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* Posts by Stoneshop

3933 posts • joined 8 Oct 2009

Microsoft points to a golden future where you can make Windows 10 your own

Stoneshop
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Linux

Deinstall parts of W10?

I've found that not installing it at all saved me all that hassle.

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Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

Stoneshop
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Re: Drag

but such a large mirror might start acting like a solar sail.

Never mind that, you actually have to continually adjust the mirror's orientation to keep the solar reflection aimed at Chengdu anyway. If it's geostationary it will have a fixed position w.r.t. its target but the angle towards the sun will change with the time of night, and if he's putting the mirror in one of the appropriate Lagrange points the target will move relative to the mirror. Plus it will be more distant, hence appear smaller, and he'd need a way bigger mirror (so more materials and thus rocket launches) if he's to get anywhere near enough light on his city's streets.

A bunch of solar panels and a stonking big battery looks way more feasible.

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: return

A city having no electricity bill for its street lighting sounds like return to me.

Trying to get some numbers to go with that notion didn't yield much, but a BBC News article on the City of Westminster running their street lighting at 75% on average mentioned it would save UKP 420.000 on their leccy bill. Westminster is very very roughly 1% of Chengdu in area, but it's probably lit more brightly than Chengdu on average; let's say four times as bright, for ease of calculation. So taking that amount saved and multiplying by the difference in area we get about UKP 42 million, without correcting for energy price differences between UK and China. This would not quite pay for a single Space-X launch, but it's in the ballpark. I expect you'd need at least a few of them to get the materials plus an assembly robot up and into geostationary orbit.

If this guy has designed a really lightweight mirror it miiiight work.

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Chinese Super Micro 'spy chip' story gets even more strange as everyone doubles down

Stoneshop
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Re: How can I put this?

Unless these attacks were very well targeted (which doesn't seem likely),

There's a lot of kit, not just by SuperMicro, that's built/customised for particular customers. Such a customisation will not normally end up elsewhere. And given that those boards will be manufactured in dedicated production runs, it's relatively easy to target only those.

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Russian 'troll factory' firebombed – but still fit to fiddle with our minds

Stoneshop
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Flame

Fight fire with fire

Rammstein - Benzin

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Stoneshop
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Coat

Re: Separated by a common language...

And where in the world is that English girl

Carmen Sandiego is English?

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Remember that lost memory stick from Heathrow Airport? The terrorist's wet dream? So does the ICO

Stoneshop
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Facepalm

Re: Re. Restrictive?

Also yes if you find something like this the "right" thing to do is hand it in *IMMEDIATELY* to someone who knows what classified data is

And how would you know there could be confidential data on a stick, and not cat vids, without you plugging it in? People generally don't put labels "STRICTLY COMPANY CONFIDENTIAL" on such things, although there are ones that are sufficiently stupid to do so.

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Which? That smart home camera? The one with the vulns? Really?

Stoneshop
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Mushroom

Some are indeed very secure,

if you unplug them, remove the batteries and bury them in concrete.

Between the second and third step you left out chopping them up and incinerating the shards using thermite.

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It's over 9,000! Boffin-baffling microquasar has power that makes the LHC look like a kid's toy

Stoneshop
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Go

Re: LHC = 27Km circle

Power output in Kettles ?

CERN uses 1.3 terawatt hours of electricity annually [ ... ] At peak consumption, usually from May to mid-December, CERN uses about 200 megawatts of power

So that's 100.000 kettles at 2kW each, all of them running for 6500 hours. At roughly 100 seconds to heat a liter from 15C to boiling in such a kettle each of them would make 234.000 liters of tea, or a bit over half a million mugs over those 6500 hours.

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Stoneshop
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Re: LHC = 27Km circle

Volume of the Earth: 1 trillion cubic kilometer, according to space.com. So:

$ units

Currency exchange rates from www.timegenie.com on 2016-06-21

2954 units, 109 prefixes, 88 nonlinear units

You have: 1300e12 km^3

You want: olympicpool

* 5.194042e+20

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Stoneshop
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Headmaster

Sense of scale.

