR Obviousness

The application of XOR to manipulating a cursor on a video screen might (barely) escape the "blindingly obvious" category, but it boils down to the "XOR Bit-splice" technique that was known and used (but of course not patented, because software patents were not a thing) in the days of tube/valve-based computers. Yes, I have used at least two (well, three, but of two types) such computers. Taking a well-known technique for altering memory contents in a reversible/configurable way and adding "but do it to memory that is scanned out to a screen" is pretty borderline.

Not the only such. The Heatherington ( +++ AT ) patent is pretty clearly based on longstanding communications techniques and, among others, the way tape-drives of the 1950s recognized the "Tape Mark" (end of file) indication. Attempts at avoidance of the patent have saddled the modern world with, e.g. Bluetooth devices that can be suborned with in-band text.

Finally, there was a time when CS professionals were explicitly not considered qualified to be patent examiners, IIRC. So all software-based patents were by definition examined by unqualified examiners.

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How Google's Smart Compose for Gmail works – and did it fake its robo-caller demo?

Mike 16
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Smart Compose

I assume its email output will very closely resemble those timeless tomes allegedly generated by various managers it has been my misfortune to report to.

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Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

Mike 16
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the un-mentioned party

in the decision to drop 3G (and 2G) is the spookosphere. Since one feature of Stingray and friends is to force all phones in the vicinity down to earlier standards with weaker encryption, dropping support for those earlier standards would surely call attention to the presence of a (probably unwarranted, in both senses) fake tower.

Won't someone think of the snoopers?

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Boffins urge Google to drop military deal after Googlers storm out over AI-based super-drones

Mike 16
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Oppenheimer, Teller, Page

"Once the Rockets go up, who cares where they come down. That's not my department say Werner Von Braun"

And of course Ike warned about the Military Industrial Complex almost sixty years ago. Not that it was new then. It's a tough call, whether you prefer:

A) The part where very effective (but expensive) weapons are developed and manufactured to defend Freedom and Democracy, only to end up winning territory for drug lords and religious fanatics,

or

B) The part where huge dollops of the defense budget go to tech that will never deliver on its alleged performance, if it works at all, but which leaves a hole where the budget for arming and armoring troops actually in combat would be.

Either way, Freedom and Democracy are at best a tertiary concern. Senator Pork and CEO Barrel are doing fine, thank you.

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You've got pr0n: Yes, smut by email is latest workaround for UK's looming cock block

Mike 16
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Re: Email account verification?

Again we can look to history for guidance. Once upon a time I was given the conference badge for a VP (because the company was too cheap to buy admission for "grunts" and the VP couldn't be bothered to attend) The conference was CES, before they banished the porn to another building. In that day and age, one did not simply download an app, verify credentials, re-try the "I accept" button until some server deigned to sign you op for the newsletter. The badges were embossed like a credit card of the day. One swipe and mild crunching sound later you could "express interest" in their catalogue. I asked a friend to use his borrowed badge for the tech info that interested me, while that VP got a lot of (paper) catalogues for a variety of interests, in the office mailbox.

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AI crisis: Sony reports shortage of cute robot puppies!

Mike 16
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UK sales

Of course, taking a clue from Apple, who just change the currency symbol so a 999USD laptop became a 999GBP laptop, we can expect Aibo 2 to be offered at 196200GBP (1800USD x 109). One could probably get one of the Royal Corgis for less.

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Broadcom's Arm server chip lives – as Cavium's two-socket ThunderX2

Mike 16
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Is it just me?

Or does anybody else think it's odd that MIPS, which started out in big-iron has worked its way down to cheap embedded and learner toys (unless you are Chinese and gunning for Top500 slots), while Arm, which started out in learner toys and cheap embedded is now moving into servers?

What's next, Windows Phone in a watch with shrunk Itanium? (Wow! Spell-check in this box does not recognize that word. How the mighty have fallen)

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Open Internet lovin' Comcast: Buy our TV service – or no faster broadband for you!

