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* Posts by Adrian 4

1284 posts • joined 18 Jul 2009

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LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

Adrian 4
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Re: Why?

Hipsters may be a curious life-form but the ones I've come across wouldn't consider a shiny capsule machine. They want authentic, not tinned. Hence the large steam machines in hipster coffee shops.

The internet is going to hell and its creators want your help fixing it

Adrian 4
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Re: Dear fragile and wonderful academics...

Authoritarianism start with well-meaning people seeing that something is wrong and thinking 'if only everybody acted like me, it would all be OK'.

Anarchy is attractive, if you think the existing authorities are doing it wrong. Do it the way *you* want with no comeback. But it's just leadership by example instead of by law. It still needs good leadership.

Adrian 4
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Maybe we're just not very good at doing big communities ?

Many communities work fine when they're small. As they grow they get out of control - the members stop caring about each other. Unlike many communities, the internet promotes communication but not contact.

It makes me think the tower of babel is an illustration of treatment, not of punishment.

Latest Google+ flaw leads Chocolate Factory to shut down site early

Adrian 4
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You think an even less meaningful name would be better ? Bookface, maybe ?

Expired cert... Really? #O2down meltdown shows we should fear bungles and bugs more than hackers

Adrian 4
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It will be repeated until answered with "properly engineered systems fail softly".

Which is answered with "fail-safe systems fail by failing to fail safe".

Ecuador says 'yes' to Assange 'freedom' deal, but Julian says 'nyet'

Adrian 4
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Re: Five minutes ago...

It's a pity the anti-whistleblower astroturfers have outvoted them now. I guess the home office lackeys have nothing better to do with their time than knit sock puppets.

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

Adrian 4
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Re: Next step, do the same for Windows

"Microsoft has the internal knowledge to develop a proprietary wrapper with higher compatibility than Wine"

Are you sure ? Didn't they admit Samba was more maintainable than the windows code ?

Maybe they'd build a compatibility layer around Wine, rather than instead of it.

I don't much like Satnad's slurpy habits but he seems to be more pragmatic and less religious than his predecessors.

Adrian 4
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Re: Bloatware

Google isn't minimalist any more. The page might look free of junk but it's full of animations and other unnecessary crap.

Adrian 4
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Re: Chrome

This puzzles me too. I avoided it initially just because I hated the tab layout (firefox's was nicer .. until they copied chrome) but I found lots of experimental stuff that used it because it had the latest bells and whistles, like webgl.

Unfortunately, devs started using it for real work instead of playtime, and google tried hard to make most of the alternatives work badly with gmail etc. And so it got used more commonly.

UK spies: You know how we said bulk device hacking would be used sparingly? Well, things have 'evolved'...

Adrian 4
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Re: stupid terrorists!

It's not the stupid ones that worry me.

Adrian 4
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incentive

Espionage is often described as an arms race. What does that mean for gchq ?

In WWII, it was mathematicians following orders vs. mathematicians trying to outwit johnny foreigner. Easy to see who's going to win there (and we have no information about how well johnny foreigner managed to penetrate our brave eggheads).

Currently, it's people being paid by the hour trying to outdo : terrorists whose lives / life missions depend on their methods, and enthusiasts (hackers, cryptogeeks, whatever you want to call them) who see it as a game.

The smart money's not on the government any more.

Qualcomm lifts lid on 7nm Arm-based octo-core Snapdragon 855 chip for next year's expensive 5G Androids

Adrian 4
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Re: NE555?

There was a Power PC processor called 555.

And a cheap and nasty audio amplifier called 386. Very fitting.

Incoming! Microsoft unleashes more fixes for Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Adrian 4
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Re: Maybe its time for Microsofties to study programming?

Worse still, they might be Keen.

Add that to inexperience and you get a very bad result.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

Adrian 4
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Facepalm

irritant ?

A spray to irritate bears. Right.

WCPGW ?

And lo! Tim Cook becometh tech Jesus. But with more awards

Adrian 4
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Re: Apple

I think you'll find fruit is just what it was. The idea of it being an apple was just media garnish.

How the mighty have fallen: Anglian Water knocks Google off perch as UK's best workplace

Adrian 4
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lies & damned lies

I have very little faith in a metric that shows such huge swings in value

Microsoft polishes up Chromium as EdgeHTML peers into the abyss

Adrian 4
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Re: Microsoft middle(nuisance)ware.