So, how about renaming the LHC to Cosmically Puny Hadron Collider?

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Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?

Stoneshop
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FAIL

Re: No Worries

And you would have to be an idiot to believe that it won't work with the BMC not having a direct internet connection.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Occam's Razor

a highly complex and detectable method

Depends on who you want it undetectable (or at least nearly undetectable) for. On the manufacturing side you actually need just a few people who know the details: the ones modifying the schematic and the PCB layout, and creating the manufacturing manifests for the board etching/sandwiching/populating machines. It's the ones that handle the boards after they've shipped (building them into systems, reflashing, further inspection, etc.) that these mods need to be hidden from.

Also, for everybody else in the manufacturing chain these are just like any of the other customised boards destined for a particular customer.

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Stoneshop
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Holmes

no need to modify any hardware

You know, belts AND suspenders.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Only just passes the plausibility test for me...

If you are doing this in the highly managed environment of an AWS (for example) datacentre, the network traffic is so highly managed

Piggybacking via steganography on entirely legitimate data connections to an AWS cloud.

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: Should we be worried ?

Have you had shipments of tuna, salmon and catnip arrive at your door even though you're completely sure your cat has not touched any of your computers? As those implanted chips are small and low power they need to be really close to the access point to be able to connect, that's why you will find your cat right next to it.

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Stoneshop
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Facepalm

Re: Chinese agents slip spy chips into Super Micro servers

Why embed into the motherboard substrate? That's really expensive

And this would be an issue for the Chinese entities purportedly involved, exactly how?

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Stoneshop
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Re: Chinese agents slip spy chips into Super Micro servers

(They also don't mention what kind of CPU these boards had. They might have used AMD or even ARM CPUs, although given how many Intel based servers there are out there, it's unlikely)

SuperMicro (as the suspected manufacturer) has just a small number of AMD boards in their (extensive) product range, and exactly zero ARM boards.

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Stoneshop
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Devil

3 & 4, um. I'm thinking "count them on your fingers".

3) the ability to figure out what the hell things are down to a scale of ~50nm. Xray scanners are not particularly common, and most of those aren't going to resolve down to the level where you can recognise components inside a chip, let alone allow you to identify them and spot things that have been added to the original design.

Well, about that 27" CRT that's still in storage for reasons unknown (except to the BOFH ... ).

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Where can I hide this mic? I know, shove it down my urethra

Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: USB Raid array

Someone did this using USB floppies. Just because he could.

Further reading: https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?t=77186

The one asking that question there mentions SATA, and receives a reply that SATA to USB does not exist. But SATA to IDE does, and IDE to CF converters do exist too. So, not a stick, but it's still possible to use a hardware RAID controller with solid state storage not being SSDs.

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: re. micro sd, etc.

Anyone know what that might be called?

Test lead organiser, or test lead holder

The better ones have movable 'fingers', so that they can accommodate different cable widthts.

A couple of minutes with a length of PVC rain gutter and a hacksaw will do the same and be much cheaper.

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Stoneshop
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those FUCKING cables

Re-sealable freezer bags. 1 per cable.

Kind of a cable condom then.

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Stoneshop
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Some time ago I found a handheld computer at a thrift store. Storage was a PCMCIA card using static RAM, with two coin cells for backup power. IIRC its capacity is 256k; programs lived on a second PCMCIA card, 2MB or 4MB (the machine is elsewhere, can't check).

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Stoneshop
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</sarcasm - yes I know it's supposed to be 512MB>

My first digicam came with a 4MB CF card for storage (I bought a 16MB one the next day when I realised that 4MB couldn't even hold half as much pics as a 36 roll of Ektachrome), so a 512k stick doesn't sound out of the ordinary if you go back that far.

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Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin

Stoneshop
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Re: @big_D

Pretty much all the mainframe manufacturers (IBM plus the BUNCH - Burroughs, Univac, NCR, CDC and Honeywell - ICL didn't appear because this was US jargon!) did this.

