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

* Posts by JohnFen

2937 posts • joined 20 Feb 2015

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

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Why?

"The problem was my housemates would then polish it off in 5 minutes while it was still warm. "

That's why I always make two loaves at a time. One for now, one for later. Making two at a time is only slightly more effort than making one.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Why?

"Bread makers are an excellent invention."

Bread makers are what got me into making bread for real. I was given one and used it regularly for a month, at which point it broke. Missing fresh bread, I realized that bread makers don't actually do that much -- most of making bread consists of waiting, after all -- so I started making bread the old-fashioned way.

As good as the bread maker was, it never produced a loaf of bread that was as good as what I made "by hand". But I will be eternally grateful to the machine for leading me down the proper path.

Google CEO tells US Congress Chocolate Factory will unleash Dragonfly in China

JohnFen
Silver badge

"So how do those sponsored links get to the top?"

Sponsored links are not search results. They're ads.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: I thought Google was supposed to 'do no evil'?

"everybody in China knows the Internet is censored, and that their private data is spied on by the government. So what's the big deal with Google doing the same?"

The reason that I consider Google's efforts here to be evil isn't because of the censorship. Yes, object to that personally, but it pales compared to the real problem.

The real problem isn't that if someone in China searches for something forbidden, they don't get relevant search results. The problem is that if they do such a search, Google assists in reporting them to the authorities.

Whether or not the citizens of China are OK with this is not relevant in my view. What's relevant is this is Google supporting actions that I personally consider powerfully unethical and evil, making Google itself powerfully unethical and evil.

JohnFen
Silver badge

tl;dr

Sundar Pichai: "We here at Google admit that we are full-on evil now."

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

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: I thought they were going to talk about the Internet?

""de-platforming" can include domain registrars, payment processors, and having your career and/or life ruined. So what difference does it make if the pipes still work, if you can no longer make use of what's in the pipes?"

I think you're being hyperbolic here. Even if you are no longer able to register a domain name at all (something that approaches impossible), and even if you can no longer work with payment processors, you can still make good use of the internet.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Too much pessimism

"it is easily possible to avoid Google's services, and with suitable ad-blockers and the like to avoid their intrusion to our lives"

Avoiding their services is easy. Avoiding their spying is very hard. In order to accomplish that, you need a lot more than adblockers. You pretty much have to stop participating in large segments of society, including no longer using bank cards, no longer giving out information to any organizations, etc.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Optional

"It's bloody hard to force people to use "your" network when you can't tell what direction the antenna's pointing."

Not really, when we live in a world where jammers exist.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Pub talk

"They are technical architects and really should limit their punditry to things that they know more about than ordinary folk."

By that reasoning, almost nobody should be able to express their opinions on most things. That doesn't sound right. For one thing, it would mean the death of the comment section here (and everywhere else).

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Dear fragile and wonderful academics...

"Using something to make money is a GOOD thing."

It can be, but this isn't a given. Even in the absence of abuse, when the profit motive is introduced to a thing, it changes the nature of that thing, making it no longer appropriate for some of the things it used to be good for.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: I thought they were going to talk about the Internet?

"when Facebook/Twitter/Google are more than happy to censor"

Facebook/Twitter/Google/etc. are not the internet. They provide services that run on the internet.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Saving democracy

"if there was NO anonymity on-line that would almost certainly get rid of the vast majority of trolls, stalkers, confidence tricksters etc."

I see literally no reason to believe this to be true, and a number of reasons to believe this to be false.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Between the three

"Every speaker noted competing visions from three main sources: The US, Europe and China."

All three visions have some very significant problems, but between the three, I think Europe's is the least worst.

In 2018, Facebook is the villain and Microsoft the shining light, according to techies

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: The behemoth in the room?

"Where is Google in all of this? surely they eclipse both Microsoft & Facebook?"

I don't know. Yes, Google is bad too.

I think that at some point, it no longer matters who is the worst. All three are absolutely terrible.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Tracking and harvesting

"Why actually care if this happens?"

I can give a lengthy list of why I care, but I won't -- because the "why" is 100% unimportant. The real, actual, important issue is about agency: what I object to is that this data is collected without my specific knowledge and consent. Worse, these companies put a great deal of time and effort into breaking through the defenses I use in order to enforce my wishes when it comes to who gets access to my data.

That's the issue. If I don't want my data to be collected, then it should not be collected, period. Why I don't want it collected is not actually relevant.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Who were the other panelists?

"Ms may seem to be more benign and less destructive lately"

I honestly don't understand why some people think this. They don't seem any more benign to me at all.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Some what does MS do with the data?

"There was telemetry collection at least as far back as XP. "

Yes, but it was optional. Now it's not. That's an enormous difference.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Facebook is a villain -- but so is Microsoft

"It was once a hulking, malevolent bully"

Judging by their words and actions, it still is.

Poor people should get slower internet speeds, American ISPs tell FCC

JohnFen
Silver badge

Just be honest...

Just be honest and call it "internet access" rather than "broadband".