"I use both every day, and I can't deny that Windows 7 is far easier to use than Windows 10."

I use neither every day, and it's getting harder and harder to use them occasionally as they hide formerly obvious choices behind layers of crap.

Example: I reboot a laptop into windows and it gets really fussy about the wifi connection, connecting but constantly giving up on something that worked perfectly minutes earlier when the same hardware was running Linux.

Microsoft are not only getting less relevant, they're making it increasingly difficult to go back to Windows once you're using something else.

Adrian 4
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Worked for Apple (for Linux, read BSD)

Adrian 4
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Re: I did use Edge...

More that it chose a route that took you by it's selection of billboards.

Time for a little bet on Google? App-building framework Flutter now fitted for more than phones – desktops, too

Adrian 4
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Happy

Re: Thanks, but no thanks!

It's a funny thing about applications. They come in waves.

I remember editors being the thing (there was surely some other craze before that) with everyone following Stallman in creating their own editor.

Then compilers. Then operating systems (oddly, Stallman led these two as well, though he again didn't retain the mass market), Currently it's languages.

What next ?

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

Adrian 4
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Re: Arrested for being drunk

@N2

The 'point' is to acquire investment funds.

YouTube fight gets dirty: Kids urged to pester parents over Article 13

Adrian 4
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Crack

Imagine a teenager of your acquaintance is told crack cocaine is illegal and she can't have it any more.

What's your reaction ?

You could :

1. Lobby for crack to stay (maybe on prescription)

2. Fight harder for it to be outlawed (because now you have evidence for harm) , and for help for the desperate teenager to do without it.

Note that I have deliberately avoided referencing other drugs with a less clear harm / benefit. Substitute some other narcotic (fast cars, social media etc). rather than miss the point and argue for drug tolerance instead.

It's nearly 2019, and your network can get pwned through an oscilloscope

Adrian 4
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Re: FFS

@stiine

No, that will have no effect at all on the company's products. It will just result in a few hours of frustration for the user of the equipment, followed by an attempt to recalibrate it to fix the random errors, followed by putting it at the back of the cupboard while a decent replacement is purchased.

Clue : Oscilloscope readings are not used in isolation with their effects cast forever into a design. They're one of many things used to help see what's going on and contribute to a result.

The one area it might have an effect is if the scope is used to implement some production margin tests. There, it might (if you knew *exactly* how it was used), either fail too many products (causing some extra costs until the reason for more rejects was investigated) or pass too many (causing a possible problem for a customer and maybe, if enough 0.1% probabilities in a line came out badly, some loss of reputation).

If you replaced the ink in a company's biros with fast-fading 'secret' ink, do you think it would bring the company to it's knees ? Or just cause some minor inconvenience until somebody worked it out ?

Adrian 4
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FFS

I take it the investigators had never actually tried to use an oscilloscope, or they'd have a bit more of a clue when suggesting that the measurements might be compromised by connecting to it.

Yes, theoretically they could. In practice, they'd have to guess from the screen contents (captured and transmitted up the ethernet connection, thus either slow signals only or non-real-time), modify the settings (which also show up on the screen, so changing them is visible as well as the effect it has on the real display) without alerting the user, or else modify the image he sees by writing it back to the local screen device, in such a way that he makes incorrect decisions and errors in his design.

This is somewhat more difficult than grabbing an endoscope image and modifying it so that the surgeon removes the wrong organ. Ain't gonna happen, because the artifacts of the manipulation will cause the surgeon to discard the instrument long before he makes any use of the images.

Apart from this completely unrealistic scenario, what is the threat from a pwned oscilloscope on the network ? At best a staging post from which to launch further attacks - but if you already have network access, that's not a lot of gain.

Finally, why pick out Siglent for this ? A very low-end brand using linux or some proprietary RTOS for the display. Better to pick on a high-end Tek or Keysight scope running an unpatched out-of-date copy of Windows.

Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

Adrian 4
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Re: Why use a revision control system?

Code used to be backed up to tape too. It was obsoleted by revision control systems.

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

Adrian 4
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Re: Security is not the only binary condition

Funny you should mention banks.