The upgrade kit to turn a DEC VAX 82x0 into an 83x0 consisted of the digit 3 to put on the front panel and a set of microcode EPROMS containing fewer NOPs. One of the other VAXes required only a backplane jumper to be (re?)moved.

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Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?

Stoneshop
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Re: Tea with milk

whenever I get milk for a beverage on the continent, it's always that horrid strange-tasting UHT muck.

If you pass near here, in exchange for a box of Yorkshire Gold (the soft water variety, water here is excellent), you can have your tea with the stuff that's squirted out of a cow without any intervening processes (the tap has a sign 'boil before using', but that's just to make it your own responsibility when rightly ignoring it).

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Stoneshop
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Re: never seems to taste the same?

Which is quite enough for a kettle, unless you are trying to boil the water in roughly the time it takes to put water in the kettle.

My GF found a Teasmade at a local charity shop, labeled 'probably broken'. It wasn't, but the expectation that it would heat the water to a boil quite a bit faster than it actually did probably made them slap that label on.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Actually most satnavs are still remarkably unreliable

Garmin is humorously wrong in northern Spain.

Our Garmin device in the car is regularly fed OpenStreetMap updates which are only occasionally incorrect, and then rarely beyond the next update. That said, it still wants me to get off a particular main artery, then straight across the crossroads at the bottom of the slipway and back on the main road again, as it has done for at least the past five years. Probably more of a routing calculation quirk than a mapping error, I expect.

From the 60Csx I expect nothing more than remembering a couple of waypoints, and showing a direction pointer to the one selected.

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Stoneshop
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Devil

Re: Why would you use the app navigation itself??

the road to madness.

"Location data for Madness not found. Calculating route for Madeira."

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Stoneshop
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Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

(Seriously can some kind person explain why it's полярные and thus plural? Enquiring minds etc.)

North AND South pole. The watch will work in either hemisphere as you'd be upside down when in the Southern anyway.

(They couldn't care less about the 38 million Poles to the west of them)

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Stoneshop
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Re: Too many apps

Clouds will move in a different way to the wind direction at lower altitudes.

Better not go visit Norway. I've more than once seen clouds at three different levels move at right angles to each other, with the upper level moving right against the lowest.

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'Incommunicado' Assange anoints new WikiLeaks editor in chief

Stoneshop
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Devil

Re: How to leave an embassy

to the Swedes, who can now use him for his finest purpose: polar bear bait.

I would not wish this on any Polar[0] bear. Apart from that, Sweden does not, afaik, have territories where they roam freely. But being trampled[1] by moose is certainly possible.

[0] Nor Cartesian.

[1] bitten, too.

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Stoneshop
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Re: installed a jamming device ????

You can't just jam "inside" the embassy easily as radio waves typically go through walls unless you've redecorated with a layer of tinfoil behind your new wallpaper.

I would expect that to be standard minimum procedure for any embassy nowadays.

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Stoneshop
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Re: "Held"

<conspiracy> Maybe the Ecuadorians are now preventing him from leaving and no one has realised? </conspiracy>

Welcome to the Hotel Equadoria.

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Bombing raids during WWII sent out shockwaves powerful enough to alter the Earth's ionosphere

Stoneshop
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Boffin

Nope

1000 multiples of a lump of metal in Paris

0.003335641 seconds at the speed of light in vacuum, or 0.16680567 seconds at VSheepVac.

I expect that Nissan to take a little longer.

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Stoneshop
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Thumb Up

Re: Bah!

Gramps said that climbing down from the trees and walking about on your back legs would lead to trouble!

And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Just the Allies?

Guess the Axis powers' bombs weren't powerful enough?

