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* Posts by Spaceman Spiff

193 posts • joined 17 Feb 2015

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New York Police scrap 36,000 Windows smartphones

Spaceman Spiff

I was a principal engineer for Nokia when MS took it over. Let's just say it was a cluster fuck!

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Australian govt promises to push Five Eyes nations to break encryption

Spaceman Spiff

Oh yes, this will turn out well! Just remember, back doors are ubiquitous - if we have them, you have them. How many of your secrets do you want out in the "wild"? That's one way to find out what our "representatives" are up to!

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Canadian sniper makes kill shot at distance of 3.5 KILOMETRES

Spaceman Spiff

Depending upon the gun and round, about 10 seconds to hit a target 2 miles away is about right. That said, there was a lot of luck in this shot, as well as skill. Previously, the longest kill shot by a sniper was 1300+ meters - around 1 mile.

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PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet

Spaceman Spiff

That's the best story about computers and shit happening I have ever heard! Thanks. ROFLMAO! :-)

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PC repair chap lets tech support scammer log on to his PC. His Linux PC

Spaceman Spiff

I got one of these calls last night. Unfortunately I had just come home from a 2 day drive from NYC (I live outside of Chicago) and was too tired to do much other than threaten the scammer with a complaint to the US federal authorities (pretty useless these days). We have no Windows systems (VMs or otherwise) in our house. Wife only uses Apple systems for home and work (she is a staff physicist at a major national laboratory - I think only HR uses Windows there), and I only use Linux systems (CentOS on my server and Mint on my laptop/workstation).

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Oracle fires Java warning at IBM and Red Hat

Spaceman Spiff

Java is an abomination. Not as a programming language per se, but as a systems programming language! It was never intended for the uses we find it in today, and we all suffer for it. I got my first Java compiler directly from the inventor, James Gosling, back in 1995 when we both gave invited papers at the IEEE manufacturing engineering conference in Boston. His intention for the language at the time was to build applets for web browsers. The language wasn't officially released by Sun until about 5 years later.

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Back to the future: Honda's new electric car can go an incredible 80 miles!

Spaceman Spiff

Come on Honda! An electric car today with only an 80 mile range. That would get me from home into Chicago, and halfway back before I die on the side of the road! Thanks, but no thanks!

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BS Detection 101 becomes actual University subject

Spaceman Spiff

So, when will the university offer a BS in BS? :-)

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Two words, Mozilla: SPEED! NOW! Quit fiddling and get serious

Spaceman Spiff

I 100% agree with the author of this article! My rules of software development (after 35 years in the business) is #1 - make it good and usable. #2 - make it secure. #3 - make it fast. Those are my priorities. I get used to a UI and HATE it when you change it for no good reason!

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Unlucky WD Ultrastar drives are knackered, need replacing ASAP

Spaceman Spiff

Yes. Disc drives fail. What is the differentiator is how the company deals with the situation. I also prefer WD to other (un)named companies' disc drive products. First of all, they run a LOT cooler, which when you run them 24x365 that is critical. Second, my SMART monitor indicates they have a lot fewer sector failures over time.

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Deafening silence as Smart Hosting support tickets keep piling up

Spaceman Spiff

"Updated at 14.20 UTC to add: The Register spoke to Simon Blackler, who admitted that the company had a severe support ticket issue, and had failed to communicate thoroughly with its customers. He stressed the Krystal was not shuttering the Smart Hosting brand, and was working hard on resolving the backlog of tickets."

Yep. Their hamsters are spinning those wheels as fast as they can! Fixing stuff? Nah. That's human stuff, and there aren't any (humans) around here any longer...

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High tides: Boffins spy on dolphins baked on poisonous piscines

Spaceman Spiff

In Europe Amanita Muscaria (magic mushrooms - orange with white spots) are deadly. In Colorado, USA they are a great high! We used to have some great shroom parties up in Breckenridge when I was living there in the late 1960's. We'd all go to the local bar & grill and get the "special" burger with mushrooms! At that time, all of that was totally legal! Hey John! One special mushroom burger and a bottle of beer!

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Munich may dump Linux for Windows

Spaceman Spiff

Except for tech support teams, every company I have worked with in the past 7 years (Nokia, Adobe, Panasonic,...) is issuing laptops to all employees. That is the "desktop" for the current decades. People go to a meeting and need to present some "stuff" to the team. One laptop + one huge monitor + one hookup device and voila - instant presentation that the rest of the team can download to their laptops via WiFi as necessary.