Oh, wait, I forgot. This is Ajit Pai's FCC, and it doesn't do "honesty".

Microsoft, you shouldn't have: Festive Windows 10 Insiders build about as exciting as new socks

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Any change to notepad is big news of course.

"I've looked at Notepad++, and I see little reason to use it."

I see a reason to use it, but not as a blanket replacement for Notepad. As you say, Notepad++ and Notepad are different programs that address different needs. I always have a need for a very minimal editor with the fewest features possible. In Windows, that's Notepad and I love it for that. It's one of the applications I use the most.

Notepad++ is better when you need a "word processor lite" or an editor that understands code (and you don't want to fire up a full-featured one).

Salesforce has named a chief ethics officer and yes, the job description is appropriately woolly

JohnFen
Silver badge

I want that job!

If all I'd have to do is "engage" rather than be on the hook for producing some sort of actual result, that would be one of the cushiest jobs ever.

Doom at 25: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Stanger in a strange land..

"Or walk around the place with a hi vis jacket and a clipboard, and request access to anywhere."

Yep, or as I learned from my younger years as a janitor -- if you push a mop bucket or garbage can, look irritated and in a hurry, look like you know exactly where you're going and that you would prefer not to go there, nobody will even notice that you're there, let alone confront you.

JohnFen
Silver badge

I still play it to this day

Yes, there are newer, better-looking FPSes around, but Doom occupies a space in my life that it shares with only a handful of other games from the general era: I still play them regularly to this day. The others? SimCity 2000, Civilization CTP, Redneck Rampage, Master of Orion - both 1 and 2 because they are very different games.

Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Here we go again...

"The solution for every problem involves "cloud", "Google AI", and "iPads"."

I think it's a red flag anytime someone refers to any tools as a "solution". Tools aren't solutions. They can be used to create and implement solutions. There's a vast difference between those two things, but marketing people are doing their best to prevent people from understanding that.

US Homeland Security installs AI cameras at the White House, Google tries to make translation less sexist

JohnFen
Silver badge

Why should we believe this?

"Only pictures that correspond to a positive match will be kept, negative matches will be deleted automatically. "

Oh? Why should we believe this to be true?

Google: I don't know why you say Allo, I say goodbye

JohnFen
Silver badge

Another reason

"Google's adoption of the RCS profile has resulted in telcos asking OEMs to include it in handsets."

Another reason that I can't wait until I can escape the madness that is the current Android landscape.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Google abdicated its responsibility to Android users

"Google's solution was to push a "better" SMS, which is fine except that it isn't end to end encrypted so it is still snoopable by carriers and governments."

Yes, that and the fact that it wasn't a "better" SMS at all.

JohnFen
Silver badge

"I mean, do think Google should keep supporting Allo, even though it hasn't gained much traction"

I don't use Google products, but I'm going to guess, based on the comments that I've read over the years, that people's problem with this is that it means that you can't really rely on anything Google releases (at least until it's a big hit) because it might go away tomorrow.

That's a really serious problem. Once you've invested in a particular platform, it's painful and disruptive to to change.

The curious tale of ICANN, Verisign, claims of subterfuge, and the $135m .Web dot-word

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Alternate system

"What problems does the current system create that average users of the internet give a damn about?"

None, but I wasn't really talking about average users. I was talking about balkanization of the internet, where different groups of users are using different systems. Average users may well never use anything else, but they'd just be one of the different groups.

"Hell I'm glad new TLDs are mostly a failure, it was a stupid idea from day one and if they were in wide use the internet would be in a bigger mess."

I agree entirely. It's one of the reasons why I never use those TLDs to go anywhere.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Alternate system

"what happens when the alternate one does the same thing, you run away again?"

Yes, why not? Changing your DNS provider is easy and painless.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Alternate system

It's not the large ISPs that matter, it's individual users. If users get frustrated enough, then they'll use an alternate DNS system regardless of what their ISPs do.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Alternate system

"The existence of alternate DNS roots just creates its own set of problems"

Yes, it absolutely does. But so does the current system. So the question becomes -- which approach presents problems that are easier for the end user to handle?

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Alternate system

"you sure aren't going to get a grass root campaign that causes a majority of individual internet users in the world to switch their resolution."

In the scenario I was thinking, there would be no need for such a grass roots campaign. It would happen like similar shifts have happened in the past -- gradually at first, adding a small number of users over time, until it hits a critical mass and lots of people start using an alternate. No campaign of any sort is needed.

Also, I don't think it would be people jumping en mass to a single other DNS service. It's more likely, I think, that we'd see many competitive DNS services, each with their own userbase.

I agree, this looks unlikely -- I'm just speculating -- but as of right now, I don't see a path that leads to the current DNS system getting fixed. I don't think lawsuits will do that. But, if I were a betting man, I'd bet that I'm wrong.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Alternate system

I'm thinking that the day may come when an alternate system becomes popular. There is literally no technical reason that everyone has to use the DNS operated by ICANN, and alternative systems do exist (although they're not widely known or used).