My (now former) bank recently asked me to agree a change in their T&Cs to allow them to share personal details with unspecified third parties for the purpose of fraud prevention. When pressed, they stated that the third party was the bank's own fraud department but refused to put that in the declaration.

I doubt that it's unusual. Presumably someone noticed that the clause wasn't in the original T&Cs and GDPR required them to put it in.

Sacked NCC Group grad trainee emailed 300 coworkers about Kali Linux VM 'playing up'

Adrian 4
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Re: 'Security' people using MSDOS is simply mad.

Read TFA.

Apparently they run Kali in a VM under a tarted-up version of MSDOS known as Windows.

Weird way to do it. You'd have thought they'd put the VMs in the stable system and make the unstable office-tools virus-bait system a guest, but no.

Adrian 4
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Re: hardware problem ?

Bad sectors (or their equivalent) don't lose files cleanly. They create read errors, invalid filesystems, automatic bad-block replacement strategies etc. If you think the files are just written to the disc like parcels in a sack, you need to do some background reading.

Adrian 4
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hardware problem ?

Individual, specific files being deleted is a 'hardware problem' ?

Yes, that sounds like help desk advice all right.

Did she turn it off and on again ?

It would be interesting to know the real facts. Unfortunately neither the protagonists nor the reporter seem to have much interest in providing them.

Check your repos... Crypto-coin-stealing code sneaks into fairly popular NPM lib (2m downloads per week)

Adrian 4
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Trollface

Re: Broken

Wrong icon. You wanted this one ->

Adrian 4
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Re: The rigour of it all

Here's an argument from over 30 years ago on the problems of software complexity.

https://www.nytimes.com/1986/09/16/science/software-seen-as-obstacle-in-developing-star-wars.html

https://www.jstor.org/stable/40725085?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

I don't believe we've made significant progress since.

Adrian 4
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Facepalm

Re: Javascript

I'm not a node developer and don't want to be. But if I read this correctly, it appears that all the components are dragged in without any testing, on the assumption that changes made to them will always be to remove bugs while retaining perfect backwards compatibility (and trustworthiness).

Most people's experience says this is not true. Even good fixes generate problems. The only way to be sure something works is to either test it, or to use a level of quality control of the components that we are decades from achieving in even the best controlled environments. If ever.

Don't you remember dll-hell, and it's cousin (prior to reliable package management) rpm-hell ?

A reasonable system that used components sourced elsewhere would hash every component it referred to and refuse to run unless it matched the combined hashes used in testing. Yes, that would preclude picking up fixes and improvements made in the intervening period. Yes, that would be a good thing, even without malware.

What's that ? You don't test things any more ? Well .. you're screwed, then.

WIPO 'temporarily suspends' whistleblower CIO amid allegations of misconduct

Adrian 4
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I realise IP registration is now so abused by universities and well-known large companies that it has become a bar to innovation and a joke. But you'd expect the officials to try to hold themselves above the stink, wouldn't you ?

These organisations and their functions need to go. They have no further use.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

Adrian 4
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Re: Germany

What's wrong with a European army ?

We've spent the last few hundred years fighting pointless wars with the rest of europe, and are doubtless about to start again soon. What better way to avoid fighting than being part of the same army ?

Adrian 4
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Re: Reluctantly may have to get a smart meter.

For once, the americans did it right.

They have standardised meter sockets. Change supplier ? Take out old meter, plug in new one. No longer paying ? Supplier removes meter, power goes off.

Sure, it's not foolproof, but it makes our meter scheme look, if not an outright lie, pretty stupid.

Adrian 4
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Re: What could possibly go wrong?

Smart people only need to be smarter than their meters. A smart meter that's unaccountably unable to make a useful network connection won't respond to attempts to turn it off.

Adrian 4
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Re: Not so smart!

A writer to the IET's magazine recently suggested using the mains frequency to indicate load. Excellent idea. You could even use it to indicate cost as well, thereby allowing every appliance to choose the appropriate cost/benefit threshold.

Done as a percentage of total cycles per 24 hours, it could even retain the ancient standard of maintaining the day-to-day accuracy of wall clocks, all with a $1 microcontroller counting the 20ms period instead of mobile network capacity.