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Microsoft posts death notices for Windows 7 sysadmin certifications

Spaceman Spiff

One has to wonder how much dosh MS "earns" from re-certifying sysadmins? Sounds like a nice scam to me!

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Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP

Spaceman Spiff

This is why I never run Windows. Linux only for me, thanks. At least I have full control over the updates I get, and can roll them back to the last version if there is a problem.

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Lenovo: If you value your server, block Microsoft's November security update

Spaceman Spiff

UEFI, what a joke! I call it Secure Bork because it will bork you system almost as often as it will boot.

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Another Canadian uni hit by ransomware, students told to keep Windows PCs away

Spaceman Spiff

Just say no!

This is one of the many reasons why I refuse to use Windows systems, as does my wife. We are both computer professionals. She is an iGear user. I am a Linux/Android user. No Windows gear in our house!

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NASA discovers mysterious super-fast electrons whizzing above Earth

Spaceman Spiff

My late father would have been on the forefront of these studies. He was a cosmic ray physicist who also specialized in interplanetary and interstellar fields. Unfortunately he passed away in 1992.

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Astronauts on long-haul space flights risk getting 'space brains'

Spaceman Spiff

It just means that we need better radiation shielding on these ships. It doesn't have to be lead. It can be something that will deflect the undesirable particles and radiation wave forms. In any case, this is a problem that can be overcome.

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Tesla driver dies after Model S hits tree

Spaceman Spiff

Honda driver dies after hitting tree. Toyota Prius driver dies after hitting tree. Firefighters afraid of "electricity" from the batteries... Time for some updated training I think!

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When you've paid the ransom but you don't get your data back

Spaceman Spiff

Anyone who pays "ransom" and hasn't a current backup of their data is a fool and deserves to lose their $$! Wipe your drives. Reset your firmware (bios, etc), and lock down your systems as you install a new (hopefully a more secure) OS.

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CERN staff conduct 'human sacrifice' at supercollider site

Spaceman Spiff

ROFLMAO

Most of the scientists I know (a huge number) have some "interesting" senses of humor. Anyone who takes this seriously (the video) is an idiot! FWIW, my father was a physicist, my wife is a physicist, and I am an engineer. Do I know scientists? I once had breakfast with Linus Pauling and my physics professor in college was Frank Oppenheimer.

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Lab-grown black hole proves Stephen Hawking's radiation claims – physicist

Spaceman Spiff

Re: Yo! sub-editor!

Danged keyboards! They keep mystiping...

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Spaceman Spiff

The neat thing about physics research, especially so far out on the frontier of knowledge as this work is, is that progress is bit-by-bit. Great and creative work though! A lot of concrete knowledge of our universe will come out of it, for sure. FWIW, my father was an astro-geo-physicist and Guggenheim Fellow, and my wife is a particle physicist at Fermi Lab. Me, I'm only an engineer, but with a solid foundation in the sciences - Frank Oppenheimer was my physics professor in college.

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UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

Spaceman Spiff

I'd call these govt. functionaries idiots, but that would be an insult to idiots. Ban end-to-end encryption? You have to be kidding me! ISP's cannot enforce this! No one can! I send an encrypted message to a colleague that only they have the key to decrypt? How much computer time do you have? A couple of millions of years if we use a secure algorithm and key? Really useful then, won't it be? Historically, perhaps. Message: what do you want for dinner? Answare: what about lasagna?

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Job ad promises 'Meaningless Repetitive Work on the .NET Stack'

Spaceman Spiff

Other than the COBOL thing (substitute C/C++ for COBOL), this sounds exactly like my most recent job! Paid well. Drove me crazy. No documentation on the system that would help an engineer "do the right thing"...

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Look who's here to solve the Internet of Things' security nightmare – hey, it's Uncle Sam

Spaceman Spiff

Uncle Sam? Are you sure that isn't Yosemite Sam?

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Former Nokia boss Stephen Elop scores gig as chief innovator for Australia's top telco

Spaceman Spiff

Well, we can say goodbye to Telstra - Elop is the kiss of death for any company that lets him take "control"...

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UK to stop children looking at online porn. How?