The Luftwaffe had significantly less bombers than the RAF had, and they also had less capacity: their one heavy bomber was the Heinkel 177, 10 ton bomb load, mostly used on the Eastern front and only from by and large 1943. 1170 built (including prototypes and small-run specials). The Heinkel 111, Junker 88 and the Dornier Do 17 were used in the Blitz, were built in larger numbers (5500 Heinkels, 15000 Junkers, 2000 Dorniers), but those had a much smaller bomb load, only up to some 3000kg. Blitz raids were also quite spread out over time; they didn't make for concentrated ionosphere disruptions the way the raids over Germany did.

By contrast, at the start of the Area Bombing Directive early 1942 the RAF had the Halifax, Stirling and Lancaster, able to carry well over 5000kg (Lancasters had to be adapted to accept the Grand Slam), the lighter Hampden, Wellington, Whitley and the Mosquito, plus what the USAAF brought to the table once they came in. RAF Bomber Command was able to mount a number of "1000 bomber raids" with, in one case, 2000 tons of bombs dropped.

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: Other explosives

With rockets, first there is only a single rocket being fired at a time, and not a thousand bombers dropping their payloads.

Those (bombing raid) explosions would occur over several minutes, maybe even several tens of minutes, roughly the same time that a rocket would need to reach the upper atmosphere. Where it would then actually punch through the ionosphere, although the disturbance caused by that would be over a much smaller area than the cumulative blast front from a bombing raid once that reached the ionosphere.

Secondly, it's being lit one end and burned relatively slowly compared to the entire lot exploding in a millisecond so you don't get a shockwave.

Not always.

Which also makes me wonder how large an effect Buncefield, Pepcon or Enschede would have had, compared to the average bombing raid

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Stoneshop
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Re: Other explosives

Individually, the largest weapons dropped apparently caused damage to the aircraft dropping these weapons, which would have been >25,000 feet above the point of detonation.

We were flying at 6,000 feet which was the minimum height to drop the 4,000 pounder. We dropped it in the middle of town [Koblenz], which gave the aircraft a hell of a belt, lifted it up and blew an escape hatch from out of the top.

— Jack Murray, pilot of "G for George", reporting on G for George's mission on 17th April 1943.

The 8klb and 12klb ones would have had a greater minimum safety height, but more like sqrt(2) (8 klb) or sqrt(3) (12 klb) times those 6000ft, if that, because of blast front area. And with a single plane dropping a large explosive load you get to add horizontal speed against time for the bomb dropping to the height where it should explode

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Stoneshop
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Grand Slam

"The bombs carried by the Allied Forces’ planes were four times heavier than the ones carried by Germany’s Luftwaffe. One in particular, the Grand Slam bomb carried by the RAF, was a whopping 10,000 kilograms, and was nicknamed the “Ten Ton Tess.”"

This suggests that Grand Slams were commonly used in bombing raids, but only a hundred or so were made of which 42 were actually dropped in raids against particular hardened targets. Its predecessor, the Tallboy, got up to 850; it too was mainly used against particular 'hard' targets, among them the battleship Tirpitz, U-boat docks and railway bridges and tunnels. Both had the weight and strength to penetrate reinforced concrete bunker domes, or penetrate the ground next to a target and explode underneath it, wrecking the foundations.

The 4000 to 12000 lb HC "blockbuster" bombs were the ones that were often used in bombing raids, and in numbers totalling about 90.000 (nearly all of that being the 4000 lb type). These were used for their blast wave effect where the Tallboy and Grand Slam were considered 'earthquake' bombs.

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WWII Bombe operator Ruth Bourne: I'd never heard of Enigma until long after the war

Stoneshop
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Re: Standard German and Dialects?

but of you gave me an Enigma-encoded message I honestly wouldn't know where to start.

Building a Bombe would be a good one.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Partial truth, partial cover up ?

Operation mincemeat corpse was discovered by the Spanish and the information reported to the Nazi command.