Adrian 4
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Re: How are these supposed to save energy

"The theory is that by seeing how much energy you're using, you'll realize how much energy each appliance uses and will either minimize its use or buy a more energy efficient model."

That would be great. If only the radio signal from the meter cupboard were strong enough to be able to use the monitor somewhere other than the loo (which doesn't have a wall socket to power it from).

Adrian 4
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Re: OK, but why ....

I never understood how this was supposed to work.

I've got nothing against something that pauses certain electricity uses until later - storage heaters, obviously, but maybe also freezers, washing machines, etc.

However, how's it supposed to work through a meter that's only got control of the whole house ? Thanks, but I don't want my CPAP machine turned off along with everything else because it would be convenient to run it during the afternoon instead. Or my dishes washed after the meal, that I had to eat with dirty plates (I cook on gas).

The original 'smart meter' concept was one that negotiated the best price amongst several suppliers and bought the next hour's use from a preferred supplier. It seems to have mutated into something locked into a single supplier and providing a level of control that only permits a reduction in cost of meter reading and a cheap easy cutoff if the bill isn't paid. There's only one entity I can see gaining from this.

Even the meter reading cost argument is ridiculous. Pay by capacity, not by usage. Far cheaper to administrate - you just rent a sealed fuse of a specific size.

Excuses, excuses: Furious MPs probe banking TITSUPs*

Adrian 4
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Re: Motes and beams

Blow the whistle.

Your bosses might object, but it would be immoral not to.

Adrian 4
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Re: Rare Events One And All

@tfb

That's not planning. If they don't understand why it works, they can't make reasonable predictions of the causes and likelihood of failure.

I might be able to 'plan' my domestic operations with such a vague idea of efficacy, but if umpteen thousand customers are at risk, they need to do a bit better. If the old systems are unmaintainable, they need to budget for replacements that are.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

Adrian 4
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Short-sighted ? The EU ?

It's not the EU who are displaying lack of foresight here.

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

Adrian 4
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Re: Modern version of an ancient question.....

A discussion is exactly as worthwhile as the participants make it.

If the outcome is irrelevant (who cares if python lives or dies, anyway ?) it makes very little difference.

If it is relevant (how much worse will we be off after the brexiteers have had their wicked way?) it's pretty unlikely that anyone able to affect the outcome is going to be involved.

Adrian 4
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Re: Whitespace

@HieronymousBloggs

Exactly so : the problem with python is not that you can use whitespace, but that it has to be used in a particular way.

This means that instead of the written structure being a tool that allows you to use layout to improve readability, you're forced into a restrictive use of whitespace as syntax - all in the name of clarity.

As a coding standard, with the ability to break it where another layout would be better, indentation is fine. As syntax, what can I say ? Fortran maybe had an excuse. Python doesn't.

Adrian 4
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Stackoverflow

Isn't it just as meaningless to measure popularity by the number of calls for help you have with it ?

Something might score high on that scale just because it isn't very good.

All these folks need to smarten up and start counting using some metrics that actually mean something, rather than those that are easy to count. If you have to use a proxy, at least prove that it models the real thing reasonably well.

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

Adrian 4
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Re: And as usual...

Given the way almost every unit is defined by its relationship to others, I think maybe this one is appropriate.

I do hope they didn't just cut off the branch they were sitting on.

Bright spark dev irons out light interference

Adrian 4
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Re: Spark plugs on old Vauxhalls

Lots of vibration-sensitive parts in even a modern radio, from bad joints to air-spaced inductors to crystals and capacitors. Give it a jar and the frequency synthesizer tuning it to that station will briefly go a little off, then be dragged back by the rest of the electronics.

Adrian 4
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Re: Office 365 Slogan

If you want to parse Reg headlines, you need to learn to read from the tabloids, not Cambridge.

Not that el reg is down in their cesspit - it's a kind of journalistic joke. I think.

Adrian 4
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Re: It's called a choke.

In fact, it works better the other way. Put them at the source of the problem (the striplights) and you'll solve other problems too. Maybe the occasional mispositioning of that foundry's bucket of molten iron.

Alexa, cough up those always-on Echo audio recordings, says double-murder trial judge

Adrian 4
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Went to see a priest ?

Presumably the authorities have asked for a transcript of that session.

How's that going ?

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