Spaceman Spiff

Just tell the government, in no uncertain terms "KEEP OUT OUR PANTS, AND OUR KIDS' PANTS!"

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Spaceman Spiff

My parents were smart, and progressive. They knew that we (my sister and I) would become sexually active and would, even before that, be curious about how the opposite sex works. Solution? Plenty of kleenex for those hand sessions after reading some chapters of Lady Chatterly or Fanny Hill. Then, there was the copy of the Kamasutra my dad brought me back from a trip to India... Just don't ask me to describe the "Elephant Position"! Honestly, don't ask - I don't remember any more! :-)

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Stray electronic-magnetic leaks used to harvest PC crypto keys

Spaceman Spiff

Antique tech! This technique has been used for decades to capture information from "secure" systems. That's why the US DOD came up with Tempest for truly secure terminals and computer systems that could not be eavesdropped on via stray EM signals!

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BT blames 'faulty router' for mega outage. Did they try turning it off and on again?

Spaceman Spiff

Only one bad router was required to nuke their entire operation? God what ID10TS! They should immediately fire their entire network operations management team and promote some of there better and more experienced engineers. No doubt they complained to management on numerous occasions about this Achilles Heel? And were ignored, or told that fixing it would be too expensive? Where have I seen this before?

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Lovelace at 200: Celebrating the High Priestess to Babbage's machines

Spaceman Spiff

Given that I am a descendant of Lord Byron and Percy Shelly (Mary Shelly is a cousin a couple of levels in the family tree away), I guess that I am both a cousin of Frankenstein, as well as cousin to Lady Lovelace... That's probably where my writing, computing, and software skills come from. :-) Thank you ladies!

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Tell us what's wrong with the DMCA, says US Copyright office

Spaceman Spiff

The DMCA is what's wrong with the DMCA. Simply put, punishing people for moving stuff they have paid for into more accessible formats is just egregious! Punish those who rip off content for profit. Not people who want to view stuff in order to determine if it is worth purchasing. I have 100's of DVD's and CD's of stuff that I have purchased because I first viewed a "pirated" copy and decided I wanted a legitimate copy for my library. I would NOT purchase a copy first in many cases because I decided it wasn't worth the "price of admission" and stopped watching after 15 minutes, and then dumped the copy into the bit-bucket.

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Got a pricey gaming desktop from PC World for Xmas? Check the graphics specs

Spaceman Spiff

Unfortunately, the power supply is one area where system builders cut corners, resulting in a much reduced lifespan for the system. I will NEVER purchase a workstation/gaming system with less than a 750-1000 watt power supply! And look at the power requirements at all voltages! Want to overclock that CPU? You need more power. Want to add RAM? More power please! Need to add cooling? More power please... I'm in the market for a workstation/server. One that I am considering has dual (redundant) 925 watt power supplies. I could up that for another $500, but I think it's not necessary for my use. Total system cost for dual 6 core Intel i7 preocessors (up to 3.2GHz), 16GB RAM, 500GB system drive (I have plenty of spares for more storage), nVidia GTX 750Ti (marginally slower than the 980 card - the 980 is another $600) graphics, Sound Blaster audio, 3 year warranty - about $3500 USD.

FWIW, I am an electrical and senior systems engineer. I do this stuff for a living. Read the fine print... Personally, though we at my place of work have a lot of HP gear, I really don't like it much. HP doesn't build stuff the way it used to - dead-bang reliable. It is a consumer equipment manufacturer any longer. One of my best friends was their VP of engineering back in the 1980's. HP has only gone downhill since Ernie Bertram retired. :-(

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Chat messages in Skype for Windows are bang out of order – so here's how to 'fix' it for now

Spaceman Spiff

I have always thought Microsoft (since the early 1980's) was bass-ackward in their approach to tech. Gotta wonder what they will screw up next. Most entertaining! I also love those bogus phone calls from "Microsoft Tech Support Services" that inform me that our computers are infected with viruses and they will help us clean them up. We have exactly ZERO Windows computers in our home. My wife is an iUser only, and I Linux! :-) I especially love to keep these pinheads on the phone for as long as possible, stringing them along. Very entertaining, for sure!

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T'was the night before Christmas, and an industrial control system needed an upgrade

Spaceman Spiff

I hope they got a 3x overtime pay package for this, plus two weeks in the Bahamas on the company dime! They deserve it! And fire that manager!