Mike 16
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Speeds and feeds

The dirty little secret of both cable and DSL providers, essentially since they became a thing, is that the bottleneck is usually not between your home and their "head end". It's usually somewhere between there and "the cloud". You and your neighbors may each get allegedly 100Mbps, but only if you are getting stuff that's originated (or cached) on their system. If you dare venture on the real internet, you will all be fighting for the same bandwidth. Some may recall the "Cable Hog" ads run by the DSL providers when cable started competing with them. Yeah, well, the DSL guys did the same thing. In 2000, I was working for a settop-box maker, and was able to read one of those expensive reports on the actual state of U.S. Internet access. Seems that both cable (allegedly 1.5 Mbps) and DSL (allegedly 128Kbps, IIRC) were actually provisioning their systems for something like 20Kbps/subscriber, apparently on the idea that "how fast can one person click a link, and what are the odds his neighbor will do it at that exact time?

The speedtest results may be an artifact of running a peer on their own network, so it is not actually measuring "speed to the internet" but "speed to somewhere on your ISP's network". Comcast was caught doing it back in the day, and assume that ATT is up to their usual antics, especially since being acquired by SBC (Sodomized By Cowboys)

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You say Halo and I say goodbye: Microsoft has a word with unauthorised mod devs

Mike 16
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So I should stock up

on Halo 2600 carts to feed the addictions of my guests?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_2600

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Bungling cops try to use dead chap's fingers to unlock his smartmobe

Mike 16
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Over my dead body

number one on the list of things not to say in response to "Unlock your phone, ruffian", as it will presumably cause your subsequent demise to count as justified homicide on the part of the police.

("He was impeding our vital investigation into felonious mopery and fly-tipping. How else can we do our job?")

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Mike 16
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Re: Cops

"... cause a judge to throw it out of court?"

Only in a country with the rule of law and judges that are not chosen politically. Maybe.

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Petty PETA rapped by judges over monkey selfie copyright stunt

Mike 16
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(semi)automatic photos

So, when a thief trips a motion-detector and as a result is recorded in the act, do they have copyright in the resulting image/video? Can they withhold permission for it to be shown as evidence against them?

Asking because

http://loweringthebar.net/2017/07/smashing-cameras-no-privacy.html

discusses a judge (sanely) dismissing the argument that smashing the surveillance cameras you know about does not give you a "reasonable expectation of privacy" with regard to the ones you missed.

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Net neutrality advocates freak out as lobbyists pull rug from California's draft net neutrality law

Mike 16
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Who would miss California?

Well, many of the reddest states who depend on federal subsidies, paid for by CA taxes. yes, CA is a net exporter of taxes to the federal government. Of course, Washington and Oregon might welcome the boom for their ports.

BTW: Anybody who equates "Democrat" with "Liberal" should check into DiFi's persistent support for "Whatever privacy invasion the police claim they need".

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Having ended America's broadband woes, the FCC now looks to space

Mike 16
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Does that ever actually happen?

@onefang: I suppose it might if the alternative is losing out on deeply discounted (subsidized by U.S. Taxpayers) top of the line military hardware for their love and peace patrols. Or the threat of a "terrorist money laundering" investigation of some top officials might sway the decision. It is indeed brown envelopes all around.

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What a time to be alive: LG and Italian furniture-maker build smart sofa

Mike 16
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Alexa in the sofa with a TV remote

"Oh, Reginald, do me"

"Finding movies featuring Reginald Toomey"

"Honey, why is Amazon recommending DVDs of old Reginald Toomey flcks?"

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Get the FTP outta here, says Firefox

Mike 16
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Re: TFTP is better

I suspect that an installation that does not have a chrooted TFTP server probably has bigger problems.

Not to mention that having an intruder on my LAN is probably of higher priority than protecting against someone who wants to _read_ a copy of the firmware for bespoke lab instruments.

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Linux Beep bug joke backfires as branded fix falls short

Mike 16
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Re: Does the speaker sound driver still exist?

Would it run on WfW? I still have a few licensed copies on (formerly) sealed floppies. Raises the question of whether the "Breaking this seal..." contract would apply, as the glue sealing the envelopes rotted away some years ago.

Anyway, if someone has a set of samples to mimic Votrax. we could combine them with your speaker driver and a text-to-Votrax driver I have around here somewhere. Isn't Science Wonderful?

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