Which was part of the ruse. Spain was technically neutral, although quite chummy with the Germans. The Mincemeat group figured that either the letters and other items themselves would pass German hands for copying and inspection before Spain handed them back to Britain, or the Spaniards would do that for them. Afterwards the letters were checked, and they had indeed be opened so that part of the operation could be verified to have worked. With Axis troops actually moving to the Balkan Churchill was then notified of "Mincemeat swallowed whole".

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Stoneshop
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Re: other type of personalization was the Morse code sending itself

I don't know if oscilloscopes were around during the war years but were used in the '60s.

They were essentially the basis for radar, to the point that initially radar was just displaying the scope trace for the echo from a (semi)fixed[0] antenna. Only later the rotating sweep came along.

They certainly weren't used widely for identifying enemy transmitters, if at all.

[0] The antennas could usually be rotated, but only slowly because of their size. More like getting them pointed in a particular direction and sort of tracking a target.

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Stoneshop
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German naval cryptologists added a 4th wheel to Enigma

That only effectively added a second 'reflector' [0] to the unit, and while that added cryptological complexity it was way less than the Germans thought it would. Every keystroke moved the rightmost wheel, then on one full rotation it moved the next one on the left, etc. So the fourth wheel hardly ever moved unless they had a very long message, and only its internal wiring and the starting position added to the coding.

[0] a disc to the left of the rotors, wired so that a current through the rotor wiring got routed back through the rotors again and to the 'display', a field of small lightbulbs displaying the (de)coded character for the pressed key. This made that the coding and decoding could be done on the same device with matching rotors and starting setting.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Partial truth, partial cover up ?

German intelligence were seemingly often rubbish (though not always). They made some terrible errors.

A particularly stunning bit of leading German intelligence, and with it the General Staff, by the nose has been Operation Mincemeat, IMO. At its centre was a corpse with fabricated documents including a letter by the vice chief of the Imperial General Staff to the British Commander in North Africa, detailing an invasion of continental Europe via Greece and the Southern Balkan, with a decoy attack on Sicily. As the German Abwehr after much scrutiny decided that yes, this person and the papers he carried were authentic, a fair bunch of personnel and material were moved from Italy to the Balkan. It took weeks before the Germans actually figured that the Sicily invasion was the real one.

German Intelligence did not just suffer from hubris, they also had the disadvantage that after the Battle of Britain they had way less possibilities to use aerial reconnaissance to corroborate info, as well as less human bodies doing the spying thing.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Cribs from touch

The other type of personalization was the Morse code sending itself.

Yes, but that was for the people listening to pick up. Most of those were ordinary citizens that had (or got) a suitable receiver, with motorcycle messengers collecting the messages that were copied down. They did get told, if not trained, to spot particular operators by their keying. And of course particular Wehrmacht and Kriegsmarine stations were listened to by army staff radio operators, with a quicker way to get interesting messages to the code breakers.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Standard German and Dialects?

one look-out post sent "Nothing to report" day after day, using different keys,

The Wehrmacht (army) had some 40.000 Enigmas in use, and more than once a sloppy operator accidentally sent today's first message with yesterday's setting, then resent it with today's. If yesterday's code was already broken, then so was that day's. And if not, it certainly helped. Repeating a particular message, with some words abbreviated the second time, that the intended receiver hadn't been able to copy down correctly also offered cracking advantages.

The Kriegsmarine had way less devices and operators, and much tighter code discipline as well.

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Did the Germans ever got clued up that their supposedly encrypted message system have been compromised?

R.V.Jones' Most Secret War refers to this dilemma: acting on information versus keeping the fact that the code was broken under wraps. In some cases where acting was the strongly preferred option because of the anticipated consequences of not acting, a 'thank you for the info' was sent to a (non-existent) agent who could have plausibly provided the pertinent info.

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UKIP flogs latex love gloves: Because Brexit means Brexit

Stoneshop
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FAIL

It's a bigger percentage than the French got when they voted to join the EU,

France was one of the founding members of the EEC, which only 26 years later morphed into the EU.

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Stoneshop
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Devil

If that is designed by committee

you may have that People's Vote in, um, 2022 at the earliest.

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