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Typo in case-sensitive variable name cooked Google's cloud

Spaceman Spiff

Code review?

Even with proper code review procedures, this sort of stuff can be missed since most of the reviewers will not perform close inspection during the process. Sigh. That is just how it is. Better static analysis tools might have caught this before the review process started.

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James Clapper has found another reason why he lied about NSA spying

Spaceman Spiff

Really Your Honor...

Really Your Honor, I am a poor, pathological liar. You can't believe anything that I say... -James Clapper

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eBay scammer steals identity of special agent investigating him

Spaceman Spiff

Poetic justice?

The agent should be fired for being an idiot, and the criminal pardoned for showing how stupid our "protectors" are!

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Old tech, new battles: Inside F-Secure’s formidable Faraday cage

Spaceman Spiff

Love the FC (Faraday Cage)!

My father was a cosmic ray physicist and chair of a major university department of physics. He had a lab called Meson Manor. Because his equipment was so sensitive to random radio and other signals, he needed to build the lab inside a Faraday cage. Unfortunately, a cage lined with solid copper sheeting would have been too expensive for his budget. His solution (thinking outside-of-the-box was a specialty of his) he determined that copper screening had holes that were under the wavelengths of the radiation he wanted to stop, so he lined the "Manor" with copper screening at a fraction of the cost solid copper would have been, and yet performed just as well!

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Virtualisation blog 'of interest to Interpol'

Spaceman Spiff

I wonder if it could have just been some name confusion. That happened to me in Chicago when I was returning from a trip to Mexico. I had to go sit for awhile in a border control room until they figured out I wasn't the person that they were looking for. My name is Irish and it's possible some former IRA person has the same name I do.

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Mozilla to boot all plugins from Firefox … except Flash

Spaceman Spiff

So long Mozilla. Been good to know ya! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS!

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Watch out VW – French prosecutors are pulling on the rubber gloves

Spaceman Spiff

If you believe for even an instant that top executives at VW did not know this was going on, and approved of it, even tacitly, then you are an idiot! Their engineers would NOT have done this without approval from the highest levels. Maybe there are no paper or e-trails to the top here, but that is just good CYA crap!

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175,000 whinge to Microsoft about phone tech support scams

Spaceman Spiff

I love these calls! I don't use Windows. Have no Windows systems in my house (Linux and OSX only). And caller-id. I happily send the number to the police and FBI fraud departments if it isn't blocked or I can get a call-back number from the scammer. :-)

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Trump confirms carders raided Las Vegas hotel sales tills

Spaceman Spiff

Most of these vulnerable POS systems run some version of Microsoft Windows - usually XP. Are we surprised they were hacked? Not even slightly! There are POS systems built on hardened operating systems such as QNX and Linux that are very hard to hack, especially QNX, which is used in safety and security critical systems, such as nuclear power plant control systems.

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Global productivity explodes as Facebook's service takes a dive

Spaceman Spiff

It was down for me here in Chicago for awhile - less than 1 hour. I had just done a system update and thought it may have been an issue with Firefox. I downgraded FF to the older version, but no joy in Chicagoland! So, I upgraded FF again, and then FB started coming back online. Working fine now.

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Top QLD sex shop cops Cryptowall lock; cops flop as state biz popped

Spaceman Spiff

4 words - backup, backup, backup daily!

And do that to an off-line device, not the cloud. Cloud services can be compromised. Get a 2-3TB sata or usb 3.0 disc, and backup all your data there daily. Myself, I do a system bit-image backup of hte system drive so I can restore the entire operating system if necessary, and bit-image backups of the data drives. These can be easily compressed when doing the backup to take less space than the original drives. If you don't, then you are subject to this sort of ransomware.

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Shock: Smartphone app to protect kids online does quite the opposite

Spaceman Spiff

Why are we not surprised? Governmental agencies are the most egregiously stupid when it comes to real security. In the US, the DHS should be called the DHIS (Department of Homeland InSecurity). The NSA? How about the NISA (National InSecurity Administration)? After all, they could not prevent a gazillion top secret documents from being purloined by one Edward Snowden, though I applaud him for that!

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American Airlines: TITSUP computers ground US flights

Spaceman Spiff

The last time I flew American Airlines, I flew to Tucson AZ. My bags ended up in Montreal! Never again AA! I fly Southwest whenever I can!

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