This is yet another fault line that the internet can fracture on, and I'm not saying that it's a good thing at all. But as the governance of the established critical infrastructure increasingly looks like it's failing, that may eventually become the lesser of evils.

'Say hello to my little vacuum cleaner!' US drug squad puts spycams in cleaner's kit

JohnFen
Silver badge

Neat freak as a defense?

This wouldn't be very effective for neat freaks who keep their shop vacs in a closet when not in use and, more importantly, actually empty them after every use. So, I guess, they won't get many cokeheads with this.

Oz opposition folds, agrees to give Australians coal in their stockings this Christmas

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: "Not available in this country"

"If you are traveling, it's not a problem. Your OTP's are exchanged before you travel down under."

One time pads are awesome -- Properly done, it's the only truly unbreakable encryption we have. However, they can only be properly done if you already have a secure means of distributing the pads.

As you note, this is no problem if the parties that want to communicate start off all physically in the same room together, and they have generated in advance enough numbers to cover all the communications that they may want to engage in later (since you should never use the same sequence twice, as Germany found out in WW2 when their inability to generate and distribute enough random numbers later in the war caused them to reuse pads, which led directly to the encryption being broken).

In any other circumstance, though, this key exchange is a very serious weakness. That's the entire problem that PKE was invented to address and is why, even though it isn't technically unbreakable, it is widely used. Any weaknesses inherent in PKE pale (outside of specific and uncommon circumstances) in comparison to the key exchange problem with other methods.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: You can read my SMSs but you can take my WhatsApps from my cold dead hands

"This perhaps is why we should always roll our own for maximum secrecy."

If by "roll your own" you mean "apply your own encryption and don't rely on that built into applications", then I agree.

If you mean "invent your own encryption", then I don't agree at all. That would be foolish. Strong crypto is really, really hard to get right (and very, very hard to tell if you've gotten it right or not). Unless you're a mathematician with a focus on cryptography, you really are much better off using crypto that's already been vetted.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: You can read my SMSs but you can take my WhatsApps from my cold dead hands

"The state doesn’t “tap” your phone. Your telco does. It has equipment in its core network for the task, and is legally required to have that equipment."

Why do you think people here don't understand what LI is? I suspect most do.

I would note, though that when it comes to things like CALEA in the US, that's the state tapping not just your phone, but everyone's. The state is just using the telco as its agent.

JohnFen
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Gets popcorn

"Those keys are tightly controlled, and only in the hands of trusted and trustworthy government or approved agents."

Oh, no! That means the hobbyist lockpicking community in my area consists of nothing but government agents!

Microsoft says it's time to get serious about facial recognition rules: 'Laws and regulations are indispensable'

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: The basic problem...

"thoughtful government regulation"

This is just code for "regulations that benefit us and harm our competitors."

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Invest in hoodie production now

"You aren't allowed to wear hoodies in public, or rather you can, but you can't cover your face."

You can in the US. Thankfully.

JohnFen
Silver badge

My sides hurt

"Microsoft intends to let six principles to guide the company's use of facial recognition going forward. They are: fairness, transparency, accountability, nondiscrimination, notice and consent, and lawful surveillance."

Hahahahahahahahaha!!

Oh, sorry, I meant

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: The real fun has n't even started yet..

"End of metrics collection experiment."

First, you're using "metrics" in an overly broad sense here. Google purchases this data in order to match up online activity with physical purchase activity. That's a whole lot more than what people tend to think of when they think "metrics".

Second, I don't see anywhere that this effort has ended. I may have missed it, but even the article you linked to doesn't say they've stopped.

Third, it's not just credit card information. Google also has deal to collect Wifi & Bluetooth pings that stores increasingly use to track you. Google has expanded their already overly invasive spying activities into the physical world on several fronts.

I'm not seeing how their behavior is better than Facebook's.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: I'm out of here!

"elReg counts as anti-social media then I take it?"

Perhaps. It certainly doesn't count as "social media". It's a commentary site with a robust comment section.

Microsoft polishes up Chromium as EdgeHTML peers into the abyss

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Forced Edge

"At least now they can be perceived as pushing a desirable engine"

Chromium is not universally considered a "desirable engine".

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Deprecate Bing next please

Bing has a real use though -- it's the best engine to search for porn with!

JohnFen
Silver badge

"Edge is a much better browser"

Better than what?

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Microsoft middle(nuisance)ware.

"they're making it increasingly difficult to go back to Windows once you're using something else."

Yeah, that's always been the case, though. When I show up at work and have to start using Windows, it always feels like I've gone from driving a sports car to driving a Gremlin.

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

JohnFen
Silver badge

Oh, no

"the company intends to deliver browser updates for all Windows versions "on a more frequent cadence.""

If there was even a chance that I would use Edge, this would be greatly distressing news for me.

JohnFen
Silver badge

Re: Time to bow to the inevitable

"just show a store page on first boot with the selection of third party browsers that are available."

They're not going to trick me into using the store THAT way!

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